kdke's Recovery Journal

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sanmagic7

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Re: kdke's Recovery Journal
« Reply #60 on: August 10, 2018, 07:01:12 AM »
kudos to you for putting your boundaries out with grace.  i'm very glad for you that you did.  it sounds like it was getting pretty toxic, and then it also led to the incident with monica.

is it possible monica might take grace aside on her own to speak to her about what she heard?  or that maybe she didn't want to talk about another student with you, respecting grace's privacy?  that's just off the top of my head, another perspective of the whole thing. 

i'm not trying to minimize your feelings at all.  i just wonder if there's another side to what monica said and why.  i wasn't there, so i can't see the picture of all of it for myself.  it sounds pretty messy, the whole thing.  trying to deal with all that negativity can't be good for you. 

keep taking care of yourself, kdke.  love and hugs to you.
learn something from everything.

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kdke

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Re: kdke's Recovery Journal
« Reply #61 on: August 10, 2018, 09:13:31 AM »
That's a good point, San. It's definitely something I've thought about and am still considering. I think in that moment, I was so upset and annoyed by everything that was going on that I took Monica's statement as an indirect attack against Grace's feelings. It would make sense that she was more focused on just not wanting me to be a part of it, which is her prerogative to request.

Grace tried to have me tell her what exactly Monica said but I refused. I didn't want to give her any ammo after having a good understanding of what kind of mindset she was in. Monica was already this antagonistic caricature in her head and even if I had explained what I thought it meant, it would've added fuel to the fire. That and she's so frightened of Monica that when I asked to speak to Grace, all she could do was anticipate the worst and literally braced herself in her chair. She looked like she was on a rollercoaster she didn't want to be on.

I became very frustrated when she reacted this way because I just wanted to say, "You and she created this! Every single day, you come to me and wail about how the devil is after you, everyone is against you, Monica lied on you, you're innocent, you did nothing wrong. You always never do anything wrong. But then when you feel disrespected, you actively disrespect the person back and tell me that it was justified because they did it first. You hurt people, you're vengeful. You put people down, you turn their back on them, you wave your hand when they say something you don't like. You ignore them, you scowl, you sigh excessively during every lecture when you hear something you don't like. You can't be asked to reciprocate what you demand other people do for you. But you never do anything wrong. Right."

I did call her out once and she became very defensive. I don't really hold that against her; I get defensive when someone calls me out on my nonsense, but then I always try super hard to accept the truth. I've convinced myself I have to in order to progress positively. At the same time, Grace always rationalized her poor behavior by saying, "They did it first! They started it! I'm going to disrespect them if they disrespect me." And I'm just not for it lol. I let her know my opinion of it and she let me know hers. I said, "You can continue to expect disrespect from others if you're just going to hand it back." She said she didn't care, but considering how victimized she's felt by our classmates--some of whom have actually disrespected her--I doubt that's the truth.

As far as my thoughts on wondering if Monica meant something negative with her comment, I think I also thought of it that way because I realized that she and I have different ideas about what is respectful or disrespectful behavior. I'm very tolerant and for the most part and I let a lot kind of roll off my shoulders; I learned to be more that way after working in a nursing home with geriatric patients who for the most part had no filter for anything they said. I would be called names by a resident who would see me ten minutes later and act like my presence made his day. I'd be like, "Yeah yeah, you're being a grump," and then those ten minutes would pass and I'd say, "It's so good to see you, too!" lol I couldn't afford to take it seriously--I just rolled with it.

Now, if someone says something to me that could be taken wrong, it won't even register with me. (Unless I was already on the defensive, as I have been lately.) This was a conversation Monica and I had about what kind of person she thought I was. She said, "You're so patient and compassionate, but sometimes I'll hear what another student says to you and I think, 'I would never allow that!'" I was so confused when she said that since for the most part, anything most of my classmates had ever said to me never registered as offensive to me. There were a couple of times where I felt patronized by someone, or someone was atypical and seemed controlling (we have a couple of high-strung personalities in my class, but that's no real surprise)--but literally, just a couple of times did that happen lol. So it makes me wonder if Monica just has a shorter level of tolerance than I do. I tend to speak up these days when I feel disrespected. Might take me a while, but I'll always end up saying something. I feel like it's within Monica's nature to become defensive more easily, which makes me wonder if she takes things too personally to begin with. So when she made the "student drama" comment, I kind of went to that reasoning and figured she was coming from a personal place. However, I realize now that I can't really know. I only know what she has told me, after all.

Of course, there are times when I do take things very personally, like this whole situation with Grace. It hit some cords because I can relate to that experience of feeling isolated and bullied. It makes perfect sense that she would be resentful and want justice for herself. I guess I look at it from an angle where I would rather just move on with my life and try to be the version of me that I want to be. I would've moved on, even though I'd be hurting and feel uncomfortable. This isn't forever and all I can do is be true to myself and make sure I'll be in a good place once all of this is over. I see it from an angle of knowing that if I want to survive, I have to be willing to compromise and keep the peace. Any injury I have can be taken care of through positive support and my own effort. I feel like one of those maids in some baroque court where I have to consider my place among others and just go with the flow lol. The path of least resistance is the path I have to take right now.

Grace has been in fight mode for weeks and is only getting more aggressive. There is a toxic narrative that keeps morphing even though she and Monica don't talk to each other anymore. She wants the path of most resistance. It's like a door she's trying to push open that wants to stay closed, but she's so angry that she can't stop pushing. She tells me that she wants to be done with this place and never have to deal with Monica again, and yet she continues to complain and bring other authority figures into the issue, making official complaints, dragging the battle on for longer.

In other ways, I've been trying to focus in on why I allowed myself to get involved, even indirectly. There is a part of me that considers the possibility that I wanted to be a part of the drama, to have some kind of authoritative hand in it. After all, I tried really hard to help change Grace's mind about things so she would go in a direction I thought she needed to go. And even though I was only trying to be a friend in that way, I crossed a line and couldn't walk away. It's always very hard for me to walk away from a situation that is bothering me, that I feel like I could help. And it bothers me to see someone that I care about being so angry and wanting to drag others down into the pit they feel they're falling into. I try to stop it, I want to save them for themselves. And by realizing that, I know it means I have to save myself first before I get dragged down, too. Grace was ready to drag me all the way down with her. Luckily I said something and she was willing to see that it wasn't what she truly wanted, which makes me think she isn't fully aware of what she's actually doing.

And well... besides all of those things I've been thinking on, I'm resolved in thinking on them from a distance. I've also decided that if I'm approached about the issue again, I will let whoever know that I'm not interested in talking about it ever again. I was trying to be a good friend, a good student, but I got sucked in further than I had intended, and that's all there is to it. I don't see Grace or Monida as bad people; in fact, I think they're great individuals with strong personalities--they just have flaws like the rest of us. I don't have a desire to say anything more if someone asks me. And for me, this is kind of a good practice of holding onto my boundaries and not letting others pressure or bully me into saying something I don't want to share.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 09:16:29 AM by kdke »
“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth,
 and if a man does not know what a thing is,
it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not." - Jung

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sanmagic7

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Re: kdke's Recovery Journal
« Reply #62 on: August 10, 2018, 03:36:54 PM »
i think you're being very wise, kdke, in getting out of it now and staying out.  you did what you could, tried to be a friend to grace, but it seems like she really wants to stay stuck in the drama and wants you to continue to be her sounding board.  i've heard that if someone complains about the same thing more than 3 times, they really don't want to do anything but stay in a victim mode.  sounds like the case with grace.

i don't think either of them are bad people, either.  some people have a difficult time extracting themselves from being a victim (i've known quite a few), and that's up to them.  we don't have to be part of it, tho.  that is self-care to my mind.

sounds like progress to me.  every step counts.  love and hugs, sweetie.
learn something from everything.

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kdke

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Re: kdke's Recovery Journal
« Reply #63 on: August 13, 2018, 11:14:53 PM »
That's definitely something I really want to be more aware of within myself, San: if I'm complaining more than 3 times, then I might be using it as a way to justify my victim mindset. This is good wisdom, at least a good guideline to follow for better mindfulness. Thank you so much!

I've absolutely fallen into a cycle of complaining about the same things over and over again. I do this a lot in regards to my past and how helpless I feel against it, the hand I was dealt (being a child to the parents I didn't choose), and even trying to reconcile the reality that I truly was a victim in all the traumas I've endured. It's rough, but these are things, whether I've been a victim of them or not, that I no longer want to hold me in a victim mindset now. That's part of my recovery and I'm learning what that means.

*****

I wanted to talk about a strange dream I had last night. It was particularly uncomfortable but I've been to place some of the themes with what I had experienced the day before I slept. In my dream, I was just a child; maybe 7 or so. I was in this old school building that reminded me of the aesthetics in a story like The Little Princess or Jane Eyre. Everything was spacious, wooden, and old. It felt very old.

I was with a group of children and I believe we were in some kind of class together. We were all led into an amphitheater that was built into the side of the building; we were going to watch a children's play that was usually shown to people of my age (in the dream). Apparently, though, I had already seen the play once before, which wouldn't have made sense being as I was already young but it made sense at the moment. I saw an older girl and recognized her as an actor in the play I had seen my first time around.

As we were walking into the amphitheater, I realized that this play was going to be distressing. I'm not sure why it was catered to children, but my subconscious thought it made perfect sense. The play was about a very disturbing story involving the abuse of children by the hands of nuns and priests; there was also a young boy who was mute and had pretty red hair. He was abused the most, kind of used as a doll by the adults around him. A whipping boy in some ways. He never complained, he never ran, he never cried. He would just stand there and stare. It was awful.

The play was also interactive, so the actors would interact with the audience. This might've seemed exciting but considering the themes of the play, it turned out to be very frightening for most of us. One actor, in particular, started to break glass very close to a young girl's face for every word she guessed wrong (I can't remember exactly what she was supposed to guess). I remember she almost got glass in her eye. No one fought for her, and the actor only taunted her for crying.

I remember right before the play started, we all stood and celebrated. The ceiling was covered in this strange, plastic material that crunched like rice cereal, and there were stray red pieces scattered across the ceiling amongst clear pieces. Then, this horrible buzzing drowned us out and we all sat down. It was like the sound of a million flies over rotting meat. We knew that things were about to get worse.

There was a girl, too, that was sitting next to me and who began to taunt me terribly for no reason. She just didn't like me, I guess. There was an empty space between her and me. Two knives laid there and she decided that she was going to try to take one to hurt me. I placed my hand on them and for some reason, this was enough to stall her. I eventually ran down to the main floor and she followed me with a knife in her hands. (Aggressive characters ALWAYS have knives in my dreams idk.) I couldn't tell if the audience thought this was real or part of the play; they didn't stop us and neither did the actors. This girl wanted to kill me. Eventually, someone in the audience started to make fun of her, and she became very conscious of what she was doing and how she looked. That was the end of the dream.

I hate it when my dreams do this lol. There are so many different things that are going on and there are some things that I know exactly where they came from. The whole nuns and priests in a school came from a story I heard on a video about a lady being in Catholic school. And the boy with red hair? The lady who told the story: Kathy Griffith lol!

Everything else, though... I have no idea. I've been thinking on all of it and I haven't really been able to piece much of it together. Lots of imagery that doesn't make sense--maybe it was just a junk dream. Those happen.

*****

Another thing I wanted to talk about today is something I haven't yet shared about in my journal. It's been on my mind today because I was watching this gentleman on Youtube browse through strange sites. He ran across this one site about a cult that exists to this day and is growing.

I was in that cult at different periods of my life for almost 4 years. I learned a lot about it as I was guided by a very important woman in the group I was in (they have multiple locations in the states) and she trusted me with understanding some of the darker teachings of the cult very short after my "initiation" into it. I didn't stay in the cult for long, and at one point they even excommunicated me.

It was a very... weird point in my life, not just because I was wanting to be in the cult and had directly experienced it. I had extremely poor coping skills for my emotional ups and downs during this time and so I was vulnerable and somewhat volatile. I look back and feel like I was kind of going crazy lol. I just had no limitations, no boundaries for how my emotions came out and how I dealt with reality. I was so lost, scared, melodramatic, and felt like an utter mess of a human. It's what made me a prime candidate for being a cult member, honestly.

I was groomable as I was very anxious to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to contribute to life and others in the most positive way I could. I was very religious during this time, so the cult was especially appealing. I also just... wanted to find happiness. I hoped that it would be a place where I could be accepted for who I was, and even be loved romantically for the same reason. Have a husband, a child, and just be fulfilled. I was so naive and gullible, and I don't mean that in a bad way. I just was.

In a way, what ultimately saved me from being sucked into the cult was my enmeshment trauma with my mother. I just couldn't be away from her for too long before I started to feel like I was going to lose it. This was seen as cowardice by my leaders and weakness. I was too "ruled by the flesh," as they would say. And yes, I was very scared; I guess beyond my extreme dependency on my mother, I also had a gut feeling of being in a place where I knew I wasn't truly safe. I might've always been "taken care of," but I felt like I was slowly being absorbed into a collective that wouldn't allow me to be me. The woman that was like my mother in the cult said to me before I left, "You have to destroy your thoughts. Your thoughts are evil." It terrified me; I could see the sadness in her face when she said it. I couldn't allow that.

I think what also saved me was my naturally investigative nature. I paid attention to everything; the way someone looked when they said something, the way they looked at me when I said something. Where I was sent, whom I worked with, and how everyone interacted with everyone else. My brain is a sponge in that it's curious about every piece of information, and then once it's soaked it all up, it figures out what it all means.

From what I understand now of the sense of self and cult methods, I knew one of the #1 ways the cult I was in kept its members compliant was by keeping them exhausted. 14-16-hour work days was normal life. You had to adapt or else you'd be considered idle. Work too much and you were a busybody. I wonder if chronic exhaustion chips away at the sense of self as much as complex trauma does. It would make sense, and I imagine being consistently overworked would be its own prolonged trauma. I think one of the best examples of this chronic exhaustion that was disgustingly common in the cult was when I asked one of the women how she felt about being a member. She sighed and looked off in the distance; then, in a very monotonous voice, she said, "Yeah... I'm very thankful for this life." She look dead when she said it. I think back now and wonder if she was like... mildly dissociating.

I wonder if that's what happens to many cult members when they get that glazed over look in their eyes. Their brain is just dissociating a little as they talk about their lives, trying to push awya the reality of how they actually feel. Imagine the feelings they're repressing. I've seen it myself many times in cult gatherings. People tearing themselves down for things that are harmless or don't even deserve the level of punishment they're told it does. Children being broken down at young ages--before they can even really talk--and then built back up as another faithful cult member. I was even sensitive to the dialect of the younger members who were born and raised in the cult, or at least were young enough and didn't remember any life but the one they were in. Yeah--they literally had their own dialect! It was especially strong in the women, but some of the men spoke in the same way. It was a strange softness in their voice--anything they said would sound sweet and eloquent. But of course, it never really was.

This way of speaking stuck with me when I even listened to an interview of a young man who had left the cult after almost a decade. He still spoke like them. It made me feel uncomfortable. And I knew I had been made privvy to certain information about the cult very early as he spoke about things that he said weren't easily available. I had always been annoyingly inquisitive and investigative. It drove one leader in the cult kind of nutty. I would ask him about something and he would deny it--lie to my face about something I knew existed. It wasn't until after I left that I discovered he was lying, of course.

My experience with this cult is hard for me to talk about because for one, I wasn't in it for very long; it makes people think that I don't know much about any of it and my experience wasn't that bad. Second, while it was a short experience, it was very traumatic in that it tested an enmeshment trauma that had never been threatened before, and going from that into culture shock with a CULT was like being traumatized all over again. It was horrible. I was in a state of constant fear, of anxiety, of knowing I needed to leave and having conflicting feelings about my place in the world and yet I was so scared. I even developed a tic when I was in that group, I was so terribly stressed.

Anyway, I eventually got out and never went back. I've tried to kind of expose myself to bits and pieces of it for the sake of desensitizing; looking at articles, listening to podcasts and such. I can be avoidant about the experience, and I've noticed that it gets harder and harder for me to talk about. It's like I sometimes doubt that it's even a big deal, even though it was. I haven't spoken to Mark about it and don't know if I ever will. I just... have a bad feeling that he wouldn't be ok with knowing that part of my past. I'm not sure if he even needs to know at all.
“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth,
 and if a man does not know what a thing is,
it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not." - Jung