So, last week when I said that I figured I was going to get in trouble for my blog post, I figured I would have people missing the point and offering me far more sympathy than I desired. Somehow, I missed the point that I had actually been specific enough that real individuals could be readily identified by others. In a word, I failed.
For someone who is a recovering codependent/abuse survivor, failure is the kiss of death. One thing a victim learns quickly and fully is that any weakness can and will be used against you to the fullest degree possible. There is no forgiveness for intent, no room for weakness.
I didn’t hear any true negative feedback for about four days. How and what happened aren’t the topic for this post, but I reacted in classic codependent fashion. I was censured, and I reacted in defense. It’s a side of me I haven’t truly seen for a while, and I wish I hadn’t seen it then, because it’s harsh, cruel, and ugly.
Because of the conditioning of my life experiences, I know that the gravity of the offense probably seems much larger to me than it does to most others. Remember, there is no forgiveness for the victim, only punishment — as repeatedly as the abuser deems necessary.
So, I’ve been working through these thoughts and feelings for the past few days. Fortunately, life has handed me a beautiful opportunity to pull away and reflect, so I have been taking advantage of it.
One of the things I have learned in the past few years is that mindset really impacts life. So, the first thing I had to do was realize that I had yet another choice to make. I could regress into a defensive position and wait for attacks that would probably never come, building mental walls against people who really are not my enemies. Or, I could embrace more of a growth mindset in the manner that I believe the restored gospel teaches. I have chosen the latter. Here are the lessons, some new and some old, that I have learned through this process:
- The effects of abuse leave longer-lasting effects than I had previously imagined. I had begun thinking of myself as pretty much healed. It was easy to do, because I internalized the victim mindset many years ago, and it still often feels normal and natural to me.
- Dissolving into hurt and anger needs to be a warning signal for me that I am uncomfortable more with myself than others. Sure, I’m not the only person with broken places and weaknesses in the equation. Those who were hurt by my actions may or may not have responded with perfect reactions. IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is that I understand what is going on inside my own head when the negativity feels like it is swallowing my mind again.
- I need to take more time to proof and read my writings before I hit the publish button. In reality, I really didn’t think about the two sentences that set off the censure. I was focused on putting out the inner workings of my head as a reassurance to those who suffer the same kinds of feelings. Major oops.
- Mistakes and even purposeful actions aren’t the kiss of death. We were designed to be imperfect in mortality. That includes sometimes showing the worst that lives inside. These are the things that create the growing experiences we need to be perfected and become like the Savior. Metaphorically, everyone falls down and gets scrapes and bruises. It’s how you treat the wound that determines whether it will heal or whether it will be infected.
- Apologies may not undo what has been done, but they still go a long way. Which is why I deleted the offending material and inserted an apology as quickly as I could after it was brought to my attention.
I’m sure I could pull out more lessons, but these seem to be enough for now. Living the life of a Latter-day Saint is hard. Fortunately, the Savior has provided help throughout the process.