Sober since April 6, 2006


Thursday, June 07, 2007

irrational rationalizations catching up to me

I completed step 4 and started step 5 last weekend. I didn't know where to start with the 5th step, so I started with the most difficult things first. The rest of step 5 is all downhill from here.

I wanted to have this complete over a year ago, but I wasn't ready. It took as long as it took for a good reason. I wouldn't have been able to handle the emotional aftermath.

All my life, I've used a bad way of coping with traumatic experiences. I would escape the negative feelings caused by traumatic experiences by taking unreasonable responsibility for getting hurt.

For example, my default method for rationalizing traumatic events goes something like this: "I was bullied in school because I was a fat nerd. If I hadn't been a fat nerd, they wouldn't have bullied me. So it's all my fault that I got bullied -- I was a fat nerd and I deserved it."

The fact that the bullies themselves played a role in the bullying didn't matter -- I didn't want it to matter -- I didn't want to feel like a victim. The feelings of victimization -- of being violated, broken, and dominated -- shatter self-esteem like nothing else.

If I convince myself that an event was all my fault and I deserved it anyway, then suddenly the feelings of trauma and victimization disappear and are replaced with a sense of "getting the punishment I deserved." Those feelings aren't so bad in comparison.

But now that I'm willing to recognize my past hurts for what they really were, I'm feeling all of the emotions that I've been avoiding all this time -- the feelings of being violated, broken, and dominated.

Things that happened years ago feel like they just happened yesterday. All of the emotion collectively built up and hit me like a ton of bricks. Over the past few days, I've been feeling utterly smashed at the world's feet.

It's getting better though. I guess I needed to grieve. And to feel.

And that's okay. I'm finally moving through all of this -- and I don't have to do it alone anymore.