Hello everyone! The Unleashed One here. It's time for another Shadow Work Sunday. If any of you need a reminder on the purpose, please refer back to the previous entry.
The Unleashed One
I confess that I've gone through significant amounts of trauma in my life. Some of these obstacles were worked through with the help of a therapist; others are still outstanding and I've attempted to work on independently.
Many people do not know this, but I had a lot of anxiety surrounding driving. Although I did relatively well when it came to practice on the written test, I would freeze when it came to the application. I was freaked out about what the other cars were going to do. I would often overcompensate on turns, which usually resulted in me turning too wide. I got into the funk of feeling as if I would never master driving, but rather than working through it at the beginning, I gave up. Plus, it helped that my grandfather was very overbearing when it came to who drove his car and was extra jumpy when he thought I was going to make a mistake.
I went through my college years without having a vehicle. Even during my brief stay in Georgia, I did not have a vehicle. I was dependent on the bus and my own two feet to get me where I needed to be. When I had to go grocery shopping, I would have one of my biggest roller suitcases with me and try to put as many groceries as I could.
When I moved to New Jersey, for the first year and a half, I mainly walked. The part of New Jersey in which I lived didn't have consistent bus service. Luckily, the places I worked at were within walking distance, so I just timed everything accordingly. My companion had a vehicle but I didn't want to interfere with the work schedule or other activities.
At one point, I realized that I was missing out on a lot by letting my fear of driving consume me. My therapist suggested that I should invest in driving lessons. I set aside enough money to do so, and the trainer was very patient with me, even during moments when I would have anxiety attacks. I hadn't experienced a lot of tolerance during my anxiety episodes. My grandfather didn't understand them. My companion just got annoyed with them.
Being complimented on what I was doing well and given suggestions on how to improve built up my confidence. After about three lessons, the teacher proclaimed that "it was time". When I complained that I thought I wasn't ready, she told me that it was best to strike while the iron was hot. Although I was still nervous, we traveled to the DMV.
All sorts of thoughts went through my mind. I would crash into the cones. I would hit the wrong pedal. I would forget something simple, like buckling my seat belt. I would have the worst case of gas as I was driving. Yes, from the irrational to the most ridiculous.
But, strangely enough, I passed everything on the first try. At 28, I finally had my first license ever. Yes, I didn't experience the thrill of getting my first car just after high school. But I did appreciate owning a car a lot more since it took me a while to even get my license.
So ... that was one where my fears were worked through. What about the ones that are lingering?
1. Loss of stability
I was raised that stability consisted of (a) having a steady job (b) food (c) clothing and (d) shelter.
There was nothing about whether the job made you happy.
Whether the food was very healthy.
Whether the clothing was in fashion.
Whether the shelter fits with the Joneses.
However, when you are focused on surviving, the latter thoughts seemed like luxuries. Yet, since the teachings made sense, I utilized them as part of my own life.
I did not leave space to entertain happiness for self, primarily content. That as long as I hit a - d, things were good.
In the last few relationships where I had to share space, there were situations where a - d was not always maintained.
The experience I had when I first moved to New Jersey generated the biggest fears. My companion's illness caused instability in income, and the ending of the relationship caused instability in shelter, since the home belonged to a member of the family.
My relationship with my ex-husband deepened the trauma. During our marriage, he was in and out of work. At one point, I worked two jobs to hold everything together. In addition, when he was generating income, he tended to spend more than save. Also, close to the end of our marriage, he would help himself to money that was part of the household, although all of the funding from my paycheck was deposited in that account while his income was put in his solo account.
My health deteriorated under the stress. At one point, there was risk of not having a roof over our heads. Clothing went years without being updated. The food that was most accessible and affordable was that which was not the best for my health.
These incidents embedded a fear that if any of those elements weren't mostly controlled by me, then it would be snatched away. Even during moments where it would be easier to split the load, I developed a deep distrust, although that person may not have shown any signs where the hesitation was justified.
I have come a long way but I still have the hamster wheel of thought. The panic of everything that could go wrong if I relinquish the wheel for someone else to take care of it, whether tangible or intangible.
2. Achievability of sustainable companionship
Have you ever heard the term, "good for a season but not for a lifetime"?
That is how I've felt in the romantic scheme of things. Initially, all seems in sync, but then as months, even years go by, it deteriorates bit by bit.
I have always understood that it's natural for a relationship to go through growing pains. A relationship consists of two individuals coming together and striking a balance that works so that each person can be an individual while being in a relationship.
Unfortunately, I have been in situations where it feels more of a takeover than compromise. Where certain characteristics the other person thought were "interesting", "appealing", "attractive" become liabilities as the relationship further develops.
For example, when I tell the person of interest I'm a published author, he acts impressed and thinks it's interesting. However, if he needs time with me and I'm working on a new project that needs my undivided attention, it's "taking away from his time" and it's "not as important as him".
I also get compliments when I exude intelligence and extensive vocabulary, but when it's used to communicate my feelings or to explain my stance in a serious discussion, I'm told to "tone it down" and "to quit acting like I'm better than everyone".
Also, I don't like to do a lot of yelling when I sense there's going to be a huge disagreement. I like to be given a bit of space when I recognize that I'm getting upset. Plus, it avoids statements from coming out wrong. I don't like it when I'm "forced" to tackle something right away. Nor do I like words being put in my mouth because I'm not going to say one thing when I mean another. One can say it's the writer in me.
Yet, I have encountered men who claim to be logical spew the most illogical bullshit and then get butt hurt when I do not buy what they are selling.
I'm not saying that all men are like that, just the unfortunate mishaps that have occurred through all stages of life.
It promotes this narrative that the way I exist may not ever be in sync with the modern individual who is out there. I'm too contemporary to be truly old school, yet too antiquated to fit in with the ego-stroking and emotional neediness of the population. I'm not enough and too much at the same time.
I've been divorced since 2017.
I haven't been in a relationship since 2018.
Yet, I feel my most optimal without emotional entanglement.
If I ever decide to want a romantic union, I have this thought process that the individual is going to try to mold me into his image, that I once again have to compromise for the sake of sacrifice.
I made the covenant with myself that I was not going to lose myself in anyone ever again, but how will I know if there is the right person for me if I don't let go of the fear and take the risk?
I admit, on this issue, I am not at a place where I'm willing to take the gamble.
There are probably others, but these are the top two that stick out.
I am really being challenged by this increased fear. And I mean, really challenged. The issue with this new development is that I can't foresee there ever being a cure or remedy. Thus, I press on every single day to the best of my abilities knowing that unfailingly I will have pain. Always. No matter what. Forever.