I wish that it was easier to transition from survival mode. The more memories bubble up, the more I feel like I am looking at somebody else’s life. Like…holy shit. How are we still alive? And I guess that’s kind of the point.
The things we clung to so that we could survive are still very important to us. But everything was so horrible most of the time that we had to train ourselves to auto-dissociate at every opportunity. It was the only way to manage our anxiety so we didn’t have constant breakdowns.
Our entire system is structured so that we can dissociate as much as possible. At work, we calculate the best way to complete any task, then store it in autopilot like a computer card. We rapid switch near-constantly, and we usually feel like a monochrome static blur of nothingness.
But the thing is, the things that we focus on while dissociating are still essential and vital parts of us. If we just abruptly pull ourselves out of our head and try to function like a human being, we will cut ourselves off from everything that makes us who we are. And I’m not comfortable with doing that.
I want to be a person, and I want to contribute to the good in the world and be present with my spouse. But I can’t just force myself to do it. Honestly, that would just end in a new type of autopilot, somebody attempting to give their best impression of a human.
I’ve done that before. It’s awful. It gives you a ton of anxiety and doesn’t do anything to solve the problem.
I guess the main thing that has screwed us over is gaslighting. The amount of gaslighting we have experienced is staggering. And the worst of it came from our guardian, whom I am not comfortable referring to as my mom.
She tried to take away everything we ever had that made us functional and happy. Everything that made life meaningful, and that gave me a sense of self. There were a lot of reasons for this: jealousy, inability to regulate her own emotions, inability to process anything of her own. She basically just used me to deal with any and all feelings that she didn’t want to acknowledge. And when that inevitably didn’t work she punished me for it.
Never were two people so horribly unsuited for each other.
Now that my system is in a safe situation, with somebody who treats us like a person, we are able to open the door on the things that are meaningful to us. Everything that we hid and saved that we love is now free to exist in the world.
But it needs to be taken slowly. I want, as I said before, to be genuine. I don’t want to trap myself in another autopilot. And since dissociation has always been our go-to, autopilot is exactly what our brain wants to do. It’s the path of least resistance.
If it keeps me from being some fake version of myself, I guess that’s okay. I’d rather be drifting in my own head than consciously acting contrary to what feels right to me. But it also keeps me from implementing daily practices that I know would help me feel like my full, true self. It’s so much easier to dream about these things than it is to do them. And I don’t know where to draw the line, because burnout takes me back at least twenty steps and takes over everything before I realized it was anywhere nearby.
It would be nice if I had a neat solution with which to conclude this post, but I don’t. I think I’m just trying to affirm to myself that, if I’m being stubborn about taking my time with this, it is for an essential reason. I frequently find myself trying to speed up the process to make other people happy, but that’s not healthy. The locked doors and blocked-off paths in my brain are there for a reason.