It has been a really rough last 4 months. I thought things had finally turned out my way. I started to relax. I started to make plans for the future. I started to have faith again in humanity. I started to believe that I had finally cleaned and reset my magnet enough to attract what resonated with my strengths, skills and talents. I thought I had finally been given the opportunity, respect and compensation that synthesized my past, stabilized my present, and supported my future.
And then out of the blue, like a Giancarlo Stanton home run, I was launched out of the park, to splat on the hardtop outside the gate.
At first I just rolled with the punch and picked up where I had left off before that organization had come knocking on my door inviting me to help them. Unfortunately as time went on, the effects of such a blow started overtaking my life.
First it was the arbitrary stomach pain that landed me on the floor writhing in pain for half an hour, until I realized my system could no longer tolerate my favourite spices.
Then it was the anxiety that paralyzed me at the thought of offering myself publicly again.
Recently it’s been the depression that makes me want to either stay in bed all day or crawl back in 3 hours after I’ve gotten up. I numb myself with food and reruns. I brace myself to step outside the house to move my car back in the driveway to make room for my partner’s vehicle when he returns from work. I manage to get dressed every day but sometimes only to save face with my partner. I cook dinner. I read. I intake social media and occasionally post. That’s it. That’s what my life has devolved to.
My therapist tells me I need time to recoup from the assault.
The difficulty with recuperation is the reactivation of the effects of past psychological assaults and betrayals. The difficulty gets compounded because I don’t trust myself again. I don’t trust life again. I don’t trust God again. And I most certainly don’t trust humans again.
I had worked so hard. I had felt so good. I had regained my optimism. I had regained my faith. I had reintegrated socially. I had found a new community that I could collaborate with and share my gifts. I had developed many strategies to achieve my mandate goals. I had poured my energy, heart and creativity into the project. And everything fragmented back into the universe, including me, because someone couldn’t control her own rage at me standing up for myself and was compelled and enabled to abuse her power.
Hurt people hurt people. Many of us know that. Unfortunately all of us don’t know that or continue to be in denial of it. Otherwise we would be motivated to protect our own reputations by dealing with our pain so we didn’t display it so publicly anymore when bullying others. I get that we’re not there yet as a species.
But when hurt people hurt hurt people, the effects can be even more devastating.
I’ve recovered before. I’ll recover again. No doubt I’ll be even more jaded now than I was before this experience. But most meaningfully, I am even more convinced and committed to encouraging hurt adults to deal with their sh*t. My whole life has been an accumulation of experiences of people in authority (starting with my mother) abusing their power over others rather than internalizing their power and helping themselves.
I understand how helping ourselves can be difficult, particularly when our society benefits from us being powerless, and enables power abuse in every realm of life.
Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we can gather the momentum needed to propel us even higher than we’ve risen before.
I tried to roll with the punches, just go with the flow, not skip a beat. But I couldn’t tolerate that path this time. I’ve let people get away with hurting me before with impunity. I can’t do that this time. I’m fighting back in many ways, one of which is by actually letting myself experience the pain caused by callous, irresponsible, unprofessional, unethical so-called leaders.
I am not alone in the effects I’ve experienced as a result of a reactionary use of power. Many people are hurt daily by decisions by immature, intractable, selfish, obtuse leaders. Many of us have been hurt repeatedly throughout our lives.
Matters are made even worse when systems put in place to protect and help are inadequate or stacked against you, and bystanders back as far away as possible so they don’t get tarnished through association.
All this contributes to isolation, and seeks to invalidate the legitimacy of the outrage. It makes recovery even more difficult because even though you’ve been beaten down you’re required to pick yourself back up. There is no one reaching out a hand to help you along. This has been the most difficult aspect of my recovery - having to create it all for myself.
I often recall what I consider to be the most ridiculous comment I ever heard. “The greater the trauma, the greater the opportunity for growth!”
So now I’m learning the greater the isolation, the greater the opportunity to develop independence. Unfortunately the actual effect is more reactivation of feelings of childhood neglect, of invisibility, of rejection. But I’ve risen from rock bottom before. I’ve been the strongest one before. I’ve been the one who deals and moves on before. It’s just inordinately frustrating to repeatedly have to be the one who has to survive and process the consequences while the perps carry on unaffected.
Lately, I’ve retreated to recover. I’m regathering my strength. I will bounce back higher than before. I will use this experience to learn and to teach others. Hopefully one day I’ll be immune to betrayal.