I Knock You Down, So That I Can Help You Up…

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Staring peacefully out of the passenger seat window, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the warmth of the winter sun on your face, you find yourself reminiscing on the car rides that you and Mr Incredible  took together in the early days.  You think back to the exhilarating speed and risky sharp  turns, you remember Mr Incredible ignoring  all the road signs and breaking all the rules.  The excitement of it had your heart racing, you were sure you were riding in the best and fastest car on the road, with such an experienced driver, so skilled and so in control.  You remember the times when you smiled all day and laughed so loud,  the air thick with opportunity and promise. Those were the days when your skin glowed and your eyes sparkled, because you got to spend all of your time with Mr Incredible, who showered the Wonderful You with all of his affections and attention.  You find your mind often wandering back to the thrill of those exhilarating car rides, the ones that  Mr Incredible took you on in the very beginning.

Today, you’re just so happy to be out of the cold house, (where the fire needs to be kept constantly burning), enjoying the gentle heat of the suns rays pouring down upon you. While staring out the window, you think about how much these car trips have changed.  Nowadays, you don’t feel as confident in your driver as you once did,  you’re always  uncertain of which way he might suddenly maneuver the vehicle, and you never know what’s around the next corner.  This may have seemed like fun once, but not anymore,  more often than not, you feel unnerved inside , you are completely unsure of what he keeps in the boot of the car, or hidden on the back seat.  The air around you that was once filled with promise and hope, now seems clouded with a strange vagueness and uncertainty. It’s not really a wonder that you’re enjoying the view of the landscape out the window so much, along with pleasant thoughts of car rides once had, they seem like easier places to be in, rather than the reality of the present.

It’s not long before you are snapped back into reality,  Mr Incredible and the Wonderful You begin a discussion, one which takes only minutes to become heated.  It’s about the lie that he told you, when he said he couldn’t drive you to Sydney (a seven hour round trip) because he had something else to do, failing to mention at the time, he’d already organised to take that same  day off, to drive his secretary to Sydney and help her pick up her new car. With desperate intensity  in his voice, he’s trying to explain why he had to lie to you;  he knew you would overreact if he told you the truth; he was just trying to help someone out; it’s normal to hang out alone with other girls where he comes from; a happy employee is a good employee; it was to benefit the company (he is the company), the list goes on, but you’re not buying it, you want to know why he lied.  If it was all so normal, and he was just helping someone out, why would he would keep it  a secret?  “I’m just trying to do the best I can!” He was yelling now, his voice urgent and panicky, “I’m trying to keep everybody happy… I’m trying to please you, I’m trying to please her!” You feel as though you are being grouped together with this person, and you wonder why he is trying to please her, you remind him that she works for him, and he doesn’t need to please her. “Well, not please her,” he says, correcting himself, “I’m trying to keep her happy.”  Again, you ask, “Why are you trying to keep her happy?” His words make it sound as though he has such a heavy burden to bare, an innocent bystander could easily be convinced that he’s in such a hard predicament. If it’s a battle you’re engaged in, then Mr Incredible is clearly losing, trying to make you out to be the crazy, jealous one isn’t working for him in this instance, seeing as he’s the secret-keeper.  His body language is fidgety, he looks both confused and frustrated, he shifts around in his seat in an agitated manner, trying to get comfortable. Abruptly, and out of nowhere, he changes direction, as he slams on the brakes, your body is thrown forward, then to the side, and then backwards.  After spinning the vehicle around in a complete U-turn, he takes off again, there is no discussion,  the outing is boycotted, and you are heading back in the direction from which you came.

But this wasn’t to be the end of it,  Mr Incredible breaks the silence by striking from out of nowhere, “You be careful what you say about her” he said, “she’s good at what she does, you weren’t that good”  (Yes, you worked for him once) and then,  “that’s why I do what I do.”  You turn your head and look at him in complete astonishment,  as your jaw slowly drops open, he shoots from left field again, “and I’m not sure what your parents did to you either, but they’ve fucked you over, in a really good way, you are so fucked up!”   Ahh, and there it is,  the wounding arrow, the lie that has been carefully formed out of some kind of truth.

And then, ever so swiftly, your positions are swapped back again and you return to your prospective posts, you are cut back down to size, and put back in your place, back to where you belong, and he is elevated back to his self-appointed throne.

Looking out the window once more, your head remains turned away from him as far it possibly can for the remainder of the trip. You can’t see much now, everything is blurry due to the tears that fill your eyes. Occasionally one rolls down your cheek, but you don’t move your hand to wipe it away, because you don’t want him to see that he’s made you cry.  You wonder to yourself why he’s just accused you of saying something about her when you didn’t say anything at all, and you wonder why he was so defensive of her anyway.   You wonder why he brought up your parents out of the blue like that, you wonder why he thinks you are so fucked up. You wonder why he chose to take her to Sydney that same day that you needed someone to take you, you wonder why he kept it a secret, you wonder if there have been any other secret trips you don’t know about.  You wonder what makes her better than you, you wonder what makes her so deserving, and you so undeserving, she must be really good, maybe you’re not good enough.

Your worst fear has come to the light, if you didn’t already doubt yourself, then that’s all nicely sorted out for you now, if you hadn’t already accepted his offer to play the game called ‘Prove yourself,’  then here it is, being offered to you once more, beckoning you to step up to the plate and accept it’s challenge.  These seeds germinate and take root down in your brain, just the way Mr Incredible has purposed them to, it was even Mr Incredible himself, who accidentally told you of his own lie, creating a drama out of nowhere. The seeds are firmly planted, it won’t take much continued watering and attention on Mr Incredible’s behalf, to cause them to grow.

You can hear a faint, small voice trying to speak to you, but you can’t make out the words… Mr Incredible is just too loud. Your Little Secret Self is gentle and not overbearing like him, always giving room for other people to be themselves, maybe sometimes too much room, but this is her none the less. She’s probably trying to say something like, “This is not normal, something’s not right… it’s not you, it’s him… you don’t deserve to be yelled at, you are indeed good enough, you are MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH, YOU ARE GREAT, and you were fantastic at that job, think back to how you had to resign because he wouldn’t stop his abuse, throwing things, shoving things in your face, and calling you names, he is crazy, get the f#%^ out!” Whatever she’s saying, you can’t hear her for all the white noise and confusion that’s screaming and spinning around in your head.  Your Little Secret Self is, after all, (as Mr Incredible so unkindly pointed out)  damaged, what hope does she have of ever being heard or making any sense to anyone? It seems that doubting herself is the only thing she’s any good at after all these years.

Finally, the car trip comes to an end, still in shock, you exit the vehicle in silence.  Your body feels so frozen that you’re hardly able to move, you wonder if you’ll be able to walk once your feet hit the ground. The pain is almost physical, it feels as though someone has stuck a knife through your stomach and twisted it around on the inside of you.  Who is going to be there to help you heal these wounds, who is going to comfort you and what are you going to do now? As you walk away, Mr Incredible calls out to you, you ignore him, but he persists and catches up with you. Grabbing your shoulders firmly, he turns you around to look at him, but you fail to meet his eye, “I’m sorry” he says sincerely,  your body doesn’t respond, and your arms fall limp by your sides as he pulls you close to hug you.  For the smallest second, you allow your head to rest on his shoulder, never in your life have you needed to hear these words as much as you need to hear them right now, in this moment.  And this this is the day it begins, the abusive cycle of wounding and healing, knocking you down to help you up, hurting you to heal you,  creating unease, and then offering you comfort.  Oh, the insidious of it all.

The days following this car trip are riddled with torment and pain,  all of your worst fears run wild in your head, like caged animals suddenly released.  You spend hours questioning yourself and your performance as Mr Incredible’s one time employee. You start out on the disastrous trail of comparison and competition, even though, in the depths of your own soul you know the truth and you know the answers.  But there is a problem, and it is this…… you don’t yet  know the depths of your own  soul, you are not properly acquainted with your Little Secret Self at all, and that is precisely why Mr Incredible targeted you in the first place.

Around and Around and Around We Go… Punishment and Reward

Wearing a long sleeved white crisp collared shirt, and your hair out, falling down around your shoulders, you are standing facing Mr Incredible before you leave for work. Once again, you find yourself engaged in an argument, you’re unsure what started it and what it’s about, but you are angry and sound neurotic. Looking down at your arms inside your white shirt, you notice that both your arms and hands are shaking, and in fact, your whole body is shaking. Your voice is quivering, and your breath shallow. You really hope Mr Incredible doesn’t notice this, but he does, “Look at you, you’re shaking” he mocks, and smiles wryly. He looks at you as though you’re pathetic, and he actually looks happy about it. You can’t place your finger on exactly why you’re shaking, part of you starts to think you’re going crazy. Are you a crazy neurotic woman, making ‘mountains out of molehills’? This is the first episode of shaking that you can remember, but from here in, this shaking becomes something that happens to you regularly, especially when Mr Incredible shocks you with some old or new unexpected news or accidental lie. Fear taking hold of you and gripping your body becomes a familiar feeling, and when it happens, you find it hard to breathe or move, becoming effectively paralysed. Arguing with no resolve has become habitual. It’s become like an exercise that you are just doing for the sake of doing. It’s not how you want it to be, but it’s how it is.  As pointless as arguing with Mr Incredible is, you continue to participate, with the misguided notion that one day he will hear and understand your feelings, he will see sense and you will grow and change together, he insists that’s what he wants too.  Misguided is exactly where it’s at.  You sign up for this habitual arguing like signing up for a season of team sport, a sport that goes round and round in circles with no end and with a guaranteed loser… YOU.  Not only does it make you physically ill each time you participate, but it also gives Mr Incredible  ample opportunity to wear you down with put-down’s and confusing accusations, he accuses you of everything that he is and everything that he does, but you can’t see if for what it is, because you’ve entered into it,  and so that’s where you are… In it. The fact that this picture is all wrong is lost on you, for you’ve become far too preoccupied with proving yourself  (the game that Mr Incredible  beckoned you to play) to notice this abnormal world that has become your existence. You’ve entered into it and you’re engaged in it.  All your arguments are about unjust treatments, lies, dishonesty, secrets and disrespect towards you (all difficult to pin-point),  the outsider wonders why you stay and fight, why you don’t  just walk away?   Well it’s simple really, it’s because you see your goal as an attainable one.  It’s Mr Incredible who first showed you just how wonderful you are, and you believed him.  Somewhere along the line, things got switched, Mr Incredible stopped telling you how wonderful you are and started expecting you to prove it to him.   Because of his concentrated efforts in the beginning, you gave him an elevated place in your heart (the place he wanted),  and you believed him when he convinced you that You were amazing.  Now, you have to prove it to him, and prove it to him you must, prove it to him you will.  Otherwise what are you? Who are you? Are you really all that wonderful?  Ahhh, don’t go there, don’t stop and think about it, you don’t have the energy and you don’t want the answer.   All of your energies are directed towards sustaining your position, it takes all of your effort and keeps you so distracted that there’s no time to think a logical thought. You know you can’t head off to work this morning while you’re still shaking, and Mr Incredible’s just not getting it.  Any understanding and acknowledgment on his part won’t be forthcoming. This argument will have to end as it always does, with the Wonderful You taking the lead and being the more mature one.  Is that what it is? Or, could it be, that when Mr Incredible takes his approval away from you, your body enters into arrest?  You need his approval and adulation to be administered to you once more, reviving you and bringing you back to life, enabling you to make it through another day? It’s more likely to be the latter one, coupled with the fact that if you deny Mr Incredible permission to do as he pleases and get away with the unacceptable, you risk being faced with due punishment.  You may be left behind, overlooked, ignored, shamed, put down, called names or a host of other things if you persist with highlighting his behaviour. So you make the choice to relent again, and for this, you are promptly rewarded.  Warm hugs, kisses on the forehead and comfort are returned to you.  Temporary relief envelopes your body. You will probably receive flowers later in the day at work, and there may be something special waiting for you in the evening when you return home.  There will be emails with poetry, love songs, and links to real estate sites (suggesting it’s time to buy a house together) along with endearing text messages and maybe a direct phone call at work, just to see how your day is going.  This is another opportunity for everyone at your work to reinforce how amazing Mr Incredible is and how Wonderful you are for catching him. Everyone that is, except for the grey dog sitting in the corner, who quietly points out to you that gestures don’t signify change.  Mmm, ignore that and don’t let it ruin the great day you have ahead of you, there’s lots to look forward to. How do you know this?   Well, because, It’s become your usual pattern.  Indeed if you were a lesser person you could milk this pattern for all it’s worth. Point out an unacceptable behaviour to Mr Incredible, have one of your pointless arguments,  then give in, give up, back down and relent. And BINGO! You will be in for a day of bliss. Make sure you’ve dropped hints of anything you want or need beforehand so that these items will be delivered to you on your bliss day. All the while, your insides will be slowly eroding and wearing away, like a worn and rusted joint that’s out of alignment, but don’t worry about this now, deal with it later when you feel like dying for being so blind and delusional. Clearly, the fact that you were shaking and dizzy, almost falling short of breathing this morning has been forgotten by you (until it happens again that is).  Mr Incredible offered you his superficial remedies, and you said “Okay, thanks, that’ll do.”  These short term superficialities appease your Shadow Self, leaving your Little Secret Self out in the cold, hungry and starving, longing to be nurtured and loved. You’ll find her frail, mal-nutritioned body crumpled up dead out there on your back doorstep if you don’t do something drastic soon.  Oh, but Mr Incredible won’t let you come to her rescue that easily, he’ll block you at your every turn, when you’re trying to get to that back door to let her back inside where it’s warm, he’ll pull a swifty on you from out of nowhere. You’ve got a battle on your hands and you don’t even know it. I don’t think you even know whose side you’re on, but I’m pretty sure it’s not yours. Hard to fathom isn’t it? How you could find yourself trapped in such a tricky game with so many different facets,  it seems more than the average human being could scheme. Off to work you head, nursing your little heart in your hands, and holding onto some kind of false hope….. until next time. iStock_000016514695_ExtraSmall

Cognitive Dissonance – The Battle Of The Two Selves

It’s early in the morning when everything and everyone is quiet.  You can hear a knocking, a little rat-tat-tat at the door of your heart.  Yawning,  you roll over and peep through a little crack to see who it is. It’s your LSS (Little Secret Self), she’s speaking very quietly, she wants to talk to you.  She’s always been softly spoken, but these days her whisper is so quiet you can barely hear it.  Her voice sounds almost shaky, nervous. Her eyes are always wide too, they dart around a lot, as if expecting someone to suddenly pounce unexpectedly out of nowhere and silence her. You give her your full attention while your mind is clear for a moment, you still love her, and you miss her too. You even feel bad about everything and the way she has been pushed to the side. Somewhere in the depths of your sub-consciousness you are aware that you’re neglecting her, you secretly hate it, but it’s for the better good of everyone, it’s what you have to do right now in order to survive.  For some unknown reason you are not willing or ready to give to her her rightful place.  You are not ready to look in the mirror and see her precious face staring back at you, you don’t know why. It’s possibly because you are a little mixed up about it all…. Her (LSS), Him (Mr Incredible)  and your Shadow Self, the one who lives your life for you these days.

Your Shadow Self  seems to be doing such a good job of running your life.  Seeming strong and definite, presenting so well to the outside world.  It’s your SS that can keep up appearances and fend off any doubts by playing the necessary games and working really hard… (you know, those games that Mr Incredible wants to play with you, and all the work he gives you to do).   You can’t see your LSS doing as good a job as your SS. Maybe this is the influence of Mr Incredible, or maybe it’s another hidden fear of some kind. Maybe you never really got to know your LSS the way you thought you did.  Perhaps, when you were growing up, you didn’t have any true or healthy mirrors around you, ones that weren’t full of cracks themselves, to show you how great your LSS really is.  You just can’t imagine, that she would be any good in the lead. It’s a frightful thought for some reason, maybe because she appears so soft and gentle, you can’t imagine her showing firm resolve, courage and strength in the face of danger.  Your SS seems the better candidate for this kind of living.

You listen as your feeble LSS is talking to you…. “I know he says he loves you so much, I can see he really admires you, needs you and wants to spend all of his spare time with you. He can be reliable, he’s successful and everybody else seems to think he’s great too, (mainly because you tell them he is).”  Her voice builds slightly as she gains confidence.
“But you’re tired all the time, you have knots in your stomach,  you feel insecure and you don’t really know what goes on when you are not around because he has lied so many times about so many things.  He subtly puts you down and then builds you up again. He changes moods so quickly and when you are feeling especially happy, he shuts you down. He makes you cry at least three times a week and he never says sorry, because it’s your fault that  he hurts you.   And you know this is the very least of it, he’s called you awful names for no reason, he points out other people’s attributes and compares them with your own short-comings, he’s snuck up behind you and kicked you in the back of your legs behind your knees, so your legs would go out from under you and shoved things in your face, he’s had secrets with other girls, loaning them money and taking days off to help them without your knowing,  and yet you keep all these things a secret from your friends,  protecting him, why?”

“Uggh!”  You put your hand up to stop your LSS from going any further, you know there’s a lot more and it gets worst but it’s making you tired just hearing it.   Your LSS goes quiet and there’s silence in the room again.  Your SS takes the opportunity to enter this debate, but you put a stop to that also, God knows you’ve told yourself the pro’s and positives a thousand times, you don’t need to go over them again this morning, instead you let the truth settle down upon your heart for a little while. You reminisce on the days when you and your LSS walked closer together, why is she so frightful all the time, you wonder? As you ponder all these things you come to the dark realisation of what it means to stay where you are. When you’re alone with your LSS thinking about these things, the stark reality of continuing on this way is horrifying, but when you get up and busy yourself with your day, your SS settles upon you again and feels comfortable and familiar. It’s always when you doubt the most that a huge bunch of flowers arrive at your work and everyone around you positively reinforces what a Wonderful You  that you are and what a great  Mr Incredible  you must have.  The battle inside your head is raging. It’s so loud that it becomes all you think about most of the time, stealing your life away.  Indeed there are pro’s to staying, you’ve weighed them up many times. You will have financial security and… “Anything you want, I want you to have whatever you want Bub, anything you want is yours” (quote Mr Incredible).  There will be fun times, trips away, nice homes, you will be able to study, do your art, have a man beside you to love and to love you, (he does love you, in the only way he knows how) and the familiarity of life as you know it.  But after all this is said and done, you won’t have You.

Remember her? The one who was there when you were born and the one they will lay in your coffin one day when you die?

You’ve got a big decision to make. There’s a massive fork in the road, and the paths to choose from couldn’t be going in two more opposite directions. If you want You back again, then you may have to take the road that’s less appealing, the one that’s rocky, rough, narrow, dark and scary – you probably won’t find too many traveling companions on it either.  You may have to take a risk, and believe in You. It will be nothing less than a huge leap of faith, because you don’t realise it yet, but you never really knew your LSS as much as you thought you did. You may be pleasantly surprised. Maybe she can give you a life you never dreamed of, once your SS is out of the way.  Maybe your SS has been lying to you, tricking you, making you believe that he’s the only one who can give you a fulfilled life, a life everyone around you approves of and envy’s.  Which way will you choose Oh Wonderful You?…..Beide Richtungen