I need to find out exactly what bothers me and investigate it. It’s not enough to just register what I don’t like and judge it as bad. That’s too simplistic. I am an intelligent, wise person. There is a reason for everything I say to myself. All thoughts come from somewhere.
Yesterday I remembered a photo of my family sitting at a picnic table at a company sponsored event. I have no memory of the event itself but just seeing my family alone at this table spoke volumes about how I was brought up. My mother judged everyone according to a rigid value system that only she understood. As far as I know, nobody we came in contact with ever met her standards of acceptability.
She grew up with an alcoholic father who subjected her to horrific beatings because he was angry. As she could not hate him, she started hating everybody else. Her early abuse turned her into a punisher. For the rest of her life, she punished everyone close to her for the abuse that had been so unfairly inflicted on her. And I inherited this pattern, I want to punish people too. I unconsciously learned how to do this from her.
Children don’t understand why their parents act the way they do. Nor can they evaluate whether something is right or wrong. It is only when one becomes an adult that these childhood patterns can be taken apart and investigated. My mother had to build protective armor around herself to survive and I have this armor around me as well. But do I still need it? Did I ever need it? How many people have I punished who did nothing to deserve it?
I am starting to realize that there is a big difference between standing my ground as an individual vs. policing others. If I know myself and care about myself, I will make my feelings clear and defend what I think are my rights. This is different from having a lot of rules in my head that everybody has to obey in order to make me feel good.
There was noise in the house last night, mostly from people talking loudly. Instead of getting upset about it, I gave them permission to do whatever they were doing. I gave up on policing the noise level in the house and just shut my door and stayed in my room. When one of the women turned on a fan to high this morning, I went out and changed it to low. She did what she wanted – and then I did what I wanted.
If I get overly attached to my rules, I am going to alienate the people around me. As we live in a shared space, no one person can make the rules for everyone else. Since this is not a monastery, I cannot impose my monastic silence on uber extroverts. I am here for a reason and this reason is not to be liked by others, but rather to like myself “while among others.” Can I coexist in an environment where other people don’t have to play by my rules or even acknowledge them? Can I break the rules within myself?
She will know whose name is on that anger and not require an innocent person to atone for the crimes once committed against her by others. ~ Breaking Down the Wall of Silence, Alice Miller.