This morning while making my coffee I got to thinking about how much things have changed in my life – little things and big things, and more importantly, about how much I’ve changed in the last couple of years.
And then I thought, “Have I actually changed? Or have I grown into the person I was always meant to be?”. And my conclusion is that through changing my thinking, changing my bad habits, and changing my outlook on life and how I live it, I’ve allowed myself to reseed, bloom, and grow into the person I was always meant to be, the person I always was and have been, the person that was walled in by all the things that I have now I’ve changed.
Does that make sense?
An example of a major change is this: I always felt that no one listened to me, no one acknowledged my views, and no one took me seriously in the workplace and in my personal life, and I drank on that. When drunk I could become quite verbally aggressive, judgmental, opinionated, and unpleasant. The result being that, because I had a reputation for being either ‘a mouthy drunk’, constantly being hungover, or being absent from work or social events due to ‘illness’, no one listened to me or took me seriously, and I felt more and more excluded, and I’d drink on that.
I developed a jealousy and resentment for those (especially women) who were listened to, who were acknowledged, who were taken seriously and respected, and I’d drink on that.
I couldn’t see the destructive cycle at the time (or maybe I could but was ignoring the truth), but I can see now how I really was my worst own worst enemy, and people were absolutely right to not take me seriously, because I was inconsistent, unreliable, flaky, and prone to letting everyone down – at work and in my personal life.
The Person I Let Down the Most Was Myself…
What people didn’t know, and what I knew but didn’t address or fix, was that the feelings of being ignored or overlooked stemmed from childhood experiences such as being abandoned in a boarding school aged 7 by my father who never even said goodbye. Of my sisters disappearing overnight from my life and my never knowing why or where they’d gone (they’d gone to different boarding schools), and most importantly, of my mother disappearing from our lives after I’d gone into the boarding school and my not knowing why. The cruel irony here is that she was put into a ‘hospital’ because her drinking had become so out of control and destructive she could no longer stay with her family. But no one explained anything to me, so my little mind went into a state of confused frustration, and it stayed that way for many, many, many years.
There are a multitude of other scenarios I could list, but you get the idea – I was ignored, overlooked, and never listened to by the most important people in the world to me, and there was a lot to feel excluded from. I was made to feel very unimportant, that my feelings and opinions just didn’t matter. Things just happened to me, and woe betide me if I questioned or complained.
So, over the years, as I aged, I never really ‘grew up’. I stayed that angry, neglected, ignored, insignificant child. Within me grew resentment, jealousy, and anger towards everyone around me who had a voice, who could ask for what they needed, who could express themselves, and were loved by their family, respected by their friends and work colleagues…and I drank on all that.
What a destructive cycle to be caught up in. And what a hard cycle to get out of.
But I knew it had to change, or I was doomed to keep on repeating the cycle over and over and over again – like a living nightmare.
My first step – as is everyone’s first step – was to acknowledge that I had hit a wall, that I had a problem – a Big problem, and that if I didn’t address the problem I was on the road to ruining my life. The time had come and I had to crawl out of my blame bed and my pity hole and get help to fix the problem.
I couldn’t change what had happened to me as a child, but I could change how I responded to it as an adult.
The next step was to get help, professional help where I could take the lid off of my cauldron of negative, destructive, twisted emotions and start to unravel the mess within. But by getting the professional helped a most sorely needed I slowly began to find my voice, I was actually listened to, and my issues were taken seriously. Now, this isn’t the first time I’d gone to a therapist, but it’s the first time I decided this was it – THIS time is the time for change. I took it seriously, I let it all out bit by bit, and I began to see that, even though I couldn’t change what had happened to me as a child, I could change how I responded to it as an adult. With the right tools and a change in thinking, I began to dismantle my perception of myself as an insignificant person, and to reassemble myself as a worthy human being who had a hell of a lot to offer and give. Slowly, slowly, my dignity began to be restored, I began to look around and the people in my life who do love me, who do respect me, who do listen to me, who do think I’m worth it, who do actually like me….if only I’d let them….
And I didn’t drink on that!
It was the most important change I ever made.
I’m still a daily work in progress, we all are. But as I sit here today, I can honestly say, I’ve changed how I am to grow into the person I am.