I like to believe that I am a fairly genuine person and show everyone I meet the “real me.” I don’t have a phony persona… hell, I don’t even wear makeup 99.9% of the time.
I do, however, have strong walls I have built to keep people out of my core self, my most intimate form of personal being, my most vulnerable, true self.
Most people only scratch the surface of me, just getting the parts I feel are best or easiest to swallow. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a goal to make sure people like me. I desire people to see me as something someone of value. I want people to see something worthwhile and worthy of their time.
Before, I’d never really given much thought to all of insecurities and paranoia.
Recently, though, I’ve been thinking more about everything, and one of the areas that I’ve focused on is my social anxieties and insecurities with people. One of the issues is that I have a constant desire to be in control of everything in my life (we’ll get to that shortly, I promise).
Another part of the issue, though, is that I have this struggle with self worth. I think very poorly of myself in my appearance, personality, intelligence… I walk around with a constant voice in my head telling me I’m nothing and that people see me as a sort of freak. By building these walls and only putting the values I feel most people like to see or see as most valuable on the outside of the walls, though, I can protect myself, right?
Because if I let people see too much, then they’ll devalue me as well. If I share my inner most self with all the baggage, then people will think less of me.
I’ve made some choices lately to start opening the doors and letting a very select number of people past the walls. I didn’t choose to do this easily, and I’ll admit I’ve had lots of fears lately as a result of this. That voice keeps telling me things now that I’ve let people into the safe space, the center of my being.
Luckily the voices that creep up have been met with surprising responses from the very people I’ve let into the core of me.
“That’s what friends do. I hope you realize that no one is ever going to think less of you because of what happened.”
“You’re confiding in me which is what friends can and should do! You do not need to apologize for that ever!”
“You are NOT stupid or terrible. I’m not going anywhere! I am so grateful for you, friend!”
“I’m glad you share with us, because bearing each other’s burdens is an honor of friendship. We all want you to feel secure, loved, and healthy.”
“You can talk to me if you need to. I love you and worry about you sometimes.”
“I love you. Don’t ever apologize for venting or sharing what’s on your heart. That’s what friends are here for. We’ve got to talk to each other. I’m glad to know I can be here to encourage you and lean on when you need someone.”
Basically, some conversations and events today led a discussion with one of my friends that I have control issues.
And I do, 100%. I try to control and plan so much. I go to extreme measures sometimes to hold control over things. I’m an overthinker, over planner, and overworker. But what causes this desire to be in total control?
“Why do you have control issues, Megan? Have you always been this way?”
I had to think… have I always been deeply planted in this struggle for control? I’m not sure. I can say for sure, though, that I’ve been this way since high school and it’s lasted into my adult life. So there may have been a trigger around the start of my high school career… Oh…
When you are in an abusive relationship, you hold none of the control.
That’s the goal for the abuser: to hold all of the control and manipulate everything so that you feel stuck, helpless, vulnerable, insecure, alone. The point is to make you feel like an animal trapped in a cage. And for me, it worked. I felt SO trapped, and the only straws I could grasp for were ones like self harm, which in talking it was pointed out that even that can be a way to feel control over something. Anyway, when you finally break out, you NEED that control. You want ALL of the control. You’ll do anything to control every tiny aspect of everything so that you know exactly what’s happening. If you control everything, then he can’t get you again. If you hold the control, then he can’t.
So I’ve spent the last about 16 years refusing to give on any of the control. Shutting people out gives me the control. Planning pregnancies helps me feel that sense of power over my life. Not delegating makes me feel okay because that means I’m not allowing someone else to hold some of the control.
But, guess what else you can’t control? Actions your body takes… like miscarriage.
It’s all connected. The emotions are the same for both. There’s guilt, there’s anger, there’s pain, there’s fear, there’s that feeling of being lost…of losing grip of the control you foolishly thought you had. Unfortunately the two go hand in hand and can’t be solved without solving them both since they aren’t mutually exclusive. I have to forgive myself so that I can see that my self-worth is not based on either of these things. I have to let go and accept that things happen that we can’t control…but that does’t make them our fault. But how does one tell a brain that? And when do we know how to determine when things are our fault and when they are not? And how do we go about this process?
“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted. So bloom where you are planted.”
I didn’t choose to be a victim of abuse (nobody chooses that), but that’s the hand I was dealt. I didn’t choose to have a miscarriage (again, nobody chooses that), but it’s what happened and I can’t change that. These are both parts of my core being: this is who I am, this is where I’ve been planted. I just have to choose to bloom… otherwise I’ll fail to thrive.
Plants also need more to survive than a place to be planted, though; so I will need tending, watering, weeding, pruning. If you are reading this, then that means you have been allowed inside the walls to see where I’ve really been planted. I realize it’s not the prize you thought you’d win by breaking down the wall, but I’m thankful you are willing to take on the challenge. I’ll buy some Miracle-Gro and all the gardening tools… I just need you to stay until this thing really takes off and is in full bloom.