Thursday, March 6, 2014

Manipulation and Lies I Tell Myself

I felt a new (to me) emotion the other day.  Nausea, icky, dirty.  Need to run to the shower and clean myself.  It wasn't stomach flu, it was a reaction to the realization that I was being manipulated.  I had felt the something is not right, icky stomach before, but never my whole body feeling ill, emotionally distressed, and frankly not ok.

I work with kids with special problems-- kids who can not and do not fit in the regular school system.  One child in particular is very charming.  I knew that and thought my boundaries were up, but he got in and little by little started pushing my limits, with smiles and witty comments and more eye contact than usual.  My head said, wow he is really practicing good manners today.  My emotions said, wait, why, what is going on.  I looked back on the day and time after time he had broken minor rules and all I had seen was the smile.  I felt ill, used and manipulated-- and frankly nervous to go back and work with him the next day.

So I have spent the past few days working out my feelings about being manipulated and why that is such a huge deal for me.  I grew up being manipulated.  I grew up knowing that life -- even family life -- is a game and if you want anything you have to play the game and be what someone else wants you to be.  Then they are happy and life is easier.  It doesn't matter what you want or what you feel, just do what it takes to keep peace.  Even now I feel the pressure to be what I am expected to be.  Perfect.  And by perfect, I mean what someone else thinks perfect is.

What I am learning from this...  The voices in my head aren't real.  They are programming put in place while I was growing up telling me what is real, correct and good.  I can choose to accept or reject this scripting at any time. They only define me as much as I choose to let them.

On the other hand, my feelings are real.  My feelings are a reaction to what is happening in my head and around me.  Sometimes they conflict with the voice in my head.  Anxiety is just my heart telling my head something and my head not accepting the feeling as real.  Stress is my head and my heart arguing about what I ought to be doing with my time and my head telling me I need to be/do more. 

I'm not quite sure what will change with this new realization.  Maybe acceptance of who I am.  Hopefully acceptance of those around me who are just playing out the script in their head.  The ability to discern what really is.  I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. It is hard when you realize that others are manipulating you. For me, as an addict, it's hard because I realize that is how I used to be. Pray for help and guidance and for the Spirit to help you discern. :)