You know that phrase “It’s not you, it’s me?” Classic break up schtick.  However, it’s something we tend to tell ourselves as well.  It’s not the situation, it’s something in me that’s causing this to happen.  It’s not a series of events caused by situations outside my control, it’s something I’m manifesting.  It’s not a worldview I was taught by abusers, it’s my nature to be this over controlling, over sensitive, over emotional, over enmeshed….

Many of my clients tell me of personality problems they have which in reality are traits they’ve learned in order to survive difficulties in life.  What they didn’t learn was situational control or what I like to call volume control.  Their volume is stuck at 10 and on 24/7.  They are like soldiers that come home from active war zone duty that can’t turn off the hyper awareness and battle readiness. One of the key differences is that a soldier knows this isn’t who he/she really is because he/she’s experienced their normal self.  He/she knows this is a heightened and single focus version of him/herself.  Most of my clients don’t as they can’t remember a time when they experienced life any other way.

They see themselves as broken or having a disability.  They see their difference as a liability that keeps them from being able to interact with the world appropriately and they work to bandage it, hide it, suck it up and work through it, suffer silently, and struggle socially.  They think it’s not the world, it’s them and they continue the abuse bequeathed to them in their childhoods.  The reality is that they have learned skills that are amazing and can help them lead healthy and even spectacular lives if they can let go of the thought that what they have is a disability. It’s like in the comics and the movies where the kid realizes what he has is a superpower instead of a freakish deformity.  The first step to figuring this out is to stop and listen.  Most of the time people drown out their own inner knowing with the voices of their abusers and then their own abusive inner monologue and then contemporary voices all berating them for being themselves.  If we each stopped to listen to the irrational emotions, the nagging repeat issues that have showed up AGAIN, the story someone is pointing out for the millionth time, we can start hearing our own inner wisdom which has been trying to tell us all along what we already know.  It’s not us, it’s them.

I mean, just because we have boundary issues doesn’t mean people aren’t violating our boundaries.  Just because we have communication issues doesn’t mean people aren’t miscommunicating with us.  Just because we have trust issues doesn’t mean people are trustworthy. You know, sometimes the paranoia is justified. So the first step towards turning the volume down is to stop drowning out our internal message.  Stop shouting over the top of everything, get quiet and listen.  Then you can choose to heed the advice you’ve been getting all this time…or not.  One step at a time…