I can definitely tell that I’ve been changing and growing over the past 5 months. I automatically recognize many negative emotions when they pop up and use mindfulness and patience to navigate through them rather than pushing them away. I take things one day at a time rather than ruminating about the unknown future. I’m learning so much about my addiction and how it controlled my life, and how recovery can be a life I had never imagined; a happy life. I have crisis plans and a network of friends who have ‘been where I have’ and whom I contact every day. BUT there’s still (and probably always will be) HUGE hit-me-in-the-gut, make me want to vomit, ‘what was I thinking?’, lessons almost daily. Today not being an exception!
The topic at save my life grad school was ‘Challenging Extreme Judgements’. Oh Lord…I can tell this chapter is going to sting. It spoke of how many of us ‘life students’ often use 100% emotional mind when in an argument, and don’t realize how much exaggeration is occurring on our part. When we feel hurt or upset we tell people that they NEVER do anything nice for us, or that they are ALWAYS being selfish, when in truth that is merely our emotional mind’s PERCEPTION in the moment. We feel like no one cares about us because they aren’t instantly remedying our insecurities or making us feel loved. But if we turned on our rational mind, we would see that the NEVER, and ALWAYS statements we throw out like daggers aren’t true, and that the people we are upset with feel very criticized. When we label people in extreme ways, they become defensive because our statements are unrealistic and one-sided. They then get upset that ALL of the positive things they’ve ever done for us are discounted and ignored. When we lash out with extreme judgements our loved ones don’t want to make us feel secure and loved, because they are hurt and end up pushing us away. When we accuse people of things they DON’T do, it slams the door shut on negotiation, causing hurt and misunderstanding for both parties involved.
This chapter hurts my heart to the core because I was the QUEEN of extreme judgements, and I hurt a lot of people in my life with them. I feel embarrassed that I wasn’t ‘intelligent’ enough to see how my behaviours were destructive and painful. I always felt so terribly sorry after these arguments occurred and eventually realized that I was definitely overreacting. But I had no idea why I couldn’t stop the emotional mind thoughts before it was too late. My inability to turn on rational mind until much later in the day slowly sabotaged the relationships I wanted to desperately keep. By the time I had said sorry, it was too late; the people who I loved so dearly were tired of hearing it.
I’ve learned that I created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not only by having false extreme judgements about others, but also by having them of myself. Whenever I disappointed myself by hurting someone I loved I felt unworthy and I told myself over and over that I was crazy and no one would ever love me forever. I was stuck in self-defeating ways. The labels I put on myself by my own minds doing had long-lasting effects on my self-esteem and in turn slowly crumbled any true loving foundation of a relationship I had because there’s only so long anyone could TRY to convince me otherwise. For their own well-being they needed to either walk away, or I pushed them away. I thought that relationships would NEVER work out, because they hadn’t before. But what I didn’t realize was that my extreme thoughts sabotaged them from the very start. I had no idea that words and thoughts driven by a self-defeating emotional mind should never be trusted. I thought I knew what was right, but I was very wrong.
Save my life grad school is teaching me to take a stand and RATIONALLY challenge extreme judgements/lies right when they occur! I’m learning to defend myself from these judgements which will in turn protect future relationships from them as well. Like all of this ‘life work’, changes don’t happen over night. Heck, I’ve been called the Queen of Hearts before because my all-or-nothing, emotional mind extreme judgements were equal to me yelling ‘off with their heads’ if anyone threatened my heart in anyway. How I could not see that this caused undue grief when I tried to sew their heads back on once I rationally woke up?…I don’t know.
I’m not a stupid person. I’ve just been living in a dysregulated out-of-contol mind. My mind (whether or not influenced by mental health, addiction, or past experiences…It doesn’t really matter) did and said mindless and impulsive things because I only acted on emotional mind…especially when I was in a desperate state. My all-or-nothing outlook on life and love wasn’t rational and made me believe that death was the only way to be free of the turmoil and darkness which consumed me. My suicide attempt is the ultimate example of an ALL and EXTREME decision I wouldn’t be able to apologize for when my rational mind kicked in. Thank God I have the opportunity to be a different Queen of Hearts now…the queen of my own.