I have this sweet Autistic boy on my caseload. When you ask him a question, “Do I have to know?” Is immediately offered by him, in addition to a wide-eyed, frantic stare. Then, he adds, “Is it important?” Just like so many of us, “Joe” was prob flooded by….. YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS, And LISTEN, THIS IS IMPORTANT —-So much so, that no matter what he’s asked, THIS is his knee-jerk response. Sad, he’s been conditioned to immediately panic in response to a simple request from someone. From Joe’s perspective, it appears as though he’s missing the natural “bullshit” regulation meter…. meter that tells us what is information is important and what is garbage and we can release or dismiss. Life is torturous if we’re trapped in a feeling of unpreparedness or flooding most of the time. It’s natural to disengage. After a while nothing feels important. Life is happening to us then, and no longer with us. We become a spectator in our own lives.
Boy, can’t we all identify with the pressure to know? Shit! When we’re stressed out already, and then a simple external inquiry….OMG, why are you expecting me to know this???? enter panic, spinning, attempts to organize, regulate. My victimizers in my head saying, ” Come on! How fucked up are you? You should know this, Is there something wrong with me? Does everyone else know? Should I know?
Of course, transpiring silently, the storm rages. Gasoline on a brain-fire. And Oh, so slippery, changing it’s wardrobe…..striking while navigating city streets, choosing the right outfit for the occasion, food for the party, getting air in the tires, hooking up a fresh tank of propane, filling out tax forms, an application, giving directions, getting the best life insurance, being frustrated with word choice because I should have a wider variety of vocab at my fingertips… Should, should, should. Who the F makes these stupid rules anyway? Where did we get the idea that we should BE, HAVE and DO more than we are 😡.
Well of course I have a theory. I thought you’d never ask. The pressure to perform and to be all-knowing, comes from within. Of course, we’re triggered into hell by outside sources, no denying that. But then our victimizers, (some call it our inner critic) takes this to the wall (and the mat). The voices inside, telling us what to believe, delivering their brand of reality – based on our old wounds. Bleeding, sad, attention starved wounds from long ago – the blueprint of those wounds created by a caregiver(s) who, criticized us when we……forgot, when we didn’t figure something out quickly, when we made an honest mistake, when we were successful, when we needed/wanted a break, when we felt independent, the list goes on and on with possibilities. Any attempt to be independent, be responsible, be successful, be smart or to self-advocate was ignored or smashed. Instead, doubt replaced the aliveness that was once commonplace. Whalla! the default button was born.
The wound was created because our sadness, anger, rage, etc.(around be smashed) was not supported so we stuffed all of the aliveness down and became who and what they wanted us to be. We can’t make it without our parents so we really didn’t have a choice. Even if the love feels bad, children try their best to be seen and heard. Even if we have to become needy, irresponsible, dumbed down, perfect, etc. whatever it takes to get some attention and “love”. You see, if we did not adapt to our parent’s darkness (their unhealed wounds) we might have made out worse.
Give yourself a pat on the back, a huge warming hug for figuring that out as a child. You were brilliant, that’s why you are still here. Some level of “seemingly compliant” was required for you to get what you needed, survive and not lose your mind.
Today, when we begin to feel successful, smart, independent, responsible, when you are doing something for yourself, when you feel like you need love or a hug, or someone to listen…… notice how long you can stay in the joy, in the need, in the satisfaction of feeling self-sufficient ——before the subtle whispers of doubt creep in. The voices of the old patterns, stealing all of the warm & fuzzies before we can own them.
Notice how many times a day you doubt your worth “anyone can _____________” we say, when someone compliments us. Notice how many times a day you doubt your power ” I’m sorry, I don’t want to cause problems, I just wanted ______________”. Notice how many times a day you doubt your independence “I can’t go there without ________”. Notice how many times a day you doubt your usefulness “They could have managed without me”.
How many times a day do you reduce yourself to the likeness of an overstuffed bag of uncertainty?
Hmmmm, ever ask yourself “Why do I keep attracting these people into my life?” The answer: these people are here to help you unpack that bag.