50 Roads #16 – THE ROAD TO SELF-GOVERNING
(Roads #11-17 are letters to myself for what I wanted to find in therapy – they are filled with questions that I invite you to ask yourself)
I have done something destructive a bunch of times and I want to stop. I know this is going to be a hard one. I have so much shame about this that I’m ready to release and heal. But I have to change, and I need help.
I want to be free more than anything else, even more than being loved, I want to be free. I don’t like being bossed around. I detest being manipulated. I don’t like when other people or organizations or institutions are in charge of my time or my decisions. I don’t like feeling like someone else is controlling me. I don’t like mean people.
Yet I have chosen a sick scenario over and over and over that would lead one to believe that I don’t value my own freedom at all. I have played out this scenario over and over. Maybe the costumes were different each time, but it was always the same dance.
And I chose it. I know this. This was no one’s responsibility but my own, once I was an adult.
I know that sometimes my need to be loved and liked often overrides my need for self-sovereignty . . . and I have too often engaged in the dance of a weak damsel with a relentless bully. When one dance ends, I seem to go in search of a new bullying dance partner immediately.
I’ve danced this dance so many times that I can make perfect steps with my eyes closed.
I am addicted to a dance that I hate.
I know that every time I choose not to govern myself, I end up being governed. I don’t know why it works like this, but I get it. I have to have authority over my own life if I don’t want others to have authority over me.
I have to do the difficult and tedious things that come along with governing your own life. I have to stop believing that it’s worth it to hand over my sovereignty for the cheap reward of having someone else do difficult and tedious things for me.
There are many who would gladly pay that price for their wanted reward of having someone to control.
I know life has been difficult and my plate has been over-full with things needing emergency attention. But I have too often handed my plate of most precious things to someone who was waiting for someone like me to play out their sickness.
I know that in the past, I have carelessly handed over my personal authority and almost always, I have been dominated, pushed-around, browbeat and bullied. I have been demeaned, talked down to and disrespected. I have handed over my own remote-control and become a machine at the mercy of someone else’s whims. I have had my own life ripped from my fingers and held over my own head. I have had the things I birthed taken and hidden and used as ransom. And I didn’t use any of this as fuel to rise up and fight. I just got smaller and more victim-y. This insidious pattern (that I chose) has tried to teach me over and over and over to stand up and take control of my own life.
But the dancing damsel in distress always seemed to win out.
I know that I am the one who danced this dance. I know that I am the one who sought out dance partners to replay this scene over and over again in a million ways. I know that I am the one who kept it going on the dance floor.
I know this is sick.
I know that someone playing out the role of a bully is really no worse than someone playing out the role of a victim. All of it is sick. We both showed up to the dance and I chose the role for myself. And then I cried about it.
I cringe as I look at this honestly. I want to change.
I know that I have been exhausted and weary beyond description so many times and I really needed help, and it was easiest to go into these default patterns of behavior.
But I didn’t learn the first time, or the second, or the third.
I know that I hid things from my husband that I knew he would put a stop to. Like I was hiding harmful drugs, I only engaged in this behavior in dark corners where he couldn’t see. I hid it from almost anyone who would have put a stop to it, and it was easy because my dance partners always wanted to dance in the dark. They didn’t want anyone to put a stop to it either.
I know that I could say that I did this subconsciously but I also know that my body tried to tell me that it wasn’t okay. My soul tried to tell me that it wasn’t okay. And I kept dancing.
Because at times I thought maybe this time would be different and at other times I just felt too comfortable, I knew the dance too well. I knew my steps and I knew their steps and sometimes knowing is easier than changing. Sometimes dancing with someone is better than dancing with no one.
I could say that I was hoping that love would be enough to break the cycle. I can say that I thought if I could become someone different during the dance, maybe they would too. I can say that I hoped that I could do a different dance with the same dance partner. I can say that I was unaware. But I danced this dance so many times that I have to take responsibility for how many times in my sick need to dance this dance, I empowered another with their sick need to be my dance partner.
None of it is healthy for any of us.
I am ready for this cycle to end.
I know that my tendency to allow others to make my decisions and to get small when others get big has resulted in bruising acts of self-betrayal with consequences so far and wide that I probably never will be able to see them all. I know that those consequences spread to the people in my life that I love most. I know that I chose this by not choosing to stop it. I participated in this and as an adult, I could have stopped it. And I know that I didn’t.
I know that others tried to step in and tell me that it wasn’t healthy. I know that others tried to warn me. I know that I closed my ears and kept dancing. I know that I closed my eyes and kept dancing. Bleeding and dancing.
I know all of this, and it’s another bitter pill to swallow. I have no one to blame for the destructive results of these dances that kept going until the end goal was reached — one person dominating another at all costs. One big foot crushing another’s soul. One person needing to crush, another needing to be crushed. Over and over and over. So sick.
Today this changes. I know that somewhere inside of me, I have the power to change this TODAY.
I want to stop attracting controlling, demeaning and bullying people/situations. I want to stop attracting people and situations that love to tell me what I am not capable of doing on my own. I want to stop attracting people and situations who test me to see if I will allow them to publicly exploit my weaknesses and covertly exploit my strengths. I want to stop being passive and acting small. I want to stop encouraging the next sick move of a bully so that I can shine at my next sick move as a victim. I want to stop playing the part of the victim after I’m the one who took off my armor, surrendered my sword and said “have your way with me and all that is mine” to people who have a history of treating others exactly the way I abhor others being treated.
I want to recognize that my unhealthy need to have others love me, combined with others’ unhealthy need to dominate, control and bully has created an exponentially disgusting cycle of destruction.
Over and over and over again.
I want to learn what true leadership is. What true guidance is. I want to lead myself and guide myself in the ways that every soul needs. I don’t need someone else to do this for me.
I know that a bully’s strategy is to intimidate, coerce and connive with force and threats. I know that a bully’s strategy is to first seduce a person into their dark and hidden lair with faux kindness and friendship. As I learn to govern and lead myself, I DO NOT wish to use these tactics on myself. I know that bullies deal in retribution and hostile action. I know that bullies don’t take responsibility for their actions, but deal in shaming, blaming and remaining spotless in front of others. I know that bullies deal their most heinous acts in the dark — with a kind smile on their face in the light.
As I choose to govern myself, I want to remember that bullying myself is no better than allowing others to bully me. I do not want to shower myself with faux kindness and friendship only to lead myself back into a dark and hidden lair where I can bully myself.
As I choose to govern myself, I want everything out in the light, no secrets in the dark where destructive things can grow unchecked. I want to be transparent. I choose to stop hiding ANY bullying behavior from my husband and from those I love.
I choose to stay away from new situations and old situations that cause me to want to go back to my old dance. I choose to stay away until I have practiced the dance of self-governance long enough that I will not revert back to old dance steps that I have memorized into muscle memory. I want to override my old dance steps with the beautiful dance of sovereignty, self-respecting boundaries and self-governance. If I’m dancing with others, I now want it to be in a line-dance…with others who are also doing their own dance of sovereignty, self-respecting boundaries and self-governance.
No more secret, crushing bully dance partners.
I know this is going to be hard. I know I will have to forgive myself over and over again for how long I’ve done this. I want to get to the root of why I do this thing I am so ashamed of doing. I know I have a lot to clean up because of it. I know it’s going to take a lot of practice and discipline every day to learn new ways of being. I know I will mess up. I choose to get up and try again every day. I choose to take responsibility. I am ready.
Because this cannot happen again. It has destroyed too many beautiful things and kept too many beautiful things from happening. It has been destructive on just about every level. This cannot happen again.
Please help me self, please help me God. Help me repair what has been broken by these reckless dances and help me learn a new dance. Help me dance courageously, authentically, unapologetically, unashamed and epically.
I want to be free. I want everyone to be free.
In deep gratitude,
I cannot begin to tell you how difficult this particular road has been. Both because of the awareness and because of the need for change. This road led down several other roads before I started to get to the root of it. We will go down those roads later.
So, warrior soul,
-where have you danced the dance of the small and helpless with the dance partner of a bully?
-what dance could override old patterns that keep you from being your most powerful and self-governing self? What needs to be done?
Thank you for sticking with the journey on this very uncomfortable, cringey road. It was an absolutely necessary one that, like I said,
I will be talking about more on other roads. But tomorrow, we visit the last road of letters to my therapist on the beautiful Road To Self-Renewal.
See you there,