Do you ever lie to yourself, therefore to other people too? Do we all do it? I know it’s something I have done for many years. Partly because I was groomed to lie about what was going on and even to lie to myself about what I felt. It was also because I and everyone else couldn’t handle the truth. Lies were my friend. It became difficult to know the lie from the truth. I was tangled in lies for years.. until I began to unpick it all 2.5 years ago as I entered therapy.
Since then, I have not only learned the truth but also how to continually analyse my behaviour and things I have said, to ensure those lies that remain, are confronted or at the very least noticed, ready for processing later.
I hate that I have anything left in my behaviour that is a result of grooming, it makes me feel like he still has his hands on my life, moulding and shaping me when I dare to let my guard down and don’t continually fight.
Last night, it was pointed out to me that my automatic guilt response is part of grooming, it wasn’t news to me, in fact I have previously discussed it with this person, but it jolted something inside of me.
While I have made huge leaps and bounds in letting go of guilt, I know that guilt is still a go to response whenever I cannot easily explain my feelings, or make sense of something that was done to me. I know it and I will continue to work on changing that. However, it isn’t the only way I still have his grooming as part of me. As above, those lies I needed for so long, well, they remain. Not to the same extent, but they are still there. Like the guilt and even shame, they are a go to response when things are too hard or simply, because I am afraid.
Sometimes, it is when I just cannot handle what is going on. For example, I automatically lie about anniversary dates. This goes deep, I am not simply lying to those around me, I am fooling myself to such an extent, that I fully believe it. I hate lying, but when I don’t know I am doing it, until my mind allows me to, or until I have the chance to fully analyse and process what is going on, how am I supposed to know?
I am trying hard to spot the signs and my T is getting better at calling me out on it. Recently I haven’t been able to lie to myself about up and coming anniversary dates for more than a short time, before either I notice or my T pulls it out of me. Progress, I hope?
Last night, I didn’t sleep too well, tossing and turning as I realised that I had lied to myself and those around me for the last few days. Except it wasn’t about things being too much to handle, because actually the one truth in all this, is things are a little better than they have been. I have finally put away that awful flashback a few weeks ago.. but yet, I lied. I didn’t know it as I was doing it, I didn’t realise until I began to analyse that jolt mentioned above.
The reason for this lie is because of other people. It is about my worry and fear of upsetting/ angering or pushing them away. Again, a groomed response, not only from my abuser but from all the times I was left feeling alone, rejected and abandoned. For years, and I know I am not alone here, I have pretended to be OK, for the sake of other people, as well as myself.
We all do it to some extent, where we automatically say we are OK or fine, for fear of upsetting others. I don’t want that. I feel what I feel, I am who I am and I do not want to change that in order to protect other people. If they cannot handle it, that is their issue not mine. I guess, I am not quite there in putting it in to practice. I am still reacting as I used to, I am lying about how hard things are to myself and to other people.
I know I’ve suffered a lot since October and I know it cannot be easy for those around me. So when PTSD symptoms began to improve a little, somewhere inside, I began to lie to myself again. I told myself that actually, those symptoms have gone and that other than these new feelings (which are progress, therefore allowed and good- if that makes sense), I am fine. I suppose subconsciously I have been so fearful of further abandonment, that it was just automatic to lie to myself again, so I could then lie to those around me.
The symptoms haven’t gone, I have had nightmares every night this week. Awful dreams of being trapped back there and last night every time I fell asleep, rape was waiting for me. And now I am being honest with myself, I am struggling to shake that dream right now. Yesterday I had the most sickening flashback, that I had to ignore, because I am so ashamed of what that memory is to even allow it more than a moment in my thoughts…But because I’d been sleeping better in general and the flashbacks haven’t been as debilitating as a month ago, it was easier to fool myself into believing that I was doing OK. And I wanted to fool myself, because I wanted to be OK – at least aside from these new feelings (which is a whole other post) and I wanted others to believe it. Because, well it’s Christmas and because I don’t want to annoy people or cause them to be frustrated enough with me that they walk away.
It isn’t my fault, it is because of the grooming and it is because I have always had to gauge the reactions and feelings of others and what is going on for them, before responding.And that is partly because I put others before myself but also because I had to become used to reading others feelings and predicting their behaviour in order to protect myself. An abuser who was like a bomb waiting to go off, other people who switched between anger and being nice to me. I had to protect myself from them…
And this lying right now is just that, it is about protecting myself, but not because the symptoms are too much for me to handle, but instead protecting myself from the reaction and possible rejection of others. It is something I no longer need, but I have done it for so long, I guess it’s understandable that it is so automatic for me.
This isn’t something I want, because somewhere inside, I am past this. Past the fear, past the needing to react and respond in a way that will ensure others like me and want to be around me. Part of me has already changed and is strong enough and therefore ready to be real with myself. I guess, I am just not all the way there yet.
It’s a bit of a blow to me this morning, to realise that these things are still there, but equally, I feel relief to admit the truth to myself. The PTSD has improved some, as I feel more, the symptoms always improve, however, I am not symptom free and I am not OK.