07 August 2011

Foundation

At the end of last month I received some rather unexpected news. Change and I do not go hand in hand. We have to be...forced upon each other. Why? *deep breath* I fear change. I prefer stability to uncertainty. (Understatement of the century.) Have I mentioned I'm a control freak? In fact, I would go so far as to say that I need security and stability in order to function. *thinks* I guess that explains why I find trust so difficult. Handing over that security to someone else...being that vulnerable? *shakes head* I can't do that. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to do that.

During times of uncertainty, one invariably looks first to oneself and then to one's friends and family for support...and potentially for reassurance that one can survive the storm. One's foundation of self reinforces that belief. But...when I look down at my foundation I see ...nothing. *thinks* In the city where I live there is a tower. A tower with viewing platforms of glass. (Obviously very thick glass.) My foundation is like that glass floor - an illusion. All I see is emptiness. So without knowing within oneself that one can survive the storm, what does one do? Seek reassurance from outside. And that's exactly what I have been doing - endlessly. (And no doubt incredibly annoyingly :)

I mentioned this need (for want of a better word) to the unnamed expert when I saw her last week. And I used the analogy of the glass floor of the tower. My foundation of self is...an illusion. Most of the time I can pretend, but when I need to know it is there, when I need to see it, it's not. All I see is the emptiness preceding an endless fall. So I don't look down. I seek reassurance outside of myself...because from where I sit everyone knows more than me. They hold the power... It's a child's response. As a child we seek reassurance from those around us, because we are still developing our sense of self. Our knowledge of what we are and are not capable of. What we learn with each challenge we face and the consistent reassurance we receive from those around us allows us to build that foundation. But building a solid foundation without those building blocks is...well nigh impossible. And without that solid foundation we are left doubting ourselves. And when uncertainty arises, as it invariably does, we seek reassurance. And that, I realized, is the problem. I don't believe in that foundation of self. I don't believe in...me. So...I guess I have to learn *grin*

So, I'm curious, what (large or small) have you learned about yourself lately?

Edited to add: I was hoping to be online over the weekend, but somehow the weekend just got away from me. Fingers crossed for lots of stalking visiting tomorrow :)

9 comments:

  1. I really admire how self aware you are. :)

    I have some of that same need for outside reassurance going on, but I've been working on being aware of it and changing that behavior for a couple of years now. It's slow going, but I'm definitely making progress. :)

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  2. As you know, Orannia, I totally understand where you're at because I think we have already had a discussion about this offline. To say it again, though, my lack of trust and intense need to control my world so as to make sure in know exactly what is going on is due to my fear of uncertainty.

    Planning, controlling, having everything in it's place and my OCD are all the things I use to make me feel secure and safe. That is only something I've learned - or perhaps acknowledged - about myself in the last few months.

    Now that I'm more aware of them I'm using some of the less destructive ones as tools to get me through the bad times. Not ideal perhaps; however, it works for me. I've no doubt that you'll learn what works for you too. :)

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  3. {{{orannia}}} - your glass floor metaphor? That is a *damn* good metaphor.

    I remember a time when I felt very much the same about my own foundation - so much so that I didn't really know whether or not *I* existed (which sounds weird, and trust me, it was even weirder to live)

    I'm not sure what's changed, but I know it has, so... there's definitely hope, kechara.

    As for what I've learned about myself? I've learned that I'm not dealing quite so well as I'd hoped with trying to keep everything together. So I'm going to try to see if I can cut my hours at work and give myself a big more time to rebalance/recharge in. Wish me luck?

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  4. Chris - thank you :) The scary thing is, the more I learn the more I realize I don't know about me. And congrats on making progress. And thank you for sharing - it gives me hope :) *hugs*

    Kris - *nods* The control, having everything in it's place, the OCD...I use them all too to make me feel secure. It's like...if I can control what's around me then I don't feel so overwhelmed with everything else. Hmmm - maybe we were separated at birth? *grin* Seriously though, if the less destructive habits get you through the bad times, and allow you to find the right tools then I say all power to you :) We'll get there...just one step at a time :) *hugs*

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  5. (((orannia))) I hate change as well. It's scary to think about how even the smallest things will ripple through your life. I hate adjusting/accommodating things without having the idea marinate in my subconscious for a while.

    I have a pretty good foundation; shaky it may be with my parents and siblings. For the most part, I feel like I must rely only on myself... I don't like asking for help. Nor do I feel like when I ask I get what it is that I'm looking for. I think my sheer force of will not to let myself down gets me through most rough spots. I don't necessarily think of it as a negative though. Self-possession or self-reliance isn't a negative, in my book. Maybe because I have such needy family that I'd rather be me than them.

    I think of my foundation isn't glass, but partly a mirror. I look down and see myself. If I can count on one person only, I know I can rely on myself. Maybe your foundation is partly mirror too... Knowing you have yourself isn't too shabby :)

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  6. Starfire - thank you kechara :) Not quite sure where the metaphor came from...popped out of my mouth completely unexpectedly :) And I'm sorry to hear you're so dealing as well as you've hoped - am here if you need me. (((Starfire)))

    Mariana - you're so amazing. And I love the idea of your foundation being, in part, a mirror. My problem is I don't like me, I don't think I'm good enough. When my back is to the wall I will survive, but...I have nothing to lose at that point. Otherwise... I'd got a long way to go, but...I guess I've come some way already :) *hugs*

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  7. Well, I think you're amazing. I hope that one day you will recognize the you that I see. Surviving is the key... how and why is for hingsight... that you did is the most important.

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  8. (((Mariana))) Thank you. That is one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me :) And surviving is key...but I don't just want to survive, I want to... live :) And to live I guess I have to understand why I am how I am now, so I can change - does that make sense? *hugs*

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  9. This is such a moving post. That I am reading weeks way too late. But it is an important one that I don't want to let go by unacknowledged.

    Like Chris said [I notice that I start a lot of my comments on your blog that way. lol], your self awareness is admirable.

    Your glass floor in a tower metaphor is really great. One thing I thought of as I started reading your post was "Don't look down!" But really... what might be better advice is to say "Don't look down as you climb the stairs... but when you get to a landing, take the time to look down and see where you were... then take a look up to see that you can still climb up... and then go for it!" I think the view from the top is worth it.

    I went through some really difficult times in my teens and mid 20s and it sadly never goes away. I still feel the repercussions of it most days two decades later. And one of the more benign repercussions is my need for approval from loved ones. I don't know if I'll ever "outgrow" that. Is it even imperative that I do? Everyone has flaws... if that's one of mine, oh well. Maybe I'm over simplifying this but if you need reassurances from friends who truly care about you... is that so bad? I know I'd gladly give it to my friends if they needed it. That's part of love.

    Also... I didn't look at myself as a survivor until years after the fact. Maybe someone else even pointed it out to me ... and I looked back and thought that if any of my friends made it through what I did and had the life I have now... I'd be damn proud to know this strong person. This survivor. And I realized, "Hey, that's me." I hope that revelation comes to you someday, too.

    xo

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