Are you guilty of……….Self-Sabotage?

Having recently read an article on this subject, I have discovered that my husband and I are very much guilty of self-sabotage. In fact, my husband has raised this in the past knowing that he often deliberately ruins things that are going well in his life because he expects them to fall apart anyway. We are creatures of habit and naturally learn ways of life that aren’t necessarily good for us. We do them anyway because we feel that they protect us and we have grown accustomed to them.

Living with my father and receiving daily insults about my character, programmed me into thinking I was incapable of being loved. When someone showed signs of caring deeper for me, I’d usually push them away. I’d think it was a trick – a trap. A way for them to use me for their benefit. I distanced myself from them until I realised what I was doing and quickly tried to mend it yet by then it was too late. My self-sabotage would earn me a broken relationship with no respect from them or for myself. It would throw me into a vicious cycle where I’d berate myself for my actions only to act them out again as a form of self-preservation. No one else can hurt me if I hurt myself?

Both my husband and I have anxiety issues. I constantly doubt myself. I do not have an ounce of self-belief. It has not always been like this but ongoing stresses have crept in and now I am battling with my anxiety. Writing helps and as long as I have an outlet, I feel okay. I am better with self-sabotage now although some would question whether staying in my marriage in a relationship that’s had so many let downs is not another form of it. I like to think it isn’t.

I am trying to be positive. In every aspect of my life and for someone who is prone to self-sabotage, this is quite a feat. However our daily stresses remain, we feel anxious most of the time, we doubt ourselves, we argue. We are trying but not quite on the road to success.

I guess the first step in overcoming it is recognising it and we have done that. We know what triggers the self-sabotage so can anticipate it before it happens thus sometimes even stopping it. A bit of anxiety is good. We as humans find ways of protecting ourselves and being cautious about things is a part of that. It’s when it takes over your life and stops you taking a chance – you have to break it.

Get perspective.

Get focussed.

Know that good things in your life are happening and they are allowed to happen. They can continue to happen.

Just don’t sabotage it!

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I have O.C.D.

It’s an admission.
One I’ve kept private for many years. It’s appeared on occasion but generally it’s easy to keep it hidden. It’s not your average kind of O.C.D, I do not wash my hands 16 times after using the toilet nor do I have to check repeatedly that I’ve turned the downstairs light off before bed.
Life with my abuser left me with many problems. A lack of self esteem, negativity about my body, lack of ambition, fear of risks are to name a few. I like to think I came out of that terror pretty unscathed, I mean it could have been a lot worse. However mentally, it’s impossible and unimaginable to presume my mind and heart would not be affected in some way.
He left a legacy and I carry the reminder of what he did every day.
I have closure from him. I do not think about him. I do not care to talk about him. Time has done it’s job. I do however know that he’s had a massive impact on who I am now and sadly, I am left piecing myself back together again even two years after his death.
Today I admitted it to myself.
I have O.C.D.
I do not like my things to be moved. I cannot deal with my things being touched without my permission. They just need to be left as they were. It doesn’t bother anyone nor does it cause harm but today my family experienced my O.C.D.
I tried an attempt to explain.
Every day with the abuser was another day of being watched, checked. My room was forever “inspected”. What if it didn’t meet his standards? What if I had not put one thing back in it’s place? Well then I would know about it. He’d go in there when I was out or at work. When he could take his time finding faults.

He’d pick at everything. I’d come home to find my clothes, which had been piled up on my chair, strewn across the floor with a note saying,

“A chair is not a place for clothes”.

Or some shampoo bottles that were nearly empty – stacked on my desk. He’d point out that they should have been thrown away months ago but it was not his “job” to do it.
There were times he moved actual furniture in my room to find dust, to find mistakes. He’d do it through the entire house. He had to find fault.
I hate someone, anyone, moving my things. My personal things.
My counsellor told me that you cannot expect someone to come out of something like that untouched and perfect. O.C.D. is often associated with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I suffered a great trauma with him. He controlled every aspect of my life for sixteen years even down to the way I felt about myself. I needed to get the control back. It is a complete form of control.
He controlled my money, my health, my choice in friends, my relationships, my food, my feelings, my habits, my freedom, my choices, my insecurities.
My family can’t relate.
We have argued today.
They refuse to understand and continues to make light of these issues I have.
I cannot ever be perfect.
I wouldn’t want to be.

The Never-Ending Story.

Nothing to do with the film but everything to do with the story of my life.

A few months ago, I made a conscious decision to stop blogging about past, to focus on the happier things occurring in my life. Blessed with the news of the pregnancy, it seemed like a new start. A chance where I could finally look to the future. My father is no longer a problem physically yet his ever-controlling presence sadly still exists.
I am yet to see a penny of my inheritance as I approach the two year anniversary of his death. To make matters worse as I am still residing with my mother, I still have to endure the daily torture of passing my old abuser’s home every day to work and back.

This is something sadly I have grown accustomed to this past year however it annoys me slightly that the new owners have already moved in and re-decorated, moving forward with their lives and I am stuck waiting, without news, on a chance to move forward with mine.

Surprisingly, that I can deal with.

The real upset is my sister.

I have always said to David, to my friends, that one day soon she would begin to etch herself back into my mother’s life and today we discover she is continuing her journey back to our mum.

It all began last year on Boxing Day when my mother received a card from her. Slowly, over the year, she has found new ways to find an avenue to return. It is never consistent. Instead, every few months she re-appears and toys with her mother’s emotions. An opportunity allowed itself in April. A chance appeared by natural where she could have easily re-entered the family ‘fold’. However, it was her choice to reject that chance when I attempted to call her and inform my only sister that I was pregnant.

She would not allow it. She just would not speak to me and the sweet, innocent news was broken to her by email. Yes, I did not hold back either. I felt at that point, it was within my right to tell her a few home truths about her. Many, many times over many many years have I listened to her tell me my faults and I have always bitten my tongue in reference to her. Mostly out of fear to awaken the beast inside. Her anger has always been terrifying (at times worse than his). However, I am a thirty two year old woman and she is forty for crying out loud. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the reasons why you are so estranged from your family? We NEVER walked away from you.

Many would ask why it bothers me that my sister is back in contact?

Let me make it clear – she is not back in contact with me. Only my mother. Cards on her birthday only. Letters only addressed to her. Did she congratulate me on my good news? No. Has she mentioned the baby when writing to our mother? No. Her intentions are very clear. She wants my mother back only. NOT me.

Well let me make my intentions clear.

I will not go through it again. I will not participate in any mind games. I refuse to be controlled. You may think your trusted strategy will bring you great success again, after all it worked so well with our father. I cannot speak for our mother. I do not know what you intend to use for your advantage this time. Will it be the tried and tested emotional tactic of using the grandchildren? Or perhaps the fact that you’ve suddenly realised you ‘need’ a mother figure in your life again? Just hurry up and make up your mind.

To be honest, if you really wanted to move forward you would not be pushing me aside. Hurt does not even cover it. You abandoned both your parents yet offered your love back to them like nothing had happened. Yet that love has never been offered to me.

Just say it. You wish I’d never come along don’t you?

I look at my friends and people on Facebook sharing photos of their sisters and I’m jealous. After all these years, I’m still jealous.

At least it proves one thing.

I have a heart.

Biting the Hand that Feeds You.

My father often used old phrases to describe the way I “treated” him. He regularly told me this particular saying, accusing me of being ungrateful to the very person who has offered me so much help over the years.

Another favourite of his was Beggars can’t be choosers. To him, I was always the beggar, living beyond my means, having hopes and aspirations and not being thankful for what he gave me. In my eyes, why would I be thankful for the hate he poured over me? Of course I wanted more for myself. However aspirations are not greedy but that is the way my father saw them. When giving birthday and Christmas gifts, my father would say this phrase. Emphasizing that I “must not be so shallow in life” even before I had uttered a word.

It was made very clear to me early on that he believed me to be the Black Sheep of The Family. That had never been a surprise. I always felt apart from them. My father just continued this feeling as I grew into a young woman. He reiterated that I had no identity, that no one wanted me alive, that I was a mistake and should never have been born. He once said that he wished my mother’s previous miscarriage before me hadn’t happened. At least then he’d have a boy and I would never have been born.

I was a Chip Off The Shoulder in reference to my mother. This was another condescending insult from him. He would say this through his frequents moments of belittling. Usually it’d be uttered in the throws of laughter. He laughed at me a lot. I was a big joke to him, he made that very clear.

I spent my time trying to Pull the Wool over his Eyes. I was deceitful, untrustworthy and dangerous. He created me to be the devil. Every move I made had to be questioned. Nothing I did held integrity. He doubted my entire being.

The time’s I dared to answer him back left me Skating on Thin Ice. He would always give me warnings. Warnings that led to the abuse. Rarely would his warning be calm or parental. They were often as bad as the punishment. If I had pushed him to feel even slightly aggravated by me, then I was deserving of the hell he would relay on me.

Occasionally, my father would attempt sarcasm. He always failed miserably as he regularly got confused often mixing up the meanings with the phrases. For example, he would joke that I should not give up my day job if I was ever “kind” to him. It was unbelievable to him that I could be a kind and genuine person and that my intentions were pure. To him, I always had an ulterior motive.

When “deliberately provoking” him, I would be told to let sleeping dogs lie. Obviously it was entirely my fault if the abuser exploded. His cliché of a warning should have been enough to stop me immediately but being the stubborn bull that I was, things were not that easy. He was preparing me with that idiom. Preparing me for hell.

To make a long story short, I try not to use clichés now.

😉

 

Love & authority.

4th November 2010: Phone call 9.30pm, diary entry –

Told me he was too angry to talk to me all week. Told me not to speak when he spoke nor to contradict him (not allowed an opinion). Continued by saying I have tortured him. For thirteen years, since the divorce, I have tortured him. Said I was “different”, “lovely” before the divorce then I suddenly transformed after it. Blames all my behaviour on my mother and my sister saying they “brainwashed” me throughout the divorce. Actually, we barely spoke to each other back then. He was the one doing the brainwashing! Told me he has suffered for thirteen years with my behaviour. Hundreds of episodes like last week.

I’m disrespectful.

“A father’s job is to love and have authority over his daughter,” he said to me with every belief in his absurd and worrying words.

Last week, I had NO right to ask him for respect. It was not my place. I am the child. At twenty eight, I am the child. A daughter cannot demand that. I have no right to want politeness from him let alone ask for it. Told me he cannot “go on like this”.

No Daddy. We can’t.

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
Leonardo da Vinci

Self-indulgent Bullshit.

Luckily on WordPress there are filters. Thankfully – there are filters. Unfortunately, you may attract some haters, people that are looking to make a point, to insult and patronise. People who believe they know what counts as “abuse”, that it is as black and white as being slapped across the face. Well it isn’t. I may have not suffered physical violence. I may not have been slapped across the face. However, unless you yourself has suffered from abuse, you cannot dare to comment on what I have been through. To the rude man who decided to comment on my last post, my life, my past is just that. It is mine. If you do not agree with it then do not read it. I am not playing a victim. I do not want that label. I set out on my own journey last year and I do not have to justify it to you – a total stranger. You clearly have no idea what emotional abuse is.

My photos are only a small element of my past. I am not ungrateful for having a life. Everyone is ‘allowed’ to look back. I do not compare myself to anyone else. I am not belittling other’s abuse nor am I expecting anyone’s sympathy or “pity” as you so kindly say. Other survivors on WordPress have been incredibly supportive. They (having experienced it themselves) understand. They can see through the darkness. YOU however, will remain hidden from the light in your miserable little world, looking for someone to attack and criticise for your own personal gain.

Perhaps you have been abused yourself. I hope not. I do not wish that on anyone.

My photos are a part of my old life. My “basic human right” was to eat, not to have a cooker. Clearly that needed to be spelled out to you. Of course food is a human right and obviously there are many people in this world who cannot access that. I am not comparing myself to them. I am born and bred in the Western world. My life would always have been different to theirs abuse or no abuse.

My father had a history of abuse. He terrorised my mother for thirty years. He was a very generous man, so generous that not only did he emotionally abuse her, he battered her too! The man was clever, he learnt his lessons, he never touched me. How lucky for me (!) You are a weak human being. A troll. You do not know me yet you feel free to, behind your computer shielded from view, manipulate my words and condemn my truth. Good luck on your quest to break someone. You haven’t succeeded here.

Now tell me WordPress readers, from the rudeness of this stranger:

Am I “undermining the voices of the real victims of abuse”?

Oh and cheers for your bright and breezy comment that my life is “self-indulgent bullshit”. You really are a pleasant man.

We appreciate frankness from those who like us. Frankness from others is called insolence.
Andre Maurois

Photo 6 – How am I not dead?

At the end of 2013, I began a photographic story showing the state of the home I lived in with my father. I received many responses to these pictures. Mostly reactions of horror from people I know, who never really knew the extent of the conditions we lived in. They had never been witness to it. My father was very clever at disguising certain parts of the house and his dangerous eccentricities and careless nature were always well hidden. Friends and family were only allowed in the showy and presentable parts of the house. I however, saw the truth every day.

The kitchen was one of the worse rooms. It also happened to be the largest room in the house much to my father’s happiness (he saw it as his domain). Guests who visited always commented on how big it was; he loved that. But what if they had looked closer? Would they have seen the dirty and crumb filled toaster from,

(See My filthy life – Photo 3)

would they have stepped into our adjoining garage and discovered his hoarding obsession?

(See My father the hoarder – Photo 2)

Would they have walked around and seen the state of the cooker? A piece of kitchen equipment that I used every day living at home with my father. An appliance that I could not do without. An essential aid to making my life as normal as possible, something that would bring me sustenance and provide me with a basic human right. But what if that appliance was spoiled, unhygienic, unsanitary and rank? What if you were forced to use a machine that hadn’t been cleaned for ten years? It was another task my father had placed in my list of chores to do. A list that went up to eighty four. A mental list that I never lost count of and never completed. My father refused to help in any way. It was not his job. It was MY fault it got into that state and MY responsibility to resolve the tainted problem. Except it was too much for me. He gained so much enjoyment watching me on my hands and knees scrubbing his precious kitchen. I could not stand the humiliation and fearing the examination of my work after.

Why did I ever let myself live like this?

I mean, how am I not dead?

Image

Dictionary.com

un·san·i·tar·y

[uhn-san-i-ter-ee]  Show IPA

adjective

not sanitary; unhealthy or unhealthful; tending to harbor or spreaddisease: unsanitary living conditions.