Paranoia

being lost

If you read my post “Running Away”, you know that I was sure that I had deeply hurt a blogger friend. I took nonverbal cues and ran with them only to find that my friend was just busy and having device difficulty. They were very kind when they realized what was going on with me. The very first comment they ever made to me was that I was welcome to make any comment on their site and this was reiterated. They assured me that if they had a concern, they would ask for clarification. I am sharing this with you as a follow up to my post “Running Away”.

So why did I jump to such a conclusion? Because I have a strong tendency to be paranoid and it has caused negativity in my life. I believe that this paranoia could also be a tendency to want control over others’ feelings and opinions of me. I can remember the first time I realized as a twenty-something that not everyone was going to like me. A friend and co-worker said to me, “Well, she doesn’t like you either.” I was so totally shocked but I think it was meant as a wake-up call.

The problem has been in acceptance as I still try to control what others think of me. In Ala-non, we have a saying that goes, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Yes, it is a hard one to understand and it has taken me a long time. To me, it is about control and keeping the focus on myself. Additionally, if I am focusing on what others think of me, I am not giving myself permission to be who and what I am.

I most often feel as if I have to make explanations for what I do or say. Does it work? No, most often it just makes me appear defensive (which I am) and annoys and/or embarrasses the other person. While it may make me feel justified, it is just another example of making excuses.

I have been taught by Ala-non to make amends when I do someone a disservice. My amends would mean more if I just simply apologized without explanation or excuses. When I make explanations or excuses, it pretty much negates the amends.

My paranoia goes along with my need to know and control everything that goes on around me in order to feel safe. I also grew up with a “what will people think” mother who was the “poor relation” growing up. Just another example of how traits get passed down. Having lived this way all my life, it is difficult but not impossible to change. It takes not allowing myself to obsess on remarks and actions of others but instead to talk things out or ask questions, learn from my mistakes and move on.

Running Away

When I hurt someone, I have difficulty coming to terms with it. How do I handle it? I run away. I think that I need to protect that person from me. I have been doing this over and over again for the past 20 years.

My intention to stop blogging was due to my feeling sure that I had hurt a friend blogger deeply with a comment. I reached out to them and haven’t heard back. Why am I telling you this? Because having done a lot of deep introspection, I have come to believe that the child in me runs away but the adult needs to face up to her transgressions. This isn’t the first time that I believe I have hurt a fellow blogger. Fortunately, I have been able to make immediate amends yet this goes very deep for both of us because we make ourselves vulnerable in our blogging.

So what is the answer? I can hope that my friend will eventually be able to confront me. Regardless, I think I need to do as I have had to do in the past and hold my head up and keep putting one foot in front of the other until the child in me can forgive herself.

To my other fellow bloggers, please know that though it has never been my intention to hurt or offend, I may have. Please understand that it is never my intention to hurt anyone. I am a compassionate person with a quick Irish temper who is very opinionated because I am a deep thinker. My take on situations is often very hard to understand but know that I have taken apart every situation and analyzed it to death. I have to look at all sides because that is my nature. I try to be fair in my assessments and have a tendency to be overly honest.

That being said, I try to help when help hasn’t been asked for. Reaching out is not always a bad thing but as I have stated before, ask first if help is desired. When I started blogging, I had no idea what direction it would take, it just happens. It has been a good tool for me to come to terms with my past. I do want to spend more time educating myself and going in a different direction with my writing. Therefore, I will be cutting back on my blogging. I will also be refraining from comments in order to take away the gifts offered in your posts without making it about me. Yes, it will be difficult for me but I have to pull up my big girl panties and learn to be courteous in my blogging.

Yes, I do know that there are bloggers who have gained from my writing as I have gained from theirs which is why I am returning to my blog. I hope you will understand.

😍

WHAT I WOULD DO

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The are my responses to questions posed in my previous post “What would you do if”:

You and your best friend’s boyfriend, who you were interested in at the same time they got together, almost had drunk sex but you couldn’t go through with it because your conscience kicked in. Would you tell her?

I have to admit that this actually happened to me. While I am ashamed of what almost happened, I pat myself on the back to waking up to what was happening and stopping it. I suffered my guilt in silence until it appeared that she was going to find out a year later. Her boyfriend kept dropping hints to her in order to keep me from giving her my opinion of his behaviors. She started asking me questions that made it obvious that she suspected something had happened. I was not going to be blackmailed and was tired of living with the secret. I furnished her with the details and allowed her to tell me how she felt, feeling a sense of relief.  I told her that I was prepared for her to end our friendship and she would be justified. I further told her she needed to know that I was done with beating myself up over it so to take that into consideration. I told her that I had lived with the guilt for a year and I had to set myself free. Surprisingly, she was not willing to give up our friendship but life happened and we eventually lost touch. At some point, we have to take care of ourselves letting others make their own decisions about what is best for them.

The daughter of someone close to you is pregnant and both sets of parents know. The daughter let you know that she is planning to have an abortion and you know that her parents would be very upset. Then she decides not to go through with it, would you tell her parents?

This too was my experience. I am not a disbeliever in abortion and the daughter who was 17 was aware of my beliefs so she asked if she could stay at my house after the procedure rather than sleep in her car. I agreed because she had made the decision and I believed that no one should be forced to do anything against their will. I certainly didn’t want her sleeping in her car or his. Mind you, this child was very close to me. She grew up in a Christian home and was strong in her faith but miserable and felt afraid and alone. Her parents wanted her to give up the baby for adoption and she didn’t think she could do it. She eventually decided to put the baby up for adoption because that was what her parents wanted and her boyfriend was not prepared for fatherhood. She said she couldn’t discuss the situation further with her mother because her mother was determined. Her mother was obviously overwhelmed and not understanding that she was pushing her own agenda based on her fears. I told her that she needed to talk to her daughter because she was in need of a mother’s support. The mother was angry with me for participating in the secret and supporting the possibility of an abortion. She was, however, also grateful  for opening the gate to communication between them. In the end, the daughter did not give her baby up for adoption. She and the baby’s father married, both got an education and are successful in their fields with the help of their parents. They have had 3 more children and are most wonderful parents. It is wonderful to see how both sets of parents work together to help the couple succeed and are a huge presence in their grandchildrens’ lives. It is truly a success story and I take no credit. I think I should have handled it differently by going to the mother right away. I’m pretty sure that I was motivated by my own beliefs and not being considerate of the mother’s beliefs. This situation did make me take another look at my position on abortion but having heard and read so much about abandoned, abused, neglected or murdered children encourages me to remain steadfast in my belief.

One of your parents was cheating on the other and wanted you to meet the man/woman, what would you do?

Another true situation for me. To this day, I shudder to think about it. My mother was visiting me and I confronted her about the affair. She admitted it and asked if I wanted to meet him and I told her I didn’t. I did not tell my father because their marriage was none of my business and I knew he wasn’t blind. This kind of thing had been going on for as long as I could remember. He later had an affair of his own when he went through the middle age crazies. When it was sorted out, they got it together and spent the rest of his life together embracing their marriage. I have gone to friend’s husbands or boyfriends and let them know what I had heard and strongly encourage them to talk about it with their wives/girlfriends. I have never had to do the telling, thank goodness.

Euthanasia were legal, would you give a loved one your blessing to end their life if you knew they were suffering and would never get better?

I would definitely give my blessing. I am a firm believer in Euthanasia and while I don’t believe I would assist, I would support someone else’ right to decide. I don’t like it when the lines are blurred between suicide and euthanasia. People who commit suicide mostly are in emotional pain and can turn their lives around with much love, support and education though it is admittedly a challenge. People who qualify for euthanasia have no other option.

You were giving birth and had a choice between your life or your baby’s, what would you choose?

While I think that the popular answer to this question would be to choose the baby because they have their whole life ahead of them, I most likely would choose myself because the baby hasn’t yet built a life as I have. The choice to die would not only affect me but would affect everyone who shares my life. There is no way I could justify this choice to anyone who might judge me. I will just say “never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.”

You knew your teen daughter had sex once, would you put her on the pill?

This is really tough for parents. You want to believe them when they say that they won’t do it again until they are old enough to take all the responsibility and consequences that can go with having sex. All too often they will tell you what you want to hear because they don’t want you to be disappointed in them or to lose your respect. But after the first time, it gets easier for them to do it again. I knew someone who’s daughter was having sex and suggested that her mother put her on the pill. The  friend insisted that her daughter had taken an oath of purity and would never have sex. Yep, pregnant. The mother had assured me when we were in our teens that though she had sex once, she wouldn’t do it again. I helped the friend to get on the pill because I knew it would happen again.

Here is what I did with our daughters: First I talked to them about masturbation and told them that it is o.k. and what they did in the privacy of their room was their business so they didn’t have to get sex from a guy. They already knew about STD’s and Pregnancy so I focused on losing the carefree side of their relationships. I told them that once they had sex, the focus of the relationship would become sex rather than fun dates as their dates would become focused on sex. I explained the responsibilities and possible consequences that come with having sex. They both had problems with their menstrual cycle anyway so it was a no-brainer that I put them on the pill. It was a difficult decision but I had to trust my instincts.

You knew your teen son was having sex, would you buy him condoms?

Definitely, many parents are providing condoms even if they don’t know their son is having sex. They would rather their son’s be safe than sorry. But this was between my husband and son and I never asked.

Your teen daughter confided in you that she was a lesbian, would you allow her to have sleepovers?

While I would allow her to socialize with anyone in our home, the same rules that apply for boys would apply for girls, so no sleepovers and the doors remain open. Accepting gays and lesbians as we do straights, we have to treat them the same as we would straight. Rules are rules. If we won’t allow sex in our home with guys, why would we with girls? The argument can be made that they wouldn’t necessarily have sex with every girl and to that I say that they wouldn’t necessarily have sex with every boy either, but I still didn’t allow boys to spend the night. I would love my daughter or son regardless of what their sexuality  but I would still have to teach him/her to respect sex. My mother told me she didn’t necessarily expect me to be a virgin when I married but she expected me to respect sex and I passed that on to my daughters.

As has been said, we don’t know what we would do in these situations until they occur. Circumstances will be different, the people involved will be different and as we grow, we grow into different beliefs. We can never really be prepared for any of these emotional type events and they often come as a shock, therefore, we may react rather than act. Exploring our hearts and minds can give us at least a 50/50 chance of making the right decisions for us and those involved.

On Blogging 👏

I am new to blogging and what my opinion about blogging is this: “Is this heaven?”.

O.K. a bit over the top but I just want to say that I am feeling more at peace since I started. Blogging gives me an outlet for giving my opinion and sharing my strength, hope and experience. I find that my family is not so interested in what I have to say or suggestions I might offer. At first, my feelings were hurt that they don’t follow my blogs or even bother to read one from time to time but now I am beginning to think that’s not a bad thing. If they don’t read my blogs, I can be open and honest and share my true feelings.

Through blogging, I find that I am developing friendships with people that I have never and will never meet in person. Does it matter that I will never see their faces? No, because I know them in a way that I do not know people whose faces I see or have seen. I know how they feel about what they feel about. I know about their experiences and what those experiences meant or mean to them. I know of their physical and mental pain. I know about their humor. I even know some of their faces. Is that enough to form a friendship? You bet.

Blogging is a great outlet for my anxiety. Instead of talk, talk, talking, I can write, write, write and people can choose to read it or not. I am finding acceptance though doing what I love, writing. Each person who accepts me based on my blogs or comments  does so for their own personal reasons. They read a word or thought that speaks to them and for that I am grateful. When reading blogs, I might laugh, nod my head in agreement, get teary, smile or be amazed and it all gives me peace. Your words are like a balm to my soul.

So thanks to every one of you, those I have read and those I have yet to read.

Go in Peace.

Patricia