I have to say it…I have no clue, not even a starting point for understanding where the line is between being a compassionate and understanding person and being a door mat.
I was not allowed boundaries as a kid. Zero. Zilch. Then the most recent abuser had me waiting around for crumbs of attention, like that starving person outside the gate in the bible. (yes, I have plenty of such references – it doesn’t mean I’m going to preach or otherwise tout christianity or any other religion)
Imagine having no life. Imagine that you were only allowed to wait…to fulfill the needs of someone else. Never to ask for anything. Never to insist on your own wants or needs. Seriously…how many of you can imagine that? It seems unreal. Yet, that was my life…for my childhood and for my most recent debacle of a relationship.
It was an humiliating experience to say the least. Now that I’m building my self-respect and dignity, I find I’m missing some essential tools. That line is one of them. As I tried to piece together my thoughts into a coherent sentence, I drew a blank. How do you explain something you know nothing about?
So, the only thing I have to go by are my feelings. I had a friend recently delay making plans together. It wasn’t anything major…just a scheduling thing really…or was it? We talked around the idea of getting together, but when I offered a day to meet, they said they didn’t know and would have to get back to me.
Enter emotional flashback mode. WTF? I didn’t really understand what was happening. I was confused. And when I tried to understand if maybe I was being said door mat, I sincerely hadn’t a clue. I couldn’t figure out how to even start thinking about it because it was such a foreign concept for me.
But…I did know that my feelings were hurt. I’m not saying they were necessarily valid (tho’ all feelings are ultimately valid) in this case, just that my gut was reacting and that is my only measuring stick at present.
What was I feeling? Why was I feeling it? It all came back to the humiliation of being made to wait for others while they decided if they wanted to grace me with their attentions. Well, that was not the best realization to have…and yet, it is.
Yes, it hurts to think how many years of my life I sat waiting…like a dog waiting for a pat on the head or a treat. Only not so dignified. Something had to change.
So, I took my leap of faith. I emailed my friend and rescinded my invitation. I explained the whole evil asshole comparisons and left it at that. Even with all the abandonment issues, I stood my ground as gently as possible, but still I stood.
It’s quite unfathomable to ponder this…to have no way of knowing what is acceptable treatment and what is just normal human behavior. So, research will be done. I’ll try to find the line…somewhere. But I’m proud of myself for taking a stand. I felt bad and I made the decision to not let that go on. Vast improvement, I must say.
I suppose it could be compared to looking at a board with one of those equations written thereon and being told to make the necessary changes to fix it. Um…yeah…not a fucking clue. That’s how this feels and that’s what’s been missing in my life. I can’t speak that language yet, I don’t even know where the equation needs fixing as it’s all gibberish to me. But it’s a start. So, I erase everything on that board and start with what I know…
…in this case, I know I didn’t feel special or wanted. So I decided not to let myself allow a situation that didn’t give me what I need. and maybe that’s all I need to know right now. But believe me when I tell you it’s like the Indiana Jones scene where he takes that leap of faith to save his father (Sean Connery). You can’t see how this is going to work or where to put your feet…you just take that first step and hope for the best.