Strength. Or lack of it.

Where to from here? This reverberates around my brain often. Which step to take next. Which direction to follow. Which idea to chase down. Which memory to put into perspective. What will be of benefit? What will help me most? What will help my kids most?

I find it difficult to distinguish the “right” way to go with so many things in life. I am fortunate to interact with a number of people who have come from backgrounds of love and relative normalcy, as well as those who have an astonishing depth of wisdom because of their life journey thus far. These are the people who I observe and I put their actions and stories and behaviours in contrast with those of my own and formulate some ideas of what is considered to be normal and rational and balanced behaviour. It can help me a lot when I have days where I am wondering if I am crazy or if it is just one of the voices in my head that has put me down for years and dismissed me as less-than. Those voices that are pervasive and invasive. They whisper steadily, softly, but with enough stridency to be heard above the clamour of everything else going on. Sometimes I am so stuck with the old thought patterns and behaviours that I cannot distinguish if it is me or if that particular day’s situation is the issue. Those are the days when I check in with a friend – my rationality check I call it.

Being of an impatient nature when it comes to assessing myself, I find it difficult to be forgiving of the fact that I have not come further on the road of recovery. That I do not have substantially more answers and have not managed to obtain significantly more clarity. I detest that I still have so many days where I simply have no idea what to do or how to fix things. Because I need to fix things. I need to have a practical application to attend to or apply. Doing and action alleviates feelings that can hurt deeply.

I have a deep-seated need to understand what drives behaviour and why people interact with me in the way that they do. I search their faces and their body language and sift through their words to see if the three things align with each other. Are they lying? Are they telling half truths? Are they hiding something? Is there an attack about to be launched? This in conjunction with a strong instinct as to when something is off, helps me to navigate daily interactions. And when it feels completely off and the words being uttered do not match the other things, I sometimes need a reality check.

There are just also the days where I feel completely eviscerated by life and have no capacity to work out what has gone wrong and why. I have no solutions. I don’t know where to look to find them. I need some help. I ask friends for guidance which sometimes comes and sometimes doesn’t. When it doesn’t, this too is a big learning curve for me, as I have to remember that I have a tendency to leap in to help, to the point of my own debilitation on the energy front and because I have been conditioned that way. I have to remind myself that other people’s self-preservation instincts are stronger and that others tact of asking questions of my questions is deemed by them to be helpful. I think that they mean well – for me to find the answers on my own rather than with their guidance. However, I find this frustrating and unhelpful. I may ask for a lot of pointers, but I never do anything that doesn’t sit right with me. I also don’t usually ask only one person. Then I weigh up what I have been told and decide on my course of action. Sometimes the help that has been offered just serves to highlight what I am not going to do, as it doesn’t gel with me at all. Sometimes it can spark an idea that helps me to find what I think is best. But I have to admit to feeling adrift and alone when responses are not forthcoming, for whatever reason.

And those reasons are legitimate for the other person. I get that. This too is part of the journey. Remembering that not everything revolves around me. I take responsibility for a lot of situations that are not my responsibility alone or at all on occasion. I make myself responsible for relationships and work scenarios and my children’s problems and family issues and a host of other things. So being responsible for all of this makes it akin to having the world revolve around you. And at times I need to pull myself up by the bootstraps and acknowledge that other people have lives and jobs and families and problems and exhaustion and more to deal with and are not able to be available for me. I take it personally when they aren’t – along the lines of did I offend them in some way? Do they no longer like me? Have I maligned them or hurt them or angered them? Instead of just recognising that they have a life that they need to live too.

I worry often and at length about consuming too much of other people’s energy and that I bore them with the same stuff over and over again. I worry about not being able to maintain a person’s interest as I don’t have extensive general knowledge. I cannot converse on a wide range of topics. I feel completely myopic in some company. I feel less-than. I sit and wonder if other people worry about this or just listen and learn or just switch off and don’t care. I worry that I have not done enough with my life – that I have just coasted through so much of it that I have not learnt much along the way.

I look at how other people transition through the stages of parenting and have a partner willing and able to participate in this; how having supportive and helpful parents of their own helps these folk to be so much more for their own offspring. I wonder what it is like to have someone that you can just call for babysitting duties at the drop of a hat. Someone who is interested in your kids lives and wants to be a part of it all. My children do not have grandparents like that. I envy it when I hear friends say that they will just call their dad to give a hand or their mom to cover them whilst they have a haircut. It surely must provide a certainty and strength to everyday life when someone has your back.

There are many days when I detest the fact that in the process of escaping a narcissistic husband and a narcissistic mother, it has left my hopes of a “normal” life in tatters. The one where I call my mom several times a week for chats and pieces of wisdom. The hopes of a loving and supportive partner who helps when the chips are down and things are spiralling out of control. I don’t always have the energy to be strong and independent. Strong people need a cushion too. They also need love and hugs and kindness and some advice and cocooning. There are the days that I yearn for this so desperately. I fear to say it aloud though. That would show weakness.

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