My castle had been under siege
for ten years.
fighting on the ramparts,
and raging enemy fires
had all caused it,
to become –
AN UNINHABITABLE DWELLING!!
What had been a fairly
to live in when I met
had, under his
ended up –
I was open to
Rain fell in,
wind blew through,
there was no
from the cold, and
little shelter from the heat.
I WAS VULNERABLE!
Before the bombardment
I had been outgoing –
at ease in company.
NOW I shivered
and was TIMID with
and even family.
and feared –
I WAS VULNERABLE!
How could I
REBUILD my walls?
RE-TILE my roof?
A SAFE PLACE
to live in once more?
How could I again
A HABITABLE DWELLING?
When I, and my two-year old son, escaped my husband, we left America and came to live in England where I was born and raised.
Most days I would spend some time walking through the countryside, my son in his push- chair, talking out loud to myself (to the amusement of many a grazing cow!)
I was speaking out my search for clarity, trying to make sense of my vulnerability, figuring out the mechanics of re-gaining my sense of identity, so that I could find some way of building myself up again.
I knew it wouldn’t happen over night, but I had to start somewhere!
My first little breakthrough came on one of these walks.
I realised that in order to feel comfortable in social situations again I had to –
“SHIFT THE FOCUS”
The “ruined” me, the vulnerable me, was anxious at social events.
I did not enjoy them.
I was too busy wondering what impression I WAS MAKING or whether others were FINDING ME INTERESTING, wondering whether or not -THEY LIKED ME!
I was filled with anxiety.
I would leave a party or dinner and analyse MY PERFORMANCE.
“Damn! Why did I say that?”
“Good grief I sounded boring”
“Well, I won’t get asked back!”
THIS WAS NOT SERVING ME WELL!
So I made the decision to practice “shifting the focus”.
I made myself a little mantra I could use to remind myself –
“THINK LESS ABOUT IMPRESSING
AND MORE ABOUT BLESSING!”
Cheesy – I know.
But it helped me remember to –
• Focus on the person/people I am talking to
• Really listen to what he/she/they are saying.
• Let them know by words and body language that I’m interested in THEM.
• Ask them questions.
• Put them at ease.
• After the event DO NOT analyse WHAT THEY MIGHT THINK OF ME.
• Focus, instead, on WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY AND WHAT I THOUGHT OF THEM.
It took time and practice.
I didn’t always get it right.
But gradually I began to enjoy the company of other people again as I re-learnt the freedom of unselfconsciousness.
And because I made others feel good about them-selves – they enjoyed my company and invited me out again.
This began to improve my self-esteem
and, in turn, enabled me to dare be a bit more my REAL self.
And so I began again to establish my sense of identity
Little by little bricks got added to my walls,
some roof tiles went on,
a broken window got replaced.
This is only my story, my experience.
I realise that everyone has his or her own unique story to tell.
Has an unhealthy relationship left you feeling vulnerable?
How have you found a way of building yourself up again?
Maybe you are only just leaving a bad relationship and feeling quite lost.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.