Flashforward, Flashback

Last Friday morning after a night of restless sleep and oddly detailed dreams I shot up out of bed at 6:30am on the nose in a panic for no immediately obvious reason. I sat there for a minute getting my bearings; then reached for my phone, feeling like I had missed a call or something important.

What I found randomly scrolling through all of my social media, was that Friday noted the three year anniversary of a retraumitization event. A conversation via text which set me off into a panic attack that lasted several weeks, and the first time I realized I had fallen prey to yet another manipulative, emotional abuser. 

I could sit around and mope about it like I usually do, taking the time to write out a sad, empathetic post from a place of understanding for the others involved in the event. I could do that, but this time? Nope. I’m angry. I’m angry that I was doing really well after my meds leveled out, finally getting my motivation back, and finally getting things in order when out of nowhere I’m sidelined by this flashback and memories of an event that was entirely avoidable. There was zero reason to contact me, involving me in that event at all, aside from toying with my emotions and attempting to get information out of me. Pro tip: Any conversation that begins with “I hope this doesn’t trigger you, but…” is most definitely a triggering conversation so STOP. It’s kind of like the “I’m not trying to offend you, but *insert offensive comment here*” Obviously if you felt the need to introduce the conversation that way, you’ve already thought about the fact that it’s triggering so just don’t. It did trigger me, and it was a problem. 

I’m angry that I fell for it, AGAIN. That I let someone else take advantage of my kindness and compassion AGAIN when they probably never deserved it in the first place. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, instead of trusting my gut instincts which immediately told me to run away as fast as my legs could carry me. AGAIN. This has been a broken record pattern in my life for far too long.  

I’ve always been a firm believer in the philosophy that everyone is generally good, but is often a victim of circumstance or environment leading to bad choices and by providing them with a stable, loving, nurturing environment the bad habits would fall away and the good would eventually shine through. I’ve only recently accepted that in some situations, that is simply not the case. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. The same is true for people who have become so comfortable being the “bad guys” for whatever reason, or circumstance that providing them with an alternative is so foreign and scary they run the opposite direction.

There are also people who leech off of the kindness of others for their own personal gain, never giving a second thought to the damage they’re causing. Much like the first group: you can show them the alternatives to their behaviors and they will never accept it, unable and unwilling to recognize their own faults. No matter how many chances you give them, it won’t happen.

I’ve cried heartbroken tears too many times for the first group, and I’ve been taken advantage of one too many times by the second group. I’ve finally found my anger about it all. I’m not going to play the devil’s advocate for them anymore. The damage they’ve caused in my life fucking hurts, and I’m angry. More so at the second group than the first. Members of the second group are the reason I have my PTSD in the first place. If it weren’t for those type of people in my life I wouldn’t be having flashbacks of anything at all!

I probably never would have gotten involved with anyone from the first group, and I’d be social and “normal”. I wouldn’t have this constant burden hanging over my head, and the suffocating depression that comes with vivid memories that I don’t want anymore, but I can’t erase. It makes me angry, and I really just want to stand on the top of a mountain screaming each of their names with a giant fuck you at the end. I can’t get to an actual mountain right now, so this will have to do.

It feels good to acknowledge the pain and my frustration. I’ve been so busy trying to shield others from the affects of their poor behaviors under the guise of forgiveness that I’ve been neglecting my own emotional health in the process, denying and attempting to repress a lot of my feelings. 

Which isn’t to say that I don’t forgive them, because I do. I’ve just been misinterpreting how to express it. Forgiveness is really about yourself much more than it’s about the other person. Letting go of the negative emotional energy and moving forward. I’ve always thought that in order to forgive someone it meant making excuses for them and setting my own hurt on the sidelines to allow for them to heal, and I’ve caused myself great amounts of grief because of that philosophy. 

I’ve also learned that hatred is not synonymous with anger. Anger is a healthy, natural emotional reaction. Hatred is toxic. So yeah, I’m angry. I want to stand on mountain tops yelling my frustrations at the top of my lungs, but I’m not dwelling in hatred, wishing any ill will towards my abusers. The anger will fade, (it really already has as I’ve typed this out) and eventually I’ll forget about it all together instead of getting dragged back into it by my subconscious.

Eventually… but right now I need my mountain top of healthy anger.