21 years ago today, I was in intensive care. Concious, and actually, in good shape, just waiting for a transfusion. My daughter – who is also 21 today – had been delivered an hour or two before – and they’d nicked her placenta, and that created quite a serious bleed for me. I apparently lost over a litre of blood.
Probably a good thing I was distracted with the baby girl I’d just had, huh?
21 years on though, I have a beautiful daughter, an amazing son, a good life. A great one in fact. But I still struggling sometimes. and lately, it’s been one of those periods of painful growth.
I’ve got a heart of glass
It’s often said in fact, I’m ‘soft’. I’ll give in easily when people ask me for things, though it’s very much a CPTSD/people pleasing thing. It is in fact why they’ve asked me to write a book about it. People pleasing is a major problem with people with most mental health issues, IMO, but I guess one of the issues I have with people pleasing is when you don’t keep doing it, others turn you into the bully, the villain. In my experience, instead of being thanked for supporting people as far as I have, I’m the ‘bad guy’ because they feel they can’t do what they want to do, but don’t want to acknowledge that they’re getting the help.
And after a while, it leaves you feeling like saying no will leave you with a heart in shards, when they get upset about it and ‘fight back’.
The thing is, I’ve also got a really thick skin too – for criticism at least of my professional work. It’s an odd thing to think about, I guess, but it’s important to bear in mind that people like me – that work with other creatives, and support them as best they can – that give to the community – when they’re criticized for not continuing to do so because their boundaries are really difficult to work with and ensure that things are…stable, safe. And when referring to safe with boundaries, it’s something really important. Because honestly? We don’t handle boundaries well when we people please. And for me at least, it means my heart ‘breaks’ but bounces back of my thick skin, so the only person that really gets hurt…in my experience anyway…is me.
And that’s completely at odds with my ‘gratitude attitude’ (I’ll explain why I hate that one later) and trying to be happy and settled and….good.
I wonder if anyone has any thoughts (kind ones please, I’ve got enough wounds right now, mostly self-inflicted.
Right now, it’s holding course, it’s remembering that this is hard to deal with, that it’s NOT ME if I really need to fix my boundaries.
Kai is a writer, author and avid reader. A mental health advocate, Ludosport athlete and coder. She’s the mother of two young adults, owned by two cats, and lives with her beloved in the Cotswolds.