This morning on Everyday Joy, they were talking about the movie Avatar. In the chatroom, someone shared that they didn't like the movie. I loved it... It was a big deal for me... I SAW people defend themselves, and I didn't feel like that was bad. I wasn't angry at the people for trying to protect their world.
I shared that in the chatroom... It was such a foreign concept to this person: "Survival instinct will force you to defend yourself."
Nope. Not in my world.
When I was inpatient at CFC, Paul (therapist) liked to give people signs to wear. I willingly wore every sign he gave me, except one. I don't remember exactly what it said, but it had the word "martyr" on it. I refused to wear it. I told him I wasn't a martyr. There were some assignments he gave me that I fought because they weren't what I needed. This was not one of those times. I knew it. I think he knew it, but I flat out refused, so what could he do??
Some might think I didn't want the martyr sign, because being a martyr is bad... That wasn't the case for me. A martyr was the BEST kind of person, but I wasn't one. I was still alive. I had survived, so therefore, I wasn't good enough. (It sounds really crazy to write this now, but I BELIEVED it.)
"Greater love hath no man than to give his life for his friends."
The stories of Joseph, Hyrum, and Christ... If I wanted to be good like them, I couldn't value my own life, so I didn't. (Direct result of not valuing my own life: sitting in an eating disorder treatment center, literally starving to death, and only eating because someone else told me THEY needed me to eat.)
How this played out in my life:
Ex-Husband #1 raped me, and I laid there. I thought his needs were so much more important than my pain, my sadness, my fear. THIS was love for him.
I gave money I didn't have to people who said they needed it.
I worked two jobs, had three callings, went to the temple, listened to friends as they shared their heartaches, reached out to the lonely, and no matter how much I did or gave or tried, it wasn't enough, because I WAS STILL ALIVE.
I stayed with Ex#2, even when he was physically violent. It hurt me, but it was okay, because I LOVED him... and if he needed to kill me, that was what needed to happen. (It never crossed my mind how AWFUL that would have been for him. I was SO confused.)
My cat sat on my lap, flexed her claws in my skin, and I did nothing. It drew blood, I think I felt pain, but I didn't do anything to stop her.
I didn't tell people about the violence in my life, because I didn't want anyone to protect me. I didn't want anyone to get hurt.
I was so ashamed of being alive, I was willing to die slowly by starvation rather than face the guilt and the shame.
Paul eventually changed his terminology. He came up with the phrase "indiscriminate-self-sacrifice". I was willing to sacrifice myself, my wants, my needs, my life for anyone, anything, everything, and everyone.
I'm slowly unlearning all the things I learned. I'm worth protecting. I can feel safe and happy and still be a good person. I don't want to ever harm someone else, AND I will take care of me. I can have needs and wants, and express them, and still be loved. That's what is has always been about, I just wanted to be loved, and I didn't know there was any other way.