(Lots of images from the original Carrie. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s pictures of a woman covered in blood. Here’s a nice one non bloody one from the remake which I still need to watch.)
This section is a hard one. I talked about the myth of Revenge in my rage post.
Basically, it’s all the stories and things you believe to be true, but are forms of social and cultural conditioning. I don’t have the sheet in front of me so I’ll paraphase a few. Oh, the sentences in the original were also awkward and often examples of black and white reasoning. I often asked the sheet, “what’s the context?” The point of the exercise is to challenge these myths.
1. “I can only ask for something if I know the person will say yes. A no will kill me.”
I do this. I hate asking for help, I’ve gotten much better at it and I find I’m good at asking the people of GT for help, but in real life, I really suck at it. I often set it up, so I will get a yes. The no won’t kill me, but it will make it so I will never ask again.
For this one I wrote
“You can’t know what they are going to say and they are allowed to say no, just as I am allowed to say no.”
2. “Asking for help is a sign of weakness.”
This idea was ingrained in my head since I popped into existence. I had a really hard time admitting I need help and that didn’t make me weak. We talked about it briefly in group and I almost cried and said “Well asking for help gets you made fun of.” Which for me is true.
If I struggled with something, my Dad would insult me when he showed me how to operate any tool. He wouldn’t teach, it was mostly time for him to point out I was stupid and this was easy. In his world, I should be able to do something because I have seen the object. I fail a lot in his world. I also get made fun of for reading the instructions.
Teachers would ask say things like “I don’t understand why you can’t get this!” I didn’t learn how to read very well until grade 4. I faked it up until then. I could read a few words, but not a whole novel. I got this wonderful and very young teacher who didn’t judge me, she didn’t even say “you can’t read!” She gave me a book and told me that she thought I’d really like it and that it was special. Which seems like nothing, but for a child with zero self confidence it was everything. So I tried really hard and I still remember that book and her name. It’s called Pinballs. Eventually, I became one of the best readers in the school. When I did my undergrad, I was so surprised that professors thought I was smart. I wanted to say “Don’t you know that I’m stupid?” Grad school was the opposite undergrad, but who has a positive grad school experience? Unicorns I assume.
Doctors have laughed at me for asking or describing symptoms. I thought I was suppose be upfront with doctors, apparently that’s bullshit. Confidentially it also bullshit. So is dignity and respect. I didn’t need you to hold my hand, I needed you to be respectful. So I don’t ask and I won’t tell. I don’t go to the doctor. I’d honestly rather die (that’s also the PTSD talking). I wished I could preform surgery on myself because I was lied and ridiculed to so many times. I actually built a game so I could do my own imaginary surgery. It apparently creeps the fuck out of people, but made me feel like I had control over the memory of having no control over my body.
I’d rather do it myself, than open myself up to these kinds of interactions because people can be awful. They are often awful at the most inappropriate and vulnerable moment because they are assholes. Yes, oversimplifying, but as a adjunct, I’d never stay to a struggling student “I don’t understand why you can’t get this!!” As a decent robot, I’d never roll my eyes and laugh a human telling me she bleeds over 1000mL, most of it in a single day.
While it’s a ‘myth’, there is a lot of evidence in my experience to prove it’s truth. It means it’s a really hard ‘myth’ to get rid of because how do you re-wire years of painful memories? Do I just write it off as “Yup, people are assholes, but that doesn’t mean you give up on everyone.” It’s so much easier to just give up on everyone. It’s less painful. Productive? No. Protective? Yes.
As I said, I’m better at asking people online. I often ask GT for help or advice when I never do the same in the real world. Oddly, the online interaction has never failed me in the way that face to face interaction has failed.
I wrote down. “It is occasionally necessary to ask for help, and it isn’t a weakness but a strength to know when you need it.” It’s less cringe worthy then the first time I approach this challenge. I think I’ve written an alternative that I can accept... eventually.
Not all the myths were difficult for me. All the ones involving human interaction and relying on humans, those ones were hard.
Ones like these were easy:
e.g 3. “Only wimps have values.”
Um no, strong people have values. People who don’t have values are awful.
4. Everyone lies!
Of course they do, because everyone has a reason to lie. It doesn’t make it bad.
5. I don’t believe I deserve things.
Of course I do, because I work really damn hard. Now if you changed that to ‘love’ I may have struggled with that, but I think my self love is getting higher so I might be able to accept love, I just don’t want it right now. I need to be with me.
6. People who assert themselves are selfish!
Depends how they are asserting themselves. If they have no consideration or others or aren’t willing to make a reasonable compromise to satisfy all parties, then yes they are selfish in a negative manner. It all depends on the situation. However, if you asked me this 4 months ago. I would have agreed, because I thought self care was selfish and putting the needs of others ahead of my needs was more important. I don’t believe that anymore, because I am important too.
Needless to say, I struggled with this exercise. This whole unit is Interpersonal skills and it’s said to be the hardness in DBT.