(Mental not Physical injury)
Admittedly, I haven’t been putting as much effort in the group part as I once was. I still do my homework, but I’m a little more restrained. I decided to conduct a test to prove hypothesis I had.
Essentially what I have been doing is feeding a person information about myself (stuff that doesn’t make me vulnerable, but seems damaging. Of course sometimes I screw up and I’m actually hurt) and seeing what they do with it.
And they’ve done exactly what I thought they would do. They use it to provoke me. They openly admit they enjoy attacking other people.
I say I feel weak, when they talk about weakness they always gesture to me. I say I don’t like people commenting on my looks, next week they tell me how exhausted I look, which they have never said anything to me about how I look. I mention my insecurities about working, they gesture and look at me when talking about bad workers in my industry. Or they use me as a specific example for a critique of usually PTSD or medical related stuff (I stop listening, because usually along the lines of “Look I am handling this way better than Not bad, see how you failed?” and that’s not helpful.) And the list goes on.
I get it. I’ve dated a lot of super insecure people and that’s what they do to get control over you. They need to cut you slightly to make themselves feel better. They don’t always think about it, it’s just a reaction and seems totally normal to them. A lot of it is about them, and deflecting their own stuff. Put someone else down so no one else notices how they feel weak, bad, etc. Part of it is displaced rage, you can’t get angry at a memory or an institution so take it out on a person who represents that class, memory or institution that has harmed you. Here I am, a robot that represents those struggles in a physical form.
Sometimes I get over it. I leave, take a deep breath, and think to myself, that’s their stuff, they are just trying to get under your skin. Having you angry at them is what they want. They want power over you. They need you to attack them or to be hurt by them to feel better, so don’t give them the pleasure. Other times, it just washes over me and I immediately let it go, because I’m a bit more sure of myself and I know what they are saying is not who I am. And a couple times, I leave disturbed and unsettled by what they have done. They got under my skin. I have to work to go through it. It usually starts with me writing out “You not a bad robot.” and I’ve finally got to the point where I lift the pen and write “I am not a bad robot” and have it feel true.
Of course it’s never “Not bad you are a terrible person.” it’s usually “People who have been through the same thing or worked in the same profession as Not bad are terrible people for X and Y reasons.” with several glances, gestures and references to me or my story.
They space it out over an hour, or a week, so everyone else had forgotten what was said and so it doesn’t look like an attack. I know this, because this what all the passive aggressive emotional bullies have done. They save the information to be used ammunition to be used against you later. They try to avoid the critical hits, because you might react and that will show that what they are doing is wrong. When you do react they usually over compensation by crying, or pleading they didn’t mean it, they weren’t thinking, you are reading into what they are saying, so you look like the asshole and they just have no idea what they are doing. Instead they make hundreds of small cuts with the razor you gave them, so they never get caught and people jump into defend them because it’s just a tiny cut and you shouldn’t scream for a tiny cut. They didn’t have the benefits you had. You, Not bad, are the responsible adult, give them a break and stop over reacting. But tiny cuts will bleed you to death.
Maybe I am jumping to that conclusion because of my experience, but if it quacks, it’s probably a duck.
There are times when I get so angry the little aggressions towards me, and they go on about how don’t need X and Y and I want to say “Oh but you do, and that’s why you mention it all the time.” But I don’t, because it’s up to them to realize that and it would be cruel for me to say it, and they would deny it. I try to be kind (it’s not fake, because I mean it. I don’t say anything if I don’t mean it). They are very bite-y, so I can understand why it would be hard not to retaliate against someone that verbally punches you in the face or makes tiny cuts in your mental skin.
There’s always this chorus in my head that tells me that I need to be understanding. That they are having a hard time, and I need to be kind. That it’s okay for them to behave this way because they don’t know how to do otherwise. That I’m too sensitive that it bothers me. That I need to put myself in their shoes. That I am better, therefore need to take that crap so they can heal. Like the wife in the movies that won’t leave the abusive husband because they have to heal them. That they are more angry than me, so it’s okay for them to say shitty things. But it’s not okay. I’ve suffered a lot for people’s insecurities and this desire to be compassionate and understanding, but I don’t deserve that. I don’t think they go out of their way to say shit, it’s not planned. I really think they don’t know how to do anything else. But I’m also a patient, not a therapist, so it’s not my responsibility to take on their feelings.
It’s hard. I waited a long time to get treatment. It’s not like any of my jobs were I can file a complaint, which as a bonus story, I did file a complaint at one of my jobs and my workplace got better. There’s a risk in doing group work. I can see they need to be there, probably more than I since I going to be done in a few months. The question becomes, I can I let this wash over me? Or is this going to ultimately hurt my progress? How much of it can I leave in that room? Am I following the old pattern? How do I handle this?
I hope they get the change I got. That they feel more secure in their self and compassionate towards their self. I try to be encouraging and kind even when they bite me. If I leave, I worry that they’ll pick another person to do the same thing too. I’d rather it was me that I was hurt than someone else, because I can take the pain. It’s stupid, but it’s the kind of suffering I know, so I fall into that pattern. I’ve always set up the bully to attack me. I worry that maybe I’m wrong, but I know I’m not.
At least the group leaders have noticed and brought up their concern, because they’ve caught me welling up or going red. We’ll have to talk about it again, because it’s probably not a good thing that I am taking it and offering kindness because that’s my pattern. At least this week when they talk to me I can say “They do the same shit my ex use to do to me. I don’t hate them. I understand they are hurting, but what they are doing is not okay.”