“You could wear your heart on your sleeve and people still wouldn’t believe what they see because they are accustomed to being deceived.” Trying to heal from trauma and learning yourself outside of trauma is a very difficult and delicate thing. You question the things you do or say to other people as well as question the words and actions of other people towards you. All this in hopes of becoming the best version of yourself. The thing is how do you determine if it is you or if it is them that are exhibiting signs of trauma response during interactions with other people?
There is only one simple answer. Know thyself. Although a simple answer it is far from a simple concept. One of my favorite movies as a child was “The Neverending Story” they packed so much philosophy in that movie which makes me want to watch it til this day. Anyway in the movie the hero of the story is going through a series of tests to see if he is indeed worthy of saving the day and he has to go through three gates before gaining access to the entity that would tell him how to save the world. He was told previously that it would be the second gate that would be his biggest challenge as that was the magic mirror gate where people had to face their true selves in the mirror but it was also where most people see their biggest fear which is seeing that they are not who they portray themselves to be to the world. Even as a child hearing that I was like “whoa that is some serious stuff there”. As an adult I see how it is so true. When in the process of healing you are unlearning old habits and learning new habits and ways of thinking. You are literally going through a process of transformation so there will be times when you question yourself because your getting to know you all over which also makes you vulnerable to negative people that are unsure of themselves hoping to make you unsure of yourself and your process of healing.
This is where the problems start to occur because as you are relearning yourself there are some things that you know are just innate within your character that you are not going to veer away from while there will be other things you are able to possibly bend or just totally change your mind about. For me this is when it is beneficial to have a mix of the old with the new. As you have started your transformation you should have noticed a change in your circle of family and/or friends even if it is a small change. You have old family and friends that know the old you and the things that have come in and out of your life and they are happy to see you healing so they embrace whatever changes you undergo and keep you grounded by always being real with you. Then there are new friends that don’t know the old you but are getting to know the healing or healed version of you. They are there for the new chapter but really don’t know what your old chapters were like and have no idea about the things you’ve had to protect yourself from or defend yourself for but they appear to be rooting for you in this chapter. Then of course you have the Fairweather friends here today gone tomorrow type people. All these types of friends are important on your journey as they can give you a balance that assist you in understanding where your thinking or mindset is at any point on your journey to your best you. They will help you decipher whether it is “you or them” when those awkward situations arise making you question things.
Basically, the way your friends respond will tell you a lot about not only you but the friendship itself. For instance, recently I have been told a few times that I was being defensive about different things from different people. I then decided to ask an old friend if they felt the same way about how I respond to certain situations to which they enlightened me and said “Well consider the source” explaining that some were saying defensive because they don’t know what I’m like when irritated as they have no historical knowledge while others used defensive in a way that was accusatory to which my response was defensive because what was implied was completely against my character. It was in those times where I was actually irritated at the fact that I realized that some people were only intent to get to know me on a level that suited them because if they really knew me then they would not have perceptions of me that are in no way indicative of my character causing me to feel as though I had to defend myself and if it wasn’t accusatory a friend would understand or at least question my irritation. It was both a new and old friend that gently reminded me of something I said previously “You could wear your heart on your sleeve and people still wouldn’t believe what they see because they are accustomed to being deceived.” For me that was the connection to The Neverending Story because people will project the things they’ve been known to do to others on to poor unsuspecting you. They are too afraid to look in the mirror and see what they have been hiding from everyone else, so they deflect instead of reflect. They already know you are doing the work to heal, and they may not have started or may have just stopped all together because it got too hard. It’s kind of like everyone’s New Years’ resolution is to work out and then comes February and everyone says they’re still working out when really, it’s just you working out and everyone else decided it was too hard, so they take pictures in front of the gym without ever going in.
All I’m saying is make sure you have a good mix of old and new friends and/or family to give you balance because sometimes it’s you but sometimes it’s not. Remember we all have issues some of us are just willing to admit them and actively work on them. Just give those that show they don’t mean you well back all the stuff they are projecting on to you. It’s not yours anyway and if they have created a perception of you that you know is inaccurate consider the source and proceed with caution or don’t proceed at all as they are only invested in you for as long as it suits their needs otherwise they would see you for the person that you are who is working towards becoming the best version of themselves and if anything they should want to know more about your history so they can better understand who you are today and how you got that way but then again you also have to acknowledge that would also mean they would have to reveal more about their history because reciprocation tends to happen in any relationship we value and wish to grow and that may be where the real issue resides. They can’t say it’s all you when you listen and also learn about them.