Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mindfulness Day- 18?- The Lies My Ego Tells Me

So, here we are on Mindfulness day 18, I think it is? I've lost count of what day it is and as I predicted I am too busy to blog often about it.  I'd love to be able to, but life gets in the way.

In these last couple weeks I have noticed something.  It's been there causing trouble this whole time, but I had been unaware of it.  As I am being more compassionate with myself and letting go of perfection thinking I have become aware of some negative thought patterns that were lurking just beneath the surface.  They required my belief to be strong that I was indeed not good at anything and less worthy than others.  They thrived off this mindset.  As I let go of these thoughts that I held as absolute truths these other negative behaviors showed themselves.  These beliefs were that since I held myself in such a negative light and saw this as nothing but the truth, then others do as well.

I approached every sentence, every action and every facial expression from other people to be somewhat malicious.  It was just an assumption that since I thought I was such an awful person others must, as well.  I felt like I was defending myself in every conversation and being on the look out for being the victim.  Something so simple as my husband asking me if I had checked the mail today when he arrived home from work could be interpreted by me as negative.  My thoughts could go something like this:
"What does he mean?" I'd pause and look for any clue that he was irritated or mad in his face.
"I should have checked the mail."
"He probably thinks I'm lazy"
"He's out at work all day and I can't even check the mail."
"I really shouldn't spend so much time _______ or ______-."
"He could probably find someone else that would do better than me."
Then, sometimes (not always) from there I will get defensive, as if he actually said these things. Then, my thoughts go from self loathing to defensiveness. I begin to think things like:
"Well, he doesn't know how hard it is to keep this house up!"
"I'd like to see him find someone who will do it better!"
From here my mood can go to any direction that's negative. I might get angry and resentful and begin to speak to my husband as if he actually said these things.  I might get depressed and whiny, or perhaps go straight for the anorexic route, where I decide I need to restrict my food, because somehow, that will fix this.

It doesn't matter which way I might go with it, because they all end up in a destination of misery.  They all start with my belief that I'm not okay. That I am defective and others know it, too.  Some of this isn't just me being irrational, because I know that as a child growing up in a dysfunctional home where I was always the scapegoat everyone really did believe that I was unworthy. There was a lot of insults and mind games that were hidden in between the lines.  This isn't really just a product of an overactive imagination.  This is the result of years of self preservation.  The issue is, is that the patterns we learn in dysfunctional families only work in that dysfunctional unit.  Everywhere else we apply them, they are a disaster!

This is a major step in freeing myself up from the cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors.  Having this revelation has enabled me to be able to question the authenticity of my assumptions that I previously held as facts, without question.  Now, I can approach life from a different angle and in doing this, get different results. I can choose to view others actions and words through a lens of positivity and kindness, assuming the best of intentions. Of course, this doesn't always mean that others do have good intentions, but I'll let them carry their own hate and negativity around.  I don't want it.  I'd rather keep my head up and move forward, instead of getting stuck in drama of what others think.  There are more important things in life to worry about than if so and so thinks this or that about me and what I'm going to do to show them they're wrong.  My ego doesn't get to call driver's seat anymore. I don't like where it takes me.

A Library Adventure

Yesterday, the boys and I set out to the library.  CJ went to work with Dad,. He was short of help,so she happily filled in.  Kudos to her for stepping up to do hard manual labor out in the heat!  This meant I'd have to brave the library trip that I already promised to Bubby without help.  He even had a certain book in mind: 'Captain Underpants'.  Never mind that it was the same book that he read over and over for most of the school year.

Before going to the library, I needed to stop at the bank.  This was tricky.  I wanted to walk, but wasn't sure about going inside. If I drove, Beans would be securely in his seat as I went through the drive through. Inside could mean a meltdown or me chasing him all over the bank.  Beans is the type of kid that needs one hand on him at all times, or he runs off.  I've been known to pin him with my leg while paying at a check out, but not while writing.  Both buildings are within 2 blocks from my house. I really didn't want to drive, plus all of us could benefit from getting out and walking, so I made the decision to walk. 

As we entered the foyer of the bank Beans let out a loud groan.  He was obviously displeased with my choice of destination.  His loud verbal stims echoed all the way through the big mostly empty room as I made my way to the counter. "AAAHHHH" and "Modom" and "Uhhhhhhh" .  I noticed one teller was on the phone and I was getting anxious that Beans was disturbing her.  I was thinking already that I made a bad decision, but too late now.  We're already here.  Thankfully, there is no line and I'm able to get the transaction going smoothly.  While we wait for the deposit to finish I notice lots of lollipops on the counter and that Bubby has already gotten one.  I always weigh everything by fairness in my head. I don't know if this is the result of my aspie brain, or if it's more about just being a mom.  I want to make sure that I am always being as fair as possible with all of my kids, so when I see Bubby having a lolli, I think Beans should, too. What if it hurts his feelings that his brother got one and he didn't, but he just can't tell me?  Then he has to carry around this resentment forever locked inside about the times his brother and sister got stuff he didn't?  Yes, these are the mile a minute thoughts that plague my brain all day and night.  It's exhausting being me, as much as I over think everything.  I reach up and unwrap a  red sucker for the Beans. I have no idea if he even wants one.  Most times, he doesn't, but this time he reaches for it when I hand it to him.  He takes it to his lips, feels it, and sniffs it.  He taps it with his fingertips, like he does pretty much anything and everything, including every piece of food that he eats.  He tastes it, and looks pleased. 

We get all the finished up and now we're back on our way to the library.  Beans keeps tapping his lollipop with his fingers, causing him to get all sticky.  I start to think I have made a bad decision in giving it to him. We enter our tiny little small town library and head for the kid's section.  Beans seems quite content to sit on the kid's corner on the little loveseat. Bubby immediately notices that there's a young man on the computer playing Minecraft.  He's drawn to him like a magnet and I have to call to him to remind him to get busy looking for his book. I know we could very well be on borrowed time.  Beans may decide at any minute that he doesn't care for the library and wants to leave, causing him to meltdown and run away from me like has happened every other time we have tried to visit.  I try to help Bubby search for the 'Captain Underpants' books, but I don't want to walk too far away from Beans.  If I try to have him follow me, he will get very irritated from being asked to transition away from where he was.  I know that I must keep the transitions to a minimum where Beans is concerned, especially if there is no way for him to understand why we are moving from one place to another.  Bubby asks me to ask the librarian.  I tell him he is going to have to, because I can't leave his brother, so off he goes.  I am proud of his initiative. He knows what to do and who to ask and does so without hesitation.

They finally locate the book and we are on our way to checking out. Except my card is expired. Ugghh.  How long is this going to take?  I wonder. Beans is losing patience by the second and I know that my minutes are numbered at this point.  They get the process going and inform us it will be a few minutes. Bubby has already found his distraction.  In the other corner of the library there is a Nintendo and 2 kids are playing Super Mario on it.  He could probably stay here all day.  Beans loves to watch people play video games, so he finds a seat and is happy to just sit for a few.

When it's time to get the card I get informed that I need to go through a tutorial of how to use it, because now there is new features, including online services.  Beans has transitioned for the last time.  He is angrily tapping on the counter making "Arrrrrrrrr" noises. Meltdown in 3....2..... I rush them through the spiel and rush the boys out the door. I know I have to get Beans home quickly, or I might end up with a boy flailing around on the sidewalk beating his head into the ground.  We are still over  block away from home.  Beans is getting madder and madder with every step we take.  I pick up the pace anxiously moving across main street while trying to not get bitten.  It's hard to hold the hand of someone trying to bite your arm at the same time. I manage and we arrive home, safe and sound.

So, that was our trip to the local library. It was better than subsequent trips, and I think with practice it will get easier.