Symbiosis: Are the scales ever balanced?

via Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

Am I too cynical? When is symbiosis beneficial to both parties? I haven’t seen this often enough.  There is always some power play. Maybe we could be symbiotic in some equal-ish transfer of different contributions, money, emotional support, intellect, sex….the list goes on. The transfer can be fluid. I suppose if both people absolutely are equal in their need for the other’s contributions  to the relationship, then the symbiosis is copacetic. All good.

But when is it EVER a perfect balance of power? When we are so invested in the others success? Is it because our success depends too heavily on the others?  I wish I could think about all the lovely ecosystems and symbiosis in nature. That would be so cool here in the world of human behavior in relationships. It’s just now where my head goes.  My head goes to dysfunction in the so-called symbiosis of relationships I have seen (not just my own, mind you).

In human relationships (take your pick), when are the scaled perfectly balanced to create a genuine symbiosis?

 

Humility comes free with every break-up

As I realize clearly that my last several weeks of posts about that most recent past relationship were written in an authentic anxious frenzy of nerves, fear, and insecurity, this should come as no shock.

I need to get back on track. I need to return to me. I must clearly identify the triggers that sent me into an indeterminate tail spin born from red flags BEFORE the tail does, in fact, go spinning. I realize  my  mounting intensity in the last year has sabotaged me from different opportunities, different  paths. I would say that’s all fine and that’s just “who I am”. Except that it is NOT who I am. Not.At.All. At least it’s not the best version of myself. I’d like me back, thank you very much.  I think we all deserve to become a better version of ourselves. Am I right?!  It is truly the hardest battle. I think I survived the atrocities and Hell from 6 years ago on adrenaline and fumes. That was hard, but not impossible.

Now, I recovered from that Hell all proud and full of newly found and well counseled strength. I didn’t need to worry about my past anymore. I deserved to move on, right? Problem is, I left the future in the rear view mirror. I left it lying in the dust. I gave that horrid history  a kick in the ass. I gave that road to Hell no respect. Then the Ego returned. Even after a plague fell on my heart and I thought I would remain humble for an eternity.

I realize I am a strong person, with some definite unplanned imperfections. I need to be far more honest   (maybe even excruciatingly brutal)  with myself to minimize the needless suffering I endured the last few weeks. When a friend used this term after she read a blog post of mine, I thought it was harsh. It wasn’t. It was actually said with love and within minutes I could see that. I need to take action. Now.

 

So have you experienced humility that was temporary, but you thought it would last you a life time? Years later, you forgot your struggle. You didn’t stay true to who you are?

 

When I first started my blog, I posted this pair of jeans; you all told me to keep them. I did. I should have looked at them more frequently. They are a reminder of that humility:Blue Jeansimg_0516

Tell me about it. I want to know.

Thank you!

 

The Long Term Bullying Effect?

I am  pondering more on how  and why I react to the anger and blame of others. I have just started to see that sometimes, perhaps I am just conditioned to accept the blame and anger poured out on me. I may be inconvenient, dramatic. I may need something from you. With all of this being said,  I know who I am. I understand the importance of the integrity, character and ethics I was raised to incorporate into my daily life. I don’t manipulate you or cheat on you. I won’t lie to you. Is  it  that why I am a target for people who just  feel the need to blame someone and it seems easy to blame the nice one, the one that sees the best in people. The one that will forgive you, because maybe, you just had a bad day.  This week, I had thoughts for the first time in a very long time about the bullying that went on during my elementary/middle school years. My thoughts turned into a theory this time. I had never once thought the bullying when I was a kid had anything to do with relationships I have now, especially the romantic ones. Where’s the connection? Is there one? I mean, after all, I grew up and become a professional after college and grad school How would my grade school recess misery translate to any anxiety in my current relationships, period?

Long ago, I was wearing the target. In grade school. Everyday. On the bus, in the school yard. In class. The target was super-sized, before super-size even existed. Bright colors and all. So obvious. I had no social skills, no game, not much going for me. Last one picked for teams in  gym class. That one. You know who I am.  I was called all kinds of names (“reject”, “retarded”, “loser” were a select few repeated daily). Jokes played and humiliating tricks weekly.

For all of those who read this and say “toughen up, thicken your skin” to a child bullied,  why should an innocent child thicken their skin due to the rudeness and abuse from other children?  You may say that the child will have to learn this eventually beyond the school yard, so start now. That’s awesome. If you recognize there is an unsavory situation, such as a child being bullied and that’s the primary solution an adult can summon up, I worry. Why not give this kid some coping skills, or help them with dealing with a hard situation. There are MANY poor solutions that create a bigger target for the child, like obvious protected status. This is a precarious and difficult situation for the child. Use caution and pay attention.  There are a few other things I have heard back in my youthful days that swept child bullying under the rug:

  1. Boys will be boys.
  2. Sticks and stones…
  3. “if he’s mean to you and teases you, that means he really likes you”

From experience, I can tell you straight away that these little cutesy phrases are not helpful in the moment. I am not convinced  that violence is the answer either. Believe me, there were many times I wished I knew how to fight. I  wanted those kids bloody, vulnerable and asking of mercy at recess; fantasies of revenge and actual violence really don’t answer the problem either. So what do you do? You grow up and you take it. You take it every single day. You stop crying because your feelings were hurt.You stopped crying a long time ago. You may even start believing what they say. That happened to me. I can only speak of myself. I absolutely do not speak for other adults bullied as kids. I would love to hear from them!

Once high school began (new school, new people, new start), adolescence hit. People started to make fun of me and talk about me, but this time it’s behind my back. I know I was awkward. I didn’t know how to converse with others. I know I couldn’t really relate well to anyone.  I can imagine a great many reasons why they may have even made an effort and given up, because I may not have even recognized their effort(s). A singular sentence, a hello…. and I probably dismissed it because I didn’t even know how to respond.  My experience from 3rd to 8th grade left me little raw, I guess.  At least, in high school,  they were trying to not make me feel like nothing in front of my face, for the most part. Behind my back is much better. Right? Yeah, I am not sure either. I heard about the behind-my-back talking from only one person; who knows it if is even true. So I made a plan for college. I would CHANGE me.

College started in the mid 80s for me.  I never did get to develop those social skills to make it through sorority rush, but by then,  I really didn’t care. I met lots of cool independent students and a lot of fraternity brothers. The fraternity crowd  seemed to love to give freshmen girls (at barely 18,  I was still a girl) tons of attention and  a selection of 20 flavored schnapps.  That is a whole other issue, I will address at some point soon. The social experiment  during my four-year undergrad degree could take up tons of space on this blog site!  It was a million years ago, or at least close to 30 years ago when I started that journey. I became stronger and I developed a personality; I had a bit of adjustment issues there, but I developed a bit more of my identity.  Isn’t that what the college years were for? I learned to laugh, assert myself, have fun, and smile. I learned to make some really good friends. And I was lucky to have them.

Today, I am looking back and thinking.  WTF happened? Did the childhood bullying decrease my self-esteem and increase my tolerance for emotional abuse to the extent that I tolerated it from my ex-husband? Can I stop the level of inappropriate anger aimed at me simply by walking away? Already, I have stopped tons of inappropriate behavior from so many people who want stupid sexy stuff and sexy talk on dating sites or at bars. I tell them that’s not appropriate and I kick them to the curb. That’s easy. The bullying was done in school when no one liked me and it was very unpopular to openly admit you were really friends with me or hang out with me outside of school. So its harder sometimes to recognize a similar brand of emotional abuse coming from the very people who tell me they really like me or even falling in love with me. If they loved me, they couldn’t possibly be treating me badly?

 

So I ask:

I am not so sure. I just don’t know anymore. What do you think? Is the long-term bullying effect possible? Even in very subtle undertones? You never know until you are sitting there feeling rejected like you did in third grade.

By the way:

This bullying subject is not likely to go away for me. It’s a concern I have for kids today that suffer from a different type of insidious bullying: Cyberbullying.  I will address this in the future.

My blog is about relationships. Any kind. I have been focusing a lot lately on the romantic one I was in ( but no more!), but its important that we consider all different relationships to figure out the best harmony and balance for ourselves.

 

No drama, no problem

As I got ready for bed, I was playing around Facebook. I posted an old picture of me as a blonde. Check out my About Me Page: I am clearly not blonde. I was feeling nostalgic for circa 2009.  I guess as I got ready to actually sleep, I found that I couldn’t. More nostalgic than ever, I guess.  And now just realizing that I may just be plagued with a writer’s mind. Why is it that my most intense thoughts come late at night? Why do I not trust my self to remember them in the morning at a more post-appropriate hour? I am SO NOT a night person. However, I am compelled to write now. I keep hearing “don’t write it later,  censored by a good night’s sleep and a will to kindly protect those who crushed me”…So I trudge on.

Instead of counting sheep tonight, I found myself counting all the past relationships (female friends, male friends, boyfriends, husband, girl I mentored) that were so toxic for me that I had to leave them in the past. Leaving those relationships behind , as venomous to my spirit as they were, were some of my most difficult and turbulent moments in the last 5-6 years. The most interesting thing is that the memories are coming back into my thoughts at a time where I am developing a very nice healthy relationship. It’s as if I am setting out to sabotage myself with still-too-vivid memories of disappointment, betrayal, distrust, sadness, perpetual anxiety, and loss. Basically  a Pandora’s box of misery. Why, oh why? Why are they coming to the surface now?  I have a  really awesome  thing going here.

What.Am.I.Doing.To.Myself?  I would almost think if I was some psychologist, that  I just suffer from low self-esteem, that perhaps I don’t know how to deal with a great thing when it comes, perpetually destined to  think: “do I deserve this?”. Maybe the damage is done. The horrid years of being bullied/harrassed/perpetually teased  and no way back.  How would I know smooth sailing if the sailboat’s boom hit me in the face?  I wouldn’t.  Or at least I haven’t. That needs to change. Now.  What I can tell you, after quite  a few years of self discovery, is that I know that I, do in fact, deserve good and amazing things.  I know  my diet and exercise achievements, my acquisition of French as a foreign language, and blogging are a great start. A healthy relationship is here. It is my job not to royally  fuck it up.

So I am learning. Learning from a very good guy that there can be life with out drama, anxiety, sabotage, frequently broken hearts or abundant tears. Why in Hell did it take me so damn long?  I seriously hope you are not planning on telling me that perhaps I wasn’t ready for it.  Yet, I would probably end up agreeing with you in the end.  My life could potentially and finally be so much better than it was 5-7 years ago. I am starting to feel great and if I don’t watch out, I am going to turn into my worst enemy and really mess up a fantastic thing.

Be your own advocate. Be your own support system and accept the wisdom of your friends around you. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, they know you pretty damn well. I guess I have been blessed this whole time,  after all!

And, yes, you ARE worth it. You ALWAYS were.  Don’t fuck it up!