body image · mental health

How to speak up without flipping out or running away.

Or more precisely, hiding away into the chair, even though they can still see you, at least you avoided confrontation right?

I had another little ‘moment’ today. One of those moments that makes me think ‘yes! – this is different!’ Infact, I’ve had about 3 of those moments over the last 3 days. So, the reading, the blogging, the therapy is really doing something. I am not acting in the ways I used to and the outcome is goood.

I had to go to a dinner party yesterday evening and while I was a little hesitant for my own reasons (more on that later), I was in a fairly good mood and even state of mind. It was during this party though that an unexpected event occurred and I had a welcome response to it.

For those of you who suffer from poor boundaries, anger issues or emotional sensitivity – where your emotions are just 100mph ahead of you and feel so strong and intense that you end up imploding or exploding before you even had a chance to realise wtf just happened – this is probably something that you’ll understand.

Sitting next to a distant family member, my sister comes over for conversation politely asking her questions to which she was met with a rude, ruthless weight comment (meanwhile my brain is thinking; why are some women so bitchy??). As it’s not the first time she’s said something like that my sister tries to tell her to shut up by saying ‘that’s not the first time you’ve said that. But no, that didn’t stop this mean girl, she went in with ‘yes but you’ve gone MORE BIG’. Immediately, I felt the anger surge, you know the ‘rush’ in your body that forces you to do something in response to whatever’s just happened? In DBT they teach you to notice the physical sensations because they are the ‘signals’ tied to the emotions. This ‘rush’ tells me ‘I am angry’ and I am angry because something has happened. Now in the past, I would end up outbursting, or being so afraid of my outburts, I would stay quiet and stew in my own rage silently for hours, replaying whatever someone had ‘said’ or ‘did’ that made me that way. Either way, it was unhealthy.

If you suffer from ‘anger issues’ it’s never about removing anger, or never experiencing it again, it’s what you do with it. So what my surge of anger would have had me do was yell out: HEY! DON’T BE A BITCH! What I actually did was: Notice the anger, realise this was a situation that needed dealing with and whispered into mean girls ear ‘Don’t say things like that to her because it upsets her.’ To which she acted surprised and went quiet. While I got to walk away with a (try to say something now psshhhh).

Being able to stick up for yourself and for others in situations is so important and for so many years my mental state hasn’t let me do that in an effective way. Today was one of the first times I’ve been able to do that and without it being planned.

And, I am damn glad that I did.





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