Smile And Nod – The Passive Aggressive Dilemma

Hey guys 🙂

Question for you – Do you ever have to bite your tongue? Like really bite your tongue…like almost right off?

You don’t have to answer that because I already know the answer to that question for most of you. 😉

We all have a threshold for how much…umm…”interesting” situations we’re willing to take on in our lives.

For some, that threshold is a short fuse. A firecracker.

For others like myself, it’s a long…long fuse with a massive explosion waiting at the end of it.

I’m here to tell you that the long fuse with the big explosion person is their own worst enemy and can ultimately do the most damage not only to themselves but the people around them.

I don’t care to admit this…but I will.

This sort of behavior is classic passive aggression and I am slowly but surely making a point to remove my face from the dictionary definition.

Whether it’s family, friends, or your job, how many times have you found yourself biting your tongue to try and avoid perceived conflict?

In the moment, you think you have spared all involved but you are still left with a bitter taste in your mouth because you have suppressed your true thoughts and feelings regarding that person or situation. You find yourself doing and saying things you really didn’t want to do or say.

You might even replay that conversation in your head, repeatedly picturing what you wanted to say. You may confide in someone about it and retell the story as if you had been assertive. Embellish a bit to make it sound like you have a backbone. A mixture of what really happened and what you wanted to happen.

Time goes on. You smile and nod and smile and nod. Then one day, reality flicks your ear and the floodgates open leaving everyone around you scratching their heads.

Now you have a bigger mess to clean up provided there is any room left for that option.

Sound familiar?

Now before I go any further, I would like to point out that in some cases, it doesn’t hurt to bite your tongue. Pick your battles wisely because they’re not all worth fighting but for the purpose of this post, it will be assumed that things should have been addressed long…long ago…

For myself, I have been making a point to delve deeper into the reasons why I shy away from conflict or what I believe will be conflict if I speak my mind and the truth is, it’s not easy to write about it because I know I fall into this category and honestly, who wants to admit that?

Not the passive aggressive person that’s for sure.

For all the therapists I have seen and the countless articles on psychology I have read, you would think I have this passive aggressive thing figured out and under control by now.

I don’t. Not entirely, but stay with me as I try to breakdown my thoughts on the matter.

We are all guilty of being passive aggressive to some degree. Like the white lie for example. We’ve all told one here and there. The problem is too many white lies add up to trouble.

So no more tip toeing around. It’s time to dive in and explore the psyche of the passive aggressive person according to me…the passive aggressive with some insight.

Contradiction much?

Yes…but no…

Remember Your Childhood?

Many of us have failed to communicate with our inner child. I believe it makes sense to say that our upbringing plays a role in who we are today. I will use myself as an example:

I grew up in a dysfunctional home…I am assuming many of us in our own way, can say the same. Abuse existed in my home both physically and emotionally. When I look back, I start to see the stage was set.

As a child, you have no control of what goes on in your home. Well, I didn’t at least. In my case, watching my parents battle it out nearly everyday was not a fun time. In an effort to keep peace, the best thing I felt I could do was to not rock the boat.

Do what I’m told. Be agreeable at all times. Be nice to everyone. Overachieve in school as a way to please my parents and teachers in order to obtain some sort of control.

Reality sinks in as I realize I lived in constant fear of conflict because I saw it everyday. That on edge feeling knowing your parents would get into it at some point in the day.

I knew the drill. Go to my room, and pretend it wasn’t happening. It will blow over at some point and we’ll all sit down to dinner as if nothing happened. This walking on eggshells becomes very routine. You just get used to it.

Now I could be childish and blame my upbringing for my own shortcomings forever and at one time I did, but that is not why I am writing this post. Move to present day and my family has overcome a lot. Many “forgive me” coupons have been exchanged and redeemed. We’re stronger now despite the past but that didn’t happen over night.

Talking about my childhood is simply to benchmark how my passive aggressive behavior snowballed (although that snowball is starting to melt) into what it is today.

This is what happens when you don’t acknowledge your inner child. You fail to become a true adult and instead you become a big albeit high functioning, child.

Yes, I am an adult on paper but I have certainly stunted the growth of my inner child and so she continues to have tantrums until I just say –

“What!? What do you want!?”

For visual effect, the inside of my head looks something like this –

Stewie Hi GIF - FamilyGuy Mom Momma GIFs

 

Who? Me?

As you grow from childhood into adulthood, the passive aggressive person you have become now has to face a huge reality check.

Accountability.

If you relate to my story, then I think you will follow my logic on this. You spent your childhood not in control of the negativity around you. You tried in vain to compensate for the turmoil and part of that was by shutting off your feelings.

As you get older, those feelings don’t really go away. They are stored up inside and it’s really getting cramped in there.

You start to resent things like “adulting”  because you never really got to enjoy being a kid. It’s wasn’t your fault you had to grow up in that environment. You had no choice and now you’re expected to carry the burden of adulthood?

That’s not fair!

Subconsciously, your inner child demands you protect them from this injustice and because you have failed multiple times to show your inner child that you are in fact the one in charge, the result is quiet rebellion with an escape route.

The inner child wins because just like everything else in your life, you just don’t want to go there. It’s too hard and if something appears to be too hard or uncomfortable you can bet the passive aggressive person has a way out of it.

When things get too real, tough or simply adult in nature, your inner child takes over. You revert back to survival mode and are reminded by the inner child that it’s not your fault.

The Truth Is You’re Living A Lie:

Many passive aggressive people don’t really see how they are lying to themselves and ultimately avoiding their biggest problem.

It’s not everyone else my friend…it’s YOU. You are your biggest problem.

You say to yourself – “I am peaceful, I’m polite and I don’t hurt people’s feelings. I turn the other cheek for the greater good, I’m helpful (etc etc) so how can it be that I am the bad guy?”

The truth is, you’re not a bad person. I promise. Your intentions are good and true. However the problem there is, your intentions are still coming from the mind of a child and that child does not understand the importance of assertiveness in adulthood.

That child has no concept of assertiveness…that’s an adult thing and so that child does what they know best. They go to their room and hide until the bad stuff stops and then sit down with everyone at the dinner table as if nothing happened.

3…2…1…

The danger for the passive aggressive person is the fact that sooner or later things will blow up…big time.

You may hear this sometimes. People saying that it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

Look at serial killers for example. You hear these horrific stories about murder and when friends or family talk about this person, you’ll sometimes hear things about how that person seemed so happy, friendly. A pillar of the community. No surface reason to believe this person was capable of killing another human being or in this case multiple ones.

This example is extreme but but if you could look back at a serial killer’s childhood, you can bet abuse was a piece of the puzzle. That sense of no control over their negative environment and so in this case they would literally kill for control.

I am not saying all passive aggressive people are serial killers in the making. There is much more to it than that but it gives you an idea of just how toxic passive aggressive behavior can get.

Solutions:

I won’t leave you hanging. If I am going to explain how passive aggressive people work then it’s only fair I offer solutions to this epidemic so here are a few things I have been trying out.

  1. It’s OK to say No: For real guys. You’re allowed to say no. No no no…NO…Wow, that felt pretty good! 😉 Passive aggressive people in particular associate the word “no” with negative connotation. Since most passive aggressive people are being ruled by their inner child, it makes sense that no = bad and yes = good. Starting today, I encourage you to say no to at least one thing you actually want to say no to during the span of a week. Baby steps. Show yourself that there is no monster waiting for you under the bed if you dare speak the word “no” because honestly, after a few times, it starts to get easier.
  2. Turn off the filter: OK I say turn off the filter but to be clear I mean that within reason. Remember. Baby steps. Take little situations and speak your mind on them. Say what you mean and mean what you say. For example, if your spouse asks “Where would you like to go for dinner tonight?” Do not, I repeat DO NOT say – “Oh, it doesn’t matter to me. Wherever you would like to go is fine.” If you had a place in mind, SAY IT. Do not be afraid to follow through and answer the question truthfully. You were asked where you want to go. Take that for what it is. An opportunity to express what it is that you want. You’re allowed to do that you know but don’t you dare say let’s go where you want to go and then cry inside that you didn’t really want to go there.
  3. Cut the cord: It’s time to let go of the inner child. This will take time and at some point you will find yourself in the throws of empty nest syndrome as you let that child go. You will feel as if you are lacking a true identity and in fact you are. Your identity was wrapped up in your past and other people but here is the good news, all of this is fixable. It’s not a lost cause…unless you want it to be. Start small. Don’t go on a rampage of no’s. Aim for balance and I do recommend seeing a therapist as you transition into this new and improved you. There is a lot of fear and anxiety that revolves around breaking the passive aggressive mold (paralyzing fear in fact) and there is no shame in acknowledging that and seeking help for it. Taking the time to reflect and accept the past for what it was is no easy feat. There are a lot of walls that need to be broken down in order to build a wall that’s up to code and if you are willing to do that, then you are more of an adult in that moment than a lot of people so see the need for help and acknowledging that you do as a sign of strength and liberation. ❤

I will stress again. Baby steps. It has to be because us passive aggressive people will run and hide from anything that seems too difficult or scary and so you have to introduce assertiveness gradually and learn over time that assertiveness is actually a healthy part of being an adult. Conflict in small doses is OK…it’s normal and your world will not come to end for facing it head on. The fears you have are the fears of inner child. You’re not a kid anymore and you deserve to graduate into adulthood with your own thoughts, feelings and identity. You are worth that! ❤

In closing, I will leave you with a bible verse that I hope you will find helpful and serve as spiritual therapy on your journey to find and love yourself –

 

1 John 4:18 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

 

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mental Break – In Progress Update

Hey guys! 🙂

I know it has been some time since I have written anything here. The main reason being, I have reached a crossroads in which direction I would like to take Mental Break – In Progress.

Technically, I have had this blog for over two years now. The original premise was to create awareness about mental illness in order to combat the stigma associated with it and also to have an outlet and connect with others through something I have always loved and that is writing.

About eight months ago now, I went through some serious life changes and in the process I felt it necessary to delete my blog entirely. In hindsight, I wish I had given it some more thought before hitting the delete button. Two years of written work gone. Just like that!

After considering my actions, I decided no, I don’t truly want to give up my blog so I resurrected it and made an attempt to carry out the original blueprint but something changed…

I changed.

The blog and it’s current format does not speak to me like it once did and therefore I have struggled to write on the topic of mental illness that once came so easily to me.

After much deliberation, I feel I now know the new direction I would like to take Mental Break – In Progress and although I am not looking to turn my back on the original concept, it’s time for that concept to align with where I am in my life today.

As mentioned earlier, about eight months ago my life changed, in the best way possible. On July 1st, 2016 I turned to God to help me for the first time since I was a child.

I was raised to believe in God and went to church from an early age. I said my prayers every night before bed and my father would read the Bible to me and my brothers every night after supper. This would go on until I was around ten years old when my parents ultimately divorced. You see, even though God was present in our home, so was the devil. My home life for much of my childhood was surrounded with mental illness and abuse.

My father was technically diagnosed with bipolar disorder but did not follow through with therapy or treatment. He did not believe that he needed it. My father was also abusive.

Before I go any further, I need to make it clear that I am not trying to say all people with a mental illness are abusive because that is simply not true. The abuse in my family’s case was primarily from my father, whose father and mother were abusive to him and most likely my grandparents parents were abusive to them and so on and so forth.

My mother also comes from a line of family abuse and found herself in a marriage with more abuse. Needless to say, this took a toll on my mother and did not bring out the best in her.

As I entered into adulthood, I would end up finding myself in abusive relationships and I would retaliate with abuse…not my finest hour to say the least but the biggest form of abuse I endured was self abuse.

My entire 20’s was spent in a downward spiral to nowhere and during that time, I lost my way with God. I turned my back on Him. I doubted the word of the Bible, that God was truly watching over me and I scoffed at Christians and organized religion assuming that every church going person, despite their choice of religion, was feeding into a fraudulent, flawed and political agenda.

Now in some cases, that is true and there has been more than one church over the course of time that fits that bill but there are also many that don’t but at that point I just lumped it all together.

Like I said, I turned away from God and I started to focus on things like astrology, tarot cards, numerology…New Age philosophy and the list goes on. I was extremely interested in those subjects and I practiced them. They were my new found spirituality yet at the pit of my gut, God still lingered (although He was a faint light at the time). The thought of a Higher Power still existed in my mind but I attempted to call it everything but God.

Needless to say, during this time, nothing in my life was going right and the self abuse continued to get worse and worse.

When I hit my 30th birthday, something started to change. Perhaps it goes along with starting a new decade of your life. When I turned 30, I cried and I am not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because I was so far removed from where I thought I should be in life and really had no direction that is until I started this blog.

Oddly enough, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder is when I feel my life truly started to take shape. Many people use their mental illness as a crutch but for some reason, I felt liberated by the experience.

As I started receiving therapy and treatment, I started to notice something. I was changing in a positive way and the people I surrounded myself with were not.

Two years later I would call out to God to help me after finally having enough of the self abuse and the toxic environment I insisted on putting myself in over and over again. It turns out God was waiting for this moment because as soon as I called out to Him, my life changed more than it had in 32 years.

That same day, I left a six year relationship that was not serving either party well and I hopped a plane and moved back to my home town to be closer to my family who had recently in the last year moved back home as well. This would be the first time in nearly a decade that our entire family would be together in person and not spread over long distances and Facebook messaging.

I was prepared to live alone and find myself. I had jumped from relationship to relationship with mild success at best and I was tired of it. I wanted to find me and felt the only way to accomplish that was to avoid romantic relationships entirely.

God on the other hand had other plans for me. When I arrived home my brother introduced me to his friend “D”. D and I discovered we had lots in common and in a short amount of time we found ourselves in love and are currently engaged.

Now on paper it could be argued that I was about to repeat the same mistakes but because I had asked God for help, he not only helped me but blessed me with my soulmate and to be honest, I was beginning to think the idea of a soulmate was foolish and a bunch of fluff.

D and I were on a similar path when we met. We had experienced much of the same hardships in life and self abuse and we both were trying to rekindle our relationship with God and so we took each others hand and started that journey together.

Eight months ago, I would not have fathomed this was possible. I would have told you to save it for fairytales.

So why am I telling you all of this? What does this story have to do with my blog?

Well, it explains the new direction I want to take my blog and that is the direction of God. Just as medication and therapy treats mental illnesses, so too does the word of God. God knows we are suffering and He wants to help you. He didn’t have to help me after everything I had done (or not done for that matter) but He did.

God cannot help us if we do not ask but when we do ask – Wow! He responds in kind. You help yourself by admitting you need help and as soon as you do that, God is so excited to help you.

I want to continue down my new found path with God through this blog and it is my hope that not only can I spread the awareness of mental illness but also the spiritual awakening I am currently navigating. It’s not always going to be pretty. I will stumble and fall. We all do and it may feel like no one has your back but I am here to tell you, God does. You don’t have to agree and I can only speak for myself but I can’t hide anymore and I don’t want to. I want to explore my faith openly.

I hope you will join me on my journey and I look forward to seeing where Mental Break- In Progress 2.0 will take me. I plan to revamp the blog over time to reflect this new path I am on so if you would like, stay tuned for more updates. 🙂 ❤

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Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share A Prayer

Hey guys 🙂

Today, like everyday, I need to pray.

I usually keep my prayers and my faith somewhat private but I feel the need to write it down. I am overdue for a good long prayer. Writing is my main therapy and so I hope you will join me as I pray…even if you don’t believe, there is power in prayer ❤

Dear Lord,

You know my struggles well. You have helped me every step of the way and I thank You for that. ❤

Sometimes, despite what I have to be grateful for, what You have given me, I still find myself in the dark.

Useless worrying, confusion and emotions I can’t explain.

Four months ago I reached out to You in a big way and in turn, You answered my prayers in a big way. It restored my faith on a whole new level. I can’t thank You enough for that. ❤

I find myself in the middle of a new journey and so much has happened in that time, a short time really. I am facing my pain now, I am facing myself and sometimes I find myself floundering about wondering if I will ever surface the depths of this pain I have numbed for years.

Lord, You know as well as I do that I did everything in my power to numb the pain and I am sorry that during that time I did not fully turn to You for Your guidance. Please forgive me and give me the strength I need to forgive myself. You were always there. In my heart and in my gut, You made sure I would not fully let go of Your hand.

I find myself facing life head on for the first time in years. You saw to it that I would, because I turned to You…finally.

The dust has settled and I am left with raw sobriety. I question my mental illness at times. I question the medication, I question the doctors and what the next move should be so I turn to You.

I pray for those also facing the pain in their life for perhaps the first time in a long time. I pray You watch over them like You have me and my family. I pray that You continue to hold my hand because I am reaching out with both of them this time as I need a spiritual hug from You like never before.

The world as a whole is changing in ways I can’t explain. Take recent world events and I find myself praying for America and the world at large.

The world is hurting.

I pray that You give me the strength and courage to post this prayer because You know I struggle with sharing this side of myself for fear of what others will think…but that is a disservice to You. Why should I hide my faith in You any longer? You deserve better from me…

I pray that I get through this day and the next. One day at a time. With You and prayer I will do my best to stand strong despite my weaknesses. I realise You do not ask for perfection, simply faith. You don’t make things difficult, I do. I do that to myself when all I have to do is turn to You.

In closing Lord, I hope this prayer reaches the people who need it. I feel at peace with my prayer and feel ready to start my day. Thank You ❤

Amen

I only smoke when I drink…

That used to be me…I would only have a cigarette if there was a drink in my hand to go with it.

Turns out, I had a drinking problem…

In hindsight, I was dipping my toe into the dark side of life and it gradually transformed into bad habits like smoking, drinking, overeating and hanging out with the wrong people. It didn’t matter where, when or with who.

This was long before I would receive my bipolar disorder diagnoses. When I look back on my life before medication entered it, I am not sure how I am still standing. Oh wait, yes I know…. it’s the meds…a good chunk of the reason at least.

That negative part of my life seems like a dream.

As I am currently going through a medication withdrawal, I seem to have lost my center. The dream seems real now and I keep having to remind myself that there is nothing to be afraid of.

It’s moments like this that I find myself praying. Prayer whether you consider yourself  to be a religious person or not, is powerful. Prayer helps you focus, it calms your mind and keeps you present. Prayer keeps you in check.

Another way I like to keep the junk in my head at bay is by writing about it. It helps me to organize my thoughts and view them from a more objective standpoint.

I always feel better after I write. I am starting to feel better already as I bring this post to a close.

I would like to write and share a small prayer/poem that maybe helpful. There is power in prayer and even more power in numbers…

Ease my mind this day

For I am here to pray

I pray my worries wash away

That only the light may resume its stay

 

Take Care ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over

Where do I begin?

I guess should backtrack to a few months ago when I decided to shut Mental Break-In Progress down permanently and without warning…

I apologise for that sudden drop off the blogosphere. I was going through quite the life changing moment and I was purging many things out of my life as a result. At the time, I truly thought my blog was one of the things that needed to go.

Turns out it’s not.

Back in July, I ended a six year relationship. Out of the six years, about four of them were attached to an engagement relationship status.

As a result of this breakup, I decided the best course of action was to move 4000 miles across the country back to my hometown so I could be closer to my family and start fresh. I was tired of city life by this point so small town living was looking really good to me.

Instead of going into all the dirty details regarding this breakup/move I am going to skip it. This blog is public and I don’t feel like dragging anyone through the mud like Taylor Swift does every time she breaks up with someone.

Truth is what’s done is done and by making this move, it turns out many things were waiting for me when I arrived home. Family, friends, support, love….yup…love of my life was in my home town this whole time. We met through my brother and well, things took off from there.

Some may feel I did not allow myself enough time to process the breakup before moving forward. To that I say…my previous relationship fizzled out probably a good year before I actually decided to call it quits so in my eyes the break up was not some fresh open wound…this had been coming for awhile and both parties involved knew it…it’s just neither one of us wanted to admit it…I’m sure many of you out there can relate. You stick it out because you’re afraid to let it go.

Through this whole process. I feel like I am learning how to walk again. All the action that’s happened in the last 3 months has prompted me to change medications and seek out a proper therapist which I am happy to report that I finally get to see one next week.

For those of you battling your own mental illness, medication change can equal chaos…at least at first. I have been going through withdrawal and it’s been overwhelming at times. I am thankful to be in a relationship with someone that truly gets it as he has been down this road before.

I think for now this is where I will sign off. If you’re going through some not so pleasant life changes right now just know that I am rooting for you. They say trouble comes in three’s but I like to believe the good follows at the same rate. It’s just a matter of time.

Take Care! ❤

Cavelle