I guess after nearly 5 intense months of self-helpery to break my patterns, finding myself on a date with a racist, flat-earther, who wanted me to play dominatrix to him as a 'bratty little boy brother', was the 'thing' that triggered it all. I REFUSED to take steps back! I knew (in my cells) that I didn't deserve that! I deserve so much more and this is the first time in my adult life that I knew and felt it.
So, basically, I should write a thank you card to the flat-earther, he was the final trigger I needed to break down the door to my own heart. I am finally home. And it feels so good. Right-hand ring club? Yeah, I'm now in it.
I wish that was the end of this story. I wish it was a Hollywood ending. It's not. Surprised? Me neither.
“When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass.’"
Ever heard of the "Crab Box Effect? "If I can't have it, neither can you". The metaphor refers to a pattern of behavior noted in crabs when they are trapped in a bucket. While any one crab could easily escape, their efforts will be undermined by others, ensuring the group's collective demise.
The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to reduce the self-confidence of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, resentment, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress.
So just a week after I announced that I've finally found self-love, I had to block a close friend because it was too painful for her to be in the box alone and she wanted to bring me back down into it by stabbing me in my most vulnerable place. Letting her go was painful but if I truly loved myself, then I needed to respect myself. And the only way to respect me was to surround myself with people who want me to succeed and who want nothing but the best for me. And so she had to go.
"Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing...” Elizabeth GIlbert
I realized how slippery this slope is. I'm trying so hard to stay here in this place of love and happiness and I'm waiting for the day when the ground under me doesn't feel so slippery. It will happen. But in the meantime, I need to surround myself with people who want to push my rump OUT OF THE BOX and not pull me back down into it. And so I am choosing to be with people who celebrate my strength not take stabs where I'm not covered... which is pretty much everywhere. I'm literally wearing my heart out on my sleeve for me. What would Winston Churchill say? "We Shall Never Surrender"
I want people to see me and think "Gawd, she's a badass! Look at her ability to show up for herself and others" and not "She's a victim of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault." When I walk into a party, I want to be introduced as the NEW me that shows my strength and not have the old stories told that keep me a victim.
So what the hell does this have to do with your furbabies? Everything. I have yet to meet an animal who has suffered great abuse, neglect, loss or trauma whose guardian doesn't tell their story in great detail to each person they feel needs to know, thus keeping their beloved animal companion in a state of victimhood and even trauma. No judgments here... we have all done it. And I realize the reason behind this (sharing their stories of neglect, abuse, and trauma) are far different from the Crab Box effect that involves a jealous or resentful friend, but the effects are the same - keeping someone in the box! Which can be incredibly damaging to your animal companion's hearts and psyches.
When we think or talk, we create images in our brain to match our words or thoughts. Animals are telepathic and can see virtually everything that is happening up there (in your brain!). Essentially, you have no secrets. So, each time you tell their story you are seeing what happened to them, the person you're telling the story to is also seeing the images and you are forcing them (your furbabies) to relive it. Every. Single. Time. It's like if every time I walked into a room someone said: "Hey everyone, this is Rachel and she's a victim of rape. If she decides not to talk to you it might be because she's afraid of you." ... that would suck, yes? Yes, it would.
So why do we do it to them? Well... I think it's because we believe their story is necessary to understand them. Sometimes it's told to show how heroic the human who saved them are or how strong the animal was in the situation. But sometimes I think, because of the horror of it all, we can get addicted to telling the story. When clients come to me with animals who have suffered abuse, neglect or trauma, the first step to healing and what I coach them on is letting go of the old story. We know it and now we can move on. Doing this is the only thing that's going to help your animal companion move on. Going on a date with a flat-earther is something that happened to me, it doesn't define me. See? Same thing. Let it go.
So how would you introduce me to a party? Could you perhaps think of new ways to introduce your beloved babes to the party? How do you do this if you have an animal who has 'issues' related to past abuse and trauma? Well, you'll probably find that they'll work through it much more quickly if we push their rump out of the crab box and stop pulling them back down into it. Switch "This is Harold the dog, and he's afraid of men who wear gloves because he was strangled by a man with gloves." to "This is Harold the dog and he loves little yellow birds, warm blankets and Frank Sinatra. He's most comfortable when we're chillaxing." ...just focus on the good. This isn't 'ignoring the problem' it's letting someone heal without having a laser beam pointed at his vulnerable places.
When I visited Pigs Peace Sanctuary in Washington a few years ago, the sanctuary guardian gave strict instructions to NOT show pity to the pigs (who had suffered EXTREME violence) because she said they wouldn't want to interact with us if we did. She said that she can very much tell if humans are looking down at the pigs with pity and sadness vs "Hey, look at you cute little pink pig who loves carrots!" Whether this guardian knew that the pigs were telepathic or not, she got it. If you want someone to move on from past hurt, focus on who they are NOT where they have come from.
Of course, all of this advice is written with complete love and understanding. We are all guilty (myself included)! But if we know better, we do better. And we always want to do better because we love the hell out of the 4-legged furry people in our lives. And I hope you love yourself just as much too.