I have a severe issue with self-advocacy.
It seems that I can stick up for other people really well. I can help them with their own issues. I can support them by being a great listener and even offering sound bits of advice as appropriate. With my child I am a staunch advocate for him that he is taken care of and respected well by adults and children alike. However, when it comes to me and what I need, I have a hard time asking for it. I have a hard time drawing the proverbial line in the sand about what I will allow to happen to me in my life. I have decent boundaries though, which is a good first step, but past that when looking at how I allow people to treat me is very poor. I know on a cognitive level that I don’t deserve the treatment. I don’t deserve the snide remarks. I don’t deserve being dis-invited to weddings or being left out of special ceremonies. I can think of no specific thing that I have done that would warrant such actions against me. Even asking why I was dis-invited or being left out causes me a ton of anxiety. I feel as though I am asking things that I don’t deserve to ask or that I am out of line for thinking I deserve to be treated differently than what I am. As a counselor I know that this line of thinking is absurd. I cognitively know something different than what I believe yet I feel powerless to change my thinking.
I want to be able to say to someone, “Hey, you know when you said/did/asked _______? I wonder where that was coming from because I was hurt/angry/confused/sad, etc. Can you give me some more insight about that situation.” I just don’t have the confidence in myself right now to do that and I’m not sure why. Strange how I can teach others to do just that and ask themselves to believe in their truths, trust their feelings, go with their heart, make no apologies for themselves, and yet here I sit writing this post wondering why I cannot take my own advice. Why can’t I ask the hard questions? Why can’t I face the truth head on? Why can’t I ask someone to treat me better/different because I am worthy?
As I have thought through all of this I think it is all rooted in fear. I fear rejection. I fear the unequivocal truths that will result. I fear people thinking I am better than I am. I fear being disappointed by my own actions. I fear overstepping boundaries or some social rule that I am not aware of. And I know that I shouldn’t be so afraid. Surely, so much of this is miscommunication and misunderstanding or even lack of information. Conversely, when someone has an issue with me or I have committed some perceived grave injustice then I am quick to hop on the issue at hand and address it. I don’t want others to harbor any ill will toward me about an unfortunate issue and I want to address it head on. Not all things that come up warrant a reaction though so I choose my battles. I am constantly aware of how my behavior and words affect others and I go to great pains to ensure that I cause them no unrest. Am I perfect? Read any other post in this blog and you will find evidence to the contrary. So I am not perfect, not by any stretch. However, I know I work to prevent issues and I work to resolve the ones I cause.
My inability to advocate for myself is causing me unhappiness. I am internalizing the misperceptions and miscommunications and harboring them as evidence that I am unacceptable, unloved, disregarded, inconvenient, and unworthy. I am allowing my inability to speak up for myself to turn into some sour attitude which then seeps out at the most inopportune times. Maybe I’m feeling a little too vulnerable and I say something out of character. Or maybe I’m feeling overwhelmed with a sense of ineptitude and I lash out in frustration. I feel the sticky ugliness of these pent up feelings residing within my heart and soul and they’re making me ill. I feel the well rising and it’s about to crest. I have to change this behavior and my thinking around it so that I can be well and feel free to express myself appropriately. This is just one of many things that I wish to improve upon. Any sage advice or tips are welcome.
The Repressed Peach