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shoulds and oughts

I have become aware that I seem to have gone back to a shoulds and oughts problem in my brain. Having become aware, I realise this has been around for some time, and I am wondering what it is that has shifted for me.

I know that it is quite likely to be me in a scripty position. So, me performing from a familiar, and “comfortable” yet inauthentic place. My Script position was one I designed in childhood, it helped me feel safe in the world, and was how I made sense of the world. Why on earth am I in it again?

This has crept up on me over the last few months, and quite likely since Dad died in March. I suspect I will have retreated to this type of being, to help protect me through the early part of the bereavement process. I also know that 2 months into this, another grieving process was taking place in my husband’s life which left me with less support for my own. So, it’s possible I started using my old driver behaviour of Please others. Stopped taking care of my own needs (as they are less important) and start taking care of the others needs, as his needs are greater (according to my Child and in my Script). As I continued to meet the needs of another, I took less care of me, and retreated into being driven to please others whilst resenting the pressure to do that.

This took its toll on my physical health, culminating in July with terrible neck pain. Looking back, I hadn’t been able to use my hands and arms properly for months, due to the inflammation in my neck. I put it down to the arthritis diagnosed the year before, and carried on doing as best I could. I stopped using the phone, as I couldn’t hold it for long without getting pins and needles in my hand and arm, I am still having problems with that. As promised telephone calls built up, I realised that I stopped wanting to call people and wondered whether the hand stuff was just a rationalisation for the reluctance to call.

So, after 10 sessions of very good physio (kinésithérapeute), I have all the strength and power back in my arms and hands. I can hold heavy things, shift heavy things and use my strength. I help shift some of our winter wood yesterday, it felt good to be using my arms again. I have 4 more sessions of physio and have learned some exercises for my neck. However, I am still feeling pressure to please others and make phone calls that I don’t feel like doing.

Last night I called my younger sister. One of the sisters I had been estranged from for 10 years. The phone call didn’t feel comfortable, and in retrospect I think she feels uncomfortable so talks loads to fill the space, and not take a risk with me speaking. I have decided I will go back to just email contact and the odd encounter when we visit the UK….10 years is a long time, and we are now so different. This felt like a duty call, as does the call I need to make to my mother and to other elderly relatives. There was a time when I didn’t get hooked by the duty thing, and somehow since Dad became ill in early 2010 and then his death, I am caught up in it again.

So, I know the answer to all this, I know I need to meet my needs and to only call if I want to, and not out of duty. I need to allow myself to be me and not a people pleaser. I used to do this reasonably well….and now I will need to work hard to shift it back. The thing is, it’s all in my head, yes of course some stuff has shifted out there, but it’s mostly here in my head. The problem is, what if people notice I am no longer pleasing them? Will I survive?

Kathy the sane, hiding behind the gate and avoiding as much reality as possible.

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About kathythesane

Lived in Kent, then Devon, now France. Trained as a Mental Health Nurse in Canterbury, then at Training South East (Sandhurst) in Transactional Analysis with Alice Stephenson (dec'd) , Suzanne Boyd and Mellie Lewin. Managed a Private Psychiatric Nursing Home for very mentally ill patients in Devon for 3 year before retiring to France in 2006.

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