How Embracing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Was The Best Thing I Ever Did For Myself
We never like hearing or finding out bad stuff about ourselves, do we? If you’re anything like how I was, your reaction would be to get defensive, pout, or even verbally attack the person who had the audacity to say something bad.
See, I suffered with a really bad problem called perfectionism. Especially in relationships. I always tried to strive to be the perfect girlfriend. I prided the fact that I was ‘low maintenance’, I was easy going, non-demanding and was pretty much DTF all the time even if I was not in the mood. Because that’s what good girlfriends do right?
No…no it is not.
See, what I was doing wrong, my readers, was prioritize my partners needs above my own. I was too busy trying to take care of them that I was not taking care of myself. And what’s worse is when I realized this, I was with the Air Force guy and had not healed at all from my time with Voldemort (read my previous blogs for context on these two). My time with Voldemort had left me incredibly broken, lost and timid.
During my time working at the Irish bar in Massachusetts, I had built up a very hard exterior. The bar and service industry can be great, but the flip side is it can be a very hostile environment. You are constantly yelled at by managers, chefs, customers and other servers. It’s very fast paced and highly stressful and because in the US we are tipped, if you even go near another servers table, you will be torn to shreds. Also, because we are tipped, there is a lot of pressure to look good. Let’s face it, hot servers make better tips, and this also throws a ton of bitchiness into the mix. To a noob like I was, this was terrifying. Throw in the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, and I was also away from my friends and family in a place I had never been to. Cue emotional breakdown within a week of being back in the US after moving from Ireland.
Luckily, I survived and became a staple at this place for a number of years. I survived by creating this harsh defense system. I seemed very cold, brass and like nothing ever bothered me. I embodied the persona of an Ice-Queen, basically. That’s the best way I can possibly describe my hard exterior.
Because the persona I was putting forward was not my true self, and very far from it, my true self was being neglected. I had ignored my true self for so long that I no longer had any idea who I was and didn’t know the slightest way to go about finding myself again.
I no longer knew what my boundaries were so I could no longer enforce them, and I spiraled downwards for many years until my breaking point, where my sister and I moved me down to Virginia to be around my family.
So, fast forward to about a year later, me and Air Force guy are on and off and I’m reaching a point of another emotional breakdown that’s been a result of depression and anxiety. I was officially diagnosed with anxiety just two weeks after meeting him (no connection!) but I was so disconnected from myself that I put the diagnosis to the back of my mind and never thought about it again until over a year later. At the time I worked two jobs and just “didn’t have time” to have anxiety. My jobs took priority over myself.
Little did I know that this would make my jobs suffer. Whereas once I thoroughly enjoyed bar-tending and was very good at it, I was just not interested anymore and the constant effort of plastering a fake smile on my face to hide the pain inside me was getting to be too much.
My job at the vet clinic was suffering too. Massively.
Animals are a huge passion of mine and I was, at one time, a pretty amazing and confident vet tech. Now, with the pressure of always having to appear happy at the bar, my performance at the vet clinic was just…tired. And uninterested. I knew it and my co-workers knew it.
I was thoroughly depressed. So much so that I had to let both jobs know that something was going on with me. To top this all off, me and Air Force guy broke up again. I spiraled because he was such a huge source of comfort to me, despite the disconnect between us. This is when I decided to move back to Ireland for a while.
Two weeks later he and I were back together, and we decided to give the long distance a shot. Being home in Ireland after almost 10 years in the US was a huge shock to my system. I was conflicted because it was so comforting to be back home around my family and old friends, but I remember the panic because everything in Ireland is so…. small. In comparison, anyway. The old claustrophobia started to set in again. But as the weeks went by, I calmed down. I no longer had such huge pressure on me and being back with my family lifted so much of this for me. I was slowly starting to find myself again.
But one layer remained… Air Force guy.
See, he and I had planned on moving in together when I returned, but I had another breakdown very soon after moving. I had some health issues that were causing some stress plus I had been neglecting myself again. When it came to Air Force guy, I always neglected myself. I was not making my needs clear in a way he truly understood, and I wasn’t hearing him when he was telling me that he might not be able to meet the needs I was asking of him. Needless to say, we both had a lot of emotional baggage.
He decided to end it for good this time. We always got back together after our breakups but not this time. At the time, naturally, I was very angry and hurt because I thought we had been going so strong but what I hadn’t realized was that my anxiety diagnosis the previous year (that I had chosen to ignore) was one of the main components in the demise of this relationship on my end.
I hadn’t shown myself the respect or given myself the compassion to learn what the cause of my anxiety was, learn what my triggers were or try to better myself. All I said at the time was “I don’t have time for this”. After I came to this realization, for the very first time, I felt incredibly guilty for neglecting myself to that extent.
In the weeks following the breakup, I came to many more realizations about myself that were so very far from who I thought I was. See, I had a vision of myself as very strong and independent when it came to relationships. In other aspects of my life I was very strong and independent but when it came to whatever man was in my life at the time, it was so very far from the truth.
What I learned was that I was, in fact, very co-dependent on the men in my life.
This was a VERY hard pill to swallow.
It took me a couple of weeks to come to terms with this. The only way to break the cycle? Self-love.
And so, my journey began. But you’ve already read that blog post, right? Of course, you have, lol!
So, even though I had some pretty shitty experiences with men in the past, it really was Air Force guy that forced me to look inwards and find the answers where no one else could. He ended the relationship when I did not have the strength to. Even though I did not see it at first, I have come to respect and trust his decision. Because it was the right one.
I have now accepted the good, the bad and the ugly things about myself where once I was embarrassed and ashamed.
Hi, I’m Siobhan.
I have Anxiety Disorder
I have Co-Dependent Tendencies
I have an Anxious Attachment Style
There! That’s me! Yep, I have these issues and they are getting better everyday because now I am showing myself compassion, I am showing myself love, I am showing myself respect and I’m also showing myself understanding. I am no longer embarrassed by these tendencies, I have accepted them as part of who I am and that is helping me heal them.
What better gift to give yourself?
Until next time,
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