“That’s bullsh*t, and you know it.”
The problem was, I didn’t “know it,” I didn’t even THINK it. Here I was though, in an apparently public forum being accused of lying. How did I get into this situation, yet again?
I could feel the doubt rise within me as I read and re-read the words. Although they were on a friend’s Facebook page, they were undoubtably directed at me. I hadn’t even seen them until a phone call alerted me to them. When I had typed my response to my friend’s Facebook question, I was in a sad state. I had thought someone I loved dearly was cutting me out of their life for reasons I didn’t understand. I hadn’t known my response was public. My intention of my “vague-book” response was to show I was upset, but not focus on the one who had done the hurting—or was it?
Suddenly, my mind, which was still reeling from hurt, was also filled with accusations about my motives. A switch had been flipped and my rational brain went offline. Outwardly I remained seated calmly in my recliner, my phone in hand as it had been when I received the phone call alerting me to the explosive aftermath of my Facebook post.
Inwardly, I was in a panic. I could hear my heart pounding through my eardrums, see the blood coursing through my vision, feel my breathing shallow, and taste the acid my stomach began to produce and force up into my throat.
I was being hunted.
I needed to hide or run. Fighting back wasn’t an option, and I was incapable of a rational response.
I’ll let you in on a secret about myself. I lie. I stretch the truth. I make sh*t up. Not all the time, and almost never intentionally. But, when I am in a triggered state, the little abandoned and hurting part of me that is scared he’s going to die, will do what he thinks he must do to survive. When unable to physically hide from predators, he will deny, throw up decoys, or paint elaborate pictures over “reality” to show me his gruesome perspective of the world.
So, three years ago when I was accused of making up some bullsh*t on social media, even though what I had posted was truly what I thought, I unquestionably believed what someone else told me my motives were—I had cried wolf, again. I had hurt someone I loved, again. My feelings about the situation were wrong, again. What I felt no longer mattered because they were based on my lies, again.
Today is different. The recliner I sit in is different, the house I live in is different, my perspective on my “bullsh*t” is different. As I prepare to restore a relationship severed, I KNOW in my bones that the big bad wolf is dead. I am can look back at the words that triggered the scared and abandoned exile to cry wolf and have compassion. Empathy not just for him, because he was truly hurting, but also for the one who accused me of lying out of their own pain, shame, embarrassment… whatever their motives. They too were wounded.
There is a common phrase in trauma-informed care: Hurt people, hurt people. Another, perhaps less eloquently stated phrase is: Those who are healed, heal.
"Hurt people, hurt people, but those who are healed, heal."
This is the mantra by which I choose to live my life.
If you’d like to share part of your journey with me, I invite you to connect with me at: WillKoehlerLCSW@aTraumaInformedLife.com or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. I’m also now on Research Gate and Psychology Today.
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