I use to be so gullible; I believed just about anything anyone would tell me. If Chicken Little would have told me, “the sky is falling”, I would have been right there with him, running in circles and trying to save everyone.
Somehow I believed that I was needed, wanted and loved based on the subtle (sometimes even blatant) lies someone would tell me. I could not see the manipulation in their words and actions. I could not sort out the truth from fiction as someone told me about their life or problems. I could not see how they were using me just to get what they wanted or needed. I “use to be” so gullible.
And because I was so gullible, I was always racked with guilt. All Chicken Little had to do was tell me that it was my fault the sky was falling and I would believe it. If Chicken Little was having a bad day, I felt guilty because I must have done something, or not done something to cause it.
I felt guilty because I was not the perfect mother I should have been for my children. I should had have played with them more. I should have cooked better meals for them. I felt guilty because I was not the perfect daughter for my mother. I should have listened to her. I felt guilty because I was not the perfect wife or girlfriend. I felt guilty when my friend died from an overdose of meds and alcohol. I felt guilty my (ex) husband was using. I felt guilty for all the lies I told trying to convince everyone that my life was great. I felt guilty when I didn’t leave the TV on for the dogs. Need I go on?
Oh I am so pleased to say that I am no longer that person! I told my sponsor once that my (ex) husband was in a bad mood and that I didn’t know what I did to upset him. It took her one little statement to release me from the guilt I was feeling; “Terri, not everything is about you.” Crazy, I know! It only took that one little sentence to understand that I was NOT the cause of his anger or anyone else’s. She explained to me that “if” he was upset with me then it was “his responsibility” to let me know why and “if” he was upset with me and didn’t tell me why then that was his problem, not mine.
That sentence was like a door opening to a brand new world. It gave me permission to let go of the unsubstantiated guilt I carried day in and day out; the guilt that was not mine to carry in the first place. As for the guilt I carried for the things that were in my control, I faced them and worked through them. I made amends to my children for the things I felt guilty about (and there was much more than lack of playing and good nutrition). I came clean with my life and the chaos it was. I stopped lying and covering up the truth of what was happening.
I was able to do this because I had “safe people” in my life that I could be open and honest with; people I could share my deepest hurts and my darkest secrets with and they would not judge me. They were and are people who have had similar struggles and have made progress in their own recovery. They are the “been there, done that” people who are much healthier and happier today and now, so am I.