When did I start to feel so small?

When was it that I decided that I had to jump through hoops so that people would like me? When did I decide that I wasn’t good enough just how I am? I have been thinking about these questions this week, as I had a hard week. Someone who I thought was a friend and looking out for me, turned on me. My friend wanted me to participate in something that I didn’t feel right about. When I voiced my concerns, they kept pressuring me to comply. When I took a stand and said absolutely not, they brought in reinforcements and enlisted another one of my friends to try and convince me. These are people that I trusted, that I thought would do the right thing if there was a choice to be made. I was confused at the decision that they were making and trying to get me to go along with. As I tried to explain my point of view, I could see their faces hardening. My voice started to shake, and my brain started to short circuit. I could feel myself starting to feel frantic. Why didn’t they see what I saw? To me, the situation was so clear and so I was confused as to why they could not see it. Looking back, I wish I would have walked away, and excused myself until I could gain some composure. But, I felt like a deer staring straight into a car’s headlights. In that moment for some reason, I could not look away.

But I managed to hold my ground and when they realized this they seemed to relent a little. But they seemed to be waiting for any sign of weakness on my part. This was stressful to me. I was upset and could not stop thinking about it and talking about the situation to others. It seeped into my brain, my being, my thoughts and even my dreams. Why didn’t they see my point of view? My heart would race at the thought of having to talk to them again. I had told them I didn’t want to participate, why weren’t they respecting my boundary? I started to feel out of control. Not only with them but in other areas of my life. I started to put my guard up with everyone and I felt myself closing off.

I realized this week, that this is how I used to approach life. I used to use a lot of my energy trying to explain to ‘friends and family’ why I had certain boundaries. I used to not see anything wrong with the fact that I had to convince people to respect me. If people kept pushing me anyway, often times I would give in and let them have their way. I did this because the conflict would become more than I thought I could handle and I would want it to be over. And the easiest way for it to be over, was if I gave in. So I used to give in against my better judgement. In giving in, I was choosing despair and depression, which would eventually lead down the rabbit hole of self abuse. The difference this time was that there was a part of me watching it happen. There was a part of me that was ok and above my frantic behavior, just observing. I was removed and watching this scared small person trying to navigate. This time I knew I was in a bad headspace. This time I knew that I needed to work with myself and get centered again.

In trying to get back to a good place, I started to get curious as to why I would let my ‘friend’ bring me to this place. Why couldn’t I just be strong, tell them no, and be done with it. Why was this experience seeping into my life like a toxic fluid and taking over everything? They were in the wrong. I stated my boundary and they didn’t like it. They tried to convince me otherwise, and then brought in another friend to try and intimidate me. I see that. I know that. So then why did I feel scared and small? So, I started to move my energy from trying to prove my point to them, back to myself to figure out why I was reacting this way. And so the question came to me, when did I first decide to feel small? When did I decide that I was powerless to people that tried to intimidate me? When did I decide that it was necessary to convince people that were trying to intimidate me, not to intimidate me? When did I decide that it was a good use of my energy to try and prove my worth to someone who didn’t care about me? These are all questions I have been asking myself this week. Because although I feel I have come so far, this situation took me back to who I used to be. I used to wake up every morning and approach my life from a place of insecurity and defensiveness. This week brought me back there. I felt like I was being forced to watch a movie that I absolutely hated. A movie that made me feel sick, that made my insides squirm. A movie that made me want to throw my drink at the screen in disgust. But I had to stay and watch the whole thing. I felt like an observer this week, as I watched my old pattern play out before me. And even though I knew it was happening, I couldn’t stop it. I was in it, deep.

Through talking to my real friends, doing yoga, and meditating I am slowly coming out of my visit to my past self. I know there are still steps to take to come back to my center. I have been to my other calm, centered side and I know she exists so I know I can get back to her. This situation took me away from her. I didn’t feel creative, I didn’t feel happy, I didn’t feel the beauty of the world. I was in protection mode, and I started to get aggressive and defensive in all areas of my life. Who is going to turn on me next? I didn’t predict that these friends would turn on me, what other friends are going to turn on me? I have to be careful! I have to protect myself.

The small scared person that I saw this week is a part of me. She will forever be a part of me. When did I start to feel so small? It started when I was small, and I had to make myself even smaller to survive an abusive childhood. But what I have learned is that instead of being disgusted by that small scared girl within me, I have to let her know that she is ok. I have to make her feel comfortable and safe and taken care of. She knows that I didn’t protect her in the past, and that is why she gets frantic and scared. She doesn’t trust me yet. I have to work on earning her trust, I have to work on letting her know that I will no longer say YES when I mean NO and put her at risk. She doesn’t deserve that. She deserves respect without explanation. And no one else but me can give that to her.

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    1. Thanks Kim! We have both come a long way, it is a long hard journey to realizing our worth and a daily practice to stand up for ourselves. Love, Peta

  1. Your words are so powerful, stay strong. You are beautiful and amazing 😉 i was like you, always gave in to intimidation and coercion. Now though I try really hard to stand my ground. Thanks again for sharing. X

    1. Thanks Kerry. I used to try so hard to ‘keep the peace’, but all I was doing was transferring the chaos from outside to inside of me. It never solved anything and hurt me. Stand your ground! Love, Peta

    2. Thanks Kerry. I used to give in too. Or I just thought of myself as very flexible, but I was actually just scared to take a stand. The other thing I would think was that, oh it doesn’t matter, even when it did. These times that seems small when I would give in, would add up and eventually I lost myself. I am really working hard on not doing that again! Love, Peta

  2. You are doing the right thing. Stand up for yourself and do not be pressured to change your mind. I regret not taking a stand on some occasions when I was working. I think I am stronger now. But I think I am a people pleaser and also try to keep everyone happy. It does not work. Great post.

    1. Hi Hilda, I am a people pleaser, but also I get extremely anxious in conflict and so I try to be the peacekeeper so that there isn’t conflict. I used to give in even when I didn’t want to in order to avoid conflict, and keep the peace but I am really trying hard not to do that anymore. I have taken the time to learn what I like and what I don’t and stand up for those things the best I can. Thanks for sharing! Love, Peta