Growth after Dealing with Abandonment, Rejection, Labeling, Relationship Mishaps! Help!
Lets talk about acceptance and judgement. The blog post is more of a personal response and behaviors to these concepts rather than educational. This is a lengthy read, but the time spent learning the information will bring future comfort. I wrote this over a year ago and find it unbelievably accurate. I have intertwined a little of both for your amusement. I really have a hard time with labeling because labeling, most of time, pre-determines how a person responds to another. The response a person gives is from what one believes to be true about another person instead of what is actually true about that person in question. The labeling theory posits “that self-identity and the behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. It is associated with the concepts of self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping.” This definition basically states that if you believe I am a criminal, then I shall act like a criminal. Preconceived notions can determine actions; therefore, all society should be extremely careful in labeling another. Essentially, labeling could cause the actual action you most afraid of. Labeling, abandonment and relationships ending are considered traumatic events and should be treated as a trauma.
I decided to explore acceptance and judgement because of a personal experience. Inner growth comes from personal experience and how we react to these experiences. Personal experiences also allows me to share with my audience how to respond to negative events in a healthier manner as well as to grow from them. Humans relate better to those who they feel have experienced similar events.
I was recently contacted by an old flame, and I wanted to believe that my higher power brought this person into my life at a time that I needed it most. Of course, I couldn’t accept that it could just be a lesson that my higher power was given me to grow. No, for a short period of time I had to believe it was fate and that my parents who have passed had sent this person back into my life to protect and support me. It had to be fate, right? Obviously, it was not. I gave him my website to view, and I assumed, which was my first error, that because I was wrongfully incarcerated, he decided to stop speaking to me. I am not sure that this is the reason, but I am relatively positive or think I am positive. Why does the fact I was incarcerated determine who I am? My life challenges do not define me or necessarily are accurate. For example, I was judged harshly without this person even knowing my story if my wrongful conviction is indeed the reason he ceased communication. This old flame was not aware of my case and that it currently is being fought to show my innocence. Even if I wasn’t innocent, to judge me based on a mistake completely goes against what I am looking for. Do you want someone who doesn’t make mistakes? Do you want to walk on eggshells in a relationship that the person you are with could up and leave you the minute you make a mistake? How does one grow spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally without making mistakes? Don’t we all grow and learn from making mistakes? To give a better example, would you as a parent, tell your child that he or she isn’t allowed to make mistakes? NO, so why would you want a significant other who judges you based on mistakes you have made? In retrospect, it was obvious that even if this person would want contact again, it wouldn't be feasible to entertain.
As a previous practicing psychotherapist, without challenges, there is no inner growth. I also learned from a very reliable source, Matthew Hussey, that when you are an attractive man or woman, you also will attract men and women that are not healthy for you to be involved with. When Matthew stated, “stalkers, users and crazies" will find attractive people attractive because they have eyes to.” That made significant sense to me. This whole time I thought I wasn't good enough and the fact is that unhealthy people also can find me attractive and desire my company. He went on to state that the challenge doesn’t come from attracting them the challenge comes from sorting through the bad ones to get to the good men, or women. This elimination process can be easily obtained if you pay attention to the “signs”. Back the story of the old flame, the minute he didn’t want to add me to Facebook, was a sign that his dedication to forming a healthy, sustainable relationship with me was weak at best. As I wrote previously, the challenges you face in life can either define you or destroy you. The choice is always in your hands as the person who has experienced these challenges.
For example, I was judged harshly without this person even knowing my story. I could either choose to become strongly withdrawn, burying myself in pity and sorrow, or I could choose to make this learning experience into a positive by sharing with you my struggle with acceptance and judgement, hence helping you, the reader, deal with these concepts in a healthier manner.
I can be curious of all the reasons why this old boyfriend decided to stop talking to me, but the bottom line remains, that it isn’t me or my problem and it doesn't matter. Whatever the reason this person had to cease communication with me lies within him and may not have anything to do with me or accepting me as a person. Many of us wallow in the fact that there is something significantly wrong with us, or that we must have done something to stop this person from loving or accepting us. The truth of the matter is that the person who has stopped communicating or wanting to be around us has the problem and needs to decide what he or she wants. Many of us base our next action on what another does. For those who seek power, that is doing the opposite action. Why would I act based on another person’s behavior? That is defined as lacking power and control!
Why do we base our self-worth on someone who may or may not know what he or she wants or even know all the facts? I refuse to allow my ex-boyfriend to determine how I feel about myself because then I allow him to determine my control and power along with my happiness. If my ex is unable to know what he wants, how is he supposed to help me know what I want? As I said previously, if he did have a girlfriend, which is why he didn’t add me to Facebook, why am I defining my self-worth on a cheater? Makes you scratch your head for a moment. We have all sat around the watercolor belittling cheaters, so why would I think that a cheater was worth more than myself? I hope I have made you take a double take in your thinking patterns. Another good example is, if you are a person that believes in forgiveness and acceptance and that these are values that define you as a human being, why would you want to surround yourself by people who devalue these attributes. I want a person who strives to fight and survive battles with me not against me. A good example of this is if you are a woman who strives to better wages for females, why would you seek a partner who is part of organization that believes women are less than? Would you think that person is better than you if he or she stopped talking to you? No, you would be grateful that the communication has ceased. So if a partner leaves you for another, is that the value that you hold dear, or do you want to seek individuals who value the quality of being faithful? Obviously, you want to seek those similar to your own values and qualities. Just some seeds planted to get you thinking about what and who you really are.
Judgement and Acceptance are things we have all done. I have harshly judged people, but because of my life experiences I have learned not to. I also have learned from life experiences to accept most. Without the hardships the ability to learn these lessons would have not existed. Therefore, my hardships resulted in valuable attributes that I developed. This is how we begin to change thinking patterns, pulling positive out of the most negative of events.
As I sit back and use all the tools in my healthy relationship and trauma tool box, I looked back at the contact I had with my ex-boyfriend and solidified that this was actually a test from my higher power to explore if I remain to practice healthy boundaries. Was I able to now define and sort out that healthy relationship that will continue to grow? As Matthew Hussey believes, was this person the gem among the duds or was he a dud. Of course, before my growth, I would have believed for months this was my gem, but it only took a few flags for me to quickly see, he was defiantly a dud.
Accepting me for both my emotional and physical scars is a sign of a healthy relationship. A person who grows with me instead of against me is what I desire to find. I have had a past full of trauma and challenges. Most of these challenges and traumatic events, I have spent alone and not supported. I asked myself “Is this what I want out of life? Again, to form a relationship, whether romantic or friends with a person who does not desire to stick with me through thick and thin?” No, I answered myself. Why the heck do I want a person who is going to reject me on the belief that I am a bad person because of being incarcerated or any other mistake that could be made. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I was incarcerated for a crime I did not commit. Daily, I challenge the labels of being a felon, con, criminal and loser. Why do I need or want a person who is going to run the minute hard times set in or define me as these aspects when clearly, I am not? This is the question that I want most men and women reading this to answer. You are what you believe you are? Society does so many things wrong. Would we all agree on that? So why do we think the labeling, judgement and non-acceptance society plays a part in is correct?
The strongest people in the world are those who have developed resilience through struggle and misfortune. Abandonment is the most common action that happens when you become incarcerated and is the behavior that so many incarcerated deal with daily. People who are and have been incarcerated are the strongest warriors of all because of the labeling and judgement that falls upon them. The ridicule and obstacles one most face being labeled after incarceration is almost unbearable. The sad fact is most people take pleas and are not even guilty, because they are threatened with serious time away from their families if they reject it. Therefore, I opened my practice, to begin giving the people back their voice and to re-establish the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” Our society has been robbed of this precious civil right. We have been denied due process and ability to prove our innocence based on the need for those involved in profiting from incarceration and guilt to make a profit off our misfortune. If you were given the opportunity that I was given, to interview so many women who were incarcerated, you would learn the fear that was put in them to plea. I would leave you with this example, a woman I was incarcerated with was threatened to receive 20 years compared to 2 years if she took a plea. She was not guilty of the crime, but knew is she challenged the system, there was a good chance she would never see her children again. Most of us know, that these days, you are guilty until you can prove your innocence. So, they plea to a crime for extremely selfless reasons only to face a world of judgement and ridicule. Knowing this story to be fact, would I have a right to place judgement on her selfless act in which she did to save her family from a worse hardship. The following is an excerpt from my book:
The experience of being wrongfully convicted brought my attention to what I know now as the “forgotten population.” The “forgotten population” are the inmates across the country who are forgotten because society believes inmates are “less than” human and do not deserve to be treated with respect due to a crime that society believes the inmate has committed. It is quite a disturbing thought process if you sit back and think. For non- violent crimes society believes it is okay to emotionally destroy and deprive individuals of healthy food, adequate medical care and the ability to even take a shower when as a woman, you have an accident from your menstrual cycle. The inhumane things done in prison would not be tolerated by people in the United States if this type of treatment were happening in another country. Rape and other abusive behaviors are happening to inmates all over the country and many laugh or chuckle. Many turn a blind eye to the cruelty that occurs in prisons because it is validated through society’s ingrained belief system that the inmate deserves the abuse that he or she is experiencing.
People love to judge others by what they “think” they know. Many believe if one was incarcerated that he or she must be guilty. Acceptance in society after leaving prison is difficult, if we choose it to be difficult. Don’t get me wrong, we have challenges, but changing these challenges into opportunities is a skill that can be easily obtained and practiced. The first step is to reach out for help. Learning how to do these skills are not something that one is born with. That is why I and so many others are here and experienced these things, so we can help and guide you. Begin by just saying, “help me.”
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