Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Persecution Complex

I think the main difference between having a persecution complex when you're younger and having one when you're older is acknowledgement. When you're young and naive and new to the world of persecution, you are positive you don't have a complex—you are sure it's true. People are, in fact, conspiring to judge you harshly, and the world really is out to get you. Fast-forward a decade or two, and you've got a lot more life experience under your belt. You are quite sure that you're too mature and secure in your own skin for persecution complexes, thank you very much. And then, one day, you realize you are knee-deep in one. This happened to me today. I have spent the past little while feeling frustrated and alone in some ways, and thinking lots of people were judging me and my family harshly. How could this be? I have tried hard to be kind and honest, and I'm pretty much an open book. Aren't people less likely to talk about me if it's easy to talk to me? I thought I had accumulated enough good will for people to give me the benefit of the doubt if they didn't understand my decisions, or something they heard about me or my children. But then you hear whisperings of things said by people who don't even know you, and the immortal words of Buffalo Springfield come true: paranoia strikes deep. After a few weeks of paranoia, you're in a full-blown persecution complex. So, here it is, but this time I'm admitting it to myself. I'm feeling a little persecuted by the world. I want to run away. So, what's the psychological antidote learned from all those years of life experience? Having been raised by my particular mom and grandma, it's not hard to come up with a bunch, and quickly: "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go eat worms!" "I'm sorry for myself, so sorry for myself." "There's only so much pity to go around. Best not to waste it all on yourself." I can sing these antidotes over and over to myself, and hope the persecution fever breaks. It will. It's silly! Shouldn't the very acknowledgement of it render it powerless? Ah, but there's a twist I didn't recognize. When I was young, I felt persecuted on my own behalf. That's just plain self pity. Now, I feel persecuted on behalf of my children, and my efforts to do the best by them. That's a new strain of the virus entirely. It's tougher to beat. It's still self pity—I'm aware of that. But it's a lot more potent. So what do you do? How do you shake it? I can't run away. And I can't let myself wallow.


Kristin said...

Approach the whisperers and have a 'come to Jesus meeting'? LOL. I don't know Em, that's a tough one. I know, dress all your kids in rags, smear mud on their faces and go to church. THAT will give the gossipers something to discuss!!
Hang in there, there are too many people who love you to worry about the haters and trolls.
(I met a woman at Women's conf. that adopted 4 ethiopian siblings. On top of 5 biologicals!! I could only shake my head and wonder about the charity and love you adoptive parents live each and every day.)

Cari said...

I remember Grandma saying those exact things to me too! People only talk about other people because they have nothing better to do. We need to remember not to fall into that trap. As long as you do your best in everything things will turn out right.

Sally said...

Dear Emily
I obviously do not know what is going on and what people are saying about your and your lovely family. All I can say is: keep being you and keep raising your family in the loving way that you are already raising them. I have not met Saffron, Willa and Cyrus, but we were all so impressed with Jasper and Ruby and anyone who can bring up such sensible, polite, well-mannered, intelligent and interesting children can't be doing too much wrong!
Being a mother puts a whole new complexion on things. It can turn a person from a mouse to a lioness and the anger and hurt one feels at one's children being treated badly is so much greater than any hurt inflicted on oneself. No, you can't run away. As someone who used to be a mouse until motherhood struck, I would stay stand up to these people who are giving your family a hard time. Politely, face to face, ask them what their problem is. Ask them to tell you why they are running you down. Ask them to talk their unwarranted opinions through with you and to hear your side of things. If they will not, they are showing their own inadequacy and lack of worth. Bring out your inner lioness!
Although it hurts such a lot, and only time will take that away, the opinion of these people really does not matter. What goes on in your family is none of their business. Their gossiping and bad-mouthing you behind your back says more about them than it does about you. Try to pity them.
Another one for the collection, for what it is worth: "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will not hurt me."
And, for catharsis, keep on blogging!
With lots of love x

Melissa said...

I dunno if you wanna hear this or if you think this is cheesy but whenever I start feeling like this the only cure is Heavenly Father. I know he's real and I trust him. So I take it to him and let HIM tell me my worth. I trust that he'll let me know if I'm being silly or if I'm doing well through the spirit. Then once he's let me know I"m a good person and he loves and trusts me, I move forward with that and realize that what others think doesn't matter and as long as I stay close to the Lord and lean on him, I can keep that hurt at bay and be happier.

Sydney said...

Hi Emily,

You can run away a little bit. Want to come to Idaho anytime this summer? We love you guys and can distract you with lots of waterskiing and hanging out!

Sydney said...

You can run away a little bit. Want to come to Idaho anytime this summer? We love you and can distract you with lots of waterskiing and hanging out!