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Archive for July 24th, 2012

Yesterday, I shared a quote from Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged, that ended with this sentence:

Any refusal to recognize reality, for any reason whatever, has disastrous consequences. Atlas Shrugged, p. 418

I think this statement is true, and I am in the process of exploring in just how many ways I have lied to myself to avoid facing reality in my life. I used to believe this was limited to the child abuse, which was understandable – As a child, my abusers distorted reality to meet their purposes, and I had not yet developed the reason to be able to fight back other than believing deep down inside that their actions were wrong and that there had to be another way of life than being an abuser or victim.

My challenge today is awakening to the reality that I have refused to recognize reality in so many areas of my life, even in adulthood and even after working for years to heal from the child abuse. My guess is that this need to self-delude is a widespread issue that is not limited to abused children. (I think it helps explain the dynamics of many dysfunctional families.)

Society is responsible for many of these delusions (which is one of the points in Atlas Shrugged). As an example, growing up in a rural area of the South in the United States, I was told repeatedly that being a stay-at-home mom was the “only way” and that it would fulfill me as a woman. It did not. Don’t get me wrong – I love my child and value our relationship. However, being his mother is only one aspect of who I am, and the first three years of his life were very difficult because I thought there was something “wrong” with me. Being a stay-at-home mom whose sole role in life was to take care of a child and do housework was not a good fit for me, but I kept beating myself up for being a “bad person” for not finding fulfillment in this role. I kept thinking that if I tried harder, put forth more effort, etc., I would reach that place of fulfillment, but it never came.

When my son was three years old, I placed him in a preschool program and started working part-time as a writer during preschool hours over the objections of some family members who believed that being a stay-at-home mom should be my only job. This led to me being a paid to blog on the topic of adoption and then to starting this personal blog. My life is much more fulfilling by meeting my own needs as well as the needs of my family. Once I faced the reality that, despite what anyone told me, being a full-time wife and mother as my sole role was not meeting my needs, I was able to make changes in my life that led to more fulfillment. As long as I fought the reality that this arrangement was not working for me, I was frustrated and pouring effort into continuing a course of action that was not a good fit for me.

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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