Chaos vs. Stability...a major factor in winning or losing

My daughter and I have taken up walking one mile per night to spend time together.
Since I started my job as a case manager for domestic violence victims, I try to fit in talk and walk time at least three days a week.
She was explaining to me that she and her friend were talking about their issues with their respective lives.
My daughter stated she gets bored easily and that everything is very predictable in her life (internal cheer here). This was a goal for my children. I pointed out that because she knows what is going to happen, she has the ability to try new things. She then stated that her friend's life is constantly changing and she can't get her bearings, that she can't even join clubs in school. She is too busy paying for the poor choices other people are making.

Over the last several weeks as I have settled into my job, I have noticed that  because of the chaotic nature of their lives, many of my clients have settled into a pattern of reacting instead of planning.  They have been on the edge of violence and survival that whenever they perceive danger or uncertainty, they react in ways that undo any progress they might have made. In fact, many of the behaviours that kept them safe are the same behaviours that are counter productive in both relationships and career opportunities now that they are moving forward.

That is to say, they have brought the chaos with them.
They've inhaled it and it is part of their spirit.  To overcome that, I believe, The time that needs to be invested to turn it all around is directly proportional to the time spent steeped in it...
I grew up with that chaos til the age of twelve.
I did not learn to tame the chaos until I was in my thirties.
Realising it was an issue was the first step.
There are so many variables to taming the chaos.
To unraveling the disparate threads of violence and anger and self doubt and sadness...to unravel And trade all of that for peace and joy and faith and happiness...you have to learn to trust yourself first! Then learn to trust that people are good and that the world will catch you.  That your good effort will be rewarded and not see setbacks as permanent, but just temporary detours. That is hard when every effort you have made has been denigrated and denied.

People have no idea how much sheer will, faith and determination  that takes.

When you grow up with stability, you have the time to stay still and discover who you are and what your place is in this world.

When you grow up in chaos, you have to undo all of that damage and brain training. You have no opportunity to even begin to discover who you are or what your place is in this world until the violence and chaos ends.

There are levels of course.
There are different levels of trauma.
But people who had loving stable homes have a lead in the race of life.
If you are living in the chaos of your childhood, just know you are going to have to question all of your home truths.
They could be keeping you stuck in a repeat of bad relationships and failures in job and any other goals you might be attempting to achieve.

Quitting too soon is the chaotic souls primary glitch. I've learned not to quit, and from that one simple decision...I've seen more good come and have had my faith restored in life and in people. But it took many initial leaps of faith. Many Day by day decisions to simply keep moving forward, whatever the voice in my head was saying. Pick one thing you want and do not quit til it happens.


Deb Willbefree said...

Nice to see you post, Christine!

It sounds like you've achieved some goals you were aiming for. Congratulations!

Your posts holds a lot to chew o--as usual. :)

Maladaptive coping skills are an interesting thing. What people often miss is something you've spotted--those "Maladaptive" coping skills were exactly what was needed to survive. They were perfectly "adaptive" in the situation at hand.

It's hard to figure out what is and what is not helpful now that the landscape has changed...if it has really changed...and how much it has changed and how much it has stayed the same. Tricky stuff.

And that quitting to soon thing? Trickiest of all. Most women who have a domestic violence history have learned that they didn't quit SOON ENOUGH. They stuck with abusive partners, believing that if they just kept trying, things would get better. Didn't. Now, they're being told that they give up too soon. Like I said, tricky stuff.

Christine, domestic violence work is one of the hardest fields you can choose to work in. Keeping "normal" spaces for yourself iskey. Those walks with your daughter are essential-for you, for her, and for your work.

I'll keep you in my prayers. (Just prayed for you yesterday, as a matter of fact, so very cool to see this post today.) I hope all is well.


Jill A said...

I love it when you post - you have a way of seeing things that others don't. Have you ever thought of writing a book about your experiences? If not, you should definitely consider it!

Christine said...

Hi deb, yes..self care is a huge part of my daily plan these days. The walking is one piece, and self defense class, deliberate relaxation etc. Yes, maladaptive is a choice word. They cling to toxic people yet quit on personal goals and boundaries because they feel it's selfish. It's almost like a long term hostage situation...Stockholm syndrome with societal approval. It's quite interesting.

Christine said...

@jill, thank Jill..and actually lately I have been thinking about it.

bbubblyb said...

Hi Christine, it was nice to read your post today. yes, you always give me stuff to think about. When I read stuff like this it now reminds me of my nephew and his wife as the mental abuse people heap on each other is I think often far worse than physical abuse. I wish they could see past their own self loathing, dysfunction, insecurities and start to build each other up instead of tear each other down :( sadly like seems to attract like.