Manipulation Station: Part Two-FLEAS
When you have been in a toxic situation and have endured emotional abuse, self-doubt can be a very big obstacle. One that I believed I managed to conquer for the most part...but every once in awhile it rears it's ugly head. I was reflecting on my past post, Manipulation Station, and old memories of many heartbreaking experiences began to surface. It started slowly at first and before I knew it I had begun on a dark descent into the shadows of residual toxic grime and I was re-living interactions and began questioning my choices. In crept feelings of guilt, shame anger...ugh. NOT THIS AGAIN! I began battling myself and fighting urges to explain myself to a person I decided to cut out of my life. Logically, I know talking to this person will not fix anything. In fact it would most likely do quite the opposite and open Pandora's Box. I'd be hopping back on that crazy train after bravely jumping off.
We had a great connection and a lot of good times. We had a very unique bond and a similar sense of humor. She was smart, funny and charming. We had a long history. There was a point in time I cut her out before, shortly after high school. I had enough of her criticism and rages. I wanted to be free from her and branched out with other friends. Years later, we reconnected and at first it was ok. It seemed things had changed for the better. I had really missed her but I didn't know why. (Now I understand, apparently I didn't learn what I needed to the first time). I remember talking to my other close friends at the time about the possibility of re-kindling our friendship. I remember how apprehensive I was and uncertain of whether or not this was a good idea. At the time, I was not as educated about toxic relationships and dealing with manipulators. I was very naive.
I know that I tried my best and it never seemed to be enough. I didn't feel safe around this person, I didn't feel accepted by this person. I felt like I was walking on eggshells...(which is what she claimed to be doing with me). I tried to make changes that would please this person. I was apologetic for hurting her when she raged at me or withdrew completely. I felt like I was always doing something wrong or saying something wrong. I was accused of things I know I did not do or say. She would make hurtful comments to me that I would dismiss and make excuses for, which was wrong. I was afraid to confront her about her behavior and so I swallowed my feelings and tried to focus on the positive things. She was so mistrustful of me I felt like I was constantly having to prove my loyalty.
There came a point in time where I became resentful, angry and I know I did say and do hurtful things. I immediately was apologetic and it was never acknowledged that I did apologize. I saw that I was acting like her and I began disliking who I was around this person. Because I started reflecting some of her behaviors, it became even harder for me to break free. I doubted myself and who I was. I would blame her and then blame myself and went around and around in my head. I was not being honest about how I felt. I didn't feel like I could be honest because nothing I did was right. Everything felt like it was turned around. I realized this had become a very unhealthy situation for me and I couldn't take anymore. Slowly I pulled away until something pushed me over the edge and it all came to an abrupt halt. I didn't call, I didn't write to try to explain. I felt like I had come to the point of NO CONTACT option. It was too emotionally draining to try and salvage what I thought we had.
After no contact for years, memories and feelings still surface from time to time. Sometimes, I feel like if only I had said..this or that..or did this or that, things would have been different. While this very well may be true, it had come to the point where I just didn't have the energy to try. When these memories and feelings surface, sometimes I think maybe I should write or call to have some sort of closure. I have to stop myself and recognize that I will most likely not get what I am looking for...understanding. People like this are called emotional vampires for reason, because they cannot see their reflection They can't see how their behavior effects anyone and how they push and often times for many, bring out the worst in people.
Over the years, I have educated myself about these situations for both personal and professional reasons. Even so, when it surfaces I have to take pause and process what I am feeling and thinking to avoid getting sucked back in. Looking back, I can see how at times my behavior was reflective of hers and that was a very scary realization and it was a hard pill for me to swallow. I had accepted my part in what became a toxic situation and that made it hard for me not to take all of the blame. I really began to doubt my discoveries and seriously question if I made the right decision. So, in order to stop myself from going to an unhealthy place, I began re-reading information that was helpful and began researching more information on the affects of being involved with a crazymaker. I stumbled upon this sight Out of the Fog https://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/Fleas.html
and discovered there is actually a term for what I experienced. It's called FLEAS, which is basically what happens if you board the crazy train. Here is the definition as described on Out of the Fog:
Fleas comes from the adage “Lie down with dogs and you are bound to get fleas”.
Sometimes, when a person has been exposed to an abusive situation for a sustained period, they will look for ways to escape - and sometimes they will experiment or resort to behaviors which are not characteristic but serve as a mechanism to demonstrate their anger.
These behaviors are often destructive and counter-productive and rarely get the abuse victim what they want. These behaviors usually result in regret, shame and apologies from the abuse victim towards their perpetrator. Some perpetrators may seize on such incidents as justification for their own abusive behavior or as a diversion from it.
Wow, I can't tell you how helpful this was to me and shed even more insight into my experiences. I am so thankful that I discovered this and it helped me find my center again and validated what I already knew in my head to be true. This information helped my heart catch up with my head. So, long story short if you were brave enough to jump off that crazy train..DON'T GET BACK ON. I hope my story will help you and I encourage you to visit Out of the Fog for additional information on how to deal with crazymakers. If you are in a situation or trying to recover from one, I encourage you to work with a professional counselor to gain clarity, strength for healing and discover your path to transformation. Thanks for reading!!
Be Happy and Blessed!
Kesha Martin, MA, LPC, NCC