When You JUST Don’t Fit!
You fall in love with a pair of “to die for” shoes and the only pair they don’t have left are your size. However, you JUST manage to squeeze into them, so you buy them, believing they will eventually stretch and fit.
Saturday night comes; you and your ‘besties’ are heading to a nightclub and you are feeling fabulous in your new shoes; that is until you start to feel a twinge. Very soon, the twinge turns to swelling; and indeed, pain follows.
Within a very short time, all you can think about is getting those “to die for” shoes off. You sit out the dancing and sneak off your shoes and decline any offers to go elsewhere because your feet are “killing you.” All you want to do is find your way home quickly to relieve the swelling and pain, swearing, “never again.”
The next day, you hobble to the Mall hoping to get your money back, exchange the shoes, or alternatively, search for another comfortable pair of shoes that fit and meet your needs.
Prolonged and repeated trauma during childhood can leave a person without a true sense of being ‘comfortable in your own skin;’ and indeed, limits their ability to work in many work environments, or to form healthy relationships with others, especially those who are in a position of trust.
When the shoe doesn’t quite fit
A child surviving in an abuse environment is constantly on the lookout for signs, signals and changes in the “trusted” person’s moods or attitudes; likewise, for changes in the environment, because a child’s survival is dependant on their intuitive awareness to these changes, even though they have no understanding of what it means on an intellectual level. Therefore, they don’t have a sense of fitting into their environment and thriving like other children, because they are in a constant state of hypervigilance (anxiously keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties). They learn how to read and listen to the unspoken language i.e. body language, tone, eye contact and gut feelings. So they learn not to trust, especially when prolonged and repeated traumas are present. This leaves a child in a constant state of anxiety and weakens their ability to embrace life, as it presents itself.
Notwithstanding, this environment has the potential to leave a child with an ongoing condition called, C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). A long-term condition brought on by repeated childhood trauma, causing many problems with memory identity, emotional control and inability to form deep, healthy relationship with others.
C-PTSD leaves a person with a sense of not quite fitting into a work, social or relationship environment. No matter how educated, skilled, talented, trained and together a survivor is, there is a sense of not quite fitting into a ‘normal’ environment. There is a constant anxious battle on the inside to feel “normal” (whatever that means), to say and do the right thing; and indeed, to fit.
It's difficult for a person with C-PTSD to fit comfortably into a group setting, family, work, and church or community group. It may appear a perfect fit in the beginning; and indeed, it may work for a little while but then the twinge begins, along with the swelling, and finally the pain. Consequently, the urgency of wanting to escape home and find the comfort of the ‘shoes that fit.’
An adult suffering with C-PTSD, surrendering to an environment where they don’t quite fit is as painful as an ill-fitting shoe because it becomes unbearable, painful and unsafe.
There’s a reason for this; in fact, just like the ill-fitting shoe, it’s not noticeable to others around them. For instance, a sufferer of C-PTSD has an awareness of the things going on around them; they see and feel deeply the injustices, hidden conflicts and agendas, the lies, deceit and the unspoken languages.
- They feel the twinge, they know things are not right and they are alert. (Watching for possible dangers and difficulties).
- The swelling starts, they start to react and self-protect, creating a reaction in others.
- The pain begins, conflicts, confrontations, overreacting.
- The relief comes when the source of the pain is removed. You leave the environment or others exclude you from it. In fact, it’s a relief whichever way the removal is presented because the “possible dangers and difficulties” are removed.
Therefore, the task of a person with C-PTSD is to find the “shoe that fits” comfortably and many times that is finding the environment that works within their safety net, without isolating themselves.
I personally, couldn’t work within an environment with a hierarchy/pecking order (status seen amongst members of a group of people or animals) because of the interpersonal games, cliques, conflicts and hidden agendas, it reminded me too much of being abused by those entrusted with my well-being. My triggers were my hard taskmasters; therefore, I couldn’t work in many work places, even though I had the personality and the skills. Whenever it reached the point of pain, I could walk away.
“When the shoe fits” then wear it.
In conclusion, find the right shoe that fits comfortably and wear it.
You get one life, others may have interfered with it; however, you get to choose the outcome.
Get help to bring ‘triggers’ under control, join a group where others are moving forward with their lives and they include you. If you feel others exclude you and you have exhausted the reasons why then exchange the “ill-fitting” for a “comfortable fit.” There are many healthy, wonderful, inclusive groups in our community that embrace others unconditionally.
Find your passion, (we all have something that ignites us) and run with it, turn it into a business, to create income. I have found the most peace when I worked my own businesses, I created the environment and I got to allow who I needed in my life and who I needed to let go of. Anyone can start a business, and be as creative as you want to be. My only suggestion is that you start small and allow it to fit into your life.
Be in control of the shoes you wear. Life is too short to put up with ill-fitting shoes.