Conflation & castigation

I’ve been reflecting on things again. [“What?” I hear regular readers of my blog cry, “surely not?! That is so out of character for Louise …” 😉 ]
So anyway, I have been reflecting on things, some might even say I’ve been over-thinking. I attended a Landmark education seminar recently and I walked away deep in thought about something that I learned there. One of the things I took away from the seminar was trying to separate events that have happened in our lives from the interpretation we have made of those events.

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I clocked a while ago that one of the interpretations I made about the hurts I suffered that led to the break up of my marriage was that I deserved to be hurt. Somehow, the only way I could rationalise finding myself in the situation I did was to decide I had done something to deserve it. This is absolutely one of the factors that kept me in a failing relationship for so long. I thought I’d dealt with this belief of mine, but as I thought about it on Monday night after attending the seminar I realised I hadn’t laid it to rest as well as I thought.
I still use the mental calculation that when I feel hurt, it must be because I have done something to deserve feeling hurt  to guide decision making about my future. I end up feeling that I am completely irresponsible whenever I end up feeling hurt, the mental calculation going something like this:
1)
I get hurt > I must have done something to deserve being hurt > it is my responsibility to look after myself and avoid being hurt > therefore I have taken irresponsible risks and should have weighed the risk more carefully before acting.
As I read that back, it seems a bit loony even to me (self declared queen of neuroticism!). I am trying to replace this line of reasoning with a more helpful one:
2)
I get hurt > something about what I did or what happened didn’t work very well for me > I will try and learn from what happened to avoid being hurt in the future > I will build this into my risk calculation model for future decisions.
I find 2) a hell of a lot more useful! And it involves a lot less self castigation than 1). It’s a win on all levels! Not that it is easy to implement in practice, but I am determined to work at changing my mental framework until 2) is the default.
Wish me luck with that one! I’ll keep you posted on how it works. There is also another interpretation that I am working on challenging that sounds even more pathetic than this one, so give me a bit of time to work on that one and then I’ll share it with you 🙂
I’ll leave you with my track of the moment: Strange Glue by Catatonia …
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