Boundaries: Enacting Them With Empowerment

Boundaries

It’s no secret that I have a tumultuous past. From time in jail to extreme sexual misuse of my body to behavioral problems, I have run the course of self-destruction, projection, being attached to petty dramas and other avenues of self harming, trauma based personality traits.

I am purposefully open about my past.  I want people to know they are not alone. I want people to know they do not have to live in shame.  I want people to know they don’t have to let anyone reverse them to the skin they have shed through healing. So, there is nothing which can be hurled toward me in regard to my past, nothing rooted in truth anyway, which I will not acknowledge. Part of my healing journey has included learning to stand in my place, not with shame or regret, but with empowerment.

I get to choose what to discuss or not discuss. I get to choose what to accept or not accept. I get to choose, period, and that’s that.

I also used to have a deep need to defend myself, explain my side and try to make everyone see and understand ME. I have associates who could tell you story after story of the times I lamented and recycled the same situations until I crazy-made my own mind. I was often in a negative-based mental space.

I felt owed. I felt people should adjust to me. I sometimes felt discarded, shunned and unaccepted, even by my own friends. Until I realized it wasn’t true. I was literally creating a negative storyline in my head that wasn’t fully rooted in truth and acceptance but instead, in my own self-based perception. There was some behavior from people which made me back away but concerning me, in retrospect, I churned those situations far too long and too much.

When we are in that state of mind or have friends who are in that state of mind, where we are churning instead of growing and learning, we can hold space and listen. I don’t mind listening. If you, the reader, don’t want to listen to others situations or can’t hold space, you also have the right to say, “I don’t have that to give to you right now.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to be in the space holding position. I have had friends tell me how frustrating it was to watch me churn petty problems instead of figure out solutions. So, I get it now. I’m an experiencer of this negative thought patterning.

I have a major boundary when it comes to being in the listening position, and that boundary is enacted when someone’s struggles are thrown at me like darts, and I am suddenly in the scapegoat position.

Writing on this subject was inspired by waking up today to a very long message from a friend explaining a situation that we had already discussed just a day ago and seemed, to me at least, had been lain to rest. Okay. I accepted that some things might still be unresolved for them. So, when I began to read, I was open to listening until I arrived at this phrase:

you have written a book and working on another about your torment and pain that some may dismiss as drama.”

Ah. Now I see. Because this person is attached to adult drama, they had the audacity to compare it with my childhood trauma. What I was reading was a projector’s mindset. I was being crazy-made.

I even further realized I was a target when I continued reading and arrived at… “All the times you schemed, planned, and even asked me to be involved. Or carried on without me, I never said a thing. Yes I was angry.”

At that moment I became slightly alarmed.  My mistrust meter went up to level red.  I began to search my brain. When did I scheme with this person? When did I ask them to be involved with a scheme that made them angry? My brain could find nothing. I attempted to call them to openly discuss it so I could understand more clearly what they were even talking about. They didn’t answer.

Then it hit me. If they were actually really referring to every person who has schemed and planned with them, but they couldn’t aim their anger at the actual person, it was being aimed at me. I was dealing with a deep projection.

This is where I advise not to take everything someone says to us literally as if it refers directly TO us.  If we cannot connect it to a specific event, most likely it really is not rooted in us.  However, we should not allow anyone to speak to us in ways which disrespect our growth and the ethics we work to maintain.

By that time, I was angry. How dare they speak to me this way. How dare they imply such things to me, that I’d ever schemed or been a petty person with them. How dare fabrications be thrown my way. How dare they not have the respect to answer the phone and actually talk to me about it.

By that time, I knew that I was done. I knew that I needed to separate from the recurring theme of this person’s personal life and being in the projected position. I realized this person was just being plain malicious and mean to me. At least that is how it felt.

I realized how hurt I was in that moment. So many times, I’ve been the only one listening to them; the only one understanding; the only one protecting. I sat on my bed, looking at my phone and realizing this was the crossroad we are at, and I had to choose to turn. That doesn’t always feel good.

I sit back now, writing out this emotion and decision to cut ties. I am hurt, confused and irritated to even have pettiness infused into my day unexpectedly. I also understand this really doesn’t have anything to do with me personally. I am being scapegoated. When I am feeling like that, I take my leave for my own spiritual safety. I always wish well, even as I wield a verbal sword when I slam the gate shut, in my heart, I always hope for healing and eventual accountability.

These are the times it hurts to cut ties with people we have been there for and truly care about in regard to their well being. This decision, for me, is rooted in the fact that this person has no respect for my own mental health, in that they found it alright to disrespect me. This person has now chosen to impede on my peace and mental health. That is a strong boundary for me now.

I write about this to both expel the negative energy that it created in me and to really drive home that we get to choose. I used to HATE when people said that to me. It pissed me off because I wasn’t ready to change my self-defeating behaviors. I had excuse after excuse. Everyone else was the problem. While yes, others had issues too, I needed to learn how to just focus on my own and not allow them to project theirs onto me. I had to also learn how to not project mine onto others.

I could list out the various physical and mental impairments I generally positively live with on a daily basis. I could demand everyone comply to my needs in regard to them. What I’d rather do is tell you that instead, I made the choice to create an environment which is conducive to my own well-being. I created it by building boundaries and standing mostly quiet in them, only raising my voice when it needs to be heard very clearly. It changed my whole life for the better. Any situation or connection which is not contributing to my greater good can be released or even taken a break from.

Once, one of my sons and I took a break from communicating because things were tumultuous between us. As a mom, I felt crushed. I spent many a night crying and lamenting until I finally realized that I was part of the problem. I needed to learn some different parenting skills, became accountable, listen more and stay rooted in my own safety boundaries. I started focusing on how I could do better, and our dynamic grew into a better and more loving space. I needed to lead by example in that situation.

I don’t expect you to compare any situation you may be having to my own. I share these examples because when I chose to own my own life and stand in what felt safe and comfortable for me, it changed everything. When we choose to heal the triggers which once rocked us they aren’t as daunting anymore. We remove the trigger and live from a state of self-care.

Until we choose to put our own peace of mind first, which can also, unfortunately, include pissing people off to do so, we will always be in the negativity zone. Becoming an empowered person means putting our own well being first.

Release unneeded worries. Cease churning negative situations. Create safe boundaries for yourself and adhere to them without fear of backlash. Most of all, accept that we are the only ones who can choose to protect and put ourselves first in our own lives.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

A Poster Child for Shame

There’s a duality existing when what we long for finally arrives. In that moment we are tasked with facing it. Now, I am going back inside. I am choosing this journey. While still somewhat tired from writing “Cult Child”, I want to keep myself surfing this wave lest it all disappear.

As I am writing “Rise of Sila” I am facing some extremely harsh realities. I am diving into teenage stories that bring more realizations of the emotional intensity and aftermath being an abused child  had formed.

In some ways, we became a predator as a teenager and young adult. I wasn’t brought to that realization until today, talking with my therapist about teenage moments that as I write, I realize are filled with an incredible amount of shame.

Gottamn, that fucking hurts. It makes me angry. It makes me wince. How dare they.

I sat talking with my therapist, and she was so beautifully raw with me. Softly facing it. She asked me, “What would you know right now, today, do if you met a teenager like the one who sometimes came out in you? How would you treat her?”

I know what I would do today. I would empathize with her, hold her and do everything for her that I was screaming for. I would want to know what happened to cause her so much pain. I would see the need for love. I would reach out and give her a voice. I would believe her. I wouldn’t judge her.

“Then as you write your teenage experiences, that’s how you treat yourself. With understanding.”

Is this what I am tasked for in this life cycle? Is this why I took this mission; to stand in the footsteps of the shame, holding the highs and the lows of every human who experiences child abuse, teenage wildness and criminal behavior; standing firmly inside of owning it? Am I to be a split open example of how painful it is to heal? Am I to be a warrior of the journey of human mind control survival?

When the switch happened as a young girl, I didn’t realize the totality of its many manifestations, until I sat down to it write it out. I didn’t know until I looked back, how formed we had become and how utterly out of control the wheel had been spun.

As I drove home today, I thought to myself, I know why Lot told his wife not to look back. It had nothing to do with religion or the tale of a sinful city. It was a metaphor that sometimes going back can grind us to salt if we’re not strong enough. Lot’s wife wasn’t strong enough, so she crumbled.

I hope I am strong enough.

I believe that I am.

How to Know When You Are Truly Outgrowing Your Past

Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” Danielle LaPorte

Many people talk the talk, but do they walk the walk?  Many times in my adult life I was a downright hypocrite.   I still have my moments, although now, I root myself in awareness of my behaviors so that my actions align with my words.  I try my best to do what I believe to be right.   Tonight, I was pondering on how a person knows when they are truly outgrowing their past.

I came up with one simple word.

Behavior

Our behaviors, the decisions we make, how we view the world, how we treat others and how we treat ourselves are all indicators of our past conditioning.   I am not a licensed therapist.  I’m a trauma survivor who has attended therapy and spent years reading a whole lot of information trying to figure myself out and understand what had been done to me as a child.

Behaviorally, as an adult, I was a walking ball of confusion.  I had no danger boundaries.  I allowed abusers in my life in both friendship and romantic relationships.  I faltered at being a mother.  I was either overly protective or not setting proper boundaries and sometimes even shut down.   There was a time before I had children that I enjoyed getting into fights.  I was essentially, a mass of anger energy.   Beneath all of that anger and false bravado that I spun to the world in an attempt to appear “normal”, was a deep pain that only seemed to seep out when I wrote poetry.   The rest of the time, it manifested itself in negative behaviors.  I made life decisions that weren’t always the best ones.

In my head I quietly lived in extreme fear of the world, but I didn’t understand why.  I was having numerous panic attacks starting in my late twenties to mid-thirties.   They crippled me.  I would have to leave the store.  There were times I believed I was dying, as my breath faltered and my palms sweat.  Once, I left a whole grocery cart of groceries in the middle of an aisle and high tailed it out of the store.  I didn’t know that I was having panic attacks.   I just knew I felt like the walls were closing in on me, and I was filled with an overwhelming panic to get out and to safety, even if it was my car.

My child abuse also manifested itself in irritation and lashing out behaviors.  For example, if my sons wanted to do something that involved an immense amount of people and/or noise, I would become agitated; begin having fear at the thought of the noisy and child filled environment, even though at the time, I had no clue that was why I was irritated. Noise levels affected my hearing.  Too many humans affected my moods.  I wavered, and I am sure for my sons I just appeared to be a mean mother.   Meanwhile, I continued either spoiling them when I could, in the hope of remedying my failures, or I gave far too much freedom to both of them, which unknown to me, was a recipe for creating a disastrous parent/child relationship.  What did I know of that?  I only had a childhood on a cult and a narcissistic mother to pattern my parenting by.

As my sons grew older, it became very difficult to say no, unless I was feeling anger and/or at a snapping point.  I had no boundaries allowing me to critically think through some of my parental situations.  I loved my sons and was often over-protective of them when they were little.  I worried constantly that someone would sexually abuse them or kidnap them.   I ruminated on fear which often drove my own mind into a state of frenzy that I wasn’t equipped to handle.  That is just one example of how trauma not only affects the person who suffered it, but also their future generations.

Fast forward years later, after counseling, which I now don’t foresee myself ever giving up, just for the sheer support of it, and I realize that things which used to make me exceedingly angry or even hurt, I now have the ability to observe from an adult perspective.  This is how I know that I’m partway into outgrowing my abuse.  My behavior no longer manifests my moods.  I am not always perfect.  Trust me, I can snap and be NOT nice at all when I am pushed in that direction.  I am a work in progress.  However, my pushing pattern has immensely changed.  Where the old self used to flash very quickly, the new self simply moves with action.  Actions truly do speak loudly.

We make mistakes in life.  There are times I snapped and said fucked up things to or around my kids; things I can never take back.  The guilt which builds up in a parent can be smothering.  It can cause parents to become enabling.  It can also be manipulated, if our children get wind of it.   When that guilt no longer exists, I can stand in my place, owning my life experiences, saying, yes, my childhood damaged me.  Yes, that also affected my sons, the third generation children of a cult survivor.

There will never be accountability for me from my own mother.  I can’t sit around waiting for someone to say “I’m sorry”, or come rescue me, in order to change my life or my future.   I am ultimately responsible for me and my decisions.  I can make boundaries and firmly stand by them.  I get to decide my journey.   I get to say no to anyone who doesn’t respect me.  I get to drop people out of my life who have no empathy for those who have been through trauma.  I can do it any way I choose if it feels safe and right.  I get to outgrow my trauma.

It doesn’t mean the trauma doesn’t exist.  It doesn’t mean the past doesn’t love to keep its grimy fingers dug into our flesh.  For me, the very first step to outgrowing my trauma was to accept that it happened and then to accept I can never change the past.   The next step was to then, with vulnerability and no shame, look at my own behaviors and assess what I could change about myself.   Then I had to be willing to do the work.  Part of that work includes learning to be alright with saying no, and putting your well-being at the forefront of your life.   It’s not easy work, but like climbing a mountain, when at the top you see that beautiful view, it’s worth every step.

I feel alright with where I am right now.  I listen to people everywhere complaining about life, and I just think about how many people feel truly lucky just to be alive.  I am one of those people.  I am lucky as fuck to be alive.   It doesn’t mean I don’t cry sometimes or don’t feel the totality of the apathy that’s rampant in the world.  It just means that I am in acceptance of the reality that I can only change myself.   Only I can outgrow my abuse by eliminating behaviors which were once ruled by it.   I don’t wait for someone else to take accountability.  I don’t wait for tomorrow.  Awareness is a state of being; a way of life.  Mindfulness becomes second nature.  Self-love begins to feel good instead of selfish.   We learn what we can and cannot do, and that becomes our boundary line.  We then learn to hold that line like a warrior.

Born Crazy: A Video Poem

You’re crazy.”

How often have you heard this phrase thrown around, either flippantly, in jest or to victim blame someone who has overcome or is recovering from abuse?

I heard this often as a post-cult teenager and well into my adult years. While I was actually dealing with the behavioral aftermath of being an extremely abused child, instead of receiving support, caring and nurturing I was told that I was crazy. When a child is told enough times that they’re mind is insane, we begin to believe it.

This poetry piece is from my spoken word album, Dusted Shelves, which is available on Amazon in paperback and c.d. Written in 2013, it is a representation of a life by which I was conditioned to believe that I was crazy.

Some abuse survivor work is considered to be dark and oddly psychotic. This piece would fall under that theme.

**Trigger Warning for those who are sensitive to these themes**

Born Crazy

Stream Of Consciousness | 6.18.15

these days attention spans / are so full of lack / there are three seconds / three / yes only three / to get you to find interest in me / as if i could / wrap up a galaxy / in just three seconds / meme / scream / the social machine

all these tips and writing advice / update your blog every week twice / post at certain times to hit your target audience / do this / do that / don’t do this / don’t do that / frick frack / panic attack

most days i’m getting through / there’s a target i wanna hit alright / and it’s not my “audience” / whatever that means / i think they are fellow humans / surviving / who occassionally read me / saying / fuck, me too / i suffered like you

necessary / connection / so easily / turned into affection / he has a pretty smile / she has a pretty dress / they say something senseless / throngs of followers / scrambling for the same power / self devour / its the dysfuntion hour

mimic / critic / solitary skeptic / critically think / the sum of / what we have become / can’t help feed your family / gotta save that / money for drugs / can’t give a hug / might feel too much

apathy / when your sister needs medicine / but you’re broke / next day you’re at the store / what a joke / i take note / this is not / how this goes

empathy / share my last piece / split bread in two / so you can eat too / sacrifice time / for your comfort / my stomach grumbles / the pains i hide / so you dont have to know

they say / if you give / it gets returned / somehow / i keep getting burned / love does come / with a cost / because compassion / cannot be bought / but usery can / at the hand / of the selfish / who prey on the selfless

i see the truth / of what they made you / when was / the last time / you cried / even tried / to heal your insides

i’m here writing / not twice a week / i’m weak / and who invades / the suffering / in their hour of need / who dims the lighthouse / when storms rage the seas / who sees inside me / when the silence roars / they keep scores / who can tread the waters / lonely daughter / wounded father

so you say / let me / sell you followers / and i say / no / im not a caller / no guru / no hero / just my truth / so dont walk in my line / its thin / in between the wind and my skin / and there’s no more room / to let anyone in

The Cult Of Consciousness

I’ve been observing him for a while. He’s been observing me as well. My first few interactions were kind and somewhat casual. We first began actually conversing privately in July by way of Facebook chat.

I had asked him about his family and his life. He was vague. He had a girlfriend, but was polyamorous. I sensed their rift. I didn’t mention it. I just listened and shared. It wasn’t anything I planned to pursue past friendship, if that.

My stomach felt uneasy from the first conversation. Something felt off. There was a dis genuine energy emitting from him. So I held him at a distance.

He maintained contact with an occasional little one heart emoticon sent through Facebook messenger. I sent positivity back by way of occasional youtube videos or articles I had found.

He never asked me of my life. He never went personal in an attempt to get to know me.

He went sexual.

The first encounter he wanted to do a Skype “cleansing” where he would enter my body and we would be “one” through Skype. He was going to give me a “free trial run” then afterwards, I’d have to pay as a client, of course.

I respectfully declined, explaining I did not have Skype and that was not a comfortable connection for me.

I felt his dislike of my answer because he didn’t get his way. I ignored it, chalking it up to immaturity, but still my intuition was clawing at my stomach and telling me “bad person for you”. I went about my life, being cordial, enjoying his posts at times, interacting with some of them occasionally.

We began a conversation a couple of days ago, and again I saw his manipulation and negative emotions arise when he did not get what he wanted. He claimed that he was particular about his sexuality and wanted to get to know me. Yet his conversation was riddled with sexual innuendo and he never asked one question about me, my work, my life. Nothing.

I explained in detail my discomfort, which of course he said he could heal that because my discomfort was merely me being attached to my past ::victim blaming eye roll:: I found him crass in taking such liberties without my prior consent and without knowing or caring about who I am.

I finally hit the unfollow and de-friend button today after this last conversation which included him gaslighting me as I shared why I had certain boundaries and then accusing me of trying to pick a fight with him (not sure over what exactly). Just typical idiotic gaslighting behavior.

As I sat there reading this stranger’s words, someone I had never met, who represents himself in the progressive love movement as a potential leader, I realized suddenly that not only was he making me uncomfortable he was triggering me.

I was back in the cult, a pre-teen, listening to one of my cult leaders/elders, manipulating my language, shutting me down, degrading my knowledge as if only he had the powerful connection to be “Teacher” and taking advantage of my sexuality.

This person who was accusing me of being attached to a past that I have spent many years dealing with was actually triggering me right back to the same past he was accusing me of not letting go of. What an Oxy-Moron.

It gets better.

I called bullshit on him. When his flowery words didn’t work he then attempted to use my own child abuse and Empathic gifts as a weapon against me. He told me that he was a Seer, too, and that he saw me in a cage as a child.

My choice about that comment in the moment was to completely ignore it. I felt at the time it was important for me to give that specific comment no direct power by even acknowledging that he’d used that tactic. It was a shill move. It was, for me, a signal to say good bye.

As I move away from this ill intended individual I realize how absolutely disgusting that behavior was. He literally blurted out a traumatic vision that he invented as a tactic to hold my attention, a made up vision that wasn’t even related to my abuse in any way. He did not even consider what kind of affect even saying something like that could possibly have on me. His short story in and of itself doesn’t match my abuse, and he vomited it without asking my permission, or feeling out if it was the right time. He represents himself a Healer and yet knows nothing about dealing with trauma survivors. In that, he is a dangerous person to even be around, especially for trauma survivors, if this is his common behavior.

Attacks on our spirit and psyche seem to be on the rise, coming by way of people like this person, for instance. As I have contemplated and meditated on this today, I came to understand there are some real tests in encountering narcissistic individuals.

Mainly I know my boundaries more clearly than ever and that feels great. One way this person gaslighted me was to call my boundaries “attachments”. Two different things. Boundaries define my happiness. Crossing them compromises them. Allowing someone to cross those boundaries and still keeping them around – that’s attachment to old patterns. If I was truly attached to old patterns I might have actually allowed someone like him to remain in my life.

These so called Healers are throwing around the word “attachment” with people whose lives and backgrounds they know little about. It’s harmful behavior and when they are dismissive it creates even more harm. They remind me of the wolf in lambs clothing.

It is alarming the amount of cult like behavior I am seeing from people in this co-conscious movement. This person’s behavior is identical to cult leadership behavior in that when he is in the “public” view, meaning those who actually believe he’s a genuine person, he is all love and oneness.

But behind the scenes he is about control, shutting a person down, getting them to comply and see only his view and anyone with a differing view just hasn’t learned yet. The perfect blueprint for a cult leader. He uses his position, most likely to get women. His last relationship recently ended. I would guess it is partially for this reason.

I have to cut these people off at the pass. Their intention is to suck people into their programs by using their charms, looks and lies that they are a loving and progressive person, but they will not show any interest in a person outside of how it may acquire something for them.

Narcissists have targeted me my whole life. It seems to be a bi-product of being an Empath. What is different for me now than in my past, is that I now can immediately sense it. Where I used to have been sucked in, say with the cage comment, which in my earlier days would have had me defensive, I can now tell Friend from Ploy and continue on my mission.

I don’t get swept up in group think. That is not to say I do not have similar thoughts, beliefs and preferences as others, but I do not need a group or a following to validate me. I share my heart and those who want to connect will. I don’t need a group to be a living example of what brings me joy. So tonight I went on a social purge, and that feels good; to rid that energy from weighting me down online as I stay focused on my own reason for being here

and that’s my current daily grind.

My mantra today: If it doesn’t contribute to my greater good it must go.

Clowns

Hurt
I shut down
Inside the silence

Write it out
Fight it out

Empath
This solitary epitaph
Words come lucid
Swept on tides
Murky

I am smothered
By the pain of
Sickened souls
If I could touch them
Make them whole

Let them see
How they shine
So brightly
How pure
Their lives can be

It would redeem
The sins
They can’t rinse
No matter how many
Excuses they invent

Sequestered
Assessing
The sociopathy
The apathy

I cry beneath the
Weeping willow tree
On my knees
Arms wrapped
Face pressed
Against her bark as
She rinses my heart

Meanwhile humans
Play on merry go rounds
Their faces adorned
Like clowns

©venniekocsis.com