How do people cope with all the pain life can cause? Can people cope with all the problems in their lives? Is the a cure-all for all situations? I need the magic medicine that will make all this better.
I am trying to find an alternate outlet for my emotions. I need something physical and preferably competitive. This is how I have always coped with everything. I would release it physically and the I could deal with it.
I can remember when I was a kid when I started to do this regularly. (I haven’t thought of this memory for decades) I was in second grade and my shoes had literally fallen apart. The soles became unattached to the top of the shoe. There was no way I could wear them. They were the cheapest shoes one could buy in our area so it was not surprising. I told my parents about it and showed them my shoes. My dad took them and threw them away. These were my only pair of shoes. I did not have flip flops or church shoes, nothing else. So I no longer had any shoes. I asked if we could go to the store and get new ones and I was told that we would wait until next week. This was the beginning of the week so that meant I would not have shoes for a full week. I was obviously upset, I was 8. I then thought they would take one of the pairs of shoes from my brother (yes he had multiple) and make me wear them for the week. I was okay with this but still knew they would be too big, but manageable.
Well, that is not what they had in mind. They went and got a pair of shoes of my mothers. They were very feminine shoes and about 5 sizes too big. I had a hard time keeping them on my feet. I was obviously upset about it but I really did not have a choice. So I wore my mom’s shoes for the rest of the week. I was teased relentlessly all week about my shoes. Even my brothers and sisters teased me. The worst was on the bus ride because we rode with all ages. Middle school kids, high school kids all road the bus. I just remember not trying to cry everyday and feeling the anger build and build. I have no idea how I did not get into a fight, but I just kept it all in.
The next week we went and got me shoes. They were the cheapest pair in town (again) and while I really did not like them they were better than my moms shoes. Even with the new shoes I was still angry and was still getting teased. My anger was at a level that is one of the highest levels I can remember from my childhood. So after riding the bus the first day after I got my new shoes and continuously was still being teased I decided I would no longer ride the bus. My school was between 2 and 3 miles away. So I would walk to school in the morning. I knew the way because I had already wandered a lot of my town by this point in my life. The fresh air and lack of teasing helped me, but then when I would get to school the teasing would start again. On the way home I decided to try and race the bus home. I knew where all the stops were and a few shortcuts the bus could not take. So off I went as the buss pulled out. I ran and ran and at every stop on the route, there I was waiting for the bus. I pushed myself and pushed myself to not get beat. I wanted to show all the kids that my shoes were fine and could make me faster (a great 2nd grade notion). I almost always beat the bus to every stop and always to my stop which was one of the last. I did this almost everyday for the rest of the year. It really helped me because it removed me from the toxic situation and I was able to release all the anger I had built up.
The only place that this did not work was while I was at school during recesses. Kids would still tease me and even though I had a release it was getting unbearable. Finally, one day I could not take it anymore. There was one kid that always seemed to start it and then the other kids would jump in. So we were at recess playing a game and he started in on me. I got in his face and told him he needed to stop. He pushed me and then made another comment. I don’t even remember what he said, but I just remember I punched him in the face and broke his glasses and he went down in a heap. Obviously there was a big group around us by that time. I was done with it and as I tried to walk away he got up and tackled me from behind. We were both on the ground wrestling when the teachers broke us up and sent us to Principals office.
My parents were called but would not come down so I got to face the Principal by myself (they would “deal” with me when I got home). I remember going in there and being scared. He was a big guy and there was horror stories of him spanking people with a big wooden paddle. I saw it sitting against the wall as I walked in. I remember telling him what happened and that I hit the kid. I also told him how long I had been teased for and I had tried to ignore it. Knowing what I know now I am sure there were already conversations about me between the teachers and the administration. I think they understood my family situation by this point. This was not a bad thing. I think they recognized that I was a good student put in a shitty situation. I did not know any of this at the time so I was scared. He told me that my parents were not coming to get me so I had to spend the rest of the day in detention and then for the next two weeks I had to sit on the stairs in detention during lunch recess. It would suck for me, but I was glad I was not getting hit with the paddle.
Looking back he was pretty smart. He gave me and the other kid the same punishment and we were required to sit next to each other for all of our time in detention. The kid apologized and we talked everyday. By the end of it all we were friends, he even invited me over to his birthday party.
So ever since that time I have used exercise to be my outlet. I would use the time to think and process what was going on. I was extremely active and would run, walk, or bike every where I went. I knew the whole city like it was the back of my hand. I would wander them day or night, just whenever I was having trouble.
So now, I have been stuck without an outlet for a few years now. Everything builds and builds and I struggle coping with everything. I believe that this is a reason I have so many swings in my emotions. One day is great and the next is bad. I don’t have that release. That alone time. The time I can push my body to see if it will just explode and die. So I am looking for new coping strategies. It seems that mixing alcohol and my medications is not the best option. Anyways that doesn’t really help me cope, just numb the pain.
Writing has been helpful and I will continue to do it but I don’t get that release and the exhaustion which helps me relax and calmly think about things. No, half the time I write I am more wound up than when I finish. Just like this post, I am a bundle of energy ready to explode. I brought up a memory that I do not like to remember and while writing it helps a little, it does not feel like I have been able to let go of it like when I am physically pushing my body. It is almost like I feel a need to punish my body in order to cope.
You can find magic wherever you look. – Dr. Seuss
Firstly, I’m sorry for what your parents did to you, many in your situation would have dealt with it in a toxic maner. As for what you can do physically. Have you thought of joining a gym? Or perhaps a kickboxing class. Something where you can release your pent up feelings and energy.
If you don’t have time to go to a gym or a class of sorts, why not taking up DIY projects in your home? Not only is it physical labour, but also creative and it will be there, you’ll be able to see your hard work once you are done.
I have a gym but I hate it. The only thing I used to like was racquetball but until my leg heals I am out. I am assuming about the time summer is over my leg will be better and then I will have nothing again.
On another note, I liked your post on love from the other day. You got some interesting comments.
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Yeah, it was the post with most success I’ve had, lol. It was s great topic though, and everyone has their own views and thoughts about it.
Why don’t you try swimming, it will do your leg good. And also it is great not only for your body but mind also. At least I see it that way. Or take a different approach, try gardening, or cooking, baking just things that are calming, but at the same time challenging. Perhaps they are not what you are looking for but until you can get back to running or whatever, once your leg is right and better.
ya know, my blog helped me. in so many ways. To vent. But also to help others with similar situations. And to really THINK about not just what happened to me, but the topic in general. But you know at some point, even the blog ran its course. It was time. i was thinking about this stuff too much. Plus answering emails daily from strangers on the subject. I had to walk away. Focus on other things in life. Just dabble in the subject now and then. but at some point, I had to put “it” and “her” aside.
I see that now. It is kind of why I mix my posts so not all ate about her. The longer it goes the less I really want to write about her and the affair. Instead I try and write about healing and my relationship with my wife.
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When things get rough for me I usually retreat in to a book. However, I have found that time spent punching a 100lb body bag helps. I don’t know your stance on guns, but honestly, a session at the gun range with a few hundred rounds helps me too. I have to focus on the safety of handling my gun, focus on breath control, sight picture, adjusting my aim, etc. So many things to focus on I forget about what is bothering me.
You mention coping. I think the ability to cope (or lack thereof) is one of the biggest things impacting peoples happiness.
Look into compulsions and numbing behaviors. These are things people turn to when they are having a hard time coping. Compulsions are something that give a temporary boost, or sense of feeling better. From what you have described, your affair may have been one. Numbing behaviors are ways to dull the pain and stop from feeling. The alcohol and medicine is a prime example of that.
Both compulsions and numbing behaviors are escapes, and ways to avoid actually dealing with things and problems at hand. Coping is hard sometimes, and sadly there is no magic wand. But it is important to recognize that numbing and compulsion generally destructive, and are often ways of NOT coping.
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Have you considered something like woodworking? It’s physical and creative; it requires concentration and attention to detail. You get to see your progress as you learn and improve. Broadening your horizons can be very therapeutic.
I haven’t. I have built stuff and redid an old house which I enjoyed but I have never tried woodworking. I wonder if I have the patience.
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Only one way to find out. 🙂
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Why were your parents so cruel to you? Who takes away their son’s shoes and makes them wear their mother’s? I’m so sorry you had such a shitty experience. That is a belittling thing to do to a young child. You are strong to have risen above your horrible family. SWxo
I wish I knew but I also don’t know if I really want to know the truth. Maybe I was the mailman’s kid?
What a heartbreaking story. Growing up with a persistent sense of shame is demoralizing and colors our world as adults. I am working my way through this myself.
Secrets and the resulting isolation, although destructive in our lives today, somehow feels familiar–and we gravitate toward them, I believe to handle anxiety.
Writing seems to work well for me–and honesty, with ourselves and our families. Nothing feels better than being free and clear, with nothing to hide.
Above all, keep writing and keep examining 🙂
Thanks, I feel for you if you had to endure anything like what I had.
You’re post made me feel for the 8 year old you. It sucks that your parent’s failed to see the repercussions of them not allowing you to fit in by purchasing something we all take for granted. I think the way that you thought laterally back then might be your best bet in terms of finding a coping mechanism now you’re a fully fledged grown-up. I know when I was a kid, running was my life until a knee injury at 17. I liked the competitiveness of it – hell, I liked to win, it made everything else fade away and in those moments I felt amazing. As I got older and still wanted to keep a wee bit active I started joining team sports. Not sure if you know what netball is? (Basketball for the ladies basically), but I found release in this. Have you thought about joining a softball team/ something similar – something light, that gets the air in your lungs, the blood pumping (but in a good way)?
I play a ton of sports when I can stay healthy but for some reason I have been unlucky. Hamstring two years ago, broken leg last year, and the other hamstring this year.
I am super competitive so I go hard at any activity. I can’t even just go run (which I hate running, I am really good but I hate it) without challenging myself. It makes me focus on something else.
Try yoga 🙂 I mostly like it for the breathing exercises. And I give myself affirmations or positive mantras to recite that give me peace. You might like doing it outdoors. Nature can certainly shift your perspective. No one’s life is easy and each circumstance is just a lesson. Learn. Keep moving forward. And keep writing…you are good at it! Wishing you many blessings today!
That is a good idea. I did yoga a couple of times. I don’t remember what type it was but it was very fast paced so I got a good aerobic workout as well.
If it was normal yoga my mind would go nuts.
I can’t even imagine being treated like that by my own parents. Your parents are assholes. Sorry if you find that offensive. But they are. They were abusive and shitty. And no kid deserves that. I’m sure the pain is compounded since they didn’t treat your siblings like shit. I hope that you realize that their treatment of you is and was about THEM and not you. To a kid, that’s impossible to explain. You’ve overcome great odds and turned into a decent human being. I hope you continue to do the work on yourself to let go off the pain they’ve caused you. I think once you do, you will learn to be happier and more fulfilled – without needing it from someone else.
I seriously want to punch them in the face right now. I have a really hard time with people that abuse kids in any form.
I feel the same way. I am extremely protective of mine, but also anyone’s I interact with at anytime. I almost feel a responsibility to be that person they can always know they can leave everything behind. They may talk to me or maybe they won’t, but as long as they feel safe, that is all I care about.
Thank you for sharing this very personal and heartbreaking memory. I know it isn’t easy for you to talk about the past and it isn’t fun, but I hope it will, in time, lighten your load. Be well xo
Me too. I have cut them so much out of my life (for obvious reasons) when I remember them I feel like I am letting them back in and I have no interest in that at all.
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Maybe a therapist can help you let them go. U aren’t that scared abused little boy and by keeping it all inside, they have stayed with u whether u want to believe that or not. My grandmother was treated similarly by her stepmother and as a result found being a Mom very overwhelming.
I am extremely proud of who I am as a father. It is one very bright spot in my life and always has been. To me it is like waving my middle finger at my parents and siblings and saying “I still win in the end” because I am nothing like them nor will I be.
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You should be proud. You broke the cycle just like my Mom did. It’s a huge accomplishment! But the fact that u want to say fu to them means there is still unresolved anger. That only hurts u n those u love, not the assholes I would have loved to have met in a dark alley with a Louisville Slugger- batting practice lol How are you doing today ?
Oh, I have anger towards them. There is not a doubt there. I usually don’t even register it until they do something (like send two out of my three kids birthday cards) then I comes back full force. As bad as it sounds I used to lay in bed at night thinking that if I just started a fire here in the basement they may never make it out. Luckily I also had some common sense to know that really wasn’t an option.
I was doing pretty okay on Monday, but each day that goes by this week gets harder and harder. For the next 3 weeks I will probably only see my wife for a total of 5 hours while we are both awake. We are just starting this busy period and already we are both anxious. This is when all the major things started to happen last year, so it is difficult. How about you?
So many of our lives have been filled with terrible events as these, I am sorry you went through this, I don’t know you well, but it is things like this that can make us better people to ourselves, our families, and others.
I would certainly suggest joining a gym or just running, that is my best outlet. It does sound like you have merely suppressed this memory and now relived it and are struggling to deal with it. You have yet to heal and forgive, which is maybe something you should work towards as it may weigh heavily on your subconscious.