Much of growing up consists of unlearning things I’ve picked up along the way to adulthood. My defense mechanisms, my ideas of friendships/relationships, and my perspective that once shaped my youth and aided me in surviving my upbringing are now obsolete and probably toxic. Even though some of these things were my sword and shield at the time, they were place holders because I could not process the situations, and I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to speak on my real feelings. I need to unpack a few things.
Truthfully, I am still learning some of my toxic traits, and I’m not unpacking all of them here, just know I'm a work in progress. One of my more toxic traits was utilizing absence as a means to punish or gain control, in other words, my fallback game was on point. If I felt like a situation was not going in my favor or I am becoming irritated, I would simply disconnect from it. I could sever ties from anything, friends, family, I’ve even cut off responsibilities (that only hurt me in the grand scheme, but nobody said it had to make sense). I could disappear without a word and I wouldn’t give any timetable on my return. Sometimes it was easier to disappear than to talk things through.
I’ve been unlearning everything I thought I knew about relationships, both platonic and romantic. I struggled to keep friends that are women because I never learned how to be a friend. I had to learn to view romance as a living thing. It should be nurtured for it to flourish. I struggled to maintain female and male friendships in general because I wouldn't allow myself to get close to them or vice versa, because I learned early on that you make friends, then you move to a different city or state. I grew up starting over every few years, so it was always easier for me to keep things shallow, so if I ever left, it wouldn't hurt me as much. That was a product of being a military brat. I missed out on a lot of situations that strengthen bonds and build loyalty. I learned the most when I had to go through real trials with the people I love the most.
I remember having this idea of success that was so simplistic that it was a fantasy. If you work hard, it'll work out. That’s it, that's the whole tweet. I quickly learned that sometimes… shit just doesn't work out! But what do you do when shit hits the fan? Nobody taught me that, I had very little resilience. Failure would break me down, and leave me in pieces. I had to unlearn that primitive idea of success and understand that there will be failed attempts, there will be some rerouting, and there will be some scrapped projects.
Unlearning is one of the most important things I learned as an adult. Sometimes I feel healed when I realize how much of the old me I have let go. Have you reflected on some of the things you have to unlearn? If you feel comfortable, let's talk about it.