Those of us who experienced abuse as children are absolutely terrified of messing up. Although making mistakes is a huge part of learning and of life, in an abusive home we got punished for things we didn’t deserve to be punished for and the punishment was directed at our core as a person. It wasn’t the usual discipline that healthy families use.
We were called names such as stupid, slow, dumb, sensitive, bad, unworthy etc. We were emotionally abused over and over again which led us to develop CPTSD. Now as adults we suffer with emotional flashbacks. Every time someone is disappointed in us, we are flashed back into the emotional state of our childhood. We feel small, defenseless, vulnerable, helpless and devastated.
The reason I am writing about this, is because I had a bad day at my morning job on Tuesday. My friend hadn’t told me she wasn’t working with me (usually she always lets me know), so this distracted me a little from my usual routine. I went into hypervigilance mode, checking the charts & dates of rooms I had to set up for the workshops. When we work together, I always start from the ground floor and work my way up through the kitchens and check the rooms on all 4 floors. We usually share the rooms that need setting up when we work together but on that day I had to prioritise and do things slightly differently.
After checking the chart over and over again, I got on with setting up 4 different rooms on various floors and when I was eventually finished, I was very pleased with how I had completed everything.
5 mins before the end of my shift, one of the ladies that was doing one of the workshops, turned up and said that the rooms weren’t set up. I was puzzled and told her that I had just set up 4 rooms. Luckily this lady, was genuinely lovely and had made me feel very comfortable since starting work there. She pointed at the chart and said it’s the 23rd today not the 22nd. What happened unfortunately, was that I had set up Monday’s rooms instead of Tuesday’s. I didn’t need to go in on Monday morning, so I completely misread the chart, thinking that it was Monday.
I was absolutely horrified and apologised immediately. Luckily she was very understanding and had a giggle saying ‘you are getting old’. Her room was only for 4 people, so it wasn’t really a big deal. Unfortunately on the ground floor however, there was a room that needed a 12 person set up and the workshop had already started!
I ran downstairs, dreading the confrontation with the German speaking lady and when I got there she obviously wasn’t pleased at all. She had already set up a trolley with drinks, cups, coffees and biscuits. I once again genuinely apologised and asked her what I could do to make up for my mistake. She just said help me put everything on the table, which meant I had to walk into a room full of people and the workshop presenter and start placing all the cups and drinks on the tables. One of the gentlemen started mumbling to me in German and I was completely lost in my frazzled state. I didn’t undertstand a word he said. Eventually the lady told me, to not worry about finishing it and I left to make a few more fresh coffees.
It took me another 30minutes to undo all the rooms I had set up in vain and return the drinks, freshly made coffees and cups to the kitchen.
Needles to say, I felt absolutely awful and I could hear that voice in my head saying you messed up, you are a failure, you are hopeless, you are slow..I was in a deep emotional flashback, even though nobody was actually that angry. All it took was the disappointed look on the lady’s face, to send me into a devastating flashback.
When I got home, I had a good cry and comforted myself saying ‘you had a flashback, you are not a failure, you just made a mistake’.
My past unfortunately will keep following me around, no matter how simple a mistake I make or how unimportant the actual situation is to an outsider.
As long as I continue to remind myself that I am only human and it is ok to make mistakes, then my flashbacks should hopefully lessen in intensity. They will always remain a challenge but it is one that I have to keep working at overcoming.
Thank for reading
Love Athina ♥