I needed chaos and drama. But being still healed me.

Do you know people who run around like chickens (or chooks if you’re an Aussie) with their heads cut off?  The woman who volunteers for everything and acts like a martyr about it?  The workaholic bloke who never gets to tuck his kids in and if he does take time off, he’s on the phone the whole time?  I used to be a bit like that.  Always doing something, always surrounded by people.  Busy, busy, busy.  I was never still.

I was also great in a crisis.  I thrived in one.  Perhaps that was why being a news reporter and later, a Foreign Correspondent was so appealing to me.

When I met my Ex he was perfect.  But not in the way I thought.  Yes, he was charismatic.  Our first meeting, the chemistry was intense.  But we were the perfect fit in quite an invisible way. One that took me many years to see.

Our relationship was a rollercoaster.  The highs were high, the lows low until one day they scraped the bottom when he almost killed me.  You can’t get much lower than that!

But even after that I went back to him.  He ‘needed me’ I thought.   In my mind, all I needed to do was love him more.  To fix his damaged soul and show him I could be the one to turn him into the man I believed him to be deep down inside.

My focus was on him, on his issues, the ones I thought I could fix. Most of my sentences started with ‘You this…’ (to him) or ‘He that….’ (to friends).  I had all the answers.

I put him and his wellbeing above my own.   I denied my fears, suppressed all my emotions.   I was too busy to feel anything anyway. When he was remorseful I was in rescue mode.   Trying to fix him into the man I thought he could be (or if I am honest, the one I had projected onto him).   And I was trying to prove I was worthy of him.  That I wouldn’t let him down by all those so-called others before had done. I’d be the perfect wife.

It was exhausting.  The chaos and drama wore me down.  Little by little my self-esteem dissolved until I was a helpless mess. Nothing I did worked.  I couldn’t fix him, I couldn’t save our relationship.

I needed chaos and drama. But being still healed me.
I needed chaos and drama. But being still healed me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My loving him had become an unhealthy obsession.  An addiction for me. I was in a futile search for that first high I’d felt and he’d reward me with, between the bad times.

I also thought I could control the chaos.  If only I do X, then he’ll be change.  If I do Y, then he’ll be happy, I thought.   I could make the bad go away and we’d live that dream life I envisioned.   It was an addiction that could have killed me.

I didn’t know then how much I needed that chaos and drama.  When I found the courage to leave it was the opposite.  I was still for the first time in years.  That led to the most painful withdrawal and a volcanic surge of emotions: anger, loneliness, fear, guilt.  You name it.  I sobbed until there were no tears left some days.

Being still also meant I had to face myself.  For the first time.  I’d spent years going from one boyfriend to the other.  By the time one dumped me I’d already lined up his replacement.  I was never alone.  The new boyfriend therapy was the best antidote to a broken heart.

It was great for my self-esteem too, always having a gorgeous man on my arm and happy in a relationship. I was friends with a gorgeous model at the time.  She was one of the leads in Mad Max 2. Even she told me she was jealous of me, that the nice guys were too scared to approach her.  She was tall, stunning and a lovely girl.  She, jealous of me!  What a boost that was!

But this never being alone.  Never being still was also an anaesthetic. Masking my own deep-seated issues. Once I was away from the chaos and drama, I had nowhere to hide.   I had to face me.  

I had to ask myself the painful question: why had I stayed after violence, when others wouldn’t have?   That opened up a Pandora’s box of pain.

I didn’t like the person I saw.   I always thought I was the confident one.  Ask any of my school friends, they’d say the same. ‘Outgoing, confident’ is how I am sure they’d describe me.

Instead, I found this frightened little insecure girl.  One whose fear of abandonment was coming to the fore.  No wonder when I first met my ex it had felt so right.  Why I thought he was The One.   Our baggage matched in a weird way.

Whilst he was the ‘damaged’ one.  Whilst my focus was on fixing him, I could deny I needed fixing myself.  My need to be needed was a great way to numb my insecurities.  He ‘needed me’ to save him, nothing wrong with me!   It made me feel good.  It filled the void inside.

It was a void of shame.  That I wasn’t good enough.   If I was in a relationship with a man who needed me, was more damaged than me, he’d never leave me or so I thought!  My fear of abandonment: alleviated.

But this is not the basis for a long-term healthy relationship.  Bandaids (or Plasters for those in the UK!) never last.  They fall off after a while.   When mine did I saw the rot inside.   But, as painful as it was, it was also liberating. I realised:

I couldn’t control the uncontrollable, but I could change me.  So I took my focus off him and placed it back where it needed to be.  On me.

I couldn't fix him. But I could change me. That's how I started to heal. Click To Tweet

That was when I began to START WITH ME.  That was how I started to heal.

 

Do you thrive in chaos and drama? Are you finding it hard to be still?  Let me know in the Comments below.

[PS – My START WITH ME video course will be launching soon.  I will show you how you can go from feeling like a helpless victim to an empowered survivor.  Click here to instantly join the waitlist and be first to be notified when doors are open].

 

Domestic violence resources are widely available.    If you need further help or counselling please refer to the following helplines (or the equivalent in your country):

AUSTRALIA:  
1800Respect: 0800 737 732  RESPECT
Lifeline: 13 11 14  LIFELINE

UK:
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 NATIONAL DV HELPLINE UK
Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service 020 3866 4107  PALADIN UK

Ireland:   
Women’s Aid:1800 341 900 WOMEN’S AID
Safe Ireland:  +353 90 6479078  SAFE IRELAND

US: 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233  THE HOTLINE USA

DrugRehab.com 1-877-695-5395  DrugRehab.com

CANADA: 
DAWN Canada crisis hotlines:  DAWN CANADA

Follow me and why not try my FREE QUIZ to find out if your relationship is good enough; if you need to focus more on you, not them; and are ready to take your FIRST STEPS TO FREEDOM?

Written by Vivian McGrath

Vivian McGrath is a TV Executive Producer who makes documentaries for major US, UK and Australian broadcasters.  She is also a survivor of domestic violence.  Her book ‘Unbeatable (How I Left a Violent Man)’ – her story of surviving abuse to finding success in love and life – will be published soon.  She hopes this blog will help others to become strong, fearless and successful too.  Find out more about Vivian Here.

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2 thoughts on “I needed chaos and drama. But being still healed me.

  1. Hi Viv,
    Boy, did this blog strike a chord deep inside of me! You are SO right on the money with this, and thanks for putting a finger on something that I always knew all along but didn’t want to admit to myself. What a true blessing and guardian angel you are for all those who have been/are victims of our own demons, which invite & attract other demons to come hither. There are more of us than we think.

    Much love & respect,

    EJ

    1. Thank you so much. Every comment of support and encouragement means so much to me. It was one of the hardest things for me to do of all in my recovery. Just being still and facing my demons and me. But as painful as it was, it was the most healing thing of all. Being still, seeing that scared, lost little girl. Nurturing her and telling her she was okay. Once I did that my life changed. (Although when I met Mr V and he was so calm, nice and available I tried to create drama. I’d cause an argument and tried hard to push him away. I couldn’t deal with the stillness and lack of drama. Without it I had such a fear of abandonment that I tried to force the relationship to end before he abandoned me, which I was convinced would happen! Thank God he stuck around! Slowly I was able to be still and trust him. PS – 29th Wedding Anniversary this weekend!). Lots of love x

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