Is what WE see…the Truth?

I’m taking a “class”  (or so I thought).  After our first meeting, the leaders defined it as a “support group”.  The minute they said it (that “support group word”), my insides twisted with discomfort. 

The fact is…I don’t like to feel like I “need” anything or that I’m weak.  I decide how vulnerable I want to be and to whom. I’m suppose to be a strong, independent, woman (because that’s how I want to see myself).

But as a friend recently pointed out to me, ”strength” isn’t necessarily defined as we think it is.  For example: take a woman who cries. While some might say her tears represent weakness, others would say that allowing herself to cry and feel both love and hurt deeply, takes MORE courage than the one who holds back. 

I’m taking a class called the Wounded Heart. Wait…sorry…let me practice here:  I’m in a ”support group” for women who have experienced sexual abuse in their childhood.  (I hope you didn’t just cringe away at such a “shameful topic” but it’s okay if you did. It’s painful to see, hear, read and talk about it for many. So I will try to approach the topic with as much empathy as I can.)

Our first homework assignment this week was to give a questionnaire to trusted friends. The questionnaire is about our behaviors as seen by others, towards others. We were warned, “The results, may surprise you but encourage your friends to be honest because making you feel good by lying to you, won’t help you.”

“The trouble with most of us is we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” -Norman Vincent Peale

So far, I am discovering some hard things about myself that I wouldn’t have seen on my own (or admitted)! Some of the repeats are:

  • Rarely invites people to know what’s going on inside of her.
  • Can’t Stand to say no.
  • Hates conflict or having people upset with her.
  • Invites people to take her for granted.
  • Rarely express soft feelings, such as tenderness, sorrow, or fear.
  • Avoids appearing weak.
  • Is suspicious of others motives.
  • Makes a person feel deeply needed (Does this mean I’m needy?)

 Although the part of me that doesn’t like to admit this (remember, I don’t appearing to be weak…lol), I can see where and how these things would fit my life. A couple surprised me such as “rarely inviting others inside/sharing soft feelings” because I always feel like I invite people in. So it is true: we do not fully know ourselves and sometimes, we aren’t even aware of the depths or motives of our own hearts.

 Now that I see some inconsistencies in how I see myself and  how others see me, I must ask: why?  And I’m sure asking “why” is where the mending process actually begins.  And even though this is hard (and difficult to swallow), I sense that this is good.  And you know what? I’m feeling a little brave and more courageous than ever about facing the “ugly” stuff on the inside.  A friend responded to my questionnaire and admitted she would “never do this!”  I responded, “I know. It sucks.” lol

I’m convinced that the harder we try to change ourselves, the harder we will fall.  That is a trap we (and when I say “we”, I mean me) must be careful to avoid.  Instead, the more we make a choice to come to Jesus over and over and abide in His love and forgiveness, the more HE will change us. (Man…does Jesus have a lot of work to do on ME!!!)

Why not take a risk to look at the truth?  What is there to lose, REALLY? Not much honestly. But there is a WHOLE LOT to gain, including humility, truth and FREEDOM for the inner torment. 

For those reading this who would like to practice the courage of facing the truth about themselves by asking how their friends and family perceive, them I am attaching the questions. Feel free to copy them and give them to the ones who know you BEST and that you TRUST (that’s important because you want feedback from those who know you).

After my next class**…uh…I mean “meeting”, I will post what we are to do with these responses. And I hope to pick a few friends who want to journey with me along this path of discovery and healing.

Cheering for you,

-Ang

** UPDATE: Although we discussed this in class the following week, we did not discuss what to do about it! LOL. Soooo…I’m still learning and eager to know myself. When I do, you can bet I will share. 3.30.11

The Questionnaire

Your friend has asked you to fill out this checklist, marking the items that you believe are true of her fairly often. In giving you this checklist, your friend is taking a risk, putting some trust in you. We hope you will respect that trust by telling her what you really think, confronting her if she tries to punish you for being honest, and not telling anyone else about the checklist or what you have observed about your friend. Circle or check the items that are true fairly often.

 My Friend

  1. loves to help others and do favors
  2. places a high value on keeping the peace
  3. is pleasant but rarely passionate
  4. rarely loses her temper
  5. rarely invites people to know what’s going on insider of her
  6. is an energetic worker and organizer
  7. avoids asking for help
  8. hates to impose on people
  9. is very concerned of what people think of her
  10. rarely laughs uncontrollably
  11. plays the martyr
  12. gets depressed when someone tells her she’s withholding herself or when confronted
  13. can not stand to say no
  14. hates conflict or having people upset with her
  15. apologize a lot
  16. insists that people by pleased with her
  17. invites people to take her for granted
  18. is quietly, pleasantly detached from deep involvement with people
  19. rarely expresses soft feelings, such as tenderness, sorrow, or fear
  20. tends to be take-charge, task-oriented, and no nonsense
  21. avoids appearing weak
  22. is easy to respect
  23. is easy to fear
  24. loses her temper often
  25. is sensitive when snubbed
  26. is suspicious of other’s motives
  27. tends to be critical
  28. likes to air her own opinions
  29. is impressively competent at practically everything she tries
  30. acts like a know it all
  31. likes to have the last word
  32. doesn’t let people get close to her
  33. can silence people with a look
  34. has a biting wit
  35. seems too busy to  focus on a person
  36. expects to be in charge
  37. will go toe to toe with people who cross or compete with her
  38. is not a person most people enjoy for herself, but rather for her abilities
  39.  is hard to pin down
  40. has wild or moderate, but noticeable mood swings
  41. is inconsistent and fickle
  42. can be warm one minute and demanding and whiny the next
  43. can be whiny one day and surprisingly brave the next
  44. is easily hurt
  45. takes things out of content or mishears them
  46. uses sexuality to seduce people into doing what she wants
  47. uses fragile health or emotions to manipulate people into giving her, her way
  48. flirts a lot
  49. receives advances from men and acts surprised
  50. goes into depression when someone wounds her
  51. tries to keep her spouse/children dependent on her
  52. loves in a demanding way
  53. makes a person feel deeply needed
  54. makes me feel guilty when I let her down
  55. gets of relationships when they cost too much
  56. makes me feel I could never do enough to make her happy
  57. is confusing and frustrating
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