Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.

Sometimes when I’m having a really good day, I hear a nagging voice in my head that serves only to undermine.

Attract Him Back

It’s not a voice from my childhood or from my ex or from my own self-doubts.  Many of those—though  not all—I’ve exorcized over the past few of years. This is different.

Like the others of the past, it’s an action-reaction pattern. I’ll feel a certain stimulus and then I’ll hear the reaction to that stimulus from so many repeats in my past.

Here’s how it works. Here’s exactly how it  works.

I’m getting a ton of work accomplished. This is good. I’ve had to  trudge through a lack of motivation due to emotional upsets and I’m finally getting some inspiration back. I allow myself to feel good about it.

That’s when the nagging voice hits. “Well, aren’t youbeing productive?!”

It’s not said in a nice way. It’s cutting and mean and sarcastic. It’s the voice of a former friend.

But that,  looking  back,  was  often  the  pattern.  Any time I felt good about what I was doing, she found a way to tear it down though I don’t think she consciously knew that she was doing it. I know, at that time, I didn’t realize she was doing it either or its effect on me.

If I was cranking out the work, it was a snarky remark about  my  productivity.  If  a  man  adored  me,  it  was  a doubt-instilling  comment  that it wouldn’t  last. If I was happy with something in my home, then it was a guilt-trip on the size of my house or that it was comfortable.

No matter what it was, if it was a sweet moment for me, there was a comment to be made, all in the name of being supportive or just “funning” with me.

The comment almost always had a sharp edge to it. At the time, I thought  I was probably overly sensitive  because these  remarks were always said in a light-hearted, joking manner by someone who supposedly cared about me…even though the content was often demeaning  and cruel or downright angry.

Looking  back  at  the  friendship,  I  remember  these comments  more so than anything  else that ever passed between us. Which is a shame, but that’s the legacy that lives on so many years later.

Often after talking to her, I felt awful. And then I felt guilty for feeling awful because I thought she was so supportive of me. Then I felt really bad.

And that’s an indicator, I’ve discovered. If every time you’re with  someone  or talking to someone,  you leave their presence  feeling  much  worse than when you first saw them, something’s amiss, something’s out of balance. People who support each other and love each other will have their ups and downs and not every conversation  is going to be giddy with joy, but if every interaction leaves one  person  feeling  damned  near  suicidal,  something  is wrong with this relationship.

If the relationship  is sound and balanced,  then you leave the interaction feeling calm when you were upset or just plain feeling good after  talking. That may not be the result every time, but I’ve had relationships  and friendships where I almost always ended a conversation feeling really at peace or excited about just being alive. It’s a huge contrast.

Even when  one has graduated  from  an unbalanced relationship  and moved on, the pattern remains and the triggers are still there to be overcome.

I’m getting  a lot done today, I tell myself,  and I’m feeling good about it.

Then that nagging voice pipes up. “My, but you’re being productive today, aren’t you?”

And I have to pause, steel myself, and answer, “Why, yes. I am.”


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