Fitting in…

We’ve never felt like we’ve fitted in anywhere.  Whether it be due to physical, psychological or social causes, we’ve always felt that we were different to those around us and didn’t really belong.  We try very hard to fit in and have acted like a chameleon for most of this life – doing whatever is needed in order to not stand out and fly below the radar; but have never really succeeded.  At times we’ve been accused of being “stuck-up”, “a bitch” or snobby as we make dissociative switches to ones who are involved in protecting the system from harm.  To us it feels like we’ve retreated behind another wall of protection, but we now realise that this is viewed as putting up a veil of superiority.  Our language becomes more formal and disjointed when we do this, and we know this has had a negative affect on those around us.  We can look at it and see the tough 8 year old who is trying so hard not to be scared and to act like a grown-up, to others it can seem like we’re being condescending.  When it becomes particularly bad, we can see evidence of Carrie and One in the language – things have gone downhill rapidly when these two are around protecting us.

Growing up, we were always the tallest girl in the class and tried to be perfect at school.  These two factors made us stick out before we even opened our mouth.  We tried to speak as little as possible in an attempt to be invisible.  We were often bullied because some children instinctively know who to pick on – who won’t fight back, speak up and is already a victim.  We were often targeted for special attention by the teachers – usually for “privileges” such as taking the special needs girl in our class for art supplies while the teacher tells the rest of the class not to tease her.  These privileges rarely felt like a privilege as they often caused us to be seen, and therefore bullied by the other children.  Despite this, we loved school.  It was a relatively safe escape. We did well at school, but have never considered ourselves to be intelligent – if we can do it, anyone can.  We have a masters degree, but it wasn’t a real one – how hard are library studies after all??

We know we have a massive inferiority complex and we could sell insecurities we have so many of them.  But we struggle to find a place that feels comfortable.  Any little slight from anyone and we’re a mess.  A group of survivors who are high functioning and verbal – too scary as we feel we’re not intelligent enough to contribute there.  A group of survivors who are struggling – we never say the right things, or we don’t understand the depths that they are going through, so we’re best to not say anything for fear of stuffing it up and causing hurt.

We’re writing this purely to try and explain some of our actions lately and to try and work them through. Nothing more, nothing less.

What’s been interesting looking at our writing over the last few months, is that our basic grammar and use of punctuation changes depending on who is present.  We’d never spotted that before, it’s kinda weird.


9 Responses to “Fitting in…”

  1. 1 mindparts May 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    What an honest post. I can tell how hard it is for you. I can so identify with school being a sort of safe place, even though it still sucked if you really look at it. It just wasn’t as bad as some other things.

    But I really just wanted to comment on the condescending reaction people may have to certain parts. I think it is about protecting yourself. I try to look at the whole me and while I have parts who are interpreted in many different ways, the big picture is what I try to focus on. Add them all up and what do you get?


    • 2 castorgirl May 7, 2009 at 9:49 pm

      We had to wait awhile before responding to this question Paul – the first instinct was to say something not very complementary about the big picture we present :)

      We realise that it’s a very self-protective tactic, it’s just so easily mis-understood by those around us. It increases our isolation as we’re perceived by others as if we think we’re superior – when it’s actually that we think we’re worthless.

      Take care

  2. 3 MeMyself&Who May 6, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    You have a library degree? Sweet! I been looking at different programs here and there. I don’t know much about it but from what I’ve seen it seems like you’d have to have a pretty good brain in your head.
    It’s so strange, I recently came across a few old report cards from grade school and it’s amazing to see how varied the comments and actual grades are. One semester/quarter I’m pulling A’s and B’s the next I’m practically flunking. Or I’ll be passing in a handful of subjects while flunking the other handful and the next semester/quarter it’s flipped. I somehow managed to graduate with my associates with a 3.0, went on to finish my last two years for a BA and could not for the life of me pass even though I was working my butt off.
    One minute I think I’m high functioning, I’ve got this down, everything is great. The next minute I’m a wreck and wondering if I should check in to a hospital.
    It’s such a tightrope walk sometimes (some days it’s more like a juggling act) to figure out where everything fits and where I fit in everything. I think I don’t think about it much because eventually I start to get that feeling that I don’t fit anywhere.
    From what I’ve read around though is feeling that way can be part of complex ptsd. I think most survivors I know do at some point in time feel what your feeling. Narrow something down enough and you’ll find differences. So if you’re high functioning, low functioning, in the middle functioning…you’ve still survived. What got us all here sucks (there is no word for it really is there?) but we’re all in this ‘group’ even if we don’t say the right things or see eye to eye all the time, or are in different mental/emotional places at different times etc.
    I think Paul is right put all together add what do you get? I think for the most part personally, all my parts mean well. Not all of them are gifted with tact,kindness,or maybe even compassion but we’re workin on it.

    • 4 castorgirl May 7, 2009 at 10:00 pm

      Yes, we’ve got a library degree :) Our first degree is in the Applied Sciences though, so not in any way related to our current job… lol. We were lucky in that it was predominantly W and SO who did a majority of our early school work and then M did a majority of the post-graduate work. So we had ways in which to compartmentalise school – also meant that we had a photographic memory and W had to make a conscious effort to alter the wording from the text books that could be remembered as a photograph in the exams.

      I know what you mean about the juggling act. Half the time I’m not even sure what things we’re juggling, so it adds to that feeling of being lost in the dark.

      I think others see things that we’d never see in ourselves… Sometimes those acts that seem destructive are geared towards protection.

      Take care and keep on working on it :)

  3. 5 Ivory May 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    You have really done some soul searching, and found honesty. I have never fit in either, I intentionally hid any hint of intelligence so I could fit in. Even in college, I intentionally got a B in a class, just not to stand out.

    I think you don’t give yourself enough credit about your education. I only have a Bachelor’s Degree but I am damn proud of it. It isn’t how “hard” the studies were, it’s about the fact that you put in the time, you worked hard and long to finish successfully, AND you are one of the few who are working in the field of her degree.

    Agreeably, predators know just who exactly to pick on. I can see A$$holes spot me from across the room. Sometimes, I want to run because I know I’m going to be targeted. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but my past is stuffed full of it.

    I truly appreciate who you are and the struggles you are dealing with.

    • 6 castorgirl May 7, 2009 at 10:17 pm

      Yes, I sometimes wonder if I have a sign on me saying “victim”. I know that it’s our body language that gives us away as being a survivor, but it’s frustrating.

      I’m the first to say to anyone else that their degree is worthwhile and a great achievement, I just can’t do it for our achievements. The masters was a great deal of work, but it wasn’t difficult. We enjoy our work – we like helping people :)

      Thank you for that last line…

      Take care

  4. 7 Amie May 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Yeah.. I can totally relate. I was the same at school, mostly i managed to stay invisible luckily for me. I also have that same inferiority complex.
    As always, i hope you’re doing ok. I see the latest post is protected, i’m assuming thats not so good? But i could be wrong x

    • 8 castorgirl May 7, 2009 at 10:21 pm

      Hi Amie :)

      You know that I see the beautiful, intelligent, caring woman you are… But I also know that you feel those insecurities, so (((warm safe hugs)))

      The last post wasn’t anything bad, it was just me trying to communicate with some of the others about a young one who needed help and I couldn’t reach her or understand what was happening. We went to the Woman’s Support scheme today and managed to work through what was going on, so things are much better tonight :)

      Take care
      B & Sophie :)

  5. 9 kate1975 May 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I can relate to almost all that you have written. I have probably said some of the same sentences, word for word.

    I was painfully shy as a child and told that I was a snob as a teenager. It was like what do I have to be anob about? Was told that I thought I was better than others. I thought how oculd anyone ese or think that? Especially since I thought I was fat and ugly. Even though I wasn’t, I acted as though I was. Now I think they saw through their own lenses and think that is the way most people see others.

    In my life now, I try to look through kinder eyes.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


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