Are you Living in a Alternate Reality?

Imagine the possibility of each of us operating in our own reality. To show this draw a straight line on a piece of paper. The bottom would be your birth, and the top would be death. The middle is where you are right now. If we were to exist on this continuum, then our lives would mimic ideal. Now imagine that every time something happened to us that was difficult to process, it kicked us off the "straight and narrow." At that time, the new path becomes reality, altered by the life event. Every time something happens, this pushes us further from our true selves. The version that was the most authentic becomes altered and failing to regroup put using this faux-reality. Imagine existing in this faux-reality since the age of five. You may not even know how to re-group at this point. And because everyone has different life experiences and different milestones everyone has a different reality. Now compare that to how people in society relate to each other.

Imagine if trauma, accidents, abuse, someone being mean unprovoked, someone cutting you off and you totaling your car, being bullied, someone lying on you at work, someone minimizing your existence, imagine if those things placed us in a faux-reality, where we existed believing that everyone lived as confusing as the incident was to process.

What if I told you that many people did not like being who they have become. That they are who they are because life taught them if they didn't scream and yell and trample over others that they would be screamed at and trampled over. This mindset and behavior create that alternate reality. It becomes so powerful that anyone close to this person is sucked into its existence. Now they are living in their reality as well as someone else's.

What if knowing if you are even in this faux-reality was based on your communication style. The communication styles are passive, assertive and aggressive. A passive person allows others to walk over them, they want to change but the needs of others become greater than their needs. Many passive people don't believe that good things should happen to them. An aggressive person is someone that has learned to not consider anyone but themselves, their wants are the only wants that matter, and they don't mind making that decoloration. An assertive person considers the wants and needs of others, but they also place their needs and wants into consideration.
Once you've experienced anything, there is no way to get back to it never happening; there is no way to un-spill mil. But, you can get so close to your ideal self that your trauma won't be revealed in your speech, walk, and behavior. Because not dealing with what's eating you will consume you, you can't hide it. Everyone sees that you're operating in a faux-reality, your outbursts, your disregard for others, it screams, "faux-reality."

What now? Getting back takes time, practice and maybe counseling. If you need help reach out to someone. You don't' have to stay there.
Five Ways to Step out of your Faux-Reality

Acknowledge that you have adjusted major components of your life around the thing that stresses you, causes you to feel bad or that you don't want to face. This usually happens after trauma or life-changing event, it can also happen after a confrontation, or perceived inevitable confrontation with someone.  Our minds are built to adjust to whatever is going on or has happened, and whatever coping style that we employ will then be the go-to when anxiety or stress occurs.  Trauma or a life-changing event creates the path for adjustment.  I was in a car accident over a year ago. I was stopped in a school turning lane, what looked like an F250 approached me from the rear, I couldn't move to the right or left, and a bigger truck was in from of me.  I was driving a Traverse and all I could do is embrace for the impact.  My truck was totaled and I was pushed into the truck in front of me.  I remember about a month after the accident I was on the same road and a car was approaching me, I melted.  I screamed, blew the horn an hoped that they would stop, they did.  It has been over a year and every time I'm stopped at a light or stop sign I look in my rearview mirror, my anxiety increases if someone is approaching me.  I changed how I stop.  I didn't before, but now I check to see if I have room to my right to move if someone is approaching too quickly.  This is only an example of how we alter after something traumatic happens.  This new behavior will likely be apart of the rest of my life.  I'm okay with the adjustment and am willing to live with the new changes.  Problems can occur when the changes that we make in our lives to minimize the anxiety are productive or positive. 

Rate the new behavior as positive or negative. I have removed the terms good and bad when describing behavior.  I now understand that those terms are subjective and can change based on circumstances.  With the accident that happened to me, Is the change that I made good or bad? It can be classified as good.  Some may even suggest that maybe the change in behavior could have been implemented before the accident.  I now use the terms positive and negative to describe behavior; the definitions are such: positive behavior adds value to my life, and negative behavior takes value from my life.  That working definition allows me to say that making that small change adds value to my life.  It gives me an escape route if another car approaches too quickly.  Once you are okay with determining if the behavior is positive or negative and you are okay with what happens next or what could happen, then come to terms with this new position in your life. 

Ask yourself, Is what I'm doing logical? We can make decisions believing that they are the best for that time.  Theoretically, there are no flaws to that statement.  But consider, how the decision affects you moving forward and those around you.  If I were to use the decision that I made to give myself room to go around another car if the car approaching me was moving too fast, for me this is a logical decision.  Because of the accident, I was home for about three weeks; I was chauffeured by family.  I felt a great deal of comfort being in the passenger seat.  But having them take me everywhere wasn't logical, I'm an active grandmother and I take my grandchildren to school twice a week, not taking them to school would cause chaos, so for the microsecond that it flashed in my mind, I didn't allow it to settle.  The solution of creating a safe zone for escape if it ever happened again was logical for me. 

Be conscious of what's in and out of your control. The lady that hit me was looking down.  As she was approaching me and as I'm looking at her in my rearview mirror, I see the top of her head, her eyes are looking in her lap.  That was out of my control.  If I was the most defensive driver known to man, if I made ever precaution and assured that my full attention was on driving and not distracted; during vulnerable times, i.e., stopped waiting to turn at that time, I'm not in control and can be it.  If someone burns through the red light I can be hit. With my accident, the driver and her not paying attention were out of my control.  I can be angry with all drivers that don't pay; attention, but I've found that that is unproductive and wasted energy, besides it's out of my control.  I continue to drive defensively and prepare for times when situations are out of my control. 

Grow from the experience. The choice is yours if you will allow what happened to have a negative impact on your life, or if you will prepare, grow and not allow it to consume you.  I found myself paying attention to other drivers and if they were paying attention.  I was angered, then I realized that if I was paying attention to them not paying attention, then I wasn't paying attention.  Grow, use every situation to find a way to become a better version of yourself.  Not finding a way to grow keeps you in the place of the occurrence.  If I had succumbed to my initial fears, I would have stopped driving, or created dysfunction in the system that has been created in caring for my grandchildren.  A system that includes three households and everyone filling in to ensure that there is coverage; there is nothing more important to me than my family, so not being able to fill in that gap wasn't an option.  I had to find a way to get in that driver's seat, a solution that would be functional, one that was logical and one that was positive. 
     

    B. Yvette Myers, MA, LPCA, CATP



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