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Standing Still



A couple of my "significant life events" might shed further light on my tendency to freeze up under pressure.

The first one was when I was three. I couldn't have been much older, because we moved to another house when I was four. We came back from somewhere, and my parents were busy with my younger brother. I remember begging for the house keys, to open the door. I thought it would make me a grown-up to do that for them. Well, I succeeded in opening the door, and I was so happy that I ran inside with the keys and tried to open an electrical socket.

The next important one was when I was six. My parents are both British, and we went back to visit their family for the first time in many years. One day, we went shopping in a small Scottish town called Kirkcaldy, in Fife. Market Street was a long sloping avenue lined with shops. We were window-shopping for quite a while, occasionally stopping to look at interesting things. One time, I looked up, and my family was gone. I had been looking in the window for quite a while, not paying attention to anyone else, so I assumed that I had fallen behind, and I hurried on downhill, to try to catch up. I kept going, but couldn't see anyone from my family. I looked quickly into several shops, but they weren't there. I started hurrying, thinking I was further behind than I had thought.

Eventually, I became upset enough to cry. Embarrassed by this, I hid behind the door to one of the shops. To this day, I don't know if I was really hiding, however, because the door turned out to be clear glass, and everyone passing could still see me. Finally, a man with a boy a few years older than I pulled me out of there and managed to get my story out of me. He made sure that I stayed put until someone came to look for me. I can still remember, as I looked back up the hill at the crowds of heads on the sidewalks of Market Street, how one head kept popping up, disappearing, and then popping up a little further down. It was my (short) father, trying to look over people's heads, to find me.

Okay, those are fun stories now. But they both had a common lesson, to my mind, at least: Don't take the initiative. Don't trust your ideas, when there's much at stake, because they're bound to be wrong. Don't do what comes naturally, that's where you get into trouble.

So, of course, when confronted by a choice, even a good choice like making a new life for myself, I'm more likely to freeze up.


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Hi mark,

I think a lot of us in those days had similar experiences of loosing our folks !!!

yep there kinda funny looking back , but at the time scarey as shit.

It happened to me quite a lot being left behind somewhere, i was always the sort of kid that scuffed behind everyone, stopping to stare in pretty shop windows.

I think the funniest of all the stories that my family have told , was of when i was still a buba, in a pram, one of those big silver cross jobbies.

Welll my moma actually left me in the green grocers, didnt even realise she no loger had the pram with her. got her veg, went home and put the tea on. then remembered me.

Yep the experiences that we have when we are smalll do in some way or other carry on with us, well into adult life.

Even the things that are funny looking back !!!

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i agree!

i was lost at a queen concert once among 86 thousand people, even though i was 16 i still cried like a baby stood at the beer stand (where else :)) for my mum, i still cringe about that! ever since then if i get lost i cant ask for directions i am just too ashamed to admit im lost (and scared) makes me feel stupid.

i dont think thats why i cant make choices and decisions but i know it will have been something that occured when i was younger.even the smallest of things can have a habit of sticking and changing your perceprtions and actions!

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There are also all the nonexistent experiences of not being encouraged, not being awarded, not being gently prodded, not being led into you being you and that being praised.... and the many many experiences of being run over by other siblings, by the "more important" needs of everyone else. All of this building until they are brought in to the inside, and you take over what you've learned and now say those demeaning things to yourself. :)

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Finding you are very insightful.

I too when I have had a bad experience, decide that I don't want to ever feel that way again, so I won't put myself in the position where it might happen.

I am learning (through therapy) to build my confidence and trust. It is very slow and I am starting with small, somewhat irrelevant things, because that is all I am able for at the moment.

I know at the moment your decisions are huge Mark, and you are being thrown in at the deep end, this is very difficult. I really would recommend the support of a good therapist, if that is something you would consider.

I'm not going to be flippant about this, because I know it is hard to change the habits of a lifetime.

Just wishing you the best of luck.

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