Doing the right thing … especially in the face of anger

I can’t speak from the perspective of a non-traumatized person on this topic of “doing the right thing.”

From my perspective, it’s often difficult for me to know when I’m doing the right thing. I have so little connection, still, to what my own needs are, that the lines get blurred between what’s right for me and what’s right for someone else.

I tend to react instinctively to situations that feel threatening to me. Example: It’s almost impossible for me to be rational in the face of someone’s anger. What do I do? I retreat and basically do or say whatever I have to in order to appease them.

It took me almost two weeks to recognize this behavior and, then, to realize that I’d made the wrong decision.

In other words, I don’t trust myself to do the right thing, especially in the heat of the moment when someone expresses anger around me, whether it’s directed at me or not.

So here’s the thing: I need to make a change to my memoir. Technologically speaking, it’s not easy to make a change to the eBook because of the way I published it.

But someone asked me to change something, and I need to do that. Originally, as you read, I made a rather rash decision to just take the book down. That decision was based on my reaction to this person being angry with me. (Important: This person is not the abuser or my daughter.)

Instead of taking time to consider what this person said, I reacted the way I was trained to react, if you will: by doing whatever I needed to do to appease the angry person.

As you read in my previous post, I changed my mind. I’m not taking the book down right now. Instead, I’ll make the changes I need to make, put up the new book, and then take down the first edition. That’s what I should have agreed to do in the first place.

I learned an important lesson this morning, too, one that I will really, really try to remember.

I had first told this person that I’d simply take the book down. When I changed my mind, I told them that, and I explained what I was going to do, instead. I’m writing a new edition with several edits and an added section on trauma therapy, and I’ll publish it in early 2013. At that time, I’ll take down this first edition.

And guess what? They were fine with it. The anger had subsided. And they thanked me for doing the right thing.

The lesson for me is that I need to try to recognize my reactions and analyze them first, before simply agreeing to something that may not be in my best interests (or theirs). In this situation, I realized it’s possible for both of us to feel good about the resolution to a disagreement.

All of this must seem so basic to a non-traumatized person. But it isn’t for me. I live every day second-guessing myself and trying to keep from reacting instinctively to everyone else’s actions and words. It’s exhausting.

Why I changed my mind

As I noted in my last post, this has been a difficult time for me, these past two weeks.

At first I was sure I made the right decision to take the book down while I worked on a revision. But then I heard from some readers (thank you!) and I spoke to my therapist, and I realized that taking the book down would have some serious emotional consequences for me.

It would have been a mistake.

I thought I had a really good reason for taking the book down.┬áIt wasn’t a matter of safety or anything like that, fortunately. My therapist pointed out to me, rightly so, that I was reacting to a recent event (I don’t want to share the details) from the point of view of a traumatized person.

In other words, it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It was what I thought I should do in order to appease someone else. But it wasn’t necessary for me to react this way, and it signified that I still have a long way to go in trauma recovery.

Does this ever end? I mean, will I ever react to situations and events as a “normal” person?

The answer is no, I won’t.

I’ve accepted that, but it still makes me angry. Once my therapist pointed all of this out to me, it was so obvious I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it for myself.

What I’ve learned is that I do have to be more aware of my reactions. No rest for the weary, as they say.

But I am tired.

Slight change of plans

After thinking about this situation some more, I have decided to leave the book online and, when I’ve finished the second edition, simply replace it then.

It’s been a turbulent 10 days or so for me, and while I thought my initial decision to take the book down was the right one, I’ve realized it was not — at least, not now.

Not while I think it can still help someone.

I will, however, be taking a hiatus from the blog for awhile to focus on some other projects.

Thank you again for your support, as always.

Going on hiatus / removing book / an exclusive offer to readers

For reasons that I can’t go into publicly, I am putting this blog on hiatus and am in the process of removing the book from all online stores.

This is a very sad decision for me to make, but I don’t have a choice. I don’t know what that will mean for people who have purchased the book — if it stays on your eReader or not. If my “unpublishing” the book does remove it, I truly apologize, but I hope you can understand that there is a compelling reason why I must do this.

I need to rewrite some sections of the book and also will add an entirely new section about what it’s like to go through trauma therapy. I will self publish it in early 2013.

Special note to my readers: If you’ve already purchased the book and would like a .pdf of the new edition in 2013, I will make it available as a free download for a short period of time once it’s ready. Please sign up for my mailing list, and I’ll alert you when it’s available.

Thank you, everyone, for your support. If you’d like to read the original content that generated the book, you can find it on my first blog: http://www.iamjustawoman.tumblr.com.