Another concept that really stuck with me when I read the book on Adrenal Fatigue was this:
"For more than seventy-five years we have known that the adrenal glands cannot heal from fatigue unless they have the opportunity to rest. Long periods of bed rest are not feasible for most people, nor are they usually necessary. The particular kind of rest you need when you have adrenal fatigue comes not so much from lying down, but from standing up for yourself, and from removing or minimizing the harmful stresses in your life."
I think this is where the core of the matter lies: To stand up for yourself. I can see now how that one thing would be the one that would make the most difference in my life. I didn't know how to do it though.
When I read that, I thought: "That's all very well, but how on earth do I do that?" I just simply didn't have a clue. If my FOO asked to come over to stay I didn't feel that I could say no even if it was inconvenient. If I was invited to a social event I felt I had to accept even if I didn't feel like it. I always felt like I couldn't say NO. It's like it didn't exist in my vocabulary. I only felt that I could say NO if I had a valid excuse, but to say a plain NO was just beyond my capabilities. I couldn't even imagine myself just saying NO.
I think this is the thing that kills me with a lot of self-help books: 1) a lot of the material is focused on what the problem is (which is kind of pointless, because we already know what the problem is, otherwise we wouldn't be reading the book in the first place) and 2) they tell you what to do but not how to do it.
So why was I unable to say NO? The short answer is because in my FOO saying NO was not an option. When I did start saying NO to one of my siblings, she turned into a gorgon (well, not quite literally, but you know what I mean). So I wonder if this inability of saying NO came from the deep down knowledge that the minute you said it, all hell would break loose. Come to think of it, I have no problem saying NO to my husband. So maybe it wasn't so much that I was not capable of saying NO but the fact that I knew the battle that would ensue if I did. The way things were going with this particular sibling was that I either stood up for myself or accepted a life of endless servitude. So I had to really improvise as I went along because there's no way I was going to be anyone's unpaid slave. Later on I did find some really helpful stuff which I wish had been available to me for when I was in the eye of the storm but to paraphrase my favourite french writer: "our destinies and our desires rarely play in unison." Still, better late than never. Some of these new found tools are proving really useful, because at the end of the day, there's plenty of narcissists to go around and even if you have cut or limited your association with the Ns in your FOO you might still have to deal with the ones that you might come across one way or another.
Standing up for yourself is like lifting weights, you have to build yourself up first. More on that in the next post.