Friday, July 14, 2017

Grievance Stories

Dear Readers,
When I was in college, I had to do a supervised teaching semester in a kindergarten school. I went to meet the teachers and the school.
As soon as I returned home, I was informed by the dean of education, that they didn't want me to teach there.
He said It was because of my speech.
I was deeply hurt. This came out of nowhere. 
I was sent to see the speech and hearing clinic at the university, and found out that I had a hearing loss, and because of that I had a lisp.
I had no idea.

Later, when I first started teaching, I was hurt by another teacher.
She reported me to the superintendent, saying I shouldn't be teaching because of my speech. 
It was a horrible time. I almost quit teaching. I went into a severe depression. I didn't know who to trust on the staff, as she told many other teachers.

For many years I told these grievance stories, over and over. I struggled to let go of the hurt and pain. I was so angry. One night, many years later, in a drunk stupor, I called the teacher who reported me to the superintendent, and raged at her. 

These are but a few of my grievance stories. Stories where I have been hurt, but struggle to let them go, to learn from them, but not carry them. I first heard of the term grievance story from a book called Forgive For Good, by Dr. Fred Luskin.  Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave on Virtues for Life:

"A grievance is created when we take a normal life event that is painful, make it very personal as opposed to something that just happened, and then exaggerate how personal it is. Then we practice this pattern over and over, and forget that there are other ways of looking at the same situation."

When I was drinking, my grievance stories were about how horrible work was, and about how everyone had wronged me. They were magnified by the alcohol. I would sit for hours with my drinking buddy discussing everything that I was resentful about. 

Now, you can't rush the healing from these real hurts. 

In order for someone to forgive, "They have to have done some grief work about their loss or wound. They have to have done some grieving of it, which means that they have felt the pain and acknowledged their loss. Also, that they’ve looked at how they handled things and said, “Could I have handled it better?” So a lot of inner exploration and again going through these stages of grief. Then when these stages have been explored, you can look at letting it go. So you can’t forgive too early before you’ve had a chance to grieve the loss. That’s the biggest obstacle that people run into.

Now, one of my biggest grievance stories is about how I was hurt by being left out, or not being included.
My other one is being angry at my body for making me deaf, and the loss of hearing music. 

I really do have a choice. I can continue making myself feel bad, or I can change my story.
In terms of feeling left out, or feeling hurt, I can choose to see that in most cases, nobody tried to hurt me on purpose. If I reach out to people, I feel strong and happy, rather than wait to be invited some place.

I can choose to forgive my body for making me deaf.
I have had to grieve the loss of music. (A cochlear implant changes music and makes it sound very strange, and unpleasant.)
Now, I am telling people how lucky I was to be able to have insurance to cover a cochlear implant, so I can hear speech. 
I am telling myself and other people how happy I am I can hear birds, and hear people talking! I can hear speech on the radio now, too! 

Real life takes work. I just don't want to sit around moping about all the hurts I had past and present. 
By taking drinking out of the equation, I have been able to heal and let go of the resentments much faster. But I still have a ways to go.

In college, the dean found me another school to do my supervised teaching of kindergarten, and the teacher there was warm, loving, and I thrived. 
In the case of the teacher complaining about me, the district office put me in a different elementary school, and there I also thrived. 

Being grateful for all that I have, and remembering I can grieve, and then move on, helps me change my stories from a poor me Wendy, to a strong Wendy!

With A Sunny Walk,
On Day 1,044
Wendy

25 comments:

  1. I feel angry on your behalf hearing about your experience at college. At my last school where I worked we had a lovely teacher who was experiencing rapid hearing loss. She wanted to resign as she felt that she would not be effective as a teacher. She was and is one of our best teachers and role models. We told her she was staying! Great to see how you are reframing experiences and thriving. All power to you strong Wendy!
    Jim x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Wendy the Warrior,
    That is a GOOD name for you. <3 I am sorry about your hearing loss. And I can say I understand but I fear that I can not even begin to imagine how difficult and painfull that must be. And for others to go behind your back about your work, that is nasty, betrayal. Not sure if drunk late night calling is the most sustainable way to deal with that but yes I DO understand that this happened. :-)
    Happy that we quit so we can get an insight in the poor us and change the full, happy person we are supposed to be. :-)
    xx, Feeling

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's for sure!!
      It's so much better!!
      I'm happy we quit too!!
      xo

      Delete
  3. Like alcohol, the stories we tell ourselves over and over keep us stunted emotionally. Thank you Wendy the Warrior (love it!) for this precious and wisdom filled post. <3 Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Elizabeth!
      I like being an adult. Alcohol kept me a child!
      xo

      Delete
  4. Hi Wendy

    I'm glad you could get to a strong and positive attitude despite what sounds like some unfair, bad treatment. It's strange how things that go wrong often make way for better things that we may not have made the leap to on our own - I'll try to remember that next time something goes off the tracks. Have a lovely weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! And yet I used to only focus on the hurts!
      You too!
      xo

      Delete
  5. Thank you for sharing this, Wendy. I am floored by the actions of these people you describe, and warmed by the second stream of teachers you encountered who supported you! Lately I've been learning how to stay more present with my pain (the subtle forms of resistance seem (probably are) endless), and it is transformational. Your implant story reminds me of something a prosthetist (?) said to me once -- he had switched from making prosthetics for grownups to for kids. Grownups were a downer to work with, whereas kids when they got their new limb, were like WHOOEEYY! back on the skate board. Ah, us. Real life takes work :) Thank you for sharing your stories and your support of so many of us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Kids are great that way!
      Real life does take work, that's for sure!
      Which reminds me, I better go for a walk or go to yoga!
      Walk with hubs sounds nice!
      Thank you fir your support and love!
      xo

      Delete
  6. I'm sorry you lost your hearing. It sounds to me like it has made you a more compassionate and empathetic woman. But it must still be hard.
    I agree children would do well to understand and accept a teacher with hearing loss. So many people have varying roblems and when we recognize and accommodate we are showing they matter.

    I also feel anger towards those people from the past. I try hard to take my resentments and send those people love and kindness. But it's HARD. We are human...after all!

    I'm really glad you share this journey with us. Your joy with life is beautiful.
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad to be walking with you!!
      The cool thing is, I am not nearly as resentful of people now.
      I have forgiven those people and I can much more easily move on now!
      I couldn't have done that if I was still drinking!
      xo

      Delete
  7. I love this, Wendy! By the time I quit drinking my anger over perceived grievances was getting out of control. I directed most of this at a career issue and i am now able to understand my own role in it. I don't know if you have seen my tweets about meditating but my adult kids are wondering who I am now that I am so "chill." This is a great journey we are on; I am SO glad you are here! Hearon (HD)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! It's so cool about beomg sober!
      Now, I can see my neediness, my wanting to belong, making me feel as if I should be included.
      I have seen some of your tweets!!
      I'm much more chill myself!!!
      I am SO glad I am here with you guys!!!
      xo

      Delete
  8. Wendy-this is such a powerful post. I struggle with this reliving of old hurts. It is worse with drinking, but a struggle even while sober. Your post's turning of the hurtful things into positives was bravely revealing and inspires me to work harder on flipping the switch myself. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really helps...can't be hurried.
      But it really helps my life, and I am so much happier!
      xo

      Delete
  9. What a beautiful post :) the way you were treated is awful, and to think they were charged with teaching young people! I'm so glad you were able to see the positive in those situations- you truly are a Warrior! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lori!
      Thank you! I was thinking I didn't make it clear that I have moved on from these hurts of the past.
      In terms of my hearing, most of the time, I am okay. Once in awhile I am sad about music, which is why I need to find another creative outlet.
      xo

      Delete
  10. Wendy the warrior! This really suits you, whatever life has thrown at you, you are here, you are kind to all of us. You offer so much support and wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi PDTG!
      I am feeling strong these days for some reason!
      I am really working on living actively, not passively. (Well sometimes, I like to sit around and read all day!)
      But what I mean is, to choose to make things happen, rather than sit and ruminate.
      xo

      Delete
  11. Out of the pity party and into the bright sunny day!

    I'm sorry that fellow teachers treated you this way. It's inspiring to hear how you're changing the story around. That's some major empowerment right there!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can relate so much to this. I felt like that for so much of my older childhood and early adulthood. Then I brooded over it in my pints and shot glasses. It was my calling card - victim. It made me sad to read what happened, but positive and hopeful how it all turned around, and it's amazing how we can twist things around in our own minds.

    Thank you for this - I loved this post - it touched me deeply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Paul!
      Thank you so much!
      I have to be on the look out for the Poor Me, thoughts and feelings, and if they pop up, I find the best thing to do is think of something I am grateful for. To change the channel to a story of one, or joy, or beauty.
      xo
      Wendy

      Delete