One of the things that I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t trust my gut. Why? Because I’ve had a lifetime of being told my gut was wrong and that my perceptions were wrong and I learned to believe they were wrong. This has led to some rather ridiculous rationalizations which I liken to the below analogy:
It’s a beautiful day and I’m out enjoying a walk along the train tracks enjoying the sun and the scenery. I hear a train horn in the distance. My gut tells me “You might want to get off the tracks”, but my head rationalizes the situation and says “It’s probably not coming this way” and I continue walking the tracks.
Soon I hear the horn again and the train is now definitely coming toward me. It’s probably a half mile away. My gut tells me “Time to get off the tracks”, but my head rationalizes the situation and says “It will stop before it gets to me” and I keep walking the tracks.
Shortly after, I look up to see the train barreling towards me, less than a quarter of a mile away. My gut tells me “GET OFF THE TRACKS!” but my head again rationalizes the situation and says “It’s not really a train” or “It won’t hit me” and I keep walking the tracks.
The train is now 50 feet away from me and my gut is screaming “GET OFF THE TRACKS NOW!!!” I finally listen to my gut and dive off the tracks. I roll down an embankment through a clump of bushes and tumble into a creek. I’m badly bruised, covered in mud, and my heart is racing, but I survived. Had I listened to my gut initially and stepped off the tracks, I would have never ended up nearly dead because of my delusional rationalizations.
Growing up in a narcissistic family, I am well trained to rationalize behavior and circumstances that i should never attempt to rationalize. When I was a child, this rationalization was required for me to survive to adulthood. Unfortunately, the programming i received in my 18 yr boot camp of “How to love someone that treats you horribly” didn’t just evaporate when i moved out of the house at 18 yrs old. I carried it with me for nearly the next 30 years. It’s very humbling to realize that events of your youth are still affecting you in middle age and beyond.