Harnessing Chaos Energy for Good or least not self-destruction

This is the transcript from The Toxicity Survival Guide's most recent Episode titled 

Harnessing Chaos Energy for Good or least not self-destruction

You can listen and watch the episode on Spotify and wherever you stream your podcasts https://open.spotify.com/episode/7vAWcJ8RC68gJdCBfPgNVz?si=f9237a0f281640ea 

Here is the transcript in full: 

Hello and welcome to the podcast. My name is Dr. Louise and I empower generational cycle breakers to confidently make decisions using the power of philosophy. Welcome, welcome, welcome Back to the podcast. I organically took a little break, there Turns out. I finished wrapping up my courses in Colorado. If you don't know, i was in Colorado teaching for a couple months and I am now back to my home base in Indiana And I'm very excited to be back. So during all of that you know teaching is a very intensive thing I was teaching university students, i taught a class in practical philosophy, i taught a course in Buddhist philosophy. These were all wonderful experiences and incredibly taxing, all at the same time. And you know there wasn't a lot of time for podcasting and all that chaos. But here we are, we're getting back to the groove And you know, special, special thing for today This is my first working day since I turned 32.

Yesterday was my birthday and I am a ripe 32 years old now. Fun fact, I often forget my age. I'm really bad at remembering what my actual age is, because I feel like I'm probably like a 65 year old woman spiritually, and I'm also a fat woman, and fat women tend to read as younger than they actually are, because it turns out, if you don't like wrinkles, having fat in your face is a real good solution. So, having said all of that, i know, today at least, that I am 32. So it's a little bit of a weird birthday, not gonna lie. A little bit of a weird one, because this was my first birthday since my father my abusive father passed away And it's been very chaotic since I got back from Colorado. Also, my partner and I are in kind of a weird space where we're trying out a new strategy to sort of help ourselves come together. Things got a little weird for us when my father died. That had some deep impact on our dynamic. So things are looking a little bit different. I'm feeling very different. Just because I went and I did all that teaching and whatnot, and through all of these changes, i have found myself sitting with a familiar friend, and that friend is chaos energy. Now, if you have survived any kind of long-term abuse, you are probably also friends. Friends maybe, like air quote, friends with chaos energy.

This is this thing that happens where our upbringing right if your parents or siblings were abusive to you, you know, you learn to exist in the world in a way that was chaotic. Things were always chaotic, right, you were always having to manage the meltdowns of the abusive people. You're always getting pushed around by various forces that you have little to no control over. Right? All of this, all is drama. All is drama was happening, and that can be really difficult to deal with as a kid.

But as we learn to cope, as we learn to move through it, we have this kind of unfortunate side effect, which is that our perception of normal, of our baseline, is filled with chaos. We get used to the feeling of chaos, we get used to the drama, we get used to feeling really elevated And what this does. As we make the hard decisions, as we set boundaries, as we learn to heal, as we do the work, periodically we find ourselves craving just absolutely craving that chaos again. It's very counterintuitive. We're doing all this work. We're trying really hard to get our lives in a place where there's more peace. We're trying to get ourselves in a place where we have more time and space and energy. We are saying no to people who have harmed us in the past. We are trying to build helpful habits And, at the same time, the very same conversation. We are also craving the chaos again.

This has been something that has followed me on my entire survivor journey, still follows me. I don't think it's going away. I just don't think that that's in the cards. Maybe someday. I'm not gonna rule it out, but realistically it's been here with me through all different levels of healing the really deep stuff, the more superficial stuff I just have this natural drive for chaos. Now, one thing that has helped me is learning how to channel that chaos somewhere between neutral and not destructive ways. It is really easy to take this chaos energy and go to some dark places. It's really easy. We can just head on over and we can start.

I mean, my chaos energy solution of choice historically has been getting into new romantic relationships. I'm a fat woman and my experience has always been that it is not very difficult for me to find folk who want to be romantically involved with me. This has never been a challenging. Society says it should be because, right, people don't like fat folk, but my lived experience has been men especially, or dime it doesn't. Now I typically not spend in time with good quality folk. Those kind of folk are much harder to find. But historically when I felt chaos energy, i was like well, i just need a new man in my life to create chaos, and historically, men in my life typically do create chaos. That's one of their main functions And this really satisfied that itch for chaos.

Now I'm at a stage in my life where I'm very aware of the cost of that kind of strategy. I don't really enjoy it. It feels a little icky to me because I'm kind of engaging in relationships in order to fulfill a desire for chaos. That's not really the reason you're supposed to be going in for a relationship, right? You're supposed to be doing this other stuff. I'd say my long-term relationships that I've had in my life were not driven by the chaos energy. I might have stumbled into people when I was in a chaos mode, but when I find quality people, it usually takes me out of that space. But it's not like the best energy to be dividing the world up into people who are quality and people who aren't, or there's a lot of judgment in here. There's some icky stuff, so I don't like that. I don't like that.

That's a strategy I had. It's worked for me. It's worked for me, but it's not something that I'd really recommend. It's not something if that's where you are and you're on that player in your journey. I'm not telling you to stop, necessarily. I just don't think I'd tell you to try to pick it up if it didn't suit you from the beginning. But so that's how I've kind of worked with chaos energy regularly in my life. But that's never true when I'm in a long-term relationship, which at this point in my life I've had two long-term relationships, both lasting between six and seven years, and then I've had between the things. That's when I would really kind of go through people.

But that's not the only way that chaos energy manifests. All right, there is a lot of lower. I don't want to say lower, i want to say like less visible ways chaos energy manifests. Oftentimes we'll be like looking to pick a fight, right. We'll get up in somebody's business, right, and start, start acting kind of weird that that might be driven by this desire to create chaos. You might be doing things like not paying your bills even though you maybe have the money for it, right, that's a way to create chaos. You might, you know, be neglecting something in your home because you know it's going to create an issue, that you aren't taking care of it and that can create chaos, right, the human mind is amazing in how many ways we can seek to create chaos And you know it's.

It's interesting. It's interesting as a survivor because we're really craving comfort, we're craving familiarity when we're seeking out chaos. I'm not saying that that's really good for us in the long term, but it's really natural to want those things, right. It's natural to want to feel connected to how you felt growing up. It's natural to want to feel the comfort of the kinds of emotions you used to have. It's really natural, even if it's maybe not super great for us, right? So what I want to talk about here in the rest of today's episode is how we can harness this chaos energy for for good. Right, how can we use this energy where we're craving the familiar, we're craving these things? How can we take that and transform it into something that is actually nourishing for us, something that actually helps us thrive, that helps us, you know, advance on our healing journey and maybe, maybe, if advancements, if doing good with it is too strong, maybe we could just pick some neutral things, right?

My instinct, always with chaos energy, is to do something semi self destructive. I always want, i don't know like it's like a desire to hurt myself, which it sounds bad, but that's, that's the truth. That's what it's like, right? So what can we do with this? And you know, i think, as a philosopher, anytime we come up, we come up to a problem like this. It's, it's good to kind of check in and assess the situation. So we've kind of been doing that here together.

We've been thinking about okay, what, what's going on in this chaos, energies coming up, where is that coming from? Why is it important? You'll notice, I've been very careful not to completely shit, talk it Right, like I'm not. It's not inherently bad or wrong to have this feeling. There is something good in it, even if it's maybe doesn't always work out for us, right, that's really important. That's a realistic evaluation of the situation, right? And so, now that we've got all that kind of stuff on deck, we want to ask ourselves well, what? what are the kinds of ways we could try to work with this?

So one option, one logical possibility, is to say, well, let's just get rid of chaos energy, let's delete it And, not helping us, we make bad choices with it. Let's just get rid of it, and that's a. That's an option, that's a real option. Right, that would solve the problem if we just never had this energy. That option, though, might not be very easily attainable. Right, that is a real option, but I don't exactly know how to delete the chaos energy. I suspect my instinct is that, well, if we Could delete it, it would probably take a long time. Right, it's something like ingrained in me from childhood.

It's not easy to just get rid of stuff like that, so that's kind of like a long-term project at best, and the hard facts are, i got chaos energy today, right now, and like, what am I supposed to do right now? Sure, maybe long term I'll try to get rid of it, but I can't just sit here and tell myself, oh, it's not there, it's not real, don't listen to it, it's bad, it can't control you or, you know, like there's a lot of Self-talk. I could use to try to convince myself not to have chaos energy, but that doesn't feel very good, right, like telling myself to deny a part of my real experience. It feels a little bit like maybe we're stuffing some feelings down into a box somewhere, so like maybe I could succeed in this moment, not experiencing or doing something self-destructive with the chaos energy, but like I'm worried that that strategy is gonna push it in the corner and then the next time it's gonna come up It's gonna be twice as strong, right, it doesn't feel to me like I'm actually dealing with those feelings in a meaningful way. So I'm not a big fan of the. Let's go ahead and delete the chaos energy. I don't know, it's not, it's not suit me. That's a logical possibility. Maybe we could make it a long-term goal, but I don't think it's gonna cut it for right now. So another thing we could try to do, another logical possibility, is to take this energy that normally typically leads to self-destructive behaviors and, rather than try to get rid of it, we could try to work with it.

All right, it is a kind of energy, it's a kind of state where I feel, for me, this manifest is feeling kind of antsy. I'm like anxious. I want to do things, but a lot of the normal things I would do with that energy aren't very appealing to me. Like I don't really want to read or I don't, I'm not really wanting to binge TV shows. I don't really want to do this and do that, but a lot, right, a lot of my normal things aren't working. But it is a kind of energetic, energetic state where I could do something. So anytime we're in a state like that, we kind of have a choice of okay, what kind of thing are we gonna do? What kind of thing are we gonna do? My default is something self-destructive. Right, that? that is the honest facts, but it seems plausible to me. It doesn't have to be something self-destructive, right?

We did some thinking about where is this chaos energy coming from? and, at least the way that I see it, the analysis that I do, it feels to me like what I'm really craving is connecting with the familiar, right, i'm really craving touching base with something from when I was young or something from, you know, maybe my, my teenage years, or maybe even as a young adult, right? And yes, some of the things in that space were destructive to me, but not all of them were. So I think there might be an invitation here for those of us who experience this kind of chaos energy from time to time to harness that energy and find a way to achieve the goal of the energy, which is to connect with something from our past, harness that energy in a way that is not self-destructive. So things in my past that were self well, that were destructive, that had the result where I was, in part, being destroyed Right. That was, you know, getting into fights with my abusive parents. It was feeling undervalued, it was being neglected, it was being dismissed, it was being diminished Right, those were all part of my lived experience as a child of two abusive parents. But there were other things going on then too, right. So the more I try to limit myself, to understand the only way that I can connect to my past is through these destruction activities The more the chaos energy is going to lean into that. Right, when that energy comes up, I'm going to be like I have to get destructive, i have to feel those negative feelings again, and I really want to suggest that we don't have to do that. We can take that chaos energy, recognize that it is all about trying to connect with things from our past and actively find other things in our past that were not destructive, that we can connect with Right. So I'll just use myself for an example.

Right, in my past I had all these negative things happening, but one bright light for me was my grandmother, my father's mother. She was. she died when I was in middle school, but up until then, like, she really was the center of the normal aspects of my childhood And one of the things she really liked was Disney stuff. She was a very sometimes people would call her Polly Anna, which was kind of a criticism, but she was a very, like, happy person. She had a very difficult life but she dealt with that by being kind of sunshiny And that was just perfect for Disney. Disney's like got a lot of that energy right, got a lot of sunshine over there, and so with her, like I would go over to her house after school and I would watch Disney movies and I would eat ice cream as like a treat after after school, right, and that is actually a really big part of those years, you know, until until middle school, right of my childhood. That was actually a big part of it. That was something really meaningful, that something positive I can connect with.

I can let my mind go and I can like visually in my mind's eye, walk through my grandparents house, i can go to the den, which is where I used to watch a lot of the videos, or I can go out to the porch where I had my play area, right. I can encourage myself to connect with that Right. And you know, there's some interesting things that happen when I allow myself to do that right. One of the things that my grandmother and grandfather did when I, when I was young, but like throughout their life, is like they really tried to Make their home nice. My grandfather, like, built sheds in the backyard and he did all of this. He had like model trains and he did a lot of I want to say crafting I don't think that's the right word like woodworking, i don't know the much more masculine version of crafting. He did a lot of that stuff in in his backyard and he made it really nice and my grandmother worked hard to make her house nice. And You know, when I think, when I connect to that, it starts to make me feel more inspired to be like maybe I can make my house a little nicer Right, like I liked that about my grandparents house, that it really felt like home. It felt homey and part of that was intentional work on my grandmother and grandfather's behalf, right. So when I connect with that, when I use the chaos energy to think about those Disney movies and think about the environment that I was in, it actually makes me feel a little bit more inspired to work on my own house Right to maybe do a little bit more yard work or two.

If you've been following my Instagram, I'm like in a mood where I want to paint my bedroom And I recently built a bed. We didn't have a very good like, like actual, proper bed frame, so I've been like working on these things and part of that is because I am making an intentional choice With the kind of chaos energy that I have right now. It's in me. It wants me to be self-destructive. I am choosing to channel that to connect with positive things from my past and Allowing myself to follow wherever that goes right. In this particular case, it's encouraging me To work on my house, right, and so we're.

Historically, i would take that chaos energy and I'd probably be chatting with random men on the internet. It's like weird thing to like admit that this is how it worked for me. But whatever, we're shameless over here. We're just saying it like it is right. Instead of doing that, i'm on Facebook marketplace and I'm looking for good secondhand items that I can use to upgrade my stuff here at my house, or I can use to get some items that I've wanted for the house for a while but weren't able to right and, and so I'm using that energy in a different way and I'm using some of that energy to make plans for the house or, you know, to think through, like, okay, there's this weird spot in the hallway, like what do I do with this weird spot in hallway? right? so that's That's like for me right now how I am harnessing this chaos energy for good. I'm trying it to You not lean into the self-destructive nature of chaos energy.

So if you are feeling some chaos energy Which, if you're a survivor, probably at times you do in fact feel this I would really invite you to notice what, what that energy is really about. Right, from from what I can tell, it's really about wanting familiarity, and so there are many different experiences you had in your past. Now, i know, i know some of us have complex PTSD. I know some of us are. Memories are kind of shoddy. I know, for some of us we are not. You know where we're not. We don't have a plethora of positive experiences from our youth, and I understand that. But I imagine, in all the years that you've lived in this, in this world, there are some positive things from different points in your past. Right, even if it's not your childhood, maybe it's when you were a young adult, right. Whatever point in time feels more comfortable to you, feels more realistic.

I want you to think about what were the spaces you were in that felt good. What kind of music were you listening to that inspired you? What kind of books were you reading? What were your favorite snacks then? I want to invite you to just try to think about whatever comes to mind for you from those days. It doesn't have to be grandma was so great. It could be something as simple as, like you remember, when you went to school in middle school, you really enjoy taking lunch, and every day at lunch you would drink a sun kissed soda, right. And so maybe how you could use that chaos energy is maybe you could find some sun kissed soda now, and maybe you could learn about some kids so that maybe you could go on a journey where you try out other fruit flavored beverages Right, you can get creative here, right. there's there's no rules. We're just looking for ways that are not self destructive, that can harness that chaos energy and lead you to doing things that are either self destructive, doing things that are either neutral or actually positive in your environment.

Now, this is not an easy thing to accomplish. I'm struggling with it, as I would expect, right, i am doing some good things on the house, but I also, you know, just fall into my phone and get kind of frozen on the couch. Thank you, ptsd. You know there's still there's still a lot of drama, but I am having more success than I have in the past Just by acknowledging what is at the core of this chaos energy and trying to find creative ways to meet those needs that I have, those needs of connecting, those needs of continuity in my life and finding ways to do that. That. Actually, long term, I'm happy with past.

Louise did a great job, you know, jumping around with a bunch of different men. That was a great thing for her. That got her through what she needed. 32 year old Louise needs something different, right, i'm just not in a place in my life where that sounds like it's going to create more good than bad, and I got to figure out what to do with that energy.

So I hope that if you're in a similar place, this gives you some ideas about how you can manage that kind of chaos energy And how you don't.

you don't have to just throw up your hands and say like, oh well, when I feel like this is what I do. End of story. You actually have a lot more options, but I think we have to make that transition from just experiencing the feeling to actually thinking a little bit more critically about the thinking or about the feeling right. The more we can turn our brains on, the more we can recognize okay, this is a problem to be solved, the more we can learn and look out for different ways we can actually meet our emotional needs and not just do it because that's what we did in the past. So I want to say thank you so much for listening to this podcast. I appreciate your patience while I took a surprise break. Things should be a little bit more back to normal here on the podcast. So thank you so much for sticking around and I'll catch you guys in the next one. Bye, bye.


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