Monthly Archives: February 2013
This is not a good way to go. I am getting tired of waiting for results. Such unrealistic expectations are ties up with waiting for results. And everything that went into producing those results can be lost, invisible, forgotten.
Last night I sat at a meeting and listened. And always so fortunate I am, for listening and discovering to go hand in hand. Someone only had to say a couple of words on the topic of recovery being a process for the thought to come to me. My success in the program has been to decide to go. To make that decision. And to keep going. To keep searching. To keep reflecting and remembering and facing and feeling.
1) I am afraid of my day: when I wake up in the morning I don’t want to get out of bed because my life is unmanageable. “Life is unmanageable” means: I am powerless. I can not change the circumstances that I have gotten myself into as a result of my codependent and trauma-related behavior. I cannot make anyone be more caring or concerned. I cannot change how I behave overnight. I have more on my plate than I can comfortably manage. I am afraid to make a couple of difficult choices. I have always been afraid to make choices that I think will leave other people feeling that I don’t care about them. My days are uanageable.
2) I have a list of things to do and I Hate the list. I make a list in order to try and me organized and responsible. But I have a voice inside that is pressuring me to do the things on the list in order, completely, and all immediatel. So I feel guilty and under pressure constantly because I am not and can not do EVERYTHING, right now, as completely and quickly as the voice inside is demanding. This voice is, my mother, who expresses disappointment if I am not dependable and all-willing and able, my supervisor who expects me to be super intelligent, original…and John (‘Dad’), who expects me not to complain or display weakness.
3) I don’t know how to have fun, enjoy myself. I need desperately to have fun and let go in some activity on a regular basis but I brace myself so much all the time that I find it difficult to do things and really let go of the ‘have-to’ feeling for a little while. I feel guilty about having fun.
4) I don’t have time to socialize because i need to write my thesis. But I am not socializing enough to be able to concentrate on work. I need to write my thesis and spend all of my time doing that but I can’t seem to do that without some healthy socialization. I don’t know how to manage this ‘I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t’ situation.
5) I don’t know what makes me happy. I only am beginning to learn what makes me sad. If I do think about what makes me happy I don’t think to make those things a priority because of the pressure I feel to do work. And because of the pressure I feel to be supportive by lowering my standard of living in a moment, or declaring that low standard.
I feel like a bit of a slug right now.
I am stagnating. I am really looking at myself with disappointment because I am following the same patterns, the same self-sabotaging patterns. I have anger at the idea of doing things the right way. The way that will work. I resent the possible healthy, healthful, caring way. Like I don’t believe it. Like it’s going to screw me somehow.
But if I don’t make this shift I’m going to collapse in my work in my recovery, in my life… I just won’t listen to myself. Or maybe it’s that I just won’t pay attention to the signs and listen for my higher power…
I need to ‘parent’ myself… and I am afraid to. Have to go to class now, but will come back and try and take a little inventory in a bit…
I think the bottom line is that I often find it excruciating to pay attention to what is going on with me. Even though I am overflowing with discomfort because I am experiencing something negatively, I really have an almost impossible time sitting with those things, paying attention to what is going on, and then acting appropriately. For example,
Most mornings these days I experience the opposite of motivation to get out of bed. I feel like I am going to feel worse if I get up than if I stay in bed and do nothing. It is a dread. It is like I fear, hate, dread what is outside my bedroom door. This morning as I laid here, I remembered that I used to experience the same thing when I was young, living at home…When I was REALLY young, like 5, I used to lay in bed and just listen for my father’s footsteps upstairs. I would listen for the tone of his and my mother’s voices, and the heaviness of his footsteps on the floor, trying to gauge what kind of mood(s) I was going to meet when I went upstairs. I would sometimes wait so long…until I heard my father call me up. What 5-year-old doesn’t run up in the morning to see their parents and get all excited about their day. When I was older, and it was just my mother and my brother and I, I would wait in bed in the morning dreading my mother telling me what to do and coming into my room and waking me with a start, and rushing around like her getting ready for work was the most important thing and we all just had to help her and move out of the way. It was so lonely. These days I am experiencing these feelings, but I live alone. Is it the loneliness triggering them? Is it the going through the steps? Is it having contact with my ex, who is also emotionally high-maintenance? Maybe all of the above.
So, how do I snap out of this. What to do in order to wake up and not go through the same traumatic emotional muscle memory every day? Or even most days. I have been trying to imagine what it is I have to realize in order to escape the knee-jerk reaction of feeling like I have a 300lb weight on me in the morning… What do I need to affirm to myself? What do I need to pray? How do I need to meditate. The sensation is so strong. And I seem to have this compelling feeling to hide behind it as well…
“I deserve a peaceful and cheerful morning”?
“My day starts with my excitement to live, play, and be there for those I can”?
“I love to start my day taking care of myself, my body – exercise it, feed it, and nurture it, my mind – encourage it and say gentle loving things”?
“There are no monsters outside my bedroom door – nurture and energy and love await me”?
“No one will look at you and forget you at the same time today”?
“You deserve to make your morning your own”?
“You deserve to prepare yourself for your day. You don’t have to go to school without having prepared and nurtured your body with exercise and nutrition, and a comforting bath. YOu are important enough that you do not have to rush”?
“It is not more important to get someone else ready for their day before getting yourself ready, you are the only person you have to worry about first. You can give yourself the time you need”?
“You need time to take your time, and you are allowed to take it. Your higher power wants to you to have all the time you need. YOu feel loved and worthy of taking the time you need to gently wake yourself up, to gently exercise and care for your body, and to calmly get yourself prepared to teach today”?
Ok, there. I’m working on it.
I have been struggling with getting out of bed in the mornings. And I say to myself it is because I went to sleep late. I was restless and couldn’t sleep. Or I ate too late and I slept like crap…. so I need to get another half-hour’s sleep (which I can seldom get because I am so stressed about being tired). I make it out to be that it is happening ‘to’ me. The issues that I find have the most elusive solutions…I think, are issues that I myself am creating. I could pull every last hair out of my head and exhaust every last cell in my brain looking for an explanation for my paralysis in the morning, for my procrastination all day, for my fuzzy resistant mind not finding an answer to this stagnation…wondering, as I’ve said before, what I am waiting for. This morning I think i see that it is always me.
Like a horror movie that I don’t even remember the plot to or name of…where someone discovers that the damage, injury, and terrorizing they are experiencing is actually them! The hell I am going through, I am the one doing it. I am the one eating salt or sugar late at night, depriving myself of a good sleep, of a comfortable sleep, of peaceful thoughts before bed, of kindness, of encouragement, of supervision, of guidance, of a peaceful wakeup, of the joy of looking myself in the mirror in the morning, of clean laundry, of time to accomplish my work. I am doing the depriving. I am the boulder I feel is to heavy to role out from under on the morning… I pile it on myself.
When I return to meetings, I get a feeling that I have almost never had in my early life. Last night I just participated in an online Al-Anon meeting and even with that the feeling came back. It is a feeling of spiritual freedom. A feeling of acceptance… But it is not a feeling that can be done justice with words. The sweet brightness of the feeling made me describe it like…a big pile of bright oranges, that happy feeling that you get when you can almost smell and feel them even though you’re only looking at picture. The feeling is that anything is possible.
The thing is that it equips ME to move on today. But the feeling does not spread to those I would like it to spread to…so they stay dark and dangerous, because they are so far away from getting it for themselves. And when I think about that, I can’t help but feel despair and sadness and resentment and anger… I haven’t reached ‘entire’ acceptance yet… Of them, or of my own self. I feel those negative feelings because I still feel ‘obligated’ to share company with those people. It’s like getting dragged back into a soggy, smelly, muddy swamp when I had just gotten myself out, cleaned up, and dressed clean and comfortable. Then they come along with their smile and hope and I think I am enough, my 15 minutes of recovery is enough. Still a little too much arrogance in this little heart of mine I guess. <sigh>
I was listening to a meditation discussion today (audio dharma podcast channel) and the discussion was about why we need to feel tension (the facilitator was asking the question with irony of course). Every once in a while I hear something that sticks with for a moment and resonates more strongly that it might have if I have heard it before… When thinking about the benefits of meditation and finding a peace in acceptance of how things are instead of resisting or reacting to everything outside you as well as your own thoughts, that happens. You get insight without ‘thinking’. You know those moments when you’re trying to remember something really simple and it just won’t come to you, and we say to ourselves, ‘if I just think about something else it will come to me’… What does that mean about our minds and their usefulness. About how we relate to and live in the world? We can choose to live surfing along on thoughts and reactions, or we can learn to live on our true selves… What a wonderful thought, that I can get insight, answers to my questions, to my prayers…by not thinking. My mind gets in the way. I can feel it all the time. Why isn’t ‘not thinking’ a more popular approach? 😉
How wonderful to also have the thought but also feel and see truly that so far, over the last 8 months, 12-step programs have helped me to stop punishing myself so severely and so constantly, to stop or at least recognize the self-loathing from moment to moment, to stop taking so much responsibility for other people’s actions and feelings, to lessen my obsessing and anxiety wIth that. It’s true, and I can’t believe it.
It has also allowed me to begin to see the possibilities of creating comfortable safe places for myself. I wonder how I can better my home space for example so that it really feels like I live there and that it is not only a temporary feeling of comfort… I will have to brainstorm on what ‘safe’ really mean for me.
I notice this pretty much every day. I haven’t ‘really’ begun to live yet. I am still waiting for something. In order to get up in the morning I think something has to happen. In order to do my thesis or finish an article I think something has to happen. In order to go outside, I think something has to happen. In order for me to be happy something has to just happen. In order for me to do what I feel, take what I want, put one foot in front of the other I have to wait for this ‘thing’ to happen and I don’t even know what the thing IS!!! I feel safe waiting for the ‘thing’ but I am feeling the sense of doom from not getting on with my life. I am torn. And it is becoming more and more apparent. I think I am waiting for a hundred things.
– my mother to be sincere and for her actions to match her words
– my ex(es) to be sincere and for their actions to match their words
– someone to take care of me
– someone to show me the way
– someone to tell me or show me they care.
– to feel awake and energetic and light and motivated when I wake up in the morning
– for the weather to be warmer
– for confidence
– for things to be ‘the way they were supposed to be’
I’ve noticed I have haven’t been posting as regularly in the last couple of weeks. I’ve also noticed that I post more regularly when I am feeling desperate. When I want to reach out to no one and nothing but my higher power, or at least practice that. To be honest with myself, though… I have not been posting, yes, because I have not been have as emotionally desperate moments as of late, but also because some codependent behavior has been shoving this writing out of the way.
– I have been ‘being there’ for my ex. [yes, I am trying to be brutally honest with myself…if I write it down my denial and shame will be right there in front of me]. Being there for my ex means that…in true codependent and addictive fashion I feel a little better about myself, because I am doing a lot more to help myself than he is himself and I get some silly exploitative satisfaction out of that. I think I am also using the situation, however, to practice my boundary setting… But yes, spending any time with him means that certainly things fall completely out of my day; the amount of exercise I want to do, the meditation when and how I want to do it, the contact with certain friends and family, spending money I don’t have, not cooking for myself and making good food for my busy work days…
So, I thought, for the moment I wanted to try and write a little about my day, even though I am feeling relatively calm. I think that is denial. So, I am writing through my denial. The funny thing is, often when I do that, I can’t think of much to write about…how fitting is that. Denial makes my so elusive and secretive towards my own self. I am rationalizing so much (not getting up early, not going to the office, not working on my thesis first thing, not doing the list of things I made last night…), I am focusing on someone else… I am waiting. Waiting deserves a whole entry, so I’m going to end this one and do that.
But before I go, I must write a little more about my rationalization. I feel a little scatter-brained today – certainly my denial reaction to wanting to be honest with myself. But some of the things I notice with myself and my ex… I am trying to take care of myself, he is trying to ‘survive’ his days. He is resistant to suggestions to do things together (walking in the park…pff) because it might be less comfortable than sitting on the sofa and watching tv, or going for a beer (3 or 4) with a gross neighbor. I feel a cracking sensation in my body, mind, core, when I ask if he’d like to do something like that with me because he always comes back with an answer in a way that he finds the question irritating, inconvenient, annoying, insulting (because I should know that he does not want to do ‘anything’). His reaction or answer is like a hammer blow to by body almost every single time. I want to open and act and enjoy and explore and work and play…and he wants to ‘stuff’.
That he is resenting me for him having to go to the Partner Assault Response Program.
That he is blaming me for it.
That he feels or will say that I don’t care about his pain.
That he feels that I did it to HIM.
That he feels that I screwed up his life by calling the police when he had me by the throat.
I have felt the fear of having made a mistake for months and am not always able to come back to sensical thought because the anxiety and guilt surge through me like a tidal wave.
I have felt defensive for no reason. In the face of people that asked me ‘why didn’t you just leave in that moment?’
I am a smart woman. How could I not have the answer to that question?? Because guilt was/is more of a natural reaction to doubt than simply remembering how it happened…
It only occurred to me after people asked me that question (as though that might have been the better option than calling the police…!?!) that it happened – he pushed me up against the cupboards by the throat – when I was TRYING TO LEAVE! So I didn’t try to leave AGAIN! He had already reached around and pushed the door shut, he had grabbed me by the arm so that it hurt and I there was no way I could pull free. He already put his hand around my throat so that I couldn’t breathe. My head already banged up against the cupboards… I therefore didn’t try AGAIN to walk out the door…
It’s (not) funny how i have been conditioned, in a past of people discounting or ignoring my feelings and experiences, to forget the reasons why I protected myself the way I did. When someone asks why I didn’t do something differently their doubts and skeptical sexist presumptions flood my mind as though their imagination and G’s ‘defensive’ story is the reality of that night. As a result, all I feel in the moment of being asked why I ‘didnt just leave’ is fear, stupidity, and guilt. The feelings someone should feel if they actually tried to mess with someone else’s life on purpose.
I think it makes perfect sense that I didn’t try to open the door to leave a second time. He had threatened to beat the shit out of me and murder me on other occasions. And at this particular moment he was between me and the door and he had just grabbed by the throat. Why do I feel there is any doubt…?
Why would anyone think I would not have reason to be scared for my physical well being, let alone my life?
Hold on a second, no. Why would I!? Me!? Why would I doubt my own actions?!
But wait… Do you know what is probably the most guilt inducing…? Not that people doubt whether my actions were justified. Rather, that I knew it would get worse and I stayed for months even after I had realized that. I knew that he had been arrested for guns and producing counterfeit money, that he had been jnvolved in ‘gang’ violence and violence since his teens probably, that he had physically abused and threatened the mother of his kids, that he had been violent as though it was a past time.
The guilt and the fear come from knowing that about myself. Not having the humility or emotional reasoning to realize that if he did nothing to change it, no matter how many times he said he wanted something different with me he was going to play it out exactly the same.
Its difficult to know that myself, let alone to know how other people see it. That I stayed. That I thought out relationship would be incentive enough.
That is where the guilt comes from. And the fear is from not trusting myself and from knowing that others will not think I am entitled to protection, safety… because I stay despite what I knew. My naive hope and irrational self sacrifice make me deserving in the eyes of the people out there. That is a cruel world, and by fearing it I empower that bent reality that so many people are trapped in.