Monthly Archives: October 2013

Withdrawal: beyond positive thinking is positive believing

Rainy morning. I can hear it falling, steady outside the door. A flat grey glow through the small window. That kind of light that might feel like moonlight but it’s morning.

And I am feeling the pangs of withdrawal, tempted to let him back in at any moment. Forgetting the value of silence, of my own space and of my own time. They feel burdensome when I lose focus and allow my mind to wander to his desperation, to mistake that desperation for REALLY needing me. To mistake his ‘episodes’ of ‘sorry’ for REAL regret. When I want to put weeks of faith and trust into his only moments of self-reflection and discovery.

What I have gained in a week can be lost in a gesture. And then it is even difficult to put a finger on my gain, my growth.
I haven’t reached the point of no return. I haven’t reached the place where I recognize that the past is the past, that certain things I will never repeat, not just with him but with anyone.
Crossing that line is scary for that reason; I feel like it requires me to hold my breath, submerge, and swim. Like people take bets on whether I am courageous enough, strong enough, fit enough to swim to the other side and emerge alive. it means REALLY leaving the person and vision you think you love for something that is ONLY good for you, when loving yourself doesn’t entirely make sense yet.

Loving myself brings a lot of silence. I can mistake that silence for a sad emptiness, because he is not there. We can forget that it IS peace. I do. Because I thought peace was that other person being lulled by my efforts to love them.
But that is just calm we find at the eye of a storm.
Unlike the peace I get when I care for myself. A clear field of easy settled-ness. He may be faintly discernible in the distance, or even just an echo.
The quiet between he and I can feel lonely.
But the good silence, the emptiness, it is fodder. It is whole and absolutely anything can be made of it. Better things than can be made in the eye of a storm.


Keeping Out Stressful Distractions

I didn’t know what that meant.

I didn’t know what types of things constituted keeping out stressful distractions.

I didn’t know what could do that without feeling like a vi lian, selfish, weak, like I was copping out.

And I certainly didn’t know the good that can come of doing what is most required of me, for me.

it bothers me when:

– i feel like i am being led down a path

– i feel like i am not getting the whole truth

– he was avoiding something

– like i was being blindsided by flattery

Group Therapy

Today: 40-minute intake for a group starting in January.
One of the psychiatry residents was especially attentive and said she could hear a lot of “passivity” on my part, in my past that I was telling them about, and that it sounded like I would work on that in the group.

What a lovely suggestion…
Paying attention to what I want and how to act on that rather than acting quiet and invisible and like everyone else’s ‘show’ can be mine…

Learn Life Things…In Whatever Order

The things I was supposed to take at face value:

  • my hunches; what I saw; I was reading notes to myself that are as old as our relationship pretty much…and I was saying the same thing to myself then that I am saying now. And saying it to him. I have been a broken record for so long. How have I not acted on my feelings, my knowledge…in so long?? I am amazed at what a big issue this is. I am amazed that i have lived with these issues for this long. That I have thought that this is an indefinite battle that is good for me to continue, with myself and with him. Why do I see it as a worthwhile endeavor, to wait and communicate, and ask and react, and over and over and over again give it another chance… I am absolutely in sane (doing things over and over again that have the same sad outcome…)
  • My  understandings; as soon as I contact him or engage with him in any way he will take that as approval, acceptance. As soon as I do he will think he has to do nothing else. He will continue to ‘work me’ in the same way he works all of the people and things he ‘manages’ and seeks to control in his life. As soon as I contact him or engage with him, he will ask me for something his is not willing to nor will prepare himself to give. He is so down on himself and thinks so that others should be supporting him no matter what he does to screw up his own circumstances that he can not see anything else.

To G:

You can’t have drunks and drugs and emotional games and lies AND me. They are contradictory.

I don’t like lies and drugs and drunk you and emotional games.

If you choose them and not me you can keep them. All. And none of me. You can’t have my honesty and energy and kindness and thoughtfulness and worry and the benefits of my efforts AND continue to indulge in all of your self-destruction.

One does not beget the other.

Triple Action

Lovely and gentle guide I am thankful for today.

Alisen Dopf

Lets start with a quick exercise.

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, or open the notes ap on your phone. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
  2. Write down everyone you love.

Got everyone? Your spouse or partner? Your kids? Mom and Dad? Granny and Grumpa? Brothers, sisters, best friends, and cousins? How about your dog, cat and guinea pig?

No one left out? Good.

Now, scan your list and circle the word Me.

Don’t tell me you didn’t include yourself? That’s a shame, because it’s pretty darn hard, if not impossible, to love everyone else on your list unless you love yourself first.

“Well of course I love myself,” you retort. But do you? Really? Because most people do not truly love and accept themselves the way they are. They look in the mirror and find every flaw imaginable with their face, boobs and butt. They hammer away at…

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Whose Voice(s)?

What am I telling myself that is sabotaging my writing, my motivation, my focus, my endurance, my creativity…?

– I don’t deserve it

– I am a sham, a fraud, people will see how really clumsy and lazy and unintelligent I am if they read my stuff

– It will take me forever. I don’t have the time I need to finish this.

– People will judge me. I won’t get the encouragement…

– My writing will sound horrendous, simple, unsophisticated

– I don’t really know the material well enough to write this.

– if someone would help me I could do it

– I feel like it will take me forever.

– I feel like I will be sitting here forever, literally!

– It is scary

– my supervisor is scary

– my supervisor just thinks I am a nuisance, hard work, useless

– writing this is going to kill me, because once I sit down I can not get back up until it is finished.

Surprise, I DO Take Care of Shantelle…

I arrived at the office today, on the way having felt like I am getting sick and should have stayed in bed. I set myself up do some little things to get comfy before starting on my edits on my chapter, and I realize I am really getting a headache. I check my desk drawer with the remote thought that I left myself some ibuprofen recently. No ibuprofen bottle, but a little square can from some of my favorite candies. I pick it up and something shakes inside. Open. It is ibuprofen! Surprise! I left myself a pain-relieving present in a happy little decorative can! Damn, I am good. I DO look out for myself here and there.

This little discovery inspired me to write a few more things down that I have done for myself in the past 24 hours.

– put myself in bed at 10pm last night, and took something to help me sleep before that.

– made myself a great whole oats breakfast yesterday, and then made myself a super-delicious quinoa mix in acorn squash for dinner. I was so full after stuffing my lone face with that that I couldn’t even lay down comfortably.

– I let myself watch a movie last night when I felt I was getting too tired to think.

– I gave myself 15 mins of good meditation time yesterday morning.

– I have been reading “The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness” every night before I go to sleep. (I don’t ever read for pleasure before bed…)

– I gave myself time.

– I have not let myself do laundry in procrastination.

– I dressed up very nice for my friend’s wedding party the other day.

– I gave myself warmth and comfort before going to school today. And brought myself a great lunch.

Anger and Forgiveness

I was reflecting briefly on watching and listening to the anger and words of other people and how irrationally our mind can work and our actions can be at certain moments.

I most often can not withstand the feelings I experience when others are acting terribly irrational, but I have also acted terribly irrational. The first reaction I have is to run. To hide. Even if all I can do is stand there. Because I feel the anger is too big. Like there is no end to it. Like I cannot possibly escape it and I have destined to carry it around with me, even others’ anger, like one of those ghosts…like a ghost from christmas past or something like that.

Luckily I started to read Yongey Mingyur and even before I read many words I felt my mind go through this process, as I was thinking about irrational anger… Real patience. Real listening. Real attention. Those things can all make the anger, ours or someone else’s, a means to an end. Temporary. Have good reason. It requires insight, not reaction. It requires us to even have some humor towards ourselves. Not a ridicule, but an appreciation for how far we will go, how far we thought we had to go, and how we can learn that it was only an illusion, that which others made seem like a dreaded infinite hellish reality. At the very botton of the anger is fear. At the very bottom of fear is the desire to be loved and to love. To be ourselves, to be safe and grounded in this world. The desire for no one to take that away from us.

“The ordinary or reasonable person has a normal temperament and level of self-control and is not exceptionally excitable, pugnacious or in a state of drunkenness.”

I am getting a kick out of this statement…

It brings up irritation and resentment but also clarity.

How true is it…?! Really…?!

We strive to be like ‘ordinary’ people, ‘reasonable’…

But what do we know.

And who do we know that is…

Shantelle Self Care

Marked all day: went to the museum this evening, bought myself dinner, had a good bikeride on the way.

Marked all day: went to the office after the museum to mark another pile of papers to make things a little easier on myself tomorrow. Discovered how sleepy I was and paid attention to that. Stopped marking halfway through the pile and reminded myself to go home instead (bike part of the way and train the rest because I’m tired.)

Had a terrible sleep last night: Now reminding myself to get home not to late so I can fall asleep asap. Also reminded myself to stretch and do bedtime routine so that I feel taken-care of and can relax before sleep.

Wrote letter to ex early this morning asking he not call me until he ‘really’ is “stone cold sober and staying that way” because I deserve commitment, loyalty like I give in our relationship. I got a call and a text but have had the gumption this far not to answer (Don’t know how long I can hold out).

Noticing the ‘lighter air’ when I make a decision to control my own life and not let it be bent around his drinking schedule or resentful, insensitive and narrow-minded responses to my expressions of feelings and needs.