Monthly Archives: January 2014
I have been trying to practice acceptance without a full understanding. I was listening to the alcoholic, giving more attention to his pleas than to the pleas coming from inside of me.
I know I had to accept him as a drinking alcoholic, so I tried. And I’ve felt terrible for trying to accept him. Getting angry about how he acts and the mean, inconsiderate things he does. The thing is, i was trying to accept his drinking without accepting how I feel about it and all it’s consequences.
I began to draw my boundaries long ago but was doing so incompletely. I was trying to listen to only what I felt was bearable, and still drawing the line based on ‘reaction’, based on what I expected from him, not solely on what I needed or wanted or know I felt.
I didn’t know that accepting him does not work without ‘really’ accepting me. If I do not accept how angry I get/am and act on that, I am still not accepting his alcoholic self. If I do not stop accepting the lies and the using and the manipulation and act on how I really feel about those things, I am not accepting him as he is right “now”. If I do not do what I really need (in this case distance myself from him, not lend him my car, not listen to his explanations, not act like we have a safe enjoyable relationship all round), I am not accepting. Accepting him and myself as we are does not mean accepting his dishonesty in my life. It means, if I am feeling unmanageable, I accept that he is less than considerate and honest and sensitive and aware and accepting that that ruins my every day, and then I make a change. If his presence disrupts my every morning, my every afternoon, accepting that he is not caring in the way I need means allowing him to be that way and me being making a choice that saves me from the suffering, so choosing to be away from that.
I can’t forget that he can choose. And I can’t forget what he chooses when I have told him how I feel.
That is what a as really confusing, because I was taught to ‘put up’ with things, that that is what made me “Wonderful”…
That is why it feels so awkward, uncomfortable and even shameful…I feel ashamed that I can’t accept him in my life, his lies, his rationalizations, his verbal insults and insensitivites… because I love him, or I always thought I have. He makes me feel so bad for not putting up with his pain. Because I love him. Or I thought I did.
The fact is, that whether I love him or not, I am supposed to love me first! I am supposed to accept my feelings first. I am supposed to act on my discomfort and pain first.
Acceptance is supposed to be mine first. I am supposed to accept that I can not accept such an incomplete love from him. It may hurt him that I cannot accept his behaviour.
But what I am supposed to do first and foremost is not accept being unhappy. I am supposed to accept that I need a partner who cares about himself so that he can care about others, especially me. I am supposed to accept me for what I really want to feel.
I can accept that he wants to stay in unhappiness.
But I am supposed to accept and ACT ON the fact that I want calm, ease and joy for myself.
– that I am nice to my (ex)
– that I lie about not wanting to be with him
– that I still accept…
– that I don’t think I can have a kind partner
– that I let myself suffer, let myself be less than I am, receive less than I deserve
– that I feel desperate for love, I don’t think I will get it if I don’t get it from my (ex)
I Want People to See
– that I work on myself, that try to change, that I want to change
– how physically healthy I am
– How hard I will try at anything
– I am not as stupid, or foolish, or 2nd rate as I act
I went in wanting to say
1) that I’ve had some insight into my own anger: I don’t have or use outlets so that I can help myself feel better.
2) although I know I have been working hard on my self-care, growth and recovery, I feel exhausted and depleted. The one positive thing I honestly have to say is not about how far I have come, but rather, “yay, I have not given up :-)!!!”
3) I have been ‘hiding out’ with my dissertation, not going to the office, not talking to my supervisor in the last few weeks. I feel stuck and ashamed and alone about that. Don’t know how to undo or fix that and want to stop criticizing myself for ‘hiding out’.
4) started group therapy two Tuesdays ago. I noticed the protective mechanisms in my attendance at the meetings… And my expectations…
Result of therapy session:
– I am “working” at everything.
– I am lonely and still isolating myself
– I can give myself outlets for anger, give myself opportunities for socializing with kind people.
– I don’t know how. No one can tell me how. But I can.
I have been listening to Tara Brach‘s audiobook “True Refuge” regularly for at least a couple of months now. One of the tools she talks about is this one – R.A.I.N. – for dealing with feelings and bodily sensations in the moment. I have not picked this up quickly but I am moving forward.
This morning I am sitting writing one of my chapters and feeling anxiety as usual, and all of a sudden I became conscious of it, and my mind jumped to want to use the tool, do the exercise. RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Non-identification…
Thankfully I Recognized the sensation in my body; the tight chest, the pressure, what feels like a shallow ability to swallow, almost like my throat is closed up, and shallow breathing.
Allowing is probably the most difficult part of this exercise. Every time I think of allowing things to be just the way they are, allowing my feelings and sensations to just ‘be’ I feel like I am going to be debilitated in tears. I feel like I may have to cry for a really long time (which I don’t have time for right now 😉 and like it will be one of those dry-heaving cries… I don’t know if I am doing the step the right way, but letting this be as they are feels like letting go of my grip of the edge of….something… I think the best I do here is ‘imagine’ allowing…but I’m not sure…
When I Investigate I notice that the bodily sensations I think I am waiting for a ‘worst thing’ to happen. My mind is throwing scary thoughts at me, giving me things to worry about, I am imagining the disappointed look on my supervisor’s face and how I am going to protect myself from that. I am feeling the little time I always feel I have to write, to finish writing…I imagine that there are obstacles or things that will waste time in my path to do EVERYTHING… At least I recognize these things as imaginary things. To some degree I recognize them as fears…
Non-identification: this step is one where I am supposed to recognize my feelings and thoughts and fears as not defining who I am. They are separate from my true self, my true essence. Hard work to believe. I am not yet sure of who I really am, what my true self is… I am glad that I have an image of my mind to give me some comfort for this reason…it’s a Buddhist metaphor I think (see Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche‘s The Joy of Living), of the mind likened to outer space. It is as empty and quiet, but with millions of little entities (thoughts) floating around. But if you were in outer space it wouldn’t feel crowded. You would not feel crowded or overwhelmed by busy thoughts…You wouldn’t hear anything. You could watch the thoughts float on by on their path and rest in the nothingness of space, the vacuum, the emptiness with the potential for anything, anything good…Who is that person watching everything float peacefully amongst everything else…?
Good first-time written-down practice of this one…?
I care about me more than anyone else in the world.
I am capable of thinking about me more than anyone else in the world.
I can make myself feel safer than anyone else in the world.
I can listen to my feelings, fears and needs better than anyone else in the world.
I have more patience for myself than anyone else in the world.
I am more interested in what happens with me today than anyone else in the world.
I am more interested in hearing about my own joys and woes than anyone else in the world.
I can give myself comfort more than anyone else in the world.
I feed myself better than anyone else in the world.
I hug myself better than anyone else in the world.
I help myself better than anyone else in the world.
I remember me better than anyone else in the world.
I think of better gifts for myself than anyone else in the world.
I have a longer list of fun things for me to do than anyone else in the world.
I have been looking for entries on managing anger today. And came across this short quote and comment. Precisely the reasons why I am so angry – years and years of working so hard to be a ‘low-maintenance’ child and partner. Is anyone familiar with books or courses or other materials I could read on these specific related topics?
“Being a low-maintenance child or partner (a nice word for self-neglect) is idealized as a valuable attribute.” – Charlotte Z. Cavatica
Many children who cannot rely upon their immediate environment to meet their needs, become as low-maintenance as possible. Some refer to this as an avoidant personality. Beneath their tough exterior, some develop exaggerated fears of letting others down and feel acutely responsible for others’ disappointment and anger. ~ vincenzo ©
I present myself to the world. I represent myself as incomplete often. As needing someone else to make me happy, like someone else is a missing piece to me or my life. I do that.
It has taken a lot for me to see that, to really see that. And to understand exactly what I am saying about myself when I do admit it.
I act like a lost kitten.
I act especially disappointed and resentful when someone hurts my feelings because I want to emphasize that that person’s actions or mistakes or indiscretions have much worse of an effect on my life than they really do.
I have put my life and future in the hands of unknowns, of strangers, of who-knows-who’s with the idea that that is how life gets better.
And then I have been irate and devastated when they fail to make my life better.
I am now going to learn what it means to be the person that makes my life what I want… And I I have to do it amidst the muscle memory in my heart and mind that comes from the idea that one is not supposed to do it alone. It is counterintuitive for me to create a happy life independently. It feels like it is the last option. It feels embarrassing. It feels like I need to hide and do it. It feels vulnerable and unsafe. It feels like I will stand out like a really sore thumb. It will be excruciatingly uncomfortable just to think about…let alone do.
But I can’t deny that even the people who have professed to love me the most have not succeeded at making me truly happy.
Because that is impossible for them.
Not letting myself feel good because I’m afraid of feeling bad when it’s done.
The difficult job of keeping in sight at every moment why I want to keep no contact with Ex.
– feel like shit when he’s a around; he prods and pokes with self-pitying comments, paying not an ounce of attention to me, how I am feeling, or what state I am in. I have been literally bed-bound for going on 4 days and on the first day, he didn’t seem to notice how much pain and discomfort I was in, even though I described to him how I was feeling.
Then rather than be here to help me get food etc he stayed away so he could drink. He hung out with people he knows are useless just because he can drink, and lie and be an idiot and they won’t say anything to him but ‘poor you’ and ‘yay, you’re gracing us with your presence’.
What stories am I telling myself about myself that let me find excuses to keep any kind of contact with him? I know what I say about him is that he is sick and can’t do any better right now… That he will realize eventually.
I think am stuck on the thought that I don’t need any care and consideration from the people who claim to care about me. I don’t need anything. I can survive on air. On being ignored. I can survive on other peoples intention to care about me. Their desire to show they care. I steadfastly keep myself deprived by being satisfied with empty promises. And all of that helps me to obscure what i really need…
I need: TBA