This Is Quite An ACA Evening
By the time I went to my 12-step study meeting tonight I was completely NOT emotionally sober. I had no control over the thoughts, worries that were circulating in and passing through…assaulting my mind. I had a proverbial sway, and my feelings were obscene (just bad, not sexual).
I had a very bad sleep last night, woke up with that hangover discomfort (to put it kindly) and so today was a struggle.
The weather was great, which is nice. But I had planned to work my butt off writing my chapter 6 so that I could take tomorrow (or at least the better part of it) “off”. However, trying to work on a beautifully sunny Sunday while I can hear kids playing outside my window, and while I am simply mentally groggy and in plenty of physical discomfort due to a crappy sleep is really a challenge. And the disdaining voices in my head on top of that… Well, my day was a little sad.
While I seem to have disappointed myself for not doing EXACTLY what I wanted to do to free myself up for tomorrow (12 degrees and sunny it is supposed to be!) I did 1) make myself blueberry bran muffins and eggs for breakfast, 2) real juice for a snack later, and 3) go for a walk in the park for about an hour in the sunny afternoon after I had 4) written a few (yay) pages of chapter 6, 5) bought fruit for juice for the week and 6) sorted out insurance coverage for a dental checkup…I was still incredibly tense at myself by the time I went to my meeting. I thought for at least a half hour into the meeting that perhaps it would not be as comforting and inspiring this week as it was last, largely because I was not the optimistic and chipper woman I was when I go there last week.
Amazingly though, I was fortunate enough to discover some good stuff in this mind and heart of mine…and through the minds and hearts of the other lovely and courageous people who have also decided to attend and commit themselves to the process. Overwhelmingly good stuff…
One of the things the yellow book says about the step process is that it frees us to “say who we are, instead of drunk or dysfunctional parents saying who we are not” (p.2). That stuck out to me tonight.
As I have avoided contact with my ex and with my mother of late…the aloneness and silence have left me really spooked. It’s like ‘nobody’s home’ inside me, because there is no one to tell me who I am, or what is good about me, or what I have to do, or what the world needs from me. I go through the motions each day, doing a bunch of “things” like I did today, even making plans and trying to stick to them. But deep inside I don’t believe my own plans, I don’t even believe my own actions. Because no one is there to affirm or receive or gush or resist or even criticize. Only me. And just me is really irritating…my thoughts are like a broken record, echoing insults and worries and resentments and terrified fears and empty compliments and mean accusations…all residue from those people who I learned to ‘purpose’ myself for, and who did not deliver in return with the (unconditional) love they promised as a mother and a partner. My sense of self is adrift without anyone to acknowledge my existence, good or bad.
And then comes the next quote from the book…
Many of my recent months and even years (maybe even a decade or more!) has been a break up/make up fest between myself and my boyfriends, as well as avoidance and then giving in with my mother, over and over…because the feelings that I got from being around them, the feelings I thought were the good ones were like crack. Staying away from these people put me into an absolutely hefty emotional and physical and physiological state of withdrawal. I have felt so physically sick and emotional destroyed that there were moments I thought the experience was literally going to kill me.
“The ‘withdrawal’ from addictive codependent relationships can be just as painful as, if not more painful than an addict’s withdrawal from drugs” (p.6). (Have you seen actual or realistic portrayals of chemical withdrawals?!)
I was asking myself in the meeting…what is the relationship between this lack of knowledge of who I am and this absolutely horrendous experience of withdrawal?
Abandonment is also a mondo-humungous creature in itself, — In the book it is associated with “our inner child reliving the fear of being unloved and unwanted by our family”.
I remember the moments when I was really young where I was afraid that my mother would leave (and leave me alone with my father – he was terrifying to me). I think there were a couple of times where I had the feeling I was literally going to die. But I don’t think it was because I felt I would starve or be left out in the woods to perish…
I had learned at a relatively young age that my existence (my behaviour and actions and emotional expression) was defined by others, mostly my mother (and eventually father) and eventually ANY other significant person. What I became afraid of with the possibility if my mother leaving me with J (my dad) was that her notion of me as good and well-behaved and valuable and heavenly (only for her purposes of course) would disappear with her and that all that would be left of me when she left me with j would be his notion of me (extraneous, fragile, insignificant, weak, an irritating reflection of his lack of softness and of his scary-ness). My physical well-being was threatened by the fact that I was annoying, threatening, and expendable to my dad. And that is all I was if my mother was not around to force him to treat me according to her notion of me. I was only what the closest person to me saw me as…
Anyway…so, then what happens when I have NO one around with any notion of me?! Well, back then – before a lot of other crap – I was simply a little girl with still a bit of a healthy sense of adventure and ambition (kid-sized) and rose colored glasses – when I was all by myself). Being alone in the woods playing for hours was my sustenance. My saving grace, and god took care of me there and my sense of self progressed for a while. But once J left I was completely bombarded with catering to my mom’s notion of who I was (on her ‘team’, emotional support, source of unconditional love – or evil if I did not deliver on those). Life was so traumatic and desperate for years after that that there was only time for me to cater to mom, and catering to me disappeared. I became only a being who was everything she needed, exclaimed, and claimed… A grunt, and emotional slave. And I etched out an identity from the good and bad things she claimed I was (for her). When she got what she needed from me and praised me I was divine. When I it was the opposite I may as well have been like a snake skin that someone shed…I barely existed, I was barely visible. I didn’t even have the weight or Substance to be called garbage.
My abandonment operated through claims that I was useless. That what I didn’t do made me a bad (nothing) person. That if I did not fulfill someone’s unfulfilled need I was nothing. DID….NOT…EXIST.
I have operated according to that rule until this very day. This very night. This very hour.
Everything I did today was for someone whose needs I did not fill before, or whose needs I will be responsible for in the future!
And if I had done nothing today, I would have been freaking out about how to hide that ’empty’ time…
I worked so hard in my last relationship. And every time G (my ex) went somewhere else for something that he should be getting from his partner (me), I felt absolutely…like I was going to die. I had no purpose. My attraction to him was in a large way based on the fact that he needed self-value and I showed him that I valued him more than anyone than he had ever met.
When he needed a place to live I gave him that. When he needed someone to trust and have faith in him, I gave him that. When he needed money, I (initially) gave him that. When he needed family ‘cred’ he got that because I was in his life. When he needed someone to look at him with love and admiration I did that. When he needed someone kind, I was that. When he needed caress and comfort, I delivered.
Once he started to ‘play me’ and tell me how I wasn’t giving ‘enough’ or in the right way…the first thing I felt was devastation (rather than offense or anger at his cruelty). Because he was telling me I had failed him… That meant I was nothing. I have no other self than the self who has been co-oped as a “caring machine” for those who claim me that way…!
My trauma has been perpetuated by me because I thought that the reasons for my actions, for my gestures, for my feelings, for my activities, accomplishments, (eeeeverything!) were other people! Specifically the person who offered me love and admiration for those things. I have been subsisting when alone by waiting for the next (or last!) receiver to come along so that I can give all and become visible again… (When someone is not benefitting from my existence, I do not exist.) that is why doing all of these wonderful things I have been doing for myself has felt, more often than not, like it is all just going straight down the toilet! Like straight into a void, or a black hole.
And that is what people read from me! That my actions have no value but for them! I have no purpose but them! I do not value me, or much of anything about me! That my contribution to the world means nothing if it is not valuable to them! (By the way, only very sick people take advantage of people like me). My healthy body, my hard work, my university degrees, my thoughts, my thoughtfulneess… I have thrown it all to the wolves!
It was supposed to all be for ME!!! It was supposed to be, first and foremost valuable to me!!
I am supposed to exist and remind the world that I exist by doing things for my own purposes. Doing things from my heart and spirit and body!!! Not others’!!! Inevitably everything I am and do will go to others as we are all pat of this one organism. But the reason for everything that comes from this body mind and spirit, the the origin, the purpose needs to be me.
I am a creation of my higher power. And my higher power needs MY contribution. not for me to mask my existence and my energy behind the needs of those who have their own and can help and love themselves.
DAMN, This is huge. HUGE!!
Tomorrow I can wake up and ask myself, about every little thing I think and feel and do. Why are you thinking and feeling and doing…all of this, WonderfulShantelle??
FOR ME!!!! ME, MEEEEE!!!
Because I love me. And because The higher power needs my self-love. If I do not love myself, that is one less in the world. No More.
Posted on March 31, 2014, in AA, Addiction, Adult Children, codependence, emotional abuse, emotional sobriety, Inner child, Meditation, recovery, Relationship, Uncategorized, withdrawal. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.