Category Archives: emotional sobriety
These are the writings of a girl who knows a guy not very well and who knows that she is coming to think somewhat obsessively…and wants to reflect on it and pull herself out… What a powerful pattern it is…Codependence
“What’s going to happen if I don’t talk to Gave soon? Like right now? He will get to do whatever he wants and not pay attention to my feelings, plans needs, wants.
I will not get what I want from him.
This feeling of heat and electricity tingles…zoned out and emotional…overwhelmed and paralyzed…
I think I deserve to feel like this…?! I think I am supposed to feel this? I think is is ok for me to feel that way? That is…if they don’t make me feel like that…I think that there is no connection?
Quiet and unexciting means no connection?”
Respond to my needs
Appreciate what I have to give, what I do give, my thought…
Accept my softiness as not weak
Want to give to build on something
Not judge my differences, things about me that are not easy to understand
I keep on trying to process everything.
And after writing a nice long journal/blog entry, the crying still wants to come.
It doesn’t com though.
Because I don’t let it feel worthy.
I don’t let it its reasons be enough. They are.
– i feel sad
– I feel
i screwed up
i found out
i didn’t understand
i did and didn’t do
Right now I am virtually convinced that I can not get out from under this rock.
When someone I have been intimate with doesn’t communicate in what I feel is a relatively…normal way…I can get pre-occupied with that.
This past two weeks, this past week, last night and this morning, the stress of planning to help with a birth, getting teaching prep done, grading and recording test marks for 330 students, putting out their marks when such a large amount of students failed, keeping up communication about yoga classes, teaching yoga classes, and getting busy with an interesting guy have all tired me out. I do a lot more thinking and self-deprecating than most people and feel down.
And then the less that guy communicates with me, the less I can think. The less I can relax. The less I can feel good about whatever it is I bring to the table. Like he is dissing what I bring to the table by not acknowledging with communication…
And last night and this morning my face began to tingle. And my chest and torso and belly all become their own little monsters. Each with its own sensation. Each living in me like I am just a container. They are all feelings. All feelings that I find overwhelming and I put them off. I put off turning to them directly and hearing what they have to say. So, I never find out how to resolve them. How to respond. I even misunderstand that I am supposed to do something to make them go away…when I think that all I am supposed to do most times is let them play out.
If I could do that…
Then I wouldn’t feel this terrified, paralyzing fear of being left… Maybe I have always had that feeling. Since I was in the womb. Since my mother left me at my aunt’s as a first-born. Since my mom left my at my other aunt’s so she could go be a single woman for days or weeks at a time. Maybe I have always felt that. Felt that that feeling of being left was going to come around again.
Laying in bed this morning I was so overwhelmed with the need to cry or freak out, or write more texts to the dude to ignore the presumption that I was being put off. And I was aware enough to ask myself about when I felt this feeling before…like way before.
It is the terrified feeling of being really alone. Like when I knew my mother was leaving me in completely alone. Like anything could happen to me and it didn’t even enter her mind. So it was essentially like I did not exist as such. She could put me out of sight and out of mind. I felt completely and utterly outside of myself with fear because i could disappear so easily and my feeling of being in that position was entirely traumatic…death traumatic… Because if no one sees you and no one feels you or what you are going through, there is no one to respond or save you or anything.
So this feeling I am re-experiencing, at 44 years of age, is not rational. And I could see that as I lay in bed mulling things over and contemplating how to live out my day with a feeling of physical hurt in my belly. The feeling is debilitating, like I don’t want to stand up and walk with that feeling. I don’t want to move because I will feel it more. And then I’m telling myself, well, I have no choice but to get up and accomplish a bunch of things today. Complete tasks and planning and work that will eliminate some of the things that have been making the stress feel even heavier.
And it occurred to me that this feeling that I am helplessly alone and destined to be hurt until death…that is what my day will look like… is only a result of the fact that I am not paying attention to being a big, grown-up adult. That I am not paying attention to the fact that someone else leaving me or not communicating with me no longer leaves me in the same position it did 40-ish years ago. For some reason the feelings of vulnerability to death and nothingness re-occur. Because I have not faced them square enough in the face? The reality of my situation does not lessen the panic and vulnerability I feel. But the thought occurred to me that listing even just considering some of the ways that my circumstances now differ from my circumstances then…
Then I was entirely dependent on my mother to take care of my needs, and her being nowhere to be found was horrifying –
Now I am not dependent entirely on anyone to take care of my needs (eat, sleep, contact, attention)…
Then I did not know what I was being left into when my mother left me or even thought about leaving me -I had no power to change where I was or whom I was with or to make a situation more comfortable or safe for myself
and now I usually know where I am. If I don’t feel like I do it is because I left my awareness as I was getting deeper into ideas about the relationship and losing my sense of place… I can adjust anything around me or move myself or change how I am responding at any time.
Then I had to be afraid to be engulfed in providing for someone else’s expectations.
Now I am free from catering to someone else’s expectations of how I will act, how I will feel. Now, I act and feel freely.
*I refuse to believe the lie that my lovableness and well being rely on the behavior of others.
*I believe that my lovableness and well being are always, all the time, everyplace, and for everyone around me the most true things.
So…the next difficult question came up today… My therapist said that…how I feel about (my recent encounter with a guy) is not clear… How I express myself about it is…confusing. She said that I may feel happy or excited or scared or pissed off, but she’s not sure…
Embarrassed by…how I act…the fact that I don’t say…play games (?)…create drama(?)…keep someone else in the dark(?)…try to control something…act like a scorpion…? I’m being outrightly…testy… trappish…Insecure.
Gosh. If I show how I feel…the freaking sky will fall. Seriously.
Why do I feel that way?
I envision…feeling free, smiling, laughing. Reaching out to touch someone…looking warmly at them. And then losing it all.
I discovered, when I (finally after years) let go of the first man I loved…that I still had everything inside me that I had given. That the love I gave was all mine. That I had built a road behind me and it was of hundreds of thousands of bricks of love…
But why does it still feel like…surgery…like a something-ectomy when I show my feelings and I don’t get what feels equal in return…? The feelings are THAT strong…yes.
When will I feel like my love is strong enough…?
I have been working for…(I don’t like to hear it out loud) years now to extricate myself from habits, relationships, ways of thinking, situations that tear me apart… This morning I lay in bed, still, like so many mornings, feeling heavy like a boulder…not feeling like I have the energy for life. And then my reflection mechanism kicked in, as it does more and more these days. That mechanism questions my immobilizing sensations and thoughts, helps me stand back, give those reactions space and attention.
I was able to consider what situations have actually made me feel truly like I did not have what I needed to get up, to live on a particular day… The situation was always people around me who were not supportive, not perceptive, not receptive, not ‘present’, not personally responsible, not connected really, to me or anyone else. And the situation was also my thinking that I had no choice but to share time, space, even a life with them…
As I lay in bed and reflect on that elsewhere- or other-time reality…(because at that very moment I was not in that situation) I reflected on the appointment had with my therapist yesterday morning. I had come to the question, how do I ‘be’ with someone who is the kind of person I want…how do I be…healthy and content and good deep inside and still face the fact that I was so damaged…Face the fact that I am struggling still with not living a ‘damaged’ life? How do I be authentic about who I am, what I have behind me, and happy at the same time? And happy alongside someone. Not weighted down, or dependent in unhealthy ways, or seemingly bitter or scared or controlling, or ‘intense’ for no reason?
And how do I live as a Shantelle who is true to herself and everything she was before people treated her like shit, and live around family members who (may) still be shitty…to me and to themselves? How do I live happily and with momentum and optimism and free spirit and spontaneity and joy around people who are still trapped? Those types of people usually don’t like really joyful people around. They usually think something disparaging about them, or feel sorry for themselves…(I know because they taught me to live like that…And I pretend to be in a shittier (feeling) situation when I am around those people so that I don’t ‘bother’ them…).
I feel like there is an irreconcilability in my path to personal health. I believe that this is just a scare tactic…But I still don’t know what is meant to come next… Just my decisions, I guess…no matter how bold…?
I’ve been in a holding pattern for months now. A holding pattern as I am exploring how to make changes to my life, how to live differently. How to change the habits both conscious and unconscious that have been holding on for decades… And I am tired.
Literally, I am tired. Because I haven’t been able to sleep restfully in any consistent way for years. For so long I have been experiencing ups and downs with this. When I began to stay away from my alcoholic ex there was relief. I could enjoy the peace and quiet for a while and sleep with some calm. But then my body and mind got restless…afraid of my tendency to invite that chaos back, afraid of my naivete, of my weakness when it comes to thinking that I am any kind of solution for HIM feeling better or doing better. The guilt is just debilitating. And my body didn’t trust that some other chaos wasn’t impending.
Spending lots of time on my own has been excruciating in some ways. But I have had the feeling for a while now that the personal solitary time is important. Important because I escape change, whether I notice myself doing it or not, by looking elsewhere for rationales and explanations for how to do things differently. I think there are answers elsewhere, from other people, but others perspectives of thinking about life and love and…everything.
That is true to a degree. I think I’ve needed to get out of my own head for a long while now. And listening to explanations about how to live differently or ways to think about relationships or other life experiences differently have been invaluable. But they are just practice. They are supposed to bring me closer to being able to explain MY own perspective on MY life, how I feel about it, and how I want to feel in the future. And THEN what I need to DO to support myself in feeling that way.
This afternoon the question is: How do I want to feel in the morning?
Usually I feel like everything is futile. When I wake up I often feel already defeated, before I barely move a muscle. And it has escaped me for the longest time, what I am supposed to do with this feeling… Yes, I need to listen to myself. Yes, I need to know that I want to feel differently… But what comes after that?
Whispers have reached me lately. About different things, but especially this morning (well, and also the going to bed feelings at night).
I need to ask myself and talk about, describe, declare, how I want to feel when I wake up in the morning. Without being afraid to declare that. Without talking down to myself or saying or thinking I am ridiculous…. hehe. I need to really sit with myself and imagine feeling this new way, imagine the moments, the minutes of waking up in the morning and what kind of expression is on my face, what kinds of feelings I have in my body, what kinds of thoughts I have and things I look forward to and habits I have in the morning that are great for me.
Then the reality is almost complete.
And then I can do the same with the night time.
See my next post for my description of how I want to feel in the morning…
I had the feeling last week, that I wanted to do the consulting work I was assigned to. I realized that at moments I was having fun doing the research. Perhaps, I thought, the anxiety is coming from getting to a place where I like it, where I am good at it, and I feel good at it. Perhaps I am worried about being happy because someone else who isn’t always wants a piece. It was bad, around Jessie, to enjoy things. To be just plain happy. I couldn’t have fun, silly reckless abandon fun, integrate joyfully into the world, because she felt she couldn’t. And she had me and kept me and it would be so terribly unfair if I was giddy…before she was.
It’s time to get raucous. Why has that word come to me 3 times in the last 24 hours? Raucous. It will seem that way to you. But that is because we don’t often look or listen or feel and also ask about the origins of what is being shown to us.
All I want to say and express is raucous to some (harsh, strident, grating, rowdy, disorderly…a little out of control). But there is pure sense beyond it. What is that sense I wonder…? I really don’t care if you can’t figure that out. If you can’t you can sit with the raucousness. If you actually wonder what sense if makes for me to get all raucous, you’re welcome to ask.
The truth about me — I have not expressed, reacted in my life. Early on I was scared away from doing so. I experienced terror as a result of showing my experience, showing my emotional reaction. I was scared away from having a perfectly natural…not just human response…but a response specific to me, specific to my make-up. Being alone and death were the threats that taught me to hide it all.
The gates would inevitably open though. And they are about to burst. Just writing these words is giving me nausea. I want to keep on typing words around it all. I want to keep on writing words all the way up to the gates…so close that I am tasting the ages old doors and the crap on them with my eyeballs. Part of me, even now, tells me I can be safe if I just-don’t-say it.
I am afraid to not ever be able to take back what I say when I say it. I am absolutely paralyzed by fear when I think of the punishment that could chase me when I say the words, when I show the anger the dissatisfaction.
Why would I be afraid that I won’t be able to take it back?
Because when you say what you really think in front of people who think you owe them, people how have built up such a city of avoidance between them and their own gates…they will punish you forever, because they think punishing YOU will get rid of THEIR pain.
Well, this is something that has occurred to me more than once as I found my gates again. As I found my way back.
But you know what? I thought that there was truth to the fact that I need to be punished for staving off danger. For revealing my boundaries. For showing someone I want them to stop hurting me. I thought something trumped that.
And again, you know what?
Fuck It. And Fuck You. And Fuck those people. And Fuck It All. I honestly don’t care if I sound disobedient, entitled, pissed off, disagreeable, defiant… (because I don’t need to care anymore) about how someone else is going to label it. How someone else is going to hurt me. They can’t fucking do it anymore. I don’t have to give any moments of thought to how selfish, violating, pricks deal with their own shit as a result of encountering mine. I have taken all of the responsibility in the world, including everybody else’s, for others’ reactions to me, for feelings others would have because of what I do or say or feel or let out, and even what I DIDNT do. And everyone can absolutely kiss my fucking ass. I mean all those who would blame me for ruining their day for doing nothing but expressing how I feel. Acting on how I feel. Being exactly who I am when I feel a certain way. Your uncooth shit is all yours. Go eat it, paint with it, shit on it, publish it, cry it out loud, I don’t give a fuck. Because whatever you do, whatever narrow-minded shit you decide to throw at me will bounce right back to you, Bigger, and Messier.
You know what I really think? – now that you know what to do with your shite reactions … I think that using a kid to make your life look worthy of something is a fucking asshole thing to do. I think that living your life with a kid as though the kid is a pet or a doll or a piece of baggage… an almost inanimate object is an asshole thing to do! I think that making your kid feel like shit because their feelings or reactions or bodily processes got in the way of your pathetic plans for your day or your life is an entirely fuckhead asshole thing to do. I think that intimidating your kid as a way to teach them how to ‘behave’ is a fucking numbskulled, asshole, manipulative,entirely abusive and cruel thing to do. I think that getting caught up in your own pissiness and fears and unfinished business enough to threaten your kid’s life (by cutting off their airway or using your adult strength to bruise and traumatize your kid’s little body) is one of the most insanely psychopathic and FuckHead, murderous, illegal, axe-worthy things that you could ever do in this universe. It’s like shooting a gun into the world when you are blind, deaf, and dumb. I think you are a complete cruel asshole fuckhead prick moron coward, shit-for-cells person. I think you are a complete fuckhead if you do all of these things and more and then completely lack the fucking microscopic shred of humanity that it takes to apologize with any dignity and honesty for doing those things, specifically those things (!), when you do decide that you think that maybe you might be able to kind of maybe apologize for “some things” you did. Oh, YOu “did some things you weren’t proud of”, eh!? I don’t give two or two thousand fucks for those pansy-ass coward words of bullshit. Want to learn what an apology is? No, it doesn’t sound like you do you Fucking Asshole.
I think that your bullshit formula of “moving on and forgetting the past” is a complete fucking cop-out…not only for the person you fucked with, but for you too. If you are too much of a fucking coward to even deal with your own shit with yourself, well you can go fuck yourself. I have no time, energy, or even favorable excretions for that. Show some fucking humanity and at least get in touch with the smallest inkling of a desire to clear your own self of the feelings that made you be such a fucked up, self-absorbed, terrorizing, abusive prickshithead in the first place. You know, you keep on spreading that shit around, even if you have it deeply buried in the bottom of the ‘secrets’ drawer in your mind, your memory, your emotional monsterass chest… And when I feel it, from you, our time will be completely limited, probably most often non-existent. Because there are billions of other molecules of air I can breath in billions of other places for billions of other seconds…and there, I will not have to be near that lying, sliminess you like to pretend that you are entitled to carry around because you are bigger or stronger than me.
And you know what? This is what hurt looks like, sounds like, when you pass it around. Especially when you pass it around to people like your kids who unwittingly accept it from you because they thought that the whole purpose of you, the whole purpose of that behavior was to take care of them, and teach them, and protect them, and affirm them. And you manipulate the situation by serving them shit, fear, a sense of self-worthlessness on a plate instead of honesty and self-reflection and tender caring, and tenderness allround.Fuck you, Fuckheads. Fuck – You.
Who the fuck teaches their own flesh and blood that love feels like Torture…
I Fucking dare you to do it again.
For so long I felt unfeeling. I felt like I needed to be ashamed. I listened to others’ assessment of my behavior, to others understandings of how I act, and to my fears of what they would say, or worse what they thought they would ‘know’ about me… All of the disparaging things they would know… I rediscover that about myself all the time. That I continue to feel fearful and ashamed of a reality of me that others construct. I notice it now. And rediscover that that version of me is not the true one. It is not MY truth. Unfortunately, every time a little time passes, life drags on, and I fall back down a muddy slope in my mind, back into believing that I am not safe here, back to believing that I must defer to what others see and that any of their negative experiences of me absolutely l MUST be who I am. And THOSE are things I put my energy towards.
This will stop soon though. I am feeling that there is some more accurate truth about me. And it is not to be found in the woes and fears of others. And my energy has gone into what feels like a black hole for much too long. I am going to learn to tell MY story of feelings. Not others’ stories of my feelings.
At the end of 1999 my grandfather died. I didn’t get to know him especially well – like, I mean have long adult conversations with him etc and get to know his feelings on politics and his deepest secrets. But he was one of the people in my life that I didn’t have to worry about feeling that feeling of insecurity or impending doom around. I enjoyed sitting beside him, cuddling with him if ever I got to. He had farmers hands and rolled his eyes at ridiculous things (when no one was looking). He was so knowing and sensible and sensitive, but like me reserved himself for moments when that side of him would not provoke others who weren’t quite as reflective.
My aunt and uncle brought him to visit me in Ottawa during the months before he passed away. I saw the look in his eye, even more deeply tender. Like we were both hiding love but both swimming in it together at the same time. I wanted to say goodbye more tenderly. I wanted to share more of my experience of him with him. But I let other things, what I thought were more pressing but were simply more imaginary obligations, get in the way. I didn’t allow space for my loving expressions toward him. And of course, that meant I did not allow space for my grief…
My mother asked me to go be with her at his house during his last couple of days…to support HER. It was a few months after his visit with me in Ottawa. She didn’t just ask me to go with her. She felt she needed to use guilt me into it. Without realizing it, like I had my whole life, I said yes to my mother because I saw her approach to me as proof that I was I neglectful and unsupportive, uncaring daughter if I didn’t go with her. I look back at how incredibly scared and uncomfortable I was of being in that place – around only her and my aunt (her sister). My mother has almost always been a person from whom I felt I had to hide my true feelings. I learned she would steal them all away…or she would express her judgments and I believed I was exactly those judgments. I had to go with her and be this empty terrible person around my sweet sweet grandfather, in the moment that he would move on from us.
Until about now, in my head, the story of my grandfather’s death was one about me not feeling, being a cold, emotionally frozen, frigid daughter, who was not compassionate enough.
I am amazed to discover that that story is note accurate.
I lay in a bed on the floor of my grandparents’ farmhouse, the night he passed away. When he left us my mother came into the room. She came close to me and said he was gone. I pretended to be asleep. And she tried to cry on my shoulder…she tried to use me as her pillow…
Why did I pretend to not be there.
I pretended because I had nothing left to give her. If I gave her another ounce I would break entirely.
It was not because I didn’t care.
I pretended so I would be able to grieve, so that my existence would not disappear into her, so that I would exist. So that I would exist. Sleeping and keeping my affections to myself kept me in existence.
By going with her I pretended to be what she wanted. I pretended not to need to grieve. To not need her attention to my grief, to not feel.
That was the only way I knew how.
But now I know…I felt I had to choose. Her or me. I thought I had to choose.
The thing is, we can’t choose. It’s impossible.
I feel whether I choose or not. I feel whether she likes it or not. I feel whether she agrees, or sees, or supports me or not.
I hid my feelings out of fear of being told they were less important than hers.
Importance is neither here nor there.
Feeling is all.