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on the homefront

Caged-Owl-630x420

I’m trying to figure out where I am today, how I’m doing (yup, my favourite question. SARCASTICALLY speaking).

I looked at places to rent this morning. Moving in here after having moved just 2 months earlier, and with such an extensive history of transiency and instability on the HOME front; my nesting instinct flooded me, and my bank account. It was like it had been repressed for so long that it all came flooding out of me. I toured second hand shops, bought little statues and decorative items for the deck and the garden and the walls here. I spent an entire week repairing the walls in my room, and painting it, including the french doors, all the trim, the walls and the ceiling.

It was 2 months of bliss with the one roommate I began with here — I’ll call her L. We were a recovery household. Our friends mixed brilliantly, and began to drop by regularly. Our lifestyles flowed so effortlessly and naturally together, we barely even had to think about it. We began creating a culture of authenticity in every moment. We prayed together, and shared with and witnessed each other deeply on a daily basis.

Our third roommate — I’ll call her E — came to us serendipitously through a friend of mine. She spoke the language of circle and spirit, and all of us felt a great ‘yes’ at the thought of her being here. We met a couple of times before making the final decision, and then she moved in.

How I didn’t see it coming is a mystery to me indeed. I feel dismayed. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so unsafe, and so much hatred and resentment towards a person. Not a pretty side of me is coming out in this situation. Part of me is angry and hurt, part of me is terrified, and part of me is deeply ashamed of how I am feeling. I want her gone. Just the thought of her and my body tenses, my cortisol surges, my heart beats a little faster.

If I am really honest, I feel that all her spirituality and wisdom are a crock of shit. She presents herself as a great healer, and an elder, connected to ceremony and the ways of the First Nations People here. And yet … my experience so far (the story in my mind) is that there is zero vulnerability with this woman. Zero openness to others’ truth and wisdom. She thinks psychotherapy is useless and a waste of time, doesn’t believe in labels or using mental illness as an excuse for a ‘lack of respect’ with regards to relating and house work. She looks down on 12-step recovery work, saying it’s “A good base,” and has expressed that she does not want to be doing “emotional processing” with her housemates.

L sees these things, but is somehow not triggered by them. L has been enjoying E’s company and wisdom, and making long-term plans with her. The connection between L and I has become almost none-existent. We do not have authentic sharing and witnessing around the house any more, unless I ask for it specifically.
Three days ago, I got to the point of ‘her or me,’ (which I have since backed down from), and shared everything with L. It was a hard conversation, but our recovery and NVC skills got us through with shining colours — except that L remained with her ‘hands tied’, saying to me, “Well, I would be so, so sorry to see you go.”

I have been moving in and out of the place of action: This is an unsafe and unhealthy situation and I guess I need to move / I need to communicate … what the fuck to I say in this situation. Ah! … and … getting lulled into a false sense of ‘everything’s fine.’ No one is yelling, and we can all make this work, and there is no way in hell I am going to rock the boat, or rain on anyone’s parade with my little feelings over here. I can just go along in my own little world, and still enjoy this beautiful house on the river, with the beautiful yard and swimming hole, gardens, fire pit, private deck and gazebo. Just avoid the conflct; pretend it isn’t there, trust that the Universe is working it out, stay open — maybe I’m just not seeing this person’s true heart; maybe it’s all a big misunderstanding; — invite her out berry picking, give her a ride, ask her about First Nations traditions, join in the ‘big happy family vibe’ that is between her and L. Don’t be such a downer! Just go with the flow. Think positively.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhkkkkkk.

I wish I could just disappear. I feel there is the potential for me to be back at the place of needing to move AGAIN, feeling humiliated and hopeless, lost and alone in the world. This is what having to move again would do to me. I don’t know if I can survive another move. The chaos, the disruption, the fear of having it not work out AGAIN.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhkkkkkk.

So, although I am not crying or raging or acting out; like a true internal bpd, I am deeply upset inside, and not showing any of it on the outside. It is bottling up inside me. I feel paralized, drugged almost, avoiding the panic that ensues when I acknowledge how I am feeling. Stuffing it so no one, including me, has to feel uncomfortable. The silent, invisible cage.

Tomorrow, I am supposed to be taking E berry picking. I don’t want to; I want to pull out, and I want to tell her why — not in a confrontational way, but in the way that gets the octipus out from under the table. I would feel so much safer if it were acknowledged and out in the open that there are hard feelings between E and me, and that spending time alone together is not very comfortable right now.

I don’t know how to make this happen. I don’t know if I should cancel. If I should make up a different excuse, and be polite and tactful about it.

I don’t know how to honour how I am feeling right now, and not feel like I am hiding it, living with a secret, again.

And so, that’s where I’m at today. I don’t want to admit how much this situation is bothering me, but it is.

Thanks for reading. Love.


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living amends

It’s not a sense of entitlement; it’s the need to make a living amends to the Child within. To do things differently than they have been done in the past — to replace the unworthiness and the unloveability, with worthiness and loveability, on the most basic of levels, which cannot be accessed or changed with words.

A living amends to me is expressing and validating all the unspoken things in a way that is un-deniably reflective of the past lack, aka abandonment. Saying to my Child, “That shouldn’t have happened; here’s what should have. Here is what a healthy response would have been.”


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For Carl

my new private balcony

my new private balcony

 

A new era has begun in my life, with a move from the place I moved into 2 months ago, to a place that is … well, it’s a little piece of heaven, with a fellow recovery woman.

It’s on a river. The sound of the river permeates the entire property and house. My room is on the 2nd floor, with my own private balcony. The house has several skylights, wood floors and trim throughout.

The property has several gardening areas for vegetables and flowers, grassy nooks with chairs, fruit trees, and a gazebo on the river. There is also a workshop and an art studio.

Both my roommate and I feel that this is a place that wants to be a vessel for healing. It wants to provide a safe, affordable and soul-nourishing haven for people who need it, in order to do our work, the work of the soul and spirit. The rent is super cheap, and the location is a few minutes walking to down town. We want to host healing circles and various healing modalities here.

My arrival here happened suddenly, removing me from the danger inherent in living alone. I had been isolating and not eating, in and out of various states of dissociation and paralyzation. A friend of mine asked me why i was remaining in this harmful situation. I realized I had not made it real in my mind that it was a harmful situation. I was still holding on, trying to convince myself that it wasn’t happening, that really, I was fine; I was just thinking I wasn’t. When the landlords there gave notice they were returning to the Valley, this new place emerged. After my friend asked me why I was staying, I checked out moving earlier, and was given the green light. I moved the next day.

The previous roommate here was a beautiful, bright, gay man who was the keeper of the space and property, loved gardening, home repairs and landscaping. He also lived with OCD and Bipolar Disorder. He chose to leave this world by suicide last month. As he had promised to his friends, he waited until he was happy for several months before leaving. He sorted his things and arranged for them to be dispersed, cleaned the house, made soup for the woman who is now my rooommate. Everyone knew that his leaving was imminent, and when he was all set up to facilitate his departure, he emailed my roommate, who was out of town at the time. It took him two consecutive attempts to leave.

His body was found in his room. He died a happy, loving and giving spirit; at peace in his surroundings and with his friends in this life. His passing has brought me here, and so I write this as an offering of gratitude and appreciation. I feel his presence, and that he is a kindred spirit. I regret that I did not get to know him while he was still here.

For Carl. For all your journeys, sorrows, joys, achievements, struggles, and losses. And for all the great love you gave to this world. May you be in peace in the afterlife. May your spirit soar on, always and forever free.

beside my pillow, the sound of the river surrounding.

beside my pillow, the sound of the river surrounding. words and cards by a fellow aca member. amethyst heart stone from fellow coda member, crystal from dear friend in my previous city up North. I am not alone on this journey.


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what’s your book cover

I’ve been having book covers and titles coming to me. What, if anything, I ever end up doing with them, it seems like part of my therapy to express them. What is your book cover?

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way of council

Last Wednesday, i began a series of about 10 weeks of therapy every week, alternating between group and individual sessions.

I feel very lucky; not many people get this experience here, without paying for it themselves.

So, I have moved out from my Mom’s place, replaced my car, and begun this intensive period of therapy. I am beyond broke, currently living off what little I’d saved for my training in Systemic Family Constellations, which also begins this month. ‘Hoping to sell my car and a couple of other random items in the next week or so.

My first therapy session in these series was a clearing with my regular therapist, using the technique of Way of Council, with the assistance of another therapist. Both are also trained in Heart Centred Hypnotherapy, and this was also part of the session.

These are the notes the Way of Council therapist made on the session, and I wanted to put an image to them, do something with them other than have them on a lined piece of scrap paper lying around.

Next week, I begin the group therapy, which is a Way of Council group, for patients of my therapist only.

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Surrender Manifesto

Denial

Denial (Photo credit: Gingertail)

Hi, my name is (_), and I’m in recovery from the denial, abandonment, fear, self-hatred and shame that I internalized from the emotional abuse and neglect I survived in my family of origin.

These aspects of family dysfunction are equally present and destructive, whether substance abuse or physical abuse was present or not.

They have taken from me the ability to initiate and cope with change in order to grow and thrive.

They have caused a complete paralysis in my life – an on-going internal crisis of identity, humiliation, dependency and the will to live.

I am in recovery from the False Self I created to survive my childhood — the Self that acts with such deeply rooted compulsiveness that my very survival has come to depend on it.

In this state, I have lost all hope, and continued the cycle of denial and emotional dishonesty that have led me here to this room.

I am in recovery to name the dysfunction that was normalized, and end the cycle; to find the will to live, to learn to initiate and embrace change and to learn this thing called self-loving behaviour.

I am bare, and vulnerable; separating from my False Self is like tearing the flesh from the bone. Without my false self, I feel annihilated; but this is no more painful than the isolation and failures I have endured.

The road of recovery and the road of continued dysfunction are equally menacing. I am humbled. I surrender to the annihilation, and the space it makes for the Inner Self to become un-frozen and resume its path of growing and serving.

I cannot say that my childhood was perfect, loving or uneventful and then act out with compulsive self-sabotage and paralysis in life. Sober, well-meaning parents of all races and classes can pass on the root of dysfunction, which is multi-generational. This kind of suffering cannot be un-founded or fabricated. The belief that I am making a big deal out of nothing has kept me in this dysfunction.

I come out of denial and put my feet on the ground as a survivor. When the wound is made real, I can know where to heal.


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what i want most dearly

attachment disorder

attachment disorder (Photo credit: drwhimsy)

When I get to the heart of what I wanted from my therapist, and from men in general because that’s what I’m projecting on to him; what I want is

to be held by him and for him to tell me, ‘I get you,’ and, ‘I’m gonna help you be okay. It’s gonna be okay, and I’m not going to leave you.’

It sounds like such a simple thing, but it’s not, for someone to get me like I think I need to be got. And it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a helpless ‘maiden in distress’ kind of place either. I just want someone to get me. Really get all of me. And promise not to leave. Like a healthy father figure would get me, and never leave me.

It’s been a day of rest and writing, and fending off a cold, and self care. The neighbour is away and has allowed me to use his space while he is gone, and I’ve appreciated that.No tv in the background, no Mom, wandering in and out, making conversation, just quiet, and space.

I feel like this burning desire in me to tell my therapist … tell him … something, I just can’t quite put it all into words … has somehow caused this cold. I took today to try and get to the bottom of it, get it out onto paper, or some tangible form that is out of my head so it can stop tearing around in me and making me ill.

I’m guessing a little that what I want to tell him is the part of me that doesn’t feel gotten. Doesn’t feel seen. I tell him all of my ‘symptoms’ or the things that bother me — the things I figure I’m there to heal; he reads them earnestly and patiently, but rarely says much to me about them, except for ‘Excellent’ the other day, on my writing about being codependent with women in authority positions. He always asks me if I want the print-outs of my writing, and then reassures me that he will ‘keep them here for me.’ The story in my mind is that he’s just kind of ‘doing the right thing’ by reading them, but nothing really connects for him. The story in my mind is that they make no difference to him. That he thinks I’m just whining or being dramatic. I wonder if he’s trying to emulate my father figure to bring out more of my emotions around this lack of attunement. If he is, it has definitely worked.

It sent me on this journey I have been on for the last 5 days — the painful disappointment, familiar feeling of abandonment that I have known so well in my life. I’m realizing that my tendency to over-attach to people and things is a big part of what creates my ‘symptoms’.

When I went to write earlier today, I ended up instead googling attachment disorder, since it has been so clear to me that what I have been going through is attachment related. I ended up on the website of Attachment Disorder Maryland.

On the page about Attachment Disorder, there is a description of an Attachment Bond:

  • Comfort and safety is sought within the relationship
  • Desire for physical proximity to the attachment figure.
  • Emotional distress in response to enforced separation.
  • The attachment figure is a specific other person and is NOT interchangeable.
  • Emotional significance as safety is established.
  • Persistence across time and situations.
  • Reciprocity and mutuality
  • Develop gradually over time and underlie self and object constancy.  Until constancy is achieved, the length of separations should be monitored so as not to overstretch the developing bond and tear it.

Part of the anxiety I have been feeling seems like it might be this ‘overstretching’ or ‘tearing’ of the developing bond. It feels like there are so many big and intense things happening in me, and there is a sense of panic that he is missing them, and that by the time I get to see him again, I won’t be able to remember them all, and I won’t be really feeling them any more so they are going to get burried again and go unseen. This anxiety is almost agonizing. It’s been distracting me like a heart-break does, giving me the feeling like something is wrong in my world, making me tired and lacking energy or enthusiasm to do things, and yes, today, making me sick. It’s like all these things are stirring around inside me, and they can only be seen by him, so they have nowhere to go. In session, I feel like holding back because I know that he’s going to go away and miss things again.

As I continued to explore the site, what I found has created quite a stir in me, and here I am finally writing, getting it all down, and it feels like things in me are flowing again. Something in me clicked when I read the pages on Developmental Trauma Disorder and Shame and Attachment. I had possibly never felt more deeply relieved to read myself on a page. Words were leaping off the screen that I have used to describe my experiences of isolation, dissociation and sabotage, and the seemingly endless cycle I have been on for most of my life in anything I try to do professionally. For me, these writings seem to encompass just about everything I have touched on and wondered about. I’ve been reading and highlighting them all day, and it has felt like shedding light on whatever it is in me that wanted to be worked out. Maybe it’s just the ‘being seen’ feeling I get from these writings. That there is someone who gets me, and people who feel the same way.

I’m still digesting all this, but I do feel a little bit better having finally written a post about it. Thanks for reading. Time to sleep.