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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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TV psychotherapist Benjamin Fry: new treatment for trauma

I might be able to relate to this article. Just a little.

TV psychotherapist Benjamin Fry was devastated by depression. Then he discovered a radical new treatment | Mail Online.


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Recognizing Complex Trauma | Psychology Today

Recognizing Complex Trauma | Psychology Today.

It is essential for them to understand that their symptoms come from somewhere, so they can have compassion for themselves …

Developmental Trauma Disorder, Frozen Trauma, Complex Trauma, Attachment Disorder — whatever it’s called, it’s been a long time coming for the weight and the cost of repeated childhood trauma to be given its proper weight.


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rainbows in the sky

English: Felt Polski: Filc Magyar: Nemez

English: Felt Polski: Filc Magyar: Nemez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My higher power orchestrated quite the “do-over” at a folk festival here this last weekend.

It was one of the most successful big crowd / high stimuli weekends in my life; and, it was also momentous and ground-breaking in the people from my past who showed up, and my interactions with them.

First of all, I have to acknowledge that I haven’t done so much socializing in 3 days in a very very long time. I don’t know what came over me. By the end of the 2nd of 3 days, my voice was hoarse from talking with so many friends. I felt so wonderfully at ease with whomever was standing in front of me, and that is something that has never happened to me. Throughout the weekend, I never felt estranged, isolated or humiliated, like I have so many times in the past; and I enjoyed having several different friends and groups to land with. Whenever I came to sit and take in a concert, there was always someone I knew to go and sit with. Walking the grounds, there were lots of smiles and hellos and chance meetings along the way.

This might sound normal to many people, but for me, it has not been. I can often end up feeling like the odd one out, and that everyone I know is witnessing me standing there like a square peg in a round hole, perhaps pitying me, perhaps avoiding me especially, perhaps both. It’s like in the movies, when the sound fades out, and all the surroundings go blurry, and suddenly, the whole world is definitely and extremely separate from me. The feeling that I have to hide what I am feeling — the pressure, the shame, the silent panic — is suffocating and horrible. The only thing I can do is disappear, leave immediately. I’ve had horrible times trying to stick it out, filled with awkwardly forced conversations. And so, this weekend was not another one of these experiences, though I was very worried it could be.

The headliner was an artist I had listened to at the time I was abused as a young girl. I had cried myself to sleep each night listening to this woman’s sad, beautiful iconic voice, and here she was, in my back yard. Also in my back yard, having returned to live here, is the teacher who abused me. (Full story here, and follow-up here) I had heard that he was returning, meanwhile continuing to process deeply and remember more of the feelings of what happened. New information has also been coming in, from various folks I run into — people I didn’t know when I was here, but who were involved with the school when my letter was written. I now know that there were two letters written: Mine, in 2005, and another one in 2008. It was the latter that had gotten (I’ll refer to him here as) ‘P’ to resign in the face of defacing dismissal / termination; not my letter.

There are supporters and non-supporters of ‘P’ here. As I have said before, I do not consider him to be a dangerous or evil man. Emotionally needy and unprofessional to a tragic and life-altering fault, and should not be teaching children (which he is currently not); but not in the same category of perverts, pedafiles, and molesters.

And so, on Friday afternoon at the festival, I was walking the main passage way to find my chair in the back row of the main stage area when I spotted him. I stood a few feet away from him, which also happened to be at my chair, having no intention of interacting with him; then spotted a friend and moved my chair to her immediately, not looking up, not looking around, keeping my head down, feeling relatively calm and grounded, but relieved to find a recovery friend I could tell.

But this was not high drama. Remarkably, I actually felt relatively calm and grounded. I think this is where my higher power was there to shelter me, and give me this strength of genuine connection with others. Having so many people I knew there, and feeling so comfortable around them kept me in a place of strength and empowerment, rather than the feeling of smallness and shame that goes with the dissociation and the disappearing act described above. It was fine that he was there; just because he was there did not mean that I would have to interact with him. I felt totally safe and supported to interact or not interact as much as felt right to me, and for the most part, it felt right not to interact at all.

At the same time, there was the question in me of how I would handle coming face to face with P — what I would say or not say, how to respect my own inner boundaries with grace and in a way that wasn’t going to gnaw at my psyche for days afterwards. I was a little bit nervous, and I didn’t know what I was going to do; but in the mean time, I didn’t let it distract me or stop me from enjoying the festival and friends.

The next morning, I came back earlier than I would have normally, for a workshop on vocal harmonies with one of my favourite bands. The room was packed. I scanned it for people I knew, and found a colleague I sing in the same choir with. We sat on a counter at the very back of the room. The energy in the room and between us was light and playful and joyous; the room was large and bright, the sun was shining, gearing itself up for another hot summer day on this beautiful farm, and a delicious breeze wafted through two sets of french doors on either side of the space.

The workshop started, but the people in the back couldn’t hear anything, so we were invited to move up and sit on the floor at the front. I decided to move. As I came around the counter at the back and headed down the isle between seats, someone grabbed my hand and held on to stop me from continuing forward. I turned around, and there he was, smiling, expecting a friendly and jovial greeting; expecting me to be happy to see him, as I would have been even a few years ago. I’m not sure what has changed in me, but I knew that I could not continue that warmth with him while honouring myself here.

In grade school with P, we sang for a hour at the start of each day, sitting on the floor in a circle; we sang around the camp fire on class camping trips, and always, I would sing the harmonies. It was my thing, and he told me how much he appreciated my talent. And now, after all these years, I have been singing again, doing my harmonies around fires and in my choir. And so here I was at this harmony workshop, and here we met.

A smile lingered on my face. I was glowing with the spirit of the weekend and the place, dressed to the hilt in summer folk fest fashion — halter top, bold shell necklace, flowy, hip-hugging pants. More radiant and sensual than I have dressed in years. Aglow. And here, in this moment, was our meeting.

I felt that the smile and a brief moment of acknowledgement were all I could give him, and so, I let the moment linger for as long as I could; and then, without a word, I let go of his hand, turned and walked away to go and sit on the floor in the front and sing.

This was the moment that should have happened so many years ago. If, instead of engaging in a secret together, we had connected in a healthy student-teacher way, and I had run off to play with my classmates …

Did anyone see us, holding hands and smiling strangely at each other, in the middle of the jam-packed room of people all shuffling to move to the front. Was the weight of this fleeting moment, and its richness, visible at all, or hidden from all others, just like it had been all along. Yes, I couldn’t linger here any longer. Time to connect “above board” with a quick hello, a nod to the past, and then move on.

I then found myself once again, not alone, sitting there on the floor, for the rest of the workshop, with a friend at my back and by my side. The friend at my side looked at me with tears in her eyes, and said, in the middle of her own process with her marriage, “I’m caught up in the emotions; I’m overwhelmed.” A tear rolled down her cheek, and I replied, “And here you are, showing up in this moment, in whatever state you are in. And you are safe.” I put my hand on her knee, and we stayed that way for a few minutes, and she let her tears fall. And there I was, feeling like a rock, aglow, in the midst of the fire, dancing.

I didn’t tell anyone what had happened that morning for the rest of the festival; I didn’t feel the need. It happened and I flowed out of it with little notice.

That night was the artist I mentioned above, from the time of the abuse. I noticed P sitting a few rows over, slightly in front of me. And there we were again, listening to this artist, singing the songs from my childhood, even some children’s fairytale songs. I came and went with ease, allowing myself to be seen. He knew I was there, and I knew he was there, and it didn’t matter. Our secret had ended, and this was the first time it showed. We did not engage in it. We let it go.

I could feel my higher self there, watching with wonder and awe; not oblivious in any way to the beacons of our past and the synergy that was present in what was happening.

Residual feelings are there, yes. The memory of how much it hurt when I missed the opportunity to connect with him, be around him, be in our secret place together. It was like oxygen to that young girl, and when it was gone, it felt like dying. I remember. Also is the codependent concern that I have hurt his feelings by avoiding him, changing my stance towards him so drastically and without warning. I want to protect him from that hurt. And that is the old pattern, working its way out of my system. I remember. I feel it. I feel the sadness and the burden of it.

Glory be.

In Love and Healing.


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Trigger #2millionfourtytwo.five:

How am I:

I’m either in crisis, incredibly scared and shaky and just barely staying out of the hospital right now OR I’m doing more wonderful than I’ve ever been. Coming to bloom in the garden of life. Experiencing enlightenment. A bright shining light of inspiration and wisdom. Enjoying summer and friends and my happy new home.

On Friday, I began the day by reaching out for help in the face of having been distracted by increasing thoughts of how to kill myself, feeling hopeless, that no one was ever going to get me. Coming up with a plan for how to stay alive over the weekend, alone in the house with my roommate gone. It was an accomplishment that this was taken seriously and I received the caring I needed in order to have a re-do.

That the doc was not treating me less seriously than the ones who act out instead of hold it all in. That I need to feel the depth of these feelings in someone else’s presence, and how hard that is. Finally, I felt got!

I went for a walk with a friend that afternoon, mentioned nothing to her of my morning or what was going on. Took her lead instead to speak about writing and indulge ourselves in simple time together in the sun by the river, feeling peaceful and content and having good conversation about creativity and healing. Feeding the creative muses in both of us.

I got home, thawed out some home-made chili from the freezer, ate it, and went to my ACA meeting.

As soon as I walked in the door, I was struck by the feeling of not knowing how I was – was I in crisis, or was I enjoying the fruits of my labour in life? I honestly did not know.

This confusion was (is) so terrifying for me that I went into shock. I felt the Dead Feeling in my body and face, barely able to rouse a facial expression, sitting slumped in my chair, unable to look at anyone. Managing to read aloud my part in the opening to the meeting, managing to function just barely enough to not disrupt the meeting or draw attention to myself, and meanwhile sliding further into shock and the Silent Panic.

By the end of the meeting, it was so intense that I reached out for help, and concluded with a close recovery friend that I should not spend the night alone, and should go to the hospital if I couldn’t get a hold of anyone else to stay with.

The recovery friend went back into the meeting room for the second part of the meeting, and I moved to my car with my cell phone to find a place to go that night. I finally cried and shook when she hugged me good night. I was really scared and not in control of myself – not myself, and feeling exposed in that state, unable to think clearly and make decisions.

I couldn’t get a hold of anyone on the phone, so I decided to show up at someone’s house. But it was near the hospital too, so maybe I should just go there. I turned around several times, driving back and forth between the person’s house and the hospital, eventually up to the hospital. But then I realized I was almost out of smokes, and didn’t want to spend the night in the emerg room without smokes. So I went home and continued my phone search. By this time, my abdomen was in pain, enough for me to be slightly doubled over and moving quite slowly. I equate this with emotional stress, as that is where it tends to be stored in my body. I spoke with a couple other recovery friends, telling them what was happening. But they were unable to put me up for the night. I had never reached out in this way before.

Finally found someone who could. As soon as I left the house, on my way to be with someone in my time of need, I felt calmer, and began to come out of the shock and panic.

By the next morning, I felt like myself again. I invited some people for a potluck, made soup, and went for a hike and a swim with the same friend as the previous day.

This friend had no idea that my visits with her had been sandwiched between near admission to the hospital.

Is this real yet? What will it take for my Child to believe that her pain is real, her feelings are real, her distress is valid. What has been happening to me?

Does this not sound insane?

It scares me that I have this range, and the capacity for such extremes.

 


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Trigger #2millionfourtytwo.four

Your leg’s not missing; you just need to think more positively.

OR

Of course your leg is missing; everyone’s leg is missing, so buck up and suck it up, also like everyone else.

“I’m broken Dale” — that’s not a cry for pitty and love; it’s one of confusion.

It’s like having had a missing limb, and people continually telling you that it wasn’t missing. To a degree that created permanent confusion.

I’m constantly wanting to prove to you how broken I am, so that I can change my confusion around whether or not it is real. So you can say, “Yes! I see that!” Oh, what glorious words to me.

It’s soothing when circumstance brings the brokenness to show without my control, and in a way that is undeniable to others, in a way that confirms the missing limb, without any doubt or questioning.

There was a moment in our last session. I was telling you about the two ways I presented myself at the party, and when I spoke about the presentation of a successful career woman, you were saying that it’s not confusion, because I know that that presentation is not true – that I am not a successful career woman. You said that, looked at me, and added, “Right?”

I actually felt an enormous amount of relief when you said that. I was relieved that you weren’t saying “Yes you are; you will recover to being that. You will eventually be success that way. You are too talented not to eventually find your way back there. Don’t start selling yourself short in the world. Don’t underestimate yourself.”

I felt that you were admitting that aiming to be that may not be realistic with my injuries in this moment, but that I may get there in a much more unique and authentic way.

When I make the wound real, I can find the healthy loving response; if it’s not real, I can’t respond, and then that part of me is abandoned again. That part of me has had a lifetime of abandonment.