I need to stop reaching 

Last week, I told A about something my Mom said when I was struggling, really struggling, over her vacation. When I reached out and mentioned the struggle and my Mom went off about how we all struggle and then shared her experiences and made it about her. 

And A said, that it may be time to consider how to stop myself from reaching in those vulnerable moments. How the expectation and the desire to have needs met, and sitting with not reaching, is painful – but how consistently reaching and not being met is more so. 

Last week I mentioned to my Mom that my husband and I were writing our will and she said she had to change theirs because “when your children are refusing to speak, there are things to consider” – essentially implying some change in conditions. Right now it’s 50/50, so I’m not sure what that change means. Funnily enough, I doubt I’m the beneficiary of anything extra. Not sure why it needs to change at all, in fact. 

And then yesterday I called her, because I try to call on the weekend, after a long two days with friends and being up until 2am working. Which, like, when will I fucking learn? I call her, she’s asleep on the back deck, talking about how she hasn’t been able to sleep due to the stress of my brother and I not talking and so she’s finally figured out the fountain helps her sleep. And then she starts eating chips into the phone, chewing loudly, going “this is for all the times you call me in traffic. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? That’s what it feels like”

And I was like “Cool, I go out of my way to call you during the week because you have always said you wanted me to. I can stop, since the only time I can do it that fits into your schedule is when I am walking to work.”

And she goes “calm down, I’m just joking.”

I have to learn that when I’m upset or tired or in need, that I can’t reach for my Mom.

I have to unlearn my natural instinct, and figure out how to not reach for her. Cause right now she sucks. 

I’m sure the instinct to write comments about her is super strong. I’m sure the instinct to defend me is strong too. Just be aware that she is still my mother, that I am full of grief, and I will feel the need to jump to her defence. Be mindful with your responses, please.  

Exhaustion 

I slept from 8pm to 7am last night. I finally feel a bit more human. 

Saw A, too. There were hugs and tears and the session was such a rollercoaster. I see her twice more before next Friday, so I am feeling more secure in having a supported ground to stand on.

I was both angry and happy to see her when I got there but quickly settled into defensive after she reassured me that she knew I was happy and grateful for the time she gave me while she was on vacation, but that that wasn’t what she was feeling from me in that moment. 

“It’s annoying when I’m mad and you refuse to fight back. I just want you to get defensive.”

I know you do. But I totally understand how you feel having dealt with things alone – that being said, I also am secure enough to know I do not have a reason to be sorry. I also know you know that.” 

“I just want to fight.” 

I know. I can tell. That’s how you always got heard. But I am here, and listening, without a fight. I am going to sit here and love you through this, as always. How corrective would it be if I fought back or got defensive?” 

“Sometimes it makes me mad you’re so good at your job.” 

Then we went on to talk about what lives under the anger – the loneliness and sadness and grief. I can finally describe grief to her, and we talked about that. I kept telling her how much everything hurts. And she asked me to sit with it, in it, with her, to let her see it. 

I kept resisting her and saying all it does is remind me that nobody loved me for a very long time. 

“I don’t ask you to share with me and sit with me in this because I am trying to be mean or manipulative. I know it hurts. But the repair work is done by me being attuned to you in these moments and I need you to know I’m here. It hurts less and less over time. Each time we talk and I’m really here for you, it heals a bit more and become less painful next time.” 

I nodded. I know she’s right. I started to cry again (that’s something like 6 sessions in a row). And she asked me to look at her, and be present, and I did and I am crying, which I never used to let her see.

“You are so strong, PD.” 

“I dont feel strong.” 

“Carrying around all this pain requires strength. Staring it in the face is a superpower.” 

We were talking about it and I was crying and started to look away and she was like:

Nope, come back okay? I want to hold us here a bit longer. I know, I know. Its so important. This connection, this work we are doing around feelings and trust, it’s so important.” 

So that was basically session. It reminded me of what I wrote a few posts ago: 

Showing up is painful. Going to session right now hurts – because the healing lives where the hurt is. And there is only so much A can do about that, and she already does what she can. She already keeps me as balanced as possible while moving me through this as quickly as possible. She already knows a lot of what she does or says – loving me, being empathetic, asking me to stay with feelings and describe emotion – she knows that hurts. She knows what she is asking. She knows when to pull back and let me resource, help me resource. And she knows when to push.

I have friends from home coming this weekend and they want to see me every spare moment I have available, which is not something I want. They don’t know whats been going on for me despite having been my maid of honor, and I don’t want to share. So I am just going to be completely depleted this weekend. Sigh. 

I can’t wait until Tuesday. 

Safety – Without You

It’s been eight months.

I honestly wondered if this would be a letter of reconciliation. I have been feeling the need to write to you and I told myself I would sit down and let whatever come out, come out.

I miss the idea of you sometimes.

But I don’t like you, and I don’t want you in my life, and I don’t want to be your friend. And I’m so tired of getting painted as the bad guy for it. I’m tired of being wrong for wanting to protect myself from you.

That is what it is. It’s what I’m looking for. Protection. I can’t feel safe – it didn’t hit me until you were out of my life, that safety is what I’ve been looking for this whole time. Safety is what I’ve been pursuing with lying, with forming incredibly close and inappropriate bonds, with falling in “love”. It’s been all in search of safety I should have had at home, and safety I didn’t have there. And I don’t know if I will ever feel safe.

And that’s because of you. I won’t say that its your fault, because you are a product of your environment as much as I am. But you are the reason that I don’t feel safe, and can’t feel safe. My family is the reason I can’t feel safe.

My one therapist told me today to build a boundary, out of blankets. One I could see and one I could sit in and one I could feel against my body. I haven’t done it, because at the end of the day I still don’t see how I can deserve a boundary.

I am boundaryless.

And until I learn how to build those boundaries, to trust them, to trust they will stay, and hold. Until I learn how to do this all for myself, I can’t let you back in. You may be changing, and you may be playing the victim or painted as one, but I can’t do it.

I’m not saying forever.

But I’m saying I don’t want an olive branch. I don’t want you in my life, and I don’t want to reach out to you.

Being away from you is saving me.

It’s brought up SO much that I had forgotten and so much I want to forget. I have found memories I long ago buried. And I am not going to be able to do this work with you in my life, and I deserve better than that. I deserve better than you.

This article says it better than I will ever be able to (and less anonymously than I will ever be able to).

It was the worst kind of toxicity — the kind that demanded my silence so that others could feign normalcy, when there was nothing normal about that relationship.

There has not been normal in our relationship for a long time. I am getting anxiety attacks thinking about you invading my space. I need an entire state to feel safe from you.

You’ve managed to convince everyone that this is because of my wedding. I’ve wasted my breath more than once trying to get them to see that our estrangement, my choice, was an act of self-preservation. It did not result from that one conflict, that one issue, that one moment in our relationship. My choice was not made lightly.

It was made after years of being abused by you. The insidious kind.

And if I and my ‘stories’ are to be treated with indifference whether or not you are in my life, I’ll choose having you not there. If my words are going to be overlooked and ignored, if my needs are going to be disregarded regardless – I’m okay with it being this way.

I finally like myself. I’m proud of myself. I’m working on this. I feel like I can breathe. I can answer my phone. I can walk around without looking for you or feeling like I’m stepping on eggshells.

None of that happened while you were in my life.

I love you, I do. I think I always will. And I don’t wish you ill. I’m stronger because of our relationship and I still don’t think that this is your fault. But it doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t make YOU right.

In the words of my current ray of light, Ke$ha:

I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying.
I hope your soul is changing, changing.
I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees.
Praying. 

Love,

Your Sister

… instead of mourning the family persona that never fit my reality, I’ve chosen to create room for a better one that does — where friends, colleagues and partners fill my life with the kind of love that helps me to be a better, happier person…

Talking

Talking about A yesterday with a good friend really helped me reconnect with the idea of her existing. I had been feeling abandoned, and on top of that I’ve been feeling like I cannot take up the space I’m entitled to. I haven’t been able to believe my affirmations. I feel weakest when I do not feel like I am entitled to my feelings and thoughts or the space they occupy. 

A’s care and love for me doesn’t stay when she’s gone – I have issues remembering it exists. I was okay the first two weeks because we talked twice, which felt normal, even though it was over the phone. I am not coping as well this time.  

I miss her, and the connection, and it makes me afraid and I stuff it down because being angry feels easier than feeling abandoned does. Feeling angry feels easier than feeling sad and lonely. 

I’m feeling a bit better today. Now it’s a normal amount of days until I see her – 5 more sleeps. I cleaned up today. Listened to a shit ton of motivational videos and made an “I can fucking do this” playlist. I shredded two of the three credit cards I have (the two my husband doesn’t know about) so I can’t use them anymore. I got my budget out and am making a plan. 

I’m still feeling fragile, and I napped this afternoon. But talking about missing A helped, and reaching out to good friends helped, and sitting in the bathtub helped. I’m going to get myself back into routine this week which should also help. 

It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. 

Angrrryyyyy

I hate that you’re gone. And I hate that there are six more days until you’re back. And on top of all of that, I hate that I need you right now and I can’t interpret that care I KNOW you have for me. I hate that I’m the stereotypical angry client whose therapist has been gone for too fucking long. 

I am so determined to not talk to you. I am going to print out these posts, and be silent, and get you to read them. You prefer when I talk, well, I talk when you’re here. I don’t talk when you forget about me and go away for so long. Your vacations are stupid.

Talked to my mom this morning. We talked about how emotions were never welcome in her relationship with Grandma and man did that conversation prove so much. 

But I don’t want to talk about that with you. Mom is off limits with you. You just make it worse.

I am drinking quite a bit to cope with this depressive episode and these emotions, and I’m so done caring. I’d cancel with you if some part of me didn’t desperately and pathetically need the connection. 

I’m angry that you left me again.

I’m just some super awesome and fun experiment for you, aren’t I. 

I’m Ready To Call This What It Is

I’m ready to address this as a depressive episode. It’s been a while since my last full blown, can’t get out of bed, can’t function, considering quitting everything and becoming a hermit, cancelling plans on people, not eating and not having the energy to do anything, everything makes me cry episode.

But I’m here. Triggered by my last interactions with my Mom and family (although she came through for me today a bit) and by A’s absence, this one has been a doozy. Couldn’t stop crying at work yesterday. Took the day off today, but don’t feel rested (mostly cause I had to trek to the clinic and then for an x-ray because they think a bone in my foot might be broken). 

I have two goals. Don’t harm myself and perform basic life tasks (shower, go to work, eat, sleep). That’s it. Everything else is on hold so I can ride this out and be sad.

Can’t help but think of how far I’ve come, though. From picking fights and losing my job and throwing things at my husband and lying constantly to being able to identify what’s up and try to fix it. 

I need the weekend. And it’s only Wednesday. And I’ve only worked one day this week. People are exhausting right now. The effort is exhausting.