Haywire 

Well.

This week suck(s)ed. 

I’m exhausted. I say that a lot. I say that too much. Something has to change. 

Balancing work + outside of work work + therapy + my friendships + my relationship and deprioritizing sleep = not sustainable. 

I see A again this morning. 

After Monday, the emotions became quite unbearable with nobody really to hold them and I didn’t quite realize the lack of ability I had to deal with them so it shut off. It was like a switch. Click (or whatever noise you make to turn off a switch).

Then yesterday everything came to this explosion when Dave called me into a room with another manager, I totally misread everything and starting crying and levelling accusations of being ganged up on, which did not make things better, and then when he said (rather gently) “I know that this is about things that are not happening here right now, and this conversation is bad timing” I got so angry that he was insinuating that I was letting outside emotions in (um, I definitely was, I was crying before he was done saying what the meeting was about) that I got angry. 

Very professional.

Afterwards, once we had talked it out, he told me that I am lucky I work somewhere and with someone who understands those things because had it been anyone else exploding on him he wouldn’t have been so calm about it. 

I’m still pissed though. Although I can’t place it.

My husband isn’t leaving, he’s given me 6 months to figure this out and if there is no solid improvement in how I manage money, then he’s gone. 

And I’m back to feeling like a robot again this morning. Matter of fact, emotionally stable. 

It’s like really sinking in to these feelings Tuesday set my whole system haywire. 

Advertisements

Scraping Out The Insides 

I slept 8 hours but now don’t want to move. I need to, in order to get to work. 

You know when you carve a pumpkin, and you scrape out all the pumpkins insides, leaving the shell? Yea. I feel like someone has gone in and scraped out all the walls of my chest, although it’s not painful, it’s weighty, and there are tears. I forget about the aftermath of an emotional deep dive. 

But there’s a lightness there too, and that can only grow the more we do this. 

————-

I am sitting on the work toilet crying. In hindsight, diving that deep knowing my husband wouldn’t be willing or able to support me right now was dumb. And every single act of kindness from a friend I work with exarcebates the pain because I am not alone now – but I was alone then. And the feelings are just surfacing today.

They aren’t all from this time, or place. They are not today feelings. But I they are mine, and they are long unexpressed. Combine that with what’s going on at the house and the fact that my husband left my fifteen dollars worth of soup on the stove last night and I’m basically just an emotional nut.

I may leave the house this weekend to give us both some space – or I may just stay. I just have to remind myself a lot of what I feel right now is a result of us trying to increase my emotional tolerance and to look at the past together – it’s not a reflection of the now. 

A little raw

Coming home after a session like that, where I am hyper emotive and everything around me seems to be affecting me – it was hard to come home to a tense house. 

I’m very aware that my husband has every right to his anger and also very aware that I’m doing a pretty good job managing my own desire to be clingy – but I find myself needing space and things I need and his presence well, making that difficult.

I’m sober though, which is a big post therapy victory, but I’m also sore, my chest actually aches, as though I have flexed a muscle I have never worked before. 

Sleep is the best option now.

When I brought up the money thing with A today, she mentioned how it looked as though shame was taking me over, how distraught I looked. And I said I was worried she was going to tell me I couldn’t come anymore or whatnot. 

And she said “PD I see you as a competent adult, and I endeavour to never, ever, treat you as anything differently. How you do or do not spend your money is a decision you make. I think you are used to people being decision makers for you and anticipating getting in trouble here. There is no trouble.” 

Which was nice because I was really worried. 

She also helped me figure out my calm (ish, less calm tonight) reaction to my husband’s anger. It’s partially about my insecure attachment I think. Pretending I don’t care if he leaves, but if he actually did I would very much care. That made sense to me.

We both wonder what else is at play though, why I’m holding back, and also I have another hypothesis I’m not ready to share yet.

Anyways, off to bed. I’m sleeping for at least 8 hours tonight. 

Wisdom

Can we take a second and talk about how brave you are? How you have an incredibly wise woman inside of you who is here, and doing this, and facing everything? 

I went in today and updated her on the fight and the money situation and then we talked about the shadow ball of feelings. I told her I was all in today, that I wanted to look at that massive amount of unexpressed anger. 

And we did. 

And it was brutal from a working through it perspective. It felt like a vice had a grip on my chest, I couldn’t breathe, and it was so big and so much and I was remembering sitting on my floor as a child writing FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK over and over again in my journal, and really letting the feelings of abandonment sink in.

And A was there, and encouraging me, and every time I went a little too far away or I got distracted she gently redirected, reminding me I had a choice to be present or a choice to be gone but just to be aware of what I was doing and where I was. 

And then the grief. Underneath the anger was this mountainous range of grief. It was like coming out from the fog and just seeing endless moving oozing grief. Grief of never being heard, grief of never being held, or seen. 

That was then, but let’s talk about now. Be rooted in now. I see you. You are seeing you. We are giving that part of you what she needed from before. 

I want THEM to give it to me!” I whisper shout.

And if I thought that we could get that, I would let you go down that road. But you have to give it to you and I am here – I am not going to leave you. Just breathe. Can we talk about how brave you’re being? How you are here, being in the muck. Letting me witness it? Not running. This is the work. There’s no way out but through, and you’re safe.

I took a detour at this point, numbing out for a few minutes, and she invited me back. 

“It’s hard. It hurts. I’ve spent forever running from these feelings and sitting still and letting them descend… it’s so painful. I’m shaking” I hold up a hand to demonstrate. 

She gets the blanket. 

“But I told myself I would show up today.” 

I can tell. You’re so wise. You have this wise part of you that won’t let you down.

We breathe. I breathe. Tears have been streaming down my face. The rock is still there. I am looking inward and all of a sudden hear from inside me “it’s okay – I’ve got you. I’ve got this, I’ve got us, you’re okay.” 

We round back around. I ground myself without prompting (something that a year ago would have been impossible). I’m proud of myself. 

We schedule my next session for two weeks. I tell her I want to keep diving, but I know I need room to breathe between dives of this nature into the grief filled underbelly of my emotions. They’re draining and so difficult. 

See, there’s that wisdom again.” 

I love her. And although I am so exhausted right now, I’m so glad I have this. I’m so glad I’m doing this even if I find taking every breath through grief and anger laden tears hard. Because I visualize myself picking up the toddler, and guiding the teen and reminding her she’s not alone, and moving them out of the dark dank cave and into the house we are building out of love and trust. Even though it’s scary, even though we shed tears at the goodbye. We are moving on together. 

This emotion needs to be seen and loved and held and ultimately, let go. 

I am so grateful for the wisdom that brought me to A, and the force that keeps me going. 

And she said my most favorite thing:

It is an honor being on this journey with you. Thank you, PD. 

Strangely Calm

Yesterday, when confronted with “wanting to see my financial situation”, I confessed all of my debt (okay, not all, because apparently I still need to keep some of it secret because I never learn) to my husband and man is he ever the quiet angry – the calm sort of livid that is more terrifying than if he had up and yelled at me. 

So he has told me he needs time to think about what he is going to do, how he is going to protect himself from my financial fuckery, and he said if that means divorce so his money doesn’t get sucked into my debt then that means divorce (which, irony, cause he would owe me payments/settlements). But the weird thing is is I’m so fucking calm. It’s almost like I’m like totally fine with this, like I expected it all along and so it’s not like it’s something I haven’t been expecting. And then I wonder, have I been self sabotaging so that he does leave me? Has all of the ups and downs of this relationship, all the issues I’ve caused, been because at the end of the day I am trying to force him into this pattern and he just refuses to go there? And he might now, which fits with the “unloveable, I’m the worst” theme I’ve loved to live by. 

There are signs that he doesn’t want a divorce, mainly we slept in the same bed last night and also that he stayed up helping me make a spreadsheet of all my expenses. Most of which are A – but arguably worth it. Typically that confession I made would be a meltdown followed by him caring for me. But no meltdown. Just calm. And not the numb calm, just like a “well, we knew this would happen.”

Anyways getting up this morning was hard. But I also felt that twinge of satisfaction from that teen part of me being like “HA – now I don’t have to talk to A about my feelings”. And I was like – to hell you don’t. 

So my husband is contemplating divorcing me and I am calm and a part of me is happy. 

We had a fight Sunday night and I said something I regret though, we were yelling and I went “I gave up everything for you!” And he was like “is that how you feel, that you gave up your life and family for me? That I’m such a drain on your life?” 

So that was a brilliant move on my part. 

Anyways we will see how session goes today. Who knows?

The Oprah Of Coping Mechanisms

So I’ve learned a few things in this last week while A is away on her silent retreat. 

1. I really want to lean in more to the hard part of therapy, where we talk about and investigate my feelings around what I’ve realized are really my triggers – which are…

2. Feeling ignored, dismissed, left behind, trapped, not included and to a lesser extent, spoken for. Aloneness with an inability to trust myself. 

3. When #2 happens I withdraw, drink, and want to lie to get attention that soothes. And I get angry, I get REALLY angry, and that anger is still stuffed away inside. And it comes out against my friends, husband, and coworkers when it overflows. This whole process can take a week or two, and it drains me. I get very, very tired and deflated. Especially if I don’t catch it, and especially if it originates from my FOO (family of origin).

4. To mitigate this with the FOO,  I am not sharing my feelings anymore and being really conscious about communications I have with them, how we speak to each other and what I share. There is grief there in giving up on that dream but when Shawn, Trey, Adam, and Dave all this week at work were like “why are you still giving them the chance to hurt you like this?” I was like, alright then. It is time.  

5. Those feelings still get triggered in everyday life whether it’s purposeful or not. From small things, like not feeling heard by my husband, feeling like I’m being ‘put up with’ by men in the office – the equivalent of a verbal ‘pat on the head’ – to large things like actually being pushed aside, being spoken for, or thinking about death (which I’ve FINALLY connected the dots to this incredible fear of being alone and not trusting my own self). 

6. All three parts of me react in very distinct ways. The adult drinks her face off, procrastinates (cause it’s “not like I’m good enough anyways”), spends irresponsibly, and if the rejection is related to body image starts being crazy about losing weight. The teenager, Sophie, gets mother fucking angry. Either at the adult for being dumb and doing something deemed ‘risky’ – by putting us at risk of rejection, or at the person who dismissed us. I have dreams where I’m smashing things, will spend the week having moments where, for example, I’m at my desk holding a coffee and get this sudden urge to throw it against a wall and watch the mug smash (for no reason), and get annoyed really easily. And the child wants the love she feels deprived of – the rejection has deprived her even more and reminds her of this wound that exists. So she will withdraw from close friends in the hope of drawing out their worry and if nobody seems to care, she will concoct stories and lies in order to get attention. 

7. All of them ^ need coping mechanisms, because we are going to feel this way, and as we explore the shadow monster of feelings living inside us (Stranger Things reference that feels incredibly appropriate), these urges are going to come up, and for the rest of our life even when we are on the other side of these feelings – I am going to have to deal with this. Understanding is power, yes, but they still need their own thing. Which is what I am doing now – being the Oprah of coping mechanisms (healthy-ish ones).

You get a coping mechanism, you get a coping mechanism, you all get a coping mechanism! 
This feels really important and while I have had some ideas the teen needed this for a while, the others were harder to figure out. 

For the teen, I am going to join an MMA gym where I can kick and punch and smash and channel my anger to my heart’s desire which also provides a benefit of feeling stronger, safer, and more confident. 

For the adult, I’m going to have Thursdays be girls night followed by no work at home. Doing what I want when I want. Also making sure all the time I am getting sleep, not overloading my schedule, and doing some stretching before bed to wind down. Knowing what feels safe. Baths, journaling, etc.

The kid is harder because she often wants things on a whim. But settling in to watch a Disney movie under my weighted blanket, buying juice boxes and popcorn so I can make it a movie night with stuffies, colouring and drawing and doing puzzles. Trying to mother her from within and asking for help when I need it. 

The key is going to be figuring out who needs what, when, and who takes priority when they all have needs. I also think I need something else for the teen – and that may be realizing it’s safe to let that anger out in my sessions, with A. Letting her see the hurt and anger that part of me carries and working on being loved and letting that in. I am holding on to a lot of anger, and it comes out when I feel threatened, but it doesn’t come out constructively and I usually end up swallowing it. I think too, as DV pointed out, my reluctance may be a result of being afraid to echo my brother – of seeing how the anger he unleashed on my mother affected her, and me, and everything – and that translating into a fear of getting angry around A and having her leave me. 

Because at the bottom of this all is the fear of being left alone and having nobody  – and the irony of that doesn’t escape me as I’ve spent a lot of time alone with these emotions, refusing to share then with people around me, or if I am sharing them, not sharing them honestly because I don’t trust that I won’t be alone. 

I’d be lying if I said the prospect of looking at these emotions (feeling them) didn’t scare me. It does. It especially does with a financial situation so precarious. But I am in this to heal as much as I can, and I trust it’s possible. 

It’s Dismissal

When I think back over the meltdowns or episodes I have had as an adult, the last five years, living where there is no danger… I realize they all have one thing in common. Having myself, my feelings, or my ideas brushed aside, left behind, or dismissed. 

I was really curious after this weekend. My parents don’t seem upset by our conversation yet a conversation like that can derail me for multiple days, if not weeks. 

And I think it’s because A and I have spent so much time peeling back layers, that now this open, raw centre is there. The adult in me reacts fine to this dismissal, expects it even. 

But the teen? Sophie has been in my dreams, and sometimes in my waking moments. I visualize, repeatedly, throwing mugs against the wall, smashing things, outwardly expressing this rage I carry. 

And the younger part of me is just hurt. When I experience this rejection… it just all falls apart. And three things happen.

1. I withdraw from everyone and everything important to me. I don’t talk as much, I focus more.

2. I drink 

3. Everything feels distant and floaty for days. 

I see A next Tuesday and I want to share with her two things that this most recent engagement with my parents has made me realize. 

First, I’m done sharing my feelings with them. This hurts and is hard but it’s so much better than being hurt. 

Second, and I can’t believe I will say this, I want to look at this wound. This hurt, that causes me to recoil, withdraw, retreat, and lash out at the first sign of dismissal, rejection, or abandonment. 

Because I am ready to face it, move through it, and grow beyond it.