Tag Archives: anger

How do you break the cycle?

A friend posed a really good question today: how do you actually break the cycle of [abuse/anger/self-harm/ insert whatever cycle applies]?

I didn’t have an answer for her.

I know my brother and I have both broken the cycle in our family, but I have no insight into how we did it. I know I have a deep-seated fear of becoming my father in any way, shape, or form. I think my brother also has that fear, tough I’m not sure.. since we never talk about that kind of stuff… but… how did that enable us to step back from the abuse?

I know I’ve had bouts with rage. They weren’t anything close to what my dad would display, but they were close enough to have me feeling like shit about myself.

So what helped after moments like that? I have no idea. Other than being scared of myself turning into G, I really don’t know what I did that allows me to control my rage…

I used to self harm, in a number of ways. I no longer use that outlet, but again, I have no real clue what changed. Yes, there is a huge fear of being hospitalized again, but there has to be more to it than that… right?

What is it that enables some of us to change patterns, while others are still mired in them? What’s the push that moves some of us out of the only patterns we’ve ever know, but keeps others stuck?

I don’t think it’s a personality thing, because that would mean only some people can ever change. I believe everyone can change, so that can’t be it.

Is it better insight? Not totally sure, because my friend is pretty insightful (I’d say more so than I am), so it’s not just that.

…but what actually is it?

I’ve been told that changing old patterns takes time. A therapist once told me in response to being frustrated at my slow rate of change; “you’ve spent 20-something years using that skill. What makes you think you can change that in a few short months?”

She had a point.

I had practiced my poor coping skills for more than half my life. It would take at least a few years to perfect not cutting…

But is time and fear the only thing that helped me change? We didn’t focus on alternates in therapy; we just addressed the trauma (repressed or otherwise). Was that the key?

So what happens if there isn’t trauma hiding behind the anger, or the trauma was addressed, but the anger remains? How do you resolve it?

Long-term effects of growing up around violence

…Well, one long term effect. For me.

I worry about and see anger in everyone. I want to appease it, and apologize for it, even if it has nothing to do with me.

Perceived anger frightens me.

Someone was trying to get in the front door of our complex, but it’s locked. They walked back around. I’m assuming they grabbed a key, then tried again. They looked frustrated when it didn’t work.

I started to become scared. I wanted to both hide, and walk over to see if I could help in any way.

It had nothing to do with me, but I reacted as if I needed to fix it because they were mad at me specifically (I’m not even sure the woman knows anyone is home in my apartment)…

My heart is still racing. I’m still ambivalent. It happened 20 minutes ago.

I’m doing nothing wrong. The woman isn’t here for anything related to me, yet I’m scared she will come in and yell at me…

G would have done that. He was (and is) unpredictable and volatile.

This woman is not G.

I will keep repeating that to myself until my inner kid believes it (or stops the panic)

ramblings about interim therapists and trauma work and body stuff

I’ve been seeing another therapist in Dr C’s practice while she’s been away. It’s been weird, but helpful in maintaining balance, especially with all this physical stuff going on. I didn’t really talk to her about much outside of “safe” things (things going on in the moment, dealing with the physical stuff that doesn’t have a medical explanation yet (or ever?), surface stuff). There were times I wanted to cover other stuff that wove its way into the session, but I couldn’t open my mouth. It felt like my lips were glued together, and even if I did manage to open them, all that would come out were sobs and screams…

That’s not a new phenomenon for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to open my mouth and tried to speak at a time like that. It taps into something I still don’t have an understanding of, and it never feels safe or comfortable enough to just let that part of me do whatever it needs to do for release… maybe I can bring it up with Dr C once she’s back again next week. I wish I could remember what it was that triggered that feeling.

I know before walking into the building, I had wanted to address the body memories that always get triggered (or more intense) when I get my period. We had kinda started taking about bodies, and how comfortable I was in mine (or not comfortable). We had talked a bit about liking or hating any particular part of my body. I said there wasn’t any part I liked. I should have said, there wasn’t any part I liked anymore because at one point, I had liked my eyes and my hands… but both have failed me since. My eyes either hide too much or tell too much; and my hands don’t create to my standards anymore (stupid trembling and fatigue). So no, right now there’s no part of me I like.

She also asked if there was any part I really hated. Of course there are parts I hate more than others, but there wasn’t enough time in the hour to tell her about it and still come out of the session balanced enough to go on with my day… I’m not totally sure I even want to write about it now, though there would be less explanation involved here than with her… I hate my pelvic area, and my stomach, and the insides of my legs. It’s where I feel the most uncomfortable memories, and what triggers the easiest. It’s the fastest way to send me to space…

A had asked if I’d ever done any body work (on paper) with Dr C. I told her I hadn’t, because even though Dr C had offered it, I panicked at the thought of tracing my body. A clarified that she meant doing it smaller scale. No, we never did do that… I’m not sure why the subject changed with A in that session. I think I started panicking and backpedaling into my head, because at some point, she asked how present I was & busted out a ball as a means of grounding (side note: it worked too! Who knew playing catch could actually bring me back? Normally, I can still do that stuff while dissociated. This time, the act of catching and tossing was balancing. Maybe it was the inconsistent way she did it? She would pause, look at the ball, change the speed of her toss… whatever it was, it worked).

Anyway… yeah. There were so many times I could have said more to her, but I didn’t want to get into it knowing that the hour would end too son, and I’d be left dealing with whatever came up for the rest of the week. At least with Dr C, I can reach out during the week if I need to. A did say to call if I needed anything, but I wouldn’t bother her. It takes me a long time to trust that it’s really ok to bug someone outside of the time they are getting paid to interact with me. Even with Dr C, I still hesitate much of the time, and I’ve worked with her on and off for almost 10 years now…

Oh, I remembered what I was originally going to say about the body drawing; it’s another thing where I feel frozen for fear of what I might do or say. There’s still that urge to destroy my body, even if it’s just a drawing. I still want to take a knife and stab the drawing on the parts I hate the most… or, since I no longer carry a knife with me, stab it with the pencil… that would probably freak her out, so… maybe some day I can mention that to Dr C, and we could find a way for me to be ok doing it in some form. The kid really wants to talk about it still. He has no words, just screams and sobs and anger… or silence. He’s usually just silent because the other stuff is not acceptable…

I really wish Dr C was back now. I wish this could be addressed while it’s still here & “relevant.” It’ll be gone again by next week. This is when that concept of easily accessible, more intensive treatment would be helpful; when stuff comes up and would benefit from being addressed in the moment, so it would be nice to be able to walk back into the room and get to work… let’s tackle this shit coz it’s here. Gimme that little body drawing, tack it to a tree, and let me stab the shit out of it. Let me rip it up and scream and cry and cover it in red paint so it bleeds like my body would if I did that to myself. Let me burn the page so it all goes up in smoke. He needs the release. I need the release…

Let me rip the legs off a toy, and bash it and destroy it… but then I’d need to apologize, because the toy did nothing, it’s just a receptacle for the anger. So let me run out into the woods and scream until my voice is hoarse, and my legs are so tired they want to fall off, and my breath burns in my chest (maybe my lungs would actually burn up. That would be an interesting medical & scientific impossibility)…

Sometimes the anger and the hurt is too much. Sometimes I want to disappear to a safe place where I can do something about it without weird looks and panic over my safety, because ultimately, I’ll be safe, this just all needs a release…

Why aren’t there trauma treatment centers in the middle of the woods, with animals and drop-in massage and art and yoga and holistic therapy like they have for substance abuse? And why is nothing local? Why is the only treatment center even remotely like that all the way across the country, and religious?! I want something with no BS about higher powers or gods or spiritual anything. Why does that not exist?! And why aren’t there more art or play therapists around? The kids want time too, but everything’s in an adult world, so they use translators instead…

Intrusive thoughts and insights

I find myself thinking about the past a lot, even when I’m trying to distract. It’s seeping through both my conscious and unconscious thoughts. I try to distract from it only to find it making an appearance unintentionally…

I think that was what triggered my sudden and “baseless” anger that later faded to resignation and defeat. I wasn’t really sure where it came from, or why it would quickly dissolve into sadness. I think I put it together finally; I had been absent-mindedly messing with watercolors this afternoon. I was trying to rekindle the relief I had found in session by painting “blood”, then later painting the feeling of comfort cutting would bring. Without meaning to, the pattern the watercolor took on resembled an image representative of the images/sensations I struggle with. I noted the resemblance, them moved on to another page to experiment with more watercolor. 

I guess the first image stirred stuff up because in less than 30 minutes, I was feeling rage bubble up. I snapped at L about something stupid, and wanted to isolate. The rage fizzled to resignation and depression shortly after… I wasn’t able to identify a potential trigger though till after returning home and contemplating the mess I made with the watercolors. I realized seeing the first piece that reminds me so much of trauma bubbled the anger again… and shame. I’m ashamed that the art I was trying to use to satisfy the desire to cut turned into a trigger. I’m ashamed at what I see in the splotches. I’m ashamed of the conflicting emotions it brings up.  I’m feeling a resigned sense of acceptance about these “memories” being accurate… and there’s grief there too: grief over losing the life I had thought I lived. I guess Dr C was right; this depression is at least in part fueled by grief. 

Kinda lost

Saw Dr C today. We did some art. It was around the concept of a baby, and how to keep that baby safe…

It came about because of my panic yesterday around the concept of ever having been a baby. I don’t really remember yesterday’s session, but I remember the dread and fear and panic and denial around her statement that I was born a good baby. All I could think was that I was never a baby… I couldn’t even fathom the concept of ever having been a baby. I knew at the time that pictures of “me” as a baby existed. I knew somewhere in my head that it’s impossible to be alive without ever having been a baby, but I couldn’t admit/understand/connect to ever having been one.

Later, after the session (and again today), I am mad at her for suggesting it. Part of me knows it’s a simple biological truth; I was at one time a baby, but… I wasn’t (or I can’t bring myself to accept it). There’s this huge fear around acknowledging that I may ever have been a baby. It pisses me off to think about it. The image that comes into my head when I think of myself as a baby is scary… I don’t want it.

Even now, as I write this, I’m angered by the thought of being a baby… angered and scared terrified. It feels like someone might die; like I might die… and my heart rate soars through the roof… and I want to shred my body into a million little pieces so I don’t have to feel the fear and body sensations…

I don’t really know what to do with myself. Whatever was stirred yesterday in session, and re-surfaced today, is continuing to stir and bubble. I don’t know how to process it. I’m not sure what to make of it. The thought of more surfacing is intimidating. It’s creepy & scary & enraging… I hate it.

The baby in the art today had no face, or feet, or hands (though I painted in hands after she suggested it). If the baby has no face though, it can’t see the scary, or hear it, or cry (and get in trouble) or smell anything. The baby doesn’t know if anyone is coming, if they are good or bad, until whatever it is that’s going to happen will happen. It kinda protects the baby, but it also scares him… Dr C was looking for something. In the time she was searching, I grew more and more uncomfortable looking at the baby I had painted. I wanted to scribble over it, or spill paint over it – anything to obliterate the image of the kid. I censored telling Dr C that I wanted to erase the kid from the page. Instead, I asked what we were going to do with the baby because it was making me uncomfortable looking at it (what an understatement!). She said we were going to to make the baby safe. I had no idea what to do, so I tried to draw a protective person in the picture. Unfortunately, she turned out scary. I wasn’t sure how to fix it. I did a few other layers but it was only making everything worse. Dr C offered to help. She drew in someone holding the baby. I added a blanket to cover him… then time was up. As we were cleaning up, she asked if the baby was safe now… I told her he was “safer”, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call him safe. I blew out of there somewhat fast after cleaning up. I wanted to stay and change the picture more, but her light had gone off (indicating another client was waiting). I also felt like I needed to run away from there. It felt like trying to make the kid in the picture safe was a forced thing and wouldn’t really actually do anything to keep him safe. It felt like a facade…

Suddenly I’m out of that head-space. I know I have reactions to things, but once it disappears, it feels foreign. Those walls are back again, and are really high and thick. It feels like all my experiences happen in isolation chambers. If I’m not in the chamber, I really have no concept of what goes on there. I guess that’s the dissociation… I should ask Dr. C what the new name is for that diagnosis. It used to be DD:NOS, but I know the newest DSM changed that. I definitely have isolated experiences, but they are not so severely isolated that I would have “alters”. I just can’t really access much of the experiences unless I’m in that particular head-space. I may know they happened (or the general gist of it, most of the time… there used to be a time where I totally had no memory at all of days or even months), I just understand them as something someone else described to me once…

I should stop writing. My head is beginning to spin, and I’m losing focus on what I want to say.

violence breeds violence, regardless of the motivation…

I write this with full awareness that I may have my head bitten off by several people for posting the following opinion… I will also remind any commenters to please keep their comments civil and respectful. I’m ok with discussion, but not bashing.

I am in the minority of people appalled by a video of a mother beating her son for partaking in the Baltimore riots this past week. I will not hail her a hero or “mother of the year”. I do not care what her reasoning was, I think she was wrong. I also think her son was wrong for participating in the riots in the manner he did. It was stated that the woman was trying to prevent her 16-year-old son from being killed. Reportedly, he was about to throw (or continue to throw) things at the police, and join in the general havoc. This apparently justified the mother smacking her son repeatedly on his head and torso as she berated him.

I was told by many friends and family that they “would have done the same” or they understood her fear/anger reaction. My problem with the whole thing was that she used the same logic and behavior he did to try to dissuade him from further action:  I am more right, and have more power for X reason, so I will beat you into submission… That’s up there with cursing someone out while you tell them not to curse.

I’m pretty sure that’s a huge double standard right there (not to mention a mixed message). It’s suddenly ok to beat your child (and have it filmed, then applauded by millions) because you are trying to prevent them from getting hurt?! If I see my kid almost run into on-coming traffic because he didn’t look before he ran, is it suddenly ok for me to yank him back and start beating on him? Would the media and millions of Americans tell me I am “Mother of the Year”?? No. I would have the child taken from my custody (even if temporarily), and I would have CPS up my ass for the next year or more. “But I didn’t want to see him killed, and he wasn’t listening to me when I told him to stop.” would never fly as a valid excuse for beating my child…

There’s pages and pages of articles on the generational cycles of violence. It’s a safe bet to say that the 16-year-old kid witnessed (with some regularity) violence growing up. It didn’t have to be his mom, though her reaction to his poor choices leads me to believe she likely has done something similar before. It’s also safe to say that she was probably witness to violence in her childhood. People repeat what they learn. Even those with the best of intentions can succumb to early learning. Heck, I see in myself some of the very things I hate in my dad. I try to make a conscious effort to not behave as he did/does, but I’m certainly not perfect (super-far from it actually). I find myself angry and yelling more than I would like. I can feel rage bubble, and fists want to fly. I do my damnedest to not act on those urges though… Would my anger at my early life excuse abuse I perpetuate on others? Absolutely not. It would be understandable, but not excusable. I would still be expected to change my behaviors… I am expected to change my behaviors. I mainly turn my violence onto myself. Even that is not acceptable. I hear from person after person that I need to be kind to myself; that I need to stop treating myself so abusively…

So why is it ok to see this mother hit her son repeatedly? People come back with responses along the lines of “I would do anything to keep my kid safe.” or “What would you do if your kid was about to walk into his death?” I maintain that my response would be non-violent. I would step in his way to block his path, I would pull him away, I would do my best to hold him in place, or move him back if possible. I would not strike him. If for some reason, I lost my head and started beating my child, I would hope someone stepped in and pulled me away rather than film it and laud me with praise… But I guess I have a different perspective than most.

That same day, when I questioned the logic of rioting and looting within the community, it was defended by some as “displaced anger”. This also bothers me. Why is displaced anger from a mob more ok than displaced anger in say, a romantic relationship? If the mob were a man, and the destroyed property his beaten wife, he would have been arrested on domestic violence charges (in the very least, there would have been some outcry of injustice from women’s rights activists and a public push for charges). So why are we excusing it because it’s fueled by institutional racism? When my dad came home pissed because he got mugged on his lunch break, then proceeded to yell at, threaten, and hit my mom, it was not okay simply because it was “displaced anger.” When a parent beats a child because of financial stressors, it’s not excusable as “displaced anger”. Why are we so quick to step up and excuse other violence as such? Why is mass-perpetrated violence ok when individually-perpetrated violence would be scorned?

I do not believe racism should be tolerated. I do not believe young black men should be singled-out and harassed or harmed. I do not believe anyone should be harmed. I do agree we should be outraged by the state of our society. I believe we should stand up and “fight” for change, but I do not belive rioting, looting, and violence are the answer. They get us nowhere but deeper into the cycle of violence. I really wish more people understood that…


it would be easier if…

  • he was always an asshole
  • he was always mean and angry and violent
  • I didn’t recognize the broken human being behind the monster mask
  • I could hate him completely
  • he was never loving
  • he was never kind
  • he was never gentle
  • I didn’t feel it in my body
  • I could write it off as a bad dream
  • I could just say it was an overactive imagination
  • I could say I was making up stories
  • it never happened
  • there was nothing to remember

Waking up on edge

I woke this morning wanting to scream and cry and break things… I have no idea why. I don’t remember any nightmares or scary dreams. I can’t think of any good reason I should be this cranky and upset, yet I want to destroy myself. :/

I hate when days start out like this. What prompted it? Why are the tiniest things setting off a huge emotional reaction in my head?

I’m back to thinking if I could just smash my body, I wouldn’t have to feel this anymore… only, I’m not consciously feeling anything. That’s normally a though that goes along with overt and intense flashbacks. I can’t recognize any today.

This is very frustrating. Apologies in advance if I can’t keep this in check when interacting with anyone online and in real life… I don’t mean to be an ass. Sorry…

Took a nap, and realized I’m having flashbacks in my sleep. I remembered it and felt it the first few seconds after waking up, now it’s just the aftereffects of them without too clear an idea of what was going on in it… :/ at least I know why I was reacting as if I’d been dealing with them.

Are they worse in dreams for anyone else?

going to address some things tomorrow…

I printed out everything I want to take to TM with me tomorrow. I didn’t realize how long the trauma narrative was; it came out to 7 printed pages. The majority of it is one very shameful experience that wasn’t traumatic to me as much as it was for everyone around me. I am most nervous about talking to her about this. It’s a situation I did to myself. There’s no escaping the shame on this, and shame is a really difficult emotion for me.

The second part of it will be easier to address. It’s fueled more by anger than shame, so it’s “safer” to talk about (and while the reason that even occurred was my fault, the event itself was not)…

In recognition that these trauma narratives will be incredibly triggering, I will need to talk to TM about boundaries and neediness. It really helped being able to call her this week. It helped keep everything from spiraling out. I don’t want to wear her thin though. I don’t want to be bothersome or annoying or overly needy. One thing I tried to set up with De was a culture of “conversation, not crisis”… She had agreed it was a positive step, but I had a lot of trouble with it. I don’t know how to explain things well. There are things that I don’t think fit the definition of a crisis, but others do. I’m habituated to it, but it sets others off. So I want to try to come up with a plan with TM. I don’t want to be seen as a drama queen. I dislike that. I want to figure out how to communicate. I want to figure out how to be stable; and I want to get through this period of triggering and flashbacks. I want to process the junk in my head so I can move on with life. I miss being productive…

what’s behind this?

Ok, so I know I have the connection of taking psych meds one day and being outrageously cranky the next.  My wife has noticed this, I have noticed this… But now it’s happening even with the Benadryl.  I have taken Benadryl for 2 nights in a row, and for 2 days in a row, I have been outrageously cranky.  Things that do not normally bother me have me ready to scream.  I really dislike this.  So what’s in these meds? What triggers this response in me?  It seems anything with a sedative effect triggers extreme anger in me.  I don’t like this. :/

“Surviving” (post link)

…why is it that we are shamed not only by those perpetrating the abuse, but also those that don’t want to bear witness to it?  “Surviving” is so well-written in its brutal honesty… what happens to those of us who survive whatever degree of abuse we endure?  We are labeled “impossible” and “worthless” by the system and by society that has made a choice to ignore the conditions of survival.

I really struggle with not being able to speak about what I endured.  There is so much to the foundations of my shame.  One phrase that always echos in my head is one my dad said often: “what happens in the family stays in the family”  It screamed in my head as I was telling De about some things yesterday.  His voice thundered in my memory as I was suddenly hiding under the bed again, terrified that he was coming into my room… The memory drowned out De’s voice.  The memories to follow sent shudders through me, and yet I couldn’t tell De how loud my head was in the moment.  I couldn’t give voice to the full-on virtual reality playing behind my eyes. I couldn’t even tell her I was lost in the memory. I noticed my mouth moving and speaking to her, but I was hiding under my bed again. G had just had a huge blow-out with mom, and I had run to hide.  I tried to take the dog with me, but she stayed with mom… I don;t know how long I was hiding, but I do remember my brother coming into my room looking for me because the house was so quiet.  I screamed and jumped when I saw his feet from under the bed, I thought he was G… I scared my poor brother.  He had been at a friend’s house while hell broke out that night.  He was spared.  Mom got most of it… and the dog, she got a lot of it… G would kick her just because he could, because he was mad and needed to hurt the thing that everyone loved more than they loved him… and she just took it… :(…

Why is it that society underscores what our abusers tell us?

(With the way some of this stuff slams me, I do not know how my mom survived… I just watched my dad, but she was on the receiving end of so much more… I don’t know how it hasn’t crushed her.  She has some incredible strength…)

It’s not about my sudden support for the Huskies

I’m not a sports fan.  I could care less about sporting events 99.9% of the time, unless it’s my alma mater sweeping the men’s and women’s basketball championships.  The UConn women clinched their 9th championship, and the men their 4th.  I’m proud, if for no other reason than I was indoctrinated to 5 years (I was on the longer-term plan due to mh issues) of Husky Fever when basketball season rolled around.  There was no choice.  The campus would erupt for the games, and pride ran high.  There was no escaping it (and I worked at the school’s campus bookstore during and a bit after college).

L knows I generally don’t pay attention to sports.  She enjoys them, and gets frustrated when I don’t join her excitement.  The last 2 weeks however, I have posted a few things on my fb account about the Huskies going to Championship titles again.  I rooted for them a few times… But as I said in the title, this isn’t about the Huskies.

Stress is running high at home.  L’s move back up north is in about 4.5 weeks.  The house is physically in chaos with the work we are doing on the walls.  Couple’s therapy is soon to wrap-up.  L’s individual therapy is ending.  Changes are ever-closer on the horizon.  It’s scaring us both.  There’s no guarantees that things will be better up north financially or in terms of our living situation.  We may have to find a long-term foster for one of our dogs.  We will live apart for the first time since we moved in together 6 years ago… The stress has brought about more than one “tiff” between L and I.  She reacted strongly and negatively to my “sudden” support for sports.  We argued about it, and she admitted there was more to it than that.  I, in my frustration at her anger, told her to figure out what’s beneath it.  She came back later saying that it’s a self-esteem thing. She said that she looks to my validation of her (and everything she does, likes, supports) to bring her some semblance of self-worth.  It makes sense then that she 1) was upset when I told her again that I didn’t care about sports, and 2) suddenly seemed to become a fan.  She berated herself for needing so much outside validation from me.  She had no idea my frustrations this week were rooted in similar places.  One of our arguments has been about the animals and her resentment towards them.  She is cranky about them, and we disagree regularly about how many we should keep, and what the ideal amount of furry and scaley kids would be.  We argue over spending any money on them at all.  Earlier this week, I was hurt that she seems to resent or hate “most everything” that means a lot to me.  That was the fuel behind argument one this week.  It kills me when she snaps at the animals, or gets cranky, or gets frustrated when they need something.  Instead of telling her how hurt I was by this or why it hurt me (I didn’t really know how to put it into words at the time), I snapped at her.  I was curt and passive-aggressive in not wanting to talk to her or be around her… We also had the sports argument more than once this week, but this morning she was able to put her finger on why it bothered her.  When she voiced that, I realized that I also look to her for a lot of my self-worth.  When she doesn’t love something I’m passionate about, I question the validity of my passion.  When it’s something as integral in my life as my animals, her disapproval hurts that much more.  How can I reconcile the fact that my wife really hates a huge part of “me”?  (she will say she does not hate them, but that she thinks they make our lives more difficult.  I know she has valid points, and I know she does not, in fact, hate them.  My head however, interprets that as hate for one huge reason: G used to say things along those lines but with actual hate.  L is NOT G.  She never could be.  But my head takes the smallest similarities and blows them up into triggers that set off complex emotional reactions.  My self-worth is tied hugely into the animals and my ability to give them a good life (let’s forget for a moment that a lot of the time depression makes this really difficult to accomplish with any regularity).  It is also tied heavily into my wife’s acceptance and love for me.  The animals are “part” of me, so when she gets mad at them, I see it as her getting mad at me.  When she resents them, I take it as resentment of me. Huge cognitive leaps, I know, but I’m good at those (and so is L, because she says she feels the same way about things she holds dear)…

So now we have recognized and labeled all of this.  We have talked about it briefly.  We have come to an understanding of sorts, but I am not sure if that will necessarily change our individual reactions to rejection by the other.  I hope we get to see J this week because I think we need someone else off of whom to bounce all this.  We need J to be her regular “Ms. Obvious” and point out what we are missing.  My emotions are still really raw.  If L’s are anything like mine, this will not be the last argument we have this week.  I know I have a tendency to instigate frustrations with someone who is about to leave (even if only physically and only for a few months).  It is easier to separate physically if you are angry at someone; you don’t long for their touch or presence (or you try to convince yourself you don’t), and the days of suddenly being apart are hopefully made easier by the buffer of anger (no matter how ridiculous or nit-picky)…I know I do this.  I can see it just after I have done something to anger the other or myself.  I just don’t really know how to catch myself before doing it.  I don’t know how to think things through without opening my mouth too early.  I know how to look back and point out how stupid I was being.  That’s not very helpful though once the person you care about is now genuinely angry or hurt.  :sigh:  As I have been fond of saying over the last few weeks: anger suddenly seems easier to deal with than sadness or fear…

Friday Nights and Deep Thoughts

I think I like having J on Friday nights.  She is more spontaneous and will joke with us for most of the hour.  She seems more relaxed and less therapist-ish.  It has its drawbacks (we don’t necessarily accomplish much on the serious side during sessions, but that’s ok for the moment).  We laugh a LOT, and time seems to go by faster.  We still cover some important topics, but a lot of the heaviness is left off.

Tonight, after starting really late then laughing our butts off for the first 20 minutes, we continued to joke and be inappropriate randomly throughout session.  We accomplished some stuff though.  L showed J that she had actually made progress on her resume.  J gave us some more resume pointers, then we talked about jobs/volunteer positions L and I would like to apply for.  We talked about taking personal risks and about some fears. We discussed goals, and came to the conclusion that L and I will be in this state for maybe another year.  She will go for the Office Manager job, and it will either be a means to an end, or it will be our ticket back North.  We were able to address the fears associated with trying something so drastically different.  J even let us in on some of the other jobs she had done in her previous life (prior to becoming a therapist).  Turns out, she had done a job similar to what L is hoping to apply for and thinks L will really enjoy it.

Yesterday, the office manager at the clinic had asked L if she and I would like to volunteer.  I guess since we have been clients for at least a year (L for longer) and it was ok with both L’s individual therapist and with J, they offered us the opportunity to volunteer.  Both L and I really like the organization, so we filled out the apps before we even went into session.  Then during session, J talked about other positions opening up within the company and planted the seed for me to apply.  We were able to talk through some of my fears about jumping back into the full-time working world and into mental health.  I settled on simply volunteering for the time being while leaving the possibility of a paid position open for later exploration.  I have no doubt I could eventually kick ass at the job, I’m just not sure I am at a place to step back into full-time.  I’m quite a bit gun-shy about any major commitments when I only have a few weeks of stability under my belt.  For the past 3 years or so, I seem to be able to hold it together for 6-8 months, then things tend to go south.  I don’t want to ruin my relationship with this organization in case we do end up staying here and I do end up needing a full-time job down the line. And like I said, we both really like the organization and the services they provide.  J pointed out that they have not only the outpatient office, but also the youth center and senior centers that need both employees and volunteers.  She suggested that we start with the centers and see if we can incorporate our art-party ideas there maybe once a month.  It would still be on a volunteer basis, but it would give us a chance to try things out and to build up a portfolio.  De had also mentioned something along those lines with offering our services to the state with Kids In Distress and their family support programs.  It seems once again, J and De are on the same page without necessarily talking to each other (they have releases but neither has had to make use of them. That’s totally weird for me, as my providers up north have always had open and active communications. I find that is not common practice in this state, nor is helping a client hook up with additional services when needed).  I think doing more art stuff with “in need” populations could be fun.  As much as I try to break out of the helping professions for any length of time, I always find myself drawn back eventually.  I know at this time I do not want an 8-hour work day doing direct care.  I know that would be too taxing.  I would not mind doing some part-time group work or rec therapy. I miss the work I did as a Recreational Therapy Assistant (couldn’t officially call me a Recreational Therapist since I was not certified).  I enjoyed making my residents smile and giving them something different to do during the daily grind.  I’m sure I could find something like that here.  I’m just not sure how secure I am in committing to an actual job.

I read a quote the other day; “If something happens once, it may never happen again, but if something happens a second time, there will also be a third time” I wish I could look at this in terms of the positive, but the negative associations creep in.  I had 2 serious bouts of hospitalizations since 2007.  Both consisting of over a year of revolving hospital doors.  The second time was worse than the first.  I crashed again after our move, but it wasn’t as bad (only 2 hospitalizations total).  I find myself holding my breath for the next round of hospitalizations.  I don’t want it to occur, but I fear it might.  Triggers are rampant here.  I don;t always know how to handle them.  We had a great time on vacation, but I can feel little things seeping back in.  I want to cry for no discernible reason.  I’m sad more often than I had been in the past 2 months.  I want to drink and smoke because I like the feelings they bring when done in moderation.  I want to lose myself in my art and my music.  That all often means I start shutting out others.  I had told De last week that I felt as if I were running from something.  This week the feeling is a bit more desperate.  The self-harm urges returned with an earnestness yesterday.  I journaled to De that I felt like something had been left unsaid in session, but that it was because I was censoring.  My problem is that I don;t quite know what I’m censoring.  I’m not in touch with the content, just the emotions of feeling unfinished.  It makes me want to shatter myself (funny that the drawing I am working so hard on is entitled “Shattered”).  I think things are coming out in my art and my music choices before they reach conscious awareness.  I find myself collaging things without a real grasp as to why I am choosing those words or images.  It tend to all make sense later (like the drawing).  I have something in mind going into the piece but then it changes direction and meaning by the time it’s finished.  I think my dissatisfaction with my drawing is a measure of dissatisfaction with its ability to accurately convey what I need it to.

Twice this week I came close to “coming out” as a survivor of sexual assault in a more blatant way.  I can speak about the concept with De, however I have not admitted it outright to anyone else in so many words.  L knows and mom has a vague idea, but none of my friends or other family have any clue.  It had taken me over a decade to admit the impact of DuckBoy to myself, let alone admit to friends that it ever happened.  There are still some friends that will never know.  It’s not something I necessarily want to shout from the rooftops.  I do want to be able to share my experiences though.  I want to be able to help or inspire or at least make someone else feel less alone.  This blog is helping a lot, but I think there’s something to be said for a more personal connection.  Being assaulted is a deeply personal event.  It can make you feel alienated and alone.  It can make you question the events.  Acquaintance rape can find you defending the person (They didn’t mean it, not any of the times.  He just can’t control himself. I must want this.  It isn’t really sexual, just my imagination.  I should be flattered.  I should like this… He can’t be that bad because he’s my [boy]friend).  It can have you questioning yourself.  It can trap you (abuse has a way of doing that, especially if there’s already a history).  I don;t want to remain trapped in any of this.  I want to break free. I want to know my life will be different and better.  I wat to make it better.  And I want to help others make theirs better also.  So I toy with the idea of “coming out” to those around me.  I think they would do a double-take if they found out.  I think they would question my “defenses” of offenders.  I am famous for pointing out that offenders need compassion and help, not necessarily punishment.  One thing I have learned not only from having been assaulted, but from working in mental health: everyone has a reason for their actions or behaviors.  Many offenders were also abused as kids.  They have incredible baggage they carry around with them.  People who end up killing or harming someone else likely was taught, either directly or indirectly, that power and safety comes from domination. When I see a story about a child molester, I wonder if that adult also has a history of being molested. Abuse is generally performed in cyclic, generational patterns. An abuser was likely abused as a child.  We need to provide treatment and support to help break the cycle.  Yes, punishment is also a factor, but if their head is anything like mine, they are punished enough internally.

When I first started college, I was introduced via a family friend to a psychologist who worked exclusively with sex offenders.  At the time, I couldn’t picture working with that population (I probably couldn’t do it even now, but I have a better understanding of where they are coming from).  I was amazed that this man was able to work with these boys and young men day in and day out.  I wasn’t able to talk long enough to find out why he did what he did, but I think 18 years later I can hazard a guess.  Many damaged people damage others.  It’s not that they necessarily mean to, it’s just that it is all that they know.  There are some exceptions, but they are rare.  Even the most hardened criminal has a small, terrified child hiding somewhere underneath.  Violence and anger are fear turned outward.  An animal will strike out in fear and defense.  People will do the same.  If you don’t know that what you are doing is wrong (not by societal standards, but by your own moral compass), you see no problem with your actions.  An offender who came to a clinic at which I worked turned out to be jus a really hurt little boy inside. He had experienced some horrific abuse growing up, and he perpetuated that to a lesser degree.  He wasn’t a violent offender, but he did enough to be labeled and mandated to treatment.  Only the intern was willing to see him.  Once his story was known, every other clinician’s opinion of working with him changed.  They suddenly saw the human being behind the disordered behaviors.  Even the cops started treating him differently (repeat offender).  I only heard short updates in team meetings, but I know he got off to a start on his healing.  The instincts motivating his actions were finally understood by those in his life trying to help. I hope he eventually made it through that dark time… but I digress.

I think we all need to look at others with a different lens.  We need to look at ourselves with a different lens… Understanding and love is the key to improving both society and ourselves.  I wish I could remember this at times when I perpetuate the negatives I internalized growing up.  I seem to have nearly unending patience and compassion for most others but I cannot seem to muster it for myself.

Oh, I also wanted to add a pic of the collage I did yesterday after session… I’m still trying to figure it all out myself, but I think I may like it.  wpid-20140131_130957.jpg

emotional chameleon

It’s finally rubbed off on me today, I am as angry/cranky as my mom was all day.  I hate when I let her mood get to me, but some days it’s SO hard to keep her negativity at bay.  This morning, it took her less than 15 minutes to start yelling at the dogs.  She didn’t stop yelling at them (or something else, or nothing) except when she was out of the house briefly to do some shopping.  She’s also really mean to them.  I’m glad they don’t understand her words too well.  She’s just cruel with some of the things she says, and I really don’t think she puts it together (how awfully mean she sounds)… Hearing it all day gets to me.  It makes me feel worthless (because I’m sure she would say the same things to me if I were around to pester her), and it reinforces that even the smallest needs are a burden and huge inconvenience.  She curses them when they want attention, or food, or to go outside.  She ignores the puppy’s signals that he needs to go out to pee, then she blows up when he pees in the house.  When I spend too much time around her like that, I absorb all her spewing negativity.  I wish I knew how to turn that off…

I try hard not to be angry.  I try to stifle it as best I can because I NEVER want to be my father (or my mother apparently).  I never want to instill fear in people, or worthlessness, or shame, or any number of other things.  When I catch myself angry, the self-deprecating tapes start.  I know I should be challenging them, but I find little compassion for myself (and it’s really difficult to dig it up when I’m this moody).  All I can think of is how awful I felt and feel when I am around people who seep anger.  I feel bad about being one of those people, and I start to call myself stupid and worthless and hurtful and any number of other negative, hateful terms… It’s so hard to turn that off.

Have you ever noticed how some topics span different occasions?  Writing about the negative tapes in my head, I was reminded that both De and J mentioned challenging those voices.  J wants L & I to try to keep a tally of how many times we start being mean to ourselves.  She also wants us to call each other out on it.  De had said that I need to start changing what I tell myself with those voices.  I know neither talked to the other, but both are on the same page.  I guess it goes along with the topics we bring up in therapy.  Apparently my negative self-talk (and L’s) was brought up in sessions this week (I think L even talked to her therapist about it)…

Another thing that comes up when I am angry is the urge to self-harm.  It’s a release for it, and dissipates it faster than anything else.  I know I can’t, but the urges are there…

Unable to read others’ blogs today, and some blathering

I’m not sure what is up with my WordPress reader today, but when I click on a blog to read it, the application stalls and I’m forced to back out completely.  I apologize for not being able to keep up with everyone tonight :/ Hopefully it’s just a one-night bug that is only happening on my phone… sorry all!

Today was an ok day.  De called and we scheduled something for Tuesday. I hope I still am connected to the stuff that came up yesterday. She did not sound mad or frustrated that I asked for extra time.  I hope I can keep reminding myself of that when the fear of pissing her off comes up.  I obsess over boundaries not only because I fear rejection/anger, but also because sometimes I have trouble reigning myself in. I wind up relying too much on someone and it works to push them away.  I’m trying to find a happy middle ground (it’s harder than it looks). Most of the time when I was growing up, getting emotional needs met was nearly impossible in the chaos of all the domestic violence. Asking for support was often responded to with anger, frustration, or simply ignored (mostly anger tho).  I have trouble stepping back and knowing that I am allowed to ask for things, and that the response will not being a hugely disproportionate display of anger. The old hyper-vigilance to anger is made stronger when I feel more vulnerable.  I know I drive L nuts when I constantly check in to see if she’s mad at me.  I know I’ve driven others nuts with it also.  I’m sure De is getting frustrated with my constant checking and fear, but she has not said anything yet. It’s just difficult to step out of when so much is the same as my childhood once again (physical environment, and displays of anger or frustration all the time from those around me). I have trouble remembering that I am an adult who does not have to fear anger all the time from my dad or other adults. Once again I find myself stuck as both a small child and an adult.  I have more autonomy now, but I’m still very much a little kid emotionally… it’s quite frustrating (especially when the flashbacks or really strong memories hit. There’s not much I have found that lets me ground into the present because I get confused about what the present actually is. The people around me begin to look like those I grew up with, so I struggle to notice that I am no longer a kid.  Once again, my dog is mistaken for my dog growing up.  My wife is mistaken for my best friend in high school. It gets very confusing). It hits harder when other memories start to surface.  It feels like a domino effect of memories that come spilling at me. I can look at L, know she is L, then something gets triggered and she suddenly looks like C. I’ve noticed it more today and yesterday since the memories of DuckBoy bubbled up again.  When we are out of the house it’s not so difficult to recognize it as the past rather than the present. But when we are home, I forget and get lost quite easily. It doesn’t help that the energy in the house is still very much the same as it had been growing up. There’s anger and frustration busting at the seams. I hate it…

Anyway, yeah.  Asking De for some more support next week.  I’m hoping I can find something to get me through the two weeks she will be out between Christmas and New Year’s.  This program hasn’t called me back, and I don’t want to be left floundering for that long.  I know we meant to hold off on trauma processing until after the new year, but my brain has its own ideas. I’m partly worried about losing trust completely with her, so I think my head has kicked remembering into high gear (that, and holidays are always hard for me. Triggers get more frequent and varied while my ability to cope with them gets severely tested).

I seem to have an inability to leave an art project solely for work with De, even when I consciously choose to leave the piece at her office.  I have started drawing (and re-drawing) the image started with her on Friday. It’s in its third incarnation since yesterday morning.  I’m hoping I will be happy enough with one finally.  There’s still a few days till Tuesday when I go back to work on the one she is holding.  I’m hoping I will be able to get it right by then… one day, I will leave the work purely for there, but I have trouble reigning in the creative perfectionism to just one hour a week. If I end up happy with one of the versions, I will post it here.

Defenses and how they can be a real pain in the butt sometimes

So, I had therapy today.  It started out Ok.  I took my box project in and we talked about it.  It was a perfect segway for her topic, so it worked out.  Only part way through, my mind went blank. I couldn’t remember what the elements of the box meant.  I could not give her any specifics or tell her even the ball-park of what they represented.  We then moved on to her topic: tell her what some of that stuff is that I never manage to talk about.  My brain panicked further and I suddenly couldn’t think about anything at all. We were in the art room, and she asked if I could draw it out. I sat staring at the paper.  She nailed my emotion when she called it “freaking out.” So we changed the assignment to what it felt like in the moment, and what would be needed to feel safe enough to talk about that stuff. That was also difficult, but we talked through it. I managed to start drawing stuff. Part-way through the drawing, I paused.  She took that time to wrap up.  I felt lost and totally vulnerable, as we had not talked about the rest of the stuff that came up.  I didn’t have the courage to bring up what came popping into my head, and time was up.  I left feeling really vulnerable and small.  I sat in the parking lot journaling for an hour… I toyed with going back in, or calling her for support (or at least have help putting some of the vulnerability away). I ended up going home without asking for more support, but agonized over all of it the whole  rest of the day.  I wrote some stuff to De, and more came out than I intended.  It actually made things a bit easier, as I think that was the stuff struggling to surface in session today. I left her a message tonight telling her of it, and asking if she had extra time to talk about it, or at least help me box it back up till next Friday. She won’t get it till tomorrow, but that’s ok.  I really didn’t want to speak with her because I knew I would lose what it was I intended to say (she had answered the last few times I had called when I only wanted to leave a message). I’m kinda hoping she at least has time to talk a bit over the phone tomorrow so I don’t completely lose my connection to what came up today. I dunno.  We will see.

Monday already?!

I’m not quite sure where that weekend went… well, ok.  That’s a lie; I know exactly where the weekend went, and it was pretty good.  And yet, I feel like bawling my eyes out today.  I feel trapped and rushed and smothered by commitments.  G is down, and it’s also adding to the stress.  We don’t necessarily have much out of the ordinary going on this week, but having no space at home makes everything that much more overwhelming.

I’m an introvert.  I need my space to be able to re-charge.  Since G arrived, I have had none.  He has no personal space boundaries.  He follows me around worse than the dogs do.  It would be flattering and loving if I didn’t see it as such a bother.   When I was 3, petting my head and wanting to touch my shoulder or rub my back was ok (though not all the time), but in my mid-30’s, it’s just intrusive and skeevey.  I don’t much like to be touched in the first place, but add to it that it’s my dad and I really have not yet chosen to let him back into my life, it amplifies my discomfort yet again.  He doesn’t get it.  He thinks I’m just busy, but I really don’t want to see him or spend much time with him.  If I were living on my own, he would not be here (he is not welcome in my & L’s home).  I would not be spending time with him, or visiting with him.  The only reason he is here is because it’s (mostly) my mom’s house.  If it were up to me, we would still have little to no contact.  He rubs me the wrong way.  He triggers anger just by being in the vicinity… and he does not respect my animals (whom I tend to see as my kids).  He yells at them for no reason, and is harsh.  I tell him over and over again not to be like that with them, but he refuses to respect that.  He’s still pissed I choose them over him in a heartbeat any day of the week… They have not traumatized me, but he certainly has.  They win.

Part of me is glad to be volunteering tomorrow.  It means I get to be out of the house.  But another part of me is still really tired.  I don’t want to have to be social yet again.  I made a commitment however, so I need to stick with it.  Tomorrow is also the first day of this year’s school program.  They will be piloting a bunch of new curricula for the different grades.  It should be more in line with what is covered in the students’ standardized testing… None of us have done it live yet, so tomorrow will be a learning experience for all.  I also have to remember to get there on time, as I have to do the animal husbandry before the class starts (usually takes me about an hour and a half, but it will need to be completed in an hour).  No pressure there… ugh!

So anyway, I will be out and forced to be social yet again tomorrow.  And I’m sure G will be ever-so-clingy again when I get home… There’s no rest for the wicked I tell you!

On a sidebar, I may have to put my sleeve on hold for a bit longer, one of the cats has a super-swollen paw.  It doesn’t seem sore (she puts her full weight on it, and she lets me squish at it without complaint), but I would rather be safe than sorry.  If it’s simply a matter of infection that can be taken care of with an antibiotic, I would prefer that to her getting septic from it down the line and either dying or losing the leg.  I know we don’t really have the money to take the cat to the vet, this is something that needs attention, especially because she is mostly an outdoor cat.  It’s hard enough to monitor her. I happened to be lucky enough to snag her inside before a storm, and she hasn’t wanted to leave again these last 2 days (unusual in and of itself, so she must be feeling off).  Anyway, I’m hoping I can get away with it being a simple fix, and her being ok relatively soon.  I definitely cannot afford any major illnesses with any of the critters.  It was bad enough that last night one of the dogs decided to try to eat a cane toad out back.  Luckily, she only got high.  I managed to wash her mouth out fast enough and well enough to keep her from going toxic.  I am pretty sure she was hallucinating at one point though, as she refused to step on the grass (lava or broken glass or blades or something I’m guessing).  She never developed symptoms beyond the excessive drooling (this toxin acts pretty quickly, she would have had a full-blown reaction within 10-15 minutes if it was to happen – according to the vet.  L had not realized that some people licked toads to get high.  She said as much when I mentioned that the dog was likely tripping from the toxins.  Drugs/toxins can cause hallucinations and/or euphoria when ingested in smaller doses.  I don;t recommend licking toads though.  You never know where they’ve been, what you’re ingesting, and how toxic it will actually be… and they must taste awful too!  I’m all for responsible, natural substance use, but licking frogs doesn’t fall under that category for me… eeewww! ok, getting grossed-out by that thought.

On to bigger and better things: I must set my alarm so I can wake in time not only to shower before “work” but also get the dogs all situated for the day. Oh, and I need the car, so I will be taking L to work way before even the ass crack of dawn…

Here’s to hoping Monday (and the week) will go smoothly! Remember: no licking toads!

I wish you could meet her

Take the third line of the last song you heard, make it your post title, and write for a maximum of 15 minutes. (POD Truly Amazing). (idea taken from hastywords)

I wish you could meet her, that little one inside. She’s shy though… She hides behind walls and blades and in the fog. It used to be a scary place, but now the fog is comforting. It’s all she’s known for so long.

I came to bed tonight at the same time my wife did. The anxiety did not come, but anger rose in me as I got closer to the room. I’m suddenly cranky and want to cry for no reason (though I did accidentally break the marble candle holder I had made a few weeks ago. I very nearly cried when that happened. I will have to put it together again with different glue). Anyway, I’m all over the place and I don’t really have a reason for it.

Something in me wants to run away crying. I’m confused by it. There is definitely a dread connected to going to bed at night. I just have no idea why it’s there. I don’t have nightmares I remember anymore. Some days I wake up with an anxious feeling, but I don’t remember much by way of dream content, so I can’t blame it on that. There has to be something that brings on this anxiety, but what?? I see De tomorrow morning, maybe we can talk about it more (likely she will do most of the talking).  J asked today if there was any abuse or anything connected to going to bed. There’s nothing I remember. I know the guy at the parties was at bedtime, but I don’t remember any of that, and it was a whole different house, different country even. I can’t picture that being the reason for this feeling.

I think I may try to sleep to music tonight. I feel like crying, but I don’t want to, and music helps keep that at bay. J asked L about something in session today, and L said that when she fears I am slipping away, she gets more anxious and demanding and clingy. The one concept that sticks out in my head is L saying how frustrating it is when I tell her something’s brewing inside, but I don’t tell her what it is. I’m not sure if I said it out loud or not, but I don’t always know what it is myself, so I can’t possibly tell her… I feel like that will be another issue tonight, as I’m writing that something is bothering me, but not saying what it is (because I don’t know what it is). How can you possibly tell someone something you have no grasp on yourself. This is why it’s so hard for me to open up… I can say something is wrong, but I have no answers to the questions of “what” and “why”.

Again there is so much ground to cover with De, and we will likely only get to one tiny part. The rest will be tabled for the next session (by which time it will be over-shadowed by something else). I feel I need more sessions or more support to be able to address everything that comes up and that is important. I always have a week of needing to talk about so much, but never get to it.

Randomly during couple’s therapy today, I suddenly had the urge to cut my arms. I haven’t done that in years, so the urge is baffling. I know I had made note of its occurrence, but I can’t remember what we were talking about that might have brought the urge on. Again, more questions and concern with no answers in sight. Maybe it was the name thing; that is what was triggering with De last week… but maybe it was the talk of the anxiety before bed. I’m not sure. It’s probably all related, but I can’t figure out why just yet.

I hate the sketchy nature of all these symptoms. I hate that I only ever run into more questions when searching for the answers. When do I actually hit some answers and solutions? I’m so tired of all this.

When I first started writing this, I had simultaneous ideas in my head. One was to write a story on wishing you could meet the little girl lost inside (I thought of saying “me” or “the girl I used to be” but both of those also brought up a weird inner cringe). Another was a wish to introduce SJ.  Another was to introduce the person I had been (or thought I was)… all of that fizzled though. I don’t know who to introduce with this, so I will just call it a day and end here. The person I once was seems to have never been, so you can’t be introduced….

I’m still incredibly tired of all this

I’m so tired.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t want to fight the urges or the depression.  I don’t want to put effort into living anymore.  The only thing is, the depression is taking a backseat to the rage.  I would take the depression over the anger and rage any day.  At least I know what to do with the depression.  I don’t know what to do with the anger…

I want to sleep, but I can’t.  Even when I go to bed at a reasonable hour, I lay awake all night.  If I take any meds, I am either rage-full the next day, or I can’t wake up at all for the next 16 hours or so.  I hate that there is nothing in the middle.  There is no simple good night’s sleep.  I don’t want to do this anymore.

I actually feel better about my dad than my mom at the moment.  That’s scary and not how it is supposed to be.  Apparently my mom is angry about a whole lot of stuff, but she’s not telling us any of it except in cryptic outbursts once a month.  Them everything becomes uncomfortable and tense.  At least G apologized.  Heaven forbid mom explain herself or admit any over-reaction on her part.  She doesn’t feel like she should explain herself, and we should be able to read her mind about what is wrong.  Well guess what?  I’m not into mind reading.  I’m tired of bending over backwards to include her when it just pisses her off.  If she wants to simply be people that happen to share a house, fine.  We can do that.  I’m done making an effort to reach out to her when it’s always met with a sour face and annoyance.  She’s never happy with anything.  Nothing is ever good enough for her.  I’m done trying.  If she wants to hang out or do something or be more involved while we are here, she needs to make the effort….

I felt totally brushed off by De on Friday, which was in complete contrast to Wednesday’s appointment.  I know it was just a check-in because my dad is down, but it was cut 20 minutes short.  What was the point of me wasting the gas to go down there then?  We could have done that over the phone.  And I don’t see her again until Friday.  Whatever.

I’m so tired and so raw…

I just don;t enjoy things anymore. And everything makes me cranky. I’m bored and cranky and a total bitch. And my anxiety is rising over G coming to spend the rest of the week here starting tomorrow. I think that adds to my cranky bitchiness. I just don’t want to do anything… Except maybe some stuff that is frowned-upon…
Can we just miraculously get some money again and head out of the house for the next 3 days? I wish I had known sooner that he was coming, I would have not spent all our cash on other shit.
I hate myself. I hate that I react this way. I hate that I’m a bitch to the people I care about. I just hate everything about me. (And I hate that I want to shred my leg right now because I hate myself)… Does the cycle end?


How deep is too deep for a drop in support group? Why do I resist participating in even that these days?

L brought to my attention that I “never go there” in terms of participation…I admit, I have not been covering much lately, but it’s because I don’t even know how to address it without going in way too deep for my comfort level.   I don’t feel it’s an appropriate forum in group to cover that stuff (and I don’t know the new group leader well enough to be able to even try skimming the surface).  I cover a lot of that in individual.  It’s safer that way.

Do you want me to admit that I never allowed myself to get angry at anyone else until about 2 years ago?  Do you want me to admit that it scares me, because the anger is everything I feared – I am everyone I feared when I get angry.  I don’t want to do it.  I don’t want to learn to be ok with being angry, because that would mean being ok with being that monster inside (she shows herself sometimes, and I die a little more inside whenever she surfaces).  She’s one scary sonofabitch.  It’s beyond anger, it’s rage.  She could break the house down, and beat the pulp out of anyone in her way… She is so far from who I see myself as.  So, no, I don’t wan to go there.  I don’t want to talk about it, or tell you that all the things I do to myself out of anger I feel as if I could do worse to someone else when I feel her there.  It’s terrifying to hear some of the thoughts that go through my head when I am angry.  It’s scary how little control I feel inside.  I never ever want to hurt anyone or anything else, but I fear I may lose control to her and hurt those I care the most about.  I’d rather hurt myself than anyone or anything else…

Do you want me to admit that I’m terrified of having to trust someone else again… and risking so much with that trust?  I’m scared she will over-react to the complete mess that is me.  I’m afraid she will under-react.  I’m afraid I will not be able to tell her what I need to because I’m afraid she will commit me.  I’m afraid that talking to her about duck-boy and that asshole will be too triggering and I won’t know how to handle it.  I’m afraid I will have no glue left to hold me together.  I’m afraid she won’t be helpful, but by then I will have lost D, so there will be no one again… I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing and then being labeled for it.  I’m afraid I won’t know what to say. And I’m afraid I’ll not care anymore, and get back to that place where it’s a battle just to keep alive.

I was all “whatever” today because I needed that veil.  I needed to avoid this fear and insecurity…

behavioral observations

I have a knack for working with animals… and people.  I have found that my success comes from careful (and often unconscious) observation.  When I worked in animal control in college, I was the worker with the reputation for being able to handle and calm aggressive and anxious dogs and cats.  I would take the time to watch them and pay attention to their reactions to things.  Most of the aggression came from fear, so I would volunteer my time and sit with the animals for hours on end, alternately talking to them and just going about my business nearby.  I instinctively made my posture non-aggressive (see, leaning to tip-toe around abusive and explosive adults can help with something).  I brought animals out of their shells, and worked with them to mold the aggression into acceptable and wanted behaviors.

I have found that most aggression comes from fear.  The fear may be deeply rooted and hidden, but it’s almost always there.  I have found this true with my reptiles as well as my mammals.  I have a snake that will strike wildly whenever I go into her enclosure for any reason.  I am working on hook training her and getting her used to handling.  When she does not feel cornered or uncomfortable, she is a cuddle bug (yes, snakes do cuddle, they like the warmth after all).  By using less intimidating body language and actions, I can communicate to her that I will not try to eat her or harm her in any way.

I think the same is true for people.  I think we are either so wounded or so terrified of being wounded that we often lash out in anger.  I think the anger is a defense mechanism.  People don’t have time to get under your armor if you are busy throwing out spikes.  They can’t get close enough to hurt if you run around bearing your teeth and pushing everyone away.

I think this relates to self-harm in some ways.  Self-harm is a form of aggression, only against yourself.  It is the result of anger and fear turned on the body.  It can be preventative – no one can hurt me as much as I can hurt myself; I’m going to get hurt anyway, might as well get a jump on things.  It can also be reactive – I screwed that up, so I deserve to be punished for it.  Both inadvertently work to keep people at bay.  The concept of self-harm is a scary one.  Most people will cringe at the thought, and bolt at the sight of it. They will over- or under-react to the news, but rarely be helpful in their reactions at first.  Those of our family and friends that have dealt with it in the past react a little better (we have given them reading materials, access to our treaters, insights into our pain), but they still give distance, or at least that is what we hope – that is what I hope.  I don’t want questions about my scars.  I don’t want to launch into my story with everyone that notices.  Why write a blog you may ask?  Well, I still want to tell my story, but I like the measure of anonymity the internet provides.  I can give you glimpses of my inner crazy, and you won’t change your opinion of me if you see me on the street.  If you don’t look closely at my arms, you won’t guess that I struggle (ok, if I’m crying my eyes out, you may have a clue, but that’s rare, especially in public).  If you don’t see me on the psych unit, you wouldn’t know I can barely make it through a day without craving peace at least once.

Even those that know me rarely ask about the scars (we are trained to mind our own business, and I doubt they really want an honest answer).  They look past it.  It’s scary and dangerous to be let into a world that allows someone to do so much physical harm to themselves on purpose.  It keeps people from asking with any real honesty what my life is like.  They anticipate a drama, so they avoid the inquiry.

The long and short of it is that aggression is a defense mechanism, as is self-harm.  It keeps people away from the real you so they can’t reject you and confirm all that you fear about yourself (but in their distance, they confirm that you are not worth it, so it kind of just back-fires).

This train of thought was brought to you by the article I saw online this morning that named 3 small breed dogs as the most aggressive… It got me thinking about the roots of aggression, which lead me to the thoughts on self-harm… lots of branches, but really all the same tree

(I want to add also, that self-harm is not only engaged in for the reasons mentioned above, but they are some big ones.  It can also be relief, a grounding method.  It can be a visual and outward symbol of inward pain and turmoil.  For me, it is mainly a release and grounding method.  It also has the added benefit of being somewhat preventative in that I feel no one can ever hurt me more than I can physically hurt myself… it’s really figurative, because it doesn’t really hurt, and mostly it’s trying to prevent further emotional pain, but it has still been a reason in the past).

i get so frustrated

lately, I have a short fuse… I snap when I shouldn’t. This is a relatively new thing for me. I don’t like it. I’m a bitch, and that’s not who I really am inside… I get mad at other people for getting frustrated and snapping… but I do the same thing they are doing.  It’s really just a huge double-standard. It sucks. I try to be better about it, but I only seem to catch myself after the fact. I hate it.  I hate myself for it.

Knee-jerk reactions infuriate me…

I know that sounds quite the double-standard, but I need to vent.

Please keep our public schools religion-free.  If you want your religion to be the cornerstone of your education,  go to a religious school that fits with your beliefs and enroll your children there.  Do not force my child to fit into your niche. Do not tell me your god needs to be brought back into every school.  Not everyone believes in your god.  Forcing them to learn about it and preach it every day will not make anything better.  It will make those who believe feel stronger in their beliefs,  yes,  but it will alienate and cause conflict with those that do not.  Instead of bringing your god back into classrooms,  lets bring tolerance,  peace,  and love back.  Lets teach our kids that bullying for any reason is not ok. Lets teach them to work together instead of one-upping eachother… that is what I want thought to my children in schools, not that one god is better than the next.


My brain is at once mush and racing.  I want to sleep, but I can’t close my eyes.  My head fluctuates between heartbreak and anxiety.  The events of today hit close to my heart.  It’s overwhelming and tears come to my eyes whenever I think of it… and it angers me when everyone automatically jumps to more governmental control… I think we need to make mental health treatment more accessible.  It needs to cater to people not only once they break,  but also “preventative medicine”…  I remember fighting to gain access to treatment that was more intensive but still trying to maintain a full time job. If I was an addict in the traditional sense, I would have had the opportunity to go to an evening program. I would have been able to keep up my treatment while not disrupting my daily life. I had to make a choice: minister to my mental health, or keep myself afloat financially and maintain my home. If I had an addiction, I would not have to make that difficult decision.

I fell through the cracks until I cracked. I maintained myself with weekly therapy until it became too much. I was unable to keep up the facade. I am not totally sure what happened that first time, but I found myself at the emergency room afraid I was going to hurt myself beyond repair… a few weeks after my initial weekend stint on the psych unit, I woke up (several times) in the ICU. The previous night, I had decided to kill myself, and made a relatively decent attempt. I spent the next week locked up. They discharged me with a hope to continue more intensive treatment. I did not follow through. There was no inquiry to my lack of appearance at the program. I had made a serious attempt on my life just over a week ago, and I was free to go. I saw my therapist once a week, and continued my daily grind. I was adept at smiling and pretending everything was hunky-dory while inside I was trying desperately to make sand fill up a wire frame… I fell apart again a few short weeks later. I fell through the cracks inside myself and in the system… mind you I was never as messed up as I was on my meds, but that is also another story…