Sunday, March 26, 2017

Diversions

Woke up this morning from a dream that makes no sense until you start explaining it in words:

I dreamt that they were making a documentary about my company and the group of people who do my job. By the time that part of the dream was finished, we were out in rural Henegar, AL on top of Sand Mountain at the four-way stop. They had traffic diverted while they filmed different scenes, by this time no cameras were pointed at me and they had only men doing my job. It wasn’t clear if they were actors, but they looked awfully tidy and handsome. (My company is a big international deal and they won’t have women on their free to the customers calendar anymore - women are offensive, apparently.)

I had been busy doing the actual job while the movie crew were busy staging the men doing it on film. They finished and it was time to go back to the office, and some younger woman who had been there to play a part offered to drive. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Until, instead of heading straight up the highway, she goes off the other direction saying all the roadblocks from the film have traffic backed up, it would take too long. I compromise and say, “Okay, but I know the back way to go and get back on the highway, we’ll turn and get back to the highway there. Right?”

Right. Not so much.






We get up to the turn and there’s this Big Country Church where we are supposed to turn having a big crowd doing something, and she insists on going in to speak to someone she knows about whatever. I follow her in and it’s just one office after another, all full of different groups of church people doing all their church activities: Mother’s day out, choir practices and church plays rehearsing, different Sunday School classes having socials and gathering for Bible studies, men’s meetings getting groups together to go build houses for widows, child care sections, just everything you could ever think of for an off-Sunday activity. The offices and meeting rooms and auditoriums were an endless maze, truly. That woman I was following kept getting ahead of me and I kept following hallway after hallway, door after door, and Surely I’ve got to catch up to her at some point!

So then, what does it all mean?

Two big time issues of my adult life are addressed here. Work and church.

Work - I do the job, I’m still doing the job, but I get no credit for it and the credit they do give comes out of corporate back to the corporate marketing message. The reality is messy and difficult, but the only people who garner the respect are good looking men who are pretending for the camera.

^This reality goes straight into Church and my walk thru the church.

Lots and lots of stuff going on in the church, lots of groups having their fun and virtue points addressed, but none of it is getting me to where I need to go. None of it is intended to get me where I need to go, its function is to keep me busy searching thru the church for that younger woman who took the wheel of my car trying to be nice and a know it all. She didn’t know the best way there, she was easily diverted and entangled in church niceness, and I’m being nice trying to catch her and get her back on the road home with me again.

Is there some law that says I have to bring her with me? It’s my car, why can’t I just drive off and let her go? She’s old enough to be responsible for herself and she’s in no danger.

(At this moment, I’m thinking of the “inner child” that therapy is trying to raise. Perhaps for an older person like me there is also the younger 18-40 year old self that has to be dealt with and let go. We are many selves and have many lives - our child self, our young adult life, and the middle age self  that lives between who we are when we first craft our adult life and who we will be when our strength is fixed and we are just riding it out to the end.)

In any case, I’m meditating on all this on a Sunday morning as I want to hook up with a church again, and the one I found a couple weeks ago is very nice, but the pastor also threatened that the church has to have a “revival” or shut down.  I don’t know what that means for that church or that pastor, but I’m not doing “revival or else” again. I’ve been down that path, I’ve been churned by emotional efforts from the pulpit all I can stand, and I have no interest in being fleeced. I don’t know if that church or just that pastor is having financial issues, I’m unconvinced that I owe a church organization 10% of my cash income (even though I do not regret the training and freedom of faith that comes from doing that,) or it’s possible that the pastor knows the membership has become calcified in their seats and needs stirring up.

My point is my season of letting someone else, even a pastor or saint of God, tell me which way to go is over. I may be slow, but I need to get where I’m going and I don’t owe any church organization the diversionary time of doing their activities, none of which are my activities.

My conclusion is that I’m not going to get into a mental or spiritual turmoil over it wondering what my inner motives are or how I’m not doing the right works in the church. Galations 5 says I was set free by Christ so that I can be free to follow God and His will by the Holy Spirit who dwells within me because of Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Paul is very specific and repetitive in that chapter that I should not get entangled again by religious law - do this, don’t touch that - but that I’ll find where I’m supposed to be and I’ll have the power to do what I’m supposed to do if I follow as the Holy Ghost leads.





Not pastor.
Not my church friends’ advice.
Not my know-a-lot, rational, calculating “this is how getting from here to there is done, it says so in all the advice columns” mind.
Not what I’ve done before.

I want to go home and no one but Christ in me can get me there. The “home” I’m so incredibly hungry for is someplace I can see in my dreams and I feel it every Monday when I go back to work - because it’s not my job!  I go to work and I actually, tangibly feel like I’m in someone else’s dream playing a part for them to look at. Where I should be is completely different and I’ll never get there unless the Holy Spirit blows into my sails and moves me over into that lane. I can’t row my little dory fast enough to ever get there, it will have to be a story of turns and doors and moments that moves me and everything else thru space and time to get me there.

I also know this home is for this life, it’s not heaven nor the world to come. They are glorious and real, but there is a reality and a glory that is only for this life, and it testifies of God in a way that can’t happen in any other season or time. I look forward to the day the saints go marching in, and I’ve seen myself in that cohort on That Day, but there’s also someplace here I should be and I’m not yet. Time is short, I need to be about the business of getting there. I’ve got to mind after my own house first.






(I don't mean house shopping, actually, but I had another dream a few months ago when I had that "this is my home" feeling - and I was in an old white Victorian farmhouse, with columns and a vintage kitchen. This photo is just for the feels.)


Friday, March 24, 2017

Secret Attachments

Secret Attachments; Exposing the roots of Addictions & Compulsions, book by Peter Michaelson

I started this several months ago, put it down, and now I’m back to it at the right time. It’s a new premise that I wouldn’t have been able to deal with at the beginning of my secular search.  I read the first four chapters earlier, put it down, picked it up last night and had to back up half a chapter, now I think I’ll have to back up to the beginning again. It’s a real corker. I don’t know if he’s Jungian or Freudian, but he’s not the 12 Step user/model that a lot of what I’ve read in the past couple of years has been.

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I liked Linda Ronstadt in my teens. I had all her albums and listened, grieved, and sang all the harmonies again and again alone in my room.  She says that she was just a girl singer, but she sure did specialise a lot in lost love and misery. I didn’t understand a tenth of what she was singing about, really, but that didn’t seem to affect how much I identified with it.

I recommend you buy everything she ever did before 1990.

You may or may not love it all, but you’ll learn how to hit a pitch dead on and sing a decent harmony, dammit.
/young punks these days can’t sing for nuthin’….


Simple Man, Simple Dreams

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#3

"...the mind that is persistently taking me back to the old life and fighting to see to it that I die there."

I didn't mean depression or obsessive thoughts, I meant the sheer habit of thought, like the tracks of an old wagon trail.  I'm beginning to think some of those habits of my mind qualify as addiction #3.

I've got some particular recurring behaviors in my thinking that aren't just laziness, but act as dopamine producing dissociation, and if I am able to point them out to myself and recognize when I'm doing it, then it's an addiction. 


But, I like them. 

I really, really do. 

I enjoy relaxing into all my addictions and just swimming in them with all the relaxation and freedom some people save for time at the ocean.

I can enjoy my addictions, one or two or three, or accept the miserable experience of fighting them. All of them. Addiction is a package. Sobriety or, eventually, nothing.

That mention of a wagon trail reminds me of this post which, upon reading again, is certainly on point, but not exhaustive.


Edit 03/21/17
I'm walking backward thru this blog, tracking to find the obvious that I don't want to see again and again.  I don't mind admitting I do the very things that I see others do wrong, I heard the rhema of that watching Jesus preach in the scriptures when I was a teen. It doesn't mean I don't HATE knowing it's true, and it doesn't mean it's true every single time, but it's surely there.

So, anyway, I backed up into this:


"If she had given up her own artful creation years ago, or even ten years ago, God could have mad something solid and satisfying from all the remnants that were left. It wouldn't matter how few threads were left, He could have rewoven the cloth into a pattern of substance, something that would satisfy her and rectified so many injustices that still produce wounds decades later."

I'm not sure that I have an "artful creation" of myself that I'm trying make, certainly no one I know thinks I'm artful, more of a clunker that just keeps rolling along. The second sentence is very interesting, though - "it wouldn't matter how few threads were left." 

I still get unspeakably upset at how few threads are left, at how few job options are conceivably left, at how many personal relationship options just aren't available due to age and common social templates, at my near total inability to focus mindfully on any goal whatsoever, and at the sheer paucity of threads I can even think of right now! Well, the statement of faith I wrote above says it doesn't matter how few threads, God can still make something "solid and satisfying," "a pattern of substance" that can answer my needs and put right so many things that still hurt me today.

Of course, I still have to deal with the later paragraph:
"
[It] would all end the same anyway because she was who she was, and that's the thing that needed to change. Not the events or the timeline, but the character of the individuals involved, and that can't be done thru warning or exhortation.* Only a willing humiliation combined with the redeeming power of the Truth will change any of us."

So then, Sister Prophet, it would seem that my own character or who I am needs changing. It isn't that I just need to know who I am, but who I am needs rebuilding, maybe like an old car pulled out of the weeds in the barn. What I was was fine back then, but time and circumstance have had their say, and now my only hope is the work of a creative genius as well as a great mechanic.


It looks like I'm going to have to undergo something like the focus of one of those super rebuild car shows, you know, like where they disassemble the thing into bits and make it into something new? I mean, if they start with a '66 Impala, when they're done, it's still recognizable as a '66 Impala, but... changed. Of a certainty not the same model that rolled off the line, and not the same car that was pulled out of the barn, but, yeah, still a '66 Impala, 'cause they are So Awesome.

I learned to drive in a '66 Impala. I can still hear the steering wheel click in the turn, feel the scalding heat of the bucket seat in summer, see over that long, wide hood, rock with the sway of the curves... I loved that car. I wanted that car. Dad gave it to my brother, who walked away from it after it ran out of gas and we never saw it again. What an asshole. But that's his life story, not mine.

Mine is about to get rebuilt.


Never seen a '66 Impala? Here you go. Pretty, eh?









*(I bolded that phrase for people who think you can talk/reason someone else out of addictions or psychopathy. Nope. The Person who is The Truth is not "correct information earnestly transmitted." That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works.) 


 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

20, 40, 50

I was scrolling thru my iTunes a few minutes ago looking for something good I hadn't played in awhile, and who rolls by but Don Moen. As basic and uncontroversial as sliced bread, I noticed that this album is 20 years old this year. In 1997, he was on the leading edge of bringing casual praise choruses inside the church house walls on a Sunday morning, and I was hungry to get whatever strength and growth God and this new wave of worship could give me. His great gift isn't being smooth or inoffensive, it's being as doctrinally sound as Fanny Crosby, if not as complex and prolific. Good doctrine is about feeding the listener good, nutrient rich food for his soul - whether you're teaching psychology, philosophy, or religion. It's still a good album, I hope it doesn't get pulled off the web or how else can I share it with you?

Sharing music videos with friends can do some amazing things. Yesterday, there was a note that several years ago a friend of mine had posted this song, "If We Ever Needed The Lord Before" by the Breath of Life Quartet, which happens to be 40 years old this year. I was busy in the middle of my work day at the time, but I let it play on. Somehow, the sweet love and kindness of that little bit of worship just moved me up and out of the incomprehensible crazy the world has become  - and I just stayed out. It wasn't nostalgia, it wasn't emotion, it wasn't exhaustion, it was the presence of God the Holy Spirit in me - and who I am joined with Him just isn't the same stuff this world is made of.

I just kept working, letting some other really old gospel quartets sing in my shirt pocket, and I began to miss being with God With Us, the corporate presence of God in His people, the Body of Christ, the church. I missed Him enough after only an hour to know I'll be back in a church house tomorrow, and I haven't attended church in about 6 or 7 years. [Because reasons, that's why. Mostly angry, disappointed, disgusted reasons.] By the time I finished my work day, I had unhitched myself from every line that tied me to the old wagons I've been pulling for years. I'm not anyone's pack mule anymore, not even my own.

I started the day in one life, opened the door thru music to rest in God's life for an hour or so, and ended my work day with the life I've been living for the last 50 years over with and put away like an old raggedy coat. I started the week wondering what Paul meant when he said, "It is for freedom that Christ set us free" Gal 5:1, and by the end of the week I'm a woman at peace, and not at all looking for expectations to fill or obligations to meet. Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden was light. I'm going with that, and that alone.

The Don Moen album? Oh, silly me, this one - Let Your Glory Fall:


Monday, February 20, 2017

Call me a fool if you want

" Why should I hold back
And cling to my dignity
When the God who made the heavens
 Came down and held NOTHING back for me


I will lift up my hands
I will bow on my face
I will dance with my feet
I will jump up and praise
I will shout it out loud,
"He's released me from shame!"
All the nations shall worship
And I'll do the same"



There is nothing more shameful than being arrested, 
convicted of capital crimes, 
all your possessions confiscated by the government, 
hated and despised by your own community, 
derided and ridiculed as you are led away, 
beaten and stripped naked and nailed to a tree along the side of the road to die, 
a common criminal, 
abandoned by friends and family alike, 
no mercy shown in heaven or earth.

He held nothing back.






 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lancer: Codependency and Emptiness

Some things to think about here:


Even now

4 years later, she still haunts my dream, bringing chaos.

And the cat just threw up in the hall. 

Charming. Just charming. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Climbing trees

(A tree from our family farm)


I can join the DAR now. Not that I ever especially wanted to, but I might. Ancestry.com is full of information, much more now than several years ago when last I joined. I do so love it when someone else does all the genealogy research for me, I'm just not that motivated.*  I've just this hour discovered my great-great-great-great-grandfather, a one Capt. John Floyd, "an active officer in the Revolutionary War."

That's very interesting, but what I've found to be much more interesting is how many mothers and fathers I really have. I don't just have the two, I've got 126 by the time I reach back as far as Capt. Floyd, and he's nearly living memory to me. What??? Oh, yeah. You see, family memories are tangible and transmitted a very, very long way.

My great great grandfather, of the great grandmother I actually knew, had a dreadful experience of losing two children to cholera in a season of floods and rains. The coffins of both had floated back up to the surface after the burials and he had had to go back in and weight the coffins from the inside and rebury his most beloved and dreadfully lost young adult children. It was a trauma that grieved him the rest of his life. Afterwards, he built a little house over their graves so they would be safe and protected in their rest ever after. That little house still stands and my father takes pains to see that it's not treated like a tool shed - and so will I.


That true sorrow and desire to protect what remains of two such promising young folk was passed to me thru the voices of my grandparents, who knew him and felt the loss of friends and relations that should have been theirs as well. My grandparents were born in the late 19th century and were no farther away from the Revolutionary War than I am from their youth now. As William Faulkner said, "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." Non-Southerners like to dismiss that fact as some idiosyncrasy of our rebellious history, but if you have any sense at all you will look around to discover the ground and framework of your life are all integral to a past you might have dismissed.

The good news is the past and soil you draw from today is much bigger than you had planned. At least 63 mothers and 63 fathers that I might be able to trace all had lives and strengths and legacies that are bequeathed to me, even though I might only discover a few. I'm not boxed in by the two or four or six that I've hugged and kissed goodnight, there are many more whose skills and capacities I carry - I just don't know it yet. Yes, I've got one mother who really irritated me, but I've got several more I found just today that raised big families, lived long lives, and were renown for their love and one more place at the table.



I plan to add the photographs of all the ancestors that I have and leave the access open to the public, for all my distant relatives to enjoy. I hope it inspires them to add their best and oldest photos, too. I don't know how to add such stories as I know, but I'm sure I've got some third+ cousins who could throw a few good ones in the mix to share. I'm still trying to adjust to having a Capt. John Floyd as an ancestor, but I'm wondering what his wife Nancy Ann was like as well. She lived to be nearly 100!




*With the exception of the Mormons - they load up all sorts of good information, then slap it all together with people who are obviously no relation and presumably baptize you into their church decades after your death. Fair warning: I come from a long line of foot washing Baptists, French Huguenot refugees, and brush arbor Methodists. We are washed in the blood, not your temple, and all slander against that blood will be answered in due time. Mind your own house.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Motto? Theme? Word?



Came across this little post here




and I've decided on this year's theme. Last year it was Strength [Resilience]. It took the whole year, but I believe I got what I was looking for. My leg took on some really good healing and I got my head under control so I could keep turning it back to what I wanted it to do. Sort of like this fellow:





Did you hear the trainer say something about "nose soft on the bridle"? That's about responsiveness and obedience, which in my case would be becoming responsive and obedient to myself, learning to turn back and face my issues - and neither bolt nor freeze as the terror overwhelms me.


This year's motto is MORE................wait a minute! I'm not telling YOU! Some things about myself are just for me, telling someone else just invites them in to mess it up, scrawl all their ideas all over it like graffiti and ruin the pleasure of it. But I've got it written down and I know where I'm going with it, perhaps we'll meet here next year and I'll tell you what it was and how it went.

....24 hours later....


Yeah, so, sitting at my home desk browsing the web is still as dangerous as ever. I wasted most of the day on ancestry.com, BUT, I did find some awesome things that I've been wondering about my whole life. You see, Maggie had a first marriage that seemed to color the rest of her life. It was brief, but it certainly had a huge effect on her life.

She always said she did it to please her mother, that her husband's family had money, and he treated her absolutely horribly.  I found his obituary on a general online search, and that alone seemed to take the stories out of the realm of mythology into reality. (Let's call him "Mugs," eh?) There were quite a few names in the obit, so joining ancestry.com became reasonable, and that's where I found a photo of the evil Mother-In-Law. I can see Maggie's point.

I also found addresses for the family business, which 65 years later still exists, surrounded by a whole lot of nothing mostly populated by single mobile homes. A few more general web searches and google maps yielded what I believe was his family home. It was a very nice house for its day, still is, two stories, on the main highway - and yet it also seems to be surrounded with single wide trailers at distances that imply other family members.

Really, y'all? Oh, I know how rural communities work, if you only get a half acre out from the main house because you can't afford to live any better, then just move in a mobile home. There's a kid on the way already and you've got to them settled and everyone working...

Oh, bloody hell, let's just come out with it - they're really all trailer park trash and I can see why Maggie got the freaking hell out of there. Yes, he was truly emotionally and physically abusive and, yes, his mother was a self righteous bitch who made Maggie and Mugs live in an apartment over the garage. But the real issue was that she could stay there with a bunch of obnoxious, lying morons or do whatever it took to get out of there and find some other life. So, she bolted, baby on the way and all.

I think she did exactly the right thing, and the shame and pain of it colored the rest of her life. Colored, as in tainted her psyché with stains she could never wash out. She was always in some sort of reaction to elements the rest of us knew nothing about. All sorts of sayings and advice she would so often repeat make much more sense to me now. She wanted repayment from a new family who had done nothing to her, and since that got her no satisfaction, she abandoned them in search of causes and political philosophies that would wreak the havoc she couldn't acquire in person.

I get it now, Maggie, I get it. But I'm not you, no matter if my voice often sounds the same, no matter if we like the same kinds of music, no matter if I'm good at writing and you were good at writing, I'm still not you. So you take back the responsibility for your life and relationships and mistakes, and I'm only going to be responsible for myself and my life and my mistakes.

I don't have to save you, making you happy wasn't my job - that was your job.
I don't have to do life "better than you did" - this isn't a mutual experience, my life does not redeem yours.
I've found out all the things about you that you thought you had hidden away for eternity, and none of them make you special, none of them make you powerful, they were just your chains - and I'm not going to carry them for you anymore.

I'm not carrying YOU around anymore.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Stars Hollow

It's fairy tale land, isn't it. I never watched Gilmore Girls before, but there's a binge on from the beginning, so I'm giving it a go from the pilot onwards. They talk way too much, but it's very enchanting, it reminds me of my high school years somehow. Lorelei is the young woman I wanted to be - clothes, house, life, huge sapphire eyes, and loved by everyone in her charming circle of friends.




 Of course, I'm nothing like her,


but watching the show somehow stirs up that start over can-do magic that has me up and moving again.


Yet, it's the dead of winter, not a sleigh ride with clever conversation in sight, and I've spent too much time with internet click bait and the news. I've been watching Leah Remini's show about Scientology, too, and very disheartened at a number of the same techniques I've fallen for in otherwise orthodox Christian churches over the years. There's always more money, more prayer, more sacrifice, more of something else required to go on to the "next level" in church or in God.

Between the absolutely horrifying things people who don't give a damn about God do to each other and the selfish manipulation by people who are supposed to love God with all their hearts, Jesus will have to come back soon or no one will have any faith left to communicate it to the next generation. EVERYTHING that has been sneaking around in men's hearts [women, too] is being filmed and posted on the internet. There is nothing hidden from sight and there is nowhere left on the planet to hide and pretend it doesn't exist anymore. The planet is fetid with rot, it has been for tens of thousands of years, the same murders and perversities perpetrated generation after generation.

The only thing left that would shock us all would be if the King of Kings were to come and make this human race worthy of life, even if only for a short while. I'm way past thinking that the saints can do it. It's God alone who has the wisdom and the power to make anything good, the most anyone else can offer is availability and obedience. Knowledge, wisdom, foresight, and comprehension are long departed from the people of God - so much so that it's the sign of a rookie to think that we can do anything to repair this world, much less "go higher."





Anyhoo...
I was reading this article about passive aggressive behavior when I noticed that's the very way I've been treating God for awhile now.

"Passive aggression is a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger. This “sugar coated hostility” involves a variety of behaviors designed to get back at another person without the other recognizing the underlying anger. When a person is able to quickly identify hallmark passive aggressive behaviors for what they are—hidden expressions of anger—they take the first critical step in disengaging from the destructive dynamic. Some of the most common passive aggressive behaviors to be aware of include:

Procrastination
Behaving beneath customary standards
Pretending not to see, hear, remember, or understand requests
The silent treatment
Sulking & withdrawal
Gossiping
Refusing to Engage

I left in bold the ones I've been doing with the Lord, but especially the last one - refusing to engage.

If you've been a co-dependent in a relationship with a borderline, or an alcoholic, or an addict, or someone otherwise more aggressive and powerful than you, then you've learned passive aggressive behavior also, and are probably doing it in ways and with people you didn't realize you were doing it with. It shuts down a relationship, it's impossible to be honest and intimate with someone and be hiding or protecting your anger with passive aggression at the same time.

And I'm just going to leave that there.

The merry fairy tale land of Stars Hollow has reminded me that today is another day and, with God, there is always beginning again.  I'm free, there is still time.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Poland? Russia?

Come on, people, no one from Poland or Russia is really reading this blog, so why the hits? I'm not a blog techie, I have no idea how to figure it out, but really, what's with it? If you've hacked it for some reason that I can't see, at least have the courtesy to read a post now and then and leave a genuine comment.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Childhood dissociation

Stumbled across this online radio broadcast while googling the name Joyanna. (Never the direct route for me, eh?) Very interesting to me, she mentions several things that I learned to do when very young and I think it's the right time for me to rummage around some more in the area.  Maybe it will help someone else.

Understanding and Working with Childhood Dissociation

May 21, 2013
Hosted by Lisa Ferentz

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The dark hours

Four years ago tonight, the RN from the Alzheimer's unit called about 3 in the morning and said I had to make a decision right then on whether I would enter my mother into hospice care that night (a legal, as well as medical, decision,) or have them transport her to the hospital for aggressive, invasive medical treatment. I had about five minutes to listen to her explain what was happening and tell her where we were all going next. 

I made the right decision, but to this day I feel like I signed her death warrant. I had to get up and go immediately to sign a sheaf of authorizations and have everything lawfully and properly explained by the hospice admitting nurse manager. I had no family to support me, no one ever put their arms around me to hold and comfort me, it was just me walking it out in a cold, cold blizzard that I feel again now.

Who understands what it's like to sit in the lobby by yourself at four in the morning,
waiting to declare your lawful intent to let your mother die? She had a husband, a son, a sister, grandchildren, a best friend. Why were none of them there? Why did not one of them want a call at that hour that she was going to die, no turning back? Why did none of them really want to speak to her over the phone one last time?

It was a barefisted champion's punch to my face, not the gut. It can still make me reel and wobble, but there isn't anyone who understands or cares how much it hurts now, either. Four years ago, I still had the confidence and determination of the hopeful and the unknown. Tonight it feels colder and more scary than ever.

Seduction






Seduction is the great distraction in personal relationships. As an ADD-er, I not only get distracted quite a bit, I unconsciously use distraction as a tactic to avoid interpersonal trouble. If I've failed to be what someone wanted or needed me to be, to avoid a discussion about something that can't be fixed or changed, I find that I start talking about something entirely different, usually flattering, and in a different universe entirely from the subject of my failure. It's never been a conscious tactic, but I've become conscious of it in the last year as I continue to learn how to "own my own reality."

In typing that one paragraph above just now, I've described how the primary leader of Maggie's entourage used distraction, and seduction, against me - all my life. I suspect he learned the technique unconsciously as a child in the midst of his parents who themselves had settled into a war of cold love and family duty. He learned to be the good guy, the hope of family redeemed in the next generation, the center of all their genuine love, and above all be charming and entertaining. Without meaning to, he built a substantial façade, and then when life and relationships in every direction failed to understand his gifts, he retrenched and built a plan to escape and obtain a life and relationships that would.

I was his ticket out. As a child, providing income was often his ticket out of living with us full time and some relief of the emotional care for Maggie. As I became an adult, I am sadly, reluctantly, but completely convinced that I became his ticket out of the relationship altogether. As long as I minded her at home, he hadn't "abandoned" her, he had left a life long caretaker with her. I'll give you a few examples that I could not explain in any way at the time, and neither could he, but his emotional and behavioural responses in these incidents were huge - on a level that left me tumbled and misdirected for decades.

In my early 20's, I won a round trip ticket to Denver, CO - but you had to go that day. My plan wasn't complex, I thought I'd just go to Denver for the day or overnight, just to fly and see and go do a little something for lark. I was excited, it had been ages since I'd won anything. He shut me down, hard, with intimidation and fear of "what might happen." So I didn't go. He loved me best, right? I think now he was having an emotional knee jerk reaction to the thought of me leaving town altogether. He realized later he had really screwed up and finagled another ticket, but I never did go. It was never the right time again. It wasn't my win and my lark anymore, it was his apology and another tedious chore.

Not long after that, he started taking me out to dinner, nice dinners at nice places, a different restaurant every time, and we would eat whatever we wanted and talk for a couple hours each time. The conversations were filled with how unhappy he was and how it was never going to get any better. At first, I thought he was just talking to me as a friend and finally admitting how difficult it was to live with Maggie, in a way he never could do when I was a kid. But over the months, he slowly worked his way to talking about moving out and getting a divorce. He wanted to make sure I understood why and was on his side and protecting his interests. Well, of course I would protect him in a dispute, hadn't I always? Hadn't I always? And I did.

Well, he moved out and I stayed there. Just me and Maggie, her getting more crazy and depressed and occasionally suicidal, but always angry and hurt. I didn't really know where he had moved to, he didn't give me his address. I'm not even sure he gave me his new phone number, but I knew I wasn't to call him, he had had enough and wasn't coming back. (Although Maggie did not know this was the case, I had known for months, but I protected him and didn't let on.) And He didn't call me for at least six months. No more dinners, no asking how I was doing, just me taking care of Mags for him so he could have some peace and start making a new life for himself. But, I was understanding, patient, and forgiving.

Six
months.

About a year and a half after he left, I needed to get out of there myself. The house was going to be sold, no one told me when really, but I needed to get out and on my own in some fashion. So, I found a back porch that had been closed up and turned into a micro-apartment, the rent was $195/month, and therefore, perfect. Maggie was irritated and didn't understand why I'd want to live there instead of in a big mansion with her, but he was mad angry that I moved out of living with her. I just did not understand his response at all, but he was the only one with a pickup truck. So I just put up with all the brusqueness and the muttering as I had to borrow furniture from him, and the squealing tires as he stormed away after helping with a load.

Read that again. I had to borrow a bed frame and a chair from his parents' storage building. And I had to return them. As the same again later when I moved to a different city three years later and needed to borrow enough furniture to furnish a real one bedroom apartment - and move myself without any help from anyone.  I had to rent a truck and return that furniture, too. I was sent out from my parents home without a pot to cook in, literally. Thankfully, I had had a friend at work who gave me some of her old pots. Neither one of my parents gave me furniture, they were loaned out and returned.

When I moved to that another city, he didn't speak to me for 18 months. The relationship was never officially bruised or broken, he just never called or wrote or had any time to talk when I called. It stayed that way until he divorced wife #2, and then he was all charm again as he hooked up with wife #3, but the relationship with her added the new bonus of full on lying. "Oh, no, I didn't buy that new house to live with her, it's just an investment." "She doesn't feel well tonight, I'll introduce you some other time." And the nothing but air at the buzzer winner, "We're not getting married, we're just dating," as I finally met her sitting at a restaurant,  an enormous diamond engagement ring sitting on her finger. A week later, he called on a Thursday when he knew I was at work and left a message on my machine saying they were getting married on Saturday, no need to come down, just a few friends, you know...
I didn't see the wedding pictures for a few more years, but all her children looked very happy about the new union.

Do I sound like a jilted girlfriend? I hear it. Heck, I've felt it many, many times. I thought I was a daughter and we were family no matter what, but seduction is such a sneaky and deceiving tool, it messes with your head and twists relationships out of all recognition. When a fundamental relationship is twisted, like a young girl and her father, neither one is seeing themselves clearly. There doesn't have to be any sexual misconduct, seduction is all about charm to a self interested goal. It can be salesmanship or drama/rescue, as long as one party deceives the other emotionally, long enough and deeply enough, to satisfy a need at the expense of the other. 

Well, the good news is I don't think either one of my parents have ever been mean or abusive in their behavior towards any of their children consciously or deliberately or with malice aforethought. I love my Dad and he does love me, he just is the way he is, and I am understanding and admitting more about that, and accepting him just the way he is. Change and clarity for me in my life is coming in understanding that weird betrayed feeling that keeps exploding like land mines along the path is, in fact, that I have actually been weirdly used and betrayed. That is actually the nature of our relationship on a frequent basis. My chore is to understand there is no moment or point in time where he begins to act differently.

Depending on whatever he needs to get along with his wife, he will act - and that's the way it's been since his first wife, or more specifically, since his mother. (He's married his mother three times now. Sorry, but it's true. They all wanted to think they were different, but underneath the patina, all four women operated from the same program.)

All these years, I thought he was in a direct relationship with me as a daughter, but he isn't - I'm an ancillary relationship relative to his primary relationship with his wife. To his sight, my image and identity is always either fused or occluded with who I am/was with his first wife or his mother. Back in my early 20's and in between wives, he would sometimes invite me to a party or event that had people I also knew. He never heard himself say it, but more than few times he introduced me as "my wife Maggie." I corrected the mistake immediately and let it pass, (the trauma of the divorce, n'all,) but he has forever framed me as some sort of afterimage of Maggie on his retina.

Have you ever seen a comedy skit on television where one person is trying to tell the other they have a crumb or a milk mustache on their face, but they don't say anything directly? Perhaps they are at work or a party and they start making subtle motions with their hands so the other person will brush away the crumb. When people see you with the image of someone else laid over your own personality, they will very subtly relate to you as if you are the other person. It doesn't really matter what you really have done or how you really are, they will keep relating that way - and you will respond to their behavior as if that is who you really are, especially if you are taking their cues and signals the same way you would if someone was motioning that you had doughnut sugar on your face. They see your face and you can't, so there must be doughnut sugar there. They see your personality and you can't, so the response they are having to you must be because you are doing or being something that causes that response.

Nope.

If you are on the codependent recovery trail, you've heard this as a method of inducing shame, and it can do that, BUT, (and a very big "but" it is,) it is also just a messed up jumble of confused communication that can leave you spinning and confounded about who you are and what your personality is as you relate to people who don't know that third party at all. If Dad the Good Guy acts like you have a big wart on the end of your nose, you will unconsciously go thru life as if you did. Dad the Good Guy is looking at one image, you are ducking and dodging trying to fill that image out, and everyone else is seriously confused as to why you keep bobbing and weaving at the most inopportune moments.

Don't let the fairy tales fool you, it takes more than a moment of revelation to change course. Unless you figure out who bewitched you into believing you have a big wart on your nose and how they bewitched you into believing it, then follow that up with big historical surveys and digs thru your life to see what that false wart image has done to you, then you won't get out from under that spell and change yourself into who you really are. Reality is accepting that Dad isn't The Good Guy, he's just the guy I drew in the parent lottery. I still love him, I always will, I just don't want to love him the same way anymore. I've always loved him on credit, waiting and hoping that one day... something will be different, that we will be family again. That won't ever happen, I was mistaken. It was just a mistake, a genuine misunderstanding, but by writing this here I'm committing to not forgetting and making the mistake again.

Happy Thanksgiving




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Entourage

"Entourage"

This is the post that isn't going to be written. I wanted to write something about what everyone else in the family was getting out of the relationship with Maggie, or how they figured things out but never told me, and what they did instead. None of them reached back and said, "This is what she is doing to you, but you don't have to live like that. Don't let her destroy you!"

I could write ten thousand things, and have written a few more than this, but I've opted to delete all sorts of family history in favor of this one element: passive neglect.

It sounds so small and unintentional, doesn't it? It isn't. It isn't even passive. It's deliberate, it swirls unspoken and desperate in the mind of an adult who could do something, but it requires loud arguments, stepping into the middle of active abuse and making it stop, opening up the account books and going thru line by line and demanding to know where it all went, it means asking outside people for help, and it means loving your kids more than you love yourself and doing something about it all every single day.

No one wants to do all that. Better to just "not know." I used to wonder how Maggie could let her unoccupied farm insurance lapse, twice, so that when the county arsonist burned down the house, then came back and burned down the barn, she had no reimbursement for the lost value of the buildings. Now, I could wonder how someone could just "not know" and let all the family relationships go to hell, one child keep running away from home until he finally never came back, another child kill herself, and then cut a bargain with yourself so that the third becomes emotionally responsible for your wife so you can make your escape to a happier life, while that one remains chained until death.

But, I don't wonder anymore. It just does no good. Reminders of it get thrown up at me rather often, but I'm all grown up now and I try just to process and go on. Nothing can be changed, so I'll send flowers and a nice note instead. Everywhere is very polite and not notice and not know. It always has been.

flowers by Martha Stewart