Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Delusional Set-up

I'm harping on confronting my delusions at the moment. I don't know how many I use, but they generally ring around giving a loved one more credit for loving me than they deserve, OR, giving myself a brighter prospect for the future than I should expect. It's more than optimism, it's a deep, repeating habit of accepting the feel good gaslighting of my childhood. Quite a bit of that gaslighting was intended to be a short term answer to other people's lifetime problems, but no one ever stepped up to deal with anything honestly, and the years of my growing up just tripped on past, leaving me still believing the pacifying bullshit.

I just read this article at PsychCentral, and I'd like to see some elements in it explored for adult survivors of a narc family, especially after decease of the dominating parent.

"As the victim’s mind scrambles to discover what one has to do to acquire a positive response from her abuser, cognitive dissonance sets in and the desperate urgency to discern a rhyme or reason becomes a driving force.

At this point, the victim evidences signs of Stockholm Syndrome, a form of traumatic bonding in which victims are pathologically attached to their perpetrator. She is caught up in an addictive cycle and deifies her abuser, dependent on her tormentor to redeem her.

This pathological attachment is a survival strategy, which enables the victim to dissociate from her pain. By disowning the horror of her reality and taking on the abuser’s perspective, the victim wards off the threat of helplessness and terror she actually experiences.

Her locus of control centers around appeasing and pleasing the abuser, so as to mitigate danger. Over time, the victim becomes over-identified with her abuser, ignoring her own needs and assuming responsibility for the abuser’s `suffering.’ She begins to believe the abuse is her fault."


"Therefore, the duped therapist can be complicit in a delusional set-up, which has severe repercussions for the victimized partner. Sadly, this posturing only encourages the psychopath to promulgate his deleterious maneuvering and reinforces the notion that the victim’s suffering, brought about by gas lighting, lies, infidelities, violence and myriad forms of deception is somehow faulty and exaggerated.

Subsequently, with the therapist’s endorsement, the victim regresses into dissonance and deceptive fantasy believing she has newfound agency and legitimate expectations of happily ever after. Inevitably, idealization gives way to devaluation and the cycle of emotional rape recurs, leaving the victim even more emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially and socially devastated."

I am so sorry to say that all of this plays out in the church and every other religious and corporate endeavor on the planet year in and year out as well. It's ENDEMIC within the human race, don't be so surprised. It isn't that God Himself is an abuser, but leadership with a personal, self serving agenda hidden on the side routinely use the same mind games to trigger passivity, excessive donations, self doubt, and generalized confusion among the flock.
 [But, Pastor is such a Nice man, he would never Really Lie, he's just trying to grow the church.] 
 And it plays out in senior leadership of businesses. 
      [We used to be a team, but now we're all on edge because the directors have run out of ways to manipulate the spread sheets and get their bonus checks, while the VP level plays... you get it.] 
It's psychotic, and no one steps up to deal with the abuse.

People who were raised in sound households know how to recognize the BS when they see it and they learn to ignore it and go on with their own lives. They don't take it personally, they don't do what they don't want to do, they aren't easily intimidated, and if they decide the atmosphere is too toxic or not profitable to what they want to do with their time, they just leave and go do something else.

Those of us who were trained to hold on to the bitter end don't recognize the abuse as abuse for years, we feel compelled to stay and try to make the entire rancid thing "better," even when that's not our job or anywhere within our personal capacity, and even after it's over and we don't have contact with the abusers, we stew in the abuse through memories or grieving patterns.

I noticed myself walking thru the house the other day - I was tense and folded up from my shoulders all the way down thru my fingertips in a particular way, and my gait was odd and familiar. I was mimicking Maggie's* physicality.  I was walking and moving in the strangest imitation of her, and it served no useful purpose. I wasn't reacting to anyone, I don't recall what I was thinking, I was just manifesting her presence in my house!

I am continuing to identify with her thru her mannerisms, her voice, sometimes a turn of phrase, and thru a slew of emotions and attitudes that just seem to slice themselves in when I'm not looking. There are all sorts of hunts that I don't have a dog in, yet I find myself running hard to keep up with the pack, and after which I can't understand how I got there in the first place. In a way, I am being her - so I can still respond to her - because that's what I've done all my life and what else can I do now?

I don't know any other life than the one I've lived for the past 50 years, and there are NO ready doors of access to a new life at my age.  The same mind that has to fight everyone else to create a new life for me is also the mind that is persistently taking me back to the old life and fighting to see to it that I die there.

You would not believe the thought swings I have on a daily basis between confidently creating new horizons and a new future, and understanding that the biggest likelihood is that I will do nothing but work a job I don't like and am less suited to by the year, live alone with cats, and die unnoticed until the light bill goes unpaid. I used to get cranky at all the Facebook friends who complained on a rotating schedule of [whatever], yet they lived very well, were happily married, and have extended networks of family and friends for support. Now I just have to ignore them as whiny little brats.

I don't have the time or emotional energy to spare for nonsense. My brain runs hobbled even on my best days with the ADD and introversion, how will I ever pull out of this roundhouse of codependency and abuse recovery and actually get somewhere productive and alive?

I dunno. I truly do not know. But I know if I don't keep scrambling for even the little things, death is going to shut down my years before my years have even ended. I'm so damned familiar with being the living dead that I'm more at home in a cemetery than I am at a party, and that is an absolute moral wrong and a stinking, grotesque offense to the God who made me and this entire, wonderful universe.

So then, here's to a good head of steam and finally getting on track. It's a thing of beauty.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Her name is Maggie

I'm barreling thru my stack of books, plus I received the last of Pia Mellody's CD lectures, so now I have them all. The result has been a flood, and I do mean it's all coming out, of note taking, identification with this and that as I read or hear about something, and journaling of issues and new understandings. It's all good, Pia says you have to get your history straight so you can begin to deal with the effects of abuse. We all have a lot o'history.

Remember where I told you there was a day in my youth, maybe about age 11, when I stopped calling my mother Mommy or Mom, and called her Mother ever after that? It was my way of distancing myself from her physically (the voice is audible, heard with our ears) and emotionally (no longer an affectionate name, but her official title.) As I was writing today, I realized it's time to stop calling her Mother, it just really demeans that title and that role in a persons life. She wanted the power and prestige of being "Mother," but she dropped the responsibility and accountability for it consciously and willfully when I was still in my single digits. In the end, it was nothing more than a trump card to be played when compliance was required.

So, I've started writing her actual given name in my notes and journals, but here I will refer to her as "Maggie." I don't know anyone with that name (no Margaret anywhere,) it sounds a bit like a fictional harridan (any famous drunks with that name, maybe in Faulkner, dunno,) or screeching crow (Magpie?), and, oddly enough, it makes her more human. She was just a woman - with serious issues. It's time to get her off the pedestal, out of the cloaked magic that is motherhood, mark and remove the structures that are her build in my soul, and dethrone her power in my life.

She wasn't a dear sweetie and she wasn't a demon possessed madman, she was a willful human being who shall be known here from now on as Maggie, or as "my mother, Maggie."


And in other news, I recommend again giant Post-It notes that you can stick on the wall and write notes on. (Staples, etc., will have them, too.) They are good with dry erase markers or fine Sharpies, so you can write big or small, with your glasses on or without (!), and you can keep your subjects together and seriously accessible all the time. It might be an issue if you have other people around wanting to read or critique it, but by yourself, it works great. Getting a journal, finding the page, trying to make it read just so can be taxing.

Just dash it off on the Post-It, add things on the margins, draw arrows, draw a picture, then go on to the next part of the lecture or book and come back and add something later. You can add the final edition of the note page to a digital journal by taking a readable photo of it, good for long term storage of the note anyway, or use the information to make some longer, coherent journal entries. I've got Pia's co-dependence workbook coming tomorrow, so I can take the things I've dashed off on the posters and reorganize it for the exercises in the workbook.

Kind of like this, but NOT THIS PERFECT!

Mine are vastly less colorful, but you can see where subject matter, mood, and emotion level change the outcome. Some are scribbled lists, some are a bit flow charty, some are lecture notes, some are life notes. I thought I'd take a picture of my own post-it posters, but I can't figure out how to blur them. Y'all don't need to read that mess, you got your own mess to straighten out.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Do you see?

Do you see why I like Stevie Nicks! I LIKE her!

Oh, I went looking for the workbook for Pia Mellody's book, but I ended up with a bunch of other addiction and codependency books. Starting on Dr. Drew Pinsky's book, Cracked. If you aren't sure about how all the personality disorders and addictions line up, Pinsky's descriptions of actual cases and how rehab and recovery works will shake all that out for you. Nothing like a pro to make things clear.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Play on

My recovery travels with Pia Mellody and Stevie Nicks continue. Pia nailed me so hard in a set of lectures called Co-Addicted Relationships, it's taken three days to stop blinking at the light. Yes, it's worth every penny and, no, you shouldn't make a video out of it and post it on youtube. That's just major league wrong. Stevie Nicks comes into the picture because so many of her songs are about the kind of love affairs I used to have - and used to think I was supposed to have! Drama and heartbreak and grieving and rinse and repeat are not love, but that's all we know, so that's all we do.

[I will give you a great big revelation out of that CD set: love addiction and codependency are NOT the same thing, although the codependency obviously feeds into it. I think quite a few of the bloggers out there that are dealing with recovery from narcissistic romantic partners would benefit from some real clarity about love addiction. It feels like everything is all mushed together, but Pia knows how to sort the layers out so you can deal effectively with addiction as addiction, and then go on to deal with the primary issues of codependence. She sounds like she's making it complicated, but she's really being respectful of what our experience truly is. She and I have the same goal - deal with all the mess and get on with the business of living. I've been chained on an emotional trash heap all my life, I'm willing to do the work to move on.]

I've found that there's a local CoDA 12 Step meeting, I'm not sure that's what I need or want, but if I can cobble some courage together, I'd like to go see. I tried a different 12 Step group 25 years ago, and it was massively depressing. Dark room, clinically depressed people, no hope in sight, and the guy leading it set off major warning bells in my spirit. I didn't go again. I think I'm just wanting some acquaintance with others who understand by experience what the deal is and who can keep me grounded about continuing to be aware of how this thing is and has worked in my life. One of my greatest frustrations has always been looking thru old diary entries and finding that I'm doing the same damned dance and repair work over and over again.

I found this interview with Stevie Nicks very interesting this morning. I've never been a following fan of hers before, although I bought her albums way back when. The longer I listened to her talk here, the more I liked her. She is, just in herself, a great encouragement to be yourself and be creative.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


There's something about writing here that sets things to rest. Well, it settles them down a bit, and that is worth something over time.

I once had a boyfriend sexual obsession who was equally obsessed with me, and we danced around each other for a number of years. He was my first and we were absolutely wrong for each other, so naturally we proceeded to seduce each other for quite some time. It had all the best elements for fantasy and lost hope - we were complete opposites in every way, our friends and families could not know about it lest it cause an uproar (we were in our teens and barely twenties), and he was vain, handsome, and posturing, and I was naive, hormonal, and emotionally non-existent. Perfect!

I was finally able to confirm last week that he was the shooter in murder-suicide several years ago. I'm angry that he would or could become so base that he would murder a good woman who by all accounts supported him and deserved no such thing. But I also mourn the young man I once knew and occasionally hoped that one day we would casually cross paths again and laugh together at our youth. Flee self pity, people, it's a killer - of your own soul, and in truth, it seeks the destruction of others to satisfy itself. Just let your failures go. Forever.

For the last four or five days, I've been seeing his image standing somewhere near me, not as a ghost, but more like those blended photos of history and a modern photograph. I see him in that precious camel hair coat, smiling at me, wondering and double dog daring me on what I'm going to do next. It's just old memories floating up to the surface as I recall more and more of him and more and more of me way back then. I'm not fond of all these ghosting experiences, but it does bring back parts of me that I've long forgotten.

I won't let him stay long, but before I put him away I'd like to send out a long distance dedication to him wherever he is. He ran away to find himself in the Navy and never came home again. I don't know at all who he was when he died, but I remember him as I knew him. I hope he sought and found the peace of God.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The riddle answered

I think I have found the answer to the teapot riddle. It's too straightforward to leave as a mere comment, but like so many other riddles, I had to have some patience to let it reveal itself.

Dad came up this past week to help me with some things and spend some time together. He likes it here, the bed in my guest room is a very good sleeping bed and I don't really have too many chores for him to do. He's in his eighties now and I think he may have done his last chore for me, he's gotten a little weaker and a little less sure footed, so it might be best to just think of this as a little holiday from home from now on. He never aged a day until he was over 75, now he needs a bit of watching over. He thought I was joking that I would call him on the phone and make sure he was drinking his water. I wasn't.

Somewhere in our conversations and many catchings up, Dad happened to mention that he and I went out to tea together one time, just the two of us. Dad had an accompanied tour overseas once (he was an officer in the U.S. Navy), and we (Mom and us kids) got sent home early. Dad stayed on there another six months, then when he got a transfer approved to Vietnam, he stopped by where we had moved to in the States on his way to Vietnam. While he was with us that week, he and I went to some little restaurant and had tea, probably according to whatever my little child's ideal of having tea would be. He thought it was very sweet and I was quite adorable. I was six, about to start the first grade, and I don't remember the occasion at all.

He was deployed to Vietnam MACV for 18 uninterrupted months and I watched the war on the 6 o'clock news, Huntley and Brinkley, every night. I thought sure we were winning with all the people being killed in each battle, and I strained to see some glimpse of him in every newsreel of Saigon city. He was there during the Tet Offensive and I'm sure I was nearly exhausted with the waiting and worry by the time he came home.

The first seven years of my life, I was waiting for Dad to come home from the sea for at least four of them, maybe much more. Looking on the big map in the kitchen and wondering where Daddy's ship could be was a daily fixture in my life.

I was two and a half in this photo sent to Daddy away on a cruise, showing that I loved him and was being a good girl waiting for him to come home.

Of course, when he came finally came home to never go on a cruise again, we were all older, it wasn't the happy home I thought it was going to be, and the only way to spend time with him was to be his little helper around the house or go to work with him. And so began almost two decades of waiting for when things were better and we would all be happy then.

Of course, that time never comes and it never came, but I've still been waiting for it. Bracing, prepping like a survivor cultist, unspoken prayers no different than wishing on a star, unconsciously thinking that I have to keep some sort of time gate open just in case that storm front moves in and things that went wrong can be make right in the end. It's magical thinking, it's believing that fairy tales do come true, it's the endless mind maze of great science fiction, and it's the thoughts of an isolated child who gets her ideas about how life could be from classic movies.

Or, as Pia Mellody has pointed out, it's delusional thinking, and it was deliberately trained into me when I had no power to think it out on my own. It has lain quietly and mercilessly within me all this time, only whispering a word or giving up a rush of nostalgia at regular intervals to keep me bound within it.

I am truly, truly shocked at how much of this sort of thinking I've been engaged in all my life. It's never out in the open, but my thinking processes have never been out in the open before, either. This kind of thinking is the dreaming I do when I'm helpless and distressed on every front, I just keep it tucked away as a comforting talisman, a kind of dream that lulls me to sleep at night after a hard day of grinding reality. It isn't particularly about my father, it's about any thing or any place in life I can't get to right now. I just plan and dream and make very small preparations, like cups of tea in a Victorian drama, and wait for something to change because I can't see any way to change the situation myself.

 (I've been trained to wait for some other day, because I've had my own agency usurped by the needs of my parents. I can't "go and do" because my job was to not cause trouble at home EVERY DAY and be always available to take care of my parents' emotional needs. I was an emotional counselor and comforter to both of them, neither one of them had a Clue that was grossly inappropriate or that mutual support was between husband and wife only, not parent and child. While Dad was in Vietnam, Mother had me come home from school for lunch every day, sleep in the bed with her at night so she wouldn't be alone, and never thought to see I went to parties or friends houses to play because she was busy finishing her college degree. Can you see how making friends in school got short circuited that way? I could go on and on... )

Strangely enough, it's about having small vision, although it masquerades as grand dreams. While "someday something big will happen" is happening, nothing at all is happening - year after year - and my life just kept slipping on by. I needed much better help than I got, much better counseling that I ever had access to, but life just isn't fair like that, so I'm deliberately being thankful that I'm getting a clearer head now. It's a bit of a mixed blessing still, however, because I'm at the stage in life now that I half wonder if I wouldn't be better to just remain half asleep. Youth is absolutely gone and I must actually do something effective about my life now or become profoundly grieved or bitter. It's extremely dangerous territory, really, and I have no patience with platitudes about it.

Well, all that said I'm still working out the new way of thinking.

* It means I feel easier about getting rid of old, not really valuable at all, just sentimental family items. For the most part, they are actually memory tokens for one of my parents or grandparents, not a memory of mine. Both of my parents have somehow felt that sharing their memories of family or experiences have been a means of sharing the actual family or experience - and so they defaulted on making sure we kids had friends and experiences of our own.  I've settled for that in all my relationships, I've permitted friends and lovers to treat me the same secondhand way, and it's completely wrong and dismissive.
Mother went to San Francisco for two weeks for her job. She generously brought back a silver charm of the city as a memento and the first charm on a new bracelet I wanted to start collecting. She really thought her experience was a valid memory for me, after all, wasn't I just an extension of her existence?
"Friends" in high school used to go to parties or camp out on the weekend and habitually did not invite me to anything, yet they felt no shame about it and would still hang out around me every day in school. I can't count the number of times they would tell me about how good the S'more's were around the campfire, yet I've never had a S'more 'til yet. "Friends" in high school are quite the story in themselves, but we'll leave that for some other day.)

*It means I feel better about dumping projects and plans of my own that went nowhere and just seem to have accumulated in my soul because at some point or for some reason it seemed good at the time. Being habituated to holding on to someone else's thoughts for them has kept me in the habit of hanging on to my own plans or projects for much too long. It's part and parcel of not being in the present, but living in the delusion of the past or the delusion of a daydream. The present is the only reality that I have access to, there is plenty to do here, and I'm not precluding a different future by just being right here right now.
 (There is some quality of betraying the past or future that I've attached to being fully present in the right now. I think it's a tag habit leftover from grieving the loss of my sister, as if moving on with my life without her is a betrayal of my love for her. It's pure emotion, not reason, but it's a lie that has to go.)

 *It means I've got to be deliberate and fierce EVERY DAY about not letting memories and day dreams suck up any more of my time. It's such an easy thing to do, but I think I'd be better off watching a new movie or listening to a book on tape while I do some absent minded activity (clean house, paint a room, walkies) rather than let my mind float away in its old habit of entranced distraction. How well I'll do with it, I couldn't begin to guess, but this is an issue of life and death. I have a loooong track record of letting time go by unnoticed, daydreaming inside my head was my only defense against profound boredom and mental/emotional invasion by others as a child, but all those people are gone and I'm safe now. I can "go and do" whatever I want (for the most part), but only if I am actually spending much more of my time outside than inside.

I said earlier that God is ready to write the next chapter in my story, and I really feel like this is what He is saying to me right now. Nothing about it is has to be what I've ever expected or planned for, although I'm also not saying it will be grand or exciting or "important" to the world's way of thinking, it's just going to be not the same chapters I've had always had again and again.

The most difficult thing about novels or long stories is the ending. How will the author bring things together and make everything that came before integrated into a whole that came from somewhere and arrived at its destination? I gave up fiction novels many years ago because I kept plowing thru reasonably good stories that the author couldn't finish. The elements were there, the writing was good, the pacing was effective, yet when it was time to bring the thing to an end and get it published, the author had lost his way and run out of steam. Somehow the last few chapters were little more than the mush of an editor pushing for The End to finally arrive.

I don't want mine to be a grand story, I just want it to be a coherent, graceful story. I've had all the mush I can stand, certainly more mush than a child deserves. I want my wounded inner child to have grown up and released me from all her debts at last.

And with that last sentence, what's this song I hear echoing in my ear?

"Somebody’s gotta pay for this.
Nobody gets away unless somebody dies.
And it’s confirmed that there’s been pain
enough to satisfy the rage
from the losses she sustained by age thirteen.
Only then can the rest go free."

Found this blog looking for that image. She gets it just right.

May you all find your own resurrection in Jesus, the Messiah.

Somebody’s gotta pay for this. Nobody gets away unless somebody dies. And it’s confirmed that there’s been pain enough to satisfy the rage from the losses she sustained by age thirteen. Only then can the rest go free. - See more at:

Somebody’s gotta pay for this. Nobody gets away unless somebody dies. And it’s confirmed that there’s been pain enough to satisfy the rage from the losses she sustained by age thirteen. Only then can the rest go free. - See more at:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Something bloomed

In the 14 minutes it takes to get to work, my head exploded. Trying Allegra for the first time.

Meanwhile, I bought my first Fleetwood Mac album this morning. Unbelievable, I know, they were on the radio 24/7 all thru high school. Listening this morning I realized they are all codependent.  Seriously. Rumours is all codependent relationships gone wrong. In my teens, I just thought it was how love was done and had no idea how screwy it all was. Of course, I couldn't understand half the lyrics I was singing along with anyway, but it made me feel deeply. Or so I thought.


Take heed (pay attention) to what you hear or see daily. I have no doubt the reason my house is decorated in ocean blues and sands is because I bought a blue and natural rope door stop for my bedroom. It's what I see as I stumble to the bathroom every morning. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sex in the kitchen

It seems to be a theme with me lately, doesn't it? Anyway, I have a mixer, but it isn't in Bordeaux.  Go ahead, try to tell me this color doesn't just give you a shiver. I want it in the 7 qt. size, so I'm going to write them and see if there isn't some kind of bribe they'd take to make one in Bordeaux just for me.

(Guys! Just spray a 7 qt casing in Bordeaux next time you do a run on that color. I'll wait! I'll pay in advance!!! Ooh, baby, wouldn't it just shine like a jewel? I'm going to put it over where you can see it from the living room. KitchenAid and chill, it could be a thing... if you wanted it to be a thing. Yeah?)


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Looping it

so maybe I'll remember it. For once.

Pack it up, or just move on?

[But first, sexy as the dickens, now I'm finding the stuff everywhere, and I Love it! See that curvy little base? Like a shapely little bum wrapped in a pencil skirt, I tell ya!

aaaand back to the subject...]

I went thru quite a phase this week when I thought about deleting the current content of this blog, doing a radical change towards shopping, decor, and nothing but cheerful trends, and monetizing the thing with ads. There are no known readers here and I'll need to keep the things I'm exploring about my past now completely off the web, so what's the point of having it?

Or, I could just string up a third blog to share my shopping finds and interior design opinions, monetize it, and risk this one being found. What a Debbie downer for the random pinner, eh? If there is anyone actually reading here that wants it left up, speak now, for it may disappear soon.

I guess I'm torn between my traditional way of dealing with people. Do I keep everyone in their lanes by splitting myself into parts, just like I've done with these two blogs, or do I ask the heretofore impossible and bring everything together into one - as all these radically disparate elements live quite casually as one in me?

The past couple of weeks have been rather rough as I've realized, yet once again, how easily I make people uncomfortable, and how easily they leave. It's particularly galling from people who hold their reputation for Christian love or being all around great guys so dear.  I don't pick fights, I don't accuse people of this and that or their failures, I don't do drama of any kind, I just don't fit into a pre-measured, standard box that they can compartmentalize into their lives - and so I'm not in it, at all.  

It's a problem. I don't know how to fix the problem. I don't want to be pre-measured and standardized so I can be put into a compartment, but I don't want to be walked away from so very easily anymore. What to do, what to do...

Oh, here's an unbelievably fantastic interview of two children, one with ADHD, and one without. I can't begin to tell you how deeply I identify with the child with the ADHD.  If only I had known at that child's age, if only I had parents that saw any of those issues as the deeply serious problems that they were (and still are,) if only... I had been born into an entirely different life than the one I have. But I wasn't. This is it. And I'm still here in my 50's trying to figure out how to do it better.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Details and the Story

Remember where I cued in on "separating the precious from the vile" in the last post?

I've been adding details to memories. The more I think about why this and how come that, the more data points I have for figuring out how I ended up here and not there.  Today, I strung together and wrote down how a particularly vexing series of facts add up to some very ugly truths that won't ever make it to this blog. Although my mother is dead, a fair few of my family are still living, and although no one should know anything about this blog, I don't want to say anything so painful that it would hurt them beyond reason. Just the same, I look at some things and am absolutely horrified. 

As I wrote some of my assessments in a journal today, I believe them to be true facts. The things described really did happen and the outcome of it all is really that mucky (as in a pile of filth and excrement), nevertheless, there is a problem in viewing it in sum. 

The details are facts, but they are not the true story God is wanting to tell. 

While the editorial board of the Amplified Version of the Bible may feel that "separating the precious from the vile" has to do with doubting God, I think He is pointing out to me that it's time for me to start setting aside the vile parts of my life from what is precious and should be honored and kept. It's valid to know and understand what the vile is, but I can't muck around in it too much longer. I've got to rake it up, contain it, and set it aside to work anew on creating what is precious and alive.

God is ready to write the next chapter in my story, and the vile things can't come with me anymore. It's not good enough to forgive, forget, and then repeat, like I've always done. I need to deliberately pull apart, set aside, and lock up the vile like you would an unrepentant criminal. People are too flippant with change, and preachers are too often delusional about forgiveness. 

All of this isn't about the vile, that's not what my story is, it's about protecting what is precious. That's what God wants, to come in and protect and care for the precious - in me. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I'm a little teapot

Did you know shopping could be a form of meditation? It is if you think about why you are doing it compulsively.  I keep getting obsessed with teapots, and having Etsy and Ebay always at hand night and day doesn't help much. There are thousands to choose from.

I bought this one above yesterday after keeping the search results up on Etsy for almost two weeks. I like the shade of blue and the crocheted rim effect, it's really lovely, but I've also been scanning sets (teapot, sugar, creamer) and even been distracted this morning by some beautiful cup sets in a completely different color and pattern style. Why am I doing this? How much tea do I drink anyway? Who am I going to show these pots to and why would they care? What does it matter????

I don't know what it means - yet. There's the obvious link to getting tea sets to play with as a child. My grandparents would take us to 

Kuhn's 5 and 10
on our first summer visit every year and we could pick out one toy. (That's it, youngsters, one toy gift that wasn't part of Christmas or a birthday. Wild, huh? That's just how we rolled in the Mesozoic Era.) I always wanted a tea party set, at least for about three years that I could remember. I guess that's just the age I was at back when playing was still fun. Maybe my growth was stunted back there and I'm trying to work all that out and begin growing again.

I also know that playing lady and tea time is part of a little girl's life when what you want to be when you grow up is purely imaginary and external. You dress up and act out scenarios that are hopelessly different than anything you could ever be. Princess, nun, genie, dancer, horse jockey, penthouse sophisticate millionairess - all roles I would play, but were obviously not connected to my real inclinations and capabilites. They were just pretend games, and no one was ever coming to a tea party that I would never give.  But it was fun to pretend, childhood is for imagination and games.

So what about now? I don't know, but I need to get out of the house before I start buying more things online. So I'm going down to the big antique mall and wander around down there. Something about having the actual item in front of me usually makes it less desirable, it has real flaws and an immediate cash price, not like the imagined beauty of a photo online. Like being a princess or a nun, the real thing isn't really what I want, it's what it represents. Here's to ...

I was going to say "separating the precious from the vile," which is a scripture reference. So I went looking for it hoping there was one more analogy in there a little closer to the mark of separating a vain imagination from a satisfying, good reality. You ever wonder how God talks to us out of the scriptures? Well, this is a real time example of how it happens.

First, I'll give you the full relevant passage out of the New King James Version (has the old, familiar "precious and the vile" quote that I was hearing,) and then the Amplified Bible version, which is a little blown out with explanation so you can understand it better.

Jeremiah 15:15-21 NKJV

"O Lord, You know;
 Remember me and visit me,

And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.

In Your enduring patience, do not take me away.

Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke.

16 Your words were found, and I ate them,

And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;

For I am called by Your name, 
O Lord God of hosts.

17 I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers,

Nor did I rejoice;

I sat alone because of Your hand,

For You have filled me with indignation.

18 Why is my pain perpetual

And my wound incurable,

Which refuses to be healed?

Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream,

As waters that fail?

19 Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return,
Then I will bring you back;

You shall stand before Me;

If you take out the precious from the vile,

You shall be as My mouth.

Let them return to you,

But you must not return to them.

20 And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall;

And they will fight against you,

But they shall not prevail against you;

For I am with you to save you

And deliver you,” says the Lord.

21 “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,

And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”

Jeremiah 15:15-21 Amplified

O Lord, You know and understand;
Remember me [thoughtfully], take notice of me,
take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away;
Know that for Your sake I endure [continual] rebuke and dishonor.
Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became a joy to me and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
I did not sit with the group of those who celebrate,
Nor did I rejoice;
I sat alone because Your [powerful] hand was upon me,
For You had filled me with indignation [at their sin].
Why has my pain been perpetual
And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
Will you indeed be to me like a deceptive brook
With water that is unreliable?

Therefore, thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah],
“If you repent [and give up this mistaken attitude of despair and self-pity], then I will restore you [to a state of inner peace]So that you may stand before Me [as My obedient representative];
And if you separate the precious from the worthless [examining yourself and cleansing your heart from unwarranted doubt concerning My faithfulness],
You will become My spokesman.

Let the people turn to you [and learn to value My values]—
But you, you must not turn to them [with regard for their idolatry and wickedness].
“And I will make you to this people
A fortified wall of bronze;
They will fight against you,
But they will not prevail over you,
For I am with you [always] to save you
And deliver you,” says the Lord.
“So I will rescue you out of the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the [grasping] palm of the terrible and ruthless [tyrant].”

(I went ahead and highlighted with bold the words that are talking to me.)

Why is my pain perpetual
And my wound incurable,

Which refuses to be healed?

Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream,

As waters that fail?

Why am I ever stuck in one place, playing out the same painful scenarios over and over again? I've searched and searched and tried and tried, yet I've never gotten and stayed free from repeating the same script over and over again. I don't like this role, I don't want to do it again in real life and I don't want to hear it playing in my head any more, either! I've asked God for help, I've screamed and carried on, but I'm not truly free yet at all. What's to become of me? Time is flying past, so much so that any claim to freedom is flying with it and the grave could catch me any day. Being a hostage for life is Not God's promise, yet here I remain. C-PTSD, codependency, lies, abuse, whatever we are calling this mess that has kept me in chains and always beaten me into submission again just when I thought I was getting free is a twisted, ruthless tyrant in every way.

"For I am with you [always] to save you
And deliver you,” says the Lord. 
“So I will rescue you out of the hand of the wicked,
And I will redeem you from the [grasping] palm of the terrible and ruthless [tyrant].”

The Word of the Lord and my way of escape. My job now is to hold these words like a lit candle as I continue to investigate teapots and time and who I really am.

Now, out of the house and to acres of antiques. The Lord is with me, we'll be talking and walking the entire time, there's no telling what we'll uncover.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My id is talking

I read a great little article about psychosis this week. The author has some sort of illness that causes psychotic breaks sometimes - hearing voices, seeing things that aren't really there, whatever it is that makes you have to practice not trusting your own brain.  That mathematician guy had issues with it, he thought he was going crazy until he learned to ignore the people he kept seeing that shouldn’t really be there.  I don’t have open visions or hear voices, it would seem that most of my troublesome thoughts work themselves into my dreams where they do indeed have their way with whatever they want to say or demonstrate. 

I wake up so clear with what I’ve seen or heard in a dream. My real struggle is to remember what I’ve learned or remember what I should set aside because it isn’t who I really am in this wide awake world.  This morning finished off in dreams that lasted about two hours.  I began frustrated in a bar in Gatlinburg. All these people were in the darkness trying to make themselves out as cool, and if they couldn’t get what they wanted, they would pair up with someone else and sell themselves all over again. Pimps and johns and whores and wait staff barely making themselves heard above the pounding music and clinking glassware.  I was so angry because I just wanted to enjoy dinner with my friends, but they were caught up in the business of scoring, and it grieved me so that I woke up crying, pleading, and still dreaming at the same time. 

“Don’t you understand! It’s not about laws or sin or right or wrong, this is not who you were created to be!  God wanted you to be all bright and lit up from a living fire inside of you, He wants you to see things out of the eyes He made only for you and then show that to the world, He created you to be a Defender of Widows and Orphans, He wants beautiful music to flow out of you the world would rejoice to hear, He wants joy and laughter  to bubble up out of you at every opportunity, He wants you to l-o-v-e your loved ones and never be afraid to gain a new friend because you’ll have the love to love them, too. 

But you’re all hiding in here. In the dark. Where no one can see you, just hoping that the law and no accuser can find you in here. At least for tonight.

That’s not what He wanted. It’s not what He wants.”

After tossing and turning and transitioning thru more dreams, I ended up in still in the same hotel, but the next morning. Somehow Mother had found me again, still shuffling along in her jammies and chenille bed jacket, wanting breakfast but not wanting to get out of the car to come in and get it. So, trying to get her in gear, I hollered at her from the door of the restaurant to come in or starve and went thru the line trying to find something I could carry out to her.  Somehow I ended up at the receiving desk for the Alzheimer’s unit again, trying to explain how, yes, she had indeed died, but now she was back again and I needed her admitted again. (These conversations are always awkward, but, you know.)

Both of these dreams carry the theme of grief and unfinished business.  I think the mother in my dreams is the perfect archetype for grief and unsorted, unfinished business. We were an officer’s family, always moving every two to three years, and Mother never kept a good house. We were never fully unpacked, and when the movers arrived again, they would throw everything in a new set of boxes and haul it off to the next duty station.  No decisions were ever made about old toys or clothes, no photo albums ever made, no correspondence kept with old friends, the house was never ready to receive new friends or guests, no dishes, furniture, or keepsakes were ever deliberately thrown out because we decided we didn’t want them. Everything and everyone that couldn’t or wouldn’t be hauled to the next place was just left behind at the last one. 

For me, especially as the youngest and most confused and helpless, I lived my life with people and things just disappearing, move by move, year after year, season by season in my life. No regard was ever made then for what I really needed to happen in my life and, of course, no one ever asked if what they were doing was alright. They were the adults and they just did what they thought they should do. From the sixth grade onwards, I was raising myself, my parents were very busy doing what they wanted to do. Family was over, their memories of their families were good enough for me to remember, too, no point in making any more.

[That last sentence is a whopper of a revelation. Filing that away for the Entourage post later.]

I bought a book on grief at the beginning of this week by accident. I wanted to go thrift shopping, but there isn’t a thing I need and I’ve been wanting to follow my intuition on purpose more because it’s a guide that really doesn’t fail me like my intellect so often does, sooooooo, the only green light I could get on the inside for thrifting was the cheapest mega-thrift-store in town on Monday. You won’t find much there unless it just then came in the back door, they keep things moving! $1 for a paperback, I got three, and one was The Courage To Grieve, by Judy Tatelbaum.  It’s been a long time since I’ve read on grief. It occurred to me that the big reason I keep too much stuff is I’m grieving what all that stuff is - pieces of my family, dreams that never came true, ways I used to be but I don’t know what else to be now. I went and read some reviews of the book and the part that made people angry about it was her goal is to be “finished” with grieving, and that’s my goal, too. 

February is a big grieving anniversary month for me, my sister committed suicide early in a February. I grieved her dreadfully for decades, I moved here in a late February to get away from my parents when I realized I had lived longer without my sister than I had with her, yet my life was not progressing.  My mother died in the month of January, so now I can add that to the deep winter grieving schedule, plus there’s always the longing for new growth and a fresh start once those new gardening catalogs start arriving. I want desperately to drive a stake thru the heart of the sorrows that haunt me, but I don’t know how and I’ve never known how. “Finished” with grief is a desire I’ve had for a long, long time.

I think all these things are my id talking to me. <—I knew that was the point of this post when I sat down to write it, but I haven’t actually re-read what “id” is yet. I think it’s the deepest part of your personality, the part that is most intrinsically you, but you can’t see it for looking for it. It must just hide down there until you get quiet enough for it to get a word in edgewise.  In any case, I’m wanting very much to let Id out. 

I’ve gathered up things I’ve bought (not hand me downs) and will get rid of this week, having decided that they aren’t really the direction I want to go in anymore. 
I bought a little needlepoint kit this week, after 27 years since the last project, and have much enjoyed the stitching so far. (It’s so hyper focused, my ADD loves it!)  
When I’m not standing directly in the presence of my book collection, I want to give the whole thing away. 
(When I’m looking at it,  I still think, “oh, no, this is too precious to just give away! What if they don’t think it’s precious, too!”) 
I stood up for myself at work on Friday, refusing to be dissed yet again as an old woman in a sea of vain and very brutal men. 

I am trying to be, even if letting what is roll me over again is ever so familiar.

I must be hatched or go bad.

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
 Mercy comes with the morning 
I will sigh, and with all creation groan, as I wait for home to come for me.

 Am I lost, or just less found? 
On the straight or on the roundabout or the wrong way? 
Is this same soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive? 
'Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb 
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Video, audio, book list

I've just had a cracker of a morning listening to some CDs I've listened to before, watching/listening to some youtube videos that I've not seen before, and baking a cake that didn't come out, but it should. I'll do the cake again, I think I over mixed it, and I'm going to recommend my list of go-to information for childhood trauma and recovery.

I just watched a video about dissociation that just about pulled me out of my skin. By the time she was done, she could have just as well called it "Welcome to My ADD" because she had described what I've been doing all my life to cope with life. Being not present is the only way I get thru the day and the decades, and all this time I just thought it was distraction. I don't doubt that distraction thru dissociation is now hardwired into my brain, so the brain disorder of ADD is an accurate diagnosis as far as it goes. But I am NEVER fully present in the moment, in my own skin, in the truth about my life, in the truth about a host of other people and in the truth of my relationships with a host of other people.

I'm just NOT HERE, and I don't know that I've ever been here since I was a very little kid. That is just fucking scary.

Where am I? Daydreams, shopping, procrastinating, planning what I will do but am not doing now, working my job with blinders on so I don't have to think about anything else, putting out family fires or trying to get someone else fixed but not actually doing necessary and needful things for myself, watching TV or a movie or reading a book, remembering my past and trying to figure out what the whole deal with that was, wishing I could go to bed early or, in years past, wasting too much time sleeping so I don't have to be awake and aware in the present, or the great modern way of not being here: being on the internet.

Another couple of good, provoking videos I watched this morning are from Escape From Narcissism. One was...nevermind, here's a list:
Narcissist Parents Expect Their Children to Parent Them. Absolutely spot on.
Narcissism: Disturbing Clues in an Old Family Photo. We don't have many family photos. Despite Dad's photo "hobby," no one took many photos. I was horrified to find an old spool of negatives and discover that he had made the one roll last for over two years, even tho we were all kids at home. No one wanted to capture our lives and remember it later, no one made the effort to look at someone else in the family with kind eyes and make them look good on film. Neither of my parents had taken a good picture of any of us or each other in two years. Why?
Decoding: Was the Enabler a Narcissist All Along? I want to write something about my Dad's part in the family, and I recognize quite a few things she talks about, but I think she makes the common mistake of trying to put people in a bad guy mold that can be labeled "narcissist" or "addict" or whatever else we can see with our eyes and sort our world out with to make some sense.

I'm using the Pia Mellody preferred term "childhood trauma" because "narcissistic abuse" is just too narrow.  People act blindly and selfishly towards their children on a moving scale, it can get better and it can get worse. Most of the time, most parents haven't got a clue what they are doing to their kids because they don't really know or own up to who they really are themselves. They just are trying to get along, make a living, find some kind of reward for having lived, and once you are the one in charge you rarely question the quality of your own behavior towards others.

Pia Mellody is your girl if you want get serious about coming out of All of the mental confusion and getting on with your business of living.
This list includes all the instructional videos of her I could find online. She didn't actually publish them, but they are there and they are fantastic. She is a professional and she has a paradigm that works for the entirety of recovery, not just a hot patch for getting thru the next week or two.

She actually works out of The Meadows, an in patient treatment facility in Arizona, and their bookstore carries CD's and DVD's of hers available for sale. Generally, they are lectures to a larger group of patients and therapists, and they are comprehensive and wonderful. Her books are good and probably available in your local used bookstore, they have pretty much the same as what you will hear on the CD's, but you'll get it Much better if you have a few CD's to listen to as well. I'm guessing I'll have most of her CD's by the time I get done. I recommend you get the following CD sets as a bare minimum. Pop therapy online can be good, but you need the larger framework she has worked out in years as a professional therapist.
Permission to Be Precious
Love Addiction/Love Avoidance

Get them! You need to hear that what you are suffering and all the crazy things you are doing aren't unique, can be understood in a rational way within the big picture of childhood abuse and trauma, and there is an established map to guide you out of the confusion. It's not a big secret, there's no esoteric knowledge to be initiated into, and whoever abused you is not a great big bogeyman that can continue to come after you in flashbacks and mental illness the rest of your life. Mental health and emotional maturity are skills that can be learned.

Less analysis, more recommendations.

 Spartan Life Coach is good for thrashing out what narcissism is and beginning to own up to what that means in a relationship. Most of the time, he is speaking about romantic relationships, but parental relationships are thrown into the mix, too. He's a plain speaker, easy to listen to, and as far as he goes, I can't think of anything he's done that I would put a warning label in front of - go ahead and watch them all. I can recommend his London 2015 Seminar video course, too.

There is another group of therapists I'm working my way thru, but I'll have to wait on that recommendation. One of them is good, but another fellow they have in the group is just creepy - he does need a warning label, and it reads "This guy is a narc himself! Stay away!" When I get that group filtered, I may just add the good ones to my video list linked above.

I'll edit this post as I add to the list. Right now, I need out of the house and into the Present.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fighting flashbacks with flashbacks

is not a good idea. It doesn't work at all long term. I'll explain.

Yesterday devolved into one long flashback, a daydream that kept repeating, degrading into a continually worsening scenario with each repitition, deeper and deeper into shame and rejection as it played out my fears and previous experiences in allegorical fashion over and over again. Of course, not eating all day didn't help one bit, but there never seemed to be a good time to take a break and nowhere to go eat and I really didn't deserve a rest because I needed to work harder because I'm so lazy anyway and know how it goes, right?

This morning, it being Saturday and no need to rush out of bed, I started looking for the song playing in my head upon waking. After a long search on my computer and being drug thru several unwanted emotional states as I played other songs instead, I realized that my mother used to use music to fight her emotional flashbacks when I was a child. She would put on gospel albums and sing all Saturday morning, sometimes she felt better, a lot of the times it just wasn't enough. She was trying to use the feeling she got from worship music and her memory of being saved as a child to fight the never ending conflict and feelings she had from her poor self image and ego conflicts.

I've used music in similar ways, sometimes to induce a shame flashback - remember how awful I was, feel miserable about it, be crushed and grieve, sleep it off and firmly resolve to not be myself anymore. I'll become someone Much better in the morning. You know. I've also used worship music to fight off despair, after all, God loves me and wants to make my life better, and tomorrow is another day. Right, Scarlett?

Either way, fighting a cascade of emotions with a cascade of emotions never changes me. Mostly, it just fills up my time, drains my energy, and then I go back to being the same way I was before.  

If you're a Christian with any experience in the church house, you've heard quite a bit of preaching about emotional flashbacks, although you might not have realized it at the time. Basically, the teaching is that if you are feeling bad all the time, or if you are feeling bad about feeling bad, then you should apologize to God for feeling bad, worship or sing to God a sad song then three happy songs [cue the piano player to come up now] until you feel better, then you are all better, now go out and remember to not Feel Bad about that anymore.  (This may be the Protestant experience only, I think the Catholics may have more fun in between condemnations, but don't quote me on that.)

Don't get me wrong, I luuuuv Christian music - the hymns, the choruses, the antiphons, the doxologies - and I love all of the scripture that is the basis for them. I would not be here today without those truths and the melodic way so much of it was communicated into me. Some of them are so filled with solid doctrine I can almost feel my spiritual bones become stronger with every line, much like eating collard greens and fried chicken livers make my natural bones stronger with every bite. [Mmmm, I'm actually drooling now...collard greens with little bits of ham hock and maybe a boiled egg chopped up in there...mmmm. Ahem!] 

HOWEVER, hymns or worship music, or any music that makes you feel better, is not a substitute for understanding the truth about your family, yourself, your friends, and your circumstances. Jesus famously said one time, " shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." It's the truth you know that makes you free. The Bible speaks the truth all the time, but it doesn't spell out every single thing that is true. It's a particular Message to the whole world, but there are a zillion things about each one of us that aren't in there, and some of us need to straighten out a bunch of the lies we've believed about ourselves and our little world around us to walk free.

Don't settle for good feelings for a day or a season when doing the work of uncovering and believing the truth is available. Spirituality is not superior to mentality or physicality, God created us to have all three, we are not whole without them all, intact and operating together in integrity. Go ahead and use every mental, physical, and spiritual tool, exercise, and counsel available to heal your thinking and your feelings will respond likewise. 

I've also heard it said that "healing is the dinner bell of the church." You'll not call many to the table until you are healed and whole yourself, so go ahead and be smaller, know less, forget what should have been and become strong enough to be found fit for service. Them collards ain't gonna pick themselves, y'know, and there's a whole world out there hungry for the truth.