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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Loot

   

I'm getting used to, or rather more accurately becoming aware, of not being afraid all the time. I never would have said that I had anxiety issues, but now that I'm not swimming in a sea of what if's and what abouts and I should haves and really I need to try harder and if I only would I might become something They would respect or love, I'm noticing how relaxed I am on the weekends. 

As a matter of fact, I'm a free woman and I haven't failed at anything if all I do this weekend is read, watch TV, and maybe even write a little and take a nap. It's okay.

 [...and I've switched right over to talking myself into that's it's really okay. Anxiety is sneaky that way.]

Just the same, I went to the used book store and spent a small fortune of $12 on 75¢ cookbooks. I was looking for bread books because my sourdough is baking up gummy, but I these should keep me entertained for the evening. I really need to Netflix binge because my free trial ends Monday and I haven't watched anything yet. 

Dammit, I'm doing it again!

Breathe

Eat some lunch

Browse recipes

That is all




Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ants and sawdust

Last night, addiction #2 made its unpleasantness felt, nothing but incomprehensible nightmares all night long. I'm tired and, thankfully, bewildered. I used to spend hours and days trying to suss out what those intoxicated dreams meant, but they really don't mean a thing, they're just the low side of the high I was looking for but pretty much never get. The last last dream (I woke up many times) was all ants and sawdust that I could never vacuum up, just a mess in the midst of an irritating chaos that was accomplishing nothing. 

Damn.

Hello. My name is S., and I'm a

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The distance from here to there

It's the time of year when my old memory FB posts are coming around to the place where I finally became overwhelmed with the care Maggie needed and made the moves to get her into assisted living - and out of my house. Sparing all the details, one came up today where I was making tours and squeezing in everything that had to get done. Not trying to, but actually doing it all.

Unless you've had to do something like it, not sort of like it, but Really Just like it, I don't think you can actually understand what all I was doing meant, what all it required from me, and what the effort was doing to me. Maggie had never taken care of her own mother, and she had callously left a kind and generous friend behind when that friend had needed her to step up and just be around as a safety measure for her. I've heard it said that bullies are also cowards. In any case, I'm sure Maggie had never had a clue how much effort it took to tend to her and she never returned the favor, either in kind or with joy and laughter in better times.

What I had written four years ago was full of enough details and comments that, for a moment, I remembered the day, the hot sun, the trouble at work, the finances, the contracts, the negotiations with Maggie, the repeated moves, the late nights, the way I had begun to twitch violently when I lay down to sleep from the anxiety, the pressure of care that had no hope of ending... and for several minutes, how it all felt wrapped around me again, like a shroud tightened with bindings. My heart changed its beat, the air in my lungs became pressured with the weight of what I had carried then, and my emotions began to calculate unseen threats the same way you count thugs in a beat down.

I became so alarmed I had to consciously move my mind into awareness of where I stood, how my surroundings and circumstances were completely different now, and nothing of what was happening then was going on now. I'm probably writing this now to make sure I'm not in a nightmare, this sunny, safe place here is real, and that dark place is so far behind me that it can't be traveled to again.

About five or six years ago, I had a season where the Lord would give me the first song of the morning as His gift and word to me. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, as I lay in the bed waiting for the alarm clock radio to start playing, He would tell me to listen, this song was His word to me. One of those songs was Little Big Town's first big hit, Bring It On Home. You can imagine how much that meant at the time and how much I've treasured it since.  

This week, I've cued in on a couple more of their songs. The first one (which I won't name here) because it speaks to my addiction, but the second one has grown on me over the week as I learned the words. It's a song about real, committed love, although it never uses the word.



"It's a get thru what you got to, 'cause it can't stay the same." 
I've had this conversation a number of times in the last few years with God, each time knowing we were both committed to getting thru what we had both committed to going thru, but, I've always thrown the "it can't stay the same" back at Him hard and angry, because it can't, and only He can fix it. As it turns out, a huge part of the same that has to change is my addiction, and until this year I didn't even know I had one. Who knew knowing you're an addict is Good News? Even at this late date, dealing with an addiction is still better late than never. 

"It's a knowing that you love me more than anything." 
I know that He loves me more than He loves the whole of creation. I know that He loves me more than He loves himself. I know that He loves me more than He loves being perfect and right and having everything pristine and innocent. I know it. It's the only way I can remain with Him. 

Did you know that God isn't proud? 

No matter how low I go, no matter how wounded I am, no matter what kind of noxious, disgusting mess I'm living in, He's already committed himself to be here with me in this mess I'm in. When I ask for His help, it's not coming from afar off outside this universe, He's here eye to eye with me, knee or neck deep in whatever I'm in - and He's not ashamed to be here with me. That's what the incarnation is all about, God expressing his own Self right here where we are - in rangy flesh that has to be bathed and fed and take a shit and get tired and get frustrated and get angry and get scared and need care and need and need and need

I've been thinking about that for awhile now. It takes awhile to get our heads out of our own pride that would have God afar off and pristine, so we could lay claim to ascending to His heights. But He is isn't afar off, He is near, standing in the muck of my life right along with me, fighting with me in the blood and the mire better than any soldier, driving away more dangers than I ever knew came down the pike, and doing it all with a grin and a sparkle in His eyes that says, "Hang on and watch this!" 

I've also heard it said never to share a foxhole with someone braver than yourself.
Too late.
He's done jumped down here in it with me and He ain't leaving.

He stayed thru Maggie. He's doing something about this addiction and, because of that, I believe He's doing something about all the rest of "it can't stay the same." He is so present with me that when I look at the evening news, I'm not all that upset over it. I'm fantastically incredulous at it, to be sure, I'm just not upset about it. He said it was going to be this way and that He would be here with me all the way thru it, and when it was finished, everyone would see Him the way he really is.

Be an early adopter, learn from Him one on one now. It's always more expensive when it goes mainstream.





Sunday, July 17, 2016

Obsessions



This morning, I'm happy to discover that objects aren't relationships to me, that I can obtain and discard with pleasure and without guilt. This isn't how I was brought up by either parent. Each had their own attachment forms to either family property handed down or newly bought items that couldn't be released until ever, either due to the irreplaceable nature of money or the "love" of ancient, dead relatives. Of course, even more enormous sums of money were spent hauling great piles of stuff around, and who knows how the dead relatives really felt about that table or clock, they were just the barely usable bits still remaining.

Also this morning, in a less happy yet satisfying manner, I am settling down within myself dealing with my addictions. I don't do substance abuse, but I have a couple of behavioral addictions that I've never recognized and untangled until the good Ms. Pia Mellody thoughtfully pointed them out. Big time, obsessional, death dealing addictions that no one ever admits to publicly. So, with any luck we won't be watching comedy sketches on television about it and no memes on Facebook, so there's that then.

The photo is of a little Limoges plate I picked up yesterday at an estate sale. It will go perfectly with the next theme that is developing for my kitchen - vintage blue and brown in flowers. It's a weird little collection to gather up, but I keep coming across this stuff and it's talking to me, so I get it. I enjoy it. I have no idea what it's saying until it's all put together and it's all out there where I can see it. Which also seems to be a repeating theme in my psyche, but we have to work with what we have, y'know?

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."

and

"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."





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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.