Sunday, March 4, 2018

Editing policy

Making a disclaimer here - I've gone thru and read most of my posts again and decided some need better formatting and a little bit of punctuation constraint where possible. (Read: maybe a few more commas, sentence breaks, and maybe a semi-colon or two. Because the long sentences are there on purpose.)

I think I'm still on regular google blogspot (I don't really know), and I know there is a google plus (but I don't really know what that will do to or for me), and quite a few bloggers tout the praises of just getting off of google and going somewhere else. Obviously, I'm not paying for this yet, and will likely never get to that point, but I'm not happy with the editing policy they've adopted concerning who can say what. It's fanaticism, ignorance, and flaming narcissism on full display, so it's probably time to think about what I prefer and do something about that, too.

I think I'll go thru and make sure I have a copy of everything first. One never knows how fast a fire will spread.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Changing genres

I think I’m going to start writing a mystery. I’ve been writing self help and psychoanalytic forensics for years now, I think it’s time to change genres and leave something else entirely for my estate minders to find.

To that end, I’m officially releasing myself from my former diary style, inherited from my mum, wherein I catalog all my new resolutions and lists of things done and undone. From now on, I’m going to to do tear away diaries. I can write whatever I want, but if I come back and find that there’s nothing to build upon in a previous entry, I’m free to tear it out and throw it away. Leaving written evidence behind about how I keep getting stuck in the same potholes is just useless.

Upon my death, my nephew will find that his eccentric aunt was either remarkably terse or had quite a series of unusual, colorful days.

To that end, I’ve cleared off my desk and have at the ready a number of art journaling resources and a few calligraphy pens. It’s also spring here now, and there’s a massive blooming forsythia hanging from a wall that I’ve been meaning to photograph. I may have all the skills of a two year old at his finger paints, but that’s okay, I’ll fit right in at the old folks home.

Mary Englebreit
via Pinterest

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bringing it in

Okay, kids, I think it's time to bring this thing in for a landing. I believe I've sussed out most of the relevant framework of my family of origin dynamics and, barring any previously unknown siblings turning up at my front door, I think I can wrap up the last of the forensic searches and put away the what ifs and what abouts and never go looking again. Or, as they say, "stick a fork in me, I'm done."

My father wanted to know why he had to go through cancer and hospice, I think he had hoped to drop from a heart attack like his father. If nothing else, the experience I had with him in his final months burned away the last of the illusions and hopes I once had about him -  and that was a blessing in deep disguise. As excruciatingly painful as the last five months have been, it's better to know the truth about who and what I was to him, and accepting that is setting me free.

I'm rather tired now, but the good news is that I'm spent. I've questioned the conclusions I reached about my father, I've wondered if it just wasn't anger at his dying, but I had already begun to draw those conclusions over and over again for the last 40 years. His death just made any refutation of my assessment impossible.

It was what it was, it just wasn't what I thought it was. It could be that I'm getting the very thing that I wished for my mother. It turns out I got everything wrong about who "I" was; with no one left who has ever known me, whoever I thought I was has faded like a ghost at noonday.  It's alright, I'm willing to forget all of it to just be fully and gratefully here, now, wherever I go, for as long as I have left.

I'm not dead yet, I'm getting better. I think I'll go for a walk.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Just a couple of questions and answers

I'm learning to like Jordan Peterson. Apparently he's a clinical psychologist by trade, not a political scientist.

Start here with the Q&A following a lecture. This is the second question and it's a pip.

The last question at 2:36 brought tears to my eyes.

"Yeah, yeah, it's you, but it's also God's doing."

"Don't underestimate the contribution of sheer difficulty."

This is a clip about Borderline Personality Disorder:


[I woke up yesterday swearing I was going to get things done, so I wasted it on Facebook, Pinterest, and I don’t know what else. I woke up today swearing I was going to stay away from the computer, but I was only going to write down the three triggers I noticed I had this week, one of which is writing here. So, I haven’t made the trigger list yet and I’m writing here on the computer instead. WTH??? Oh, let’s just get it over with...]

Richard Grannon has a video that starts out talking about "mindfulness." That's what all this blogging is about.

He goes on to talk about the “inner critic” and how to make it shut up.  I’ve noticed how lots of people have inner critics who apparently tell them that they are awful or no good or whatever shrieking lie the people in their childhoods kept telling them. But, no one in my childhood ever said anything like that to me, everyone was very nice and Christian and all that - so what’s my problem? What’s the negative script that keeps playing somewhere in my head and tripping me up?

It’s all about subtext, not open accusation. If everyone in your family is “nice,” then the put downs have to come thru the things that aren’t being said. The trendy word for that is gaslighting, but true gaslighting is conscious manipulative deceit to achieve a goal. Go back and watch the movie Gaslight. He knows what he is doing, he is consciously playing Ingrid Bergman to doubt her own mind. “Who are you going to believe? Me or your own lying eyes?”

Subtext is a talking game that will never Ever admit what the goal is, either to the player or the played. The people who are working it are avoiding their own feelings, motives, and possibly in full denial of their own goals. They just know that they can’t “go there” and so they distract themselves and others from the truth with reframed circumstances, consistently avoidant thinking and behavior that takes up the moments where the truth is flaming in their faces, and then live in some vague hope that something else is going to happen far enough in the future to make action today non-critical.

“Of course I love you/your mother/whoever.”
“We just have to be more understanding.”
“I need to get this other thing done right now.”
“When we get this/do that/go there/finish this other, then things will begin to change.”
“We don’t have time for this now, we’ll do that later/next year/after you grow up.”
“If you give me a hamburger today, I’ll gladly pay you tomorrow.”

If you are a child growing up under that regime, what you hear is “Never mind about everything that you feel and need and see going on right now, your feelings/needs/lying eyes need to be put away for now. The family story needs protecting, so we are going to do what we want while you still wait to feel/need/see.”

You learn not to feel - not feel emotions in real time, not feel pain in your body when you’re injured or sick, not even feel the absence of  feelings when you go looking for them. Check out this video on ADHD and emotions. It talks about a disconnect in executive function and emotions. I’m coming around to the opinion that ADHD can be developed in children thru emotional and developmental neglect. If someone is deliberately frustrating brain and behavioral development in children, then those executive function neural connections aren’t going to be made at the proper time, and then even slower, later development will be thwarted as long as the abuse of frustration and deception are allowed to continue.    

You learn how to not need - to always accept nothing or accept garbage substitutes for the real satisfaction of a need. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good friendship, good food, a satisfying job, genuine affection from a lover or partner, or the pleasures of treating yourself well. You’ve been trained to ALWAYS put off consistent satisfaction of needs met, and you have no framework of mind in which to receive needs met every day. If things start working right for you, you will feel better frustrating yourself than accepting progress. We do what we know, not what we know is best, even if we’ve been demanding better. If SUBTEXT has been what you are trained in, then that’s the program you run, and by definition, the subtext is “not now, not today, not the good you really need.”

You learn not to see - well, not see until everything is in ruins and even complete strangers remark on the chaos. Not seeing also happens at a very physical, rational level. It’s what is happening to hoarders on TV. The tunnel vision has shrunk so small that they can barely see the path in front of their feet or their lunch heating in the microwave. Everything else is hidden behind the blinders in their minds. Codependents do the same blinding to themselves when they Will not see what is going on in their relationships or going on in themselves. They might see for a moment, but it’s too awful to look again, so their eyes just glaze right over things.

Codependents hoard subtext but never see it, because their only attachment to their family of origin foundation of love and acceptance is via the subtexted experience. If they throw out the subtexted messages, then the overt message Must go also. I’ve spent a lot of time from my teen years forward searching for pure, non-subtexted, communications or experiences from my family. For the most part, or as much as I have any memory of, every thing is tainted. There was ALWAYS a larger, highly unpleasant agenda being played out. I have no memories of just pure happiness, peace, and love among or between the people in my immediate family.

This is NOT how I want to think about my family; I’m a member of that group, too, you know. I’ve been earnestly and faithfully trying to come up with loving and true frameworks to remember the people in my family for years and years and years. I’ve been a stretch it to the moon and back reframer for my whole life. I’ve wanted with my whole heart for everyone to be just misunderstood and really, underneath it all, loving heroes frustrated by chance and circumstance. But, I’ve GOT to get out of my mind traps that were deliberately laid, so I just Have to see it now for what it was, feel what I never let myself feel, and get my needs actually met every single day without apologizing for it.

Maybe I’ll remember some things or events that were simple and true sometime. If I do, I’ll try to drop a comment here.

Edit: Ask, and ye shall receive. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sometimes you just got to pain it out

I think it isn't sinking in, it's coming out.

That all my family is dead, my friendships in every direction are pretty much dead, and every relationship I've ever relied upon is gone like dust in the desert. There's just nothing anywhere.  I can't quit work, who would know or care that I was even alive, much less dead?

I'm good at reframing to make others feel better.
I used to be good at daydreaming and putting off until "someday" to make myself feel better.

this year,
"Reality" is my goal.

It's very, very painful.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Ding ding ding


 This is the first video I've seen of this guy, I have no clue who he is or whether the rest of his stuff is worth anything, but this vid is good.  Really good.

I've bitten the bullet and signed up for his email list, I'll let you know if I like anything more of his.


And there's the first email... 

...and, no, I'm not joining "the community." I don't have time for that and I'm not giving him my credit card number. I'll just have to see what can be culled from the public videos.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Yeah, but no

Been obsessed with this song, this version, for the the past five days. His version came out in '79, Rundgren's version came out on '77; I don't know which or why I'm drawn to either, but it seems to be having an effect. The tea spell has come unraveled, as has a couple of other fixations that I've had since childhood. It's as if I've finally put the knitting right, I found where the stitches were dropped and put everything back into it's true pattern - mysteries solved and put away.

"We awoke from our dream
Things are not always what they seem
Memories linger on
It's like a sweet, sad, old song

Can we still be friends?"


Edit: Why, oh, why couldn't I have seen this tour?!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

I kinda forgot

My Daddy used to call me every Sunday morning. The phone just rang. It wasn't him.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sometimes it takes a while

It just takes what it takes, and sometimes it takes a while to come on around.

I watched this video at least a year ago, maybe longer. I was a bit "meh" on it, but now I like it better. Quite often, "being good to yourself first" gets translated as "give yourself treats to make yourself feel better or special," which can only work for a little while. Like any box of chocolates, it's only special the first few times, then it's just the same old thing.

But now, after having done all I could do to love and care for each of my parents in their final days, I've had a little taste of loving until death do you part. It's not about dinner out or feeling special, it's about being fully present and loving faithfully a deeply flawed person right where they are. And if I'm not doing that for myself, how is it I expect friends or lovers I've not yet met to do the same? If my parents have taught me nothing else, watching them die has taught me that you have to commit to yourself with discipline and passion. If you don't fight for yourself, nobody can fight alongside with you.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Last night on the couch

That's my prayer, anyway. I'm spending my nights on the couch with Dad in hospice. He's having some real breathing difficulties tonight, a real textbook case for death rattle and some sort of autonomic breathing pattern that I've forgotten the name of now. I'll spare you the details of all the difficulties and the deep disagreements I've had with the care he's been given here. I don't have the POA, I brought up my concerns, they've been duly ignored out of hand. At this point, my prayer every hour is that this ends tonight. Jesus said He had the keys of death, hell, and the grave, then please, Sire, release my Daddy from this torture.

I opened up this post to capture this moment in between, this place in between my life when I had some family and the morning I wake up to none. This isn't a rant post, it's a recovery post, because I can feel the difference between having a Dad I've been ever trying to have a good relationship with, yet ever missing the mark, and having no one left that I need to make happy.

It's not freeing, but there is less anxiety and less pressure within the day. Normal people are like this all the time, I suspect, but we codependents always have a little nagging shadow creeping up our spines constantly whining about all the things we should be doing but aren't. That little voice is disappearing and I'm choosing without bondage what I will do and what I won't. I won't miss my little shadow at all.

It's a damned shame that losing my Dad is what it's taking for me to throw off that shadow. He knows nothing about it, and I'm not blaming it on him. I'm so free that I can't even trick myself into a blame game for it, you know, "you held your father to account in your own mind for his faults in raising you, now you've precipitated his death from cancer by disturbing the cosmic balance," or some such other nonsense that once I would have wallowed in for years.

Nope. It's right and proper that the relationship die when the person dies. Believe me, I've already tried the route of trying to make amends to the dead and it just does not work. God has us all in hand, only Jesus can make things right with the dead, let them go.

So what shall I do, then? I don't know. But I feel my center of balance is inside me, not swinging so wildly out on the opinions of others anymore. Makes me the bad guy to some people here. Too bad.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Real page turners

I'm working my way rather swiftly thru a couple of books that I can really recommend. If you are having problems with choosing the wrong partners and friends, over and over again, then you're going to have to deal with the issues you have from your childhood. There's just no way around it, but these two are great starts for your self analysis. Not too complicated, but not simplistic mush, either. Also, both are written by therapists that have been in the field for years, so lots of experience to address the issues, plus lots of real life examples.

First, from a recommendation from Jerry Wise, Trapped in the Mirror; Adult Chidren of Narcissists in Their Struggle for Self, by Elan Golomb, PhD. I'm up to p. 185 out of 260 pp., and have done a fair amount of underlining where I self identified or heard a key point phrased in a new, perceptive way. The last chapter is called Sending Home the Negative Introject, presumably about pitching out the negative parental introject that we carry about with us even after the real parent is long gone or far away. I look forward to it, although the immediacy of the idea carries a frisson of nervous fear. If I'm not as I've always been, what then? Takes the valor of Sparta to carry on thru, I hear. May be.

The second I found while looking for any writers that also used the Murray Bowen paradigm of the family of origin, as also per Jerry Wise. I found Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents, by Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD.  It's a very good primer, it has put a few things into the realm of emotional response and maturity that I hadn't really considered to be in that realm. Some things that I had considered willfulness she classifies as more of a case of knee jerk emotional response. I can see that, and it helps to demystify some behaviors that I've been sorely tempted attribute to evil intent instead.

For a taste, I'll quote an enlightening chunk of description of the "The Passive Parent" in Gibson's book.

"Passive parents aren't angry or pushy like the other three types, but they still have negative effects. They passively acquiesce to dominant personalities and often partner with more intense types who are also immature, which makes sense given that people with similar emotional maturity levels are attracted to one another (Bowen 1978).

Compared to the other types, these parents seem more emotionally available, but only up to a point. When things get too intense, they become passive, withdraw emotionally, and hide their heads in the sand. They don't offer their children any real limits or guidance to help them navigate the world. They may love you but they can't help you.

Passive parents are as immature and self-involved as the other types, but their easygoing and often playful ways make them much more lovable than the other three types (emotional, driven, or rejecting). They are often the favorite parent and can show some empathy for their children, as long as doing so doesn't get in the way of their needs. And because they can be as egocentric as the other types, passive parents may use their child to meet their own emotional needs - primarily their need to be the focus of someone's affectionate attention. They enjoy the child's innocent openness and can get on the child's level in a delightful way. The child loves his or her time with this parent - but because the child is often filling the parent's need for an admiring, attentive companion, it becomes a kind of emotional incest.
As adults, it doesn't occur to them that they have a mission not only to have fun with their own children, but to protect them. Instead, they go into a kind of trance during the worst times, retreating into themselves or finding other passive ways to weather the storm.

In addition to unthinkingly abandoning their children when the going gets rough, these parents may leave the family if they get a chance at a happier life. If the passive but more emotionally connected parent leaves the family for any reason, the wound to the child can be especially deep, since the abandonment came from the parent who meant the most to the child.

Children who adored a passive parent can become adults who make excuses for other people's abandoning behavior. As children, they believed nothing could be done about their childhood situation and that the passive parent was truly helpless. They're often taken aback by the idea that their wonderful, nice parent actually had a responsibility to stand up for them when they couldn't protect themselves as children. They've never considered that parents have a duty to put their children's emotional welfare at least on an even footing with their own interests."

Yup. It's the truth.

Don't you want to read more? Get the Kindle version, reads well.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Upon waking

If  both my parents were Christians, and we were living our lives according to Christian principles, then how is it my family turned into such a fucking mess?

This week was like watching someone get run over by a train. Inevitable, nothing I could do to change it even tho I was screaming in a polite measured tone to all parties, and then just Poof! - red mist, and the deed was done.

Dad's been in hospice care for a couple of weeks, he's got plenty of visitors, lots of attention, and great care. I'm tired of this hotel. It took me less than 20 minutes to have my things packed once I finally made the decision to get out of here at o'dark thirty. I'll be back, but my ability to walk in denial and distraction has reached it's limit for a few days.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

One more song

Back home late last night for a 36 hour turnaround. Needed to make sure the house and the cats were still here, sleep in my own bed, and be me, not just what I'm needed to be. Dad is now in hospice care after therapy just became torture. He's doing much better there, but therein lies the crazy, because there is where he'll never get well. His mind is good, this is his decision, and we all struggle to get our heads around it. I'm grateful for him, for his wife and all his dozens of friends that come relentlessly to tell him they love him and are praying for him every day, for how everything this time with him is completely different that it was with Maggie, for every memory that I had forgotten that comes back, and for every new memory that is being made and tucked away with love.

I got up early, just finished a good country breakfast, and have my newly found again old radio playing on the kitchen counter. Turns out they replay a Top 40 playlist from years ago every Saturday, it makes the house feel not unlike a summer morning at "the folks." No TV, no mouthy disc jockeys, no rest of the world, no need for anything other than the sound of crickets, lawn mowers, and a metal shop sander whining way down the street. It's a cool morning, windows open, stale air clearing out, making my list to prepare to go back.

This moment right here right now is plenty enough, I want to stay suspended between 8 and 9 o'clock. What's needed done until now has been done, what's coming is still a few days off and can't be worried over too much yet. By this afternoon, there will be more news from back home, more things besides cat food and green tea on that list, more heat, more sound, more questions, more grief, more fear, more prayers, more tears, more walking along this narrow way that has no turning back, more faith in this foggy quiet unknown, because it has to be met with confidence and persistence in God's love, lest our unspoken cowardices break out and break us all. Faithful and faithless, alike.

 Down into the fall at the folk's place.


Recovery continues and help is being given to me as and when I can receive it. These are a couple of good finds I came across in the last few days:

Ross Rosenberg made some good observations and distinctions here, chiefly the difference between passive and active codependents. I've come to think of Dad as  Super-Passive (my own designation), but it has some rewards, too, chiefly the "salt of the earth" quality Rosenberg discusses. As for me, I'm a codependent anorexic these days. I tried and tried, but always with horrible, painful results - so I just quit altogether before my confused, chaotic heart got me destroyed altogether. 

Which takes me to this gem by Jerry Wise, "My Emotional Shell Keeps Me Safe, But Not Happy." Now I'm looking for a little turtle shell charm necklace to remind myself to come out of my shell and the shell of a self that others expect and respond to. It's not just another "should" on my list, I'm becoming more and more detached from all the shells I've been living in and I'm beginning to forget to carry them around. What was that thing Peter Michaelson said? Change just happens as you observe and understand what you've been doing until now.  Eventually,  you walk out of what isn't you anymore.

About your sense of self? The Real Secret to Setting Boundaries, also Jerry Wise. Your relationships with others begins with you - not him, her, us, or them. It's a good thing. Check out his other videos on self-differentiation.