indifference

My dad is in the ICU again. It happens at least once a year, actually it’s been about two years since his last visit, so I guess he was due. I got the call this time. It’s usually my uncle calling me, but I guess dad changed the emergency contact to me. I don’t know why, the last time I talked to him, I told him I was “done.” It means I’m no longer helping him, no longer giving him my energy. He’s one of those energy vampires, and they really like draining empaths.

I told him I was “done,” because he used me to open a checking account so he could steal eleven thousand dollars from the nursing home he was staying in by lying to the social security office. I wish I was making it up. I am done. I’m not done speaking to him, ignoring him and cutting him out of my life is too much effort. It takes too much energy, and I’ve given him enough of that. The opposite of love is not hate, it takes passion to hate someone. Just as nervous is the same thing as excitement, wearing different clothes… No, the opposite of love is indifference.

I’ve had a lot of emotions about my dad. When I was a child, he was my hero. He was the most amazing, fun, and creative dad. When I was a teenager, we had violent fights as I was adultified by his codependent and addictive behaviors. When I graduated college, I married someone who turned out to treat me just like he had treated my mother, because I didn’t believe I deserved any better than that. It took me training as a therapist to realize I had lasting effects from growing up with a mentally ill and self-medicating father. I know he loved me, I know he still does. Of course I still love him, too, but I don’t have anything of me left to give him. He did the best he could. I can’t ever fully understand his reasons for never getting help, but I know part of it was toxic masculinity. So, I am done.

He called me on my birthday, but for some reason, I didn’t get the notification for two days. It started out alright, “Happy birthday, I love you,” the kind of birthday message one might expect from dad. He then started apologizing for not being the “kind of man” he wanted, “not being strong enough” to hold the family together… and more of gaslighting’s greatest hits. A few weeks later, I got a phone call one afternoon. I answered the phone instead of letting it go to voicemail. I let him say what he had to say. I didn’t react. I didn’t tell him it was “OK,” I didn’t tell him he was wrong, or right. I said nothing at all. When he was done, I said, “Bye, dad.” Indifference.

I had a dream about him. He came to visit me, in my home. Not his physical body, but his astral body. He was looking at all my things and telling me how nice my place was. I thought about calling him to see if he was still alive, but it’s just as likely he wouldn’t return my call, so I didn’t want to ask the question. Then, I got the call from the nursing home. He’s been taken to hospital with low oxygen and lethargy. I called the hospital and spoke to the ICU nurse. He’s changing channels and complaining, so he’s feeling just fine. I alerted the fam and got on with my day. Indifference.

Someday, he’s going to die and I’ll write a check for his ashes. Until that day, he’s not taking any more from me. He’s had enough.

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #ptsd #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care #ICU #dad #gaslighting #indifference #noregrets

Pain

Has it really been a month? I guess I needed a break. I was taking some time to myself to focus on me.

I remember when my chronic pain started. I was sixteen years old and working on my homework at a little desk in my bedroom. There had been a nagging pull between my shoulder blades for a couple of days, but now it felt like a giant knot under my right shoulder blade. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis when I was in elementary school; my dad had it so my sister and I had regular ex-rays. One might assume that my dad, having also grown up with scoliosis, would have made an effort to teach us ways of managing our workspace and habits so we have less pain and more mobility. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t take good care of himself, let alone another human, so here we are.

The pain usually centered from underneath the scapula, and often also radiated up my neck and head. I had incredible tension headaches that would smash right through over the counter medication. I found new and creative ways to crack my back and neck joints. Drinking alcohol sometimes made it better and occasionally worse, but the reward was enough to keep me drinking, just in case. I smoked a lot of marijuana as a teenager and in college. After college, I discovered Xanax. It didn’t really do anything for the pain, but made it so the pain wasn’t important anymore.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve had the sensation of “cracking” at my sternum when I do a back bend. I first noticed this during ballet class. I asked a few others, but nobody seemed to know what I was talking about. It didn’t seem to be harming anything, and it rather felt like a release, so I leaned into it when I felt it coming. In fact, I learned to pop it on command! Thirty years later, I have ribs that regularly dislocate. Is it related? perhaps. I have regular chiropractic visits now. It’s important to maintain healthy alignment. I don’t have to go days, in pain, with a dislocated hip or rib. I practice yoga daily, which also helps. I’m constantly mindful of how I walk, stand, sit, enter and leave a car, carry packages and bags… mindfulness for me is no longer just a practice, but also a mindset, a lifestyle.

Chronic pain is a funny thing. Everyone’s body and brain react to it differently. The way my body reacted was to suppress it. I have a really high tolerance for pain. I guess this is because I’ve felt pain in my bones for almost three decades. Maybe it’s also part of my PTSD. When I was living in an abusive relationship, I was terrified to show the slightest hint of weakness. If I cut my finger while I was cooking, I would hide it, or face a barrage of reminders of how stupid and useless I am. I certainly wasn’t going to admit my back hurt.

I’m starting to learn how to admit when I’m hurting and ask for help. Yes, I’m a “grown up” and I can take care of myself. It’s also okay to shout when I hurt myself, or cry when I’m sad. I’m not going to lose friends by telling them I feel bad and I need support (if I do lose friends this way, I didn’t really need them in my life).

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #ptsd #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care #pain #chronicpain #scoliosis #PTSD #drugabuse

Seen

I used to love being seen and all of the attention I would get. I knew how to get attention from boys, all the movies I watched taught me exactly how I get their attention. I was always interested in girls and boys, but boys were just so much easier. I knew from movies how to act around boys I liked. But there was nothing at all to tell me how to act around girls I liked. The way lesbians were portrayed in media at the time was either as a joke, or as a way to get attention from men. I remember dancing seductively with straight girlfriends of mine, but only to get male attention on the dance floor. What I didn’t realize at the time, was the rush of attraction I was feeling was more about the women I was with than the men that rushed up to interrupt it.

I had a couple of girlfriends in high school, if you could even call them that. we had sleepovers, and we messed around a bit. But they never wanted to be friendly in public, or talk about it with anyone else, so I soon learned it was something to keep secret. I thought maybe this was the way girlfriends showed affection, as if sex with a woman was more like a handshake than an expression of romance.

Now that I’ve been through what turned out to be a traumatic relationship, and I’ve been living with PTSD for 5 years, I am less inclined to get attention from men. I’m actually offended at the clumsy way they make incredibly rude comments and expect me to smile and laugh about it. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to make a narcissist happy that I’m tired of all the work I have to put into petting a man’s ego and acting self-depricating enough that he believes himself to be superior… The whole thing is exhausting.

I do, of course, realize not “all” men are like this. I know, I’ve met them. But they are still products of a patriarchal society where even the kindest of them are used to being “on top.”

I first realized I was attracted to women when I was in second grade. I was getting into figure drawing and I would draw these voluptuous and curvy women. I was fascinated by the female body. I looked at my drawing one day and thought to myself, “Does this mean I’m a lesbian?” I was horrified. I didn’t want to be something different, the butt of a joke, the androgynous “Pat” from Saturday night live…

Even at 7 years old, I knew what a lesbian was. I didn’t know anything about bisexuality, or the spectrum of sexuality that we see today. All I knew was I didn’t dislike men. As I grew older, I learned that men really liked me. So I figured I must be straight, as there was no other option. But most of all, I was afraid of being different, being singled out. All my girlfriends talked about boys, so I did, too.

I guess I got in the habit of being with men. I wanted a family, and that just wasn’t a possibility for two women when I was coming of age. Now, I’ve had my family and my girls are all grown up. I’ve grown in other ways, too. I’m no longer content with the status quo. If something doesn’t fit for me, I work to change the circumstance, not change myself. I’m more in touch with myself and what I really like, who I am attracted to. I’m not as stuck in trying to “fit in” all the time and I’m learning to share my opinion, even when others may not agree.

This is my journey. It may have taken me some time to come out of my adolescence and finally start seeing myself clearly, but I am finally here. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished over the past five years. I’m finally to the point where I’m willing to forgive myself for staying in an abusive relationship for so long because I thought it was the right thing to do (at the time). I made decisions based on the information I had available at the time. I have made impulsive decisions and seen them through because I am stubborn. Yet I continue to grow.

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #seen #lesbian #queer #sexuality #journey #ptsd #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care

still

What a fantastic word “still.” So many shades of meaning. I could stand still, not moving, or I could be “still” binging this series on Netflix…

At this very moment, I’m thinking about why I’m “still” having so much trouble functioning in the world. I mean, there is a worldwide pandemic, I’ve just lived through four years of the most terrifying presidency I can remember (and I remember Reagan), the world is actually scary, so all of us with anxiety have something real and tangible to be scared about so it’s all a little more real and raw than usual. So, putting all that aside, I’m still unhappy with my progress; I’m still emotional and raw and I’m still reacting with my reptillian brain. It’s damned inconvenient.

When I say “still,” it’s because I left my abuser five years ago, and I “should” be better by now. We all know what Albert Ellis says about that, “don’t should on me and I won’t should on you.” The point is, there is no such thing as “should.” I am where I am supposed to be. I was in an abusive relationship for fifteen years. I was raised by a narcissistic parent who was mentally ill and self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. I am going to need some time to learn how to re-connect with society.

I was an outsider for so long.

My abuser kept me on the outside. It was us against the world, which did actually sound romantic to me at one point, but I soon began to lose my own identity the more enmeshed we became. Every social encounter was a “test” and I never knew if it was me, or the other people involved who were being tested. I never found out the rules of “the game” or how “to win.”

The irony was not lost on me (although I could hardly communicate it to) the person that had zero social skills was often lecturing me on how to interact with people. But the rules were always changing. Just when I thought I had met a requirement, the expectation would change. I often used to say, “I didn’t get the memo.” Gaslighting is very hard to explain or pinpoint, but this is one example. My partner would constantly harass me and tell me I’m horrible at something I was in fact good at. It wore down my self-worth until I doubt my own abilities, my thoughts, even my memories.

So, I’m “still” having trouble making phone calls. I “still” get anxiety and put off things I don’t want to deal with. It won’t be like this always and forever. I’ve grown a LOT. I’ve learned so much. I do have far to go, but I’ve come a long way. The panic attacks don’t last as long. They don’t take over my body completely and leave me sobbing on the floor. I feel it starting and I start to breathe. Pacing helps if I need to think. The point is, I have tools in my toolbox now. I’m finding new tools all the time to add to my collection. My daily mindfulness practice helps.

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #still #ptsd #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care #gaslighting #mindfulness

Mindfulness

I am currently working on being more mindful in all areas of my life. I started using the Headspace app. I soon realized I wasn’t going to get anything out of it unless I made it a regular practice. So I made an effort to practice every day. Then I noticed I wasn’t going to get anything out of it unless I actually did the activities described in the meditations. I can sit still for 20 minutes. But if I’m letting my mind wander the whole time, if I’m giving in to fidgets and itches, I’m not really being mindful. The more I practice the more I realize I’m only going to benefit if I make mindfulness a part of my every day all day behavior. It’s not enough to be mindful during a meditation session, but that activity trains my brain for being mindful in general.

I started teaching mindfulness to the elementary age kids I teach and the teachers I teach with. I would go on and on about the benefits of a daily practice, only I hadn’t really started that for myself. I was teaching mindfulness on a daily basis, but I wasn’t practicing it myself. I have seen the benefits in the children at my school. They are able to access their emotions, they have the words to describe them, and they feel comfortable taking a breath when they are feeling angry or stressed. I’ve even heard multiple students tell me that they teach mindfulness skills to their families (this makes me SO PROUD).

But, like I said, I hadn’t really started a daily practice for myself. When I realized I was being a hypocrite (and any kid will tell you a hypocrite is the worst of the worst) I decided to start. When I first started my mindfulness practice, I had the hardest time making it about me. I would hear a phrase that I would like to use in my mindfulness sessions with the kids, and I’d stop my session to write it down.

I’ve made some progress since then (I just hit 100 day streak, according to the app). I still have those thoughts, “hey, that was good, I want to use that!” But I just file that away with all the other thoughts that are interrupting my rest and try to focus back on my breathing. Brains are amazing thinking machines. I come up with all kids of fantastic solutions when I’m meditating. I’ve noticed that sometimes I remember the things later, and sometimes I don’t. The important thing is I am taking the time for myself.

So, meditating is about me. It’s about resting my brain and allowing my mind to go to that light and airy place where I don’t have to make any decisions, solve any problems, or be anyone’s support. It’s a time in the day where I can be completely selfish. I don’t have to think about anyone or anything I have to do. I can just… be. It is a moment of only existing, with no responsibilities, no regrets… It’s not a place of “no thoughts,” believe me. But Andy (the Headspace guy) advises it’s more like looking at a blue sky. Sometimes clouds float by, but that doesn’t change the fact there is a blue sky out there (that’s a paraphrase, here’s exactly what he said).

Mindfulness isn’t only about meditating. It’s about paying attention to your space and interaction with the world. One good example is being mindful while eating. Another favourite is mindful walking, (from, cosmickids.com). The videos and and scripts are just to get started. Once the practice becomes a daily habit, I can be mindful in everything I do.

One of my best examples of being mindful is slowing down, even when I’m late, because I know rushing is only going to mean more mistakes. If I’ve lost something, I have to take a break from looking. Even a few breaths is enough to break the mindset. Once I’m free of the negative thinking I was doing that led to a thing being lost I can look for it, but more thoughtfully this time.

Mindfulness would be the opposite of mindlessness, to which we have attributed the less unpleasant term “impulsivity.” I work with many students who have difficulty with attention and focus. I practice mindfulness with my students every time I meet with them.

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #ptsd #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care #mindfulness #meditation #impulsivity #adhd #slowdown #relax #calm #headspace #cosmickidsyoga

Medication

I didn’t realize it had been two weeks. I was aware of missing last week, but I (incorrectly) thought it was the only one. It’s been an interesting two weeks. Today is Wednesday, Nov 4. Everyone has had their chance to vote, it’s just a matter of counting. I also started a new medication two weeks ago. Depression medication. I’ve always avoided it because it comes with a period of slow titrating (gradually increasing the dose) because of the common and unwanted side effects.

For instance, it could make you sleepy, or jittery. So take it in the morning or the evening, depending. Sometimes I feel like I’ve had too many coffees, all of a sudden, in the afternoon. I’m tired all day and when it’s time to go to sleep, I can’t turn my brain off. I get stomach aches when I take it and although I’m starving all day long, nothing sounds good and even if I get food I sometimes don’t eat it. Until late at night when I eat all the sweet things in the house.

Two weeks in, I’m still having some symptoms. I know it takes a while, I have to tolerate a small dose (get enough in my system that the side effects subside) and work my way up to a level that will start to have an effect of my emotional state.

This means that a medication that is supposed to help me feel better is going to make me feel worse for a few weeks before it starts working on my emotional symptoms. This is true for anyone who tries depression medication. Unless they are properly educated by the doctors and the pharmacists, people who already feel crappy are likely to give up on a medication that initially makes them feel worse.

I know it takes time. I have noticed a change in the side effects, I haven’t really noticed a change in my mood, but I do feel hopeful because I’m making an effort to take control and change my situation.

I put off depression medication for a long time, although it has been suggested to me by medical professionals from whom I seek care. Not only because I knew it was a journey of discomfort that I wasn’t prepared for at the time, but also because of the messages I’ve kept in my head that were left by my ex. depression medication, in his opinion, was a sign of weakness. He didn’t like pills of any kind. He never forgot to call me “pillhead” when I took my birth control pill every morning.

But here’s a question: why is it such an uncomfortable journey? Why is one of the common side effects gaining weight (which might make one more depressed?) Why do I have to feel worse before I feel better? What about the people that already feel so bad they can’t afford to feel worse?

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #medication #ptsd #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care #sideeffects #pillhead

reality

so this is my new reality

I know I’m not alone. I also know this isn’t news. I have some hand sanitizer at the handy and a mask by the door for when I need to answer the door for food delivery or go out for the mail or to take out the trash.

I was sitting in a restaurant today. I mean, not exactly “in” the restaurant, but there was an outdoor space where there was dining. It was the first time in about six months (longer?) that I’d been eating in an actual restaurant. It was very strange being in such a public place. I had a little anxiety walking to the place, I breathed through the panic attack and it didn’t take me over, but it was there, lurking in the background. I went with a friend. We sat at opposite ends of the table and wore masks when we were not specifically eating or drinking.

She got up for a bit and I was at the table on my own. I eavesdropped on the other patrons, the group of young people at the table near me were having a delightfully amusing conversation that I was enjoying very much. Another group got up to leave and I instinctively smiled at the woman as she passed me. Then, I remembered, I looked like this:

So, this is how I look in public now.

I am smiling in this picture, but you may not be able to see that. I could tell, right before I snapped the photo, I habitually said, “cheese,” and grinned, even though I know full well my mouth isn’t a part of this photo. I could see a minor change in the position of my mask. So that tells me that people can see when I smile.

But the nice things about wearing a disguise everywhere I go is I no longer have to worry about how my facial expressions are perceived. I can finally let me #bitchface rest. I don’t have to smile to show you I’m interested. I don’t have to work so hard to make other people more comfortable. I don’t have to monitor my facial expressions, because nobody can see them. Nobody can tell who I am, people I know have a hard time recognizing me. I have a hard time picking people I know out of a crowd of people all wearing masks.

I don’t feel like I’m all that anxious to stop wearing a mask, even when it becomes ‘safe’ to go maskless again. Maybe I’m just gonna be that “old witch” on the street. The house that all the kids skip on Halloween, “That crazy old lady,” they’ll say of me, “she’s been wearing masks since the flu of 2020.”

I really enjoy my daily disguise. I can focus on whatever I need to get through the day, I’m not constantly monitoring the body language of other people to make sure I’m not a threat to them (or they to me). I happily hide behind my sunglasses, mask, (sometimes, even a hat) and go about my own bloody business, thank you very much. When I venture out, that is. Which isn’t much anymore.

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #reality #ptsd #COVID-19 #coronavirus #maskup #keepyourdistance #washyourhands #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care

Consent

Cats are assholes. I have one living with me right now.

I can’t say I “own” a cat, because if you’ve ever met cats, you already know they own you. This pandemic has instigated a new kind of relationship with my cat. I have seen her entire daily routine, over and over. It doesn’t change much. (Only as much as mine does, I suppose, she mainly spends all day following me from room to room and falling asleep when she gets there).

Some cats are cuddly. I’ve had cats that would spend hours on my lap (or wrapped around my neck if I would let them). This cat isn’t cuddly as much as she is a Queen of consent. She’s taught me a lot about consent, actually, and I have the scratches on my arms to prove it. I’m a lot more into cuddling than she is. She tells me when she’s had enough, and sometimes that means a swipe at my arm. She gets to decide when it’s enough and she doesn’t have to give me any warning.

That’s Okay.

Some things feel good for a while, and then they don’t feel good anymore. I don’t need a reason. I don’t need to justify how it changed. I just need to communicate I don’t want that right now. I’ll probably want it again later, just not at the moment, than you very much. Also, I’d like to go on like nothing happened. You’re guilt trip doesn’t work on me. I’ll just sit over here, lick my paw, and you’ll be over there sulking, but it’s no bother to me.

It’s ok until it’s not ok

That’s Okay.

I’m allowed to change my mind at any time, and for no reason.

What I was into last time may or may not be “the thing” this time. It’s perfectly acceptable for me to say “no thank you” I probably won’t get my claws out, but I’ll kindly get my point across.

Also, I’d like to add it’s possible to teach consent to a five-year-old, so there is no excuse for not knowing how to ask for consent. The littlest elementary students are always running up to us teachers and grabbing us for hugs. Grabbing us from behind (inadvertently) grabbing us by the pussy. So I started asking for consent for hugs.

I tell them, “I’d like you to get consent for hugs.”

“What’s CONst?”

“It means you ask me for a hug and you wait for me to say, “yes.”

“Oh. Do you want a hug?”

“Yes, but I might not want a hug nextime, OK? Will you ask?”

They always say “yes,” but it takes a few times for them to remember. Later on, when they hear the word consent, they already know what it means. Also, nobody has had to talk to a child about sex.

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #consent #consentissexy #Consensual #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care #cats #catsinquarantine

Inappropriate

This post has been sitting in my drafts for more than two years. My auto lease is up next August. This isn’t the only issue I’ve had with the car place; I’ve experienced micro-aggressions, such as “mansplaining” from the service staff when he couldn’t replicate the problem I was experiencing. I’m planning to buy a car at the end of my lease, but these guys won’t get my sale.

During the long process of starting the lease of my current car, I was passed on from one person to another. There was the salesman, then this other guy that wasn’t a salesman but seemed to have some kind of official role (he had a polo shirt) actually asked me out. I should have looked him dead in the eyes and told him how inappropriate his behavior was. I was well within my rights to go all Karen and complain to his supervisor. He tried to make it all casual, “Oh, you live alone? I live alone, too. We should hang out.” No, you should do your job, and I’m pretty certain that your job description does not include “sexual harassment of customers.”

I didn’t do that. I smiled awkwardly and said “No thank you.” When he pressed, I repeated, “No…” He actually insisted, and continued to list more reasons why I was wrong and he was right. I squirmed in my seat, smiling, repeating, “No, thank you,” because I’ve been taught to be polite, because I’ve learned from experience anything other than this demure posturing and “letting him down easy” could result in violence or rape.

So why didn’t I stand up to his inappropriate behavior? Why didn’t I report his sexual harassment to his supervisor? Why wasn’t I able to be honest with him about how his advances made me feel? Because men have all the power in these types of exchanges. I know the physical and emotional danger a man with a bruised ego can pose to me if I do stand up for myself. I know that even if I did, there was a 50% chance that I would either not be believed or my concerns would be minimized and his behaviour excused.

So, I did nothing. I said nothing. I just allowed him to be inappropriate and think his behavior was warranted in this situation. But it’s hard to speak up, It’s hard when I’ve spent a lifetime laughing off men’s poor behaviors because I didn’t think I had another choice. I’m disappointed it took me more than two years to even write about it. Every mistake is a learning experience. I will always remember that moment as a time I didn’t take the chance to complain. Maybe I wouldn’t have been “believed,” but at least I could have requested someone else.

#happinessinavacuum #wordpress #wordpressblog #inappropriate #ptsd #abusiverelationship #emotionalviolence #recovery #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #healing #validation #balance #self-care #sexualharassment #sales #karen #manager

Story

I thought I was the crazy one. I thought my PTSD was to blame for all the conflicts we had. I chalked up my increased panic attacks and anxiety to the very real fact that we were experiencing a global pandemic. Because of the inability to come together as a people and just wear your fucking masks already, we are now in the sixth month of not “normal.” I don’t even remember what “normal” is anymore, and I’m certainly not going back there, whatever it was.

But I digress. Nice people can be manipulative, too. I’m very good at seeing the monsters now, the obvious narcissists that are just too cool and full of knowing it to fool me anymore. But I can very easily be fooled by someone else’s codependency. Their need to please, with the expectation that I will love and appreciate them without question. That I will always be there. That I will be a never-ending well of emotional energy to suck and suck and suck dry. I know you don’t mean to be such a drain, you can’t/won’t see it. Even when I provide literary evidence and concrete examples. You have excuses and justifications for each and every point I bring up.

I am tired of answering your questions. I am tired of being there for you. I asked you to give me space, which you couldn’t, so I had to block you. You keep reaching out to my friends looking for sympathy. You’re still haunting my thoughts even after I’ve put you to rest. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. I can’t believe I fell for your lies and manipulations (I do admit you believed your lies as well, I get it wasn’t intentional lying as much as it was a lack of self-awareness). I can’t believe such a “nice guy” turned out to be such a jerk. You won’t change until you are able to see the problem, but I can’t let you be my problem anymore. It’s not my job to fix you. I’ve got my own recovery journey to tend to. So fuck off out of my head already.

I found this communication from months ago, I was telling my sister about all the red flags I was seeing and I was making excuses for all of them.

She said to me:

You doubt yourself because others have habitually tried to tell you that your memory of what you said is less accurate than theirs and was always symptomatic of deeper needs to control the situation that you worry could be why he’s doing it too. (Turns out, she was right).

Then she shared a story of her own:

I got contacted at the beginning of quarantine by someone I haven’t seen in 20 years. It was one of those “I always had a crush on you” type things. He said he wanted to get to know me and I played along because I always liked him too and I needed someone to talk to, but he quickly turned it to we’re meant for each other and started telling me things about me that he obviously googled, but claimed he just magically knew because we have such a great connection. This was all in the span of less than a week and when I called him on it he got very defensive. I actually went to bed that night feeling a little bad that I was too hard on him, but woke up the next morning to a series of pictures of a handwritten note that he stayed up all night writing to me about how we have a connection and laying his heart on the table, but he’s not going to play my game and chase me (as if my calling him on his shit was some kind of game). I of course didn’t respond and he started posting sad selfies, and then posted one labeled “last day” and made comments threatening suicide then he deleted me off Facebook. So yeah he’s blocked now.

I lose my heart so easily. I fall in love, I feel like it’s “meant to be,” I only see the good things and I willfully ignore the problems I see. I know I’m not perfect, so I don’t expect someone else to be. Maybe I wasn’t specific enough in my last request of the universe. I need someone with whom I can have an intelligent conversation. Someone who challenges me, but does not make me feel inferior. Someone who acknowledges past hurt, and is doing the introspective work to grow and function as a responsible adult. Someone who is fun, but not reckless. Who supports me in my decisions without questioning my motives or plan.

Too much to ask? I really was happy all by myself before I met you. Damn salad days of our early relationship showed me what is possible when I let myself be a part of a “couple.” We’ll see how quickly those walls come crashing down next time I meet someone…

Every experience is a learning experience. I learned a lot from this relationship. I know myself better now. I know my “tells.” If I’m uncomfortable, it’s OK to back off. If the other person can’t handle that, they aren’t ready for me anyway. I’m not here to please someone else. I’m here to make myself happy. Eventually, I’ll meet someone else who is independent enough to share some part of a life with me.

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