Posts Tagged With: compassion to yourself

Teenaged Angst: 31 Years Later

Yes, another therapy post. You can pass on by if you want.

We were discussing relationships, and she asked me a somewhat off the wall question, at least from my perspective. I can’t exactly remember the question, but it was essentially one where she wanted to know if there was any specific memory that seemed to be associated with what I was feeling.

It took me straight to Homecoming of my senior year in high school.  Now, you have to understand a few things about my high school. It was a boarding school, and I was what could be called a “scholarship student.” I worked as a dishwasher at least both my junior and senior years, and my parents got loans either from family or from the church body that owned and ran the school (yes, it was a religious boarding school owned and run by a very conservative, evangelical Lutheran synod). We were not allowed dances, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have those “special days.” It just meant that it was more about speeches and awards than about having some — hopefully — semi-clean fun. We had a joke about it (that I told my therapist) that we weren’t allowed to have sex because “it would lead to dancing.” Also, since it was the 80s, and most of the huge anti-hazing laws had yet to be created, there was a form of hazing for incoming freshmen. Anything (short of illegal or against the rules) that an upperclassman (juniors and seniors) told them to do, they were supposed to do.

I was, for a good portion of my high school years, the almost asexual, advice-giving friend. My senior year, I decided to take a risk. I asked an older freshman that I had been hanging out with to go to Homecoming with me.  I wasn’t expecting some huge romantic relationship, just having an escort for my last Homecoming of my high school career.

He stood me up.

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Categories: Mental Retraining, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Struggling With Executive Function Issues

I have been searching online quite a bit for general “tips and tricks” for supporting my day-to-day functioning with diagnosed cognitive issues in executive functioning. In my case, the primary issues are time tracking issues including poor deadline matching and poor planning assessment; deficits primarily in short-term memory, with some conceptual issues; issues with multitasking; and poor analytical processes.

On one hand, many of the attentional issues can be temporarily overcome with intense concentration (such as when I take tests).  These attentional issues include word finding, word deafness (a mild form, not a full aphasia – yet consistently, the word I hear as opposed to the word spoken by someone is heard as either simple profanity, or as a more obscene concept than intended), compromised motor skills (clumsy to the point of tripping over air sometimes), and issues with phonemes as a articulation disorder (more than simple spoonerisms, which also happen quite often, this is more of a verbal dyslexia).

While temporarily overcoming this issue is helpful, it has also caused some issues with discussing my cognitive issues with assorted medical professionals.  I have what is amusingly called White Coat SyndromeIn my case, again, this is not a pure phobia.  Yes, my blood pressure will often rise when dealing with a new doctor, and sometimes with specific specialty professionals.  But, it is almost better described as a “chip on my shoulder.” I routinely have this discussion with my therapist, because it is a very strong emotional response when dealing with medical professionals, psychiatric professionals and even worse with dental professionals. Continue reading

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Mind Blown

March has been a significant month for me this year. There have been a lot of insights and/or epiphanies that I have had both during therapy and outside of therapy. Things that have rocked the foundation of my personality. How I perceived things that I believed with all of my being, that may or may not have been based in real, objective reality rather in my own subjective world.

The thing is, that is a normal experience for any human if they are honest with themselves and are truly attempting to be the best variation of themselves that they can be.  But, it requires an honesty with one’s Self that few people are actually willing to do.

It’s far easier to blame other people for the things that are wrong in your life.  That way, you can tell yourself that you have neither control of the situation nor that you are just as responsible for its continuation.

For example, as the person who primarily was responsible for the financial end of things while I was married, it was quite easy for my ex to blame our financial situation on me.  That way he didn’t have to take responsibility for the fact that he often manipulated me into paying for things we just didn’t have the income to support.  I would rob Peter to pay Paul, simply to keep the peace at home.  Now, obviously, I bear accountability for not looking him straight in the eyes and telling him, “we don’t have the ability to do that.” But as a fully matured adult, he bore the same responsibility to deny himself instant gratification for things he wanted so that we had the money for things we actually needed as a family.

No situation is ever truly clearly delineated, particularly in interpersonal ones.

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Abusive Narcissists

via Five Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head

I’ve spoken about the gaslighting that I experienced when I was married.  But I haven’t really discussed the other issues that are very difficult to overcome.

And it took me a while to realize that I am not alone in my experiences.  When I posted this article to Facebook, my ex’s oldest friend responded with: “Christ! It’s like she knows him!”

There’s also “The Idealization-Devaluation-Discard Cycle”, “Smear Campaigns”, pulling in the “Well Meaning Witness” and the “Unlimited Masks.”. (I reworded/paraphrased the writer’s items)

The cycle is why I thought I was alone, that no one else experienced it.  The fact that we went from him not being able to get enough of me, to absolute chastity.  It was during the devaluation phase that he triggered all of my self-esteem issues, fitting it into his gaslighting so that I spent 14 years blaming myself for HIS sexual dysfunction. It wasn’t until I started to see him do it to another wife that I even had an inkling that there might be a bigger problem.  And even with that, I had blinders on for most of the decade she was with us – refusing to see what he was doing to both of us.

Sadly, when I left him in 2014, those same activities were starting to happen with the last woman we brought into the relationship.  This is the one he plans to marry again, making the relationship legal.  I can hope she doesn’t take as long as I did to realize who he really is, but either way – it is no longer my responsibility.

The smear campaigns didn’t start until after I left him, and after I told him I would no longer be abused – at least the smears aimed at me.  The smear about the other wife that left him, 6 months before I did, exploded all over the 2013 holiday season.  Well, no, that’s not completely true.  Every time someone left his life because they wouldn’t put up with his shit, he would fling as much mud as possible over the other person.

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Then Again, Maybe Not

I wrote about self-flagellation, and how much I am working on trying to re-train that part of me that is so harshly self-critical.  And, I guess I’m not as far along as I thought. I can still be proud that I didn’t go automatically into that spiral.

But, it’s still hard not to look at it and say: ‘you’re such a dumbass! you know that, don’t you?’

Sometimes my passion for what I consider to be the “right thing” I forget to take into account how it will not only affect other people, but in what ways it will affect me or mine.  And, while being persistent to fight for that “right thing” is good, it can also send you off in a different direction than you thought you were going.  And sometimes, you take that step too far because the passion is pushing you.

And, if I think about that, perhaps that’s exactly why my younger self tried to turn off all of those chaotic emotions, like passion.  Not just sexual passion, but the sheer vivacity of life.  Maybe I just got sick of taking that step too far, or was too afraid to let go of control and take a risk that I couldn’t predict where it would take me.

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I get a daily reminder (on only weekdays, no weekends) of positive thinking. It usually hits my email at about 3am.

Sometimes, it’s hokey. Sometimes it is just too woo-woo even for me.

But, then again, sometimes it hits a note I really need to hear.

Today’s is:

When someone is so “desperate” to have what they want to have, do what they want to do, or be who they want to be, Cat, that they’d rather take little, tiny, teeny steps in the direction of their dreams than face one more single day of doing without, I just can’t help but open the floodgates.

It’s a bit on the woo-woo side, but struck me that that’s essentially what I’m doing, and how I’m living right now. I can’t rely on my brain like I am used to, and I have no promise that I will ever get back what I used to have.

But, there has been a little, tiny, teeny dream I have had – but that I’ve never even allowed myself to consider as a possibility. I’ve wanted to be a writer and an artist for decades. But, I had no confidence in my ability to do either. And I also had a lot of different people telling me that my writing and my art just didn’t measure up. That, if I was lucky, maybe one or two people might like it, but I would never be the kind of creative genius that my role models were.

And some part of me thought, if I can’t be like my role models, why should I try?

That bit of self-hate has haunted me for far too much of my life.

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I have stated before that there is a part to Christianity that is somewhat intrinsic to a poor understanding of the idea of Original Sin and Grace.  Unfortunately, when we all learn about this – at least for those of us who were raised as Christians (regardless of how conservative/liberal or how fundamentalist vs all-inclusive that it may be).

Original Sin, at its base, simply means that we – as humans – are not perfect, and cannot ever even hope to be perfect.

But when we learn about it as children, all we have to compare that simple fact of imperfection is when we are bad, and punished by our parents or others who are raising us.  And because they are human too, and thereby imperfect, they were taught in the exact same way.

Look, I’m not talking about the discipline/punishment argument out there of whether or not you should spank your child.  I’m talking plain and simply the fact that every person responsible for a child teaches them right from wrong, usually in some way in a related fashion to how they themselves were raised (either by copying their caregivers’ choices, or by intentionally doing the exact opposite of their own caregivers’ choices).

And it is an important part of every child’s development to learn how to live in the rules and customs of their society.

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Categories: Body Positivity, Feminism, Mental Retraining, Relationships, Religious Ruminations | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting the Universe’s Clue-by-Four

So, yesterday was therapy day.  Yes, I go to therapy.

And before you say something, I did actually go to therapy WHILE I was in the relationship with the ex.  You’d think that a psychologist would see the signs of abuse, but let me remind you of something: therapists are human too!!

Given that yes, therapists are human, and that abused people are fairly well gifted at hiding the fact that they are abused – sometimes even from themselves – I can’t blame or fault ANY of the therapists or other medical practitioners for not seeing the signs that I was being emotionally or mentally abused.  Hell, if I could hide it from my blood relations, some professional isn’t going to have an easy job of figuring it out either – especially if I am stringently denying I was being abused.  If I fooled myself long enough, how could anyone that is NOT me actually see it unless they were in the exact same situation with the exact same people.  Hell, one of the ex-wives repeatedly said my ex was abusing her, and I spent a hell of a lot of time telling her she wasn’t being abused.  Of course, he hid the worst of what he did to any of us away from the other two wives, because… be bluntly honest, it was the ONLY way he could continue to abuse us and get US to refuse to see it as abuse. It’s part of the reason the last ex-wife is still with him – she’s still drinking the Kool-aid. She still believes that we are lying or at least, exaggerating his treatment of us, and that my response to her when I finally chose to refuse to allow my ex to continue to abuse me – that I was abandoning and betraying her.

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Even Sex-Positive People….

Look, everyone has insecurities.

Just because someone is body positive, sex positive and fights for the rights of people to be who they are – regardless of anyone else’s hangups about who they are – doesn’t mean that they never feel insecure, ashamed or doubtful about their relationships.

What is different about how those of us who are fighting these fights is that we consider a few basic logical assumptions before we go freak out at someone with whom we have a relationship.

  1. Have we discussed the subject we’re insecure about with the person involved (preferably in a non-attacking/non-blaming way)?
  2. Could there be something going on in the other person’s life that could impact their involvement in whatever subject we’re insecure about?
  3. Is the situation you are insecure about something related to that little voice inside us that constantly criticizes us (i.e. is there something in your head saying you’re bad or wrong)?
  4. Is the issue related to something that makes you feel like an impostor or a fraud?

The questions could (and probably do) go on.

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