Know Thyself, pt. 1

Disclaimer: I’ve just come down from a 4-5 day hypomanic/manic episode. My head hurts and feels like it’s encased in cotton. My body feels weak and fragile. My thoughts are sluggish and scattered. So, hopefully what comes next is cohesive enough to make sense.

When I last saw my therapist, I had this desperate, grand idea that I want to get a job as a Mental Health Peer Specialist. I’m surviving on zero cash income, $357/mo  in SNAP benefits (aka food stamps), in a Section-8 apartment. My ex pays for my phone & my bus pass. He also directly purchases our daughter’s needs and has been my resource for getting laundry done. Occasionally, he would give me money or pay for personal hygiene products and haircuts. However, after a series of unfortunate events, he’s fallen way behind on his own bills, that even that small monetary support went away.

Our daughter spends more than 30% of her time with him. This disqualifies me for TANF (aka welfare). Even if I were to “play the system” and claim that she spends less time with him, the state would automatically open a child support case against him. His housing expenses and the other support he provides directly, aren’t factored in the calculations for minimum, mandatory child support amounts. He would be required to pay $600/mo +/-, thereby destabilizing him; taking away the calm, secure, stable environment our daughter needs. Nope. Not an option.

I’ve been accessing a food & household supply pantry, since January of this year. The pantry is donated space in the building my faith community gathers in. That resource is ending.  What’s left in the pantry is all there is, until it’s all gone and nothing is being added. The person who’s been running it has moved on and, so far, no one else has stepped in to keep this resource available to the community, despite my best efforts to recruit people who would work with me to create a sustainable program for our faith community to operate.

But, I digress.

Utilities are paid via the utility reimbursement check I get from Section-8 and/or income from my 22 year old daughter, whose family of four (with two babies under 2). She’s been working two part-time jobs while her boyfriend stays home with the babies. I guess that is working for them, for now. However, one of those jobs crashed and burned last month and the other one, which was only made bearable because the other one fed her soul, is sucking what’s little she’s got left of herself. She’s been doing all of this while experiencing untreated Post-Partum Depression. She told me today she’s put in her two-week notice. She’s also been paying for the $10/mo basic internet we qualify for because I have a school age child and we “income qualify.”

Basically, all of the supplemental subsistence resources are drying up. I felt the walls of despair and anxiety closing in around me. Despite the physical and mental health issues and all the other things going on with my youngest child’s High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, ongoing codependency issues with the ex, and the conflicted codependency issues I have with my oldest daughter’s family, I felt as if the only solution is for me to, somehow, get a job. Mental Health Peer Specialist seems like something I can do, while still working through my own crazy. So, I told my therapist I wanted to meet with a Case Manager to figure out possible employment options.

Regardless of the fact I had requested this service, when I got the call to schedule an appointment, just the sound of the male voice on the other end of the phone triggered issues I wasn’t fully aware of and an automatic resistance to put my future under an unknown man’s influence/authority, rose up. I went to the appointment anyway.

Work with what is, right?

At the time we set the appointment, I was under the delusion that I wasn’t having hypomanic/manic episodes anymore. After all, I had been in a 4 month long, deep depression. By the time we actually met, I was midway through my second manic episode since November 1st. The first one had me thinking, hoping, believing that I was just “getting better” from the depression. However, for the person who has known me longest and been most negatively affected by my seemingly lifelong, mostly unidentified and untreated, bipolar cycles, my son, a very different perspective on my sudden hyper-productivity rose up.

He texted me and asked if I was “on an upswing of bipolar or genuinely in a better place?”

I appreciate the concern. Given my history and everything that’s been going on, it’s a legitimate concern. To be honest, I really don’t believe that’s what’s going on. However, it could be and I’m not fully aware of it.

Then, I went on to list the most recent “crises” which had prompted my productivity.

I’m very grateful that he reached out and asked me that. There are two different kinds of gratitude:

1) That our relationship has been reconciled to the point that he would reach out to me that way, instead of judging and withdrawing once he saw what was happening with me, shows me just how much grace, love, and strength God has given both of us. Just three years ago he had all but disowned me. He’d legally adopted himself to another, healthier, more stable family of faith he’d been provided for and supported by since he was 16. He just turned 29. It was also encouraging to know that all the painful and hard work I’ve put into my healing & recovery process, as well as my portion of the reconciliation process has “paid off.”

2) If he hadn’t reached out like that, I probably wouldn’t have seen what was happening this week as a second manic episode and sought more help.

Well, this has gotten to be too long of a post. To be continued . . .

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Stream of consciousness brain dump

It’s a little after 11 pm. I’ve been awake since my ex texted me at 7:45 this morning because he was running late getting our daughter to school from his side of town. More about that sitch later, maybe. Or not. We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Anyway, despite the grammar nazi, perfectionistic, wordsmith I tend to be, this post is just going to be me emptying my brain, so that, maybe, hopefully, oh LORD PLEASE, I’ll actually get some restful sleep tonight. So, editing will not be a priority – at all. With that in mind, I’m just going to start typing. Then you, dear readers, may get a small glimpse of what it’s like to live with my brain. Here goes everything!

I’m totally exhausted, but, it’s not as much of the bad kind of exhausted as it usually tends to be. No, this exhaustion is from actually being productive and accomplishing a whole bunch of things in the past 36 hours. Hmmm. Probably a clue that the bipolar is cycling a wee bit.

I just spent about four days in bed, hibernating alone in my bedroom, caved in with the depression. I binge ate bad for me foods. No, I mean BAD for me! I’m supposed to be working on changing my healthstyle, starting with nutrition because I tripped back over the A1C line into Type II Diabetes, again inside of a year and a half. Also, the thyroid hormones are out of whack. Plus, triggers. PTSD issues abound. Constantly dealing with conflicted relationships with my son, my oldest daughter, and the father of my youngest daughter, not to mention trying to be a functional, semi-decent mom to my youngest, during the time of year when the most significant life events from my past, which contributed to the PTSD in the first place, is a bitch. Factor in that the time change means night falls by 5 pm, it’s getting colder and wetter, as well as darker and it’s only going to grow from here until Winter Solstce, I guess I should just be thankful I’m still functional enough to string more than two words together. Actually, there were moments today.

Yesterday, everything just rose up into my conscious awarenes, all at once, and my eyes just started leaking, of their own accord, intermittently throughout the day, despite my opposing will.

Between my son’s 29th birthday last week, the tensions of sharing a tiny, 2 bedroom apartment with my 22 year old daughter, her 22 year old boyfriend, and their two babies (20 mos and 8 mos), and ongoing codependent conflict between me and my ex, it’s actually a God-given miracle that they haven’t come to take me away . . . yet.

I just found that video. I’m not typically a fan of what I would consider to be thrash metal music, but, I just couldn’t stop smiling throughout watching this video. While my situation isn’t about my insanity being triggered by my lover leaving me, (actually, the opposite) I could definitely relate to these ladies. As a matter of fact, I think I’m still smiling because this is one of the layers of me, underneath the weighty masks I wear on the daily.

Here’s the version I was originally looking for:

Anyhooo . . . where was I? Oh, yeah. Depression sucks! Big, green ones.

Then Paris, ISIS, us vs. them, Christian Libs vs Christian Reps, Christians vs Muslims, Anti-Religionists vs True Believers, Homeless Vets vs Syrian Refugees, and, let’s not forget the four stooges: Donald, Ben, Bernie, & Hilary. Xenophobia, Sexism, Racism, Classism . . . ism after ism.

A friend of mine is a Child & Family Therapist, who does a lot of work with families from domestic violence and traumatic abuse situations. Recently, she’s had to take a step back and do some serious self-care because her work was affecting her own mental health. It’s considered secondary trauma or “Vicarious Traumatization,” from working with trauma survivors and hearing them recount, relive really, the trauma and abuse they’ve experienced. Read more about it here.

I mention this because, in some ways, I think, with the internet; 157 different news media outlets repeatedly reporting on violence, trauma, and terrorism, 24/7; 15,000 Op Ed blog posts responding to these reports; politicization of these traumatic events; and the ensuing propagandizing to appeal to the most basic and motivating of human emotions: fear. This fear is directed to trip the faulty wiring attached to the largest thinking error we post-modern, pre-apocolyptic, first world denizens inherently embody: entitlement. Our social media lives set us up for vicarious trauma. We’re even less equipped to cope than trained mental health professionals.

Speaking of social media . . . a new FB acquaintance of mine posted something today that cut right to the heart of this.

The world is not getting worse, it’s just getting more media. ~ Jacob Wright

Where was I going with all of this? Sorry, I got distracted by the compulsive need to edit. *sigh*

That’s right, the exposition beneath my relatively rapid cycling of depression and hypomania with a large, unhealthy dose of PTSD triggered anxiety.

My primary trauma is being triggered by ongoing trauma and iced over by vicarious trauma.

I was compulsively binging on FB notifications and posts. Seeing the conflicting sides and opinions of current events posted by people I’m in relationship with who are in conflict with me and one another. Despite the fact that I kind of, really, owe my current level of growth, healing, and functionality to WordPress and Facebook, I was drowning, suffocating, and frantically fighting against going under because I couldn’t take my eyes off the notifications and news feeds.

I reactivated a former FB profile with the psuedonym I used when establishing this blog, three years ago.

I reached out to a limited number of people from my primary profile, who I feel the safest witheplained what I was doing and why, before just sending them a friend request from some random chick. Everyone responded favorably.

ok. the brain dump worked, nodding off at the keyboard.

12:38 am, goodnight. . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Back to square one

I started this blog, then abandoned it, three years ago.

Why?

Because, codependency . . . among other things.

What’s changed?

 ♦  I left my “qualifier” almost two years ago. We’re no longer in a “romantic/committed” relationship and we don’t share a household. However, we’re still completely codependent and enmeshed. So, I guess this falls under “the more things change, the more they stay the same” category.

♦  I was finally diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar II Disorder, within a couple of months of “ending” the relationship. Both conditions began manifesting while I was a teenager. 30, or so, years of undiagnosed, untreated emotional and psychological chaos have taken their toll.

♦  With the correct diagnoses have come therapy, meds, and entry into a trauma recovery group. So, I’ve made progress . . . sort of. I’m at the, “It gets worse before it gets better,” stage. You know that house cleaning stage where everything is out of sorts, out-of-order, and completely overwhelming? Yeah, that.

♦  I’ve cultivated a support network, mostly online, which includes people who actually know me “in real life.”

♦  My youngest child was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HF ASD) about a year and a half ago. She’s turning seven in a little over two weeks.

♦  My middle child birthed my first two grandchildren, about a year apart . . . and all four members of their family live with me and my youngest.

♦  I’ve spent the last 18  months in a reconciliation dance with my oldest child, who legally disowned me just over three years ago. We’re in a much better place than we’ve been in a long time. However, it’s still a challenging relationship, given that we both experience PTSD and can trigger each other simply by being in the same physical space and breathing the same air.

What hasn’t changed?

Just about every anxious or depressed thought and feeling I’ve ever had throughout the past 30 years.

I just skimmed through the few posts I wrote back in 2012 and honestly can’t see where I’ve made progress. Perhaps where I’m at on the depression and PTSD cycles have put blinders on, obstructing my view of myself. However, I think they’ve just amplified the reality.

What now?

Time to start over, again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started over. I can’t say that’s all bad. At least it shows I’ve never completely given up. I’m not really a fan of country music, but, this one feels relevant to this stage of my journey.

I’m a mess

My son is getting married soon. He doesn’t want to give Evron the time of day because of all the crap he and his sister experienced with Evron while they were growing up and that, as far as he is concerned, Evron appears to have made little to no progress or effort to progress. It’s understandable and valid, after all, it is his wedding.

The problem is that he has chosen to include his youngest sibling, Evron’s daughter, in the wedding. When he made that decision, he was intelligent enough to know if she was going to be there, then her father would be as well.

Evron, being Evron, has little to no concept of how shattered his relationship with my son is. He has only recently hit a kind of bottom in our relationship where he can recognize or admit the damage he has caused in our relationship. In his way of interacting with and viewing the world, his intent means more than his actions and since he feels bad about what he’s done, that should make it all better. At least that’s how it comes across when it doesn’t appear to affect his egocentric attitudes and actions moving forward.

So, back to the wedding.

Since there is another family my son is part of and they are known as his parents by most of the people in his world, I had assumed that we, Evron and I, would not be at the wedding or reception in any role other than as parents of the flower girl.

The truth is that the few people who have met me or know who I really am, know even less about Evron than they do me. I know, based on my son’s own words, that no one in any of the families wants Evron there besides me and his daughter. I had assumed that was also true of me. After all, as far as any of them are concerned I sacrificed my children to my relationship with Evron and have consistently chosen him over them at every turn. In their eyes I have been a willing partner in an almost 20 year cycle of emotional, verbal, and sometimes physical abuse.

Over this past year I have struggled to work through the tip of my codependency iceberg. Realizing and recognizing my codependent behaviors and actions not just with Evron, but with everyone else as well, including my adult children.

I have done my best to back off, step aside and let them work through the things they need to work through, while doing everything in my power to let them know, I will be available when they are ready. At the same time, as I have attempted to respect their boundaries, I’ve been trying to create some of my own.

I live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance, conflicting beliefs and values. I am aware of many of the conflicts between who I want to be and who I am. I am aware that as far as most people are concerned, if I love my children then I would not also have chosen to love and stay with a man who, regardless of reason or underlying cause, caused harm to them or to myself by his words or actions.

I do love my children. Loving someone doesn’t mean you know the right thing to do all the time. I screwed up and made horrendous choices at times. I also did some things right and made good choices based on what I thought they needed and was self aware enough to know I couldn’t provide.

Now, I am doing my best to live within the context and reality of my life as it is now, who I am and believe Evron to be today, with the understanding there is a new child whose life and future we are responsible for, together.

So, there has been reconciliation, forgiveness and acceptance between my son and I. Yet, I somehow believed, expected, and accepted that my continued relationship with Evron meant that my placement in the wedding festivities, would simply be in the capacity as mother of the flower girl, the relatives only in attendance as chauffeur to an underage participant.

I found out differently when I went shopping with my son’s fiancé for the flower girl outfit. Apparently, I am to be seated at the head table alongside her family and my son’s other family, but Evron is to be seated elsewhere. I was completely caught off-guard by this information, and basically stated I wanted to be seated wherever Evron was seated. Primarily because I want to minimize potential disruption to the celebration of their union, not because I am rejecting my son in favor of Evron, again.

I guess my statements came off like an ultimatum. Furthermore, my subsequent interactions with her were perceived as me bullying her to choose the things I liked. What I had thought of as a positive bonding experience had been the exact opposite.

I don’t want my presence and participation in the wedding or pre-wedding activities to diminish or detract from what this is supposed to be. I have opted to avoid the bridal shower because there is at least one person, if not more, who will be in attendance who believes I have utterly failed my son and do not have the right to be there.

After a phone conversation with my son, I learned how my interactions with his fiancé had been perceived and that if I choose to sit with Evron, instead of at the head table, I will be choosing him over my son and to break the relationship bond with my son, again.

So, now I am in an impossible situation. I don’t think it is a deliberate attempt to trigger and highlight Evron’s deficiencies, however it is going to do exactly that.

The wedding is three weeks away, Evron is away on his job. He made a very damaging decision a week and a half ago, that we haven’t really worked through yet, but Evron seems to have moved on from, and there are some serious things going on with Evron’s family.

I’m doing my best to cope with untreated depression and the effects of associated pain, fatigue, and insomnia and not doing a very good job of it.

I wish something would happen with Evron’s job to prevent him from being home in time for the wedding.

There is a quote from the newest Clint Eastwood movie, trouble With The Curve. I have only seen previews, so I don’t know the full context, but there is a conflicted father-daughter relationship between Mr. Eastwood’s character and the character played by Amy Adams. The quote is from her character.

Because I feel this dysfunctional sense of responsibility to see that you’re okay.

I feel like this regarding everyone in the situation, especially my son and his bride. I feel like the only way to keep things okay for their wedding and reception will be to keep things okay with Evron, which will mean making choices to make things not okay between me and my son.

I feel sick.

Absent but not gone

Feeling a tad frustrated that I have not been able to post here as consistently and often as was my intention when I began. It is still my intention, however there are some life circumstances that are interfering.

First and foremost is technological difficulties intermingled with physical and mental symptoms of my health conditions.

The only computer I have at home is a laptop. This laptop has been through life a bit roughly and doesn’t have the stamina and resilience that I do. At least the functionality of certain keys has ceased. Do yo  hav  any  d a ho   ss nt al th s  k ys a  ?: w, e, r, u, and i are fairly necessary to the task of creating a blog post.

Considering that this is a secondary blog to the one I have been working on for almost a year now, and that the scope of this blog is intended to be much more specific and ordered than the primary one, not being able to utilize an actual computer quite problematic for me. There is also the fact that in order for me to know the things I am to focus on here, I first have to do my stream of consciousness blogging at the other location.

There is an on-screen adaptive technology keyboard I can use on the computer and I have my little phone that has the mobile app I could use, but honestly, the level of frustration at the glitchiness and slowness of using these to do more than one blog post a day is way too much for me to cope with.

I will try to get to a public access computer on a more regular basis and not get all sidetracked by the shiny newness of the blogosphere and catching up on favorite blogs and hopping over to new ones.

Just know that even though I might not be posting much, I’m still working the steps and moving through my process.

Ciao

Step 4: Inventory

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory

Step 1: I can’t

Step 2: God Can

Step 3: I think I’ll let Him

Step 4: With God I can face my crap . . .

I’ve wandered around and dabbled with going through a full on 12-Step for close to 20 years, or thereabouts. Never fully committed to it.

Maybe because, as simple as the first three steps seem to be, simple isn’t really simple at all.

After all, how can I admit being powerless over my own thoughts and compulsive behaviors when they are mine? How can I admit that I can’t do the things that have always been expected of me by my family, myself, and society? How can I admit that I am as pathetic and weak as anyone who has ever caused harm to me or mine? I’ve been the glue that held everything together and the foundation that held everyone up with no one else around to do those things now that the adhesive isn’t binding and the wall is crumbling. I can’t possibly be powerless, I’ve got to stop it somehow, or at the very least maneuver and manipulate those around me to take care of business before I go completely under, which I can’t allow to happen.

Such a tiny little step. What a huge leap. *sigh*

I don’t have the energy left, the emotional or mental stability, or any of the externals left to hold the illusion of control in place. This Wizard has been completely exposed, Dorothy style. Okay, I get it. I’m powerless.

God can? Really? Why hasn’t He already? Which God? What do you mean Higher Power? WTF? I’m a gemini, so there’s a mystical, fantastical, woowoo, spiritual part of me that really, really, REALLY wants to believe that there is a power greater than myself and that there is an intelligent designer to the universe who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and omnibenificient: All Powerful, All Knowing, Always Present, All Good All the time, and Always Beneficial. Then there’s the pragmatic, skeptical, Missouri-born in a former life “Show Me,” concrete, and rational side that says, “Seriously? 33 different books written by different people over thousands of years, compiled by other people generations later, with a circumstantial and political agenda are going to put their words in between two covers and call it God’s Word? Hmmm, I don’t think so.” If there’s this all knowing, all loving, all powerful God, then why is there so much pain, suffering, and EVIL crap done by people claiming that a god, any god, THE GOD told them to do it?

Then I look at the inexplicable coincidences that happened that saved me from the worst possible consequences of the worst possible choices and actions taken by others and myself throughout my life. I look around me and see the wreckage and devastation that is my life: my mind, my body and my relationships and I realize if I was really the one in control it all would have gone completely to hell in a handbasket a very, very long time ago. Ahem, so I may not always understand it, accept it or agree with it, but there’s something to it and obviously there is a power greater than myself at work around me and in the world, I just have to be willing to see it.

Okay. Step 1 – check. Step 2 – check. Step 3: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to God, As I Understand Him.

I’ve got sticky fingers attached to layers and layers and LAYERS of guilt, shame, regret, resentment, bitterness, anger, and just plain unexpressed pain, bewilderment, and grief. Every time I think I’ve done let go and let God, I turn around and run, smack dab right back into myself and my crap, smashing my face against my own reflection in the process. I put the bag down, only to realize it’s attached to more than just my hands, there are all kinds of elastic threads attaching me to it. Letting go of the weight is a relief for a minute, but two steps away from the burden and I Just. Don’t. Feel. Right.

I guess that’s why I make the decision to turn my will and my life over. Making a decision is different from making it happen. Making the decision is just the first step in reaching the goal. Now comes the REALLY hard part.

The Inventory

The fourth step is where I let God decide which elastic string to reveal is limiting my movement and hindering my progress. This is where I actually open the bag and look at what all is really inside that I’ve been carrying around all these years. Only I’m not the one in charge of when the bag opens or what gets taken out and examined. That’s up to God. I’m just willing to let Him do the Extreme Life Makeover by having me admit to all the stuff and maybe even realize that there are some good things at the bottom of the bag waiting to be let out as well. Kind of like the little spark of Hope hanging out in Pandora’s box.

I haven’t officially done a full on fourth step because I’ve been fearful about the tidal wave of overwhelming grief and anger that have been held at bay for so very long. I kept forgetting it wasn’t up to me to Just Do It, all I need to do is Let God Do It.

This week I’ve realized, He’s been doing it all along, and progress has been made when I wasn’t even looking.

 

Journal: Biting off more than I can chew

Part of my pattern of dysfunction is biting off more than I can chew. I get all excited, enthusiastic and enthralled with new life projects: Going back to school, joining TEAM in Training to walk a 5k, signing up to write a 50k word novel in a month when all I’ve ever written are college term papers (20 years ago) and 800-1,500 word blog posts, or a brand new blog to focus on health and wellness, creative endeavors, general recovery and healing issues, or a blog to specifically focus on 12-Step Recovery from Codependency.

All. At. The. Same. Time.

Well, not going back to school or doing the 5k thing at this time. But all the other stuff having to do with placing fingers on the keyboard and stringing words together in cohesive and comprehensible ways, yeah, all of that.

Surf the net, find a new location to plug into a blogging community, join a new network, grab a new badge. Start and never quite finish.

Yup, that’s me. Or is it?

I may not have done it well or completely, but I “finished” parenting two of my children to adulthood. Regardless how strained our relationships with each other or and despite the fact one has been adopted as an adult by another family and the other is trying to do the same, I’m still here, available, and working on being present to improve those relationships. They are my children and I love them and I am committed to doing everything I can to be available to them well into their adulthoods. I don’t want them to be 40-something and feeling as though I had given up on them and on me too soon and not be around if and when the time comes and they need me. See, that’s follow through.

I haven’t given up on my own personal healing and recovery process, even though I tend to avoid, deny, and distract myself from it a lot of the time. I always come back and keep trying. That’s perseverance. 20+ years and I finally am recognizing and realizing I’m not the me I thought I was and used to be back then. I’m a new me that doesn’t have to live as a hostage to the mistakes and damage of my past.

Making bad choices and mistakes doesn’t make me a bad person and I’m letting go of the guilt and shame bit by bit. See, that’s progress and forward momentum.

Even though I have abandoned and tried to leave Evron and our relationship behind several times, I have finally reached the point where I’m learning to stifle the “flight” response of my fight or flight reflex when I get overwhelmed with my anxiety and depression and the difficulties in our relationship. Now that I’ve been learning to stop pointing fingers at him and using his stuff as the reason I don’t take care of me, I’ve been better able to see my issues and make intentional changes and shift the dynamic of our relationship, just a little, but it’s still an improvement. See, that’s commitment.

I just completed a 31 day blog challenge on my other blog and now I’m doing another one in the month of November. Now I’m committing another level to my own recovery process and committing to do a 30 posts in 30 days challenge from the BlogHer network, NaBloPoMo.

Didn’t mean to go MIA

I feel like it’s been much longer than a week since I last posted here. It has definitely been way too long. I need to work on my recovery every day and I did the first couple of days, but then I just kind of went missing in my own head as well.

Evron left the job. However, thanks to the work I’d been able to do here and on my other blog, I was able to be very constructive with him. We actually had a very constructive and mutually respectful discussion.

Let me back up.

I had to let go of my need to have him do what I wanted in order to feel secure and safe. I had to trust that God is in control, not me, and that whatever the outcome is, I will be okay. That was really hard and I’m not sure it’s something I’ve conquered. I suspect I’ll be revisiting that one a few more times A LOT.

Once I did that, I realized that when I had tried to convince Evron that I was supporting him regardless of his choices, part of the reason he didn’t believe me is because, for a significant part of me, it was a lie. I was going through the motions and saying the words because I knew they were the “right” thing to say and because, on some level, I believed that by saying those words, he would feel accepted and validated enough to make the choice I wanted him to make.

Sick, sick, sick.

So, against all “reason” and “self-righteousness” an apology was in order.

Humbly, I approached him and told him I owed him an apology. I told him why and explained what was driving my manipulation. I told him that I wanted to mean the words I was saying and that I was trying and asked him to forgive me.

After that the atmosphere and dynamic seemed to do a 180 degree shift.

At least for a little while.

We talked through his decision and discussed his options. With little effort and drama we agreed that, despite the potential negative affects on our daughter, he would return to his previous job that kept him on the road for weeks at a time and he would reconnect with his former partner with the company he’d just gone back to work for as well.

Three days later, he left town.

Now, I have to figure out how to work through my codependency issues without my qualifier triggering my behaviors, thoughts, and feeling multiple times a day, every day of the week.

This presents a whole new aspect of my problem. I’ll get to that later.

For now, I’m going to celebrate the victory.

Journal: Binge eating and numbing out

Yesterday was not a good day.

I binged and carbo-loaded. It was like I couldn’t get enough. I ate until I passed the point of discomfort and went into the first twinge of pain. I guess the good news is that I did stop at that point and didn’t keep going.

I knew what I was doing, I knew what was happening as I was opening cupboard doors and examining the contents of the fridge and the freezer. I didn’t want to be doing it, but at the same time I didn’t really want to stop.

I was in full-blown H.A.L.T. meltdown.

Hungry ~ I hadn’t eaten a nutritious breakfast.

Angry ~ I was angry because I knew Evron was going to quit his job. After all the conversations, text messages, and statements from him about the things that were bothering him, I was pretty sure that, even if he didn’t quit yesterday, it would happen before the end of this week.

Lonely ~ I pretty much live in isolation. The only people I see or talk to on a daily basis are Evron and our daughter. On the weekends, if we go to our church, I might get to talk to someone who is little more than a friendly acquaintance for a few minutes, but not usually. The few friends that I could call or chat with online are in different time zones or their lives are very busy and connecting with them is more miss than hit. The one friend who is available to me is as much of a co-dependent qualifier for me as Evron is and I had chatted with her for a while yesterday, but it was more triggering than soothing.

Tired ~ Due to little girls high energy level the previous night I wasn’t able to get to sleep before midnight. Then because Evron had to get up at 2 am to get to work, and I’m a light sleeper, I woke up and had trouble getting back to sleep. So, my sleep was intermittent and not deep.

Knowing that communicating my feelings and concerns to Evron wouldn’t impact or alter the decision I knew he wanted to make kept me stewing in this mental and emotional morass of my own making.

I’m not saying I’m responsible for Evron’s choices or decisions. I’m just saying that I didn’t do the things I needed to do to take care of me. When I communicated to him my perspective, feelings, and concerns about his employment situation, I knew that it wouldn’t sway his decision. I even had told him I just wanted him to listen and hear where I was coming from. I told him I would support him, regardless what his decision was. I wanted to mean the words.  However, there was still part of my co-dependent brain that believed that if I validated his feelings and made him feel encouraged and supported enough, then he would be able to listen to me and be swayed to do what I want and feel I need him to do.

So, instead of praying about it and doing the work I need to do to let go of the outcome, I kept myself attached and hooked to my desire for Evron to fall into line with what’s best for me. Knowing full well that wasn’t going to happen was mixing and stirring up this sense of hopelessness and inevitability.

I ate. I numbed out on food that would slow my brain and my thoughts. The slowing down of my thoughts meant that the feelings of fear and anger would be tamped down. So, when one of the social service providers came to do her scheduled home visit, I was able to talk to her without melting down into tears of fear, anger, and frustration. I was able to be completely raw and honest about what was going on in the current situation and the patterns in our lives that have gotten us to where we are.

It’s almost like being a functional alcoholic.

I did tell her that I’d overeaten and binged. She didn’t judge and even seemed to try to understand that it was an addiction. She compared it to quitting smoking cigarettes.

Anyway.

I got the text from Evron during my meeting with her that he didn’t want to go back to work for this company after his current shift was over. After she left, I texted him back and asked him what he was going to do, if he was just going to quit and try the staffing company. I hit the nail on the head, at least as far as him making yesterday his last day.

I didn’t eat anymore until dinner. I didn’t overeat any more than usual and kept my portion reasonable, even if it was a little more than I needed. I didn’t gorge myself as I had earlier.

By the time Evron got home, 16+ hours after he left the house, I was sufficiently brain numb with flat-lined emotions. Being that way at least kept me from starting an argument and making us both feel worse about the situation. Of course it also meant that I was distant, avoidant, and unavailable to him.

Today is a new day. I have a chance to choose a new way.

Lord, please help me to forgive myself and forgive Evron and trust that You are the source of our provision and that You have a plan. Help me to let go of my will and my expectations and give You the space to move in my heart, my head, and my life. Help me to leave Evron into Your love and Your care, knowing You can do for him what I cannot.  Amen

Journal: Powerlessness

I have a confession, I HATE feeling powerless.

I can’t stand the feeling of immobilization from the overwhelming sense that there is absolutely nothing I can say or do to get what I think I need or want to happen, especially when it is about getting another person to fall into alignment with my will.

It happens with Evron when he doesn’t look or reply when I’ve been talking. The same thing happens when our almost four year old doesn’t show she’s listening by altering her course and doing what’s been asked of her. It happens when I’m trying to get a well-meaning but misguided friend to stop offering her unwelcome and unsolicited advice. I feel it when the collectors tell me,”I’m calling to help you resolve this debt today.”

Right now I’m feeling it because I’m pretty sure Evron’s emotional and psychological problems are about to cause him to quit his new job, the only income we have other than SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. It triggers this huge sense of helplessness and insecurity.

He’s stressed, depressed, and broody. Just about anything I say, regardless of how I say it trips his deeply embedded sense of low-self esteem and he feels pressured, criticized and judged.

So, I feel powerless and helpless, out of control and almost hopeless.

Then, I made a desperate plea and prayer that God would soothe and grant peace to Evron. I want him to have his emotional storm calm down enough for him to make the right decision. Of course, the underlying thought is that the right decision is the choice I want him to make.

I really should have prayed for my own serenity.

God grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things I cannot change.

He called the guy who hired him and talked to him about his concerns. He had his thoughts and feelings validated. Afterward, he said he wasn’t feeling much better, but accepted the start time they gave him of four a.m. tomorrow. He’s been in bed for a couple of hours now trying to get enough sleep.

I feel relieved and thankful. Glad I prayed instead of trying to sway him to do the “right” thing. It may well be that he would have done this anyway, without the prayer.

I can say with certainty that if I hadn’t prayed, I would have opened my mouth; then his anger would have escalated and I would be having an emotional storm of my own. He would be in stony, hot silence or ranting and I would be pouring out streams of salty hurt and frustration. Our little one would be in the background asking us what our feelings are, “You okay, mommy, okay?” and admonishing in her piping, sing-song voice, “Calm down, daddy. Calm down.”

How do I know? It’s happened a few times.

A three year old shouldn’t be the emotionally stable one in the family. I’m grateful she didn’t have to be today.

I’ll take it as a win.