awareness · challenge · resilient

Your Crazy’s Showing (part 2)

The search continued. It had to. Can’t ALL be so unaware, so aloof, disinterested, re-victimizing…could they? Even if you suck at what you do you STILL have experience. They said they had experience with childhood trauma. Hmmm. With limited awareness and clarity with your own process, how can we expect you to properly assist another person on their healing path? Having been exposed to these well meaners compounded my lack of faith in humanatee. A big fat sea-cow in an ocean of disdain. 

Confirming my, “I am irreparable” notion, all due to people not doing their “work”. My expression of graphic truth touching their darkness resulting in their shut down, perilalysis, or disASSociation. Say, for instance you’re in a restaurant. The person next to you clutches their chest in pain, maybe a heart attack. You want to help but as you rise from your chair YOUR chest also begins to hurt, you go into a full-blown panic attack, rendering you useless to the other person. -A simplistic depiction of countertransference. Trauma triggering trauma. Emotional entanglement/meshing/merging/fusing with the client, which negatively impacts a therapist’s ability to lead. 

Enter Paul, my next psychoterrorist. A charming Victorian third floor office. Beautifully decorated. He came highly recommended with much experience in the area of abuse and women’s issues. Finally! This would be IT.  Fingers and toes crossed. Paul, a bald, middle-aged and deeply baritone voiced gentleman, welcomed me, with open harms, to his practice. We began. Small talk. About where I’d been. And his experience with clients of my gripe. Lol. Nice enough.

Writing feverishly…enter the million dollar question.What brings you here… I got into it, hard. Haven’t I wasted enough time with the other do-gooders? He began smiling, like I was telling him a joke and he was anticipating the punchline. He added some “yes, go on” and “oh, really?” scripts every client expected from a paid listener. “Tell me more” and “Tell me again” with what sma-hack-ed of enjoyment and entertainment on his creased face. Like I had just delivered some juicy gossip. “That is fascinating” and “Are you sure this happened”? Actually escaped from his jagged smile. Any minute now, I expectorated him to pop up and put a bag of popcorn in the microwave. His affect clearly needed a tune up. 

Shifting in his comfy seat, I got a peak of his legal pad – he had drawn a CAT!! Silly me, I thought I was saying something worthy of recording. Thought he might be taking notes. I felt completely deflated, invisible and devalued. If THAT wasn’t rea-dick-a-less enough …nearing the end of the session, I offered some disgustingly graphic trauma piece as a last bitch effort to get some authentic reaction. (Which I am incredibly good at – thanks Mom). For what seemed like a minute, his mouth dropped down and gaped open, eyes wide. His body, except for his neck, froze. He slowly turned his mannequin head to the right and stared out the window for a very uncomfortable miNUT. So, remember the THIRD FLOOR thing? Nothing out there except sky, lots of sky guy. I actually got up and looked too, his stare was that intense. Dude, there’s nothing out the window, nothing. He sat, lifeless, no blinking, no swallowing. Nothing. And just like that, he returned from his long strange flip. T-why-light groan. Holy weirdness. Another disaster. 

So this tiny little blurb about a Sexual Abuse Support Group caught my I. Beyond excited. All women in the group. Perfect. Group of 5. Harold introduced me to the group and all of the women shared a blurb. Very lovely women. I was the youngest member. All very charmed by Harold, giggling when he spoke. A dandy guy. Harold offered his  background. He expressed his special brand of wisdumb, “After all, men are idiots. We should cut off all their penises and ship them to a deserted island”. God’s honest truth! His exact words. Later that night, Harold offered more creep… “Yeah, you know, I touched my sister and it wasn’t a big deal, so there’s nothing wrong with that” AYFKM? He looked around nervously to see how he was being received. Eyes bouncing from one participant to the hexed. Harold, poised on the edge of nervous laughter and arrested exhale. He excused himself, apparent worry broke out amongst the group mates. Come to think of it, Harold excused himself at least 5 times during the 2 hour group – just adding to an already bizarre situation. 

In his absence, I questioned the other women, asking how long they’d been a member. The responses were between 2 years and 7 years. What?  After that night, I never returned. But Harold wasn’t done tryin to work me into his gig, his magic act. He wouldn’t let go. He sent me a letter, “You need this group, this will help you. You really need to return for support”. THIS is straight up cray-cray. Of course, no response from me. Another month went by and he sent me another postcard, reminding me of the group ”you should be here” Now I was pissed. I wrote him back. “How dare you try and take advantage of the most tender, most vulnerable population by insinuating that I could not make it without you” “You call yourself a therapist? You are basically pushing your agenda onto me and scolding me for not complying” “That’s abusive” “I put a boundary and you are not honoring that”. I should have reported him but I would have been cast as just another crazy patient. 

The final crazy encounter, with a physician, occurred when I was seen for a panic attack visit in 2000. I was new to the panic world and, just like everyone else, was convinced that it was something else. Anxiety couldn’t possibly make me feel like I was gunna die…. So this well-meaning, lovely Indian Physician listened to me as I talked about my long history of anxiety stemming from a dark childhood. When I told her about my abusers, her “helpful advice” was the following. “Why didn’t you punch them? or tell them that you didn’t want that to happen to you? You have to tell them” 

Ok Dr., like it’s as easy as telling them to hold the onions on your burger at McDonald’s. Excuse me, yeah, no onions please, ok, thank-you. I so desperately wanted to live in her world where all you have to do is tell someone to stop and they do. Wow, whammo, why didn’t I think of that. Holy mind fuck. Blame the abused. Thanks a bunch. LOL

Kinda hard when your abuse began when you were pre-verbal. Maybe you were older and when you said no, it was the same as yes. I don’t really think a 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10-year-old girl is any strength match to male teens and adults, hmmm, you? What a bizarre suggestion (punch them). Most likely our first abusers are family members or friends of the family or someone entrusted with our care. We rely on them for safety, a roof, food in our bellies and love. When you are reared to believe your privates/body belongs to others – where does the protest fit in there? The trickery, convincing and games fuck a child’s mind. 

Is it the responsibility of a child to keep her/him self safe? That’s an awful lot of burden to shoulder. A tiny little girl. A Dr. offering “help” sprinkled with the nasty energy of blame– I  should have done something, I should have stopped it, I should have protected myself and ultimately, I could have done something but I didn’t ………………. Today I would tell her that she’s got a lot of clean up to do on herself. Her nasty is showing. And that my little girl knows I’ll protect her. 

Let’s do our inner work DO THE INNER WORK. So we all can be there for each other. Without our fear or anger or frustration or judgement coming at the person and overshadowing our HELP we intend to give. So we may hold each other/clients/patients in the way they truly deserve – in love, compassion and understanding. If nothing else, at the very least, validate how hard it must have been for that person to grow up in that atmosphere. So very powerful. Validate, listen. 

Maybe some of this…”Wow, I’m so sorry. That must have been really hard for you. You must be so sad. What can I do to help you? You are so strong. You are doing amazing seeing all you’ve been through. Do you have someone to talk to/confide in? Would you like me to refer you to someone who knows more about this? You must have been so scared. Do you feel safe now?”

anyways · appreciation · healthy · human condition · old patterns · resilient · Transformation · triggers · worthy

What’s Right With Me

Everywhere we go, what we see on social media, TV, magazines, pod casts, seminars, etc – is like a billboard showcasing how we are flawed. They are talking to us, right? Or just me? Ugh. At least this is how it feels…How we are doing it all wrong. What we should be doing. What could we be doing better, faster, cheaper, more efficiently, with less effort…How we are not doing enough. How we don’t know enough. That we’re not buying the right products. Not doing, trying, learning, relaxing, or efforting enough to make our lives “right”.

No shortage of messages. They might as well add, “ What the fuck are you doing with your life? You dumb ass. You are ___ years old and look at you, you’re doing it all wrong. You haven’t figured anything out. Where have you fucking been? Here, listen to me and I will FIX you.” Well, at least that’s what I hear.

So what do we do? We buy the supplements, the gadgets, the memberships, the subscriptions – just to terrorize ourselves more. To drive home how idiotic we feel. Perpetuating how ignorant, oblivious, unaware, unconscious, unenlightened, uninformed, unwitting and in-the-dark our existence is. Thanks a bunch. Thanks a fucking bunch. Love you, thank you for helping me to move further away from my true self, into an external, more aesthetically pleasing version of my existence.

Ever stop and think about the billions of dollars we flush down the “I suck at life” toilet? This nonsense has to stop. Such a brilliant business tho. Aren’t we all programmed to get on the self improvement bus? From a very young age 99% of us are told we do not measure up. We’re not someone else’s idea of perfection. Hearing this message loud and clear…Projected onto us by very unhappy adults, older siblings, well meaning aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, coaches, teachers and even religious groups.

All this buy-in to self doubt was never ours to begin with. It was never part of our early fabric. I’ve never met a toddler who said, I’m not going to wear this cause it makes my arms look too fat or dance this way cause it’s weird or draw this picture cause it won’t come out perfectly and someone might laugh at me. Nope.

Before we got the message that we are flawed beyond fucking repair – we were happy-go-lucky beings, living by trial and error, as the wind blows, trying life out, discovering what makes us happy and healthy. We Experimented, made mistakes and got feedback that we JUST MIGHT fit in in our tribes. All without the crushing self judgement, without the feeling of “lack” or self blame if we got ill or came upon some troubles.

Do we really need repair? Or do we just need to fall in love with all our imperfections? All our FU’s? All the ways in which we give up, phone it in? Leave too soon? Stay too long? Take too much? Don’t take any? Don’t try? Try too much? Start many things? Finish nothing? We are the managers of our own programs.

There is nothing wrong with you. Never was. Tell those naysayer head voices to go F themselves. Their time in your life has expired. Feel good about recognizing their lies. All day long. Call them out. You are a beautiful mess. Allow yourself to know this.

Uncategorized

Welcoming Committee

Suicide – present situation

Guess what? That shit started 50 something years ago. Not HIS job, not HIS ex wife, not HIS daughter who decides to be a man now, not HIS crazy neighbor who throws garbage over the fence, no no no nope. Of course all that shit does not help but when someone decides to take his/her self out of this realm – it’s very tragic, gut wrenching. Of course! And leaves the living wondering what the fuck we could have done to help.

The answer ? Who the fuck knows. What I do know though, is that it is truly not our responsibility, ultimately, to keep someone alive. I know, that sounds bad. Really bad. There’s a boatload of guilt waiting for us if we feel we can save someone and it turns out badly. News flash… sadly, anything we’ve done or haven’t done is not going to keep someone else here.

Having a particular, recent person in mind ———–Someone taught HIM to hate himself. Someone taught HIM to feel like he had no right to be born, exist or thrive. SOMEONE got into HIS head, into his body, into his essence and implanted that self-hate agenda REAL SUPER early in HIS life. Crazy-ass fucked up treatment for a child. As children, we cannot make sense of this. Most children just internalize the trauma coming their way and believe they deserve it – after all, we need love, even if that love hurts, it’s still better than nothing. So then, most times, we spend the rest of our lives mistreating ourselves because deep inside, on some level, we think we are garbage.

All the other unfortunate circumstances HE drew to himself (along the way, over the years) were for the purpose of healing. IMO. The Universe’s attempt to crack HIM wide open. Some of us cannot/will not/do not EVER muster the willingness to unpack that shit. Unpack the black box of death. The box labeled with the skull and crossbones – and heal the trauma that hides in the shadows and rips us apart each and every minute of our lives.

HE missed his life raft opportunity – by choice. HE ignored the life-raft attempts, HE was tired of the struggle and just couldn’t see the big picture …there wasn’t enough alcohol or drugs in the world to keep the darkness from bubbling up into conscious thought. The nagging feelings of worthlessness and doom mounting until the burden of forging onward was too excruciating.

I attempted to end my life when I was 7. How fucking tragic would that have been? All because of the unspeakable trauma I was experiencing at the time, most nights of the week. The weight of physical/emotional/spiritual trauma, compounded year, after year, after year, is suffocating – all while pretending that everything is fine. Trying to forget, burying the pain and hate and rage and crushing anxiety. You convince yourself that no-one else would understand or, for that matter, believe you anyways. There is shame and guilt and self hate and secrecy.

Some of us seem to find our way. We are able, with lots of help, to eventually breathe life into the parts of us that died.  We are able to separate from the tragic family unit we were born into. We are able to dig deep, form a new self and find a reason to live, to fight – and know that no matter what, we have to survive because otherwise, we won’t “win” – THEY will. And that would not be acceptable.

No matter how fast and long we run – our terror, shame and rage are on the welcoming committee upon our arrival.  Wherever we run, they’re there when we pull in. Our shadow is always waiting patiently for us to notice it and drag up a chair at a table set for two. Maybe share a cozy meal as we chat over the brutal details we’ve been running from all of our lives. Taking small portions or maybe just an appetizer today.

Or not. Maybe we don’t unpack that shit and take a look. Maybe we can’t. This is a set-up for possible eventual suicide. Trust. Please start unpacking your shit. You are lovable, you are seen and you have the right to be here. And to stay here, loved.

Holiday · Uncategorized

How To Survive (the family) Holidays -13 joyful hacks- you’re welcome

So, the Holidays, hmmmmm. I’m guessing that some of my readers may be very excited for Holidays. I am also knowing that there’s a whole other section of the general pop who are digging themselves a large hole, preparing to jump in to escape all things “family celebration”. I’m a proud member of the second, gasp less acknowledged group. Actually I’m a charter member, with 10 years of sanity under my belt 😂 (and all over my body, actually LOL).

Tis the season for hushed-toned conversations, multiplying in frequency, “Oh, she doesn’t come around”  and “He doesn’t bother with us” even “I think she’s crazy, she doesn’t talk to any of her family”. “Who could walk out on their family?” Well, there’s ALWAYS a pretty good fucking reason why someone would cut the ties with their tribe. Always. Period. It’s usually one badass warrior mother fucker who can pull this off in search of a wonderfully joy-filled life. Someone like um… like um… ME. Turning out to have found peace…away from their tragic family of origin. This, my friends, is the elephant in the room.

I write about this in support of those badassreaders I have. The people who don’t feel entirely settled when the Holidays arrive. Those who are depressed, anxious, angry, revengeful or indifferent when it comes to “family”. For those of you who are new to my blog, I use quotation marks when I write “family” because the word is LOADED – ya’ll know what I’m talkin bout. It’s in no way a normal word for me and can be very heavy. You’re feelin me.

Chances are, your “family” wants you to just forget everything that’s happened in the past and smile, be pretty and pretend like everything is normal. Hell, deep down, you WANT to believe you have the best family ever (who tf doesn’t?) – So you, against your better judgement, attend the family Holiday party —- thinking it will be fine this time. You got this. Fuck them. I’m not going to let them get to me this time. Let’s do this. Put your party clothes on and grab a bag…to carry all those triggers that are waiting for you. Happy Holidays😳

It can be very very diff to go through the motions and attend Holiday gatherings just for the sake of keeping the peace. As if. As if you want to be there. As if. As if. Usually, there’s a price… predictably sacrificing your own needs and boundaries for the sake of others’ needs and happiness. That shit never feels good and the next day we make ourselves pay for it in whatever way feels familiar to us.

Me? well, the day after, I’m curled up in a ball, feeling punched in the gut, filled with regrets, swearing to God I’ll never say yes again. So much crazy shit swirling in your head- hate for them, hate for yourself and guilt. Guilty for hating everyone and everything. Enter mind-fuck…maybe it IS me. Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing…they all seem happy 😳. Ewe, WAIT! NO.

So how does one survive this scenario? this gathering of triggers, this no-thankyou portion of family, this nothing-is-as-it-appears celebration?  I am so glad you asked

  1. put yourself first. listen to your heart and do what feels correct for you. It is your decision. No-one knows what it is like to be inside of your body. Eyes wide open, ask yourself what you need, what would make YOU happy (for a change). What makes you feel good.
  2. know that you are making the best decision for you – only you, because only you can.
  3. create a holiday tradition that touches your heart. Something specific to honoring what is important to you around the Holidays. Whatever brings you joy, keeps you centered and grounded and calm. Giving your time/talents to others or creating something for yourself with no outside influences.
  4. write about how things will be different if you do spend time with family over the Holidays. (write it out, read it to someone or keep for next year – so you can chronical your growth. If you’re into ceremony and ritual maybe you meditate on your written ideas and set fire to it when it feels complete. Sending your intention out to the Universe for manifestation)
  5. surround yourself with people (outside of your family) who support your feelings. Do not expect your family of origin to understand what you are going through. They don’t. Period. Find those outside of your “family”. They won’t be triggered by YOUR “family” shit – they most likely have different baggage and can support you in an unbiased way.
  6. stay away from alcohol if you can possibly help it. Your guard will be down and you may end up saying and doing things you prob wouldn’t have. Seriously, resist the urge with all you have. It can be so tempting to numb yourself out but save the drinking for when you are with more supportive, less triggery folks. You’re welcome.
  7. give yourself an energy bath – wipe that nasty energy off with a washcloth and down the drain it goes. Replacing the nasties with clean white or golden light. Filling in the holes that were punctured intentionally and unintentionally during your “family” time.
  8. envision a shield protecting you prior to entering a sketchy situation. Especially your heart, solar plexus (core) and sacral chakras. In no way are you a bad person for protecting yourself from negative energy. It’s brilliant and gives you a slight giggle as you try on, “You can’t have me” or “You can’t get me” or “I’ll decide what you get from me”!  delicious, absolutely delicious. Self empowerment, strength and self advocacy sure looks sexy on you. Only you can do this for yourself.
  9. be gentle with yourself!!! it’s exhausting work to challenge your family’s structure. The emotions of guilt, anger, betrayal, sadness, frustration are all a normal part of creating boundaries with people who do not respect our “NO”.
  10. make a plan. escape route, get away line, time limit, certain people to avoid. Identify what is off limits for you and what you’ll spend less time around – these suggestions all go a long way to create a sense of control over the situation. No-one has to be IN on this plan. Use when triggered and repeat if necessary. Creating and sticking to boundaries will feel MEAN initially, mostly because we were raised to not have/expect boundaries. But if practiced enuff, you’ll get over it, trust.
  11. make alternate plans for the Holiday – out of state, out of the country, Mars? And divulge these plans early so people have time to get used to the idea! There, now you can breathe deeply. Can’t see the dysfunction from there can ya?
  12. fake an illness – who wants to be with someone who has strep, chicken pox, cock-sakie (good Lord), or the dreaded flu?  Not only will you get sympathy but people will be GLAD you didn’t show up. And BONUS… you will get lots of sympathy.
  13. even if you do not attend, and you’re anything like me, you feel like shit because you’re not with your family. You feel like shit because you don’t want to be with them. You feel like shit because you are feeling relieved and happy because you  didn’t blindly agree to attend. You feel like shit because you can’t imagine it will EVER be any different. You feel like shit because you feel so alone and unloved and cast aside, betrayed, crazy. That’s a whole lot of shit to shovel. This can be very, very difficult to push through. I went through this on several holidays. It’s so important to create your own Holiday rituals and traditions.

Happy Holidays!!! 😘😘😘 Do YOU.  and let me know how it goes 💪 👑

anxiety · childhood · expectation · healing · healthy · human condition · Human Spirit · inner work · resilient · Uncategorized

The Beginning of Our Goodbye

Hello my darling ANXIETY.

What is it you want to tell me?

I promise I won’t curse you or otherwise chase you away today.

The fact that you’re here now – a good indication that I’m ready now and finally prepared to hear your message.

You’re here anyway, so I might as well, lend you an ear.

I let you in many years ago, I guess it’s only natural that you’d want to be set free.

You kept me safe and on guard when I needed to be.

You are no longer needed to the extent that you were.

I’ll keep checking in with you over the course of today.

Maybe we can get to know each other better when we’re not triggered.

Maybe we can craft an easy transition to a more peaceful existence.

Maybe I can get to know where you begin and I end.

This is just the beginning of our goodbye.

Maybe I can, ANXIETY, maybe I can.

anyways · Human Spirit · persevere · resilient · warrior

It’s OK

It’s Ok when you don’t believe me.

It’s ok when you deny my reality.

When you want me to shut up.

If you ignore me.

If you think I’m wrong.

If you think I’m crazy.

If you tell everyone I’m the problem.

If you still think I’m angry.

It’s ok if you smile and act like you’re listening.

It’s ok if you’re not in my life.

It’s ok if you never will be.

I am free. Anyway.

[A Fish Named Karen, artwork – A Fish Named Karen]