I got an assignment today from my counselor. I have some writing to do. I suppose I should probably do this in a private journal, but I really don't get anywhere with that, I seem to be in need of feeling like I am conversing with someone else for me to be able to really write it out. This is one of the reasons I started this blog, so that I could talk to you. And that is why I value your feedback so much.
You would think I wouldn't want my "dirty laundry" to be out for the world to see it, but it really doesn't feel that way to me. I have had too many experiences where someone has said to me "wow, that is just how I feel" or "thank you for sharing, I needed to read that", for me to doubt that my writing has value to others. My deep desire is to help others, and for me that means writing it out for others to read.
So here I am, warts and all.....
We talked today in my counseling session about my anxiety and what I have discovered about it, including my feelings of resentment that I have linked to the anxiety, and why I won't let myself fully acknowledge the resentment. (See "Too Many Snags" 12/11/2010). We also talked about my tense body and inability to get good movement in my neck with an adjustment, and for that matter, all the pain and health issues of my body. Third, we talked about my catastrophic thinking, past self-destructive behavior, and what kind of "shoulds" and "should nots" I am telling myself now. Finally, my counselor wrapped them all together and asked me if they were all bundled together in one package.
You ever had an experience where someone said something to you and "WHAM!" you know it is true? That is what happened there. Yes, they ARE all bundled together. But I think in a different way than I originally thought. This is going to take some exploring...
So my assignment is.....
1) Identify what I am resentful of.
2) Identify why I won't let myself feel that resentment.
3) Identify the "shoulds" and "should nots" I am telling myself now.
4) Identify what triggers the catastrophic thinking and follow the direction it goes.
Wow, that is a big order to fill, but I feel it will be enlightening and helpful. I don't think I am going to get all this out in one post either. I also think this may become pretty heavy.
I've already written about the resentment. That because of the abuse from a young age my body and mind just don't work that well anymore. That both my father and 1st husband had made a commitment to care for me, provide for me, and keep me safe, but neither of them came close to fulfilling that commitment and instead I feel robbed of my ability to do those things for myself.
But I think the resentment goes deeper than that, and probably at some point it includes my 2nd husband as well. He is providing for me now, and in fact told the judge at our divorce hearing that he wanted to pay the alimony and asked her to please include it in the decree as written. But that is small compared to the hurt, betrayal, and abandonment I felt with the crashing of that marriage, and the alimony has an end. As I explore this I will see if he is in there too somewhere.
My father was a charismatic individual. He put on a front to the world and the world seemed to like him. He was also flirty, even flirting with my girl friends as a teenager. I always thought that odd and it embarrassed me.
I was the middle girl and child number three of four. I was the over-responsible, loyal, dependable one. I was trauma-bonded to my dad, and as I have thought about this today, I am understanding a bit more of how that happened. In a nutshell, trauma bonding is where the abuser also becomes the rescuer, so the victim begins to crave the company of the abuser, will defend the abuser, even with their life, and suffers anxiety when the abuser is not present. If you decide to google "trauma bonding", be forwarned, it gets pretty intense. I started to read a posting and decided it hit too close to home and I don't want to be triggered.
I won't go into details here, details are not necessary. Suffice it to say, there was a traumatic experience when I was six years old that cemented in me the desire to do anything and everything my dad told me to do. He would brag to anyone willing to listen "Sandy is my faithful one. She is loyal to a fault. She would do anything I asked her to do. She would jump off a cliff if I asked her to, no questions asked."
And with that trauma bond in place, I probably would have. Maybe my dad wasn't as charismatic as I thought, maybe it was just my perception of him through the trauma bond.
My dad died on my 22nd birthday. It was classified as an accidental drug overdose, but I have strong feelings it was not accidental. We had had a fight the day before, he had hurt my daughter, little 2 1/2-yr-old Michelle came screaming out of his room, terrified... Everyone else in the family had already dismissed him, he had become a weak old man. I, the loyal, faithful daughter, turned on him that day. You do not hurt my children, which was probably the only thing he could have done that would have caused me to turn on him. The next day he was gone.
I resent that he had such a tight hold on me. I resent that he stole from me, my health, my childhood, pretty much my life. He used to say he owned me, body and soul. He owned all of us. He would say "I brought you into this world and I can take you back out of it", and "I own you.. I own the very air you breathe, you do not take a breath without my permission".
I resent I didn't get to know what it was like to have a truly loving father. That he put me in danger so many times, real danger, not just perceived. I resent that he valued me so little, that I in turn did not learn to value myself. I resent that I had no working model of what a righteous man was like, so I couldn't pattern my choice of a husband on it. I resent that I stumbled around in the dark for years, trying to get my footing but constantly stepping in muddy holes instead, and falling on my face.
I resent that he didn't take care of me. He was my daddy, but I wasn't safe with him. I resent that I lost track of what safe was, so instead I clung to what was familiar. Familiar was abusive, familiar abandoned, familiar defined me as an object to be used to gratify carnal impulses, familiar defined my value as how I could be used by others.
I resent that he came between me and my relationship with my Heavenly Father. This is one I have worked hard on, but there are still some times my dad's abusive, sadistic attitude tries to overshadow my vision of a loving, nurturing, attentive, and compassionate Heavenly Father. This is why I still struggle with really believing I am important to God. I resent that I still have to tell my dad to shut up.
I resent my first husband too. I resent that he broke his promises to me. I resent his value of me was also defined by my being an object to gratify him. I intensely resent the way he treated our children, my babies, these beautiful little people who just wanted to be loved and nurtured. I resent him for the struggles my children have had to endure. I resent that he kept me weak, dependent, needy.
I resent I had to raise the children alone in order to keep them safe. I resent his care-free attitude that made it possible for him to abandon all of us. I resent that he still does not get it. I have given him opportunity to come clean with me, to take some responsibility in what happened. So far, I apologized to him for being angry and unapproachable, he said nothing back. Still has said nothing back.
I resent, that because of all the trust destroying experiences I have had with my father and both husbands, I am having a monumentally difficult time believing anyone is trustable with my heart. I see deception around every corner. Face value has lost it's value. I am closed, a wall, bricked up and reinforced with steel.
With this distrust how can I possibly ever have a meaningful relationship? I am unable to take care of me, I don't trust someone else to take care of me, geeze, I'm surrounded by rocks and hard places.
I resent my loneliness. It wasn't supposed to be this way. Not at 50. Not alone.
I look at all my resentments. A lot more than I had been willing to admit to myself before this exercise. The next step is to identify why I won't let myself feel them. Why I keep pushing them back down. I'll save that for another day, I think I've done enough digging for the day.
I think it's time to do something nice for me.
10 months ago