Violet Magenta's Journal

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Violet Magenta

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Violet Magenta's Journal
« on: October 24, 2020, 06:32:21 PM »
By the end of yesterday, I noticed that I had felt the pull of "disorganized attachment" -- I only just learned about it in the trauma course I'm taking. When children get pulled between the impossible contradictions of attachment on one hand and defence on the other, there can be kinds and degrees of dissociation as a result. It's hard to get at those underlying dissociated parts! Last night I feel like I was bringing those parts back, listening to them, understanding, and trying to move to compassion instead of shame. This is from my hand-written journal, where I had to write it down last night to have any chance at sleep:

Today I felt the tug-of-war of attachment--defence. Both parents were bait-and-switching, but they didn't even know they were doing it. I thought I'd truly left behind any hope or neediness for their love, but there it was. I could feel that pull of "love" that I saw in their eyes for a few minutes, a few comforting words. In that moment I feel intense relief at being seen and loved, a comfort and a glowing, at the natural bond between parent and child. But suddenly, the switch happens. Their own narcissistic defences kick in, and they attempt to have me service one of their compulsions (usually around hoarding), or they head directly to having me work at their ego gratification. (My dad tips into some long story from his work days that I've heard dozens of times before. He won't listen if you tell him you know the story already. He just keeps going. His own trauma from WWII and domineering parents was overlaid onto his work situation.)

The thing is, the narcissist can't "love" for very long. But how do I stop falling for it? They appear to be seeing me, siding with me, I feel this great relief, but then they abandon me. Again and again. I'm ashamed of my neediness I realized. This pattern is overlaid on subsequent situations throughout my life! It's kind of devastating. I attempt to attach, I feel abandoned (or minimized, manipulated, used, betrayed, rejected). Then I feel deeply ashamed and somehow deserving, like its just desserts, or it's just my lot, and I have to just suck it up. I then become so hypervigilant that I'll see it when it's not even there, invent it, misinterpret, OR if it is there, then I don't know how to deal. There's confusion, because how do you know what's real? Overwhelming feelings of self-doubt rack up. I feel like I can't handle myself, and it's a crushing weight and fear, quickly followed by shame at my "defectiveness" and weakness.

I realize that I've come to expect this pattern to happen with everyone, but I also fear the intense discomfort of need, fear, confusion, disgust, humiliation (what I know now are Emotional Flashbacks). Eventually, I deny the needy kid in me. Then I become avoidant, and live a hermit-like existence, withdrawn, to protect the narcissist in me from being disturbed. I'll say to myself something like, "Better to be a loner than a sucker." While it feels better in the moment, this is ultimately a lonely, limited and sad existence. It's okay to need love, to need friendship, to want to feel belonging.

I made a note to myself: STOP GOING TO THE POISONED WELL; instead go to the WATERFALL. Choose carefully where your sustenance comes from -- start with yourself, and then those who show themselves to be trustworthy people. Be realistic about loved one's limitations. This is a place to grow: to learn to listen, to feel (starting physically and relating sensations to emotions), and to trust my self, my inner guidance.

I fell asleep after writing these notes down. There were a few startled wake-ups for the first hour or so, but then I slept peacefully after that! My realization was frightening and disturbing, but became bearable with journaling and thinking about what to do with it.

It helps be able to laugh at the ridiculous situation -- note that I find this comedy slightly triggering, but it helps to feel it, then laugh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcx3fcNlnSM

I also watched BORAT subsequent movie film last night with my SO -- it was also triggering -- the dad/daughter relationship, exaggerated for comic effect, still felt all too real for those of us who had dad's who only looked at us through a self-serving filter of how we might take care of their needs. And yet, it helped to laugh, and the satire is needed in a time when women still have to fight to be recognized as fully human, to be seen and heard. But it does take courage to step out of our cages.

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gravity

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2020, 09:05:56 PM »
Hi Violet Magenta.  Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts.  I see the progress you're making and how hard you're working, and it is wonderful you're recognizing these different things.  :cheer:

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Violet Magenta

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2020, 09:40:16 PM »
Thanks, Gravity. It's tough to find a good balance of pushing just enough, and it's nice to have the work recognized. I guess it's about remembering that it takes time to bring in all the new selves and feelings, and to still feel okay. I'm so glad I found this forum, and looking forward to catching up on your journals, too. I find it really helps!

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Violet Magenta

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2020, 11:51:31 PM »
While I posted this over in Ideas for Recovery Tools, I think I'd like to have it here in my journal as well, so that I'll be able to think of times like this when I can feel good:

Today I did David Beaudry's qigong set for Forgiveness, Healing Anger and Creating Boundaries -- it's a practice I enjoy, though I did find myself sobbing in the middle of it one day last week! I took that as a sign that it's working. This time it was very enjoyable and I had some very nice releasing sensations, easing some neck pain.

Here's the link for anyone wants to try it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcK_Z0BzrKE

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Violet Magenta

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2020, 07:26:59 PM »
Over the past 24 hours, I've been feeling friction and pushback, both internal and external. I'm learning to set boundaries, and it has been especially hard for my partner. I'm feeling like the changes are frightening for him. We've been able to talk about it, so I think that helps. But still very triggering when our tensions escalate between us,  and it seems we're both just pushing each other's buttons.

Worse are the internal pushback moments. I felt anger turning inward, and then even felt a little bit paranoid that family members might somehow find my journal here and be able to figure out it's me. There's an aspect of myself who is angry and confused and scared. I feel very exposed for having posted. I think it's good as a chance to learn to recognize these feelings, and start identifying EFs, what brings them on, and to learn that I can ride the waves. In the moment, and especially if it's mid-interaction, it's very stressful. I've had several boundary-setting incidents over the last day or so, with mixed response. I still feel a bit bad letting my dad down when I know he's just frightened and lonely; he couldn't help his bad behaviour and abuse, so I've let it go, and mostly I'm no longer angry at him. At the same time, I don't want to be held hostage to his need for an audience for ego fluffing. Boundaries have had to be set with other family members, too, some with great response.

With the space I've carved out,  I can recognize so much more of what I'd been covering over with "busyness" and distractions in the past. Right now there are so many ups and downs with this rollercoaster. I guess I just hang on and enjoy the ride.

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Violet Magenta

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 07:34:17 PM »
Before I forget about it, I want to add that I did some thinking around being too hard on myself about the work I'm trying to do. The perfectionist and fixer in me can be extremely demanding and impatient. I started looking at the idea of "Good Enough Parenting" to apply to my re-parenting of my inner child. I decided to be gentle with myself today, and to really listen to what I need. Some boundaries had to be set around my needs, once I could identify them, to not allow others to hijack me away from taking care of myself. It's all sort of working, or at least working "good enough."

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gravity

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2020, 07:24:06 PM »
Hi Violet Magenta,

I understand what you're going through.  The first few weeks are really, really tough.  You spent all this time coping and hiding away the pain, grief, sadness, and anger and now you're taking time to process all of it.  It's a lot.  It's going to feel like a lot.  But that's okay.  I'm proud of you for working through this, for setting the boundaries you need that were broken down and not respected before.  I understand the flood of feelings and the undermining thoughts your inner critic is spewing at you for putting up those boundaries.  But it's okay.  The internal pushbacks you expressed are your survival tactics and I'm so glad you're noticing them.  It is healthy for you to have boundaries, and I'm glad some of your family members recognize and respect that.

I'm also glad you're practicing "good enough" parenting with yourself.  I understand the perfectionist part of yourself can be so demanding and anything less makes you feel so worthless.  But you are working so hard despite what your inner critic is telling you, and that is good enough.  Through the good days and bad days, you are good enough.

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Hope67

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2020, 06:28:57 PM »
Hi Violet Magenta,
You kindly came over to my Journal the other day and said some helpful things, and I wanted to pop by and say 'Hi' to you here in your Journal.   
Hope  :)

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Violet Magenta

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2020, 01:34:39 AM »
Thanks, Gravity. Thanks, Hope. It's been a rough month; it's nice to come back here and feel the support.

I'm not sure what to put here today. I feel kind of blank and numb. Going deeper, I'm confused, afraid, angry, and anxious. It's been difficult to connect to things I enjoy. Physical symptoms have been blocking my abilities, and I'm still not sure how much of the physical pain and discomfort is from trauma. My partner requested something of me, and I felt furious. I feel abandoned. I don't feel loved. I feel used most of the time, maybe needed, but not loved. My parents have both been through emergency wards this month, with one staying in the hospital for a month, and now mom is on dialysis. My caregiving (caretaking? yes, recovering codependent) has been over 30 hours so far this month. This kind of month is not so unusual over the past few years.  Recently I had been reducing my time with them, but I feel as though I've been pulled right back into the pit with no end in sight. A care home is not an option right now, and they don't want help brought in; instead they offered that they'd pay me to do it -- this came out of me insisting they need to accept home support, and instead they're pushing me into it, and the job gets bigger and bigger. They were like this about "strangers" coming into the home since well before COVID, and really about as long as I can remember.

Painfully, it's tough to even connect with a good friend right now, for many reasons. Feeling very isolated and lonely, like there's nothing in life, but just getting by, and surviving day by day. I used to get some satisfaction in my work, but that's gone all weird for many reasons. A big reason is that I came to realize I had workaholic and obsessive tendencies, so my work was a cover for my shame and an escape from anxiety. But anger would erupt, and pain would manifest. I couldn't use my work that way any longer; my body would no longer let me. My doubt is overwhelming at times. I'm still trying to identify flashbacks. When I feel so angry at my partner, how much is justified, and how much is EF, some old hurt that has nothing to do with him? He is also having problems, so he "checks out" for days on end, and I feel all the more abandoned. I worry he's tipping into alcoholism, but the recovering co-dependent part of me says to let it go, and focus on myself.
A part of me resents not being able to put enough time into myself OR my career, because my parents "need" me. I still look at my mom with love and sadness, but then that then flips into anger. I recall being injured and at the hospital myself many years ago, and she wouldn't come, basically suggesting it was my fault I got injured. She won't be around so much longer, and I don't want it to be an angry and anxious time. I keep trying with those boundaries, but I'm exhausted. Her critical voice chimes hundreds of times a day, whether IRL or as EFs and continual waves of anxiety. Pete Walker wrote in the The Tao of Fully Feeling that recovery can't really happen when having to spend much time with the abusers. I was afraid to type the last word of that sentence, because of shame, and fear that there's maybe enough here that a family member would read it and identify me. To call it out still feels like betrayal, even though I know better.

Flipping through my physical journal, I see that I wondered, "Could self harm be NOT allowing one's power? Censoring it, like dimming the light?" There's a part that wants to exile or harm another hidden part. But I sense there's maybe great power in that hidden part, even though I'm frightened and ashamed, still feeling like it has to be kept under wraps.

Another note: "SHAME can't be CONTROLLED or managed AWAY --> let it."

I see that I had planned to try something called TRE and other ways of letting go of shame physically, one being to go slowly between a shame posture and a dignity posture, back and forth. But I got derailed with emergencies yet once again before I could do that work.

I feel like a "sucker" for being loving and wanting love. Maybe it's more that the needing of love is like a trap, and then I'm ashamed at having been had once again. Where's my self respect? Somewhere around this feeling is the contradiction of parts and deep shame, feeling not worthy of love and respect, of being somehow hideous and flawed, and having this confirmed yet once again. My knowing self can say "no" to this, but somewhere my feeling self still goes through waves of terror and grief over it. I'll be doing some gentle stretching, and tears begin to stream down my face.  I slip into a "look at all the time I've wasted" depression. Then I anxiously get back to work, but often in a compulsive way. I have support Tuesday with my T, and I surely do need it this week.

Viola

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Violet Magenta

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2020, 01:12:55 AM »
1. Sometimes it's up to you to take care of yourself.

Last night was an important lesson in self-soothing. I just had to accept that my partner's own well was dry. I felt anger, resentment, despair, blame, abandonment. I was avoiding him, because I didn't want to feel such discomfort and anxiety again. At last he asked if I was punishing him. It wasn't that so much as just not wanting the pain, or feeling like I couldn't handle any more. But I was able to express this to him to some extent today, noting that both our wells are kind of empty right now. We need each other, but we don't have a lot to offer just now. Both of us acknowledging this helped immensely. My anger and resentment towards him has dissipated, and his resentment feelings seem to have dissolved as well. I can be in the same room with him now without having EFs, or fearing major EFs because he might enter the kitchen while I'm cooking.

2. "All enlightenment is making rice."

I can't recall the source for this koan, but it's one I particularly like. Today self care involved making ramen for lunch. I caught myself rushing for no reason, muscles tensing, my inner critic spurring me to "hurry up." Pete Walker describes a very similar experience of his own in The Tao of Fully Feeling. It's great to know I'm not alone in this aspect of recovery, where you try to do something nice for yourself, something enjoyable, but your critical voices take it into an anxious place. For me the critical voices are often very hard to detect clearly, but they're very much there and near-constant. While cooking, it might be something like, "*! Hurry up, hurry up! Let's go! C'mon!" There might be name-calling and worse swearing as it amps up. Cruelty over time pressure is a big one for me. So many opportunities to work on noticing, feeling and slowing down throughout the day. Mostly the rushing is entirely needless and counter-productive, only making me so anxious as to be less effective in whatever it is that I'm doing. Instead: practice being truly present while "making rice" and then choose a kinder and more mellow attitude to hold the activity in the moment. I'm getting better at it.

3. It's okay to reach out, and it doesn't have to be perfect.

I made plans to go for a walk with a good, supportive friend this week. She knows I'm going through a difficult time, so she's been opening the door, but I've been putting it off with, "too busy" and "not feeling well." The thing is, here is this good friend, and it will feel good to connect in person with her. Why not make that a priority? She will be forgiving that I'm not at my best. Now I'm looking forward to it, instead of feeling anxious about it.

With each of these three points, I'm feeling less alone.

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dollyvee

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2020, 12:21:59 PM »
I was afraid to type the last word of that sentence, because of shame, and fear that there's maybe enough here that a family member would read it and identify me. To call it out still feels like betrayal, even though I know better.

Hi Viola, thanks for sharing - I get all the different angles of what you're feeling. I feel bad for my grandmother but then taken advantage of by them and angry at myself for allowing it, guilt and shame for not wanting to and self doubt because maybe I'm imagining it all. It took me a long time to begin to talk about their behaviour as abuse but you have the right to view it as that and set your boundaries accordingly.

 :grouphug:

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Pioneer

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2020, 07:48:00 PM »
Hi Violet Magenta!
I really like the three points you brought out about self-care and reaching out just as you are. I was particularly amazed by your description of how you feel and think while you are cooking. I also get very triggered when I cook and prepare food for myself and for my family and I realized that I am not alone in this. All the critic voices get very loud when I prepare food and I get so overwhelmed and my attitude easily changes for the worse. Thank you for sharing all those thoughts!  :grouphug:

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Violet Magenta

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Re: Violet Magenta's Journal
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2020, 11:13:07 PM »
Thanks dollyvee and Pioneer.  :wave:

Recovery is definitely not an evenly paced upward trend. Overall, my arc is upward, but there are big setbacks and difficult days. The hardest things are the ones seemingly furthest from my control, and yet nearest to me: my own body, what's happening with it, and being okay with what is. Today, this easy and gentle practice released painful tension and enabled some peace: https://youtu.be/uNLReAiKJZY (Thank you, Jeff!)

I've had to take some distance from the idea of "recovery" because my tendency is to overdo things as an escape and also as an urgent need to "fix" myself. It is hard to do, to let go of the doing.

Thank you all for being here and sharing. It's really nice to have this place to return to whenever I can.  :grouphug: