Author Topic: Becoming "me"  (Read 17362 times)

lighter

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2016, 12:57:16 PM »
Ohhhh....comfort food.

A roast.  Caramelize on stove top, and deglazed with Chardonnay.  Roast till tender.... I just throw carrots on top whole.... little thin ones.  So pretty.  Arugula with pears, goat cheese, nuts and light balsamic is favorite salad right now. 

I'm glad to read you're enjoying comfort food, getting massage and slogging through stuff/paperwork despite resistance, Amber.  It's one foot in front of the other.  Eventually you'll turn around and wonder what to do with all the empty space.

(((sKeP)))

I'm sorry things have been so tough.

Lighter


sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2016, 09:33:22 AM »
Accomplishments this week:

  • One closet's superflous contents have been removed from the house; permanently.
  • Legal/financial stuff under control and everything accounted for. Finally.
  • Process of dividing contents of the closet that was stuffed head-high (into the emptied closet), sorting, re-organizing, etc underway.

After my early morning lawyer's appt yesterday, I simply didn't have the momentum to work down there yesterday. Kind of bounced around online, wasted time being a slug. Looking for entertainment, mostly. Tired of thinking.

This morning I had a dream. In the dream, I was awakened by a noise...

It was very dark in the house - as if the power was off. Noise coming from the living/great room. I have to head that way to get to the safe, but I have always been one to get up and go investigate, regardless. Which I did. And found Michael. I made coffee as we chatted... and he was solid enough for me to wack him playfully on the butt as we headed to the porch, where we watched the sun come up. Play-acting irritated, about him leaving me. But as the sun rolled up over the horizon... the more he faded. I noticed the color draining out of his ocean-blue eyes, mostly. Of course, I was distraught and wanted to know if he would be able to come visit again; that I really missed having him to talk to. The last thing I was left with, as I began to wake up for real, was that I didn't have to be afraid; there was plenty of time for me to do what needs to be done here and choose what is next for me. And he wants me to take care of myself; protect myself. Have some fun and not work ALL the time.

And then he faded away in the morning light. And I woke up.

And I'm retracing my steps in the dream, looking for any trace; any sensation of his presence around the house. Dammit. That's sticking a sharp stick in my eye.

I've been resisting and avoiding the downstairs quite successfully, since Christmas. Not that I've contributed anything constructive to mankind as a result. And I've had some glimpses of the real reason why. As long as that mess is there, he is still a pain in my ass -- and I can yell at him, shake my head, try to reason with him -- as I choose what I will keep out of all of that. I don't want to let the relationship's attributes go away along with his reality; I'm desperately clinging (emotionally) onto any bit of him, that I can. Even if it was one of our long-standing power struggle things. And unfortunately dealing with the long-standing accumulation of "stuff" is one of those things. As I begin to make progress there -- it's as if I'm shutting down, saying goodbye, ending the relationship... along with his corporeal existence. I let him win that struggle in the relationship; it just wasn't worth the constant butting heads. But he constantly breached every single boundary I allowed for his "stuff", just in sheer quantity. This isn't what I wanted from him; I didn't want to "win" this way. I wanted him to care about what I cared about. Maybe that's always too much to ask.

The conundrum is that the more I cling; the more often I feel sad. I've left one picture of him, and his box of glasses, jewelry, watches etc in the master. I had to have the space I sleep, swept clear, to find the path from past, to present, to future. I had a real clear shift, when I could say: he died last year. Last year, clearly being "past". That opened up a lot of energy to move forward.

So, I don't care how I feel in the process. Today I have to get another "chunk" done downstairs.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2016, 12:58:45 PM »
Oh, Amber.

What a stunning dream. I am speechless and my heart goes out to you.

You are so admirable. You are doing all of this PERFECTLY.

There is no grade. Anywhere. Ever.

This is all a pass-fail course and you passed long ago.

With love,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2016, 05:40:19 PM »
Thanks Hopsy.

It's funny; I think for the first time I've realized that a relationship is separate; has a life of it's own; beyond the 2 people involved. Seems like thinking about it that way, sure explains a LOT.  ;)
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2016, 08:29:05 AM »
Some things I'm going to ponder for a bit...

Where does confidence in oneself come from? Where does an accurate, truthful assessment of oneself come from? (Is that even possible?) There is a distinct difference, in the kind of nurturing of a child that comes from a mother and a father. What is the essence of that difference? And if both of them are warped personality types, how many ways can that go wrong in a kid's perception of him or herself?
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2016, 07:48:15 AM »
Ya, so in processing the grief over Michael and the million ways my life is, and is going to be - different - now... I think I've ripped the scabs off an unresolved bit of Twiggy's old grief. The part about my Dad's leaving; about how he couldn't deal with my mom either and chose to act badly to try to irrigate the pain out of him. How he acted out, without restraint; a wounded animal in pain.

Feeling a tad retraumatized... and really critical of myself for letting it get to me in that way, too. Sigh.

Being vulnerable and captive to one's own emotions and weird thought patterns and the story of oneself is a serious pain in the ass. When there is stuff that NEEDS to be done. Already addressing some of my newly-adapted routines that would only contribute to not working my way through that; changing them again... like Goldilocks looking for the "just right". There are just some things we do, that while it seems like a good idea at the time, really do NOT help in the long run, to make any progress through the process.

And if it doesn't help, then I have no time nor space for it, right now. That might sound a little Spartan... LOL... but it's always helped me to clear the "monkey mind" of all it's chatter and distraction and "name" the reality and things I have going for me when I feel like I'm completely adrift on an emotional sea. And then go backwards toward the trauma - and re-examine it from my "solid platform"; and forwards - into what I want to create from this moment in time.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2016, 11:43:35 AM »
((((((((((((Amber)))))))))))))

You asked how you can find an accurate, realistic self assessment...and then the next post referred to the early trauma.
I think both issues can be answered with the very same thing. Compassion.

Compassion plus paradox tolerance.  Self assessment is never totally accurate or realistic. That's not what humans are. We use logic and language -- sometimes with enormous clarity and confidence -- to approximate who we are, to describe in one way or another what we are experiencing. Sometimes we have insights that add a great deal of relief and perception.

But I think attitude to self (the feeling process of the self-querying) is more important than result (a personal MBTI). I think you discover new layers and new clarity about who you are because of how your own inquiry feels, more than because of the answers it produces. So, if you are approaching yourself with kindness and curiosity (compassion), what wells up will be real and come from a deeper part of the self that is unafraid to come into the open.

If you are approaching yourself with anger for not having a tidy outline or accurate personality summary from which to proceed, then your deeper self might sense punishment looming, and stay hidden beneath the falls.

Then again, I approach stuff from a pretty metaphorical standpoint and lack the gifts of acute focus and pragmatism that you have and that I so admire. So maybe I'm not offering helpful perspective so much as just speaking from my own personality.

I am wondering if the question about an accurate assessment of the self is in a way, an effort to take charge of the decision-making you face, about where to move and what to do?

That would make total sense to me. And you know, the analytical approach is also a path and a way to approach it if that process feels trustworthy for you. I don't necessarily believe that my meandering, janey-one-note, and ADD-flitting and poet-flopping is useful in your unique and painful situation.

But I'll stick to my one-note: compassion for you, in all you are going through. In every day, when fears or sorrow or questions about the future rise up. The kind answer, the voice that offers loving, paradox-tolerant self-exploration to Amber...that's the one to listen to.

Your existence is a delight. (Not that it's feeling that way; just that it's a fact to the universe that there is more delight because you exist.) Your capacity for joy is not gone. And your talents are ridiculous. You have a good life ahead.

Just be kind to yourself as you ask yourself questions. The kindest answer may not be precise. But you'll feel the difference.

love to you,
Hops
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 11:15:37 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2016, 07:58:36 AM »
Wise Hops.
This is an echo of some other advice received recently.

And seriously? I think compassion (of a mystical nature, along with the human kind) might just be the thing "missing" that runs like a thread through all the tight, painful, horrifying to admit & talk about places. Notable in it's absence.

The whole "survivor guilt" trip always entails a sense of failure to meet expectations, self-blame, over-responsibility and that strange demand that comes from ego, I guess, that we MUST be strong enough, smart enough, enduring enough... to overcome - whatever. Ego is still/always misled about the ability of people to be "more than human"; a self-announced expert on the matter - still/always - LOL.

Now, paradox tolerance is a new one on me. Is this a coping strategy for cognitive dissonance? Is it another way to describe what I discovered about either/or choices... and "and statements"?
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2016, 03:14:55 PM »
I think another way to look at what I meant by paradox tolerance is how a pendulum works. Or a compass.
(Kindly do NOT think of Edgar Allen Poe...   :))

Before it settles on true north, the compass needle will point one way, then another, swing some, before finding the right direction. Like a pendulum and the same as a dowsing rod, if you believe in what happens there.

Just that if you are too untrusting about it, you'll say when searching for direction through precise self-assessment,
now I've got it! I'm a this!

And then two days later if your mood shifts or a different insight rises, you'll say, but I thought I had it! I was wrong, I'm a that. And then, if compassion's not monitoring, you'll be angry at yourself for not nailing it all down "accurately."

Self-compassion helps you allow for the rods and pendulums and moods and insights to swing and sway. It's how they work. And it'll also help you avoid spiraling into a lot of self-blame for this naturally uneven process.

Having one insight, then another, which in the moment (or week or month) my appear contradictory or illogical...compassion for self will help you trust that this truly is okay. And it's maybe not your acquired customary reflex, so it may feel different but it's GOOD to maintain compassionate curiosity toward yourself while things swing toward their right balance....

....That's what I meant by paradox tolerance.

My mantra: never use 10 words when 1000 would do...sheesh.  :shock:

love to you
Hops
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 03:29:04 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2016, 09:05:25 AM »
I think I understand what you mean, Hops. No matter how many words... LOL... you might forget: I'm the verbose one. Instead of anger at myself first, more often, I set up a spiral into a crisis of self-confidence; practically an existential crisis. Then the anger at self, sets in. That fear we spoke of... to me relates to a fear that I'm just so messed up; damaged so completely (despite all the work to the contrary) - that I've become an untethered soul desperately in search of.... something... to anchor it and give it meaning and purpose. Sort of the "need to be needed" thing.

When I'm centered in my head all the time (because of that fear) - that logic/rationality center - I tend to intentionally (try to) tune out all the emotional stuff going on, that is certainly valid proof of my existence (ie, a lot of times it hurts) and I think after a time, all that emotion builds up into a small, second "being" or manifestation of me. It has it's own voice. My emotional being is like a tornado of shit; a shitstorm that I hide from everyone (it's embarrassing; and I've been told many ways that's it's also immature and somehow not appropriate for an experienced, educated person, and no one wants to be around that storm - they don't want to get any on them). It's raw, primal & unmodulated. When I am able to shift my attention-center out of my head toward the emotions, I feel the primal force of them... the being swept away by the whirlwind... see: fear above. It's hard for me to look at emotion from the "outside" to try to perceive it from somewhere other than being the helpless one at the center of the storm, at the mercy of the emotions.

Only thing I got in the toolbox right now, is to name the emotion and acknowledge it without getting sucked into it. That does work, but we're humans and we forget; get caught up in the moment; get carried away. I tend to not have much compassion for myself under those circumstances. The perfectionism thing; only this time... instead of the "not good enough" associated with Mom; it's a "don't ever give up, my kid isn't going to ever turn tail & run" associated with my Dad. The redneck, viking, good old scotch-irish appalachian genes that are famous for primal emotional outbursts. LOL. Slight conflict there.
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So, a friend suggested I work on heart chi gong. Even go so far, as to have acupuncture along with it for awhile. One, is something that I would do for myself... and the other is trusting the doc enough to do things that may help me smooth out the emotional storms. WTH? I've tried everything else so far - and if I don't see some results after giving it a fair shot - what have I lost?

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In April, Mike & I would've been together 17 years. I have FINALLY gotten the stuff that has been taking up space in the house; never used - just sitting there, because it a) old or b) cool or c) might do that "someday" - stuff that neither of us even remembered we had - GONE. And I may be able to fit the latest of his collecting obsessions into the space remaining open (and have no problem reducing the amount of that either) while still leaving me some (more) space for my stuff.

In the process, yesterday, I found letters I'd written him back then. Including a hand-written one, that explained "me" to him as accurately as if I'd written it after therapy or today. I was kinda afraid to read them, for fear of waves of emotion. Which didn't really happen. What hit me instead, was that years before therapy; years before I went through life-experiences that triggered the old fears associated with the traumatic shit-storm I survived at 12 - I already had myself pretty well pegged. Now, that was a gift of sorts. Continuity. Maybe, essence?

If I look along a timeline of my life, it's as if on some kind of cycle... I have one of these massive confidence crises, and being just slightly perfectionistic and self-critical (LOL)... I typically start picking on myself; picking myself apart for a thorough navel gazing tune-up because the problem SURELY lies with me. It HAS to be my fault; I'm not doing it right; I'm not working at it hard enough; I'm giving up and letting emotions just wash me away. And I even have all the physical stress symptoms of going through one of those trauma-reminders. Different triggers, each time...

... and this time, was Michael dying. For 2 months, I've been trying really, really hard to blame myself for this. I got close to making it stick, last week. Except it simply can't be true. I didn't make him sick; I did my BEST to get him healthy; to try to get him to go to a doc; he'd had a severe case of pneumonia and had just returned to work, right before the spark got lit between us. I think he knew he was sick - and something a nap wouldn't cure - long before we even moved here. A guy friend suggested that he pretended there was nothing wrong, to try to spare me the worry. I can't live in fairy tales. As ugly as the truth is sometimes, I would much rather deal with that. I need to deal with truth instead.

I think we both knew, that first 12 hr ordeal that separated us at the ER. It was a dark & stormy night... literally. We were both exhausted; I'd had little to eat - he'd had nothing at all; and because of all the tests would only eat 2 days out of the next week. The ER doc insisted on transferring him by ambulance that very moment and I knew I had to go home and try to sleep. I didn't sleep much. The 3 hr round trip to the big city hospital didn't help much and he said from that evening on, he just felt so alone. Even after coming home and being surrounded by us - his daughter & grandbabies, his brother; me.

NONE of the docs would call it like it was. Instead, they kept throwing out this hope and then that - while putting him through tests & biopsies where he couldn't eat or drink, thus accellerating the cahexia - weight loss syndrome - he was going through. Each and every possible treatment he was referred to, he was subsequently disqualified for, mostly because of the weight loss... and yet, you'd think I'd mentioned lawyers and malpractice and press releases... when I tried to bring up the topic of dealing with impending death or the % of weight loss over a short period of time.

I don't know if it would've helped to have everyone on the same page dealing with the truth; maybe some. That guy friend I mentioned above had just retired from 30+ years as a GP, and was a military doc before that. He let me talk a lot of that reality out. And he didn't mince words or try to put a pretty bow on the situation. He pretty much called it accurately, just from what I was able to describe to him. What that let me do, was pre-grieve a bit. Start to emotionally accept the inevitability of the reality and manage the uncertainty -- so I didn't get blindsided by that emotional tornado, by letting myself cling to the false hope from the docs. (I have compassion for them, amazingly enough - there literally wasn't anything they could do; they themselves are affected by so many patients they see at this stage every day; and there wasn't any point in trying to shake Mike out of his denial, for them.) At the same time, there was a serious disconnect between them and me - the primary caregiver and what I needed; I was a patient too, in a way. There was a lot of difference between the big-city docs and how I was treated by them - and the locals.

And Mike was different after that first ER trip; he never really came back. Just ambled on down his path of departure and everything he wanted, I couldn't give him - like a simple drink of water, because of the reality of aspiration. He'd lost so much muscle, that he couldn't swallow correctly. Talk about a conflict: denying him the simple comfort of an ounce of water... because to give it to him, would only up the probability and date with death. And being as it was pretty clear to me, the inevitability, why deny him? I denied him out of selfish reasons. I couldn't help him just let go. I didn't want to let go.

Our relationship was like the fairy-tales and something I consider myself very fortunate to have had in my life, it was real right up to the end. Even his "stuff" - he was trying to teach me how to play; have fun sometimes. He was exactly the right kind of opposite to counter my fear of being swept away (nothing bad ever happened from being swept into the relationship) and to let me explore what love really is, in the simplest terms. And when we love, no two ways around it, a person becomes dependent within that relationship; we just call that trust in that situation. Taking turns, caring for the other. He's the one who told me, boundaries should be like fences: they have gates in them. We invite some people in through the gate. So, to try to blame myself for something I didn't do... because we had the opportunity to balance each other for a good 15-16 years... is just bullshit. It is so not fair - to him, to me, to us.

And I want that particular mental tic, emotional reflex... permanently, surgically, removed. Human or not, it needs an exorcism.

And compassion might be the only way to accomplish that.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2016, 10:18:05 AM »
BINGO.
BRAVO.

The entire, whole, old or current, shitstorm in all its variants has one cure...compassion.
Real compassion, aimed directly into your own heart.

Recurring self-compassion images, mantras and responses WILL make new grooves for you.
You're not doomed to anything and though grief does stir it all up, and it will settle and heal
with the help of your loving approach to yourself.

That's just it. Imo.

Perfectionism, trauma, loss, fear, inadequacy, self-blame...compassion cures them all.

What may happen when you actually are very intentionally tender, gentle, and kind
to yourself--in your inner monologue, in your choices--will be that grief will flow.

It's important to know that though grief will have its tsunami moments, it's also possible
for it to be a cleansing flow. Tears that express loss, sorrow, love and gratitude all at
once.

I think you're shifting it.

love
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2016, 03:50:58 PM »
Thanks Hops; I think it works.

Today's news... is that the angel who is my massage therapist, was dropping her son & his friend off for soccer practice yeseterday afternoon and was in a horrific accident. She and the friend, I just found out are stable now; but her 8 yr old son Luke, died. The gofundme has raised $5k toward their medical bills in 3 hours. But I am stunned at the amount of tragedy. Full stop.

I had heard about the accident on the local FB page yesterday and know the location well. I worried for the guys who work there; but this person was even closer to home. She even grew up close to my home town in Ohio. I was just in for a tune-up a week or so ago and all she chatted about was her son.

Just: oooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh nnnnnoooooooooooo.

:crying:
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2016, 07:24:14 PM »
Oh, your heart.

And hers.

Unspeakable.

Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2016, 08:20:05 AM »
For me, there is a caution in compassion - in that I can over-extend myself too much. I've had thoughts about how my friend will get home from the hospital; going to visit her just to sit with her... and basically doing too much.

That salon - and my wacky hairdresser - has been my home away from home since living here. Carol knows as much about me, as you all do. There really isn't a lot of turnover in his personnel. It's a good group of people.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

lighter

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Re: Becoming "me"
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2016, 01:00:37 PM »
Oh, Amber....

I am so sorry about your friend's accident, and loss of her son.

So terrible.

I'm just so sorry.

(((((Amber and friend))))

Lighter