Reality

J will be home in two weeks.  He’s been in Europe since early February.  I told him I wanted a divorce in December, but so much has happened since then that I sort of came to a place where I felt that perhaps we can get back on track.  But I just don’t know.  I’m so scared about him coming back and things just going back to the way they were and my life just going on with me in a supporting role, not as my own leading lady.  I hate this.

People keep asking me if I miss him and if I’m excited that he’s coming back.  This is one of the hardest things to answer…because in all honesty, I’m nervous about him coming back, I’m nervous that I may have shut off so much that there isn’t a way to “get us back on track”, I don’t “miss” him in the sense that I feel like my life is missing something without him.  In fact, I feel more like myself now that he has been gone than I have in years.  I don’t feel self-conscious.  I’m not lonely.  I don’t feel inadequate.  I feel like me and like I don’t have to be ashamed of my desires, my demons, my needs.

What does that mean?  Does it mean anything?

I’m trying to stay open to this entire thing that is about to happen when he gets back.  There is a part of me that feels like I really need to make the effort, but I also feel like I’ve made a significant effort in the past that didn’t work.  Is it really necessary for me to give it another go?  But I guess he really needed to hear that I was willing to leave him because of how unhappy I was.  So, perhaps he needed that reality check before any progress could really be made.   I just hope that I can be open minded.  If I have the divorce papers in front of me, I will want to have that piece of mind that I did do my best, even if I may have already shut down more than I realize.

I guess it all really doesn’t matter in the end… this contemplation.  It will come, it will happen and it will have a result that no amount of pondering will provide until it happens.

~AA

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Little Girl

Tonight I went to my individual therapy session.   It was good and good timing considering what happened at group last night.  You know, one of the things that we talked about toward the end was how we have the adult us and the little girl (or boy).  The little girl part of us is the part that is wounded and scared.  So, my reaction to M and the fact that I need to “please” comes from my little girl.  The little girl I was when I was reliant on others for survival.  The little girl who wanted approval from my dad.  The little girl that was scared her brother might kill her.  The little girl who trusted, was used, and discarded by a man.

We talked about how I am no longer “that little girl”, but that she still is part of me and I give her power in certain situations like with J and with other personal relationships.  So when I feel rejected or invalidated, that little girl is the one that is fearful.  She’s the one with the anxiety and fear of not surviving.  This is opposite to me, my adult self, that knows I can take care of myself and I do not need anyone for survival.  But my adult self and my little girl live together in me.  She is the part of me that helps me to never lose my childlike enthusiasm for life.

The important thing to remember is that I am not trying to get rid of my little girl, merely learning how to live with her….how to coexist.  This makes sense to me.  So, my little girl and I need to learn how to play together.  And I need to make more time to really get to know her.

Who is your little girl (or boy)?

~AA

Meandering Thoughts

I feel like so much has happened over the last few months, weeks, days, yet I have a difficult time putting them into words… sometimes because I’m really busy, other times because I cannot remember what happened, exactly.  I seem to be doing really well at work, which is good, but I still struggle with my relationship issues.  I think that is where my greatest issues are.  I’m not very good at being vulnerable with people and it makes me very anxious to do so.  Last night in group I almost left because I was feeling so anxious about a response from one of my group members.  She didn’t attack me or anything, but more so dismissed what I was saying and sort of made me feel bad about saying what I did.  I literally almost freaked and left.  It was in that moment that I realized she represents some part of my relationship with J, and others, that triggers this in me.

There is one guy in my group who is a very good Imago match… as in, he is almost exactly like J.  So, I have a heightened response to him when he opens up in groups because I desire to hear or see those things in J.  It can be difficult, but it is also good for me to see.  M, the girl in my group who got to me yesterday, really makes me feel those times that I am dismissed and sort of invalidated–mostly by J.  I didn’t realize that until last night and it was very painful.  I was hot, tearing, couldn’t talk above a whisper.  Felt like I was either going to bolt or vomit or both.  The group encouraged me to talk about what I was feeling despite the fact that I didn’t want to, and I did, so it ended up being very good for me.  Very difficult, but good overall.  That’s one of the essential things I’m learning from group…to simply say what I need to say.  I listen to that John Mayer song “Say” a lot.  It is sort of my little mantra.

For those of you struggling with mental health issues, and I think most of us are if we were to be honest with ourselves, don’t be afraid to push yourself into the painful parts of therapy.  There will be good that comes out of it.  Being in a place where I can admit my fears openly and can admit my anxieties without fear of rejection is huge.

Take care of one another.

~AA

Small Steps

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can be a better person.  The first thing I need to do is give myself some space in terms of forgiveness.  Yesterday cannot be changed, you can only focus on this very moment and how you will be tomorrow.  Why don’t we practice that a bit….

I forgive myself for my indiscretions.  All of them  They do not define who I am as a person or how much I truly care about others.  Forgiving myself does not mean that I am pretending that they did not happen, it merely means that I am choosing to move forward and no longer giving them the power to make me suffer.  Just like forgiving another, the act of forgiveness does not mean that I have forgotten, it means that I have chosen to no longer suffer because of that experience.

It is a small step, but one that I feel I needed to take.  And I might need to do this every day, every morning, until that little voice in my head has quieted.

~AA

A Friend To Yourself

I came across this question from a blog that I follow and I thought it very relevant:

If you had a friend that spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself,
how long would you allow that person to be your friend?

I have to say that I am very guilty of speaking to myself in a manner that I would not tolerate from others.  I think many of us are guilty of this, which is a shame.  In the end we are the ones that are there to take care of ourselves.  So, why do we spend so much time judging ourselves and speaking to ourselves in a manner that we would not even inflict upon those we dislike?  I have absolutely no idea why we are designed this way.

I think with time, consideration and patience we can learn to retrain how we speak to ourselves.  I’ve started doing this through meditation, therapy and through this blog.  For some reason getting it out of my head keeps me from damaging myself with negativity…. well, keeps me from doing it as much 🙂

  ~AA

Group

Every Wednesday I go to group therapy.  I really like it, actually.  These have become people that I really care about and who really care about me.  The group session is run by my therapist and his wife…both Imago therapists.  At pretty much every group session, I’ve had some really great and often painful experiences.  Last night was no different.  It is difficult to pinpoint how these things come up (the topics you talk about), but last night I talked about something that I’ve never told anyone in the world.  It was really difficult to even speak about it, but it was healing (not that I’m 100%) to finally say it out loud.

One of the things about Imago therapy is that your issues today are partly from events that happen in your childhood with your parents, caregivers, or anyone really.  I’m not going to even try to recreate how I decided to talk about this, because I really can’t remember…. I just felt it needed to be spoken about.  I told the group about two things that I’ve never told anyone, not even C.  And the reason I’ve never told anyone is because there is such a great amount of shame, confusion, sorrow, pain, and internal conflict surrounding it.  And as I’m typing, I’m realizing that I’m scared to even put it out there now… which is why I’ve written two paragraphs without saying it.

So… here we go… last night I talked about two events that happened in my life both involving my brother.  When I was 14 or so, I woke up to him standing over me with a large kitchen knife to my throat telling me to apologize for something I said to him earlier that night or else he would kill me as he raised the knife over my chest.  He was about 15/16.  I apologized.  And waited as he stood there for what seemed like an eternity.  He told me not to ever say that again or he’d kill me the next time.  Eventually he left.  I ran out of the house when he went down to his room and was in the driveway crying.  It was late and my parents weren’t home.  Eventually he came out and got me.  He told me that he was sorry and that I needed to get in the house.  I’ve never told them about this night.

The other thing that happened was when I was about 7 or 8, he was about 10.  He wanted to play a game with me where we were both naked.  I got in bed and he was wearing a cape–like a superman cape.  He had me order him around and then he was supposed to order me around, but I knew something was wrong.  I ordered him to get me food from the kitchen.  When it was his turn to order me, I dismissed the game and told him I didn’t want to play anymore.  I got dressed and left.  Again, my parents were not there and don’t know about it.

Why am I talking about this now?  Because these have been very big secrets that I’ve never told anyone.  I’m ashamed of what happened and I do love my brother a great deal.  We are very close today.  I have never told anyone because I don’t want people to think poorly of my brother.  He was dealing with things and was taking it out on me inappropriately.  I don’t hate him for it, but yes… these things did impact me and I think about them every now and then even as an adult.

I shouldn’t be ashamed, but I am.  But I feel just a little better by being honest about what happened.  It was hard.  He was my best friend b/c he was my brother, but wanted to kill me at one point and wanted to touch me at another.  I can admit that and I can admit that it hurt me.

Nothing good comes from silence.  Hopefully if you have things that you need to talk about, you will.

~AA

The Worst

What’s  the worst that could happen?  Have you ever asked yourself this?  What is the worst that could happen right now for me in my relationship with J?  The worst thing that could happen is that is over for good.  Okay.  What’s the worst thing in the world that could happen to me?  The worst thing I can think of is losing all of the people I love and being alone, truly alone.

So, that gives me a little perspective in terms of how difficult my situation is.  I have it pretty good, to be honest.  I’m not a horrible person, as I like to judge myself to be.  I’m a human being that loves people, that has made mistakes, but is making an effort to better understand why I’m doing what I’m doing and making an effort to change.  I have friends who love me, I have my health, I have my education, I have drive, I have passion, I have freedom.

The last few weeks I’ve really recommitted to my running and it feels so go.  It is one of the most cathartic things I do.  I love the feeling of my body being strong.  It is also a time for me to mediate.  Running mediation.  I don’t know if it is a real thing, but it should be… like walking mediation, just faster.  I focus on my breath, my feet striking the ground, keeping my upper body relaxed, how my body mechanics are working by taking inventory of what muscles in my legs are doing the work and adjusting as needed.  It is a very liminal experience.  I focus on breathing in the smells and seeing the smallest elements of the world around me.  While I’m doing this, I often listen to music because it helps focus my mind.

Meditating in general can be very liminal.  The focus on specific things gets your mind prepped for meditative moments.  I think it is important to note that meditation doesn’t have to be done over long stretches of time, just doing it little by little and acknowledging those events will eventually lead to longer periods of meditation.  It will be episodic, especially when you are running while meditating.  Although in general your mind tends to be a bit episodic when doing sitting meditation as well.

~AA

Orgasms

Alright, it’s time to talk about something really important: orgasms.  I always forget how therapeutic orgasms are!  And am so appreciative every time I realize it after.  Ladies, and men, it is time to remember to take a moment to tend to your physical needs!  I’m fortunate enough to have been masturbating since I was 12 years old.  It happened accidentally, but once I figured it out, I kept on going.  Unfortunately, there are too many women who are ashamed of masturbation and don’t really know how to tend to their body.

Well, the good news is that it is never too late to get started!  And your body and MIND will thank you for the effort.  I’m telling you!  Such clarity and less stress after orgasm.  Sure, if you have someone to have sex with, that’s great… but unless you really understand how your erotic body works, you are only getting part of the pleasure you deserve.  The orgasms I have during sex now pale in comparison to what they once were.  My entire body is on fire, I cannot be touched because my entire body has been rocked…. if you understand the sexual needs of your body, you too can have this kind of experience.  I never want to “cuddle” after sex (which some people think is strange), but it is because I’m so sensitive that it feels as if my skin might shred apart if I’m touched.  It is AMAZING!  And I have an orgasm through intercourse regularly.

How to get started masturbating (for women):  If you’re a beginner to masturbation, I recommend ordering from a discrete website like Adam & Eve.  It is completely ambiguous wrapping and nothing indicates what is inside.  And start out with something not so terrifying like a bullet vibrator.  I can personally speak to the quality of this one.  Quite, effective, easy to use.  I use it alone and add it to other things.

Regardless of whether or not the vibrator is flexible or firm, make sure it vibrates.  This simply makes it easier on you so that you can really learn to get comfortable with masturbation.  And unless you are ready for the more anatomically correct or adventurous vibrators, stay with something more traditional like a wand.  Although I have to say that the more anatomically correct vibrators are very fun and not that intimidating in person.  Again, just make sure they vibrate and you are not simply ordering a dildo.

If your feeling a little more adventurous, you can never go wrong with a Rabbit Vibrator.  This is my personal favorite…. clitoral and vaginal stimulation.

I would very much recommend using lubricant when you first start using vibrators.  You won’t have to use it forever if you don’t want to, but it does make it fun and easy until you get used to it.  I have tried pretty much all lubrication out there and highly recommend Astroglide.  The K-Y brands have great marketing, but pale in comparison to Astroglide.  You can never go wrong with it.  It only takes a little and lasts a long time during sex.  You can also purchase this at your local pharmacy or Wal-Mart/Target for quite a bit less, but if you’re going for discrete Adam and Eve will help you out.

Once you decide the type of vibrator you are looking for, make sure you are checking the “width” of the vibrator since there can be quite a range.  The “width” is the circumference of the vibrator.  For beginners, 1″ would be good.

Another way that you can begin getting comfortable with masturbating is by using a hand-held massaging shower head.  Yep!  That’s right!  A hand-held massaging shower head.  I have two shower heads in my shower, one of which can be a hand-held.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.

This may seem ridiculous, but orgasms really do help me feel better and less stressed.  I highly recommend including it in your day or week as needed!

~AA

Imago

According to Imago therapy, there are 3 stages in a romantic relationship:

  1. The Enchantment Stage
  2. The Power Struggle
  3. Real Love

The therapist that I’ve been seeing is an Imago therapist and so is his wife.  I’ve read the books they’ve recommended and have been participating in group and individual therapy; all of this has been extremely helpful to me and I’m hopeful that it will be helpful when J returns.

I think, and according to my therapist, J and I are in a real power struggle right now.  There are so many things that have transpired and we are actually on different pages right now because I’ve been going to therapy while he’s been out of the country for the last few months.  And very significantly, I have changed the relationship dynamics by telling him that I want a divorce.  So, even talking on the phone is difficult b/c we aren’t on the same page in terms of learning how to communicate with one another.  And he’s not very happy about my independence and boundaries.

Yesterday he called and we got into a bit of a heated discussion about some things.  This actually started on Sunday when we were on the phone he told me that I had disappointed him because he felt that I had made a promise to him before he left that I was not keeping (it had to do with me having drinks with friends while he was gone and I simply didn’t remember the conversation).  Then he told me that he was suspicious about me in regard to whether or not I’m seeing someone here.  This, unfortunately, is not a new accusation.  For as long as I can remember, he’s always been accusatory in this sense.  He’d say, “it isn’t that I don’t trust you, I just don’t trust other people”.  And whenever I would try to communicate to him how I feel that something is wrong, he’d say “are you seeing someone else?”  It gets old after a while.  And this weekend he was mad at me because he asked me to put “whatsapp” on my phone so that we could text one another, but I didn’t text him on Saturday night when I was out with my friends.  I’d like to point out that 1) he doesn’t text me in general even when we are on the same continent and I’ve asked for more daily communication like this and 2) he hasn’t texted me using that app since Saturday.  So, I’m postulating (and suspected this) that he only wanted me to have that app so that he could “text” me the night that I went out with friends while presenting it under the guise that he wanted to stay more in touch with me.  I find this to be very manipulative behavior.

Anyway, I chalk this up to a power struggle.  He wants more control and he has said as much…recently.  When I first told him I wanted a divorce, I told him I couldn’t be around him because he has too much influence over me.  He said, “well, maybe that is a good thing.”  I’m trying to follow my therapist’s advice and just let it go for now.  I have concerns about his drinking there, but there is no need to get into fights when he’s in Germany, I’m here, and our relationship is in a very delicate state.  But I have been warned by my therapist that the power struggle will probably get worse before it gets better.  I just need to ensure that I don’t lose myself  in the process.  I’m very protective of my fragile state right now and do fear his return because of that.

~AA

Step 1

Step 1 in my effort to detox my life and to help me find some insight into myself has happened.  I sent C an email telling him that I need some distance from him so that I can really give myself an honest effort at achieving some clarity.  I guess it really isn’t “step 1” since I’ve been in therapy for the past few months, but you know what I mean.

I had a nice moment to mediate at lunch, which was helpful.  I’ve needed to be honest with myself about what is really in my best interest and I think I’ve made at least a little progress there.  Does it suck?  Yes.  Is it in my best interest?  Yes.   I keep remembering the line, “being honest with yourself is not the same as judging yourself.”  I need to be honest with myself without judging myself, which is one of the most difficult things to do.

~AA