Scatterbrained.

So I know I mentioned a few things in my last post that I wanted to go back over in more detail. First, I am very glad that my self-diagnosis was apparently  correct, as now I will be able to receive the treatment I need. This is great news, because I cannot stand the idea of living one more year in the cycle I am still in.

The intensive DBT program scares me a little, but I know I need to push myself out of my comfort zone, or I’ll never leave this cycle. The cycle is what is “comfortable” to me, but I don’t want that kind of comfort. I need to be uneasy so I can get healthy.

For those of you who are unaware, DBT is a type of therapy geared toward borderline individuals- Dialectical behavior therapy. Here’s the Wikipedia entry.

Even as much as this entire situation sucks right now… the ex is being very spiteful and mean… calling me petty and other less savory things when I ask for compensation for damages done to my home and belongings by his daughter and him, etc. I refuse to be bullied anymore. I know that’s why he thinks I am such a cunt: I’m willing to have a backbone… I know this is the way things needed to go. I feel it is fateful in many ways, for the journey to self-discovery and healing has apparently gotten a turbo boost since this has occurred. I have always been a fairly self-aware person, but this has gone to the next level. Reading into borderline, accepting that it sounds like me, getting diagnosed and getting into proper treatment is all great for me! I am leaving his ass in the dust.

The other thing it has massively helped with is healing my relationship with my father. This was unexpected but one day I felt I should call him and explain what had happened when we broke up. We split in a really dramatic way. His daughter decided it was too stressful for her to live here and she needed to move out to her grandmother’s. We were still going to try to make the relationship work, however the next day when he came up to talk to me, we ended up in a huge argument because I refused to take care of his daughter’s pets any longer (not my responsibility!). Things ended up violent. He puts all that blame on me, because I did make the first move (I am ashamed of this, I have never gotten like this before) when he told his daughter on the phone that I was going to let all her pet rats starve to death instead of feeding them. This is clearly NOT what I said nor what I would have done! I got incredibly angry and apparently I shoved him and scratched him. I don’t remember scratching him but he sent me pictures. When he was leaving, I shut the door behind him but he came back and shoved the door open with me behind it, yelling about what a bitch I am. He shoved me with the door so hard I hit the couch and scraped up my ankle (left ankle -right one is already injured from a fall down the stairs a few weeks prior). I have a huge lump and bruise on my shin still from being hit with the door. He only let up when I yelled that he was a “woman beater” out the front door. Then he left and proceeded to text me about what a sociopath I am and all these other things… probably more justification on what a “nice guy” he is and how I just “shat all over him” and how I am “an abusive monster”. More of the same I have been used to hearing now for the past few weeks or so.

Of course, he owes me well over $3,000 because even though I can’t afford to support him or his daughter, I was often forced to do so, putting groceries on my credit card because I would be guilted into it, or you know…let them starve while I ate. Every time I brought up needing financial help, I was manipulated emotionally or argued with. It became impossible to talk to him about anything serious. I have a promissory note with the payment plan on it thankfully, and I did receive a payment today even though he is back to calling me a bitch and all that, so that is a good sign, though I’d rather be done with him sooner than I will be. Unfortunately, he does not appear responsible enough to pay me off quicker, nor is he capable of getting a loan because he’s massively fucked his credit.

I digress. I called my dad. I told him what happened. Talking to anyone in my family about my relationships, particularly ones this toxic, is not something I do. It’s not comfortable for me. My family does not address feelings. But I felt it needed to happen. I wanted to explain to him what I have been dealing with. I told him all about borderline, how I have struggled with self-harm and suicidal urges most of my life, plus tumultuous relationships. This was risky as he knew when I was a teen that I would cut, but he would use it against me. He has changed a lot recently however, and I felt I needed to make this push. And what he did surprised the hell out of me.

He actually said something to the effect of: “That sounds just like us,” when I explained to him what borderline is. This is the first sign of accountability from my father. We had a big, long, heartfelt conversation of the likes that we have never had before. At the end, he actually told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him too. This was the first time in my life this has happened. I’m 31 years old.

This is about all I can bring myself to write about tonight, but I wanted to explain that there is definitely a silver lining in my life. I feel like my very being is returning to my body. I am reclaiming my life, my home, my health, and my mind. I will heal, I am strong, and he can live the rest of his life without me.

Emotional manipulation

I came across an article this morning about emotional manipulation and how to protect yourself. Having been in an incredibly damaging relationship with someone I am 99% sure is a sociopath, it spoke to me. Also having grown ¬†up in an abusive home…I see there are a lot of crossovers, and I guess it is unsurprising that I would end up in a series of uncomfortable, unhealthy and downright abusive relationships over the years.

To me, it was always the emotional abuse that was worse than the physical. I have only been in one relationship that included any kind of physical abuse, but my childhood had its share of physical abuse. Mostly though, it was the words that stung. The words and threats are what manipulated me into believing I deserved that kind of treatment. I always said I would rather undergo any kind of physical pain over emotional pain. I stand by that; my heart is sensitive, my tolerance for physical pain is sky high.

For those who would like to read the article, I will link it here: 8 Ways to Protect Yourself From Emotional Manipulation. I implore you to read it, even if you have not been through such a situation, it may help you understand others who have been. Empathy is incredibly important to me. Helping to understand victims will help them feel less alienated.

It drives me crazy when people get upset with the victim in such circumstances. Many people do not understand the victim cycle. You end up feeling brainwashed…it IS a form of brainwashing. If you want to be aware and able to help someone who is a victim of such an abuser, another good thing to read up on is gaslighting. This is a form of manipulation that has the victim questioning their own sanity. I have been there. I didn’t have anyone around me who understood what was happening. I was being judged, blamed and called crazy by a handful of friends and acquaintances who did not understand what I was going through. I eventually was strong enough to get out. But it wasn’t until JUST NOW, when I read this article, that I realized this happened to me in my home life as well. I was just mentioning it the other day, actually; so I am not sure why it clicked now. The Wikipedia article for gaslighting explains it all.

I blamed myself for many years as a child and into adulthood for the things happening around me. My father continually denied any of his abusive behavior, accusing us all of being crazy when we were brave enough to confront him. This is why I started to “punish” myself at a young age, moving from beating and bruising myself with heavy objects, to burning myself with metal items heated red hot or chemicals that would eat through my flesh, to eventually cutting. I started with a pocket knife my father gifted me and ended with a razor blade busted out of a safety razor. I cut myself so deep I went into shock, and thus began my desire to stop the self-mutilation I had by this time been entrenched in for about a decade. I thought my very existence was the reason my father was so angry, and I was making myself pay for it. Perhaps he was mad that I existed, but it was not my fault. I did not ask to be born and I certainly wouldn’t have asked to be born to this family. I finally realize it: It is NOT MY FAULT.

So. No surprise I would continue on the path of self-abuse for a long time until I tried desperately to get help. I find I still struggle (see: last relationship) but I am hopeful for my future now, perhaps for the first time ever. I feel very much free from many things in my past, though occasionally I am still haunted by particular memories. Many of my friends have also lived through traumatic childhoods; most of them, however, have made peace with their abusers and now have as healthy of a relationship as possible with their families. I fear I will get no such closure. My boyfriend told me he doesn’t know what he would do if he didn’t have the support of his family and knows how hard it was before he had that support. He told me he knows how hard it is to get where I have gotten without any help. HE ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS ME. I cried so much I felt like a dried out husk of a human. My accomplishments and my struggles have never been acknowledged like that. He is proud of me. I don’t feel like anyone has EVER been proud of me, and if they were, they certainly didn’t say so. It touched me and it was exactly what I needed to hear and have needed for years. He gets me. I feel so lucky.

I can’t really relate to people who DON’T come from a traumatic background and/or don’t have some kind of chronic illness. Obviously the reverse is true as well. It’s difficult to connect with someone who comes from a wildly different place than yourself.

I am happy to say now that the people I surround myself with are positive people making changes in their lives for the better despite their painful history. This is an improvement over the years I spent doing damaging things with other damaged people. No goals, no plans, no care in the world but to forget the monsters inside our own heads. I thought I would not live to see 25, and I didn’t really care.

I dragged myself out of that pit, and I did it all on my own. I guess this is probably my greatest accomplishment. I quit cutting, I quit drinking (I do drink occasionally now but NEVER to get drunk and tend to veer away from hard liquor) I quit a lot of other things including negative self-talk. I felt like that was really stupid when I first read/heard about it but it is very important. I am less critical of others and less critical of myself. Not that I am perfect with it just yet but my quality of life has improved over the past couple years for sure.

I’m pleased with life now and have hope for my future. Eyes wide open.

Long time coming

So I realize I have not posted in quite some time, and actually was surprised when I noticed the date on my last post (I thought it had been even longer ago that I bothered to update). But I have a little bit of time now and want to catch up on some things.

My last post was incredibly negative and I feel both surprised and UNsurprised by that fact considering how I feel now, and considering my circumstances at the time that was posted.

I feel so grateful to finally feel *stable* for once. The good news is that despite how I felt during my last post, I can actually tell how different I really am even though I could not see it at the time. My therapist came back from maternity leave as my last relationship was falling apart and she was saying things like, “You need to remove yourself from that situation as soon as possible.” and I was able to respond: “I know, and I am already working on doing just that.” She commented to me that I seemed like a completely different person. I started to feel, experience, see things as a different person also. I truly feel I have finally made progress, and it came just in time to rescue me from a very damaging situation.

I moved too fast into a relationship and justified it because it was a person I had dated before and had 15 years of history with. However, it became apparent he had not changed much in those 15 years and the situation devolved into something dangerous. I used this crumbling foundation to launch me into a new, necessary yet scary endeavor: to own my own home for the first time. This was a goal I had for a very long time and it always felt completely out of reach. In a matter of two months or so, though, I did it. It was SO hard for me to wait for the right house to come along when I knew I desperately needed out of the place that I lived with a monster.

Looking at house after house out of my price range or places falling apart, or too far out, or even putting in an offer and being beat out by a different offer was becoming a little bit soul crushing…especially when I had to return ‘home’ feeling defeated, putting up with the emotional abuse and filth I had to live with.

When I finally found the place I wanted, I was completely unfazed by all the paperwork and all the typically “stressful” things people complain about when purchasing a home. I welcomed it. Each step was a step closer to what felt like total autonomy and liberation. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but if it does… maybe you haven’t lived through an abusive relationship. Buying my own home is important to me not only for the accomplishment but for a symbolic end to my incredibly unstable history. Finally there is something that is mine, mine alone. Maybe I won’t have to move upwards of 4 times a year anymore. It feels good.

My job, which is very stressful in and of itself, has become much easier for me to handle. All of this just from a change of my perspective, the way I see life, everything. I am so grateful. I cannot stress enough how exciting it is to me to feel I have finally made progress just when I felt ready to give up on ever changing. It does not help that there were a handful of people to throw in “I told you so” type commentary regarding my last relationship, but I casually pointed out, “This is not a bet, it is my LIFE.” Be there for me or get the hell out of my way.

So, mental/emotional health is improving. Stress is reduced. There’s all kinds of new stresses that come with home ownership, but I feel I am handling it all with grace. Physical health is a little bit worse off, though not as bad as I would expect. I did move twice this year, and 95% of all the packing and lifting (including furniture) was done by myself, chronic pain and all. On top of this, I have not had a professional massage that did me one bit of good since April of last year, right before my massage therapist was injured gravely. She is still unable to work, but I did finally get a referral to someone who might actually be able to help me thanks to my amazing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue doctor. (Long story short, many massage therapists claim to be able to work on chronic pain/fibro patients, but few actually seem to know what to do with a body like mine.)

So, I am hurting, but I’m no longer under any crushing unhappiness or stress, so perhaps this is why it is not affecting me as badly as I would have expected.

I did receive a new diagnosis recently. My period has returned after I came off of depo provera. I was on depo for 11 years, during which I had no periods. I began experiencing a lot of bad cramps and emotional outbursts, lots of anger, irritability and sadness. My doctor diagnosed me with PMS, partially due to these symptoms and symptoms I experienced prior to going on depo. I wanted to stay off hormonal birth control until I balanced my hormones but I could not stand it any longer and my doctor wrote me a prescription for Nuvaring. So far so good but we’ll see what happens come next month.

Just got 14 vials of blood drawn for labs, plus saliva and urine samples. There are still some mysteries in my body to solve.

I have much more to say but am currently at work so this will have to do for now. I hope you are all doing well.