Trails of Crumbs

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Photo Credit: Sleeping Tiger

My therapist has been seeing Mr. B and me together once a week, in addition to my regular appointment.  He’s attempting to help us improve our relationship, devoid of much communication and lots of frustration on my part.

We haven’t been happy for a long time and there’s a lot of distance. He works constantly and my depression keeps me completely unmotivated to want to do much to improve anything either. But then I’ve been feeling like I’m not being met half way for a long time.

Anyway, this post isn’t about the rusty relationship of me and Mr. B. (Don’t worry I know that’s incorrect grammar.)

At the end of the last appointment Mr. B and me had together, I asked my therapist if he’d gotten a message I’d left him, asking him if he’d received my records from my past therapists yet. We’d filled out and I’d signed forms at least a month ago. On Monday, when I’d called and left that message,  I was thinking it would be a good idea to find out the status on my current therapist’s end and if he hadn’t received them yet, I would call them myself and find out what the hold up is.

My therapist’s reply to me last night was, “Yes, I got your message, but I’ve been really busy.” And then said, “I’ve only got one set of records from one therapist.”

Upon his initial response of being too busy, I was disappointed. I really didn’t know how to respond to that, at least not on the spot.  I mean, I can’t control whether he follows up or not. But I’m really frustrated with the way he’s dropped the ball here.

I know I’m not his only client, but this happened  before after we’d talked about his helping me with preparing for a disability case for me. He brought up filling out release forms and my signing them, but then it got dropped. In my depression and constant expectations of disappointment, I resisted bringing it up.

In addition, I also wanted to have therapy. Not just logistically figure out my disability case in every single session.

So I see where I’ve dropped the ball myself and the forms eventually got filled out after I expressed my disappointment, frustration and even anger. But it seems that to get something I want or a need met, I have to make a stink. What is this about me that attracts people (even therapists), who drop the ball and don’t follow up on shit they agree to?

Even my mom pushed agreements to the side when it wasn’t convenient for her to stick to them.

So back to my disappointment in my therapist who was too busy to make a five minute or less call back to me.

I know I looked disappointed. But once he answered me, I appeared to accept the answer and let it go. But this penetrated. And it felt all too familiar. I woke up thinking about it.

It feels like if I continue in therapy with this therapist, it will be more disappointment and my acceptance of crumbs.

In just about every single relationship I’ve ever had, even in friendships, I was the one to reach out, make phone calls, make plans, follow through in showing up. I don’t remember the last time my phone rang with a friend on the other end inviting me to do something.

Not that I want that from my therapist.  I understand the boundaries of therapists and their clients. But to eat crumbs, even from therapists,  has become unacceptable.

It was something I thought I had to do before. After all, I’m not the only client. Eh, their busy. Sure, it’s ok that you’re late and that my appointment gets cut short.

My attitude has been to accept someone’s busy life. Pretty much an-across-the-board attitude in any relationship.  I mean the world doesn’t revolve around me and everyone is busy needing to take care of their own lives.

And  if I leave, then what will I do instead?

Will I even find someone who is just as good or better?

Do I even deserve that?

Apparently the fact that I’ve stuck around (generally speaking about all relationships now) accepting this illustration of how unimportant I am and have been to many people I’ve chosen to spend my time with and invest my time in, indicates that I don’t think “better” is available to me.

I used to wait around for the man in my life, from the time I was 13. (That’s another story in itself) But yeah, I was that young. I hadn’t had sex with him, but I was emotionally involved and got stood up frequently. He was telling me with his actions how unimportant I was to him as a person.

That was a pattern and I tended to date guys who weren’t emotionally available in one way or another. My first age appropriate boyfriend was a gypsy, Tom. He wasn’t supposed to date American women. But he was a bit different from the rest of his family and not only dated American women, but he had a whole circle of friends who were American.

As you’ve probably guessed, I couldn’t meet his parents. So me calling him was pretty impossible. I used to have to wait for him to call me and that was usually from a pay phone. This was long before cell phones, in case you haven’t guessed. He also used to just show up at my door, which I was usually thoroughly excited about.

I remember sitting in my room on weekend nights from time to time playing solitaire, not going out with friends because I wanted to be home in case Tom  called.  So many nights I’d play solitaire for hours never getting a phone call.

When I saw him again, much of the time his reply to me asking where he’d been and why didn’t he call was, “I fell asleep.”

I believed this because the work he did was hard labor and it was quite likely. I accepted the answer without much of a fight and was just grateful to be hearing from him at that point.

He moved fairly early on in our relationship and I had such a hard time emotionally with this. I talked to him when I could, saw him when I could and couldn’t wait to get a car so I could drive to see him.

But I started dating other people not long after, although we were still supposedly an item. I would waver back on forth in feeling love and attachment toward him and irritated by him. He would get on my nerves and he would say stuff that would piss me off about other people. Usually putting people down, many of them he didn’t know, but would just see while we were out and about.

I remember specifically one morning we’d pulled up to a convenience store and watched from his truck, as a man and two boys walked into the store. They looked unkempt, like they’d just rolled out of bed really and Tom made some sort of crack calling them the dirt family.

I didn’t say anything but I thought, “How rude.” And then thought, “Look who’s talking.”

This guy would show up at my door sometimes straight after a job with tar all over his shoes, shirt and pants. Hair looking greasy and he’d be sweaty from a full day on a roof. He had no idea what this family had just come from but he felt he had the right to judge them anyway, despite how dirty he could get in a day.

Years later while Tom and I were at a festival, with a girlfriend of mine, in the town we were all from, my girlfriend and I slipped away from him. I was the one to suggest this and I don’t remember why or how we got the chance. No doubt he was getting on my nerves and I just needed to get away from him.

We succeeded and walked back to my girlfriend’s house. We had settled down to a game of “Spit”…a card game we were both addicted to and had been playing together for a few years, when the phone rang.

It was Tom, and he laid into me so hard for just taking off on him. He’d yelled so loud, my friend sitting across from me, heard every word. I had to hold the phone away from my ear.

All this time later, I don’t remember the words, but I remember the seething anger.  I felt shame and I felt selfish. I didn’t say anything in my own defense during his rage because I didn’t feel there was any. I didn’t feel I’d be able to get much in edgewise.  I just waited for him to stop screaming. I waited for him to hang up and when he did, I handed the phone back to my friend.

(Jesus, editing this on Friday 9/8/17 and seeing this pattern in me. This shit was the same way I behaved when it came to my sister berating me on the phone.)

When I think about this now, the first thing I think is, “Double standard.” I know there is way more to analyze about it than this, but this was a running theme for me in my relationships. Expected to be thoughtful, considerate, loyal, but when he didn’t show up I was supposed to just accept it and carry on as though everything was A-OK.

Consciously it was never about revenge for his neglect or distance or unavailability for me to take off that way that day. I believed he loved me. I think it was an act to take care of myself, in taking off that way.But also an act of self-centeredness and avoidance. To be healthy, it would’ve been better to say, “Look Tom. I need a bit of space and just want to spend some time with A.”

But I was afraid to tell him for fear he’d think I never wanted to see him again or that he’d give me a hard time or that it would give me too much time to feel guilty, perhaps he’d serve up a guilt trip. I didn’t want to deal with any of that. I just wanted to ditch him that day. And then while he was screaming through the phone, I just wanted it to be over so I could move along with my day without him.

(Edit 9/8/17: I was dissociating there on the phone with him. By letting him yell and anticipating its end, I numbed and disconnected myself from any of the emotions I was feeling.)

Maybe I was also sick of the crumbs and wanted to leave a trail of my own for once.

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Blindly Dedicated

DSC03026poem

 

This poem was written (by me) in the latter half of the 90s to a very emotionally unavailable man. I was too, but was so caught up in the chemistry, the chemical addiction and at the time, little did I know, trauma symptoms from days gone by. And I just thought it was romance. I was so unaware, I might as well have been sleeping.

It wasn’t love so it wasn’t true…like the poem says it was. So it was indeed wrong. I pushed him away too and was emotionally unavailable myself. I was attempting to pull at something, at someone that wasn’t really there.

I thought he felt the same as I was indicating in the poem. I was going by his words though and the way I felt when we got naked together. I was going by how intense it all felt. I was “getting off” on the roller coaster ride.

I wanted to be his special one. I wanted to be “the one.” I wanted to be his soul (sole) mate. And even through my own guilt, confusion, contradictory feelings, I clung. I dug my heels and finger nails in, like I was fighting for my life, while hanging from the edge of a cliff.

I repeated this a little more than a decade later with the same unavailable guy. And I know now that I was like a drug addict. He used to tell me I was his kryptonite. And I think he was more like my hero-in… the drug that is, not some superman.

A Take on Life Purpose

There’s a few theories on how to know your life purpose. This guy brings up the one about what you loved doing for hours on end as a child. This one always stumped me because I enjoyed coloring and playing outside. I never thought about the things that could be done with those joys. Wish I’d known how to pursue those things as a living when I was younger.

The other thing that stuck out in this short talk is that many of us have a tendency to give in to the pressure of others and allow their wishes to influence us to the point that we end up doing something we don’t really want to and/or lose the interest believing that we can’t do things our way. Usually because the people telling us we can’t are older and more experienced with life, even if they aren’t more experienced with whatever it is you wantl.

Too Much Empathy?

Here’s one possible answer for my question from this post.

She starts talking about bullies and being bullied at about 8 minutes in.

You could argue that it’s denying, ignoring or being callous. And in certain situations it probably is. But I like the idea of ‘getting up and doing something about it’, at least as much as you can, as opposed to trying nothing, continuing to be angry without using the anger to propel forward in life.

But I can tell you what I’ve been doing isn’t working when it comes to having compassion and empathy for certain people.  I think that my compassion, sympathy and empathy got me further abused in life at times.

There are things I disagree with from what she’s saying though.  I do think that some therapists do have empathy. I’ve read about them from other bloggers right here on WP. She also states in the video that therapists offer solutions. And that’s also not always true. I’ve had therapists stare at me blankly. I’ve had therapists ask further questions, perhaps to help me with my own solutions.

Updating this on 7/23/17, it seems that I have finally been offered solutions from a DBT therapist. And since I’ll be starting the group portion of this therapy in a few days, I expect that being taught certain skills will empower me to do something about what I don’t like about my life. So in that aspect, I do think it’s more beneficial to attack the problem and be proactive in solving things, rather than continue to cry about it.

That being said however, I do think that there is benefit to holding space to listen, acknowledge the other person’s pain and give the validation that the person may have never received. Validation is quite healing.

Especially when it comes to children, I feel that a parent needs to take the time to physically get down to the level of the child, listen, acknowledge, validate, hug the child and THEN say, “Let’s go fix it.”

She also mentions distraction as a solution. In my opinion I think that can be helpful. But it’s not a permanent solution.

Dudes Be Too Pushy

pushy dudeTonight I got a private message (PM) on Facebook from a guy I vaguely know. We’ll call him Aggressive Guy #1 (AG!1) for this post.

We have some mutual friends from a sport we both have played in the past at the same place. We have connected a little on Facebook, PMing back and forth a bit talking about getting together. We exchanged phone numbers and immediately he started texting me.

The first text was to let me know that if I wanted to reach him, to text him because he’s not on Facebook much. There were a couple more and none of them were questions and didn’t indicate needing to be answered so I read them and left them.

I was also a bit annoyed that he would send three texts in a row so quickly after exchanging numbers.

Eager much?

I gave it a week or so and called AG1 on a weekend day…one of the last nice days before it got really cold. He’d suggested during our messaging on FB a walk around a particular trail in the area, that I’ve been wanting to walk around (he didn’t know this) but have been a little afraid to walk alone. When he mentioned it I thought, not only would it be fun, but now I could walk the trail, get to know someone new and feel safe.

So that was what I had in mind when I called him.
It turns out he was in the middle of a painting job with a deadline and he’d be working all weekend. He seemed a bit surprised and let me know he’d tried to get in touch but I wasn’t receptive.

Receptive is my word to paraphrase the idea he had gotten across to me. I forget exactly what he said. But it was said in this sort of reprimanding and condescending way, “Well, I tried to reach you but you wouldn’t answer” and “If only you’d been available when I texted and called you…”

Maybe I’m reading WAY more into that but it’s what came to mind as he spoke. He could only be referring to those three texts he shot off almost immediately after I gave him my number. “Is he serious?” I thought.

Unexpectedly, he called back within the hour, leaving a message and explained himself, “I had my hands full, I just couldn’t talk right then. If you get this within the hour give me a call back.”   The explanation sounded like he was talking to someone who’d gotten upset with him when he couldn’t talk. And I’d been completely understanding and quite frankly rather indifferent.

We haven’t spoken since and he’s not on FB too much but I saw a post that he’d started some class. Obviously this would make him even more busy. But really I didn’t think much of it and I moved on. Not dating wise, just that I didn’t give him much more thought.

Then tonight, maybe about an hour ago, I’d made a comment under a mutual friend’s post that he’d made a comment under. And moments later I see I have a PM.  It was AG1.

He wrote, “In class, call me at around 9:45.”

My first thought was that I’m not gonna feel like talking to anyone at that time. But I really don’t want to talk to him at all. I’ve lost what little interest that had been there in the first place.

I wrote back, “I’ll be in bed…sleeping.”

And then I signed off.

His communication seemed too pushy to me. It would’ve been nicer to say, “Hey, I get out of class at 9:45 can I call you?”  I still would’ve said no, but I may have suggested an alternative day and time if he’d been less aggressive.

Aggressive Guy number 2. (AG2)

AG2, before he got aggressive, and I got into a comment exchange about rock bands and other music on one of his posts., I know him from high school and we were in the same graduating class. He apparently got excited that I was able to finish lyrics to songs and all that and after having a fun time with that he pretty much ruined it for me by posting on my wall..

“We MUST get together.”

Whatever happened to asking?

Not that that would’ve changed my answer. I’m not interested. At the risk of being offensive, I’d like to add…this approach is much different coming from a gay dude or another woman.

Emotional Paralysis and Feeling Lost

ImLostBack in 2011/2012 a toxic relationship I was involved in ended. And it ended with a text. It was one of the most shocking experiences of my life. The months to follow carried some of the most excruciating emotional pain I’d ever felt even though I’d done a lot of pushing away and pulling him back in myself during the relationship, or more appropriately ‘the entanglement.’ Without getting into all the complicated details, I will just say he was unavailable in every way imaginable.

I found that picture, posted above, when the break up was fairly new. I was in such excruciating emotional pain that all I wanted to do was write. And I did. I wrote a lot of letters to him that I never sent. I wrote things that I struggled with to try to work them out. I even started a blog. Then I took it down and started another one.

I continued to do that…start one blog after another, taking them down as I went. For one thing I kept feeling too vulnerable. I wanted to share but was afraid to.

I was afraid of what people would think or say when they read it. Anyone. Any person I didn’t know. And as much as I struggled I could not get past that.

Then as I read and researched more about narcissism and getting hurt by a narcissist, I got more confused. I read things by bloggers who said it was a good idea to write about the experience. I even at one point felt coerced by someone who also suffered from extreme trauma. I had felt uncomfortable and hurt by this. I’d been coerced by others before and it was a trigger for me when this woman did it.

She thought it would do me good. Famous words of those who like to coerce. But although it bothered me I said nothing, fearing she’d get defensive and angry herself. When I finally said something after feeling coerced again and I found out that my prediction was exactly right. And it became another unresolved issue for me, even though I apologized.

I also read things by others who said that writing about it all is not a good idea. It keeps the wounds open and it does more emotional damage.

So in listening to others, I don’t even know what it is I feel and think is right for me.

Just to give another example where I have trouble with this: When it comes to figuring out what I should be eating for my body and health issues, I’ve been listening to others. Questioning myself.

It’s resulted in a lot of paralysis, procrastination, overwhelm and chasing my tail. Most of my days since the break up back in 2011/2012 I have spent wasting. I haven’t made any plans for any sort of future.  Just kind of floating through life, feeling like I’ve reverted back to my early teens emotionally and depending on someone else to keep a roof over my head. A very dangerous place to be at my age.

A year after the break up, my father became terminally ill and I got entangled with my family. They manipulated, triangulated and scapegoated me. Another topic I’d been wanting to cover. But again, I’ve been confused as to whether I want to or not. Whether it’s a good idea. Not to mention my own fear of what will the people I’m writing about think, say or do? Including the ex.

I seem to always have been and still am so worried about other people’s reactions. If I write something my brother doesn’t like, will I pay the price with him coming over and raging in my face? It’s not likely he’d find it because I doubt he’s roaming around on WP dot com. I blocked him on FB long ago and besides,  I don’t and wouldn’t share this stuff on FB.  That I’m settled on.

It feels like there’s a need to share my story while at the same time I can see how it could possibly keep one down. That’s not to judge what helps anyone else. I’m merely working out my own feelings here.  See? Right there, I’m worried that someone will think I’m referring to everyone. Sheesh! I can’t seem to win with myself.

I’ve hidden myself for so long from others, that it’s resulted in being hidden from myself, in self defense of repercussions of being who I really am.

So, it’s a scary thing to reach 50 and realize that you’ve held yourself back from expressing your truth because of what someone else or a group of someone elses might do. In fact it’s been going on so long I don’t even know my own truth in the moment in some instances. Shame is certainly a factor too.

I’ve reached a point once again where I’m not happy with this blog. You know when you mess up on paper, you just tear the page out, throw it away and start over? That’s what I want to do here.

In fact I did it before with another blog before starting this one, other than the ones I referred to above. I had written a bunch of posts on another blog with another user name and for quite some time I hadn’t been feeling comfortable with the user name and started thinking about wanting to use Sleeping Tiger.  I continually felt apprehensive about posting at the old one and posts became sporadic.

I’m beginning to feel that way again here. I started another blog too under this user name, but doing that has made me feel even more disorganized.

I think I do want to tell my story…at least some of it. But I also want to write about other things. And that’s another area where I get overwhelmed and scattered.

Do I really want to talk about my pet sitting experience on the same blog where I write about how my father’s abuse has effected my life?  Well yeah I kinda do but they don’t really go together, so…

And what if I can spin off the pet stuff into a business later? Then how good of an idea would it have been to keep the topics together? UUuUUUGgggggHHHHHhhhhh!!!

This is what I’m dealing with. And then I do nothing.

I really need to sort this out for myself because I would really love to blog. However, like I mentioned I’m feeling unsettled with this name now.

Originally I liked it obviously. I have a little box for my dowsing pendulum with a mama and baby tiger on the lid. The mama tiger is sleeping and the baby tiger is wide awake. It looks to me that the baby wants to get into some mischief while big mama sleeps.

That image is also a metaphoric symbol, personally speaking, how my mother is asleep and that I (her daughter) am awake to how toxic the whole dynamic of the family is.

Before I started this blog, I would look at that box and think, “Sleeping Tiger. That would be a good name for a blog.”

So finally I started this blog.

But I can identify with both tigers, even though I’m not a mom. I have spent most of my life asleep in pretty much every capacity of life, especially having difficulty coming out of denial of how bad it actually was. Although I knew there was something amiss, when I spoke up it was minimized or there was a clear message, whether verbal or non, that it was me who needed to work it out within.

The baby tiger, signifies the painful awakening of being right all along.

Edit July 22, 2017: Since originally posting this, I have become much more settled. I have made a definite decision not to write about pet sitting stuff specifically, although I do share some things about my own cat. I expect to share other photos of nature as well. But this blog is mostly dedicated to my story.

I have finally stopped starting other blogs to write on the same topic and it is my intention to move those posts I wrote before for other blogs to this one. 

I am also no longer worried about any exes or my family finding this blog. It’s anonymous. No one I know irl knows me as Sleeping Tiger. But quite frankly, I’m not really concerned about it anyway.

I still struggle to get closure with my past. So that is what this blog is for, and I am in therapy as well to work through it and to learn new skills in relating and getting along in life. But I don’t feel the same level of torment I did when I wrote this post originally.