I See No Progress

I posted a photo I took of our living room here in the apartment last night. This is the first year in a very long time that we’ve even put lights up. I mean it wasn’t a huge project. I just got the lights from the basement and plugged each strand in to see if they worked. I found one that worked and B strung it up, like you see in the photo.

This is a new strand though. Some of the lights from the original strand went out. Kind of trivial but I’m sure there’s some sort of analogy there, even maybe some parallel to my life.

When I opened up yesterday’s post, to look at it just now, I noticed underneath of is a couple of older posts of mine. One of those posts is last year’s Thanksgiving post. You can read that one right here.

I read through it myself and I not only feel that my life is stagnant, I feel like I regressed. At least last year I had a list of things to be grateful for. This year I posted a photo and was glad that B wasn’t here.

That post is here if you want to compare.

I feel like I regress every single year and that I’m worse off now than I ever was.

I understand that some recent realizations about B, have contributed to feeling, probably, more depressed than I did at this time last year but that still equates to regression or at the very least stagnation.

When I look back at the things I’ve written in the past, I can see how many things about me had not or have not changed.

After the break up with the affair partner (AP), I went back and read things that I’d written to him and about him in my journals back when we had the first affair, which was in the 90s. Yes, I fucked up twice…with the same man no less.

The things I’d written back in the 90s, I was writing again in 2010, 2011 and some of 2012.

It’s alarming to see such a thing. I tend to put it out of my mind after a while but upon reading or realizing that I have the same patterns I’ve always had, it alarms me. It makes me want to be and do different. But then I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

I need therapy. But not just any therapy. i need a therapist who will be supportive and non-judgmental. One that will make room for my personality flaws or disorders or whatever you want to call them. I have ended up with therapists pretty much overall who expect me to behave like a neuro-typical, like someone who has not been severely psychological abused. And yes, I have asked before going to see these so called therapists if they have experience with the very shit that is ‘wrong’ with me.

My preemptive strikes don’t seem to make any difference and I end up with a therapist who might help someone who is grieving a one time loss but has no clue how to help someone who’s been gas lit by passive aggressive assholes all her life. And they don’t seem to understand that yes, the traits fucking rub off.

I have them too. I have narc traits. I can be passive aggressive. I rage. I don’t trust easily.  Depression doesn’t have a quick fix. I’ve done things I’m not proud of and feel guilt and shame.  The therapist I had before going into DBT hell, was judgmental of something I’d told her and had no clue how to validate and most of the time after I finished talking she’d sit there with a look on her face that made it look like she felt sorry for me.

I don’t fucking need their pity. I need their help.

I’m sitting here getting all worked up writing that and the thought process here is triggered by the fact that I have an appointment with a new therapist and I feel like I’ve set myself up for more disappointment and maybe more damage.

She caught me off guard on Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving) with a return phone call. She asked if I had questions but I froze and couldn’t think of any. So I just told her a bit about me and my background as well as what’s going on presently.

I prefaced that with, “Well, how ’bout I tell you a little bit about myself and then you can tell me if you think you can help or not.”

She said, “Okay.” But when I finished, she jumped right to, Okay so let’s set up an appointment. Are you available during the day?”

I answered her question and then said, “Do you have any feedback for what I just told you?”

I don’t remember now exactly what she said because I was too busy feeling a ton of doubt about her. I should’ve hung up but I set an appointment anyway.

I then asked her if she’s familiar with the term ‘family scapegoat.’ I do remember enough to know that she said she’s worked with people with childhood trauma. The WAY she said some things, came off a bit like my mother. So that’s a red flag.

She told me we can’t really know if we’re a good match until we meet. I knew that was bullshit, but I said nothing. Like I said, I could not think of any good questions. I mean, I spit out a couple asking if she was experienced with childhood trauma and scapegoats, but I didn’t walk away satisfied that I wouldn’t be wasting my time going to see her.

She also said that the person who referred me seemed to think we were a good match, so we probably are.

Um…WHAT????

She didn’t even ask who referred me. I got the referral by calling my insurance to get names of therapists who were covered. I got a list of therapists. It had nothing to do with a good match. So she seems a bit disconnected and the usual not so great therapist.

I’m expecting nothing to be honest. In fact I probably have the wrong attitude altogether because I’m on the complete opposite of the ‘hope’ spectrum. I kind of expect to walk out, telling her that I won’t be coming back.

Before talking to her I also talked to a male therapist who I think is probably old enough to be my father. I didn’t get to ask him questions either and just summed up my background and present life.  He was leaving for a couple weeks for the holiday and will be back the first week in December.

I would like to meet with him too but not sure how I can do that without first deciding against the other therapist. I guess I’ll call my insurance and see how that works or IF it works.

I get a better vibe from the man than I do the woman. But then I’ve been wrong before.


I want to circle back to what I said about realizations about B. I have come to understand that he is really passive aggressive in a chronic and probably a pathological way. I also know and understand that he has been this way for a long time, since childhood to be exact. We’ve talked about it and he has admitted to being this way since then.

He has said that he didn’t understand that that’s what he is/was doing but has now that he knows something about it, he can see how he was that way as a kid too.

That being said though, he may very well have become even more so with me. And that’s because of my own control issues. I did not develop control issues upon moving in with B. I had those issues looooong before I even met him.

So a PA and a control freak move in together. Um, it can’t help but be toxic. I’ve done some intense blaming lately of him, after years of believing that it’s 100% all me that is the problem here. But I have responsibility too, despite having C-PTSD, I can’t just lay all of our problems on his lap.

Much of the time we’ve lived together, I’ve found something wrong with so many things that he’s done or does. Even the smallest shit like putting something in the wrong drawer and reacting in a way that is disproportionate to the offense. Which isn’t really an offense is it? It’s just being human.

I also think there have been some ‘rule changes’ as well. Like I’ll get mad at him for throwing something away but then when I find something sitting there because he’s not sure of whether to throw it away or not, I get mad that he didn’t just chuck it.

One solution would be to simply ask and he does that sometimes. But there are times that he assumes, goes with that and doesn’t bother asking. I’m not just talking about whether to throw something away or keep it here either. That was just an example of one thing.

Being financially dependent on him, not doing much but sitting around watching YT or reading, is pretty passive aggressive too.

I’m not in denial. There is no doubt he’s been PA and as a result has put me in a spin of confusion as his lies are usually that of information omission.

I also know that saying that you forgot is passive aggressive. And in some cases I think this holds true for B. But I also do think there’s some legit forgetfulness given the stress of walking on eggshells around me. He’s said to me in the past that I make him feel like he can do nothing right.

I was thinking about that last night in relation to my recent understanding of his passive aggression. And in relation to my behavior. I can pin point one incident at the beginning of us living together that I would say started the whole dynamic.

He was folding clean rags in the basement instead of bringing them upstairs to fold them, which I would’ve preferred.  As he folded them, he put them in a pile on top of the drier he’d just gotten them out of. But we were in the process of cleaning and I knew that the top of the drier was dirty and dusty.

I got pissed when I saw this and my reaction was of a disproportionate amount. I screamed so loud and intensely, it was a screech. Anyone else would’ve said, “Yo look! I’m not gonna put up what that shit. I don’t deserve to be screamed at like that. You have a problem, talk to me in a civil way and with respect.”

My point is that it’s become a never ending cycle. To me most of the things he does that bothers me seem like common sense. But the answer is not in screeching at him for it. I’ve just created an even MORE passive aggressive guy.

And as he’s become more PA, I’ve become more controlling.

That being said though, I have not become more controlling only because of his defense against it. It’s also a result of being financially dependent on someone else and I don’t see that as his fault at all.

When I start to think in such a way where I’m looking at myself and what my actions have been to contribute to the dynamic, and then talk to someone about it, I expect one of two things. Either the person will think of me as making excuses for HIM and that he is actually abusive or just see what I’ve done and said and judge me as the abusive one.

But I don’t see either one to be true. Although I probably have more shitty feelings about myself than I do about him, I can see the toxic cycle we are in pretty clearly. It’s not a case of denial to the point where I think he’s all good and I”m all bad.  I think I went through that when I first discovered how bad his PA behavior actually are. Seeing his behavior for what it is, helped me to see where some of my reactions are coming from.

PA remarks can feel like punches to the gut and leave you very confused.  So yeah, although he’s a quiet guy and I’m the one flying off the handle, yelling, he’s no innocent.  So I do see it.  But I’m not fault free here either.

Even though, it’s helpful and awakening, to see and understand the toxic behavior of someone else toward you, true progress doesn’t come from focusing on someone else and their behaviors. It comes from seeing, understanding and working hard to change your own.

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This Turned Out to Be a Small Tribute for a Cat and a Dog (Photos)

I’ve been wanting to write but struggling terribly with words. Things aren’t good and so I wanted to immerse myself into something else for a change. I have a pile of thumb drives with photos and videos on them. They’ve been sitting in a drawer waiting for me to go through them. These are some photos from one of them

-Ozzy was our cat who passed some months back. He loved it outdoors.

-The black dog was a dog I walked and cared for twice a week for a while. She was not very cuddly or playful, but she was sweet. She was also elderly and in a lot of joint pain too. She has since passed.

-Mushrooms…I just really love mushrooms. I’m fascinated by them.

Our beautiful front yard in Ardmore. You can see Ozzy in the distance.

Ozzy… or is that Batman? Very content,  sunning and earthing himself.

Lucy going out…

Lucy coming back in…

Three legged dog…looks like it anyway.

But you can see here that she isn’t.

This gorgeous mushroom was in Lucy’s back yard.

My Mother Is Machiavellian

This may not come as a surprise to some of the people who’ve read my story. And in fact it has crossed my mind in the past.

I have this pattern of realizing things or coming across info and then placing it by the wayside, to maybe revisit later.

I hate that about me. It’s like I learn about it and then forget about it and then have to relearn it.

I mean I remember looking into it before and remember the thing that helped me realize that I’ve had people like that in my life.

I am still struggling with getting past some form of denial about my mother but at least I know that much.
I think I must be in shock about it all concerning her too, even though it was pointed out long enough ago to me that my mother is a fucking narcissist.

I know it’s because she’s my mother and I grew up…as my brain developed, I believed my mother to be the ‘good’ parent. So it is likely that my psyche is protecting me from the devastation of this information by keeping me in some sort of numbness about it.

I sat in bed this morning thinking about my mother’s Machiavellian tactics she used with me when my father got sick and tried to feel the grief, sadness or even anger…and nothing. No emotion. Like nothing at all. It’s like I don’t care.

I mean, I knew then that she was being manipulative, but I certainly didn’t have the name for it, the style of manipulation that she used.

And sure, it’s hard to prove unless you know what the manipulator is actually thinking. And when it comes to my mother, I didn’t really know until the recent email exchange.

This one line (pulled from her last response to me after I’d emailed her to tell her that I felt insignificant to her when she triangulated against me with my sister):

“What I did feel then was that your father’s needs were the primary concern just then”

She is admitting right there, combined with what she actually did (manipulated and triangulated; guilted and shamed me) that it didn’t matter HOW she made sure my father’s needs got met, as long as she made it happen.  (And knowing the situation and circumstances, I can also say that she felt the need to make it happen so that she herself didn’t have to care for him.

You would think that in realizing that my mother saw me as and treated me like a pawn in this way that I would break down…that I would cry inconsolably at such a revelation.

So I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s shock and awe or if it’s just that I’ve had enough time to get used to the information that she’s quite narcissistic, that I in fact am not surprised at all.

Here are some links that explain what Machiavellianism is:

Meet the Machiavellians

What is Machiavellianism in Psychology?
This one has a list of 19 traits. My mother fits 13 of them. I’d say that makes her Machiavellian.

If this is true: “Machiavellianism is most about manipulation for personal gain.” (taken from the article linked.)

And this: “Sociopathy is most about being cold and insensitive to others needs.”

Then would it not stand to reason that someone who is Machiavellian is also at the very least sociopathic, if not a sociopath altogether?

It adds up for me.

The other thing statement in the article: “Narcissism is most about believing you deserve admiration and to be treated differently than others” doesn’t, as far as I can see, fit my mother. However, if you’ve seen something in other posts of mine that you’ve read about her, please don’t hesitate to point it out. I’m very open to seeing what I don’t see yet.

When I read through the traits, the ones that fit, fit in certain circumstances but not all. So that to me seems even more toxic, because of the unpredictability factor.

I still want to at least believe that this was a gradual process for her to develop this throughout her life and not a trait she had, at least while I was a small child. But tbh: I can’t say one way or the other right now. However, I can say that I am aware of and remember the emotional neglect so there’s that.

No Place To Hide – A Book about Shame and Gaining Self Respect: Kind of a review

I’ve recently read a book called No Place to Hide: Facing Shame So We Can Find Self-Respect

It’s by Michael P. Nichols, PhD.

Toward the end it had me a bit torn in two about being no contact with my family and I ended up calling my mother, partially because of the influence this authors words had on me.

In part.

It was coupled with having recently received another birthday card from my mother, with some manipulative language written by her within the card.

This is not a complete review of this book. I’m mostly pointing out something that bothers me and what it brought to mind for me.

But it’s not all bad either. If you like to relate your own experiences to what an author has written, it can be helpful to put some possible missing pieces together. It also helped me understand a bit more about shame and some more of the dynamics in my family.

Just be careful and really think about any advice the author gives, when it comes to keeping communication lines open. When it comes to having completely unaware narcissists and sociopaths for family members, and you’re the scapegoat of them, BE CAREFUL

The author seems to have had a lot of clients that he’s been able to help with acceptance of the difficult people in their lives while staying in contact. But he was able to counsel them on their own individual circumstances…which of course we the readers are not privy to the whole of the situation either.

I allowed his words to influence me and went in with some hope when talking to my mother. But unless I’m willing to accept her lack of apology, validation and much acknowledgement about the scapegoating, manipulation and mind-fuckery, then I’m not able to keep contact. It’s where my acceptance stops short as far as having people as an active part of my life, who can dish out as much manipulation and scapegoating as my family has proven able to do.

Even though there had been other things that happened within the family prior to 2013, that proved me to be the scapegoat, I would probably still be in contact with them all, if the events in the first four months of 2013 didn’t happen.

However, it did open my eyes to the fact that their prior behaviors had been very toxic.

I am still a bit confused by the author’s words. But if the abuse had not been so damaging and harmful, it might be a different story. “Eh, I’ll just see them from time to time. I won’t argue or talk about heavy things. I’ll just take it as it comes and the relationships can be superficial and on the surface.”

I mean, I don’t really want superficial/on the surface relationships with my family members. But I could do it and would do it and accept that that’s what they all want, IF and it’s a big fat IF I had not been so ‘beat up’ by them in the first place.

It’s not even about forgiveness, what I’m writing about here.

It’s about my own self-respect. Something the author even has in his title. It’s also about self-protection so that I don’t subject myself to more of the damage. If I keep going in and being involved with these people they will strike again. Because it’s what they do. They can’t not be who they are.

This author thinks it’s immature to cut contact. Well, I disagree. There comes a time for self-protection. There’s comes a time for self-respect and boundary drawing. And cutting communication is a way of saying, “I am not going to take your abuse anymore.”

The author does say to speak up for yourself, etc. Which I agree with. But then there can also be a problem with the feeling of safety.  It gets pretty exhausting being the one to be willing to listen their beefs about me but God forbid I have a problem. Especially when in the thick of a stressful situation. My siblings get nasty (one has rage and the other likes to throw passive aggressive jabs) when under stress.

The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get at this author for writing such shit about it being immature to cut contact. What a fucking blanket statement. He has no idea who is reading. There are tons of people who have been brutally abused by toxic individuals and groups and his words could influence someone to put themselves into real danger.

Psychological abuse like gas-lighting, triangulating and shaming to manipulate is horrendously harmful. And the only way for some of us to recover is to stay far away.

That does not mean I do not accept those fuckers for what they are though. I accept it fully that they are abusive, hypocritical, scapegoating cowards, who don’t want to admit that they are human and instead want to stay in denial, brushing all their blame onto their daughter and sister, treating me like a doormat if I am in their vicinity.

I mean, come on. If that’s not acceptance, then what is? I see the truth. I see them for who and what they are. I think it proves my acceptance by staying away, instead of getting together with them, thinking I’m going to get something different from them. instead of denying it and trying to pretend that they actually know how to treat me with respect, I am well aware that they don’t.

So….what??? I’m supposed to show acceptance for who and what they are by walking into the snake pit?

In fact, I am showing myself self-respect by staying away, because I am not subjecting myself to abuse. More evidence of acceptance, is that I am no longer slamming my head against a wall with futile attempts to get them to understand, validate or apologize. I accept that they don’t want to hear it. I accept that they think I am “too sensitive.” I accept that they won’t listen and don’t care to. I accept that they are toxic.

What I don’t accept, is to have people in my life who don’t want to resolve issues when they come up. I don’t accept people in my life who refuse to look in the mirror and simply point fingers blaming me for the issues in the relationship. What I don’t accept is to have them involved in my life.

I accept that I do indeed have issues and that I have contributed to the rift that is there between my siblings and myself.  However, I will not be the one sitting there owning all my shit, while they sit there owning nothing.

If it takes MATURITY to allow the type of toxic dynamic in my life that is present in my family, then I’ll remain as immature as a 5 year old… thank you very much.

With all that being said, I do like some of the things the author said and he clarified some things about shame that I did not know.

I marked some pages with sticky notes of things that he wrote about that I related to.  So I’ll be writing a series of sorts on that stuff and relating and working through my own experience that I was reminded of.

I’ll continue with each idea and experience in separate posts.

I Have Started Selling on Ebay

I have thought and talked about selling on ebay and have finally gotten to the point that I’m listing consistently.

Right now I am focusing on Christmas ornaments since we have quite a bit of holiday decor between the two of us that we’d like to sell.

I only like to sell things that are in really good condition for the most part. I’m sure there would be exceptions  but any flaws present, I am honest to point them out.

So anyway, the reason I’m writing this here is to spread the word. Maybe I have something you are interested in.

This link goes to my profile page. So then what you do to find the items I’m selling is scroll down a bit. You’ll see “Items for sale” and the number of items next to that.  The cover photo of each item is there as well and then on the right hand side, above the photos, you’ll see a clickable link that says, “see all items.”

If you click that you’ll be able to see everything I have listed. Check back often, the list will grow.

There are some auctions but there are also some things I listed to just ‘buy now.’

I will probably post every so often about this. The focus is for Christmas right now, but I will be listing and selling other things in the future.