Playing With Fire Again! REALLY???

If my adrenals don’t get a fucking break I’m never going to recover.  I can’t leave and right now I am so fucking angry it’s more than uncomfortable.

I get angry all the time actually, but a lot of it is about shit that doesn’t matter or is truly futile because it’s about something that will NEVER change. I hate being trapped here. I hate living with someone I don’t trust to learn from previous mistakes, someone who doesn’t pay attention to some of the important shit.  I don’t feel safe.

So just a little back story: In the past, B had burnt a pot after walking away from a tiny bit of water he put on to heat up for tea. And a couple other times he forgot about toast he was making in a toaster oven, one of those times resulting in the toast actually catching fire!

So now at this apartment we now live in, we have a gas stove. I love gas to cook with. I really do. But I also know you need to be fucking careful when you cook with anything.

There are these pieces of round steel that go on top of the part where the fire comes out and they are removable. And if not put back right, (a fairly new discovery for me) the burner does not work. So when I turned the knob today to cook some quinoa, all I got was gas.

As I began to turn it off, the fire suddenly came on and it came out toward me. Scared the shit out of me.  At this point I didn’t realize that piece was on wrong. I just noticed something that looked wet on it. Probably butter from me cooking eggs this morning.

Well, B tried to clean it off by taking it to the sink and cleaning it off with the dish rag. And then when he put it back, he didn’t put it back right. So when I went to use the stove again…well…I already told you what happened.

The reason I realized that piece wasn’t on right and was the reason the fire didn’t go on, is because the exact same issue had happened before. In fact B was right next to me when we had the problem before.

I lost it. I yelled about it and couldn’t stop. I am really sucking at the DBT skills. It was the perfect opportunity for me to walk the fuck away, go outside or into my room and calm down first and THEN go back and talk to him about it. Tell him in a calm way how scared that makes me, which would also be less berating. And I did berate him for not learning from mistakes.

So not only am I angry at him for being careless, not putting that piece of the burner back on right, but also pissed at myself for not catching myself and working some DBT skill.

How the fuck am I supposed to stop myself when I feel the flooding of the threat of danger and then in turn anger? I talked to my therapist about it and she gave me specific things to do, but I can’t even get to the part where I’m supposed to STOP!


What is Trauma?

black and white sunflower

More precisely… What is behind the effects of trauma?

I was just making my morning smoothie and as usual I was doing a lot of thinking. The thought, “I’m never truly relaxed” sort of cruised through my mind and then without really being aware of it, the question breezed through, “Why is that?”

My answer was general as in, “Because trauma survivors…” because that’s what I am. And I for one, am in a constant state of hyper-vigilance. I think this is where many other symptoms branch out from.

For example, agoraphobia. Why do I feel afraid to go out on many days, even just to take a walk by myself?

Why am I afraid to get close to anyone, whether it be as a platonic relationship or a prospective romantic one?

Why am I afraid to open up, speak up, take care of me, stick up for me?

Why do I believe I don’t deserve good things? And why am I afraid of the perpetual shoe dropping?

Even being able to come up with other answers to these questions, underneath those answers, they all come back to the same thing.

Hyper-vigilance. Fear, yes. But under that fear is hyper-vigilance of whatever it is I’m fearing. Hyper-vigilant to someone coming up from behind me while I’m walking…despite that person not meaning any harm.

Hyper-vigilant to the ‘fact’ that I’m not likable anyway, so why bother.

Hyper-vigilant to the ‘fact’ that something is sure to go wrong if I begin to accomplish something.

But there’s something behind that hyper-vigilance as well isn’t there?

Because…and this is only my opinion and the conclusion I came to while pondering the two questions that came to mind this morning…

We trauma survivors have had our very lives threatened. We have been put in such scary positions and situations that could have killed us, snuffed our lives right out. In many cases, we have stared blatant death in the face or at the very least felt or feared we could or might die in those moments. In fact some felt that they would and had no doubts.

Even a small child being yelled at by a father with a deep, loud and raised voice, will feel her life is threatened.

That follows us around moment to moment, day to day, week to week. Year after excruciating year.

No wonder I never really feel truly relaxed.

So isn’t trauma basically the constant fear of losing one’s life?

I was going to include the word irrational in the ‘definition’ but the thing is, for survivors it doesn’t feel the least bit irrational. After all the events that got us to this state have happened and many times repeatedly.

Would love to know your thoughts, particularly if you’re a trauma survivor.

The Dangers of Apathy and My Blog Title

I’ve been in procrastination mode with this blog and pretty much  all other areas of my life. I remember my brother telling me once that anger is good, because it propels you forward. But that hasn’t happened for me. Anger seems to set me back because I can’t think well through the anger.

But today I’m angry and want to see if I can use it to indeed propel me forward in some way.

This blog has been a real issue for me because of fear, because of perfectionism and I think even because of feeling coerced by someone a couple times, whose intentions were good, but she was being coercive none-the-less and I felt as though I was being pushed into something I wasn’t sure of or ready for. Which made me angry.

That being said, for years, I’ve really been wanting to blog. I’ve been wanting to blog about other things besides my abuse though too. And that’s part of where the procrastination comes in. There are many things I could and would like to share. So part of the procrastination comes from not being sure if it would be better to separate all these topics into separate niches/blogs.

But when I think about doing that, not only does it feel overwhelming,  I get into a see-saw match with myself, going back and forth between yes and no. In addition, within that argument, I start thinking I should move all this personal stuff yet again to another blog, start all over,  as a result of feeling unsettled with the name once again.

So…I’m going to do my best to stop procrastinating here and I’m going to keep this blog and just share whatever it is I feel like sharing. Because it’s what I believe I need to do for some healing and getting to know myself again and for the first time.

Back to the topic of anger:
Last night, I realized that Mr. B’s apathy is probably pathological to the point of being dangerous because it has almost set the house on fire in the past and he pulled the same shit last night that almost caused said fire before.

He’d left some bread in the toaster oven (that toasts quickly) and walked away. The toast caught fire. Luckily he was able to put it out before it got out of hand.

When I found out, I was so angry and after I yelled, he promised he’d be sure to never walk away from the toaster oven again while making toast. I was foolish enough to believe him and think this issue was a settled and done deal.

Well, last night he broke that promise. It was more important to check on the cat, to see if he wanted to come inside, than to wait less than five minutes for his toast to be done. The cat won’t have a house to come back into if Mr. B sets it ablaze.

Again, I became angry. And again I yelled about it, wanting him to understand how important the issue is.Ugh! Why I have to explain this to a sixty year old man is a whole other (obviously) sick issue.  And like the last time there wasn’t much emotional reaction from him. The only emotion I saw was a little bit of annoyance when I’d come back to say more after walking away.

And I called him on it right away, “I know it’s an annoyance to you that I’m bothered by this and your apathy. It’s one thing to be apathetic about our relationship and not care about that. But when you don’t care about something that is potentially dangerous enough to burn down the house, you’re gonna hear me.”

I went from being sleepy and ready to sleep to wide awake and raging, with rolling heart palpitations. I was lying there in the dark last night so angry, so disgusted, I realized I could die here, having done nothing toward healing, toward becoming independent, toward no longer feeling trapped.

Mr. B has put our cat’s life in danger in the past as a result of his apathy too.

I’d taken a dog in for someone, upon agreement with Mr. B. His mother, who lived next door at the time, agreed to take our cat (Ozzy) while the dog stayed here. This was an ongoing arrangement with this particular dog because it was too dangerous for this particular dog to be around cats.  The weather on that particular weekend that the dog (Wendy) came to stay, was really nice.

The first morning, Mr. B decided he would eat his breakfast out on the porch with Ozzy. His mom had already let the cat out and after preparing breakfast, Mr. B headed out.  I held the dog while Mr. B struggled with his arms fuller than they should have been.

I asked him to make two trips while I held the dog.But he said, “I’m ok, I got it.”

Luckily I was even in the room to see this taking place because Mr. B does not ask for help so he didn’t speak up in this situation to even warn me and say, “You might wanna hold Wendy while I make my way outside.”

Nope, not one word. I just happened to walk into the living room just in time to grab the dog’s collar and hold onto it while Mr. B stumbled his way outside and while Ozzy sat, meowing just outside the door, under Mr. B’s feet.

The thought of the possibility of Ozzy running into the house while I held a dog that would’ve wanted to give chase and would’ve easily broken away from me, still makes me cringe. Still gives me anxiety and still makes me shake my head to realize how careless and apathetic Mr. B is.

What does all of this have to do with my procrastination in blogging?
Well, what happened last night feels like it may be the proverbial fire I need to do something toward freeing myself. I’m trapped here with him right now and although blogging may not make me the money I need to get the fuck away from him, I believe it is one key to my healing. It’s certainly part of the process.

I’ve wanted to write an “About” page before I really got started here, but I’ve struggled with that. I’m not even completely clear on how to explain why I chose the title and user name Sleeping Tiger. But I’ll try.

My sister was expert at shutting me down, by using things I’d said, against me from previous conversations. She triangulated with my mother against me. Shut me down in the moments when I’ve spoken up about things, given my opinion, even once when I brought a smoothie over to my dad while he was ill.  My sister had stopped by to see my father while I was there. He’d been having some digestive issues and my sister asked him about it and how he was feeling. My father mentioned the smoothie I’d brought him. I said to her from the other room, that I thought it would help with his digestion and it was something he could probably keep down. She turned with daggers in her eyes and flatly said, “Or come right back up.”

My brother is a rage-aholic and took his stress and frustrations out on me so badly I feared making him angry at all.

My mother belittled our agreements and took my sister’s side, scapegoated me, and in fact excused one of my brother’s rage episodes by saying it was just an emotional reaction. She also blamed me for the eggshells we all walked on.

My father, I believed caused most of my issues of fear about sticking up for myself, standing up for what I believe in and speaking out and up overall throughout my life, so I had a difficult time as it was already when the stress hit the fan among my family.

I’m guessing they all sensed the difficulty that would ensue,ike rabid animals and used me to dump all their toxicity into.  Growing up though, I didn’t seem to have much issue speaking my mind to my siblings, standing up for myself, even bullying my brother. I even spoke up to my father in some instances. But I seemed to get weaker as I got older or even in a very short period of time.

It all just seemed to sneak up on me. Which leads me to believe I missed a lot. I was indeed sleeping during the process of certain dynamics being put in place to make it possible for me to be so abused and scapegoated.

But when you develop the characteristics that make you more of a codependent and fearful of other people’s reactions and your siblings become more like scary, raging and even at times violent narcissists, it’s sometimes safer to not fight back.

And then there was the affair I became involved with a few years ago. I took a lot of crumbs and stuck around much longer than I should have. In fact all my romantic relationships were toxic and dysfunctional. And I held my tongue much of the time throughout those relationships too because I was afraid to rock the boat…afraid of abandonment.

In fact, after being with one particular guy on and off for some years, I’d lost myself so much I didn’t even know my own opinions about things. I had been afraid to voice my opinion that I ceased having one them at all and turned to him first to see what he thought or how he felt about things.

Even in many friendships I was a follower, especially with one friend in particular at the age of 13. There were things I went along with or just wouldn’t have done unless following someone else just to be accepted.

After the break up of the affair (and the break down that followed) and then the aftermath of the death of my father and having been closely involved with my abusive family, I shut down. I became afraid to say much of anything for fear it might be inappropriate, or wrong or something that would piss someone off.

I can see it when I make comments on FB. I don’t make the same jokes and I’m very careful to not say the wrong thing.

But it’s time to wake up and say what needs to be said. Say the things on my mind. Tell the story of the toxic sludge I grew up in and then later put up with in other areas of my life.

I hope this makes some sense in why I chose that name. I have been silent on what’s happened to me, although inside I’m roaring. I’ve been fearful about speaking up, however, just because I’ve been quiet (asleep) doesn’t mean I can’t let the people who hurt me know that I won’t let them do it anymore.

A sleeping tiger looks cuddly and cute, but would you mess with it?