A Kind of Catch-22

I started blogging because I believed that purging all the pain and telling the story that my family refuses to listen to would help me heal.

Well I’m not sure that is the case anymore. Meaning I don’t know if that is true for me.

I have adrenal fatigue. And that’s from all the years of living under stress as a child. My father was as unpredictable as an alcoholic despite not being one.  When he yelled it was loud. He’d been trained to enunciate as well as project his voice. He startled me a lot as a child and also as an adult.

When I got older I worried about disappointing my mother. I was let go from a job once. When she came to pick me up and I explained to her what I was told was the reason I could see the disappointment on her face, in her eyes.

I was young when that happened and I never forgot that. I tripped over myself to keep a job so as not to disappoint her. I was terrified to miss any work even if it meant driving for miles in the snow as to not piss of my boss. I didn’t want to take any chances at all.

The last quite a few posts have been posts I wrote a long time ago on another blog I’ve set to private. So I’ve been working on transferring them over here to ST.  But it’s been difficult. Not only emotionally, although that’s a part of it. But also because it’s taking a toll on me physically.

One of the last posts I transferred had me so angry and otherwise emotional, it brought on heart palpitations. I know they could’ve been from something else and I get them anyway. It’s weird. I can go months eating like shit and not have one heart palpitation. But the minute I start eating healthy, I get them every night.

But the ones I’m pointing out specifically, were a little different and I could feel them coming on while I was writing. And why would that not make sense? My heart was breaking. It’s painful to think back on those things.

I’ve written and talked about some of the same things. I have journals piled in a drawer in my night stand. My goal was to go through them and post here anything relevant after I’ve gotten whatever I want off of private here and transferred from the other blog.

But thinking about how this is effecting my heart, my adrenals and my thought process in general, I’m thinking it might be time for me to take a break. Maybe learn more about how to heal. Because I’m not sure writing about it is healing for me anymore.

I don’t know though. I have not made a definite decision yet as to whether I will stop blogging about all this. Or whether I’ll just burn the journal pages without rereading them or tapping them out here. I just needed to write my thoughts and what I’ve been experiencing related to blogging, out. As much as my OCD and the need to organize is pulling me to keep going, it seems as though my body is in need of another way. At least for now.

I’m tired all the time. And I’m angry and agitated much of the time too. I have felt some improvement with a change in diet but it’s difficult to stick to changes when the set-point is something else. My mid-back has given me pain when standing to long for years and I noticed tonight it felt worse than ever before.

I’m tired in another way too. I feel like my family, my abusive, callous, sick family is taking up way more residence in my mind and my life than they deserve, even though they are not physically present. 

I know that blogging is a great way to bond, validate and get validated for all the pain. It’s what’s kept me going. And I’ve definitely seen improvement in myself in many ways. I’ve gotten so much insight and love. It’s why I’m on the fence.

I also don’t think everyone is effected in this way. I’ve seen people keep going and then organically evolve into other topics. But I just seem to get more tired, more beaten and more weary.

For years, I had spent time feeling like I was waiting for something to happen before I went on with my life, now I feel like I’m waiting to finish something, before I can go on with my life.  Both scenarios are like a trap.

I’ve felt trapped all my life. My home environment was a trap. School from K-9 was a trap. Other kids made me feel trapped. In fact a couple kids I thought were my friends when I was 13, tricked me when they apologized for something they’d done, then trapped me between them to bully me.

All my life I have not been able to move forward. In many ways I have not been allowed to move forward. And now even though I’ve gotten away from the bullies, the assholes and abusers, I still live in a cage.

It’s like that line from the song,

Right after the line “Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free” there’s an instrumental sound that used to make me turn and look at the door to my bedroom because it was the sound it made when it opened. Just another startle response. But I always loved this song.

One thing though, I’m not feeling very strong.

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Always Broken

Originally written February 19, 2014

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Credit via Pixabay

I’ve been thinking about the words in the title of a book called, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. And in mind word association I think, “Rebuild.”

But what if nothing was ever built in the first place? No foundation to build upon.

What if the roots were always damaged? Rotted with no nourished soil for them to take hold. Only the kind of shit where fungus thrives so well.

What if things just always felt…broken? Then what?

How do I start from scratch to build something good when I have no blueprint, direction, no guide, but my own un-parented mind?

How do I plant roots when I have no one and nothing to grow from?

The road looks too long and useless to even begin. Too far to go. I’ll never get there.

Many years, many jobs, many cycles of depression later…I spend much of my time asking how do I crawl out of the darkness long enough to consistently build a life, earn a living?

Who am I?

Where do I go?

What would fulfill me?

Could I even do it?

How do I get past the trauma?

Trauma…a relatively new word for me in relation to myself. The label put on me for many years was depression. A chemical imbalance to throw pills at.

Not one therapist, nor two hospital stays revealed trauma, despite my willingness to openly state my past, and to even have a family session when suggested.

The psychiatrist there couldn’t see the dysfunction, the roles?

He couldn’t hear my cries of help?

He was not aware of what he was seeing, to tell me what I could not put words to?

He could not understand the chaos and turmoil I so apparently conveyed?

He did not comprehend the pain in my eyes?

All those years, just like my family, I believed it was all because of me.

I’m further traumatized by such a delayed diagnosis. Pissed off because I did my part. I sought out the help. I asked the question: “What the fuck is wrong with me?”

And no one said, “Trauma.” !!!

So much of my life, gone now. And all of it lived up to this point, trapped.

Trapped by others in childhood and trapped within now.

I long to be free.

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?

Trapped

trapped by drowningI hope others had a better holiday season than I did. I’ve been miserable and feel so fuckin’ trapped I can’t stand myself. In addition I’ve been so angry at Mr. B as well.

Mr. B (in case I haven’t explained things properly) is a man who I’m dependent on. Yup I said it. I’m a damn loser. When we first moved in here together, I had a full time job. But I left it because it was toxic.

After a couple months I started working for a pet sitting company, another job I wasn’t happy in and was actually taken advantage of by my boss and sexually harassed by her pig husband.  I felt trapped in that job after that happened and it took me a few months to finally decide to tell her what he’d done. She didn’t believed me, but I was no longer trapped in that job.

I have felt trapped in pretty much every job I’ve ever had because I never enjoyed any of them. And I believe that much of that had to do with what was going on within me more that it had to do with the job.

After I simultaneously quit and was let go over the phone with my now ex boss, I set out to find something else I could do and in between, worked for another pet sitting company.  I later found out they were doing something I feel was unethical.

When I first started with them, we agreed on an hourly rate. I would call in at the beginning of the day so they knew when I started and again at the end of the day so they knew when I was finished. I’m guessing this was so they could build trust because I also had a time sheet that I wrote my hours on.

After about a week, one of the owners asked me why it was taking me so long to finish my day. I was confused. I said that my timing was actually pretty good and explained to her that I was staying a half hour for each visit and my drive time was about ten minutes between each stop.  It was then I was ‘enlightened’ to the way they did things.

“No no no. Each visit should only be 20 minutes and then it should take you 10 minutes to get the next client’s house.”

In the business owners’ minds, the visit added up to a half hour for the sitter because they were counting drive time…which in most cases didn’t take longer than 10 minutes. This way, since they were paying by the hour, they could cut costs. It’s just my guess though, that in doing it this way, it kept their payroll down.

They were lying to their clients. But as I indicate before, I did not know this going in.

People leave 9 to 5s and the rat race to pet sit and dog walk because it’s supposed to be a more relaxing way to make a living.  I was not only disappointed because it meant less pay for me, but also more hurrying at each client’s house, making the job more stressful.

My previous boss sucked in some ways as I’ve illustrated one big one. But when I went out and about my day, she left me to it. I didn’t have to call her when I started or when I finished. I kept track of everything on a sheet she’d email me and drop it off to her and leave it in a big ol’ flower pot outside her house.  Since she paid me by the visit, I didn’t have to worry about the time, although I was pretty consistent most of the time with keeping on schedule. But if something happened that made it necessary for me to take longer at a client’s house (things like needing to clean up vomit or diarrhea, or comfort a spooked dog, tend to a wound) I didn’t have to stress about taking ‘too long.’ I’d simply tell her what happened and that was that. It was no skin off her wallet anyway.

Being rushed in this way by the second pet sitting company wasn’t comfortable for me. I had gotten quite comfortable in the way the previous boss had done things and in fact it was a much more ethical and honest way as well as allowed for the sitter/walker to relax on the job much more.

I have gotten off topic somewhat. Having to have a job though has always made me feel trapped because I never liked any of them. But yes, I have a habit of rambling off topic because I free associate.

What I want to say is that I’ve gotten myself into a situation where I’m absolutely miserable despite the kindness of the man I live with.

There’s some resentment because there’s no sense of partnership. But then, that’s my own fault isn’t it? Looking for or pushing for some partner type situation when it’s just not available from where I’m trying to get it from.

At this point, now that I know I have C-PTSD, I understand a lot more and I’ve spent time talking to him about it as well. But it seems he forgets. Certainly nothing changes.

The biggest problem lately has been actions that cause hyper-vigilance. And when this happens, I feel like I’ve been sabotaged. Like it’s done on purpose. And I don’t understand after having explained and talked to him over and over about PTSD and what the symptoms are and even reacting to things he’s done, he still.does.not.get.it.

And I don’t get how he doesn’t get it.

He claims he forgets. He claims he doesn’t think about it, he says he’s not doing it deliberately. But to me it translates as, “If this is happening because he forgets, he must not care that much.”

I’ve asked him at least three times to read about it. But he hasn’t.

And I am tired of who I am around him now too, because what I’m talking about above is,  he’s done or said something to trigger me, I rage (he can’t get a word in to defend himself) and after I’m done, he acts ashamed. Then I feel like shit. Even if I don’t rage and speak angrily, (like tonight) I still feel like shit.

I feel sabotaged from any progress and it feels worse than if some stranger did it in public because that stranger doesn’t know. I get sick of going into a room feeling calm and walking out of it with heart palpitations, exhausted, angry, stressed out so bad I want to get in my car, drive away and NEVER come back here.

Tonight I was writing out a plan for myself in a journal, organizing my thoughts, which has been difficult for the last I don’t know how many years.  Things I want to do, things that need doing. I’m waiting for SS (disability) but with no income, things are tough. So I want to start doing things to take care of myself physically and emotionally as well as start something that could lead to an income. And at the very least get myself well enough to get some kind of job.

Right now, if it wasn’t for Mr. B, I’d be homeless. This is a dangerous, tightrope without a net kind of situation which just adds to the stress and hyper-vigilance as well.

I had a plan to get right back to my journal/planning and organizing my thoughts right after making a smoothie. But it turns out to be a break I should not have taken. Instead I’m writing this post instead of continuing with what I’d started earlier, because the anger just saps my focus and concentration.  Keep reading to find out what took place in the kitchen.

When I have a set back, I feel much of the time it’s caused by Mr. B (as far as PTSD symptoms are concerned).

I feel like I take 10 steps back when his actions effect me in such a way I become startled and it activates the hyper-vigilance…after I’ve maybe taken a step forward. At this rate, with this dynamic, how can I heal?

I hate to blame. I’ve been really conscious of not doing that and have been working on taking responsibility. My having PTSD is by no means his fault. But our dynamic has become so toxic, it is contributing to keeping me ill.

Last week, I avoided him in the evening in the kitchen and was out and cleaned up even before he got home. This was the decision based on a blow up the weekend before.

This weekend, I stayed holed up in my room for the most part. But then we had it out over a repeated conversation, a slight change of plan on his part and no communication. The no communication thing has been a problem since I can remember and a big trigger for me. It’s what’s caused a lot of distance between us for a long time.

Tonight, things felt a bit more relaxed. He was home early, in the kitchen making himself something to eat and I went down to make a smoothie. I do dishes as I go, when I prep stuff to eat, and there was also a glass container he put in the sink to soak. It had had oatmeal in it that we were trying to decide if it was still good or not. Things were light. It felt good. He decided the oatmeal was fine and put it all in a pot to cook and eat as part of his dinner.

Then I went to pick up the glass container soaking, in order to wash it. Jokingly, he said in urgency, “Don’t touch it!”

Now if you don’t have PTSD, or if you’re not hyper-vigilant, this can be funny and there was a time I would have thought absolutely nothing of this, laughed about what he’d done and move on. However, a lot of the symptoms I have now are either more intense or new because of relatively recent events that has triggered the trauma from childhood even more.

So this was not funny to me. At first, I jumped a little and I just simply didn’t laugh. I was hoping to be able to leave it alone, keep my mouth shut about it, make my smoothie and get out of the kitchen. But I could feel the anger building. He’d done this as a joke on Christmas morning too. I had walked down to the kitchen and he was doing dishes. I knocked on the door jam so he knew I was there and so as not to startle him. This has happened more than once and when he’s startled it effects me too, making me jump. After I’d already started talking to him about what I went down there for, he decided to be funny and he said, “Oh I forgot…” and then jumped and acted startled.

I jumped out of my skin. It startled the hell out of me. I threw a bottle cap across the kitchen I’d been holding and screamed WTF? Then turned and went up to my room. Slammed the door to release the anger and sat on the floor and did some deep breathing.

So tonight, him doing this so soon after Christmas and my hyper-vigilant reaction to something similar, I couldn’t hold back. I didn’t rage, but I was angry and it was in my voice. I again, went through why this effects me, how it effects me, why I’m pissed off…AGAIN.

I am at a loss.  I’ve asked him to read about it. Tonight I mentioned finding an online support group for people who live with people with PTSD. But I don’t hold out much hope.  The only thing I can come up with in order to minimize this bullshit, is to get in and out of the kitchen before he gets home. I will have to figure something else out on the weekends.

Our timing has never been good, out of step and out of synch and it’s not getting any better. If I don’t want to be in the same room with him, it is likely I will have to actually ask him to leave or to let me know when he’s finished. I’m seriously sick of taking the chance of making myself worse in this situation.

If he isn’t doing this deliberately, this is a man who doesn’t listen, doesn’t learn from mistakes and definitely doesn’t get it. I can’t force him to read about it. I can’t make him join a support group. I can merely suggest and then he’s on his own. However, he’s made some things pretty clear already.

I think indirectly in some ways, maybe I’m struggling to get closer or wishing he was someone I could get closer to, in the midst of all this chaos. I need support and he just stays static. It’s like he’s there to use as a life preserver (an inanimate object) but he isn’t actively reaching out to help in any way.

It would be nice to have someone “push” me out the door to take a walk. Someone to make us dinner once in awhile. I’m not difficult to please, a simple spaghetti dinner and sauce from a jar is enough for me.  (This is something I long for even without PTSD.) I have given up trying to cook for the two of us. Not that he didn’t appreciate it, but I just feel like I’m struggling to help myself. If it works out at times and there are leftovers, like in the case of cooking a pot of rice or pasta, then fine. But I don’t have the organization and my motivation isn’t consistent to make meals for the two of us every night now.

Someone who initiates communication about different things and doesn’t just assume I would know. Someone who likes to light the fireplace. We have one and it hasn’t been touched in all the years we’ve lived here.

Someone who ‘gets me.’I find myself having to explain my trains of thought and jokes to him. So irritating. In all the years we’ve lived together, I feel like he doesn’t know me.

Even someone who knows what I need even before I do sometimes. After living together for 12 years, this is not so far fetched. I know couples like this. Oh but, that’s right, we’re not a couple.

I feel like if he could help me through this, give me the support I so desperately need and STOP sabotaging me, I could heal enough to start helping him financially again.

Thing is, I’m so sick of being trapped here, I would leave if I could.