Alive

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Non-Violent Communication? Here? LOL!

Emotions are running high lately because of me.

A half hour ago…

Mom: “When are you planning on getting up?”

Me: “Soon.”

Mom: “You’ve wasted almost half the day already.”

Me: “I’m planning on getting up soon.”

Mom: *attempts to slam door* (It won’t slam because it is already broken – not by me)

Me: *sighs and starts getting up*

Meanwhile down stairs I hear thrashing, banging, pots hitting the ground, and possibly china…more things thrown on the ground…”

Fringe_Peter hit head bang

Me: “Are you throwing a temper tantrum like a child or are you trying to wake me up? I can’t decide.”

Mom: “I’m NOT trying to wake you up.”

*banging stops, so I venture downstairs*

As I eat Mom is stomping around and sighing heavily.

Me: “When I start working, can you please stop throwing things or I can leave the house.”

Mom: “Working? You’re not working.”

Me: “Yes, but when I start studying can you please stop throwing things and slamming doors?”

Mom: “Yes.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Ha, I realize I’m a tough person to deal with, but seriously?! What are you, 5 years old?I’m beginning to think the woman has anger issues outside of dealing with a mentally ill daughter. Usually I would say more mean things right back, but I’m very serene this morning. I suppose it is because I just woke up. It was sweet, I didn’t get angry feeling her anger.

I can also see more of why my brother and I developed our coping skills. Mom throws things and yells when she is upset. Dad refuses to speak to you or runs away and on rare occasion hits. My brother, I have no idea what he does! He withdraws like my dad and I, but somehow he remains calm. I guess it is because he remains detached somehow? I withdraw and hide my emotions to, but I can’t hold them in like my brother. I’m not sure why, maybe I’m weaker or maybe his detachment is real and he just doesn’t care. I get caught up in the emotions of people around me; he does not. I don’t let them see my emotions because I’m afraid of their reaction. Yet, they fester inside me and I must lance their wounds. So, I cut myself, starve, binge, purge, or let someone else hurt me to erase the emotions. (The interchangeability of these mechanism is why I fear masochism is secretly an unhealthy coping mechanism for me and not just a sexual proclivity.) It is like letting air out of a balloon that is about to burst from being too full of air, instead of letting it pop.

Reflections on Buffy Episode s05e06 "Family"

I wrote this post at the same time as “Et tu Tara?!“, but I went on a long tangent; I decided to separate the topics. This is the product…

I mean, every parent threatens to beat their kids in anger. My parents spanked me as a kid, but that is not the same as abuse (hitting or beating). I’ve been hit before, but a couple of mistakes does not equal a pattern of abuse. Monsters are evil. Therefore, in essence, my dad called me evil. Blah, I make them sound awful! They aren’t bad people! They love me a lot! I love them! We get along well. People get angry, especially when they have stupid kids like young me, and say things they don’t mean. Too bad kids are impressionable and if they hear something enough, sometimes they start to believe the words. It wasn’t like they were mean to me; I just did stupid things a lot.

My brother doesn’t thinks “blood kin” are important. He thinks the emotional bonds you have with people, regardless of blood, is what makes family. I’m not sure why. In Tara’s case, when family completely rejects you, finding your own “family” makes sense. Sometimes it hurts my feelings that he doesn’t view us as important. Well, he views us as important but not necessarily important. In other words, our place in his life is replaceable. I think except in cases of out right rejection, abuse, or other extenuating circumstances, blood family always has a place in your life. Sometimes family is unhealthy to be around. For example, I know a woman recovering from her eating disorder who refuses to see her family because they trigger her so much with incessant body shaming of others, etc. That to is a different case. In my opinion, barring unhealthiness/abuse/rejection, just because you don’t care for or dislike certain members does not mean the family ceases to hold value in your life. Fyi, I like everyone in my family! I think my brother hold himself at a distance because he is afraid of true open communication and he learned as a child that voicing his needs and emotions was not okay. To be fair, non-violent communication rarely occurs in my family.

I’m not sure where he learned that. I learned it to, but differently. I attributed my interaction style to teachings that nice people go along with what others want, good people don’t make a fuss, etc. Taken to the extreme, you get children who don’t know how to express emotions because you punish them for it.

I never saw it with him. I thought it was directed at me because I was overly emotional or bad. However, it is possible that by the time I was old enough to understand these messages, it was already ingrained in him. Therefore, the stoicism I took as inner strength, which I lacked, was really a learned behavior.

Furthermore, I’m a submissive masochist, but he is a Dominant sadist! So, it would not follow that our upbringing influenced my submissive side, unless there really was a difference in their attitude towards us because I was overly emotional, bad, or female. My parents made adhere to some gender roles (nothing inherently wrong with that!) and they do treat us differently in some ways. For example, my mom told me she would disown me if I lived with someone before marriage…while my brother was living with my future sister-in-law. She explicitly said as a female, it would be worse for me to live with a man, than my brother living with his girlfriend. However, my parents never said or implied women were less than men or incapable of anything, just different. In fact, since I can remember, I’ve been told I can do anything I want in life and it is important to be able to take care of myself. Haha, I guess that means I can’t be a painter!

The problem with this theory is that we were never punished for minimal expressions of emotion. So, I’m not sure where we got the idea. I know my dad’s family does not express emotions or needs because my aunt is overbearing, temperamental, and abusive when angry. (Yes, that is right, I said abusive. I can recognize abuse even in my family. My nuclear family is not abusive though.) Therefore, the other kids learned to never express their desires for fear of setting her off. This interaction style persisted in adulthood. My mother on the other hand, has no problem expressing her desires. In fact, I’m envious of her ability to sway people’s decisions with reasoned arguments. So, maybe our dad was an example of non-adaptive communication, but our mom was not. In that case, why didn’t we learn from her? She certainly did her best to course-correct us both prior to middle school.

Maybe I am over thinking things. Maybe my emotional issues are only mine. That is perhaps no matter how I was parented, I would turn out the same way. I’m jealous of my brother. He grew up in the same home and came from the same gene pool, yet he has no diagnosable mental illness. Why am I so weak? Why could he adapt, while I could not?

Dean--WTF photo dean-annoyed.gif

I wonder how my brother views our childhoods. Does he see any maladaptive interactions? If so, what? Did they affect him? Is that why he never calls/ returns calls? Or is there another reason? Does he think we were treated differently? Regardless of our upbringing did he notice different attitudes toward gender? Did Mom or Dad ever hit him (spanking doesn’t count) or was that just me? Did they ever threaten to hurt him? Did they ever call him names?

Most of the hitting and name calling occurred after he left for college. He left for college when I was 13. I don’t remember any hitting or name calling before age 11. So, he was not around for most of it. Mostly, he stayed in his room. So, he wouldn’t be present anyway. Also, this wasn’t frequent by any measure! The hitting and name calling I speak of are isolated incidents, arising from specific behaviors on my part. In fact, the only reason I remember each time so clearly is because it was rare!

I think we were treated differently, but I think it was because he was the first child. Therefore, in general, they were tougher on him and more relaxed with me. If there were any negative messages, he heard them louder and more clearly. As a result, he should be worse off than I am, if our upbringing had anything to do with who I am. At the same time, since I was about 11, my parents said certain things about me, but only after I did inexplicable things. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

Meh, I’m over thinking things again. Every family has foibles. No person, and parents are people, is perfect. My family is no better or worse than any other non-abusive, healthy family. I take that back, my parents were fricking heroic when I was born early. Family is not to blame. No one is, this is just me.

Thin-Skinned: The Truth about Some People with Eating Disorders

I disagree whole-heartedly with the other messages of this person, but the following interview excerpt is intriguing. It falls in line with my idea that “crazy” is really feeling deeply and that TedTalk “Lessons from the Mental Hospital”.

“Women who struggle with eating disorders are what I call thin-skinned and what I mean by that is they’re very emotionally sensitive and highly intuitive.

If you’re born thin-skinned into a world that values being thick-skinned which is the culture we, the Western culture we live in today that values, oh no big deal, water off a duck’s back, doesn’t bother me, then what happens is you get this idea, oh my gosh is
something wrong with me?

And so begins the process of trying to be thick-skinned when you’re not and that’s the function of the eating disorder because it blocks your awareness of very deep, intense
emotions.

So what has to happen is they have to develop the skill set for how to be a thin-skinned person in a thick-skinned world and it is a skill set. You don’t need to change your DNA, anybody can learn it, but it does take practice and it does take being able to go some place where it’s taught.”

This is true for me and true for every girl I’ve known in treatment. It means sometimes we are oversensitive, but it also means we’ll do anything for the people that stick by us. I can’t change who I am, but maybe I can find a way to turn my character traits into positive aspects.

SometimesbecauseFringe_feelints

Torn

Right now I’m coming down on the side of vulnerability and putting myself out there. I am not used to that at all. I don’t share much with people, even people I’m supposed to be close to. I don’t trust easily. I’m terrified of putting my heart out in the open, of letting myself feel.

But if I don’t give people a chance, I’ll always be alone. Love isn’t going to fall in my lap. I have to be open, I may make mistakes, I may wind up with regrets, but the only way to ensure I have no regrets and make no mistakes is by not fully living.

In order to get what I want (love), I have to open myself up to my greatest fear (loss).

When my best friend from PHP left I cried. She was the only treatment friend I cried over. I didn’t cry when anyone from inpatient left. After she left, I remember thinking the pain was not worth it. It was easier to keep myself walled off and not make connections, than it was to lose someone.

I’m standing at a crossroads. On one side there is the chance of great suffering and/or great love, on the other side there is stagnation.

Usually I run away and stop talking to people at this point. I push them away, so I don’t have to get to know them and feel the sting of their loss later. Yet, I yearn to know what love is like. I want to feel the connection songs are made of…but I’m terrified.

I’m scared of being hurt and I’m scared of hurting them.

*sigh* The irony of my love of physical pain and abnormally high aversion to emotion pain is not lost on me.

  • Torn (itsebunite.wordpress.com)
  • all torn up (newrussell5087.wordpress.com)