Everything You Want is on the Other Side of Fear


on the other side of fear

This is SO true for me! My life is ruled by fear. Yesterday someone on my inpatient alumni group posted this picture and it is now my desktop background. So, in an effort to see what happens when I ignore my unhelpful cognitions and behaviors, I am going to put myself back on a meal plan *shudders* with 3 meals and 3 snacks per day. Every time I catch a distorted thought like, “You’re fat”, “No one likes you”, “You’re a failure”, “Maybe you should quit law school and….”, “I’ll just do this one more thing online before starting homework *4 hours later* I’ll just do this one more…”, etc. I’m going to challenge the thought and change it, or if it is an anxiety provoking thought like quitting law school, I’ll just shut it down. I’m going to pass no judgment on my thoughts, just let them occur, but challenge the maladaptive thoughts. I’m going to wake up and go to sleep at normal times regardless of my class schedule. I’m also going to do homework/reading before the day of. Since I’m a few hundred pages behind, I may not be online much. Although, working 16 hours straight is an unreasonable expectation for law school. I think I’ll start off with a half hour of full concentration of school equals 15 minutes of free time.

 

In other words, 5 years later I’m starting to implement all those CBT and DBT skills Remuda tried to teach me.BBT_hit sheldon with pillow

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Controlling the Curse


I’m awash in guilt right now because I replied to a few messages on an alternative dating website. My God, this is pathetic! Why am I so convinced masochism is wrong that sending a few replies makes me feel like spilling my own blood in punishment?

Frozen_so much fear

There are many possibilities: 1. I’m broken and it is unfair to foist myself on another person

Frozen_Conceal Don't Feel

2. All I do it hurt people; it is unfair to foist myself on another person Frozen_you're not safe here

3. I’m worthless. Even if, by some miracle, someone fell in love with me, I wouldn’t deserve happiness.

Frozen_the cold never bothered me anyway

4. Masochism is simply another outlet for self-hate and therefore it is unhealthy. As a result, even considering engaging in it makes me feel guilty.

Frozen_can't be free

5. For me, masochism is “sick” and I’m a disgusting, freak for doing it. Frozen_no escaping the storm inside

6. Opening myself emotionally is dangerous and scary.

Frozen_love will thaw

7. I’m incapable of trust. 8. Premarital sex is wrong and I’m bad for considering it.

Frozen_be the good girl

9. Engaging in sadomasochistic behavior with sadists encourages abuse (I don’t think this, but a therapist told me this once, maybe deep down I believe her) 10. Once I engage in masochism again, my needs will evolve and it’ll become unsafe.

Frozen_can't control the curse

or 11. some reason I’m not thinking of…

I think it must be the masochism, not just dating in general because vanilla dating never made me feel guilty, whereas this has always been a shameful secret for me. That only leaves 3 of the above choices: 1. Masochism is simply another outlet for self-hate and therefore it is unhealthy. As a result, even considering engaging in it makes me feel guilty. 2. For me, masochism is “sick” and I’m a disgusting, freak for doing it. or 3. Engaging in sadomasochistic behavior with sadists encourages abuse (I don’t think this, but a therapist told me this once, maybe deep down I believe her). 4. Once I engage in masochism again, my needs will evolve and it’ll become unsafe.

1. Maybe it is an outlet for self-hate, but it does make me feel better. Is that so wrong? Then again, I could say my eating disorder makes me feel better and most people agree it is wrong.

2. Why would it be sick for me and not someone else? Because sometimes I think the depth of my masochism makes it pathological. I’m not sure if this has merit or not.

3. Ehh, I’m almost positive I don’t believe this.

4. I suppose this is possible, but…

I wish I had Elsa’s attitude here

Fear of Vulnerability and Trust


I am capable of forming relationships; I’m not a sociopath. I want strong bonds. There are a few people in my life who I would die for and who I do not think could ever be replaced. I like people, but they scare the hell out of me. I’m not shy because I am arrogant, aloof, or unfeeling. The opposite it true. I feel too much, too strongly, too often. I resist letting people in because the more I let them in, the more they can hurt me.

It sucks because I want the bond everyone dreams of: The 60 year marriage, where the couple enjoys each other’s company, stands together through the storms of life, and takes care of each other to the end. Yet, I’m terrified of letting anyone in because that gives them true control.

incaoable2

The illusion of control seen in SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) BDSM scenes may appear scary, abusive, or coercive from the outside, but using RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink)/SCC guidelines the submissive is the one with the real control. She says the word and everything stops.

Emotional vulnerability is infinitely more terrifying. When you let someone know your deepest emotional pain or fears and they do the same, that person leaves an indelible mark on your heart. No matter how much time or distance separates you, a special bond remains. It is almost as if you gave part of yourself to them.

So, armed with this emotional bond and secrets, they can twist a knife in your soul. They can hurt you more than any blade, brand, or whip ever could. It may not even be intentional! I still remember the day my best friend from PHP discharged. I cried, as in hyperventilating sobs… I did not cry when I left treatment or when anyone else before or after left any of my higher levels of care. This was a girl who knew what it was like inside my mind. She knew and she still liked me. She saw greatness where I only saw mediocrity. She knew things I’d told no other human being and vice versa.

Haha, we were in the art room, sitting next to each other after one of the last groups of the day and I don’t know when it happened, but we both started crying. When it was time for dinner a nurse came into the room, saw tears running down my face and asked, “Is it about the lasagna?” I laughed through my tears and explained I was crying because my best friend was leaving that night. Staff were nice, we had name cards and they set them out before dinner at four tables. Therefore, you never got to chose who you sat with. We got to sit next to each other that night. Plus, our favorite nurse was the table monitor. I don’t remember what I ate or didn’t eat, but I do remember my friend was too upset to finish her meal, which worried everyone because not finishing your last meal before discharge is a bad sign. I’m awful at keeping up with anyone from anytime in my life, even family! If I don’t live in the same house with you, it is unlikely I will reach out on a regular basis. I feel bad about it. I think about various friends often, but somehow I never get around to writing a letter. I still send a message to her occasionally and we chat like old times, but then inevitably, I get sucked away and into some life crisis like a major depression relapse or law school exams and suddenly months have flown by. I’m going to go write her a note as soon as I finish this post.

Anyway, her therapist wrote a long letter in my goodbye book. They had a tradition of giving each patient a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” with encouraging handwritten notes from staff, therapists, and other patients. Her therapist’s note took an entire page of that book! He said I helped her open up. That made me happy.

However, I still remember crying and thinking (maybe I even said it in therapy later?) while I did not regret our relationship, getting that close to anyone else in treatment and losing them again was not worth the pain.

At the time, there were only 3 teenagers in the program. The other 16+ were adults. A nurse always waited with us until our parents came to pick us up after dinner. I was still crying and my mom couldn’t understand why it mattered so much. Obviously, we were friends, but she didn’t understand how I could become so incredibly close to someone I’d known only a month. She didn’t understand what spending 10 hours/day in the same room with someone, talking about things you never said out loud before, and sharing similar thought patterns can do for a friendship.

Granted some of those thought patterns and fears were part of the disease, but I think they leave behind traces even after recovery. In my experience, eating disorders affect people with similar personalities. I don’t know if ED makes us that way or we all already had the same thoughts in our heads. I imagine it is a little of both. Nonetheless, even those who recover usually remain compassionate, intuitive, quiet, unassuming, and kind. It is almost scary how thoughts from so many people from treatment could easily come from my mind!

…Not everyone is like that…Oh drama created by malnourished, angry, terrified teenagers. Haha, actually, from the adults to…

Argh, sorry long tangent!

The point of telling the story of my friend from treatment is getting close to people yields great rewards, but at great personal risk! If I knew I would end up with the relationship I want, I would be willing to crash and burn a few times, but no matter how many people I date, I cannot guarantee I’ll find that lifelong bond.

On one side, vulnerability leads to stronger bonds. For example, I feel closer to my brother and sister-in-law than I’ve ever felt. On the other side, the fall is bone crushing.

I don’t feel lonely right now. I have friends, I have people I could go out to a movie with tonight if I wanted to. I have family. I have potential significant others. I’m afraid of winding up alone because people move on, move away, lost touch, or die. Yet, for the moment, the fear of loss and vulnerability outweighs the fear of loneliness and the loss of never feeling romantic love.

Interesting pictures I found while search for quotes:

and finally, ouch!

Emotional Incest


2014 started out wonderfully with flashbacks of my early teen years. The times when Dad would disappear for days or months at a time without a word. I never felt safe. Things could appear normal for long stretches and then seemingly out of nowhere, Mom would come home with puffy eyes, screaming about Dad and his whore again. Last night I heard some of the same phrases I used to hear, “I’d never in a million, no billion, years want you to marry a man like your father” or “If it weren’t for you and your brother, I’d have left years ago.” Images of slamming doors, yelling, and sliding to the kitchen floor in tears after Dad stormed out of the house, raced through my mind last night…memories I thought were in the past. The things he did to her, not just cheating, are unconscionable and inexcusable. I thought I quelled the anger, but since hearing my mom last night, it’s bubbled up inside me again.

Faith_hurt the showerFaith_hurt the shower

On one hand, I told my mom years ago she had my blessing if she wanted a divorce, even if that meant years later when things seemed “okay” because I knew what he had done to her. On the other hand, over the past few years, I let the anger and fear slip out of my grasp. I let my guard down. I thought things were healing between them. So, I am sad.

Worse still, I fear the revolving door…Every time he was emotionally manipulative and/or abusive or she caught him cheating, she would swear it was the last time, this time they would get divorced. Yet, a few weeks or months later, before the final divorce papers were signed, he would come back, apologizing and promising to do better. And around and around we go… I fear the cycle restarting more than I fear their divorce.

Maybe this is why my brother never talks to us. 😦

I also fear her pain. My mom and I are close. Doctors use the word “enmeshed”. Yet, just like instances of alleged physical or verbal abuse, things are never simple. In a house with 4 bathrooms, we’ve shared a bathroom since I was 11. The change happened when they realized I was purging. For a time, we shared a bed. That is not as disturbing as it sounds. She made me sleep in her bed for a few months because she was afraid I’d hurt myself at night. I only went back to my own bed when my dad came home. Coincidentally, my most recent suicide attempt was a few weeks after my dad returned from “business” and my brother returned from school for the holidays.

The definition of emotional incest:

“Other scholars have used the term ‘enmeshment,’ ‘co-dependency,’ and ’emotional abuse’ is another related concept as well. For the sake of this short series of posts, I will use the term ’emotional incest’ because I think that if you can get past the ‘ick’ factor of the word incest, this construction is actually very descriptive.

Emotional incest involves an unhealthy relationship between parent and child in which the child serves as a sort of emotional ‘spouse’ to the parent. This can be mother/daughter, father/daughter, mother/son, or father/son. Here are a couple definitions, some using the term ‘covert incest’ and others using the term ’emotional incest.’

Covert incest occurs when a child plays the role of a surrogate husband or wife to a lonely, needy parent. The parent’s need for companionship is met through the child.  The child is bound to the parent by excessive feelings of responsibility for the welfare of the parent. The demand for loyalty to the lonely, needy parent overwhelms the child and becomes the major organizing experience in the child’s development.

 

Covert emotional incest begins when a person perceives and responds to a family member as a replacement or substitute for a partner.

 

This form of incest is described as a relationship where a parent turns a child into a partner or confidante that is inappropriate to the child’s age and life experience. Or to put it another way, when a child is manipulated into the role of a surrogate wife or husband by a needy parent. While some refer to this as covert incest, others refer to it as emotional incest.

You get the idea. Emotional incest takes place when the (emotional, not sexual) relationship between a parent and a child becomes like that between two spouses, except that given the immaturity of the child the relationship is one-sided and the parent feeds off the child emotionally while the child ends up feeling responsible for the well-being of the parent.” via patheos.com

Yep. That was us. I still feel responsible for her well-being. In fact, thinking about it, I remember feeling jealous, even resentful, that my brother did not feel responsible for her.

Is it still emotional incest now? Back then I was 15 – 17 years old, now I’m 23. I am an adult.

 

The Remnants of Fear


I say I am not Christian; I don’t believe in God, but I still have many ideas stuck in my head. Despite hearing, “22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-34) as a child, like I said in my last post, I do not believe all women should be submissive. I identify as a submissive, but not because I am female.

However, I still have a lot of fear bottled up inside. I do not think my family or church intended to instill fear; I think they meant to give me hope of salvation, but all I see are paths to damnation. In some ways it works in my favor. For example, 1 of the 2 things that stopped me from attempting suicide since age 16 is a fear of Hell. I don’t think a just God would damn a broken human for his or her weakness, but I cannot be sure.

In other ways, the ideas I can’t seem to dislodge, despite my lack of belief in their religious tenants, are unhelpful. For example, I am technically a virgin. In other words, I have no experience with penile vaginal penetration. Why does this one act mean more to me than any other genital skin contact? Obviously there is a pregnancy fear, but birth control can easily take care of that. I also worry about STDs, but other sexual contact can transmit STDs.

In my mind there is something special about vaginal penetration. I can’t logically explain it, so I think it is a vestige of my upbringing. I feel a lot of guilt thinking about vaginal intercourse before marriage. I do not feel guilt about the other sex acts I’ve done. It is so frustrating! Clearly, I find alternatives stimulating. Yet, people hold it up at the Holy Grail of intimacy. So, maybe that is what I’m missing in vanilla intimate contact?

I hate how the very thought of an action can create guilt! It is absurd! It probably did not help matters when my mom told me she would disown me if I lived with someone before marriage…like my brother was at the time. He is still in the family, but she said she would be angrier at me because I am female and would risk more.

I read this blog post and it made me feel a little better because it reminded me of Deej’s West Wing Clip about homosexuality and the Bible. Both arguments mention relying on some sections of the Old Testament to decry behavior, while selectively ignoring other sections (ex. human trafficking). The earlier conversation helped me accept part of my sexuality in a new way. Yet, I can’t seem to shake this fear. It is illogical, right?! If the statistic on the linked blog post are true and 9 out of 10 women in 1940 had premarital sex, certainly a just God would not damn each of those people. After all, I believe the Bible says somewhere that all sin is equal and we’re all sinners. Therefore, lying to my mom every day about restricting my food is no better than premarital sex.

But then…WHY DO I EVEN CARE what the Bible says if I don’t believe?!? I think I care because I afraid it is true. Yet, if it is all true, then there is forgiveness. So, why am I so fearful?

I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to regret losing my virginity. I don’t want to look back and feel sad on my wedding night that I can’t give my virginity to my partner.

Oddly, since coming to terms with bisexuality, I don’t get the same sense to guilt over female-female fisting. WTF brain?!?! That would break the precious piece of skin your worrying about to!!

Firefly_going mad

The Solution, Not the Problem


How Law School makes me feel...

How Law School makes me feel…

3 weeks. I have exactly 3 weeks until the end of the semester. I am paralyzed by fear because I’m a perfectionist. I’m extremely behind in reading and I don’t really know what to expect out of law school.

This week is the last week of classes. I have a paper worth 40% of my grade due tomorrow. I also have a court observation report due on Tuesday. I haven’t observed yet, oops! After Thanksgiving, I have until December 10th to cram a semester’s worth of legal knowledge into my brain. My last exam is on the 13th. The work feels overwhelming. I’m desperately trying to remember to “Think of the solution, not the problem.” – Richard Rahl (in Blood of the Fold, by Terry Goodkind)

I have no choice. Since I am a first semester 1L, I cannot medically withdraw this semester. If I want to be a lawyer, I must pass this semester. If I fail, no law school will accept me as a new student.