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Tag Archives: mental health

A Change is Gonna Come

It’s weirdly liberating and disappointing to find out I’m just like everyone else. I thought all my problems were some quirky, interesting character attribute. But, in reality they are a product of my abuse. I thought I was different.

 

I didn’t think there was a reason I kept dating abusive men. I thought I was just dating whoever asked. But, even if that were true, why were these abusers attracted to me?

 

Maybe they could somehow see that I was underwater too. Did they recognize it in me? I don’t know. But I do know that I am getting dry. I know because people are interacting differently with me. I am having conversations and experiences that are so surprising and positive.

 

I’m seeing people that aren’t underwater. I’m creating positive neural pathways with these experiences. I’m recognizing the attributes I want in a future partner. These are all good things.

 

Also:

 

I AM A POTENTIALLY NORMAL PERSON!!

 

Meaning, I have hope of being happy and well-adjusted if there is nothing inherently wrong with me.  I am capable of having successful, positive relationships. Just knowing that I am not a broken toy feels awesome. I might be slightly used and damaged from my past. But I am still capable of working perfectly. That’s good.

 

I am going to continue to get better. I am going to continue to do better. I am going to continue to have positive, healthy experiences with people, men in particular. They are going to respond with positivity and acceptance more and more until some wonderful thing happens:


I start trusting and connecting with people.

Self Absorbed

I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of self. Maybe because of all these books I am reading about eating disorders. Or maybe just because.

I keep thinking about the difference between self-esteem, self-respect, self-worth, self-awareness and how all of those things relate to myself. I think about how related they should be to each other, and yet, how unrelated they all seem to be with me. It’s such a strange contradiction.

I have terrible self-esteem and self-confidence. I say and think things about myself that are horrifying. I would never let anyone else say that shit to me. Because I do, strangely, have self-respect. But I don’t respect myself. And I’m not sure how I can expect others to respect me when I so obviously don’t respect myself.

I definitely have body dysmorphia and poor self-image. Though my eating disorder didn’t start out that way. I still imagine myself to be the gangly awkward teenager I was instead of the person I am now. That self-image is stubbornly pervasive, even though I look nothing like that now.

I am trying to get better with my sense of self-worth. But it wasn’t always great in the past which is why I allowed people to behave abusively without leaving them immediately. And again I feel I need to demonstrate that I believe I have worth before others behave as though I do.

I know all of that is related to self-awareness. All the therapy I have done has given me new insight into my self-awareness. And yet, I still have not fully changed my behavior. How can I recognize that I have these issues but not be able to change or fix them?

I’ve never had a good sense of self. It’s partially why I don’t always recognize my feelings right away. I still get so caught up in what I should want or what I want myself to want. I sometimes lose track of what I actually do want.

Sometimes it is safer to not admit my feelings to myself. It saves me from being hurt when I don’t get what I want. It has saved me from abuse in the past by not allowing me to display anger when it was unsafe to do so. But that model of living is no longer relevant to my life. And recognizing my feelings is getting much easier.

I do love self-denial. Anything to prove how strong my willpower is. Because giving into something that I want is somehow weak. And I’m not allowed to be weak. I’m too busy trying (and failing) at being perfect.

My only sense of strength, power, or accomplishment came from denying myself something (or someone) that I wanted. Food is the perfect vehicle for this. I had three chances a day to prove how strong I was.

And that denial made me feel more powerful and superior than anything I have ever felt in my life. It is addictive. It felt like I was purifying myself. It’s no surprise to me that people go on religious fasts, or give up something for Lent. I am not a religious person, but the appeal is obvious. And dangerous.

I never imagined that I had an addictive personality. I have never been much for alcohol, never done drugs, or smoked or even gambled. But denial and self-punishment? That is my addiction. It is an addiction that is every bit as destructive as the other ones. And it is the same mixture of pleasure and misery.

The wrong guy

I finally think I know why I want the wrong person every time. EL and I had a talk about this. I was trying to give her advice and I realized I was talking about myself too.

I want the wrong person because they are the wrong person. The wrong person is easy and safe in an idiotic way. I know it won’t work out with him. I know he’ll give me a reason to dump him. I’ll get an out.

I won’t get overly attached. I won’t feel bad about being a bitch. And I know the relationship will end.

I won’t have to make a commitment forever. He won’t be the last person I am ever with. I won’t be trapped, it won’t be as terrifying. It’s a temporary relationship, just like all my previous temporary relationships. Safe, easy, and short term.

And it’s easy to leave when it stops being easy. I don’t have to feel bad for ending things with the wrong guy. I certainly won’t regret it. And I never have to put in the effort to fix things.

But the wrong guy makes no sense for the long term. I want a good relationship. I want to be happy. I want to get married someday. And I want all that with the right guy. So I need to start choosing him.

Dating Woes

That last post was pretty short. And so is this one. Two in one day…

The other day my therapist and I were talking about my poor dating choices. Why I continue to get into relationships with abusive men. And how to avoid doing that in the future. She told me that she once heard a story that she felt applied to me.

The best thing that I could do is go to a party. Find the guy that I am the most interested in and attracted to. And then go out with the guy standing behind him.

JM and I were talking about this and she agreed with that statement. She said she isn’t going to pursue another person ever again. She is going to wait for someone to be interested in her and let them make all the moves and put in the effort.

But what if that never happens for me? It might not…

Enough

I was thinking about suicide and suicidal ideation earlier today. I was thinking about how much I actually think about suicide. And I was wondering what was honestly stopping me.

I mean, if I want to die so much all the time and I think about it so much, why don’t I just do it? For a second I thought about how much my family would miss me. But then I realized that was total bullshit. My death would genuinely not affect their lives much.

So then I really sat down and thought about what my life was actually worth. Not a whole lot, it turns out. Some people would be sad for a very short time. And then, everyone would just move on with their lives. I don’t have children. My death really wouldn’t affect anyone for life. And even if it did, they’ll be dead in 100 years too. So who cares?

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t thinking this in some emo “nothing matters and nobody cares about me” kind of way. That’s what happens when everyone dies. It’s ultimately kind of meaningless. My death would be so insignificant, it would barely have an affect on those closest to me.

So then I started wondering why I was even still alive. What is keeping me here? And then I started thinking about the thousands and thousands of things that I experience on a daily basis that I enjoy.

And I realized that I was keeping me here.

Because I totally do not want to die. At all. I just want all my problems to go away. And I know that dying is the only way that will happen.

Being alive means having problems. And I have A LOT of problems. I like to think that’s because I’m more alive than other people. Or maybe I’m more alive because I have more problems.

Maybe I have bad luck. Maybe I am doing this partly to myself because I avoided facing my past and letting all of this go.

But I do get to start choosing how much I allow my past to affect my future. This is not how I want my life to be at 30. This is not how I imagined my life. And I don’t want to realize it at 40. I don’t want to waste another 10 years stuck in the same old patterns and afraid of the same old things. Being the same old me.

I like me, most days. But I want to be better. I want to stop being so scared all the time. I want to stop worrying so much about the end result.

I want to stop obsessing over what everyone else feels and thinks and wants and I want to start obsessing over what I think and feel and want. I want to stop blaming myself for everything. I want to stop being afraid of being rejected, especially physically.

Because all these limitations I have been imposing on myself, they are actually limitations that were at one time imposed on me. By first my parents and then one abusive man after another.

I’m tired of letting all of them win. Because allowing them to continue to dictate my life and how I feel about myself is letting them win. It’s still allowing them to abuse and control me.At this point in my life, I am the only one that can abuse me. I am the only one that can let my past continue to harm me. And I am the only one that can say “No. That’s enough. No more.”

I can’t say I’ll never think about suicide again. But the thought of it seems to have lost whatever appeal it had. At least, for now.

Abuses

Sometimes I think I would actually be okay with just being physically abused.

After reading that book about verbal abuse it would seem I have never NOT been in a verbally abusive relationship. Not with anyone I dated for more than a few dates.

I feel like verbal abuse never goes away. I never minded being hit. The physical pain and bruises heal like they never happened. But my emotional wounds still haunt me.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have stayed with those men if they had only been physically abusive without the controlling, manipulative, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse that goes along with it. I think I would have.

It makes me wonder if I’ll ever meet someone that isn’t abusive. And if I do, will he even want to be with me? Will he believe me about my past, my childhood, my life? Will he think less of me, or hold it against me? Will he use it against me the way my ex’s did when I told them anything about anything?

I’m so afraid to open up to people for fear of not being believed.

And this thing with RA is really bothering me. I feel awful for lashing out at him. He didn’t know he was pressing my buttons. It isn’t his fault I’ve never been with someone that I could make reasonable requests to.

I am so used to having my requests ignored. I have to stop assuming that I have to overreact to get myself heard. I have to stop thinking everyone won’t respect me. I have to start learning conflict resolution skills, now.Nobody knows what is going on in my head but me. And they don’t know what my boundaries are if I don’t tell them.

Sex…again…

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I remember when I first started having sex. It was awkward and painful and not very good because I just wanted to not be a virgin anymore.

I had just wanted to get the sex part over with. But I thought that when I was older sex would be amazing, and well, sexy. But it honestly hasn’t gotten any less awkward. It hasn’t gotten much better.

It is only good or okay now. It’s never been amazing. It’s never been sexy. Maybe that’s because I’ve never had sex with someone I was really sexually attracted to. I’ve never waited long enough to have sex with someone.

I’ve always kind of wanted to get the sex part over with. I’ve never had emotional intimacy with someone, which does make it nearly impossible to have sexual intimacy. And, I believe, that has to mean I’ve never genuinely been in love.

How could I have been? I certainly liked these men. I even loved some of them. But neither of us was in love. We didn’t know each other well enough. We didn’t open up enough. That’s my fault too. But I also didn’t feel safe enough to open up. Not ever.

And I was right. I wasn’t safe. These men were bad. They were abusive. But if they weren’t safe then I shouldn’t have stayed. If I couldn’t trust them with emotional intimacy then I couldn’t trust them. And I shouldn’t have dated them. And I certainly shouldn’t have had sex with them.

I need someone that is going to be safe.

And sex has only gotten harder as I’ve gotten older. Now there seems to be more barriers, not less. There is all the baggage of past relationships to contend with. People have children, baby mamas, divorces, child support, infidelity, bitterness, impotence, performance anxiety.

Now I have to worry about STDs and people that are truly good manipulators, sociopaths, game players. Game players that are much more sophisticated now than they were in high school. Men in their 30s that want to behave like they are 18. Even though they are fathers and husbands now with serious obligations.

And the older I get, the harder it is going to be to find someone that doesn’t have crippling emotional baggage. And to find someone that can handle mine. That actually might be the hardest thing of all.

Finding someone that will want to take on my issues with me. Finding someone that will help me to heal. Because there are some issues that will never get better without the help of a patient, safe, mature, loving partner.