Saturday, January 16, 2010

It really IS all about me!!

I lost my footing in my quest for balance this week. I'd been to a family session at the hospital, where my partner expressed her anxiety about feeling like she couldn't control her behavior and then I'd put her out. I'd asked about being supportive without being enabling, and the therapist threw it back to my partner. The therapist said something about it never being helpful to be punitive, and I found myself running to MY therapist to ask her to desensitize me so that I could live with cutting.

Luckily, I realized how crazy I was being before I even got to my therapist. Here's the insight I want to try to hang on to. If I decide that I want to get desensitized so that I can feel better, that's fine. If I want to get desensitized so that I can make it more comfortable for my partner to continue to engage in unacceptable behavior, that's NOT fine!! It truly is ALL about ME!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


My love,

I'm REALLY encouraged to see you starting to USE tools and suggestions. Thank you soooo much for sharing your stepwork with me and for letting me know about the suggestions you're hearing that make sense to you, like the hurricane box and wall sits. I know how hard this has been for you. It's been really scary for me to sit on the sidelines while you've been so stuck. I don't want to lose you to any manifestation of the disease of addiction, and you were right, we got waaay to close to losing each other this time. I really do wish I could do the work for you, but I know that my attempts to do so keep both of us sick. It reminds me of the poem I wrote for a kid who's dear to my heart years ago. I'm modifying the last line, for you:

I wish that you had never felt the trauma.
I wish you'd never have to feel the pain.
If I could, you know I'd feel your feelings for you.
Protect you from reliving it again.

I wish that I could take away the hurting.
Or lead you to the rainbow without rain.
I'd hide the memories from you just to help you.
But we both know that it would be in vain.

But I know that you're stronger now, and ready
To face the feelings till the hurt does end.
And I'll be there beside you when you need me
Not only as your lover, but your friend.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pound Puppy

So, my partner is now on involuntary psychiatric hospitalization number 2, along with 2 partial hospitalizations- 1 "successfully" completed and one not, all since mid November. When I can separate myself and my feelings from all this, it's interesting to see her fight with herself. She wants help and she doesn't. She wants somebody to take care of her and she resents being controlled. She wants someone to keep her safe, and she wants to push limits of the people whom she's asked to do so. When I can look at the behavior from a place of healthy detachment, some of her behavior is really funny. She actually told the nurse last night not to put a needle in her hand because that would hurt and not to put a bandage on her arm after they took blood there because it would leave a bruise. That might make sense if it weren't for the fact that she was there because she couldn't contract to keep herself safe from significantly more pain and resulting in significantly more physical evidence.

That's what's going on with her.

As for me, I'm pretty pleased with my committment to myself to maintain my balance. I left her at the emergency room and went to my naranon meeting. Before I went back to the ER, I treated myself to a nice dinner and coffee. I'm enjoying having space. I'm doing my work without too many intrusive thoughts.

I'm stressing about the financial ramifications of her going from facility to facility NOT feeling her feelings, engaging in the behavior that put her there WHILE she's there. The bills are racking up and she appears to be unwilling or unable to do anything to bring in any money to pay them. My naranon friends tell me that that's NOT mine. I dunno what to do with that. It is getting clearer to me that I can't live with this particular manifestation of active addiction in my house. I don't know what that's gonna mean for the future. She's been pretty successful so far at treatment hopping without actually having to work on the issues that brought her to any of them. Guess that's not mine either. I'm frustrated and angry that my need to keep myself safe is being interpreted in her story as my not being supportive. My sponsor tells me that what other people think of me is none of my business, but it's painful when I'm trying so hard to figure out a way that I can manage my own feelings around her behaviors without putting her completely out of my life, and her interpretation of that is that she gets no support at home.

I have absolutely no power over whether she chooses to actually use the help that she seems to be pursuing or over how she interprets MY actions. What I can do is use my uncomfortable feelings to help identify what I need to do to take better care of myself. I don't have answers yet, but at least the questions are getting a bit clearer.

This morning, I woke up with the first phrase of IF, by Rudyard Kipling, running through my head. "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you..." For the most part, I'm managing. Guess I'm becoming a man, my son. Who'da thunk???

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Take that behavior somewhere else!!"

That's a big new thing for me. I actually told my partner that if she has to engage in self mutilation, she needs to go do that somewhere else. Ok, so I only asked for 2 days, but it's a start. And I'm realizing that finally, I'm really enjoying the peace of not having her in the midst of her latest addiction in MY midst. I'm not even torturing myself over where she is and whether she's safe. I'm not being quite so successful at keeping my head where my feet are, but I'm certainly maintaining my balance a lot more easily when her scars are not in my face.

I probably need to look at why the behavior is so triggering for me. But, just for today, I'm feeling good about taking care of myself, the only way I could- by giving me the gift of space.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Word for 2010

I do love this tradition I stole from MPJ 2 years ago of choosing a word as a theme for the year. My first word was self care. I was pretty new (again) in recovery, and I worked on self care with a vengeance.

Last year, my word was recovery. I had just started a second on-line step group for compulsive overeating, and we'd planned to do a step a month, so I was scheduled to have completed it last month.

Well, things didn't go exactly as planned. The online step group had some false starts and stalls and didn't quite make it to step 4. But, I got myself an OA sponsor, and started working the steps in a new way. I'm still on 4, but I'm still working it. So, here I am, doing what I said I was gonna do, albeit perfectly imperfectly.

I'm loving that concept- perfectly imperfectly. It's leading me to my new word, BALANCE. The last couple of months of 2009 were pretty rocky for me. My sister gave me a rock she'd gotten for herself, with the word, "balance," on it, and I've been clinging to that rock and trying to hang on to my balance. It seems to be getting a little easier, but I do think it's a good focus for 2010. So, that's my goal for the year. Balance. I'll let ya know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I know, what I want

My Dearest Love,

I love you to the depths of my being. I see you hurting, and I hurt too. Sometimes, we get stuck in this pattern, where you want to avoid the hurt, and I want to absorb your hurt for you. I know that's not healthy for either of us. I'm trying to get to a healthier place, and I know that you want that too.

I know that you've been through terrible experiences that nobody should have ever had to experience. I know that you're doing the best you can right now, and that it's not your intention to hurt me. My head knows that when you engage in self injurious behavior, it's not about me. I know that that doesn't mean that you don't love me, but that you can't see past your pain.

I know that I will love you forever. I want to be with you forever. I know that when I struggle with your acting out behavior, it's not that I don't love you enough, but that I love you too much. Sometimes, you know that too.

I know that I have tools to take good care of myself. I know that if I'm using these tools to the best of my ability, I can be ok, whether or not you are. I know that right now, I don't seem to be using my tools to the best of my ability.

I know that you have the right to be exactly where you are, even if where you are hurts me. I know that as much as I want to protect you from yourself, I really can't. I know that in the end, the only person I can truly protect is me.

I know that I came into this relationship with my own buttons, and one of my biggest buttons is being around someone engaging in self-harm. I know that you did NOT install that particular button.

I know that I want intimacy with you so desperately, that I am often willing to put myself in harms way in order to try to maintain a connection with you. I know that desperation is never a good place for me to be.

I know that we have family therapy scheduled for a week from now.

I want to try an experiment. For the next week until our family therapy appointment, if you choose to engage in ANY behavior that is harmful to you, I want you to find someone else to share it with. I want to hear your successes, if you're willing to share them with me. I'm willing to hear your struggles, as long as we can both remember that my job is not to fix it for you, but to love you while you work through it yourself. If you find that you need somebody other than yourself to keep you safe, I want you to find someone else or somewhere else to get that need met.

More than anything, I want to get to the other side of this together, and to be with you forever. I know that I will love you forever, no matter what.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My OWN Eternal Internal War

Yesterday, a recovery friend told me that the one thing that she knows about me is that I'm always clear about not being able to protect my partner from herself. My friend frequently reminds me about how I told my partner on the day she revealed her addiction to me that I can't be responsible for holding her pills for her. Part of that is true. I did use those words. But I had to fight with myself and lose over and over and over again until I convinced myself that it was true. It's not quite as often today, but sometimes, I still need to fight me over that one.

Today, I'm remembering that on the very first day that I had a real conversation with my partner, I started that same pattern. I told her that day that I can't be her therapist and her friend. I then proceeded to spend the next decade trying to fix her so that I could feel safe and secure in our relationship.

Now, I've got another battle to face on the same front. My partner is engaging in significant self injurious behavior. And again, I used the right words. I told her that I can't be the one to keep her safe. My head knows that the words are true. Hell, she's continuing to show me. Right now she's with people whose job really IS to keep her safe, and twice, now, she's managed to engage in that same unsafe behavior.

The problem is that while I always use the right words regarding who owns her behavior, MY behavior doesn't match. I continue and continue and continue to try to say just the right thing or do just the right thing so that her behavior will change and I can feel safe.

It's funny. It's sooo easy to see the internal wars that the people in my life are fighting. It's not so easy to see my own, even though I continue to fight it again and again and again. I am powerless over others. When I try to change their behaviors so that I can feel safe, MY life becomes unmanageable. It's basic, step 1 shit. Guess I better go ask God to help me with that.