Monday, February 25, 2008

more truth about lying

So I went to write today and realized that the last time I wrote I was struggling with the same exact issue that I'm struggling with today. Today, my partner was again too sick to go to work but not too sick to go to therapy. But today, we both handled it better. I owned my feelings with her and then let them go. And she came home tonight and apologized to me. She told me that she did have a stomachache this morning but that she wasn't too sick to go to work. She also acknowledged that she'd lied to me last night when she told me she had rememembered a promise she'd made to me. Her therapist had worked through a relapse symptoms list with her, and she asked me to fill it out too. She owned her shit. She said that she's not using, but that she's just hanging on. And then she talked to me about the effects that she imagined her behaviors were having on me. She told me that she imagined I was feeling unimportant and unloved. All of this came without prompting from me. Then she took herself to a meeting.

It helps when she comes to me in honesty. It helps that she's writing her own relapse prevention plan. It helps that she took herself to a meeting. It helps that she's acknowledging the effects of her behavior on me.

Here's the scary of today. Part of her plan includes whether she's willing to go to treatment if she does end up relapsing. She has told me that she's jealous of people who got to go to inpatient treatment. For her, it's not a deterrent, it's an attraction. I've already got dollar signs and being left home with all the responsibilities in my head. Am I projecting? Yep. Is it realistic? Prolly. Is there anything I can do? Nope.

Anyway, that's where I am today.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

It's NOT about ME??????

Jay got me thinking today, with her post, It's Not About Me. Her post was about reproductive rights and parental notification laws. She spoke beautifully (as always) about wanting to be the mother that her daughter would come to, but that it's more important that her daughter get what she needs in the way of information, birth control, and if it comes to it, abortion, whether or not she feels safe confiding in her mother. She also wanted to make sure that her daughter receives nurturing and emotional support, even if that support doesn't come from Jay.

Like I said, it got me thinking. A dear friend is struggling right now, and happens to be geographically with her family, who is not aware of her struggles. The issue has nothing to do with reproduction, but Jay's message of "it's not about me(the mom)" is well taken. My friend and I talked a bit about it last night. She said that she wished she could get nurturing from her mom around this issue, but she can't because her mom doesn't know anything about it. I asked her who she was trying to protect, herself or her mom. She said both. I told her that if I were her mom, and I got a vote, I'd prefer NOT to be protected but rather to be included in my daughter's life. I believe that to be true for any mom. But here's the part I'm not sure I expressed strongly enough, that Jay said so eloquently. Friend, it's not about your mom. Do whatever you need to do to take care of you. If that means working through the mess to let your mom in, do that. If that means finding other places to get your nurturing, do that. I know that you're going to do whatever you're going to do regardless of what I say. I'm just not sure that I said loudly enough that I support you and I'm here for you, whatever you decide.

Meanwhile, there's another struggle that's harder for me, b/c the struggle is about whether it IS about me. My partner is working through some really hard stuff right now. For her, the physical and emotional often get tied together. Yesterday, she decided that she was too sick to go to work. Actually, she mentioned to me that she was running late, she started to go to work, and she turned around outside the neighborhood and came home. In the afternoon, she decided that she wasn't too sick to go to therapy, and spent over 4 hours between driving and being there. Then, she decided she was too sick to go to a party we'd been looking forward to going to together with friends in recovery.

OK, here's what IS about me. My feelings are about me. They can be (and are) messy, but they're mine. I feel scared when she doesn't go to work. I feel distrusting, when I don't know if I'm getting the whole story. My imagining is that if she hadn't been running late, she wouldn't have turned around to come home. I have conflicted feelings about her going to therapy. On the one hand, I'm really glad she pushed herself to go, b/c the more she takes care of herself, the better we are. And we really ARE better lately, even when she's going through hard stuff. I feel unimportant when she'll push through to go to her own therapy when she's sick, but cancels when she decides she's too sick or even when she decides I'm too sick to go to ours. I have conflicted feelings about the party too. On the one hand, I'm glad she was honest and said that she didn't want to go rather than NOT expressing it. On the other hand, she is so often sick when it's time for us to do something together that we've been planning. And I'm feeling scared, b/c we're planning a HUGE expensive trip together soon, and she's cancelled a few big expensive trips at the last minute b/c of illness. I'm also feeling selfish and ungrateful for even feeling these feelings. And I'm feeling confused about whether to express them.

Where I started with this part of this post, before I let myself get all bogged down in my own feelings, was with thinking about "it's not about me." I do get all self-absorbed. She's going through some hard stuff. And her hard stuff really is NOT about me. Hmmm. Maybe I'll go call my sponsor.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Gratitude: or It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn

So, ever since I wrote that last post, things have been soooooooo much better. My partner has been so present and so wise lately. Before I talked to her about what the issues actually were, I told her that I felt like I was getting these confusing signs that I didn't know how to read. She said that it just meant I didn't have an answer, YET. Then, when I told her that one of the things I was struggling with was that this 12 tradition stuff really seemed so higher powered, she reminded me of a friend who thought God had given her an answer when it really was just something SHE really wanted.

We worked through some really big stuff together. We agreed that we both want to foster, but that there are some things we need to do first, including working on our communication. She also suggested a safety plan- coming up in advance with things that might trigger us and plan for how to deal with them. It's a GREAT idea, and it's hers. Yay!!!!

As for the communication piece, I decided that it didn't so much matter HOW we work on it as much as THAT we work on it. I relaxed some on the tradition work. I figured out some other ways that it might be higher powered. Like the idea that I could share them with others in recovery even if we're not using them right now. As soon as I relaxed on the subject, she decided she was in. Funny how that works. Funny that I can never remember when I'm feeling desperate that desperate never works for me. Letting go always does. I know this. You'd think I'd be better by now at applying it. Oh well, progress, not perfecttion, right?

Meanwhile, other things in the relationship have been awesome. We both offered each other restoration gifts. Hers to me was a pedicure. It was a wonderful thing. When she was done, she told me to just enjoy the feeling and reminded me that I didn't have to do anything to earn that, I get it just because I'm me. That was even better than the pedicure. Then, she took me out on a date to see a chick flick. And she's just been soooo present in the relationship.

This weekend, I've been truly blessed. I don't know if it's because I finally let go and was in a better place, because she worked through some stuff at work and is feeling less stressed, because she just had a medication change and the meds are working, or the whole thing's random or higher powered. I don't know. But I know I'm appreciating where I am and where we are today.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Signs, Signs Everywhere, but they don't seem to be in my language

I keep getting what feel like signs from my HP. I have been trying to connect more, lately, and I am trying to get out of the way and do what is my HP's will. But I can't tell what's my will and what's God's, and I can interpret all of these signs both ways.

First, there's this 12 Traditions in Relationships thing that Scout recently shared with me. It was right at a time when I was struggling with my therapist telling me to decide what are my non-negotiables in my relationship and I was looking for a 3rd option between doormat and get-the-hell-out. It really felt higher powered, a way we can work through conflict TOGETHER. Maybe it's coming. Maybe I'm just being impatient. Or maybe it's not coming and I'm being told that there IS no door #3.

Meanwhile,I keep bumping into the dilemma of whether we can foster parent together. Opportunities keep coming up, and it's killing me, b/c it's what I want more than anything, but I KNOW that we're not ready today, and I'm scared that we won't ever be ready. My therapist and I agreed yesterday that I'd talk to my partner about setting a time limit where we won't even consider taking any placements. It's just too hard for me right now. It's like I get tantalized and crushed every time the issue comes up. I'm the one that keeps saying we're not ready. I know that I can do it and do it well. I also know that WE can't. At least not today. I don't think it would be healthy for her, for us, or for a kid right now. My therapist thinks that because of my partner's history, she might never be in a place where it will be ok. That's really scary to me.

And I keep bumping into all these signs. Today, a colleague came to visit me at work. The last time we'd really talked, she was in the process of doing a foreign adoption. I asked her about it today, and she told me she stopped the process. She said that she was about to get a child, and she got into a relationship with a man who had kids and didn't want more. She said that her partner, who is NOW her husband, finally agreed that he was willing. Then she had to search her heart, and she decided that she wasn't sure she was going in with pure intention, so she backed out. She said that she was afraid, and that she sometimes wonders if when her time comes, she'll be confronted with the choices she didn't make out of fear and her missed opportunities. I could interpret this for me in two completely different ways.

Then, when I got home this afternoon, there was a message from the biological mother of 2 of my former foster kids. She had lost touch with both of them and was asking me for contact information.

Then, in my super secret society, someone left this message about not having kids of her own and stealing other people's kids. I just feel like I keep bumping up against this issue,. It's like I keep seeing the signs, but I can't read the language.