The land of no self-hate – Episode 10

How many years did you count between the first thought: ‘Maybe I should not be drinking so much?’ and actually quitting?

Apart from thinking this on a daily base… it took me more than 20 years for it to sort of get it to the forefront of my brain and another 10 years to actually quit. I literally knew that I would get addicted to alcohol at the first glass I took. I also downplayed it by thinking ‘Ooh, since I know that, I will be able to control it.” Yup. Not.

Weeks ago I looked at negative self talk and self-hate while reading a book called ‘There is nothing wrong with you’ from Cheri Huber. That had quite some impact and caused some mind shifts but the execution of replacing self-hate with self-love is not there yet. Not that I expected that – it is difficult to change behaviour. And this behaviour has been going on longer than my drinking career so I’m guessing it is more difficult to change.

For me, negative thinking has a lot in common with addiction: repetitive destructive behaviour. Also: it keeps me away from what really is. Even though that reality generally is nicer than the negativity. Keeping a watch on negative thinking was really helpful and insightful for a while. Also: I felt really happy and it is A-MA-ZING how much energy I had during the day. I was surprised by my openness, the good intention and love, joy and activity which came floating to the surface. I felt the same energy I felt when I was a child in my safe years. Then something happened, everything backfired and I totally lost myself only to go back to negativity and self-hate with even more energy. Sound familiar?

I had the same with trying to quit drinking. I would play with the thoughts to quit and then try it for a week. Something would happen and I would go back to drinking and most of the time I would catch up with the amount of ‘lost’ glasses during the week.

2 Weeks back the cat got really ill. At some point I was so down that I hoped she would quietly slip away into eternity so I could do the same. Very often it is only the cat which keeps me here. Could be a mind trick. Hope I never have to find out. I do feel that every time I return to these dark thoughts they get edged in me, where they even out the road to destruction. In trying to feel into / look at these thoughts I found I have a difficulty with connecting to people. I can love but I can not be loved. I can not let people in. This becomes more and more apparent now I experience how lonely my existence is in these dark moments. I have friends, very good friends. Friends who carefully listen to all this which you might find difficult to read because dark or because repetitive and boring. But in those dark moment that does not matter because this ‘hole in the soul’ is so much darker and bigger than anybody can fill.

I’m not sure what caused this ‘hole’. Do I miss my vanished twin brother? Yes, very much so. A partner in my life? Not specifically. Do I miss, I don’t know fundamental idea of goodness of the world, faith? Yes. Or maybe I miss myself? Yes, very much. What I do to myself is cruel, soul crushing. If anybody would do that to anybody else I would go berserk. And still, somewhere in my life I started to believe, or maybe I even made it up myself, that hating me is the best thing I can do. And I never changed. It is so engrained that it takes more than 3,5 years of sobriety to even get an inkling of it. And then, when trying to quit I this behaviour it calls me back and punishes me for leaving with even more and more darkness. And even though I guess this is learned behaviour be it picked up by an eager student, I still do it all to myself. Cunning, baffling and powerful.

So… I have tuned down the watch on self-hate to let the dust settle a bit and see how I can work on this from another entrance. I need to get my negativity act and food addiction together because they both keep me from being clear and from being honest to myself and other people. As long as I keep on eating away my own shadow, keep on disliking myself for perceived weaknesses, I will keep on transferring this dislike and anger to others. Not good.

So, looking at shadows is good. Ramadan is past so I am eating chocolate and refined sugar again, within 1 day I was back at my usual intake. I eat it and at the same time really dislike it and feel bad. Sound familiar? πŸ™‚ And every day, even now I think: tomorrow I will do it differently. Cunning, baffling and powerful.

Somehow quitting addictive stuff and behaviour jogs memories of events past. Part of quitting the chocolate and refined sugar were (mini) trauma’s I have encountered while living abroad without my parents at age 15/16. In real life and in the sober blogosphere I have met so many people whose life has been damaged and put to a halt because of severe (sexual) trauma and consequently addiction. My traumas are not so severe in comparison with most but I can not seem to get away from them. Whenever I do get really clear, other events keep on popping up. I watched part of the Trauma and healing online conference but I sank so deep that I could not follow-up.

Abuse trigger warning for the next few Italic paragraphs till the fat print.

No chocolate – no sugar brought back this memory from sitting in a tiny park like spot in the country side, next to an enormous white water river, reading a book, my lower legs dangling down the quay/ledge which had been put in place to keep the river from eating in on the environment. A guy comes up, he must be in his twenties, I was 16 or so. Even though I do not trust him we chat because I can not get away safely. I make sure to steer away from anything which might indicate interest in him or look like advances. I try to bore him with excessively speaking about the book I am reading. (Ha! Nothing changed there :-D) At some point he starts requesting I go with him to his house to have sex. I sort of joke around the issue knowing that downright offending or refusing him makes things worse. He comes back with; “Why would you talk to me if you do not want sex?” Followed up by: “We have sex now otherwise I push you off the ledge.”

I would not be able to stop him from where I sit and falling down would have meant sure death. Even at age 16 I make jokes like: “Is that how you pick up all your girls? Not sure it is such a succesful line….” trying to take the sting out of it while trying not to show how my hands trembled and I am so scared I feel I can not even stand-up. He was serious. Not so much in wanting to kill me but he was very thick headed, possibly officially retarded (sorry, not inclined to look for nicer words here). His intent and anger where very real and also he did not seem to have the faintest idea that falling into a deep white water river with rocks all over can not be easily survived – specifically with the 6 meter waterfall further down and a following 12 meter waterfall within a 100 meter. He just did not care. He wanted what he wanted and I refused that so I had to be hurt.

Also: even though the place was max 10 meters away from the road and bus-stop, at that moment there was nobody around. Passing by cars had made it seem a safe spot but when they do not actually stop there is no safety to be found. And even now I have the idea that I have to explain the surroundings to you to make sure that you do not think me silly. I had to come up with silly jokes and conversation for 5 minutes for some car to pop up at the car park 30 meters further before I had the guts to stand up and go home. My knees buckled and I almost shit my pants. I walked home, checking at every turn in the road to see that he did not follow me.

At that time I had stopped speaking about things like this to people because anybody would start with “What did you wear?” and “Why did you even go there?” and “He would not speak to you if you did not give him the idea that you were available.”

I can see now how every bit of anger I held against guys like this was redirected inwards by being blamed for their behaviour.

This is how the female spirit is killed in this world. This is how our freedom and sovereignty is taken

What would a woman who loves herself do? She would love herself. How will I get there? Not sure. Going to bed would be a good thing. πŸ™‚ It always is. And tomorrow slowly start examining and taking loving actions.

I am happy that I quit be it in a dark way. Even though my days have been rather nasty for a long time, I know it was worst when I drank. The guilt and the shame, my god. Unbearable. I literally could not look people in the eye. And that physical feeling of being bloated and stuffed. The high blood pressure. Ooh! Yeah, no sugar, no chocolate made my blood pressure drop quite some points. Eating it makes it rise; I feel my blood pumping in my ears when I lay down on my pillow. So: not good. I also appreciated getting more veggies in because of having better eating habits. Veggies are good.

Sorry for another way too long post. Hope you are doing well.

Wishing you a nice sober week.

xx, Feeling

 

 

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#Metoo

The #metoo ‘movement’ is upsetting me so I turned away from news and Facebook. I have difficulty with the negative reactions from ‘everybody’ to women sharing their painful stories. There is a (not so) funny thing to sexual abuse; in my life every man seems to take this heroic stance against it saying things like “If that happened to my girlfriend/daughter I would kill him/cut his balls off and feed them back to him blabalbabla.” But in reality these are the same guys who say things like:

“Now we’ve gotten this far I’m not gonna stop.”
“You want this as bad as I do, I just know it.”
“He meant that as a compliment, not an insult, you can’t go around being offended all the time somebody you don’t know squeezes your ass?! I mean, what would life look like?!”
“If you don’t want the attention you should not have looked at him in the first place.”
“See how she walks, she is asking for it.”
“So why did you go kissing with him anyway?”
“Well, you knew him, it is not like you did not know him and he grabbed you from the streets.”

In one case it was actually a person who stood by laughing when one of his friends pushed his fingers in my vagina. I was 12, it was not wanted, it hurt. I was scared, trembling, fighting in the water. The lifeguard whom I told later spit out: “Go away you, with your, dirty words”.

In my life that is more reality than the killing and cutting off balls. When later in life I told boyfriends, they worry about themselves, about them having picked ‘damaged goods’. The did not worry about me. They just wanted to know, if not know, when I would be ready for sex. To that I got responses about the wrong choice of men. There should be a third hashtag, one that says:

#Ihaveblamedvictimstobeabletodealwithmyowndiscomfortabouttheirpain.

This Friday I had a meeting with a guy from another factory which happens to bake cakes. Opposite the street a blond woman with a short skirt, red high heels tried to open a front door of a office building. She was carrying a box which looked like a cake box and then suddenly tilted it over. We both gasped and then started laughing; ‘Guess there was no cake in that box after all.” He continued: “She works there with 5 guys, only women in the building and she dresses like that.”

“What does that mean to you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you comment on her dressing like she does, but what conclusions do you, as a man draw from what you see?”

I was just really curious, specifically because I could not ‘find’ the woman ‘feelingwise’ – it was like she had dressed up a doll and she was the doll. I felt a big, big disconnect between possible dressing ‘signals’ and behaviour of the woman. So I was wondering how he perceived it – as a man. Come to think of it: wearing 12cm high heels to the office is strange even in the Netherlands but it was Friday so maybe she had an after work party.

“Well, I am wondering if she is looking for something.”
“Something like a relationship or approval for her looks?”
“Yeah, I mean, she is drawing attention to herself. Well, obviously she could be wearing that just because she likes it and it makes her feel good…” (This man has been trained well with politically correct answers, ghegheghe….)
“What bothers me in this whole ‘look what she is wearing’ discussion in this world is the following: For men to be sexy to women they just have to be strong and impressive and make themself seen with decisive, manly behaviour. Whenever you see a man behaving strong and impressive, there is NO-ONE, LITERALLY NO ONE judging him for being too sexual. Have you, in your life, ever told toughest guy of the group to tone down because he is ‘asking for it?’
“Gheghe, no…..” (laughing at the idea)
“The biological AND cultural idea behind women is that they are supposed to be beautiful. That is engrained in our culture. It is what women, girls, babies, well, no matter what gender, everybody grows up with. And the second one women does whatever she grew up with, for whatever reason there is this judgement about her sexuality. First:it is not for anybody to judge. Just. Not. And specifically not if we are not prepared to hold men to the same standards. What is it in this world that we judge a women by their sexuality first and foremost. As in; always and everywhere. And then that it is normal and ok?!
“Eh, yeah, eh, true… hmmm….” (looking surprised at the novelty of the idea)
Secondly: it is often not HER sexuality you are judging, it is your, my, our response to her sexuality which gets voiced. Like religious man who need a woman to cover herself up totally, because otherwise she is a “whore and leading men on, needs to be raped to show her her place.” (not my opinion btw). That is not about the woman, that is about the man who can not take responsibility for his own sexuality.”
“Yeah.”
“But you and I judging her dress like that actually is the same projection of our thoughts on her. Not saying there is no truth in it what we think, there could be, don’t know. But I do not think it is up to anybody to judge women like this, to hold them to different standards than we do men and thirdly: it says nothing about her, but all about what WE THINK OF her.
“I never thought about it like that.”
“Nope. It took me a while to figure this out. But I think it is important to realise.”
“Yeah.” (surprised but content)

#didmyfeministthingtoday

I am happy that I quit, be it in a obliged, sort of struggling way. I have been visiting my GP every week for ‘check back’ and I think I am out of the suicide danger zone again. So I guess that is good. When down I don’t want help anymore. So I don’t really tell people. I don’t care anymore. Just don’t want to be trouble. Again.

Now I am here where I am I can not imagine that I can turn so dark. It seems to be a different world. Not that I am basking in light right now but, well, I am sort of, hesitatingly willing to give life another try. Which, I am very well aware, is a luxury position towards Life and can and possibly will offend anybody out there who is facing illness or accident or any other unwanted life threatening situation. 😦

Life wants to live, so when the environmental issues change the seeds will grow again. What I did this time around is to realise that and remember what my mom said: Next to having cancer and being sad about that, I can be happy. The one does not rule the other one out.

Guessing the homeopathic stuff has done its work too. First time I took it I was in heaven for a brief moment and then went up and down like an emotional roller coaster. Second time the good moments started to reappear. Third time I realised that I had not thought of killing myself the whole day. Guess that is progress and now I could even have the above conversation with this guy and not have any alterations in my blood pressure.

I still do not have any energy to actually take care of myself and that is difficult when trying to face this darkness. Work is effing tough. Not sure if I can hold on to this job when the contract ends. I am doing everything to get stuff done, which includes organising myself more and better and changing perceptions etc. But in the end it keeps on coming down to one point: if 20-30 people without management are not going to follow the rules my boss and I have set I am out of a job. I have very little influence on the crowd because I am not in the chain of command and I am not allowed to be there. Sometimes I am, but then bossman takes it back. So recipe for disaster and destruction of energy. Boundaries are good but haha, not my greatest asset. πŸ˜€

What would a woman who loves herself do? She would put on socks because her feet are freezing, painful and blue.

Why is it soooo difficult to take care of me? ‘Because you are worth it’ springs to mind. I do not think I am worth it. Not sure how that thought got there. Guess somewhere I drew the conclusion that I am not worth it. I can’t give what I don’t have. Same goes for parents. I guess my insisting on care from my mom confronted her with her own limited energy and lack of self-care. #Shetoo.

I salute my possibility to end a post which at least somewhere had a positive ring to it on a low note.:-D Sigh.

Ok, one more thing, I just searched the internet for ‘why is self-care so difficult’ Found a nice one which runs along with the work stress:

Tim Kreider puts his finger on the problem, writing in a 2012 New York Times blog that β€œBusyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy…”

Another blog stays things about shame. I guess I am actually healing because I just looked that up! Yay!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

I have turned on the heater, it was 15 degrees in the house so no wonder I was cold.

Thank you for reading, thank you for sticking with me during these times.

I am happy that I quit! That what comes after is not easy, I guess it is the darkness I preferred to drink away. When I read back I notice that I still shift emotions like I’m in an emotional roller coaster. Looking at it from the outside it is really strange. I don’t want to do the work I have to do to get myself sorted out. I feel I have already done so much and it is not fair and…. very often not rewarding because things just hurt a lot. As in ‘just hurt’ the whole day. Like I am missing the outer layer of skin all over and specifically on my heart.

Wishing you a nice Sunday/evening/day/new week.

xx, Feeling