Friday, January 20, 2012

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Stop the Invalidation

I am very grateful for therapy and Therapist. And sleep. I feel much better today. Which compared to the black hole of all consuming depression and pain I was in yesterday isn’t saying a whole lot, but it’s definitely better. Also, don’t take a full dose of your Trazadone when you haven’t been taking it for a while. I was groggy all day yesterday (side effects).

Update: I did, in fact, send Friend the letter that Therapist has been encouraging me to write for months now. He texted me to let me know that he had read it and that it gave him a lot to think about. However I haven’t heard from him since. I’m not sure if I don’t care at all or if I’m angry that he’s taking so long to get back to me. It’s confusing when you’re not sure you feel. The more I try to think about it, the further away it seems to slip. ::sigh::

 However I also unfriended him from the Faceyspaces and he has since been commenting on every single status update of the people he knows I am closest too (He does this to Twiggy too. Yes, he’s told me he does this on purpose. Many times. Passive-aggressive much?).

Therapist thinks it’s a good thing that I sent him the letter. It takes a lot of courage to open yourself up like that and it shows that I do still care about our friendship because I’m not just letting it slip away. By talking about it, even if the topic isn’t fun, it provides the medium for communication. Plus if I didn’t bring all this up I would just continue to resent him more and more until I finally blew up our friendship in a firey explosion of destruction. Idk. It already feels like our friendship is over. I guess it’s my turn to wait now.

I told her about Roommates birthday gathering and my breakdown. My desire to cut myself, and hurt myself, is a very Punitive aspect of myself. This need to punish myself for feeling emotions. This is counterproductive to therapy (It made me very said and disappointed in myself when she said this, it was like she was saying she was disappointed in me, even though that’s not at all what she said). I use the desire to cut myself off from my feelings and emotions that have been triggered in some way. I invalidate my own feelings. I am the worst offender of this. It’s how I was raised though. Growing up my father constantly invalidated how I was feeling. Any time I was upset, or frustrated, or any emotion that wasn’t positive he would tell me to ‘grow up’, ‘suck it up’, ‘crying doesn’t help’, ‘getting worked up doesn’t solve anything’.  I’ve internalized this message so hard that I do not believe that I have the right to feel the way I feel. I don’t believe other people will acknowledge that my feelings are actually valid and will respect that my needs and emotions should be taken into consideration as well. I shut myself down before someone else has the chance to. I do this on a fundamental level when I detach and dissociate from myself.

In this way I need Therapist. She’s one of the few people I can be fully honest with in this respect. She understands, doesn’t seem to judge, and actually believes I deserve better of myself than even I think I deserve. She’s the opposite of my father.

She asked me many times about how I think Friend will respond. I don’t know. Sometimes I think he’ll be gentle with my feelings, other times I think he’ll be defensive, and other times I think he’ll be “understanding”, self-deprecating, and passive-aggressive. She asked me if I think he has the capacity for empathy. He’s probably one of the most sensitive and empathic people I’ve ever met, so yes. We actually had a brief discussion about empathy and my ability to feel empathy. She says my personality is naturally very nurturing and this aspect is very strong with me. I easily see what other people need and work to provide that for them before I take care of myself.  She knows I feel very stunted sometimes to the point where I don’t think I can feel empathy at all, a little, or too much (the whole range). We’ll be talking about this more into the future (at least I’ll be prepared!) because I think she’s noticed this as well. I’m not sure if this is confusing to her or not.

It’s important for me going forward with my ‘relationship’ with Tech Boy as well.  

He’s very uncomfortable talking about anything emotional directly. As am I because I don’t believe he is emotionally available. I know he’s not. Hell, most times I don’t even think he cares about me (or that anyone cares about me for that matter), but I know he thinks about me and that’s comforting. If we can’t discuss emotional things though, we won’t have the opportunity to truly relate to each other on a deeper level.

I worry about some of the opinions he holds. I often think that every time we have deeper conversations that I make him reevaluate his world view because I have such strong opinions on things in ways that are not his norm.  He seems to have been raised pretty conservatively (and a bit privileged). I was not.  This can be very distressing for me and kicks my fight-flight levels up to full throttle.

We had a fun conversation the other night about sexuality. He doesn’t believe that bisexuality exists. You’re either one or the other. ::blinks:: I disagree. I can be in a heterosexual relationship or a homosexual relationship but that does not mean that my ability to be attracted to someone of a different persuasion has disappeared. Whether someone is male or female (or gender identifies) has very little to do with whether I’m attracted to them or not. It depends almost entirely on the kind of person that they are (and yes, physical attraction does come into play but what I’m attracted to isn’t gender determined). Just because I’m with a man, doesn’t mean I stop having the ability to be attracted to women. Just because I’m with a woman, doesn’t make me a lesbian. This is true even if I’m in a monogamous relationship because the relationship doesn’t define who I am.  And as I pointed out to him, just because I’m sleeping with him right now, it doesn’t make me straight.

I worry about the opinions he holds, but he also seems to accept that I believe different things, that I may BE something different, and he doesn’t seem to be offended or upset when I challenge a belief he previously held. That’s important. That gives me hope. Therapist reminds me that this is something I need to keep in mind. He’s still growing, he’s still learning, and especially if he hasn’t had many relationships he’s still understanding what it is to be with someone. She actually thinks this might be an important relationship for him because I’m someone so different than what he is accustomed to. I could have a very positive influence in how he understands people and how other people relate to the world. This is sort of a scary thought isn’t it?

It’s important to relate to each other on more than just a superficial level though. If we can’t, if he really is emotionally unavailable because he has some inborn inability to relate in that way, this may not be more than a transitional relationship for me. Which is fine. However this does have a lot of markers for being a healing relationship even if it’s not a permanent one. Therapist also reminds me that he may have his own past trauma, which is why he sort of shuts down emotionally. She reminds me that I need to keep in mind that I don’t know his history and perspective so I don’t know all the reasons why he does not like to express these things.

I tend to take people by what they say to me. He’s told me flat out that he doesn’t like to talk about emotions, that they make him uncomfortable… and I just sort of stopped processing at that point and interpreted that as “he’ll never be emotionally available or reliable to me”.  Even though when we’re together he is usually very affectionate, and I know he thinks about me when I’m not around. I focus so hard on the negative that it blots out the positive even when the positive is smacking me in the face.

She also asked about our sex life. The only time I feel connected to anyone at all is when I’m drunk and/or having sex with Tech Boy. My mind is so overshadowed by how good whatever we’re doing feels that I don’t have the capacity to think. He’s warm. I don’t think he truly cares about me (I don’t believe anyone cares about me really), but in the moment none of that matters. I feel good, even if it’s just for a few hours. She asked if he was respectful. If he was abusive. Things often get very rough, but we talk about the things we want to do ahead of time. I need the physicality of the moment to be so visceral that I can’t think about anything else. The things that contribute to this are probably a little outside of most people’s norms.  Pain and pleasure tend to intermingle with me and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Therapy is often exhausting for me. I’m afraid that I’m not making fast enough progress. That Therapist will be disappointed in me for not being who I should be yet. She often tells me how bright I am and that I’m a joy to work with. I think she is more optimistic about me than I am. Which is encouragement that I need.

17 comments:

  1. Wow. Id like to say thanks for sharing. Analyzing your words helps me dissociatively, objectively look at my own issues.

    Its great that you sent the letter. The thing I have been working on is patience. If I were in your shoes I would have to be using a lot of strength to be empathetic enough to give him time and space to process what you said. Men have to stew. They arent as emotionally aware to begin with, and I hate to generalize but its largely true. They arent socialized to be. I have to remember that people have their own timetables and the world doesnt conform to my desires. Easier said than done.

    I do think this will make or break your friendship. It may be the wakeup call he needs.

    As for Tech Boy, that situation reminds me of mine. We're both older than you guys I think, but with age just comes further psychological damage lol but also more ability to manage said trauma. He's got a past which makes him pretty emo unavailable. We also had a fucked up breakup a few months ago and I flew into a manic delusional state and here's my dissocative event, I totally demonized (went straight past devalued into full blown evil) him and did some shitty stuff to his life. I cant believe we're involved again, but I know I need to be. We are teaching each other things. I cant devalue our relationship because its not fairytale romance. It can be pretty perfect, as long as I maintain my zen and dont obsess about trying to make it fit into some relationship box.

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    1. I feel like a lunatic putting all of this stuff out there sometimes, but it helps me process too. I actually work through things better once I reiterate them, can see them, and let my thoughts continue on from there.

      In many ways our friendship is already broken, so it'll either shatter completely or we'll be able to glue it back together. Making a Borderline wait should be illegal though. It's not cool haha.

      ::nods:: As long as I don't try to make whatever Tech Boy and I are doing fit into some relationship box, I seem to be ok. It's once I start analyzing the 'why's' and 'why nots' that things get wonky for me. Right now I'm just trying to keep myself in a 'short-term' thinking mode. That way I can sort of psychologically convince myself into not getting bent out of shape about his intentions.

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    2. Hi: FYI, MOST WOMEN analyze relationships to death. It has nothing to do with BPD! Haha. Just listen to a bunch of teenage girls on the phone--all they talk about. Boys however, Football, Computer games-- if your read about it, men's minds are just wired differently than us. I don't have BPD. But my teenager does. All her friend's analyze to death each boy they like. Also, many SMART SMART women, make foolish choices. (Read, Smart Woman, Foolish Choices). But then, eating chocolate layer cake when trying to lose weight is sometimes hard to stop too, right? TRY and be gentle with yourself.

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    3. Oh yes. I know most women do this. What makes this a problem is the magnitude of emotion that goes along with it. Panic, anxiety, impulsive decisions, and reckless behavior are not normal parts of most people analyzing relationships. It's the extent of how this stuff negatively affects our life that makes this magnified with BPD.

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  2. Oh and I hear ya about talking about sex with your shrink. Mine's an old hippy dude and he blushes sometimes. Its cute. He also teases me about it. We agreed last session that sex is better with a woman who is at least a little crazy. Its excitement. So its actually not just ok, but good to be kinda crazy. Joking about that word is helpful too. Takes away the sting. But yeah, beeper lovin is good lovin and it can be hard for fellas to stay away, even when they know better lol.

    Oh also, interesting that Tech Boy is more preppy sounding. Worlds collide can be hot. My friend and I have similar beliefs. In fact, I think he may be more lefty than I am. I tend toward more lefty type fellas.

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    1. My therapist always corrects me when I call myself crazy. "You're not crazy, that would mean you're psychotic, which you're not". I have a problem with devaluing myself though, and I think she wants to get me into more of a mindset where I don't do this.

      I usually tend towards more lefty types because I'm extreme left. He's moderately right, but seems to be open minded. As long as he can be open I'm ok. I can't deal with narrow minded people. Narrow mindedness is one of the things that flips me into Bitch mode faster than most things.

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  3. Haven. I come to visit you about once a week. The intensity of your writings is sometimes overpowering to me and I start to sense the poles shift within my own psyche if I read here too long.

    I know that my ADHD is contagous and therefore dangerous to those around me. Has anyone ever caught darkness from you?

    As for sex with crazy women, I have but one thing to say. "Yes."

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    1. Hi Mooner. You're not the first person to tell me that. I'm glad you stop by when you can.

      I wouldn't be surprised if people have 'caught my darkness'. I do try to isolate myself away when I am at my darkest though. I do not like allowing anyone to see me when I am at a point I consider weak. More often than not though (and in amusing contradiction to my own feelings) I seem to have a calming effect on people. My self-awareness and ability to assess situations gives me a rock-solid set of shoulders that people seem to like leaning on. My emotional suppression doesn't hurt this either b/c it often makes me appear much calmer on the outside than I feel on the inside. =(

      I, however, pick up on other peoples emotions, darkness, neediness, everything, almost instantly and it can be very overwhelming at times.

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    2. Hi: As a non-BPD who lives with a BPD relative, you can't "CATCH" the darkness. You get depressed and bitterly sad that the one you love so much HAS darkness and depression and you are helpless because you can't force them to get help. And you can feel deep pain for that loved one. So, while I haven't changed who I am, my feelings of pain are the result of having a loved one who has so much pain inside them (that and not marrying that rich kid back in college.) I want to drag her into the sunlight and she pushes back and says, "NO, I am afraid to go there. This feels more comfortable."

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  4. Its amazing how so much of what you write is what I feel, go through, experience both in therapy and outside of it. I'm bicurious which according to my therapist is really scary for bisexual and/or lesbian women because they are afraid to get attached so my curiousiity will have to be just that, curiousity.

    Invalidation is a word that steams me more than abandonment at times. My father and mother invalidated every feeling, thought, idea, emotion etc. that I had growing up. This comes up in therapy alot. My therapist will say something benign but I take it to a whole new level.

    I wish I could write as you do. Your thoughts are very organized and you have much insight into your emotional world. Your therapist is right, you are very bright.

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    1. I'm glad that you can relate to my writing. It's funny. When I realized I might like women, I just went right out and met a woman that I was attracted to in order to figure out if what I was feeling had something more to it. I was curious, so I did it. That's very much the kind of impulsive I am though. I think ANY relationship attachment is scary. This is not dependent on gender AT ALL for me. Guy or Girl it doesn't matter, it's just anatomy.

      I don't know your Therapist or what his/her experience with the GLBTT community is, but curiosity is not scary. It's conflicting because you're left to wonder and weigh all these options and possibilities without any real knowledge or experience. When you take that next step and put yourself out there, you have the ability to concretely figure out if what you are feeling is real or if it's just a passing phase. In that knowledge the anxiety of not knowing can be released.

      If you try, and it's not for you, then you don't do it again. No harm done. If you don't try, you'll always be left wondering and that usually builds internal tension. But taking the step to decide whether you should figure this out is very, very personal. Never feel pressured one way or the other.

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  5. Someone mentioned this existed elsewhere and here I am. I read a few posts and will probably continue to read.

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  6. Hi: One thing that I realize about BPD is it is REALLY hard to know what is BPD and what is the same exact thing that everyone else feels. So, for example, many parents tell their kids to suck it up in the hopes that they will be able to get over it. A BPD ultimately feels that this means they can't be allowed to feel. Someone without BPD will maybe just rage at their parent slam the door and tell them to go F themselves. Then move on. Same reaction, different action.

    Also, as for your friend-- very brave. I have done what you have done. You needed to do that. Not sure what the issues were, but remember, even if they understand what you are saying, it is hard to take a friend's feelings and accept them So, you may need him to heal, but maybe, he won't. Either way, it is not anything you did.

    My therapist once gave me REALLY good advice. Stop Shoulding on yourself. IE I SHOULD be making more progress. One thing you might want to think about BDP OR NOT, we are all growing. I am 54 (yikes don't tell anyone!!!) and I have grown so much in the last two years. Haha. Life is like an ocean. Ebbing and Flowing. My dad died at 76. He never stopped growing. That is our mission on earth. To grow and change. Right up till the end. May it be a 100 years more.

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    1. As I mentioned about: What makes this a problem is the magnitude of emotion that goes along with it. Panic, anxiety, impulsive decisions, and reckless behavior are not normal parts of most people analyzing relationships. It's the extent of how this stuff negatively affects our life that makes this magnified with BPD.

      I definitely agree, it's how we internalize those same situations that makes BPD different.

      Yes! I definitely need to stop "Shoulding" myself. This is part of that black and white, right and wrong, labeling issue that I have with my actions. If it's not one way, than it's not the right way. This is destructive thinking. I definitely need to keep this in mind. Thank you for your insight.

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  7. Do you think it's considered cheating when you are in a relationship with a man and you sleep with a woman?

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    1. Yep. If you are in a monogamous relationship and you engage in any kind of sexual activity outside of that monogamy without your partners foreknowledge and consent, then it's cheating. Regardless of gender, it's still another person that is not your partner.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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