Friday, February 17, 2012

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Stress and Sexual Healing

I’m about to crash. I’m so stressed out right now I’m not sure how I’m going to even function.
In regards to work, Therapist thinks I need to develop more interpersonal relationships at work. My mentor had his last day here a few weeks ago and has moved across the country. He was a huge inspiration to me and one of the only people I felt comfortable coming to talk to.  When you’re able to discuss things that occur at work with colleagues it provides the opportunity for them to share similar stories and experiences that happened them. They can relay how they felt, how they handled issues, and how things worked out. It provides the opportunity to realize that I’m not alone in this kind of stress and that others have also shared this experience. The opportunity to relieve some of the pressure is created. Without that, I feel like I’m alone and adrift without anyone that I can rely on for support. I’m just, not sure how to go about doing this.
I’m so very hard on myself. I’m harder on myself than anyone else. She started to ask me where I got this idea that I wasn’t allowed to fail or make mistakes, but then she just sort of kept talking and went off on a tangent. I know this goes back to how I was raised. Nothing I do is good enough. Everything I do can be better. There’s always a way to improve. But it’s not like I was ever punished for failing. My father pushed us, yes, definitely. There was always a way for us to improve and keep getting better. But we never got in trouble if we weren’t the best, never got yelled at if we made mistakes. The only time we ever got a cross word was if we tried to quit. Quitting wasn’t acceptable, but mistakes were fine. In fact, he was always more concerned with fairness than he was with performance.
Story time: My dad was often our coach or assistant coach on the various sports teams we played on. He always coached my brothers baseball. Unfortunately he often had a losing team, but it was because he was the most fair coach. Parents and players loved my father. He didn’t care if a player was weaker than another, didn’t hit as many home runs or make as many catches. If you were on his team, you were going to play. As a result, his team often lost, but he players enjoyed the game and learned how to play. You can’t get better if you sit the bench, so he let them play, didn’t hold them back, and gave them the chance to improve. I always loved my dad for how he coached.
I think I’m self-sabotaging here too. I’m beginning to withdraw. I’m afraid to succeed. I’ve had so much turmoil in my life lately the emotional pressure is becoming too much for me. I’ve tried so hard with people and failed that the feeling is bleeding over into the rest of my life as well. I want to escape. Withdraw into my own head. I’m afraid of disappointing everyone, so I’m having a hard time forcing myself to try. I don’t want to put myself out there for fear that people will see me try and potentially not succeed. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. If I try I might make mistakes and possibly fail, but if I don’t try at all, I’ll absolutely fail. That’s not ok. Time to reorganize my life and my priorities.
Onto the next. I feel like I’m having a hard time working on the deeper issues of my psyche because I keep having to focus on current issues. ::sigh:: Everything in its own time I suppose.
If you follow my other blog you will have read about my last weekend with Tech Boy and the concern I had. In a nutshell: things got rougher during sex than they should have and he crossed a boundary of mine. I have very few of these but I was very upset and didn’t know if I’d be able to continue on with this ‘relationship’. You can catch up on it here.
I resolved to actually talk to him about the incident. On Monday I told him to get ahold of me after he got off work. He did. I was nervous and wasn’t sure I’d even be able to talk to him about it until the words were actually coming out. I was afraid he’d be mad at me for even bringing it up. If he even remembered… which as it turns out, he didn’t.
I told him I had a concern. I have very few boundaries and sexually I’m open to almost anything, but one thing I will not tolerate is being hit. He hit me, in the face, three times. Not very hard, but he still did. I knew this was a sexual fantasy of his, it wasn’t something he did in anger, but the only time he’d mentioned it before I’d flat out said no. It was so brief and we never discussed it again, and he was SO drunk that none of this entered his thought process. He doesn’t even remember this happening. But I do. I told him I wouldn’t tolerate it, and if it happened again, I was done.  
He was floored. He couldn’t believe he would do something like that to me, or to anyone. He doesn’t hit people. He apologized profusely. He said he must have gotten caught up in the moment and clearly overstepped my boundaries. Apologized some more. He said he doesn’t handle being an asshole very well and he should have known better.  I’d mentioned being in abusive relationships in passing, but I’ve never really discussed this with him. I figured it was time to tell him a bit about Evil-Ex and the abuse I dealt with from him. I’ve been in abusive relationships before and it’s not something I’ll ever do again, even if it’s just simulated fantasy situations. Not ok.
Therapist said this must have been very triggering for me because of my past abuse. It was. Which is why I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting or not. I’m concerned about whether I can feel safe with him now. I’m not afraid of him. I don’t believe he would ever hurt me on purpose. Being drunk isn’t an excuse to do something like that though. It actually makes me feel worse that it’s something he doesn’t remember because it’s potentially an out of control and even less predictable situation. I’ll just have to keep my eyes open, and not engage in more intimate behavior when that much alcohol is involved.
I felt a lot better afterwards, though I still wasn’t sure what would come of ‘us’. I was still worried that he’d be angry at me or that it would change things even though he thanked me for bringing it to his attention. I shouldn’t have worried though. The next day was Valentine’s Day. We hadn’t talked about it. We’re in that undefined area of relationships where I’m not sure what the protocol for not just friends with benefits but not quite boyfriend/girlfriend are. I hadn’t expected he’d want to do anything so I wasn’t going to mention it. As it turns out, he had been thinking about it. Later that afternoon he texted me and asked if I wanted to do anything. Why the hell not. He ended up coming over and made me a nice homemade dinner. It was very yummy. Afterwards we watched a movie and just curled up on the couch. He didn’t even hint towards sex at all. Just wrapped his arms around me and sat back to enjoy the movie.
Therapist was concerned when I said I didn’t have many sexual boundaries. This confused me.  Why wouldn’t I be open to experimenting with my partner? I’ve already decided to be physically intimate with him, after that it’s just fun and games. She thinks it’s more than that. There should be trust and boundaries. She was very proud of me for speaking my mind, taking control of the situation, and setting boundaries when I felt it was important. But in a relationship sex is more than just being physical. In a relationship sex is about sharing something of yourself with your partner. There’s an emotional intimacy that should be there as well.
I definitely have problems here. Sex is affection. It’s something that makes him want to stay with me. This may not actually be true, but I generally think that sex is one thing that works to keep a guy’s interest. Oddly I don’t feel this way about women so I think it’s a by-product of my experiences with men using me for sex. If I deny sex or refuse something my partner wants, there’s a fear in the back of my mind that they will lose interest or go somewhere else for it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sex a lot. It’s one of the few things that makes my brain shut up and I can just let myself feel and enjoy the moments. But I also think it’s a way to make my partner happy with me in a way that will lessen the chance they will leave me. Being open to new sexual experiences and things that interest my partner lets me potentially give them something they won’t get other places and endear them to me. I don’t know if that’s a healthy way to look at it. It doesn't really enter my mind that they should be accepting of what I want as well (Though Tech Boy certainly is).  I didn’t have a chance to discuss this with Therapist. However as my homework:
Homework: Think about what my personal dreams and aspirations for a sensually intimate relationship are. What do I want? What do I need? This is important for me to consider. My needs are important to consider for a healthy and emotionally intimate relationship.
Therapist pulled out something called The Wheel of Self- Awareness. I make our sessions pretty easy because I’m very self-aware in most areas of my life, but occasionally I need focus.
The Wheel of Self-Awareness is a tool to help you organize your thoughts and feelings about any particular emotion, situations, etc. With any issue you want to explore you write down the:
Memories you associate with it
Thoughts that correspond to it
Feelings you have toward it or that are created by it
Dreams and Aspirations you have in regards to it
Sensations that you feel with it
Perceptions you have of anyone or anything concerned with the situation
And at the very Center is your place of Grounding. The things that you need or feel are important to think about the situation from a calm and centered perspective. The things that make you feel stable.
Try it out. It’s what I’ll be spending some time doing.
I know my handwriting is a mess.

11 comments:

  1. I had a therapist I didnt get on with early last year when I was really suicidal following my divorce. She was prissy and uppity and sex negative. She couldnt accept the fact that I could possibly be enjoying no strings sex. I dumped her.

    My new therapist understands that modern relationships are far more complex than they ever have been. I hate to say it, but your therapist sounds like a prude. Her internal views about sex may be clouding her objectivity.

    Sorry about what happened with Tech Boy. Hadnt checked the other blog lately. I always give people too many chances. Its easy for them to flip back out of devalue mode. I tried to break it off with my friend a couple weeks ago and sober him was cool with it, but I let drunk him talk me out of it. Drunk him is in love with me. Lol.

    Im still with my friend, even though I had totally demonized him into a socio and fucked up his life after he left me for another woman overnight. Talk about abandonment paranoia come to life!

    Thing I am saying is if you want to forgive him and get past, you do. People fuck up. You will fuck up with him. You would want him to offer that level of consideration when you do.

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    1. "if you want to forgive him and get past, you do. People fuck up. You will fuck up with him. You would want him to offer that level of consideration when you do."

      Yes, exactly. I know I'm going to fuck up at some point. Forgiveness is so important for Borderlines in relationships. Understanding as well. He was very receptive to what I was saying and didn't try to blame me or deny responsibility so I think there's a good chance he was very sincere in what we discussed.

      I just really wasn't expecting that experience. I think it'll be ok.

      Yeah, I think my Therapist is kind of prude-ish when it comes to sex. It's obvious to me that she has a lot of her own hang ups when it comes to sex. I don't think that makes her entirely wrong. If it's just a casual relationship with no future and it's only for fun, no emotional attachment and purely physical would be fine. I think she sees that this has the potential to be something more and she's seen a pattern in my perception of sex. I use sex to avoid emotional intimacy, not to promot it. And for a healthy relationship that probably isn't great. He may not be my boyfriend, but we're not just fuck buddies either. We go out, have conversations for hours, all that stuff. ::laughs:: We're actually doing everything that a committed couple would do (including not seeing anyone else), except without the labels. ::shrug::

      idk. Part of what I'm trying to do with all aspects of my life is incorporate my Emotional experience with my Physical experience and not detach between the two. This is one more area that she thinks it would be healthy for me to work on.

      Oh my. Your friend sounds like a handful. I know those kind of relationships all too well =(

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    2. Yeah. We do the emotional tango. He triggers my fear of abandonment, which makes me step forward and get clingy, which triggers his fear of engulfment, which makes his step back, and then I sense it and right myself, and he swoops back in. Its fun. Kinda.

      Except when its not. But it usually is. Life with two emotionally unavailable people. I find, though, that as I work on my own issues, get "better", I still enjoy being with him. Things are actually getting better. Less of the above tripping. We've gotten to know each other well. Hes not a socio, but he def has some dissociation and empathy issues. Dont we all lol. As long as I see him as a flawed human and not a demon or an angel, I am fine.

      I think we have reached some pretty deep emotional intimacy, which is scary for both of us. Honestly, the less I analyze it and the more I just give in and allow myself to be in love with him WHEN I am with him. The rest of the time, I am honestly tying to pretend he doesnt exist, which he doesnt in a way, he only exists out of my desperation to feel him when hes not there, which now I know I dont, or cant or can learn or not, idk, but it doesnt matter. Life is too fucking short to get caugt up in labels. What if one day you turn around and say "HOLY SHIT! We've been together for 10 years. We never promised it, but you were there when I needed you and here you are still!"

      I dont want a promise of commitment. Those words are meaningless. No point in bothering. If that makes me subbornly emotionally unavailable, they can fuck off. I think it just means I am realistic and understand you set yourself up for heartbreak, the more conditions and promises you make. And you tie yourself, sometimes forever, to some impulsive decisions.

      You said your dad told you not to quit. My dad always called me a quitter. He said I never followed through. I was married for ten years and every time I contemplated leaving, I would hear his voice. Calling me a quitter. And I stayed.

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    3. But I did leave, thankfully and now I am free and I see how harmful trying to make natural, evolving, flowing, flawed human relationships fit into neat little boxes is futile and detrimental to my psyche.

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    4. What's funny is I actually hear music and see the dance steps with that particular tango haha. Bleh.

      It was great. Until it wasn't. I find myself saying this too much I think. It hink that may be a minor concern of Splitting. It's all good, or it's all bad. I just realized I really did just chuck this whole weekend into a 'bad' category, even though 99% of it was pretty good.

      It's funny. I'm usually very good at accepting that another person is flawed. Or has flaws. It's myself that I can not accept flaws in. That another person has flaws doesn't trigger my idealization/devaluations unless those flaws present in how they treat me.

      Learning to analyze things less is a neat trick. I need to learn that skill. Cuz I overanalyze the shit out of everything.

      I think the need for labels comes from a need for security. With Evil-Ex I was incredibly insecure in that relationship (for good reason) so it was important for me to know where he stood with me. With Tech Boy I really don't have anything to question so it doesn't seem like a big deal, except I'm not sure 'what's appropriate' in terms of silly things like V-day. I think that feeling of security with someone is important, but what you call the relationship? No, not at all. So yeah, I agree completely. If they're there for you that's what matters.

      Heh, my dad wouldn't allow me to quit. Even when I wanted to because I was too overwhelmed I had to stick with it til the end. I'm not sure that was completely healthy but it is what it is. I think it's good to finish what you start. However, people change. Relatoinships change. Situations change. Committments change. You absolutely made the right decisions leaving. Getting yourself out of a destructive environment and away from an abusive person is not 'quitting', it's taking care of yourself.

      There are no absolutes when it comes to things like that, on relative experiences. <~~~~ Take that Splitting.

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    5. ;)

      "It's myself that I can not accept flaws in. That another person has flaws doesn't trigger my idealization/devaluations unless those flaws present in how they treat me."

      This. Yes. Those are the only flaws I ever see lol. Im more or less blind to other "flaws" because I just see character quirks. I like quirky people. I stick with my own kind.

      Yeah, I dont know where the future will take me and for the first time in my life Ive decided not to worry. Thats my 2012 resolution. No big decisions all year. Fun as much as possible. Next year will be about onward and upword. This year is about letting go.

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  3. lionel richie annyone?

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  4. haven are you dominant or submissive in your relationships?
    do you pick a strong partner?

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    1. No one has ever accused me of being submissive ever in my life, haha. I tend to be dominant though I also prefer dominant partners. I'm attracted to strong, assertive people.

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  5. "...it’s a way to make my partner happy with me in a way that will lessen the chance they will leave me. Being open to new sexual experiences and things that interest my partner lets me potentially give them something they won’t get other places and endear them to me."

    I know that this is a really old post, but I was reading anything tagged "sex" because I've been having a lot of revelations lately in that area. This particular thing you said really jumped out at me.
    I'm thinking I need to write an entry or something on this to organize my thoughts a little better, but this really struck me.
    I realized that I don't, and never have, ENJOYED sex.
    Well, as in, penetration.
    Receiving oral sex is a different case, I guess because it's completely about me.
    My point, though, is that I am 24 years old and have slept with 20 people. More than half of those in the past 3 years, even though I don't even get anything out of it.
    I like the closeness I guess, but really I just like knowing that this person just wanted me enough to have sex with me.
    I think that sex for me is a combination of validation of my worth (although that's usually just temporary) and trying to make sure the person comes back for more.
    I am the same way as you except I can't think of a single hard boundary.
    I guess like gross bodily function stuff?
    It's really a little scary when I think about what I'm willing to do for a little attention or affection.
    I think you hit the nail on the head here.

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

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