Saturday, February 28, 2009
It was a very small house and the bedroom was directly connected to the living room. It was dark in there and the door that separated the two rooms was open about half way. At some point during the evening a strange feeling came over me--or maybe something just caught my eye. I looked over to the dark bedroom and saw a figure. Since I was in a brighter room it was difficult to focus in on what I was seeing. I kept looking, straining my neck and squinting my eyes. After a few blinks and squints, my eyes became adjusted and I realized David was sitting up in bed, still as a statue, and had a double barrel shot gun pointed directly at me.
I screamed and dove to the floor. I was sobbing, and started shouting "DON'T SHOOT ME! WHAT ARE YOU DOING??" He calmly got out of bed, put the gun away and said "Stop whining! I'm not going to do anything!" He rolled his eyes and went in the kitchen.
He treated me like I over reacted. To this day I have no idea how long he had been sitting there like that or what he really intended to do.
I don't remember much about the rest of that night, but in the state I was in at that point in my life, it's safe to say I was probably apologizing to him for blowing the whole thing out of proportion. I often ended up apologizing to David after he'd done something like this. He had so much power over me that things always got twisted around to seem like my fault.
Looking back now, this was obviously a huge contributor to my control issues today. After I finally got away from David I vowed I would never allow anyone to treat me that way again. In my mind, to keep that from happening it was clear I would need to be in complete control of any relationship from this point on.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
You hear people say it a lot, but what does it really mean?
Dealing with feelings can be an uncomfortable experience, initially. It means we stop running from our emotions, from what's really going on with us. We stand still and feel our feelings. Feelings are emotional energy; our feelings are our responsibility. We avoid blaming our emotions on others; letting our feelings control us; and trying to control others with our feelings. Usually, that's all that's required to make them go away. Ignoring our feelings doesn't make them go away; it makes them get bigger, or come out in strange, unpredictable, and often undesirable ways. Many of us learned in our families that it wasn't okay to feel. Now, we're learning differently. We're learning to accept and value the emotional part of ourselves as important and closely connected to happiness and health.
-Codependents' Guide To The Twelve Steps
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
A very dear friend of mine feels guilty if she does anything at all for herself aside from basic needs. I think I'll invite her out for a lunch one day, or maybe even a pedicure.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The incident I wrote about yesterday was just one of many. There were a hundred more just like it or worse. I don't want to relive the past and I don't want to reopen old wounds, but I think if I go back a little here and there and look at some of the things that happened to me between 1983 and 1990 I might be able to see why I behave the way I do today.
Monday, February 16, 2009
By the time they came out of the bar at around 2:00 a.m. I had worked myself into quite a frenzy. Even though it was summer, I was shaking down to my bones. My hands were frozen and unsteady. I waited for them to walk near me and then I started the car. I blinded them with my bright headlights as I gunned straight towards them. Then, at the last moment I slammed on my brakes and got out of the car. I screamed. I cursed. I think I even pretended to faint. I heard my mild-mannered friend actually threaten them both with physcial harm, and say the "F" word for the first time ever. Of course it was a huge scene; one of many in my sordid life.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Addictive behaviors are more dangerous than compulsive ones. "Addictive" refers to behaviors that are out of control and causing negative consequences in our lives, but that we persist in anyway. Addictive behaviors are usually engaged in to get high or get numb. We can be addicted to a substance, such as alcohol or drugs, or to a behavior, such as eating or gambling.
In the past couple of weeks, two different friends of mine returned to smoking, after they seemed to have it licked. One of them hadn't smoked in three years. One or both cited stress at work and at home, and the stress of the power being out for so many days.
Yesterday after a particularly stressful visit to the doctor and a massive East End traffic jam, I decided I deserved a visit to the Wendy's drive-thru, which included an order of french fries; something I rarely ever eat. I knew they would make me sick (they did), but I ate them anyway because somehow I jusitified that I deserved them.
There is a cake in the house right now and it doesn't seem to be tempting anyone but me. I look at it every time I go in the kitchen. The other people in the house who could eat it don't seem to care a thing about it. I'll probably have to throw some of it out.
I guess it's a good thing we're not all addicted to the same thing, and I'm not sure what leads us to that "one thing" that keeps luring us in like a moth to a flame. I hate cigarettes; obviously mine is food. For some it's alcohol or gambling or sex or pills or, as Sally pointed out even caffeine. Personally, I can't imagine being addicted to caffeine, it makes my chest hurt and my heart race.
Whatever the vice, if it is harmful to us or others, we must constantly be aware of it and continually work to keep it at bay. We have to be stronger than our temptation. Short term goals help, as does the tried-and-true AA approach.....I won't drink (or overeat) just for today.
Monday, February 9, 2009
After dinner Saturday night, someone in my house splattered a dab of spaghetti sauce on the floor next to the garbage can.
I kept meaning to go wipe it up but I kept forgetting, or maybe I just kept putting it off (you all know I don't have time to be a good housekeeper).....anyway every time I threw something into the garbage over the weekend I saw it.
So you know those ink blots psychiatrists make you look at to see what's going on inside your head? Your eye turns them into objects or designs and the psychiatrist can tell what you may be thinking (or even obsessing) about from your interpretation of the ink blots. Well, every time I looked at the splat of spaghetti sauce on the floor I saw a spider. It was as clear as a bell--definitely a spider.
Now why would I be seeing a spider in the spaghetti sauce splat???
Our power is our ability to take responsibility for ourselves-to think, feel, solve problems, and find our direction. Our power lies in speaking our truth, setting appropriate boundaries, refusing to tolerate abuse or mistreatment, and sometimes, being vulnerable. Our power means discerning what is real and right for us. Owning our power does not mean controlling others or having power over them. It doesn't mean allowing others to control us. It doesn't mean reacting to others out of fear or a need to manage them. it means finding that centered place within us and acting from that place.
One of the hardest concepts to me is that letting go of power often gives you more power. The harder I try to control, the less control I actually have. We just have to find that perfect mix of letting go while not compromising the boundaries we have set and not allowing others to control us.
Sure sounds easy, doesn't it?
Friday, February 6, 2009
We've been diligently studying the Twelve Steps and I for one, am tired. There have been layoffs and office closings at work. My good friend Jay lost his job. My mom's brother died. My best friend had a car wreck. The city was paralyzed from an ice storm and many of us were without power for days.
I really think it's time to kick back with some mindless fun. It's time for a Mary's MILF.
There's not much he could do to a girl that he couldn't fix (at least temporarily) by singing her the song "Sorry".
I'm sorry you're blue
I'm sorry 'bout all the things I said to you
and I knowI can't take it back."
I'd be trying to fix something about him within the first week, but man what a week it would be until then!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
How do we share this message? Not by rescuing. Not by controlling. Not by obsessing.
We carry this message in subtle but powerful ways: by doing our own recovery work and becoming a living demonstration of hope, self-love, self-nurturing, and health. Learning to remove ourselves as victims, take care of ourselves, and walk our own path is a powerful message.
I'm slowly learning to work the Steps. Writing this mini-series has helped me become more familiar with them and what they mean to me. Some Steps are coming easier than others. I'm trying hard to focus on myself, not on others. I believe I'm portraying myself less as a victim to other people.
Writing this journal is helping me stay focused and may be my contribution to Step Twelve.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Of all the relationships we are learning to rebuild in our recovery from codependency, our relationships with ourselves and with our Higher Power are the most important ones. This Step tells us how to do that. We pray and meditate to improve our connection with God and ourselves.
How many times have we begged God for something, gotten furious because we didn't get it, then felt so grateful a year later when God's agenda worked so much better than our own? We don't always know what's best for us. We can pray for things big and small, but we should always pray for God's will to be done; even if we don't understand it at the time.
Praying is how we keep ourselves-our souls-connected to God. It is where change begins.
My friend Sally and I have talked about prayer a lot since I've been writing this journal, and we are amazed at the results in our lives. You don't have to be a certain religion to pray. You don't have to pray a certain way. Just talk to God and be who you are. When you meditate God will talk to you. It's very simple.
"Thy will be done."
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I can not stand to be in trouble. I worry incessantly just thinking I'm in trouble. I'm 45 years old and I still cannot bear to think I've disappointed my Dad....or my husband....my children.....Scarlett......anyone! Sadly, I see this same codependent trait in my nine year old daughter. Even at her grown up "tween" age, she'll sit and cry if she thinks I'm angry with her. We'll be working on that....
Part of taking this Step means that I can give an apology or accept an apology and then move on. I don't have to punish others for their wrongs, I don't have to punish myself for wrongs. I just need to acknowledge my mistakes, learn from them and move on.
I still enjoy looking at the daily checklist I posted in this journal a few weeks ago. It's a great way to take a daily personal inventory.