Tag: anger

Becoming like them would be worse

What a week. On Tuesday, again I was crying, asking, what is happening across the world. Every day there seems to be more violence and anger and fear and it is felt all the more as it erupts in places we thought were safe and stable. The murder of the Priest Fr Jacques Hamel in a small town, St Etienne-du-Rouvray, outside Rouen, was particularly shocking for many reasons including the fact that it shows such acts of war can happen anywhere. Loss of life is equally terrible wherever and whenever it happens and I fully hear the call of those pointing out that atrocities like this go on every day potentially unreported in areas of the world suffering indescribably more than the continent I am privileged to live in. Certainly the spread of attacks in European cities in the last month shakes us by making us realise there is no longer any way we can pretend it is something distant from us or not affecting us.

Some of my family set off today on a holiday driving through France and Spain.  I will be more mindful of their safety and praying all the harder for them than usual. I can’t imagine what it is like living somewhere that has been directly affected. Understandably, there is a call to action. Churches in the UK have all been asked to review their security systems, for example.

One part of the response that I find very alarming is the segregating, defensive, even attacking language and stance that spread quickly in articles and comments on a couple of pages I follow. I can understand the roots of this response, for example, the desire to remove the threat of extremism and restore safety and silence those who preach hate. But very quickly we risk acting in hate ourselves. In the days following Saint Etienne, I read several alarming comments calling for us to take up the crusade against the Muslim world which we supposedly “left unfinished”, saying that anyone who raises their children in the Muslim faith condones these barbaric acts, saying that terrorism spreads from anger (okay, that part I can accept) which spreads from bad education about the source of the Arabic world’s problems and to stop it we have to educate the angry young men who may be recruited by extremists that the Western World is infinitely better than theirs and all their problems are of their own making.

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”

(John 13 v 35)

Perhaps I’m naive but I was shocked. Of course I am not suggesting tolerance or negotiation with extremism / extremists. However, somehow, I don’t think asserting our superiority is going to calm their anger. I don’t think responding to extremists’ war with a “holy war” of our own is a way to bring peace. Labelling a whole religion or culture on the basis of the way an extremist group twists its teachings and seeking to obliterate it, is not a solution to bring peace. Quickly we become anger and we speak in hate. We become like the aggressors that we fear.

I prefer Fr Dominic LeBrun, Archbishop of Rouen’s, response when he was leaving the World Youth Day pilgrimage in Poland to return to France the day after the attack on Fr Jacques. “I cry out to God with all men of goodwill… The Catholic Church has no arms than prayer and fraternity among men. I will leave behind here hundreds of young people who are the future of true humanity. I ask them not to give up in the face of such violence and to become apostles for a civilisation of love.”

Becoming apostles for a civilisation of love does not mean a saccharine sweet front or a return to Flower Power (!) but a genuine and often painful call to continue through pain, instability, suffering, hate and poverty responding in love – still allowing ourselves to dare to feel things other than anger and coldness that might protect our hearts, allowing ourselves to hope, allowing ourselves to believe somehow that people are foremost created for good, including ourselves.

IMG_0189.JPG

This applies on an intimate scale too. I apply it to my recovery from what I experienced at the hands of my abuser. That way I do not become what she wanted me to become and do not become like her.

If I give up, stop seeking the good in the little things of every day, I become isolated, as she desired. If I believe the voices, which pleases them – and pleased her – then I remain paralysed and in her control. If I shut myself away and do not speak because I know the torment that will go on in my head afterwards because of her twisted words and threats so firmly internalised, her world continues to surround me. If I allow anger to harden my heart then numb me; if I do not dare learn to let anyone love me; if I do not dare to allow my feelings and needs without punishing myself, then she wins.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

(Proverbs 31 v 25)

If I keep looking out and up, I learn to be thankful for a world which teaches us constantly more about our loving Creator. If I counter the voices with God’s Word of truth and life, I become like Him. If I reach out with love wherever I see someone suffering or in need, I forget my own, and good experiences multiply and become more wonderful and more vivid than the fears. If I believe the Lord made us in His image and “clothes with strength and dignity”*, I believe first in my capacity for good and slowly may learn that I am not the evil that she so well convinced me that I am. In all I do, Lord, may “my deeds publicly declare Your praise”*.

Ginny xxx

*Proverbs 31 vs 25 and 31.

 

PS – for fellow NCIS fans…this episode sprang to mind…

becoming like him would be worse

Ziva: This country holds itself to a higher standard. It is a nation of laws which are to be followed not only when it is convenient or easy. I have seen firsthand what happens when convenience wins out.

Tony: You never talk about it.

Ziva: What is there to talk about?

Tony: [Long pause] Come on, Ziva.

Ziva: What Saleem did was bad enough. Becoming like him would be worse.

From NCIS Season 7 – “Masquerade”

PPS: NCIS property of Channel 5 and CBS; directed by Donald Bellisario and produced by Don McGill. Image – Cote de Pablo as Ziva (not from Masquerade because I couldn’t find a suitable appropriate one from Masquerade).

 

As long as we have HOPE

As long as we have HOPE

katniss prim hands

“Fear does not work as long as they have hope, and Katniss Everdeen is giving them hope.” – President Snow, in The Hunger Games – Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Of all possible characters in the Hunger Games trilogy, I did not expect to be quoting President Snow! However, I think Suzanne Collins has voiced a truth here that we can hold on to.

prim volunteer hunger games

Fear does not work as long as you have hope. I’m learning this. I’ve been thinking on it for a few days and it’s a message particularly for today. There has been another terrorist attack in Europe, a lorry driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice in France, killing over 80 people. Waking up to learn this, I felt fear, grief, sadness, helplessness, unable to know what to do, seeing nothing I can do to make the hurt and tragedy better for everyone suffering in this. I can’t imagine how afraid everyone in Nice is.

Fear does not work as long as you have hope. Watching the news there seem to be fewer safe places, nowhere out of reach of the hurt and damage that comes from anger, terrorism and extremism. It comes closer to home both in these violent acts and in the people fleeing even further violence as refugees.

Terrorism is designed to take away hope. I cannot do anything to directly practically change what happened in Nice, or at the Bataclan, or Baghdad, or Turkey. But – as long as we have hope. Hope can start very small and very close to home. I can choose to carry out every little action, with care and attention and love. I can choose thankfulness in my day to day life. I can choose to replace an angry response with a questioning one or a loving one. I can’t get back the lives the terrorists have taken. I can kneel and pray with the grieving. Nothing takes away the suffering for those who have lost lives and lost loved ones, but in choosing to place HOPE in God, in love, in goodness, in every moment being an opportunity for us to be thankful and love, I can stop the terrorists also taking over my heart with the fear and hurt and hate they spread. Every time such frightening and destructive things happen, I can try to be a little more conscious of my choice to hold onto hope and my choice to love others around me. And I have to say – Tammi Kale, you inspired me to take this approach in a comment you left on one of my earlier posts. So a big big THANK YOU to you Tammi.

The same applies to the path of recovering from the fear placed in me by my abuser.  What has happened is terrible and letting her have my heart would be worse – by me becoming fear, hurt, rage, or even cold and numb and unable to bring any fruit. This will be a very long journey, I know, because her grip on my heart and my memories is still very great. Strongest is the deeply planted doubt that it was my fault, that nobody would ever believe a child could be so bad but it was all because of me really, and the doubt that pulls me apart when I dare to speak and the voices that taunt me and scream at me and tell me I’m a fake and a liar and ugly and disgusting. I couldn’t have any hope when I started my treatment. I really needed someone to hold it for me. Gradually, I am learning to hold onto hope for myself. I am learning that I can act in love. I am learning that carrying hurt, pain, need, crying, does not make me evil. I am learning that admitting these feelings does not make me dangerous. I am learning that I am not the feelings.

I am learning to believe in a God who is not repulsed or driven away by darkness and failure. My God says the night is just the same as day to Him. My God says He created me – and you – in His image. His image, not evil, is at the centre of my poor heart, although it is small and hurting and I feel very weak. He has placed us here to become more and more like Him, more closely united to Him, and to be His hands to carry His merciful love in this hurting world. In order to do this, I must learn to be loved, first. And it dawned on me that perhaps I do not know how to be loved because the fear planted by my abuser has taken over so much of my heart. This is going to be a long road, as I said. Being formed into our loving God’s image, and learning to be loved, gives a hope that cannot be taken away. Learning to be loved takes away fear.

katniss prim Hope catching fire

Prim – Since the last games, something is different, I can see it.

Katniss – What can you see?

Prim – Hope.

– The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (movie)

[Stills of Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) and Willow Shields (Prim) from The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; property of Suzanne Collins / Lionsgate Entertainment. Images sourced from fanpop.com and thehungergames.wikia.com]

Infuriated by cold calls!

Has anyone else noticed a surge in the number of nuisance calls / cold calls since the start of this year?

I am very careful about giving out my phone number. If I have to give it for a legitimate reason I am always careful never to opt in to giving permission for my number to be used for future marketing etc, and always to opt out where I need to. Inevitably I got the odd nuisance call but in the past few months it has become ridiculous – I’m being contacted on my mobile several times per day at times.

I don’t know where this sudden surge has come from and it really makes me very irritated! Perhaps I should just hang up but the number of lies they appear to tell and how keen they are to make things my fault and avoid apologising, really makes me cross. I have had people pretending to be from my phone provider, pretending to be from Experian,  telling me they can’t take my number off their records, and most ridiculously yesterday, telling me that they don’t have a telephone number, don’t know who their manager is and don’t know where they themselves work or what their address is. I kid you not…. I even had someone calling me a “silly cow” and launching into further verbal aggression because I asked them not to call again. It’s quite unbelievable. The effect these calls must have on more vulnerable people could be huge, given the length of deception they are willing to go to.

Given that they are prepared to tell any number of lies, even to withholding their name and their company’s address and telephone number, they are able to leave the recipients of their calls powerless to stop the inconvenience. When I worked at a hospital, we received similar calls there too. They became so numerous we investigated whether the switchboard could block the nuisance numbers. We found out that they had tried and been unable to. The calls were even coming into phones in the A & E department, blocking lines on phones that should have been reserved for paramedics to call ahead when bringing trauma cases to the emergency room (after road traffic accidents etc)! And even when informed of this,  the companies failed to remove the numbers from their databases. How could they possibly think that was okay? (Moreover how did they ever get the numbers in the first place?)

Anyhow. That’s my rant over for the day, I promise!

Ginny xxx

Not that girl

Alert for stupid self indulgent sad post :/

I wrote this post a few days ago. It’s a struggle to admit to these feelings and to how it’s hurting me. It’s one of those times I feel so childish and needy and that I should just get over it. I’m taking a risk and posting this and maybe I’ll see what happens and see what you think. Maybe it’ll help me let it go too.

….

I’m trying to accept that my ex has got married. That though he left me saying the thought of marriage made him want to run, and he never wanted children and had no understanding of the meaning of marriage or the idea of being open to having children, he didn’t want the changes to his life that a relationship would bring, he didn’t want the personal social or financial implications – despite all this he now has a wife and two young step daughters and an extended step family and he’s arranging his wife and daughters’ immigration to the UK.

Everything he told me he wanted and believed he now has the opposite. He was so utterly against having children and he now has two. He was against any change or disruption to his routine but he’s maintaining a transcontinental marriage and arranging all the immigration process and naturally bringing his new family to his home, which will completely change every part of his life. And so on.

At the same time as I learnt this I learnt he saw me as a financial drain. He resented the slightest extra expense he saw our relationship (ie me) as causing, even a taxi or bus fare because with my disabilities I couldn’t walk everywhere as he would. He thought I drove his friends away and cost him his friends and lodgers  (at one point I along with two other people rented rooms in the house he owned and we did not always get along and there were arguments and as my and his relationship progressed ams so did that of one of the other lodgers with her boyfriend, she moved out). He resented time I wanted us to spend together. He was more and more angry if I wanted to try to build the emotional side of our relationship or pray together.

I don’t think there was anything good for him in the relationship apart from the physical side. He admitted he was physically drawn to me and had been for some time before our relationship started, and that he continued to be since. That terrified me. And I felt used too. That he resented anything emotional or spiritual and saw me as a drain and source of anger, yet had some physical want for me. I feel revulsion the two are separated and disgust at myself that I was so repulsive to him as a person but there to be taken physically. No we didn’t go “all  the way” or go against our faith’s teaching but there was intimacy and it is enough to terrify me. I don’t understand it properly yet. Perhaps it’s something to do with my childhood abuser’s hate of me but control and use of my body.

Anyway. … it’s also harder to accept because I found out the lady he has married has been a close friend and correspondent of his for over 10 years, that is to say well before my relationship with him began. I knew of her and thought she was an occasional penfriend. I didn’t know the depth of their friendship. I don’t think he was unfaithful but all the bonds that were lacking in my relationship with him were there between him and her all along. Everything he resented and wanted to run from with me, like time spent together or having children, he had and wanted with her. So it felt like it was so clearly me that he wanted to run from, not the things themselves.

It’s ironic that I found all this out at a time I was already thinking that my mental health had greatly affected my relationship with him (my Borderline was not yet diagnosed at the time). I had been planning in any case to tell him about my diagnosis because I did already feel responsible for a lot of why our relationship failed, because of my emotional instability, crying, anger, intense need of his presence and reassurance. So what I found out should have come as no surprise. Yet it is still a shock.

I’m not that girl. I’m not the right person to share his life or bring him joy. She’s got him. She always had him really. I am glad for them. I am happy for them and for the stability they will share. Despite his resentment for me I still feel an ache and painful sadness when I think of us or hear of them. Despite how much he disliked me, basically, and how little it seems we shared from his point of view, in my heart I can’t accept we didn’t share anything genuine in our companionship.  Then again it seems we didn’t from his point of view. There is not going to be an answer to that really.

I told a trusted friend about how I’m feeling and what my ex has now told me about our relationship. She said he sounds like a complete jerk. And the thing is, reading this,listening  to me, perhaps you would think that. But I don’t think he is. A lot of the time I was with him he acted understanding and kind and generous. That was partly why it was such a shock when we broke up. He was committed to his work and the church and gave a lot of help to several people in need. It was only when we broke up, and then now as I’ve found out about the wedding and his wife and daughters and he’s admitted what he actually thought of me, that I feel both used and guilty he resented me so much. It feels like nothing I thought we shared was genuine somehow because all the while he was feeling something totally different from me and totally different from what I thought he was feeling. I don’t want to make out he’s a nasty person. I was so sure he was and is a good person. I’m so confused.

When he brings his new family to the UK, there will be another wedding ceremony over here, and this will be important, as this ceremony will make them married in the Church body as well (at present they have had a civil ceremony in the law of her home country; they have not sealed their vows in the church). I will hear of it, I must be prepared and accept and learn to wish them well. I do wish them well.

I’m not that girl and I must not allow myself any more self indulgent lingering in the pain I’m feeling. There are many questions that won’t be answered. They have found each other as it should be. There is another place for me. I need to give them to the Lord now and keep looking forward to the good relationships that I’m in today and what I can do, not back to the questions and pain I can’t solve.

Ginny xxX

 

BPD and “Warhammer 40k”

I have a colleague who is really into the science fiction fantasy board game, Warhammer. It’s his main hobby. I can’t even begin to explain how the game works so, thanks to Wikipedia:

“Warhammer 40,000 (informally known asWarhammer 40K, WH40K or simply 40K) is a tabletop miniature wargame produced byGames Workshop, set in a dystopian science-fantasy universe. Warhammer 40,000 was created by Rick Priestley in 1987 as the futuristic companion to Warhammer Fantasy Battle, sharing many game mechanics. Expansions for Warhammer 40,000 are released periodically which give rules for urban, planetary siege and large-scale combat. The game is in its seventh edition, which was released on May 24, 2014.”

My colleague has gradually assembled a collection of the figures / characters used in the game, building and painting each one. Apologies to readers familiar with the game as I’m sure “figures” isn’t the proper term. It’s a very detailed game which I understand is played across the world.

I have never played Warhammer and it is too much based around war and combat for me personally to enjoy. However, as my friend told me about the game, I was interested by the premise on which the universe and how the characters originated. I’ve long been attracted to the way fantasy world stories and games allow us to explore emotions and values that may seem both threatening and fundamental in every day life. I think that’s why I enjoy the Divergent trilogy, the Hunger Games series and Harry Potter.

In Warhammer, as I understood it at least,  emotions like rage, anger, depression, lust, and so on take on a monstrous form and inhabit their own plane that was somehow separated from the world we live in. However they can sometimes get through the division between the two planes, into the world, as monsters and destroyers, and attack or take possession of people.

I thought that was quite a vivid description of the emotions that we fear. Sometimes I dissociate and cannot feel. It’s as though the emotions are supposedly safely shut away in the other plane, leaving absence and numbness, but still draining and hollowing me out so I no longer know who I am. The veil that keeps them shut away is increasingly unstable. It shifts and weakens and then with horrifying force, the violent and monstrous emotions burst through back into my reality. They attack. They hurt. They scream fury or whisper paranoia and guilt. They cling, unbearable and foul. They consume me, control me and wrap themselves so tight around my insides that all I sense is pain and I lose sight of everything good. Hope and empathy seem to have fled. I do the terrible things I most fear.

Sometimes I worry what the creators of games like this have been through to come up with these images! Or perhaps it only reads this way to people who think like me 🙂

Ginny xxx

Not my day off

Today has been demanding. It’s one of those days that seems too much to have been only one day. I got big stuff done but also I’m losing time in unsettling ways and I know I was dissociating a lot between the different tasks and meetings I had to do, slipping out of being engaged with what’s going on and what I’m feeling and struggling to come back. Nevertheless I got through quite a few challenges.

Last night I knew I needed to tidy and clean my flat. My support worker was coming today. Also I hadn’t been on top of the housework since my operation and it was bothering me more and more. Recently I’ve started to find a greater sense of order and calmness if I don’t have too many things disorganised around me. This is interesting because til now, I’ve tended towards accumulating things I don’t need and not being able to keep my house ordered, not exactly hoarding but not being able to face items and paperwork and household tasks without going into panic.

Yesterday I was very anxious about today but put some of the physical drive from the anxiety into cleaning and then went on to clearing out some of my cupboards. By late evening I’d cleared 7 big bags (between rubbish and charity shop) and set 3 more big bags of things to try to sell at a car boot sale. The fact I don’t have a car for the boot element of that plan is potentially problematic 🙂 but there are the odd few table-top, largely indoor, sales in community centres / church halls here in the summer and I’m hoping I can find one to join in.

Today was a struggle to get up. Everything hurt. Still, I got together the papers I needed to show my new support worker (more on this tomorrow), then it was off to my care coordination appointment with my CPN. This wasn’t easy to go to because, although my last appointment was okay, in the two previous appointments I’d been really distressed and felt I didn’t get heard when I was desperate and at risk. Today’s appointment was actually really good. We looked at some DBT skills and we did a review which was overdue (every 6 months or so is a review appointment). I’ve not yet felt able to discuss with my care coordinator exactly what went wrong in the difficult appointments earlier this year when everything was going to pieces. I’m scared I’d lose control and the feelings of anger and not being believed would return and I’d do bad things and be back where I was. However my care coordinator and I have managed to move forwards having 2 positive appointments. I was scared after what I’d done – how upset and angry I’d got – he wouldn’t believe me or want me anymore and they’d know how bad I am and that I didn’t deserve help. That hasn’t happened. That’s something that I don’t usually get to experience.

Straight after my care coordination I met my support worker, H., who is from a housing support charity I was referred to recently. He is going to help me sort out my benefits like Housing & Council Tax Benefit, Tax Credits and disability benefits,  as well as liaising with my landlord about the rent arrears that I got into when I lost my job last year. It was a long appointment. We went through the background to how I’d got here, financially and in terms of my health, and we looked at lots of documentation, my income and my benefit and Council Tax notices. This took a lot out of me and I came so close inside to panic and losing it and emotions shooting too high. H. was very calm and non judgemental, which helped a lot. (More on this in the next couple of days.)

Then I had to rush to my GP appointment, which was the first since I’d been very distressed and angry at the surgery a couple of weeks ago;  also the first since my operation and finding out endometriosis isn’t actually the explanation for my pain and gynae issues. I’m still working through what happened in today’s appointment. I was dreading going into the surgery because I’m still terrified of what I did and how much I lost it. I was ashamed and embarrased and knew that they probably didn’t want me around again. I knew I’d really upset and inconvenienced and disturbed people. I’d scared people. That’s the worst thing,  the harm I caused, the bad I’ve always feared getting out of me. Talking to the GP  and discussing what happened and then also talking about my physical health was really emotionally charged.  It’s hard trying to deal with a lot of uncertainties about my physical symptoms. I know not having endometriosis is a really good thing but not having any explanation for all the things I thought it explained, and the fact the doctor isn’t really interested any more in investigating what may be wrong – well, that’s hard and triggers all my fears that it’s all in my head, I’ve made it up or I’m mad, it’s my fault. …

After the GP it was off to the pharmacy with my prescription, then finally home.

It’s been quite a day. I had a soothing bath tonight. Today was the first day I could have a bath since the operation (don’t worry I promise I did still wash 😉 !). The doctor sealed the wound with dissolvable stitches so it was important not to soak them in water too soon or they could have come undone. Also it was not safe to try to get in and out of the bath whilst my mobility was further reduced with post op effects. Falling is a risk for me anyway because of the problems the fibromyalgia and arthritis cause in my legs. So, tonight was a good little relaxation and refreshment. The little things do help!

How has your day been?

Ginny xxx

 

A closing drawbridge and a silent cry: too much; too big

 

A closing drawbridge and a silent cry

Eating disorders and personality disorder

My body becoming too much

WARNING: this post contains potentially triggering content on the topic of eating disorders, weight, body image and emotions. Please proceed with caution. Please note that in this post I express my distressed thoughts about my body and the relationship between my body, needs, emotions and relationships. I’m aware that a lot of these thoughts are part of my personality disorder and historic eating disorders. I am not advocating or encouraging these perceptions and feelings but describing what the process of trying to live with my body and face emotions is like. I think the stage of therapy I’m going through is bringing a lot of this distress to the surface. 

My body is changing. It’s out of my control (or so it feels, though the angry punishing eating disordered voice in my head says it’s me that’s out of control – disgusting fat b*tch – and my own disgusting failure).

I have gained so much weight in the past 2 years. I have tried hard in the last few weeks to lose and done all the things that used to be my trusted go-to solutions, with the exception of using illicit medications. I have failed and no matter that I succeeded in restriction, my weight has hardly dropped. If anything, now I feel more out of control. Sometimes I wonder if any of it is to do with being in my 30s now (quarter aged spread instead of middle aged spread?!) and my mobility being poorer with so much physical pain just now.  But that does nothing to justify the gain or calm me. Many people taking the medications I take report weight gain as a side effect even when restricting.  I think it increases my appetite but I know so does my need for comfort and my lonely emptiness and my…feeling. Feeling that’s dangerous and unchecked and explosive.

Anorexia meant I was never alone. I was cold and numb and empty and hurting, but needs and unbearable feeling stayed where they belonged and I dissociated, living somewhere whiter, higher, safer, always with the twisted pleasure of bitter success in my spiral to greater protection and greater weakness. Anorexia was my companion, that reassured me all would be well if I did not deviate from this path,  spurring me on with wild energy to control and deprive and make dangerous need and demands unreachable. Soon enough I would detach and dissociate totally then maybe disappear.

Anorexia left me. Abandoned me. I failed yet again. Just like my friends, even my family, my protector and guide left me. Found out I was a vile disgusting greedy failure, undeserving of that whiter place. Anorexia too abandoned me, and sped away to a place I can no longer reach, now that it is proved yet again that really the evil inside consumes and demands and if anyone else thinks differently, it’s only that I’ve tricked them into staying and caring. They’ll leave soon, when they find out.

I could take it if it were only for my protection that I needed my friend anorexia. But the thing is, it was to protect everyone else, first and foremost, from the danger and “too much” “too big”that I am. Without my friend I hurt beyond control and I hurt others beyond control.

I look in the mirror and I’m frightened and recoil from what I see. I wish I could rip myself away from the “too much” in the presence that I see, hating every part of the space I occupy, the weight, the body that absolutely does not seem to fit together right and screams too much, too much. I cannot escape. I cannot get rid of this body and these needs. I cannot stop what it contains, the out of control, the demanding, aching. … alone without my friend to starve and cut and numb and leave this place, I cannot stop the damage I will cause to everyone I so care for and so wish to save, protect and love.

Ginny xxx

Losing her

Warning: this post contains one very brief mention of suicidal thoughts and overdose.

(Also I’ve a feeling it’s a load of rambling junk. Sorry.)

I’ve lost my friend. It really feels like a loss and hurts like she’s gone away, disappeared, except it’s worse because it’s entirely because of me that she’s chosen to go. She doesn’t want to be close anymore, she said; not close like she says she tried to be or like she says I wanted us to be. My personality disorder, me, my thoughts and needs, have made our relationship something stressful she doesn’t want.

I really care for her, I still do. My feelings for her haven’t changed. I still love her as a friend, want to thank her for all the times she has been there, want to do something to make right the hurt I caused, want to be able to be there for her when she wants or needs me – except she didn’t and doesn’t.

I don’t know exactly how long she’d been feeling she didn’t want to be close anymore before she told me. I’d suspected it for a long time. I really hate what I’ve done to her and that I’ve stressed her and been no good to her. I hate that my illness, essentially, me (my thought, my feelings, my needs, my actions) have been too much. Another person has gone away. Another relationship has gone. I’ve hurt someone else.

You can read a bit morehere (around paragraphs 5, 6, 7) and  here and here about some of the history of what happened with N. Our contact had been strained for several months.

After another period of not hearing from her following my last letter, call and texts, last week before my operation I decided to be more open than usual. I sent N an email, thanking her for forgiving me and explaining I was still really worried about the hurt and upset if caused her, and saying that as I wasn’t hearing from her and she hadn’t said anything beyond that she forgave me,  I was not sure if she wanted to stay in touch. The way I see it, N forgiving me for the hurt I caused did not have to mean she wanted to have contact with me going forward. I directly said I wasn’t sure what she wanted, and asked her.

Also, I took quite a risk and explained to her some of the thought process I talked about in my last post on this topic. I explained how when I don’t hear back from someone I really care about, when they stop communicating, or cancel plans, or don’t show without making any contact,  my thoughts are instantly either: that this proves how they can’t possibly want me around really (who would?) and as soon as I start trusting they leave because all along they knew I’m an evil fake really;  or that they are seriously hurt, or ill,  or got in an accident, and it’s my fault. Often both one after the other. Usually I never admit to these thoughts. I know it’s crazy. I know it’s weird. I know it doesn’t make sense I have these thoughts then get angry with people. I don’t want my friends to feel obliged to take into consideration my weird ill thought processes and make allowances for them in what they do. For example, I don’t want them to feel they have to be more careful what they say to me or to keep in touch more regularly with me than they would with another friend. (Paradoxically I don’t know if, in the way I think and what I need, I do require of people an abnormal level of contact. I’m diagnosed Borderline but I think I have features of dependent personality disorder too!) However things had reached such a point with N that I felt I had to be explicit about what I was feeling and why I had found it so hard to cope when over a few months she stopped keeping in touch and seemed to be restricting contact and canceled or altered several plans to meet (this was one of the things we first fell out over a few weeks ago).

I explained all this as well, as my hesitancy to explain it because I didn’t want to pressure her. I said I know that I make it too complicated and I need too much and my illness makes it too hard to be friends. That I really wanted to be there for her but it was clear I totally failed at that and it’s my fault there’s nothing good for her in the relationship. I said I’d rather know straight if it would be better for her not to be in touch with me.

I’ve never been that open with someone about my thought processes about my relationship with them, outside of my therapy group.

N wrote back a few days later. She was empathic – she said she is sorry there is so much distress going on for me. She said she doesn’t keep in touch regularly across the board when she’s busy. She said it’s stressful for both of us to communicate, when there is so much meaning for me in each interaction. She thinks it’s too distressing for me to cope with the likelihood of her changing plans. She said she can’t be as close a friend as she tried to be or as I want her to be. She offered that we can still meet sometimes or email – which surprised me, actually.

I know it isn’t a total end of the relationship. I’m hoping we can in some way keep in touch and I can remember she doesn’t want to be as close. I hope I can do that and not need too much. But I always need too much. Maybe this whole thing wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t. Never would have happened if I didn’t.

One of the things that hurts the most is that I can never now make right the hurt I’ve caused N. I have made her and needed her to be closer than she wanted to be. I have made her stressed and upset when she’s done so much for me. It has been as I feared. I was too much, yet again;  I needed too much, asked too much, my thoughts and my behaviour made everything too much for the other person.

I told N some of that briefly too, and I thanked her for telling me honestly. I tried to tell her I’m sorry and thank you. I fear it appears it has little meaning now. I really meant it. I need to thank her for so much over the years I’ve known her. I don’t know if she knows. It seems to me all I’ve done is stress her. I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been making her be closer than she wanted. She doesn’t know it but she has possibly literally saved my life. One night I was on the brink of a massive overdose. She happened to call me at that time and as we spoke, she and her husband gave me some hope back and pulled me back from the edge. She knew I was distressed but not how close to ending it I was. I didn’t tell her explicitly at the time or afterwards, because I didn’t want to scare her or make her feel responsible for keeping me safe from that in the future if she knew how unstable I was and the potential influence ordinarily insignificant interactions and events could have on me. Now I wish I had told her.

Some while ago someone I care about told me, “look at what your friends do for you, why isn’t it enough for you? It’s nobody else’s responsibility to make you feel better,” and they told me I have to be more together so my emotions don’t dominate everything. Yet again I’ve acted on the basis of my weird thoughts, I’ve needed other people to do more than they wanted to, more than normal, and I’ve needed them to make it better.

I’m going to stop now. This post is a mess. I’m feeling so empty, hurting for losing N, hurting and angry for the harm I’ve done her, desperate because of how my PD and just …me….wrecks relationships and makes me too much.

Ginny xxx

 

Perhaps I should just stop thinking so much… oh, wait…

I’m feeling completely thrown. I know this is yet another thing I should just be able to move on from. Everyone else has. By not letting it go I’m childish and self centred and maybe acting like I have far more influence than I really do and hanging on to things other people just don’t find important. Perhaps part of the problem is how much more things said and time spent together and exchanges make me feel than most people do.

So, after I posted last night I decided to phone my friend N. It was almost 2 weeks since i wrote to her apologising and I hadn’t heard from her.  I was pretty sure she was hurt and angry and that it was likely she was upset and frustrated and didn’t want to meet or keep contact. I did want to just try again to tell her I’m sorry. I didn’t want to ask her to forgive me but I hoped she could know I was sorry and there might be something I could do to make the apology real and somehow make better the harm I’d caused.

I was also increasingly really scared about her. I was really scared I’d made her very ill because of what I’d done and said. I was dreaming about it and suddenly having images of horrible things happening and how much I’d hurt her. I almost always get these panics and fears after I’ve been angry with someone or hurt them emotionally. This had all intensified.

So I resolved to phone her. I was aware some of the need to call her was self centred because I needed to know what the silence of not hearing from her meant and answer my fears about whether she was ill.

When I called, her phone went straight to voicemail – it was switched off. This wasn’t usual. Very often she doesn’t answer, if she’s at work for example, but rarely is the phone switched off. I panicked. I felt complete dread.

I tried to be normal. I texted N. I told her I’m so sorry and some of the things I wanted to say. I said I knew she can’t forgive me and wasn’t asking to meet but I did want her to know I’m sorry. Could I call her?

The voices in my head started telling me she was dead because of me. I was losing it. I was so scared I was shaking and crying and thought I was going to faint. I “knew” she was dead and it was all because of what I did; it was my fault. I actually called the hospital to all if she was admitted. They told me nobody of her name / DoB was admitted or had been admitted. At some point amongst this I rang and texted N’s husband as well. I admitted I was really scared something had happened to N because of me. I said I’m sorry for saying that because it was kind of selfish to have to check and could pressure him into contacting me.

Then I cried and waited and the voices in my head got really loud.

Thankfully N’s husband texted me back within a few minutes promising me she is fine and they were busy but he’d talk to her about getting in touch. I was stunned and so so relieved, above all; also exhausted from having been so scared.

This morning I got a text from N. She said sorry for not replying as she and her husband were very busy, and she did already forgive me – she said she’d already said that she forgives me (at the time we were arguing). She said she hopes I’m a bit better.

I suddenly felt stunned again and really confused. Even more confused than when I didn’t hear from her. I wanted to be massively relieved on the one hand and of course I really was relieved that she’s okay. However questions were firing off in my head.

I hadn’t actually processed at the time we were arguing that she said she forgives me. How did she forgive me when I was still angry and upset and had really hurt her? I hadn’t apologised. I guess if i try to see the situation the other way round,  I hope that I’d forgive her that way too. But I feel she shouldn’t forgive me and I didn’t deserve it when I hadn’t accepted yet the wrong I’d done.

Second, she forgives me and I believe her even though I can’t accept it for myself. What is she feeling? Is she still hurt? Does forgiving mean not feeling hurt? Often when I forgive someone, trying not to hold anger against them, I think I still feel hurt at what happened. I don’t know how to get over that. Actually I worry that means I don’t forgive as I should and hang on to hurts childishly. What is N feeling? Is she still hurt? Have I still hurt her?

What does N want to do now? Does she want to be in touch? Does she want to be in touch on the phone,  email,  meet? What does she actually prefer? As opposed to what she might feel obliged to do…

Finally yet again I see how differently I read the situation from what it meant for her. For example when I didn’t hear from her after I wrote, it meant to me she was definitely still angry, hurting, didn’t want contact etc at best. At worst in confirmed my terrors about what I’d done to her. To her it was just that she was busy. To me, if someone had written to me like that I can’t imagine not contacting the person in at least some way no matter how busy I was, unless I was too hurt / upset / similar to do so. To me my thoughts and feelings about the letter and about the other person and about the other person’s feelings about the letter (aargh! Thought spirals!) would have been so strong I couldn’t possibly understand just not replying at all.

This tells me my thoughts and feelings about N and our friendship are much…. stronger?…than N’s are about me and our friendship. In some way that hurts and in some way it throws me and in some way tells me I’m very very wrong. Am I obsessional? Childish? Needing reassurance? Assuming I have far more effect on others than I do? Even assuming I matter to others, dare I even say wanting to matter to others, far more than I should.

It sounds degrading to the other person to say my feelings are stronger. I don’t mean it like that. It can seem as if I feel a lot more or want to be there a lot more for other people than they do for me. Apart from times I massively hurt them and the dangerous anger in me takes over. I’m really ashamed to admit to the feeling I sometimes have that I care about other people more than they do about me. To even entertain that thought is shameful – it shows a childish, selfish need to be helped and loved and cared for and a longing for someone else to be there for me. It makes no sense to have this feeling, given the guilt I also feel because I know I’m such a burden to people. 

I guess I have plenty of levels of thought and feeling that I shouldn’t and that other people don’t. Being convinced someone is dead or seriously sick because we had an argument is probably pretty weird. Well, it clearly is, when I write it like that. Perhaps I have far too deep levels of thoughts and feelings about people that mean I read the implications of situations totally wrong – lack of contact meaning people are angry or don’t care, when actually they are busy;  the very fact that “busy” is the reason people don’t respond in particular circumstances being something that makes me feel frozen out and unwanted and that it’s impossible people do want me (if I were them, I would act so differently), when actually it should be normal?

Again it comes back to I feel too much and need too much. I probably make relationships draining for the other person because actions mean so different to me than they do to other people. The consequence or meaning of an action is always far greater for me and usually far more to do with wrong I’ve done (like the above example of N’s silence in response to my letter; or when someone canceling meeting up or not wanting to come over when I’m really upset and need help meaning it’s proof they can’t stand me really, when actually it means they’re just too busy).

I texted N back and thanked her and directly asked her first was she still hurt (I didn’t know how she could forgive me at the point I was still angry and hurting her) and second what did she really want to do – did she want to be in touch, did she want to meet? She didn’t say whether she wanted to or not and I felt needed to know what she wanted. I’m waiting to see what she’ll say, if she replies.

Ginny xxx

I’m sorry —

I don’t know what to do about the hurt I’ve caused.

A few weeks ago I posted about how I’d fallen out with my good friend N. I have been wanting to apologise to her. I don’t feel I can ask her to forgive me. I know I hurt her. I know I spoke when I was angry and distraught and I caused her a lot of pain.

I was hurt too. I was desperate and unstable and in crisis and I did really need help, need someone; I was going to pieces. But this doesn’t mean I had the right to demand things from her or that she had to be there for me when she couldn’t. I acted ungrateful and angry. I lost sight of all the care she’d given me.

Then there’s the knowledge that she had found me a burden and my certainty I was an annoyance and inconvenience and angered her and she saw seeing me as a duty and there was nothing good for her in the relationship and she didn’t want to be around me anymore. Who would. She was clear she thought nobody would stay with me when I was in the state I was in. That was true and it was also true I needed someone but that didn’t mean it had to be her.

I know I’ve caused her a huge amount of upset and hurt and been very childish and selfish and needed too much. I know I’ve probably angered and hurt her in ways I don’t know yet or understand. She told me I had.

I don’t know what to do. I wanted to tell her I’m so sorry. I wrote to her so many times and tore it up because each time it seemed so stupid and self centred and a rubbish apology. I wrote several letters that I didn’t tear up. I went to her place to see her and took the letters. If she was in, I’d see if I could speak to her face to face if she’d let me. Then I’d go. If she wasn’t I’d post the letters through the door. I went and she was not in so I posted the letters through the door.

I didn’t ask for us to start meeting up again. I think that might not be good for her because I’m still so unstable. I’m still going from crisis to crisis and needing too much help and so upset and angry at times it wouldn’t be fair to her or anyone to try to be meeting up. That said I miss her and care for her a lot and really really really wish I could be there for her and thank her and support her when she needs it. (But I’m not the one she goes to when she needs anything, much as I’ve tried to be there.) I can’t ask her to meet again but I wish I could tell her I’m sorry. And know if she hears it or accepts it.

I haven’t heard anything from her since I dropped off the letter. It was 2 weeks ago. I wondered if she might be away but at this time of year it isn’t likely and the car was “home” when I left the letter. I am worrying if she could be ill. This turned into panicky, extended worrying that she is ill because of me, or worse. That’s what I worry about if I’ve upset someone.

I think she is so hurt and angry and disgusted with me she wants no more contact. I deserve that. Yet I wasn’t prepared for silence. I was prepared for her furious anger and hurt and her to tell me never to contact her again. Or for her to tell me how she felt about what I said and did. I did not expect and am not asking forgiveness. I wish I could know something I could do to make her know I really really am sorry and how much she matters to me and how wrong I was. I wish that even though I don’t think she can forgive me could she accept that I am sorry?

However needing to know that she hears and accepts that I am sorry is a very selfish part of apologising, when I think about it. It’s something that would stabilise the horror I feel at what I said and did and ease my own hurt.  I should accept not having it.

The amount I’ve hurt her is really raw and I’m really scared at what I’ve done. I’m sad and hurting for losing N. as well. It’s my fault but I’m still missing her and scared at what I’ve done. What I’ve done to the relationship and what I’ve done to her.

Ginny xxx