Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Stand back and watch it crash and burn and turn into ash"

I think it was the first time I've ever heard her call me her girlfriend before. I'd said it several times in her presence, but I don't think I'd ever heard her use say it. We talked for hours, while I did that light touch thing on her back. I felt a little better. I felt like she had heard me and she could see where I was coming from, what some of my concerns were in going forward in what is, for her and I, unexplored territory. Is it a triad? Is it her and him, and then me? Of course, though she validated my concerns, she's fine with it developing organically. The crazy doesn't even know what that word means. But I felt better.

He was still asleep and I went to lay down with him for 15 minutes before I had to go to work. I already didn't want to leave. Half asleep still, he apologized for sleeping in so long, rolled over, pulling me to him to spoon him. And I started to cry all over again. I thought I had finished that in the shower earlier that morning, hours and hours ago by now. The only reason he didn't hear me was because he was having his own issues, breathing issues. I closed myself in 'my bedroom' long enough to get it together, then splash cold water on my face, before saying goodbye for the day. For the week actually. I hate leaving and can't wait until we actually have a place of our own.

But I'm scared and I am realizing that I have no good way of expressing how scared to anyone. When you are reading the literature about borderline personality disorder, they use words like "attention-seeking" and "manipulative." When looking at it from an outsider's perspective, I see how it is viewed that way. But from my perspective, I have always had a hard time feeling like people heard me or took me seriously, like people understood how important something was or how intensely I felt something. When I was 11 and 12, I went through an aggressive phase, especially at school, where I punched and hit things, thinking that the outward display would make people care about the inward problem, but it didn't. I retreated into myself. By the time I was 13, just about the time we moved 2 states away, the depression had settled in and I rarely tried to tell or show anyone how wrong things were. The times I got so angry or frustrated that I cried were just the times that I couldn't hold it in anymore, though I still wanted to. Though, to be honest, sometimes I wasn't even aware that things were wrong, just that they hurt, all the time. By then, of course, I thought that was normal. At least normal for me. I don't think it was really until after high school that I started freaking out on people so that they would understand how serious I was about how I felt. Just as quickly as I had learned as a preteen that no one thought anything was really wrong when I cried, I learned that, when it got too much, if I could make it big and over the top, the people who cared about me would pay attention. And yep, I see how that's attention-seeking and manipulative from the other side, but from my side, I was doing the only thing I knew how to do to get any kind of help or validation or love.

I'm doing so much better and being so much more effective. Gods bless Marsha Linahan and her dbt. But romantic relationships seem to really be the test of all that new-found effectiveness. I feel all these things and I feel them so intensely. They can change so fast and they are so confusing sometimes. Not to mention that I'm in a situation that doesn't have a guide book and I don't have many people who can show me the path they walked because we aren't even in the same forest. Everytime I get scared or freaked out or unsure, I feel like I'm hitting the same wall. I try to tell him, but I don't feel like he hears me. Then I do something stupid and make some bad decisions that actually are clearly against the rules. The times that this has happened, in the correction of the transgression, I've worked through the fear or the uncertainty. Driving to work after the incident today, I realized that I don't know how to feel like I'm getting people to hear me, to take me seriously, to understand how intense this is for me, without acting out. I don't even know what that looks like. But I'd rather not let the crazy out. So I try to deal with it myself, internally. Then, I panic a little, do some not very effective, but still minor things- like crying alot, smoking a bit more, drinking a bit more often or a bit more than I should. Usually, after a bit of this, I'll work up the nerve to express that I'm worried or scared or freaked out, which is usually met by "Don't be worried/scared/freaked out. It will be ok." This does not assuage the crazy. It makes her mad and defiant and we end up acting out. I don't want to do that, especially now that I'm fully grasping how far back this pattern goes, but I don't know how to feel like I'm heard without the acting out, especially since the acting out is just so fucking effective.

So, what's the problem, you ask?

First, let me say this. It's been a long time since I've had a relationship that felt like it was going someplace from an early stage. Within weeks, maybe even less, it felt like this was going to be something more. Not only that, but the other person wanted that too. (It took a little bit longer for her to get on board, but it wasn't that much longer.) It took much less time for the other person to want something more in this than it did with TyRoy or my ex-husband or Moneypenny. And it probably hasn't been since my ex-husband that I've had a relationship where we talked about living together and kids and living a life together, where the other person brought up how that looked to them, not just me bringing up how it looked to me. (Yes, TyRoy and I lived together and we did talk about those things, but I still always felt like there was an expiration date on our playing house, even when I did want more.) In addition to this not being a traditional situation, which can be scary, or the situation I envisioned, which is scary, but it's the first time in a long time that I've really been thinking about a long-term situation. So every step along the way, I freak out about something different. Yes, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I wasn't freaking out about something. I know.

They just came back from a four day trip to bumfuck Midwest tiny town for her friend's wedding. Before they left, we had a practical talk about moving in together, like it can't be until March when their lease is up but we want a three bedroom place, we want to save for movers, if I bring my cats he has to have at least one room where no cats are allowed, and we want a king-size bed for puppy-piles. My unfounded and unrealized anxiety about their trip away was that they would change their mind about me and the whole situation while they were away. Of course, what actually happened was that they missed me terribly and came up with more ideas for how we could spend time together, the three of us. But they were wiped out. Her sleep schedule is completely messed up and I barely saw her in the past three days because she was either sleeping or at work. He needed time to do his own thing since he hadn't gotten much alone time in the past three weeks, so he was geeking out on his game. His allergies and asthma were also bothering him. My reasonable mind understood this. Part of this being home, not sexy-visit-sex-play, is that we aren't always on, aren't always having sexy visit sex play time. There are going to be times when, though I am there, I want to be left alone, to read, to talk to someone else on the phone, to do whatever it is I want to do. But it felt like they were in their own worlds and I still felt shut out, which is something that has been bothering me more and more lately. When I came into this situation, I had it in my head that they were a them and I was just something on the outside. It made it much easier to respect the boundaries made and their relationship in general. But as we three have started to become the we, or at least as he's expressed that that is what the two of them want, I'm trying to adjust my framework and I keep seeing the ways that it's not the three of us, but them and me. The past few days, I've felt that acutely, but didn't have a way to say it. So I smoked and I drank and I shoved it down. And when an interesting guy sent me an interesting message on a dating site, I talked to him. And when he said that he wanted to take me out on a date, I said ok, after getting permission, of course. What can I say, it stroked my ego. But as the anxiety of the idea of a date sank in, so did the reality that I didn't really want to go on a date with anyone else. They want me to, so my world doesn't shrink to just them. But what I really wanted to to feel more connected to them, to feel more like an us, and I realized that going on a date with someone else probably wasn't going to make me feel that way. When I finally got the courage to say that to him, I feel like he waved it away. Sometimes I think he forgets that I'm not her, that we don't have their four years of hard won trust and decade of friendship. I think he forgets that I don't have that kind of trust with anyone, where they can just say that it will be ok and I will believe them. When he got up after tucking me in, I cried until I fell asleep. And I cried when I woke up all by myself. Because when I don't feel like I'm taken seriously, there is only about 2 minutes of negative self talk before I get to a place where I feel like this person doesn't care about me, because I'm not the kind of person that people care for and no one is ever going to care for me and I'm always going to be on the outside, a sock without a mate in a world where no one has three feet. And in that place is where the dragons live, folks. Sigh. I've been seeing alot of the dragons lately. I can't seem to destroy that old tape.

And I'm writing this now because I can't not express it, but I don't know how else to say all this. I just want to have a way to tell people, not just him, not just them, but anyone, that something is bothering me, really bothering me, and have them really take me seriously, have them see how intensely I am feeling this, without going out and doing something stupid. I can only hope that this is heard.


TyRoy Washington said...

It is hard on you. And you are trying to make it hard on others. But the connection is rarely there. Partly because, as the other person myself from time to time, I never understand that was what was happening.

This is a rational versus emotional response difference, right? But even if someone had an emotional response, I doubt it would be enough of a response for you.

Therein lies the biggest problem. It is not that the other person doesn’t care. I am sure it is far from that. At least personally I am sure of that. But even the level of caring by the other person is still rational at best. And you are reacting to try and push it into emotional. That is not easy to do, to change something from rational to emotional.

If you act out, the person is reacting to the acting out, not the original issue. And usually for me I am upset and less able to deal with the issue.

I don’t have a fix for it. It is just what is happening from my side.

I know saying this isn’t going to change anything. Maybe just bring this side of it to light. The biggest thing that can help me personally, tell me what I can do to react. I can’t be as mad or equally upset because I am rational. Is there something else I/others can do? Hold you? Say something specific? Because I doubt I can go around and punch walls and what not.

TyRoy Washington said...

In moment of levity, the nicknames Ginger and The Professor are really fun.