Monday, July 17, 2006

"I didn't ask for, or need your advice!": Hello Codependency!

Names have been changed to protect privacy.

One night, in a dream, I saw a group of people. These people were deserving, lovable people. The problem was, they didn't know it. They were stuck, confused - reacting to some crazy stuff that happened long ago.

They were running around in adult bodies, but in many ways they were still children. And they were scared.

These people were so busy protecting themselves and trying to figure out what everything meant, they didn't do what they most needed to do: relax, be who they were, and allow themselves to shine.

They didn't know it was okay to stop protecting themselves. They didn't know it was okay to love and be loved. They didn't know they could love themselves. When I awoke, I realized I was one of them."

From: BEYOND CODEPENDENCY And Getting Better All the Time by Melody Beattle, Copyright 1989 By Hazelden Foundation Page V.

I fell back to some panic-behavior I truly thought I'd gotten over in the last few years. The above introduction made no sense to me, when I bought this book two years ago. It sure makes sense now. I got good news and bad news for all of us abuse refugees. The good news is that your need to constantly talk about and process memories of the past will lesson and end. The bad news - we ain't all well yet...

You will graduate to "acting out" parts of your past, in the hope of "getting it right" this time. Oh puppy droppings! Before, you knew when your past was screwing up your present. You were crying, or raging and generally unable to function. Your friends hung with you, because it was obvious to them you were fighting really hard to recover. Oh dear ones, I just wandered into the next phase of recovery and it can push your friends to levels of frustration, confusion and irritation neither of you have shared up to this point.


I discover a feeling of shame and sheepishness, I've not experienced for a long, long time. The following will demonstrate why CyberGal is not seeking an intimate relationship. The closer a survivor feels to another person, the more "old stuff" leaks out.

Just one short example. Back when I was sleeping around I was involved with this guy and we'd had wonderful sexual encounters. At some point, I felt it was safe to deal with some of my still unexpressed pain. So, in that moment after we've exhausted ourselves, I suddenly got very hysterical and blurted out: "Do you think my mother's in hell?" My lover, not the most compassionate being on the planet, found himself attempting to comfort a very hysterical CyberGal. Being I was #15 for this clown in 5 months, I was dispatched with post haste!

I hate how stuff done to me as a child seems to still keep re-appearing to mess up my "today"! I did not have any emotional damage of any consequence from casual friends. The damage was from those close to me. If you do something which makes me feel close to you. You may get to experience what a cherished friend of mine was dragged through last week.

Please note, when it comes to the alternative health movement, I'm completely irrational, unreasonable and pretty much unteachable. I LOATHE it. I was raised by narcissistic caretakers and have no clue as to where "I" end and "you" begin. "I" is you and "you" is me. (I know that is really wrong, but when upset, that is the map I return to, as it is the only one I had as a child.)

A scary example of this kind of process. I was speaking to my male psychologist and seriously shared the following:

"Well, you know how it is when you have to change a tampon." oops, if he'd agreed, I would have had another problem! When I'm not panicked, I can usually catch this erroneous thinking and try and construct who "you" is, vs who "I" is.

Phillip, has been a consistent, fair and loyal friend for over a year. As friendships go, we have shared increasing levels of 'risky' information, dreams and faults with one another and discovered safety and comfort. When the insistent gay guy, Mr. Pink Flamingo, exited my life, it really rocked my world. I will be doing an in depth walk-through on why his exiting my life was so difficult, when I deal with The Mentally Ill Caretaker.

It was a good thing that Phillip's preferred method of communication is instant messaging and not by voice. I had posted my blog about Mr. Pink Flamingo leaving my life. Phillip shared several observations about the situation. Short version: "You were wrong, but he was more wrong then you were". I began to cry upon reading that. I can literally count on one hand the number of times someone has stood beside me and not kicked me, when I was already down.

I didn't realize it, but Phillip took up residence in the most sacred part of my heart. That place where Maria and my mother reside. The place of my deepest love and loyalty. In short, Phillip has moved into that territory of someone I do not ever want to lose as a friend. (In retrospect: oh, you poor bastard!) In spite of all the pain my mother caused me, she was also in that sacred place. I knew she was really sick. I begged her to go to the doctor, at the tender age of six, and several months later, she was dead. If I really love you, I will try to "save" you. This is plainly and simply re-living and re-working the pattern of my mother's death, with the "correct" outcome (this time). There is nothing rational about this process. Phillip, thank you for not walking away. For sure, you are no fair weather friend.

Phillip had emailed me with the happy news that he was getting back into his normal health mode and was using a new diet. He has good reasons for being serious about his health, just as I have good reasons for faithfully taking my psychiatric medication. But, as I said, due to my particular run-ins with the alternative health movement, I go right to "contempt". He sent me seven audio segments to listen to. (oh sigh).

I managed not to laugh until I hit the middle of the second clip. This is another body detoxification diet: whole foods, no sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or gluten. Okay, that I can go with. I'd have to resume drinking to do it, but, what the hey! Then the guy left the planet. Here's the theory and my slap-stick reaction.

When you eat something, the food, or molecules, or whatever "talks" to your genes and your DNA. The food commands the "fat genes" to turn "on", or "off". So, since this MD never intended to "discover" a new diet, he bumbled his way into this "revolutionary" new theory. (oh, expletive deleted!)

My imagined conversation with my HMO's Psychiatric nurse:

HMO: "Psych. What's your medical number please?"
CyberGal: "012-345".
HMO: "How can I help you?"
CyberGal: "Well, I've started talking to my DNA and my genes. I can tell them to turn off my fat storing chemistry"
HMO: (Slight pause before almost yelling): "...Get in here. Get in here NOW!"

I know I'm being really unfair, irrational and immature. So, how to speak of my thoughts without raining all over Phillip's health food parade? I admire Phillip's gift for politeness, and tact. When he can't be supportive, he usually says nothing, or suggests a different, new idea. I opted for saying as little as possible about his now talkative genes. (Oh, Pa-lee-se!)

He then posted about getting a rash. (Here's where I just completely lost it). Now, apparently, for Phillip, rashes aren't serious matters. For me, a rash is a VERY serious experience. So, forgetting that "I" ain't him, and "he" ain't me, I leapt to the conclusion that his damn new diet was killing him!

When I get sick, I do the cold, fever and lung thing. I don't even start to pay attention to it until after eight continuous days with a fever, or the gunk turns green. I know my way around bronchitis. This is how Phillip is with a rash. But CyberGal's experience with a rash was serious and very scary. At the age of 25, I got a bad case of measles. It is no lie, that in an adult, that little sucker can kill you. It was BAD.

So, I swung into action I'd normally not engage in. I left a screaming-meme message on his business line which very clearly could be summed up as: "Okay, now I've let you play long enough with this health food crap, but now you are in trouble. STOP BEING A JERK AND GO TO A DOCTOR!" I am not subtle under the best of circumstances, and when trying to save my friends life (which, by-the-way, was NEVER in danger), I'm like a run-away-train.

This is also an example of being broad-sided by demonic attack. I had prayed and studied the Word, before I began this day, but I forgot to ask God to keep me from sharing my puppy droppings with friends. All a demon had to do was give a little tug on my "Now that you love him, he's going to die...AND IT'LL BE YOUR FAULT!", yarn and the entire sweater came apart.

What irked my friend was my erroneous assumptions. He was wrapping up a business trip and I'm sure this episode was something he could have done without. He posted a response to my call, but I didn't read it, as I was too busy frantically trolling the net, getting my information together for my next attempt to get his attention. A bulleted-list email.

Phillip answered my objections on his blog, in a general, gentle manner. Keeping his focus on who he is and making it quite clear, that maybe I was missing something. But I didn't read this creation until after sending my email masterpiece.

I am what is known as a generalist. I know a little bit about a large range of topics and am good at putting things together from very little information. Phillip referenced being a hygiene freak, as a joke. I came along and decided to list all the symptoms of an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (A fine example of: "hello, this is the pot, calling the kettle black). I ran down every possible thing I could think of that might conceivably be wrong with Phillip. I reduced this poor man to: "STOP! STOP! STOP!" He alerted me to the accurate observation that, he had no idea where I'd gone, but it was based in fear. He suggested that the next time I freaked out about him, to keep my peace of mind and speak to my pastor.

I know how to act as though I can take rebuke, so I shot off a quick response saying that his observations were noted. I was completely scared to speak to him at all. I totally believe in the proverb which says that even a fool who keeps his mouth shut is accounted wise. I then was angry. How DARE he bring my pastor into this? Wisely, I prayed for him and didn't communicate.

It took me almost three days of a lot of extra sleep to return to some semblance of normalcy. Philllip was not trying to hurt me, or be sarcastic. He truly saw my hysterical attitude and referred me to a local source who could (hopefully) calm me down. Then I realized, I'd tried to "save" my mother from dying, yet again. I was finally able to cry over the real issue and felt myself righting emotionally. But, now, how in the hell to deal with Phillip?

Re-written lyrics to "Welcome To My World"

Welcome to my world
Won't you come on in.
Insanity, I guess still happens, now and then...

I had this sheepish, confused feeling, like I'd blown it, but still couldn't really put it into words. And I wanted to make sure that I wasn't still off in naw-naw land before communicating with Phillip at all! I just kept praying for him. I figured, he could see I was on line. So, I waited.

Phillip text-messaged me, and I began attempting to apologize. I still feel really awkward inside. I may need to be returning to a very difficult psych group at my HMO which works on codependency issues. I sincerely pray I don't drag anyone through such an absurd adventure, again.

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