Friday, August 17, 2007

Recovery: Well Enough To Choose Maturity.

We all have faults and weaknesses which follow us for years. The lament of those around me was: "Cybe. Why can't you grow up?". I learned to hate that type of question. No matter what strategy I tried, I still ended up in tears and basically throwing a three-year-olds tantrum.

The other seemingly intractable part of my make up was the total emotional meltdown I began experiencing every seven to ten years of my life. I remember being hysterical with a casual friend one summer at camp. I was moving into seventh grade. My cousin was just pounding on me for all the usual things. No matter what I did, it wasn't enough.

If I dutifully washed down all the counters in the kitchen, my cousin's husband would shame me with the statement that his wife POLISHED all the counters! It was hard not calling him the bold faced liar he was. But, my internal emptiness kept growing because there was no praise for anything I did anywhere. I was dying inside.

My camp friend was shocked and since she knew nothing about my home life, pushed me away with the tired retort that I was just pitying myself and to grow up. I stopped sharing and by my senior year in High School was a clinically depressed and disassociating mess. I went through hours of not properly relating to reality with the thought: "You haven't happened yet." I was too scared to really tell anyone what was going on in my mind, but I came close to being put in a mental hospital.

Jumping from the frying pan into a fire, I left home at 19 and married a man twelve years older then I. He had levels of child abuse in his history which I still have trouble relating to. We were two messed up people, who thought we could "fix" each other. FORGET IT! You can only "Fix" yourself. I shudder to remember what my poor x-husband must have thought and felt when he saw me have one of my almost monthly "fits".

I'd just start screaming and crying. I'd lose the ability to feel, see and hear. I'd come out of thse things after maybe twenty to forty-five minutes. My x-husband believed once he got me well, than I could help him get well. Over and over professionals, friends and my x-husband questioned me: "Cybe, why can't you grow up?" I didn't know, but was building a huge "shame" file around the general issue.

Next major break was when, after ten years of marriage, I found my husband was having sex with boys as young as ten. I was so clueless as how to take care of myself I thought the only way to get out of the marriage was suicide. I tried it and failed. But I came mighty close to making it out of this life, long before salvation and healing.

Once on my own I collected sexual partners of either sex and tried to rebuild my life. After another few years I was unable to complete sentences. It seemed that each time I fell apart I was just a little more broken, then the last time. I was forty and in my Md's office as an emergency psychiatric case. My regular doctor wasn't there and a stranger opened the door.
My body literally arced up in the air on the gurney. I made a crucial decision. I was going to seriously look into being committed because it was clear to me, that I was unable to manage my own life.

I told this story elsewhere in this blog, but I will never, ever forget what this kind man told me.

"You don't change (not being able to grow up and stop crying), because you CAN'T change. You have a problem with your brain. This is physical, not phycological,"

Well, here I am now fifty four and something so wonderful happened to me this week. A friend at church and I were at a District Meeting together. When I saw her, I waved at her. She misunderstood my hand gesture. I was just saying "Hi". She thought I wanted her to stop and talk to me. The choir was singing and the sound system was very loud. She was trying to get the person playing the organ to turn it down, as it was drowning out the choir. Because this lovely lady likes me and realizes I can't see the more subtle gestures people make, when they like you, but can't take the time to chat, she tried to talk to me.

She was angry, pressured and busy. She tried to explain about the problem with the organ music being too loud. Due to the noise level, I didn't hear part of what she said. I was standing, swaying and twisting to the beautiful song. I heard: "...choir can't be heard above all of THAT!" Since I didn't hear the beginning of her statement, I thought I was being told to sit down and not upset the choir performance!

Friends, even a year ago, this would have driven me to tears. But, Wednesday August 15, 2007 I experiences the following. At first I was insulted that I was being talked to like that. What tempered my anger was the very real felt experience of the love of the people of my church for me. I've been corrected by several people at church for various infractions. They are always gentle and kind. I felt a little wave of niceness wash over me, remembering these totally new experiences.

Not totally spiritual, I then noticed an entire flock of clapping, singing and NOISY people around me. I wanted to turn around and jump on them for singing! I got jumped on and I know I wasn't singing! I began to ask God to help me keep things in perspective. If I kept my thoughts to myself, and was wrong about the situation - I wouldn't have to apologize later. Oh, what a lovely lesson THAT has been for me. I decided to check with my friend after service, because I was clueless as to what I had done to get such a strong rebuke.

When I got a chance to talk to her, the full story came to light. We had totally misunderstood one another! She was spitting mad at someone else! It wasn't about me at all! (Man, am I thankful I quietly prayed instead of getting snooty with the people around me who were singing)

The real miracle of this exchange then hit me hard. I hadn't cried, hadn't been anywhere near wanting, or needing to cry! I wanted to grab my friend and say: "Oh, please rebuke me, now that I can handle it, I want to practice!" Thanks to another bit of divinely inspired wisdom, I didn't say that either.

At church they talk about having to give your mind and heart new experiences in the present to argue with your dysfunctional past. The love I receive from my fellow church members is real and I've learned I can trust them to be kind and gentle. It is perfectly acceptable to question what I'm told. I don't have to lie and smile when I'm angry and upset. As long as I'm gentle and respectful, questions and even disagreement, are fine.

I still can't believe I am leaving the world of constant tears behind. I'm beginning to take responsibility in areas of my life I've stubornly refused to deal with before. Like physical health and taking better care of my room and belongings. God is teaching me different kinds of patience as I work with the church website. I rarely think about my past these days. I'm too busy living a REAL life. A life where a therapy appointment isn't the most interesting part of the day.

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