I haven't posted a whole lot about my internal process for some time because I needed to get clear what was happening to me, and then once I did, there was a lot that I felt needed to be communicated to dawnd
directly... I have seen people snipe at each other in LJ, or do other kinds of "first level processing" here, and it's created a lot of drama. I didn't wanna do that. But now that the process has started, I feel like I can share more here.
So after grynz
abruptly left the scene, I was stuck. Every time I felt like reaching to give to someone, I got a panic response. This led to a perpetual low grade panic attack, and eventually to reevaluation of pretty much everything in my head. In the process I discovered a few things. I won't go through everything right now, mostly just the things related to The Letter you've probably heard about. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here
First, I discovered that there were some ways where I was consistently making certain kinds of agreements, and then trying my level best to figure out how to change them or get around them. In the process, I'd break a rule, apologize, do a lot of self shaming, try to figure out any changes i could make that might make it better, and go on trying to keep the same agreement. These were things that, after one or two tries, I just should have said "nope, I can't agree to that, we need to find another way to meet those needs". Agreeing to remain monogamous in the early parts of our marriage would be one of the things I should have said wasn't working for me.
I pride myself on owning my own stuff, but sometimes one can take it too far. Everything in my relationships that was lest than perfect was my doing and my job to fix... And that it wasn't ok to have any needs the relationship couldn't cover. I realized that this self shaming thing was very pervasive. I found some excellent CDs
on reducing shame.
Once I got past the worst of the shame, I could start looking at things without becoming instantly overwhelmed. One of the things I found was the "box" from my family of origin that my relationship with dawnd
was "supposed" to fit inside of (note that she did not ask for this, this is what I learned as a kid):The
1) you will stay with her forever
2) she will always be your first consideration even before yourself, you will always meet all her needs, you will do whatever it takes to make her happy, you will always try to do what she wants (even if you don't think you can, and no matter how much it hurts)
3) you will always seek to make the
relationship as pleasant and romantic for her as possible
4) you will include her in anything and everything if she wants to be included, do as many things together as possible
5) you will take care of her in sickness and old age
6) you will provide financially, all your money belongs to the
7) she has veto power over both people and actions
8) you will give up anything that gets in the
way of the
9) all of the
above will be reciprocated The
a) you will always love her more than any other
b) you will always include her in your external relationships if she wants, especially if the
external relationship is quasi primary
c) you will always be fluid bonded with her/never do anything to jeopardize that
While I had one set of relationship agreements with Dawn, this is what was hidden underneath. This is what I need to reject. Which doesn't mean I must completely reject every single point, but rather that each one now needs to be negotiated. I can no longer just reactively live in the box.
More to come...