Family is just a word in the dictionary

Talking to a friend yesterday about my bio sister got me thinking about family. For clarity, anyone who has followed me in any capacity, knows I grew up in foster care, so my bio family shares DNA with me on some level.
But that’s it. Other than my brother and one uncle I dont even talk to those people and Im about to get into why.

When I was 17, and still a ward of the court, I tried to reconnect with my birth family. I remembered enough about my childhood that I literally just 411’d my grandmother in the town I remembered her living in and cold called her. From that I reconnected with the rest of my family, which was really bloody extensive. Lots of aunts and uncles, cousins…the whole shebang. I exciting and new and kind of wonderful in the beginning. I finally had a family.
Boy was I wrong.

Turns out we are nothing alike aside from sharing some DNA. Or so Im told.

At 19 I had my first child at 19, now out of foster care I moved in with my aunt, her hubby and her two kids. That blew up for reasons I cant even remember to be honest, and she called me in to social services for child abuse out of spite.

After hearing all my horror stories of foster care, after backing my mother up on the horror it is from the parent side apparently too, and after claiming it was some sort of conspiracy to seize my brother and I as kids, she called me in and tried to have my daughter removed and put in foster care.
Because she was mad I moved out of her house.

I will never, EVER, forgive her for that.

That is pretty typical of what my birth family is really like.

Another aunt disowned me for not marrying who she thought I should. A lot of the family I just dont talk to, I dont know them and they dont know me. One uncle I still talk to and absolutely adore. My mother I dont talk to either as she took over parenting of my daughter at 16 and plays like she raised her from birth. That’s a whole other blog post. My grandmother, who I also adored, has passed away.
So that’s the maternal side.

My father, other than his name and some basic info, has died so I will never meet him. And he was apparently purchased as a toddler so his name is useless for trying to find extended family. I tried AncestryDNA but I dont even understand the familial relations so have no idea how to weed out anyone or figure out where they belong.

My sister, adopted at birth, plays the victim and is nearly a textbook narcissist. We dont get along. She’s very dramatic, incapable of being alone and just generally the opposite of anyone I even want in my world.

My brother is my family. He always has been and always will be. We grew up together, more or less, and dealt with alot of the same crap. He’s the only one I consider family.
And my kids, who I would die for but dont even talk to.
Go figure.

Breaker

Im not sure what’s going to come out here. I promised myself I would document everything, good and bad, so Im going to try. The font on this has changed and I dont know how I did it but it’s driving me a little crazy. Sometimes it’s the small things.

Anyway, moving on. I dont know if anything has changed or not. Ive been busy decorating for halloween and Im in a much better mood having not had the time to dwell much on anything. I had to explain the whole friend circle blow out to someone today and realized how totally asinine and childish the whole thing really is. Im probably better off although Im still really disappointed. Some of those people I considered family for over a decade, and they walked because I tried to help someone. The dragon, the origin of all the drama, and I barely even talk anymore. He got all his issues out, I helped him as much as I could and I think he’s gone back to his baby mamma or something.

Watching someone else stuck in this weird self destructive loop just made me realize I probably do the same thing. Just another thing I need to try and work on. I’ll add it to the pile.

As of this morning I was still contemplating just getting out and being done with everything. I feel like that is just starting to make more and more sense every day although it’s not coming out of sadness or heartbreak now. It just makes sense. Logically. I dont know if that’s scarier than the emotional breakdown route or not. Im sort of calmly accepting of it now. It’s a nice feeling, oddly enough. Sort of resolved and calm. I like it better than existing on the edge of tears all the time.

I’ll get through Halloween and see where Im at afterwards. There are too many people coming to this party now so it needs to happen. Hopefully it’s a good time. Im having a grand time decorating. Little worried I wont get everything done. It seems like every time I finish one project I come up with something even bigger and better that I also want to do and Ive only got two weeks to pull it all off now. I like the pressure. I thrive under it and feel focussed and useful.

I suppose that another issue I have that I need to wait until the last minute. I dont always. My Alice party was in the works for months. My last halloween was pretty rushed but not as bad as this year.

One the world front we’re still battling the “plandemic/pandemic/plague” or whatever you want to call it. At one point I was knee deep in trying to find it’s origin and everything else I could but I just dont care anymore. Pandemic fatigue is a thing. Im over it and think a lot of other people are too. Maybe because dying doesnt particularly scare me. Maybe just because the whole thing seems so over blown and silly now that it doesnt even make sense. Almost everyone dying is over 80 yrs old. Older than the average expected lifespan anyway. I think the trauma it’s inflicting and the economic fall out is probably worse than the death rate. At least here in Canada. It’s probably different worldwide.

I feel like the isolation caused by the pandemic is probably causing a lot of people to have to deal with themselves and their own issues. I’d love to know what that’s done to suicide and substance abuse rates. Ive started microdosing with ketamine. It’s supposed to help with anxiety and depression. In just a few days I feel better but I dont know if that’s the drugs, the fact that Im super busy and distracted, or if my hormones are currently in calm mode. I guess time will tell on that one. Ive just learned of the existence of prescribing pharmacists so I might see if I can find those and get back on seroquel. If nothing else it helped me sleep. It’s interesting to me that it’s actually an anti-psychotic. Maybe that doctor that ‘prescribed it for sleep’ knew more than he was letting on.

Nothing new on the boy front. I suppose in 4 days that’s not a shock. The goal is to not having anything new for a very long time. I need a break. I’ll buy more batteries. Fuck it.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Like all these blogs lately Im up writing this at 2am. I cant sleep. Every time Im alone in the dark my brain runs wild and I cant slow it down let alone shut it off. I sleep a lot on my couch with the tv on. That seems to help.

This blog is going to be all over the map. My head is all over the map and Im spilling it here in case something useful falls out.
You have been warned.

I feel better. Mostly. I just bawled my eyes out but not really out of sadness but sort of relief, if that makes sense. I found a beacon in the dark in the form of a friend who reached out to me when I was crashing but I was too far gone to process her attempt. Im processing it now and it’s making me cry and throwing my blood pressure off enough that my ears are now ringing. If that means anything. Im literally going to use this blog to document everything. Maybe something will mean something to someone someday.
Maybe it will help me, or someone else, someday.
Maybe it will just turn into documentation of a complete mental breakdown and a hell of a suicide note. Time will tell.

She’s the only one who reached out at all. The only person who noticed and even tried to help. I really am truly alone.

Ive spent the last couple days trying to compare BPD to trauma responses. As far as I can tell they’re the same. Even the brain alterations are the same (atrophied amygdala etc). I wish I could get a brain scan. I want to know if all this is just me going crazy or if there’s a reason for it. Not that knowing a reason will help any. While on that train of reading my brain swung the other way again, trying to convince myself that all the crap I went through wasnt even that bad. Realistically it wasnt. People have come out better from far worse situations.
They’ve also come out worse so there’s that.
So much for NARM. Now Im hoping it’s a brain issues so I can point and say “see! that’s why! it’s not because Im crazy or have no self control! My brain is broken!” Ive got to admit though, it would be a bit weird to be suddenly broken now, halfway through my life, so Im probably just crazy and have no self control.

Ive always been a bit of a chameleon, I think foster care trains kids to survive that way, but Im noticing how much I do it now and it bothers me. Public me and private me arent even the same person anymore. Public me is baffling. I feel like I watch this well put together, happy, outgoing woman interact happily with all these people and have no idea how it’s even happening. At home I fall apart all over again. I put on a really good show and I dont know how I do it.
Im glad I do though. I’d rather people thought I was that person rather than the mess I really am. I wish I could figure out how to throw away the mess, or bury it, and only be that person. She’s so much more put together than I am. People like her and want to be around her. Private me is alone. Always. Alone and sad and fighting the downward spiral that leads to dark places I dont want to be.

Unless one of the guys in my life happens to want to get laid then my phone goes off. Otherwise it’s dead silent. Always. I talk to the dog a lot. I dont imagine that helps with the “Im not crazy honest!” stance. At least he doesnt answer me. Yet.

So ya, the “only a walking talking vagina” is a thing still. It’s not awesome and it’s not helping my current thought process at all. Himself desperately wants me to drive out to Sundre and see him. It’s just so he can get laid, I know that. Not only does he want a hole in the mattress to poke he expects me to deliver it. Lovely. He wont come here, apparently Im not worth the drive, and, so far, Im refusing to go to him but I dont know how long I’ll hold out. At least empty sex is something. Although at this point I feel like I should at least be getting paid.
But that opens a whole other door of self worth issues that I dont even have the capacity to tackle right now.

I cant seem to riddle out how I made it to age 46 before I completely lost control. Is it a menopause thing? Have I just been out of therapy long enough for it to stop working? Does it stop working, is that a thing? My whole life Ive managed to control myself. If I ever thought I was losing it I could talk myself down, rationalize out of it. Or at least identify where it went wrong after so I didnt make the same mistake again. Rarely has it gotten so out of control aside, I suppose, from when I was cutting but that was years ago. I seem to skip the cutting part now and go straight to just wanting out and wanting it to end. It’s no longer a downward spiral but more of a plummet off a cliff. There’s still enough sanity in this brain of mine somewhere that I cling to that edge with my finger tips. I know what’s waiting for me at the bottom and I dont want to go there. I still know that’s not what I want or how I want to feel. Im still fighting.

I think I need to stop trying to date. I think that’s a huge part of the problem although I cant point out specifically why. When I got so bad I was cutting I was also trying to date, and failing. I stopped in the intervening years and my mental health was fine (ish). Now that Ive started trying again Im crashing and the only common denominator is men (and me).
Maybe I should try women? Or just get more pets. That seems the less complicated of the two options. I dont know why attempting to date would throw me off so badly. I dont think Im particularly codependent and my two attempts this year both ended the same. I never really even invested in the second guy so why the hell would that throw me off.
If that is it then it pisses me off that what amounts to a stunt penis can screw up my life so badly; that Im allowing it to screw up my life so badly. What the fuck? Im stronger than that. Im better than that. Arent I?

On the friend front nothing has changed. Im still ostracized although I havent tried to contact anyone again either. A bunch of unanswered messages is enough for me to get the hint. I wont force the issue. I still cant get into Halloween even though the party is in 2 weeks. I still havent decorated. I still half want to cancel and half want to see if anyone will even show up. I know work people will but they only know the fun me, I just have to make sure she shows up that night and not the miserable incarnation. I guess I’ll find out in a couple weeks.

Tsumani

I watched a documentary once about schoolboys that had been abused and one of them said that abused children have to stay busy all the time in adulthood because if they stop there’s always a wave of emotion waiting to crush them. That resonated with me and, years later, I still think about it.

I grew up with no feelings. I was always totally numb and didnt really care about much of anyone. Now I care too much about everything and I feel like Im being crushed under the weight of it all.
I finally broke down and asked for help. I need help. I cant think my way out of this one.

This morning I was considering the bi-polar thing again but I cycle way too fast. I woke up suicidal, by dinner I was fine again. I dont even know why. I literally woke up with that horrible ache right behind my eyeballs of tears trying to break out and that lump in my throat and all of the horrible feelings that go with it but there wasn’t a catalyst. I literally woke up that way. That’s not right and, for the first time in a long time, I was half scared of myself. For myself.

So being me, and doing the only thing I know how to do, I dove into research. It pretty much comes down to BPD or bi-polar, throwing both at a mirror, BPD is the one that sticks at least as far as I can tell.
I dont even think that was a diagnosis the last time I was in therapy. It’s an illness Ive come across a few times in my reading and always kind of thought might be where Im at. It fits for sure but I kind of think it’s the latest fad diagnosis as well so maybe I just want it to fit. At least then I’ll have some sort of group I belong in even if it is with other crazies.

Apparently the treatment isnt cognitive behaviour therapy like I’d thought originally, its something called DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) which, if we’re being honest, sounds a whole lot like adulting training. It’s mostly just coping mechanisms, or at least that’s what it sounds like. Im loathe to pay a bunch of money for someone to teach me things I should already know but I also cant keep living like this. The extremes are brutal and I dont want to do it anymore, it’s exhausting…and then the accompanying insomnia ensures I cant sleep properly. In short, it’s not an awesome time and I want out of it.

Here’s hoping I can get this sorted out or they put me back on the zombie pills or something. This out of control thing is nonsense and I dont want to play anymore.

Ashes

When I went to bed last night I was suicidal. Again. Its shameful to admit but if I cant say it here, and be honest with myself, then can I really ever be honest at all? I fell asleep in tears and woke up pretty much the same. Logically it makes sense. I dont contribute much to the world and it would finally kill this horrible ache that follows me around like a shadow; just waiting for me to let my guard down and feel something other than anger. I dont even think anyone would miss me. That just breaks me a little bit more.
So I bury those thoughts and carry on like everything is fine and dandy.

This recent friend circle blow up has got me wanting to turtle away and avoid everyone and everything for a while. Regroup and recharge and figure out what my next plan is. My annual halloween party is in a few weeks and Im debating cancelling it. I dont even want to decorate. Im just kind of going through the motions of normalcy. Im not feeling any of it.

Ive acquired a workbook for cptsd so Im giving myself homework of sorts. See if I can finally figure out how to heal and not just keep regurgitating the same issues over and over again. Acknowledging it isnt healing. Naming it isnt healing. I always thought most of my issues stemmed from the Raines household. I dont know if that’s true anymore or if most of them actually stem from an entire childhood of being abandoned more times than I can count (it’s in excess of 30 families/times) I think Ive mostly dealt with the Raines garbage, except when my brother tries to talk about it and I crash all over again. I dont know if that even means anything in the grand scheme of things. Other than when he brings it up I dont even think about it so I dont think all my issues stem from that. Then I dont really think about the rest of it either so there’s that issue.

I dont even know if the source matters although I dwell on it far more than I’d like to. Maybe forcing myself to think about all that stuff on top of everything else is why Im crashing so hard right now. Maybe Im just a mess of a human being and it’s time to end this cycle and start the next evolution.

Butterfly

It feels like a lot has changed since my last post even though it’s only been a few days. The fact that Im talking to the dragon went public and the fallout from that was even more extreme than I expected. I crashed pretty hard as that social circle was torn apart again and sides were chosen and people I thought were solid flaked out like bad dandruff. All totally unnecessarily and like a rehash of some bad high school sitcom. Then I stepped back and realized none of that even matters. None of these half ass friends matter. None of this drama and part time life matter.

This isn’t my end game.

I had a bit of a breakdown on the dragon recently, as an extended manifestation the self worth nose dive from of losing a pile of friends suddenly, lamenting the waste of an IQ that could have accomplished so much. Maybe it could have even changed the world but instead is popping tops off beer and serving food to random strangers. His response stopped me dead in my tracks: “You are changing the world. You changed the world the day you called out of nowhere and stopped me from killing that bitch. I was on my way to kill her, I was on the road, and you stopped it so you never know. You are changing the world”

Whoa.
Wait a second…

Maybe it’s the little kindnesses that really do change things even if we don’t realize it’s happening. Those small butterfly wing flaps that turn into hurricane winds and change the world. He derailed my whole pity party internal dialogue. Days later Im still processing the scope of what he said.

I am changing the world. One small kindness at a time. And the best part? I dont even have to do anything unusual. This is just who I am.

And I can change things just being me.

Familiar Patterns

Im being weaponized again and I dont like it. Im not surprised, not really. I thought I crossed all my t’s and dotted all my i’s so the same situation that happened back in march didnt happen again, and yet here I am, on the same damned circus ride and I willingly bought a ticket.

And I cant even talk to anyone. I feel so alone.

Being the master of self destruction that I am Ive managed to alienate everyone I thought was a friend. Ive put myself in the same position Ive been in before despite knowing exactly what was going on. Im hurting myself. Why the hell do I do that? I dont like it but I feel like it’s all I know how to do. Like if Im a big enough screw up the fact that Im wholly unlovable and unwanted is justified. It’s what I deserve.

Fight, Flight or Freeze

According to all the literature there are three basic responses to trauma, all of which remain responses until they’re trained out of you. If you believe in the NARM and think you can retrain yourself. If you follow the Dr’s that subscribe to the brain damage models I suppose you’re screwed.

I choose to believe I can overcome anything. I just need to learn to recognize my own triggers and responses and find the tools to help me do it.

**Excerpt from “Healing Developmental Trauma” By Laurence Heller PhD and Aline LaPierre PsyD. Published 2012. Page 116-117*

The Fight-Flight-Freeze Response

Essentially, the goal of the fight-freeze-flight response is to prepare us to defend ourselves in a situation of threat or to run away if we cannot defend ourselves. The fight-flight response is mediated by high arousal in the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system as it prepares the body for self protection and survival. The freeze response is mediated by the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. There are two aspects to the freeze response:(1) freeze as a highly charged but immobile defensive maneuver and protection reaction, which is used by all animals, including humans, to avoid being noticed by a predator and (2) freeze as a collapsed fallback position when fight-flight is not possible.
A common metaphor used to explain fight-flight is to compare the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system to the gas pedal and the parasympathetic to the brakes, In trauma, the sympathetic branch is fully engaged (that is, our foot is pressing the gas pedal to the floor) to mobilize massive amounts of fight-flight survival energy. At the same time, the parasympathetic branch is applying the brakes in an attempt to modulate the dangerously high sympathetic arousal. In essence, both the gas pedal and the brakes are simultaneously pressed to the floor. The result is high tonus in both branches of the autonomic nervous system: the engine is turning at high speed but the brakes are fully engaged leaving the car at a standstill. This standstill involving high tonus in both branches of the autonomic nervous system is a particular type of freeze response called tonic immobility. The state of tonic immobility should not be confused with the collapse response, which is a type of freeze in which the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is dominant.**

Ive always considered myself a fighter but Im not. Not really. Not according to all these multitudes of psych texts. Im not even fully a runner, or a freezer. Whenever things get too hard, too emotional or too scary I shut down completely. But first I get mad about it. Or mad at myself for being so out of control emotionally. And then I either try to run or fall apart and shut down. Im not talking about a bad day at work, Im talking about extreme events. At least to me they’re extreme.

That being said apparently Im pretty much hardwired to think most situations are extreme. I dont really have a scale. It’s bloody awful or it’s nothing at all. There’s no real middle ground.

I tried to role play a rape once with my Dom while I was in training. All he did was grab me and throw me down and I totally shut off. No reaction, no noise, just a silent, limp body. I didnt even know I’d done it until he told me. I wish I’d processed it when it happened but I was embarrassed that I’d failed at the task he’d set me to do. I dont like to fail. I dont know how to over come that reaction if I dont even know Im doing it. I feel like a fainting goat, just easy prey for anyone. I wish I thought that was as funny as it sounds.

I dont know why Ive been thinking about that a lot recently.

My ability to tuck tail and run is legendary and well documented but I think Ive almost got a handle on that response.

I feel like my fight always shows up late to the party. After I needed the muscle when there’s nothing left but pools of blood and pieces on the ground Fight saunters in and tells me how I should have handled it and what I should definitely do next time.

I feel like Flight is the only one that’s never let me down. And that’s saying something. Everyone lets me down. Everyone. Ironically it’s also the only one I can half ass control. Funny how that works.

Chasing dragons, burning knights.

It’s weird how some people just gravitate towards each other. And others repulse like magnets no matter how hard you try and force it.

Of the two guys I’ve tried to date this year. One was my typical bad boy choice, the dragon we’ll say, the other was the proverbial knight in shining armor. Both bailed in a pretty similar way. Both stung. Being me I was probably much more attached than I should have been. Throw a starving orphan a crust of bread and it’ll follow you anywhere. Not gonna lie, being that orphan is a little exhausting.

I thought I was more attached to the Knight. Apparently I wasn’t. Never shed a tear for that guy and have hardly thought of him since he disappeared without a word. Oddly I didn’t even fight for the closure I usually need so badly, I just kinda let it go. No fight, no fuss. It didn’t even matter. He went back to his ex I heard. More power to him.

Almost immediately, within weeks, I’m back at the dragons house, just hanging out, friends. He needed someone to talk to and I missed that secure, safe feeling I always had with him. And we are just friends. I don’t think it will go farther. I was pretty hurt the last time and I don’t think I’m quite that self destructive to put myself through that again but I guess we’ll see.

In any event I’m not writing for that anyway. The whole thing has got me wondering how I actually process things and what I actually need from someone, if anything, and what I’m willing to give of myself, if anything. Really I’m trying to sort out what the hell is going on in this mess of a head of mine. And how to fix it, if needed. That’s pretty much been the theme of this entire blog. It’s easier to muddle through when I have to write it down. And it’s cathartic. I don’t have people I tell my deepest, darkest secrets.

But I do write them down for all the world to see. Go figure.

Anyway, apparently steady employment, maturity and just generally being a mostly together, super sweet guy doesn’t do it for me. Not when it’s tempered with a lot of drinking and that never, EVER-knowing-where-I-stand feeling.

But if you’re a borderline criminal with anger management issues, a heavy player streak, and a bit of a mess I’m all in, as long as I know where I stand and you’re willing to pretty much constantly reassure me. Constantly.

Being abandoned repeatedly as a child sure took a toll on my adult psyche. Like holy hell I can’t even catch myself and talk myself out of that one like I can most of the rest of my neurosis. I can’t even start trying to train myself out of it. I still run into the same problem over and over. The dragon, for all his flaws, doesn’t lie to me, and constantly tries to make me feel ok even though, right now, that’s not even his problem, he still tries.

The knight forgot I even existed unless he was drunk. Fortunately that was pretty much all the time. And when I asked for reassurance I was met with annoyance that I would even bother to ask.

Realistically I shouldn’t need that constant reassurance. Nor should I crave it so much it over-rules a whole pile of red flags. But I do. I don’t even begin to engage or open up until I feel even a modicum of safety. No one gets all of me except the people who probably shouldn’t.

And so the cycle becomes self fulfilling.

See, I can riddle it out.

Be damned if I have the faintest idea how to fix it though.

Calculated Risks

So Ive been obsessing, as I tend to do, trying to figure out exactly what Im doing wrong in terms of this whole dating thing. That’s twice in a single year Ive tried and failed miserably in the attempt to form any sort of connection with someone. The common denominator is me so I assume that’s where the problem lies and I haven’t the foggiest idea exactly where it’s all going wrong so haven’t any idea how to begin to fix it.

And it’s driving me a little bit crazy.

Guy number one: did all the right things, said all the right things, tried really hard to quell my anxiety, made me feel so wanted and pretty and like he was really in it then, pretty frikking abruptly, went back to his ex. Tried to make me his side chick but I wasnt willing to play that game. My dog hated him anyway.

Guy number 2: seemed pretty cool, got frustrated with my anxiety and quickly turned into only wanting to interact with me when he was drunk. When I pointed that out he basically said “whatever” and I havent talked to him since. I think the indifference bothers me more than anything. I tried really hard to believe the words that never quite matched the actions. I dont think I ever totally let my guard down. He never seemed fully in it but the dog loved him so there’s that. Ive heard he went back to his ex too.

Maybe Im just the girl that makes you realize your ex isnt all that bad? Which means Im something awful.

Definitely possible. I certainly have abandonment issues, anxiety issues, and trouble connecting to anything human. At least Ive dealt with the intimacy problems I just despise being a sex object. But then I went and called in the almighty Himself already just to have a back up. I still have needs and if that itch doesnt get scratched I eventually get murderous. So apparently you can be my sex object but I can’t be yours.

So here I am, at midnight on tuesday night, trying to puzzle out exactly where it all went sideways. Wondering if I shouldnt just settle for side chick with guy number 1 and hating that Im even considering it. Really angry that guy number 2 could just drop me like I was nothing, without so much as a goodbye. Like I wasnt even worth the effort once I refused to show up just so he could get off.

Comes back to the whole only being a sex object thing Ive literally been fighting my whole life. I am so much more than just a vagina. I just dont know why no one else can see it.

I really need to work on my screening process. Seeing a synopsis in writing neither one of these guys should have gotten past a hello and they both did. Two bad choices that have since left me doubting my own worth yet again and that reinforced all my own doubts and insecurities.

It really feels like I’m just digging my self deeper into that pit of worthlessness every time I try rather than getting it together and creating a better life.

At what point do I just give up completely?