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Ouch. Wouldn't know whether to comment or not in your shoes...
given my very recent "slips" I'd say not, but it must be really hard to watch.

We'll get some answers on Thursday Hops. Thanks.

Meanwhile, Hol & S are having a soap opera meltdown of epic proportions. He couldn't be bothered to help her clean up after the chimney fire (which he wasn't here for)... and criticized HOW she was cleaning. Add to that, the fact that he's only financially contributed to their household expenses for 2 months out of 4 years.... and well, one look at her face reveals how pissed off she is. Justifiably so, IMO. BUT... she continues to make excuses for him, and allow for his procrastination - and he's comfortably living a cushy life while she does all the "have tos". Yes, he plants and does things... but ONLY what he wants to do. He's manipulated her into tolerating this, because she has self-describe "abandonment issues". (Yeah, we'll speak about that at some point because it dismissing all the years I've had her back. Right now, she has enough to sort out.) He still hasn't helped her get started on building the greenhouse - that HE said they needed. Pieces have been sitting 2 years in her garage.

Fortunately there will be a couple days' peace, as S is off working again. B & I have a busy week, and I have to put on some other hats for awhile and get busy.
I hope there are options to get the anesthetic that won't bankrupt him or you.

It's enough to make one go postal, or go medical...

Fingers crossed that between now and then you'll win coverage. How f*ing infuriating.

Just watched it again last night with my friend Debbie. Not that I was all that focused on it - sigh. Long story.

And B's surgery was rescheduled to the 31st; surgery was approved but NOT the anasthetic required... go figure. Doc won't do it without... so far, he's handling the disappointment & frustration better than I am.
Thinking of you and B today, Amber, and hoping B heard two days ago that his insurance would cover the permanent implant procedure. So now you and Hol and B might be on your way to get 'er done. I hope so.

Meanwhile, itching to tell you I rented Women Talking on Prime and it's among the best $6 I've ever spent. I think in a way many dialogues here have held elements of what those women went through in the 1920s. SO moving, fascinating and real. I've never seen the subject addressed in any film or TV show in a way that includes the element of spirituality, and for that time, their words were very believable. Remarkable movie with amazing actors.

So, more stuff I've learned.

Lighter, you asked about earliest memory. I think there was a very early one of being left out on the terrace in a playpen, and crying, and our collie Laddie washing my face. A more vivid one was when my mother taught at the elementary private school and I attended 2nd grade there on "faculty scholarship". I was being bullied by a group of girls on the playground. I looked up and my mother was standing frozen at the edge of the area, watching. I had the childish thought that it'd be okay now, but she did nothing. (Later in life I thought about the memory and had compassion for her...she felt she couldn't intervene because...nepotism?)

My T thinks my over-reaction to Poet traces directly to my relationship with Nmom. She said she believes I was trained to be extremely attuned to Nmom's distress or displeasure and would feel panic unless I were fixing it, soothing it. That's true. Our entire family revolved around answering her constant calling out, being watchful of her comfort, etc. My Dad, too. She was never rageful or abusive but controlled us through facial expressions and manipulation. (I don't think she did this consciously.) I also think a lot of my hyper-empathy (which is painful) is inborn.

Lastly, I thought I'd use a reminder for Zooms with Poet. Three lines on a little note by my monitor: BE PRESENT. DON'T FIX. I AM SAFE. The T was very enthused.

Seems a little childish but I need a prop. Same way I needed "N.B. for no blurting" on my hand in work meetings as a way to contain ADD.

I feel as though I've reconnected with reality. The whole panic to fix is a distortion and a reflex from my childhood, which I don't need any more. Hated these feelings.

I was a little horrified by the whole exchange, ((((Amber)))). I thought I'd fixed me.
Her cycle of abuse/crisis appeal/minimizing followup/strangely happy right afterward. Then my cycle of horror at abuse/way too much "help"/deflation over her denial "cleanup"/drained.

I think we've identified it as clearly and openly as we can. I do not want to spend more years with an unhealthy reflexive response; this is an opportunity for me.

One article on CoD I read said something interesting: while one needs to recognize that over-the-top "help and rescue" can come from a big heart, it also comes from a big urge to control the situation. And that helps neither person. However, it's okay to influence, by being yourself and having the opinions/knowledge you have. It's a question of degree, I think. It's okay to OFFER help/info, but not to take off like a rocket with a crazy amount of it. And, any help offer needs to be clearly accepted before you involve yourself. Influence is not control. Nice distinction.

Your flash is interesting and makes intuitive sense. Her beliefs about herself are so deep that she's integrated them, and the plan to go directly to her D's basement to live if he leaves is based on not thinking even a year alone would be worth sad to me. But just fatalistic to her, since she views herself as a human who cannot function alone. Same time, she was pushing back against her self-image some yesterday, saying I CAN do it until the house sells.

I think I also echo a lot of her fears within my own life, which increases my tiger tendencies. Huh! Wild thought just hit. I wonder if one reason it's so destabilizing to me (my cycle) is because in an unconscious way, I've been formed by my mother's family and the child sexual abuse that took place in it. Never happened to me (just one incident in the back of a car when I was that older boy directing me to fondle him, which I did because I was sweet and obedient) -- but my mother and her sisters had the incestuous father (dunno how much happened to my mother) and her damage ran all our lives at subtle levels, atop her narcissism. SO complex.

Anyway, I wonder if that kind of fear can be generational. Maybe in Poet's damage from being abused (not violently but coercively) that day in Africa at age 4 ... there's something of my mother's twisted psyche that I just sense. And rail at.

Huh. Well, back to my own bidness. But thanks for that flash thought, Amber.

Looking in from way outside, without any contextual references...

I had a flash on what's going on with your friend. It sounds like she doesn't respect her own perception/feelings about her situation; doesn't feel she's WORTH making life changes... and when she gets her "fix" of morale cheerleading, can happily continue within the same cage she built for herself. In essence, she's using "fixes" to build up a savings account balance to finally have enough self-respect to honor her own wants/needs.

It was just a momentary flash of seeing. Could be 1000 miles from reality or the truth.


On another note, there is a limited release movie on Prime called "Women Talking" that Hol recommended to me, that I did watch... and am still processing days later. It's hard to watch for anyone who's been assaulted or in an abusive relationship BUT, it's worth sitting with those women "talking" about their options. B kinda ignored the movie, until I got angry over it. Not entirely sure what made me feel angry... or hopeless at the end of the movie. It's a deep reflection/fantasy experience I think.
I zeroed in on the Tolle thing on your other thread Lighter, so I'll respond here rather than here and there...knowing while allowing space for NOT knowing. Wonderful stuff, so apt.

Just used more of it happily in a Zoom with Poet, who's all sparkly with relief. I did address it all directly, making a distinction between her vents, which I have no desire for her to stifle, and what I'm responsible for with myself...not lurching into rescue. It was a really good converation and made the last couple days' struggle very worthwhile.

It amazes me sometimes that once I learn something, or get an insight, I can apply it immediately in any relationship. Not perfectly, and practice not perfection is the point, but it felt great. We both celebrate and value our friendship, and I'm saying out loud that I intend to return to celebrating her doing HER own process in her own time. We got to laughing.

She analysed him a lot and talked more about her way of being with him. And I recognized how quickly she moves through distress to a new story. But she's been making statements about how she WOULD cope if they ended. She says she'd sell her house and move in with her D. I know that HER future lifestyle (living alone or with family) is right for HER and found my resistance melting away.

I do think her personal dependent nature is a natural result for her of experiences she's had. And she has every right to live as she wants and there are blessings and benefits in the idea of her not having an individual homeplace. Family means a great deal to her and she's got a great D and grandD.

I wound up feeling at ease and glad for her. And for me! Learned a lot during this episode of re-encountering my own work. Whew.

So glad to hear how much your hard work in therapy is benefitting you too, Lighter.

Thank you, Lighter. I really am confronting what I allowed to happen to myself. And your examples of counter-behavior ("Let me know how that works out for you") are great. What is helping most is I hit a threshold I've been wanting HER to hit. A sort of this-is-enough kind of moment. Not abandoning her or the friendship, but not wanting to go through this particular dance with her again.

You KNOW the Poet would benefit from exiting an abusive relationship creating suffering in her life.  That's a truth.  I think that knowing leaves no space to just be and allow the Poet to be in her suffering..... just have it in your presence withou trying to save her or move her OUT of it, which is her work.

I posted a little about Eckhart Tolle's podcast on STORY...... there's knowing and then there's knowing AND allowing space for being present without knowing everything.  I think that shift is what makes it possible for my girls to listen and be mmore responsive, less reactive, in my presense.  I think it's something similar with your Poet friend, Hops.

I'm better. Zooming with Poet this afternoon. Or rather, listening. She's calm now and I am too. But what I want to notice is all the ingredients of the triggered tailspin I went into for a couple days. My T will help too, Weds. Ingredients are: 

1) Poet sends helpless/hopeless/frightened email: "I'm shaking inside and can't sleep, I can't physically take this, I'm going to have to leave home, partner calls me selfish and evil for saying No to son who'll scare me and steal, and what should I do???
2) I launch into an answer. (You aren't the obstacle to remove from your own home, change all the locks, talk to the police about a TRO, see a lawyer, this is enough, your partner is manipulating/abusing you...)
That was when I lost my way. Feeling compelled to answer her question. I have a choice! (Duh.) Instead I needed to answer her question with a question. Gosh-what-are-you-going-to-do? And not email. I think a call/Zoom is better, let her own what she's saying in the present and just "be" present/empathetic. Not FIX IT FIX IT. My mother used to say "You can be too right, Lighter" and I think that's a real thing.  KNOWING and bring right, without considering what one doesn't know..... leaves no oxygen in a room or space for being present with others, IME.  I hope that makes sense.  I'm still wrestling it to the ground; )
3) She talks to him and he backs down and after lots of "resource" info from me, writes me one paragraph about it's all better now, she's set a boundary. (Ummm.)
4) I'm upset for two days. Really freaking out. Recognize my fear of losing her (closest friend, age 74, not all that healthy). My own codependency on steroids.  Can you identify your earliest memory of feeling this way, Hops? 
5) Tripped over a cord and fell (no harm, just a near miss from a table edge). Ate half a huge pizza. Needed to talk to older friend to calm down. Got too stressed over a deadline for my last OLLI class prep which wasn't hard -- fear of Pres' disappointment etc (she was fine when we met--fear losing that friend too). Let kitchen/laundry pile up, etc. Just noticing those thngs, without judging yourself or fearing into the future is progress, Hops.  For me, it feels like unlocking the doors beyond the rooms I've been confined to...consciously and unconscously.  The next doors have sunlight and pleasant sounds and scents I didn't know existed.  Those doors hold easier flow and being....... not bc of mechanically DOING and acting, but bc of what I've dropped and what I've picked up..... creativity and reason appear... usually unexpectedly and then I connect the dots backwards to see how the machine was buit and THAT I BUILT SOMETHING new withoout understanding what it was I was building.

Just, wow. I think T will advise me not to judge myself. I can feel myself not wanting to. Having friendly thoughts like: You're vulnerable to this pattern but you do see it. You have a plan for the next time. This was triggery because XYZ, so you can pay kind attention to XYZ (only "phamily" friend, fear of loss of connection, need more friends, can't give her anything she doesn't want for herself, okay to detach a bit and not confuse her giving up with my own fear that I'll give up, etc., aging alone fear, etc). Lotsa stuff that I get to continue working on like an adult, friendship.

I swear to god it's okay to continue growing up. I'll be having a learning experience on my deathbed one day. And that'll be okay! 

Pooch is sleeping on her chenille and everything about her body is saying: I love my morning naps curled on your bed, this is peace.

I am a lucky human.  I love imagining Pooch sleeping on her chenille..... chennille reminds me of my Grandma on the farm.  Such comfort: )

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