Author Topic: Mindfulness and codependence thread  (Read 21850 times)

Hopalong

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #630 on: July 19, 2021, 11:50:35 PM »
My T and I got a bit closer the other day.
She was pressing me to "go deeper" into some of the grief and pain she knows lives within me (among other, including strong and lively, things).

I kept resisting. She looked discouraged.

I finally told her the truth: "I am more frail than I talk about." Then she got it.

I think there's sometimes a taboo about feeling frail, or being weak.
Yet sometimes that's the truth. Sometimes humans are. There are Amazons of the mind who lack will and physical strength or discipline or have had scary health things happen. Doesn't mean I won't get stronger again, but at a given point, it can be the truth. Anxiety, perfectionism, unhealed stuff, feeling alone, over-responsible, and more. All that can weaken one.

She was pressuring me a bit and I was getting mild chest pain in response.
I knew it was because of the pressure and knew I would be okay, but needed not to "dive" just then. I was glad she respected my response, because it was me taking care of myself.

So I understand that kind of fear. The 3-D effects of anxiety. But also the knowledge that our core self is anchored beyond our fears, and we will always be able to find our way back to her. Build her up again after too many forces seem to overwhelm us. Find our mind-strength again. Work that out, too.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #631 on: July 20, 2021, 09:45:10 AM »
Ah, I see Lighter.
I'm of a collaborative sort myself. I've always gotten the best results of attempts to do things, by including others - hearing out their views/ideas - and what they would do in my shoes.

Because like it or not; seek it or not; I got shanghai'd into the leadership role by default when the company transferred to my bro & I. And then, there's the farm and the long investment & development process which requires input from more hands and creative minds.

Collaboration is how I lead. Think King Arthur; not Ghenghis Khan. Yes, in the end, I have to be responsible for the big decisions. But, when I present my image of it -- and let everyone else tell me theirs - with me validating the positives presented - when I've made the decision, I hand it back to people to execute. I delegate, so I'm not in the middle of trying to manage "how" something happens. And people also have leeway to make their own decisions, within the roles that belong to them, inside some parameters. I would despise this role, if I felt I had to dictate. The reality is, things go smoother and easier through collaboration rather than "proclaiming it shall be so" from on high.

That makes me one of the team; the team captain rather than the owner or coach. People can lead within their area of focus or expertise throughout the team.

It's the only style of leadership I know, that has decent odds of succeeding. And with Hol accepting the "second in command" role - both to back me up and set me straight when I ramble off into the weeds somewhere - it's not ALL on my shoulders. Yes there are times I just want to run away from it all; hand it off; not deal with it. But the collaboration style means that it doesn't all hinge or wait on me to make a decision or do something.

It will help if you can identify someone in that group of kids/grandkids with the ability and characteristics to take on the leader role too - if not immediately, then in the future. We've done the same with the guy in charge position at the shop. It's time for the "new guy" to start up and giving him a chance to get his feet wet with more responsibility.

Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #632 on: July 20, 2021, 10:20:55 AM »
I think it's different from my side of the economic fence,
because a complex real estate portfolio would just demand leadership.
But I avoid thinking of individuals as the "leaders" of families.
Don't really want to.

I'll see people being stronger in different aspects of functions a
family needs. That's collaboration....

I don't like the notion of a family "leader", I think, because there are
a lot of negative associations in my head with power. A lot of them
religious and sexist, etc.

I don't fear dynamic, inspiring, organized, leadership really.
I do fear (sometimes) people who are too comfortable with power.
Learned that from life with M, I think.

I must be a socialist. LOL.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #633 on: July 20, 2021, 11:40:53 AM »
I thnk you are a socialist, Hops.  It's OK to be what you are.

About your T pushing you when you were having chest pains....... my T did quite a bit of pushing too.  At the point I just couldn't get on with the process she'd always always always take me back to the moment, do the body scan, find the pain/pressure/upset, put words to it, measure it, breathe into it, create expansiveness around it to calm my nervous system then go on with the hard work, if we had time, or put a pin in it for next time.

My experience with processing the stuck/sticky/reactive places in me'brain pan is that I can't do it without shifting into access to my frontal lobe...... to re experience the trauma with my whole brain, capable of processing the trauma, filing it in my historic files and releasing it completely...... so it's no longer slamming around in my brain.

If you can't return to your safe space, inside yourself..... if you haven't created that safe space...which Doc G seems to be able to help his clients with too..... then the brain remains in fight or flight, denied access to creativity/logic/problem solving ability...... which creates more trauma, ime.

And frustration.

Trusting a T to take you into the darkest, scariest, most terrifying places...... trusting her to teach you how to integrate your brain so large shifts can be managed....processed...... so the brain can do what it does with efficiency every moment of every day....but do it with the stuff stuck,bc trauma shut down the parts of our brain responsible for performing those functions..... works, IME.

However we get there... whoever teaches us....makes us feel safe enough, teaches us we carry that safe place within......
that person will be the person who SEEs our tantrumming inner toddler without judgment..... sans frustration....without attempting to push that toddler, but instead recognizes that toddler can't do the work, could never and HELPS calm her...... SEEs her pain and validates her.......

then moves into accessing the adult capable of helping the inner toddler experience the trauma in a way that doesn't shut the brain down over and over again....... but experiences the trauma with all the tools and processing ability required to finish and file.  It takes a fraction of a second to process, but learning HOW to calm our brains.... how to create a safe, inner sanctuary....how to forgive ourselves for failing to find it....how to  keep returning to our inner sanctuary over and over as we practice, fail, learn and grow INTO that space as it becomes familiar inner landscape is relief and proces I've experienced.

It makes sense to me now.  It didn't always,but I noticed feeling very out of sorts last night  over a couple things.  Mostly my father's caretaker situation. 

I learned a lot while dealing with my friend's visit. Borders and boundaries became apparent and suddenly very solid for me this morning.  I noticed feeling more grounded and responsive, but this morning it was like...... there were fences and boundaries of the right size, at the right distance and thickness and very importantly...... flexibility.  There are no perfect boundaries. They will shift and fail and be rebuilt and that's OK.  I'm safe, at home, in my body and mind.  There's nothing outside me required to FEEL safe.  I carry it within myself and I can conjure it...... I think it might be in my awareness always, at this point,but I'm just paying attention to how I'm feeling today. 

I woke up feeling very....... "normal" I guess.  Just fine as I am.  Safe and emotionally distanced,which has not been the case most of my life.

What I really noticed this morning, as I hummed Johny Cash, did laundry, measured vanity heights, handles and toilets...... I have a process.  I turn easily toward the paperwork and math and puzzle pieces of the unsolved problems IF I HONOR my process.

My sister use to want to shove me along her NEED TO DO IT NOW agenda.  And I just shut down.  Once she figured out she couldn't DO that and get the response she desired...she backed off.  I stepped up.  I started to set agendas and get things done,but it was a really tough time. 

I used to think of my sister and mother as energy vampires,bc I would just fold.....and dissociate I realize now.   They were so driven... type A's...... with good intentions,but with zero attention to my process,my needs,my feelings for so long.  It was difficult to SEE it, deal with it,but we did and now I have more information about allowing myself to have my process without judgment.

All the shoulds are big red flags I'm shutting myself down by not honoring the way I need to do things.

Dropping judgment has been so helpful. 

Maybe it'smy inner toddler moving through this process.  I can picture myself sitting at a desk scribbing cursive eeeees over and over, pretnding to be doing business.... very busy.... so happy..... and she has things she wants to do now, so I let her double check things, touch things, enjoy things then move on to the big girl work of solving math problems and paperwork, but she can't face those things and I, apparently, am going to make peace and stop trying to force her.

Shifting my biochemistry...... returning home, again and again...not judging when I shift back into fight or flight, but just noticing and paying attention....... means I see more puzzle pieces.  Means I have access to problem solving brain to fit them together and finish them...... put them away..... out of my brain so I move into new emotional landscape and possibility.

What I wasn't capable of yesterday is possible today.....and it feels like I'm a tank, turning to face whatever it is I choose to face, stay focused on, seek out to address....... and that's curious to me. Why a tank?  Sort of odd,but also grounded, subtstantial....... neutral yet capable of responding, protecting, moving.

Heck, just noticing my angry inner toddler has popped up has become calm revelation.  Allowing her to have a tantrum is about choosing to allow it, without judgment.  I realize I have the ability to tend to her, calm her down and deal with whatever created that reactivity..... if I choose. Sometimes I do. It's about practicing, returning home, being curious and knowing the traumatic stuff requires my attention too. As difficult as it it.  As painful as it can be....... the process is more familiar, I trust completely...myself....... and I know the hard stuff can be dealt with and put out of my misery if I continue trusting and returning home.

And I don't ever want to be a boss.  I'm always collaborative in spirit. 

That was a long post.

Amber:

I don't want to be alone, the last of my generation, all prior generations gone....me standing on my own...... the one charged with keeping the family strong and together.....the one honoring traditions......... helping everyone endure and live beyond loss of parents and uncles/aunts.  That's very sad to contemplate and my inner toddler pushes it away quickly.   Reactively.

Once I calm myself I see exactly how I've handled these things in the past and I trust myself to handle them, come what may..... it willbe OK.  I know this. 

But the toddler doesn't and so I help her feel safe and to recover.  Help her trust and rest.

It's all about recognizing the reactivity, returning to myself, tending to the toddler and fear.....helping her feel secure and safe enough to rest for longer periods and trust an adult is in charge, always present.... she doensn't have to feel alone anymore.  I guess at some point she'll remain at rest and won't be popping up anymore?

Not sure,but I'm curious to find out.

Lighter




Hopalong

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #634 on: July 20, 2021, 12:25:34 PM »
Quote
to re experience the trauma with my whole brain, capable of processing the trauma, filing it in my historic files and releasing it completely...... so it's no longer slamming around in my brain.

That lands for me, Lighter. Maybe in an opposite way. I do NOT want to re-experience the trauma. I have mostly released it, but just don't have the belief that I can have it no longer in my brain. I think it's because my D is a permanent resident in my heart despite everything. To keep her from causing further harm, I do have a "sealed" place in my heart for her. I feel as though the injury is my responsibility to protect from re-damage, if that makes sense. And although I understand the dive all the way into it again approach, I'm not fully convinced it is always, always healing and nondestructive.

Another thing that's chiming a little, and worrisome, is that I know on some level I'm not fully engaged or benefitting from my T. She's a lovely, compassionate person and definitely wants to heal me. At the same time, we are so out of sync in our thinking pace that I often feel she doesn't get it. She does think and react very very slowly, while I'm working hard to find stillness but still my mind works very fast. I'm processing and narrating a LOT in a short amount of time, and often when I look at her I just think, she's not with me and maybe just can't catch up.

I'm working intentionally to slow down and meet her where she is. I know there are good lessons for me in finding stillness. It's never going to be my primary response to life but I know I need more of it. So I keep hanging in with her and waiting for full trust in her perceptions. She presents thoughts that I often think of as very very obvious and therefore unhelpful, so I feel discouraged that she's able to get into deeper levels of nuance. But I don't want to be a bulldozer toward her either.

We might be a mismatch, no harm no foul, but I'm reluctant to give up and change Ts again. That's just so exhausting I can't contemplate it. I like and respect her and know she means well. I am just not confident enough to give her the keys to my vulnerability, because when she doesn't grasp things, despite her good intentions, I think that could be risky to my inner safety. I'm just a bit slower in this T relationship to get all the way open. We'll see what pans out.

hugs
Hops



Quote
If you can't return to your safe space, inside yourself..... if you haven't created that safe space...
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #635 on: July 20, 2021, 02:56:30 PM »
When I posted to you, Hops, I was of course looking into my own T's eyes...... being seen, not always trusting or feeling safe.... being lead INTO created safety between us.... convinced at my own pace, in a new way she presented after I failed to understand what she was asking me to do/face/understand...... many times. 

And that was the key for me.  To look into compassionate eyes needing nothing from me.  Perfectly content to hold my gaze and present information, pull back, present again, pul back, present again until she reached me.

I know she couldn't have done that IF her ego had been involved. There would have been frustration and some urgency to get me to the point she was corralling me to, IME.  I would have seen sadness, perhaps hopelessness or fear...... maybe even a little anger as I failed to process the things she felt I SHOULD be getting by now...... things she NEEEEEEDED me to get, but Ijust kept going round and round with,and Idid spend some time going round particularly painful bushes, believe me.

The main thing I took awAy, after those sessions, was the feeling you may be having now...... that I was perhaps not using my time with the T in the most productive way. Wasn't moving forward to justify the time and expense........ but I always believed I could and kept going back after processing alone. 

I understand what I did with her couldn't have been accomplished with the other Ts I spent time with.  I understand why.  It makes it easy for me to give you opinions about your situation, but your situation is YOUR situation. 

What worked for me might not in any way work for you.

I do feel there are necessary components to relationship with a T:
The T needs to be doing her own work, completely remove ego and expectation from the patient/T relationship.
The frustration your T is showing you......would have shut me down and stopped the work I was trying to do, IME.

And I hear you about putting yourself through old traumas again...... maybe not being necessary.  Certainly, the idea of turning to face them, on purpose, seems couterintuitive...unsafe.... unlikely to lead someplace better.  I SO get that.  I do.

My experience, however, has lead to relief and release from old traumas, processing and coping with new trauma as it happens and curating the skills I need to help my brain remain integrated and processing traumatic events so they don't get lodged and stuck anymore.

The one last necessary component in T/client relationship was my living in discomfort so long I was willing to do anything, face anything to get myself OUT of that discomfort. 

Re experiencing past trauma...... the hardest of the traumas........ seemed a small price to pay for deliverance for them.  Perhaps not in the moments, when I waivered and flinched and snarked and sniped, which I certainly did, time and again with my calm, patient T, bless her.

She let me.  She didn't judge it, any of it,. though there were times she expressed what she COULD see for me if I chose it. She never insisted or was dissapointed. Rather, she was the bravest mirror I've ever faced.  Unflinching.  Unwavering. So brave.  Never ever ever surprised or shocked, and I must say......I became brave enough to speak my turhts, ALL my truths, no matter how shocking, unladylike or frightening.... she heard it all. Even the stuff I'd been afraid to say to myself......... she received it and reflected compassuion and deep abiding understading back to me...... her eyes sometimes brought me to tears just to make eye contact.  So intimate. So difficult to do, at first.  If I could have I would have worn my sunglasses in those sessions as I'd surely worn them with other Ts.....I don't honestly remember, but I do know it was new and hard and frustrating to learn how, practice and come to a place where I looked forwrad to it.  Felt embraced and safe and lead....never pushed or pulled. 

Eventually the lessons and words fit into my life, like puzzle pieces.  I didn't understant them when first introduced, but could.  THOSE lessons slid into place and stayed.  Not perfectly, but it was a miracle to experience it once.  Having it come around and around, some lessons solidifying, some coming round again and again, becomingmore familiar.....less alien..... some just sliding into place during a session and dissapearing so I doubted the pain/stuckness/pressure requiring the lesson in the first place.

If you feel you aren't moving ahead with this T, it could be time to take a break.  I've taken a break from a T I adore.  Sometimes I don't have anything "big" enough to justicy spending the money.  It's a theme for me.  I work on feeling worthy and I do feel more worthy now. 

I was going to have a discussion with my father's caretaker sooner than later, but I'll wait and have it after I see my T next session, bc I can and I feel I'll have more peace around that discussion. I so want to feel serentiy around that person.  It feels like my upper spine flys apart when I try to make sense of all my experiences and feelings.  There's anger.  Logic and problem solving skills slip away and then I'm floundering.... trying to remember how to get back my whole integrated brain BACK,which means I have to let go of the thing I so badly want to resolve. 

I'm still learning how to remember and use tools so I can go BACK and finish problem solving trauma/injustice/etc........ and it's truly about reactivity for me, noticing and returning home, to myself. 

When I'm flipped I CAN'T understand sometimes.... and I can't convince myself I can.  That's when I notice I've made a choice about it, where I used to be stuck in despair I felt HAD ME.

Now I understand that despair is fear and I can't talk or logic my way out of it....thinking just makes it more difficult to shake off, IME.

It's going back to myself and I can't explain it any better than that.  Just that I trust enough to know how it works, that it works, that it leads to feeling better and deliverance even though reptilian brain is screaming to back away, turn away, STOPSTOPSTOPSTOP!!!

I had to do it in order to believe it could be done.  There was always  a leap of faith involved and sometimes I was shocked when relief swept over me or something shifted or it felt like blinds were fluttering in my lungs with power..... reactivity I was struggling with, hard, suddenly evaporated.   It's always seemed to be fear at the bottom of whatever comes up, IME.

However you process and take yourself down your path, that will be your way, Hops.

Lighter







lighter

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #636 on: July 21, 2021, 11:03:28 AM »
I'm off this morning.  My body isn't happy.... shoulder and back.  Right ankle.  There's no flow.  I have to pay bills and that's enough to throw me off, but it's where my focus is or isn't, rather.

The bug guy is here and it feels weird where it used to feel very friendly.  He looks as though he's been very ill.  I'm guessing somethng he doesn't want to share.  His face is creased and sunken, where it used to be full..... his eyes don't want to meet mine. Just very odd.  There's centipedes taking over the basement... each female lays up to 300 eggs.  Each egg can have up to 1000 babies.  YIKES! Time to get those crack in the patio filled. 

And...am I off?  Or is this just me going through the machanics of remembering and deploying new coping strategies.  Maybe this is normal?  Worrying about a person I connected with whose lost weight and seems broken in a way he's ashamed about?

Maybe normal will be NOT getting knocked off center.  As of now, Istill get knocked off center.

Lighter


lighter

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #637 on: July 21, 2021, 06:47:47 PM »
I wrestled with anxiety and upset for the morning then called oldest DD20 to ask her advice about father's caretaker.

DD listened without saying anything but...uh huh..... I understand.... go on. 

IT WAS AMAZING!

Who has the ability to remain completely neutral and above emotionally triggering things I WILL TELL YOU WHO MY CHILD.That's who. 

And after I said everything I needed to say, she commented ONCE to agree with my sister and that was it. She didn't want to say abother word, gossip or ANYTHING.  Not one negative word.  Just the facts, and nothing but the facts.  So level.  So crystal clear with her intentions.  Impeccable with her words.

I've seen her do this with her friends in the past.  I've always known she was special.... that her physical energy is calming, but typically we butt heads in so many ways we laughed about during this call. 

And now she's stepped into adulthood with a phonecall.  It reminded me of when she did my eye exam...... maternal, careful, focused energy I was happy to have around me.

I have serenity around the decisions I was wrestling with. 

I have clarity.

Lighter

CB123

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #638 on: July 22, 2021, 12:15:28 AM »
Lighter, I am lost but I want to understand.

Who is "father's caretaker"? Is it your father? Did I miss a story?

Sorry I'm not keeping up.

CB
When they are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way -- and it surely has not -- she adjusted her sails.  Elizabeth Edwards 2010

lighter

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #639 on: July 22, 2021, 06:00:26 AM »
I'm sorry for the confusion, CB.

My father had a brain surgery that left him half paralyzed, one eye wouldn't open, couldn't speak or swallow and lived pretty much that way for 20 years.

BEFORE he had that surgery I forced him to postpone it, bc he didn't get 2nd and 3rd opinions.  I ordered his MRIs from the hospital, made those appointments, went alone to them and relayed the information to my father....he likely wouldn't be able to breathe after surgery.  He'd have to learn to talk and walk and swallow again.  I knew he'd never do any PT and so was against the surgery.

My father didn't want to believe it hear that.  His  live in servant screamed at me, told me I angeredy father, treated me like I was upsetting him for deviant reasons that make no sense, but she drove me away and father had the surgery.

Fast forward to the hospital.  Me sitting on father's chest, holding him down in his hospital bed as he tried to drag himself into the street to kill himself, the maid curled up on the floor, shaking violently, in shock....and she said....
"You were right, Lighter "

Fast forward to father refusing all PT. Note therapists all women.  I was right about that too, but really unhappy about it.

Note Father eventually accepted enough PT to learn to swallow again, from a male PT, bc he was trying to wrestle food from us and missed scotch.

Note the maid became caretaker and spent a bit of time feeling resentful about it....note I wasn't resentful or in a "told you so" mode.  I was sliding down walls wondering why no one could hear me before it was too late and continued not to hear me.

Note caretaker stole 80k from my grandfather and at least 10k from my father's safe in cash about 5 years into the post op debacle I did nothing to create.  Note caretaker admitted it to me, then got verbally cruel with my father, threatening to leave him....taunting him in front of me.  I told him she stole.  I asked him what he wanted me to do.

Of course he chose the caretaker, bc she lifted him, bathed him, put pills in his mouth and then his water glass with the right straw so he never had to relearn ANYTHING else.  This was another problem.  She liked him docile and dependent..... now re cleaning, no one telling her what to do.  She was head of household, really.  She told me that's why she didn't leave for a better paying job when her friends and family urged her to go.....bc she didn't have anyone bidding her around.  What she had was our support and help.  We all helped her.  She wasn't a maid anymore.  She began acti.g like a grandmother to our children.  Asking to babysit, but I was raising my own children and had childcare close by.....someone who didn't bounce balls off baby's heads and laugh about it, frankly.

I talked to caretaker about not letting dad pull on her to stand him up and sit him down, but she did it anyway.  All attempts my sister and I made to get dad doing more were thwarted by caretaker. It dad and caretaker.

When we challenged him, on caretaker's behalf,he ordered us out of the house.

Caretaker's back began breaking down so my sister and I propped her up, put our backs in harm's way and nursed dad and her till she could go back to yanking him up and down again.

It didn't work.  None of it, but talking them out of that insanity wouldn't work as long as caretaker allowed dad to call the shots.

Fast forward many years of caretaker buddyfocking me, trash talking me, sabotaging me while I supported the mission, bity tongue and persevered....paying her extra, bc she deserved it....caretaker's work hard, even the ones who steal. Paying her every time she watched my kids, maybe twice.  Paying her to feed my dog.  I paid as I went and she played Nana, even as she stole and stabbed me in the back.  I'm over it. Nuff said.  I'm actually understating.  I'm a different person now.  Won't happen again.

Fast forward to Nana bringing her youngest DD to the US in 2013 bc we did the work to get Nana her citizenship AND her DD.

About the time Nana was set to retire, only a threat mind you......my father died and before daughter's husband and 3 children joined her to live at my father's lake house where they lived like gypsy flop house renters....I think Dad willed himself into a stroke before they arrived.   won't go into the months of cleaning, bc I'm finally over it, but they weren't good stewards.  Two if them were grateful.  4 were decidedly not.  I got over that too.  A good T worth their weight in gold.

Fast forward to my sibs and I, brother's gf super competent and instrumental realtor,  helping caretaker's SIL find a miracle house, finance it and move into it while they sabotaged, dragged their feet and extended the time they were in the lake house for reasons unknown.... I'm over that too. My brother really stepped up.  Patience of a Saint.

Fast forward to caretaker stealing approx 7k yearly, bc she's lying about something we admittedly should have beenore on top of.  Sibs and I don't begrudge her the money, but I'm ready for.....
I'm ready to stop allowing myself to be manipulated.  Caretaker received what dad said he wanted her to have.  He didn't bother putting it in the will.  We honored it and more.

I'm ready to leave caretaker's version of events behind.....whatever would my sibs and I have done wo her?  I told her.....we would have enjoyed watching our father still riding his tractor had she not been there.  He never would have had that surgery wo her there, bc I would have stayed on the due diligence mission and convinced him it would be disastrous for him to have the surgery and she wouldn't have been there telling him I was a bad mean DD trying to deny him restored health, bc lighter mean.

Really upsetting for me and the mission is done. Over.  I feel I've paid her everything andire than she was due from me.

Conflict raises it's head when I think about howuch she was paid, all the childcare and pet sitting she provided for my brother without payment....she was a stable grandparent figure in my niece and nephew's lives actually caring for my nephew for months while SIL and brother built a home.  She was Nana.  My nephew was her favorite.  It was lovely and I know he flourished under her care.

I think my brother has different obligations than our sister and I are left with and he needs to figure that out. 

D D helped me figure out it wasn't mine to wrestle with and I was really struggling.

Now, in the present Caretaker continues taking mail from mailbox.  Checks.  She must still have a bank account iny father's name. Bills I need to pay, but are still in her name and her DD's name so the children's hospital would pay them and they could pocket that money, bc they lived here all expenses paid, which was great.   Their youngest 11yo child, a son got cancer and it was curable, thank God and they received the best care, at no expense, then Covid hit.  Really tough stuff.....
...we supported and helped and allowed them to live as they wanted without bothering them....much. My BIL was trying to get a career path started for caretaker's SIL, but he needed better English skills.  They all refused to help him learn better English, we had words over it and since they all refused to speak English when we visited we stopped visiting much, bc you could tell they were talking about us.  It was weird. 

I like the SIL.  I flew him to the island and paid Nana for his work, bc her story was herDD refused to help financially and was being cruel to her.....refusing to communicate.  I think it's all manipulative BS and am ready to lay rest to that circus and those clowns.

If caretaker asks for the checks, she's used to sneaking from mailbox, I have decisions to make about that conversation though I feel it will be very brief. Very kind.  Very final.

I don't need to explain the buddyfocking had consequences, fior surely they have and she knows, deep down, for herself.

In the meantime, caretaker has SocialSecurity, a home paid for with stolenoney in her home country and medicare.....family legal and working in the US we did the paperwork for, paid the fees, airfair and living expenses for almost 3 years while patiently waiting to take the house back and figure out if we can afford to keep it.  Oh, the smell.  The smell.

They took almost everything they wanted with them.  I kept a lamp and a table with sentimental value.  Sibs and I kept fiamily heirlooms that didn't walk out the door, but Caretaker wanted everything....to ship in boxes back to her third world village, which was a bad idea at $300.00 a box AND.....family heirlooms.

She got the $400 mixer, all but my grandparents cast iron pans
...everything she could take.....anything newer was hers, but the one lamp and table too big for their wonderful 3/2 home too small to fit them anyway.  And they're perfect here.  I touch them when I walk by them.  They bring me joy.  I brought them to to this house and I was tempted to say take it to everything they asked for.

I didn't bc I honestly dislike caretaker's DD, almost 40yo now. Since she hated me from theoment she saw me.....I cut myself slack just as I cut her slack for how she feels.  Not right or wrong, just how it is.

I'm ready to release them with love.

Ya.  I can say that's where I'm at right now.

Lighter









Hopalong

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #640 on: July 22, 2021, 11:05:34 AM »
Oh, dear. Please accept these bold descriptions as from a blunt language-brain but also a compassionate heart. (It's not unusual for someone to detect one but not the other!)

I see a Lighter perpetually struggling with boundary issues with people she employs. Emotionally stricken by puppydog eyes, particularly male ones. Drawn to suffering as though it's a massive magnet. Manipulated and mistreated by some she tries to direct, like the thieving caregiver. Eagerly entering conversations about health issues and food that are by definition, intimate and personal subjects. Beginning employer-employee relationships on that note. Launching into rescue mode, teacher mode, many other modes that are intimate and not employer mode. Sometimes the results are happy and good. Other times, there is drama, exploitation (of her) and misery, and she's bewildered.

My British next door neighbor was lost and massively lonely when she bought the house. She decided to build a wing. She hired a contractor and shortly declared, repeatedly, what "good friends" they were. She never stopped telling me excited anecdotes about how close they were and about the long personal conversations they had. He ripped her off and did tens of thousand$ of terrible shoddy work that had to be redone. Took him to court and never got her money back. Still the wing has water control problems.

Every yard man or hourly crew member becomes her friend or her rescue project. She loves talking about her close relationships with them all, because each and every one is her buddy. She makes a big deal about how there are no social barriers or limits whatsoever, because she is so egalitarian. She inititates and encourages long personal conversations with many of them, and pays them for their bonding time.

She hates class barriers (quite righteously) and pushes through them as though it's her personal obligation via this particular relationship to rearrange the world. (She told me enthusiastically --truthfully-- when we met, "I was raised by Communists!"). It's a joke between us now and her heart (like yours, Lighter) is completely genuine. In an unconscious way she melts every time she meets a contractor or landscaper and feels driven to enmesh into or improve their personal lives in SOME way, to show herself that she's not holding herself above them because she has the money. Instead, she is a benefactor who is somehow very dependent on them, yet needs their personal, emotional connections and trust to affirm to herself that this is an equal or even close relationship, and it is healing something in their lives. She doesn't quite see how she's seeking a kind of healing from workers for her own interior life. It all gets mixed together.

She's much less enmeshed with all these workers since she got a boyfriend. She had terribly missed her husband and sex, and all these men have strong bodies.
I used to say when she called with bewilderment about how one of the latest of those relationships had gone wonky, "Remember, these are employees; they are not your friends. You don't need to befriend every worker who comes your way. You can be friendly but also maintain appropriate distance that helps you remember your purpose in hiring them, review their work, be glad when it's good, correct calmly or take action when it's not, and then sincerely bid them a nice evening when they're done for the day." She was so traumatized by the contractor that I offered her a mantra: "He is here to work, not to be my friend."

She was very, very lonely. A widow. Missed male energy acutely. But her boundariless approach harmed her and wound up upsetting her over and over.

I have no idea if there are any "pings" for you in all this. I'm positive it won't be a perfect overlap, and it may not connect at all. It's just what came up because of my neighbor's saga/s. If it's exaggerated, well, I'm a writer...can't always help it.

I know you can sort all this out. I know you already have, a lot. I'm not frightened for you but I can hold up a vision of this sticky stuff not undermining you as it so often seems to get structured to do.

And, projecting....I couldn't enjoy managing big-scale renovations as you do if nearly all males were going to send either my attraction or my rescue wires a-buzzing, either emotionally or physically or whatever. I have to keep things in clear boxes with fat lines around, because I too can get swamped by mixed messaging -- my own or theirs.

I had a landscaper with whom I'd had a caring, rescuing, very genuine emotional desire to help...(and to whom I was attracted) turn up on my doorstep in the middle of winter one day, and throw his arms around me in a very strong embrace. It shocked me awake. I realized it wasn't fair to him or to me to have encouraged and invited his emotional connection to me. I had done that, out of my own neediness. That day I saw it. He still works for me and there's plenty of mutual respect. But no more rescue or buddy mode. I wanted to help him take his citizenship exam, help him rehearse, etc. There are local organizations that do this for immigrants. I was not the only one who could fix it! Other wires were buzzing and I'd disavowed them.

So it comes from that experience, too -- all this description of some things that MIGHT ping for you, Lighter. I wish you freedom from this particular kind of complication. I think with your big visions and big intelligence, you are strongly drawn to problem solving and solution finding for others. It's a great motivation. But I wish it didn't have to play out in your own life and own situations where you are hiring people.

I might be wrong about all of this, way off the mark, or projecting waaaay too much to be seeing it well. I see you as remarkable and interesting and boundary-breaking in lots of GOOD ways, too. I think you deserve healthy friendships, and more of them. We are all social creatures--it's an essential part of life. But to me, warning bells ring when my excited engagement starts to focus in on someone I hired or pay.

Dunno if I'm right, at all. I've employed a few con- and subcontractors (for 3 months) and the lawn/landscaper guy, but not to the extent that you have.

hugs
Hops

« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 12:10:55 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #641 on: July 22, 2021, 01:57:19 PM »
Well, recent contractors, the Son In Law of father's caretaker..... are all super competent, creative problem solvers of LARGE problems with many moving parts, which is every project I seem to take on.  I have a very fair working relationship with current contractor,but he has back issues, as does "caretaker" in Bimini, as do I.... so I always have PAIN FREE books to hand out, which is a 5.00 investment in their health and our ongoing arrangement of them WORKING for me and them being able to work.

And I do connect with people..... the things we have in common. Food if I'm feeding them which makes for more productive workdays, creates positive energy and time to share belief systems around food, which I have strong feelings about, as do you.  It's not a connection I have with everyone. I don't NEED to fix them, but I share when they're intersted and asking or have similar beliefs around food.

I absolutely get good work at a fair price....more than fair, IMO and I pay exactly what's asked and sometimes more if it's worth more and I know it.

I don't break things down into social standing, equal footing, mixing of social with business. Everything's business.... at the jobsite, not outside contact I don't fend off and that was with the crazy contractor who invited himself to holidays and pouted fiercely when I traveled.  It was too bad. I continued forth as though he wasn't.  Set boundaries he agreed to,but lied about. It blew up in my face and I have a pretty good undrestanding of what made that so toxic.  I felt it, sensed it, was smacked in the chops by it, but the trade off was amazing work at fair prices at a good pace, at least till the end and that was the end, however drama packed it was.  I handled my end, limited harm and got him paid.... out of my life.   I DO know he's suffering with mental disorders though. I understand he has a list... that type always does..... of people he'd lash out at should his life go upside down.  That he has a wonderful grown daughter will likely pull him back into whatever is considered homeostasis for him, which is hopeful.

THIS contractor is a trim man.  A good fit to build tiny homes on trailers.  He has 2 sons who're welders.  They work by the hour.  If we maybe start a business he'll be treated like a partner not an employee removed from means of production.  That means he'll be paid for the outcome and job, not for his limited time. 

I see that as a win win.  Not me saving him.   Not me fixing  him,but me doing what I do.....making sure everyone's ok, which is part of my retaining homeostasis in my life and I'm perfectly good with that.

Particularly as I have very pointed boundaries up and running right now. The time with my friend really focused my attention on what I do,think and feel regarding caretaking/saving reactivity.  You're right in small ways, but it's about competent forward motion with projects and renovations. It's never about friendship or lonliness..... I'm an introvert seeking alone time and I always require it after interacting with people.  I've been glued to youngest DD throgh this entire project, so my lively chats about bones and food and health are about sharing ideas.  I'm very clear on this, for myself.  I believe I'm very clear on this with employees, even tho the crazy contractor was attracted to me BC I was distant and refused to allow boundary stomping.... till I was stupidly stuck on the island with him with no where to go.... him pulling up a chair to face him.... inviting me to sit down and talk about something he was going to have a tantrum over my answer, bc I didn't tell him what he wanted to hear.  THAT would have been....... against my nature,but also reason for him to go crazier than he did while I held boundaries he railed against daily.

I won't tie myself to unstable people anymore....no matter how badly I need their skills.  I say that, but...... desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures and the island was desperate times. 

Your neighbor's experience doesn't resonate with me.   I 'm so pleased with the work I receive and that's the only reason for involving these men in my life. I tried to hire a female contractor on the lake house project, but she was caring for her grandchild and could't do it.  She's a lot like me.... likes to jump in and get her hands dirty.  Straight shooter....straiter than myself, for sure and that's all good.  Keeps things clean and clear.

My inner world HAS TO reflect my outer world. It's a THING about me that's not negotiable.  If I wanted male companionship I wouldn't seek it out with the men I hire...... in any small or large way.  Doesn;t even occur to me, though they appear to enjoy having a woman around who can carry her own weight, run a tractor and wield tools, split wood, tear up dog pee carpet,throw it over her shoulder and keep going till it's in the very tall container, ya. 

My inner workings fit well with a man who worked on farms, went to University, became a high powered executive in a high powered company.... an introvert, but for all the work contact he had to perform with clients....... who was quiet and focused on his inner workings, what made me tick and happy and pleased,bc that was who he was.  He was on his own journey,w ith T he kept after T said he was done. B took me into a T session with him when he was dying and his oldest DD was emotionally beating the stuffing out of us both...... he was stuck behind the curtain, I'd say.  Always peeking out, one of those men who do too much, never complain and find happiness and purpose in being useful and attentive....attuning to his mate and we were both nice people.  For the first time, nice people together.... a first for both of us, really... at least in ways everythingseemed to click, after tweaking.

I'd had nice, and educated, tall, blue eyed, employed man before..... interest in tropical fish, but he couldn't attune to me.  I was irritated by him much of the time.  It wasn't right.  Made me kind of mean. I can admit that. I was kind of mean to B when he wanted to go fast too quickly...... but he came back.  I was really really glad he did. 

In the meantime, work and play never mix for me.  I can't save anyone else, esp from themselves.  I feel as though I've been energetically pulled back, into myself..... home, comfortable..... with proper boundaries up....... they don't require energy, but I have stickign points.Old reactivity.  Things come up. Particularly if I care about someone's opinion....... I struggle tillI figure out how I FEEL... really FEEL about it.  Sometimes that's a day or a year or 10 years to figure out.  Sometimes I do what I have to do to get throgh something,. but I'm not who I was yesterday.  I'm different today and capable of things I couldn't do yesterday in regard to walking with boundaries in place....... carrying them with me.....not feeling guilty about it..... somewhat puzzled when people around behave differently when I didn't expect it.  My grown children are the same way, in every good way possible. If I'm doing well, they seem to shift into more ease and comfort too. 

DD19 is struggling with nicotine withdrawls while dealing with her eating disorder, body image, seeing herself as ugly....and it doesn't make for happy and smooth companionship all the time, but then I don't require she BE that in my life.  She's with me, most of the time, bc she's in crisis and requires tending to,but it's her doing the work.  I facilitate...... I support the mission, which is my thing.

Corroboration.  Collaboration.  Everyone OK.  I'm happy to play chess for the sake of playing. I don't rush winning..... same with dealing with contractors.  I don't take advantage of, cheat or otherwise rob then of their time and skills, bc I have respect and honor their skills the same I'd honor an MD's.... well. More, frankly.  And that has to be OK too. 

I'll never be rich bc I'm exploiting employees. That's true. 

I see that as positive mo jo, not as an innapropriate relationship, or otherwise screwy connection bound to end up in disaster.

These boundaries...... they'll keep me safe and I believe that.

It's an amazing tihng to sense them around me...... sort of unexpected, really.  Like I withdrew myself behind them.... found them waiting there, all along as I let my energy go all over the place.... in every direction...... maybe asking to be forgiven for what I felt was wrong with me..... unconsciously always believed was flawed about myself.... requiring... what?  Acceptance as i was? Forgiveness?  I have no idea,but I'm pleased I've arrived. I am home:)

What is that?  Processing?  SEEING myself and my friend under the strain of forced togetherness.... in gentle awareness, I do my best to hold open..... remain curious..... be IN my body.  Keep going back to myself....back home to myself.

There was a time that was just a sentence out of my T's mouth.  I sAw her lips move. Heard the words.  They meant nothing to me.  Frustrated me.  I was bitter and resistent and wanted to SEE.... wanted her to prove what she said. SHOW me, don't talk about it.  It was a process, to be sure.

As we worked together there were glimpses of meaning.  A glint of light here.  A peek there. And it grew and I'm the benefactor of a good fit in T, which is mirable itself, IME.

Crazy alchemy.

Lighter




CB123

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #642 on: July 22, 2021, 02:16:12 PM »
Thanks for the update, Lighter. I feel like I can follow better now.

Other than that, no input. EXCEPT, if you are having problems with mail being stolen, you might just switch to a PO box. I've lived in some sketchy places in the last few years and resorted to that. It's also nice if you dont check your mail every day--someone is holding it for you safely, and USPS now offers an email service where they will send you photos of your mail every day so you can see if anything important has arrived.

(Lost a post, so if it shows up somewhere, it's mine!!!)

CB
When they are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way -- and it surely has not -- she adjusted her sails.  Elizabeth Edwards 2010

Hopalong

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #643 on: July 22, 2021, 02:19:22 PM »
Good good GREAT. I believe you!

So glad I was addressing old stories.
And so impressed with the new ones.

It's as though you're framing a new structure and doing it with care and skill and sound materials that suit the function.
It's not a brittle shell but an appropriately protective edifice and you're getting very comfortable with housing and respecting your own self.

Bravo.
I'm glad I was way off and that my neighbor's saga doesn't relate.

So good to be so far off!

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: Mindfulness and codependence thread
« Reply #644 on: July 22, 2021, 10:12:40 PM »
Wanted to go way back to our chat about T things, Lighter.

Where you noted that in your process, your T's grace with your "tantruming inner toddler" or your "angry inner toddler" -- she was brave, and able to join you in accepting that side of your inner child...and how much it HELPED.

I think I can get to a more productive place with my T.
For me, if I'm being honest with myself (I hope), the scene is different. Because what my inner toddler feels is more like terror and broken-heartedness.

My anger can come out in snippy language...but it's about protecting myself from fully feeling (or airing) just how sad I was.

I was hopelessly gentle and sensitive. I had virtually no self-defense reflexes. I was tapioca as a little, little girl.

I'm not that now. In fact I over-compensate with emotional boldness sometimes. But I think the inner toddler I want to protect is someone that can't handle being prodded with too sharp a stick.

Looked at another way, it could be cowardice. But I think what I do with others' energy is fight (only verbally) but generally absorb absorb absorb because I WANT to love and understand and illuminate, endlessly, no matter the cost.

I remember M's complete deafness and how we argued and confronted and I stood up roaring about his misunderstandings and entitled obliviousness about how he waved the carrot of helping my D under my nose but then included so much posturing and manipulation that made him the Knight...and then when I refused him that option, he withdrew the whole tantalizing idea. That he might send her a life-changing $5K or $10K and yet..if he didn't do it entirely anonymously or without any manipulation or credit-seeking whatsoever, it could tank any microscopic scrap of hope that I'd ever see my child again. He didn't understand how precarious and fragile the entire balance with her is, and couldn't grasp who I was and what I was trying to tell him because his ego was narrating.

So it was SO FRAUGHT and overwhelming for me that it was without doubt one contributor to why I had a stroke.

All that said, that's why I paid attention when I got chest pains when my T was urging me deeper that day. I know, and she doesn't, how my psyche and physical body can get together to yank me in the wrong direction. And until she shows a fuller understanding of that "fragility" -- I won't go that vulnerable. Not yet.

Our last session was good and upbeat and comfortable. I still don't know how complex she can get or how much I can do with her. Still, I'm continuing. She's good and genuinely trying and I want to honor that.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."