Ok, so I’m blogging now. Never blogged before. I’m a little nervous putting myself out there. Just write, don’t worry. One of my issues is perfectionism. I have a need to be perfect because others are watching, others are judging. Will I be deemed good enough? Good enough for what? Good enough to belong. In the world. Of course I’m not perfect. But I try to be as flawless as I can. A flawed person trying to be flawless. Ok, so I’m not flawed. But I’ve felt like it most of my life. Mistakes are shameful. I’m learning to let go of it. But after a lifetime of harshly judging myself it’s hard to change. I think sometimes I can do it and somtimes not and it will be a life long challenge. But it is easier these days. Drivel, drivel, drivel….OK, I’m done.
Yeah… didn’t even know about those things. My biggest surprise was getting a list of emotional needs! (I got the list from my first therapist because I didn’t know what she was talking about.) Whoa, this one backed me up. I had yearned for those things – to be seen, acknowledged, played with. I had put them under my “weaknesses” list.
I’ve kind of taken to this “getting my needs met” stuff. Seeing a list on a sheet of paper was almost like the groceries that i’d been missing. It was OK to have these; in fact, everyone did and I had a right to get them. Somehow seeing it written in a book or on paper took away the “zing” or shame of wanting these things. Because someone other than me said it was OK. Just wanting or needing them myself – I paid NO attention to that.
I realized that my anger (that I never aknowledged) was very related to not getting my needs met. I had chronically unmet needs and it made me cranky!
I still have a very hard time asking for what I need or want. There are certain people, places and times when i can ask, but others are hard. I’ll pay attention to that.
Now, what about this selfless, doing for others is the greatest good thing. Is this OK as long as I get my needs met. This is where i’m getting confused. In my Buddhist readings, selflessly doing for others is the way to go.
Gotta go and get dinner for my family. —— Isn’t this the woman’s story? I do derive pleasure from doing for my family. When is this pathological? I guess as long as I don’t ignore myself. I do know that I can avoid doing things I need to do with the thought that i’m doing for others.
I can relate to the “my compulsions are my reward.” Reward for what? For ignoring my needs. For getting through the day, usually.
Tags: blogging, change, needs, quest, shame, support, vortex
by eeabee (who is now “eeabee of the 26.2 miles”)
These are some of the searches that have lead people to our blog. Some of which are apparently from fellow silly souls, and others from fellow sufferers. Either way, we can only hope you find what you need, or a link or idea for where else to look, or even just a little company.
toe of shame
toe wiggling habit
kindness to oneself
the feeling of being in a vortex
vortex in human body
always feel shame
why do my toes wiggle
what are body memories
feeling wiggley anxiety
vortex as metaphor
shame vs fear
vortex healing depression anxiety
shame and self care
blogs about shame on oneself
heart get suck down a vortex
Some of these, the toe/wiggly ones and mrs vortex especially, make me smile, and some are things I’ve no doubt gone out searching for myself. There’s a lot of this kind of pain out there, and it’s not the kind of pain we can live with alone, especially not when the heart gets sucked down a vortex, as it does sometimes.
Tags: culture, family, gyre, poetry, shame, things fall apart, vortex, Yeats
In Yeats’s “The Second Coming”:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. . .
Here the vortex is out in the world, unleashed–maybe a different thing than the internal ones of individuals–but no, I think not. I think maybe that they are all the same thing, all part of each other. Individual shame spirals don’t come from nowhere, they come from other individuals, from families, from culture–from all the systems we move in, all the systems that can house a vortex. Some of us just seem to feel them deeply. Some of us try not to pass them on, and so they stay with us.
Tags: addiction, lightness, melodrama, needs, playfulness, psychology, recovery, shame, tone, writing
I’m reading John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame that Binds You, and I see that he says: “To be shame-bound means that whenever you feel any feeling, need or drive, you immediately feel ashamed” (32).
This does seem a bit of an awkward way to go through life, a bit inconvenient.
And so it is. I find things like this helpful though, not to weigh myself down with the enormity of an issue like this to be point of being immobilized, matted down, stuck to the floor, but because it makes me realize how huge of a deal it is to be able to move at all. This could become overly self-congratulatory, and probably already has, but there may be worse things. Clearly I like (and fear, but also like) attention, or I wouldn’t be writing here, so there’s no sense it denying it, not really. Even less so, if I admit that my job involves me having regular almost captive audiences, which I do admit, because it does.
Equally distressing are these quotes: “As each new shaming experience takes place, a new verbal imprint and visual image form a scene that becomes attached to the existing ones to form collages of shaming memories” (32); “As the years go on, very little is needed to trigger these collages of shame memories. A word, a similar facial expression or a scene can set it off. Sometimes an external stimulus is not even necessary” (33). A whole big webby network in which a disturbance (or not even) in one spot triggers the whole thing to go haywire. And so it does. Not always–not like it used to. And I was just about to write that with this collage/network thing, the situation is as likely to worsen over time as it is to get better, and I’ve experienced some of that, some of it lately. But I’ve experienced the opposite too. It has taken great labor to get this far, which, if you haven’t gathered this already, is a bit sad considering how much room there is for improvement, but it’s more dazzling to think about where I came from. End-stage addiction, for one thing. And I do mean end stage. Which is where I now live, poised delicately above the brink I was just about to plummet from. See, I’ve been starting to think that a little melodrama–or a lot, it’s not really something that works in subtle accents–has some things to be said for it. It’s not actually that I’m exaggerating, but my prose is a bit purple at times, juicy-like, a bit oversaturated. Overdecorated with swooning-couches. But it’s such pleasure to overdo a bit like this, and it lets me play with something I certainly wouldn’t be able to wrestle down without getting myself killed in the process. But dancing with my awareness of where and how I live–on this edge of disaster, having stepped a few feet back, but I don’t think it’s possible to get far–that lightens the feeling of living here. It reminds me there is pleasure and lightness even here. Or shall I say (Oh I shall, I shall. . .) “especially here.” “Especially here” it is then, because while it sometimes seems intolerable and too scary here, sometimes it seems just as right to wonder what could possibly be more surprising and exciting?
And there’s never a problem with boredom.
Tags: boundaries, cheer, compassion, empathy, perverseness, real, self, self-determination, self-expression, support, woundedness
It’s funny. We think our selves are so discrete–so clearly demarcated–such unities–such knowable things. Such myths. We are such myths. Not that I mean we aren’t valuable–I do not reject the value of myths. Far from it. Quite the opposite. That’s sort of the trouble. Myths mean; myths move; myths make. Mmm. It also isn’t that to claim that it would be bad (or good, for that matter), if are selves were always these things we say they are. Maybe they are sometimes, but I think not always, if at all.
The edges of a self are not always so fortress-strong. This means that a self cannot keep all invasions out, nor need it remain untouched. A self cannot enforce its own self-determination, its inalienable rights, which are clearly all too alienable. A self may announce its boundaries, but may not be recognized as sovereign by others–or by elements within–ones that are treasonous, traitorous, sly (I do like me some extended metaphors; in fact, it is becoming a sort of compulsive practice to begin one and keep on keepin’ on with it). A self may not know it can announce boundaries, that it can claim anything at all, or even that it can speak.
I say this to myself and whoever else will tolerate such didacticism: Do not ask why this self doesn’t just take some responsibility; do not say to this self “get a grip” or “grow up.” Only wonder why it does not speak for itself; only trace the reason; only listen for ways in which it almost speaks; only ease the pain of its wounds. Do not say, “when are those wounds going to be healed”; only look for ways to help to heal them. I say this to myself as much as any. I do not always meet these obligations, but I am learning to take notice, and I know that when I mention my shortfall I am accepting that these obligations are mine (as they are everyone’s), and this is something to do not with shame but with pride. Because obligations only belong to human beings who count and who matter, and so are the signs of a real existence, a real life, a fully human life. And because some obligations are a privilege to meet.
There is something to be said from starting from a sense of one’s own unreality, one’s feeling of not being part of the world of real people. Because things that might seem tiresome and onerous to others can seem like homecoming. I don’t mean that this is anything desirable or redeeming. Not feeling real or a full part of the human family isn’t redeemable or okay or tolerable. But it happens. And it has to be lived with (or not, but then that’s a different discussion, or rather, the end of discussions). So I say this in the service of my pollyannaish perverse mode, wherein I take awful realities and find them cheery in a grotesque sort of way, the mode that lets me live.
Tags: anhedonia, body image, depression, fatigue, self-criticism
I’ve been fighting with some serious fatigue and some gloominess–some thyroidy problems, methinks, which makes it easier to observe a little rather than getting totally sucked under and in. It’s a little more identifiable, and there’s no anhedonia–the loss of pleasure in usually pleasurable things business, which makes depression so hard to fight because with the anhedonia there doesn’t seem to be any point since everything’s flat or icky anyway. So that’s not here, just the droopy droopiness and getting overwhelmed and falling asleep and telling myself terrible things about myself (wrong size, wrong shape, wrong comments, wrong silence, wrong ideas, wrongy-wrong-wrong).
But it’s been possible to separate from those thoughts and symptoms a bit more than sometimes–not possible to stop them, or stop having those thoughts, but more possible not to add to them by taking them too much to heart. It’s not so easy not to take one’s own thoughts too much to heart, but I find it’s absolutely necessary for survival sometimes.
But I think I’ll stop writing now because it seems to be rather tiring.
Tags: awareness, body image, change, depression, exercise, shame, therapy
Something new to work on, something important I think. I started working with a trainer at the YMCA – I got ten sessions for Christmas. I am excited about this because I really want to get myself back in shape and also to fight off the wanting to stay in bed part of depression. When I was working with my trainer, I noticed that she kept telling me to look up. Other than not wanting to see that other person in the mirror who looks twice my size, I’m not sure why I look down so much. Even when we’re not in front of a mirror I hear that gentle “look up”.
I have since paid more attention to this and I look down A LOT. I’m often uncomfortable making eye contact, even with my therapist….especially with my therapist. If a stranger says “hi” to me, I say “hi” then immediately look down or away. What the heck? What do I think my therapist, a stranger, or anyone else is going to see? Is it just a bad habit? We’ve decided that some is habit and that it serves to add to my feeling of isolation…to not connect, not engage. Of course the old shame word comes into play as well. I know what I thought they’d see when I was a child, but I’m an adult….I’m tired of being ashamed.
Now that I’m more aware of this habit, I plan to work on changing it. I want to see where I’m going as I look ahead, look up.
Tags: anxiety, boundaries, change, joy, movement, running, self-criticism, shame, work, WoYoPracMo, yoga
[I posted this on sparks in the night also, but I’m revisiting and adding a bit here.]
They capture shame, but also the joy of movement and the shape of the world.
I feel like writing about movement today, no thinkies. Those haven’t been going so well, lots of “I failed” at this or that or “I suck” in various ways. Some of it must be fictional–it seems like one person can only suck in so many ways at a time–one would think. I seem to be deteriorating a bit in this area, regressing some, for the first time since I got sober. Maybe it’s just a dip (if not, I’m in trouble), but it’s strange to have so much of the I-suckery going on in my head, like it always used to be. I got all worked up over another work thing, a student complaining about my appalling cruelty (Note: I don’t think this is one of my qualities, in truth) to all sorts of higher-ups. Luckily, she lied about them failing to respond to her at all (they had responded to her) so that helps my situation. And I think I had handled it all well and had a record thereto, but I had some difficulty not taking it in, not taking it to heart. This was a constant problem before and had gotten better. I guess revisiting the “I suckery” and finding it startlingly unpleasant means some change had occured, which is good, but it does drag at my feet, threatens to pull me down deep.
So no thinkies. Movement, territory, rain. I went running the other day, 16 miles I’d guess, WITH HILLS. And I do mean hills–there are some big ones where I was. They actually make it more interesting, more of a journey with different terrains than some sort of tiresome grind. It was a bit moist, which is to say raining for much of the time, but not so cold. I ran through some semi-rural areas, with horses peering at me as if puzzled by my going by, and saw some grey and soggy but lovely views.
Yoga-wise I’ve been mostly keeping up at least some basic yoga poses/stretches each day, sometimes more, sometimes less, but more than I was in the habit of doing before WoYoPracMo. I do definitely notice some new looseness/mobile-ness that is strange with such as escalation of running going on at the same time–must be the yoga. I’ve been to some new classes, including my first all-ashtanga all the time class which was great. It kicked my butt, but it was great.
Dynamic, fiery and vigorous, intense. The first yoga instructor whose classes got me hooked had an ashtanga influence to his flows and poses, so it reminded me a bit of when I first started. That was such an intense time–I was quitting drinking, learning all kinds of new things, getting overwhelmed, living life again. They say the body remembers trauma, and so it does. It remembers other things too. It remembers renewal, the joy of movement, the pain not of injury but of aching muscles being stimulated to develop, the forms it has shaped itself to, the rhythms it has followed.
Tags: abuse, fear, healing, love, pain, recovery, survivors, writing
What really sucks is that the person who’s been hurt is left holding the burden, the burden which belongs somewhere else.
This is when I like to say that the person who does the hurting loses a bit of their soul, that there is a cost to them too. I want to say that there is some comfort in at least not having to be like them. Cold comfort. I kind of like cold comfort though, and it’s more than nothing.
[I posted this on my blog, sparks in the night, but it’s got a link that might be of interest for us too.]
The Mind is a Dangerous Place to be Alone (or at least mine is)
Big Fat Baby Crybaby Whiny Needy Baby. These are the kinds of things my brain tells me about myself sometimes. And I do cry and need things (this needing business is a huge point of crushing shame for me so it’s hard to even say). But even I can see that these labels are a tad extreme.
Rising Rainbow replied to a comment of mind in a thoughtful and helpful post that I’m linking to here. Maybe it’s a tiny bit because she said nice things about my comment, but mostly it’s because what she said was clarifying and also affirming for me. I think it’s sometimes quite hard for me not to discount how I feel about things (any/all of them, really)–it’s such an ingrained reflex–but others’ words can help a lot to counter what my own brain tells me.
So let’s try this:
Big Fat Baby Crybaby Whiny Needy Baby.
Person. Regular old human being, plain and simple.