Monday, May 24, 2010

I want to be ready to be this direct.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sink or Swim, I'm jumping in.

I'm not quite sure how to describe what is happening... My life... is being guided by a perfect hand... I can't see it. It doesn't seem to fit what I always thought was "right" but... it is.

Two years ago, I told Paul I wasn't "strong enough to do this on my own". I didn't know what I meant. I knew Dann and I needed to separate so I could find me again. I knew our relationship was toxic to both of us. I thought I was talking about how I wasn't strong enough to leave him, because the eating disorder would take over. It might have... but that is not what I meant.

I wasn't strong enough to stand up for what I felt was right. I wasn't strong enough to feel the anger that I needed to feel. I wasn't strong enough to force myself to separate. I wasn't strong enough to lay down any sort of boundaries. I wasn't strong enough to see what work needed to be done. I wasn't strong enough to tell Dann what was hurting me. I wasn't strong enough to see how much the crap from my past was effecting me.

I couldn't make good choices, because I didn't allow myself a choice. There were so many "have-to's". So, I went inpatient.

I was so blessed to have the protection of CFC to get me going. Then I had the protection of BJ to continue healing. Then I had the apartment and Bishop Campbell.

And finally, two years later, I have done enough work to get to the starting place...

Marty told BJ that the process of healing is the same process whether you choose to stay together or divorce. That makes so much sense. But I couldn't even begin this process until I found me... I'm closer than I have ever been.

I told Dann that I wanted to hang out today, but I wanted to be home before 8:00... I felt like I needed to limit the time I spent with him. That time was a bit arbitrary, but I picked it because it felt good enough.

Dann asked if that was flexible.

I felt violated. I felt so guilty for even proposing the boundary. I felt like he didn't listen to me. I felt... CRAZY! I understand that my reaction was a little overdone and dramatic. I am so not used to standing up for what I want. Even expressing it. That I honestly feel like I have done something horrible... His questions made it feel even worse, because I wasn't sure if I was being unreasonable with my request. I found myself thinking I should make it up to him for even THINKING about wanting to go home before he wanted me to...

This is going to be a lot harder than I thought...

And, yet... I can do this. I wasn't strong enough two years ago. I am strong enough now.

I don't want to hear the "crazy voice" come from me ever again. (The one where I start saying things like, "If I am just nice enough." "Its ok. He didn't mean to hurt me." "I'll be stronger, and I'll learn how to just take it.")

I will do what it takes to change me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Much better

Its a funny thing... Trying to change EVERY dang thing in my brain... The little things that seem to come so easily for others make me crazy.

My friend, Lauren, has invited me to her house a million times. I have gone a few times. I HATE being there with her husband. I just don't like the man. I don't like the way I feel with him. He looks and acts like Larry. And when I couldn't find anger for Larry, I beat a couch cushion thinking of Brett. I knew she knew all that, but I STILL didn't feel like I could say that to her.

I didn't want to put her in an awkward position. I didn't want her to feel bad about asking me. So many other worries... I never said what I wanted.

Last night, she invited me again.
"I'd love to, but not while Brett's there."

Simple enough response. It came out of my mouth before I even thought about it. What I wanted. Absolute truth about what I was feeling at that moment.

It felt so good. I realized how different I am from LAST WEEK talking to Lauren. I couldn't do that a week ago. And last night, I did it as if it was just part of me. Just who I was. No questions or doubts before I said it. No guilt after I said it. Just me.

Lauren didn't die. She laughed and said she felt the same way. She even congratulated me for saying what I wanted. Her response was perfect, but it really wouldn't have mattered either way. I am finally standing up for me.

And its not nearly as hard as it used to be.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

If they jumped off a bridge...

From the book, Too Nice for Your Own Good:
"As nice people we have failed to distinguish between being aggressive and being assertive. Seeing the difference between them can free us to tell others what we want. Look at how these two forms of expression differ:

To be aggressive is to dominate people and take away their rightful power.
To be assertive is to express your wants and leave their power intact.

To be aggressive is to affirm only your own wants and worth.
To be assertive is to affirm the worth of both others and yourself.

To be aggressive is selfish.
To be assertive expresses a healthy self-love.

We assert ourselves when we respectfully ask something of others that’s appropriate. Rather than aggressively imposing our needs on them and turning them off, our assertiveness makes them feel needed and they find satisfaction in responding.

The freedom to express your desires to others will come only with your decision to live by them. Are you willing to love yourself? Be fully present to those you care about? Assert yourself in a respectful way?

In asserting yourself, whether you want people to stop or start doing something, you need to be positive, specific and direct, rather than negative, indirect, manipulative or moralistic.

Such compelling assertions, because they are clear, honest, and respectful, tend to make others want to give you what you want, desire and deserve. On the other hand, if you’re negative, you create negative responses; if you’re indirect, you burden others with explaining themselves; if you’re manipulative, you make them resentful and resistant; if you’re moralistic, you force them to act out of guilt. Here are examples of healthy assertiveness followed by examples of how unhealthy communications sound:

I’d like you to pick up your toys.

Don’t leave your toys lying around. (Negative)
Why don’t you pick up your toys? (Negative and indirect)
You shouldn’t leave your toys lying around. (Negative and moralistic)
Nice kids don’t leave their toys lying around. (Negative, indirect and manipulative)

I’d like you to bring me flowers.

Don’t forget to bring me flowers. (Negative)
Why don’t you bring me flowers anymore? (Negative, indirect)
You ought to bring me flowers now and then. (Moralistic)
Nice spouses don’t forget to bring their wife flowers. (Negative, indirect, manipulative)"

After reading this a few weeks ago, I have paid a lot of attention to the way people talk to each other. Especially my family... Almost everything they say to each other is aggressive according to this book's definition.

I have felt frustrated with them for ages... but I couldn't tell you why.
I have felt angry at the way Dann talks to me, but I thought I was just being crazy.

It turns out all of us have learned to communicate in some really ucky ways. At CFC the first time, I learned how to be assertive, but... even then... I didn't want to make people feel the way I felt... And I really didn't know what I was doing. So, I pulled back.

I'm done pulling back to make others happy.
I want to be assertive. I want to take care of me. I don't want to hurt others with aggressive communication. How do I even begin?? If EVERYONE does it, how do I be different? How do I tell people its not okay to talk to me that way?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Attending Angels

Its been a tough weekend... I know I might want to write about that more later, but for now...
I went looking for comfort. President Uchdorf is usually pretty good at that.
Here is what he had for me today:
"There are those among you who, although young, have already suffered a full measure of grief and sorrow. My heart is filled with compassion and love for you. How dear you are to the Church. How beloved you are of your Heavenly Father. Though it may seem that you are alone, angels attend you. Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone."

Thank you. My heart hurts. I feel so alone sometimes. I know you're right though, angels attend me. Everyday. Thank you.