One year ago yesterday, I came across this post on FB and took a screenshot. I was in a completely different place…deep in grief, anxiety, PTSD, fear, and depression. Recovering and rebuilding takes a lot of work. A lot of wondering how you’ll ever feel okay again. With a lot of love, patience, and support from family and friends, I’ve overcome so many things…from dealing with guilt to continuing to work through insecurities to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones to finding “home“.
I in no way want to diminish or invalidate what others have gone or are going through. I am not comparing your experience to mine. I am simply sharing. This year has been tough for all of us. We have all experienced fear, loss, and heartbreak. Some days, it’s been overwhelming and one small word can throw you into despair. One thing that I had to learn to do this year was to reach out and actively stay in touch with people I care about and who care about me. I could not do this alone. I have been lucky enough to experience a lot of personal growth and make progress through such a challenging year. I know I’m not finished growing, learning, and experiencing new things. I know it won’t always be easy. I also know that I am not alone. I have hope for the future, I feel more secure, and I finally believe that I am and will be okay.
To all of you who have so patiently helped me get this far, I am forever grateful our paths crossed and that you are a part of my life, my chosen family. You guys are truly amazing people, and I hope that I can always be there for you as you have been for me. I love you all. 💗🤝
For those who are struggling, please don’t lose hope and remember this…
To everyone, please do what you can to be safe, take care of each other, and have a Happy New Year!
Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about what I’m currently going through because that’s where I am. In my last post, I opened up and shared what happened a year ago. What I’ve been through takes up a lot of my time as I try to focus on recovering from the past, being okay with the present, and moving forward.
Today, I want to remember some good things. Looking back, May 2014 was a big month for me. On May 1st, I had worked up the courage to email Bonnie from the My Bottom Smarts blog. I had just finished reading her entire archive and it was the first time I reached out to anyone who talked about spanking as much as I wanted to talk about it. From her blog, I found links to several others. As I started exploring, I found a whole community of people who talked about everything from personal relationships to every day life to how they felt about and incorporated TTWD into their lives. A whole new world started to open up.
On May 5th, I wrote my first kink-related blog entry to introduce myself. I had no idea who would read it or what would happen. I just knew that I wanted to share my experiences and maybe find some friends out there. I had fun with it. I shared stories or books that I came across. I shared the fun kinky sex experiences. I shared things that I was hoping would happen. I shared the death of Tom’s dad and his resulting relapse into drug addiction. Then, I disappeared for four years, came back, and have been sharing some of what it’s like to slowly recover from being in love with an addict. I continue to share because I miss this community and because I hope sharing might help others.
On May 23, 2014, I reached out to someone who would end up helping me through some of the darkest times I’ve had in my life so far. At the time, she had already found my blog and commented on some of my first posts! (Talk about being really excited to be noticed by someone so amazing!) I had just finished reading her autobiography and was working through her blog archive when I sent my first email to Erica. I had no idea how important this first correspondence would be. Last year, I only texted two friends the day after I told Tom to move out – Erica was one of them. As my anxiety and depression grew into something I could no longer control and keep bottled up, she was there to virtually hold my hand, calm me down, and walk in circles repeatedly through the things that were consuming me. She encouraged my switch to weekly therapy and helped me open up. She knows everything about me. And would you believe it? She has never left my side. She was there and is still there every day. Our friendship means the world to me.
Going forward, these are the memories that I want to hold on to as I start to find myself again and let go of the past. As this month closes, I am ready for new experiences and new memories. It is time.
One year ago, Tom left home to run an errand. He was supposedly going to pick up a small boat. He said it was sitting on a trailer that had a bad tire, so it might take a few hours. I told him to pick up some fix-a-flat and to please call me and let me know how it was going. By 9:30pm, we had talked three times. He was still having trouble with the trailer and was planning on turning around, leaving the boat, and heading home. He said that he would take a few minutes because he misplaced something, but he was heading home.
By 10:30pm, he still wasn’t home. I called him, but he was no longer answering. This wasn’t the first time he had done this. We had Life 360 on our phones, so I could see where he was. I finally had enough. I texted him, “If you don’t call me, I will head out there.” In order to do this, I had to borrow my dad’s vehicle because Tom was in my Tahoe. Why? Because he had wrecked his truck three months before and I was in the process of buying myself a new vehicle. Of course, he didn’t call or text me back. I didn’t trust the people where he was, so I called his mom and asked her to go with me. She agreed. I borrowed the van from my dad, picked up his mom, and drove 20 mins to where he was. As I pulled up, he was walking toward the Tahoe to get his phone. Apparently, he had decided he wanted to get high with the people he was hanging out with.
Me: Why didn’t you call me or answer your phone?
Tom: (I don’t remember his answer…probably something like I didn’t want to argue or you knew where I was.)
Me: Please follow me home. I can still “fix” this. I’ll just tell my parents that you were working late (they live next door to me).
Well, that pissed him off, after all, why should he have to answer to anyone?
Tom: Stop making a scene, go home, and I’ll be home in a couple of hours.
Me: No, follow me home or I’ll follow you home.
Tom: No, I will be home in a couple of hours.
Me: I’m not okay with this. You need to make up your mind. It’s me or all of this (gesturing at the house where he was getting high and the people that were somewhere around).
Tom: All of this.
Me: Then, I guess you need to move out…
Tom: If that’s what you want.
Me: Are you going to be home in time to take me to work in the morning? (He had been taking me to work and picking me up.)
Tom: Yes, I’ll be there in a couple of hours.
I think we talked on the phone around 1am. He said that he would be back soon. At this point, I’m still thinking I might be able to fix this if he does make it back in time…but I knew he wouldn’t be there to take me to work.
I called him at 6am. No answer. His phone was dead. I called at 6:30. Nothing. By 6:40am, I called my dad, “Can you take me to work?”
Tom called at 6:55am: I’m on my way.
Me: (sarcasm) Good. I’m on my way to work. Are you going to pick me up from work? We need to talk.
Tom: Yes, I’ll be there.
I got through the day. No idea how. I just did. He picked me up, and we headed to the house. We talked in the kitchen. I told him I couldn’t do this anymore. He decided that he would leave that night. I helped him pack a suitcase, and he left.
Over the next several months, a local friend and I packed his stuff that was all over the house into boxes. He would show up basically whenever the hell he felt like it. He wouldn’t show up when he said he would, he would show up without calling, or he would bring someone with him without telling me. He had stuff all over my property…in the house, in the sheds, and just outside in the open. I let him have access to my Walmart Pay to buy food…because I’m a soft-hearted idiot. I moved my deadline several times from September to October to finally December 31st. In September, I cut him off from Walmart Pay and had to change my credit card because suddenly I no longer had access to some of the bills I was covering for him (cellphone and car insurance).
I saw him on Christmas Day. I helped pack a full trailer load. He was planning on coming back one more time, then whatever was left I would get rid of. On Dec. 28th, he was arrested at the abandoned property next door for allegedly trying to break into the house and steal copper. His new fiancé begged me to help, but I wouldn’t. She apparently got him out on New Year’s Eve.
He has called a few times since then…mostly trying to find out if tax checks have arrived for him. I’ve now told him at least three times to fill out a change of address form. Two weeks ago, he told me that he had changed the address on his license and that he was heading directly to the post office. On Tuesday, a check arrives. He lied to me. Again. I have a choice. I could put “return to sender” on it or I could either contact him or wait for him to call me and give it to him. He has a fiancé and is taking care of her two little girls. Assuming this is the stimulus check…that’s $1,200 dollars. I should not have to make this choice. This is not my responsibility. So, what am I going to do? I was going to talk to my therapist this evening, but that got postponed to tomorrow. I guess I’m probably going to wait for him to call or try to contact him. Why? Because I’m incapable of choosing my well-being over someone else’s. For all those who think I’m this strong, intelligent woman, I’m sorry to disappoint you…I think we might have finally located her, but we still haven’t completely pulled her out of the rubble yet.
Tom ran all over my boundaries for years. He knew what they were; he just didn’t care. I am still dealing with the fallout from the emotional abuse and from being in a constant high state of anxiety. I have been grieving for a while. I lost the man I fell in love with to drugs years ago. I finally had to give up and physically let him go a year ago. Through all of this, I also lost myself. I gave so much of me to this man that there was nothing left. My confidence, strength, love, self-worth, vulnerabilities, and insecurities – everything went into this relationship and I did everything I could to save it.
I don’t love him anymore. I don’t regret telling him to leave. What I do regret is losing me. I am still so angry at myself for letting it go so far, for enabling, for allowing myself to be so vulnerable, for giving him all of me. If given the choice, I would not willingly put myself through this again. However, if living through this was the only way that I would have been able to meet the support group I have today, then I wouldn’t hesitate. While I was still struggling in the depth of my despair, friends (old and new) have opened their hearts to me and are still helping me put the pieces back together. You guys know who you are, but I have to name a few.
Erica– you have literally been there every day since day one. You’ve seen me at my worst and have never turned your back on me. I will forever be grateful for the friendship we have. You have given me so much love, strength, and support through my darkest moments. Holding my hand in spirit, reminding me to breathe, and telling me that I will be okay. I don’t know what I would have done without you, SIS.
Dotty – you and your hubby are the first spankos I’ve met in person. I am so grateful for your friendship, patience, and support you both have given me. You guys are amazing, and I am so excited and looking forward to being able to meet up again. Thank you for helping me make new memories.
Lily, Zack, Prux, and Alex – you guys have been so caring and supportive over the last few months. I appreciate all of you so much. I can’t wait to meet up one of these days.
My local friends – Thank you guys for helping me over the last year. You guys have listened to me repeat myself so many damn times. I know that couldn’t have been easy. Thank you so much for being there.
To those I haven’t mentioned – I see you and know you’re there. Your support, comments, and messages mean the world to me. Thank you all!
I love all of you so much and appreciate everything each of you has done to make my journey to finding my way back and forward just a little bit easier, just a little bit brighter.
You’re not afraid of emotions;
you’re afraid of feeling.
You’re not afraid of life;
you’re afraid of living.
You’re not afraid of death;
you’re afraid of dying.
You’re not afraid of pain;
you’re afraid of being broken.
You’re not afraid to be happy;
you’re afraid of losing everything.
You’re not afraid of helping people;
you’re afraid of being used.
You’re not afraid of being alone;
you’re afraid of getting lost in your thoughts and feelings.
You’re not afraid of giving up control;
you’re afraid of losing control.
You’re not afraid of putting your heart out there;
you’re afraid of trusting the wrong people.
You’re not afraid of being vulnerable;
you’re afraid of being vulnerable around those who don’t care what that means.
You’re not afraid of the memories;
you’re afraid of reliving the past.
So, this is my 100th post for this blog. I had thought about sharing fun posts from the past, but instead, I’m going to stick with being open and honest. I warn you that this post is long and emotionally raw…this is me and this is where I am today.
Last night in therapy, I was actually able to breakdown and cry for the first time in months. I’ve mentioned before that I have the ability to appear strong and stoic. With my friends and family, I haven’t shed a tear in person since all of this happened…my eyes have watered, but not a single tear escapes. I don’t typically cry easily, but I’ve also never had a problem crying before. I cried a lot during the last few years in my relationship with Tom (both in front of him and not) and also for the first couple of months after the breakup, but only when he would come over to get his stuff. Then, suddenly, I just stopped and couldn’t cry anymore. I still hurt like crazy, but no longer had a way to release it.
I told my therapist that I have been experiencing some rather painful heartbreak again over the last week. She caught me off guard by asking me how I knew exactly what it was that I was feeling and to describe it. (Umm, because it hurts?) But, I took a moment and thought about it. It physically feels like my heart is breaking. It’s how I felt right before I started telling her about everything that was going on. She asked if I thought it was also loneliness. Yes, I do. But, it’s also the same type of really intense pain I get when I’m holding on to too much, like when I’m holding back what I’m feeling because I’m trying to not be a burden on someone. It’s all of that type of pain.
I told her about the concert, which I had written about in my last post, about how I couldn’t feel anything except disappointment. She asked if there is anything I could think of that I want to do that would make me feel good. I told her, “No, not at the moment.” I’ve gotten into a light exercising routine recently and that isn’t even helping me feel better. Her next suggestion was to try walking into a room and pretending to be happy to see if it forces a change in your mental state? Seriously?! Every damn day, I smile at everyone I meet, and it’s not like I walk into meetings as if the world is going to end. No one knows what I’m going through at work. My parents don’t even know how bad I feel. And, no, faking it does not help improve my mood. This is how I stuffed things down for so long.
I have also still been experiencing bouts of moderate to severe anxiety. One time this week, it was triggered by Tom’s step-sister texting me. We’ve always gotten along. She was being nice, and she’s very sorry for what happened. Unfortunately, she will always be tied to memories with Tom. And, I guess sometimes it is harder to talk about him. Another time within the last week, it was triggered by revisiting some old emails to a dear friend where I had just started going into detail about what happened. Apparently, I can no longer look at what happened objectively like I have been doing this entire time. Additionally, I seem to be experiencing general anxiety around the same time every evening somewhere between 6pm-9pm. The meds I have are as needed, so I typically take 1-2 half tablets a day…assuming I don’t stubbornly decide to not take anything.
Then, I decided to bring up the new video game that I am trying to use as a distraction. It’s called God of War on PS4, and it has a good, emotionally involved storyline. Now, I won’t go into all the details of the game because I don’t know how many of you are gamers, but I do want to mention something that I noticed. My mind treats everything like a logical puzzle to solve, as such, you just need the right pieces to see the big picture or to find the right keys that fit into the correct locks (like an escape room). So, why would a video game be any different? Typically, in these role playing games, you have a map. When you first start out, the map is covered in fog or obscured in some way. All you know is where you are. As you meet other characters, you are given advice, items/tools that will help you, and hopefully a direction. So, you head off and slowly the map opens up as you meet new characters, take on more tasks, and finish side quests as part of a bigger main adventure. As you reference your map, you see where you’ve been, you know where you are, and you are more comfortable with the direction in which you’re going because of the choices you’ve made. I told my therapist that I am stuck where the map is covered in damn fog – I don’t have pieces or keys or a direction to go in! I have ideas and thoughts about what to do and what to plan, but I feel like everything I try isn’t working and I have no idea what to do about it.
Therapist: Yes, you do. I’ve told you we can do accelerated resolution therapy, EMDR, or a couple of other exposure therapies. That’s how we treat PTSD. (At this point, I’m thinking – yes, and I finally agreed to try those even though I have my reservations…but I have no idea what you’re waiting on.)
She went on to describe a situation where someone wasn’t able to process the grief of losing her first husband and it was now affecting her current marriage, but with EMDR, she was able to process and finally move forward. Then, she mentioned another situation where someone lost a child after a horrible accident while they were on the way to the hospital in a helicopter.
Therapist: Why do you think this mom wouldn’t want to try to treat her PTSD?
Me, I know this answer very well: Fear. She’s afraid to feel. She’s afraid to experience the loss of her son all over again. She’s afraid to forget. Fear. I realized through some help from friends a couple of months ago that fear has too much control over me.
Therapist: Do you know when people are finally ready to try something different?
Therapist: When it finally affects every part of their life – home, work, when they are with friends, and when they’re alone..
Me: Well, hell, I’m at that point…been there for a while.
Me: I wish I could just allow myself to be angry at Tom. I always told him I didn’t want to be angry with him, so it’s something I always tried to push down.
Therapist: Why do you think being angry would help?
Me: Because it helped me get over my first long-term, long-distance boyfriend. I was angry with him for being more and more disrespectful, for not choosing to move closer for a couple of years (he stopped one class and finishing his thesis shy of graduating grad school), and for not considering what I wanted out of life. There were other factors that made me see I did not need to put up with him, so I ended it. Hah, then I met Tom two years later, and we see where the hell I am now.
Therapist: So, you said that you would cry and get angry with Tom whenever he would finally get home…
Me: Yes…he would pull up under the tree in the front yard so my parents wouldn’t know when he was coming or going. (They can see my driveway from their house.) He would walk up to the door, and I was always there to meet him. By the time he would finally walk in the door, I was relieved that he was alive and not in jail. Sometimes, I could patiently wait on him to tell me what happened. Sometimes, I would be crying and yelling at him. He knew what was going on with me. He watched me change from trusting him to being in so much pain, fear, anxiety, and sadness. There were times when I wanted to flip the latch on the door and not let him in.
Therapist: You really have won the award for being the most enabling person in the world. (I nod in complete agreement to this statement.) You had a choice when he finally would come home. What were your choices?
Me: I could do what I did and let him in, or flip the latch and kick him out.
Therapist: Why didn’t you flip the latch?
Me, Shit. I do not want to admit this answer aloud. (eyes start watering): Because…(starts crying)…because I knew he wouldn’t stay. He wouldn’t choose me. I knew that then.
(Pause…after all, I hadn’t cried in front of her before…)
Therapist: What would you have said to a friend if she called you and just told you what you told me?
Me, I know this answer too…because…this is what I’ve been holding out hope for. (Please note: I am not trying to put pressure on or make anyone feel bad. Everyone who has been there to support me through this has done everything they can, and I fully appreciate everything you guys can do.): I would tell her, “Honey, hold on. I’m on my way over.” (crying harder) I’d tell her that you are not alone, and you do not have to do this alone. I’ve got you. I am right here.
Therapist: But, what if she tells you it’s not you that she wants.
Me: I’m there as one friend supporting another. And…this is what I want, what I need… People don’t want to feel so alone. They want to know and feel that someone is there. To have someone there while I feel this. (So, I don’t have to be strong for once.) I knew, on some level, Tom wasn’t going to come back to me. I…was so angry at his dad for dying. (more crying)
Therapist: That event is probably what started it, but Tom continued to use drugs and then it altered his thinking so much that he is not who he was before.
Me: Yes, but he had a choice before it completely took control.
Therapist: You’re right. He did have a choice, but he chose drugs. You knew about his history and a bit of his family history. Why didn’t you just walk away from him in the beginning?
Me: Because he wasn’t entirely truthful about how much drug use was in his history. But, besides that, I fell in love with what he did and who I thought he was. Our first date, we didn’t even eat. We talked so much. We spent every afternoon together, then we slept over on weekends. He would make me lunch, and we would eat at his jobsite. (crying again) I never had to ask where he was or who he was talking to because he told me. We were open about everything. He knew when I was upset. He could just tell if I was holding something back. (crying even harder) I had been more honest with him than I had with anyone in my entire life. He could hug me, and I felt loved and safe. And, he just threw me out with the trash.
At this point, the hour was up, and we needed to leave. She looked at me as we walked each other out, “well, you can’t say you haven’t cried in a while anymore.” I smiled shyly, feeling just a little lighter, “I guess you’re right there.”
As I finish typing this up, my anxiety is most definitely still present. I know I’m still a long way from completely moving on, but I think this was a breakthrough step in my book. When I tweeted about last night’s therapy sessions, I didn’t expect it to even be noticed let alone receive the likes and replies. I am truly touched by the support I’ve been receiving. Thank you all so much…as someone whose self-worth has taken a severe hit, it really means the world to me. ❤️
Three weeks ago, my therapist suggested I should go see a movie. During the first week, I thought it was silly to go to a movie by myself. What was the point? I brought up the suggestion to a few friends who all said that they can and have enjoyed going to the movies alone. That’s when I admitted that I didn’t feel I was worth the ticket and popcorn. Again, my therapist encouraged me to go the following week and even told me that she sometimes goes alone because of her movie preference. I thought about it. I even felt guilty about not going, but I still couldn’t bring myself to go alone.
For a long time, movies were something Tom and I did together. I’ve only seen one movie with a friend since breaking up with him. My company paid for the ticket (and my friend’s ticket), the popcorn, and the drinks. It was a movie we both wanted to see, and we did enjoy it. But…going alone means being alone with my thoughts. Of Tom not wanting to go anymore (he got bored with going out to movies). Of not feeling worth it.
Last week, I had an idea and told my therapist about it. I saw on Facebook that my old college wind ensemble was putting on a concert this past Sunday at 2pm. This was something I could do. I was in band from 6th grade through five years of college. And, I typically try to do the local community band for the summer and Christmas concerts. Tom never went to these unless I was on stage, so it feels different. In fact, being on stage for this last Christmas concert was the calmest I’ve felt without medication in a really long time.
So, waiting until the last hour before the concert and almost deciding not to go at all, I jumped in the shower, got dressed, and drove to the auditorium where I have so many college band memories. I listened to the director (my director) talk about recent times with this group of young musicians, which made me miss band. The concert started, and I sat and listened to the music. I actually attended the concert and tried the “change your focus” distraction. But, you know what? I couldn’t feel anything. Music moves people. It can make some people sing and dance. It can bring people together. It can make you feel so deeply that you get goosebumps or cry because it moves your soul.
I felt empty. I thought about going up to the stage to hug my old band director, but after a few minutes, I just couldn’t stay. I left feeling disappointed. I left with my heartbreaking all over again. Damn, I wished I could cry.
This pain and alternating numbness can be all-consuming. I hadn’t felt it to this degree in a while. It hit me last Wednesday and has come back to visit for a few hours each day. Why? I don’t know. Do I wake up with it? Sometimes. Are there triggers? Sometimes and not always the same. Does it get worse before going to sleep? Yes.
Distractions used to work. They did. Before Tom and I broke up…when I would wait for him to come home, I would watch television shows, play puzzle games on my phone, read a book, or clean the house. When waiting on him to come home from work changed into not knowing where he was, what he was getting into, when he would arrive or IF he would arrive…when fear took over, distractions slowly stopped working. The commercials during shows would be when I’d try to call him. At some point, I could no longer focus on reading, cleaning, or playing mindless games. Eventually, all I could do was pace between the bedroom and the living room, pausing to watch the security cameras and begging for his headlights to appear, so I would know he had made it home safely.
When we finally broke up, I was five months into my new job. Thankfully, it was new. It provided me with enough distraction to get me from May until about October of last year. Then, just like all of my other distractions, it slowly stopped working and I could just barely focus enough to get what was required done.
I am still stuck in this varying ability to focus even today. When I am working with someone, then it tends to be significantly easier to be present and provide feedback. But, if I’m working alone, it takes a lot more effort to stay focused…and sometimes, it’s just more than I can handle. I guess the good thing is I’m apparently the only one aware of how bad it is. That’s probably why it’s so hard for anyone to believe that there is something wrong, to believe me…and what’s worse? When I’m not feeling so bad, I still question myself – it really wasn’t that bad. If I can still laugh, how come I still feel so much pain?
I came across this article on Facebook. It is well worth a read especially if you are someone or you know someone who has survived trauma – this article is not trauma-specific, so you will not be inclined to try to compare your situation to someone else’s (been there, done that before). Please take a moment to read and pass it along.
I am pretty sure I’m still frozen in the stubbornly not processing phase. It doesn’t help that writing is my most open form of communication either. So, here I am.
I’ve always tried to be as open and honest as possible without crossing that invisible line of “this is just too personal to share.” I was in a relationship and definitely had to consider his feelings and never wanted to humiliate him by over sharing. Ultimately, I chose to stop sharing entirely. I could no longer see the line and I had no desire to pretend like everything was going great. I pulled away from my support system and focused on what I thought I could do to work on our deteriorating relationship. Since he is no longer physically in my life, I have to start dealing with the emotional and psychological wounds he left behind.
This last week has been one of my more difficult weeks. The anxiety had become overwhelming and unmanageable again. On Wednesday, that gave way to panic. I texted a friend who virtually stayed with me. She had me breathe, told me to eat something light since it was lunchtime, and encouraged me to take a walk around my office building. Slowly, I calmed down enough to attend a somewhat important work meeting. This meeting is what I thought had triggered the anxiety and panic, but that really didn’t make sense because there was nothing expected of me in this meeting. That logic apparently did not matter and I internally lost control. (Believe me, no one, not even my co-workers I work closely with, suspected anything was wrong.) In reality, the meeting went fine, just as expected, but, although I’ve tried to, I should not deny how bad things did get and can get for me.
My anxiety used to be mostly physical and emotional responses – rapid heart rate, shallow and fast breathing, tightness in my chest, tension in my neck, back, and shoulders, and panic. Recently, I’ve noticed something different. The physical reactions are mostly the same, but what goes on in my head has changed. It is no longer only panic and fear. There is now an uncontrollable surge of racing negative thoughts and emotions about myself that completely flood and take over my mind. These things, these personal demons have been with me for a while, but they used to be very quiet. So quiet that I could easily discredit and not be overly bothered by them. That is until everything went downhill with Tom, and they’ve been growing steadily louder ever since.
Here are some of those thoughts (copied and slightly edited from an email I wrote to a dear friend dated 8/28/2019)…
I’ve been trying to figure out how to voice some of my emotional reservations and insecurities that have been whispering in the back of my mind recently. I sort of brought it up with a local friend last weekend, but I don’t think I dived in deep enough. I know I shouldn’t put much stock into what Tom has said to me, but…it’s hard not to listen when things are repeated over and over again. And, I’ve probably mentioned some of these things to you before, so please just bear with me.
1) Being repetitive. One of Tom’s biggest complaints was the number of times I would talk about the same shit over and over again. I would nag him about being late, “obsess” about keeping his phone charged, and remind him about everything multiple times. I heard this so much that now I hesitate and even stop myself when I want to reach out and be honest about how I’m feeling, especially if I’m going through the same things every damn day.
2) Being insecure and too needy. Tom always thought that because I wanted to spend time with him that I was insecure. He thought that I must have some abandonment issues from my childhood or something happened in a previous relationship. He would always mention that we don’t live in a perfect world where everyone is on “Jay’s Time”…that he couldn’t control when he would come home or what would happen during the day, always blaming other people. He also couldn’t understand why I appeared to be this strong and always in control woman, yet I also wanted so desperately to be taken care of and cherished. To be held and comforted. To be able to relax and count on someone else to handle things for a while. Being insecure and needy makes me feel like I’m bugging people to get a little attention for no (good) reason. There are times when I just need a reminder that someone is still there.
3) Being too giving. This one really messes with me. I have always been a giver. I pay attention, especially if I care about you. You may not even think about it, but I catch the little things that you might mention in passing. I make a subconscious effort to know when your birthday is, and I attempt to keep a list of your favorite things. I also make a note if someone says things like, “It’d be great if I had this” or “I really like that.” When I go shopping, I pick out things using my heart that are in some way meaningful, whether it was something they need, something that is thoughtful, or something that’s just funny to brighten someone’s day. I never do any of this because I expect the other person to return the favor or act like they owe me. Tom had told me that his whole family had never met anyone like me, and that they all thought that I wanted something in return for everything that I did for them. Eventually, they realized that this is who I am. Some of them appreciated it and moved on when they could. But, some of them started to take advantage of the situation. Now, you would think that I should have learned to not be so giving and would protect myself…and with respect to strangers, that is definitely the case. But, somehow, what I actually got out of all of that was a strange sense of fear. While I do greatly appreciate and am truly touched by any returned gestures, I don’t want the people I care about to feel obligated to do something for me because I did something for them. I am not trying to manipulate people. I think, I believe that when people feel better about themselves and feel like other people care about them, then they will have better days which can lead to living fuller lives. What if you’re the one person through some act of kindness changed a moment, a day, or started a turning point in someone else’s life. But now, there’s a shadow, a fear that someone will think I’m being weird or overstepping.
4) I guess all of this, in some way, leads back to acceptance. This relationship has cast so much doubt into every aspect of my being. It’s probably the major source that’s feeding my anxiety and depression. In fact, I had another anxiety attack last night. I didn’t say anything to anyone other than tossing up a quick tweet. Didn’t want to bother anyone. I knew it would pass. I did a few breathing exercises that I remembered from my band days, and eventually, I fell asleep with my heart thumping entirely too loudly. I got up a few times during the night but was able to go back to sleep each time. The logical side of me says that this is all temporary and I will move on – just fake it until you make it. The other side of me is running in circles trying to dodge the same obstacles, never staying still long enough to work through anything. I even fight with myself about going to therapy…I want to go, but I feel like I keep wanting to bring up the same stuff, so instead, I try to talk about what is going on at work or the progress that is actually being made rather than me stubbornly not letting go or whatever it is that I’m doing or not doing. Sigh, let’s just stamp “lost and confused” on the file and close it. Way easier than trying to figure out why this feels like I’m carrying around the weight of the world when in reality, this is just a damn breakup, not the fucking end of the world – just get over it. (*shaking my head* I would never invalidate or say that to someone else.)
Adding to all of that are heartbreaking thoughts of being a burden, not being enough, and not being worth anyone’s time including my own.
In counseling tomorrow, I’ve been told that we are going to do something different. My therapist wants to try accelerated resolution therapy (ART) to tackle the anxiety. I am nervous and have no idea what to expect, but I do hope it will help.
Everyone experiences change from time to time. We grow, we age, and we learn. We try something new. We move to a new place. We get a new job. We go back to school. We meet new people. We fall in love. We have our hearts broken. We lose someone we love. We fall down, and we get back up. We try again. We adapt. We gain experience and find out more about ourselves. Some things may never change, while other things evolve with time.
Think about who you were when you were in high school.
I moved across the state between my 9th and 10th grade years. I went from a class size of roughly 300-400 students to around 1,200 students. I was terrified. I was leaving my friends and having to start over in a new town at a new school. What helped with this transition was band. I played the clarinet. During my years with the high school band, we had kids from all walks of life. We weren’t made up of just one group, but every group. I’ve always been pretty reserved and quiet, but in band, I learned a lot about leadership, teamwork, and responsibility. I was the section leader and library staff manager in 11th grade, and then, I tried out and became the drum major (student conductor) for the marching band during my 12th grade year. I learned how to project confidence when giving commands, and I felt like I had a responsibility to be someone the students in my band could depend on. I was the first person on the field before our shows started, and I was the one the entire band looked to for direction.
Think about who you were in college.
I continued band in college and was moved up to section leader after my first year. Again, we had students from all over campus from every type of degree program. I started working on my mechanical engineering degree and math minor. We focused a lot on teamwork and using new technology to solve problems. I decided to try my luck and applied for an internship at NASA. I was accepted and had one of the best summer experiences ever. In fact, I had so much fun that I went back three more times. Twice as a research associate and then I was promoted to Operations Manager for the last two summers. I took several honors classes throughout college and graduated with a 3.29/4.0.
Think about who you were during your early career.
I immediately got a job as a mechanical engineer quoting, designing, and fabricating steel tanks and pressure vessels. Over seven years, I went from mechanical engineer to project engineer to project manager to lead engineering business analyst. I implemented the accounting software which I knew inside and out. I even had to do all accounting manager responsibilities for six months before the company transitioned to a new owner.
Think about who you are now.
Now, I work in project financials. I’ve been with this company for just over a year. I’ve been trying to bring new ideas to the table and implement improvements on all of our current processes. I had an excellent one year evaluation which led to a promotion and a raise.
What have we not talked about? I’ve told you about who the outside world sees. This is the person you would meet at a conference or out in public.
Okay, so who are you when you can relax and be you?
Well, the previous posts on this blog take you through a lot of my intimate experiences with sex and spanking. Tom was the first person who tried to understand what I was yearning for. To his credit, he read every blog entry before I gave up blogging. He also read a private journal where I endeavored to be as open as possible with him. For a couple of years, he tried. And then, he didn’t.
For the time when he was trying, I discovered a part of me that I didn’t know existed. I wasn’t just this confident, strong, responsible, and independent young woman who could solve problems. I was also someone who needed a break from the stress of being the one who was always depended on. I needed someone else to take over for a while. I needed to know someone cared about me. I needed to be held. needed to be able to let go.
When Tom’s dad passed away, I started losing him. I stepped up and went above and beyond because that’s who I am. I am a fixer. I am a giver. I am dependable and loyal. I was more than capable of handling whatever life threw at us because I had to be. I could get us through this. I just had to be strong enough, caring enough, loving enough, and want it enough.
As it got harder and Tom gradually pulled away from me, I pulled away from who I was and what I wanted. I stopped blogging, stopped keeping up with others, and wasn’t even available for my friends anymore. My entire world revolved around Tom, his addiction, and the daily shit he put me through. After I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I told him, “It’s me or all of this (referring to his drug use and the house his drug addict friends were in – he was at another addict’s house in the middle of a work night in my damn car that I needed to get to work in the morning).” He chose, “All of this.” “You need to move out.” (He didn’t make it back home in time to take me to work the next morning. I ended up having to call my dad, so I could be fucking responsible and go to work.)
In August of last year, I wrote something that I considered posting here. But, I was not ready. Instead, I shared it with a dear friend who encouraged me to also share it with my therapist. I’m choosing to bring it up now because I know I am not the only one who has felt this way. In fact, I still struggle with it every day.
I am the person who has done everything my résumé says I’ve done, but what I can’t seem to reconcile is how is that the same person who wrote the following.
“Outer You vs Inner You”
Are the versions of you drastically different? Do you act differently? Do you hide behind a façade?
The versions of me are very different. I do act differently depending on the situation, and I do hide behind a much more outwardly acceptable personality.
At work, by some miracle, I’ve been able to hide what’s going on inside. Instead, I appear confident, ask questions, present ideas, work well by myself and with others, and strive to change things for the better for everyone. Before a meeting where I know I have to speak, I’ll get nervous, but I push through and am not afraid to throw out ideas. I am very mindful of others and how they do their jobs, and I do everything I can to make all of our work days a little easier.
When I’m around family and friends, they know I have some self-confidence issues. However, other than that being all in my head, I am a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need to rely on anyone. I own my house, I am about to buy a new vehicle, and I have a decent job where I am making more than paycheck to paycheck.
Underneath the Wonder Woman façade, I feel everything. I am free, lost, relieved, sad, excited, hurt, broken, happy, angry, and frustrated. I am dealing with imposter syndrome. I am dealing with a break up after years of living together. I am excited by new possibilities, but I am afraid of rejection. I am vulnerable and full of insecurities. I am hopeful yet still struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I know it is no one else’s responsibility to help me. I know only I can learn to cope and walk this road. I know it takes time. But, knowing all of that just makes me feel so much more alone. I feel guilty for reaching out to people who understand – I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I don’t want to sound like a broken record – same shit, different day. I don’t want to bring someone else down because I feel like hell. I feel stupid for even talking about what I’m going through because I feel like it really is no big deal especially when I know other people are going through so much worse than my little first world problems. Also, I’m confused because what I feel doesn’t align with how I think I should feel or how I think I should handle how I feel. If I remove myself from the situation, I could tell you exactly what’s wrong, what to try, and how to start working through it. So, what’s the problem?
Avoidant behavior. I am acting like nothing has happened. I do things to prevent myself from thinking too much, and I spend time with people who I do trust but not enough to completely let go around. I am ignoring the desperate need to breakdown and let go. Why? Because it’s easier than dealing with everything. I don’t want to fall apart alone because I miss being held and comforted, which only emphasizes the loneliness and spirals me down even further.
But, you know what? Life goes on and stops for no one. So, if I don’t have time for this – for me feeling sorry for myself, how can I expect anyone else to have time for it – for me.
Who are you today?
I’m not sure. Would you believe things got worse in the time since writing that. I feel like I’ve lost so much self-confidence and self-acceptance that I find it incredibly difficult to trust myself. I have fallen into periods of being depressed and painfully numb. I’ve gone through many anxiety and panic attacks. I still haven’t been able to really focus consistently at work, and I feel like I’m barely doing the minimum to get by. I hit a point where I felt like I lost everything about me. I haven’t even been able to cry in months, and I want so desperately to experience what’s in my pinned tweet with someone I can really trust – “What I wouldn’t give for a wall-breaking spanking, the cathartic release kind of crying, and some “it’s okay – I’ve got you” aftercare, followed by some restful sleep…”
Last week was the first time in a long time where I felt a little hope in the darkness. I held on to that hope and wrote my first blog entry in four years. It’s time to start sharing my story, to try new things, and to continue recovering.
I want to take a moment to thank many of you for the encouragement you have given me since I took these small steps both here and on Twitter. Your support and kindness mean so much to me. ❤️
I am afraid…
that I was/am not enough.
that I have failed.
that I won’t be able to help.
I am afraid…
of being lied to again.
of being hurt emotionally.
of losing him and not being able to do anything about it.
A few months ago, he told me I was being co-dependent. I’m sure we were arguing at the time, but he also told me I was being too needy, too clingy, and that I wanted too much. In hindsight, I think he was just trying to alleviate his guilt and make me feel bad. It definitely made me feel bad, but was what he said true? Sure, we all experience some minor co-dependent behaviors. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel good when they give someone a gift and the receiver lights up like it was best present ever. Also, in hindsight, I now understand what was going on outside of the argument. He was trying to juggle his time among his brother, getting high, and me. I had started to feel like he was choosing his brothers over me when that was only partially true. They were all busy trying not to feel the death of their father by getting high. In doing so, they spent lots of time together both day and night. There were many nights that I went to bed alone, even on nights when we had sex. He may or may not have joined me hours later. I don’t think I ever thought that I was truly losing him, but I did feel like he was pulling away from me. Sex was beginning to feel like a moment of elation followed by a lonely crash. I missed him. I started to feel like the only time he was there emotionally was when we were having sex or when we were both crying because I finally broke down and tried to explain what I was feeling.
I think that on some level most of us experience co-dependent behaviors when we are trying to get to and are in a submissive mindset. The desire to please, attuned to what he wants, feeling self-conscious, and any guilty feelings if something goes awry. All of these feelings are normal. However, when I started feeling like I had moved down on the list of his priorities, when I started feeling like I was the only one taking care of the boys, when I found out he was lying to me, when I thought he no longer wanted to spend time with me, and when I believed what I said and felt no longer mattered,…then all of those co-dependent tendencies intensified.
Then came the feelings of helplessness, anger, fear, and hurt. My self-worth had taken a hit. I felt guilty that I had turned a blind eye towards the signs. I felt that my heart and trust had taken a major blow.
Even though I recognize the signs of co-dependency, I don’t believe that I am truly co-dependent because I can function on my own, and when I am aware of what is going on I do not obsess about where he is or what he’s doing. Yes, I do enjoy spending time with him and doing things together, but there are some things that I don’t jump all into because they aren’t my thing. For instance, he likes playing with audio speakers – I don’t mind messing with them for a while but I tend to get bored with it so I’ll do something else in the same room. A lot of the time when I do feel needy and clingy, it’s because I don’t want to lose him, and honestly what do you expect after what we’ve been through?
I know that what happened wasn’t my fault, but I hate how powerless I feel. When I choose to let go of control when we play or have sex, it’s because I feel safe, cared for, and I trust him. But feeling powerless when it comes to an addiction is absolutely terrifying. I hate feeling like I’m not enough, like I’m going to lose him. I hate watching him walk out of the door because I don’t know if he’s coming back and not because he doesn’t want to come home, but because he won’t be able to.
He has been sober for almost 7 weeks, and I am very proud of him. Even though drinking isn’t the problem, he started going to AA meetings this week and it is helping him gain perspective and let’s him remember he isn’t alone in his addiction. I am considering attending an Al-anon meeting, but I’m afraid it’ll be full of stories of abuse and people trying to let go and back off of their loved ones for their own safety or for tough love. My story isn’t one of abuse and trying to get out. I want to stay and support him. I want him to see what he has right in front of him. I realize I have no control over what someone else does, but how do you deal with it when what he does affects you? Step back? Stop caring? Don’t get upset? In my mind if I pull the focus from him, then all I am doing is learning to live without him. How does that help us?
Honestly, I believe that he won’t do it again, and I know he feels terrible about what he did. In addition to the legal issues that are still looming, he also lost his job on March 24th. We mostly finished one of his side jobs but we are still waiting on payment – the guy owes us $2,400. His second side job has gone over the original estimated one week of work by two weeks due to rain and working by himself. He also reduced his quote because he was concerned he wouldn’t get work, but when you do the math…that means he is making significantly less than minimum wage because of gas (job location is an hour out) and time lost. He has made some headway with things around the house – fixed lawnmower, fixed weedeater, built lean-to for dad, finished most of the siding work on a large shed, fixed leak in roof, etc. There are still things on the list that even I get overwhelmed thinking about it all. We have things that we can sell, but even they need to be fixed first – two vehicles and a camper.
Today, he went to quote a job and apply for a job. I definitely do not want him to get depressed or lose hope. I want him to get better, deal with the past, and learn how to cope. I am feeling the emotions of the past in triggered spurts, but I need to work on figuring out how to let it go and overcome the fear. It is hard when an action or a word reminds me or makes me question. He is doing very well at letting me know his plans for the day and calling me if things change or he is going to be late. Those simple things help alleviate so much stress, worry, and fear. I do trust him…but trusting without fear will have to come back in time. I hope you understand that I am not afraid of him nor am I afraid that he will do anything to purposely hurt me in any way. I am not afraid of relapse but I am afraid he will be taken from me because of a relapse.
Posting is so hard these days. I want to share what I’m feeling, because I need to get it out and not avoid my own emotions. I also hope that maybe others will have their own story to share even if it’s anonymously.
I’m sorry this isn’t a spanking related post. Erotic spankings definitely still occur and are thoroughly enjoyable, but this post is just about life and what’s on my mind right now.
Please feel free to leave comments (anonymously or not) about your experiences with addictions, AA or Al-anon meetings, other group meetings, or just general support. Every little bit helps and maybe you’ll even be helping someone else who wanders on to this post.