Being mellow is such a strange mood for me. I woke up, drove my daughter to school, got some writing done, and went back to bed because I was tired. I'm listening to Radiohead and thinking about all sorts of things, you probably knew that already though because I'm always thinking about things like I don't belong here, but it's okay, because nobody really does. I'm reading a book called Facing Codependency. I have another book on the same topic, this blows that one out of the water because of the diagrams. I must be more of a visual learner than I realize. Today I bought a cookbook because it had pretty pictures in it. The diagrams in the book were so hard to look at. They illustrate boundaries, they're so simple, yet the information and concepts they convey are so complex when you apply them to a life.

I read about the types of abuse and realized that I had been intellectually abused by my mom and my ex. I was going to get a haircut on Tuesday. I scheduled appointments for me and the girls. Then I cancelled them because I thought I might need a new fridge. I called my mom and asked if we could stop by. She could have cut my hair on Sunday, but we decided Thursday would work better for her. I need to get out of this place. How can I get out of here? I can keep reading. I can go to therapy. I can read my books. I can learn how to heal my life and make progress. The other day I had a meltdown where I went off on Twitter. The poor people who follow me there got an earful. I needed an audience. They were there for me.

The book talks about people who grew up in abusive homes. The woman talks about interactions and situations that were less than nurturing. This is a wonderful definition for me, abuse can take many forms. Nurturing is what people need. Not having that, being unable to receive or expect that from your partner is scarring if left untreated. I was a history major during college. When I told my mom I wanted to study history she was very critical of it. She said it wasn't a practical field and encouraged me to take some accounting classes which I did. My dad wanted me to go to a Christian college. My parents controlled me. They stole from me, hit me, abandoned me, neglected me, and didn't apologize for any of it. 

Recognizing the depth of a less than nurturing childhood was a fresh cut on an old wound. People in my family let the girls eat whatever they want. I got into it with my mom the other day. My mom has severe boundary issues. She tells me as an almost forty-one year old woman what to do, but my fourteen year old should be able to make her own choices in life. The other day I was sitting here when I realized that my children were taking advantage of me. I'm not sick in the way that some people are. I could stand to lose some weight, but if you look at me you'll see a woman who doesn't seem like she has a reason to not work. Here's what I realized the other day.

When you don't know how life and healthy relationships work, you don't have very many of them. I have some physical conditions, but I could get a job and make some money. Until I learn how to stand up for myself and get better boundaries, until I get some strategies and new knowledge, I'm going to end up in a job where I'm maltreated, or a relationship where I'm confused, angry, and crying. I really liked that guy I had been talking to on the phone, but the red flags kept popping up, and for once in my life I called it quits instead of getting dragged into another downward spiral of negativity and drama. I was a part of it. I don't have good boundaries so I got sucked in again. 

There's a diagram in the book that shows a person who goes from walls to no boundaries. That's what I do. I get tired of my walls and try to break free. But then I'm unprotected and defenseless. I'm smart, but I can't see mind games for what they are. I'm so used to trying to please others and being hyper sensitive to their needs that I abandon my own wants and needs to theirs. I become wantless and needless and helpless which is scary at my age. They don't teach this type of thing in school and it's a real shame. I'm organized, I'm efficient, I cook and prepare meals that are nutritious and inexpensive. I iron, I hug my children and try to talk to them. I have many bad habits, but I bring much to the table. I'm special, and I know it. But I let others bully me because I can't figure out how they're manipulating me.

The good news is I'm getting better at recognzing some of the more subtle forms of less than nurturing interactions. There were users here who treated me poorly. Some of them are gone, some of them are dead. For a while I had another account that I used. Two people sent me lengthy messages not knowing I was the creator of that account. The magnitude of abuse online can be astonishing. I'm fortunate to have been spared the worst of it. I have a lot of sex drive and I'm comfortable talking about sex which doesn't mean I'm going to give it up to just anyone who tries to chat me up. There really is a sucker born every minute if people think that. 

I haven't wanted to write this and I'm not sure why. Maybe because I'm still in the discovery process. My book talks about the walls people put up around themselves. Walls protect, but they shut out intimacy. I don't need to get laid, I need intimacy. I need a partner who will understand that I'm damaged goods in a psychological sense and that I'm not going to be great at communicating some of the things I need to be sharing with someone who is that close to me. I'm okay with being single, but every time I encounter a guy that I think could be someone I could date or be with, that's an opportunity for me to try stepping out from behind my walls and experimenting with these new skills.

That last experience scared me so I've been a lot quieter than I have been in the past. The book talks about four walls, there may be more, but their categories are wall of fear, wall of silence, wall of anger, and wall of words. I'm familiar with all of these, fear is my least favorite, I use words to keep people at a distance. It might seem like I'm being open, and on some level I am, but that's not an invitation to step into my world and really get to know who I am when the walls come down. Tom Rath wrote a book called Strengths Finder. I read it almost every day. I open it up and start reading because I'm a learner. I just love to learn. It doesn't really matter what I'm learning about which is odd to some people, but normal to me. 

I used to think I wanted friends. But Tom's book explained that some people want lots of connections and keep a few friends close to them. I watched part of Metallica's Turn the Page video. I'm fortunate that I have the gifts that I do or I might have turned to a life of prostitution or worse. Sleeping with one man for a roof over your head isn't that different from sleeping with a lot of men for temporary shelter. It's just legal and more convenient for the IRS. I doubt anyone thinks of me as a whore and I'd be upset if I was called one, but that's really who I was and what I did for many years. I slept with a man because it was easier than facing that big unknown world on my own.

I'm freer than I was, but I'm not really free. The past always comes with you despite your best efforts to leave it behind. I understand the lie back and think of England sentiment that was pushed onto many unwitting daughters. My mind could go anywhere during sex. I wasn't picturing other men, I did my best to numb out, to try and pretend that it wasn't really me and I wasn't an infected rat fighting and clawing my way out of a filth ridden cage. Sometimes the dirt was on the outside. Most of the time the real blackness was inside. Powdery mold, rot, decay. If I had arms I could kill myself, if I had legs I could run away, if I had a voice, I'm listening to Metallica and thinking about how music can give you the sounds and words you can't come up with on your own. It's my music and I can listen to whatever I want to tonight. Freedom isn't always free, I will cherish what this cost me. 

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