Tonight marks the seventh day I’ve been completely free of any tramadol. The peak of withdrawal for me was this past Friday night. I woke up with sweats, jerking muscles that were cramping, I puked a few times, I had an excruciating headache, and once I got out of bed the panic set in. I was up all night. I could not stay asleep. When I did sleep it was in increments of thirty minutes. It was a very rough night. That next morning, I began to wonder if I needed to enter a detox facility. It was that bad. As the day went on I was exhausted but as I kept focused on music, and moving around it got easier. I am now on day eight and all the withdrawal symptoms have departed!
I feel pretty good considering all my physical infirmities. My nerve tumor pain is high part of the day, but I manage through it here at home. I had a very successful day yesterday. Yesterday I was able to go out to a doctor’s appointment, make a grocery store trip, make a Walgreens stop, make a stop at the gas station, and do my dishes at the sink! This might sound trivial to some of my readers, but for me, that is extraordinary while only being on naproxen 500mg.
I have noticed a few changes since detoxing from the tramadol too. I have been struggling with severe fatigue for years now and concentration problems. I always walked around feeling foggy, and so fatigued I could barely hold my head up most days. This last week I noticed that the foggy feeling has subsided completely. I think more clearly. I believe the tramadol must have contributed to that cloudy thinking. The fatigue I felt was probably intensified by the tramadol as well. I am still tired in the middle of the day but it isn’t nearly as bad as it was while I was taking the tramadol.
I don’t see my pain clinic until the 24th, but when I do they will have to come up with another plan for my case. I am rejecting to be treated any longer with any type of narcotic, or any type of pain treatment that my body will become dependent on, that if I choose to stop taking it, I have to deal with withdrawals like I had to face with tramadol. There has to be a better way to deal with pain patients. There has to be a way to help us without turning us into pill addicts, or physical addicts. They’re doctors who work hard to get these special degrees. They should be smart enough to figure this out.
I strongly believe marijuana should be utilized in this area. If marijuana was utilized for chronic pain patients, it would prevent addiction across the board. Science shows that cannabis is promising for pain relief. “Science also shows that addiction is very low at only 30% likely to have a dependency problem and that the 30% who develop dependency are people who have psychiatric issues before use” (Hasin).
It is time that our nation takes the stigma that surrounds cannabis and completely remove it. We must begin taking rational steps in solving problems we face with addiction to opiates and other opiate type medicine, like tramadol. Cannabis is one logical step! We must begin taking logical steps in treating chronic pain patients and stop imagining they do not exist, that they do not matter, or that their quality of life is not just as important as any other patient treated in our nation. Cannabis would help so many avoid opiate addiction, it would help improve the quality of so many lives across our nation, and it would be affordable to them. If the Obama administration is serious about this new initiative to help fight opiate addiction, he will move to help legalize cannabis nationwide on the federal level for medical use with a proposed bill to congress before he leaves office. The ball is in your court Obama. Help us, not the prescription thugs!!
Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1235-1242. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1858.
I have been a chronic pain patient since my first back surgery in 2005. A little background: In 2005 I became unable to walk. Neurologists found a nerve tumor in my S1, L5 nerve root which was located next to the spine. The doctors also found a tarlov cyst directly next to that nerve tumor in the same scan. This was when my life changed forever. This was also when my first relapse back into opiate drug abuse would enter my life again, in a few years that followed the surgery I had, in attempts to remove the nerve tumor and to drain the tarlov cyst. For some of my readers this information is not new information. I don’t want any readers lost however so that little bit of background information is imperative to have. Fast forward to my trip to the Mayo Clinic. I cleaned myself up from using opiates. My pain was unbearable. I could barely walk, I still couldn’t drive and I was unable to work.
I reached out to the top neurology team at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in hopes that they could tell me there was a surgery that could be done there to fix me so that I could no longer depend on pain meds. I wanted to go back to work, to drive again, and walk again like a normal woman! They were the best in the nation so if anyone could fix me I knew it would be them. I went through a series of scans, and tests. The results were heartbreaking.
The visit left me helpless and permanently disabled with no hope. The team of doctors typed up a report that informed me that there was no surgical fix to my specific case which was so rare that only two people in the United States have the type of non-cancerous nerve tumor I have. They explained that because my nerve had braided itself around the tumor that removing the tumor from the nerve (sciatic nerve) it would leave me with no use of my right extremities, with no control of the bowel and bladder functions so it was best that I seek out a pain clinic to help me manage the nerve pain. The report included an EMG result which showed the previous surgery I had in 2005 left me with nerve damage in the right foot which had not regenerated or repaired itself. They referred me to MAPS.
Fast forward to 2011. MAPS tries to convince me to have a medicine pump implanted into my back and I strongly object. I start out with receiving injections of a cocktail of steroids and pain medicine. Epidural injections, and a few others. They work wonders! I start walking without a cane more often. I start doing physical therapy for a while in a heated tub. There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Well, the insurance must have seen this light! The light suddenly gets smashed! The insurance suddenly starts denying payment and approval for these injections. I am now faced with the decision to either live with the excruciating nerve pain and go back to not walking most days or allow MAPS to medicate me. During this time also they opted to put me into a trial for an implanted device called a neurostimulator for the nerve. The trial was amazing and it worked so I got a surgery in 2011 to have the device implanted into my back. The machine got me back to walking but it did not get rid of all of my nerve pain so I needed a nerve agent to help with pain. The taste I got back of the freedom I lost for so many years I was quick to choose medications with strict rules. I told the doctors I refuse to go on any opiate based medications. I did not want to be on any addictive prescription.
The PA in charge of my case at the time (2011-2012) throws out the medication name tramadol. She asked me if I have ever heard of it and I said no. She continued to tell me that it was fairly new to the market, which I now know was a bold face lie, she tells me it wasn’t an opiate but an anesthesia base medicine that works well with nerve pain and she thought it matched well with my case. She said it showed no addiction properties in all studies done and no signs of abuse in studies. She told me that people shown to do very well on a very low dose. I was excited to hear all this positive stuff. It wasn’t an opiate, it was going to work on my nerve pain, it wasn’t risky, so I did what any person would do in my situation, I said sign me up! What a huge mistake!!
The first time I realized that tramadol was actually highly physically addictive was when the clinic left me in a situation where I actually ran out of my medicine in early 2015 (I believe it was 2015 or may have been late 2014). I found out the hard way. I had no warnings and it came out of left field. No one ever informed me the pill would throw me into withdrawals! I went without my meds for two days and when I called the clinic they called in my prescription. This was before a law prevented them from calling in scripts over the phone, and this was before tramadol’s drug schedule was changed. When I called the clinic for the refill and explained to them I thought I was actually going through withdrawals they acted like they did not believe me but called in the script anyway. Fast forward to 2016.
This is the second time the clinic has left me in a position where I am dry of my tramadol. Due to a new law they have to do face to face every three months, the patient has to pee in a cup for drug tests, and they are not allowed to send scripts to Walgreens until those requirements are met. Making an appointment to line up with your med count is damn near impossible because they only can schedule so far out in the month, they book up extremely fast, a working mother, and a full time student that makes things even harder. I made a decision that I am NOT going back on the tramadol. I don’t care how bad the nerve pain gets. They will have to find another way to treat it. The withdrawals have been a nightmare!
I knew I was going to run out before my appointment on the 24th of this month so I started tapering off immediately weeks ago. I am on day two of absolutely no tramadol. Yesterday was the worst! My entire body feels like my nerve endings are sending continual shocks throughout nonstop. I sweat profusely, and then shake with chills. I feel very anxious! I have twitches and I can’t seem to sit still for very long. Moving around helps. I paced a lot yesterday, today it is a little better but still have to move a lot. Music seems to help keep my brain focused at least on something other than the anxiety it feels of not having the drug. I’ve been utilizing my heating pads to help with pain. I’m glad my semester ended! I feel pins and needles in my fingers and toes constantly since I started tapering the tramadol and it has only gotten worse since I’ve gone down to no tramadol at all. I have this strange feeling in my brain I can’t quite explain that started yesterday. It is like I am on the verge of paranoia and fogginess…like I think something is there or feel something is there but I’m logical enough to know there isn’t. It is hard to explain. I have a very heavy ringing in my ears. I haven’t been able to sleep except in small increments of 30 minutes. Last night was terrible! I tossed and turned all night and woke up soaked with sweat and had to shower immediately. I have NEVER had that happen, even with the flu!!! My muscles have been cramping. I am very emotional too! I cry one minute and am very angry the next. You don’t want to know about the bathroom stuff…I know that is only going to get worse by day three…my stomach cramps now, it just started actually. I feel nauseous. I had actually decided to quit smoking a few days ago. That was a bad idea. I know that sounds stupid but it was. I had to go buy a pack of smokes because nicotine withdrawal on top of tramadol nicotine was too much for my brain. The nicotine has actually helped ease some of the brain anxiety at least. I still feel very anxious. This shit is scary…. I’m not exaggerating.
I spent a lot of today reading about this wicked poison tramadol. I cried actually at some of the stories I read. I know some of the emotional stuff is the tramadol withdrawal but the stories were sad, scary, and infuriating too. I was so angry I wasn’t told about the addictive nature of this pill from my clinic. I was angry that here I am AGAIN a fucking addict! This time both of my kids are seeing me suffer through this nightmare. Not the same kind of addict I was in the past but nonetheless an addict. A PHYSICAL ADDICT that this clinic created. I was someone who needed help and now I need even more help than when I first began! Why can’t they just let me use fucking weed, FOR REAL now! I don’t fucking get it. I don’t understand it!!!!! It infuriates me. My life is hell right now. I remember cleaning myself off opium…no fun…I remember cleaning myself off the opiates…worse than the opium…. coming off this tramadol of five years…a FUCKING NIGHTMARE I wouldn’t wish on anyone…I know this is just the beginning too. It is going to get worse before it gets easier. My brain and body is going to go ape shit crazy in a week when my pain has nothing to ease it and the brain doesn’t know what to do with the signals because for five years it slept while a drug did its job…I’m pretty scared actually…I’m taking naproxen 500 mg to help with my pain and I do have some left over lidoderm patches if nerve pain gets out of hand to hold me over a few weeks. My main concern is getting my brain trained again to deal with signals being sent and levels of serotonin and all the chemicals that that tramadol screwed with for five years…I wonder how long that is going to take?
It says here, https://www.addictioncenter.com/painkillers/tramadol/withdrawal-detox/ that, “In response, the brain adapts to the constant presence of the drug and adjusts chemically. Because of the influx of tramadol, the brain attempts to self regulate by speeding up and slowing down some of its processes. When the user suddenly stops taking the drug, the brain goes into “overdrive,” causing moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms” (addictioncenter). The timeline below from the AddictionCenter webpage is just for withdrawal symptoms not how long the brain takes to be normal again chemically. I guess I have a rough two weeks ahead of me….
|Days 1-3||Onset of general withdrawal symptoms, including feelings of pins and needles, sweating, nervousness, nausea, anxiety, palpitations, insomnia and drug cravings.|
|Days 4-7||Drug cravings persist, along with insomnia, disorientation and confusion, and blurred vision.|
|Days 8-14||Symptoms should be fairly mild by this point. Depression, anxiety, and irrational thoughts may persist.|
I have to do what I do best…write…
My day started out great. It was beautiful. My niece back home was graduating college. She is going to teach and change the world one kid at a time…and then shortly after I received word that my oldest brother was in a very bad accident on his motorcycle. Now he is laid up in ICU with a brain bleed.
Growing up he was my favorite. I put him up on a pedestal. He was smart. He was funny. He loved music. HE PLAYED GUITAR! He was my hero. I cried when he moved out, I cried when he got married, and then I became a teenager. There are things that happened that built a wall between him and I that I regret happening but life is harsh like that. You grow up and your views change. Well mine did. I held him to such a high standard now that I look back it was unfair of me. No one could have met those standards. I didn’t realize that then so when he broke my heart by letting me down I didn’t waste any time at striking with words, words that, now looking back, probably hurt him deeply, and I do not think he ever forgot them. I wouldn’t. I didn’t.
I can’t take them back now though. Words are dangerous. Words are grenades. That instance isn’t the only one either. I have a long history with my oldest brother of speaking my mind with hurtful words without thinking about the damage they would leave. I was an emotional teenager, by emotional I really mean hot headed. My brother made mistakes. The mistakes didn’t mean I didn’t love him anymore but boy some of the things I’ve said to him over the years probably made him wonder…
So now here I am…sitting at this fucking keyboard again…with this bitter taste in my mouth and an anxious sickness in my stomach that burns my chest with anger towards myself for being a stubborn idiot who ONCE AGAIN thought there was time to make things right…or to reassure my oldest brother that I loved him in spite of his flaws or our past bad blood…
Will I ever learn?? Why is it so hard to share my feelings!?? What the fuck is wrong with me!? My brother might die tonight…why is it so easy for me to stay detached when I’m hurt and so easy to be so damn stubborn in spite of wanting so badly to talk to him? Last time I went home to visit I had to stop myself from going to see him…I didn’t go…why? I never stopped loving him. Hell it hurt me that he didn’t come see me down at my mom’s house…but why couldn’t I bring myself to just go to his place and just say Raymond I love you in spite of everything???
I’m stuck five states away while he is laid up in some cold ICU room…and really I should be there…he is my brother…I keep seeing him playing his guitar for me…taking me for a ride on the motorcycle….I keep seeing him playing basketball…I see his old blue rambler…I see him sitting on his guitar amp outside the house…I see him in his old grahams outfit…I see him in his blue graduation gown and me hanging on his neck at age 9….I don’t see the other shit…I only see my loving brother Raymond who looked out for me and who loved me…and I should be there…
I’m scared…I’m so scared my brother will die….
Dear Dad, 04/30/2015
It is nearing the end of my first semester of community college. I have a long way to go still but I’m finally doing it! It feels good dad. I think about you so much and I wish so much that you were here. I miss you every day that passes. It is 2015 now. You have been gone now for 19 years. That is such a long time dad and so much has changed with the world, technology, your grandchildren, and our family.
I don’t get back home very often. It still didn’t feel like home being back there last summer. There is this void with you gone. I guess it will always be there. When I went back home I went to bury Drew. Yes, that boy I swore I’d love my whole life and chased around the neighborhood. The boy’s initials I carved into the bedroom furniture you were furious about. Oh yeah and the closest door frame too. I know you remember him…how could you forget him right? That was very hard on me to do. I did love him so much. To walk down the isle of that funeral home knowing it would be the last time I’d kiss him good bye broke my heart so bad dad. I still feel bad I never thanked him for saving my life in middle school dad…I know that was when you loved Drew too…when he came forward over that crazy gun nonsense and saved me…you were different towards him after that…he was about the only boy allowed to come see me…I never thanked him for telling me not to stay in Mansfield either when I asked him if I had any reason to…that is one part of growing older really sucks dad…the loved ones you have to bury. Learning how to live on without them is tough. The toughest for me of course has been living with you gone.
I have had to make up for so many missteps I made after you died. I thought the day you told me you had cancer in that stupid gray Corsica that I had time to prepare…maybe not long but at least a few months…we ended up having a year and still I fucked up so badly…I lost myself so much that I’m not even certain I ever found her…even today. I think she died with you dad and I have accepted that…I guess maybe that is what happens when you lose someone so valuable. I thought I would have been fine, solid as a rock…thought I was so smart and had my shit together…what a fool I was…what a waste…so much wasted time…talent…I’m so sorry daddy…I am so sorry…if I could only go back…if only…
The first five years you were gone I walked around numb. I did everything to feel things like I had before you died but I just couldn’t. I moved all over in search of somewhere to belong, a place I could FEEL alive again. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to live anymore in the world without you in it. I just didn’t know how. It took so long to feel anything after you died dad…your granddaughter Courtney, when I gave birth to her; she gave me this need to live, this want to try to live. She still does along with her little sister.
They are so beautiful dad. Kylie reminds me of you once in a while. I’m sorry they never got to meet you. It isn’t fair but there isn’t much in life that is right? Courtney is 14 now! She is so much like me dad and I am so happy our relationship is very close…I am so glad it didn’t turn out like mine and moms. She is so smart too. She is an A student and she already speaks fluent German…she actually just came back from German camp not long ago. She is thrilled about college in her future. I could not be more proud dad and let me tell you right now…if it was not for having you as my dad I would not be such a great mother to her. I would not have been able to get clean and really pull myself out of that dark shit I got myself into at the beginning of my adult life. I never told you but you were a wonderful dad…even with the bad things that happened to me dad, they were not your fault and you couldn’t protect me from everything…you were my hero…you ARE MY HERO!! So thank you.
Little Kylie is a mini me by looking at her. She is just adorable dad. She asks a lot about you. I think she is sad she never got to meet you too. I show her pictures. She is really smart too. She is so creative dad…she writes these amazing stories like I did at that age. Remember that story I wrote about the old woman under the apple tree? I remember you talked about that story even when I was in high school and I wrote that in grade school. Well, Kylie has that same talent. I think she will be a writer if I do things right by her and she doesn’t get messed up in life like I did. I am still working on my writing. I still plan on having my memoir published and my novel series too…I have more to learn that college is helping with before I get there.
God I sure do miss you ….I can’t even explain the feeling dad…I just miss you so bad…
Even though I miss you dad I feel good about life…I’m clean and for a long time now…I love my life except being sick all the time with chronic pain, fatigue etc. I push through though. I love going to school…it feels right… it feels the same way it felt when I started driving bus…like I am just supposed to be there. I am excited about my future. My kids are so excited too. Courtney tells me every week how proud she is that I am in college. She brags to her teachers and friends she says. I sure have traveled a long way dad and that is thanks to YOUR PARENTING…you remember that!! I may have screwed up and may have taken a little longer but I am doing it dad. Not only am I setting examples to others who want to get clean or straighten their life out by showing them IT CAN BE DONE but I am setting an example to my kids to not give up on a dream and that anything is possible. I learned that from you.
I love you so much dad and I wish I had told you more when you were here. I miss you and think of you every day. I will carry you in my heart for the rest of my life and I will make sure you never fade with memories I continue to share with my children. I hope you are at peace where ever it is you are…I will write again.
Love your only daughter,
Who I am today was created by the trauma I survived when I was a child growing up in a chaotic environment. My mother was a schizophrenic with chaotic reactions and violent answers to her delusions. I received the majority of her violent episodes. Actually I am not sure any of my brothers received any violence from her. Perhaps I was the only one she lashed out at. I cannot speak for my brothers. I can however share with you my own personal trauma and things I developed to help me survive the nightmare of having a schizophrenic mother. Things I never knew I did until I entered therapy.
There would be times that months would pass without her chasing me around the house with a fly swatter. There were also times it seemed to happen so often I just wanted to die. I never knew what was coming next. Peace or war?
As a very young girl, grade school age, I didn’t understand what was wrong with my mother. I simply thought she hated me. I thought she was jealous of me for being the only daughter out of five children. I spent years wondering what it was I did to her and why she didn’t love me like my dad loved me so. She did not get a diagnosis of being schizophrenic until I was entering my teenage years.
I have very few pleasant memories of my mother. Our relationship was a very volatile one. I have many beatings I can recall. I can recall the verbal abuse I endured. I can recall the dishonest games she played in hopes that my dad would punish me. There is something that happens to the mind and memory when you live through a trauma I learned from therapy. The severity of cognitive impairment on the brain can depend on how long you endured the trauma and how severe the trauma itself is or was. My therapist said it is a miracle that I did not end up having split personalities.
I have often wondered why I could not recall clearly how old I was with some of the events that happened to me. I learned in therapy that my brain had created memory bubbles that would retain very limited information or memory of the traumatic event. It is or was a survival technique I have and you have as well. Another thing I learned in therapy was that many people who live through trauma have a tough time recalling time of the event, or how long it might have lasted. The brain does this to help protect itself from the trauma. The brain attempts to dissociate. Dissociating is also known as compartmentalization of the memory or memories. This process can cause confusion, anxiety, paranoia, fear, withdrawal, feelings of being disconnected or numb, guilt, shame, shock, denial and feeling hopelessness. Childhood trauma can cause permanent effects on the personality of the person who lives through the trauma. There were many years I had to piece together through therapy to get an understanding as to when it was happening and how long it went on. I have many events still confusing for me that will take more therapy to piece together. I am a masterpiece in the making. I say masterpiece because I survived it all. I may have damage left to repair but I am alive and I am sober.
I would have nightmares many nights. I remember my first thoughts of suicide came to me when I was around eight or nine years old. It was around this time I started putting pen to paper as an attempt to escape all the terrible things happening to me. I started out writing dark stories and dark poetry. I would draw dark figures and draw my nightmares onto paper. The writing started out as a cry for help but when no one heard the cry I decided to start creating my own worlds where the bad things eventually ended for the characters. I dreamed of and created paradise. My writing became a tool for survival.
My dad did not have a nine to five job. My dad worked from home, repairing electronics. He must have known my mom was mentally ill many years before she was diagnosed and is most likely why he worked from home. It was his way to help prevent harm to us. Unfortunately he was gone sometimes for long periods going to the auction house to fix electronics, to make money. This is usually when she would have violent episodes. When my dad was around the physical abuse never happened. Though I remember a few times he walked in while she was in the midst of beating me and he stopped it. I recall sometimes the verbal abuse would happen even with my dad home. He would yell at her and tell her to shut up or knock it off and she would.
My mother was obsessed with demons when she had many schizophrenic episodes. Her mind would tell her that the devil was trying to get me or she would swear I had demons inside of me that she had to get out. Getting those demons out usually involved her chasing me around with switches, thin tree branches from the trees out front, an extension cord, or the metal part of the fly swatter. There was a few times she put me in the tub with very hot water when I was around seven years old. I can recall one time she put ice cold water in the kitchen sink and forced me to hold my hands under it.
As far back as I can remember I was afraid of my mother. For a long time I hated her for these things I had endured. Growing up thinking that your mother hates you can make you a very angry, messed up child, teen and even an adult. I thought she hated me because I would see her treat my brothers so differently. She would cook potatoes, pancakes, whatever they asked for. She would refuse to get up with me to help me get ready for school. My dad would be taking my brothers to high school and I would be left home while mom slept to get myself ready at age five. I usually went to school with nothing to eat, my clothes mismatched, sometimes dirty, and probably inside out if my aunt or dad didn’t help me fix them.
From the very beginning of my school life I avoided forming friendships. I had already endured enough abuse that I felt ashamed, embarrassed and scared. I would not have friends come over to my house until my middle school era and even then I can count on one hand how many came over.
Not only was I living a life of sexual abuse from others, physical abuse and verbal abuse from my mother, but we lived in a very poor household that was not clean. My dad always had the house full of televisions and electronics and my mom was a hoarder.
I did develop one friendship where I could share my secrets to a safe person outside my home. That friendship was Andrew. I was able to share everything with him. That friendship lasted his whole life. I went back home to bury him July of this year. It was one of the saddest things I have done. I will forever be heartbroken that he is gone. I think having him growing up helped me to survive.
The sexual abuse and the abuse from the schizophrenic episodes my mother and having an abusive man in my life at age 18 has shaped me into this very guarded, skeptical, damaged woman today. This is what I am going to discuss tonight. A clear repercussion of being abused for almost half of a lifetime starting at a very young age.
I form very few strong connections with people. If I deem them trustworthy I allow them in to a point but always keep myself detached from them. I learned that this is a survival mechanism I formed growing up. Even now at age 36 I am constantly preparing myself for things to fall apart especially if things are going well in the relationships.
Growing up with such trauma in my life has rewired my thinking. When I start to have a successful relationship emotionally I am preparing for the sky to fall at any moment. This pattern formed when I was a little girl for a way to protect myself from trauma, and hurt. I detached myself from the people around me and the traumatic events happening. It helped me survive, and it helped me be numb from it all. Though this was a very good survival tool growing up, this detachment pattern as a grown woman has become a huge challenge to overcome. I am still working on noticing the steps I start to take in detachment from my family, and my friends. There are times the detachment is so quick and easy. The quick and easy detachment is easy to understand. If someone hurts me badly they do not get do-overs. I cut them out of my life instantly without looking back. I have done this with friends, and even blood relatives with no regret.
Sometimes I do not realize I am disconnecting. It can start very subtly until I have put myself at a safe distance to completely remove the person from my reach and my life. In these instances sometimes I can bounce back towards those whose surround me and attach myself emotionally. The trouble staying attached to those around me comes from fear and paranoia that they are going to hurt me, break my trust, or cause me trauma. I always feel like I have to guard myself from harm coming my way. This pattern was created in me through years of traumatic events I had to live through. I am making slow progress to stay attached longer or detach myself for shorter periods before I go back into the relationships in my life but it is a trying effort.
I am a very complicated and confusing person when you are in my inner circle. The person this is hardest on is my husband. There are many times throughout our relationship that I have completely disconnected from him because of hurt he has caused. Over the years the hurt built up and became a whole lot of harm done to me emotionally that I ended up so disconnected from him that I wanted to divorce him. I truly thought at some point in our relationship that it was over. I did not think I could come back. I still have struggles in staying connected to him. I still have trust issues with him. We are a work in progress.
If you are close to me, you are in my inner circle, and I can be a very confusing relationship for you while you are in this circle. I can push you away without any reasons apparent to you. You will notice I am shutting you out but will most likely have no idea why I have pushed you away, or distanced myself. I am more likely to notice I am doing this today with having years of therapy under my belt now but there was a time I was completely oblivious to my actions. The lack of understanding my disconnect from people and what I was doing has cost me many relationships over the years.
If you find me distancing myself from you and you are in my inner circle the best advice I can give you is respect my space and give me time. I always return to my inner circle unless the act against me is so devious I cannot move past the action against me. If it is something I cannot move past the disconnect will most likely be swift and permanent. I distance myself from my inner circle often to evaluate my relationships often. I am constantly asking if my inner circle is trustworthy and I will think over moments shared with each relationship and judge them on it. I have serious trust issues as I have talked about before. Every relationship I have had has either hurt me physically, emotionally, or verbally except for my friend Andrew, and my dad.
I learned in therapy that the loyalty I seem to possess came from my dad. I think he stayed with my mom, even with her being seriously mentally ill, out of loyalty perhaps to his kids. I never viewed his loyalty as being loyal for love. My trauma made me a cynic about loyal love. I believe my relationship with Andrew helped me have a more positive outlook about friendship. Therefore allowing myself to hold friendship to a higher standard and place over love. In other words I view friendship as forever, and love, or men as something that comes and goes, easily replaced.
My loyalty to my husband most of our relationship has been out of friendship. He has always been my friend first. This is how I eventually allow myself to love deeply. Our friendship eventually evolved into deep love. The things he did over the years that hurt me eventually numbed that love for him and when I became completely disconnected from him my loyalty to him became loyalty to my children. In other words if we had not had our beautiful daughters I would have walked away and never looked back. We have children so my loyalty to them pushed me into therapy with my husband. This of course was formed inside me from my view of my dad sticking it out with my very ill mother.
I learned in therapy this is my pattern over time when dealing with being hurt by those close to me. The pattern my husband and I have lived through is all about my past trauma. It has been a tough, long ride on a roller coaster. I still have work to do and so does he. Perhaps this will be something we have to work at the rest of our lives. The goal is to not return to the point of me being completely disconnected from him.
Another thing I do is constantly look for outs in relationships. I seem to constantly look for the reasons to cut and run from them. In some cases I seem to use other people as an out. This over time has created an insecurity in my husband. This pattern I have from past trauma now has built in him the idea that he is easily replaced. Of course he is easily replaced on the surface with my warped sense of what love is supposed to be, what it is and isn’t. My insecurity dealing with love makes it a constant battle to try not to repeat these offenses against him.
On the surface it seems he is easily replaced but deep within me I know he isn’t. I know deep within me I love him with my whole self and that alone makes me terrified of the hold he could have on me or has had on me in the past. It makes me vulnerable and another thing I cannot deal with properly is vulnerability. This is something that is born out of the trauma I lived with for half of my life as well.
I respond negatively towards jealousy, attempt to control me, lying to me, cheating me, being too needy, having lack of acceptance for me, and if you are too judgmental against others who are different I will start locking myself away from you.
These are the things I need in all my relationships. I need you to remember you cannot keep me to yourself, or be possessive. I need you to understand I do what I want because I am a free person and love my individuality. I need you to be honest with me about everything so I can trust you. I need you to accept who I am even the dark and twisty things about me. I also need you to respect others and differences in them. I need you to show me you are an honorable, pleasant person, who can be trusted with the darkest secrets I may have to share with you. You do this and I will love you like no other friend can. If you can’t do these things all I ask is that you do not approach me or attempt to hold onto me as a friend. Save time and hurt and just move on. I have high standards set for my inner circle and if you can’t meet them you will not get in. I was made this way by scar tissue from living half of my life in trauma.
The scar tissue reminds me I have survived some very dark times. Therapy reminds me that not every relationship is hurtful. I remind myself to trust myself above all else. I can only attempt to be a better person and attempt to have healthier relationships in my life. I cannot go against the things I believe in. Meet my standards or meet the freezer.