March 30, 2010

Tug of War

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:14 pm by eddejae

It was an interesting day… I feel a bit uncertain about it. Some parts were fabulous, some parts not so great. It may be just the fact that I am becoming more acutely aware of my quickly changing emotions and what brings them on, or perhaps today was just particularly emotionally volatile…. But whichever it was, I felt like someone was playing “tug of war” with my mind. I felt great this morning. I woke up early to help out with a service project at my church. It was so great to do something “outside” of myself, and I felt more comfortable around other people than I have in a long time – probably because I was thinking less about being watched and judged than I was about getting the project done. It was a nice change.

However, it seems like Newton’s Third Law of Motion – every action has an equal and opposition reaction – is actively at work in my life. As soon as I had come down from the “high” of the morning, painful thoughts began to push and shove their way into my mind. How frightfully inconsiderate! Here I was, having an near perfect day so far, and then my mind takes a 360 on me! Even my mom (who was with me at the service project) noticed a change. I had developed a bad case of what I call “Velcro mind” – when thoughts get “stuck” in my brain and drive me to the point of despair and/or neuroticism. I did my best to fight it despite my stomach knotting and anxiety threatening to creep in. I tried listening to some upbeat music, but it didn’t help. Baking is an effective distraction for me, so as soon as I got home, I went straight to the kitchen. Desperate to keep myself from slipping, I vigorously whipped up a batch of snickerdoodles. I don’t think anyone has ever baked cookies with such great drive and purpose I did today! I wound up with about four dozen to, and baked goods are a dangerous thing to keep around the house, so I decided to share the bounty by delivering most of them to friends (which activity also helped me escape from my mind, at least for a while). I owe a lot to those little savory morsels of buttery, cinnamony sweetness…

So everything was again right with the world. My mom, my sister, and I ventured to Coco’s for dinner. I decided to let myself splurge a bit and ordered shrimp pesto pasta with garlic parmesan bread. It tasted so good and before I knew it, I had completely obliterated the thing. Almost immediately after putting the fork down, I was hit by a tidalwive of shame and self-loathing. Even though I had decided that I wasn’t going to purposely “diet” today, I still felt disgusted with myself, and that familiar gut-wrenching anxiety set in full force. Every sound in the restaurant seem amplified, and the lights much too bright. I covered my eyes and tried to breathe but the feeling persisted until I was back in the car. Thoughts of self-harm fought for dominance, and I was tempted to just give up and give in to the negative emotions sweeping over me. Instead, I asked my mom if we could stop at the bookstore. One of my favorite hobbies is creating collages from pictures I find in magazines, so I thought that working on that tonight might help keep my mind off what I was feeling.

Now what I’m dealing with is a guy that just won’t get a clue. I started to talking to him on Facebook (big mistake) and became so fed up that I literally screamed with frustration. No matter how clear I have tried to make it, no matter how many times I have said, “Sorry, I can’t see you” or “Sorry, I can’t talk” or “I really need some space right now,” he has kept pushing and pushing and pushing… Finally, he said something tonight – the straw that broke the camels back… “So, when are you coming to visit me in San Diego?” EXCUSE ME?! How dense ARE you?! Then he started to say how he’s tried to be understanding and be a good friend even though I kept pushing him away, etc. Now, this is a person that I became “friends” with during a time in my life where I was completely fake. I put on a different mask for each person. So the girl he got to know is not the girl I am today. I said right out “I don’t know how much more clear I have to be that I’m not interested. I’m not the person you once knew. I have changed. I have different desires, a different direction, and a different outlook on life. I really don’t believe we have much in common anymore. And I need to stop being pressured. I need to move on. This will be our last conversation.” As I wrote it, my heart was pounding and my anxiety level through the roof. Confrontation and directness is the hardest thing in the world for me. It makes me feel like I’m somehow “bad” or “mean” or “unfair.” But something inside me snapped. I couldn’t take it from this guy anymore. NO means NO! For so many years I have let people walk all over me. Rarely have I ever stood up for myself. But I did. And I know it was the right thing to do… But I still feel so awful. The voices in my head are saying “You were too harsh,” “How could you be so mean to someone who tried to be so nice?,” “You can’t even have a normal friendship,” and “There’s something wrong with you.” I feel like crap. Did I do the right thing? Did I handle it the right way? …

Why does this keep happening to me?

How did I develop so many unhealthy and even poisonous relationships?

Am I right in eliminating them now?

Who do I let in, who do I keep at bay, and who do I shut out forever?

Am I thinking black-and-white again, or is this simple self-preservation?

I can’t handle this right now… That one conversation shot me down into a complete emotional mess… I feel sick…



  1. CMcAlister said,

    Dear Edde,

    The great thing about our lives is that when it comes to certian things, such as the people we choose to call “friend”, we get to judge who is worthy of the title. We get to judge who to let in and who to push away. And why make excuses for those that make you feel the way he did? Why prolong your own suffering with asking yourself “am I right at eliminating them now?” It’s your world, it’s your life. You are in charge and you did good. Number one rule of relationships is clearly communicating your boundries, and that is also true for the people you don’t want relationships with. If he angers you to such an extent as to make you feel this way, you are right to do what you did. Anyone in there right mind would do the same thing. You said no and you backed it up with action. You stayed true to your “Bill of Rights”, be proude! You are strong!

    • Kathi said,

      Thank you for saying that. It’s been a difficult night for her since a few of you received the unrevised post. The things he said were not even true…they weren’t even dating, nor did she do the things he accused her of. I think he may have been drinking…but she’s devastated nonetheless. I don’t think she read his whole message until after she published her post and once she did, she was horrified. She will appreciate your comment.
      Thanks again.

    • Edde said,

      thank you … i know i did the right thing, but the pain lingers…

  2. ivypixi said,

    I know your questions are probably mostly rhetorical, but I want you to know that I think you did the right thing. I have struggled to become the person I am today and I am still working to be better. It sounds like you are in the same boat. Stay self-aware, even when it isn’t so pleasant. Let me repeat myself, you did the right thing. Eliminating toxic relationships is difficult, scary, and necessary. You may have been “that person” then but you aren’t anymore. Don’t let them drag you down. I recently had to cut ties with a “friend” that I had only been reconnected with for a few months. They knew me back when I was in middle school and high school. They could not accept that I was a different person now and refused to give me the respect that I now deserve. Choosing who is toxic is very difficult but consider, do you really want someone like that in your life. You may feel the guilt, I know I usually do, but sometimes you have to put you first. Once again, you did the right thing. His poor behavior led him to the bad place he is in. Even though I know you probably will feel the guilt anyway just know it’s not your fault and you did nothing wrong. Also, you did the right thing. Lastly, you did the right thing.

    • Edde said,

      your comment meant the world to me. thank you so much. it’s so good to know that you understand and support me.

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