The other day while burning some distraction cycles on one of those dating app (if you’re new here, hi I’m polyamorous) and i ran across a profile with a group photo that included an ex. There were feelings as you can imagine. And so to enact one of my favorite quotes, I write to see what I say.
I don’t feel hate. But I still feel swells of anger when she surfaces onto my consciousness. While I can understand how her behavior came from a past that included trauma and dealing with narcissistic personalities, it does not excuse it. I did not have to tolerate unexpected verbal lashings, shaming, gas lighting, and attempt reinforcement of toxic masculinity traits (e.g. “I should be able to have my temper tantrums without it effecting you ” and questioning whether I was “dom enough” because I could feel sad).
I allowed myself to feel the kind of emotion I hadn’t felt since I was a teenager. It was a kind of love. Not the secure trusting love I find myself in now, but the burning passion type instead. The kind that led to me having an overwhelming need to vent those emotions in form of prose and poem when a physical outlet was not possibe. I understood romantic poets a lot more during that time. I made honest mistakes since I wasn’t at my clearest mentally. Instead of making them moments to learn from, they became arrows of shame to be shot at me, again and again. I became vulnerable to her and it fully taken advantage of to cause maximum harm. That is why I became so focused on building my boundaries afterwards.
As I’ve often done in the past, I channel those potentially more damaging emotions into more useful activities. When I feel the anger and shame well up, I redirect them into my fitness efforts. I guess in a fucked up way I can thank her for reinforcing that aspect of myself.
When I had my first major success in weight loss (80 lbs in a year), I had this thought implanted in my mind by a coworkers back when I interned at an airport. “Your mind is only as strong as your body”. That idea has been my solace when I encounter hard times. That same idea is playing out when she enters my mind. I recognize it. I wasn’t weak but my past traumas were exploited. My fitness journey includes reinforcing my psyche. Because I know how the universe works. Despite my cutting her out of my life for my own safety, I know that someday I’ll run into her again. I need to be as sure about myself as I can be.
I won’t allow her to find anymore chinks in the armor I create for myself. I have people in my life who love me and celebrate me for who I am, flaws and all.
This thought is latching to my brain today. It was triggered while browsing through FL. I was considering maybe looking at attending various local events, and came across my ex’s profile as a possible attendee. It brought back some painful memories. I’ll flat out say it, this person was a narcissist. They did a lot of emotional damage. The highs (or love bombs) were not worth the crippling lows. I went no contact a long while ago to protect myself. Now I’m afraid that my odds of running back into this person in the real world are more likely, especially if I try to attend any local events. I really don’t like confrontation. Meanwhile, this person *loved* to start arguments as a way to test people. That’s a massive waste of energy IMO. Now I could try to excuse this person based on the traumatic past they’ve had, but that isn’t okay. They were toxic. That experience is a poignant reminder for me that even as a polyamorous person, it is not worth pursuing toxic relationships, regardless of all of their other qualities. The damage to my psyche, and those around me as I stew in depression, is not worth it.
So back to this thought. It came up while I trained at the gym this morning. Working out is important to me as a mood regulator. I did not train at all last week due to being out for a wedding. Sure enough, come sunday I felt a melancholy just wash over me. Yes my social anxiety cup had runneth over, but also my bulwark was decayed. Then I remembered how I felt last year as I saw progress photos from last year. I was starting to like how I looked, for the first time ever in my life. It gave me an extra bit of confidence that I never knew could exist. I could actually see myself dressing in nice things that weren’t just ren fair garb.
And so as I struggle with trying to keep a fitness routine going I have this concern of confrontation in my head. I know the universe loves to fuck with me, and so at some point it’ll happen even with avoiding those events. I feel that I need to get my body back to where I was early last year. Rebuilding that confidence in myself is to serve as that shield for my mind when I fully expect this person will try to tear me down and/or emotionally manipulate me into doing that myself. I know the mechanical things that I have to do. It comes down to gritting my teeth and getting it done…and not injuring myself in the process.
I need to get up earlier during the week. The Tuesday/Thursday morning strength training is nice…but I can do more. If I’m making slow incremental process through this “part time” training schedule I’m on now (keeping my nutrition in check of course), then I can just imagine my progress should I commit. If I want to be ready to handle those barbs, then I need to commit to this phase of training. No one else is going to be be able to help me with this.
Okay, I feel a bit better putting this out into the ether. I know what I need to do.
I’m feeling that creeping sadness today and the past couple days. not sure why exactly. maybe those demons of abandonment. that feeling of being unwanted, and so I retreat inside. I’ve also not worked out this week for a number of reasons…my mind always goes to shit if I’m not moving. gonna go workout now. I guess it’s part of my internal comforting since I can’t find it with people. gogo dismissive/avoidant attachment styles…
I’m listening to the Making Polyamory Work podcast series and came across the episode on Beyond the Five Love Languages, and it gave a good idea on writing down specific things that make me feel loved. So I’ll be putting those down here later once I’m less busy.
Every so often stuff happens in my life, either by choice or not, and a song somehow gets linked to the event. Songs, like any other artistic expression, tend to take on different meanings for people regardless of the intent of the creator. And so this song, “Addict”, has become linked to my choice on blocking all contact with an ex. I think it finally clicked on how toxic that connection could be, even as friends. I made my mistakes in communication and said too much, sure (I’m also wondering if I’m not at least a little Autistic with my trouble of being socially aware/adept), but she always used my mistakes as ways to try to break me down and find ways to make me feel even more like crap. It’s excessive, not constructive, and absolutely not healthy for me to be around. Social media only made it worse by constantly trying to push contact with her too. It’s part of why I’ve drastically reduced my time there. Removing that app from my phone has been incredibly helpful. I’ll occasionally look at it through my PC, but only in very short increments. And I realize, there isn’t much I’m missing.
I think it’s the opening lines that are sticking with me the most in this song.:
“This is a brand new start. And I think I deserve some praise for the way that I am”.
The end of the music video with the blowing up of the club feels fitting. Sometimes burning a bridge really is the way to go. Anyhow. here’s the video link. Serious trigger warning on stuff in there, so put on your thickest skin if you watch.
My brain has been cycling through this for a couple days now and I think I may have gleaned a few insights on some of my patterns. The point about turning anger on myself actually being the voice of my care takers when I was younger stuck with me.
I’m starting to see the pattern on when I experience depression (I haven’t had any episodes for a good amount of time now) and how it relates to conflicts I may be having in life at the time. They tend to occur when there are inter-personal conflicts going on in my life. Even when I’m not actively dealing with the issue, the negative energy (I use that term loosely) seeps into my psyche. I never lash out at people, nor is my first instinct to fight back when someone lays into me, even when they’re being unreasonable. This effect becomes more pronounced the more I care about someone. The result of this pattern is that I’ll experience heavy shame about myself for even simple mistakes. This easily transfers into self-loathing and depression. I can also see why sometimes that state will hit me out of the blue given. Long story short, I had a lot of experiences growing up where my authentic emotional self was unacceptable and led to trouble…therefore the natural response was for me to hide and shutdown what I felt. The problem is shutting down isn’t an effective long term strategy. It always came back to haunt me.
I coped with this problem by focusing on my achievements. Doing well in a video game or school worked for a while, until they didn’t anymore. That was a really rough patch in my life. Then I went back to school and ended up with a solid career. Then I started taking care of my body. Those became my new coping mechanisms. These were the objective measures I held onto like a buoy during the turbulent storm that could be my mind. I could have just as easily slipped into hard drugs and/or toxic crowds as a coping mechanism instead…and many people do. I was fortunate that I was such a shut-in nerd that I just didn’t get those opportunities and I had WAY too much social anxiety to want to hang around any crowds, let alone toxic ones. There’s also a lot to be said when it comes to toxic masculinity and CEN.
I know this is easier said than done, but I have work to do on separating the conflicts I have with people from my internal state. I do have a hard trigger that results in me feeling intense shame when people I love come down on me. Especially when I feel that it is coming from a place of anger. Here’s what I need to ask myself the next time I find myself in that place. 1. Did I reasonably know doing/saying (or not doing/saying) this thing would cause this reaction? For example, did I know this person had a cultural expectation that I trespassed on? Did they communicate this expectation to me previously?
2. Is their reaction reasonable?
3. Do I trust my intentions?
4. If a mistake was made, then learn from it and move on. If a mistake is continually and/or aggressively held against me, that is their issue, not mine.
it’s been a while since I have updated this blog. I’ve noticed more likes and follows despite this…which is better odd, but cool. I hope my meanderings have been useful in some way.
Today is the first day I’ve been on the metro in over a year. it’s a weird experience. I’m going to spend the weekend with a partner of mine. I think this is the first time I’ve been able to spend this much time with a poly partner that wasn’t basically a hotel outting. There’s a poly milestone for you. They’ve risen the bar for good partners. I feel at ease around them.
On the fitness stuff… I’m platued at 170 and 22% bodyfat. Sometimes I’ll drop to 167, but that seems to be mostly at the expense of water. I haven’t been doing the same amount of evening workouts and walka due to injuries. I’m in the mend now. My trainer is changing gyms so my schedule is currently in flux. I’ll know more next week on how I’ll move forward. Either we can make something work at planet fitness or I’ll have to work with a different trainer at my main gym.
Another thought train on the move. I was thinking on why things with my partner feel so right. I’m not getting that crazy limerice or nre sensation. I’m not feeling distracted by them (other stuff distracts me instead).
This person has made it part of their core to have people feel safe around them. I think I’m feeling the effects of that now. I’m able to speak of my passions and my vulnerabilities and not feel judged. If anything, my eccentries are celebrated. If there is something I don’t know, they are happy to teach me. They include me with their activities. They don’t hide me from their friends. They constantly try to remind me that I’m special, that I’m good. It might even seem a little repetitive at times and I don’t know what to say…but it sinks in.
inevitably I can’t help but compare to the experience with my ex during that last month. I still feel pain over all the thinga she tried to disqualify me for. I wasn’t this. I felt bad about things. My having feelings were invalidated. While I try to avoid casting blame as I’m sure there were a myriad of factors on her end, at the end of the day I did not feel wanted. It was one more person that I had to constantly justify my existence to. I adored her, but I just could not stay in that environment.
I need people who can celebrate my passions and interests and I will do the same for them. To help make each other the best versions of themselves. I don’t want to be in a relationship based on fighting to qualify.
This will be short. Being in good spirits probably doesn’t make for the most engrossing read but it is where I’m at. I recently met someone who has not only been incredibly sweet, but also amazingly supportive of my artistic interests. That means a lot to me. Having an avoidant/dismissive background makes it hard for me to share my passions with anyone for fear of the rejection. So I would just shut down pre-emptively shutdown to avoid the pain. To have it openly embraced feels really good. This one is special.
I think putzing around on FB triggered a depression spiral today. I was reminded of how I feel, I’m not sure, unwanted? Not just in the romantic sense, although that process started in my mind in regards to my wife, but socially. The whole K thing is a reminder that I’m just not liked. I know it is her problem, her bullshit. But I’m having a hard time not internalizing that. On days like this I miss having a therapist to talk with. I can’t really talk with my wife about it, nor do I have any trusted friends I can talk with about this. I’m not sure what to do outside of weather this storm.