[CW: descriptions of ways alcoholics and people under the influence of alcohol behave that can be harmful, especially to others]
In my last post I described 3 of the people I’ve been working with, ways in which some of their behaviors are reflective of (and/or caused by) the influence of alcohol, and weird psychological dynamics I’ve been experiencing with them. Today’s session with Wakana, which just ended, expanded on that discussion.
I guess I’ll take them in order again. it’s the order we discussed them in.
Things have been better since Mo moved. He’s texted me a few times, and I’ve engaged in brief, somewhat guarded conversations with him. He wanted to make sure I gave the things he had entrusted to me to the person who – well, they hurt each other. In his texts he asked me to use language that, even in the context of what actually happened between them, didn’t seem like it could be hurtful. So I followed through with his request. It was awkward, but I think it went okay, and now he and I are both glad it’s over with. I hope she’s okay, too.
As Wakana said, and told me to repeat a million times: “I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, and I can’t control it.”
I’m on the fence regarding whether I still want to be friends with Mo. My better judgment says “no,” but it’s hard to let go of what I perceived to be good times and a meaningful connection. Perceived being the key word – I don’t know. I’m back to questioning everything.
The one thing I’m not questioning is that Fox becomes angry when I talk about Mo – not at me, but at Mo for what he did. I think on some level Fox takes it personally, whether he’ll admit it or not. He’s made it pretty clear he doesn’t think I should stay in contact with Mo. And well, it’s my choice and he respects that, but I’m kinda leaning toward what will cause less stress for my husband. It’s part of respecting him, and our vows.
I haven’t spoken to Ron about how sometimes ze says things that make me feel like I’m doing everything wrong, mostly because it hasn’t come up since I wrote about it. We’ve had positive interactions and been able to work well together. I feel like we have a good connection. I also feel like, as much as I may like zir in a not-entirely-platonic fashion, the best thing for us to do is remain firmly in the “friends” category.
I’ve found a group that I can be fully myself in, an independent person, seen for who I am and loved and respected and appreciated. It’s very important that I’m not attached to someone else, that I’m not merged with someone else – as I always seem tempted to do. I need to maintain a boundary with Ron. Among other things, I want to make sure our comrades see us as two separate individuals, not connected beyond the friendships that are normal and healthy in any group.
And finally we come to Carl again. I’m not feeling so sure about the stuff I said I “know” about Carl at the end of my last post. I want to make excuses for him: he’s been busy and stressed with work and family and events and activism. I go so far as to blame myself: well I’ve been trying to give him space and focusing on building connections with other people, so maybe he doesn’t think I’m interested.
But it comes down to another case of what I thought just wasn’t real. He was under the influence. I was projecting. I wanted something so badly, I refused to acknowledge the truth even when it was right in front of me. I was perceiving it, I was responding to it, but I refused to accept it as the reality. I “adapted” and held on to the “evidence” that supported what I wanted to be true. And now he’s merged with someone else in a way he refused to merge with me (and honestly it’s better we’re not merged, and I never really wanted that to begin with), and I feel like he’s completely inaccessible.
I question whether he wants to interact with me, respects me, cares about me at all … As an example he asked me and another person to join him in a photo; I had trouble believing he actually wanted me to be in the picture with him. I can’t think about that without crying.
It’s pretty much exactly what happened with my father. All of it.
He pulled me into his conflicts with my mom and manipulated me into hurting her. (Sorry, “teasing” her – when she was stressed out trying to get ready for work.)
He had a “dual personality” and I never knew which Dad I was gonna get: the maybe-a-bit-too affectionate loving nurturing Dad who I knew loved me, the cool Dad I could have fun with and learn from, the Dad who seemed to respect me, the Dad who didn’t listen to me, the terrifyingly angry and abusive Dad, or the Dad I longed to connect with but who was completely beyond my reach …
He said and did things to make me feel like I not only did something wrong, I was wrong. For almost 20 years I thought I’d done something horrible to deserve what he did to me; only recently did I come to realize it was abuse. Emotional. Physical. Maybe even sexual, I don’t know and I’d rather not go there. The point is, it was abuse. I was abused. By the person who had the most power over me, whose job it was to protect me.
Abused. Manipulated. Lied to. All when I was at my most vulnerable. All when parents are like gods to their children.
And then he died. It wasn’t really his fault, though he refused to fight the addiction (to nicotine) that contributed to the illness that ultimately killed him. But on a psychological and emotional level he abandoned me. He abandoned me to grow up never able to really know my father, never able to develop a healthy adult relationship with him, never able to properly heal the wounds he inflicted on me. And he abandoned my mom.
Honestly we’re better off without him. But if I could have one wish, I’d probably waste it on wishing he were still alive and my parents had divorced. This way I’d have the benefit of living most of my life safely away from him, and having a mother who is (relatively) free from his influence … but also the choice of whether to have a relationship with him as an adult. The possibility of confronting him, getting the truth from him, getting a fucking apology, and maybe even forgiving him.
But since he’s fucking dead, all I can do is try and forgive him – because otherwise I’m only hurting myself.
Wakana seemed very impressed. She said that in the entire time we’ve been working together – nearly 7 years – this is the most I’ve ever talked about my father. We spent almost the entire session essentially on my father. I might have even talked about my father more in this one session than the entire time I’ve been in therapy.
“You’re in a stronger place now.”
She said people come into our lives for a reason, and there’s a reason these particular individuals are here, now, right when I’ve reached this milestone. They are not my father, but maybe as I navigate developing healthy relationships with them, I can in a way develop the healthy adult relationship I wish I could have with him. I can make the choices that were taken from me when he died.
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