Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Reincarnations

The German thinks that I'm screwing up my life right now. He'd never say it like that but because I've known him so long, I can tell what he thinks from what he does say even though he's almost unfailingly polite.

About a month ago, my psychiatrist gave me the phone numbers for three therapists that might be able to help me with my sexual abuse issues. I did call one of them and set up an appointment but, when the day came, I skipped it because I just couldn't bring myself to go and speak about this stuff with a complete stranger. I mean, I'm sure the therapist has probably had worse cases come before him and wouldn't be shocked by anything I said but I'm not sure that I could deal with hearing myself talk about what I've been through. The German has been gently suggesting that I call and make another appointment but I haven't done it yet. A couple of days ago, in a completely unrelated conversation, someone that I care about told me that I was being stubborn and hard-headed. His statement made me really mad because it hit too close to home. I was pissed off to hear that he thinks the same thing that I know The German thinks too.

I often feel like people don't understand why I am the way I am. It's not completely their fault most of the time. When it comes to voicing my views about politics or racism or feminism, I am never at a loss for words. However, it can be very difficult for me to talk about what I think of myself. I recognize that I have absorbed a lot of the negative labels that I've been given over the years, so I usually don't talk about what I think of myself even to those who are close to me because the most they can usually say is that I shouldn't feel that way or that I should just let it all go. I know that they mean well but I just really get the urge to say something like, "Wow! What a genius you are! It's just that easy? Thanks! Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before? I can't believe that I spent all of these years in therapy just to keep from trying to commit suicide again and the solution was as simple as just letting it all go." Of course, that would only leave me with even fewer people to talk to when I do feel like I can't hold in my feelings any longer--and that really is the only time when I talk about myself; Whenever I can, I do my best to keep it all under wraps.

Last week I wrote about how I'd gotten back in touch with an old boyfriend of mine. I've been really stressed since then because he's a person who knows about a lot of the details about my past that I'd simply prefer for people not to know. The German doesn't understand why reconnecting with the CanadianBoy has jolted me so much. I tried to explain to him that when you are in group therapy, the relationships that form between members can be extremely powerful. I mean, you sit there and you tell the truth, the nasty, dirty truth about all of the worst aspects of your background and the personality you developed during that time. Ideally, everyone goes back to their own separate lives after this and simply use all of the insight they've gained from hearing about other people's experiences and where it all got them.

It's really dangerous to hook up romantically with other group members because your progress can become entangled with their progress or lack thereof. However, it's extremely easy to get involved with other group members because most of the soul-baring that people have to engage in before they can fall in love has already occurred before you even start to date.

After I left the psychiatric hospital for the first time, I did attempt to pick up the pieces and get my act together. It didn't last long. Before much time had passed, I was back to being a substance abuser. I spent a few years like this before I eventually kicked all of my drug habits. I happen to be one of the extremely lucky people who has never felt the sort of physical symptoms that scares a lot of addicts into continuing to using simply because they are afraid of what full-fledged withdrawal would be like. I'm sure that I probably did experience some withdrawal symptoms but they were never to the point that I believed they were too much for me to manage them.

Nevertheless, this was not just some harmless phase in my life. It pretty much defined my entire life, from how I spent my day to what I dreamed of doing in the future. Anyway, the point is that my life was not a pretty picture. There are things that happened that I deeply regret and wish could be undone. That's the sort of stuff that the CanadianBoy knows.

Because of what I know about him, I am absolutely confident that he wouldn't tell anyone anything about the things he knows about me. However, that doesn't stop me from worrying that somehow, now that he's in my life again, it will all come out anyway and the house of cards that I've built over the years will come crashing down. Even The German does not know some of the things that the CanadianBoy knows. I'm sure he'd be disappointed to know that fact but I hope that he'd understand why.

I have told The German a good bit about my activities prior to us getting together. That's why he doesn't think that reconnecting with the CanadianBoy is a good idea. He says that he thinks it will drag me down and undo the progress that I've made over the years but to be honest, I just don't see that happening. There's one thing that I know and that's if I was to go down the path that I used to be on, the CanadianBoy would be one of the first to try to help me get back clean. There's nothing like going through the horrors of addiction to make a person sympathetic and eager to try and help someone else make the same mistakes.

The German doesn't understand that. He's never tried anything. He's never even smoked a cigarette. I think that his straight-edge personality is one of the things that attracted me to him. He has no tattoos, no piercings, no dreadlocks, no out of wedlock kids and he's one hundred percent conservative. In other words, he was the kind of person that could always be counted on to do things the right way. He was an anchor for me to latch onto when temptations and opportunities to regress came along over the years. The nice, safe life he offered simple didn't produce many situations where I could be exposed to anything that might tempt me. Even though our life together was a bit ho-hum, I felt like security made it worth it to try and work through that.

My friendship with the CanadianBoy is much different. Talking to him is like going to confessional. I can air out all of the wicked little thoughts that would appall the ears of someone like The German. I can talk about the relapses and the actual experiences with someone who understands the full meaning behind what I say. If I said that a particular drug made me throw up a lot, The German would probably just ask me "then why did you keep taking it?" whereas the CanadianBoy would already understand that after a while the throwing up quickly becomes to seem like a minor inconvenience in comparison to what you got in exchange--the temporary release from all the pressures of the world, the feeling of being comfortable with who you are that you just don't otherwise feel when you're clean and sober. Talking to the CanadianBoy is cathartic (no pun intended). It serves a purpose that can't be met except by interacting with others who have been there.

However, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily the only sort of communication that's important to me. When I want someone to model my behavior after, there's no one better to look to than The German. If I had been more like him when I was a kid, then I would never have even had the psychiatric hospital stints or many of the other traumatic experiences that landed my arse there in the first place. I don't want to disappoint him by allowing him to see me cause my own downfall. It would also kill my family if I did anything that might be construed as jeopardizing The German's feelings for me. No matter what he does, most of the people around me will make it quite clear to me that they think that I'd do well to just deal with whatever "minor flaws" The German has and do my best to make him happy with me.

I'm going to see my psychiatrist this morning and I'm going to have to tell him that I never did see a sex abuse therapist and admit that the problems in my sleep are spilling over into my relationships with others. I'm not sure what he's going to say but I'm sure he will be at least a little pissed off. I'm going to nap now and try to clear my head before I go and speak about all of this stuff to him. I think this session is going to be a doozie.

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