Where

It hurts to breathe. I can barely put one foot in front of the other, and then when I do, I ask: to what end? Where will this take me?

The answer is unbearable: it will take me the only direction there is. Further from where I want to be. Further from my life with him. Further from the future we had planned. Further from the dreams we were forming together with so much joy and excitement.  Further from the happiest time in my life.

Every night, when we climbed into bed and held each other, one of us asked, “What’s this?”  and the other answered “This is the best part of my life.” These steps are taking me further from the best part of my life.

I have no signs of him. I beg for them every day. I am looking for him. He is not here.

How

Albert.

I have so many of your beautiful words…You sent me so many messages expressing your love and intentions. You said that you were mine completely, you asked me to open my arms and heart to you and that in return you would give me all of you. You thanked me for letting you into my life.

Once, early this year, we looked at all the messages we sent to each other over the first two months we were together. You had tears in your eyes as we finished…It was so incredible to experience you. You were so proud of me and I of you, it was an honor to be loved by you so deeply.

I just cannot reconcile this, that you left. You weren’t supposed to go. You called me your woman, your life partner, your love, your life. I can’t bear that this is it. I can’t face tomorrow, next week, the rest of my life…

How do I do this without you?

Please, not again

How can life, the universe, be so unjust?

I had one of the happiest years of my life. I gave thanks regularly to the universe, god, whatever, for the lessons I went through last year that brought me to the place where I was able to be vulnerable and experience true love and a relationship that challenged me and was so full of happiness every single day. With someone who I admired and who, quite frankly, amazed me with his maturity and ability to love me so deeply and without restraints. I’ve never even heard of anyone experiencing what I experienced with him.

Albert Aran Selvaggio always had the right words to say, was never defensive, showed me I could trust him completely–whom I did trust completely–and who I loved in a way I never thought was possible. I was able to experience a relationship that surprised and delighted me every single day we were together.

My love, my partner, my man cared for and protected me. There was nothing more I could ever want. He told me every day that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. And he was with me for the rest of his life. It was just far too short.

 

 

It’s not about me anymore

Today is the 9th anniversary of JM’s death.

I’m not going to post on Facebook to remind people of this date like I have in the past. I felt a kind of duty to remind others before, but it definitely was a duty that I wanted. I wanted to be the one to say, ‘hey, don’t ever forget him, don’t forget what happened today.’ I knew others missed him and would appreciate it, yes. But I also made it about me – I reminded people how I suffered, how I was changed, how I will always be changed.

But what kind of message is that? There is no good in that message. It’s selfish. ‘Don’t forget what happened to me on this day’ was my message. I want my message to be positive and worthwhile. My experience needs to be worth something.

Maybe I couldn’t see it before, I couldn’t let go of the pain of my experience, of the thing that made me feel different than my peers. I didn’t want to. I carried it as a shield – It allowed me to hold some parts of myself as untouchable. And it also blinded me from the message I now know is the only one I want to send on this day:

Try to remember, every day, to love your people more openly, more freely, even more fiercely than you think you can. Stretch yourself. And then tell them and show them, and continue to do so. Not because you have nothing to lose, quite the opposite. Anyone and anything can be lost at any moment. You don’t want to regret not loving as much as you could.

So do the work you need to do to get to the place where you can give and receive love. Where it doesn’t send you running. Take risks and reach out. Tolerate being uncomfortable expressing yourself if you aren’t used to doing that.

It’s good to remember that love, for however long or short a time, is worth it.

 

A new chapter

I don’t know what it means now that I have gone through this. All I know is things are very different for me.

I am happier than I have ever been. I feel like I am no longer doomed to repeat myself, acting out the same long term relationship patterns I have always repeated. I am making new discoveries about my relationships with my parents, my friends, my love interests–even strangers–every week. I surprise myself constantly with the ability to make new choices and to choose new behavior (and find the tools for creating new behavior) that steers me into new directions, and away from things I have struggled with my whole life.

And, of course, the relationship front has changed. For the better, obviously. Just as soon as I was no longer able to access certain deep seated pain (I was still trying every day), along came someone who, at first, I thought was another “no”. By the end of the first date we had plans to see each other again but I still thought, “this probably isn’t going anywhere”. By the third or fourth date, when it was clear he really liked me, I remember thinking to myself “I am going to break this man’s heart”.

Until I went away for 5 days and realized that I was missing this person. What a very different start to a relationship than I have ever experienced before. And that was only the beginning. Every single thing about the start of this relationship has been different. I tried to be the “old me”, tried to keep him at arms length but I found I did not want to. Nor was I blinded by infatuation. Because before, it was one or the other – there was no in between.

Now I’m experiencing an “in between” that I can only describe as…healthy. He is emotionally healthy. He is available and present and not self involved. He made it (unintentionally) evident very early on that he sees me, sees the person I would normally hide.

I am honest with him regarding what I am thinking. Sometimes I try to hold things back, but it doesn’t last. maybe a day. Then I have to speak my truth. Sometimes this scares me but his reaction is always the same: don’t hold anything back.

I am cautiously testing how else I have changed and keep discovering new areas that I would never have guessed would be connected. Small things that sound trivial but boil down to being more open to change and fretting less about what people think of me. I’m not sure how this works or is connected, but it’s real.

I’m trying to continue with these healing therapies but find I am not getting so much out of them anymore because I am no longer in pain. So I am shifting to actually looking for areas that need “shifting” in my life, like my relationship with my family and with new friends and people. I am sure I will face more challenges, but I think I’ll be more able to deal with them.

I still feel strange disclosing what exactly the tool is that I discovered (well, I found a few but one worked very quickly) so I will refrain from sounding like a patchouli wielding hippie for the moment. (Though If anyone is going through significant pain, message me and we’ll have a conversation.)

Side effects

Just about three months ago, I was on a train to New York having a panic attack (the first and only in my life) because I was so frightened of returning to Barcelona that evening. I was afraid that I would feel even more lonely and full of despair than I already was in the presence of my family who really took care of me for the ten days I was visiting them in Rhode Island.

It is nearly impossible to describe the turnaround I have gone through. I am shocked at how quickly I moved through this sudden and intense pain and got to a stable, and even happy, place. I had to face some serious pain, for sure, but let me tell you – I was ready.

I don’t think I would ever have gotten to this place without the slap in the face from…I don’t know, the Universe?…that I really needed to face this old, old trauma. My previous long term relationship did not trigger any of these abandonment issue with me, which is likely why I was in it, and why I stayed in it so long. (Who am I kidding? That IS the reason I was in it and stayed.)

I have continued with these “healing therapies”, which is the best term I can find for them, and moved through old issues and even discovered others that I was never aware of. Issues my parents carried that I picked up and carried for them as a child, unconsciously of course. I am discovering things I have never been conscious of in my life. It is quite exciting to be honest. They don’t scare me at all though, I am only fascinated by them. Because I have a tool now.

The most interesting thing is that there have been several situations that have shown me how I have changed in other ways too due to this healing I have been doing. For example, a friend was angry with me for unknown reasons (a complete misunderstanding it turned out), sent me a harsh and upsetting message, and refused my calls and did not read my text messages. Normally this would have really upset me and I would have gone to great lengths to contact her and find out what was going on, what the misunderstanding was – anything so she wasn’t upset with me. I would have worried that she would think poorly of me and that I could potentially lose her friendship. I automatically started to go to this place out of habit: I began thinking what I could say to her and how I could get her to talk to me. But in the middle of it, literally 5 minutes into this process, I understood that this was her issue completely, and that it really had nothing to do with me. She would come around if she was going to at all. And I just didn’t need to turn all this over in my head. I was totally OK with it. Not upset, not worried, not bothered. Just fully confident that whatever she was dealing with would resolve itself, or not, but that I wasn’t going to change her perception. And that was it. I did not dwell on it. And a week and half later she contacted me, apologized, and everything was fine, like I knew it would be.

A similar thing happened with my neighbor two days later – he was angry with me and yelled at me and I really didn’t care. I realized I would not change his mind and he would not listen to whatever I said, so I dropped it. I didn’t go home and think about the things I should have said, or what I would say when we met in the building entrance. I could not access that part of me that used to do that. I truly detached from it, to my great surprise.

I am definitely at a somewhat of plateau now in that I am having trouble accessing any painful feelings at all. This is shocking, considering that fewer than three months ago I emotionally felt that I would never, ever get through any of what I was dealing with. Sure, I knew logically that I would, but my emotional body did not believe that. My emotional body felt like I would be annihilated if I let go of that person. Any contact whatsoever, negative or positive, was a relief for me. It was like a drug.

And another side effect is that I find myself attracted to emotionally healthier people. People who are available in every way and who seem to be OK with the absence of an infatuation stage of a love relationship, which is the only thing I have ever experienced. If it wasn’t there I wasn’t interested. But I’m suddenly OK with that being gone, and am learning to relax and see the people I am dating for who they are and not put them into some fantasy version of my own creation.

This is all very new, I don’t even know if any of this will change in a week, a month, or never. I don’t know what to expect at all. But…it continues to be one of the most interesting times in my life!

 

Understanding

I’ve been using some unconventional therapies to get to the bottom of what exactly happened/is happening to me, as I mentioned in my last post. They are working. I will probably share what they are here soon, but I need to get deeper into them and understand how they are working better before I do.

The only way I was able to discover them was because I found some resources that described exactly my intense and overwhelming feelings of loss that were so out of proportion to the reality of the relationship. These resources not only resonated with me by providing scenario after scenario describing my reactions exactly, but also described physiological explanations as to why. Why it so resembled an addiction (because it acts the same way in the brain), including the withdrawal symptoms, and why it should be treated as such.

So in short, this overblown emotional reaction was triggered due to unintegrated attachment trauma. The profound need to stay with a lover/partner is the same drive that a wounded child unconsciously carried throughout childhood. The dire need to be with someone who does not care for us are triggers the devastating feelings that the child’s mind was not able to handle because he/she would be crushed by the reality of being ignored, neglected, betrayed, abandoned, or abused. So this drive gets activated in our mind in our current adult relationships and we are caught in this wildly incongruent longing to be with someone we know is not right for us (guilty as charged).

One way to work with this is to take the focus (projection) off of the other person and go into childhood grief. This is what I have been doing with these therapies I’ve been involved in. When the underlying driver is an attachment injury, then the current intensity has nothing to do with the other adult partner. It has to do with a nervous system that is waking up to a lifetime of being ignored.

I always sort of knew this on some level, and I recognized this in other friends too, but I had no idea how to “fix” it and honestly didn’t try that hard to do so. Until this latest episode. I really hit rock bottom through trying to distract myself from the pain of the rejection from this person. I ended up in a few precarious situations where I met up with random men and even traveled to meet strangers, all in the hopes of finding someone to pull my attention away from the target of my obsession. It just made me sadder and more desperate, but that kept me searching for reasons and relief. Which I seem to have found. It is a process but not nearly as long as years of therapy, and I can happily say that I am out of the pit of despair I fell into.

I still have a long way to go, but I’ve stopped my destructive behaviors and (most of) the distractions and am working really, really hard on releasing the old traumas. I have a feeling this whole thing is going to change my life.