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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


Ten Years

It was ten years ago, at the turning of the new year, that Tom and T and my former husband and I made the decision to join our lives and form a polyamorous family.  It was, for a decision of such moment, a relatively quiet and simple conversation.  With that settled, I flew back to Denver with my husband -- and we all began to plan.

In the beginning, the planning was pretty nebulous.  We'd said "yes" to the idea of getting together, but we had left the details completely unspecified.  Things like the when or how -- were left for later.

Now, a decade later, I cannot help but wander back in memory, and put a metaphorical arm around that younger version of myself...  She was so hopeful, so amazed at how her life was turning out, so willing to believe, so trusting, so unafraid, so very much in love...  I know the rough path that lies ahead of her, and I envy the naive simplicity of her.  If I could talk to that woman who was me, I wonder what it is that I could say.  I know I wouldn't discourage her; would never try to dissuade her from the adventure that is still ahead of her.  I guess I would just give her a hug, hold her tight, set her on her way with whatever I could give her by way of lucky talismans and some magic spell for bravery.

Tonight, in the final days of this January, I am faced into my own future, and I am just as clueless as I was all those many years ago.  I do not know where life leads me from here.  I am surely older, and the shine has been rubbed off.  I have my fair share of dings and dents.  I am still very much in love, and I remain hopeful.  I wonder if there isn't some 67 year old version of me looking back on this night -- and reaching across the years to hold me and endow me with the gifts that might carry me through what is to be?  I believe there just might be.




There are traditional wedding vows.  Words that are spoken, ceremonially, to define and enumerate, and announce the intention of the parties to a marriage agreement...

~~To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part~~

Our agreement was never formalized in that fashion; never solemnized in any sort of legal or spiritual ceremony -- and so we have no vows to fall back on.  That is the fact.  And still...

As I look back at the path we have traveled in these months, over a year of months strung together with still more months laid out ahead of us, I am reminded of the work that vows (or the intentions that are embodied in vows) do in a relationship.  Vows are promises, made in good times, against the coming of hard times.  The making of a vow is an acknowledgement (although we almost never notice this) that things cannot always be as good as they seem in those beginning days when love is new and fresh and glorious.  A vow says, in short, that we know that things will suck in time, and that we're good for the sucky times.  That's it, pretty much.

Our relationship, for all of its alternative features (the poly and the BDSM), is very much the same as one bound by some sort of traditional vows -- we made promises, sometimes implicitly, dedicating our lives to one another.  Wrapped up in those promises were all sorts of hopes and assumptions and aspirations -- and, yes, probably illusions.  I am certain that most couples, in the beginning flush of love, believe that theirs is somehow a star-crossed, meant to be, nearly perfect connection.  We surely did.  We felt that way, and we lived in that dream.  There were days and years of really good times when we felt as if we were the most perfect, the most passionate, the most compatible lovers EVER!

And ... we knew it couldn't last.  
And ... we knew that dreams are a flimsy thing on which to build a life.  
And ... we knew that, even as we embraced the possibility of our dream, life was furiously digging away at the foundations.  

Life does that; and not just to us -- to everyone.  Some people, it is true, get to cruise along for big, long stretches of relatively smooth sailing.  If that happens for you, if you and yours have a run of good luck, it is probably easy to convince yourself that the way ahead is likely to be just as easy and gentle with you.  And why not believe that?  What purpose would be served by wasting sweet and peaceful days with worry about what may be in some yet unseen future?  We lived and played in those soft, sunny, happy days with complete abandon, rejoicing in every amazingly heady moment.  We were the luckiest people on Earth.

Good times.  We felt that our lives were good, and our love strong and powerful, even as we were buffeted by a host of storms:  health challenges, deaths of family members, financial setbacks, career struggles.  We got knocked down more than once, but we held onto one another, kept the promises -- and soldiered on, living our happy dream in the midst of all the crashing and blowing around us.  Foolishness?   Maybe, but maybe not.  Remember that the traditional vow reminds us to love one another for better and for worse.  Remember that our love is to remain sturdy and steadfast through times when we are feeling richer and poorer.  Remember that we are admonished to love one another in sickness and in health.  For us, a decade of living and loving have proved that we are resilient, determined, and probably even sincerely stubborn.  

This last passage?  Worst ever.  It has been a terrible, scary, miserable, exhausting, frustrating, and lonely time for us.  We've battled with each other more than was good, but we've battled beside each other enough of the time that we have made it this far.  If you've read right along, you have probably sensed the depth of our struggles more than anything else.  We have frequently been too wounded to even talk about it all.  Surely the usual stuff of most BDSM/sex blogs has been notably absent here; because, frankly, it has been mostly absent in our lives.  We have worked to stay alive, minute by minute -- and we have worked to stay together.  We are still here.  

We have never, ever done one single thing the "right" way.  We didn't, obviously, get "married" in the traditional way.  We don't have a "regular" sort of family.  We don't subscribe to the mainstream value system, especially as that is manifested in typical religious practices and beliefs.  We have never done BDSM, or Master/slave like other people say it should be done -- no contracts, no elaborate negotiations, no safewords, no protocols, no rituals, no maintenance spankings, no fancy titles, no task lists, etc.  We aren't perfect, and we don't figure to be gurus to anyone.  We are just what we are ... fallible humans in love and willing, in spite of everything, to keep doing it "for better or for worse."



Polyamory Observations #20

Earlier this week, the ex-wife of Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, told ABC News that he had asked her for what she called an "open marriage."  Subsequent stories have made it clear that Newt, after conducting a clandestine affair with the woman who would eventually become his third wife, asked the  woman he was married to if she would "tolerate" his mistress.

She said, "no."

The whole sensational business has caused quite a media dust-up, so let's talk...

I am no fan of Newt Gingrich.  I will acknowledge that the man is bright, but beyond the intellect, he is a pure mess -- arrogant, dishonest, manipulative, ruthlessly self-absorbed.  However, I am just fascinated to watch how the conversation about Newt's marital relationship foibles has evolved.

Newt is a "traditional marriage" guy, ironically enough.  He is a signatory to the so called "marriage pledge," which reads, in part:

   As President, I will vigorously enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted under my leadership as Speaker of the House, and ensure compliance with its provisions, especially in the military.  I will also aggressively defend the constitutionality of DOMA in federal and state courts. I will support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.  I will also oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman.  I will support all efforts to reform promptly any uneconomic or anti-marriage aspects of welfare and tax policy.

Read more:

As readers here might surmise, I am opposed to DOMA, and I believe it ought to be overturned.  The catch-phrase definition of marriage as "between one man and one woman," is a great piece of marketing.  It is easy to remember and it is easy to repeat in that sort of mindless, robotic sort of way that clever sales people love.  Newt is, in a perverse sort of way, the perfect spokesman for the DOMA-ites.  Hypocrisy is part and parcel of their insistence that all of us, every one, should be constrained by their paternalistic, myth-driven religion.  Newt doesn't really buy that "one man one woman" thing.  That is clear.  He panders to his evangelical and conservative political base -- and they are gullible enough, and fervent enough, to buy the story he (and others like him) tells.

But, knowing that Newt Gingrich doesn't live up to his own press isn't all that interesting.  What is interesting and instructive is the reactions and responses of the media types.  They are the on camera actors who play out what they perceive to be the feelings and beliefs of all of us.  Their almost universal "ewwwwww" is demonstrative of the assumptions that are made everywhere within our society:  
If he was cheating on his wife, that's bad behavior on his part ...  but for him to attempt to have that relationship and his marriage both?  Well, that's just disgusting and scandalous.

From Fox News to MSNBC, and from ABC to CNN, the consensus is that there is only one way to DO intimate and loving relationships; only one way to have a "marriage;" and no reason to even question the assertion made by Gingrich's second wife, Marianne, that "that is not a marriage."  

I've pointed before to our ubiquitous belief that the only way to do adult relationship is to march in lockstep and pattern our lives and our loves and our families on the template defined by the mainstream religious establishment and the wedding industry.  There's no tolerance for differences... not even the capacity to imagine anything other than that one man one woman wedding cake topper fantasy.  

There has been a flurry of excitement in the polyamory community as people point to the fact that just the mention of "open marriage" brings the conversation to a different place, and I suppose there is some validity to that perspective.  I just don't know that I see much hope for this to move the needle.  Those who cannot imagine themselves in anything but a traditional marriage aren't going to be convinced.  The serial monogamy practiced by Gingrich might cause people to question his character, but it won't cause them to wonder about the essential nature of monogamy itself.  The obverse argument that is Newt Gingrich and his series of weird and strange wives will never convince most people that it is possible to love more than one person AND do that with openness, honesty, and integrity.  But then, I am not sure that Newt and the "ladies" are really a very good case for the whole marriage idea either.




We Herons are awash in ambiguity, and with us, those who persist in reading here...

Our story, to this point, is just full of the things that make our BDSM and polyamory lifestyle communities just crazy.  Humans don't like uncertainty, lack of definition, confusion, contradiction, upheaval, chaos, paradox, and inconsistency -- and I am convinced that the poly and BDSM communities are even more averse to ambiguity than the rest of the crowd.  We like things defined.  We like to know who is who, who fulfills which roles, what the relational hierarchies are, and where the power lies.  And, furthermore, once we know all of that, we like things to stay put -- no shifting and switching!  Masters should stay masterful, and primaries should remain primary -- and, of course (as I have repeated over and over), submissives should submit.  Get it all laid out, nice and neat and tidy, and then leave it alone.  Yeah.  That.

Except that life seems to delight in the very swirl of ambiguity that makes so many of us just squirm and avert our gaze.  We Herons, of course, have embodied the complexities and contradictions of life.  We've described our life and our love here for something over seven years, and when I go back and look at all those 1389 entries, I am struck by what we thought we were doing -- contrasted with the stark reality that I can see from this present moment's perch.  Sometimes we thought we were "up;" on top of the world, riding high, with everything going our way -- other times, we've been, like Icarus, a flaming, streaking, disaster; plunging to earth after having dared to fly too close to the sun.  Either -- or.  What is so interesting to me, in retrospect, is that we never seem to have a clue; we never see it coming; and we pop up, time after time -- believing pretty firmly that it will "all be better when things settle down."  Hope springs eternal.

The newest research tells us that we are not alone, finding that 47% of adults in the U.S. suffer with addiction.  Nearly half!  That's a huge secret that we tend to keep close to the chest; after all, it is easier to keep on believing that only those of defective character and weak will fall into the pit of addiction -- if they are not US.  Science is finding the truth -- a perfect storm of genetic predisposition and environmental opportunity that works to capture those with the hidden vulnerabilities even though they make the same seemingly inconsequential choices as their peers.

So, as some warned over the course of the years, ours is a family that has had to confront issues created by addiction to alcohol.  In doing that, we've learned to acknowledge and confront the multiple instances of child abuse by His mother, and by mine.  We've begun to untangle that morass, learning slowly the pathways by which we come to react to one another as angry, frightened children -- rather than the intelligent and loving adults that we are in other instances.  It is a confusing and befuddling transformation that happens in an instant, taking us from tranquil and happy to full on battle mode.  Utterly exhausting.

It has, as friends might imagine, played havoc with our power dynamic.  The question of "who is in charge," is living large in our intimate lives.  We are uncertain of ourselves and of each other.  We are each hurt.  We are each on unfamiliar ground, becoming something completely new and unexpected -- and we have no clear sense of where that will ultimately take us.  Now and then, the spinning brings us around, face to face, so that we can see exactly what a wondrous thing our love is -- but then we whirl off again in different directions and the clouds come flying back in.  Somedays, He giggles, and on others He mourns.  Somedays, I glow with joy as He fastens my collar around my neck with a familiar certainty, and on others I curse the impossibility of dealing with the sadness and seemingly endless misery that engulfs Him, and so all of us.

I know, we all know, that some might judge us; have judged us for being in this position to begin with, for taking so long to address what might have seemed a clear problem to those who were not IN the middle of it all, for flailing and faltering and fighting our way through this first year of sobriety.  I know that there are those who believe that they would have never fallen into this kind of situation; would have chosen more wisely.  I know that there are those who KNOW with an unwavering certainty that they would never have remained in this relationship, AND I know that there are others who are convinced that they would have been a much better slave through it all than I have been.  I know.  I can, on a day when I'm up for making myself miserable, list the names of those who's silent judgement speaks so loudly...  They will never, ever understand me, and they will never "get" the truth of this family and our lives together.

A couple of weeks ago, toward the end of my therapy appointment, Dr. J. laid it out pretty clearly for me.  I was twisting myself into knots around my mother's continual negative judgments through my growing up years.  I was fussing about the sound of her in my head, telling me that I was incapable of making good choices -- too stupid to manage my own life.  Dr. J. looked at me, and said, "You've been with Tom for ten years.  That's a long time.  A lot of living, good and bad.  If, today, you had to decide whether to do it again, knowing what you know now; knowing that there would be all of this; knowing that you would have to live through this year of hell -- would you?"  I sat there looking at her through teary eyes, and I could hear the blood roaring in my ears, feel my heart pounding in my chest -- and then I heard my voice, steady and strong, say an absolutely unequivocable, "Yes."  She smiled a big, broad grin that lit up her face -- and said, "Good."  We went on from there, finished my appointment, and I headed on home to my crazy, unpredictable, and completely ambiguous life -- but that YES has reverberated in my mind.  I would do it all again.

Maybe I am completely crazy.  Maybe no one else will ever understand it.  Maybe it makes no sense.  That YES is mine -- that YES is His if He wants it.  The ambiguity is just the way things are.



I am Goose Girl

“Ego: The fallacy whereby a goose thinks he's a swan” ~~Anonymous

Jean-Francois Millet

There have been so many changes in our lives... so many ups and downs. It is sometimes hard to know what to think or how I feel, and it is surely impossible to predict what will come next -- or how any of us will react. We three have stumbled and staggered and flailed through the last 15 months or so, spewing anger and hurt and fear and confusion everywhere. We've been a mess of grieving and longing and bitterness. If there was a way to do this badly, we've been there, and if there was a mistake to make, we've done it up in grand style.

I've been every flavor of crazy that you can imagine through all of it. Within the mental health care community there is an understanding that a caring and supportive partner is a major benefit in helping someone heal from the impacts of PTSD. I've not even come close. I've wanted to be good for him and I've done some serious reading and study, but the sad truth is that, when he starts making noises that sound like accusation and blame, I go nuts, take all of his anger on, and begin thinking of ways to "get away and get out." Sometimes I have literally run away -- I once made it halfway across Indiana, heading west and sobbing, before he managed to talk me into turning around. At other times, I've shut down and withdrawn emotionally -- or worse, come roaring back with my own anger and accusations. I went through a period of months when I was fascinated with the idea of cutting -- and I think that the only thing that kept me from acting on those urges was the inescapable association with adolescent angst. From time to time, I've even contemplated suicide -- seriously planning how to accomplish that without leaving too much of a "mess."

Thanks in large part to the steady presence and hard work of my therapist, I think I am past a lot of that -- at least past the most irretrievably destructive bits. She is slowly helping me to see what has been, what is, and what may be -- and "love my way" into it all without insisting that it be the way I want it to be. She doesn't use the word "ego" with me, but it keeps cropping up in the reading I am doing. I am coming to see the places where that internal sense of the me who controls and decides and defends and wants -- my ego, has been at work in so much of my life. It is becoming clear that it is time to find some different way to encounter life and the world. That ego thing hasn't worked so well to this point.

Finding the quote that appears at the top of this post was, for me, like getting smacked in the head with a stick. Homer Simpson would probably say, "Doh!"

I've been calling myself swan for a really long time now. I know it wasn't a name that I chose for myself, but I did take it on, use it, like it -- and increasingly see myself in that way. Silly goose! I'm not a swan. I'm not the ugly duckling personna that I took on in childhood either, but I never was a swan. I've felt terribly hurt and abandoned each time he's insisted that he is not (and maybe never really was) dominant -- but my reaction was about losing the bits of my own ego identity that were attached to that. If he isn't willing to be "my dominant," then I, by definition, am not submissive; not slave. Which sends my poor, little, scared ego-self into a tizzy of worry: "What or who, exactly, am I?"

Maybe goose girl. I found that Jean-Francois Millet painting, and I could feel my mind settle down. She's sweet and innocent and simple and sure. She's round -- a woman in a woman's body; comfortable with herself. She's dropped all the outside trappings, and is completely who she is as she dips her toes into the stream. She has real things to tend to; real work to do; but it does not burden her. She is alone and perfectly comfortable with that. She isn't frantic to be with someone, although I sense she'd be joyful with the presence of a companion. She is serene and aware and alive -- surfing along on the tides of her life. I like her very much.



My Dream

January 6, 2010

My last post contained a stream of thoughts and feeling about my life situation that frequently runs through my head. As I am experiencing that thought process I believe that I have been wrongfully oppressed, harasssed by the police as a result of my family's calling them about me (sometimes without reason and other times for very valid reasons), and being forced to pretend a religious conversion to satisfy treatment professionals -- whose satisfaction I must achieve to be quite allowed to serve out my probation in the community and not in prison. All of those thoughts and feelings have some valid content.

At the same time, they fail to take into account that the first call to the police was because sue loves me and was genuinely afraid for me. She was sadly mistaken, but there is a centuries old classic bit of Shakespeare that recounted the tragic consequences of, "She loved not wisely, but too well." Shouldn't there be some major mitigation of blame for someone who sincerely believed she called 9-1-1 to protect a love she feared was in danger? The police abuse that ensued was not her intention, or her responsibility. The rage that I reacted with to that experience was most certainly understandable if one knows my history and background. My sense of betrayal at seemingly being set up for what ensued at the hands of the police by someone I felt was my trusted soulmate was devastating. Unfortunately my abusive and drunken response was equally, or perhaps, even more out of proportion than what I endured, however inappropriate that may have been. I was abusive, violent, and drunk in a manner that was hugely amplified by my Roux-en-Y gastric bypass altered gastrointestinal sytem. My two loves were legitimately frightened for themselves and me, and they sought help from the police again. Again too, the police were worse than useless, abusive, unprofessional, and ignorant ....................... but they are police. They did what police do. Ignorance and ham-handedness are their stock in trade. Then after my first imprisonment, in fully blown PTSD, I became chronically enraged, depressed, unendingly drunk, and finally alcoholically psychotic. The police were sought, in desperation, to protect my family and myself. I should certainly have been hospitalized not incarcerated, but life didn't go that way, and again, it was police who were involved -- not health care professionals or quite frankly anyone who cared what was right in the situation. It was the police. So, even as I recount my previous thought process, there is today ............... just recently, a competing thought process that runs along these lines: I was an alcoholic. In two years I underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost over half my body weight (175 pounds lost) and resulted my body's ability to metabolize alcohol being degraded dramatically; I lost my 35 year career; I lost both my parents and my mother in law; I had a daughter end her relationship with me; and I came to feel like a pretty huge failure. I now know from subsequent therapy, that I had a history of childhood abuse and trauma that predisposed me to PTSD. All of this led me to behave horribly, not out of malice, or sinfulness, or character defects, but just as dangerously to my family and myself nonetheless. I needed, and need now, to not drink. I needed to be protected, and they needed protection from me. None of us needed what was done -- which made matters inestimably worse. But my feelings of being completely abused and wronged at the hands of my two loves are distorted, and those feelings deny how hurt and frightened they were, and my own responsibility for what occcurred. Those feelings also ignore and discount how lovingly and loyally my two have gone through the treatment I had to go through with me, and have listened to my endless recriminations and anger. They made mistakes in all this but certainly none more than my own. There was not one of us that was not motivated by huge love, pain, and tremendous fear. The loyalty they have shown me, despite how difficult I have been, is heroic.

This new pattern of thoughts and feelings currently co-exists in an uncomfortable disunity with the very critical, negative thought process in my previous post. Then, with all of that evolving, I had an amazingly intriguing dream. This is a transcription of my logging it yesterday morning...

So, I had this dream last night -- that left me feeling sort of "weirded out" when I awakened.

I was in a very homey, intimate restaurant. It was in the second story of an older residential home that had been renovated into a restaurant.

It was not a large place -- maybe 8 or 10 tables. Good food was served, nicely, understatedly, classily. The place was pretty much full. Other guests were quietly enjoying their food and each other. The room felt warm and convivial. Guests were into their "own thing," but also open and friendly. I think I was with sue and teresa but I am not certain. After dinner, I know we paid with a credit card.

After we left, I became aware -- I think someone else leaving, or who had eaten there before told me -- that the people who operated the restaurant were all really dead; were ghosts.

Oh yeah, there was a youngish guy who worked in the restaurant who came over to talk with me -- related to me in a very friendly way when I was still in the restaurant. I realized that he must actually have been a ghost.

I went back again; I think the next night. I don't think I was alone, but i don't recall any other "actors" in my party either. As I ate there, and I think drank, the young man I'd talked with the night before came over and talked with me. We were very friendly and small talk-ish -- and then I told him I knew he was dead, and was a ghost, as were all his colleagues. He acknowledged that and seemed to not be disturbed or unhappy I knew their secret. He confirmed for me that the food and drink I was eating, or had previously eaten, was not real, and that my meal's payment was pretend as well.

He had me stay after closing in the restaurant. His family (I don't know if they really were relatives or just family-like) all came out into the living room and were all "hanging out" together after the work day. They became aware I knew they were all ghosts, and felt no need to maintain their facade. We all related like social friends. I was relating mostly to my new young friend and an older black man (ghost) who had worked in the kitchen. Suddenly, at one point, the older man looked sort of dizzy or disoriented and said, "Oh no, I am clouding." His head dissolved into mist and then disappeared altogether. he wrapped a white towel around where his head had been and moved about the living room and in and out of the surrounding rooms sort of randomly or hysterically. Then, suddenly, he flung himself through a second story window, right by where he and I had been sitting, and crashed to the earth, as in a suicide. He didn't move again, although I knew if I came back to the restaurant, he would be there again.

Then, I was outside the restaurant and I met people on the street whom I didn't know who were headed into the restaurant. I told them it was an interesting place; that all the restaurant staff were dead, and actually ghosts. The food was good but was not actually real, so they would not gain weight, and the charges they would pay for it were pretend and would not really cost them anything.

I don't know if the dream ended then or if I just don't remember anymore after that.

I believe I awakended once or twice during this dream, feeling very "weirded out" by it -- the only way I can think of to describe my emotion. It wasn't a nightmare and wasn't at all comforting or a "good" dream either -- far from that. When I went back to sleep, the dream resumed. This didn't end altogether until I awakened completely this morning and got up feeling a little "weird" and slightly afraid.

I had therapy yesterday after all this. And I discussed this with my therapist who has a good bit of experience with dream analysis/interpretation.

First of all, the dream and ensuing therapy have worked to shift my own thoughts from feeling so judgemental of sue and t in all this, to ones of appreciation for their loyalty to me and their seemingly unending love.

I feel this dream is a metaphor for my old life's status in my present circumstances. My drinking, my weight and health issues, my career, my/our dead parents, my daughter, my ex-marraige, my child abuse are all ghosts.....ghosts which I experience as though real, but which are mists...without reality any longer. I am like the guy who has worked in the kitchen of the ghost restaurant, and my seemingly never ending blaming of sue and t and the police and the treatment professionals for their roles over the last two years are evaporating, as did his head when, suddenly "clouding," these old thought processes in my head dissolve. Like him, as this no longer necessary "head process" dissolves, I become frantic and run about with a figurative towel where my head had been, until I leap from the window to the death of these out-moded cognitive defense mechanisms. And as in my dream, my cognition will live again tomorrow, because all of this "drama" is only a vivid dream, "filled with sound and fury and amounting to nothing." This is the status of my never-ending railing and melodrama.

It is amazing but this dream, and my recent values clarification work has allowed me to reconstitute my thought process from what you read here to this new that I think will allow me to go forward to live and to thank my loves for their struggling through this terrible period for our entire family.


In Life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.

New year, Maybe a New Beginning, How Things Seem Now

It seems like enough has changed in my feelings, my perception of my status, that perhaps writing a new communique to the outside world makes sense or might even be helpful. I am 354 days into my "new life" of coerced sobriety. My big anniversary is ahead January 18.

I struggle much more realistically now with wondering if perhaps my life is better now than it was before, or at least if my present life is, well just so poignantly "present," so piquant or pungent, that the "ghosts" of the life I loved before, and my identity, have faded enough to become just mists. Maybe it is time to begin to see if there can be meaning in this new life, that is not my choice, but is all that the others in my life will allow me to live.

My work with our therapist surrounding my general life issues, and PTSD in particular, has been increasingly fruitful. As we have moved forward through, Finding Life Beyond Trauma, the PTSD workbook we are working with, I have progressed to the point of working in the realm of values clarification. It is a series of exercises and texts that leads you to explore how, since your "trauma" you have come to live your life Dominated by fear avoidance as opposed to being led by movement toward actualization of values. As I went through exercises to explore how fear driven my life has become and what losses that entails, I realized that I live a life of virtual isolation in terms of much of any meaningful connection with others, even socially. The only person I trust in my life to unequivocably act in my interest is my therapist. Any others may well have me imprisoned again, and while I realize that that is a jaundiced view of life, it is also my very evidence based reality after the last 15 months experience. There is no place that I am ever safe, not in my home, in my bed, in my car, no where that I am immune from the police coming for me because those closest to me have summoned them.

When all this happened I lived a value driven life. My motto which long time friends here will recall was "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." I wore a bracelet all the time that bore that message's inscription. It was the imperator of our family. Everything emanated from that value. I threw that bracelet away when suddenly, violently, crushingly it was evident that I had no control, that what I wished, decided, enjoyed, believed, cared about was meaningless, and that all there was to my life was to avoid prison, and try to not be crushed further. I now spend my life pretending to worship a god I do not accept, believe in, or know, in a cult that I must adhere to or go to prison, denying myself what has always been my primary celebration of my humanity and my joy in being alive, to participate in rituals that leave me feeling subjugatged, humiliated, and worthless each time I submit yet one more time. This is, or has been my reality over the last year and a quarter. Each day I count a new day's extension of my sobriety, and another day since I last felt I was a man..............wondering if my life will ever have value again and realizing how good my life was until October 2010. That is or has been my life. I may be seeing a change........

I am torn whether to accept something new. My potential new reality feels better for the first time since all this began----not good, but better. It requires me to accept defeat and my ultimate eventual subjugation to this new reality.........where I will then likely be asked to pretend somehow to be Dominant, with loves who demand how I must live and who will crush and destroy me at my deepest levels if I fail to live as they demand. Yet the reality is, I AM overwhelmed. A glorious death gets me nothing. I don't have that courage. If I must live on, why not accept this. If I do, life becomes more comfortable again, and I may come to eventually resolve my cognitive dissonance, by coming to adopt the belief that this life is acceptable, even if not desirable, and perhaps if I live within its prescribed limits, at least those fears that haunt me most horribly, can be held more in abeyance. If I learn to lie to myself enough, I could even pretend that I have some semblance of security even as I know that is a delusion.

It is clear I can never be in control of my life again. It is clear I can never have my own life again. I never feel safe...................there is no security anywhere. There is no one, no matter how deeply I feel bonded to them, who will not wound or horribly smash me if I don't live as they choose. That has been true all my life. I deluded myself that I had achieved a new reality that had belied that truth. I was wrong. It is, and has been, crushingly agonizing to accept but I am reassured that is TRUTH. I will never forget that again. I now know I can trust others to crush me unless I behave as they demand. I was stupid to have believed life could ever be different.

This is not how I had intended for this post to go. There have been major "break-throughs" that began to pick up momentum in my feelings and thought over the past week. They have evolved from my PTSD therapy, as I began to describe earlier on, and from sue's getting me a simple sobriety token (odd how this classic AA symbol has effected me............clearly brain washing in the cult over the last year has potentiated some of their "stuff" to impact me), and a very vivid dream I had night before last that may well have been some sort of healing message from my sub-conscious, or input from a spiritual healer, or something that may allow me to move on.....maybe even to find some sort of value in life again.

I will write more, and in that more positive vein, in future posts. I feel a need to draw a line here now though and end this post,or this post will reach a cumbersome length. It will be better for me, and I imagine for readers, when I am less hopeless sounding. If so, that future message will be more completely understandable when contrasted with this description of my status as a back drop for comparison to these new more hopeful developments I have only, so far, just illuded to.

Thank you those who read here for listening with your eyes. Next I think I will post my dream.


In life, unlike chess, the game continues after check mate.


Mother said...

In my high school years, I had a friend named Nancy.  She was sweet and kind and a good friend, but what I remember most is the relationship she had with her mother.  Nancy would go home from school each day and sit at the kitchen table, and tell her mother all about her day.  They would talk, sometimes for an hour or more, discussing all the ups and downs of her teenaged world -- the classes she struggled with, the boys she thought were cute, the new music she was practicing for the next big concert, the latest traumatic outbreak of adolescent acne.  Whenever I'd have the opportunity to see them together, I'd be just enchanted... and amazed.  It wasn't like that between my mother and I.  Not even a little bit.

When I think about what my mother said to me, I mostly remember her ascerbic, "You made your bed, now lie in it!"  The expression is one that connotes that one must bear the negative consequences of one's own negative actions. It is normally said to someone whom one would feel free to criticize openly, and that was surely true when my mother said it to me.  The other common bit of motherly communication was the question, "What were you thinking?"  If you imagine either of those with a "YOU IDIOT" tacked on the end, you will give you a very clear impression of what I mostly heard from her throughout my growing up years.  And, the sad truth is that I still have that voice in my head; making the clear case that I am not competent to make my own choices; that I will ALWAYS fall short; that, left to my self, the odds are I will make a mess of things.  

Now, as I battle my way along in therapy, slogging through the swamps of my psyche, I am becoming more and more aware of the judging that I do constantly.  I judge myself (a lot), but I am also inclined to judge other people and especially Tom, noticing all the places where He is human; all the ways in which He is somehow, less than perfect.  The only possibly good news in all of that, is that I am noticing that, when that voice in my head is insisting that He is (or is not)  __________________________ (whatever -- fill in the blank), and winding me all up into poor me mode -- I can hear that mother voice in the back of it all.  The judgement that I am so quick to bring into my life is the exact same criticism that she always leveled against me... a judgement that always did boil down to "You are too stupid to do anything right, and here's the proof."

When I was just a teen, that nastiness just broke my heart, left me bereft, sent me into emotional hiding -- knowing that I was on my own; that there was no one in the world who was on my side.  Now, at 57, I am doing it to myself, and in that, I am doing it to us all.  I've got to start silencing that mother voice.  I'm not that lonely teenager anymore, and I believe, with all that has happened, that I did choose well when I came to Tom.  He's not perfect.  Neither am I.  No one is.  The fact is that when I consider all that has happened; all of the joys and sorrows of our decade together, I would do it again.  Absolutely. 

That is the gem I've taken to myself for this week. It feels like a treasure to me.  Stay tuned...