Life at Factory Reset

I thought I had somewhat of a plan for the next few months. But just like everything in life, things change and you have to adjust or become overwhelmed. I’m not saying that I’m not overwhelmed, I just refused to get buried in it.

Because rent can be so expensive around here, I can make ends meet (most of the time), but have little else to do anything, not even take my daughter to the movies…that’s how tight it can get. I had the wonderful idea to get a roommate so my portion of the rent would be cut in half. Unfortunately, my daughter got it in her head that she doesn’t want strangers in the apartment. Not only when it comes to roommates – but with any of my friends, too. She said she was uncomfortable with strangers being here even if she’s not here herself. My immediate reaction is that in regards to a roommate, I either have to suck it up, or I have to get a roommate that she already knows, which would be a tall order. Additionally, as you know, I’m in the process of widening my social circle, but now it seems like I can’t invite any new friends over to my place because they’re “strangers.” This part is in some ways insulting because it implies that I lack good judgement when it comes to other people and that I would in someway jeopardize our safety.

I’m at a loss. So, now I need to figure out the apartment situation and create a way to grow my social circle without ever having any get-togethers or movie nights at my place. Not even having a gal pal over for wine. Ridiculous.

Anyway, I started thinking yesterday about what I want this life factory reset to look like, specifically in the next 6 months. That would put me into June. This is a list in progress, but it’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Focus on the home. Now that I have the chance, I need to create a living space that I actually enjoy being in. I need to be surrounded by the spiritual side of things and begin incorporating that into everything that I do. So, I’m starting off by reading the book “The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home.”
  • Get my daughter more involved in activities. I see how she’s starting to pull away and isolate herself, not to mention behavioral issues that are only going to get worse as she becomes a teen. If she’s not comfortable speaking with a professional, I need to get her bonded to others and her community by getting involved in various activities. In the very least, these activities will keep her mind engaged and distracted from everything else. Our first step is a Python coding workshop for girls on Saturday. I must admit, with her artistic talent, by integrating digital tools, I had a brief moment of envisioning that she would have a career like mine in a sense. I don’t mean that she would become an instructional designer, but that she would successfully use technology to create beautiful things that will teach and/or entertain people.
  • Begin journaling every day. I am definitely going to continue writing on this blog, but I also got a guided journal to help me focus my mind on more spiritual things. It’s entitled “The Mindful Witch: A Daily Journal for Manifesting a Truly Magickal Life.” One of the things I talked with my therapist about is that now that I’ve gained so much weight, I need to get back to being healthier. I told her that this time around, I didn’t want to separate physical and spiritual health, but to integrate them into an overall lifestyle change. Previously, it has helped me think of things like exercise as a form of devotion – when I change my perspective in that way, it becomes less of a burden and more of a joy. This is something that will take a while to develop, but it will definitely be worth it.
  • Continue to post something on my Facebook page, everyday, about what I’m thankful for in life. I really think that by focusing on gratitude, we have less and less time to focus on anger and sadness. It takes practice, but the more we do it, the more we realize just how much we do have to be thankful for in our lives.
  • Continue to read other self-help books about healing from trauma. Some of the techniques you can learn in these books can be quite helpful, in addition to anything you may learn from a doctor.
  • Stay somewhat in touch with my professional network. I’ll admit, in some ways, my career has taken a downturn since all of these changes started in September. I wasn’t able to take the managing editor position for the digital newspaper of the Chicago area chapter of ATD because I wasn’t in the emotional headspace. And likewise, because I wasn’t in the emotional headspace, I got no studying done for my APTD, so I didn’t take the test. Now I’m looking at what to do because I had gotten a scholarship which hinged on the fact that I would obtain my APTD in 2019. It didn’t happen. So now I have to figure out how I’m going to rectify that, and if I need to pay the scholarship money back. Still, everything with my career, it just seems like I need to get my personal and home life straightened out before putting too much effort there.
  • I’m struggling hard not to just give up on the holiday spirit. So far, my daughter has chosen to spend holidays with others – with the exception of Thanksgiving which I partly screwed up. Now I don’t know if she’ll be here for Christmas…and I asked about New Year’s, and she gave me a look that said she didn’t want to spend it alone with me, she wanted to go to a party like usually happens with her dad’s side of the family. I was hoping that New Year’s would be at least one holiday I got. In my family’s tradition, whoever you’re with on New Year’s is who you will be with for the entire year. I grew up with this, so of course, I want to make sure that I’m with her on New Year’s. Just not sure how that’s going to work out. Still, because all holidays are up in the air, I’m lacking motivation to even decorate. It just doesn’t seem worth it. But, for her I’ll do it. If anything, she needs some sense of normalcy.
  • Concerts! Live music is something that I’ve always enjoyed, and I’m hoping to go to many more concerts in 2020. I’m going to Jingle Ball with my daughter this month, although it’s not exactly the type of music that I usually listen to (um, hello, Jonas Brothers?). I’m excited at the possibility of seeing Melissa Etheridge in March and Alanis Morissette in July. Even more exciting, Rage Against the Machine is reuniting for a 2020 tour, and I will NOT miss it, even if I have to go by myself. Additionally, Motley Crue is coming out of their sham retirement to do a stadium tour with Poison and Def Leppard. I missed them in Seattle, and it won’t happen again. Ah, Nikki Sixx. Just seeing him live once will mark one thing off my bucket list.
  • A new home. I don’t know if I have posted this before, but I’m in the process of filing for bankruptcy. Between having to buy things for everyday life when money was being withheld from me and the dangers of binge spending associated with mania, my debt has gotten so far out of control, there’s just no way I can continue on – especially when I have hellacious student loan debt on top of it. I want a clean slate, to meet with a financial planner who is sensitive to my needs, then hopefully after it’s all said and done, and I’m rebuilding my credit, I can move my daughter and I into affordable, permanent housing. Maybe a townhouse close to where her friends, and some of my friends, live. She and I have already started building community around here and don’t want to have to re-start that all over again.

This is my work in progress. I will keep this blog updated with anything new. Also, if I come across anything of note during my journaling, I’ll definitely post about it here.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

No Family

Nothing can make you feel quite as hollow as when you realize you have no family left. When your own child slowly turns away from you because they don’t know the whole story and view you as the bad guy, it’s heart wrenching in a way that is completely unimaginable. You can’t even understand it unless you’ve been through it.

You can’t force a child to see what’s right and just. And the same time, I won’t be disrespected by my child anymore. The only thing I can do is giver her space and see if she comes back, while still supporting her anyway I can.

It shouldn’t be a surprise. When I left on September 22, she was asked who she wanted to stay with, and she said her father. The two things I remember most about that night are that, and both of them laughing at me.

The past few months have been daily heartache, and it doesn’t look to end any time soon. How can you prioritize your family when you have none left?

I just keep reminding myself of the Buffy quote:

“No weapons. No friends. No hope. Take all that away and what’s left?———-ME.”

Making Friends

I’ve never really been good at making friends.

In school, my closest friends were guys, because I just felt like I had more in common with them. But, I still I kept at least one really close female friend. Still, my circle was never really that big, and I spent a lot of time alone.

This changed a bit when I went to college. I forced myself to get involved with different groups and made the most friends within the LGBTQI community.

I’ve been pretty isolated socially for many years. In part that was my own doing. On the other side, I felt like I was forced to socialize with a community that was not mine and socialize with people that I had very little in common with. It wasn’t really socializing to me. Instead it was the equivalent of being in a room full of people and feeling all alone.

Now, at 44, I’m making steps to change that, in any way I can. To find people that share common interests…that like to do the same things…so that if I want to do something and don’t want to be alone, I have a group of people that I can reach out to for company. But, it’s harder when you’re older and when you have a child. People without kids don’t really get it and get aggravated if you put your child first (as it should be). Other single people don’t care about kids and just want to hook up. Married people sometimes don’t want to have anything to do with you because they want to do “couples” activities, and you’re just a third wheel.

If you’re lucky, you find people that accept how your life is and still want to be friends. It’s rare, but when it happens, you can’t hesitate in making that connection.

And don’t get it twisted. Looking for friends doesn’t mean your family isn’t a priority. Suggesting anything like that is emotional manipulation and a self-righteous way of trying to exhibit your superiority. That type of sh*t no longer has any power here. I’m gonna do me and f*ck anyone who doesn’t like it.

A Step in the Right Direction

I just had a good talk with a dear friend. I think it was helpful to both him and me. It was an emotional, but civil, discussion – just like it should be.

I won’t say it made me happy or sad. It just made me feel like things are progressing in the way they should, in a healthy way. And maybe, just maybe, the future will be better than expected.

The End of Thanksgiving

Today has been interesting.

For the first time in my life, I was completely alone on Thanksgiving. Instead of wallowing in loneliness, I decided on focusing on rest and peacefulness.

Still, as I look at all the happy family pics online, it does sting a bit. I have to wonder when I’ll have my happy family. I know it will happen eventually, just have to take things day by day.

I did a lot of thinking and processing today. To fuel my self-development, I focused on things in my marriage that I should have done differently. There’s A LOT, but could only emotionally handle thinking of certain things.

I know I cannot go back and change the past. The only thing I can do is make amends, learn from it, and move forward. So I took that first step tonight. I won’t get into specifics, but somehow I thought that once I got it out there, I would start feeling better. Not so much. My heart still aches. I just hope the other person got something out of it, even if it was a good laugh.

I know that the only thing that heals is time, and you can’t rush the grieving process. There are many who need healing in this situation, not just me. I’m helpless to do anything about it except give it time.

I’m just selfish enough to hope that I’m not all alone on Christmas, too.

Bipolar with a Narcissist

When I process things, I tend to do a lot of research. I want to know the facts and empirical evidence to help guide me to logical conclusions and helpful next steps. So I started thinking…has anyone done any work on what happens when a bipolar person is involved with a narcissist? I found this posting, and it spoke to me so much it made me cry.

By Sammy Angel:

“A very addictive relationship which brings out the worst in both. The sadist awakens within the narcissist and the victim of emotions in the bipolar. In my attempt to respond, I could be wrong, but since my mother is bipolar (II) and my father a narcissist (covert), perhaps I can illustrate the dynamic.

As it is known, people who are bipolar experience either (hypo)mania or depression. Also known is that the narcissist feeds on his partner’s responses to receive validation. This creates a very theatrical situation. When he praises the bipolar, the bipolar feels cherished and therefore mood is elevated. The euphoria is visible and the narcissist feels powerful to have caused such.

On the contrary, when he devalues the bipolar, the bipolar breaks down and suffers in an obvious way. This again increases the sense of power the narcissist feels upon his asset. Due to the fact that bipolar provides exactly the display a narcissist feeds off, she is the perfect victim.

A narcissist could exploit the mental condition of someone who is bipolar to make them look unstable because that makes the narcissist feel superior, and then it gives them someone to blame when things don’t work out. The bipolar, being ridden by guilt, takes responsibility for the failure and thus is in a weaker position, always on the defense. This makes the bipolar a prime source of narcissistic supply, as the puppet is responding in a very fulfilling way.

For the bipolar, it can be destructive as the conditioning may lead them to a mental breakdown, since someone is actually orchestrating their mood swings (which can be exhausting).

Eventually, there is an addictive dynamic into the relationship, both ways. The narcissist has implanted seeds of self-doubt and low self-esteem to the bipolar, making her feel she could not survive without him, nor worthy of better treatment. She accepts drama as hard love and creates attachment, while he enjoys toying with her emotions.”

Addiction. This is the perfect description. I feel addicted, even after the abusive behaviors. Sometimes I struggle with not reaching out to him, although logically I know that I shouldn’t. What I know about addiction is that you either go cold turkey or you get help. Everything I’ve read about dealing with narcissists is that you need to break off entirely. But that can’t happen when you have a child. So how to manage this?