Hemingway, Trauma-Bonding and Letting Go to Love Yourself.

Hey there! It’s been a while since my last post… five months to be exact, and four months since posting to my recipe blog. I posted a lentil chili recipe yesterday and awoke to 95 more followers to that blog this morning. Cool beans! (If any of you out there know how to merge two blogs into one, let me know!)

Anyway, I’d love to be able to report here on my book/writing/healing blog that I have been back to writing my second memoir, but I have not. I spent this time moving and settling into our new home, making and sending art for the art groups I’m in and have enjoyed some down time in Key West with my youngest son, husband, and mother-in-law. After a tour at The Hemingway House, I’m just now feeling the writing juices percolating again.

Hemingway House
Hemingway’s writing room
Do you see the sleeping cat?

Polydactyl kitty cat waiting for treats

My first memoir Steel Town Girl was published last September and is doing surprisingly well. My editor loved it and she’s written 31 books, so I’m not sure why I’m so surprised, but of course I am. Also, I got a shout-out from Darcie Chan on FB and Twitter the other day. She’s the uber-talented writer of the Mill River series. If you haven’t read her, I highly recommend them. Start here.

I was published for about five minutes and was still recovering from that when I was pelted yet again. I’m doing better now, but in all honesty, much of my time away from this blog came after this post and this one back in November, when afterward I received a scathing email from my son. Apparently, my outing him on my blog; my place for healing and reflection, (and something encouraged by my therapist), pushed him to the edge and he lashed out in a lengthy email about just what a ridiculous, embarrassing mess of a person he thinks I’ve become.

He poked fun at me for taking a new medicine (an antidepressant) saying I “was always sick”, shamed me for deleting him and all his flying monkey friends, and I was blamed for things as far back as 2004, while his father got a free pass for absolutely everything.

He scolded me saying that he doesn’t like the negativity I put out into the Universe (which means he doesn’t like having other people know…) and told me that this may be “unrecoverable” and “unrepairable.”

He accuses me of creating this blog because I love being a victim. He ended by saying that he doesn’t like the mom I am now, he likes the fun-loving, high-energy mom he grew up with, and that if I think I’ll be invited to his wedding I have another thing coming.

In other words, I should be fun, and easy to with regardless of how he treats me. How dare I have a normal reaction to abnormal behavior.

It took me these few months to get my bearings again after that email. I was already reeling when I got it, so it was like getting kicked in the stomach while you’re already on the ground. But, breaking this pattern of trauma bonding is not for the faint at heart. It’s something we’ve been conditioned in childhood to do. To go right back, again and again, looking for comfort in the very person who kicked us while we’re down.

Letting go of the arousal jag of continually trying to fix shit I didn’t break was difficult and exhausting because it was ingrained in who I was. The Fixer. Of everything. To everyone. Well, no more!

Now, I’m walking taller and straighter than I have in a long time. I’m doing it without meds (my choice) and life feels better than it has in a long time.

The pain that used to linger throughout my chest is no longer there. The manic, “What did I do wrong? and it’s ugly sister, “What Can I Do To Make You Love Me”, has given way to, “Not My Fucking Problem.”

It’s taken this time away to realize that the balm that soothes trauma bonding most is called, “No Contact.” (With them, and anyone associated with them.) You apply it liberally, as many times per day as needed until it becomes second nature and becomes easier to breathe. But you can’t use “No Contact” until you use the pre-treatments: “Not Your Fault,” and “You Can’t Change Them.” When you put the cart before that horse, it just won’t work. You’ll feel guilty. But, when you feel those two things deep within your bones, then, feel free to use the third step: “No Contact.”

Detoxing feels awful at first, but when the toxic sludge of this conditioning stops coursing through your veins, it actually feels like you’ve been given a gift! And you realize — this was a gift you had to give to yourself!

Please don’t continue this pattern in any relationship and call it love. Once you’ve identified it, stop it!

When we go back to our partner or spouse after abuse, people either say we’re hopelessly in love or call us nuts. It’s nuts. (More on that later.) When we go back to our children after abuse by sweeping it under the rug, people tell us what good parents we are. That’s not being a good parent! It’s being a doormat, and it’s not normal!

So, I did a lot of thinking, reflecting and soul-searching in my time away from this blog. I still continue to learn the difference between narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and I came to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter the diagnosis. It’s his issue, it’s not mine to fix, worry about, or deal with anymore, so I choose to live for me for once. My son is a thirty-three-year-old man who will have to figure out why he acts like he does, what his issues are, who created those issues, and how he can change them on his own like everybody else. But, regardless of why, what, who, or how… his behavior is his choice. And it’s my choice not to deal with it anymore.

If and when he wants to talk to me; to us with dignity and respect, apologize for his behavior and not talk over me, we can have an adult discussion. I’ll own my role, he can own his, and we can move on in life. But, I won’t hold my breath. Until then, No Contact it is.

I am letting him go. Because I am choosing me.