Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sexual Healing

I've been thinking a lot about who the Sexual Me is that's becoming. Most of it is a journey in my head, but I have had a couple of moments to do some field work too, with Bush Man and Mark. So some practical experience to go on, although not enough for a relevant sample. LOL!

Women who are sexually abused as children often struggle badly with adult sexuality. But as my shrink was saying yesterday, I seem to have dodged that bullet in that regard. I went through a horrible childhood in many respects, and yet managed to escape the pathological madness that so often accompanies that kind of history. I grew up damaged. Fragmented. Sad. Scarred. But still healthy psychologically. I found effective ways of surviving my childhood and developed good tactics for thriving as an adult in many ways. And my sexual self seems to be intact.

Post John-the-Narc mindfuckery, I have had a lot of dissonance in my head about where I really stand sexually. I've written about it a few times before in this blog. Like Pavlov's dog, John groomed me to respond to his seductive siren song that spoke words in my ear about how magnificent and sexy I was, and really did make me believe I was a sexual goddess. And even though most of that, I now realise, was pure trickery, I haven't lost all of the sexual confidence I gained during that time.

And before John was my husband - exclusive sexual partner for 15 years. I enjoyed lovemaking with him. But I also felt wrong - I was too fat for him. Too lazy. Didn't smell right. The only way I could be connected to him sexually was if I was able to fragment myself out and just keep sexy woman in the room with me, closing down the other voices reminding me that he was just not attracted to me and was with me because he needed sex, not because he desired me particularly.

What my shrink helped me realise yesterday is that I'm approaching these new sexual connections without fragmenting. Which is huge progress in my own healing process. And that the result of me keeping more than one fragment with me in those situations is discomfort. She says it's going to feel weird for a while. And that I should just sit with the weirdness. And that I need to focus on the fact that what I'm moving towards now for myself is new. Brand brand new. And that bringing the Narc sex into my mind and aspiring to reach those levels of bliss isn't useful. Because it wasn't real or sustainable. But I have the opportunity to now find a new bliss. A real real level of sexuality in me that I haven't known before. And thinking about every sexual encounter as brand new will help me with that.

I love that concept. Where I walk slowly, languidly towards whatever intimate encounter I will experience next and take it slowly for myself. Savour every slow and seductive step in the process. Feel each one in a new way as if I'm meeting it for the very first time. Not move on to any new stages until I have completely immersed myself in the stage I'm in. And feel absolutely no pressure to move on if I don't feel my body and soul begging me to, rather than moving forward because I want to satisfy the man I'm with. What if I spent an entire hour just kissing. Feeling every single sensation of that kiss until the memory of it is seared onto my soul forever?

Yum. Sounds lovely even when I write it.

I wonder when my chance will come to try that out?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Does Too much Disclosure Kill the Romance?

I was reading an article a day or two ago about the kinds of damage Narcissistic mothers cause in their daughters and the resultant difficulties they have in later life. And one of those areas of damage is how we conduct our relationships. We're often either too remote and removed, overprotecting ourselves from possible further pain; or we're too ready to jump in wholeheartedly, and engage in the relationship too early in a too-intense way. I think I have both of those tendencies, if I reflect on my past relationships with friends and lovers.

When I'm feeling safe I get very intimate, very fast, really feeling like the relationship only has potential if we have found an intense connection and joy in each other - like we really KNOW each other at a deeply connected level. And I have the ability to get there fast with people too - I'm comfortable with real and honest conversations, and so don't temper my own self disclosure. This either puts the other person off completely, or encourages them to go deep with me too. Most people don't go AS deep as me, but I have had some pretty hectic disclosures from people over the years, very early in our relationship, often at first meeting.

I must say, I've only recently started realising that fast intimacy (not sexual, just personal) isn't always the best thing. That total disclosure early on in a relationship may well take the 'juice' out of it. I'm starting to see that little disclosures, over time, may well be a way of growing slowly together, and revealing insights and truths over time can actually be a very rich and rewarding journey. It's never even occurred to me, until now, to pace myself on something like that.  Meeting a new possible girlfriend the other day, for instance: OK, it was an different kind of 'first meeting' with a new friend as she went deep, fast with her own revelations to me. But my immediate instinct was to see her again straight away. I liked her. I wanted to get to know her better. I wanted to spend time then. Or the next day. Not wait a week or two before we continue. But waiting is rich - lots of things to ponder about our first conversation. Time to wonder about her and her journey. Thinking about how much of her I see reflected in me. And how much of her journey matches mine because of that. Actually, she may be one who, like me, goes close. Quick.

So am I doing the same thing with the men I'm spending time with? Going in fast, intimate, deep. Lots of disclosure. Lots of words to share because of all the work I'm doing here on the blog. SO many thoughts. So many insights about me and where I'm at. My whole life story of relevant events that shaped me, all currently at my fingertips. But maybe I need to be more careful about how, and how fast, and even if I share those thoughts. Because it tumbles out of me in piles - and although I am slowly sifting through it all to find the sense that is me, I can't expect other people to be able to hold it. Get it. Unravel it. And work it in a way that is even safe for me.

Am I too much?

And once all of that is on the table - what else is there to talk about? Discover? Disclose? What does the second or third date look like? When all important things were laid bare on the table in the first 3 hours together?

Whew. It's so weird to be 47 and trying to figure this stuff out. Decades of not second-guessing my natural responses to think for a second, and now, wondering about every behaviour, every thought. Trying to find more functional ways of being in the world when I know, finally, how some of me was shaped so skew in my early years.

I'm not even sure that it's the right thing to try to change my behaviour now. My faults and flaws and cracks are all part of what makes me me. Maybe I need to be focusing more on WHO I decide to let in (because attracting the bad people has been part of my pattern), and less on who I am when I am 'in relationship' with people.

It's OK Trudy - you don't' have to finish every blog with a profound insight or a new decision. Just know that you're thinking. Wondering. Turning things over in your mind. It's enough, you know. For now.

Monday, 23 February 2015


Berlin. Kissed. Me.

Last night. After we went our for and evening wine and chat. It wasn't a long, lingering, romantic kiss - I wasn't going to let myself go there at all, but rather a first goodbye peck. Then another more lingering one. Then a few more of those. Not 'friend' kisses. Something else. I didn't know how to respond. At all.

For months I've been working with this flame of attraction, and, let's face it, not a little bit of crushing, only to find myself repelled, over and over again, like a small child. Am I not getting it that we're just friends??!! I've had to work like crazy to take steps back. Stop myself from being pulled in again. Nurse my heart every time I get unkindly rebuked. Manage my humiliation each time. Now. Now after I have finally put him away from me with absolutely no wish to continue any pursuit of him and have my heart damaged even a little bit more. NOW, he kisses me.

Is that it? Because I'm no longer trying to bridge the gap between us, so he starts to right the balance? Because he senses at some level that I've moved on, now he tries to move me back? Because he likes having me there, giving a shit about the minutiae of his life? Because he's lonely when I'm less present?

Or maybe because he'd had too much to drink by then. Was it just a too-jolly over-rash moment? One that even he has just forgotten because of the too much wine? In which case it's over and nothing happened?

But if it was actually a purposeful kiss - then WTF? What the hell am I supposed to think?

So enough about him. Let's think about me. I made a promise to my little child inside that neither Berlin, nor any other man I am with, will be allowed close enough to hurt her. That I will hold her myself. Protect her. Keep her from harm. Use this time to practice being present with myself. I did a damn good job with Bush Man - was able to be close and intimate and joyful, but not lose myself into that agonising neediness that is so painful for me and my child. Bush Man even sent me some pics of the views on the hike he went on this weekend. Which is his way of saying 'Hi, I'm thinking about you, but not really using my words...'. And my heart DIDN'T disappear down a rabbit hole with longing and missing. I just smiled. And sent a WhatsApp to him to say I like him. And am not sad that he hasn't responded. Because he's just not a words man. I'm not feeling abandoned.

So what of Berlin for me? I don't know. I know my friends and shrink want me to stay the hell away from him - last rebuke was just too cruel to trust him too close to me. He hasn't made right what he did. He told me at the time to not be sad because he was just angry and needed some cooling off time. But once he'd cooled off, he didn't fix it. He had really hurt and humiliated me, and just did not make right on that in any way. Just slowly picked up the pace of communication over time, and last night at wine, acted like nothing had happened. Of course it's possible that he has no idea how hurt I was, and, frankly, I have not trusted him enough since that time to tell him and risk another bout of humiliation and rebuke.

So Berlin and I may well land up together in Cape Town in a week or two. I guess that will be the final telling point. If he tries to push the intimacy angle with me, which I shouldn't want, (but secretly do, if I'm honest with myself), then I'll have to have the conversation of fixing first what he broke. I need to know that he is capable of cleaning up his own messes and taking accountability for the pain he caused. Without losing it with me and breaking more stuff again.

Until then, I think, I will continue to keep him at arm's length. I have a fragile heart that needs protecting. And I'm the custodian of that.

And frankly, Berlin. If you do really want me. And I'm not sure that you do. You'll have to earn me.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Searching for Sexual Clarity but all I see is Mist

So I've had a lovely two days with my Bush Man. He booked into a hotel in town and I just went to stay there with him, coming back to work in the days, and spending the nights with him. It was a warm and life affirming place. He really is a gentle and solid man. Strongly grounded and very content inside himself. A good energy for me to be around. A safe place to be.

We talked about so many things over dinner, and lying in bed together. And also talked the nature of 'us'. And 'us' is as I thought it would be: both of us, enjoying the connection, but with no expectations or strings attached. Sex. Intimacy. Warm companionship when we're in the same place. And not much else. Except some work. We will do some work together I think.

I got horribly sick last night during the night, which wasn't ideal with a new lover - waking up to your woman vomiting in the tiny loo can't be the most titillating thing ever, but to his credit, he took it in his stride, responding with kind compassion but not overfussy attention. I await blood results tomorrow to see whether I have Malaria or some weird virus - not feeling too grand today at all!

So what of my heart? Heart is fine actually. Still firmly in place, with my inner 5 year old not stirring with pain and abandonment stuff at all. So we're good there. Whew. Really good there. I kept my distance, and still remained present with him. I didn't give the baby away, at all.

But I now know I have a new thing to think through. Bush Man and I have still not managed to find our deep sexual connection space. Our sex is fine but not brilliant. And it was the same with Mark. And with Mark I wrote it off to 'first time' issues, and the same with Bush Man last time. But now I'm not so sure. I haven't had much experience in this sexual space with 'new' men, and only Bush Man and Mark are men I've slept with when I haven't been in love. Is it possible to have magnificent sex with someone when your heart isn't engaged? Or maybe I should be asking the question differently: is it possible for ME to have magnificent sex with someone when my heart isn't engaged?

The best sex I've ever had in my life was with John-the-narc. I believed at the time that it was just the most exquisite meeting of souls - that our lovemaking was so beautiful because of where it came from, deep in my heart. And his, I thought. But now that I know that he was seducing many other women throughout that time, I'm not so sure that the sex came from that place. At least not for him. He is the master seducer. And maybe he was just using his exceptional seduction and sexual skills to hook me in. Skills learned and perfected over the years through the frequent seduction and sexual manipulation of many many women like me. So while I thought we were deeply in love, and was abandoning all restraint and inhibitions with him, he was most likely orchestrating me - telling me everything I needed to hear; whispering his seductive siren song in my ear; encouraging me to let myself go for him. With him. And I did. And I loved it. I fell for it. But I loved it.

But what if it was all lies? What if everything he told me about what a magnificent lover I am; about how refreshingly natural and uninhibited I am in bed; about how incredibly sexy I am; about how intimate and soulful I become... what if all of that was just bullshit designed to manipulate me? As my new Psychic friend says - 'sex is always exquisite with the dark one'

Then I have a whole new learning to work with. I believed his picture of me. Of course I did - it was flattering and engaging. I wanted to be that woman. But what if I'm not? What if I'm actually not very good at this? What if the lovers I am with now, in the prime of my sexual life, are not impressed with my sexual 'skills'. Ugh.  Who am I, in my sexual journey? If I am going to be choosing people who are not dark and dangerous, but good and kind, how will I find my way into being able to experience sex like that again. I know I want that. It was incredible. I want that for me, and for the lovers I choose.

My shrink was talking to me a couple of weeks ago about the metaphor of the life cycle of a bean: there is a season for all of it's life stages. And when it has produced the plant that reseeds itself, it dies. And falls to the soil that held it, seeping life-giving nutrients back into the soil as it lies fallow for a while. And this is most definitely my fallow time. I know I'm not ready to be 'in relationship' with another deeply loved one yet. There is so much I need to untangle for myself still as I recover slowly from this.

I do need to find myself in my own strong sexuality again. I don't know who I am in that anymore, so dissonant is my head since John-the-Narc's mindfuckery. So I'll trust that I'll find it. I think I must keep asking myself the right questions. And try to have conversations with my close people about this. I have a feeling that the answer may find me in 'being' rather than 'thinking', but I'm that girl who needs to interrogate everything within an inch of it's life - so I guess I'll be doing more of that first.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

A Glimpse into the Crystal Ball

One of my business colleagues invited me to a meeting yesterday. Just out of the blue. He wanted me to meet a new friend of his who does Psychic coaching. We'd chatted about her on our trip - he was trying to decide whether to engage her as his coach. I thought it was a brilliant idea - he needs someone who can see through his 'layers' and help him clear some of his stuff that I sense swims just below the surface. So I got in the car and drove across town to meet her. As usual he was useless with giving me venue and agreed meeting points until the very last minute so I arrived flustered and irritated with him.

But I was so very delighted to be able to meet The Psychic. Because she brought me a whole pile of confirmations about our current work that I think we both needed to hear. She instantly recognised the connection between us, calling it 'familial' - maybe some past life connection? I don't really know what it could be, but I do know it to be there. I feel like my colleague and I will be companions on this life journey for a very long time to come.

Of course she felt the trauma of my Narc Recovery process, and the shock waves still flowing out of me since Ground Zero. And she saw the malevolence of John-the-narc, warning me to continue to stay the fuck away from him. Yup , she used strong was her connection to the malevolence he bears me. She said to just put him away. Out of my life. Forever. And move on, focusing on the new work I'm dealing. She's right. I will heed her.

And she was so wonderfully affirming of the work I'm busy with now - looking at ways of unlocking water in South Africa at a scale beyond anything done here before. It involves huge changes in resources and funding flows, and that's my colleague's job - he needs to find mechanisms to figure that out. Her interpretation of our partnership was that he will bring the money, and I will get the stuff done - I'm the executor. Which is lovely - because it's just how the two of us have seen our work together - she's just framed it for us in a way that, I think, inspired us both. She says it will be successful and lucrative (even though that's not my primary motive). Like it's time. I deserve it. And its coming to me.


Because I'll fight for this. I believe in it. And the time is right for me to forge forward with courage on it.

She loves the work my therapist is doing with me. So do I. She says I should work until I get to the point where I really understand the source of my issues. Heal them. And then put them down and resist the temptation to wallow in them longer than I need to.

Liked her. Think we may well become friends.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bush Man Returns

Tonight's the night! Bush Man is flying into my town for a two day conference. He'll be landing this afternoon and we have a date for this evening. I'm so looking forward to it. Firstly because seeing Bush Man means I'll probably be able to have some SEX! And it's been a while. And I'm so craving some holding touch and feeling some strong arms around me.

Also because I'm looking forward to getting to know him a bit. Hahaaaa - we really didn't talk much last time when we met. And I know this may offend  you, but I really don't mind not knowing him very well. It felt so very freeing to just give in to that carnal pleasure of lovemaking last time, even though we didn't know each other well enough to have that mind-blowing-lose-yourself sex. I can feel at the core of me that he's a good and gentle man, and that he means me no harm. And that this sexual connection we fell across is just as healing for him as it is for me. He needs the touch and holding time as much as I do.

We haven't talked at all since last time we were together, except to make the logistical plans for today's hookup. And I haven't minded that either. One or two days out of last time, I did feel a bit  irritated that he didn't track me down to say "that was lovely, thanks'...or something. But I soon let it go, and I just feel delighted that we'll meet up again.

So what of my heart in all of this? Where is my needy love-starved little 5 year old? Because normally she'd be at the rear view window sobbing for the potential caretaker as she watches him disappear from view. For some reason she's not anxious about this. Neither is she crushing at this man and getting lost in a sea of needy longing. She seems to be curled up with wide eyes, just watching to see where this will go. It's like she's not involved in this one, as if Bush Man and me are an entirely adult connection with none of the child longing deep stuff in play at all.

So the next few steps with him will be important. Can I spend an evening dinner date without engaging my heart? Will getting to know him better hook me in? I don't think so somehow - he's a very intelligent and earthy man, both qualities I'm really attracted to. I actually can't go there if the man isn't really clever. But somehow he's not got the sparkle that I usually love seeing in my men. Unless it's a deep seated sparkle I haven't seen yet. In fact he reminds me a lot of my husband, who also took a while to grow on me, rather than there being an instant 'YES' connection.

On the other hand, though, I think I really need to be highly suspicious of my instant 'YES' responses to men. I think those may still come from my 'bad man' picker, and be a very reliable narc-sniffer actually. That instinctive thing that draws me to people like moths to a flame - I think I should hold myself back every single time I feel that. And notice, just for a moment, and ask myself why the tide compels me towards that person. Because maybe it's a rip tide, sweeping me back into dangerous places where I might ultimately drown if I don't manage to escape it's clutches.

And then there's one more layer I must hold carefully tonight too. What of Bush Man's heart? I am doing all this work to hold myself back, because it's what I want with him, and because I'm assuming that's what he wants too, mostly because he hasn't communicated anything else to me. But that could be his way - that words don't actually come easily to him. That he has thoughts and intentions about us that I don't yet know or understand. I need to be careful with his heart if I'm intending to hold this relationship lightly, and in my head at the moment, purely for some sexual connection and physical intimacy time.

So I get to have some loving nurturing sex tonight. I need it. I'm going to put my whole being into enjoying it. And see how well I am able to hold my own heart through it.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Trauma Flash

I was getting onto the train yesterday morning. I looked up and, in the crowd disembarking from the train, I saw what looked like John-the-narc walking towards me. It wasn't him. It was a man with a very similar beard to him - otherwise not so similar. But the effect on me was electric. It felt like I'd been shot at by someone. My heart started leaping in my chest and my entire body felt like it suddenly wasn't able to hold me up. Panic. That's what panic feels like.

It's been so long since I last saw him - I had no idea that 'he' would provoke such an extreme reaction in me. It was pure terror.

I've read a lot about how an emotionally abusive relationship can invoke Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And I know that I was pretty slain by the time I crawled out of that relationship. But I hadn't realised it would live inside me like that, just sleeping peacefully until it's suddenly uncoiled by a 'trigger' moment. Such an extreme body reaction, arriving unbidden in the middle of the morning commute crowd. It's hectic. And it scares me.

I'm wondering what will happen one day when I do bump into him somewhere? What if that terrible panic hits in that moment? How will I manage the situation? I have run millions of conversations with him in my head. They range from turning on my heel and walking away, to giving him a giant piece of my mind, to bursting into tears and sobbing my heart out, to sitting, stoically, listening to whatever new bullshit he wants to sprout, and THEN walking away.

But none of that would fly when I get this deer in headlights panic stricken moment. That's just humiliating!

I think the most important thought I have about this is that I didn't realise the abuse was so bad!  I know. ..I should know. I've said it often enough. I nearly died in hospital as a result of it. And yet part of me wants to deny that. Normalise it. Like I normalised the home I grew up in.

But my body won't let me deceive myself any more. It was hectic. Fucking hectic. And the cell memory of that in my body is obviously recoiling with appropriate levels of fear when I think I see him.

I must remember this. Remember the danger and the fear. So I continue to walk away from my own Ground Zero. And only look back to keep knowing that I will never let that level of destruction into my life again.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Unexpected Valentine

I have been watching myself approaching Valentine's Day with interest. There was a part of me that was so hoping that the day may bring some declaration of affection from somewhere (anywhere! how sad is that?!). Probably that 5 year old inside me, still pining away for someone to just love me. Another part of me was very sure that there would be no declaration of affection from anyone and felt a bit sad about that, being realistic about the nature of the relationships that I have with the boys in my immediate proximity right now.

And then there was the piece of me that walked towards the day of lovers with a very firm sense that this was a day to love me. That I would use the day to practice doing just that.

And so, still being in Cape Town, with my best friend, Nesta, I resolved to have a day of just being with her. And because she has little children, that involved just going along with her on all her errands and just being with her and her daughter. It was actually quite lovely - passing the day together. We had a lunch date with her husband and little son, and marveled at the beauty of Hout Bay from the decks of my favourite restaurant there, Dunes. And even though this was a place I had shared many times with my ex lover, John-the-narc, I didn't find the sad space about it (as I would have thought, it being Valentines day and all), but rather just a happy space of being with treasured friends in a beautiful place.

After a much-needed snooze in the afternoon, I headed off over to a client meeting in Noordhoek, which involved a taxi ride along Chapman's Peak drive, arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world. The meeting with my client was peaceful and amicable, and I felt like a beach walk after that. So, instead of hailing a taxi, I just walked away from his house and down onto the beach alone.

Of course the beach in the late afternoon was the perfect spot for romantic couples to be having their sundowner moments. I walked past the little romantic huddles and just took in the love, and the beauty of the place and breathed it all in. I didn't feel desperately alone. I didn't feel sad and abandoned. I just felt at peace. Calm. Happy with the world. I was surrounded by loving couples and I just felt me. I climbed up onto the rocks for a while, and took some selfies, just to remind myself of the moment. My own Valentines Date with me.

And then I headed up towards the car park so I could call my taxi and wait on the park bench, taking in the beautiful view some more. There was an old man sitting on the bench. I sat down next to him and started playfully flirting with him. He played back. We laughed together. And then, weirdly, we started talking about work things. Turns out he's a very revered and senior Member of Parliament, and the things we talked about enthused him greatly. He wants to talk more. We'll meet again. I really liked him.

And then I got into the taxi which was driven by a writer. And philosopher. And he and I lurched straight into a deep and meaningful conversation about the nature of writing and how is helps us define our lives and experiences. I was telling him a bit about this blog and how cathartic it is for me, and some of the processes I employ to keep it truthful. And fresh. And raw and real.

And then he dropped me off at home and I went into dinner at my bestie's house. A lovely and engaging dinnner as the 3rd (and welcome) wheel with her husband.

It felt like a charmed day. Where meaningful conversations arrived unbidden and uncoerced. And magical things just landed next to me unexpectedly. I found joy in those things. And so little sadness.

I must be healing.

It felt good.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Fighting the Attraction

I've been working in Cape Town and Stellenbosch for the last couple of days. This is one of the more beautiful parts of the whole world - Table Mountain, the fold mountains and the wine lands mean that almost at every turn you are looking at something beautiful. Yesterday Mark and I were working with some clever people to co-create some amazing community rehabilitation work and we were sitting in the gardens of a beautiful wine farm. Huge oak trees. Beautiful gardens. Felt so decadent, and yet the work we were doing was so very creative with the potential for very significant impact!

Watching Mark in 'flow' as he worked with the team was stirring some very strong feelings of attraction in me. His white shirt, unbuttoned just enough for some very masculine tufts of hair to peep out. That beautiful wide chest. His roguish flirtatious smile that charmed all the ladies...That brain of his that seems to never stop. Sigh - slay my heart - how can a girl help but to melt a bit at that? I must confess I did send him a little flirtatious text some time in the day saying how hot he looked in the white shirt. He responded with a 'Don't do that LOL' message , and a 'Ditto'  - so he liked my white shirt and jeans combo too?

But of course that's all it will be - warm and playful flirting. Because it's out of bounds. But I did realise that spending so many close days with him was weakening my resolve just a bit. And last night we took a client out for dinner together. Mark was regaling us with a few of his 'couple' stories and I suddenly felt a pang of jealousy move through me - I envied her. Wished he were mine.

But I know I don't really want him as just mine. I love him and his soul. But he'd make a terrible life partner. He has so very many passions in life that take his attention. He works like a demon. And I could see that as his wife I would have become sad and lonely and resentful with him because I would never have got the time and intimacy from him that I know I need. So in fact having these intense working times together once every few months is probably the ideal way for he and I to enjoy being in each others' lives. Lots to talk about, think about, debate about, and then time out for months to live the other parts of our lives.

So spending this many days together working side by side is probably a bit much for me. I do find my heart softening a bit and the risk of developing an unrequited crush on him again is too risky. So best to step back and focus on the other wonderful people in my life a bit so I don't get hooked in again.

Today I find my way back into Cape Town to spend the weekend with my other bestie. I'm so looking forward to that soulful girltime.

And I'll use that time to surround and protect this little girl of mine who is clearly coming up again seeking the love she needs from Mark. Not there, my child. Just here. With me. I'll hold you.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Is my Open Marriage finally settling?

I know it's not the norm, this 'Open Marriage' arrangement my husband and I have. In fact most people I know think it's weird. And pie-in-the-sky thinking on my part: It can't possibly work, they say. And although I'm a fairly stubborn person, who commits to decisions wholeheartedly and doggedly makes things work, even I was wondering if we would ever pull it off in a healthy and sustainable way.  I even started a blog post in November with the title 'Will we EVER be friends?', wondering if the misery we were constantly living in at home would ever lift.

But some thing has shifted. In a strong and healthy way. I suddenly felt a shift last month, when I wrote the blog about the Looming Shadows. Luckily, my husband's tests showed up negative for cancer, and the docs are wondering if one of his prostate meds was giving a false positive flag. So all well on that front, thank goodness. I don't know if it was that fear that shifted us, or simply the unfolding of our lives as we continue to have brave and clear conversations with each other, but we're comfortable in our home together suddenly. Companionable. Peaceful. It's really lovely.

I did give him a strong ultimatum when I insisted on coming home in December. And he did work very hard to change his attitude at home. So it could be that. Also, I am no longer suffering under a regime of relentless abuse from John-the-Narc, and so may be more centered and calm myself, with more bandwidth for care and compassion.

We have had some kind and supportive conversations together. For instance he's struggling a bit with issues with his girlfriend, and he's been discussing those with me - mostly because she's raising issues that I also raised with him - feeling criticised (in may case, physically - not sure what her's was) and not good enough for him. I was interested that my own reaction to his pain about that was only compassion. No anger. No past pains. Just compassion. In fact it helps confirm to me that I wasn't going crazy in the way I was feeling with him - some of those issues are his, not mine. And so there is no conflict from me now, just support for his process as he himself realises that and finds a way through it.

I was realising too that I am in the privileged position to be dealing my stuff in 'relationship' with a few different boys at once. It makes it very clear to me how much of the 'stuff' is mine and what really isn't mine. The feedback, though brutal and painful, comes often in the responses I evoke from them and the way I feel myself responding to them. So even though that nasty fight with Berlin the other day really hurt me, I was able to see that his rebuke of me came from him, not me. I could feel that pain of not being known or seen or understood, and that was mine, but the dismissive nastiness that came out of him - his. His to deal. Mine to avoid.

And the past two days I've spent with my precious boy, Mark have been just lovely. We went on a driving and working trip. Stayed together in a chalet. Managed all of that without having sex, tempting as it was, and got ourselves home. He's focusing on fixing his marriage. I'm enjoying being in this tight friends relationship with him. Expectations managed all round. Care and support abounds.

So today is a day where I'm feeling safe and calm. Holding myself. Caring for the precious people around me. I like it.

BUT...PMT is just around the corner, so let's see how the serenity continues: off to Cape Town today for more work there till Friday. I'll see Mark there tomorrow. And both my Cape Town Besties.


Friday, 6 February 2015


Thank goodness life seems to work in seasons, longer and shorter. Going through the very deep and painful stuff that I've faced in the last week has been so important for me, but also now coming up for air for a bit where I can focus on lighter things has been necessary too. So the past few days have been about getting stuck into more inspiring work and working with like minded people who inspire me too.

And stepping back from Berlin after our horrible 'fight'(?) has been important too. Putting energy into other people, not getting myself lost in Berlin thoughts has been a relief. And somehow suddenly easy. Like my decision to keep him away from my inner child has also resulted in extra barriers that I've put up to make sure I stay intact and he stays at arm's length. He did think we might have wine together. I'll happily go if he sets that up. But I'm not going to keep my weekend clear to be able to accommodate him either - so I'll give him the opportunity to reach out if he wants to. But I'm done holding my breath about that.

So this weekend I'm filling up my days with other people that I enjoy spending time with. An early morning walk with an old friend and mentor I haven't chatted to for years; evening dinner with one of my besties; some sleeping and slothing time during the day tomorrow to work off today's chemo, and then maybe Tasha's with my boys on Sunday morning. I'll be on the road for nearly two weeks from Monday, so downtime and family time will be important things to do.

Also, a brief connect in with Bush Man - seems like we'll find a night to be together within the next two weeks, so even going to have a getting laid opportunity, which I'm looking forward to like mad, naturally!

So besides working damn hard over the next two weeks, I'm also going to be able to spend time with people who are precious to me - my two Cape Town besties; Mark. I'm looking forward to that. Working. And being with my precious people.

Good for me.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Don't Fuck with My little Child

Thank God I had therapy yesterday afternoon. I sat in my bucket chair in my therapist's office and talked and cried and talked. I felt like I was in a cocoon where I could finally allow all the very sore stuff that I've known is around me to just land. It came to me then, in a trembling, inarticulate, almost mute way. And I cried. And she just held that place for me and let me. And soothed me. And reminded me that this is 5 year old me, finally just allowing the pain I've been running from for over 40 years to just land. In a way that 47 year old me could hold. And tolerate. And feel without breaking.

And I think I finally got to feel how it must be for me to hold that little broken girl part of me. Not banish her. Or humiliate her by making her feel wrong for just being 5. But just hold her deeply close to me and love her. Soothe her. Help her know that I will never abandon her again.

I abandoned her yesterday. I let Berlin get away with a vicious and cruel attack on her. In a moment where her deep need to feel held surfaced, I sent yesterday's blog to him. He misread it. Misunderstood it. Sent me back a long and brutal rebuke. I took it - humiliated that I had allowed him to see that vulnerable moment of mine. Angry with myself for being so needy. Reversing out of his life so quickly I felt myself spinning. Was embarrassed. Wanted to explain. Distance myself from that needy and love-craving child. Abandoned her. Made her feel wrong. Rebuked myself for being too much. Needing too much. Making a nuisance of myself.

But she helped me imagine a different angle on it. What if that little girl was a real person, separate from me? A little girl. My daughter. Bruised. Beaten. Raped. Abandoned and alone in her cupboard.What would I do if Berlin had said those things directly to her? Pushed her away like she was worthless. Undeserving of the time and care she needed to heal. Unwanted. Badly behaved. A nuisance. Not conforming to the picture that he had of how she should be.

Well I'd beat the living shit out of him, wouldn't I? I'd fiercely ban him from ever coming close to her again. I'd show him what batshit crazy really looked like and make sure he never forgot, ever again. And then I'd turn my back on him and sweep her into my arms. And hold her so so close. And tell her that I know how much she's hurting. And that it's ok. And that I would hold her close every time she hurt like that. Until the hurt goes away.

And then I'd tell her I'm so sorry for letting that hard man so close to her that he could harm her. And reassure her that  she wasn't wrong to think that maybe he would care for her a bit. That needing love and care for so very long makes anyone reach for it with yearning if it feels nearby. That she wasn't wrong. And that I would give her all the love she needs, and she won't have to try to get it from any other man, ever again.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Don't run. Stay awhile, Trudy

I don't know what to say. Reams and reams of this flipping blog end up being about Berlin. Who is NOT my lover. Who doesn't want to BE my lover. Who thinks he wants to be friends with me. But him and me being friends isn't going so well. We keep getting to a sad and sore place. And I suspect it's me taking us there. Because I can't sort out how I'm feeling. And I keep having expectations of this relationship that are clearly off base.

So it feels horrible all this. And so I keep writing about it. And the obvious thing to do would be to just walk away from it all. Be like Berlin. Cut it and leave. Give up. Coffee with a mate yesterday had exactly that as the topic - Trudy this isn't good for you. It's hurting you. Walk. Put up your boundaries and walk. Protect yourself already. As I'm writing that I'm wondering if I am even capable of that. It took everything in me to do that to John. And we were in a terribly extreme place by the time I had the courage to do just that.

Is this what this whole thing is for? For me to practice my boundary setting? I'm getting such horrible trauma flashbacks from the early days with John-the-narc. I have no idea whether Berlin is a closet Narc or not. I don't think so. But I'm still feeling the same stuff. Feeling forgotten and discarded when he 'forgets' about our weekend wine moment. Feeling like I must have somehow got it wrong. Struggling with his Facebook messenger activity when he's ignoring my messages. Struggling with not knowing - I'm being so very open with him about what I'm thinking and feeling and doing. And he's just so much more closed. Has he found another 5 online girls to play with? Is that why he's pulling away from me? Am I just so fkn desperate and needy that he's actually just humouring me but really can't see himself putting up with it much longer?

I wish I could tell you how incredibly painful it feels inside me. I KNOW this pain doesn't come from Berlin. It's old old pain that is surfacing when I deal with him. But it doesn't stop it coming. And the brutality of the pain doesn't leave just because he was just the trigger, not the originator.

As I was walking into work this morning I was feeling angry with myself that I'm still struggling with all of this PAIN so many months after the breakup with John. Things are better. The company is almost sold. Our future looks great. I've turned the company around financially. I have a legacy to continue building and lots of work in the pipeline. My family is settling down. And yet all of this stuff in me is fucking fucking sore still!!

 It started me thinking about the aftermath of a Tsunami. The day it hits all you feel is the devastation of the wave. Walking through the debris. Seeing maybe the foundations of the house that you used to live in. The roads you used to walk. But it's all gone. Broken. Lost. And once you've got past the shock and grief of the loss, the rebuilding begins. But it's not a straight line. Debris lies everywhere. Waste must be disposed of. Parts are rebuilt, and other parts are left for awhile - no bandwidth. No resources to repair them. Trauma memory keeps surfacing. Moving between hope and energy and loss, grief and despair.

I'm trying again to just sit with this pain. Not run from it. Or sanitize it. Or find another boy to just eliminate it for a while. Feel it and go through it. Although I do catch myself reaching out to a boy for comfort. But the Universe is clearly not allowing that to happen for me right now. Comfort is tantalizingly nearby but out of reach for now.

Go through this pain Trudy. Feel the ache of mommy neglect and abandonment. Feel the need and the wrenching of that being denied. Feel it. Hold yourself safe. It's the only way you are ever going to find your way back to yourself.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Letting Go

I'm trying to apply girlfriend rules here. I have to. Berlin has been very clear that we're in the friend zone and that we're not going to be dating material. I've accepted that and have done my best to respect it. So not boyfriend rules. Girlfriend rules.

So if my girlfriend and I said we would try to get together over the weekend for some wine, and she said to me that Friday wasn't going to work but we'll see how to fit it in on the weekend, then I guess I'd be expecting we'd meet up some time on the the weekend. And if I told her that it was my weekend with my kids because husband was going away with his girlfriend so I would need some notice so I could plan around managing my kids, she would probably give me some sort of idea of when that might (or might not) happen so I could start thinking through my options.

What a girlfriend wouldn't do, I don't think, is just not do it. Just never refer to our potential wine time and let me find out the long, drawn-out way, that its not going to happen. So I find out by Saturday evening that it's not going to happen on Saturday because it didn't. And then find out by Sunday evening that it's not going to happen then either. That the weekend would pass and my friend and I weren't going to have a drink together at all.

Because a girlfriend would know I would be counting on that time together because I have already told her how starved I am of connection time at the moment. And how much I need time with my friends right now. And, if for some reason she couldn't see me, she would have told me, apologising and demonstrating her own regret. And give me time to try to connect with another friend - set up time and have some connection time that I so badly need.

I suppose the one difference between Berlin and another 'girlfriend' is that I would have asked. Again. 'Hey - are we still going to have that wine'? And he would have had to respond. But I couldn't do that. I'd put myself too much out there by asking for the time so soon after our last connection.  So it felt too vulnerable for me to follow it up when it was being so obviously ignored. And our last conversation was hard and awkward and so so so vulnerable. I just couldn't find the strength to put myself on the line again and set myself up for more rejection and 'Trudy Please...' conversations.

So I really am going to treat this the way I have when other girlfriends have demonstrated their lack of intent and care of me and my time. I'm just going to let it go. No big confrontation No putting myself out there for more humiliating conversations. No more trying to insert myself into his life when he clearly doesn't really mind if I'm there or not. If he really wants me in his life - I'm sure he'll make the effort to come and fetch me. And if he doesn't - well then I'm doing the right thing by defining my boundaries better for myself.

I must move on - putting my time and thought and emotional energy in a place where it will matter more.

And try move past how very sore it feels.