Monday, 30 March 2015

The Narc Strikes Again

Not me this time! At least.

But I got a weird phone call last week from someone asking me if John-the-Narc had indeed been a director of my company last year. I was instantly suspicious. Some stranger calling in to ask about John could easily have been planted by John, and I want absolutely nothing to do with him, ever again!

But it turned out to be another small business owner who has had John working in his company for the past 6 months. And pretty much the same thing that happened to me, happened to him. I'm not going to put the details here on this blog because I do live in fear that John will try and stalk me again at some stage and may find his way here, and I don't want to incur even more abuse from him than I've already endured. But the short story is again one of horrible psychological abuse and battery, weaseling himself (and his ex-wife) onto the payroll, and money that goes missing. I feel so sorry for these people. Even though they only endured 6 months of what I bore for 5 years, they're still pretty cut up. And bent on revenge.

So he's back with his ex-wife. Sort of. Not living with her, but definitely sleeping with her: controlling her with sex, which we can tell from his emails. It's the typical Narc strategy, of course, heading back to old supply and using them for while as a financial base before they head off on their next conquest. Or, of course, running parallel conquests. He's going to destroy her soon too - this latest fraud of his will most likely mean she'll lose her licence to practice as a psychologist. Stupid woman. Or battered and abused woman. Like me. I can't tell. She has been telling these people that I am an evil woman, and that I am single-handedly responsible for breaking up their marriage. She's a Narc too, I think. So I have no idea whether these things spew from her because she loves making up her own stories about what a victim she is, or whether he has filled her head with lies to make him look good and me look bad. Fact is that he walked into my company exactly one month after she discovered that he was having another affair with another woman. And has been cheating on her AND me with other women too, like Debbie. Who she doesn't know about yet. But somehow she can also make it my fault. Whatever.

How do I feel about him sleeping with his wife again? Irritated. Irritated that she buckled and took him back and allowed him to get some more Narc supply from her. She's a shrink herself. And should know better. But, not my story. I'm not sad. And actually I'd rather not know anything about him any more, because the moment I hear new bits of information, which have been coming at me fast and furious this week, I just feel angry. And quite impotent. So many things he's told his new 'employers' about me which are just horrible and unnecessary and unkind lies. And so damaging to my reputation in a way that is completely unfounded. And he's told them often how he wants to take me down. Send out damaging emails that destroy me, my family, my reputation and my company. And, short of taking him on in court to fight for money I will probably never see, even if I get a court judgement against him, there isn't really an effective vehicle for me to fix this balance of 'victimness'. Except, of course, supporting these new people in their lawsuit. Which I will most definitely do. And stand on the sidelines and cheer while I watch them take him down!

I keep imagining showdowns with him, where a few of my favourite men and I show up and surround him, and threaten him. And they rough him up a bit. And hold him still so I can punch and kick him until I have my fill. And then they tell him that if ANYTHING ever happens to me or anyone in my family, or business, they will be back to finish the job, no matter how long it takes. Some of my special men have already offered to do just that for me. I've declined their offers so far...

But these revenge fantasies actually just put me in a negative and sad frame of mind - they don't really help me recover, or move away from the situation. Somehow they keep me connected and feeding into it. Or off it. Or something. I know the very best thing for me is to close down those thoughts every time I enter my head. And replace them with happier things. So I've resolved to do that as from today. No more long simulated conversations with him or his horrible ex wife. No defending myself to them, even in my imagination. Just more of an ongoing 'banishing' process where I continue to shed them and their sordid bullshit from my life!

I've lost 3kg in the past week. And my appetite is almost non existent. I have no idea whether that's because of the deep emotional upheaval that must be stirred up at a time like this, or whether it's because, at the same time, I'm falling a little bit in love with Charlie. Well, in crush, rather, for now. Both of those things could easily make the appetite disappear. And how wonderful for me that Charlie has appeared right at this time. If I was completely alone, with no happy prospects on the horizon, I might have found this New Discovery week incredibly hard to survive. But Charlie has most definitely buffered me through the week and, even if that turns out to be the sole purpose of him in my life, even that is enough.

How interesting, these things that make us resilient!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

...and then just maybe, Online Dating has found me my New Lover...?

So my day picked up a lot from yesterday's miserable beginning. It's time to give Bachelor #2 a name, because it seems like he will become someone special to me. I'm going to call him Charlie.

I think Charlie must have forgotten about our Saturday morning planning conversation. He checked in with me cheerfully later in the day and didn't seem self conscious or backing off me in any way at all. So I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt (do I do that too much for people?). And we set up drinks at his place instead. Well...not really his place....actually the clubhouse on the housing estate where he lives - one of the most exclusive in Johannesburg, and the furthest from my home as humanly possible in one city!

He's a single dad. His 13 year old son lives with him, and sees mom every alternate weekend. So this was dad's weekend, so he wasn't going to be able to be out and leave his son alone. But being nearby at the clubhouse with me would be ok - he left his boy playing Playstation games at home.  And I had planned to go out dancing with a mate of mine, but decided to pop by for that drink with Charlie first. More than anything I needed to check whether our spark from last week was really a thing, and still there a week later. Before I lost even more of my heart to a fantasy that didn't exist.

And it is. It really is. He greeted me with a gentle and deep kiss on the staircase to the entrance of the clubhouse. And then we went to a table on the balcony and ordered wine. And talked and talked. And kissed and kissed. And touched each other tentatively on the arm. Leg. Face. A cautious and gentle seduction that was delicious in it's slowness. And the knowing that we were not going home to bed was making it all the more tantalizing. It was going to be just this. In this public place in his village. The beginning of a beautiful connection?

It's his birthday today. I know it was too early to buy him a gift that would be 'significant' - 1 week in from our first date. But I did want to find a light way to acknowledge this new special thing. And shopping for him is quite an intimidating thing actually - he's so wealthy - he could buy himself the very best of anything he wanted. So it had to be clever. and not expensive. And yet somehow meaningful in a light, not needy way. Scarf? No. Book? No idea what he's read, and he reads a lot. Bookmark? Hmmmmm..... No. Romantic or sexy birthday card? Yes? No. Gosh...I amused myself for a few hours trying to decide.

And then I headed into a gadget shop and found this Magnet Girl fridge keyholder thing (in the pic above). Perfect! Not expensive, and lends itself to all sorts of playful metaphors. And stays on the fridge as an ongoing reminder of those metaphors. So I wrapped it up nicely and wrote a little note - something like this:

"Dear Charlie. 
No idea what the future brings. 
But here's to delicious magnetic beginnings. 
Happy Birthday. 

I hope he gets it properly. And puts it on his fridge.

And at the end of the evening, far too late for me to go dancing, and once I had recovered enough from the wine I drank, he walked me slowly to my car. And we kissed. And kissed. And kissed. Oh my goodness. I had forgotten how magnificent that can feel. Just kissing in a carpark in the dark. Like it would never end.

Wow. Electric and delicious.

I finally forced myself into my car and headed off home.

I want more of that.


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Have I done it again? Online fkn Dating SUCKS!!

Uuuuugh! I'm here again. Sore and fucking sad. And premenstrual. And I let my heart run away with me again and feel lost again!

Bachelor Number 2. I've been pining for him all week, working in Cape Town. And we've been in touch. Playful sexy. Fun. Looking forward to this weekend. We chatted on the phone. Made plans for coffee today and even moved out coffee with a girlfriend to make space with him. And he was suddenly 'out with his son'. No apology. No let's make another plan. Just out.

So I couldn't help myself. I went straight onto Ashley Madison and checked out when he'd last been online. Within the past hour. So while I'm really hoping there's something here for us, he's still out there hunting. Again. Just feels like Berlin all over again.

I'm second guessing myself. Do I have some weird expectation that when people say 'lets meet for coffee on Saturday', that they mean it? Am I missing a social beat about that? It's happened too many times with too many people. And every time it happens to me, it hurts like fucking hell!

I like this man SO MUCH. And have been counting the minutes till I see him again. And now, when that moment is about to come... I'm not seeing him at all. Just sitting here, alone in my house, wondering again what the fuck is wrong with me that this keeps on happening.

And I'm imagining all sorts of conversations in my head with him. All of them just redundant.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

He. Just. Leaves.

I think it's a moment I'll remember for a long time. I'm standing naked in my bathroom after my morning shower in my house in Cape Town. The light is on - the only light in the room. The adjoining bedroom that has full view into the shower, is in darkness.

Berlin gets up from my bed and walks towards me in his Tshirt and sleep shorts. With his sleepy face. He says "I'm going down to my own room to wake up a bit and get ready for the day." And leaves. The first time he ever sees me naked in the light. He doesn't even blink. Or take me in. Or tell me I'm lovely. None of those things that you would expect from a man who has been sleeping next to a loving naked woman all night. He. Just. Leaves.

I look back at myself in the mirror. I'm looking the loveliest I have in years. Slim but still enough meat on my body to produce some womanly curves. Lovely breasts. Open, beautiful face. Short, funky, graying hair. Not bad for a 47-year old woman with three sons! It's not me, Trudy. It's not me. Fuck I hope it's not me.

Last night he told me he wanted to fuck me. I said no. He was drunk. And full of desire and hormones. And I did not want to do the deed and have him wake up on me full of regret and remorse. We kissed. And touched. It was sexy and delicious for a while. It happened on my balcony just as he was saying goodnight to me. I was drunk too. We hugged goodnight. Then a brief goodnight kiss. Then another deeper one. And then we were suddenly there in that place of passion where reason deserts you. And I invited him up to my room. I said he could sleep with me, but that we weren't going to have sex. That if we did decide to have sex it would be in the cold light of day with zero alcohol in our systems. But I wanted to be held. And wanted to hold. And wanted to feel the safety of loving arms around me after a day where horrible news about John-the-narc was spilling back into my life.

And it was lovey to be in his arms. My gosh. I am still so starved of that kind of touch that just having it for a while around me feels like rain in the desert. And. Of course. As everyone could have predicted, two adults in the same bed together with a serious amount of alcohol and attraction meant that it wasn't just holding. There was some sexy loving too....! And at one stage he positioned me on top of him and whispered "is it safe?" I bent down and whispered again that I wasn't going to fuck him. That could only happen if he told me he wanted to the next day.

And we settled down to sleep. He dropped off and I lay awake for hours, naked in his arms as he slept. Mulling over my thoughts about the day's shocking news (to be processed in a different blog). And when I finally got up to have my shower, well, then, the rest is history.

"Any regrets?" I asked him in the car on our way out to breakfast in the morning.

"Some" he said. "I'm sorry that happened last night. I didn't want it to. I know you did. But I didn't. So I'm regretful. You must be happy though? Its what you wanted."

"Shew" I said. "People change you know. I can't actually say whether it was still what I wanted. Why are you sorry?"

"I think it may change the relationship we have with each other. And I don't want to lose that. I don't want it to be different. I like it", he says, quietly.

"It hasn't changed for me, Berlin" I say, "we're going to be cool".

"Then I don't regret it" he answers.

And we were cool. I wondered if he may join me again in my bed last night, but he didn't. He made us supper. We talked. Drank wine. Laughed. I danced in the kitchen in my pajamas to my favourite musician, Harry Connick Junior. It was lighthearted and comfortable.

And then. He left again.

And I was sad that I wouldn't be able to sleep feeling held. But I didn't fall apart. I just went to bed and put myself to sleep.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Venturing into the Online Dating fray...

Wow. What a fun time I've had the past few days! Signing up to Ashley Madison this time brought an absolute deluge of offers! My goodness. Good for the ego, even though at least 60% of them were really disgusting dick shots and gratuitous sex booty calls. But also some really nice connections with some lovely men.

This is the profile I set up for myself online:
Preferences and encounters I am open to:
I'm in a consenting open marriage. I want a relationship with a man who will enjoy exploring this life phase with me. My dream mate is clever. Successful. Soulful. Sexy. Healthy. Strong. Kind. Funny. Solid.I have lived life and learned stuff. I value wisdom and lifelong learning. I'm a curious thinker about the human condition. I write. I read. I work out (within reason). And I work.I want soulful connection and hot sex! Sometimes at the same time! An intimate life companion without the domestic ordinary that comes with marriage and kids. A place to escape sometimes and be this other part of me. Love Scammers that trawl this site: stay the fk away from me. I know your game and I'm not interested in playing. You'll be wasting your time with me.
What really turns me on:
Strong. Sexy. Solid. Knows his own mind. Kind. Funny. Clever
What I am looking for:
reading. bush time. walking. sunday morning coffee and breakfast. I'm not really into pecker shots and online sex chats with strangers. I'd prefer actual real relationships with real people. So NO to international sex chatters please.

I've even already managed to fit in some dates! One was with a very sexually forward guy. I enjoyed lunch with him, but after a while I needed to take a step back. He was so very into impressing me with his past sexual escapades that I eventually started feeling quite tame in comparison, and that the sacred and connected picture I have of sexual connection was disappearing into a 'been there, done that' pissing context that I hadn't even entered. But also, at some level, I saw a lot of myself in him. Stories of past relationship people which sound a lot like Narcs in his journey, one that even tried to poison him with insulin! And when I looked into the mirror of this man, I saw my own neediness and desperate need for affirmation and someone to take me home and love me. I suppose I do get a bit how Mark and Berlin were a bit overwhelmed by my emotional onslaught.

Even though I told him after our date he has not stopped texting me. With his yearning to be sexual with me. And I do not have the heart to be unkind to him about that because I so know how it feels to be him. So I'm just being gentle and unrejecting with him and let our connection emerge naturally to what it could become over time. I don't know about this one - too close to home for me? For him?

Two other dates I've been on have been just fantastic. My mate is calling them 'Bachelor 1 and Bachelor 2'. Bachelor 1 is an older man - he's 60 - and sexy in a dreamy 'come to bed' kind of way. He's strong and fit. And educated. And a wonderful conversationalist. I have been to dinner once and a movie date with him already. Our second date was much better than date one, and I find myself being relaxed and animatedly cheerful with him. Definite potential there, even though he will be the oldest guy I've ever dated. He is still married, but long term living apart from his wife. They're in an open marriage and are fully aware, like hubby and me, that they are seeing other people. I like him a lot. He's the right mix of interested, thoughtful, laid back, and 'into' me that seems to make things exciting and comfortable between us all at once.

Bachelor 1's online profile:
Preferences and encounters I am open to:
Just looking for the right person to share good times.
What really turns me on:
Casual Jeans/T-shirt Type, Long Hair, Girl Next Door, Sense of Humor, Creative and Adventurous, Confidence, Discretion/Secrecy, Good Communicator, Dislikes Routine, Drug Free, Natural Breasts, Stylish/Classy, Petite Figure, Imagination, Relaxed and Easy Going, Not Possessive, Good Personal Hygiene, High Sex Drive, Disease Free, Casual/Social Drinker, Muscular/Fit Body, A Professional/Well Groomed
What I am looking for:
Travel, Fine Dining/Candle Lit Dinners, Music Lover, Theatre, Watching Sports, Romantic Walks, Wine Tasting, I Am a Social Drinker, Physical Fitness, Cottage Country, The Outdoors/Nature, Skinny Dipping, Long Drives, Strip Poker/Adult Games, Picnics, Boating, Cooking/Barbequing, Daring Rendezvous
Scuba diving is my passion. The outdoors, hiking, all of nature is my love. Want to share?

Bachelor 2 is 55. A very energetic and enthusiastic businessman who is clearly SUPER rich. Single. Just out of a long term relationship. Out to 'have some fun'. He and I really hit it off during our breakfast together. Gosh I liked him a lot. And he liked me back a lot. We spent the rest of the day texting furiously and getting to know each other better. There is a lot more smoldering chemistry between us. I think that if he and I didn't already have plans for our Saturday evening and the rest of the weekend, we may very well have found another moment to be together. I don't know whether he would be a good 'for now' relationship partner for me. Whether something would evolve from that which could be deeper? I must test for myself what that means to him.

Preferences and encounters I am open to:
Energetic business executive, just out of a long relationship, and now looking for some fun.
What really turns me on:
A Professional/Well Groomed, Casual Jeans/T-shirt Type, Tall Height, Long Hair, Sense of Humor, Confidence, Good Communicator, Stylish/Classy, Tattoos, Naughty Girl, Imagination, Relaxed and Easy Going, Good Personal Hygiene, High Sex Drive, Disease Free, Hopeless Romantic, Discretion/Secrecy, Drug Free, Natural Breasts, Petite Figure
What I am looking for:
Travel, Fine Dining/Candle Lit Dinners, Theatre, Shopping for Sexy Clothes/Lingerie, Music Lover, I Am a Social Drinker, Skinny Dipping, Motorcycles, Watching Sports, Board Games, Politics, Dancing, Cards
Golf, backgammon

And what of my heart? Well, it's interesting that both of these men are pulling my attraction, both for very different reasons. And all three of them really really seem to enjoy me, and like me back. And all of them are actively pursuing me now, which is also something I've actually never experienced at this level before. I really want to practice just enjoying this wooing phase. I mustn't rush anything. With both my Bachelors for now. Although I also want to be sure I'm being careful with both their hearts. Both feel to me to be great guys and good, solid men. My psychic friend wants Bachelor 2 for me more - she thinks #1 will 'make me cry' whereas #2 'owns his shit'. Which is an interesting insight I'll watch out for in them both. #1 is already on his 3rd marriage.

And now, just checking back into Bachelor 2's AM profile, I see he has revoked access for me to see his photos. I wonder why that is? Is he shy of me seeing them still? I did tease him about them on our date yesterday... Or has he changed his mind about me already? Or found another person he likes more?? I sent a WhatsApp message to him as soon as I saw that - I wonder how he will respond. He's on a plane right now so I guess it will be a while before I hear. Oh dear. This Online dating thing is still quite a vulnerable thing to do. Am I really up to it?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Ready to go Play Online Again

It feels completely different this time. I started a new profile on Ashley Madison yesterday, looking to find men in a similar position to me - committed to family, but seeking some sort of magic and connection. I think I've almost completely given up on Berlin becoming that person, although I did enjoy telling him that I was back on AM. He was a bit surprised. And then asked me out for wine quite insistently the next day. And has decided to join me on my next trip to Cape Town. Once again I have absolutely NO idea whether that means anything at all. But I have decided to just live with taking him at his word that we are to be nothing but friends.

So why the sudden interest in Online Dating again? I think it was reading that book I talked about yesterday. When I realized how very common this life stage is, I suddenly thought I'm wasting a lot of time feeling lonely. I know I'm doing the work, and healing myself. But I'm also hanging around, waiting for unavailable men to respond to my messages. Ask me out. Give me a little loving attention. I'm not going to spend one more day wondering whether Berlin is going to wake up and realise we're great for each other.

Ag no. Enough already.  There must be more men out there that could give me a very different experience in my life right now.

So what's different? Well. Me actually. I'm being ruthless with my 'picking'. I've had piles of invitations, and I'm just turning down 90% of them if something isn't the way I want it. And I'm not going to give away my heart in any way unless I find someone I really like. I have already started chatting to a couple of guys today. I've asked them both to send me selfies dated today so I can be sure they're not Nigerian assholes trying to reel me into another love scam. Thanks Berlin - I learned so much about protecting myself through your experience. I've already had to view my fair share of naked penises. Delete. Bad spelling. Delete. Guys from USA and Slovenia trying their luck. Delete. Guys my son's age telling me they crave mature women and telling me how sexy I am...chuckle and delete. Someone writing Arabic. Hot, but no - delete.

And the couple of guys I've started chatting to? One is splashing his wealth all over his pics and lives in the MOST exclusive housing estate in town. Narc? Single. So even though I'm not into flashy cars and lifestyles, I thought - why not give him a go. I've actually never spent time in a life where money flows like that - see how it feels! And the other one lives nearby to me. That would make life easier for meeting up. Both are self employed.

This is what my Astro chart says today:
Oh, Capricorn, we've got a fun influence happening and it hits today: Venus is wiggling her way right into the houses associated with both creativity and romance today. This may have some of us feeling a little bit more like wine and roses, a bit less like the stern and practical. This isn't a bad thing at all- but, as usual, to get the ball rolling, it's going to be up to us. Still- our initiative will not be without rewards.

Yay!! Time to play a bit.

Maybe a date for Wednesday night?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Dance me 'till the End of Love

I don't believe in it anymore. True Love. Long lasting 'til the end of time' kind of love. It's such a compelling story, and my heart wants, at some level, to embrace that as a hope and dream. But no. I don't think it's a thing. If anything, I think it's an exception to the rule - like a very small percentage of relationships that begin in a youthful 'falling in love' place and ends in getting old together happily. I have seen lots of people get old together. But happy ones? Not so much.

I started listening to Leonard Cohen. Yesterday. He's Bush Man's favourite singer, and when we got together we played a few of his songs on my cell phone YouTube. Now my YouTube thinks I'm a Leonard Cohen fan, and gives me recommendations every time I open it. So last night Bush Man checked in with me a little on WhatsApp and when we said goodnight, I sent him the Leonard Cohen version of 'Dance Me till the End of Love'. Just as a playful goodnight moment - him sleeping alone in his guest house and all.

And then I listened to it myself. And felt myself being drawn into the such compelling picture of a love that lasts a lifetime. The romantic siren song that lures you to believe it's possible. I believed it for a while, that night. And then woke up again in the morning to my real life. Knowing that it's an almost impossible dream - one that maybe a very lucky very few chance upon.

This weekend I discovered and downloaded the book "Marriage Confidential". Wow! If ever I have read a book that so thoroughly defines my  own feelings about my marriage, and those of so many people of my generation that I've talked to, then this is it!  I'm not finished it yet, but I am seeing marriage in a whole new light. People like me and my husband. Living in 'meh' marriages where that passion and inspiration is long gone, but it's not 'bad enough' for us to part. Where we define our partnership first in terms of our co-parenting responsibilities and can't really remember the actual reasons why we chose each other in the first place. Where that passion is gone, but a respect and partnership (and friendship) still lingers. Where we all look at each other, silently wondering what actually happened. She defines that all so well.

And then she talks about how people like us are starting to redefine marriage. Quietly. Confidentially , mostly. Open marriages like mine. Divorced but cohabiting and coparenting. Polyamory. Sanctioned 'stepping out'. Swinging. All new ways of addressing the loss of the dream and the 'quiet desperation' so many of us endure while trying to do our best by living in marriages that are past their sell-by date if we look purely at the Romantic Expectations we began our relationships with. She says so many modern marriages end because of the loss of this dream. And maybe they don't have to. The ones that are lasting now are the ones where quiet redefinition is taking place. Where we are allowing ourselves to have courageous conversations about what we really want out of life. About vitality. About passion. Sex. About personal growth and wrestling with life.

And I think that's possibly what my husband and I are doing. We have spent some incredibly painful years facing up to each other and feeling a sense of failure of our marriage to stand up to the standards we set it. Acknowledging it fell short. And now starting to examine how we can co create a way forward: That works for us. Our kids. Our sense of community and stability on the world.

We didn't talk it through like this at all. I want him to read this book as a way of setting a background and context for us both to realise we are not alone in this place. That millions of marriages just like ours are suffering like this. That we may well be ahead of the curve in being one of the pioneering and courageous couples who are consciously looking to shift, and yet preserve our basic lives without ripping the fabric of our family apart.

I want to have this conversation with him. For the first time in years I feel quite inspired by what we're doing, instead of feeling like it's just a way of containing the fallout after our failure as a couple.

How exciting. A new way of framing our life together. I hope I get him to read the book - could take him months. Sigh.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What's not Safe?

That was the question we began with in therapy yesterday. The complicated answer ended up being 'most things right now'. I'm bruised and sad and a bit on my own again. Berlin has reversed back into his work and online girl playing. Mark is working like mad and distant. My Joburg best friend has hit a horrible wobbly of her own and I'm trying to stand next to her and hold her as gently as I can. My Cape Town mates are, well, in Cape Town. Bush Man is off in the bush somewhere in the country, and won't stand close to me anyway - he's only really going to touch base when we're geographically compatible. He's not a comfort friend - more a sexual connection friend...different kind of comfort I suppose, but not really regular.

The question came because we were talking about the Cape Fires of last week. My house down there is in one of the suburbs that was hit with the horrendous fires. My house isn't on the outskirts of the village, so safer, but still hard to live with the stress and potential risk of the houses burning there as they did in neighboring suburbs. Being surrounded by a fierce and brutal fire over which you have no control can be a terrifying thing. And I met a lot of terrified villagers during that time. I was calmer. Easier for me - it's a guest house I own, and not my permanent home, so I could think about the insurance claim and rebuild I would have to do, rather than the loss of everything I have. And I was moved by the incredible fight the firefighters were bringing to the fire to protect us. And so saddened by the death of one of the helicopter pilots that crashed while fighting another fire a few days after saving our village.

I went out into the bush a few days after the fires, just to see what destruction had been caused. It was mind blowing. I took the photo in this blog entry up at Silver Mines where quite a few dwellings had burned down. The devastation was brutal to see. That world is usually thick with green and beautiful rare fynbos. You could never see the ground. And now - stalks and sand. I could feel myself reading the metaphor for how my burning by John-the-Narc fire had left me like this. Bereft. Empty. No real clue of life anywhere. A sad and desolate husk. That landscape felt like my life.

But the interesting thing is that fynbos need burning to rejuvenate. That landscape has an incredible seed bank underneath the sand, and the burning of the fire is just what they need to begin again. Within a few months, when the rains come, there will emerge a wondrously rich and new landscape again. I think that metaphor fits with me too. A lot of me needed burning in the Narc fire. It was horrible. But necessary. Death to facilitate rebirth.

The clouds are around me.  know the rain will come soon. Already I feel my re-birthing seeds swelling in their pods. I am still grieving the death of my previous life - nightmares still come to torture me with images of John returning - whether to abuse me, or to soothe me, or to manipulate me at work. Sometimes I invite him in. Sometimes I fight him. But never, even in my dreams, do I forget the burning. That will remain with me always.

So I'm not safe yet. I have moments of it. Where I am holding myself strong and solid. But I'm still bruised. Recovering. Emerging.

It's been 10 months since my burning. New shoots coming through all over the place.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Finding Me in Relationship

So Berlin crashed again. Not in a violent or ugly way this time. More in a 'Oh really...? So we're actually just friends' kind of way. I think he doesn't know his own mind and blows hot and cold on me without actually keeping himself or me in the loop about it. Wine on Sunday night was a comfortable chatting affair. But, unlike last time out where his kiss goodnight was suddenly a bit more than a 'friends' goodnight kiss, this one was just perfunctory. No yearning. No hidden meaning.

And when I WhatsApped him a bit later to say that he was getting under my skin again, he came back full of bluster: 'We've been OVER this Trudy. We're JUST FRIENDS'. Sigh. So I allowed myself to be open again. Let the vulnerability be there, but not gushing it in any way. And. Well. This time it didn't work out for me so well. I feel sad. But not devastated - so I guess I'm protecting my heart as best I can.  I'm a bit worried that I sometimes feel like that character in the  "Orange is the New Black" series who invents a whole relationship in her head with a man that actually thinks she's stalking him! But it isn't that, I know.

I think something happens in him which has everything to do with how available to him I am - the closer I find myself coming to him, the more he pulls away. When I pull back, he starts moving towards me again. Both of us are fragmented souls. Both of us suffered the kind of childhood trauma that makes loving difficult. True intimacy is not easy for either of us. And I think it's much easier for him to blame me for his uncomfortable feelings that come up when it feels I'm getting too close to him. He probably feels some sort of fear of being engulfed, just as I fear being abandoned. And he's not really examining that kind of thing inside himself so he's not really aware. I think. I'm projecting because I don't really know for sure. And, of course, he's still addicted to his online chats - I think they're giving him short bursts of passion and attraction - very compelling, even though completely unreal. So even though I am standing in front of him. A living breathing woman who might love him so beautifully if he gave me a chance...he can't see that, or engage with it, because it's just too scary for him.

So I really do need to think about whether I really want to be expending this amount of energy with this man, who is clearly not capable of meeting me halfway on anything. He's relishing this 'friendship' that we have, declaring that I know things about him that he's never told anybody before. And he's so glad he has the preciousness of this friendship here for him. That's great and all. But I'm not actually in that same place. This relationship isn't a proper friendship to me. I want to pursue something deeper. Sexual. Loving. And part of me still thinks that he will get there with me eventually, when he manages to wade through all of his own shit about it. But do I really want that? To hang around for ages waiting for him to figure out that he actually wants me?

That feels exactly like how it went in the courting process with my Husband. I knew in about 5 minutes that I was going to marry him. And he figured it out about 2 years later. And I felt more and more wounded as we went along - why didn't he just love me?? Maybe I brow-beat him into loving me in those two years? I don't really know - did I just become the easiest choice for him because I was there? Because I was working so very hard to make him happy?

Someone said to me the other day that I would learn about ME a lot in my relationships with these men. That each of them will help me learn more about myself. I must say I feel that becoming true for me. Not only am I learning about me, but I even feel myself shifting in relationship - this time I handled Berlin better. Handled myself better. Am more healthy in the way I'm thinking through my options. I'm feeling my needy child wanting holding, but I'm not trying to make that anybody else's responsibility.

In my talking to Mark I'm also suddenly finding a healthier response coming from inside me. I feel a deep and loving affection for him and want the best for him. And if anything, THIS relationship feels like the best friends one that Berlin thinks he has with me. Maybe because actually, if Mark wasn't needing to go back into his marriage and repair it, then we would most definitely have had a deep and loving relationship. So this one - warm, kind, genuine and connected - feels safe. And rich and good.

When I travel to another country, I'm always struck by how different the air and the light feels as soon as I get off the plane. Somehow my life is starting to feel like that. Different. The air and the light really do make me feel like I'm living in another country. Inventing a new life, not just living out the predictable lines that seem to extend from the 'grown up' decisions I've made over the years.  I have absolutely no idea about how this is going to turn out. And I'm so at peace with that.

It's interesting.

Monday, 9 March 2015

On Vulnerability

It's one of the Ted Talks top 20 most popular segments of all time, the one on 'Vulnerability'. I watched it again for myself this morning. I was having a rare luxurious lie-in in my house in Cape Town - just a beautiful view from my bed. And a beautiful day. Coffee. Fruit salad. And dark chocolate! Felt indulgent and self nurturing.

I was moved by that video. Watch it. Do yourself that favour. I've seen it maybe 5 times over the past few years and every time it teaches me new things. Today it resonated so strongly with me about how very vulnerable I am myself right now. And all the stuff I've been wrestling with myself about that. How much do I show? How much do I share? How much of myself should I be exposing to the people around me, and how much do I keep just for me.

I have felt wrong and judged over the past weeks. Almost punished for showing too much. Showing myself to my precious people in all my naked and raw honesty on this blog became too much for them to hold. And some of them sanctioned me.

Berlin rebuked me. I think he misread some of the blog I sent him. And reacted to it so strongly that he sent me a very cruel response that I know I still haven't quite recovered from. I felt so chastised. Wrong. Bad for trying to explain myself to him and trying to share my real truth.

Mark first reacted to the vulnerability he felt about his wife possibly finding this blog and identifying him through my stories. But in deeper conversation, he than also cautioned me about sharing so much of myself and my pain with the men in my life. He was concerned that it might scare them away - that I may be showing too much of an 'emotional burden' to them and they may be 'intimidated'. He wanted to know why I felt the need to share so many of my secrets with other people. The fact that I have 6 or 7 very close people who have had access to my blog was so very weird to him. He has maybe one or two - me being one of those.

And when our mutual girlfriend shared similar sentiments with me and suggested I stop blogging completely, I felt very betrayed - I could tell this was something they had discussed together - their words and ideas were coming out in a very similar way - and I just felt unseen and misunderstood.

So closing my blog to my friends, and moving it to this new, secret place where they would really struggle to find it has felt like a relief to me. I feel suddenly freeer and unencumbered again as I write. I hadn't realised how much knowing they could come in at any time and 'read me' was actually shaping the way I was writing. Not wanting to hurt them. Or not wanting to expose a particular thought to them. Or even imagining John the Narc possibly stalking me meant I was just adding that extra layer of veneer on my editing, just in case. So now. Free. Raw. Truthful. I will write my truth here, and share verbally with people I choose to share myself with rather than sending them blog sections to read.

To allow yourself to be vulnerable takes courage. Expressing it even more so. If you are given the gift of someone's raw vulnerability, however uncomfortable, it is a gift to be cherished. It speaks of trust and your worthiness to be let in.

I don't think I have completely figured out who to let in and who not. Although being vulnerable involves the risk of being wrong. Being hurt. It also should be carefully communicated. Just as I've been learning to 'hold the baby' and not try to give it away, so I think, I should be careful of my vulnerability. It isn't always a pretty or sexy thing to share. Sometimes it's just raw and awkward and clumsy. I was that with one of my Cape Town best girlfriends this week. And she was just a perfect place to show that. She didn't need to rescue or fix. She just listened. And held me with a caring empathy that she didn't even need to express in words. She let me feel and say my say and witnessed that moment with me. That was all. Safe. Held. Loved. And a bit healed.

But yesterday I told another girlfriend about turning off the blog. I abbreviated the story and told it on WhatsApp, so I don't think she was able to read my tone or get how painful it has been for me to get to this point where I hide this part of myself. But that I was pleased that I could be free to write unencumbered. Her immediate and only response was that I was to please not write anything of her thoughts and feelings I hear in conversation with her or she would no longer feel safe talking to me. BAM. Just like that. Sanction. Judgement. Punishment. And suddenly I felt wrong again. Exposed and harmed. My motives and care for my friend held in question. She's in a tough space right now - I know that. So a place where I am usually safe isn't very safe right now. I must be careful to feel like it's never going to be safe again. And read it in a few days time when she has settled her own anxiety a bit. But an interesting lesson for me all the same - people can be safe for me sometimes, not always. And even that I'm going to have to watch.

And when I get it wrong? I trust? I reveal? My vulnerability comes out in a place where I have the courage to be seen, and I am rebuked and hurt? I think I'll have to learn how to soothe myself in that pain. Take myself into my own arms and say 'sorry that happened to you Trudy my precious. You weren't wrong to be vulnerable and show yourself. You were brave. It didn't work out so well for you this time, but it will. Keep being brave. You're a good good person. And you deserve love and compassion'.

Because I think that, despite the riskiness of showing myself to people, the payout is worth it. When I have the courage to tell the truth, real conversations often happen in return. Those conversations that shape us and help us find new meaning and learning. Intimacy and trust is built between people when they have the courage to show up with their vulnerability. And those are the kinds of relationships I want to attract into my life. If I have to close myself and hide myself from people, then it's time I question whether they are people I should continue journeying with. The people you are in relationship with shape you. They contribute to your character. They grow and encourage you to become a better person. Or they can distort and direct you into places where you become a lesser version of yourself. I should be with people who will help me shape me into the best I am capable of becoming. As I do the same for them in return.

I sent these words (my own!) to Mark yesterday - he loved them so much he used them in his profile status: There is richness and vitality that comes with wrestling with life. It's not always easy. But it's not ordinary. I like not living in a predictable way any more. I used to have so much sorted. But I'm finding it nice to be surprised with what life presents when I live my truth. Sore sometimes. But rewarding too.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Dance of Berlin

Really really. Berlin feels like he's coming back to me again. In two steps. Out two steps. Round and about again... And he's slow. And careful. And he's definitely starting to get under my skin again.

I don't really know what to do! I know my best friend would say "get the hell out of there! He'll hurt you". My shrink would say "go carefully".

I'm feeling like I am going carefully. I keep recognising patterns that we found when he was in Berlin - when we first met on Ashley Madison. I'm giving you that chat history so you can think it through for yourself - am I imagining this? Is he coming back?

Context: I'm working in Cape Town right now. I have a beautiful guest house here. Berlin stayed in it last week when he was down here, so he now knows it.

5 Mar 8:42 PM - Berlin: In the house now?
5 Mar 8:43 PM - Trudy: Yup. My agent replaced the wine you guys flattened
5 Mar 8:44 PM - Trudy: So I'm polishing it off solo
5 Mar 8:44 PM - Trudy: Getting all morose
5 Mar 8:44 PM - Berlin: :(
5 Mar 8:45 PM - Trudy: This house is big and lonely
5 Mar 8:45 PM - Trudy: I bought it as my John love nest
5 Mar 8:45 PM - Trudy: Now feels empty
5 Mar 8:45 PM - Berlin: Ach come on...
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Berlin: It's a beautiful house
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Trudy: I'm fine
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Berlin: It's yours
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Berlin: Fuck that guy
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Berlin: He's an asshole
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Berlin: Fact
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Trudy: Just have managed to have people with me whenever I've come here since we broke up
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Trudy: My first time alone
5 Mar 8:46 PM - Trudy: He is
5 Mar 8:47 PM - Berlin: Why didn't you tell me?
5 Mar 8:47 PM - Trudy: But I guess it's healthy to grieve the loss of the reality I thought I was living in
5 Mar 8:47 PM - Trudy: Tell you what?
5 Mar 8:47 PM - Berlin: Could have stayed a bit longer
5 Mar 8:47 PM - Berlin: Maybe
5 Mar 8:47 PM - Trudy: That would have been nice
5 Mar 8:48 PM - Berlin: But it's probably a good thing
5 Mar 8:48 PM - Trudy: But I do need to face all this stuff
5 Mar 8:48 PM - Berlin: For you to be there alone for a while
5 Mar 8:48 PM - Trudy: Part of the process
5 Mar 8:48 PM - Berlin: In Dante's Inferno (huge fires in our suburb)
5 Mar 8:48 PM - Trudy: So much
5 Mar 8:49 PM - Berlin: Damn, I'm a little pissed off with myself
5 Mar 8:49 PM - Trudy: Why?
5 Mar 8:49 PM - Berlin: Wanted to leave something for you
5 Mar 8:50 PM - Berlin: Flowers or wine or both
5 Mar 8:50 PM - Trudy: Well David took care of the wine
5 Mar 8:50 PM - Berlin: But things got so hectic
5 Mar 8:50 PM - Berlin: Also because of the fires
5 Mar 8:51 PM - Trudy: You owe me!
5 Mar 8:51 PM - Berlin: I seriously thought we'd have to evacuate...
5 Mar 8:51 PM - Trudy: I'll remind you
5 Mar 8:51 PM - Berlin: Yip I do 
5 Mar 8:51 PM - Berlin: I'm sure you will 
5 Mar 8:51 PM - Trudy: Scary stuff. .. The Valley smells like yesterday's braai today
5 Mar 8:51 PM - Trudy: No fire at all though
5 Mar 8:52 PM - Berlin: But what's the situation now?
5 Mar 8:52 PM - Trudy: Wind died down
5 Mar 8:53 PM - Trudy: I think the guys are containing and damping down
5 Mar 8:53 PM - Trudy: Constantia Neck was burning this morning but ok now
5 Mar 8:55 PM - Berlin: That's bad... Still want to go to Beau Constantia with you which is basically on Constantia Neck... Hope it's still there...
5 Mar 8:56 PM - Trudy: Good. Then I'll hold you to that
5 Mar 8:56 PM - Trudy: How's your day been?
5 Mar 8:57 PM - Berlin: Constructive. Very constructive!! Love that!! 

5 Mar 10:07 PM - Berlin: By the way, pencil booked the main house for mid December 
5 Mar 10:08 PM - Trudy: Oh how wonderful
5 Mar 10:17 PM - Berlin: Still watching TV?
5 Mar 10:18 PM - Trudy: Naaa
5 Mar 10:18 PM - Trudy: In bed
5 Mar 10:18 PM - Trudy: Looking at the lighthouse
5 Mar 10:20 PM - Trudy: You?
5 Mar 10:27 PM - Berlin: Playing a game on my iPad...
5 Mar 10:27 PM - Berlin: Thanks for being in my life Trudy 
5 Mar 10:28 PM - Trudy: :)
5 Mar 10:29 PM - Berlin: If you'd be around I'd hug you now 
5 Mar 10:30 PM - Trudy: I'd let you!
5 Mar 10:30 PM - Trudy: Might even hug back
5 Mar 10:31 PM - Berlin: Seriously? You hug back???
5 Mar 10:32 PM - Trudy: Only sometimes
5 Mar 10:32 PM - Trudy: If you really deserve it
5 Mar 10:32 PM - Berlin:
5 Mar 10:33 PM - Berlin: Well... who deserves what...
5 Mar 10:34 PM - Berlin: Are you in bed now?
5 Mar 10:35 PM - Trudy: I am
5 Mar 10:37 PM - Berlin: Look forward to our next drink somewhere 
5 Mar 10:37 PM - Trudy: Yes. That will be lovely. Maybe Sunday eve

5 Mar 10:46 PM - Trudy: I closed up my blog today.
5 Mar 10:46 PM - Berlin: Why?
5 Mar 10:46 PM - Trudy: Also a long story
5 Mar 10:46 PM - Trudy: Hard
5 Mar 10:47 PM - Berlin: I know
5 Mar 10:47 PM - Berlin: But why do you close it now?
5 Mar 10:47 PM - Trudy: Have moved it 'offshore' where it will be completely anonymous
5 Mar 10:48 PM - Trudy: Changed all the links
5 Mar 10:48 PM - Trudy: So I'll lose all my followers

5 Mar 10:52 PM - Trudy: Hi Trudy, I hope you are well and don't mind me contacting you, if you do then please let me know and I will refrain........there I was, going in to read my favourite inspirational blog when.............aaaargh! no! It's been removed!! I hope everything is okay? And would like to say that it has been a privilege to have a window on your life, your struggles and triumphs, your insights and raw has been so hard not to comment when I've wanted to offer comfort or support or just say well done or how much I admire you, I've always had to pull myself away and remind myself that with the history we share being friends is not an option.........instead I have journeyed voyeuristically with you and am amazed and 'proud' of the cathartic strides you have have also helped me tremendously in understanding Narcs and even aided me in scratching under the surface of my own unhealthy relationships......... I Thank you 

5 Mar 10:54 PM - Berlin: Hmmm...
5 Mar 10:56 PM - Berlin: Now if you translate that from woman's talk to something a man can understand... Is that good or bad?
5 Mar 10:57 PM - Berlin: The scary thing is... How does she know it's you?
5 Mar 10:57 PM - Trudy: Oh. That's my problem
5 Mar 10:57 PM - Trudy: It's good
5 Mar 10:58 PM - Trudy: I sent her the link in the early days
5 Mar 10:58 PM - Trudy: Because I was trying to help her
5 Mar 10:58 PM - Trudy: John abused her badly too
5 Mar 10:58 PM - Trudy: Coerced her into horrible sexual deviant stuff
5 Mar 10:59 PM - Trudy: But that's why I've moved it
5 Mar 10:59 PM - Trudy: I began writing it anonymously. And then I invited some of my precious people in.
5 Mar 11:00 PM - Trudy: Like you for example.
5 Mar 11:00 PM - Trudy: So it stopped being anonymous
5 Mar 11:00 PM - Trudy: And a couple of my married men have stayed worrying they'll be exposed
5 Mar 11:00 PM - Trudy: So it got unsafe for me and them
5 Mar 11:01 PM - Trudy: So I've taken it out of friend domain completely
5 Mar 11:01 PM - Trudy: And learned a few hard lessons about boundaries and things

And suddenly - we start moving into closer conversations:
5 Mar 11:06 PM - Berlin: Weird things we're doing here hey...
5 Mar 11:06 PM - Trudy: Ummm.... I'm really interested in what you think is weird
5 Mar 11:13 PM - Berlin: Going onto anonymous sites to just fuck... Chatting to people that don't exist and falling in love with them unintentionally... Chatting to people that do exist that fall in love with you unintentionally... Hurting them unintentionally... Becoming real friends... but thinking back to Skype chats in Berlin only a few months ago that seem years ago...
5 Mar 11:14 PM - Trudy: Oh that! ???
5 Mar 11:14 PM - Berlin: So you ask me what's weird...? 😊 Maybe you're right... It's probably normal...
5 Mar 11:15 PM - Trudy: You're thinking back? ??
5 Mar 11:15 PM - Berlin: I do those things...
5 Mar 11:15 PM - Trudy: Those weren't Skype chats. That was skype sex😉
5 Mar 11:16 PM - Trudy: I guess we all have our own normal
5 Mar 11:16 PM - Trudy: And weird
5 Mar 11:16 PM - Trudy: I feel free.
5 Mar 11:17 PM - Berlin: You are free!
5 Mar 11:17 PM - Trudy: And I don't really care how weird people think I am
5 Mar 11:18 PM - Berlin: You just haven't really discovered it for yourself... Kopfmensch... 
5 Mar 11:18 PM - Trudy: I'm working on it

5 Mar 11:19 PM - Berlin: Do you know how close you have become to me?
5 Mar 11:19 PM - Trudy: Not really. You're hard to read
5 Mar 11:19 PM - Berlin: Yes it is weird somehow...
5 Mar 11:20 PM - Berlin: I'm hard to read for myself so that's nothing unusual...
5 Mar 11:21 PM - Berlin: What I'm saying is
5 Mar 11:21 PM - Trudy: So I won't know unless you tell me. .... I stopped trying to guess
5 Mar 11:22 PM - Berlin: Thank you for being around that weird German guy...
5 Mar 11:22 PM - Trudy: You're not weird Berlin
5 Mar 11:22 PM - Trudy: Just human
5 Mar 11:22 PM - Trudy: Which makes you interesting
5 Mar 11:23 PM - Trudy: Like my profile pic
5 Mar 11:23 PM - Berlin: Ditto
5 Mar 11:24 PM - Trudy: All those cracks and shards letting the light shine in
5 Mar 11:24 PM - Trudy: Where the art exists
5 Mar 11:25 PM - Berlin: I'm very aware of that... Every time I see your profile pic I know exactly what you're saying...
5 Mar 11:25 PM - Berlin: That's what I like
5 Mar 11:26 PM - Berlin: Between us there are things we understand
5 Mar 11:26 PM - Trudy: Yes
5 Mar 11:26 PM - Berlin: That others don't
5 Mar 11:26 PM - Trudy: Yes. You're right
5 Mar 11:26 PM - Berlin: And I find it quite incredible
5 Mar 11:26 PM - Trudy: Really?
5 Mar 11:27 PM - Berlin: That we met on a fuck site 
5 Mar 11:27 PM - Trudy: *laughing*
5 Mar 11:27 PM - Trudy: Not that incredible
5 Mar 11:27 PM - Trudy: We do both really need to get laid
5 Mar 11:28 PM - Berlin: Yes but hell that applies to 95% of the population even if they don't admit it...
5 Mar 11:29 PM - Trudy: Ok then.  I'll say it differently. We do both not mind admitting we need to get laid.
5 Mar 11:30 PM - Trudy: And are not afraid to put ourselves on the line to get there
5 Mar 11:31 PM - Berlin: Yip
5 Mar 11:31 PM - Berlin: But I have to admit that my excitement has died down a bit...
5 Mar 11:32 PM - Trudy: For the online pursuit?
5 Mar 11:32 PM - Berlin: And you are part of the reason
5 Mar 11:32 PM - Berlin: You go onto a site to just fuck
5 Mar 11:33 PM - Berlin: Then you get fucked around in all sorts of ways
5 Mar 11:33 PM - Trudy: Yes. Horrible
5 Mar 11:34 PM - Berlin: Only to discover that you seriously hurt someone yourself
5 Mar 11:35 PM - Berlin: And quit the crap but end up with something very valuable...
5 Mar 11:36 PM - Trudy: :)
He's talking about our story - I fell for him online and he abandoned me. Read up in the first story called 'Online Dating and Projection'
5 Mar 11:36 PM - Berlin: Are you still asking me what's weird?
5 Mar 11:36 PM - Berlin: It's not weird
5 Mar 11:36 PM - Berlin: It's surreal...
5 Mar 11:36 PM - Trudy: I'm chuckling
5 Mar 11:37 PM - Trudy: You're funny
5 Mar 11:37 PM - Trudy: It is surreal
5 Mar 11:37 PM - Trudy: But I do prefer that to a planned,  orderly,  predictable life
5 Mar 11:38 PM - Trudy: This way there are mysteries
5 Mar 11:38 PM - Trudy: Questions
5 Mar 11:38 PM - Trudy: Angles
5 Mar 11:38 PM - Trudy: New things
5 Mar 11:38 PM - Trudy: The stuff of a rich and engaging life
5 Mar 11:38 PM - Trudy: Even the very painful stuff has the sweet edge of vitality to it
5 Mar 11:39 PM - Trudy: Really really feeling things
5 Mar 11:39 PM - Trudy: Don't you think?
5 Mar 11:39 PM - Berlin: Yes I do
5 Mar 11:40 PM - Berlin: It includes digging deep
5 Mar 11:40 PM - Trudy: YES!!!!!!!!
5 Mar 11:40 PM - Trudy: My specialty
5 Mar 11:40 PM - Berlin: And the amazing thing is that we can
5 Mar 11:41 PM - Berlin: We have no obligations
5 Mar 11:41 PM - Trudy: Yes
5 Mar 11:41 PM - Berlin: No common friends or family
5 Mar 11:42 PM - Berlin: But we understand each other
5 Mar 11:43 PM - Trudy: And have survived some serious volatility with each other
5 Mar 11:43 PM - Berlin: Even though we're both not easy and complex with lots of crap in our lives...
5 Mar 11:43 PM - Trudy: Yes
5 Mar 11:43 PM - Trudy: But that's the art again isn't it
5 Mar 11:43 PM - Trudy: We're interesting
5 Mar 11:44 PM - Berlin: I'm glad you sent that last message after I stopped contact
5 Mar 11:44 PM - Trudy: That kicking down the door moment!
5 Mar 11:45 PM - Trudy: Sigh.
5 Mar 11:45 PM - Trudy: Yes
5 Mar 11:45 PM - Berlin: Guess that's a female thing...
5 Mar 11:45 PM - Trudy: Not really
5 Mar 11:45 PM - Trudy: More a Trudy thing
5 Mar 11:46 PM - Berlin: You had that instinct and knew something's wrong...
5 Mar 11:46 PM - Berlin: Glad you have that Trudy thing 
5 Mar 11:46 PM - Trudy:  :)
5 Mar 11:47 PM - Trudy: You know you should be here next to me watching the lights across the bay
5 Mar 11:47 PM - Berlin: So can you hear the fire crackling or are things calming down?
5 Mar 11:48 PM - Trudy: We could be drinking wine and talking into the wee hours
5 Mar 11:48 PM - Trudy: No more fire here
5 Mar 11:48 PM - Berlin: Yes, actually it seriously ridiculous that we're not sitting there together!!!
5 Mar 11:49 PM - Trudy: Then one of us would fall asleep in the middle of a sentence. ...
5 Mar 11:49 PM - Berlin: The broadcaster now said they're happy to have the final film end of next week
OMG - He COULD have stayed....
5 Mar 11:49 PM - Trudy: Get on a plane!!!
5 Mar 11:50 PM - Berlin: After saying they need it early nxt week
5 Mar 11:50 PM - Berlin: So I could have stayed.... 
5 Mar 11:50 PM - Trudy: Yes well. ..road not travelled and all
5 Mar 11:51 PM - Berlin: Damn my Lear jet is in service right now...
5 Mar 11:51 PM - Trudy: I hate it when that happens
5 Mar 11:52 PM - Berlin: Yes and my second one is with my mother... Inshallah...
5 Mar 11:52 PM - Trudy: As it happens I'm not alone in my room
Hahaaaa - just freaked him out for a second
5 Mar 11:53 PM - Trudy: I am sharing my bedroom with a really annoying mosquito
5 Mar 11:53 PM - Berlin: Holy moly so I won't disturb...
5 Mar 11:54 PM - Trudy: You would have been a much more pleasant alternative
5 Mar 11:55 PM - Berlin: I wouldn't suck your blood either...
5 Mar 11:56 PM - Berlin: Which room are you in?
5 Mar 11:56 PM - Trudy: Main
5 Mar 11:56 PM - Trudy: With the en suite
5 Mar 11:56 PM - Trudy: Best in summer. Cold in n winter
5 Mar 11:56 PM - Berlin: Get that fan... Mozzies hate fans!
5 Mar 11:57 PM - Trudy: Just remembered I have one
5 Mar 11:57 PM - Trudy: Turned on now
5 Mar 11:57 PM - Trudy: Your room is the coziest winter room
5 Mar 11:57 PM - Berlin: The silver one?
5 Mar 11:57 PM - Trudy: Ja
5 Mar 11:58 PM - Trudy: I like it
5 Mar 11:58 PM - Trudy: And the downstairs corner studio has the best shower
5 Mar 11:58 PM - Berlin: You cannot imagine what it was like Sunday night there
5 Mar 11:59 PM - Berlin: With the wind
5 Mar 11:59 PM - Trudy: Oh gosh yes
5 Mar 11:59 PM - Trudy: I've been here in gale force winds
5 Mar 11:59 PM - Berlin: The walls were vibrating
6 Mar 12 AM - Trudy: Blows the patio furniture into the road!
6 Mar 12:00 AM - Berlin: Thought of the three little pigs... 
6 Mar 12:00 AM - Trudy: I'm sure
6 Mar 12:00 AM - Trudy: It's scary the first time you experience it
6 Mar 12:00 AM - Trudy: Nicer when you're not alone of course
6 Mar 12:00 AM - Berlin: Of course 
6 Mar 12:01 AM - Trudy: Berlin the date just changed on my WhatsApp
6 Mar 12:01 AM - Trudy: We're seriously up past bedtime
6 Mar 12:01 AM - Berlin: Yip we are
6 Mar 12:02 AM - Berlin: You sleep tight!
6 Mar 12:02 AM - Trudy: You too
6 Mar 12:02 AM - Trudy: Nice spending the evening with you
6 Mar 12:02 AM - Berlin: Will do
6 Mar 12:02 AM - Berlin: And remember to dream something beautiful!
6 Mar 12:03 AM - Berlin: Hasta mañana! 
6 Mar 12:03 AM - Trudy: (kisses)
6 Mar 12:04 AM - Berlin: (more kisses)

So now???? What is this. Friends? More than friends? Edging towards something new?

I suppose that's the fun of something like this: not knowing. Wondering. I'm afraid I'm imagining things again and I'll get hurt. But I'm also keen on playing it differently this time. I won't force a disclosure. Or any inkling that provokes a 'so what the fuck is this' conversation.

I want to take this slow and  deliciously. And see if it leads anywhere nice.

Fuck I hope it's nice. And not disappointing for me. Again.

Courageous Conversations

So I did educate Mark. After all. I finally got to the point where I needed to tell him I was feeling hurt by his behaviour so he had the choice to do something about it. So I sent him this. Simple. Real. Raw:

4 Mar 8:35 PM - Trudy: Ag Mark I'm struggling so much right now. I'm PMT so I know I'm more vulnerable and raw and feeling stuff more acutely than usual.
4 Mar 8:36 PM - Trudy: But I am getting genuinely bewildered at your lack of communication with me. Is it just you too busy to talk to me at all?
4 Mar 8:36 PM - Trudy: Or is something else going on that I'm missing?
4 Mar 8:37 PM - Trudy: It's sore for me. Really sore. I'm feeling discarded and sad.  And not having the courage to just say that to you 
4 Mar 8:37 PM - Trudy: I do miss you.
He didn't see the message for hour, and I could feel how sore this was for me. Waiting. Late at night he finally checked in:

4 Mar 10:05 PM - Mark: Hi
4 Mar 10:05 PM - Mark: Sorry about that
4 Mar 10:05 PM - Mark: Please don’t take it personally
4 Mar 10:05 PM - Mark: Not doing it to hurt you
4 Mar 10:07 PM - Mark: I am hectically busy and generally gatvol of people.
4 Mar 10:08 PM - Mark: Have a few personal issues to deal with when I have me time as well
4 Mar 10:12 PM - Mark: Talk to me
4 Mar 10:13 PM - Trudy: Not sure what to say
4 Mar 10:13 PM - Mark: What are you so vulnerable to my comms?
4 Mar 10:14 PM - Mark: Or lack there of
4 Mar 10:14 PM - Trudy: I wrote a blog about it. You feel like reading it?
4 Mar 10:15 PM - Mark: Yes but we need to talk about the blogs because I am still feeling a bit worried about my wife. But can do when we see each other tomorrow
4 Mar 10:16 PM - Trudy: Ok. I'll send you today's link.
4 Mar 10:16 PM - Trudy: I want to protect you and your marriage completely Mark
4 Mar 10:17 PM - Mark: I know. Never doubt that
4 Mar 10:19 PM - Trudy: Here.  You'll have to brace yourself. ..I haven't sanitised my thoughts to be kind to you in it. ....
4 Mar 10:20 PM - Mark: LoL. I am sure. I hope it is being therapeutic like you intended
4 Mar 10:20 PM - Trudy: This one is short. I hope it helps you understand what's happening to me
I sent him "The Layers Under the Ache"
4 Mar 10:36 PM - Mark: Eish what can I say. Sorry that you feel that way. No intention to hurt you but we are different people and you hurt yourself by imposing they way you would respond on me and assuming if I don’t respond it is because I don’t care.
4 Mar 10:36 PM - Trudy: I know
4 Mar 10:36 PM - Trudy: You can see I am owning that
4 Mar 10:39 PM - Mark: You are right I will respond when I am ready. But that’s the same from everybody and I am comfortable with being treated like that. These messaging apps makes it very hard to manage ones time and I refuse to be controlled by comms when it suits others not me
4 Mar 10:40 PM - Trudy: I think I also put out a tough, ballsy message. I find it so hard to show when I'm feeling vulnerable. So I set us both up to hurt me
4 Mar 10:43 PM - Trudy: Mark I'm not sure how to handle it when I do feel I need to talk to you. Business or personal. I asked you to call me a week ago because I'm conscious of not imposing on your contacts without bouncing it off you first. So I start getting more and more anxious because I don't want to cock it up.
4 Mar 10:44 PM - Trudy: So I ask for some phone time when it suits you. And then I get nothing from you.
4 Mar 10:47 PM - Trudy: So I'm really so conscious of not imposing on your time that I back off completely. Until I get so anxious that I start to nag
4 Mar 10:47 PM - Trudy: And I fkn hate nagging.
4 Mar 10:47 PM - Trudy: And that's when I start to slide into personal wounding space.
4 Mar 10:48 PM - Trudy: Takes days
4 Mar 10:57 PM - Mark: Remember when you were still with John how unavailable you were to the world while at his place. This is the same thing. Its not a unique situation
4 Mar 10:58 PM - Trudy: I'm going to have to practice boy direct language with you.
4 Mar 10:58 PM - Trudy: That was me asking in a girl way
4 Mar 10:59 PM - Trudy: And I do remember being unavailable.  I get that.
4 Mar 11:00 PM - Mark: Don’t get me wrong. This is not me getting back at you. It never bothered or hurt me. But what I am trying to say is you are taking it way too personally
4 Mar 11:02 PM - Mark: Multi media is a pain because people expect others to be available on the other side because there is a gsm or internet connection. And that’s not right.
4 Mar 11:02 PM - Trudy: I guess that's another girl thing. I'm sometimes bulletproof. And sometimes raw
4 Mar 11:03 PM - Trudy: Yes Mark I agree in general. But I don't really see you and me as 'people'. We're really good friends.
4 Mar 11:04 PM - Mark: I told my business partner the other day that I have been quiet enough about people complaining about me not answering when they call. But me keeping quiet when they take phone calls while in a meeting or facetoface discussion with me. Because I think that is much much more rude
4 Mar 11:04 PM - Trudy: Do I do that?
4 Mar 11:06 PM - Mark: Jaques and I have been "best friends" for almost 20 years. And speak to each other every now and then when both of us are available at the same time. I know that him not calling me or visa versa is not personal and have nothing to do with our friendship
4 Mar 11:08 PM - Mark: So those are MY standards whereby I live. I respect the fact that other people have other standards but then they must live by them. I am not going to change to fit in with other peoples standards and don't expect then to fit in with mine.
4 Mar 11:09 PM - Trudy: So maybe this will help. I'm actually usually just fine with you and me not being touch for ages. I don't usually take it personally. And I'm always delighted to hear from you when you do touch base.
4 Mar 11:10 PM - Trudy: I'll try to be more direct and clear when I do need you to connect with me.
4 Mar 11:10 PM - Trudy: And maybe you could help manage my expectations when you can't do that
4 Mar 11:12 PM - Mark: I need to learn to respond. With things like "no" or "noted" instead of not calling or noting in my head. So will work on that for you and others
4 Mar 11:12 PM - Trudy: When I disappeared into Johns world for the weekend I always told you before I went. So you would never experience me just baling on a conversation and ask that you wouldn't send me any communication that would trigger a tirade from John
4 Mar 11:15 PM - Mark: You did communicate it well. But it didn't change that others might have wanted your attention during those times and could get it, so had to deal with it.
4 Mar 11:16 PM - Trudy: Mark you were the only threat there
4 Mar 11:16 PM - Trudy: I stayed in touch with the rest of the world. ...
4 Mar 11:17 PM - Trudy: You I actually wanted
4 Mar 11:17 PM - Trudy: And John obviously sensed that. So his radar was way up on any message that arrived
4 Mar 11:19 PM - Mark: And my wife is equally sharp and therefore why I need to wipe the written clues and cool the relationship. Because if we do want to continue working together, we have to assume that she well meet you and sense just like John AND our colleague did. And then she will start digging
4 Mar 11:20 PM - Trudy: Totally.
4 Mar 11:20 PM - Trudy: And I think I should try stay off her radar as long as I can.
4 Mar 11:23 PM - Mark: Until you have a guy in your live who absorbs that attention from you so that that energy is channelled in a different direction and she will pick up on that instead of me. Our colleague noticed the familiarity long before the blog. I think the blog just confirmed. So will my wife.
4 Mar 11:24 PM - Trudy: I read the 'cool the relationship' words only now. I'm trying quite hard to make that happen. I know it needs to. I agree it will come when I do get to this place.
4 Mar 11:24 PM - Trudy: But I keep choosing unavailable men. ...
4 Mar 11:25 PM - Trudy: So even though I'm out there,  my soft place is still here. With you. I'll get better at it. ...
4 Mar 11:26 PM - Trudy: We both need me to
4 Mar 11:29 PM - Mark: Trudy, we are friends and colleagues. In that order. You were firm about the fact that it’s nothing more important. So I was also out there. Just keep me out there. You should be protecting the small Trudy girl from this until you are ready to commit and find someone ready to commit.
4 Mar 11:30 PM - Trudy: I know. You're right. But like you say. .. I'm awesome. .. Not perfect. ...
4 Mar 11:40 PM - Trudy: You are teaching me things every day. You are much better at boundaries than me
4 Mar 11:42 PM - Trudy: And actually you are becoming my very first real proper male friend.
4 Mar 11:42 PM - Mark: I am not better. Just luckier
4 Mar 11:42 PM - Trudy: I fucking love that
4 Mar 11:43 PM - Mark: That's an honor. Not sure I am worthy.
4 Mar 11:43 PM - Trudy: Mark
4 Mar 11:43 PM - Trudy: Fuck
4 Mar 11:44 PM - Trudy: Worthy! !!!!
4 Mar 11:46 PM - Mark: Lol. Just don’t make that another "emotional" connection. Because the only way to feed the emotions of a connection is through some sort of duel commitment. And that’s different from friendship
4 Mar 11:46 PM - Mark: ......well for me it is.
4 Mar 11:46 PM - Mark: Lol
4 Mar 11:46 PM - Trudy: I think girls are a bit different
4 Mar 11:47 PM - Trudy: I have very deep emotional connections with my girlfriends.
4 Mar 11:47 PM - Trudy: It's how we love platonically
4 Mar 11:48 PM - Trudy: Mark we'll figure it out. I trust us. And we'll cock it up sometimes too
4 Mar 11:48 PM - Trudy: We're learning stuff.
4 Mar 11:49 PM - Trudy: I trust us to fix shit when we break it and protect us through that
4 Mar 11:49 PM - Mark: Cool. Now lets go sleep. Been a long day and tomorrow long again
4 Mar 11:49 PM - Trudy: Just like we've done today
4 Mar 11:49 PM - Trudy: Yup
4 Mar 11:49 PM - Mark: Nighty night
And suddenly all is well with the world for me. I love him so dearly. And I'm s glad I was able to be just honest with him. He didn't let me down. He became present for me for a while. And didn't humiliate or hurt me. Good man. Such a good, good man!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Better Boundaries

I began this blog as an anonymous exercise. I wanted a space to think and explore the newness that I am becoming. Like a journal. It started as a real journal - my pink book where I began to write myself well. And when I progressed to this blog space, I intended to keep it as just mine. But when I was a few blogs in, I shared one or two of them with John-the-Narc. Not URLs, but emailed copies of the texts. People can search paragraphs and find the blogs they came from. My Secret Space was no longer completely contained and safe. I didn't mind.

Every time I had a close and intimate connection with a friend or potential lover, I let them into my blog. Precious people: people I care about deeply in one way or another who I wanted to share myself with. I wanted them to journey with me somehow - see me. Understand me. I let them in because it felt safe. Or I imagined it to feel safe - being able to share my deepest secrets with people I know and love.

But I think I was naive. As people began to share and distribute my blog URLS with friends, they themselves became nervous of what I was writing, especially, of course, the boys that I was intimate with. And my girlfriends who would share intimate stuff with me - I would think it through here, and suddenly they would be terrified that they would be 'seen' by others that they had shared the link with. And even though I have disguised them, they feared they would be recognised because they had identified themselves in my blog to other people. It was becoming less anonymous.

And so they started putting restrictions on me about what I could and couldn't share on this blog. And I kept on agreeing and changing because I never ever want my own process here to cause negative consequences for these people that surround me. So I've edited names, details, stories, and anything else I can to make sure they're safe. But they didn't feel safe. And actually - this process is supposed to be about my own journey and safety, something I started compromising to make it safe for them - which is not healthy self care behaviour.

And also - the reason they don't feel safe is because I opened this blog to my friends in the first place. That was my mistake - sharing it with anyone who actually knows me. And the last piece of feedback came from a friend this morning who suggested I abandon the blog and go back to writing in a journal - she felt that processing my anger towards my lovers and boys here, where they could access it at any time, is one of the reasons they avoid me. Because it's hard to read my unsanitised anger directed at them here. I have no fucking idea if she's right - I felt really knocked over by her suggestion that I stop doing this thing that has been the most important healing thing I have ever done for myself. I wanted to cry with the sadness that she didn't realise how absolutely critical this is for my journey back from the edge. That just suggesting, in a sentence, that I abandon it felt so very dismissive of me.

But at the same time I had to acknowledge that I have compromised my own boundaries here seriously. Which, of course, is another typical trait of children of Narcissistic mothers. I was just too ready to share parts of myself with the world, and let people in. So I have created a situation where my own safety is compromised, and created a fear in me that I've done wrong. Been bad. Because I didn't do this right. And so echoes more Narc mommy stuff into the subtext of my feelings.

So I've stopped. I've changed the name of the blog and the URL to get here. Nobody who accessed my blog through links I have sent will ever be able to find it again. I'm starting everything new again. New URL. New name. New links. So that this space is once again sacred.

And only fellow journeyers will find me, and read along with me as I learn more and more lessons about how to design my next phase. Build better boundaries. Keep myself healthy and safe. You who come here through the journey of cyberspace, seeking the answers I have sought. Fighting the demons I have fought. You will walk with me along this journey.

And I will be safe again.

Protecting my own boundaries.

Keeping my own secrets.