Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Unresolved Loss

This blog is almost 10 years old, and has been a private affair for most of that time. It has been almost like a diary. I recently took the bold step of registering for the Mumsnet bloggers network. There has been a modest increase in traffic since then. Hello new people! I have also really enjoyed reading your blogs, especially those in the sex and relationships category where, apparently, I0naFi0na belongs. However, I must apologize on one account. You have walked in on an interesting time in my life. There has also been an upsurge in my posting, but this has been all around an intense and frustrating love-affair which has resulted in unresolved loss. Before I go on though, a bit of history. This blog, and I have traveled an uneasy path through

Mental health
(Yep in that order)
Sex Addiction
Single parenting and now belatedly
Love and

I am concerned that my new audience will find a self-centred, preoccupied middle aged woman in the throes of a mid-life crisis over a ridiculous self-centred toff who somehow needed to exert power over her, or use her to massage his own ego, or as a stop-gap on the road to his own relationship nirvana.

Also my recent post about how to get over a break up was unique to me, it was bespoke as it were. There are many more qualified to help you through break ups. But one element which I suspect is quite common in divorce in particular is, as I mentioned above, unresolved loss. This is exemplified by the case of someone who goes missing. The family are not able to grieve their death and continue to live in hope indefinitely which is painful.

My particular florid - but ultimately non existent  love affair is a case of this. Grief does not have to occur as a result of bereavement, there are many other life experiences that cause it. And there are also many great resources to help with grief. So the unique and heady mix of quasi-break up, unresolved grief and other unresolved issues I didn't know I had have resulted in a unique footprint which I have been moved to address in writing. In fact what I have been doing in the last 15 posts or so is, as grief recovery method advises, completing some unfinished emotional business  even the triggering reminders when I am trying not to think about this person are common in grief as well, and what I need to do is build an accurate memory picture. And again from grief recovery method

"We must grieve and complete our relationship to the person as well as to our relationship with the pain we generate when we think about or are reminded of the person. And, we must grieve and complete our unmet hopes and dreams and expectations. You must become willing to re-experience some of the painful events, and finally communicate what you would have said had you been allowed to, or if you had known how. It may seem frightening to root around where there has been so much pain. Perhaps it would be more helpful to be frightened of the alternative, a life of restriction and limitation caused by staying incomplete. The alternative of keeping the pain forever, of trying not to remember, of trying to avoid any circumstances or events that remind you of that person. Many people today talk of giving away your power. There is no clearer or more painful example of that then to have your life's actions and reactions ruled by the painful memories of someone who is no longer here."

As the author Russell Friedman says, even if the person you are grieving is still alive, you need to complete your part of the relationship, That living person won't change, they will probably carry on being just who they are, but you need to live a life of meaning not limited by painful reminders.

Clearly George was able to process and dismiss his role in the "relationship" quite easily, probably with the aid of  his own personal narrative which I can only guess at but might have been something like "Oh it was only a bit of harmless flirting, I didn't expect her to take it so seriously. I was only being gentlemanly when I asked her to come to stay. I thought it was better to tell her face to face about the real love of my life. Anyway I think she got the message she hasn't contacted me lately"

So my narrative which is emerging through months of tortured blog posts is something like "He was in a difficult place, he may even have not been in his right mind, he probably liked me at the time, he essentially got a better offer and was too cowardly to tell me, I think I massaged his ego and saw him through a difficult time. I also think from my point of view I imbued the friendship with a lot of other things I shouldn't have. Conflating all the things we have in common, even probably down to temperament, as implicit reasons that we are right for each other, getting my hopes up of righting some of the wrongs of my teens and early twenties and returning to my country of origin feeling a desperate need to keep this emblem of all I was looking for (or thought I was looking for) in a man, in my life. There will never be another like that. Well there may never be, but by his very actions he has proved that this particular emblem may not, in fact, be what is good for me. He was like a drug for me, and it has taken a long time to come down and process the withdrawal"

It was like anticipating a trip to a colorful market and finding it closed on arrival

Monday, September 19, 2016

What can't be cured must be endured

Between about the ages of 6 and 10 my dad was out of town studying, and my mother was working full time. My mum hired an old family friend to look after us for a very cheap price. She was as old as my grandmother and full of homespun wisdom. She smelt of tea and talcum powder and she looked something like a wizened old version of this Disney character. She had set of neat but ill fitting false teeth. My feelings towards her were neutral. You might think the tea and talc remark implied motherly cuddles and nurturing but it wasn't like that at all. My older brother was her clear favorite and they would gang up on me to make me do things (or that is how it felt). She was full of home spun wisdom and I couldn't stand it. She actually made my flesh creep a bit (unfairly really) but being the child of a rather down at heel family at the time I didn't want to hear about make do and mend. I didn't want my expansive world to be narrowed down with platitudes about "what can't be cured must be endured". Hell No!! what can't be cured must be the catalyst for change. Or the trite and superficially diplomatic assertion that "it takes all sorts to make a world"...when I ventured a less than complimentary remark about a friend. It all just seemed so cloying and unimaginative.
But since my world has now narrowed so utterly as I said before I am beginning to have more sympathy with this woman and her cliches. She was one of those who never married because all the available men were killed in the war. She had lived in Nazi occupied France on the 1940s and contracted polio which had left her with three permanently curled fingers, but still she managed to knit. She lived in a very meager fashion and was really dirt poor and doing us a favour. So I have to give her  posthumous pardon for her apparently small thinking. She was just surviving. She really did have to make the best of a bad lot and remain cheerful, and stay on good terms with people,  and if that annoyed me for its narrow mindedness well, I guess I had a lot to learn.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bold Lavender and Camomile

I'd put my bag down and unpacked
returning to the humdrum life
But early one morning
my clock opposed to yours,
I opened a drawer
and from it emanated the smell...
[well thank you Procter and Gamble]
the smell of your laundry
I was transported
to your home
your bed
a time of expectation
and hope
a time where I loved
more freely than I had
prompted by nothing
but the ticking clock
that smell
evoked the un-lived promise of
decades of
from myself.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Summary 1 How to deal with rejection/break up

I dont know if I'm an authority from having gone through this latest "break up" at such a late stage in life. I know it was at least as emotionally impactful, if not more so, than those where I have been in a sexual relationship.

A few things have comforted me along the way which I would like to summarize. In the order they came to me.

(1) I'm not mad. The worst thing that you can do is turn it in on yourself. Blame yourself. Make yourself ridiculous. There was something there, you did not imagine it.
(2)You only had the information available to you at the time. How could you make decisions on partial data?
(2) Sometimes a good cliche can work wonders.
(3) Find a metaphorical place to put things if they get too much for you. As they come in, just pack 'em tell yourself you can look later
(4) Sometimes in love (and life) you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time and become collateral damage
(5) Give yourself time
(6) You expected something lovely and you got a shit storm no wonder you are angry/lost/disappointed/hurt
(7) Referring back to (1) don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because you hate what happened you don't hate everything around it
(8) And today's new one "Honor It" It relates to (1). People will say Bah! it wasn't love, it was infatuation, he's a wanker/bastard/fool etc, but the fact remains it meant something to you. To say "yes that's right it was an idiotic folly" is to make yourself ridiculous. And I had never felt that way before about anyone even my husband. So be it mid-life folly, delusion, or weird mind control from a capricious overlord.You are allowed your feelings.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

A fly in the ointment

George, I was thinking to send you a birthday message in a few days. It is customary to like birthday greetings on Facebook, in the past you have done this, but lately you are ignoring me.

It is not only a sign of a defunct and non-viable friendship but I take it as a sign that you actually don't  like me.

My idea was to make one final test of the water. If you liked everyone else's birthday greetings but not mine I would de-friend or relegate you to limited  and hence forth give you not a further thought (pointless, impotent, posturing on my behalf) but anyway at least I would feel I was taking control. But why put myself out there for one more rejection?

I think I have to write you off regardless, for my own sanity. I hate it when this happens to friendships. I would rather they fizzle out, or die a natural death. About two years ago I contacted an old uni friend because I was visiting her country (neighbor to mine) and I thought we could do coffee. She said no, she did not want to see me, and that too much water had gone under the bridge yada yada... I was indescribably hurt by this rejection. I couldn't understand it. Likewise now.  But the time has come. I have done my 100 days of mourning.

First though I tell myself this one thing. I was conflating you with a whole lot of other stuff. Which is why I am disproportionately sad. Because I can't stand what you did to me, that doesn't mean I can't stand the places and people of my youth. You are the fly in the ointment. I need to just carefully pull you out and rebuild the other stuff.

Soon I will have been writing this blog for 10 years. I realize with some horror I have not lived with a man for about 8 of them. I'm not sure if it is just my current weakened sense of self esteem (I feel like this about work too) but I have lost confidence in my ability to actually co-habit with an adult male  - all that negotiation about shopping, what to do at the weekend, my friends vs your friend, the work life balance..

You have just cemented in me the mid-life tendency apparently common in women to really give less of a shit.