My Recovery: Molly Says

I had an interesting therapy session today.  We talked about my interpersonal problems that I have experienced in my life.  Basically I am learning that I might have some issues with trust, rejection, and even self- esteem.  Wait, what?  Me?  Say it isn’t so!

Form the beginning my life was doomed to trauma.  When I was 1.5 years old, my 3 year old sister died tragically in her crib.  Then there was the sexual abuse.  Then came the absence of any affection from either one of my parents–perhaps there was a relationship between Gloria’s death and their willingness to show emotion Molly, my therapist, suggested.  Then came the death of my 8 year old brother when I was 11.

John was hit by a car on Christmas in 1975.  I was sledding with him.  After that tragedy my mother lost her shit.  And I became the object of all her rage.  I was beaten for anything of consequence.  I was locked in my room for months at a time.  When I would come home from school, the doors would be locked and I would usually have to wait until about 7 or 8 to be let in.

introspection on justruminating men's blog

They didn’t trust me.  By then I was stealing everything in sight and a real problem.  Then I was removed from the home and embarked on 6 years of Foster Homes, Group Homes, Juvenile Detention, etc.  No wonder I had trust issues, bonding issues.

Then I met alcohol and my life turned to shit until 7 months ago.  Yes, I am fast forwarding.  The issues I have today with reaching out to people.  The issues I have today with being able to maintain long-term healthy relationships have a lot more to do with my life than I previously thought.

Most people, when they first meet me, unfortunately think I am arrogant and condescending.  It’s been that way for a long time.  Only after several months of being around me, do I start to hear things like “Man, I thought you were such an asshole.  You’re actually pretty cool.”  Great, am I to spend the rest of my life playing catch up when it comes to interpersonal, and work, relationships?

I can’t afford to let the issues from my past define my future.  I have to get to work and fix these.  I am able to do this now that I don’t use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.  I have done some serious work here in the last 2 months.  However, one glaring issue remains:  I do not interact with anyone outside of these confines, on any meaningful level.  I am avoiding building friendships.

mind

Molly and I talked about the fact that being myself here on my blog is actually very easy for me.  I can approach you on my terms.  I can choose to come online or not.  The threats are at a relative 0.  Not so here in the land of “live” humans.  She suggested perhaps I have this approach-avoidance thing going on:  I crave interaction so much that I will bare my soul online, but I fear it so much that I refuse to open up “live.”

Hmmm, that’s going to be a problem moving forward.  Part of me feels like it’s so much work.  Part of me actually doesn’t give a shit; I’m happy relating to the world through my written words.  I have made some deep connections that I could never make in the “live” world.  Is this the sort of thinking that will prevent me from staying sober?  I think it could.

If I maintain this approach to people, I will never learn to go along and get along.  That’s not to say I can’t maintain intimacy, I have had some very rewarding and satisfying relationships.  It’s the public world I have such a difficult time with.  Apparently I am a lot more fragile than I was willing to admit.

whoami

I’m always feeling judged, so I judge.  I am always having problems receiving criticism and positive feedback.  So what do I do?  I criticize and offer feedback even when it is not invited.  Am I rejecting people on my terms before they can reject me?  Is my self-esteem so low–because all of my early interactions with people were abusive and loveless–that I feel paranoid about not “being” myself the right way?

Well, dear readers, I must say that today’s 1 hour session was chock full of “what the fuck.”  But, being the survivor I am, and being the sober man I am today, I will forge ahead and tackle on these new issues.  I never realized the extent to which I suffer emotionally.  I never realized that all my life’s trauma has resulted in me creating a persona that tells the world–outside of our hallowed halls, of course–“fuck off, stay away.”

And here I thought I was just an alcoholic.  “Of course,” I mutter to myself, “I couldn’t be so lucky that it was only that” (laughing).  And so I learn, and so I change.

38 comments

  • I am sorry for everything that you carry with you, but I also know that all of those make you who you are. While you may have difficulty interacting in real life (me too..), I do see a deeply beautiful person. An endless ocean of intelligence, creativity, vulnerability. I believe that most of the walls/masks I put up are lingering areas that I have not truly believed and accepted about myself. Like you note – judging/being judged. Right now, I am Elsa the Ice Queen…perched mightily and isolated in her bed, chatting cheerily on the computer. I have no immediate answer, given I’m asking the same questions. I also know, though, every time I’ve asked a question, I’ve answered it, as it seems you have too. Sending tons of love your way. I may not “know” you in person, but I’m sure I wouldn’t call you an asshole 🙂

    • Far from it. You seem to have me fairly pegged. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to read such heartfelt and caring words. What I put out there is truly who I am. Read enough, and there you go. Its people like you who are why I write kindred spirits looking for the way. I do appreciate the time you put in today writing to me. I only hope my writings can touch you similarly be well! I’m so glad I found you or did you find me? Lol

      • 🙂 I believe I stumbled on you! Could not be happier I did. In a way, you and I walk along similar paths. My mother is an alcoholic. I was an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. I do not like to say I Am – it defines me, and this does not define me. It’s an ingredient. Anyway, I read your thoughts, and I walk in similar uncomfortable shoes on a rocky path. Things are getting better, though. Your words have helped me and inspired me tremendously over the past few days alone. It’s connections like these that keep me smiling, focused, and progressing. It is a joy to comment as much as it is to read. Thank you Rob.

      • All that you said is wildly similar. My father was the alcoholic. I do not use labels, I thought I was following you but I wasnt😲😲I am now. I am so glad that something of what I write helps. I should probably write more than just post pictures everyday lol

      • You should stop saying should! Do whatever makes you happy. And I will work on not telling you what to do Hahahaha. I read the coolest thing today: “be like water” everything you put out are beautiful pieces of your soul and that’s awesome. Everyone learns, relates, enjoys differently, the fact that you reach every medium – visual, written, and verbal? It makes you reach all the nooks and crannies. That’s Badass! ☺

      • I try to avoid it when I can

  • Indeed, you are a survivor.

  • It’s a good thing that you have begun a meditation practice because what you learn in that space is going to help you go forth into the world of flesh and blood (not social media and blogging, although certainly it helps in those arenas too.) If you can (you can!) start to carry your meditation with you when you leave that safe, still place. It is hard and it takes concentration, but being conscious that you are one shining expansive soul that is loved by God, will help you to emanate your true self to others and to form worthwhile and loving relationships with those you are meant to be yoked to in that way. Even with those whom you will only see once and never again, being in the waking meditative state during your encounter will have meaningful effects, no matter how profound or mundane they may seem at the time. I am truly sorry about your brother and sister and, as another commenter put it, about the loss of love in your childhood. I can relate to some of your experience and hope that knowing you are loved and have the universal soul within you, will help you on your path. Blessings friend:)

    • Wow you have described the journey I am putting myself I’m! I share this philosophy wholeheartedly of the universal oneness. Thank you, yes indeed, I am on this path and I accept the past for it me my present. I am ready

  • Ditto to what EndlessRivers said. Good for you for opening up to Molly (and blogging on here) – it’s hard but a great alternative to numbing & self-medicating.

  • -And here I thought I was just an alcoholic.  “Of course,” I mutter to myself, “I couldn’t be so lucky that it was only that” (laughing). – little note about that Rob. Something I’ve learned- that my friend Gil made me see- was that the OTHER things are the ROOT of the drinking. So you ARE lucky if you’re getting to the bottom of it. I think that makes sense.:)

  • This was such an insightful and heart wrenching blog post. I will say that I am incredibly proud of you for taking a real good look at yourself. Often times our own mind is stronger than we are, and it is so incredibly hard to get past it and conquer our fears. But hey! Look at you! You’re tackling things head first and that takes courage. It’s all about baby steps, and you have taken a massive leap into recovery, which makes me very proud of you. You’re doing great. Try not to be too afraid of your own mind and what could happen. ‘What ifs’ are dangerous, please don’t let them hold you back. I am confident you can get through this if you have already gotten this far.

  • Rob, this is utterly heart breaking! I admire you for getting this far and being so committed to recovery! I think what Molly said about having communication on your terms is actually true for a lot of people, that is why social media is so popular I think, why people even prefer texting to phone calls. I really hope you keep having such helpful sessions, and sharing it is priceless, who knows the other traumatised souls you’ll reach? But you also have my condolences and deepest sympathies on the loss of your poor siblings and the loss of love in your childhood. May the future be filled with all that was lacking then! 🙂

    • Thank you so very much you are very kind. I didntbpost this to make people feel bad lol. I thought I’d I shared my process, shared therapy, Simone else might see it’s ok to talk about their stuff and it could actually help them to do it. As always, thank you for your kind thoughts words and time!

      • No I’m sure you didn’t post it for that reason, it didn’t come across that way. Plus, you’ve blessed us all with some great art in the process, so thank you for that.
        And you are very welcome!

  • Whoops. I meant to say thank you so very much for your kind support and commentary. You’ve always supported me and my work. I only hope I have given you a small measure of that back

  • Rob, this was a deep and a very personal share. Sometimes you can’t help the past affecting your future, because your past wasn’t you fault, things panned out in a way you didn’t wish they did too.

    But the positive side to all of this is ‘I can’t afford to let the issues from my past define my future’
    Very true and your need to let it, you’re in control of what you do and what you don’t, and I believe you don’t have to either.
    You’re moving towards the positive way, leaving all that which was deteriorate you’re life, you seem to be trying to put things right by fixing what was affecting it.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Rob. It probably wasn’t easy but you did so well done .

  • Sounds like a very productive therapy session! I can relate to only being able to “open up” to humans in a way that I can fully control (online/blogging)…I don’t have the energy or the bravery to open up to people in a “live” situation. This has actually served me well on some level because all the people close to me in my “real” life got to know me/ I got to know them through writing first. Trauma is such a tricky thing…thanks for sharing your experience & thoughts!

  • Isn’t it so strange when we realize and figure out something about us we never knew ..
    and just becoming aware of it..makes everything so clear us ..

  • Hi Rob. This was a powerfully insightful post. Like always, I’m struck by your honesty and saddened to learn what you have had to go through. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not feeling sorry for you. You’re too strong of a person to warrant pity from anyone.

    One thing you wrote stuck out to me…you said, “I can’t afford to let the issues from my past define my future.” No, you can’t. And I don’t believe you have to. I feel like you have too much of your life left to experience to let anything get in the way.

    As for your opening up through blogging, regardless of whether it is easy for you or not, I think it’s a wonderful thing. And I hope you will continue to share your life with us. 🙂

    Hugs,
    phoebe

    • Phoebe thank you, as always, for your kindness and support and interest in my musings. No one can say my blog is boring, that’s for sure! haha. Hope all is well with you.

  • Am overwhelmed.

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