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Unlearning Your Fears

It is kind of scary how old anxieties and fears can lurk in your mind, even when you don’t have any reason for them.   I’m seeing a wonderful woman now.  Her name is Lorraine.  She is everything I’ve ever wanted, imagined, and hoped for in a partner.  She is so much like me in her experiences and outlook on life; we both have been neglected and emotionally abused; we have both been cheated on and betrayed; we both are looking for the exact same things from a partner; we are both honest and open, thoughtful and kind, caring and attentive; we both love letting the other know how much they mean to us and making them happy.  Add to this our common likes in food, music, TV, movies, and other activities and it is just amazingly wonderful.
Still, I find myself being uneasy.  It isn’t anything she does or says, or doesn’t do, at least not directly.  Let me give an example to try to explain.  
The other day she was quiet.  I asked her why and she said that she was just tired.  She also said that she’s been alone so long that she’s become quieter than she used to be.  I can completely understand this. My problem is that when either of my ex-wives got quiet it always meant that they were upset about something, but wouldn’t tell me what it was, or even admit that there was anything wrong.  They would keep quiet about it, even when I specifically asked if something was wrong; even when I told them I knew something was wrong.  After a while, sometimes days, sometimes weeks, they would finally explode into either a rage, or engage in passive/aggressive behavior, always directed at me, and always making the cause to be my fault.
I can tell that Lorraine is being honest with me.  On the occasions that she has been upset, she has immediately told me why.  But, when you’ve been conditioned to know that quiet means something bad from over 20 years of experience; when that’s all you’ve ever known in a relationship, your first instinct is to assume the worse.  
Lorraine is different, so different.  I understand this, but it is learning to accept this emotionally that is going to be the difficult part.  She is so completely unlike any woman I’ve been involved with, so open and honest, that I just am not used to it, even though this is what I’ve always wanted and hoped for.   It is going to take time to learn to accept that someone can really be just what they seem to be, instead of someone pretending to be someone they are not.  There is so much fear from past rejections, abuses and betrayals that my guard is always up and my knee jerk reaction is to assume the worst.  
I guess I need to be reconditioned to learn to accept that Lorraine is just as honest and open as I am.  I never thought I’d find that in someone else and it is a beautiful thing.  The good thing is that we have all the time in the world.  This isn’t a race; we aren’t moving toward any particular end.  Sure, ultimately I hope, and have reason to believe, that she may be “the one”. I wouldn’t be perusing this relationship if I didn’t hope that this was the case, because I’m not the type to have casual relationships.  Still, I don’t feel that intense desire to be in love, or to make something happen.  Things are very comfortable the way they are and nothing seems forced or contrived, and, despite my fears, I don’t feel the need to constantly be reassured that she cares for me.  I’ve never felt that before in any relationship I’ve been in.  Maybe it is something about her; maybe I’ve just matured; probably it’s a bit of both.
I need to keep reminding myself that Lorraine isn’t Holly or Cindy.  In fact, she is as different from them as anyone could be, which is a good thing.  I also need to keep reminding myself that my fears and anxieties run 20+ years deep, and it will take plenty of time, plus the love, caring, and attention that Lorraine has been showing to me to put those feelings in the past.
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The Proper Diagnosis – 35 Years Late

From Wikipedia:

“Bipolar II disorder is a bipolar spectrum disorder characterized by at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode; with this disorder, depressive episodes are more frequent and more intense than manic episodes. It is believed to be under-diagnosed because hypomanic behavior often presents as high-functioning behavior. Those with Bipolar II are at highest risk of suicide among the bipolar spectrum. Hypomania in Bipolar II may manifest itself in disorganized racing thoughts, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, or all of the above combined. Because these agitated symptoms are negative, it may be difficult to distinguish a Bipolar II manic state from depression.”

That last sentence is the really important one.  After seeing a psychiatrist today, it seems that I’ve been misdiagnosed with depression for years.  She said that people with bipolar II can go from normal to hypomanic, and because there may be no depressive episodes for years, they may not even be aware that anything is wrong.  Since I was a teenager I used to have periods where I would be energized, up all night, reading, writing, or whatever.  I could go for a week or more with only a couple hours sleep a night.  This kind of thing has happened ever since.  I just thought that it was my mind racing, that I just couldn’t stop the thoughts from coming, so I’d just stay up and read, watch TV, or go on the computer.  

For the past 14 years, I’ve had depressive episodes. Some lasted week or months.  I was diagnosed with depression about 12 or so years ago and treated as such.  It wasn’t until just recently, after my primary care doctor added a new depression medication, that I started having wild mood swings, from hypomanic to crushing depression, sometimes all in one day.  Apparently, if you take too high a dose of anti-depressant, you can have these hypomanic episodes more often and they will be stronger, as will the depressive episodes.  So I guess it is a good thing this happened since I now have a good diagnosis and I am starting on a mood stabilizer, which also treats the depression that comes with the bi-polar disorder. 

It will take about a month before the real effects will be seen.  We are removing one of the anti-depressants.  Not only was it not needed, that, in combination with the other anti-depressant can cause high blood pressure.  Not good.  I suppose that’s why family doctors shouldn’t be prescribing psychogenic medications

 

 

Strange Emotions

I don’t understand how I can be happy and sad at the same time. It is such a strange feeling. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this before. I feel so happy because so many good things have been happening in my life lately. I have so much to be thankful for; my kids, my job, my friends; my ability to write; and love, lots and lots of love from the most amazing, beautiful people. Their love is so beautiful that it leaves me speechless; breathless. Still, there is this sadness, like a deep, dull aching. I don’t understand what that is or why I feel it. It is like this desperate need to hold on tight to someone for hours; to feel their warmth; their breath against my cheek; their head on my shoulder; their arms holding me tight. Where does that come from? It is such a weird mix of feelings.

Loving and Living With a Narcissist

I am reading the book, The Object of My Affection by Rokelle Lerner. A friend suggested that I read it since she felt that my experiences with both my wives indicated that they were narcissists. I’ve just started reading the book but already, in the first chapter, I have found two quotes that perfectly describe my relationships.

“It’s baffling when the person you fell in love with, who used to treat you so lovingly and thoughtfully, suddenly acts like you are an annoyance-or worse, the enemy. It’s painful to watch this person in public, treating people with respect and generosity and doing nice things such as acknowledging their birthdays-while consistently ignoring you. Your friends may think he’s quite a catch; people may adore him. And you may begin to feel as if there’s something desperately wrong with you.”

“When you’re in relationship with a narcissist, you relinquish your identity and your soul to them. Their seduction is similar to a razor-sharp stiletto being waved in your face: it’s so mesmerizing, you won’t know you’re bleeding to death until it’s too late. But it’s not your blood that a narcissist wants-it’s your emotional energy and your individuality. A true narcissist has no qualms about taking your money, your love, your admiration, your body, or your soul to satisfy their unquenchable hunger. And just as vampires cringe when they’re in the presence of crosses or holy water, narcissists recoil at ordinary adult experiences such as boredom, uncertainty, accountability, and, most of all, having to give as well as receive.”

These were my wives, my marriages, and my feelings, there on the page, as if I had written them as a description of my life. I have been trying to make sense of how I could have ended up with two women who I gave everything to, and who then took, and took, and took, but never gave back, unless it served to somehow benefit them.

These women convinced me that they loved me, cherished me, wanted me, but in the end, only cared about what they could get from the me. Once they realized they had taken all I had to offer, they moved on, leaving me alone and sure that it was all my fault.

Even though I now understand why they did what they did, because they were narcissists, I am left with irrational fears of being rejected, of never being good enough, of being left alone again. I live with these fears every day. I am almost constantly on edge, just one step away from another panic attack. I am always looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even though I trust the people in my life that I love, I live in constant fear that they will just leave, or worse, become disinterested and reject me. Even as I write this, the terror of being ignored; rejected, is palpable. I am on medication for depression and anxiety. I practice deep breathing and meditation to help calm myself. Nevertheless, the pure fear lurks just beyond my reach, waiting to envelop and destroy me. Or so it seems, anyway.

Supposedly, this book is supposed to help those who have suffered at the hands of narcissists. Let’s hope so.

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog! This blog is about parenting, relationships, love, trust, and sex. Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I am twice divorced (ok, the second one is still in process), father of a 13 year old girl and 16 year old boy.

I have been having many wonderful conversations with friends and fellow bloggers about parenting, sex, relationships, sex, love, sex, trust, and sex.  I won’t try to focus on any one area or topic (except sex because, well, it’s sex!).

Seriously, I feel like I need an outlet for these issues and a place where helpful and fun discussions can take place.
So if you are a parent, in or have been in a relationship, have or are in love, and really, really like sex, this is the place to share your thoughts and experiences.