Recognizing Growth

I feel like I forgot how to write because I have not written in so long. But hey, I miss my blog so I am going to just jump in.

With me not in school anymore I am now employed full time as an elementary school teacher in a charter school.

I work with one of my old attachment figures, Marigold. From the beginning Marigold and I established very strict boundaries that gave us assurance and safety regarding our interactions. As time goes on Marigold and I are slowly becoming as close as we once were, EXCEPT this time we are building a real, HEALTHY, friendship. It’s amazing the way my friendships flourish when a portion of my being is not attempting to create an impossible attachment with the other person.

With that being said though, I have written extensively about how my relationship with my last AF and how she is not currently in my life right now. So with her being unavailable, and with Marigold occupying a friend spot and not an attachment spot, guess what happened?

Exactly, the little girl in me quickly found someone new to occupy that attachment spot in her life and that is one of the other teachers at the school, Jupiter.

Now as anyone with BPD can guess, the last place you want your attachment problems to be manifesting itself is in your work place. But the things with these attachments is that they form quickly and you can’t help their formation. BUT you can help how you MANAGE it.

My therapist and I have been working extensively on managing this attachment. In addition to our meetings, we have phone calls, and I text her when I just literally forget all the right things I am supposed to be doing because I am so overwhelmed by all of the wrong desires.

This past week has been really difficult because I am beginning to simply feel maxed out emotionally. I am with this teacher Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, we are in the same room, she is an extremely nice and naturally close person, and so on top of all of the stress of just being a teacher, I am also every second of every day managing my raging emotions on the inside.

My attachment is growing, and this week, everyday everything triggered me. Seeing her laugh with someone else sent my insides on a frenzy. Now imagine how many friendships a genuinely nice, close person has, and the amounts of laughs or conversations she shares with them, on a daily basis. A lot. By Thursday after school I didn’t have the energy to make it to the bathroom to vent my emotions in tears or silent anger, so I went to Marigolds room and just collapsed on her floor in tears. It was just us two in there but while in there, we thought everyone had left, but two coworkers came in to ask us if we were heading out with them and saw me on the floor crying. Marigold just told them I was fine and we’d see them tomorrow. In a school where teachers quit as often as the rainfall from the stress and teachers breakdown all the time, they just probably assumed it was from work so no big deal.

This week I have had so much anger at Jupiter. Moments in the day i’d just be screaming in my head “I hate you, I hate you.” Did she do anything to deserve it? Nope. But I know by now, that I’m just feeling rejected because I am not her everything and the most special to her so it’s just the imagined rejection influencing such intense emotions in me.

BUT HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS!!

Jupiter has ZERO IDEA that I feel any of the emotions that I do towards her. Both the intensely good and bad. We are friends, and I think because of who I am, people just tend to naturally open up to me quickly, so I have quickly become one of her confidants and she remarked how she’s surprised by how quickly she opened up to me because though she has a lot of surface level friendships not many extend beyond that level.

No one in the school, except Marigold, knows anything about my BPD because I have gotten so much better at living with it. Even through the intense emotions with Jupiter I have my coping mechanisms that I do that look normal to everyone else, but helpful for me. All my work gets done on time. I give my students my best when I am teaching them. Even Marigold who knows everything, on Thursday told me she had no idea that I was struggling so much this week because of how fine and upbeat I looked.

I learned something very important this week. I learned what it means to have problems. Everyone has problems, but I looked at my mental health as an inconvenience that keeps me from getting to my life where I can start experiencing the “normal” problems. So this week in session my therapist mentioned:

Therapist: how much better I am getting and how once I let go of my last attachment figure (she unfortunately still holds a big portion of me) I will be that much closer to experiencing freedom.

Me: You are only saying that because you don’t see how much I am struggling because I am internalizing a lot of it.

Therapist: Sweety, that’s exactly the point. You are not internalizing you are self regulating, taking care of your own self emotionally without external help.

Me: *eyes opens wide in realization*

Therapist: You are not yelling at people, hurting yourself, throwing tantrums frequently. Even in our relationship I feel less cautious around you and less worried for you.

Me: But how am I getting better when I am still forming these attachments

Therapist: Sweety, unfortunately that’s not really something that goes away. Whatever happened to make you this way, happened and so it is in your personality to form those attachments. That is not what is going to change, it is how you handle them that will, and the power that you allow them to have over you.

Me: oh so the attachments don’t go away, I just am growing to control them.

Therapist: yup

I am now looking forward to this week and everyday as an opportunity for growth. I am a normal person with problems that I am managing like everyone else. I am not sick, I have a vivid brain! It is my job to care for myself. Even if I did not have mental health issues, I would still have things that require me caring for myself.

I am setting up goals for this week and I look forward to checking back in next Sunday to discuss how I did with my goals.

GOALS:

1. I will visit my last attachment figures social media page only four times this week.
-She still occupies a significant portion of me in an unhealthy way. Because she is not present in my life she has become an imaginary comfort object for me. Seeing her pictures comforts me because I am imagining her hugging me when I’m down. Talking to me when I am angry. She is not a person to me, but an object and the day has to come when I have to stop using people as objects for my sanity. She is a beautiful, loving, inspiring, extra, funny person and I love her enormously. I want to love her for her not for me. And also, if I can get myself to the point where I stop believing that she is capable of being an object then it will make it easier to also not let that belief flourish with other people. Because she tried everything to be what I wanted her to be and couldn’t because it’s impossible. I need to learn that, and reducing the frequency with which I use her images as comfort blankets, forces me to replace those moments with moments of me comforting myself.

2. I will let Jupiter lead our interactions this week by mostly only interacting with her after she interacts with me.
-This may seem unhealthy because it is not how natural friendships develop but this is not meant to be a long term habit. The purpose behind me doing this is that I have been on the lookout for “natural” ways to interact with her and thinking of “natural” conversations to have with her. Instead, I want to improve my ability to be content with where we are now instead of planning on how to create a closer friendship with her. I will instead be putting my attention on my work and not on her. Basically this goal is about learning how to shift my focus at WORK from her to THE WORK. LOL!

3. I will choose one coworker this week and take time getting to know them a bit better.
– Again this goal is about easing up on the habit of only caring and focusing on one person and instead learning how to actively care and attach to a variety of people with a variety of depth to each attachment.

This was a super long post. When I created this blog it was for me and I never expected anyone to read it. I have gained some followers along the way and I just wanted to say that I appreciate you reading and I hope that me talking through some of the things I have learned and am learning can also help you!

Enjoy your Sunday!!

Recognizing Your Worth

It has been so long since I have blogged or journaled but I feel very compelled to write this post. 

Yesterday while on the bus I recognized that I was doing something that I have probably been doing all of my life. When someone does something to me I always daydream about someone else that I care about defending me and making it clear how much I am worth and showing me and the person who wronged me that I am valuable. 

In the midst of doing this yesterday I realized that in real life I then hold the defender of me to the expectations I have of them in my head. Which basically means that I begin to align my sense of worth with how that person treats me in real life. In my head they are the magnificent people that love me and think I am so special and worth loving. But in real life whenever I feel a slight deviation from that narrative because lets say they just said “good morning” instead of “good morning honey” my insides break. I begin to feel so dejected, like overnight they sensed a decrease in my value and by tomorrow I will be worthless to them. 

What if I became my owb defender? I mean it’s funny because I an actually the one writing the scripts in my head. Instead of making someone else the star in my own life, what if I wrote the script with me as the one with power over me. I think I will see a big change in my life and in my emotional stability. But also in the quality of my relationships. I can get rid of the unfounded expectations and the internal secret dissappointments that eventually blow up and out of me leaving the people in my path so confused as to when they ever made me feel as demoted as I do. 

I don’t know how to gain that level of agency for myself YET, but I will learn.