You are not a burden

We are not burdens. Let me repeat, we are not burdens. Taking things a step further, this idea that someone else needs more of something from us than we do, based on our perception of their state is a cop out, denying us our own truth and self care. No one needs us more than we need ourselves. There is no heroes award in being a martyr. Instead these actions tell us that our own lives don’t matter. Which means we don’t matter. There is no growth in that.
There is no true self discovery, reflection, or accountability.

We cannot work on ourselves if we are looking to others for the distractions of their problems. It creates a codependency that is unfair to all participants. That is not to say we don’t offer guidance when asked, a shoulder to lean on in difficult times etc. Those things are still important because others are not a burden either. This does not include times when people are acting abusive towards us as that is never okay, and should never be tolerated. It’s about learning how to help while still maintaining our own boundaries, independence, and acknowledgement of our own needs.

You are not a burden. Our struggles and our grief are not a burden.

I am still working on the burden part. I am still learning how to tell people when things are challenging. To open up and allow them an opportunity to offer a level of comfort in an non-attachment way. My boundaries need this comfort to not come from a place of codependency, but in the past I have not allowed people the chance to even try. I have been unfair to both myself and those who love me. To truly give, one must be open to receiving.

So I want to apologize for all the times I decided to carry my struggle in silence, effectively shutting people out. I want to keep improving on myself in this way. I wish to show by example the importance of self care while helping others from an interdependent standpoint. I will continue to work on achieving the balance of letting people in, without feeling like a burden, or worry about becoming codependent in our struggles. I choose to not view life as a struggle. I choose to thrive.

I choose to remember that we are not burdens.

The Wound from Cutting out a Toxic Parent Never Truly Heals

“I think she is killing herself to please you. She worships the ground you walk on. She didn’t do this for herself.” – Meredith Grey

I had never really watched Grey’s Anatomy until recently. I caught the odd episode here and there, back when it was on the air, but that’s about it. I saw it on Netflix while I was looking for a new background show a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try.

The quote above came from the episode I was watching today. There it was: the trigger. All the feelings that I’m able to suppress, for sometimes months at a time, came rushing back. I was thinking about my mother whom I cut off for good (for the 4th time) about a year ago. I’m more confident that this time around, it actually is for good, but that doesn’t stop me from having days where I yearn for the maternal relationship I haven’t had since I was 9.

One thing I’ve learned from the multiple attempts at separating myself from that psychologically abusive relationship is that, the pain never really goes away. Even though these days are becoming less frequent, when you lack a parental relationship, you tend to still wonder the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘whys’. Social media posts about how people could never live without their mom make me wince. TV shows where you watch the psychological effects destroy the sons and daughters of absent parents cause feelings of empathy to surface because you know what that’s like. Three years ago these things would make me pick up my phone and reach out to her because “it might be different this time. Maybe she’ll realize.” but this time around I won’t be drinking the koolaid.

Sometimes all it takes is a little karaoke and dancing in the kitchen

My go-to when these triggers happen is to drown myself in misery. I listen to the music that got me through my teenage years. I watch shows like Shameless and Jessica Jones so I can relate to the characters and continue to grieve over the maternal relationship I lost at a young age.

Today was different though. My partner and I came home and cleaned, alternating what music we played while we did so. During one of his songs, knowing full well what kind of day I was having, he grabbed me and danced with me in the kitchen. When The Black Parade (my song) came on, I ran into the living room and sang passionately (horribly) into my daughter’s LOL karaoke machine.

The pain never goes away, but coming to terms with that knowledge makes it easier to cope. Being aware that triggers will happen and bad days are normal reassures me that I made the right choice to sever that relationship. I would rather have a bad day from time to time, than be living my life striving to be someone I’m not, for a maternal relationship that I’ll never have.

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A performance piece

We have this idea of what trauma looks like, these ingrained beliefs about how trauma is experienced, spoken about and lived through. When it doesn’t come in these expected packages, it can be very hard for people to wrap their head around. Often times, it’s not the act of listening they are there for, it’s your emotional response they are craving and wanting to be a part of. As a society, we have become so addicted to the pain of others that we reject the stories (and judge those they belong to) when the performance doesn’t live up to our expectations. We misinterpret the intentions of those who stop hiding it, and those who are no longer reliving their trauma when they tell us about it.
“Well if you’re no longer reliving the trauma, why bring it up? Why focus on the negative? Why can’t you JUST be positive?”
Because I’m not living my life according to someone else’s projections of what is, and what is not something.
Because I do not subscribe to the belief that “negative” is inherently bad, and that we need to just be “positive”.
Because I no longer feel shameful for my story. I no longer feel shameful for my own actions, nor the actions of others towards me.
While I am not defined by my past, will not deny my history either.

What it’s Like to be an Empath Dating Another Empath

As an empath, you feel everything. It can be incredibly overwhelming sometimes. Not only am I carrying the weight of my emotions, which can be exhausting on its own, but if I’m not careful, I can easily stack on the emotions, and energy, of those around me. I find that it can be extremely difficult to maintain friendships because I have to be particular about who I spend my time with and when. High-energy friends, and those who need a lot of emotional maintenance, requires me to ensure I take more time to recharge after hanging out with them.

I was raised by a narcissist and have dated a few and I’ve read so many articles, during and after leaving those situations, on the damaging effects these relationships can have for empaths. I always fantasized about meeting someone that felt like I did; about how wonderful it must be to have someone understand my emotions and connect with me on that level. How phenomenal it would be to not feel like my empathy is being used against me. Finding another empath sounded like a dream scenario.

The pros of dating another empath

I’m not going to sit here and deny that I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in. There are so many upsides to dating an empath. When days are good, they’re great. When one of us is feeling down or stressed, we’re able to be understanding of each other, and help one another through it. “Arguments” are usually handled not by combating each other, but instead, working together against the problem.

We are constantly pushing each other to socialize, work on career advancement and practice self care. When my partner comes home from a night out with his best friend, or I excitedly show him what I did after two hours of learning code, we feed off of that positive energy. Success and happiness doesn’t create jealousy between us, it only pushes us further. It’s an upward spiral of bettering ourselves and it’s one of the most blissful feelings.

One of the things that I find absolutely adorable is that sympathy PMS will hit my partner hard. Yes, it’s a real thing. During ‘Shark Week’, everything makes me emotional. This weekend we were watching Overwatch animated shorts on YouTube, and I felt the tears stream down my cheeks as Tracer knelt down and told the two young boys that “the world needs more heroes”. My hormones were all over the place and honestly, I felt so silly. That was until I looked over to see my partner’s eyes full of tears too, feeling just as empathetic as I did.

The cons of dating another empath

There are downsides to this type of relationship though, especially when its been ingrained in us since birth to feel as though we’re responsible for other our partner’s emotions. When one of us spirals, it’s easy for both of us to spiral hard. If boundaries aren’t discussed, it doesn’t take much to get pulled down. We’ve been together for over a year and we still have a difficult time drawing the line between doing whatever we can to help, and making sure that our own mental health is in check.

In times when my partner starts to slip, I feel it. I try to give him the support he has asked for during previous discussions. However, if the spiral continues longer than a few days, I have a difficult time letting go of the idea that I need to do something. My control issues begin to surface and I start doing everything in my power to fix things, even if they can’t be fixed. Even if there’s nothing to fix. I start to feel useless and like I’m not doing enough. I fixate on finding a solution until I stop thinking about myself. We then continue feeding off of each other’s emotions and energy, causing us to both spiral further.

How to make it work

What’s the solution here? Honestly, I know what it is but snapping ourselves out of that mentality isn’t easy. Communication, boundaries and trust. We both need to work on keeping the communication clear, by not holding back due to fear of overloading the other person. Boundaries need to be continuously discussed so that we know when to take time to recharge when we are feeling overloaded. Finally, trusting each other to voice when we are at our limit so that we can find other avenues of support when our partner doesn’t have the emotional capacity to help us.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Sometimes it’s Easy to Mistake My Anxiety for Anger

Photo by Tmedia Photography

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re constantly worried that something bad is going to happen? Whether it’s logical or not, the thoughts creep into your head, you have nasty butterflies in your stomach and your chest feels so tight that you can hardly breathe. Whether your partner is talking to someone new, your child is sick, you have a yearly review at work or… literally nothing (sometimes there’s no real cause for the overthinking and panic), the feelings fester and get worse. The preconceptions stack and build and become so irrational that if you took a step back and thought about things logically, you would see how absurd your thought process is. This is what anxiety feels like.

Day in and day out this is what it can be like for me. Often the triggers can be so small, but can still hugely impact my perception. A simple song, quote, an out of context portion of conversation, or post on social media can send me spiraling into internally asking questions and coming to the most ludicrous conclusions.

“What if the girl he’s talking to is cooler than me? What if they make fun of me behind my back? What if she’s convincing him to leave me? He’s going to leave me.”

“Did I leave my straighter on? I can’t remember if I turned it off. What if the cats knock it off the counter? What if it touches the shower curtain and the whole place lights on fire? How will my animals get out? What if no one knows before it’s too late?”

So on and so forth until I’m thinking of the absolute worst case, far fetched scenarios. It’s exhausting because logically I know none of this will happen. I’m continuously fighting against my brain, every single day.

My partner will come into the room mid anxiety attack, clueless of all of this, and ask me about something. I have a tendency to snap back about insignificant things because I’m so worked up about the imaginary scenarios.

“Why didnt you take out the garbage??”
“This kitchen is a mess.”
“Where are my keys?!”

Luckily my partner and I have gotten to a point in our relationship where he can differentiate between the two. It wasn’t always like that though, there was a substantial period of time where he would follow up with:

“Are you mad at me?”

At which point, I would partially snap out of it and apologize, explaining what I had been dealing with before he walked into the minefield.

It’s so easy to mistake anxiety for anger. This doesn’t justify the way I handle myself when I’m overwhelmed. This is something I’ve been working on every day and having him there to listen to my fears, and help me dissect them, does make a huge difference in how I unlearn this toxic behaviour.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

There’s No Point in Arguing With Those not Willing to Listen

No matter how good of a person you are, and how much you do for people, there will always be someone who perceives you, and your point of view, negatively. Even if you do everything you can to look at things objectively and offer calm, viable solutions to problems or issues, if it doesn’t fit their narrative, they won’t listen. Even if you carefully live your life and watch every step to make sure you follow what’s deemed acceptable by society, there will always be someone who will create their own image of you to make themselves look better. Even if you try to make things as fair as you possibly can, and offer the ability to discuss and negotiate situations, they will not always care to listen or offer the same respect that you offer them.

I spent a lot of years caring about what other people think, and living my life to maintain my image. Openly stepping outside of the comfort zone of what’s viewed as ‘acceptable’ by society would cause incredible amounts of anxiety and panic. This worsened when I became a mother, as I mentioned in my post about how I refuse to sacrifice my life to parenting.

When I left one of my past partners due to an extended period of emotional abuse, I had lost almost all of my confidence. They became vindictive and attempted to pit everyone we knew against me by manipulating stories to make it seem as though they were the victim. It used to bother me so much, and they knew it, which made it worse. They created an image of me, from small pieces of scattered information, to make it seem as though I was something that I’m not. Communicating and clarifying the actual situation to my ex partner, or defending myself, never made a difference. Every time I would try, they would cut me off and claim that it wasn’t worth an explanation. The accurate telling of events would only make it more difficult for them to be angry. It would only hinder their ability to spin the story how they wanted to tell it.

After multiple attempts to maintain and protect my image, and attaining the same result, I started to question why. Why was I trying to defend myself to someone who was clearly so unhappy with their own life that they’re trying to destroy everyone else’s perception of me? Why do I care so much? Explaining the truth won’t make a difference because they don’t want to hear it. I know I’m a good person with the best intentions. I know that I’m capable of empathy and understanding. I know that I can acknowledge my flaws, and apologize when I’m wrong. The important people in my life know this as well. So why do I need to try so hard to impress those that choose not to believe these things?

The answer? I don’t. I’ve learned to live my life for me, and that I’m not responsible for other people’s perception of me. Whether I live life to the epitome of perfection, or I live it the way I want to, they will always have something negative to say, and that’s on them. How they talk to, and about me, is a reflection of them. How I react is a reflection of me.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

The Selfishness of Polyamory

After posting my most recent entry about polyamory, I received a few comments calling the lifestyle, and myself, selfish. These comments claimed that it would be unfair to my partners to divide my love among more than one person, and saying that I would be denying my partner 100% of myself. I can understand not wanting to partake in this relationship dynamic; just as monogamy is not for me, I don’t expect polyamory to be for you.

First of all, the idea that I would have to divide my love across multiple partners is incredibly inaccurate. I wouldn’t love one sibling more than another. I wouldn’t have to love one child less if I decided to have another. My love would expand. I would love them for different reasons and in different ways. So why is it such a difficult thing to imagine loving more than one partner?

From my point of view, what’s more selfish of me:

Expecting my partner to meet each and every one of my emotional and sexual needs?

Or

Having multiple partners to reach out to when I feel as though my needs are not being met?

Is it really all that selfish to not expect your partner to sleep with you every time you’re in the mood to do so? What about if, instead of having an emotional meltdown to your significant other, who is also experiencing a difficult time, you reach out to another partner for help. When we stop expecting one partner to sacrifice themselves to satisfy our own physical, emotional, and mental needs, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off of the relationship.

What’s selfish to me is that, we have been taught that we should expect our partners to give all of themselves to us, without any consideration of their feelings. If they don’t, this means that they don’t love or care about us. Whether we want our partner emotionally or physically, if they say they aren’t in a good place to do so, we’ve been taught to automatically assume that we are the issue. We take it upon ourselves and assume our problems aren’t worth listening to or our bodies aren’t what they want. We never stop to consider – or even ask – what’s going through their heads. I’ve been on the other side of things and have been shamed for not “wanting” them, when really, my mental health was struggling.

What one would call selfish, I would call “the understanding that I can’t meet my partners every need and he can’t meet mine”. Polyamory doesn’t make us love or care about each other any less. In fact, from my experience, I’ve found that the feelings my partner and I have for each other grow and expand every single day. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, but one I would never sacrifice.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!

Anxiety Hack: Visual Organization for Mental Organization

“Holy fuck.” I cuss under my breath, running around the house, jumping from one task to another.

“Is everything okay?” my partner asks. He already knows the answer to this since he’s seen this before on multiple occasions.

“The clutter is driving me crazy. I have a million things to do. I have to get groceries, do laundry, pack Arya’s lunch for school. Shit, I still need to RSVP to that birthday party she’s going to.” I groan and put my hands on my face as if to slow down my brain which is currently in rapid fire mode.

“Sam,” My partner starts using his dom voice so he knows I’m paying attention. I take my hands on my face and look at him. “first I need you to take a deep breath.”

I do as I’m told.

“Good girl.” He smiles and pulls out his phone, opening his notepad. “Okay, what are all the things you need to do tonight.”

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I’ve never been the most organized person. Ask my dad and step mom. I was a young teenager when I made the decision to move to their house to flee my mother’s crushing grip on my life. My room was utter chaos. If it ever did manage to get cleaned, it lasted no more than a week. It drove them absolutely crazy.

Me? I was fine with it. I would sleep soundly every night next to my purse, game cases, papers, textbooks, clothes and a collection of other things. That was just my bed. My floor was an even layer of all of the above amongst other things.

Motherhood changed me. Which is ironic when you think about it. Someone once told me ‘Trying to clean the house when you have a child is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos’. I’ve never heard something more accurate. Trying to teach a 4 year old to clean up after themselves is an uphill battle. She’s getting there. More on that another day.

I have major control issues and I acknowledge that. The state of my house is the one thing that I do feel as though I have control over. If I don’t have order, I lose it. Pile work, groceries, and other day to day responsibilities on top of that? Prepare for a panic attack.

When I was with a previous partner, if I didn’t go to the grocery store, we wouldn’t have food (though if we were needing something for that night or the next morning he would run out and get it. I more so mean big grocery shops). If I didn’t do the dishes, they sat in the sink. If I didn’t do laundry, then no one would have clothes for the week. I had been so overwhelmed that I gave up. I had lost control. Anxiety spiraled into depression. That’s when I had been at my absolute lowest. It got to a point where I was no longer taking care of myself. Any energy I had left was making sure my child’s needs were met. While she was fed, clothed and happy, I still wasn’t the mother I had wanted to be.

My current partner does a vocal list as he pats himself down every time he leaves the house:

“Cell phone, keys, wallet, vape, vape fluid.”

If anything from that list of must-haves for the day is missing, he’s able to catch it right there. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been halfway to work and I was missing at least one of those things and had to turn back around. Once we started living together, I never forgot anything at home again.

My roommate at the time purchased a large dry erase board. He would write down any short term or long term tasks he would need to complete. It helped him organize his day to day life and to keep himself on track. We were welcome to use it too, so my partner would start making lists of things we would need to do. If it was cleaning, he would write down everything I said that needed to be tidied, wiped down and washed. He wrote down when we had places to go, things we needed to buy. He would then split up all of the tasks between the both of us that I was originally going to take on myself.

Every day seemed to get easier and easier. Anxiety attacks would get few and far in between. For the first time in 4 years I could feel my head start to clear. I had more energy to spend on being an emotionally available mother, as well as the time to spend on myself.

Every time I would get close to an emotional overload, he would grab a dry erase marker (or open his phones memo pad if we weren’t home) and write down all the tasks that need to be completed.

I had never really considered the impact of seeing all my thoughts written out. No overwhelming fear that I’m going to forget something, or god forbid, that I won’t sit down until 11pm. It has made my life increasingly less difficult. For once I finally feel like I have control of something.

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If you enjoyed what you read, head over to the Links page. Let’s connect.

You can also Ask Me a Question. This helps me with topics to write about. Polyamory, relationships, attachment parenting, feminism, communication and mental health are just some of the topics I read a lot about and have formed quite a few opinions on.

Thanks for reading!