Archive | January 2021

Freezing (Not Fighting or Fleeing)

In the triad of fight, flight, or freeze, I have always frozen. I am now understanding the impacts of that.

Part of the consequences of trauma (and I personally believe everyone has some degree of it), is that big chunks of the brain simply turn off. Seriously. Little patches will light up on a fMRI, but most of it will be dark. I have been feeling that blankness more specifically lately.

My shrink turned me onto “The Crappy Childhood Fairy,” Anna Runkle. I think that is a hilarious title, like a dysfunctional Wizard of Oz. I tried writing down my fears–and went blank. I know this blankness. I am familiar with it. But wow. “So this is what it feels like when my brain turns off. I think I get it now.”

I am having a problem at work. They have been promising to give me cashier training since before last July. It is now hour away from the following February. Last Thursday, I looked at the schedule and saw close to a half-dozen people scheduled to work on the floor, including myself. Their primary excuse for not giving me training is that they need someone to do my job. They really don’t want to lose me on the floor. I get more done than anyone. Just ask anyone. When I saw the schedule, it hit me hard emotionally, “They either start the training me for that next week, or they are not sincere and I am wasting my time waiting for them. Perhaps I need to update my resume–now.”

It hit me this weekend: being the frozen type, I can see why doing things like updating my resume is so hard. Something huge always has to happen before I make the necessary choices. Something has to make me thaw against my will.

I just moved to be closer to work. My husband passed a few years ago. I am determined to get as much healing done as possible within the next year. I am making progress. The Crappy Childhood Fairy has an awesome worksheet to get one motivated to do some major healing within a year.

But I also realized that the drama is all internal. Rehearsing what to say to management is futile. The time for that conversation has long since passed. This is about me knowing what I want and what I plan to do about it. I have already said everything I can say and done everything I can do.

I told the manager last Thursday that I wanted the training to start the following Thursday “or I will plan accordingly.” I am not planning on quitting in the next couple weeks, but, if the training does not commence this week, I am ready to update my resume and start looking. Here is management’s choice: train me or replace me and train that person. Do you see how training is still mandatory? Someone will be trained, one way or another. We have enough floor people now. Their excuses have been exhausted.

I am trying to handle this as a more mature person. One step at a time.

Doing Things Deliberately

I moved a week-and-a-half ago.

I am fully functional in my new digs. The nice part is that when the weather sucks, I am five minutes away from work (really just around the block). This past Friday was a perfect example. First, it rained. When I drove to work, it was snowing. Then, for the rest of the workday, it did something in between. When it was time to drive home, my car had a thin layer of ice on it. Welcome to Michigan. I was so happy to be home in about ten minutes, including scraping-off time.

However, I still have some boxes in the living room. I could just shove them in the closet. Out of sight, out of mind. I suspect that is what I did last time I moved. I was totally overwhelmed dealing with Barry and the house. I just crammed stuff into boxes and got them hauled from point A to point B. I refuse to do that again.

I am going through things, item by item. For some stuff, it is like, “OMG! I still have this?!” Some items are hard to eliminate because they represent dead hopes and dreams. Those parts of my life really are over.

I don’t know if this is a better way, but I am tired of being continually overwhelmed. I am gradually using my free time to finish up emotional business. I want to know what I have and where it is all at. Easier said than done.

I have always considered this to be a practice move. The goal is Not-Michigan. I have my atlas and am doing research. I could live here another few years. I have some final arrangements to make and pay for for myself. One thing at a time.

Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility is a theme that keeps popping up in my life.

Work is in a state of chaos. We lost a manager. I heard she got fired. I suspect (with no way of verifying) that she defended a particular worker whose behavior was disrespectful and unacceptable on every level. When she defended the indefensible, her behavior became problematic. I heard that she said that someone was hurling racist comments at the unacceptable worker’s behavior. If that is the case, then that person needs to go as well. I won’t defend the indefensible.

Then there’s the political chaos we are watching now. After Trump fomenting an insurrection, suddenly many Republicans have developed a conscience. “We didn’t know he was that unstable.” That is crap. Everyone knew he was that unstable. Four years ago. I don’t know if it was Dr. Phil or Maya Angelou that said, “When someone tells you or shows you who they are, believe them,” but that’s the truth. These politicians get no brownie points whatsoever for suddenly having a conscience two weeks before the new administration comes in. The reality is simple: these Trump sycophants bet their political fortunes on a egomaniacal, narcissistic psychopath–and lost the bet. They thought they could do damage control. They were wrong. May they never be taken seriously again.

I am speaking from personal experience. My brothers did a lot of drugs and alcohol when I was growing up. Not everything they did was legal. Or intelligent, to say the least. When I defended their stupidity, the response I got was universal: “Wow, there’s something really wrong with that family. I thought Cindy was the smart one. Guess I was wrong.” My intelligence got questioned because I was defending the stupidity of others. Not okay.

The lesson is simple: who and what you defend is a direct reflection on your character. Period. Be careful. Defend the wrong thing or person and your reputation may never recover.

I moved!

I have had little else on my mind other than moving for a while now. And today I did it.

I am beyond exhausted. Physically, but emotionally as well. This is the first time I have ever moved without Barry. It feels wrong. I have cried a lot.

It has been such a disconnect. Everything in my life has pointed in this direction for years. Moving makes sense. I am closer to work. I think of this as a practice move for when I leave Michigan. This is all very logical and reasonable.

But emotionally I feel like I am dying. Maybe the old me is dying and that is the point.

I have not had TV for a few days, since Dish was disconnected. So I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos. Brene Brown. OMG. She is so good. She gets shame and vulnerability like no one else.

It’s just so odd having my brain say, “This is the normal order of things. This is all well and good.” Meanwhile, my heart feels like it is being crushed and I may not wake up in the morning.

I know what is going on. There is no mystery. For my entire life, but especially throughout my marriage, I had to function. I had to get things done. Feelings would have to be dealt with later because I have to take care of Barry or do this term paper or whatever. Guess what? It’s laaaateeeer now. That day has arrived. The massive over-reaction is actually thirty or even fifty years of repressed crap rising to the surface. My shrink even pointed out to me that it is no coincidence that the anniversary of Barry’s death is next week. My subconscious orchestrated the whole thing. So funny and annoying. I did this to myself.

I will be fine. Perhaps not immediately, but in the long run.