Yesterday I got a letter. Normally I am thrilled by such instances. In this case I believe the person sent a letter because if he sends a letter I can only respond on his terms. If he sent an email he knows I would just argue with him and refuse to let him set the terms of the conversation. As is, I don't feel like this letter deserves a letter back of its own so I'm just going to ignore it. Well, maybe "ignore" is a bit strong. I'll stew about it but I'm not going to respond to him. I hear he has me blocked all over the internet. Hallelujah.
I would like to say in public that I am under the care of a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, and I do actually have a general doctor as well. The folks who "take care" of me are professionals in good standing in their various professions. They all agree that I should be on some kind of psych med at this stage and if pot is working, why bother replacing it with something that has more side effects. Does that make it an addiction? Is someone who takes thyroid medication an addict? It's an interesting question.
I certainly need pot. I feel a grotesque amount of shame about that. I'm aware the 12 step folks want me to get off it entirely. Obviously that would make my whole life better. Given the magnitude of my mental health issues I would need to turn to western medicine and pills. Seriously, they make everything worse. But obviously I am a disgusting low life addicts. Obviously.
And because I am obviously I am an addict, that means I am bad and abuse, right? I have anger issues. I've had anger issues for a long time. I must be addicted to anger, right? It totally makes sense. I'm comfortable in that emotion so I default to it and if nothing happens for a while to make me angry I'll go find some moron on the internet to argue with. Since I was eighteen I have kicked holes in drywall twice and punched a hole once. I kicked the cabinet doors off. That is the entire extent of property damage done in my life. That is manifestly an anger problem. I don't hit people at all any more under any circumstances. I don't do that "girl" thing of whacking people when they are irritating. I married someone who finds it offensive so I stopped. I'm not going to be doing bdsm play with anyone else again so I don't think I will ever hit a person again in my life. It's kind of weird to think about.
But obviously my anger is running my life. I'm angry all day every day, right? No? Wait. What?! You mean the gross assumptions about me might be incorrect? I spend all day every day in a mellow and cheerful mood. I am edgy and anxious when new people come around and I feel uncomfortable. I have this constant fear that people are judging me (but I get a letter ever year or so from someone telling me that I am disgusting and abusive so I think that isn't a paranoia on my part) and it makes me more prone to fight with people I think don't like me anyway. The best defense is a good offense. If you strike me as someone who is likely to shame me and put me down I am going to attack you and be on offense from the beginning. It isn't always perfect. But then I get letters like yesterday and I'm glad I have that approach.
I'm not going to do what people tell me and then they get butt hurt and *I'm* the one with the anger problem. Right. Obviously if I don't want to do what he says when he says it I am in denial.
I am not at a place in my life where I can start going to a bunch of meetings in San Francisco. Not even to make other people feel better about my "sobriety". I can't bring my kids and telling me that I could get childcare from someone who thinks I am disgusting is hilarious. I would rather drop my kids off to play in the park alone. They would be safer.
A lot of the reason I have no contact with my family isn't because I am paranoid about them sexually assaulting my kids during an Easter Egg Hunt. I don't allow my children around my family because my children don't need to sit and listen to people talk shit about me. I'm far from perfect and I deal with that. My 19 month old and my nearly four year old don't need to be in the house of someone who feels quite free to put me down and talk badly about me. Hell fucking no. That is a hostile environment for me and mine. Calling it "support" is pure hypocrisy and it sickens me. No you don't want to support me. You want to shame me and insult me. I'll pass.
Anger is absolutely the monkey on my back. I deal with it by trying to figure out why I am angry and changing the part that feels like an attack so I can stop feeling defensive. There isn't a chance in hell I am going to go visit the house of someone who has shamed me up one side and down the other and not feel angry. Then he will take that as more confirmation that he is right. No thanks. That is a lose/lose situation for me. Shaming isn't love or concern.
That's the part that matters. When people come to me in love and concern to "talk about my behavior" (it happens) I try to meet them where they are and listen. I don't think I am perfect. I listen to advice when it is given appropriately by people I respect. Someone who sends me a nastygram letter unsolicited where he recommends that I go stay in a residential rehab facility because I smoke pot? Yeah. Kiss my ass. I'm fairly unlikely to smoke for the rest of my life. But it is a drug I need right now. I guess I'm bad for that. I guess I should abandon my children to the mercy of people who think I am bad and head off to a place that will cause me massive panic attacks as soon as I walk in.
And after I walk in I won't be able to go to the bathroom when I want. And if I don't draw pictures when they tell me to draw pictures all hell can break loose. Oh wait. I'm just being paranoid. That doesn't happen to people. Oh wait. It happened to me. Uhm, no. No thank you. I don't think there is a chance in hell that residential treatment would improve my life. I think that would be the thing that sent me over the bend and I would never be released because they would be pumping me full of frightening chemicals just to get me to stop screaming. I will never go back to a treatment facility. I would rather kill myself. My therapists know this. They don't think I need to go to rehab. My therapist thinks that rehab would be an entirely inappropriate place for me because I am not hurting my life. I am appropriately using a medication that my body apparently needs right now so that I can go on to be a (mostly) happy, highly functioning adult. What is the problem?
The problem is that someone is mad at me. He has shit going on in his own life that he is upset about and he wants to vent his spleen on someone. I'm a convenient target. This is what being the scapegoat means. This is how such patterns continue on and on in life. He acted like the bringer of truth. "You've surrounded yourself with friends who don't see you(sic) addictive behavior as anything unusual, and with a husband who is a hard core enabler." Yes. I have chosen to surround myself with people who are nice to me and who do not send me nasty letters. You illustrate nicely why I do that. You are not right. You have an opinion.
I'm addicted to anger, cutting, sex, and drugs. Apparently. Sure. Why not. All of these "addictions" spring from the same basic place of feeling unsafe and like I deserve to hurt. I've been looking into the treatment for these issues for some time. Guess what the first step is?
Safety. Safety, for me, includes not talking to people who are going to send me long letters about how bad I am. Whether I have issues or not it is not the job of anyone to send me nasty letters about my issues. This isn't how you help someone. But it is how you contribute to the surrounding feeling of unsafe. I guess I shouldn't let go of that paranoia of people sitting at home thinking nasty thoughts about me. I have yet more evidence. Shit dude. He felt motivated enough by his hostile judgment to print out a letter, find an envelope and put three stamps on it! That's commitment! It wasn't even an off-hand email in a bitchy moment. He put effort into it. He didn't open a dialogue about, "I'm feeling worried about you. Are you open to talking about some of the stuff that is going on for you?" He has no interest in my consent. He's just interested in telling me how bad I am.
"A while back you wrote about how outraged you were when you discovered that there were adults who knew that you were being abused as a child and didn't do anything about it. Another time you wrote something to the effect that at least your kids were not being brought up by totally fucked up addicts, they were being brought up my(sic) a high functioning addict. I like Shanna a lot, and if we ever meet when she is grown up, I don't want her to be able to say to me, "If everyone knew my mom was an addict, how come nobody did anything about it?"
This is for Shanna."
Bam! That's class A perfect color shame. He's not telling me these things because he is a judgmental asshole! No! He's doing it for Shanna. He thinks it would be far preferable to be on western meds so that I can sit on the couch and stare at a tv and not do anything self-destructive and recover from my "addictions".
I feel the love in every line. Don't you? I was raped over and over. I was moved more than 50 times. I was not allowed to develop any normal attachments in life and I'm bitter about it. Obviously he needs to step in because I am a stoner. It's the same thing as rescuing me when I was a kid. I'm just as bad.
I'm sure I am not reading this is the best possible light. I hear that 80% of all things read in text are read with the wrong tone. I guess it is too bad that this person didn't have the respect for me to ask to talk to me in person, you know, if he was serious about wanting to help me. Instead he sent an aggressive and hostile letter (you can't miss that even if you tone down my paranoia) and I'm supposed to just... what? Smack myself in the forehead and say, "You must be right! How have I lived without such sage advice commanding me how to get my life together!"
Why do I write about these things? Because if I didn't write about it I would mutter under my breath all day. I would slam cabinets. I would be pissed off as fuck because this fucking asshole just god damn ruined my day. But if I come and write about it I can let it go. I went through all the thoughts. Now I can stop talking about when the kids are around.
There are always going to be people who dislike me and disapprove of me. If I let that ruin my day I can just go kill myself and get it over with. There are enough of those people for every day, forever.
In the best light I can see this letter as him trying to say that he misses having me as a friend and he won't hang out with me until I get treatment so please hurry because he misses me. There is definitely a way to see it that way if I'm generous.
But this is a whole lot of shaming. I don't need people in my life who shame me. I don't need to be made to feel bad. That's not ok. That's not an acceptable thing to do to a friend. If he wanted to talk to me about these things he could have. He didn't. He wanted to sit on high and give me judgments and orders. Well who died and made you the king of anything?
Don't worry. I'll tell Shanna you sent me a nasty letter trying to protect her. I'm sure it will make her feel much better.
If someone actually wants to talk to me and offer polite conversation about their concern, I promise I won't write a hostile blog post about it. If you treat me like a reasonable person I'll treat you like one. If you send me shaming text, I might print the whole thing verbatim and I might keep it private. You are taking a roll of the dice. I don't keep secrets very well.