Every time I become ready to learn something new, God brings me the perfect post. I say God rather than my “manifesting” it to get in touch with my fleeting humility. In 2009 I did another fifth step. I came to addiction recovery Nov. 24, 1976, so I have taken a few fifth steps. This one was monumental because I was healed of the bondage of my violent childhood home.
I had recreated in this recent marriage/divorce my childhood dynamics. I cast my husband as the bad, selfish daddy and I was the good, giving wife. The more we became these roles, the more miserable we both became. He acted out his misery by having an affair and leaving me. And I, thank God, went back to AA with my tail between my legs.
I found such an amazing home group that in about 50 members, we have over 500 years of sobriety. It is pretty hard to go off track with that kind of guidance. They, of course, love me in the unconditional love of souls who have received a second life. They love me because they love themselves.
I began exploring the connection between codependency and post traumatic stress disorder–PTSD. I was shocked while reading ‘The Last Tour”, an article in The New Yorker, to discover a paragraph that I completely identified with emotionally. “The Last Tour” is an article about Staff Sergeant Travis Twiggs who may have committed suicide by cop.
“Travis and Willard Twiggs were not in trouble with the law. Willard, thirty-eight, was a former maritime-logistics specialist in New Orleans. He had been working construction, intermittently, since Hurricane Katrina. Travis, thirty-six, was a Marine Corps staff sergeant stationed in Quantico, Virginia. He was a decorated combat veteran with one tour of duty in Afghanistan and four tours in Iraq. In January, 2008, he had created a minor stir by writing, in the Marine Corps Gazette, an article about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The paragraph that rocked me was:
“What is broken, what is lost, above all, with complex P.T.S.D. is social trust, according to Jonathan Shay, one of its most astute analysts. Wounded warriors come home and feel that they can trust no one—not even their spouses. Under the pressure of constant, violent, involuntary psychic contraction (terror, self-loathing) and expansion (rage, grandiosity, mania), character itself shrivels. With loyal, troubled, self-destructive Will, Travis may have felt that he had found the one person he could trust, who would stay beside him to the end.”
I finally understood my life of isolation. Although I have always worked and interacted with others, I had kept my emotional life very barren and devoid of a lot of close companions. I grew up in a family of two parents at continual war. My sisters and I had to choose sides. So sometimes I was on my mother’s “side” and sometimes I was on my father’s “side”. That experience that taught me that I could trust no one other than myself was when they joined sides to reject me. They had designated me the arbitrator and sometimes I had to be put in my place. I was the youngest parent.
So I began my study of PTSD, codependency, ACOA and core values.
“Two frogs were playing on the rafters of a dairy barn one night. They fell into adjacent pails of cream. They jumped and hopped and scrambled for survival. One fought the good fight longer and harder than the other, and stayed the course. When the farmer came in the next morning, he found one frog floating on the top of a pail of cream, dead, and the other standing on a cake of butter, exhaused but happy to be alive.”
Father Giles Bello
1. Life with Aspergers: “Why Aspies Remember Some Things Perfectly and Completely Forget Other Things”
“My memory is faulty, there’s no doubt about it. On the one hand, it seems amazing. I can remember “whole conversations” which took place years ago, I can quote from literally thousands of films but ask me what someone’s name is or ask me to get some things from the shops and I’ll draw a blank.”
“In fact, face to face conversations with me at work quite often involve me subconsciously using my hands to do gestures of long hair, or glasses simply because I’ve forgotten the person I’m trying to describe. It’s also a common sight at our local shops to see me standing around counting my fingers. I know that I’ve got to get five things at the shop but I can only remember three of them. “
“I think that a lot of my memory is based on repetition. That’s no revelation really, rote learning has been around for years and despite the claims that rote learning provides only lists, not concepts, it’s still recognized as one of the most effective learning tools.”
2. Asperger Ninja: “State of the Nathan”:
“A quick post about Nate’s 1st day of school. New school, new teachers, new kids, new after school program. It was an amazingly huge amount of NEW to deal with for my guy. He handled it like a ROCK STAR. No phone calls, no notes home, no picking him up in a sobbing hysterical heap of sad panda face. We celebrated by having delicious pizza and watching “Dog The Bounty Hunter”.”
“I am astounded by his resiliency right now. I admire his efforts to keep him self calm and focused when everything is unfamiliar. I think I had more anxiety than he did, but I had taken steps to process all the NEW first in order to be an oasis of tranquility so that he could feel regulated and safe.”
“I think that aspie kids, like infants, can “read” you before you realize that you’re in a state of sweating panic. (Yeah, sweating panic-ers! Testify!) I continually try to learn new strategies to help guide Nate through these difficult times. I admit I’ve been a little hovercraft-ish these past two days, but I am learning to let go and giving him a chance to use his social skills first. If you teach them skills, but don’t allow them to put them into action, they don’t get used. And then they’ll cling to you more and do less for themselves, which defeats the purpose of teaching them these independence building social skills.”
“So, in brief, he’s adjusting very well and is being a social ninja, putting his mad skills to work. He is happy, smiling and talking to me about his day. I am so proud of him I could literally burst.”
3. Aspie Wife, Aspie Mom: “Dwell With Them With Understanding”:
“Okay, this is a word to the Aspie husbands who really want to be loving and understanding toward their wives. Hopefully your wife understands AS and is able to communicate her thoughts and desires to you in a way that makes sense. But if she doesn’t know how to do this, you should make the first effort to find out what she wants and needs. The Bible says that husbands are responsible before God to love their wives and to dwell with them in an understanding way.”
“So here’s something you guys can do. ASK your wife to write down five practical things you can physically do that would make her happy. It may look like this:
1. Bring me flowers.
2. Give me a compliment.
3. Ask me if I’d like to take a break/nap while you babysit the kids.
4. Give me a massage.
5. Take me on a date. Go to a movie, out to dinner, or once the kids are in bed you can bring home takeout from a nice restaurant, watch a movie, and then do the dishes.
“If she won’t write a list, then try ALL of these things I’ve suggested. At least one of them should be “her thing”.”
“Here’s the kicker. Try doing at least three things from this list every week. When she revives from the initial shock, you will likely find her warming up to you as she feels happy, cherished, and loved again. These frequent displays of love will help melt away her anger and bitterness. She will know by these varying and physical displays of affection it is better to be with you (weaknesses, frustrations and all) than to be alone.”
“I recently read of a man whose wife of many years died unexpectedly. He found her journals to be full of pain, frustration, and anger at the way he had treated her their entire marriage. This sent him into a deep depression, with enormous guilt causing him to ask “How could I have been so hurtful and thoughtless to my wife?” Don’t be that man, finding those journals, and beating yourself up once it’s too late to show love to your wife in a way that communicates love to her in her way.”