Spring Break, Shame and Recovery

Spring Break, Shame and Recovery

Spring is coming! I’ve always loved spring. My birthday is in March. So is my sister’s and her daughter’s, so it’s always been a fun thing to look forward to. And for some reason, spring was usually a harder semester for me than the fall. Like most students, I couldn’t wait to have Spring Break. I remember feeling pressure from other students and myself about making sure I had a super fun Spring Break—one that was worthy of bragging about. I had talked my best friend, Anna, to drive us down to Padre Island, in south Texas. My parents had forbidden me to go, but I just lied to them. Anna had not wanted to go because she was self conscious about her body in a bikini. But I begged and pleaded and so we drove the 8 hours it took to get there. Blackouts and Closets The first night we were there, out with friends, Anna had gotten into a fight with a guy at a club, and then later she and I got into a fist fight. Of course there was alcohol involved and somehow we managed to stumble our way home to sleep on the floor of a friend’s condo. The next day we were both filled with remorse and shame, so in order to escape dealing with those feelings, we went to Mexico to “shop”. After a day of margaritas and Coronas, somehow we managed to get ourselves back over the border into the US. This is where it gets a bit blurry for me. Suddenly I found myself at a party in a condo...
Gaslighting = Emotional Abuse

Gaslighting = Emotional Abuse

What is Gaslighting? Emotional Abuse I’m talking about gaslighting and this is a term—learned this in Al-Anon. It’s when someone in your life is emotionally cutting you off or undermining you. It’s a slow erosion. It’s very confusing. It’s not like when someone hits you. You can feel that. Or if there’s a fly on the wall, you can see that. When there’s emotional undermining and verbal undermining it’s much trickier and more challenging. Especially If you grew up in an insane or alcoholic environment, then a lot of times where you don’t know if you trust yourself or you’re overreacting. You don’t always have the best meters to gauge things with. I was in a relationship with a guy and he would say things like: “You can’t do that. I’ll handle that. You’re just going to mess that up.” If we got lost it was my fault. If the restaurant was bad it was my fault, even if he picked it. If the movie was bad it was my fault. It was this slow, slow erosion. He would say, “No one is going to love you like I love you.” Or he would say, “You smell after you work out.” And I’d think, “But aren’t you happy that I work out?” I really hope that if anyone is in that situation, you will write to me because I can support you. It’s dangerous and tricky. It’s a slippery slope. It’s Easier When They Hit You: Gaslighting is Subtle I used to have a joke that goes, “It’s easier when they hit you.” And I don’t mean that literally,...

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