Smitten with Him

grown-up stuff happens here sometimes

Struggling with Self-Love

I need your help…

How does one just start loving themself?

If they don’t already love themself?

My reason for quantifying it like that:
I think it’s hard – for a person who already loves themself, and has always loved themself – to understand or advise on this. I mean, what struggle does that person have to pull from? How can they sympathize? Read the rest of this entry »
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Freeing Myself

Perfection takes time

The love-bombing started right away

We started seeing each other near the end of October (4 years ago now…*sigh*)

Inviting me to holiday events with his family

Helping me to feel instantly important Read the rest of this entry »

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Embrace Your Flaws

Your flaws make you unique and special.

Embrace them like you would embrace an old friend.

Xoxo ūüėė

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Word of the Day: Gaslighting (revisited)

gaslight1944dvd

Do you know what it is?

Wikipedia says:

Gaslighting or gas-lighting[1] is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt her or his own memory, perception, and sanity.[2] Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
The term owes its origin to the play Gas Light and its film adaptations, after which it was coined popularly. Now the term even is used in clinical and research literature.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Being Self-Positive

One of the first two tasks given to me by Mr. X is to write a positive post about myself (the other is to let him know, every day before noon, that I am safe).

Hmmmm….WordsInYourHeart0

There are¬†SO many things that I am proud of myself for! I guess I don’t sit down very often¬†and quantify them.

While I’ve been growing, there have been times when I have wrongly given someone else credit for my own emotional advancement and I am so happy that I could see it (eventually) and give the credit back to myself.

When I *do* look at my accomplishments, I can’t believe how far I have brought myself since I moved to Colorado 7 years ago!

  • I made the choice to go to the dentist and get my teeth fixed/pulled. That was one of THE hardest things I have ever done in my life because it really was¬†the precipice¬†of my “change”. It truly was like stepping off a cliff!¬†It’s amazing how much having¬†a beautiful smile to¬†share with people¬†has made a difference in me.
  • I love myself. I didn’t used to. Maybe I don’t think I am gorgeous or anything, but that’s not important anyway.¬†I am a really freaking cool person! So¬†much so, that I actually look forward to time that I get to spend alone with myself.
  • I never used to be able to go anywhere or try¬†something new¬†alone. It’s still a challenge for me now, but I can do it!
  • I kicked meth abuse. All. By. Myself! (I had to move halfway across the country to do it, but I did it!)
  • I have lost over 30 pounds and feel amazing about my body. The new self-confidence I feel from that is so empowering that¬†I’m afraid I might¬†accidentally use¬†it for evil ūüėČ
  • I am a totally awesome jam skater!¬†It took so much¬†work for me to get here (and the broken ankle).¬†Other ladies watch me and try to emulate me. I have been watching one¬†woman for over a year and¬†she has¬†come so far — most of her “moves” are very similar to¬†mine.¬†One of my friends tells me she wishes that she could skate backwards as well as I do. Last week a man came up to me and asked me how I turn so smoothly. The feeling is flattering and amazing!

My biggest problem now is learning how to deal with this new self-esteem thing. Feeling good about myself still feels strange.

It’s¬†something¬†that will take time for me¬†to get used to.

I think I’m doing okay, though.¬† If I wasn’t, I would never have met Mr. X! ūüôā

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Word of the Day: Gaslighting

gaslight1944dvd

Do you know what it is?

Wikipedia says:

Gaslighting or gas-lighting[1] is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt her or his own memory, perception, and sanity.[2] Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
The term owes its origin to the play Gas Light and its film adaptations, after which it was coined popularly. Now the term even is used in clinical and research literature.

The Urban Dictionary says:

A more psychological definition of gaslighting is “an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to, the victim – having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own memory and perception.”

Your spouse begins telling you things that never really happened. For instance, he says that last week he told you he was going to go to the bar with his buddies this Monday night, but you never remember him telling you that.

Or maybe your boss gets angry because you didn’t prepare the report he asked you to. When you remind him that he usually prepares that particular report, he snaps that he told you to take care of it a few days ago because he was too busy. However, you know he never asked you to do so.

Both of these could be considered gaslighting.

by Your Reality Check, May 31, 2009

Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Toxic Relationships – Abuse and its Aftermath says:

Ambient abuse is the stealth, subtle, underground currents of maltreatment that sometimes go unnoticed even by the victims themselves, until it is too late. Ambient abuse penetrates and permeates everything ‚Äď but is difficult to pinpoint and identify. It is ambiguous, atmospheric, diffuse. Hence its insidious and pernicious effects. It is by far the most dangerous kind of abuse there is.

It is the outcome of fear ‚Äď fear of violence, fear of the unknown, fear of the unpredictable, the capricious, and the arbitrary. It is perpetrated by dropping subtle hints, by disorienting, by constant ‚Äď and unnecessary ‚Äď lying, by persistent doubting and demeaning, and by inspiring an air of unmitigated gloom and doom (“gaslighting”).

Ambient abuse, therefore, is the fostering, propagation, and enhancement of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability and irritation. There are no acts of traceable explicit abuse, nor any manipulative settings of control. Yet, the irksome feeling remains, a disagreeable foreboding, a premonition, a bad omen.

In the long term, such an environment erodes¬†the victim’s¬†sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Self-confidence is shaken badly. Often, the victim adopts a paranoid or schizoid stance and thus renders himself or herself exposed even more to criticism and judgment. The roles are thus reversed: the victim is considered¬†mentally deranged and the¬†abuser ‚Äď the suffering soul.

Dr. Robin Stern of Psychology Today says (really you should click on the link and read the entire article, it was very good):

How do you know if you are being gaslighted? If any of the following warning signs ring true, you may be dancing the Gaslight Tango. Take care of yourself by taking another look at your relationship, talking to a trusted friend; and, begin to think about changing the dynamic of your relationship . Here are the signs:

  1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
  2. You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” a dozen times a day.
  3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
  4. You’re always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.
  5. You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.
  6. You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.
  7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.
  8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
  9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
  10. You have trouble making simple decisions.
  11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
  12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
  13. You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
  14. You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
  15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.

Remember, there is good news about identifying the Gaslight Effect. The good news is that knowledge is power. Once you can name this all too insidious dynamic, you can work towards changing the dynamic, or getting out — take back your reality, and, get more enjoyment from your life and your relationship!

¬†My father and husband have been doing this to me all my life. My father would tell me that ‘being emotional’ was a weakness and that having cry-baby feelings like mine would get me nowhere in life.

I used to think that I was crazy, that I was hallucinating things. On numerous occasions, I have said to Doom-n-Gloom, “I must be going crazy, because nothing ever is how I remember it with you.”

We would have arguments, and when I would ‘call him out’ on a mistake he would tell me that isn’t how it happened and relate some strange story that didn’t happen in the real world.

In fact, I frequently gaslight myself: telling myself that I am overreacting, that it really can’t be how it seems. I doubt myself and my feelings. I tell myself that my feelings don’t matter, that they are too intense and irrational.

Do you have a ‘gaslighter’ in your life?

gaslight_ingrid_bergman2

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I’m Just a Mom: Self-Esteem

Jem and the Holograms

Last week, I posted the this pic on Thing #2‘s Facebook page with a link to Amazon and said, “OMG!!!! You can get the entire series on DVD! Now I know what to get you for your birthday this year!!! :)”

She responded, “Hm… it looks awesome, but it’s crazy expensive. I’ll have to pass.”

When I got home later that night, just to be clear that she wasn’t telling me, in a nice way, that she really doesn’t want it, I asked her exactly that. She said, “No, Mom. I think it would be epically cool to have it, but it’s way too expensive to give me as a gift.”

I appreciate that she’s being fiscally responsible (or just a martyr?), but I told her that when a person is giving a gift, it’s really up to the gift-ER to decided what is too expensive, not the gift-EE. She continued to disagree with me even after I persisted that GIVING gifts is a fun privilege and if I can afford to indulge my children with frivolous things (especially when they are SO hard to buy gifts for, right?), I am fucking gonna!!

She didn’t even concede that how I spend *my* money is *my* choice. In fact, she explained that she couldn’t enjoy something so frivolous because she would be feeling guilty for costing me so much money.

It made me totally sad that she doesn’t think she deserves a $57.00, cheesy, 80s-cartoon TV series. She should definitely love herself more than that

Such persistence in negativity. She is starting to take after Mr. Doom-n-Gloom more and more every day… How do I help her to “accentuate the positive”?

Telling her that she is wonderful and that I love her, no matter what, is NOT working.

The waiting is painful.

(And this is why I don’t write about Thing #2 very much. She’s very depressing, but not Emo, that would probably be easier.)

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I’m Just a Mom: Hurt Feelings

teenage girl-420x0

Yesterday morning Thing #2 said something that felt wickedly mean. To be honest, I am really quite sick of it (I don’t mean to be a whiner, I just wish I could treat her the way she treats me sometimes. It hurts! Maybe she would stop if she knew how it feels?), so I just turned myself off and told her I loved her and let her go off to her day.

Here’s the sitch:

Monday afternoon I got a phone call from the school psychologist (SS =¬†school¬†shrink) about Thing #2. She wanted me to know that Thing #2 came to her and was asking questions about mental help, resources, etc…

I was quite happy that Thing #2 had done this. I had mentioned counseling to her a while back and she told me that she didn’t think she needed it. A few weeks ago, she told me that she had been talking to some friends about it and they also agreed that she could probably use some counseling. If she went to SS on her own, that means she’s actually ready for help, right? Or at least amenable to it?

Thing #2 tells me all the time that she has very bad anxiety. I believe her, to a point, but I also believe that it only debilitates her because she lets it. She is forever telling herself (and everyone else) that she is physically unable to speak in public and that she isn’t good enough to do things. I understand that people actually have issues with this, and I am not in denial here, I think she is just a teenage girl. Every once in a while I look for a safe opportunity to tell her that life is energy, and if all she puts out there is negative energy, that’s all she will attract. She deflects. She still finds it easier to blame other people for her unhappiness than to take personal responsibility and change things. Every time she blows me off, it hurts a little more because I am only trying to help her grow and to empower her. But, I can’t make her… I’m her mother, and because of that, I know nothing. It hurts.

I wish I could help her with her self-esteem, but until she is willing to hear and understand the words, “You are so beautiful. You are so smart. I am so proud of you.” and take them into her heart, I can do nothing.

Which is why I am so ecstatic that she has decided to seek help on her own. Anything *I* do for her is just going to be me trying to control her or whatever.

I signed the paperwork yesterday stating that I was okay with my daughter asking for and using these resources. I thought it would be a good opportunity to communicate with my youngest daughter, so I opened up a little and asked her what she talked to SS about. As I drove her to school, we had a good talk and I thought I had an “in” so I mentioned to her how proud I was of her to take this step on her own. I told her that maybe she would start to feel better and be more positive.

“Don’t tell me how I should feel! I hate it when you think you know how I should feel! Stop telling me how to feel!”

I just looked at the hateful monster that I had given birth to 16 years ago and said, “I love you” to her in the nicest tone I could muster.

“What?!?! Why are you so mad at me?”

“I’m not mad at you. You shut me off and now I am off. I’m done. I love you. Have a good day at school.”

“You’re not mad at me?”

“No, Honey. You turned me off. I am off now. That’s it. All I have to say now is, ‘I love you’.”

What I wanted to tell her is how hurt I felt. I wanted to tell her how hateful her words were to me when all I was trying to do was love and lead her… But saying that would only have made things worse… (and again I would be telling her how she feels *sigh*)

After that, while I was driving to work (that was hella-fun), it took me about 30 minutes to clear my head and put the hurt aside. I just kept forcing happy thoughts into my head until the sad thoughts were temporarily quelled. But, as you can see, the sad thoughts keep creeping back in.

I read this article today: Dad, Are You Listening? and it kind of hit home for me (as I fill the dominant male role in our household I changed the words father to mother and dad to mom. It worked nicely).

I will leave you with these words that helped me the tiniest bit (even though, deep down inside, I already know it):

“<Mothers> get hurt when they get pushed away and then they withdraw. The girl gets hurt because she wants that relatedness. What I tell <mothers> is to hang in there. It’s almost like the girl, not in a conscious way, is testing the boundary – ‘Are you still going to love me even when I show you all these different aspects of myself, when I push you away?’ “

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Broken: Day 33 (I’m Still Sexy)

Elf Running With Candy

My Holiday Sprite

I’ve been having some self-confidence issues lately. I am just not feeling as strong and vital and vibrant as I am used to feeling and some days it even affects my self-esteem. It will work itself out, I know — soon my ankle will be healed and I will be doing all the things I am used to doing and my self will be back to its normal self-loving self.

I’m sure that my inability to effectively do any cardio is part of it. I wouldn’t say that I am addicted to exercise, but I really miss those walks I took on my lunch breaks (and sunshine and roller skating and yoga and tai chi…)!

Also, my dependence on others is another bit of it. I feel better about myself if I can be doing things for myself. I do not think that needing people all the time promotes much self-confidence.

Not to mention the car accident in which Loverman’s car was involved. That definitely did not improve my self-confidence.

Couple Eating DinnerBut we did get to go out to dinner Christmas Eve and enjoy each others’ company for a couple of hours — that was definitely nice! But again, because I am broken there are limited things we can do (I jokingly suggested that we go to the mall one day and I was given the “what for” by Loverman) and he doesn’t make same sexual advances like he used to. It’s times like that where I wonder if OUR relationship is starting to get stale and boring for him and maybe I am just a “burden” as I so often am feeling right now.

It didn’t help that I got a Facebook message from one of the girls (she’s 20) at the rink where we skate on Saturdays telling me that she got a Christmas present for (my) Loverman and wants to know when she can give it to him (Loverman refuses to do the Facebook-thing!). I think she wants a piece of my man!!! On Halloween, she introduced Loverman as “the coolest guy in the whole world”¬†in front of her boyfriend (he IS, but HOW RUDE…) and the way she acts around him and looks at him… You have to see it! Generally speaking, where Loverman is concerned, I am only jealous of his wife — and that’s only because she gets to be around him all the time and that’s where I want to be! In the case of this “young woman”, I think I am only feeling possessive because I am “broken” right now and I am feeling very replace-able. I told Loverman about this when we were out Christmas Eve. I tried to be very adult about it and just tell him, straight up, that I feel a little threatened by this girl right now and I told him why. He laughed at me, because it’s silly (it IS silly!!!), but he TOLD me that it was silly and that he still likes me even though I am broken, blah, blah, blah… And that he would be a pretty crappy guy if he just left me because I was broken (Awwwwwww!!).

It made me feel a little better.

Needless to say, I have been in need of some sexual validation lately and I went about trying to get some this morning. But right now Loverman is still sleeping from having to work all night and I haven’t gotten his response yet (but, if it’s anything like that one time, I might just be disappointed).

So, for your viewing pleasure (and my sexual (re)validation), here are a couple of the pictures that I sent to him this morning and the words that went along with them:

The first picture was one of my face, so you don’t get to see that one ūüėČ But, that message said:

Good morning, Sexy Security Man! I hope these pictures help to wake you up, if you know what I mean!

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The girls wanted a chance to say “Hi”, too!

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And these soft and sexy legs craving your sweet touch!
Ooh la la…

I don’t know, but it seems like it’s missing something…
Maybe I should have sent him a song instead…

OR, maybe

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Love Me Dead

This song describes the mixed feelings I have for myself. My relationship with me can be very wearying and time-consuming to say the least. No matter… I love myself, even for my naivet√© and my stupid choices. And sometimes the rewards can be ever-so-sweet! But it can also make for a nauseating and exhausting roller coaster ride.

I found a website philosophizing on the meaning of the song. Each person said a different thing – but all of it was about getting your heart smashed. So, I thought I could put it here for you and you can decide what you think about it. No matter what, though, it’s a pretty catchy tune…

Love Me Dead

by: Ludo

Love me cancerously
Like a salt-sore soaked in the sea
High-maintenance means
You’re a gluttonous queen
Narcissistic and mean

Kill me romantically
Fill my soul with vomit
Then ask me for a piece of gum
Bitter and dumb
You’re my sugarplum
You’re awful, I love you!

[Chorus]

You’re a faith-healer on T.V.
You’re an office park without any trees
Corporate and cold
Gushing for gold
Leave me alone

You suck so passionately
You’re a parasitic, psycho, filthy creature
Finger-bangin’ my heart
You call me up drunk
Does the fun ever start?
You’re hideous and sexy!

[Chorus]

Wow! Uh!

Love me cancerously
How’s your new boy?
Does he know about me?
You’ve got the mark of the beast
You’re born of a jackal! You’re beautiful!

[Chorus]

Oh, Love me dead!

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