Elephant Ears

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I love elephant ears.  There is one at our home, in an otherwise forgotten corner behind the front porch.  I almost always forget it exists every winter when it’s retreated into the ground.  Every early summer, it surprises me by pushing through the dirt, its long, green, thick stem emerging from it’s winter nap, just before unfurling those incredibly large leaves.

It’s one of my most favorite things.


 

I have strayed from my meditation readings, though I’ve continued to push through the Steps.  But even those have been put on pause to make space for DBT work.

You were not born this way, you were made this way. 

A personality disorder is really about learned behaviors.  Behaviors can be changed. 

The word ‘Borderline’ has made it back into my life.

And so has the insinuation of body dysmorphia.

And so has the word “abuse.”

You’re swallowing gobs of abusive behavior and I do not know why–you don’t need to.

I know that when you look at yourself in the mirror, it’s as if you’re looking at a funhouse mirror.  That is sad because you’re an interesting, smart, and very attractive woman.

I’m more aware of my anxiety responses.  I recognize them sooner.  I also have new coping techniques.


 

The rejection letters keep coming in my job search.

I often wonder if I should move to the West Coast.  I find more jobs of interest there.  And I’d be so close to the kids.

And then the fears set in.

It’s too expensive to live there, you’ll starve.  Or be homeless.  

What if you get there and nothing changes in your relationship with the kids? 

You’re finally starting to make real connections here.  Don’t quit now. 

You’ll be utterly alone out there. 

Last night in bed, I shared with him about my job search frustrations.

“Let’s strategize my job search,” I joked. “What should I do differently? Because if something doesn’t pan out soon, I’ll be financially dependent on you for the rest of my life.”

The joke is that I’m not.  Our finances are completely separate.  I am holding my own.  Though I want more peace of mind.

He talks about how low the girls in his office are paid.  They’re paid less than laborers he tells me, and while I express disdain for this, he says it makes sense–they’re all fat and just sit in an office eating chips. 

Initially, he suggested I’d experience less rejection if I applied to fewer jobs.  And then he suggested I move.  He knows I do not limit my job search to this area.  Perhaps I’d be valued more elsewhere, he suggests.

“After all, it’s a low-budget here.  A job desert.  So am I.”

I began to probe.

“Why would you call yourself low-budget?”

“Look at me, lying in my wife beater on my $60 bed.”

He’s feeling insecure.

“Are you telling me to leave you? But what about us?”

He scoffs at me for making it about us.

“Maybe I am.”

He won’t talk any further.  He starts calling me ridiculous.

“Sometimes, I feel like you’re telling me an uncomfortable truth but cleverly packaged so it’s not entirely clear.  And when I am close to seeing the truth that’s there, you call me crazy.”

Silence.

Then.

“I didn’t sign up for this beating.  You started out this conversation beating me up.  Now you’re beating me up again.  I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t.  I’m not feeling well.  You know this.  You have no respect for me.”

He turned over, away from me.

I did the same.

This is not me.  This is not mine to own.

This is what happens when you’re dating someone who is emotionally abusive.  Who has narcissistic traits.  Who lacks empathy and commitment.

Are you listening?

 

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