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    « A Filthy Combination (Part 3) | Main | A Filthy Combination »

    Cleaning Up After A Filthy Combination

    Note: To fully mine whatever you may from this post, please first read yesterday’s piece “A Filthy Combination”. This is part two.

             When I came clean with my girlfriend, I felt anything but. Admitting that I got triggered by her comment about being checked out by a group of guys didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel worse. After I opened my mouth about it, there was no catharsis. There was shame. More of the shit that I didn’t want. I immediately got exactly what I feared. By telling her I was in this place, I headed even deeper into that very dark alley.
            This had nothing to do with her. She just listened. But there was something about saying the words aloud. By speaking up, as opposed to having a conversation within the confines of my mind, it made my emotional predicament more real. Which means it made it more scary. It was out there now. It was no longer a secret.
            There’s a saying that goes “We’re only as sick as our secrets”. But at that moment, keeping this a secret felt like a life preserver that I had just given away while I was drowning. Exposing this felt like nothing more than a new anchor tied to my ankle. And this one was going to sink me.
            This is all because of the insane amount of very toxic shame that I had attached to feeling this way. Not only that night, but throughout the course of my life, I learned to be ashamed of how I felt. Ashamed of what I thought. Years and years of that will corrupt you at the deepest inconceivable level. Shame infests your very cells, and then poisons your being on a sub-atomic scale. It’s not just in your body. It’s not just in your cells. It’s not just in the atoms that make up those cells. It’s the fuckin’ raw material that the atoms are made of: the protons, neutrons, and electrons. When it’s that deep, it feels like I AM shame. The very stuff that I am made of is shame itself. There is not a lower feeling on the planet.
            I admitted to her that, after she said that she was being stared at, I felt completely worthless. When she uttered the words, “Did you see the looks I got when I walked by those guys?”, I left the present, and traveled back in time. Who’s says there’s no such thing as time travel? We do it all the time. We experience something in the now and immediately link it to painful memories that we haven’t yet released. We emotionally and mentally travel to different points in time where similar events happened, where the consequences were excruciating. We forget who we are now, who the people we are with are, where we are, and the particular circumstances of the current moment. It is exactly as if we just jumped into the way-back machine and went to another moment in time.
            When we travel back in time, we change. Therefore our perception changes. Therefore our very reality changes. And it all happens in an instant, often before we even realize it. We’re suddenly there, and we don’t even know we ever left. Because magically everything looks the same. Feels the same. Is the same. Even though none of that is true, it’s true to the person we’ve suddenly become. Because they’re still trapped in the past. And now so are we.
            There have been enough times in my life where the woman that I was with, and in love with, enjoyed the attention of other men to the point where she emotionally and mentally left me, even though physically, she was still right there. No longer with me, she basically abandoned me. Ever perceptive, I could tell when a woman did this, but I could never articulate it. If I did, rarely was the woman self-aware enough to deal with it, so instead, it became an argument over me making up stuff that wasn’t happening.
            There were plenty of times, however, when my judgement was off and all I was doing was acting out my own insecurities. But I could almost always make the distinction between when I was acting out and when I was sensing something she was doing that really hurt me. Maybe not always right then and there, but always after some introspection. The problem was that I usually couldn’t do anything about it, because I didn’t have the tools to take that distinction and act on it. But I usually knew when I was bullshitting myself, and when I was being bullshitted. Acting on that takes courage, openness, and lots of self trust. And those three internal commodities were in much shorter supply when I was younger. Especially openness and self trust.
            When I knew that a woman emotionally and mentally left me, I suffered abandonment, my worst nightmare. Once I went there, all bets were off. I suffered the worst feelings of worthlessness that I’ve ever been conscious of. The trauma of those moments, that go all the way back to my core wound of abandonment, all the way back to birth, was a pain that I kept re-living, and therefore reinforcing. It just got heavier and heavier. But this was the first time I was able to articulate this to the woman I was in love with. I told her where I went and what happened to me when she said what she said. I traveled back in time, and felt like she left me at that moment. And I was devastated. Even though that wasn’t her. Even though she wasn’t like that. It felt the same, because I couldn’t stop myself from time traveling.
            For the first time, the genie was out of the bottle, and it was a huge fuckin’ genie. He overpowered me. He overpowered both of us. The pain around this was so big that we couldn’t deal with it right away. Neither of us really understood what we were dealing with. I felt shame, and she felt horrible for hurting me. I didn’t mean to, but I was partially dumping years of abandonment on her within the course of a few minutes, and there was no way she could carry it all. It wasn’t even hers. But she wanted to help. She wanted to understand. But the weight was too big, even for the both of us to carry. So all it did was crush us that night and the next morning. For about twenty-four hours or so, this was between us, and neither of us could figure out what to do with it. A house call relationship therapist on speed dial would have been extremely helpful.
            But, with some time and lots of talk, we started sorting it out. I became aware that she was not the type of person who would just suddenly take off on me. She wasn’t going to bolt on me emotionally and mentally if she got attention from other men. She was just going to feel flattered by it. I was projecting others’ behavior onto her. I got that. She reassured me that she wasn’t like that, and I could feel her sincerity and her caring. Once all that sunk in, I started to heal, and it felt safe to bring this up to her if it ever happened again. I was grateful that I was with a woman who I could say this to, in the moment it was happening, and she would walk me through it, holding my hand, instead of mentally and emotionally taking off on me. That had never happened before. For either of us.

    Please come back tomorrow for part three. Same bat time. Same bat

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and enough Wrongs to cause a warp in the space-time continuum and thus enable time travel) Reserved. 

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