JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Taking Care of Myself

I had called my therapist to talk with her about how I was feeling. And she was completely unhelpful. I just really got the sense that she was trying to get me off the phone. That kinda frustrated me, especially her advice to just handle the anxiety. I feel like when I have anxiety sometimes it is because I have anxious tendencies and I need to just deal with that but other times its pointing out something important and I need to pay attention to that.

But as I move away from reacting to her and being able to look more clearly at what's going on, I've decided to put a lot this weekend into taking care of myself. I went to acupuncture this morning, am getting a massage this afternoon, going to a movie with friends (after I made the first move). Tomorrow I'm going to buy myself a bicycle, get some exercise, get a facial, and go along with friends to a barbecue.

I've got a lot of work to do and am also trying to get a lot done so that I'll have time to be with Jerry when he returns. So much work!

And its just another week until I'm off to Kansas City to see my parents.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Loneliness and Anxiety

Augh! I'm still feeling lonely and anxious. As I write this, the phone rings, and I get excited thinking that someone is finally calling me. But, its just an organization looking for a donation. Sigh. During my office hours, a peer of mine (who I really have issues with - - long story) told me that an undergrad in her lab is taking my class. The undergrad told her that I seem very nervous when I'm teaching and feels sorry for me.

Of course, I FEEL anxious when teaching. Its really fun, and I'm enjoying it, but its hard to get up in front of 60 people and try to get them to talk and to lecture at them. Its hard though to know that I'm not doing a very good job of hiding it. I don't want to have people feel sorry for me when I'm teaching; I'd like them to respect and admire me!

Anyway, I called me therapist to talk about these feelings that I'm having about Jerry being gone, and she basically just told me to try to manage the anxiety the best I can and next week when we have a therapy appointment, we can talk about why I'm feeling the anxiety.

I have NO plans with anyone ALL weekend. I will have something to do Friday night - I'm just trying to finalize plans. I still feel this lingering anxiety and sadness almost all the time now, and I wish that I could make that go away.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Why I Love Jerry

I realize reading many of your comments that I haven't described to you what it is about Jerry that makes me want to be with him. I share my frustrations and hard times here, but not the everyday nice things that happen. So, I figure that maybe this will be good for the both of us - for you to fill you and for me to distract me from preparing for my class this afternoon.

Here's why I love Jerry:
  1. He's become a very good friend. Jerry is the person on a day to day basis who cares how my day has gone and if I've eaten well and how I feel. If I need something, Jerry's there to help me with it. He's very caring and makes me feel very taken care of. That's a big one actually, and deserves its own number here.
  2. Jerry is always doing things to take care of me. He built me a new computer and got it all set up with software and stuff. He installed an automatic watering system on both my porches. He is always making me dinner or blueberry pancakes or yerba matte or something. He gave me his old tv and dvd player (with both work fine, they just use Jerry's roommate's stuff at his house) without taking money for them. When I was sick, he went to pick stuff up for me at the store, even though I said I didn't need it.
  3. Jerry doesn't make promises that he can't keep. If he even says that he'll do something, he tries to follow through, even if its something that he later decides that he doesn't want to do. He's very trustworthy.
  4. Jerry makes me laugh.
  5. Jerry's very intelligent, but also very down to earth and open minded. He isn't snobbish about how smart he is and is one of the few grad students I know who likes to hang out with non-intellectuals. He has different sides to him including being able to make or fix just about anything.
  6. Jerry's adventurous, so life with him always feel like an adventure. He loves traveling to different countries especially and being outdoors (something that we share). It also makes him up for trying new things.
  7. Jerry's a good person. This sounds like a little thing, but I think it is actually very rare. Jerry has heart; he's very sweet. He enjoys doing things for other people and feeling connected to others. He's also a person who realizes that he's not "done", and is clearly trying to make himself a better person over a time.
  8. I sometimes get this reactionary fear response and have a hard time raising my arms to hug him, and he's always very gentle but persistent about getting me to trust him enough to hug him.
  9. Jerry is much more mature of a person than I'm use to being with, and I'm learning a lot about how to be with a person from him. He is generally very calm, and when I start to get emotionally freaked out, I generally know that I can lean on him to be much more level headed about it. He doesn't get scared off easily by things that other guys do or by rough times. He also really tries to make things work with us. He's certainly making an effort about how he treats me. He's been reading this book that I gave him towards the beginning of our relationship about tantric sex (a lot of guys won't read books you give them), and he seems to be making an effort in that whole department to meet me halfway.
  10. Jerry really savors life; he knows what it means to suck the marrow out of life. It helps me to do the same just to be around him.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

When Dependence Sneaks In

Jerry left for China yesterday bright and early. I hardly got to see him before he left because he was so busy getting ready, and I was stuck at home with a multi-day migraine. I still had the migraine when I woke up at 5:30am to take him to the airport, and he was running so late that we didn't even really get to talk, although he did give me a lovely kiss goodbye.

This has been a transition week - I finished Spring Quarter work and am moving on to prepare for the class that I'm teaching this summer (aka starting Monday - its the first class I've ever taught as the "professor"). Jerry's gone now for three weeks. I'm completely finished with all required coursework for my PhD. And I'm working on this book chapter with my research team that will be published with MY name on it. Its also a transition week because I'm at this critical point with my relationship with Jerry (and not because of anything about Jerry).

I knew that when Jerry left town that I would have time to focus on other relationships in my life that have been neglected and would have all of this time for myself. What I didn't realize was how sad and scared I would feel. And a lot of these feelings are more about me and my patterns then they are about Jerry.

I was raised with the notion that women can't do things on their own...because they're incapable, because the world is a dangerous place, and because its just bad to be alone. Augh all of these stupid ideas that logically mean nothing to me. But, here I am now without this man, and I feel it all. I had noticed my sister get this way when she was away from her boyfriend/husband and certainly noticed it with my mom. I always feared that I would lose my independence to a relationship, which is in part why I've always bailed out pretty early on.

I know that part of why I'm feeling this all know is due to how I've let things been over the last half year that I've been dating Jerry. I've not paid proper attention to my local friends or to building friendship relationships in the way that I should. For example, I spent last night with *A* who I haven't hung out much with since I've been dating Jerry. And tonight, I'm hanging out with my neighbors, which I think is only the second time that we've done this since I started dating Jerry. I just so easily put things aside in lieu of spending time with Jerry.

I realize now that even after Jerry comes back, I need to be careful to spend enough time with friends without Jerry. Its really hard - I don't have the kind of friendships here that I wish I had. And I've really been enjoying having this no muss no fuss, no need to make plans too far in advance guy to do things with. All of a sudden, I'm trying to schedule meetings with friends weeks in advance, and I get left with this little pang of fear of being alone.

I was reading last night in this book about the enneagram. I'm likely a six, which means that I'm someone who experiences a lot of fear in particular about trust, in part because of deep trauma. I'm always preparing for the worst case scenario or to get hurt....Now granted, I've become a lot better about these things over time, but I still see how these are somewhat my issues.

The Jewbu path at this point is to recognize the fear when it comes and to just sit with it. Instead of trying to cover it up or pretend like it doesn't exist, I need to just acknowledge the fear and why its here, and then let it pass. I feel sad and afraid because Jerry's gone and I've grown too dependent on him. So, I'll just sit with this feeling as well as take little steps to become more independent and connected with other people.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Dealbreaker

I don't know how it came up, but somehow Jerry mentioned yesterday that he wants to have any future children baptised. I said something along the lines of hell no. Well, more diplomatically, I actually said something about being Jewish and needing all of my children to be raised Jewish so no. Jerry said that this is a dealbreaker for him.

Later I pushed him a bit on the topic, asking him if the baptism thing is important in order to keep the kids from going to hell. He said that it was related to that. I asked him if he thinks I'm going to hell, and he kinda skirted around the issue by pointing out that I don't believe in hell. That's not the point though; the point is how he sees me.

The whole thing makes me really nervous. Is this going to be what breaks us up? Are we going to break up? If we don't, will this be a point of fighting our whole lives?

I asked my advisor for advice today. She suggested that the baptism doesn't mean much and that I should negotiate that he can have the baptism in exchange for an exclusively Jewish education. She says the kid will never remember the baptism.

Then, I looked online, and it seems like the overwhelming opinion is that you need to pick a religion to raise your kid with, and that if you baptise a Jewish kid, they'll know, and it'll impact their identity. I forwarded a bunch of this stuff to Jerry, whose probably thinking "oh jeez." Anyway, another article spoke about creating more non-denominational baby naming/welcoming ceremonies. Augh! Such stress! But, writing it down in the blog does take a little of the weight off my shoulders.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Good Day, Sunshine Part II

Though it was foggy when I woke up this morning, the sun is shining now. Jerry spent hours last night putting together this new computer (in parts) that he helped me pick out for around $400 including shipping. Its supposedly very fast and wonderful, and my old computer has a lot of glitches. It was sweet to see him spend his whole evening doing this thing for me. Of course, he still has to load all of the software onto it, and the whole thing is just sitting on my dining room table taking up a lot of space - but that's okay.

Things have been really great recently between Jerry and me. Clearly, he's making a very big effort from how things were before. Thanks to the idea from Joe, when Jerry's brother was here last weekend, I brought a hammer and big nails with me. He got embarrassed, I think, and I don't expect to hear any more of those comments.

I had a great time last Saturday at a cocktail party that a friend of mine threw at her house for her birthday. It was fun to get dressed up (I wore the dress from the wedding after finally getting the straps shortened so it fit me better), and I got a lot of positive attention from my lesbian friends acknowledging that I have a nice chest. It made me feel beautiful and sexy in ways which I hadn't in awhile.

Thursday is Jerry's birthday, and Friday I'll take him out to this amazing spa resort place he's wanted to go to -- for couple's massage, hanging out at the pool/spa area, and dinner at their top line restaurant.

I've got tons of work to do, but it feels good to be this productive. I am getting really amazing feedback so far on everything that I'm doing too - my research team asked me to be an author on this book chapter that they're getting published (deadline is July 1).

Also, I'm looking forward to the upcoming visit to Kansas City, to be able to see my mom. I called her a couple of days ago, and she was so excited when I told her I was coming. I stayed on the phone with her (its cordless) while she tried to find a staff member to return it to. She just kept humming and singing to herself ("I'm glad you're coming"..."I'll talk to you later."). It was very cute; I'm glad that she's able to comfort herself. On not so happy news though - Dad noticed that someone had ripped the mezzuzah off her door and the scroll is completely gone! Dad is really upset that someone would do that, but I'm at least happy that he went to replace it and got a kosher scroll. (When Mom moved in, he said she didn't need a mezzuzah at all, so I had to take care of it.)

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Brought Up Therapy

Augh what an emotionally draining night! Or whole day or.....well, it started last night:

Jerry and I met *A* downtown for this art night. Its hard to get Jerry and *A* to communicate with each other. Finally, Jerry's friend Bob comes and meets up with us, and then *A* leaves to go hang out at this bar he's always at. I had too much to drink and had been pushing for awhile to eat something and/or go home. Jerry and Bob want to go to this one restaurant where they're having $3 margaritas. We don't end up really eating dinner until like 9ish, which is super bad for my digestion and Jerry wanted to get this dish with a lot of cream sauce which is also bad for my digestion, but I'm so exhausted at this point; I just want to eat.

Bob and I have very little in common. He makes some comment towards the end of dinner making fun of certain people as "retarded." I decide not to challenge him on the use of the term because I don't want to make trouble with Jerry.

After we say goodnight to Bob, Jerry makes a comment that I seemed cold to Bob. I say that I didn't appreciate that "retarded" comment. Jerry asks why I would care at all about the comment. I explain that I'm especially sensitive to that sort of comment because I had a sister who was born before I was, who didn't live long, and who was severely mentally handicapped. Jerry: "you didn't even know your sister." He also commented that he likes Bob because Bob is uncensored.

I've told very few people about this sister who died, and I was really hurt the way that he snapped that comment at me. I didn't know what to say and I certainly wasn't up for hearing anything more like that, so I just shut up. I certainly felt very censored by both Bob and Jerry.

Today, things were somewhat awkward with Jerry. He almost started this fight with me over email about plans for tomorrow. My friend is having a birthday and has organized a group of women to go for a hike in the morning and then a formal party (black tie sort of thing) at her house. I had mentioned this to Jerry awhile ago and he didn't seem that into, plus his brother is in from out of town. So anyway, I just assumed that I'd go by myself and he'd hang out with his brother. But, when I said that in an email, he was all jumping down my throught until finally I called him and sorted it out.

Then, he came with me tonight to Costco. I bought a chicken which we had for dinner. I mentioned my thought about therapy and offered to make him the deal of starting to shave my legs. He laughed, which I thought was good, but then he started this whole huge conversation/argument which lasted for 2-3 hours in which he basically said at different points that he thinks that the issue is more my being sensitive than him being verbally abusive, that our relationship is taking more work than he's ever had to put into a relationship and maybe its not worth it, that he doesn't find counseling worthwhile in general (he did couple's counseling with a previous girlfriend and thought it didn't help)....Augh!

Then, he said he wanted to go home (understandably its his roommates birthday; although he didn't invite me back). I asked how we were leaving things, and he posed the question back to me. I told him that I was willing to work on confronting him when issues arise and asked that when I do that he say something along the lines of "thanks for bringing that to my attention; I care about you and will try to work on that." I kept suggesting over and over that I could use some affirmation - all he could give me is that I'm "a cool girl." I told him that I love him and have faith that we can work things out.

Honestly, at this point, I really don't know. He went on and on at the end about how scientists (like him) are just different than social scientists (like me). I tried to get physically close with him, giving him a kiss and a snuggle, but I felt all of this distance from him. I feel like at this point, I have given this my all, and I've tried everything that I could possibly try. I opened up so much tonight and made myself so vulerable, and I don't feel like he was willing to do the same in return. He did a bit - openning up about the past experience with therapy and that some other ex had mentioned not feeling respected by him BUT he won't give me anything about how he feels about me (other than he feels frustrated) and even tonight he said certain things in a demeaning way and still had the nerve to make fun of me (which I pointed out to him, per his request).

Tomorrow, he'll be hanging out with his brother. I don't know if we'll even have any alone time at all this weekend; we certainly have no plans. Things between us are crap, and I feel like he doesn't really care. I WILL NOT let myself be this man's doormat. I love him, but he clearly does not love me in return. I'm going to keep trying to make things work with him, but this I vow to myself, if he doesn't make some real effort to stop being verbally abusive with me and this continues, I will leave him and not have anything to regret.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jerry's Verbally Abusive Tendencies

Ah what a scary realization. Jerry and I actually half broke up and then got back together last weekend over this. And then, he said he'd make a change. Last night was a bit verbally abusive again and then finally said he was sorry and would stop. But, I see a cycle here starting, and I think we may be in serious trouble.

Jerry's personality is such that he's often cracking jokes and making fun of people a bit. This isn't uncommon for a guy to do with me. When I mentioned it to *A*, he noted that he's always making fun of me. The thing is that there's a line - there's a line between joking around with someone and pointing out things that you DO find different and can't relate to. There's a line between joking and saying things that you really feel. Well, at least that was my first realization.

My next realization is that when Jerry has a bad day, he'll often take it out on me, and I've become somewhat skiddish and afraid around him. He'll make comments or jokes that are way over the line from friendly to seriously offensive. He'll tell me to not be so sensitive and get frustrated with me when I point it out. Sometimes, his voice raises and he gets this angry tone and can be consdencending. I don't think that he even realizes what he says when he gets like this, because when we discuss it later, he denies ever saying those things.

My dad would get verbally abusive with us, and I'm really sensitive to this sort of thing. I spoke about with Jerry that if we can both work past this, it could be really healthy for me, but if he continues to be verbally abusive to me, it would be VERY unhealthy for me and I'd have to leave the relationship.

I feel like he has these Jekell and Hyde parts to him though - sometimes he seems to understand and be very sweet and like he's trying and other times he seems to not have any idea what I'm saying and be angry and frustrated with me.

I really love this man, and I don't want to leave him. I'm tempted to try to get him to go to therapy. But, maybe I can't change him and I need to leave. Augh! This is so hard. I'm actually feeling somewhat shakey today because of it.

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