Eggshells are Easily Broken

My relationships before recovery were so distrusting and volatile, and could literally snap under the weight of even the slightest tension.  It was not safe or accepted to openly experience difficult feelings. For someone like me, naturally high strung and an utter failure at pretending otherwise, this was terrifying, because the tension made me more tense.  It was always the beginning of another unspeakable divide— resulting in hostile words or deadly and lasting silence.  My tension was consistently identified as the cause.  Any call for consideration or understanding of any sort, was labelled as “having to walk on eggshells”. To me, eggshells come from the pretending. Pretending to not be hurting, pretending to have not been hurtful.

As an adult with recovery, I can create the safety and trust I needed and deserved as a child.  Emotional honesty is now a requirement in each of my chosen relationships. Kindness too!

The other night, Sweet Greg attempted to speak to me a few times— when I was resting, and I snapped at him.  I maaaay have used the word fuck in my edgy reaction.  I promptly apologized in our jokey way, “Hey babe, I am sorry you made me do that”.  No time was wasted denying or glossing over my harmful tone.  We laughed and it was behind us– because we both knew that I was sorry for my unfair behavior.  We have the best laughs and inside jokes about our missteps and disagreements. Between us, there exists no bitterness, no buried resentments. Four years—how is that even possible? Recovery–that is how.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Claiming Responsibility

Even, through my thirties, I had not learned to appropriately respond to harmful behaviors and words. Consistently, my uninformed and humiliating reactions stole the show, contributing greatly to the wreckage of my life.  

Since the norm in my FOO is– to not take responsibility for harmful words, choices, behaviors, but rather to deny, minimize, label it a joke, or blame the person who has been hurt– I came to believe: I too, had no responsibility for my words and actions. But— that I did have the power to cause unfortunate words and behaviors to flow from others. Boy was I beaten down by sadness, fear, guilt, and shame about that.

I saw the only options as: 1) Pretend it didn’t happen (which I never learned to do). 2) Find a way to get even. 3) Find someone else to get in the crosshairs. 4) Be verrrrry careful to not disturb people and make them become abusive. 4) Be sorry all of the time.

I learned what I lived.  As I am unlearning, I am breaking the cycles curses.

I now recognize that it is not ok to diminish or punish others. And it is ok and responsible to say NO to what harms me.  Doing so, is neither an act of war nor rebellion- but part of my developing emotional and spiritual maturity. 

My learning to say NO without apology, volume, or profanity– blew up our family system. As I could no longer be counted on to act like a lunatic and distract everyone from what was done with my over-the-top reaction to what was being done. Abandoning that script and role is one of my greatest recovery blessings. I no longer participate in things aimed at diminishing me or others. And I take responsibility for only myself. #winning

For anyone engaged with a family committed to healing, enjoy your blessings.  If you remain tethered to a family, in which common practices include alienation and are suggestive that some people matter more than others, KNOW THIS—It stinks!!! AND You are not alone and you have choices(If you are not sure what those are—find a meeting, any 12 step meeting.  You will find help and hope there).  All of the choices might suck, but some will surely sting less than others.  

I am allowing myself to heal and to hold strong boundaries around what I will and will not do. I choose healing — anyone/anything that interferes with that must go.

Wholesome and healing love is kind, never cruel.  For the holidays, I wish those practicing any other kind of love, much peace and healing, from over here.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Thank You for Letting Me Go

Thanks for letting me go.  Nearly 5 decades chasing or running from you–was no way to live and no longer how I understand and do love. 

Recovery teaches us— Love is kind, direct, courageous, enduring, transparent, nurturing, loyal, and unconditional.  Wholesome Good Love is a commitment, rather than just a feeling.  Finally, disentangled from my placeholders for love, I now experience and treasure loving connections in healthy relationships.  When we know better, we do better.

I am grateful for freedom from those who threaten, shame, gossip about or banish me.  #thatisnotlove There will always be people who choose those to do those things, only, now, I no longer confuse them for loving people. To be clear, I learned what I lived and brought unwholesome and deeply damaging behaviors and ways of being into the world with me– but I have been healing and changing, one day at a time for nearly 10 years. Unlearning takes time. My recovery is a process not an event.

Today in church I realized, with a feeling not unlike like pride, that my life now flows from Good Orderly Direction.  I no longer make choices out of shame, fear, or guilt—where previously, those posed as my gods and guides, my constant companions.

That I do not GAF what others think, is not at all the case—just that the opinions of others do neither inspire nor frighten me.  I do my life and people either like me, hire me, make friends with me… or they do not.  Fear of rejection, retaliation, and reprisal–this is not a dynamic to which I will consent, now as an adult with a choice and children–who are watching and learning.  

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Freedom from THE Shame

Things that once caused me shame:

  • My thin awkward body and brownish (non-white) skin
  • My name–the one assigned to me at birth
  • My inability to calm down and focus on what matters (Also– I did not know what mattered–as evidenced by this list)
  • My father’s “foreign” accent
  • My nose
  • The size of my feet
  • The food my family served
  • The clothes I was provided
  • My sensitivity and emotional intensity
  • My limited tastes and preferences in food along with my insatiable appetite
  • Being non-Christian
  • That we did not enjoy and connect to each other the way other families appeared to– the undeniable void of pleasant rituals, activities, and traditions

Shame over matters, which I did not choose and over which I had no control, caused a fuck-ton of grief, anger– and isolation from my family and a community, which never let me forget all the ways in which  I FAILED to be like them–acceptable.

I sought unfortunate means of soothing and coping with things I could neither change nor accept.  I raged with profanity at just about everything.  I could not grasp or manage my anger and despair and did not experience anyone as interested and able to help me with those.  I learned to be mean AF, to shoplift and steal.  I dove into the relief of binging and purging, from age 12 to well into my 30s.  I purchased items which I did not need and could not afford, in an effort to feel or appear more like others.  I abused alcohol and drugs and was sexually promiscuous with people who did not even like me.  Believing, if I could not make them like or accept me, getting them to use me was a win.  Then, at least, I was not useless. I see now that useful and used are not the same.

It is said that a good childhood leaves you with both roots and wings.  I developed my roots and wings in Al-Anon at age 40.  The program teaches me how to let go of shame over the past, to make right what I can and to now, live my life aligned with principles, allowing me the gift of self esteem. It is true that when we know better we do better.  I am ever grateful for 10 years of better living.  It would be beyond tragic to be this age, and still behaving in those ways.

Without models to whom I could relate or whom I genuinely wanted to emulate, I was lost. To act and to feel right, with zero sense of connection and purpose–was impossible for me.

Program allows me to not only see but to intentionally examine my behaviors and motives and to let go of the idea that I can fully understand those of another. Recovery teaches me to behave well, long before I feel so. Often, the feelings will follow. But– if I wait until I feel a certain kind of good, before making a wholesome good choice, I am screwed. I do not feel so good, most of the time, and yet I make choices which I feel good about, choices which reflect who I am and what I believe.

It is also said that happiness is– when your words, actions, and beliefs are in alignment. I suppose, by this measure, I am happy.

I share all of this to say –that none of those things cause me shame. And the same goes for the things done, by me, to cope with the items on that list. They can not be used to shame or harm me. They are not secrets. They are less pretty parts of my journey. I will make no effort to hide or deny. This is true and beautiful freedom.

Here are things about which I feel good and for which I am responsible:

I survived a difficult childhood, which naturally was followed by a sick marriage. I chose to exit a bad marriage and survived a lengthy and litigious divorce. My ex and I moved back, cross country, to a place and to people I swore I’d never return, to support my mother. I worked with my boy’s father to do what was needed for our family, in spite of so very much. I am in recovery. I am a loving and protective mother, a fantastic friend and great partner to my Sweet Greg. I am generous. I am transparent with good boundaries around what I will and will not do. My work ethic and loyalty are strong AF. I am a caring neighbor and pet-haver/servant (I prefer not to say owner). I am a badass when it comes to trying, even when all I really want to do is flip out, give up, or blame. I am kind (not friendly, but kind) and honest, at all costs. I am benevolent and have a God of My Understanding AND I can now (mostly- unless you mess with my children though….) maintain benevolence toward a person whom I dislike or with whom I disagree–even when they do me harm. I will not lie to, for, or about a person. If you know me, I am 100% exactly who you think I am.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Liz Earnshaw Quote: One of the strongest forces in the world is a family resisting change.

Cycle Breaking–and the Fall Out

From Liz Earnshaw (Click anywhere on this post to read more from her): There is a phenomenon in families known as homeostasis (really, in any group of people , but I’ll stick to families here).

Families seek to maintain the “organization” they’re accustomed to. They are driven to maintain functioning as it’s always been – whether the functioning is good or bad.

When the status quo is interrupted then other members cannot function “smoothly” – I.e. when you change or set a boundary then they can no longer run on their same hamster wheel and that means they have to figure out how else to run and most people don’t feel up to finding new ways to do things… so instead they fight you… hard… to get back on their hamster wheel.

This is one of the biggest reasons people end up giving up on their boundaries or their new way of being in relation to their families – the fight a family puts up against your change is POWERFUL.

It can result in being cut out, shamed, shunned, gossiped about, threatened, etc, etc. and this is really really hard.

So, if you’re experiencing this you’re not alone. It’s common *and* that doesn’t make it okay. It is still painful and difficult and exhausting.

Continue to focus on your goal of keeping yourself healthy and safe and remind yourself that the power of a family wanting to regain “homeostasis” is strong, but you’re stronger.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Better Living

I did not comprehend or grasp anything close to sane thinking before entering into my program of recovery.  After my first Al-Anon meeting, I attended every single 12 step program I could, because my hunger for the 12 Steps and 12 Principles was insatiable.  I was thrilled and awed to discover that there existed, this design for living, which I could accept and apply, to help me change and live my life.  I had not learned how to live– only to survive, and barely.  
I struggled mightily and for years, with the language around God and Higher Power but I listened and wrote and wrote and shared and engaged the topic– until.  My formative experience made no sense to me–it was godless, hopelessly dark, faithless, merciless and sometimes manic.  Like– whenever the pain and punishment abated for any amount of time, I would feel frenzied by the notion that things were suddenly and forever all better.  I was baffled and deeply disturbed by how things seemed to change swiftly and drastically in our home.  I recognize now, that the only things that ever actually changed, were the moods of people with whom I lived and on whom I counted.  It was volatile, scary, sad, angry.  I learned and became what I lived.

Getting to replace the changing rules and moods with the static principles of 12 Step Recovery, to guide me , was the beginning of my journey into sane living. My hope is that my boys will find/seek a force or presence to count on, one which is humble—not human, vain, depressed, moody, or addicted to anything. As we continue to attend church and share doubts and discomforts about certain lessons and conversations, I remind them that we do not attend church in order to become convinced or “religious”. We are there to join with others who wish to learn and practice living in ways which are more meaningful and less self-seeking and self-serving.

It is no matter how much we believe or agree with all of IT(certain stories from the bible). What we can believe and count on, I hope, is that to allow ourselves to be directed by faith, kindness, honesty, service, humility, courage, and mercy will lead us to and through our best lives.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass