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"Ahhh...I love you..

You set my soul on fire.

Not just a spark but a flame.

A big roaring Flame! "

Tom Cat- Tom & Jerry

All my posts up until now have been self soothing methods I'm toying with to help me (any maybe some of you) understand just how we got here. If I haven't driven that home, no worries. I will probably talk about that a thousand times more. Tis the DP great circle of life.

But it seems apt to maybe explore some of the means by which we can get ourselves out.

But before I begin, I have to insert another disclaimer: I am of the opinion that "love" (romantic love specifically) can be difficult for us Dp'ers.

A.) Because love is ultimately a feeling (and I don't have to tell you how difficult the big feelings are for us)
B.) The concept by itself is so skewed in general DP or not.
C.) Our mirrors of love had their own distortions.

And that's not some Hallmark Card bullshit. When you've never been loved for who you truly are, it's fair to say that we might have a hell of a time knowing what's healthy and what isn't. So to be clear, my ignorance factor here is off the freaking charts. And there's a real chance for the blind leading the blind -,like, maybe off a god-damn cliff. LOL

That said, read at your own risk! lol

So while disabled in feeling I excel at human analytics. When you've been depersonalized for as long as I have DP becomes something akin to being born blind or deaf. When you don't feel, your other senses can become more developed. And since we're strangers to ourselves and not safe enough to be present in our own lives, we can become incurable and adept people watchers. I call this piece of myself The Observer. She says: (whistling) don't mind lil ole me, I'm not actually here..I'm just watching...

DP'ers are good at this because it takes the focus off ourselves and says I'm not worthy of participating here - which as you'll soon see, is my point. And because of this I think DP'ers suck at love. LOL

End of Post.

HA, just kidding.

But we do. But again, I am big on shifting the blame here. The concept of "love" is eff'ed up in general. Either he's Edward Cullen or Christian Grey. For men, it's the Baywatch chicks or something equally silicone based & ridiculous. Love can be hard to determine. And it's not by accident that I use those two dimensional examples because love nowadays is often interpreted by exactly those shallow standards. So how do we know what real love is?

I think the answer is we're still looking for mirrors.

Ahh but this time we get to choose don't we? Which is why healthy attachments help with DP. When someone FINALLY sees you for not only who you are (flaws and all) but loves you (tells you you're okay, fine, "safe"), it's far easier to believe it for yourself. It allows you to feel safe enough to attach. The problem with that is making sure that they are seeing you for you and not projected images of what they wish, want, believe or deserve (good or bad) or vice versa and that's where this becomes tricky.

We are prime real-estate for codependency. For all the reasons I've been talking about but especially because of the relationship between ourselves and our immediate family. If that relationship is dysfunctional that's what we learn to believe love is.

My theory is real Love requires self love, healthy boundaries and mutuality. Self love starts as safety in my opinion. It's the feeling that you're okay just as you are. A baby doesn't know what love is, it's a feeling.

(And can I be dick for sec to go on record to say that most babies are not cute. There I said it. I'm a bad person. Add that to my pile of shame. lol I'm sorry they're not lol ...they're bald, fat, toothless, drooling, loud needy little meat bags. I'm mean as mammals go, I can't believe we survived as a specifies never mind rose to the top of the food chain lol Compare our cubs to a panda, kitten or puppy and it's amazing we survived at all).
But they are cherished just the same aren't they? Why There is no reason. He's loved... because he just is. Safety & Love are the Peanut butter & Jelly of the human emotional world. Without it, fear, insecurity, uncertainly, longing and alienation ensue.

Self Love morphs into healthy boundaries because boundaries say: "This is me and that is you." I love me first. Not selfish idolatry. It means your own feelings, desires, interests matter. And when you have that you have an expectation of how you will allow people to treat you. And it cannot be bargained with.

When the base is met and the persons you're learning to mirror are healthier, it fosters a self love. Again, there no switch that says "Oh...now I can love myself on my own"...it's developmental and the stronger the base initially, the stronger the base when they don't need them as much or even at all. So that's key. The next question is how do we foster safety when we've had none? And this is a biggie.

Would you believe....(and you're going to think I'm being condescending here) but you gotta play a little game called name that feeling lol. I swear I'm not being hokey. And you have to remember that for us...FEELINGS are both hard to access and hard to accept or integrate. So if it sounds juvenile know that emotionally that's not far from the truth. So instead of our first book being "Fun with Dick & Jane"...We need to change some of the rudimentary sentences into questions:

See Jane Run.

How does Jane feel when she runs?

Well I know how I'd feel. I'd feel Jane was a dumbass for trying to run a marathon when she knows damn well she's 40 lbs overweight. I'd feel like Jane's ankles should hurt because that picture of her running in that 70's shoe with no arch and no orthopedic support looks painful. I'd be feeling Jane shouldn't have waited until she was middle aged to get in shape and maybe jane needs to accept that all those size 6'es in her closet should finally go the Goodwill. Cuz let's face Jane, that SHIP HAS SAILED!

But I digress...lol

The point is... I feel, I feel, hey, wait ohhhhhh I feel. So...starting to ask ourselves how we feel often is a good place to start from. And if you can't get that far ask yourself how you think you should feel. Seriously. Naming, saying and writing feelings down give them, shape & form and can help us to connect to them. And if you're completely adverse to this kind of exercise thinking it's beneath you or infantile, then tell me about the next time you play peak-a-boo with yourself in the mirror.

When my therapist first suggested this I started to question her PHD but...I have to admit the exercise has merit.
Okay so assuming you checked off safety on your love bucket list let's move on to mutuality. DP are inherently bad at expecting to give what they receive or vice versa. When you don't know who you are, that you are loved just for being or know what your boundaries should be you become enmeshed with the other person or they with you. The problem with that is you are often the loser. And let me say that co-dependence isn't unique to dissociation. Lot's of people who are just neurotic in general play out this dance. What is unique for us is that we have lost touch with who we are at the core of us. So the mirrors we look for are never our own. We'll always be at the mercy of someone else's mirror. And that mirror is linked to safety -into the very fiber of our emotional world and we are often scared to death to loose it. For us, the mirrors give us worth.

And that's way too much power to give anyone. One thing I am absolutely sure of is if you're in relationship with someone that that tells you you're not valuable, it will only help to keep chronic DP vigilant.

Cuz you will believe it.

I didn't marry until I was 42, I'm 45 now. Partly because the relationships I had up until then were ones where I would always be on the losing end. So I'd hold on thinking they'll change, they'll come to their senses. Commitment, even when the relationship is bad was my motif but this was wrong. Healthy people don't hold on. They are sad that this love interest doesn't meet their need but once they "feel" the disappointment and are able to "grieve" the lost they are ready to move on. Self love's base said, I am lovable. A DP'ers perspective is that they are not.

In this way, DP allows you to stay stuck. So you see when you don't process the big feelings you're frozen yet again.

Then I met the hubby. He said- not so much in words but in our interactions: this is me and that is you. Here's my mirror of you. And you know what? you're kinda of freakin awesome. And after 13 years I got to a point that said.."ya know, I think maybe you're right, you lucky bastard." lol

I didn't choose this though, I was just fortunate to find a partner that was a lot healthier than I but I think finding them randomly is rare.

A second Mother to me used have a saying: "A fox smells his own hole." Which, aside from gross and funny- is actually true.

But my all time favorite magician of the metaphor is Dr. Seuss. He was a master linguist and philosopher in his own right. What he did was make simple some profound human concepts easy for both children and adults alike to identify.

Red fish will seek out other red fish. Blue fish will seek the same. Because a fox smells is own hole - broken people will often find other broken people to be broken with. The key for us is learn that we can have any damn fish we want. We aren't limited to broken people. But we have to learn to be less broken ourselves. We have to foster self love on our own. We have to understand we are just as important in that relationship as the other person. We have to come to believe and expect that people give as much as they take.

So another hokey suggestion by my therapist to make this happen is: Fake it till you make it. LOL Understand what a healthy relationship should look like. Know what healthy boundaries are. And mirror that. This is how you earn your own reflection. This is how you teach yourself what you should have been taught a long time ago. And it's hard but not impossible.

Being depersonalized makes the search for a good mirror hard. But you will know the real deal when you find it. And if it's good it'll teach you something powerful. So much so that it won't be their mirror that matters any more. It will be your own.

Hopefully you won't need to the even ask the questions whose the fairest. You'll just know that it's you.
 
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