In some moments I feel as if I am walking some invisible slack line high above sharp rocks or dangerous obstacles, no safety net, with an armload of squirming cats that don’t get along with each other, and haven’t eaten in days. The sensation is not improved by upheaval in my day-to-day routine, disarray in my environment, or the challenges of experiencing emotional intimacy and connection, while also developing emotional self-sufficiency. Sometimes it’s hard. Difficult. Complicated. Emotional.

Well, sure, you say that, but...

Well, sure, you say that, but…

My traveling partner does his courteous, considerate best to ease the strain, to minimize the challenges. He is, however, having his own experience. I practice deep listening, while also recognizing I have both a need and obligation to my own emotional wellness to set boundaries; this is by intent and respecting my ‘OPD free zone’; my partner is welcome here any time, but relationship drama is not. I continue to invest in my own emotional self-sufficiency, while also recognizing that the skills and tools required are not yet forged of unbreakable materials, and require continued practice, and more good boundary setting. I actually suck rather a lot at the setting of clear reasonable boundaries and maintaining them skillfully. An ongoing challenge requires ongoing attention, and the work involved is on me; there are verbs involved, choices, and mindful attention to the needs of the woman in the mirror, while also being compassionate, present, supportive, and aware – considerate – of the needs of the person so dear to me, now sharing this space.

partnership

Partnerships endure and overcome challenges with shared effort, support, consideration, and awareness.

It has been very tough to relax entirely this week, or to find a feeling of being grounded, centered, balanced, and hold on to it; the symptoms of OPD are present in many moments. I set all that aside and listen to the rain fall. I could contentedly spend the day listening to the rain fall; it’s not a comfortable fit for shared living. At least, for now, I don’t yet know how to say ‘I need more quiet time than I am getting’, without causing hurt feelings, or heaping more experiences of feeling rejected on someone who urgently needs very much to feel welcomed – somewhere. This is home. My home. His home whenever he is here. A safe place to be at home with oneself, and with love. I remind myself that healing takes time, and that hurt creatures need comfort and care, and that change is. Human beings don’t tend to remain ‘in crisis’ indefinitely (unless repeatedly subjected to an insane cycle of empty promises, baiting, and torment). Healing happens in a safe nurturing environment. It still takes the time it takes. I ask myself an important question or two about what matters most to me, and find myself feeling soothed, content, and comforted. At least for a while, it will be on me to provide much of the positivity and comfort here, and to be the builder of an emotionally healthy environment that meets needs for two, and to do rather a lot of ‘adulting’ – maybe more than I feel ready for. I remind myself I’ve been providing these things for myself successfully for a year, and that love is not an adversary, or a drain on resources, or an inconvenience, but may require some tweaks and changes to the way space is used, and the timing of various practices, tasks, and activities.

partnership

Partnerships don’t alleviate the requirement we each have to take care of ourselves, while we also care for each other.

I take some time this morning to meditate on boundaries, ground rules, The Big 5 on which I personally seek to build all my relationships (respect, consideration, compassion, reciprocity, and openness), and what I can do to deliver on those characteristics well, and not simply assume they are my due. A partnership requires equanimity, and shared effort. We can only each do our best, as we understand our best to be in the moment, and even at that, sometimes our best is literally not enough to cause change. I can choose not to take small hurts personally, and be a supportive presence in the midst of my partner’s emotional chaos and suffering; it will require me to learn to juggle my own needs and theirs with considerable efficiency, and to learn to set boundaries more firmly, but also with great tenderness and compassion. Fuck – I hope I am up to the challenge. A year ago – almost exactly – the best I could do was simply remove myself from the problematic environment, because the difficultly level far exceeded my competency, or ability to care for myself while enduring it.

Having both complex PTSD and  a TBI, trust me when I say I don’t find living with people easy; however lonely solitary living may sometimes feel, it is nearly effortless in comparison to cohabitation!

Today's sunrise wasn't this colorful. I am reminded that change is.

Today’s sunrise wasn’t this colorful. I am reminded that change is.

Every day is a new opportunity to begin again. I spend the time over my first coffee revisiting my budget. There is change to account for. I account for it. I accept how uncomfortable I feel having to do so, so soon after moving. I take a moment to recognize the simmering anger and resentment lurking beneath the discomfort, directed toward someone who is literally no part of my life in any direct way. I resent that there is even an implied presence, or any agency affecting my routine that I have not invited into my experience. I breathe and let it go. I’m okay with the anger, and the resentment too, they seem a reasonable emotional response to being shoved from the slow moving-in process I had embraced so deliberately, to being in circumstances that feel rushed by need and urgency. I dislike the unpleasant negative emotions that come with the lurking ‘OPD’ now a constant threat in the background.  It is part of my partner’s experience, and as unpleasant as I find it, it’s no doubt worse for him. I’d like most to ease his suffering. How do I set and reinforce boundaries about this OPD free zone I have created for myself without encroaching on the free will of a respected adult now in my household? (I mean, seriously? I entirely don’t care to deal with it, don’t see that it must be dealt with at all, and don’t want to encourage it; it has no place here.)

...and listen deeply.

…and listen deeply.

The day is barely begun, and holds so much promise. Perhaps a second coffee, and another chance to begin again? Perhaps a different selection of verbs with that? 🙂