Flashbacks and Reminders, part 2

(I meant to write part 2 right away, but life got busy… So here you go.)

When my ex accidentally sent me a friend request on Facebook, I sort of freaked out. It’s been 3 years since I broke up with him, yet he will never get the point. So, I’ve given up and just ignore when he tries to shove himself into my life.

This time, though, I don’t know, I got so angry. And then my mom found out and started messaging me all about him and his continuously expanding arrest record. She was trying to help, but she doesn’t understand. I NEED TO KEEP THAT PART OF MY LIFE AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit weakness, but even after all this time,  there are parts of me that I struggle to regain control of. Recently,  that’s been my guilt. And the sudden reminders of the past brought it on strong.

I grew up with the guilty treatment being used against me. I was never the most rebellious or independent-acting person because I would inevitably end up feeling guilty about it. By the time I met my ex, I was just used to it.

He used this tactic on me so many times, I just started accepting the blame for everything. He was tired? My fault for running late at work. He stood me up?  My fault for assuming that, after checking 3 times, we were still going out. He got hooked on drugs?  My fault for stressing him out/not telling him not to/being a snob/insert more ridiculous reasons here.

Anyways, I eventually learned that nothing that was happening was really my fault at all. They were HIS decisions and HIS actions. That was a big weight off of me that helped me leave. It’s not something I learned from society… They tend to think differently. Blame-shifting runs just as rampant as always.

Fast forward to this year. Somehow, my guilt complex decided it wanted to come out and play. After hearing about all of his arrests, my guilt started saying, “Maybe he was right. Maybe you gave up on him too quickly. Maybe he wouldn’t be where he is if you had stayed. Maybe he is only doing this cause he has nothing to live for anymore.”

I really had no answer to this. I’m very good at torturing myself with maybes. It wasn’t that I wanted to go back to that at all. It was just me wanting to prevent bad things from happening.

Then I realized… Every single one of these doubts was a condemnation he had used against me when we were still together. These weren’t creations of my over-active imagination; these were inventions of someone who wanted nothing more than to own me.

I can’t feel guilty because I didn’t cause any of this. In fact, I was pretty darn close to the perfect girlfriend. I NEVER said no.

So, I’ve taken ownership of my guilt again. It’s freeing really. No more what-ifs. No more allowing others to control me through guilt. No one is allowed to have that kind of power over me. I’m not perfect, and I’m not really good at not feeling guilty about everything, but I’m trying. And sometimes, that’s all any of us can do.

Flashbacks and Reminders

So, this week has been…um… interesting? I’ve noticed that the more I’m stressed with work, life, etc. the more I tend to have flashbacks and guilt. And the last few weeks have been STRESSFUL! Also, I have had really strange dreams for the last several weeks, and I’m exhausted. I don’t know if the stress is causing the dreams, or the dreams are making me stressed. It’s the chicken and the egg conundrum I guess.

Anyways, my town has movies in the park in May, so I decided to go to the first one. I’ve been going to these for 3 years now. Unfortunately, this time, I ended up waiting for the movie to start for over an hour and then leaving as soon as it started.

I had been waiting for half an hour when these two messy-looking guys came and sat in front of me. One of them was quiet, and the other one wouldn’t stop talking.

The loud one’s behavior started to seem eerily familiar. Then I realized that he was acting EXACTLY like my ex. Loud, boisterous, overly friendly, overly talkative, and making threats disguised as jokes. I immediately realized that, like my ex, he was completely high on at least one drug.

And then I couldn’t get the past out of my head. And I felt my anxiety start rising.

So I checked to see where the event cop was and tried to mind my own business.

Then Loudmouth started drinking. Someone told him he wasn’t allowed to drink without a wristband. Loudmouth started a nonsensical fuss about food stamps, and the guy left him alone.

Loudmouth got louder. Then he brought out the cigarettes…also not allowed. He told his buddy that if the cop came up, he would “bust his skull open.” And then he put his lit cigarette in his nose and stood up in the crowd. He spun around, basically challenging anyone to do anything. Of course no one did.

Anxiety turned to fight-or-flight response.

Loudmouth got louder. His companion even left. So Loudmouth started talking to himself instead. He was even yelling about how he wasn’t dead yet and he couldn’t believe he was gonna do it.

Folks, I’ve seen this many times before. I can guarantee you that right before he sat down in front of me, he took something. He had no teeth – maybe it was meth. Could have been heroine. Could have been a mixture of prescription drugs. All I know is he had a spoon, with his keys, on a necklace. He was freaking WEARING the spoon he uses for injecting himself!

So here we are… me sitting alone with a drunk, wasted addict in his high point… 10 feet away from me.

And I couldn’t find the cop. Anywhere.

And I know better than to rat out someone like that in front of them. Five years of fear knocked that right out of me. So I left. I messaged the facebook page for the group so they could remove the guy, but I wasn’t sticking around. I didn’t even see the first 5 minutes of the movie.

Anyways, it was a learning experience for me. I learned that I can still spot a user in 5 minutes or less. I learned that that kind of behavior causes flashbacks. I learned that I have no patience with that crap (that’s a good thing). And I learned that the rage is still there…I actually visualized hurting the guy. That’s part of the reason I left tonight.

Everyone else noticed Loudmouth and looked away. I couldn’t. It was too much. I want to say that I’m all better. That it’s been almost 3 years, and I’ve completely moved on. In many ways I have moved on, but sometimes, the past hits me hard.

To be continued…