Have you ever stopped at a stop light and looked at the tires of the car next to you? You know the ones where the tire has stopped but the wheel keeps spinning. I sat in a daze at a stoplight and watched the spinning of the other car’s wheel. I didn’t snap out of it until the light turned green. My brain is JUST like that at night. It spins and spins. My body has stopped but my mind just keeps spinning and spinning and spinning. I have to actively snap myself out of it and try to focus on nothing which is nearly impossible for me to do. But spinning is mindless. It is not mindful. It has no real intent. Without intent spinning can quickly get out of control. Lack of control is the last thing that you want. I am a ponderer though. I am a thinker. I can ponder literally hundreds of things in a three hour period as I lay in my bed trying to sleep. But that is the problem. I am not really trying to sleep. I am trying to think and ponder. I have always believed if I can understand it then I can fix it. In working to understand myself and heal trauma I end up laying awake until 3 am most nights. Worst time to ponder! Yes it is quiet, but pondering alone in the dark is not always a great idea especially when one needs sleep. I believe intention is a powerful tool. If we do not set our intention then our mind is left to wander and spin.
I was lying awake last night pondering the intention of someone in my past. I had discovered some garden gifts she had given me the day before which made me think of her. Instead of setting my intention to sleeping, I yet again set it to understanding this person so I could put her to rest in my mind. She bought me gifts, sent me cards, called me all the time. She was a kind person. A loving person. A generous person. She never hurt me. But I never knew exactly what she wanted from me. My friendship? Love? Companionship? I did care for her but I did not know exactly what my role was in her life because she started out as my therapist. The lines were blurred. I hate blurred lines. She did nothing wrong. She even wanted to treat me for free. She was a good person and I NEED good people. I NEED love. I separated myself from her though. I wrote her a card once that was signed, “love, always”. She told me that the “always” part really meant something to her. She just wanted to be loved. I wish I could have done it. She deserved to be loved. At the time though, I needed therapy with no strings attached. Loving someone for therapy were some heavy strings that I could not tie. In trying to understand her intention with me I realized that it was more about my intention towards her that I was really trying to understand. My intention always needs to be clear to me. With her, it was too blurry, so I had to distance myself from it. It was the right thing to do. Understanding intention helps me in understanding decision making. I hope she finds the right person to love her, that person just could not be me.
It is incredibly hard for me to set boundaries since being abused. Incredibly hard. The more I understand about myself, the better I will be at setting boundaries sooner than later. Later comes too quickly and painfully without boundaries. With this understanding, and with boundaries, have come new rules. I would not have lay awake for 3 hours pondering that therapist had I just had some rules and stuck by them ahead of time. These new rules help to protect me when I don’t know how to protect myself in the moment. It is like the criteria blog I wrote for people that I will allow in my life. But the rules blog helps me to remain feeling safe in a relationship or even in an interaction.
The rules are pretty simple: 1. Does this person have my best interest at heart? 2. Does this person’s behavior make me feel bad? 3. What is this person’s intention in my life? 4. Are the lines blurry in the relationship?
My rules are broken down even further to simple interactions. 1. Why is this person at my front door? 2. Is it safe to let this person at my front door in my home while I am alone? 3. Am I ok with being alone with this person at my front door?
Further broken down 1. Will this person respect things that may be triggers for the PTSD? 2. Does this person make me feel safe? 3. will this person be understanding of my health issues? My rules are more a list of questions. A list of questions in which the answers will result in 1. Me keeping this person in my personal life or 2. Me removing this person from my personal life. It is a way to keep things clear. It is a way to keep boundaries. It is a way for me to feel and stay safe.
Boundaries, intention, and mindfulness are things I am working on. Because the only thing coming from a spinning mind is sleeplessness!