I have gone back in to therapy, I have been having a lot of anxiety. All of Kent’s recent health crisis have been too much for my emotions to handle. One of the sources for self-awareness that my therapist, Paige, uses is the enneagram. There are several books about it, The Road Back to You by Crone and Stabile is the one that she recommended. I have read The Road Back to You and I am just starting to read another one The Wisdom of the Enneagram byRiso and Hudson.
I also found a website that was very helpful https://www.enneagraminstitute.com. I am finding the enneagram very insightful. The Enneagram is divided into 9 personality types with many sub-types. At first I thought that I was a 2 which is The Helper. After some discussion and introspection I have realized that I am a 1 The Reformer.
What I have found is that learning about these traits helps me to realize why I became this personality type and how it has worked for me but also how it has locked me into a box. “Ones” have a “sense of mission.” They strive after “higher values” even at the cost of great personal sacrifice. That sounds like the person that I strive to be. I read on. I learned of all of the limitations that this label puts on me.
Ones are “always striving to improve things.” But they are afraid of making a mistake. As I work with my therapist I realized that I am afraid of making mistakes. As a child I felt the need to be above reproach. I believed that being that way made my mother happier. Mom had a lot of depression and anxiety. I am the oldest child and she bonded with me. I learned that my excellent behavior made her happy. I lived my life that way.
I’m sure that you can imagine how much pressure this put on me. I was the model child. I can only imagine how hard it was for my younger sisters to have me behaving above reproach. I imagine that they saw me as mom’s “favorite” which would have been threatening as they strived to also be mom’s “favorite”. Of course, I wasn’t aware of any of this because as long as I was excellent then it seemed like my world was safer. When we are children our perspective is that the world revolves around us. And we think that when our parents are “out of balance” that it is our fault. I believed that my behavior was the answer to all of mom and dad’s problems and as long as I was “excellent” that they were happy.
What an illusion and a lot of responsibility to live with. I carried this illusion into adulthood and I have continued my life in this manner. Everything that I did was above reproach, or so I thought. That’s why, when I had a family with Myotonic Dystrophy (DM) I was so conflicted. My family was different than any other families. But, I didn’t have a diagnosis so I didn’t understand why they were different. I knew that they were made of “good stuff” but they didn’t behave like society expected.
If I was afraid of making mistakes and yet it seemed that my family was messing up all of the time, what was I to do about it? My family couldn’t whisper so public gatherings were difficult when we were part of an audience. They were also on their own time clock making co-operating within time restraints for events or even family gatherings difficult. I was always self-conscious about them. That’s why getting a diagnosis was actually a relief. I now had an explanation for our unique traits, not that anyone wanted to hear my explanation.
Lately Kent has been having struggles keeping his oxygen levels where they need to be. He has also lost weight. I immediately jump on the band-wagon and start helping him with these needs. This role puts a lot of responsibility on me. As I am working with my therapist and I am realizing that I automatically take these responsibilities on, it’s helping me to try to take a different approach. Of course, I want to be supportive of Kent. But I forget that he wants to be supportive of me too. By talking about this instead of automatically “rescuing” him we are becoming a team. I still need to do certain things like help prepare calorie dense meals but Kent is also helping with this.
I’m amazed at the response that I’m getting. I’m not “coaxing and reminding” Kent, I’m just taking a more casual approach.
We also set Kent up for Pulmonary Rehab. We were told that this is an exercise program that helps your body deal with weaker lungs, it might not strengthen his lungs but ideally it will help him compensate for weaker lungs. It starts next week. Hopefully this will help Kent with his tendency to have low oxygen. We are also concerned about his CO2. When he had his labs done earlier this week it was higher at 34 than the 24-26 that it has been. I know that 34 isn’t alarming but it’s possible that he isn’t blowing off his CO2 like he should.
Learning how to be aware of my shadow self is helping me. My shadow self doesn’t easily let go of details that I am obsessing about. When I am in the calm part of myself I can relax and trust life but I am having to constantly remind myself. The child in me felt unsafe and I learned to be as close to “perfect” as I could believing that it helped me feel safe. Now my therapist has me reminding myself that I am “safe.” I do everything that I can to make sure that my family is safe but I have never paid attention to the fact that I needed to remind myself that I am safe.