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The Damn Book: Chapter 3: Withdrawal

Old 08-26-2010, 06:23 AM
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The Damn Book: Chapter 3: Withdrawal

The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, by Susan Anderson

Stage Two: Withdrawal

The withdrawal state is like being in withdrawal from an addiction. It is when you crave the other person after the initial shock of separation has worn off. Mediated by the brain's own opioid system, what you feel is similiar to what addicts feel when they can't get a fix.

There are many aspects to withdrawal:

  1. Wrenching apart
  2. Without a background object
  3. Will to Run Riot
  4. Sexual Withdrawal
  5. Weight Loss
  6. Waiting and Watching
  7. Wakefulness
  8. Washed out and depressed


Love-withdrawal doesn't operate on a schedule; it varies from person to person, situation to situation.

Symptoms of withdrawal are intense. Many abandonment survivors are prepared to bargain, petition, beg, manipulate, do anything to get their loved one back. You'll alternate between moments when you think you might survive without your lost love and moments of total despair.


*I'm not sure where everyone stands, but thought I'd post this.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:27 AM
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This chapter has really stood out to me so far. I thought it was pathetic I'm still sitting here, missing him, and crying sometimes... I keep convincing myself that it wasn't so bad, and I'd do anything I can to make him want me again. The fortunate truth is, that's no longer an option, and it isn't even in my hands anymore.

When reading the section on sexual withdrawal it explained everything I am feeling right now. "report a heightened craving for sex, particularly for sex with their lost love." Not too share too much information, but this need and desire has been the sole focus of my thoughts around him... and it's to feel the love, not even just sex. I've been so alone, and feeling so lonely and vulnerable.. and the idea of any other man repulses me. I miss him and ONLY him.

This whole chapter (even book) speaks to me. It's wonderful to feel validation for my feelings, and know they're semi-normal or expected... even if they're all too lingering.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:46 AM
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I am not falling for this again!

I am just going to go visit the gift shop at the hoover dam, then I can get all the dam books I want, and dam cups, and dam hats, dam napkin holders, dam decals, dam everything!
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:35 AM
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I'm in this stage.
It's only been 2 1/2 weeks since the split and I'm still barely sleeping (doing 4 hrs a night now) and have lost close to 10 lbs so far.
I can't focus and my work is suffering.

I look at this as the cleansing stage though.
Once I get someone out of my system, I feel nothing for them. It's strange, I can love someone so deeply, but once it's out of my system, I can't feel for them any longer.

Withdrawal sucks and I would give anything to make him take back his stupid cheating so I didn't have to feel this.
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:28 AM
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I know exactly what you mean Summerpeach.. I fall MADLY in love.. and it devastates me when it ends, for a long, long time.. however.. they always manage to POP back up.. tell me how long it took to get over me, they love me, etc.. and, I feel NOTHING. I mean, I care for them.. but in a sexual, physical, emotional attraction, no thanks.

Sorry you are hurting...
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:58 AM
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Sorry you're hurting also Jenny.
I think woman are sort of built that way when they get over someone. They get intense and then the pain gets to be too much and they just turn off.
I've not had ONE emotion or attraction to an ex once I got over them.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:02 AM
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and this chapter talks about the Dialogue with the adult self, but I am not so sure there is an "adult self" in the withdrawal stage.
Last night, I got a visual of me being ripped away from my Mom and crying and screaming. I was like WHOA, I'm 44, what was THAT about!

I think the children inside of us all screams when there is pain.
I mean, can one be adult during withdrawal?
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:25 AM
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Oh, this dialogue part has got me stuck... I can not even invision an adult within me... or even my child.. as I have HUGE memory lapses. Let me know if you figure this one out...

I guess the adult in us.. is the one who still wakes up, after no sleep or food, and drags our butts to work - despite our emotional turmoil. We may not feel strong.. but we're still functioning... and that is adult-like behavior. Correct?
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:19 PM
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Hmmm, well I think yes. I think for me the adult should say "sh*t happens, we're all human, life is about change, so adjust and move on"

But the kid in mean screams "don't hurt me, don't love me less...waaaaa"

hahaha.....God you know, I think we're all kids in big people's bodies.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:58 PM
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Oh, I sooo agree with you!

Did you finish the chapter? I admit.. this whole, 'big' 'little' discussion kind of weirds me out.. like the one guy who said he got in a fight with his inner child, but couldn't explain to people because they'd think he has multiple personality disorder...

Yeah, well I dunno about this exercise. If anyone has some tips regarding it.. I could surely use it.

Little: everyone hates me, i just get on peoples nerves.. make them love me

Big: I'll protect you. No one hates you, little. Look around at all of your wonderful friends who tell you how great you are, people love you.

HAHAHA, I feel silly even trying.. so umm, I'm stuck here.
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:32 PM
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I've been working this exercise for a couple of months now. It was WEIRD the first time I did it. I felt pretty foolish. But I stuck with it because I wanted to see if it could work for me...it took quite a few attempts.

She (the author) suggests writing out the dialogue, but that slowed me down. Couldn't do it. I had to have the dialogue out loud while no one was around, or I found a quiet place and had the conversation in my head with my eyes closed.

My Little was feeling really, really weak the first few times, so I let her sit with God right next to her, or she was sitting on his lap. That really helped, because I was also working on reminding myself that God will never abandon me.

It also helped me to put my favorite dress on from when I was 4 and picture myself with pudgy little cheeks and the bobbed haircut that my mom always gave me. Maybe you had a favorite stuffed animal or toy from then....I don't know...just ideas....

As for adult me, that was also hard because I was feeling so weak. I had to pick a time when I was at my best in my adult life, and picture myself then...feeling strong, confident, loved, smart...you get the idea.

So...once I practiced it a few times, I found Little started to make herself heard. She was TICKED at Big me for doing things like breaking no contact, yelling at my kids when I was angry over my situation with XABF, procrastinating over important stuff because I was wallowing in my pity...and the list goes on.

It was WEIRD to have Big me tell Little me, "okay, I'm going to take better care of you and not get you into these situations anymore," but it started working. I started really thinking twice before I did things that would upset Little. So weird, but it worked.

I'm not very good at remembering to do it every day, but I'm also not feeling the intense pain I was at the time.

It did end up helping me, but I had to really stick with it.
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:41 PM
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Thank you healing.. that does help put things into perspective.. I just feel SO silly even trying that. I'll give it a go.. see what I can come up with.

Also, I love the idea of seeing her on God's lap! That's just beautiful!
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:44 PM
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Good luck with it, Jenny. Be persistent and I think you'll be glad.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:04 PM
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I will do this exercise also.

I've not had ONE emotion or attraction to an ex once I got over them.


Summer, I have the same sensation thinking back. I feel nothing and have certainly NO interest in peeking on their facebook. Done. Not part of my life.

My constant challenge is to do the same when I still see and interact with XABF. I try to imagine this is not F but the evil twin who I don't know. Sometimes works. Sometimes DAMN I still miss my friend and who he was then in the "good times".

While away I know I am more into acceptance and more into seeing my own patterns and going on with my life.. less "shoulds" or criticizing or feeling superior or jealous or whatever. Its when I hear him that is the challenge. That is one of my goals in therapy, indifference towards XABF.

I can feel my emotions just imagining myself as a small kid. I remember a pic where I was riding a toy horse . I loved that toy and remember the feeling of playing around rolling on it...

Many of these exercises make you feel dumb but I guess its just resistence or fear... that can be there but are not excuses not to do the exercises...
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:05 PM
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Jenny, I'm almost done with the book, but will reread it so I can absorb more.

I've not had the dialogue yet. I need to think more about myself as a child. I was a really HAPPY kid, Had many good memories, great parents, fun times, was always outgoing, but very bossy, I thought that stemmed from being the youngest of 2 older sisters who pushed me around. And the only way to get my parents to listen because by the time they had me, they were pooped ;-)

HEALING and TAKING: it's great that you've made such progress.

I feel weak not being able to get in touch with little me
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Summerpeach View Post

I feel weak not being able to get in touch with little me
Summer, I hear what you're saying. It helps to remember that Little is not necessarily who you were then, but she represents the feelings you have now. So, by letting your feelings have a voice, you are sort of forced to make your adult self promise to take care of you. It becomes about healing by taking care of yourself first.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:19 PM
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I am not reading this book, but I HAVE done the excercises with re-parenting the inner child.

I think it was easier for me since I am a parent?

I read a group online who was doing this and getting into some really powerful and healing stuff.
One thing they did with written work was to use the hand they do not normally write with...and write with that hand from the inner child.....I saw some incredible things take place!

I started talking with my child with a hi,
(tentative hi back)
how are you?
(I'm mad at you!)
can you tell me what you are mad about?

I got an earfull!

It was a great excercise and one of the key things in me learning about my feelings and taking care of me.

hope this helps.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:21 PM
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haha...HealingWillCome and I were writing the same things at the same time!

but my little me was still mad about the pony from 5 yrs old.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:23 AM
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Looking back I so remember this stage......I lost alot of weight.....I got (scary skinny).....and always woke up about 2am and stayed up....was a walking zombie.......lost alot of hair.......grinded my teeth at night and had to wear a mouthguard. Not fun.........thank God for my recovery friends.....they pulled me through this stage....I started going to yoga and meditating and getting (jin shin do )-(accupressure) at my recovery therapist's.......and slowly got out of it.....went through several seperations and reconciliations and finally decided to divorce after two years of not being able to decide......aaaahhhhhhhh......! Now three years post divorce I am fat and happy and single.
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:20 PM
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sorry Jenny, I kept looking for it and didn't see it before. will stay with you now.
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