Tag Archive | anger

Mom’s assets

The lawyers sent me a list of mom’s assets. Her life savings all in black and white. A cold, horrible itemized list, reducing her life to a dollar amount.

She worked so hard and died at 68 with barely any savings, no hope of retirement. So sad. 

I can’t quite explain how this list makes me feel but I would like to try. Renewed grief at seeing her name next to the word deceased. Anger at the lawyers, at the legal necessity for all of this due process. A different anger, a sad anger at my brother that still won’t talk to me. A deep pain, sadness perhaps, this longing, this hole, this emptiness that washes over me and chokes my breath out as I cry. I want a family. Yes I have my children but they don’t fill this aching hole. 

I had a major accomplishment in PT today. I used the one machine without my weak leg shaking, first time ever it just went smoothly. Everyone cheered for me there. That didn’t fill the hole either. I wanted to call my mom and tell her too. 

But all I have  of her is this dreadful bank statement. And so many mixed up memories. She wasn’t always good to me, but she was trying.

And that was her true asset. 

Stop it, I’m not attacking or controlling you, just talk to me

 

 

Yesterday started and ended ok. I told hubby I was thinking about getting our backyard picnic shelter cleaned up and work on my agoraphobia by starting to feel safe in my own yard. I said I’d like to work on this as my project this summer, something to do while I’m outside to keep myself busy and reduce my fear.

We were just about to head outside together to assess the shelter together when a text from my oldest brother came. (Cue Dun-dun-dun)

My brother for unknown reasons asked if I had received my $10 inheritance check from AF’s Will yet, informed me that my middle brother with schizophrenia had moved in with my youngest brother (instead of living alone now that mom passed), and reminded me that he wanted me to come to a family picnic soon.

I could hardly breathe. That was a lot in one little text. I handed my phone to Hubby so he could read it and I headed upstairs for a moment, because, well, I had to run away from that phone so I could breathe. With some distance I did some rescue breathing, in through my nose for 4, out through my mouth like I am blowing out candles. Then I did some grounding, pushing my feet into the floor, my hands into the wall, feeling the pressure and texture, using mindfulness. I ran cool water on my wrists.

I came back down in a few minutes and Hubby was standing by the back door, asking if I was ready to go out now. I looked for my phone, he had set it down on the table. I said something like, I don’t think I can go, and felt so sad and misunderstood as I sat at the table. He sighed loudly, showing his impatience and frustration and he says, “I thought we were going out to work on the shelter?”

“Didn’t you read that text?”

“Yeah…but I thought we were going to go outside.” He comes in finally and sits at the other side of the table from me.

“But I’m going to have to respond, and this has already affected me, so maybe if I do that now it might be better. Don’t you think? Don’t you have any opinions about what he texted?”

He actually got up then to check the mail and called from the other room, “There’s no check here”

My jaw dropped. As if that was the important part of this. Couldn’t he see I was shaking and scared earlier? That I had been triggered, forced to think of AF’s horrible will, my being unlovable and only worth $10. That I was worried about My brother’s kids now …those kids need stability…but it looks like that will never happen and since that brother won’t speak to me, I don’t even get to express my opinions. And the picnic? Yes it was nice to be asked…but oh man the anxiety that produced to think of such an event. I’m not ready for that. My head was spinning. How do I let my brother know I am open to him but he needs to back off a little? I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and hurt our delicate relationship.

Hubby sat back down impatiently, still saying nothing while I stared at the text. He keeps tapping his feet and making huffy sighing noises.

“Don’t you have any thoughts or opinions about this? Any reaction at all? Any guidance on how to respond, or am I just bothering you?” I’m getting annoyed that I have to keep asking for a reaction.

“What??? Of course I have thoughts, I didn’t know you wanted them right now, I thought we were going outside, so I’m just waiting. I didn’t know you wanted to respond right away or that you wanted help with it. I don’t think your brother living there will be good for those kids or for him. I don’t know what else you want”

Now I sigh. I’m so sick of him acting confused all of the time. Nothing was confusing here. Why do I have to beg him to talk to me and see I’m upset? Why can’t he see that this would be an upsetting text for anyone, not just for me? I would have accepted nearly ANY form of comfort, support or connection. ANY reaction. What I’m having trouble accepting, again and again, is his confusion, frustration, and impatience. I really just needed a friend. I had managed the trigger and anxiety myself.

I responded to my brother, explaining I had not received a stupid check, that I thought my brothers living together was a bad idea for all concerned but I hoped it works out, and that with my back pain and extreme anxiety I was not yet ready for a picnic, and that I was back in counseling 2 days a week though. That’s when my brother responded with the lovely and amazing “take time to heal”. His response came much later and made me all warm and fuzzy, erasing some of the hurt dealt by hubby.

I attempted to explain to Hubby why this was a high distress moment. I reminded him about what I was working on in counseling, my distress list, and I said he never asked to read it….

That caused him to blow up before I could finish my sentence. I was going to say..so he doesn’t know that texts from my brother are very high on the list because they instantly trigger me, sending me back to a childhood world of memories and chaos (which I’m thinking ‘duh’ shouldn’t that be obvious). Instead he started ranting how was he supposed to know I wanted him to read the list, it’s just one more thing he screwed up this week…that was not what I was saying at all and I’m getting angry that he is making this about him. Then he said, “show me your list now then, we are already here talking, I can read it now since we are apparently not going outside” He didn’t say the word stupid, but it felt like he said show  me your stupid list and let’s get this over with….

What?? I’m thinking, are you serious hubby? You want me to share something that intimate with you while you are barking at me? But fear creeps in, I’m starting to feel unsafe with him now. Not in a dangerous way, but emotionally unsafe, too vulnerable, he is being too harsh and hurtful I can’t possibly open myself up to him. His hand is out to me as he demands I give him the list. I’m angry too, but I can’t be. I’m in personal conflict, a bit like a short circuit, and I need to get away. I can’t show him my anger. My stuck points say I’m not allowed to be angry and the fear grows. The voice in my head says I’m now unlovable and bothering him. I’m unimportant and a silly girl. I need to get away.

I refuse and mumble something about it not being a good time for it, let’s do it later. He looks visibly relieved. I get up and head to the kitchen. He asks if I’m coming outside. I say no, I’m going to wash the dishes. He goes outside by himself. I feel very, very sad and alone – again, but also relieved that he goes outside and this conflict is over and I’m alone and safe now. Alone is both good and bad.

Hubby cleans out the shelter by himself. OH! He did a nice job, but he clearly missed the point that I wanted a project to do myself. He was so proud to do it for me so I had a place to sit, I just smiled and said it looked great. What he did in two hours likely would have taken me most of the week, but I would have accomplished it myself, been outside the entire time, and it would have made me stronger. I guess I’ll have to think of something else to work on.

Later that afternoon in couples counseling, He said he felt controlled by me earlier, that he was only cleaning the shelter because I asked him to, and then all of a sudden I changed the plan and wanted to talk instead and he never knows what I want and it can change in an instant.

What?? I was internally fuming. Is that really how he saw it? I didn’t even want him to clean it, I wanted to do it myself. And I didn’t change the plan, I didn’t ask my brother to text, that just happened. Sometimes life happens and we need to react. Does he blame me for this?

The counselor had his own agenda for us and would not let us go into this topic, so my anger was building for him too. I felt like my time was being wasted. We spent an hour on a topic we didn’t need instead of this issue we obviously needed help with. I started to lose it by the end of the session, unable to hold it in any longer. I asked the counselor what is reasonable to expect of Hubby in any given moment, because we seem to have very different ideas. He said we could explore that next week.

In the hall after the session, Hubby asked if I was ok and put his arm around me. I pushed it off, and said “no…are you kidding me? now you ask me? No I’m not ok. And now you can’t comfort me, not when you are the one I’m mad at. I needed that from you earlier, not now. Why don’t you know these things? Anyone would know that.”

I snarled then. Something in me let go. I was no longer afraid to be angry there outside the counselor’s room. I told him “I am afraid my expectations are too high for you and that you seem incapable of changing, that you have no empathy or emotional intelligence whatsoever, that you can’t respond with a basic human connection and emotion in real time, that I tell you day after day and you still don’t understand, and that I’m tired of being so endlessly gentle and understanding with you, tired of coaching you on what to say and do, how to react or respond, tired of waiting and hoping that one day you will be there for me when I never get any response at all and I’m tired of feeling invisible or like I don’t matter, or I’m a bother to deal with.”

Ouch – I know. But I was really feeling that way. All of these lessons and counseling and I can go to him and something like this text can happen right in front of him or I say my anxiety is at an 8, and he simply walks away from me, not a word, no reaction, leaves me alone to deal with it myself. He does not check on me or support me in any way. And it isn’t that he doesn’t know how. He really should have a clue by now. We have a binder full of skills, statements, breathing exercises, mindfulness, etc and have practiced together in counseling. So I keep thinking he will be there when I need him, but he is only available 1 hour a week during counseling. At home nothing has changed, he is still distant, aloof, avoidant, oblivious – and I don’t know why. It is really starting to hurt, so I blew up.

His response was “So I’m just an A$$hole and our marriage is $hit”

What?? I didn’t call you that. I didn’t say that. At all. I said I don’t understand why you continue to not respond to me, that we have no connection, that I feel all alone, and I am getting worried that it will never change.

I tried explaining to him how it feels to constantly be ignored.  I keep waiting for him to come to me. Show an interest. Want to talk to me. Want to work on it. We are supposed to spend 20 minutes every day working on  exercises from couples counseling. He won’t do it. I keep wondering why he even goes to counseling at all if he won’t put any effort in at home. I’m trying so hard to continue to be patient, but this week I ran out. I reached my limit and I exploded. No more Mrs nice girl. Sorry honey.

It’s not me – it’s you.

Then this morning another defensive reaction from him, lashing out at me. We move our mattress last night and find the bed frame is full of fleas! We’ve been battling fleas for a few months now. We vacuum and spray. This morning we spend a few minutes talking about fleas and what else we need to do to get this under control. Boring informational talk.

He then has to go to work. I say, “Aww, I didn’t want to spend our morning talking about fleas”

He blows up and yells, “Sorry for ruining your morning” and storms out of the room

I was shocked, like he had hit me. WTF?

Appropriate responses he could have had:

“No, me either, stupid fleas” (common enemy)

“No, I’d rather spend it in bed with you” (flirty)

“Really? I love talking about fleas” (sarcastic)

“Yes too bad I have to go to work now” (understanding)

I told him that was a horrible thing to say and that he needs to control himself and stop lashing out at me. I’m not attacking him or saying mean things. When he says things like “So I’m an A-hole then, or I’ve ruined your morning” it devastates me, particularly in the middle of a calm, dull conversation to get a defensive reaction out of nowhere.. I do not call him names or put him down. I can’t predict what he will take as an attack, and I can’t live like this, the environment is too volatile here. He needs to get it figured out and fast. I no longer accept that it is my fault.

Then last night I log into a site called Relate To That, an online support group I joined, and another member actually posted a quote that seemed as if he was listening to me outside my car, and that he understood everything I was trying to say to hubby. I’m going to share that in the next post so that I can see it separately from this one, but please read it too so you can see how amazingly connected the universe was to me yesterday, even if Hubby was not.

 

Sitting with it

I’m many weeks into the cognitive processing group therapy program and I’m finally beginning to understand this mysterious phrase the counselors in DBT said to me months ago. They told me not to be afraid to sit in my discomfort. When I started this program for traumatic stress recovery so many months ago, I was in seriously bad shape. I was having suicidal thoughts daily, no hourly. The mental anguish was torture. I wasn’t sure I could hold on this time. I hated this group, thought it was led by idiots, hated this touchy feely crap, and absolutely hated ambiguous meaningless phrases like “don’t be afraid to sit in it, just sit with it for a while”. I’d look at them politely, but my raised eyebrows should have told anyone I thought they were nutso, not me.

I wasn’t feeling anything. I had nothing to sit in. All I had was the same overwhelming fear, pain, shame, guilt, disgust…this big ball of crap I’ve always felt that had always overridden new current emotions. I was disconnected from my own feelings, all I had was this ptsd mess, that when triggered made me shut down and want to die.

So they’ve started to break through my mess of chaos. Bit by bit, chipping away at it, making sense of it, adding logic and compassion.

They’re helping me connect the dots in my own brain and body, recognize and label emotions (starting to…so much practice needed here I feel like an alien or a robot) with these worksheets and mental exercises that add order to my chaotic brain.

Change is starting. I can feel it.

Good things will happen. But mostly I am worn out by this process, and reconnecting with past fears and emotions and hearing the others in group is making me either stuck in perpetual sadness or anger.

I know I’m not angry. And yet I feel angry today. In my bones, I feel it.

And I’m sitting with it.

I’m Fine, You dont have to help me

I have given up. on him, not me.

After over 20 years together, I find it unbelievable and inexcusable that Hubby is still so clueless about me. I have never felt more misunderstood

I need to stop giving him the power to emotionally torture me. I don’t think he does it intentionally. I don’t think he is cruel. I actually think he has been trying to help and understand but he is so far wrong each and every time even though I spend literally hours explaining with examples until I am exhausted.

He has no empathy. He just can’t see something from someone else’s point of view.

He’s never had depression, or panic or phobias. he doesn’t get it, how hard this, how hard I’m trying to recover from the suicide attempts in April. That life is really fragile for me right now, and nothing is easy that may seem easy to him.

I asked for his help, no I begged him. I said I am stuck inside my head. I am stuck inside this house. I haven’t walked my dogs in nearly a year. I haven’t had fun in …. years. Its been so long that I’ve been declining I really don’t know when I lost the ability to feel joy. I asked him to try to encourage and include me in outings instead of assuming I don’t want to go. I tried explaining that although I do avoid everything, I actually long to be included and feel like I belong and like I matter to people.

I have this binder from my group that I keep asking him to go through with me, so he can learn what I learned, for himself, and to help me, to help us. I keep waiting for the ‘right time’ to do this activity. He’s always tired from work, or resting its a weekend, or playing with the kids, or doing all the household chores and tasks that I havent been doing. I get it, he’s a busy guy trying to fill in for me. And I’m asking for more. I’m asking for emotional support as I learn to rewire my brain, do the hard dbt steps, rejoin the living. I’m asking him not to yell at me when I tell him I’m scared or worried or upset.

I’m asking him to be the strong one. And I’ve never asked this before. I’ve never admitted my weakness before. I’ve never said I am scared when you touch me. I’ve never said I cry all alone. I’ve never said I stand there paralyzed with fear. I’ve never said how many times a day I wish for death to find me.

I know this is hard. This really f*cking hard. But I can’t mess around anymore. I need to do this NOW. I can’t wait for you to help me. I can’t wait for you to see and understand me, and figure out how to help. Maybe one day you’ll be that person, but for now you aren’t.

So my emotional safety will not be placed in your hands. When you ask how I am, my answer will be “Fine” back to how you’re used to it being for the past 20 years. I will self soothe and go to others for support. My emotions are not for you.

I waited for the right time to be convenient for you to help me.

You chose to help your friend, who lives an hour away, to fix his lawn mower, instead of working with me.

Your abrupt change in plans devastated me and left me at home crying, feeling like a failure, and as important as a piece of sh*t. And then I got angry. I’m usually afraid to confront you with thoughts like those, but I did. I texted that to you, and didn’t hear acknowledgement until nearly 12 hours later, right before bedtime when its too late to talk about it. Thank you for the “I’m Sorry”. But you need to know what a dreadful day I had waiting for it. This type of distress sends me to the ghost land, where I disassociate and can barely stay present no matter what I do. The fury boils underneath my skin but I can barely move it makes me sick. Especially when you try to sit next to me, I say yes, waiting for you to say something, but can only take for so long before I have to run out of the room. I’m afraid of you, I resent you, and I need you all at once. This is too confusing and familiar for my brain thats trying to get healthy.

You’re not a bad man, but you’re not always a good one. Not for me. I swear my hair could be on fire and you would have no idea what was bothering me. So good news, you’re officially off the hook. Stop trying. Leave me alone. I’m Fine. I’ll ask someone else to help me.

Maybe your bad behavior is a blessing, the final push I need to reach out of my isolation….

Volleyball pants aren’t right

There I said it. I am a mom, trying very hard to teach my girl modesty and what is right, and to care about her body and to have self-respect, and today I dropped her off at a volleyball camp hoping that she hates it.

Why?

Because if she wants to join the team I will have to decide if I can allow her to wear to those ridiculous little underwear bathing suit type pants that come as part of the volleyball uniform.

I’ve been trying to decide how much of this is based on my past. Well, of course a whole huge freaking bunch of it is, but then again, some of it isn’t. Let me explain. Some of this is me being a rational human and trying to advance women past the stage of being sexual objects bouncing around for men’s viewing pleasure.

I have varying degrees of disgust with how some of us dress our young girls, and the conflicting messages. School dress code would not permit them to wear these volleyball shorts to school, so why to a volleyball game? It’s not like you need the maneuverability or aerodynamics that short tight shorts provide. Swimsuits allow you to swim quickly, they have a purpose. Short cheerleader skirts are meant to make the football team happy, those skirts are also too short for dress code and not allowed in school otherwise, but also may provide room to do acrobatics. Girls basketball has very long baggy shorts, I often think those are too long, they actually look like they might get in the way and look boyish.

I started thinking of boys uniforms and I guess football pants are very tight, wouldn’t want them getting tangled up when tackled I guess. And wrestling uniforms are a bit obscene really, but again, you need that agility and flexibility I guess, but they make me uncomfortable too honestly.

So I guess I’m uncomfortable with the kids showing too much period, and then it feels out of my control when I have no choice in the matter for the team uniform, plus then another choice removed when the team photos are all over the town newspaper, facebook, school website, for the world and all the creepers to see. So It makes me angry when there is no reason for it. I can work through my discomfort when we are swimming, even though I know there is a creepy dad, coach, grandpa, etc somewhere in the crowd, bleachers, or watching the footage or photos on facebook. I know this as a fact, and I can’t UN-know this. I don’t keep my kids covered head to toe, we do swim, although not in a string bikini. I guess I just think maybe, just maybe I am adding a layer of protection by not drawing extra attention to ourselves. Maybe. What else can we do? I’d rather stay home and keep them home safe where no one can look and drool and I know no one will attack them, but I don’t do that. I and letting them out in the world to grow up. Even though I don’t trust this world, and I pray my daughter does not become a statistic. So many girls are hurt, I know this stuff.

Here are some of the facts that I know and maybe some other people should know, so I am not crazy or over protective, and that if encouraging our girls to dress modestly might help, then maybe we should speak up and help. Maybe it wouldn’t help, and maybe these girls are just as appealing in more modest clothing. Maybe I am wrong, but it sure does make me uncomfortable to think I might be helping to put sexual thoughts into a predator’s head.

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Among all victims, about nine out of ten are female.
  • 29% of rape victims are age 12-17
  • 44% of rape victims are under age 18
  • Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault

My daughter is entering middle school. Right now she agrees with me. She curls up her nose in disgust at the girls with the short shorts, cutoffs so short the pockets hang out, and the skinny jeans so tight you can see what brand of underwear someone is wearing or not, and the belly button showing shirts. Drives me crazy.

The thing is, if boys also dressed like this, I wouldn’t mind at all. If we lived in a hot climate and everyone bared skin, no problem. My problem is that we teach young girls to do this for attention, and we teach young boys to look, and many young boys, and way too many old men, can’t control themselves, they think nothing of these girls, and that we were put on this planet for entertainment purposes only. My young boys are already being taught not to look, and that it isn’t a big deal.

I also want to make sure you don’t think we dress in wrist and ankle length clothing, my girl wears ‘normal’ clothing like her friends and fits in just fine. We are not extreme in any way, other than when selecting shorts and skirts I expect them to serve a purpose of actually covering the underwear underneath no matter what position you may find yourself in, like her cousin’s shorts that seem to disappear when she sits. Not flattering to her, and embarrassing to us. But that is the STYLE in high school right now. Its also an expensive style for that tiny bit of fabric. And I’m the crazy one.

What am I recovering from exactly

I’m supposedly in recovery right now. I just wish I knew from what exactly.

Although I had a suicidal ideation episode, I don’t think I’m in a major depressive episode right now. I can’t seem to get any 2 people to agree on this or a course of treatment. I don’t feel remarkably different from before I entered the hospital in April, although I do feel more in control, less reckless, but still quite hopeless, and it confuses me that these can coincide.

I am taking better care of my body, eating better, no alcohol, some exercise, getting outside, talking to friends more.

And yet the underlying thought remains – none of this matters, there is no point, no end to all this suffering, death would be welcome. But those thoughts aren’t desperate, aren’t powerful, but they seem to be at my core whenever I sit quietly and look inside. Whenever I ask myself what I want, that is the answer I get.

Last week, I found a newspaper in my closet from my high school, announcing my graduation. I was on the front page of this newspaper along with 5 other smartypants’es. We were the top 6 scholars, I tied for 4th place out of many hundreds graduating and had earned a hefty scholarship. I cried when I saw that photo of me.

I remember being that girl. I remember working so hard to earn my ticket out of hell. Ever since 6th grade when my big brother left for college, I was determined to do the same. I did everything they told me to do. I joined every club, art, band. I volunteered with Kiwanis, at Red Cross, at the hospital, at nursing homes. I worked 2 jobs. I took AP classes and college classes at the local college instead of at my HS. I had perfect grades, overloaded credits, overloaded life. I also had mono, an ulcer, anorexia, migraines, back spasms and weak limpy leg, insomnia, chronic bronchitis and asthma, and a really fucked up home life that I did everything possible to avoid going home. But I did it, I earned my ticket, I got out.

But I soon found out, as you all already know, hell follows you. There is no getting out. It doesn’t matter where you are, the demons will find you.

Here I am 20 years later still wanting to get out of hell. 20 years of hiding from, battling, ignoring, and thinking I had defeated those demons, or enough of them. Were the demons hiding or was I?

Or am I simply battling a horrific neurological disease, isn’t hemiplegic migraines bad enough, and this current suffering has nothing to do with my past abuse? Am I going to counseling and being treated for PTSD for what is actually a physical problem? But would I have this disease without the PTSD? No one knows. As with psychology, neurology is a load of guesswork as the brain is far too complicated for us to understand yet.

All I know is I am physically miserable most of the time. My emotions do go crazy all over the place when the flashbacks/memories flood in with the migraines. Otherwise I am fairly stable unless provoked/triggered. I am definitely edgy and worn out, my patience and stress tolerance is kinda nonexistent. How does a mom get to rest while kids are home over the summer? exactly, she doesn’t. So I’m doing the best I can to keep going with no energy and no chance to recharge.

I don’t know how to recover because I don’t even know what I’m recovering from.

I’m in all of these seemingly impossible situations, with no energy, no motivation, and I honestly just don’t want to work so hard any more. I just want to close my eyes and stop thinking and feeling and let it all disappear.

I feel pathetic, weak, and unreliable.

I know I’ll get through this, somehow, someday, but the frustration is turning into anger and I’ve run out of coping skills since these damn migraines have taken away all my usual stress relievers and turned them into stressors or impossibilities.

Any suggestions for something else to get rid of this anger? Writing only helps a little, and this post took me 3 hours with my stupid head and eyes and makes me angrier sometimes.

He needed a hug

I broke the no touch rule today for just a moment, Hubby needed a hug so badly, I could feel it in every cell. Even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t give in, that I wouldn’t comfort him with my own self, I couldn’t bear to see his pain.

He’s been struggling with our distance, with the no touching, no hugging, no kissing, no good byeing, no helloing. That on top of all the fighting. I have not had many kind words for him in maybe 2 weeks, lost track. I’ve been standing my ground and being firm on my boundaries, keeping my space, and telling him exactly what I need to feel safe.

And the anger inside me lately, wow. Intense. I am filled with so much anger, though some is directed at him, some is just general anger at the world, some is I think part of the anger stage of grieving for AF. Some anger is because I am still alive and still have to deal with, well, umm, everything. Some anger is because no matter how hard I work it seems I end up right back here in this exact spot. Some anger is because it seems most people I encounter are not trying to be better people, and I wonder why do I have to work so hard to grow.

I could just be a selfish, unenlightened sod and go on happily like the so many others in the world, right?? yeah I don’t think so either.

Anyways, Hubby had a bad night last night, turned to alcohol instead of me, got himself sick. I asked him if he was ok this morning, and we were able to talk more than we have in weeks, maybe years. It was a good little talk. We’re both hurting and confused, and we’re both angry at AF. I’m not ready to reconcile with Hubby, I’m still keeping the safe distance and no touching until my body says its ok. I have no length of time in mind, just I don’t want to feel I HAVE to be touched any more, ever again.

But today he needed a friend, and it wasn’t scary at all to reach out and comfort him a bit. I hope it was a comfort and the talk meant as much to him as it did to me, because it has been difficult living here on either side of the Berlin Wall. Seems stupid, to write an entire post about 1 hug, but it was that important. We have to end 20 years of turning away from each other for the big emotional stuff, but neither of us trust that the other will be able to handle it. I am hoping Hubby finds a counselor he clicks with and can start working through some of his own stress and issues. It’s not all about me.

This isn’t making me stronger

And I’m not so sure it isn’t killing me.

This is making me angry. Fed up. Scared even. Definitely not stronger.

My mini-vacation saved my mind and restored my will to keep fighting. 3 days soaking in a hot tub and practicing mindfulness showed me how much pain I am in. So much pain. I’m not even sure how much is mental, how much is physical as they seem to be causing the other in a vicious snake head biting its tail circle.

I’m somehow still working, but half time and doing a crappy job. I’m forgetting things and just not getting to everything else. Mistakes are everywhere. I sit down to work and my brain freezes, not able to handle the chaos and abuse. not yet. so I go draw picture, watch tv, take a nap, anything but tune into my world I can’t accept.

I make it through last week, start engaging back in work, and feel almost ok on friday. Ask Hubby to go out to breakfast, feeling pretty good. We get home from breakfast, the sun is shining, the snow has all melted except for the very shady spots. We decide to clean up the yard. We work together and I’m feeling good. We spend about an hour out there and I go inside ready to work.

I sit at my computer and attempt to type – my hand is a claw. My fingers aren’t listening to me. My arm starts to twitch and spasm. Hmmmm I think. ok don’t panic. I mindfully take stock. Nothing hurts. My left arm is fine, I slowly move each finger on my left hand, ignoring my twitching uncontrollable right side. And then I try to move my fingers on right hand, as i do, my entire arm convulses with the effort. Eyebrows up now, but no panic. I slowly stretch – no no – that made it worse. I lay down on my back and let it relax – except it is still twitching. It is behaving like my right leg. Do I have nerve damage in my neck now? no no, cant think like that. I deep breathe and stretch a while and realize it is not getting better. I ask Hubby to take me to doctor, who immediately sends me to ER. Do they think I had a stroke? What if these aren’t migraines?

ER gives me CT scan of head and neck, see nothing wrong. They start IV of valium, it settles down a bit but does not stop twitching. They send me home with rx for muscle relaxers and a very twitchy arm, and a very worried me. I spent all weekend in bed, only waking up for the next dose. The twitching finally stops, but a deep pain sets in. Off to general practice dr for followup, she says I have torn the tendon in my forearm. Gives me a week of steroids and ice, followed by rx for physical therapy. But I didn’t injure it I said. It didnt hurt until the twitching stopped. She gave that look that drs always give me, like the crazy is talking, and I must be mistaken. I do understand cause/effect and I’m telling you the twitching came before the pain. I think I twitched myself into a torn tendon. But what started the twitching? Soonest neurologist appt is 2 weeks away. I see my counselor tomorrow and I decided to see a psychiatrist too, also in a few weeks.

Just in case the crazy is talking. Just in case the crazy is trying to kill me by shaking me apart. In all of my suicidal fantasies I have never pictured death by shaking myself until my tendons rip. Because I hate pain. I hate weakness. I hate physical therapy. So of course my crazy mind has done this.

Just in case dr took 6 vials of blood to check ANA, thyroid, electrolytes, sed rate, allergies, hormones, vitamins, everything we could think of. Autoimmune? RA or lupus? Neurological? Parkinsons? My scoliosis rods busted? pinched nerve? Fibro? Sleep apnea?

Do I hate my job this much? first I hurl headaches and aura to make looking at the monitor painful and nauseating. Now my arm hurts to type. Can’t barely write at all, can’t grasp a pen without a crampy electrical jolt of pain shooting up my arm. I have a cold sore from this stress and my hour in the sunlight, making it hurt to talk. My ears already have constant ringing. so what’s next? What else do I need to battle to manage to keep this terrible job?

I am so edgy right now, any normal noise sounds like a bass drum or jet plane and sends me jumping and screaming and heart racing. I am that girl in the horror movie, alone, turning down the dark alleyway while the audience screams – Don’t Go! But if the crazy is trying to kill me, then I must go. There is no other way. And so I am swallowing my fears of doctors and being a human pin cushion and will get every test possible to determine the other way. I can’t keep going this way, this hasn’t killed me – yet – but isn’t making me stronger.

I keep thinking, whatever caused the scoliosis and asthma is still in me. And its hungry.

His last Attack

Another attack, this time from the grave. Why was I surprised?

A letter from a law firm comes in the mail. I actually thought it may be some advertising or some followup to a an art-related lawsuit I was asked to give a statement last year for. No, it was AF’s Will.

I was not expecting to be in his will, and so I was surprised to receive the letter. I figured I had been removed and was done with anything AF related.

Nope. The purely evil man had a few more twists left in blade, a few more final attacks for his children. At first I was stunned, and now I am angry.

This will was carefully crafted, each word selected for impact. I can picture him sitting all alone in his hospital bed, proudly choosing these words and picturing the last pain he could ever inflict on all of us.

First, it is apparent he is trying to drive a wedge and keep siblings apart by giving hugely unequal amounts to each of us. 1 brother was not named at all, 1 brother is to receive 25%, and the other was named in a strings attached trust-impossible to achieve strings, so basically he was also left out. I was singled out and left an insulting number in an insulting way.

There are twelve recipients and it is worded like this:

  1. to my beloved son A I leave 25% of my estate
  2. to my beloved son B I leave 20% in a trust in his agent’s charge
  3. to my beloved sister I leave 25% plus the amount in son B’s trust if she will become son B’s agent
  4. to my beloved grandson I leave 2%
  5. to my beloved grandson I leave 1%
  6. to my beloved nephew I leave 1%
  7. to my beloved  . . .
  8. to my beloved …
  9. to my beloved  . . .
  10. to my beloved  . . .
  11. to my beloved niece-in-law I leave 2%
  12. To my daughter C I leave ten dollars ($10.00)

 

I didn’t want to – but I felt like I was punched in the stomach. To see my name after all those others and purposely missing the ‘beloved’ of each other line, and the small amount instead of a percentage. Wow. I didn’t think he could hurt me anymore, but this hurt. After everything I have been through, he made sure to give me one final punch and say I was not loved and all those years of pain, to him, was worth $10. And to put this in a public document that goes to all my aunts and cousins…wow.

Sooo have any of my aunts and cousins reached out to me? No. I am so sure they feel this is deserved. That I am a hateful person and caused so much pain and embarrassment when I tried to arrest AF and ruin his good name. That I am an unholy daughter that abandoned her father in his time of need. But I don’t know, and I don’t know that I should care, but I think I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t care at all.

Is this going to ruin me? NO. Was I counting on getting his money? No. Would it have been nice? well of course, but this isn’t about the money. I’d gladly give my portion to my brother’s trust – except he’ll never get it because the aunt he named as his agent/caretaker is old and sick and can barely take care of herself. He won’t give the trust over if my mom is the agent. nice strings.

I am angry. Really angry right now and I’m surprised that I am, and I’m not sure exactly which part makes me so angry, because this should not be a surprise. Was I really thinking that his dying would give him a shred of humanity inside his dark and twisted soul? Did I really think he’d want his children to benefit from his existence in any way – not in life, and not in death.

I think I’m partly angry that I am so estranged from his entire family and actually considering calling my aunts and cousins to ‘defend’ myself or explain why item #12 was written that way. Use it as proof of his seething blind hate for his own children. I’m angry that I have to deal with crap. period. I should be baking cookies and enjoying this happy time of year. Yes well I know what trouble the word should brings, but I’m entitled to few shoulds now and then. I’m not stifling this anger, that is way too dangerous. But I can feel it, sharp and hot, bubbling through my veins. I’m angry that this man was my father, and I can’t fix it, can’t change it, and to have to deal with it again and again.

I already talked to my mom and brothers over the phone. My oldest brother is beyond angry, and is taking action. I have no idea if anything will come of it, but he is doing what he needs to do. He is contesting the will and trying to prove AF was not of sound mind and see if he can get it voided or something and restore the trust AND clear our name. He already wrote to AF’s lawyer.

I think he just needs to tell our story. I’m feeling this need as well, to be heard, finally, without fear of any more damage. I don’t have to be afraid anymore. I can tell anyone the truth and he can’t hunt me down and hurt me or my children. I don’t have to be a secret anymore. This has suddenly become very important to me.

I’m planning to take the Will to christmas at my in-laws, just so they can see it in writing, and we can talk about it. I don’t feel the need to suffer alone. I just want to once and for all have a conversation, a real conversation about my shit while I am still in the room. I want to show them that I am strong and they can’t break me, so whispering and tiptoeing is not needed. We talk about everyone else’s problems – the broken car, their kids had lice, they lost their phone, he has to work too much, etc. I will no longer apologize that my problems are potentially big and uncomfortable. I refuse to be alone and I refuse to pretend I am happy when I am upset about something – and damn it, this was upsetting!

My other brother thinks we should ‘let it go’ and ‘not make waves’ and ‘whats done is done’. He has never been one to confront anyone. Mom thinks it is rotten, but has no idea what to do. Oldest brother has the money and anger to fuel this battle. And believe me, a room full of lawyers seem like pussy cats compared to battling AF himself.

So I don’t know. This has gotten interesting in a ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ kind of way.

Thanks for a good ending to my book dad. I didn’t see this coming. I’m almost impressed at just how evil you really were, and that you stayed true to your evil self on your death bed, no fake remorse or groveling. No. You chose to hurt us all one last time. I’d like to say it didn’t sting, but it did. So haha you got me one last time. I hope you were able to enjoy it from your new toasty residence and that it sent you one circle lower. I’m suddenly in the mood to re-read Dante.

But that can wait. I AM baking cookies tomorrow, we will have cookies for Santa and smiles, hugs and surprises on Christmas. And that is actually what I hope he can see, is that he can’t stop us, and that we are all loved, and we all love our own kids – that he did not break us permanently, and that we will go on, merrily, without him.

I feel very strong and alive right now, and that is a beautiful christmas gift. This anger will pass, and I will be here as me. I will remain. I am here. I am alive. I’m repeating these things because of the power it holds for me, having felt invisible, scared, powerless, and really like I didn’t even exist for so many years.

Merry Christmas. I’m here and I’m ok. And I will allow myself to feel love.

 

 

Sleepover freak out

My nerves need some recovery time. Another hurdle jumped.

My daughter had a friend sleep over our house this weekend. It is the first time someone stayed here, my daughter has been on many sleepovers at other houses.

This was not a big sleepover party, just one additional girl, and a fairly quiet girl at that. The girls are tweens and don’t need much from adults. So why did this freak me out so badly?

I was a nervous wreck all last week anticipating the event. I knew it was silly, but I also knew I can’t ignore my feelings, because they are based on something, usually a trigger of some sort. I haven’t entirely figured this one out yet. She came over last week for a few hours, so the house was fairly clean already, and Hubby was awesome helping with the chores.

But I could not shake the feeling that I DID NOT WANT HER TO STAY. It was such a strong feeling. I was not afraid, I only recognized anger. Why was I angry at this sweet girl? I wanted them to have a good time, and planned some things to do, like we were going to go out for pizza, make cookies, watch movies, play Wii. I planned to make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and got fresh strawberries to go with it. I enjoyed the thought of making them happy.

But I still felt angry.

We went out to eat, and the anger was building. I told everyone 1 topping please. I snapped at my girl when she argued and wanted 2 toppings on her pizza.  She started to complain and pout dramatically. I wanted to save the extra dollar, but would have given in easily, and then felt pressured to cave, and embarrassed by her tone. I told Hubby I didn’t really care and didn’t mean to make this a big deal but I don’t like kiddo whining – just ask for it.

Back home, asked the girls if they want to make the cookies. I take pictures of them stirring the batter together – two spoons in one bowl, very cute. I monitor them through the first batch, and my boys call me to take a turn on Wii. I ask Hubby if he will help with the second batch that needs out in a few minutes. He is watching something on the computer with his headset on, but says yes. I go to the other room with the boys and soon hear a scream and a crash. My girl burned her fingers and dropped the tray – and Hubby is unaware, still has his headset on.

I am furious. Beyond furious. He said yes, he said he would help her. I am so hurt that he would say yes and continue to watch his show. The girls are old enough to bake, but not without supervision. He could have told her she was holding the towel wrong. I feel like he could have prevented her burn. But he sure could have helped her more quickly. She didn’t know to put them in cold water and was about to try to rescue the dropped tray herself, dropped on the oven door. Luckily the burn wasn’t bad, no blisters just a bit red.

The kids eat cookies and watch a movie, and I disappear to my room to watch TV. I let Hubby be in charge of getting them settled for bed.

The next morning I am woken up at 6:30 by a boy, I tell him it is too early, go back to bed. Then again, at 7am. and again at 7:15, 7:30, 7:35, every few minutes. They want the special breakfast and I am not ready to get up yet. I usually sleep in until at least 9am, sometimes up to 11am on Saturday and make the big breakfast then. I could not get myself up. I am aware Hubby gets up and I hear him start cooking. And then kids come up again, mom, breakfast is almost ready. Mom, breakfast is ready. Mom, your coffee is ready.

I was ready to cry. Please leave me alone!! Finally Hubby comes up and says breakfast is over, do I want any? I said no, I am not hungry, but I’ll get up if he needs me. I realize the anger is back, or still there, and I am quite awake now. And feeling ashamed and humiliated that they drew so much attention to me sleeping in while the friend was here. My sleepy brain forgot we had a guest until that moment. I didn’t want her to think I sleep all day, so I got myself up and went down for coffee.

Kids were every where! How could 1 extra kiddo change everything? Someone was on my computer, someone at the TV, someone at the table. I felt attacked. My house was full of tiny intruders (all but 1 were mine, but they all felt foreign that morning for some reason) I sat on the stepstool in the kitchen to drink my coffee in the only quiet(er) spot. Hubby was busy putting food away and not sure what else and asked for the stepstool, the one I was sitting on.

Et tu, Brute? Yes, I felt betrayed. I felt like I did not fit in my own home. It was terrible. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Then Hubby announces he is going shopping. What? Panic!

I asked if he could wait until the friend went home. He said yes, but he didn’t understand why, and gave me the patronizing ‘you are such a pain and make no sense’ look.

 

So – – –  What was I afraid of? Why was it so difficult to have this girl in my home for so many hours? Why all the disproportionate anger? Why the shame?

I don’t completely understand my own reactions over those 2 days, I can only share what I felt. I did not have any flashbacks, I don’t think I had any triggering moments, nothing well-defined anyway. So why is this situation so troubling?

I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I am not a natural hostess – Martha Stewart would run away screaming from my home.

I felt like I had to be available and extra observant. I felt like I had to keep the peace, not allow squabbles to escalate to fights as they often do. I felt like I had to monitor the language more closely. I felt like it was all up to me when Hubby had the headset on.

And I felt like I wasn’t enough.

Did I really think this little girl would judge me? Or give a bad report to her mother? Or did she simply tread on my turf for too many hours and prevent my introvert escape? But the anger came before she did – days before she did. I was angry that she was coming.

Can anyone else make sense of this or put into a context I can understand? (Yes I’m seeing my therapist later this week, so no need to suggest that one 😉