Tag Archive | moving on

Complex Grief, Pre-Mourning the Loss of a Parent

My mom is now in hospice care. And the pain has hit me full force, in fact I can barely type this through the tears flooding my face. I stop and calm down but as soon as I start typing and see the words I start crying all over again.

I thought I had more time.

I’m working furiously on myself, to heal, to recover to a more stable ground. I needed space from my mom and brothers after my suicide attempts last year and they granted it to me. I have not seen or heard from my mom, no visits, calls, not even an email in so long. Because I asked her not to.

Because I thought I had more time.

I withdrew from everyone this past year, went deep into myself, into my fortress of solitude where I regroup, lick my wounds, and learn how to go on. I’m doing that now. I’m starting to open up again, bit by bit, as the world appears safe and I test the waters with each wary step.

With complex PTSD comes complex grief. Even though I more clearly understand my mom’s role in raising me in the chaotic, traumatic world, contributing to my feelings of shame and worthlessness, allowing me to be abused and feel unloved and unlovable…as I heal and go through this recovery program I’m better able to feel and identify my emotions in the moment. I don’t hate or resent my mom. I am disappointed that we were never close, never had a strong supportive relationship. I do appreciate the times she tried, and the times she apologized. I don’t think she intentionally caused me pain, I really don’t. I think she wasn’t strong enough to stand up to my abusive father, herself also being a victim. I can understand all of this. It saddens me. I feel she did her best with the tools she was given.

I forgive her completely. I truly do. I had hoped to have a limited relationship with her again at some point.

But I thought I had more time.

So now I am forced to make a choice. I don’t feel ready to visit her, not out of the blue. Plus my brother has told me she looks terrible, the cancer has really taken its toll on her. I’m not sure I can handle seeing that, my brain will fixate on that image forever.

I’m trying to get up the nerve to call her. I haven’t heard her voice in years. I got her phone number from my brother. I keep staring at my phone. All I have to do is push the button, but when I try I start shaking and crying. I don’t want to talk to her like that. I want to let her know I care, that I’m sorry this has happened, that she is suffering, that I’d never wish this on anyone let alone my mom, and that I wish we had more time.

I wish we had more time.

But here’s the thing. My brother said mom is at peace. She is relieved to have an exit plan. She has wanted out for decades. She’s been living like she was dying for as long as I can remember, so she has finally gotten her wish. Is this better than being distraught? To happily give up and have no fight in you? I don’t know. She never had any fight in her. A victim of life for life.

I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to welcome death. I want to fight. I used to fight.

I keep thinking of a song by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying” because of one line in it. I’ve been hearing this song in my head, endlessly since I got the news about hospice.

“Talkin’ ’bout the options and talkin’ ’bout sweet time.”

I’ve spent an entire year in my bed or recliner. Like I already died. Partially I was healing, but partially I had given up and was only going through the motions.

So I’ll keep trying, and eventually I know my finger will press the call button. While I keep trying, here at home I’m looking through photos of mom with my kids, going over some memories together. My daughter asked if she could have a locket to put her Grandma’s photo in, I said yes we would get her one.

And then I saw how social support networks are supposed to work – when you don’t isolate yourself. My daughter said she told her friends at school and received comfort and sympathy and many questions. This generated more discussion here at home and we hugged and cried together.

My daughter made a beautiful card for my mom, in her favorite colors, full of flowers and butterflies, and poetry. My son painted a picture. We are going to mail her a care package along with some photos of us since I don’t think we can visit.

I have this gnawing feeling of guilt like I SHOULD visit, like I HAVE to visit, but my counselors say I don’t, and that those are shame gremlins speaking. If I WANT to see her, then maybe I should try to manage it, that is if mom even wants to see me. But I don’t have to operate out of that place where I’m the good girl and satisfying urges to squash feelings of guilt and obligation.

This is so complex and each day brings up more powerful emotions for me. I wish I had more time to sort it all out. I’m doing the best I can with a difficult situation that I can’t control. And I’m doing it moment by moment. I might change my mind once these feelings settle down.

I’ve included Tim McGraw’s song here in case you don’t know the one I mentioned earlier. I’m going to listen and cry again. You’d think my well would be dry, where are these tears all coming from??

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When your abuser dies

AF died this morning. The emphysema has won, and he breathed his last breath around  2am.

I was so damned ready to have a good day today, to enjoy the MIL thanksgiving dinner. And then mom calls with the news. I am not laughing at the cosmic joke, that I prepared for an entire month to have a lower stress day, and was succeeding, until the call. Seriously. not funny.

I’m not feeling sadness or grief. I grieved for a lack of a father long ago. I have no more tears to shed for him. I thought I would feel more relief, but maybe he lost so much of his power over me that I don’t need relieved. I guess I am somewhere between dancing in the streets and singing “Ding Dong the witch is dead” and  simply feeling the loss of human life like when you read about the death of a stranger.

I am not attending the funeral services. My oldest brother thinks this is wrong. Oldest brother will be reading a passage at the mass, and is taking on many of the ‘obligations’. I would have been fine to let the state take care of him if his siblings weren’t up to it. The thought of people gathering to honor the life of this man is not a happy thought. He feels bad that so far they do not have enough pall bearers. This man has no friends or family willing to attend, let alone play an active role in the ceremony. He died alone.

I have already stated my side of things to anyone who might attend. If they wish to honor him I will not prevent this. I need no closure, I am done.

My mom and brother with schizophrenia will not be attending. My middle brother is going out of guilt after speaking to oldest brother, but he intends to sneak in to the back quietly and get out quickly. I don’t think I could do it quietly. Listening to kind words and praise would send me over the edge.

So I started listing out the gifts given to me by my father. 16 years or torment to myself my siblings, my mom, and my pets. Nightmares and a basic fear of sleeping from this nearly nightly abuse. Social anxiety. poor body image. anorexia/binge eating. perfectionism. self loathing. life long pain and suffering. Basically he removed everything natural to a human and made it a daily struggle for me to do what others do naturally – eat, sleep, breathe, smile, laugh, cry, love and be loved.

My mom says she has mixed feelings only because he gave her us kids. Do I need to be grateful to him for my actual existence? I don’t feel it. I can’t. I still struggle some days with wanting to be alive at all, so the thought of never being born has often been a comforting one.

I am doing what is right for me. I don’t think this is avoidance or hiding. I have nothing to prove, and nothing to say.

Oldest brother is also afraid of ‘what would people think?’ if none of his children show up? He thinks it will make us look like A-holes instead of the creep in the casket. I don’t care what anyone thinks. They chose not to believe the truth over 20 years ago, I’m done speaking up. If they want to think we are all ungrateful children – so be it.

I wish I could I have one less problem without him – but the truth is – the effects of what he did to me will always be an integral part of my life.

Oldest brother said he spoke to AF last week, and was told he has about 3 weeks to live. Brother asked AF “are you at peace?” he said yes. Brother asked AF again, seeking some sign of remorse, “but are you at peace with your maker?” and he said ‘oh yes, definitely’. This man, alone and dying, still thinks he lived a righteous life and will be welcomed into heaven. I don’t personally believe in heaven, as much I may try, but I can’t imagine there is a place there for such a cruel man.

I am not pleased by his suffering, or him dying alone. That part saddens me. I am curious if anyone will shed a tear at his funeral, but not curious enough to attend.

This post was supposed to be about my progress, how I joined in socially and had a nice thanksgiving. Maybe next year. Instead I felt I had to tell everyone who I was talking to so seriously and why I abruptly left the room. I tried to get SIL alone to talk, she was busy with her kids. 1st SIL appeared with BIL, my niece, my other SIL all in coats, and asked if I was talking to someone from work. I said no and told them my news. They got all weird and said they were going out black friday shopping, did I want to come? Ummm no. I tried to get hubby alone to talk, and seriously right then my other SIL drove her car into a ditch and got stuck and everyone had to run outside to help and tow it out with the big farm truck. I tried to talk to MIL when she was sitting alone and she got right up to check on SIL. I gave up. I know no one wants to talk about this crap, I don’t even want to talk about this crap, but I have NO F-ING CHOICE!

Apparently when I left the room they all started talking about how wrong it was that I did not plan to attend the services. But no one talked to me directly. Yuck. Blah. I’m out of words. I felt so alone in my world of pain and burden once again. I guarantee I still being talked about and I wanted was a human ear and for life to stop just a moment for me – but it never does. my problems are just that – my problems.

Hubby listened once we got back home and I was able to talk some of it through. But then I knew I needed to blog, to write and write to capture this day and sort it out. I’m trying to do this, and I see he has fallen asleep. I need to get the kids in bed. I can’t even say how much I was counting on him to handle that tonight. I’ll be shocked if I sleep at all.

I think I’ll tuck in kiddos and call middle brother, just to hear his voice and see if he’s ok.

oh and some amazing power of the universe thing, today was AF’s birthday. It somehow pleases me that he died on his birthday, almost like it erased his life entirely. Seems fitting.

 

 

Nothing is right, fog, dropping balls, melatonin, letting go

NOTHING IS RIGHT

“Nothing is going right for you today, woah”

That’s what Hubby said during breakfast this morning, after my 100th edgy, irritable, or critical commentary about this or that.

I said “yes, now you get it. It’s been like this all week and it is terrible in here”

I’ve been edgy, irritable and generally not content with anything this week. I hear myself voicing complaint after complaint and yet bite my tongue for most of them, only 1/1000 make it to my lips. The pace my brain hurls problems at me is mind boggling. I dodge, parry, evade, duck, squash, divert, redirect, ignore, and then I can’t, and it slips out.

“This coffee is not as good as I hoped.”

“This show isn’t as funny tonight”

“this room smells funny”

“My chair is hurting my back”

“This isn’t the right kind of candy you bought”

“You shouldn’t spend so much money on . . .”

“People at work have no clue”

“The dishwasher isn’t cleaning well enough, I should just hand wash”

“I can’t remember what I need to do”

“No way I can complete these jobs on time this week”

“These pretzels have too many calories, I thought pretzels were safe”

“The dog smells really bad, when was his last bath”

“The tub won’t drain”

“That song is terribly whiny, how can you stand it”

“stop touching me, no I don’t want another hug”

“The kids aren’t doing any chores”

I keep trying to remind hubby that when he hears the negativity spill outward, it means I can no longer contain it, and the storm is full force.

Luckily the storms have been intermittent, but fairly wild this week.

 

FOG and DROPPING BALLS

I took Monday off work to recover from the weekend visit of the ‘triggerers’ (Thanks Jim for that word :)), but I really thought jumping back in to my routine would be better than licking my wounds too long.

I didn’t actually decide to take Monday off, It took itself off, since I was unable to focus and think. I got the kids to school and went right back to bed. I checked in around noon, but the fog and noise in my head preventing any actual work to come through. So grateful for my flex schedule.

But then Tuesday started with meetings that needed more meetings, that required more meetings and so many to-do’s that I was losing track from call to call. I started a new system in my notebook, write down everything, but highlight action items to find quickly through my notes later after 4 more back-to-back meetings made me forget the topic of the 1st.

I have dropped more balls this week than ever. Partly due to my foggy brain, but I think, mostly due to so many balls being thrown at me. Like the batting cage machine has been switched to pro. Someone put it back on novice! please!

Big changes at work, and insane deadlines, and everyone is crabby and lost. I don’t think I’m just projecting that. And I’m starting to think I’m not the only bigwig at work with underlying mental health issues – but I do think I may be the only one actively trying to work through them. (zing!)

 

MELATONIN

I decided to try something new this week, which I did by accident.

That night I went out for a sugar run, I was also having one of my typical irritated bladder days and added more cranberry pills to the list. The cranberry pills take away the urgent feeling I get pre-infection and prevent the infection from starting I swear by it. Anyways I head over to the vitamin section and see my cranberry pills are BOGO today! Score! and right next to them , also BOGO, is melatonin.

I’ve read all the pros and cons of melatonin supplements. I had decided not to try them years back when still on SSRIs, not wanting to confuse the whole serotonin/melatonin system. But I’ve been med-free for many years now and simply forgot about it. I thought why not? I’ve never tried it, and it helped me sleep maybe I could get out this funk and crabby mood that is irritating to me and everyone subjected to me.

I took the first pill, which is a dual formula of instant release and extended release, 5mg, in same pill, and shortly I felt something so wonderful I can’t barely explain. I felt my brain calm down. (placebo? perhaps some, but I’ll take relief in any form) It was not like a sleeping pill or like the haze of cold medicine. It was a distinct – slowing down. The pace of the thoughts in my head slowed and slowed until I could hear no thoughts at all. I felt the tension melt away. For a moment, I felt content. And then I lay down, fell asleep, and what? Next thing I knew it was morning.

It scared me at first. My nights are usually VERY long. I struggle to fall asleep. I struggle to stay asleep. I have wild dreams that I remember disturbingly each night, often many a night. I was so confused. I heard birds singing, and saw the sun peeking up outside. I had no recollection of the night or any dreams.

Next night I took a melatonin pill the same time of evening, around 10 pm. This time I didn’t feel the calm set in, but I wasn’t so agitated to start with. I feared placebo. I geared up for a restless night. And instead fell right asleep again and awoke in the morning again. Really this is freaky. Do most people have the night time disappear? Like it doesn’t happen? I have only had that experience before with surgery, where the time leaves my brain. It is really odd. But I woke up, and completely woke up. No fog. still some negativity – because even placebo isn’t that strong – but I felt something new. Rested? Refreshed? It was so puzzling. So I got up early and just started working, because my brain wanted to work and my body wanted to move. And it wasn’t the caffeine forced type of movement – it was like the music has a good beat so you find yourself moving without thinking. I was doing and not thinking, and it was freaking morning!! I wasn’t forcing my sorry butt to move and rub 2 brain cells together to spark 1 measly thought as morning usually are.

And so her I am, night 6 and I am so looking forward to my melatonin and to my morning. I got up today, whole fam went out to IHOP, ran some errands, then spent 4 hours organizing my basement. My freaking basement! We have been unable to walk into most portions of our basement for a decade now. It was an OCD nightmare and a hoarders dream. boxes, bags, bins, toys, holiday decorations, outgrown clothes, old curtains, old blankets, old photos, books – so many boxes of old books, art supplies, college textbooks, college reports, filing boxes, Rubbermaid bins,  . . . you know the stuff you accumulate after 15 years in a house without even knowing it. Kids helped me sort old toys – we filled 3 giant storage bins and 3 garbage bags worth of toys to donate to goodwill. We bagged 6 bags of trash. We tossed out old lamps and rusty fixtures that we once thought worth repairing but that now looked sad and worthless. We swept, we lysoled, we pried open the stuck window to literally breathe new life into that room. We purchased 2 shelving units and pushed shoved and labored until I can say that we can walk through that room, and I now know what is down there. It certainly isn’t done, as far as organizing goes. But today was amazing. I found an old table I forgot we had (not an end table mind you, a full size dining sized table that would seat 6) buried in the junk. I found a closet with old shelves waiting for some paint to be useful.

 

LETTING GO

I threw out items from my childhood that I had only held onto out of guilt. Hubby held open the trash bag and encouraged me to toss them. One item, was an enormous handmade latch hook rug. the kind that comes in a kit with the squareholed fabric and the tiny yarns. Usually people do small ones and turn them into pillows. this was a 3x4ft long jobby that represented HUNDREDS of hours of mind numbing yarn latching. Why did I spend so many hours on this project you ask? I didn’t.

Back story. I loved painting tigers in high school. I doodled them everywhere, fascinated by the strength and beauty and intricate patterns. And the eyes, the glowing powerful eyes. So my Mom (you guessed she was involved in this, right?) bought me this latch hook kit as a gift my senior year in high school. I had just moved in to her apartment and away from AF and we were trying to play house. This rug kit was a jungle scene – zebra, elephant, giraffe, and even though it was in my hands todays, I can’t actually recall if it had a tiger or not. But I know it had animals that would only live together at a zoo, not together in a jungle, and it bothered me. So trying to be the good girl and show my gratitude for such a thoughtful gift, see she knew I loved jungles! So I started working on it, and when I saw that 2 hours filled in 2 zebra stripes of this massive project, I set it aside and forgot about it. I mean I was 17, had 2 jobs, a boyfriend, volunteered at the hospital, had perfect grades from community college courses, and more. I was trying to heal from the past 16 years and get myself a scholarship. Crafting was not remotely on my list.

I barely spoke to my mom that year, barely went ‘home’ as it never felt like home. And so by the end of that year, my mom was able to surprise me with what she thought was a perfect going away gift for college. She had completed the latch hook rug herself so I could display it in my college dorm. I was certainly surprised. What? She worked on that project? It must have taken forever. I remember feeling sad for her wasting all that time, so many better things to do, really. And so sad, because even the most beautiful latch hook rug is still a FREAKING LATCH HOOK RUG! It was ugly, blotchy, childish. It had nothing about those beautiful creatures that I adore. I was not interested in it. And now I had to love it. Her fingers hurt from the effort. She had done this for me. See how much she loved me? All those months when I was dying inside and wishing death would find me – all those months of working so hard to fix my life and get back on track – all those months with no guidance from her – all those months starving myself and working so hard to be perfect – she was making me this rug.

And so it became a THING that she would make sure the rug was on display, and remind me how many hours she worked on that out of pure love for me, and how her fingers bled and blistered and ached just to make me happy. Everytime I saw it I felt guilty for hating it and forced to say how much I loved it. And so for many years it was hung on my wall. The last 5-8 years it has been buried in the junk in that basement. And today? It is in a garbage bag on my curb.

And I feel some relief, but I have to admit, part of me wants to go out there and rescue it right now, wondering if I made a mistake. I feel guilty. Still. Stupid rug. Good riddance. Just wish it felt better. And since it doesn’t, must mean there is more work for me to do there. My entire childhood my AF said my mom hated me and I believed it. I was angry at her for making it back then. I felt violated and put upon. I didn’t ask her to make it. I had no choice. And now I wonder if this desperate gesture really was her attempt to win me over and show she cared? or an attempt to manipulate? Something to keep her busy while she had no clue how to reach her hurting daughter? I still don’t know about her. so much pain and mistrust. so much to let go.

One more triggering item out of sight, just not sure how long until it is out of mind.

(I didn’t even tell you about her emails all week after her visit, maybe next time. Classic and predictable, and yet so were my gut reactions. I want my therapist so badly, and I’m not pleased to have see someone knew. I scheduled the appt and will try to give it a chance but I am so doubtful someone knew can be helpful and I don’t feel like training her on what I need.  I almost want to prepare cliff notes to get her caught up. ha, that might actually be a useful exercise .. .)

 

 

 

Holiday Greetings from a Psychopath

 

I have to share the email my abusive father has sent to all of his children. I guess I choose door #2. I am happy he is leaving my brother’s home. I am happy he is leaving the state. I am happy he is going to a senior living community. I am not happy he is going to be alone, but I don’t feel any guilt, as he has done this to himself. We have all given him so many chances to be a part of our lives, and all he has done is hurt us repeatedly. He is done pretending to be charming and shows his true ugly colors now. So this is one more attempt to hurt us and make us feel guilty, and if you’re fluent in psychopath like I am, you will also recognize the attempt to tear us siblings apart again by implying that one or more of us may choose #3. He doesn’t understand that these attempts are futile, and that what worked in the past, on his young children, no longer works on his adult children. We all see him for what he is. We all tried to help him and move past our history. We all see he is incapable of human emotion, feels no remorse, is incapable of change, and is a truly hurtful person. I believe very few of these people actually exist in the world. His brain is not wired to his heart. He is incurably cold. And unlike the Grinch, seeing us all happy and singing does not make his heart grow, it makes him angrier. He used to feed on our pain and sadness – he was happiest when we were all suffering.

Here’s his message to his own children, that I found in my inbox last night cc’d to all my siblings:

Just a quick word to friends, family, and local email folks:

I bought a place to live in central Pennsylvania and will be moving there tomorrow if the weather holds.

 I suppose this is addressed to three categories of persons.

 1.      Those who could care less, and if it is you quit reading now because it just doesn’t matter.

2.      Those who are glad to see me go, and if it is you, then you just got an early Christmas gift. Hooray for you.

3.      Those who will miss me and prefer I stay, and if it is you, I already know it and will see you in the future. 

Here’s hoping celebrating the birth of Christ brings you peace and Joy…

 

I am sorry for any who may cross his path in central PA, but otherwise I do feel peace and joy as I celebrate Christmas with my beautiful family, that I make sure knows every day that I love them. Even though I have a hole in my heart where parental love and support should be – I have found it in myself to give exactly that to my own children. Their biggest concern today is which flavor of candy cane to eat first, and if the gingerbread cookie they decorate should have a bowtie, buttons, or a hat. They hugged Santa yesterday and believe in the magic of Christmas, even though the oldest knows Santa himself isn’t real, she still had to hug him. Because they also believe in themselves – because they were never told not to.

I kiss them each night and watch them fall quickly asleep, safe and secure. They do not know the fear and pain of neglect and abuse. I pray they never will.

I am hopeful that this will be the last attack from my abusive father, but I am doubtful he will let us all go. It is in his blood to torment us. But these words are just words, and no longer hold power over me. They make me sad, of course, give me that empty feeling of longing, that fleeting wish that things could be different. But it is fleeting, and only exist at all because I am not a psychopath, and not completely immune to the feelings of others. His power is gone, because I am starting to believe in myself, and when I don’t, when I falter, I have so many others right there that do believe me in me now, from my blogger friends to those in my real life.

I am loved, and feel truly blessed.

Where were you, mom?

A lot on my mind. As usual. A lot of back-story needed to explain this one.

My daughter’s party is over, and it went well, and the universe didn’t implode because I invited people into my house. I have to joke about it, but I want to make sure it is clear how big of a deal this was for me. When I first had my baby girl 10 years ago, I initiated play dates and invited other moms to my house. I can’t recall when or how it happened that I withdrew from everyone and made my home a sacred refuge, inpenetrable by the outside world. I just know that it happened.

It was such an unhealthy setup for me. For the first time ever, I had no need to deal with other people and so I often didn’t. I worked from home with a nursing or squirmy baby on my lap. I had no car. I loaded up babies in my stroller or sling and walked to the grocery store or the park – both just a few blocks away in my small town. I didn’t talk to anyone. Hubby worked crazy long hours to try and get enough overtime to support us. I barely saw him, and when I did, he was very tired. My babies were my only friends, well, other than WebMD and Dr.Sears and every other parenting advice I could find to make sure I wouldn’t mess up and kill my babies with something stupid.

I even took a break from therapy those many years while my kids were young. I was truly isolated. And at some point, I also don’t know how this happened, I let my Mother in. I mean she wormed her way into every thought of mine. She fed my insecurities and encouraged my negativity. Depression was all that I knew. Every cell in my body was sad and lonely and hopeless for it to ever be different. I lived to make my children happy, knowing I could never have it for myself.

Then my daughter turned 4, and I had my first flashback. I saw her, but I remembered me as a 4 year old, being tormented by my abusive father. Strangely, I remembered feeling pretty much the same way at age 4 as I did then – isolated, lonely, scared, and sad. I remember always feeling sad.

Not right away, but sometime in that year I returned to my therapist, and we started the long journey of healing from childhood sexual abuse and psychological trauma that was my past. With her help, I was able to eventually face each demon, name it, and remove it. She encouraged me to get out into the world and find joy for myself. She encouraged me to open up to Hubby and create a stronger relationship. She encouraged me to create healthy boundaries and get some distance from my mother.

None of this has been easy. Most of this has been heartbreakingly difficult. I have had to hurt people with my truth.

I am still confused about my mother, and what role she should have in my life. I know now that she will never truly be a mom to me, and I hate the part of me that still longs for supportive parents that actually want what is best for me.  I fear that is a hole that will never be filled, and will always hurt a bit.

After the wedding last month, my mom apologized to me for being a terrible mother. Her apology was in an email, but I know it was still difficult for her to write. I thought maybe, just maybe she could move on and start being real. I don’t why I thought that, and now I am almost embarrassed to have been hopeful again.

I finally found out what had been going on with my mom and brothers the weeks following the wedding. My mom lost it. she had a breakdown of sorts, as reality crashed in and she tried to take on the guilt and pain of allowing her children to be abused by our psychopathic father. She started cussing uncontrollably at my brother that lives with her. She started throwing away her possessions, one after the other, everything taken up to the curb. She said she needed a fresh start and wanted to remove anything in her house that reminded her of my abusive father, her ex-husband.

So it started with the dining room table. When I was about 8 years old, my mom started working at a fast food place to earn her own money. She saved her first few paychecks and purchased a nice table for 6 for our dining room to replace the table for 4 with the duct taped metal leg and the book under it to keep it from tipping over. I recall my father’s anger when he found out she had been shopping for a table without him. He went to the store and cancelled her order, saying that she had chosen the wrong one. He changed her nice hardwood table into a new formica topped one, he said this would be more durable. She had wanted a light pine tone, and he chose a dark, dark brown. She wanted slender, armless chairs to fit in to our tiny room, and he insisted on captain’s chairs for each end. But my mom was still to use her money for it, since she was the one that thought we needed it, but she was not allowed to get what she wanted. Years of bowing down to him made this no different – he was in charge, bad things happened when we disobeyed.

In the divorce, my mom fought for that table, feeling like she had won a trophy when it was given to her. But now, 25 years later, she no longer wants this memory and asked my brother to take the table to the curb.

Next was her living room. She had my father’s old recliner in there, something he had no room for when he moved into my brother’s house. That went out to the curb along with her vacuum (also used to be my father’s) and all of the video tapes in the cupboard that she no longer has  a VCR to watch them.

Next was her bedroom. Her comforter set was from a friend, given to her after the divorce, so that went out to the curb.

Next she threw away items that proved she had not been taking care of herself – so every towel with a worn spot, every sheet that lost its elasticity, and every garment with a hole or stain was tossed out.

She said she felt great to sit in the emptiness and purge the bad memories so she could start over. (I was listening to all of this on the phone. I had called her to let her know I had finished painting my mural and somehow I wanted to share my joy with her. One day I will learn this is not possible.) She also said people driving by were stopping and taking her items, and that made her feel good to be helping others who needed the things.

So what happens next? I bet some of you can guess, some of you know how dysfunctional families work. Who has always been the hero for my mother? Yup – my brothers. So for the next week I got emails and phone calls about everything my brothers were buying for her. They bought her a cherry dining room table with the chairs she always wanted. They bought her a new recliner, a new vacuum, new sheets – new everything. They swooped in and saved the day. No one was phased by her selfish temper tantrum. Not at all. This was normal to them, they all did what they always do, because it feels safe that way.

But wait – I’m not done yet. Here’s the real clincher, the whole point of my story today. In that phone call, my mother blamed me for her troubles with my father, and that it was my fault she had to associate with him and have all of his stuff in her house. I don’t remember verbatim, but I’ll try to quote her here.

“I’m done pretending to get along with that man. I don’t want to ever see or think about him again. Even if it is what my children want. For years I smiled and put up with him because it was what you wanted, because you insisted he should still be a part of our life. Well, no more. I’m done”

So if this isn’t clear, she is obviously referring to a 16 year old me. When I was finally brave enough to tell her what he was doing to me, and asked her for help. I wanted to be safe, but I could not bear the thought of ripping my family apart. And my father still had control over me. I was terrified of him and did what he asked. Oh yeah – and I was a kid. Don’t forget that part mom. It was supposed to be your job to take care of me, to lead the family, to show us what to do. So yes, I am fully aware that while I was living in denial of the horrors of my first 16 years of life, you added the burden of saving the family on me too. So kudos to you for blaming the 16 year old me for ruining your life. Mighty fine of you. And sadly not that shocking that you could create an entirely new delusional world to fit your needs and have you blameless and saint-like. Again. All is right in your world again. You cry and your sons buy you stuff.

I explained all of this to my therapist last week, and her jaw dropped. When she recovered, she asked me to say what I want to say to my mother to her. I thought for a bit, and I thought I would have so much. I thought I would have tears, but I only have anger, a sense of injustice. All it comes down to, then and now is a simple –

Where were you?

Where were you when I needed you? Where were you all those years? Where were you when we needed a mom? And now, still now, you choose to hide in your delusional world, and force those around you to see you as the victim and use their love to get what you want, feed your need. I’m sorry, but I won’t play along. I will never board your pity train. I wish you well – but from a distance. So many years I looked to you and my big brothers for clues on how to behave, how to survive. I find it amazing that you say you were all looking to me, and that I steered you wrong. That now, after all these years, it is still my fault in your eyes. But I know better now and won’t be falling into that trap again. Ever.

So I am moving on here too. I have been able to pull myself up from the abysmal pit of despair – without the support of my parents. I have been able to overcome fears and phobias instilled by my parents. I have been able to feel love and share love – despite my parents.  As much as I may long for a supportive hug from parents like I see on TV, I know that is not mine to have. I also know that I am strong enough to succeed without it.

It really isn’t about them any more. This is my story now. They may have written the first book for me, but now that I have the pencil, I’m erasing the twisted side-plots before they take over. The first book was about pain, isolation, sadness, abuse, depression and despair. This book I’m writing is about family, friends, hope, goals, hard work, progress, and growth. This book is about life, and all of its beautiful imperfections. Mostly though – it is about love – true, unconditional, spirit soaring love. And everyone knows that the powerful, cold hearted characters never win in a love story. Nope, the pure of heart underdogs are the winners, every time.

English: Halo

The saintly glow surrounding my mother’s delusional perfect world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quitting is Not Always Giving Up

I’m ready to quit my job. It has served me well for 10 years, and it makes me sad to write this, but I want out.

I’ve been lazily (using LinkedIn and other passive methods) looking for other jobs for over a year now, since the Sharky CEO took over and restructured the company by immediately firing over 800 people. I hung on, waited for the dust to settle, tried to keep things going, and mostly it was OK.

Then last month they forced my immediate supervisor to resign. She couldn’t handle the stress any more, the quick turn arounds, the late nights, the lack of resources, the lack of appreciation. I was the next in line in management, so everyone has naturally looked to me in her absence, asking me to do things never before considered my duty, and I don’t want to do it any more.

I’m struggling with this decision, making sure I making it with the right reasons, being mature and responsible and not reacting only emotionally.  I am resisting the urge to just quit in the middle of a huge project and screw them. So far. But my limit has been reached and I’m afraid that is going to happen. I’m afraid I may have to find a job that requires me to leave my house every day, anything similar to mine is not calling me for interviews. I may have to put on my big girl pants and a smile and go outside!!

So I expanded my job hunt and have sent in many applications. I looked past the redundancy of filling in forms and giving them the same info on my resume, although that drives me bonkers. I’m jumping through hoops, even sending in college transcripts for some openings. (Seriously – why do they need that?) I have an online form from my university, but because I completed my degree so long ago, apparently before dinosaurs, my docs are not on file and can not be given to me electronically, so I must wait for them to print and mail them to me. And then I will need to scan them so I can upload the image file to an online application database at this other University. Ridiculous, but I will do it.

Most of the jobs I actually want, now require a Master’s Degree. I was about 4 courses away from completing my Master’s when THE BIG BREAK happened 10 years ago. When my bubble of denial popped and I could no longer function in any way. When I lost my job, and nearly lost my life at my own hands. So yeah, I didn’t complete that degree. I looked into completing it now, and silly me, those courses have expiration dates. You must complete a degree within 5 years at the University I attended, so all that work I started and already paid for counts for nothing towards a degree now. And seeing as I am still paying a huge monthly bill for the student loan that got me that far, starting over doesn’t seem possible. I have looked into financial aid, and we make too much money to get assistance. I have looked into grants, and I don’t seem to fit those either.

Anyways, I have decided I want to quit. But I’m not leaving until I have something else lined up unless they fire me too, which is entirely possible. But I don’t think this is giving up, as I gave them a year of chaos to improve. And instead it has gotten so much worse.

We have no clear leadership right now. No one is making decisions upfront, so many things are being done, and redone, and redone. Some things are being done by multiple people, changed halfway through, and no one tells the first person. We all work remotely from home in different states, so unless someone emails, I have no idea what  they are doing.

My part time job is taking over my life. So many things have now become mandatory that I can’t possibly do them all within my part time, under 30 hours. My schedule has always been flexible, but now we seem to be on call around the clock. I need to be available all day for the 9-5 office people, and then I have to stay up all night to finish tasks the 9-5 ers can’t work on after hours. I did 26 hours in 2 days this week, and did nothing else but work. Well, I mean I still got kids up and off to school, helped with homework and chores after school, but I relied on Hubby to supply dinner and get kids in bed. I rearranged my schedule both evenings and worked in stead of going to rehearsals. Oh, and I cursed. And I cried.

I hate my job now. I hate what they demand of me, I hate the pressure, I hate the long hours, I hate the lack of respect, I hate the inaccurate reporting they make me do just to have good looking graphs. I’m done.

So I applied to 6 positions today, all different paths, all with different lifestyle changes and its own set of pros and cons. I don’t know what will happen, but I know I can handle whatever does. And so I will keep knocking on doors – one has to open eventually. I mean I know I’m super awesome, so I just need them to open the door a little and take a peek, right?

Press to open door

Press to open door (Photo credit: Anthony Albright)

The House of my Dreams Was NOT My Dream House

historic houses

historic houses (Photo credit: Akhenaton06)

Sleeping has always meant dreaming for me. I can’t recall any night without dreaming, vivid, powerful dreams. Or terrifying nightmares.

Does dreaming make me more creative? Or does being more creative make me prone to wild dreams? Not sure, but there is some research being done here. (Why do I call myself creative? I write stories, blogs, poetry, I paint, draw, woodburn, I dance, I play instruments, I have a constant flow of annoying thoughts and daydreams that never ever stop)

http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20030627/creative-people-remember-more-dreams

Excerpt: 

When researchers looked at personality traits that contributed to dream recall, they found people who were prone to absorption, imaginativeness, daydreaming, and fantasizing were most likely to remember their dreams.

 “There is a fundamental continuity between how people experience the world during the day and at night,” says researcher David Watson, a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, in a news release. “People who are prone to daydreaming and fantasy have less of a barrier between states of sleep and wakefulness and seem to more easily pass between them.”

 

What do these dreams mean? Or why do I have them? And what does it mean that I no longer have the same recurrent dreams? Is it a sign of mental healing?

For years, so many years, I have had the same terrifying dream of being trapped in a huge house with an unseen scary presence. Floors would drop out unexpectedly, stairs would turn into slides, and all the doors are locked. I roam the hallways, trying every door to find safety or escape. Around every corner, is a new hallway, a new gruesome sight in an endless and expanding floorplan. If I pass a mirror, I am not alive in the mirror, but some twisted and disgusting creature full of holes. I hear evil laughter and usually wake up screaming.

I have not had this dream in the past few months. I have instead been dreaming of lovely houses, and exploring endless and expanding floor plans, but nothing is scary. The doors are all unlocked. I see my actual self in the mirrors. I am not alone – My family is with me, and often my children lead the way and call for me excitedly “Mom, you have to see THIS room” and I follow their happy voices and find yet another amazing, beautiful room full of solid, stately architecture. A mix of Victorian, Craftsman, some Celtic knots and even some LOTR Elvish beauty along with  Modern styles. Yes, I have complex tastes, apparently. Every room is rich in detail, from hand carved woodwork, to molded plasterwork, hand made Tiffany style stained glass windows and light fixtures, and hand chiseled stone fireplaces. Everything is beautiful. And then Hubby says we might be able to afford it. Do I like it? And I am full of hope.

I think my brain is actually changing. I think I am no longer stuck in my mental prison. I think I have more hope than fears. Wow.

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More info about house dreams. I don’t believe in all dream interpretation, or follow it as totally accurate, but I do think there is something to it here.

 

http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/the-house-in-your-dream/

The House In Your Dream

When you dream of a house, you are meeting a hugely important and many sided representation of yourself. It is both many faceted and multidimensional.

If this is an old house and you gain entrance to new areas, you need to ask yourself what influences from the past – perhaps the long past – are emerging in you at the moment.

Is the house well built or weak in some areas. If weak what areas and what can you gather from that? If it is well built, does it reflect any particular skills or strengths you have and does your personality and inner life reflect those skills or lack of them?

Any weakness in the house may represent difficulties you are facing – and of course strengths are signs of your ability to cope with life. Does this link in any way with either your health, or the condition of your inner or outer life? What is it saying about you?

In the dream how are you relating to the house? Are you arriving, leaving, repairing it, pulling it down, exploring it? Whatever you are doing, or in whatever way you are relating to the house, what does that suggest about what you are doing to your body, your personality, or your way of life? For instance if leaving, are you leaving a way of life behind? If renovating, what attitudes or part of you are you changing?