Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Does He Have To Do?

I was speaking to a friend last night who was sharing the story of a woman in a similar position as myself, single mom with an uninvolved dad.  My friend was telling of how the mom will jump at the dad's call and turn herself inside out trying to get him involved in the child's life when in fact the father offered to pay her $50 extra a month if she would stop asking him to visit the baby. 

My friend said to me "What else does he have to do to show her that he is not interested in being part of this child's life?"

And I thought to myself.....well, dammit if that is not a question for me as well. 

Since I last wrote, there has been virtually no correspondence between B's father and me.  After he asked about my address at Thanksgiving, he was totally silent.  I texted him a photo on Christmas.  I know.....I could have and probably should have just left it alone.  But I felt like he was putting her out of his mind and I didn't want him to get through Christmas without a reminder that there is one he turned his back on.  As my friend so rightfully pointed out, this likely didn't have the desired effect.  If he can come this far without getting involved in her life, he's more likely to see that beautiful smiling face and believe that all is well with her, that there is no need for him to disrupt anything for anyone.  He texted me on New Years, just wishing a happy. 

My original plan was to give him through January to make some sort of move to see her.  I have to be honest with myself.....I have given this man every opportunity.  I all but delivered her to his doorstep and he backed out.  He never brought it up again.  He doesn't want to see her.  He doesn't care about being involved.  How many ways does he need to tell me this?  His words said differently but I know better than to listen to words.  His actions are doing all the talking. 

This is not the outcome I hoped for. But I can put this to rest and feel good in that I accomplished what I set out to do.  My only true goal was to open that door.  I was the one who shut it 2 years ago and that was not something I wanted on my conscience.  It was not something I was prepared to have to explain to my daughter.  I opened the door.  I was sincere and honest.  I can look B in the face and say "Baby, I tried.  I did everything in my power to make it happen."  But I can't control his actions, that is on him.  Someday he will have to answer to her.  We both will.  But I will be able to say I did the right thing.  I will be able to show her, through my blog and journal, that I acted in her best interest. 

At the end of the day, if he is able to walk away from her, if he is more interested in getting back into my bed than establishing a relationship with his child, then maybe HE is not in her best interest.  It's easy for me to see and say that but I know, from experience, she will want the opposite of what she has.  I had a crappy abusive dad and I say I would have been better off without him.  But if I didn't have him, I would have longed for a father.  So I know this is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing.  All I can do is follow through on what I think is right and know that in one way or another, I may be picking up the pieces of his damage for years to come.  In the meantime, I've gotten her into therapy and I hope that it will teach her valuable tools for navigating this situation and others in her life. 

Onward and Upward.  Happy 2014.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Not Having It.

I feel like a weight has been lifted with regard to B's father.  You may recall the last update I gave about him Post Here.  I had to do some serious thinking after this one.  I know that he hasn't earned the right to be updated about her struggles but I am glad that I told him.  Because, until then, I kept my updates light and happy.  He was operating under the impression that she is breezing along, doing fantastic.  He has said to me on more than one occasion that he is glad she is with me because he knows she is in good hands.  Yes, she is.  But I don't want to feed into his delusion that, just because she is in good hands, she doesn't have her issues.  Some of which are directly attributable to his absence.  I needed to give him a little dose of reality.  I ended that conversation challenging him about when he might try to reschedule the meeting we had planned in October.  He didn't respond.  I didn't hear from him for a week and then it was just a general "been thinking about you guys and wanted to see how you were doing."  No mention of the conversation we'd had.  I answered that we were "hanging in there."  I am done giving him super happy updates.  I am also done sending him pictures of her.  That time is past.  It was fine at first when he was catching up but now.....he should be here.  He should not be given a free pass window into her life.  He's either in or he's out.  And at this point, I don't really care which way it goes.  I was so vested in it before that I felt like I had to present a happy front in order to get him here.  No more.  The sad thing is that I know, 100% without a doubt, if I offered myself as part of the deal, he would find a way to get here immediately.  That sickens me. 

In any case, I gave him the "hanging in there" answer and he did not reply.  Ten days later (ie: last Weds, day before TGiving) I get a text from him.  Ya know, just a few short weeks ago, I was lamenting the regrettable fact that I "crave him" and contact with him.  But on Weds, I saw his name come up as an incoming text and I walked away from the phone.  I absolutely did not want to read it.  So I continued doing what I was doing until hours later when I felt ready.  I gave a bit of consideration to what the message might say and how I would respond.  I was calm and prepared until I saw a message that simply said "hey what's your address?" I feel like I agonize over every exchange with him and he just blurts out the most ridiculous garbage.  WHAT is the point of that question??  What is he trying to pull??  I have no intention of handing him my address (let me point out that he is stupid bc my address is on every piece of court correspondence that pertains to our case) and so I wanted to figure out how to tactfully say no way!  So first I made a joke out of it.  I asked him if I won the publishers clearinghouse or if he was setting me up with a coffee delivery service.  And then he replied "Maybe.  Or maybe I have been known to just pop up....or I wanna look in your window"

What. The. Hell????????????

I had to sit on that one for a minute.  And then just said "Tell me why you're asking" 
He replied "Holiday cards.  If that's okay"

And again, I repeat.....WTH?????  Really?????  I don't believe for one second that is why he is asking.  I think he is trying to fuck with me.  His son goes to college near where I live.  I feel like he was toying with trying to put that idea into my maybe he'd stop by on his way to pick up his son for TGiving.  I am not having it for one single second.  Yet again, I feel like I have to give enormous thought to how I say things with him.  I want to be clear that our little game is over but that the door to B is still open IF he does the work to walk through it.  So I said "That's thoughtful but I think best saved until you and B have spent time together"  No reply from him.

Before this exchange with him, I had a fantastic conversation with J, my male BFF.  I told him where I'm at with A (B's father).  I asked him his thoughts on just telling A I am done with all this nonsense.  Wise J said he agreed with that but would suggest I hang in there for another 6 weeks or so......allow the holidays to pass.  He reminded me that the holidays can arouse strong feelings about family and the new year can certainly be a time to take stock and think about changes you want to make in your life.  So, I took his suggestion and will just bide my time til about mid-January.  If nothing has happened by then (which I extect it will not), I will deliver the message that this chapter is done.  That the door to B is open but I will not be providing updates, photos and certainly not any form of chit chat between the two of us.  He is obviously not ready to follow through and I have to remove myself from a situation that is no good for me. 

Since I made this decision, I feel so empowered.  I feel like I was really giving all the power over to him and waiting on him all the time.  No more.  I am in control of my own thoughts, actions, choices.  At least for today.  :o)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Project Positivity

I wrote a post a while back called "Negative."  I have been feeling this way for a while and last week it seemed to culminate, again, to a bit of a meltdown.  I vented to my BFF and said, among other things:

"I am not satisfied.  I feel pressure, always.  From every direction. I feel like I live a life of nonstop busyness and obligation.  I know that it’s my own issue that I don’t live in the moment to enjoy the things that are enjoyable and then I wonder if I just need to exist this way.  Could I even do it differently if I tried?? And THEN I feel like a stupid whining complaining sissy candy-ass that I can’t handle my life.  Because really, is it so bad??  I have a great job, a cozy little home and one child who is really not so bad!  Why am I so overwhelmed when I’m not doing anything different than the rest of the world??  How dare I complain when there are people without a job or without a home or single moms with 4 kids who work, take care of their home and go to college at the same time? WTF is wrong with me that I need to complain all the time??  I think I am very wrapped up in negativity and I don’t want to be that way but I’m not sure how to go about changing that and I come back to wondering if I am just stuck in this frame of mind and don’t know how to be any different."

And then I this a "fake it til you make it" type of situation?  Can I simply CHOOSE to stop being that way?  I feel like I am wired to the negative.  I always see the stress.  I see the problems.  I don't see the joy, I don't seize the moments that should be enjoyed.  I think that I thrive on the stress (when really it is killing me!) and I somehow need that drama.  Also, I confess here and now, I seem to somehow need to be sure people know how difficult my life is.  I don't know why.  I'm not sure what that adds to my life..... When I was younger, I liked to portray the "poor me" angle.  I think I believed garnering sympathy from people was the way to get them and keep them in my life.  I wanted them to rescue me.  I'm so far past that and I clearly am capable of "rescuing" myself, thank you very much!  I think I just got stuck in that pattern and I've never broken it because it became habit.  And like many other things that you end up identifying with, you wonder who you will be without it.  If I choose to no longer be this familiar thing, then who will I be?  How will I function?

I choose to be brave and find out who I will be without it.  I'm choosing to find the joy.  I'm choosing to actively replace negative and stressful thoughts with positive counterparts.  Our holiday weekend was very busy but I chose to remind myself about the blessings of it.  We did fun things and I made steps to be in the moment and enjoy them instead of stressing about the time, the things that didn't get done, the things I needed to do next.  I live, almost constantly, with a clenched knot in my stomach.  I am trying to be vigilantly aware of it and release it.  Breathe.  Relax.  Enjoy.   

Friday, November 15, 2013

She closed the door

I wrote about a particularly bad panic attack I had while at the acupuncture doctors office 4 weeks ago.  Post is here.  I went back last night for the first time and had a fair amount of anxiety going into the office.  I was also openly hostile.  This was not a conscious choice but rather something beyond my control.  I was closed off and simply full of rage.

There is a substance called Moxa that they have started using in the office and it really affects me for some reason.  There is the smell of it which I find offensive.  That is one thing.  But it was building into something more as every time I complained about the smell, I was greeted with kindof vacant "smile and nod" and dismissive statements about how it's so beneficial.  In other words "quit your bitching and accept it."  Talk about your triggering feelings for a survivor!!  It all came to a head when the doctor offered to put the Moxa oil on me during treatment and I flipped out and said no, how I find so offense.  To quote my prior post "The Dr replied in a very dismissive tone like "Ok, then.  We'll see you in a bit" and closed the door, making a hasty exit."  From there, I spiraled downward into the worst panic attack I've had in years, unable to breathe, paralyzed to communicate other than hysterical, hyperventilating sobbing. 

I didn't put that significance together until last night.  I was thinking through the incident and my reaction and then it hit me.  He closed the door and walked out while dismissing my statements.

On more than one occasion, my mother walked in while my brother was sexually abusing me.  Unable/unwilling to deal with it.....she turned around, walked out and closed the door behind her.  Dismissing the whole thing. 

I felt like I had been punched in the gut while I was sitting there and made that connection. 

Last night the Dr. used a fantastic treatment called NAET on me.  He treated me for my sensitivity to the Moxa and also treated me for anger, rage and cellular memories.  I felt so much more calm and open by the time we left.  It's really an amazing, miraculous tool that I HIGHLY recommend if you can find a practioner who is licensed in it. 

I recognize that I have so many mother issues left over.  I have been very angry with her lately.  I notice when we talk, I can barely look her in the eyes.  I place a room's distance between us and stand with my arms & feet crossed. I wrote the following a couple weeks ago and have had it saved in draft because it didn't seem like a complete idea but it's relevant here. 

I was thinking more about B's focus issues. I made some calls yesterday and have a lot of work to do, a lot of avenues to explore.  I go back to that feeling that I don't want to just cave to what is "easy".....I want to do right by her. And I realize the reason I feel SO incredibly strong about that statement is because, when my mother had to deal with my abuse and my cutting and all the problems that resulted from the abuse, she shoved me off to a psychiatrist who I never spoke to, swept it under the rug and that was pretty much it.  Oh except for the part where she fed me.....and taught me to eat my feelings.  That's helpful....your brother raped you?  Here, have some cookies.  She did the easy. Not what was right. I will not do the same to my daughter.

I simply do not know how to work with these feelings going forward.  And it's the holidays no less...... good times. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not Fair

I mentioned that I have started the process of addressing B's issues.  I have not shared these issues with her father.  He doesn't know her, has never met her.  We spent large chunks of her life not speaking at all but have reconnected in the past few months with the sole purpose (at least MY sole purpose....his motives are still questionable) being the exploration of a relationship between the two of them. 

I give him happy photos and updates and I really don't share the struggles with him.  I don't feel like it's really warranted.  I mean, after all, he is not my co-parent here.  While it's tempting to reach out to him looking for advice when I feel so very isolated in these circumstances, he can't make an informed decision about B's needs.  I've been on the verge of sharing her challenges with him many times but I don't because it's an emotional issue for me and it's tied into everything else I feel....all my own father issues, my anger at him for not being here.  I've not been able to separate it enough that I felt I could have a conversation with him that would not turn ugly. 

There is also the fact that I wanted him to know her first before hearing all this.  I don't want him perceiving her as a "problem child" but rather to see who she is and all the things that make her so uniquely special.  I want him to see that these issues are not all she is but rather how they fit into who she is as a whole. 

But the other morning, before B and I headed out to her initial evaluation with the pediatrician, I reached  out to him.  I gave him a brief overview of what we are working with here and he said "I wanted and want to know all sides of her.....I don't think it fair for you to try and decide what I should and shouldn't know."

Every part of me froze and screamed inside.............ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME????????????

Since when is fairness to YOU my priority??  You want to talk about what is NOT FAIR?????  How about a little girl who has grown up without a father because you lied to me about who you were and what you wanted and then never made an effort to get in her life?  You think I am worried about what is fair to YOU??  Think again. 

But.....I walked away from the phone.  I realized that that response would not get me any closer to my goal for B.  So I waited til I calmed down and I said "A, there are a GREAT number of things about this situation that are quite unfair to ALL who are involved. I am not keeping things from you.  I want you to get to know her personally and incrementally."

He came back and said "I just don't like feeling in the dark."

(Ding Ding.....thank you for that smooth segue.....) I replied "I know that 'in the dark' is an uncomfortable feeling.  The thing is that I'm trying to engage you to know her, far more than a bunch of texts could ever convey and I have no idea where your head is about it.  We had plans to meet, you cancelled and you've not said one word about rescheduling."

No reply.  That was 24 hours ago.  In my summary of what issues she is facing, I mentioned that she has some definite fear and abandonment issues that are tied into him.  He had no indignant retort to that either.  Honestly, some days I wonder if this is really the wisest course.  He can be such a d-bag.  How did he manage to make this about him??  Is he that selfish??  The problem is that no matter which way we slice it here, she gets the shaft.  If he's not around, she will wish he was.  If he is around, she will either wish he was here more or will wish he was a better guy.  Likely both.  I can't win for her.  And from minute to minute, I have no idea if I am doing the right thing by her.  I am utterly drained. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I crave him.

I do.  I find myself craving contact with B's father and I have to ask is this tied into my own father issues?  Because I'm pretty sure that it is.  It has to be, right?  I can't see any other reason for this intense desire to be in contact with him constantly. 

We had an exhange yesterday that was a little questionable.  He made a suggestive comment and I, inadvertently, sortof agreed with him.  I know that sounds dubious, right?  Here is what happened though.  I don't know if I am the only one who does this but, when I am not sure what I want to say in a text, I start typing whatever comes to mind and then I erase, modify, retype, etc,.... I have an iPhone and when I want to erase something, I can just shake the phone to "Undo Typing."  I decided I didn't like what I'd written which was in agreement with his statement so I shook my phone and, in the process of doing so, I must have hit the Send with my finger.  GAH!

In any case, I had agreed but finished the sentence with a "but..." and so I just left it at that.  Anything else I may have tried to say would have looked too much like I was trying to dig myself out of a hole.  I figured the "but" expressed doubt in the statement and, uncomfortably left it alone.  He wrote something a while later that gave me the perfect segue to recover and refocus us on B.

Still, every day with him is just so hard.  I tell him the positive things in B's life which paints a picture that she is fine without him.  I don't want him believing that.  But every time I try to tell him about the struggles it's all wound up together with my anger and my fears and my whole history.  I don't know how to separate the whole mess.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Man, I have had really horrid anxiety these past few days.  Worse than in a long time, necessitating the use of Xanax over the weekend.  And now I think I understand why.  Everything in my mom-gut says this ADD route is wrong.  But I recognize that I personally have strong theoretical opposition to it and I don't want that to stop me from getting B the help she needs, *IF* this is what she does need.  So I made that appointment and all hell in my brain broke loose immediately thereafter.  All that anxiety was caused by my making the ADD evaluation appointment.  It's so subjective.  I don't do "subjective".....I want black and white.  I want to look at an irrefutable test result that says "yes, this is the issue."  I don't want to circle a bunch of numbers on a 1-6 scale about behaviors that every kid exibits from time to time and have someone drug my baby as a result.  It's just so........damn unscientific!! 

I'm still going to do the evaluation as due diligence and to see what other avenues they may have to offer me.  B's teacher said to me this morning, as a teacher and as "mom to mom," these are not the academic results she sees with ADD kids.  The observations she made supported my desire to have B tested for CAPD.  I'm going to make that call later today.  She was also able to give me some insight into circumstances in the classroom that could be contributing to B's increased struggle this year.  And she gave me a couple great therapy resources.  I've thought many times about getting B into therapy.  She is pretty buttoned up with me at times.  I'm not sure how to interpret that.  She is a people pleaser so I don't know if she doesn't want to share her struggles with me because she doesn't want to upset me.  Or maybe she picks up on the fact that I am very buttoned up with my problems and does likewise.  In my words, I tell her can talk to me about anything, this is a safe place to share your fears and feelings, etc.  But by my behavior, I present totally opposite.  Or maybe, as a 9 year old, she simply doesn't know how to make sense of the things she feels.  Her teacher gave me the name of the therapist she uses for her own daughter (her daughter is a survivor of a school shooting massacre) and also told me about another therapist who does art therapy.  I think that may be a great suggestion for B who is creative by nature and gets umcomfortable with the direct "how does that make you feel?" type of conversations.  Since she is interested in telling people what they want to hear, she may do better talking and expressing while distracted by creating. 

So I have some avenues to try.  And also my BFF shared some of her Valium with me.  So I'm hooked up on every angle.  A better day.