Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The lights are on....But......

So my mother came over for dinner tonight. Regular Weds night thing. I usually enjoy it, actually. We were talking about my DD's recent illness and injury (she fell down the stairs and got a black eye). And my mother says "Well, thank God she has a good mommy who takes such good care of her. It just kills me to hear about these kids who have no one who takes care of them. Your brother was telling me a story this morning and I had to tell him to stop. I just can't stand to hear about kids forced to listen to abusive conversation and who are victims of neglect." *blink*

Ummmmmm. Hello, Mother? It's Reality calling......he'd like to know if you're home?

WTF is wrong with her?? Was she really so out of touch with everything that happened? Is she so deeply in denial that she doesn't even know what was wrong with what she just said to me?? I did really well while she was saying it. I stayed grounded. I listened and I was breathing (with some effort). I didn't dissociate. I didn't really get angry because I realize that, in the moment, it's not a useful reaction. Right now, it shuts me down. I wanted to stay present and hear the words she said so that I could process them later. I don't know the appropriate response to those kind of curveballs. If I challenge her, she retreats. Yes, that's the dance. The dance I play into that I'm trying to change. I suppose the thing for me to say would be something along the lines of "don't talk to me about those type of subjects anymore"?? Is that the self-care thing to say? What I really want is for her to comprehend what went on and how her words slice me like the Ginsu knife through a tomato! Like "what planet were you living on because you clearly were not in the house with the rest of us!!"

Another thing I noticed tonight in her interaction with my DD....well, in the past when I've described some of mom's behavior around DD to my T, she's commented that mom is near-manic, nervous and running circles around DD trying to please her. How she goes into this trance-mode of people pleasing. Tonight, DD was a little crabby. Still recuperating. And she's right on the cusp of potty training which is a highly sensitive topic in our house. She needs privacy when she has to poop. I pay attention to my baby. I know what she needs or wants most of the time and I can follow her cues and respect her boundaries. I realized tonight that my mother is incapable of that. DD left the room and was hiding and my mother is playing, by herself, in the living room with all DD's toys arranged in a circle around her, loudly talking in this squeaky voice as if she's trying to interact with DD. I'm just letting her do her thing but thinking to myself.....she is in her own world. Anyone with half a brain would just give DD some space since she's CLEARLY expressed the desire for it. She's 3....she's not going to say "You know, Gramma...thanks for coming by but I could really benefit from some alone time right now." (Although she did shut herself in the bathroom and said "I just need to think for a minute" and then I hear this thoughtful little "HHmmmmmmmmm" coming from the bathroom as if she's really contemplating some big issues in there! Too funny.) Anyway....not a rocket scientist needed to know DD is saying I need my space right now. But my mother is working this passive aggressive barrage trying to coax & bribe DD out of hiding. I didn't intervene because I truly was fascinated tonight watching her. I guess it's just a new way that it struck me: for all the people pleasing she tries to do, she can't see the forest through the trees. She gets so frantic that she doesn't see what is right in front of her. Suddenly (scary to admit) I almost understand what my father meant when he told her that with every word that comes out of her mouth, she drove him further away.

You know I decided a while ago that if I desired to keep her in my life, and I do want that for a variety of reasons, I had to accept that this is who she is. This is what she is capable of. And any relationship we have will consist largely of "fluff". Funny things DD says. New things she does. Cooking. Weather, etc. So when a heavy topic comes into play, a topic that is at least heavy to me, I feel like she's changing the rules on me. I guess it's just going to take a while to choreograph the new dance.

I'm proud of myself tonight. I brushed my teeth right after dinner and took a shower to relax b/c I knew that I would be tempted to eat while trying to process these thoughts about her visit. I kept the TV off and just sat here relaxing and writing. Now it's 10:48 and I'm going to bed. This is early for me, so it's a step in the right direction of self care!!

Tomorrow's assignment....I found a tape player and I'm going to start the "Healing the Father Wound" series. OMG, I'm so excited to start this program!!!

T Homework

I had a pretty uneventful session with my T on Saturday. It was a phone session since DD was sick. I've not really had any major revelations going on. I mentioned to her that I emailed my XBF on his birthday and I was glad I did. I felt it was something I needed to do though I suspected it was really a step toward closure with my father. By the way, an update, he did write back to me on Sunday. A very generic reply that did not invite further correspondence, which is fine. That's as it should be. I have to confess that I was silently hoping for a seamless "in" to mention that my DD still asks for him all the time. I want him to feel guilt for abandoning her. I want him to know she still hurts. Oh YEAH....this is so all about my own father!!

So T suggested that I should write out how I've addressed "things", ie:abuse issues, with my father and my brother, chronologically. The purpose of this exercise is to find out what was said/done, what was not said/done and what needs to be said/done in order to achieve completion.

Let's start with my brother, because I think that's easier:
(As I stare blankly at the screen thinking "Crap, did I just say this one would be easier?")
Hmmmm....well let me just start typing and see what comes.
(1983-ish)There was the time on the stairs which stands out as the most direct confrontation between us. I don't remember what I said. I remember he discounted it by responding that "we were just a couple of horny kids".
(1985-ish) Not exactly addressing it with him but this is when I told what he did. Just so happened I chose to tell his girlfriend.
(1991-ish)I remember the time he was in the kitchen, I believe with his wife, and he was picking on me and I put my finger up in his face and said assertively "You do NOT get to speak to me like that ever again."
(2002-ish) I had to write a letter to him (the kind you don't send) for my group therapy. I remember feeling totally uncomfortable and unprepared for such an exercise. In fact, I'm fairly sure I "masked" my way through it by writing what I thought I was supposed to write since I was not at all connected to any real feelings on the subject.
(May, 2004) I remember when I told them I was pregnant in a card and he called me to congratulate. I did not call back. I eventually wrote him back a letter and said that I could not pretend that we were a normal brother/sister and that nothing had ever happened in our past. He sent me back a patronizing card with a girl on a shrink's couch that said something like "the good thing about having you for family is that I have plenty to talk about in therapy" or something along those lines. I don't recall what he said exactly but he indicated he was willing to discuss the past. It was the way he said it though, very sarcastic and dismissive. No surprise.

So, what has been said? Nothing, really. It seems like nothing direct and worthwhile has been said. Well, let's think again actually.
Said by me:
1. You will no longer speak to me disrespectfully
2. I can't pretend that nothing happened between us
Said by him:
1. We were a couple of horny kids which translates to "I don't take responsibility for anything that went on."
2. (basically) I'll pretend to be the "good guy" by telling you we can talk about it but I'll make sure I do it in such a way that you know it will be pointless.

What hasn't been said? I've never flat out told him he abused me. Because I didn't believe it until recently. Even now, when I say it, I still feel twinges of all the extenuating circumstances. If I could have my questions answered, without having to talk to him or anyone, what would I want to know about him?
What drove you to abuse me? What purpose did it serve for you? Did anyone abuse you? If so, who? When? How? Does anyone else know? Did you ever confront that person? How do you feel now about what occurred between us? Did you ever seek counseling and, if so, where do you think you stand with this issue? Have you abused anyone else? How do you think what happened may have changed you as a person? Do you feel guilt?

Do you know that my brother used to sign all his cards to me "Hatred, Gregory" Yes, the "hatred" part is pretty bad but what is more disturbing? His name is not Gregory. It was like an alter personality, like a character, to him who he could interject into all these bad situations as a means for not taking responsibility for his own feelings &/or actions.

What do I want from my brother? I want him to go away. I don't want anything from him. I've been thinking about that statement since this afternoon and I'm just not sure if the fact that I would really be perfectly happy to never speak to my father or brother again, even if they had some big life change and were suddenly accountable for everything they did, means anything about my inability or unwillingness to face the situation? Or does it just say that too much has happened, too much time passed, too much hurt sustained and there is just no changing that now? Or does it say that I'm too scared to let go of the status quo? To free myself from this stranglehold?

If he felt remorse and tried to make amends, would I allow it? I don't know. The thought of having a relationship with him sickens me. I guess I don't believe he is capable of any more that who he is right now. Maybe it's almost comforting for me to believe that because then *I* am the strong one who overcomes the obstacles and he's the pathetic one wallowing in his guilt, the victim of self-induced karma.

I would like to have *A* brother. Just not the one I have. I don't like him. I'm not sure I ever could or would. I can ditto that whole statement about my father. I want *A* father. Just not the one I have. I don't like him....I don't trust him. I don't respect him and I'm damn sure pissed off at him for his cowardly choices.

Okay....what has been said to my father?
(1985-ish) Same incident when I told my brother's girlfriend and then she told my brother who told my father what I'd "claimed" and naturally said it was all lies. And then the famous conversation ensued. My favorite one when I was forced to admit I was lying, made it all up for attention and had to apologize to my brother.

The rest is really a blur. I've found many journal entries, half written letters. I know I sent some of them. I know there were times I told him I longed to be closer, to have a real family. I know I tried to speak for my mother and brother in some of the letters. I know I told him I was addressing issues that had been part of the family history. The last one I wrote was in 2000, I believe, where I basically told him how his abuse shaped me, my lack of self worth. He responded in anger and bitter, bitter sarcasm. He's a very tit for tat kind of man....calculated. He would always reply in exactly the same manner I initiated correspondence with. I send a card; he sends a card. I send a typed letter with no signature; he sends a typed letter with no signature. I send a handwritten note on legal paper; he sends a handwritten note on legal paper. It's really more than a little disturbing.

I guess, as far as hashing through the issues of the past, I feel I've said all I can say to my father. He has not and really is not capable of ever responding in a way that is meaningful to me in achieving my closure. What has not been said by me is "I forgive you." It pains me to even think of saying that to him. But I guess in the same way I've come to realize with my mother.....he did what he was capable of. He is a broken, deeply depressed and damaged man. He was so ill prepared for fatherhood. At what point do I stop trying to punish him (which really only punishes ME) for what he didn't do? At what point do I release it for my own sanity and "forgive" him because there is nothing left to do and say? How long will I beat myself up because I could not turn him into the father I needed? What do I gain by holding this pain so tightly to my heart?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'm working on my T homework post. In the middle of it, I used the word closure and I started a little sidebar about what exactly that means. It took on a life of it's own, requiring it's own entry!

I've been using that word alot lately. Closure. Is there ever really closure?

So I take to my good friends Merriam & Webster: closure: an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality (victims needing closure); also : something (as a satisfying ending) that provides such a sense.

My other dear friend, Wikipedia, has this to say: the state of experiencing an emotional conclusion to a difficult life event, or, a point in the development of an artifact where social understanding and interpretation reaches consensus.
The need for closure varies across individuals, situations, and cultures. A person with a high need for closure prefers order and predictability and is decisive and close minded. This person also feels discomfort from ambiguity . Someone rating low on need for closure will express more ideational fluidity and emit more creative acts .
The Need for Closure Scale (NFCS) was developed by Arie Kruglanski, Donna Webster, and Adena Klem in 1993. Items on the scale include statements such as “I think that having clear rules and order at work is essential to success.” and “I do not like situations that are uncertain”. Items such as “Even after I’ve made up my mind about something, I am always eager to consider a different opinion.” and “I like to have friends who are unpredictable” are reversed scored. This scale is composed of 42 items and has been used in numerous research studies and has been translated into multiple languages. The Need for Closure Scale exhibits low to moderate association with the following: “authoritarianism, intolerance of ambiguity, dogmatism, need for cognition, cognitive complexity, impulsivity, need for structure, and fear of invalidity, while retaining considerable distinctiveness from those various constructs”. It does not appear to be related with the intelligence level nor social desirability concerns.

What's this now?? A Need For Closure Scale?? Some sort of test to take to tell me how rigid and controlling I am? Thumbs Up! Gotta love the internet....a mere matter of searches, clicks and cut & paste later:

Need for Closure Scale

"Attitude, Belief and Experience Survey"

(I'm going to forewarn you that there is really no basis for scoring this survey....but still the questions were interesting!)

Read each of the following statements and decide how much you agree with each according to your beliefs and experiences. Please respond according to the following scale.

1 strongly disagree
2 moderately disagree
3 slightly disagree
4 slightly agree
5 moderately agree
6 strongly agree

01.I think that having clear rules and order at work is essential for success.
02.Even after I've made up my mind about something, I am always eager to consider a different opinion.
03.I don't like situations that are uncertain.
04.I dislike questions which could be answered in many different ways. (If I could answer this one with a score of 10,000, I would!!!!)
05.I like to have friends who are unpredictable.
06.I find that a well ordered life with regular hours suits my temperament.
07.I enjoy the uncertainty of going into a new situation without knowingwhat might happen.
08.When dining out, I like to go to places where I have been before so thatI know what to expect.
09.I feel uncomfortable when I don't understand the reason why an event occurred in my life.
10.I feel irritated when one person disagrees with what everyone else in a group believes.
11.I hate to change my plans at the last minute.
12.I would describe myself as indecisive.
13.When I go shopping, I have difficulty deciding exactly what it is I want.
14.When faced with a problem I usually see the one best solution very quickly.
15.When I am confused about an important issue, I feel very upset.
16.I tend to put off making important decisions until the last possible moment.
17.I usually make important decisions quickly and confidently.
18.I have never been late for an appointment or work.
19.I think it is fun to change my plans at the last moment.
20.My personal space is usually messy and disorganized.
21.In most social conflicts, I can easily see which side is right and which is wrong.
22.I have never known someone I did not like.
23.I tend to struggle with most decisions.
24.I believe orderliness and organization are among the most important characteristics of a good student.
25.When considering most conflict situations, I can usually see how both sides could be right.
26.I don't like to be with people who are capable of unexpected actions.
27.I prefer to socialize with familiar friends because I know what to expect from them.
28.I think that I would learn best in a class that lacks clearly stated objectives and requirements. 29.When thinking about a problem, I consider as many different opinions on the issue as possible.
30.I don't like to go into a situation without knowing what I can expect from it.
31.I like to know what people are thinking all the time.
32.I dislike it when a person's statement could mean many different things.
33.It's annoying to listen to someone who cannot seem to make up his or her mind.
34.I find that establishing a consistent routine enables me to enjoy life more.
35.I enjoy having a clear and structured mode of life.
36.I prefer interacting with people whose opinions are very different from my own.
37.I like to have a plan for everything and a place for everything. (As if there is something wrong with this?!?!?!)
38.I feel uncomfortable when someone's meaning or intention is unclear to me.
39.I believe that one should never engage in leisure activities.
40.When trying to solve a problem I often see so many possible options that it's confusing.
41.I always see many possible solutions to problems I face.
42.I'd rather know bad news than stay in a state of uncertainty.
43.I feel that there is no such thing as an honest mistake.
44.I do not usually consult many different options before forming my own view.
45.I dislike unpredictable situations.
46.I have never hurt another person's feelings.
47.I dislike the routine aspects of my work (studies).

So before I go back and re-read any of this....I must ask myself: What does "Closure" mean to ME? I'm going to focus this on my father so it doesn't turn too general. In practical terms, I would say that I will believe I've achieved closure when:
1. I stop feeling the urge to contact him.
2. I stop wishing that things could be/could have been different.
3. I accept that whatever I did or did not do was the right course for me.
4. I no longer care what anyone else thinks of my decisions about him.
5. I stop replaying the confrontation scenario in my mind.
6. I find another way to fulfill my desire for a father figure.
7. I stop wishing him dead.

Survivor Needs Meme

I was tagged with this a while ago by Enola but I never did it because....well, a few reasons.
#1: I'm not really sure what a "meme" is and I was afraid to do it wrong and look stupid
#2: I don't have 5 blog friends to tag who haven't already done this
#3: It was the holidays and frankly I didn't want to take the time to think about what I needed and wanted.

So, following the rules....the original post is on Survivors Can Thrive but I am apparently unable to figure out the linky thing....and I give up trying!!!! And now for the hard part. 25 needs and 5 wants. If I could do that the other way around, I'd be much more comfortable!! :o)

1. Grounded breathing every day. It really does help me stay focused.
2. To accept, and confess, my human limitations. No more telling everyone, including myself, that I can handle everything.
3. Get more sleep. Lack of sleep truly encourages all kinds of negative behaviors for me.
4. Find healthy and constructive ways to release the suppressed anger I have built up over the years.
5. Listen to the "Healing the Father Wound" tapes my T gave to me and do the work of putting that relationship to rest.
6. Make connection with my Inner Child.
7. Continue changing the "dance" with my mother through awareness of old patterns and refusing to be sucked back into them, as well as establishing new boundaries.
8. To connect with other survivors in any forum possible to share, learn and support.
9. To overcome my addiction.
10. To separate from all other unhealthy coping strategies.
11. To learn how to relax and just be. Human Being, not Human Doing.
12. To be able to have fun without feeling guilty.
13. To regain the feelings of security in my home. (Thanks to the installation of my new alarm...this should be forthcoming shortly!)
14. To teach my daughter, through example, how to express her feelings in a safe and constructive way. To not pass along any of the bad messages I learned as a child.
15. To remember to take my meds every night.
16. (Stealing this one from Enola): I need to accept that my family members are who they are and stop wishing they would all somehow change into exactly who I want them to be.
17. To keep a journal next to my bed so I can write down my dreams before they disappear.
18. To not be afraid to trust my instincts.
19. To respect other people's healing process and whatever point they are at with it.
20. Coffee. By which I mean....I need the simple pleasures in life and allowing myself to revel in them.

Y'all are going to have to cut me slack and let me get away with 20. Seriously....this took me a week to get this far!! There ya this #21....I need to ask for what I need & want!!

1. A healthy love relationship
2. Sugar free, calorie free, fat free chocolate that I can eat in never-ending supply that has absolutely no negative side effects that feels and tastes exactly like Godiva. :o) (a girl can dream......)
3. Harsher penalties for child abusers, even first time offenders.
4. Sleep should be optional, not necessary.
5. To win the mega powerball jackpot!

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm sure this dream meant something

Had a dream last night. In fact, I think I had alot of dreams last night. My DD slept with me as she's been sick and she kicked and shoved me all night long so my sleep was disrupted often. The only dream I really remember a snippet of is one that clearly means something.

I was up in an attic and was looking for my blue suitcase full of my old Barbie stuff. (This is/was something that exists in real life....I had packed my old Barbie things into a blue suitcase and it was in the attic) There was a woman and a young girl waiting for me to find this stuff. I was rummaging around wondering where it had gone and I kept saying "I can't believe she (meaning my mother) threw it all away. I can't believe she threw it away. All my best dresses. The Scarlett O'Hara dress. The Breakfast at Tiffany's dress. I can't believe she threw it all away."

An attic is obvious. It's clearly representative of old stuff. And the fact that I'm seeking something that my mother threw away. Something of value. I guess it's suggesting that she threw away (ie:disregarded) my experiences and what was important to me. And that I'm looking to get it back. The woman and the young girl waiting for me to find what I wanted in the attic......I imagine it's me and, Current me and inner child me.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What I Loved About Him

Started on 12/19 ~ about my XBF

What I Loved About Him:
His smile...a little crooked and his eyes squinted up. Thoroughly charming.
The way he would say "Hey My Sweetheart" every time we called one another
His shoulders
When he would let his silly sense of humor out and how he tried to subdue his laugh
How he could fix anything
The way he looked at me when we made love
How he smelled right after a shower
He listened to me without trying to fix my problems
He knew how I liked my coffee and would bring me a cup spontaneously
We could talk for hours and hours
The way he held me when we slept together
He knows everything there is to know about cars
He asked me to design his first tattoo and even let me draw it on his arm with eyeliner first to see how it would look
His patience
The way he played with my DD and was always so careful with her
He always talked to me on the cell as I drove home no matter what time it was to be sure I got home safely
How much he appreciated the special things I did for him

What I Didn't Love About Him:
He has a serious, paralyzing fear of emotional intimacy and vulnerability
He withdraws when things get tough
He broke my heart. Twice.
He has left a hole in my daughter's life that she cannot understand.
He lies to himself and, in the end, also to me.
He hated to be complimented or thanked.
He makes promises he can't keep, not just to me....but I know now that he's done this to many women. I am angry how he can continue to tear people's lives apart without ever realizing he's not emotionally equipped to enter a relationship.

Something occurred to me tonight. I was washing dishes and thinking about XBF. I'm seriously considering contacting him on his birthday which is in about 2 weeks. As is typical for me, I run through imaginary scenarios and conversations I know will never happen. Since XBF & I broke up, I've been in peripheral contact with his brother through a mutual friend. I've learned things about the brother that I would have never known. And where I thought the brother was the emotional recluse, I was quite mistaken. The fact is XBF doesn't know his brother very well at all. And I was suddenly reminded of their father's funeral. Brother got up in front of friends and family and read an incredibly well written, deeply touching and openly emotional tribute that he had written to a man he clearly knew and understood. XBF got up afterwards and read something so short and disjointed that it barely made sense and honestly, I can admit now that I was embarassed for him. I didn't even consider until today that it was just one more example of a man so absolutely disconnected from any emotional experience. I'm so sad for him. What an empty life.

Well, yesterday was XBF's birthday and I did finally make the decision to send him a quick note. I thought it through for a long time over the past 6 weeks or so. I felt like I needed to do this for myself. The thing that lingers with him as unresolved, for me, was the way things ended in anger. After 2 1/2 years together, many happy times and memories, and very rarely even the slightest seemed so wrong to me that things ended in an angry manner. For me, I felt I needed to try to change the end. I have no desire to be back together with him or even strike up a friendship (actually that's a lie....the second part. I do have the desire to be friends with him again but I know I cannot do it) but I needed to put something positive on the end of us. So I simply sent him a short email wishing him a happy birthday and hoping he's doing well. I thought it out many times before I sent it and I was prepared for any, or no, reply. As of today he has not replied and I don't believe he will but I feel good about it. I'm okay with this. I did what I felt I had to do for my own closure and I'm happy for that. In the end, I think it has more to do with my need to put closure to things with my father and XBF was a "safer", preliminary step in doing that. Which will segue my way into my coming post about Homework from my T. But it's going to take me a little while to get that done!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

911 Intervention

This is a pivotal moment for me. I am soooo in need of a fix of some sort. I am literally crawling with the urge to binge. My skin is itching. I am shaking. I don't even know how to describe what I feel. I'm barely breathing. Which is a change for me of late. I've been really able to breathe deeply most of the time without effort. Right now I am tense. I am frustrated. I am angry. I have a stress migraine. I feel out of control. I want to hurt myself. Waiting for my ridiculously slow internet connection, I was punching myself and scratching my skin waiting to be able to start typing. Breathe. I'm going to start typing that after every sentence until I am calm enough to remember to do it. Breathe.

The following is a VERY bad and dangerous combination: (breathe)
A 3 year old. Breathe.
Being a single mom to that 3 year old with no babysitter available. Breathe.
Trying to potty train said 3 year old. Breathe.
Two accidents and counting so far....the first one #2 and then a #1. Breathe.
Forgetting to take my Effexor last night. Breathe.
An extended visit with my mother last night.
Severe sleep deprivation over the past month. Breathe.
Being stuck at home all day long. Breathe.
Feeling stressed out with everything that needs to get done. Breathe.
The two large boxes (yes, BOXES) of work I brought home with me staring at me from the dining room. Breathe.
A giant bowl of pasta, a loaf of panera cheese bread (with soft butter sitting next to it) and assorted leftover goodies. Breathe.
Needing an outlet....needing a fix. Breathe. Feeling out of control.

As I have left DD to self entertain right now, I can hear those stupid Backyardigans singing and I want to wring every one of their little stupid necks and punt them from here to the other side of the country!! Argh!!!! I want to take a Xanax but I know it takes 20 minutes to take effect. Breathe. If I don't feel better when I'm done posting, I will take one. Breathe.

Forgive this for being an all-over the place bloggity blog. I'm just trying to ride this out. Breathe. I'm trying to breathe. God, my chest is so tight right now. It hurts. Okay.....think therapy. think therapy. What happened? All of the above happened but I was triggered by DD's second accident. I could fill an entire blog-site with potty training woes. This kid knows exactly what she's doing. She knows when she needs to go. She will sit on the potty, say she's done trying. Put her clothes back on and then go pee on the floor. It's maddening. And I'm very triggered, I think, by my utter and complete lack of control over the situation. I'm fighting so incredibly hard not to act angry with her. I don't want to scare her. But I'm PISSED!!!! (no pun intended, lol) Oh...that felt good to giggle. And I think I'm breathing on my own now. Okay....crisis level has come down one notch.

I grabbed the towel I was getting ready to clean the carpet with and shut myself in the closet and screamed into it as loud as I could. And all I wanted was to go shove everything in the kitchen into my mouth. I wanted to escape. I wanted to dissociate. From what? Seriously, from potty training?!? What is behind this? Because for this extreme a reaction, there is more to it. Out of control. Frustration. Parenting, Not being listened to. Anger. Hmm....nothing is really striking me. Is it just dealing with an influx of strong emotions?? Not being able to field them all at once and make sense of them? I mean, that was some SERIOUS rage.....I could have actually hurt DD if I didn't think about it first. Oh.....rage. That's what it is. It's feeling emotions and when I let myself feel rage, it's tapping into the incredibly high level of rage I've suppressed. Okay....I think I'm onto something.

Okay.....I've taken a break since that last line. During which time I cleaned up some more pee, called my friend, left a message for my T, cried in the bathroom, had a cup of soup and a cup of coffee (okay, 2 of them) and took a Xanax. I'm feeling somewhat better. I'm still not sure what the level of rage was caused by though my theory could be the answer. My T has not called back but I'll be interested in her take when she does. But at least the crisis seems to be lessening. Oh, and DD had one more accident but at least for that one, she ran into the bathroom first and had the accident in there. So it was a step in the right direction. I need to go do some laundry because I'm going to run out of clean potty training clothes for her very soon! And whoa.....I think I need to lay down. Seems the Xanax just kicked in because suddenly my head weighs about 100 pounds!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness

This isn't so much related to the overall theme of my blog. It's just sort of a random thought that requested a forum.

Do you ever look back at prior generations and see couples who stayed married for eternity, literally til death us do part? There was no such thing as couples counseling. Those same people who got into a job and stayed in it until retirement. Who bought a house and made it their home for a lifetime where they raised their family and then had grandchildren come to visit. A simpler time, no doubt. There was no PTSD, antidepressants, therapy. Don't get me wrong. I think that these people were not necessarily happy. I think that marriage was a commitment and people stayed there even if miserable. And I think the same about their jobs. I think the same kinds of bad things still happened and they were just never discussed. Maybe people wanted more for their lives. Maybe not. But I think they made the commitment to be content with what they had. Nowadays it seems that "content" is tantamount to laziness.

Sometimes I think that the idea of pursuing happiness, heck....the constitutional RIGHT to pursue happiness puts the idea in people's head that they are not already happy. Or that we need more to achieve this elusive happiness. Or that if you're not constantly pursuing more, you're just plain indolent.

I belong to a social Yahoo chat group and they are constantly, never endingly trumpeting the call to "raise the bar". Push yourself. Be all you can be. And when you think you already are, try harder. Now....hey.....I'm ALL for self improvement. I'm all for overcoming obstacles. I'm all for setting goals, for accomplishing what it is you want to achieve. But I think this fleeting tease of more happiness....more....more.....more success, more respect, more degrees, more money. Bigger house, nicer car, better looking significant other, expensive toys.... I think it makes everything in life feel like a stepping stone to the next level instead of an actual achievement of it's own. It seems to insinuate that everything is temporary and you need not trifle yourself with really living in the moments of your life. Instead of ever resting and being proud, you miss the opportunity to actually realize and soak in the fact that you may already be happy.

For a while, I lurked in that group and I thought to myself that I wasn't as motivated as they are so I must not be as good, as smart or as self confident. But now I'm starting to think that I'm onto something that escapes them in their pursuit for happiness. I've got my goals and the areas I want to work on. But I'm actually pretty damn content in my life. I feel, for I think the first time ever, like I am living in the days of my life as they come. I don't need to prove my peace to anyone. And whoever wants to see me as lazy....well, let them keep striving for the things they think they need to continually raise the bar. I say there is a point when the bar hits a comfortable height and embracing THAT is success right there.

Monday, January 14, 2008

General Update

Not much going on that is blog-worthy. Frankly, I've been so busy with everything else that I've not had time for thinking & reflecting! I used to nearly crave those days. Now....not so much. I miss my down time. I miss me-time! Would have never expected to hear those words from this human-doing!

Ran errands on Thursday. Met a friend at her new apartment on Friday, had dinner & helped her get some stuff organized. Saturday, cleaned the house in the AM, went to a Bday party for my DD's friend. Grocery shopping, more errands. Cooked til midnight for Sunday's dinner. Sunday AM, sang at church. Raced back home to cook some more for the week. Picked up my mother and went to this dinner get together at a friends house. Didn't get home til 9:30 and then had to do a minor kitchen clean and get food & stuff ready for Monday. YAWN.

I did seize the opportunity on the drive to dinner to ask my mother about my Aunt (father's sister). She really didn't have much information for me. She basically said that my Aunt was always very happy, boisterous, life of the party, social. I wonder if this also was a "mask". Who is really like that ALL the time? And she was morbidly obese and died young of uncontrolled diabetes. To me, those factors say she was not enjoying her life nearly as much as she appeared to. She was very smart and quickly climbed the ladder in her career. She had a jealousy of &/or anger toward my father when he was born. Apparently, he was a sick baby so he got all the attention and then when their father left, maybe she blamed my father for that. She was 5 years older so she was 6 when their father took off. She never spoke of him. Never really cared for her stepfather. As adults, my mother said my aunt never spoke badly of my father. It just seemed that he was so determined to hate her that she felt like she had to do it in reverse. My mother also said that their mother did not treat my Aunt in the same spiteful way that she did my father. So maybe that's a reason my father was so hateful toward my Aunt, feeling she was favored. My mother did mention something vague about my father being ashamed of his mother for being overly flirtatious in between her marriages. Except he was like 3 when she remarried so how could he have known her behavior? I think he definitely has some sort of inbred hatred of women and a belief that most of them (us) are whores.

Let's see......I've been binge free since I posted my Letter to Food. I've got my moments where it's harder to resist. But this is still the beginning and I've been so busy so I've not been home to obsess much! I've stuck to healthy foods for the most part with the exception being last night when I went to a dinner get-together. I couldn't resist my own dessert!! I made this fabulous pear tart on a gingersnap crust that has a cheesecake-like filling in the middle. YUM!Interestingly, since I have been eating better and less, I find that my physical symptoms of stress are decreasing already. How can that be, I first asked myself. I decide to stop doing the thing that works as an face my feelings as they come up.....and somehow I am LESS stressed? I guess the stress is being contributed to by NOT feeling my feelings. So clearly, this is a life change whose time was way overdue. With any luck, this knowledge will make it "easier" to continue my good choices.

Other than the has been a madhouse. We got a new digital phone system installed and they accidentally cut our DSL line so we have no internet!! AGH! We're supposed to be back up as of tomorrow afternoon but it's been hell. I can't work with no internet and in between trying to put out fires, arrange for new service, etc...I'm also trying to learn a new & complicated phone system as well as train the rest of my staff. I'm exhausted. I'm going to make lunches for tomorrow and do some good self care by going to BED!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hot Potato: Update After T

So T and I discussed the things I'd learned about my father when I spoke with my mother after my last T appointment. It's apparent he was/is a deeply tortured and depressed man. She felt alot of my instincts were on target with things I "gathered" out of the conversation with Mom. Which is pretty humorous since my mother herself didn't even realize the relevance of things she was conveying. As T Mom is not terribly insightful. Umm, no.....insight is definitely not her friend!

T said there is a tremendous level of unconsciousness within this family structure, not just from my parents but obviously their parents before them. Everyone is acting out from their old issues and they all have their heads buried in the sand. She said she suspects this is why I'm so strongly driven to understand what has happened in the past. What I'm doing is a powerful act particularly when done in this manner. I'm kind of Monday morning quarterbacking....KWIM? All these things happend and I'm now trying to go back and figure them all out. But what is fantastic about this process is that I'm separating out what is mine and what is theirs. I'm taking everything that I ended up internalizing in dealing with all their garbage and sifting through, taking responsibility for what is mine and giving back to them what is theirs. The hot potato.....pass it along. I don't want it in my hands any longer!!

I've speculated before that I thought my father may have been abused. He was clearly, and rightfully, traumatized by his childhood. His father walks out on him at 1 year old. His mother acts out at him in anger over and over. One thing T pointed out that I had not thought of....often the same sex child of an abandoning/abusive parent bears the brunt of the anger. ie: His mother and his sister were furious, hurt, etc, etc at my father's father for walking out. They took it out on my father. Maybe even blamed him since everything was "fine" until HE came along.

This exercise of talking to my mother was enlightening. It was empowering. I had a helpful conversation with my mother. In the course of which I managed to keep her on track and give her own issues back to her when she tried to use the opportunity to explain her lack of action. I ended up with another homework assignment....I'm going to basically have a similar conversation with my Mom about my Aunt (father's sister) to see if I can piece toogether any more about their past and family. She and I have to go somewhere together on Sunday so I'll take that opportunity in the car, I think.

T asked if I was glad that I did this and I said yes. That I wasn't really sure what it meant for me in the long run but I really feel like this is starting to bridge the head/heart gap in feeling rejected by my father. This is a completely broken man with virtually no capacity for love or empathy. I see how it happened to him and I see how he chose the weakest path of not dealing with it but rather perpetuating it and acting it out with me. I see now why it was so concentrated on me. And I feel like I have undeniable proof that it was not about ME. It's all about him. I realize nothing I can say or could have ever said to him would have been enough to change the way he felt. My hopes are to be able to fully accept this and also to be able to convey the same to my DD about her own father.

This conversation took most of our hour but I did manage to squeeze in a few words about my letter to Food. T said it was a powerful statement and I should keep it with me for when I'm feeling weak or tempted. When I read it to her, first time I read it out loud, I said I felt like someone just threw me on the high wire and yanked the net out from under me. She told me that I'm right to feel fear, sadness, even grief. After all, as my own letter states, food has been a companion and a very consistent source of security. Now I'm abandoning that and I need to allow myself some grief about it. So far it feels good but the first couple days are usually a piece of cake.

I'm going to curl up with CSI and then go to bed. I hope for some actual sleep tonight.

The time has come

As the intro to my blog says, I am an addict. I've gone through many addictions. Food sits the most comfortably. It's something that was basically bred into me. My mother tried to soothe me with food since she couldn't do what was necessary to really make a meaningful change in my young world. Awwww, Perfect seems so sad......I'll whip up 10 pounds of mashed potatoes for her. Oh no, Perfect is down in the dumps today....lookie, lookie, Mom brought you a box of Twinkies. What's that, Perfect? You're unhappy? Well, how about a fresh batch of cookies??

So it's no big surprise that I learned the lesson to bury my sorrows in food. It became more than that; a disconnect. A means to dissociate where I could mindlessly shovel something repetitively into my mouth literally stuffing back down any unwanted feeling that was attempting to rise to the surface. Feelings??? Threatening encroachment upon my blissful ignorance? I think not. (insert cookie) Take that (follow up with ice cream) and that! And just in case you haven't learned your lesson with this forkful of spaghetti that is so enormous it literally pains me to swallow and comes so close to choking me that I stand over the sink not sure if I'm going to vomit or die.

This is no way to live. This is where I strip away my defenses and my protections. This is where I stop pretending that I have things under control and where I come clean with things that are so shameful to me. I have gained 40 pounds in the past 6 months. I have turned myself into a diabetic. My Dr knows it and wants to treat me for it. I've been resistant the past few months because I wanted to get it under control on my own but I have not been able to. I've been resistant because it represents everything that I hate. My father is one, my grandmother, my aunt, my brother, my XDH. To me it represents just plain gluttony, no self control, no self worth, disgusting, lazy, disgraceful and making an excuse for something you chose to do to yourself. I cannot believe I have allowed this to happen. I am so disappointed in myself and my tattoo that signifies MY POWER mocks me from my arm, reminding me of how far I've fallen.

This is where and when I take responsibilty for what I have done. Because the thing is.....I was taught to do what I do. But there comes a time when the actions are no longer carried out in a shroud of oblivion. The time has come and passed since I realized this was a blatant, willful and purposeful act that I am choosing. And the time recently arrived where I admitted a certain level of powerlessness over the addiction. I think I had to do that. I am so disgusted with myself that I think I hit bottom this morning. Lord, I HOPE this was bottom. Because I don't know how much farther I can fall without killing myself first. And I decided that today was the day and the time has come for me to write the following:

Dear Food,

You and I have had a tumultuous relationship these past 3O-someodd years. You are a necessity in my life but our association has been so perversely twisted. It has long outlasted it's usefulness. I want to start by thanking you for providing me something I needed when I had no other outlet. You were there for me time and time again, consistently comforting me when I was depressed, scared, angry, out of control. You centered me back to my home of blissful dissociation. But that is my home no longer. Memories and emotions are something I will welcome instead of avoiding. I am on the doorstep to a life of grounded reality where I am able to deal with what I feel as it comes up. And food, my long time companion and confidant, I cannot cross this doorstep with you at my side. This is a journey I cannot take unless I sever the relationship that has been. I will feel uncertain for a while as I attempt to navigate our new and limited working relationship. But it's a step I must take for myself. For my emotional well being, for my physical health, to be a better example to my daughter, for my self esteem and just because I am worthy of being a whole, happy, functional and healthy person. I take repsonsibility for the power I gave to you and I now reclaim that power back to myself.

Sincerely, Perfect

Wednesday Ramblings

First off, I'm going to preface this by saying I am sleep deprived, stressed out, overly busy and I forgot to take my meds last night so I'm on a short fuse today.

I swore for the first time in front of my DD this morning when a car tried to run me off the road refusing to properly merge. Usually I brush that kind of stuff off without a thought but this morning, I was fuming, laying on the horn for a solid minute and called her an ass right in front of my DD. I also snapped at my daughter because she was trying to talk to me while I was trying to listen to a song on the radio. How awful is that?? Nice mother....I'd rather hear Alicia Keys instead of my child. *sigh* I told her Mommy was crabby today and apologized.

Came into the office which was basically stepping into a hornets nest.....Boss is out sick, need to reschedule his day & take care of some things we're working on together. Need to deal with contractors who are expanding our office space, phone people who are putting in a new system this week, new employees who both have questions, issues, need training. Phone ringing, ringing, ringing. Everyone reminding me that I'm behind....YES, DAMMIT. I know that I'm behind but until you hire a trainer, a personal assistant, a receptionist, an IT and a freaking General Contracting Foreman.....YOU'RE ALL GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. Or
f***ing figure out how to do it for your damn selves. The urge to send a global email reminding the staff that I am but ONE person is staggeringly overwhelming. God damn, I need some more coffee before I keep going. brewed but let me just add, to my fellow employees, that it does not take a brain surgeon to realize that the more times you call and stop into my office to find out if I've done the thing you need simply just delays my actually being able to get work done. And if you've paid attention one iota to my personality in the three years I've worked will realize that the more you piss me off, the closer to the bottom of the pile your request falls. Phew....that vent is over. In the spirit of a positive spin....I'm going to label this vent "good anger work" :o)

I have this friend who lives in Cali. He's a "safe" relationship. I know he has feelings for me. I have feelings for him too and I'd like the chance to explore those feelings even though I don't think he's the right one for me..... But still, it's been a long time in literal terms since we've seen one another. It's been over 4 years. In terms of who I am and where I'm's been a lifetime and a half. He always tells me how much he cares for me, how much he'd like the chance to be a family with me & DD. He's always making references to coming out here. It used to make me swoon. Last night we were on the phone and he said "If only you know how many times I've been tempted to just hop on a plane, one way, and come be with you." And I replied "What I DO know is how many times you've actually done it. So quit talking about it unless you're knocking on my door." This may not seem like a big deal to anyone else but for me, it's a big thing to be able to see the reality of a relationship that holds promise to be something I really want in my life. So for me to hand his words back to him and basically say "make these into action or shut the hell up about it" is really big.

I seem to have some unresolved feelings about my relationship with XDH. I'm not really sure what they are about. I'm not even really sure it warrants more than just acknowledgment at this moment. I'm just putting it out here to open myself up to thinking about it. I think Enola's situation with her DH has stirred some memories for me. In addition, I was reading an old journal last week and I found in there a copy of the letter I left for XDH when I left him. And I also found the printout of an IM conversation that was so very.......I don't even know the word. It made me cringe from the inside out when I read it. He was so horribly manipulative. He was cruel. Immature. Angry. And yet I stayed friends with him.....I know why I did it at the time and I'm glad I did because I needed his cooperation in some legal matters. Lately I've found myself actually really enjoying the conversations we occasionally have. Maybe I'm just feeling conflicted about that when I'm reminded of how horribly he treated me.

I finally got everything squared away to get my alarm installed at my house. I am waiting for them to call me back with an install date. I am hoping they can make it for MLK day since DD's Pre-K is closed that day and I have to take the day off anyway. I've slept like crap for the past few weeks. I thought insomnia was a permanent condition, some sort of chemical thing...but I guess not. I researched some about it and there is a diagnosis for Transient Insomnia which I must be suffering from at present. Yes, I could take Xanax at night to konk me out but I'm in such a state of panic about someone being in my house that I'm too scared to take a pill that puts me to sleep in case I need to wake up. I'm scared to sleep. It seems I go through several days of that until at last I'm so dog-tired that I can't resist it anymore. I think I'm averaging about every 3 days getting a few uninterrupted hours. I lay in bed and I fidget. I turn on the TV because silence is my bitter enemy....then I have to hear every tiny rustle and creak and I have to get out of bed. I sleep with my phone and a weapon. I have to check on DD a hundred times. Is she still there?? My chest is tight, my heart pounds, breathing shallow. I convince myself I'm having a heart attack or maybe it's just lung cancer because no ones lungs could possibly be so restricted unless they are riddled with disease. I start to watch TV again, then pick my head up....what did I hear? What was that? Look out on the deck....anyone there? Is the door still locked? 2x4 still in the track? Check on DD....still there? Look. Listen. Nothing more. Back in bed. Fidget, fidget. Pull the covers up. My skin feels so hot that it stings. I pull one arm out from the blankets and I feel so completely naked and vulnerable, fully exposed and just waiting to be attacked. So back under the blanket it goes and I pull them up to my chin, only leaving out enough of myself to breathe. And repeat the whole scenario. Repeat. Repeat. And repeat again until morning comes.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Nurturing Self Care

A Daily Meditation from TLOLG Book.
What do we need to do to take care of ourselves?

Listen to that voice inside. What make you angry? What have you had enough of? What don't you trust? What doesn't feel right? What can't you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? Need? What don't you want and need? What do you like? What would feel good?

In recovery, we learn that self care leads us on the path to God's will and plan for our life. Self care never leads away from our highest good; it leads toward it.

Learn to nurture that voice inside. We can trust ourselves. We can take care of ourselves. We are wiser than we think. Our guide is within, ever present. Listen to, trust and nurture that guide. Our inner selves will tell us what we need to know, and we'll love ourselves enough to listen.


I want to try to answer those questions and I'd encourage others to try it as well. Answer from the standpoint of your own emotional & inner self, your own personal needs. This was not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. Which tells me I did it right!

What make you angry? Being stuck in old patterns makes me angry. Particularly when I recognize that it's an old pattern which does not serve me anymore yet I can't seem to let go of what is learned. Things like punishing myself, the "dance" with my mother.

What have you had enough of? I have had enough of feeling responsible for other people's fragile emotions. I aim that particularly at my mother. I've had enough of succumbing to my own guilt and putting other people's needs & comfort before my own. I've had enough of walking on eggshells to last me 15 lifetimes. I've had enough of coming upon the same themes and lessons in this process and never feeling like I'm getting further ahead. I've had enough of anxiety and panic. I've had enough of desiring to control other people and situations. I'm so done with this. I love my T but seriously....I've had enough of therapy!! Meaning I'm just so ready to not need it so much.

What don't you trust? I don't always trust my own instincts. I should. They are usually right. But I think it's been so instilled in me that I'm stupid, worthless, etc that I doubt my own ability or insight. I definitely do not trust my ability to "read" other people (ie: men that I might potentially get involved with) at this point. I have made too many misjudgments in the past. I think I've done a recent 180 and I'm being hyper-vigilant now, seeing issues where there may be none. I think hyper-vigilant is a good word for this answer altogether....I'm in this learning stage, trying to break out of old habits, but still unsure of my new direction. I don't think I fully trust anything yet as I navigate this new path.

What doesn't feel right? What doesn't feel right is when I go back to being how I was. There is one particular relationship, if you can even call it that, that I am involved in right now that pulls me back into my old ways. I take full responsibility for that because I allowed it to happen. But I haven't done anything to change it. Yet. It holds a certain attraction because it requires no thought from me and it's enjoyable. But it also requires a detachment and dissociation of sorts which I know is unhealthy for me and where I am now.

What can't you stand? I can't stand this "in between" stage. I feel like I have been here forever. I made peace with the gradual nature of healing a while back so it's not that I just want to *BAM* be healed 100% right now. But I can't stand it when I understand something intellectually but then still can't make the connection to it in a practical way at the same time. for example: Understanding that my desire to reach out to XBF & DD's Bio-Father are both tied to my own father issues but still feeling like I need to contact them anyway.

What makes you uncomfortable? It makes me uncomfortable when I "change the rules" with people who have been in my life for a long time. It's alot easier for me to present the "new & improved" me to people who are new to me. But when I'm known as being a certain way, it's slightly uncomfortable to assert myself in a different way. As I think about it, I guess I feel like I won't be taken seriously. Although I remember when I did this with my XDH and it felt FAN-Freaking-TASTIC to assert myself with him!! Boy did it make him CRAZY (snicker, snicker!)Then again, he was abusive and really wearing me down. The discomfort, I think, comes into play in relationships that are working fine and then I want to change. Ahhh...yes. I can think of one right now, my friend JBH. I guess it's when I still feel like I have something to lose if I show myself to be a person who may no longer be "likeable". If I demand too much, then that person will abandon me. Interesting.

What do you want? Need? Hmmmm....I hate hugely open questions like this..... I want AND need to integrate my head/heart discrepancies. I want a romantic relationship. I don't know if it counts as a need....but I really do want it. I need to get organized at home and work. And I need to feel perfectly fine and normal when I say "I cannot do it all". Right now, I say those words and then I silently start plotting "...but if I stay up til 2am....but if I come into the office at 5am.....but if I can just get this done and that....THEN I really COULD do it all!!"

What don't you want and need? I don't want or need anyone in my life who is not going to embrace my best interest. I don't want my addiction. Unfortunately, there are parts of me that still believe I need it. But I don't. I really, truly do not need it.

What do you like? Is it bad that I'm stumped by this question?? I like time with my daughter. I like blogging and reading others blogs. I like doing my Ebay business. I like movies. I like cooking. I like my grounded breathing and imagery. I like creating things.

What would feel good? It would feel good to be able to process and release all these stored up old emotions, namely anger. It would feel phenomenal to no longer have to live with panic, anxiety and the physical manifestations of them. It would feel good to be rid of my addictions and the "need" for it. It would feel good to be able to relax without guilt. It would feel good to be able to do my grounded breathing without getting a searing headache every time I begin to relax.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Borrowed from "My Dissonance"

If you have not checked out her blog, by all means, PLEASE DO! What an incredibly brave and emotional writer she is. I'm sharing, with her permission, some of the things she wrote in a recent post that really, REALLY spoke to me. I did pare down some of it but it's absolutely worth visiting her site to read the unedited version! I bolded the parts that hit me the hardest.

4. What were the three hardest obstacles to overcome?
Figuring out who I am was incredibly difficult, but figuring out that I was enough, as a human being, was even harder. For the longest time I felt and believed what I needed to, in order to adapt and thus survive within my environment. Due to this manner of developing my authentic self simply got very lost along the way. I was always trying to be enough, or to do enough in order to change the circumstances I was born into. I never realized that me - just me, with my OWN thoughts, beliefs, and feelings -- I'd ALWAYS been enough. All along there had never really been a need for me to have changed anything about myself. Finally I began to not just realize, but know in my heart, that nothing I could have ever been, or could have ever done would have changed, prevented, or stopped any of it.

Knowing that its okay for me to relax and let go was, and still can be, quite a challenge. Learning that I had to let go of any responsibility for the people and things around me, for which I have no actual control over, has been quite a challenge. To say that living in "survival mode" -- dreading whats behind every corner -- has worn me down is a vast understatement. So learning to not live in the delusion that life is a game, or an opponent of sorts, that I have to stay one step ahead of in order to not be destroyed, relieves me of a tremendous burden. Ironically the greatest thing that I ever learned was that I was doing it all wrong ... that there were other ways to perceive the world and the people around me.

Learning to have faith and trust in anything or anyone around me has been paramount to my healing. I used to feel that I couldn't depend on anyone for anything. And yet the only worth I thought I had in this world lay in the ability for other people to depend on me. We all need help sometimes. I wasn't less of a person for it. I wasn't weak. At the time I would have argued these truths but finally I let go of my fear of trusting others. I realized the world wasn't against me. And I realized that others could love me for me, rather than just for what I could do for them. With this I finally allowed myself the feeling of connectedness to the people and events around me. I'd always felt so much powerlessness and that the only way to survive in this world was to stay one step ahead of the game, always watching behind my back for the next crisis. I began to listen to my intuition and came to realize that there were certain instincts that I needed to tune into and trust -- and that those instincts were what was meant to guide me in my life. My wary and 'wired-for-the-next shoe that drops' lifestyle wasn't. I found I wasn't bound by or limited to the perspectives of the people whom had past negative or skewed ideas about me. They were actually wrong. I could instead permit myself to be deeply-connected to those who'd helped me when I felt I didn't deserve their effort, or when I'd been so sure that it couldn't be trusted.

What does forgiveness mean to you?For me, forgiving someone who has abused me in the past is a way of saying, "What you did to me isn't okay. I may never understand it, even though I've tried. I understand that you're broken and incredibly sick, but all the blame is on you despite your sickness and brokenness. But I'm not going to spend the rest of my life hating you for it. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life enraged. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life feeling sick whenever I hear your name or every time I think of you. You're not worth the heart attack or the ulcer. But I AM worth letting you go, along with all of this hate, rage, and sadness that you stir in me.

Okay...this is back to me commenting:

I could have just bolded that entire last paragraph about forgiveness. Honestly, forgiveness is something I have struggled with for decades. This is the first and only definition of it that I can actually accept and begin to feel like maybe I can do that. I've always felt like forgiving my abusers absolved them of what they did to me. I've known that it's about me, the benefit to me, for a while now....but I've still never heard it defined in a way that "sat right" in my heart. But this does. And it opens me up to begin to consider taking that step. I realize that I cling to this anger because it's the only connection I have to those who abused me. I guess part of me wants to remain connected. Once I let go of that.....then it's gone. There is no connection. And any hope of retribution or of their repentance is gone. I'm really stuck on that for some reason. Why? But I started to cry as I wrote it so I know it's striking a chord. I guess this is one of those cases of being afraid to let go of what is for fear of what will take it's place. Sometimes even when the familiar is harmful, it's still comforting. That's so f**ed up.

HOLY CRAP. I published this post and I went back to read it a minute later. I tend to publish, clear my head and then proofread . And I realized as I read this last thing I wrote about being afraid to forgive my abusers.....that is not entirely why I struggle with forgiveness. I don't forgive myself. I am determined to punish ME. Funny that is an idea that I'm not oblivious to....but I certainly do tuck it away tightly so I need not deal with it. Well, I am officially dealing with it. As of now.

Buying Peace of Mind

This sucks.

Some background for those who don't know my story: I was abused by family members in the house(s) I grew up in. I moved out when I got married. When I got divorced, I moved back there temporarily to financially regroup. The plan was 6 months to 1 year, tops, and then buy my own place. But then I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. The bio-father bolted and all my financial plans went to hell. When I was married, I moved into the house of my XDH and I hated, HATED & DESPISED that place. The years I lived there were torturous between an abusive marriage and feeling like a servant in someone elses home. Moving back to my childhood home, although my brother and father were no longer there, was a difficult decision but the best choice in the big picture. And then I got stuck there for 3 1/2 long years, in a house of horrors, walking daily the halls of my nightmares. "Home" was an elusive concept indeed. I never felt peace. I never felt relaxed. I never felt at home. I was surrounded by memories, by misery, by a toxic black sludge of wretchedness and agony. Until I moved this past May. I bought my very own home and oh how it feels like home! Warm. Welcoming. Cozy. Peaceful. SAFE. Those first few weeks there, I slept more deeply than I had in years. And so did my DD, despite the fact that with the move, she had a twin bed and her own room...both firsts. I think she sensed my peace and followed suit. Bliss.

I don't think I blogged about this but back in the fall, there was a window pushed in at my house and evidence of someone having entered in my home. Nothing was taken which, frankly, makes it worse for me. I'd rather think someone was there to steal something than just looking around or, worse, hiding in the house to harm me or my DD. I had my locks changed. I got an estimate for an alarm but then I was away for a while and, with no other incidents, my fear began to subside.

No more. My house has double decks, one off the LR and one off my BR, each of them accessible through sliding glass doors. Last night I was in my living room and I heard banging on the deck. It was very windy so I assumed that to be the cause of the noise but after it happened several times, I turned on the light and opened the blinds. Well....the glass door was unlocked. So I shut and locked it then ran upstairs.....where I found the bedroom glass door ALSO unlocked. Let me assure you.....I am FASTIDIOUS about keeping my doors locked. There is no way on earth that I left both of these doors unlocked without realizing it.

I called my contractor because he has the key to my house. No, he hadn't been there. I called my friend who stayed with me over New Years. No, she hadn't opened the doors. Now, I do have metal rods in the door tracks so they won't open more than a few inches. I don't think someone could get in. But needless to say my mind was running rampant last night and with every creak and bump I heard, I was in a state of complete anxiety. I slept with both of my phones, 2 pairs of scissors and a billy club in my pillowcase. I brought my daughter into my bed because all of a sudden her bedroom seemed miles away from mine and my ability to protect her felt profoundly compromised. She slept fine. I think I slept for about 45 minutes all night.

So the nice year end bonus that was going to pay off a few small items and then buy me a flat screen LCD TV for my bedroom is now being used to install an alarm system. I'm enraged that some punk ass thief or vandal can strip me of my peace and security with such utter disregard. God damn them. I detest living in fear and I've had enough of it. This was my time for peace in my home, in my life.......and I'm livid that I now have to buy it back.

Monumental, for me.

I did something monumental at work today. As the title of my blog suggests, I've tried so hard to maintain the appearance of perfection. The together woman....unphazed, do-it-all, uber-organized, never bats an eye at taking on more work or a challenge. Well this morning, I went to my boss and told him I'm drowning right now. I proposed some workflow changes to help alleviate my load. And I sent an email to everyone in my office basically recapping what I know they are waiting for from me and telling them when I will have time to complete it. This was HUGE for me. I have never admitted to a person of authority that I was in over my head. I felt it made me a failure. Today, it was great. I'm human and I admitted that. I set some boundaries, gave people realistic expectations of me and I took care of ME for a change. My boss thoroughly respected what I said, acknowledged that he knows I do alot of work for the office and have numerous big projects all coming to fruition at once. He was happy to rearrange things in order to help me out. How nice!

And now....back to work!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Language of Letting Go

This is a fantastic book by Melody Beattie (CoDependent No More) written as a daily meditation & reflection journal. I'm going to work more closely with it this year. Last year I started it in Sept and used it sporadically. I will hereby refer to it as TLOLG & will post about any entry that strikes me as helpful. Today's, of course, is about the new year.

From the book:
Make New Years goals. Dig within and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come. Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction. We aren't controlling others with our goals - we are trying to give direction to our life.

Here are the questions asked in the book and I'm going to attempt to give each one some thought, even though I've already done my New years goals. I feel like some of these questions ask kindof the same things so I'm just going to answer them as I interpret them.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year?
*I would like to stop feeling the stress induced pains and ailments I'm plagued with nearly every day from migraines to chest pain and stiff joints. I don't understand why they continue even when I feel relaxed.

What would you like to accomplish?
*I want to recover from my addiction.
*I'd like to pay off my credit card
*I'd like to find a babysitter for DD

What good would you like to attract into your life?
*Somehow I can only interpret this question as relating to other people in my world. So..I'd love to make a new friend or two. And I'd like to be ready to begin a new romantic relationship.

What areas of growth would you like to have happen to you?
*I'd like to be able to process my parent issues. With my father, I'd like to grieve the death of my expectations for him and let them go. With my mother, I'd like to become comfortably established in my new "dance" with her.
*I'd like to be able to take care of my own needs in all situations without guilt and without having to think it through and rationalize it to death.

What character defects would you like to have removed?
Addiction, people-pleasing, guilt

What would you like to attain?
PEACE!! Peace with myself....the ability to relax as a human being as opposed to feeling the need to constantly function as a "human doing".

Where would you like to go?
I plan to return to my regular vacation spot in NH and don't have a desire to really go anywhere else.

What would you like to have happen in friendship and love?
I kindof answered this one already. I'd really like to meet a new man and establish a healthy relationship in 2008.

What would you like to have happen in your family life?
I'd like to survive age 3 with my DD!

What problems would you like to solve?
The only thing I can think of here are my health issues. I have a few problems there that will be solved/reversed when I control my addiction.

What decisions would you like to make?
*I would like to decide on a school for my DD to attend. It's still 1 1/2 years away but I'm considering private school which requires advance application.

What would you like to happen in your career?
I'm definitely going to make it a priority to get caught up and stay that way. Unfortunately that means spending less time online doing personal I'm doing now as I write this. But I've really allowed myself to get behind and disorganized. It's not a feeling I enjoy and I'm not 100% proud of the job I've been doing. And I need to stop coming in late.

What would you like to see happen around you?
I don't think I really understand this question. But I'd sure like to see my neighbors be more friendly....does that count as something around me?

Write it all down as an affirmation of you, your life and your ability to choose. Then let it go. The new year stands before us like a chapter in a book waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting our goals.