Monday, March 31, 2008

21 Days Binge Free

I made it through my initial challenge to myself to go 21 days without binge eating. Not only am I 21 days binge free, I'm also 21 days Carb-free. Some moments are easier than others. In fact, I'd say it's harder now than it was the first week. Even though I've completed my initial goal, I'm not rewarding myself just yet. I'm pushing it out for another 9 days to get to 30. Once I get to 30, then I think I'll treat myself to a manicure. Or some other nice, self-indulgent and non-practical thing.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Had a very symbolic dream last night. I dreamt that I stopped at a store with my DD to pick something up quickly and when I came back out, my car had been stolen. I looked around for it but could not find it. I called the police to report it stolen and they did not come out to take a report. I was waiting and waiting. I kept talking to different people about it and everyone empathized but no one would help me. At this point, DD was no longer in the dream. I walked down the road to a gas station and was trying again to get someone to help me. I called the police again but no one answered. I ended up walking home alone on a dark wooded road feeling nervous and hiding from other cars when they passed by.

Whoever is into dream interpretation will know that a car generally symbolizes the "self" or ego. So a stolen car suggests being stripped of your identity. And naturally the part about no one helping me or responding to me in any meaningful way is an obvious commentary on my youth. About my parents &/or other adults not intervening for me. I'm interested in T's take (or anyone reading) as to the significance of the timing of this dream. I've just done father work, written a letter of farewell to my dreams of having the father I desired. I'm starting on some inner child work. So, I'm wondering what part of my identity I feel I'm losing right now. Or if it's less specific than that and just speaks to the good work I'm doing in T right now and my general progress which makes me less who I used to be and brings me closer to who I'm supposed to be.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

An Interesting Observation

I had T this morning. I read her my posts, Childhood of my Dreams and Dear Daddy. It was rough. Rough to revisit both of those posts. Rough to read them aloud. I let myself cry more than I ever have in front of her. I had to work very hard to stay in the moment and allow the feelings to flow. My mind was all over the place trying to grasp onto another subject. In fact, after I was done reading the first part, my T had to "shush" me to stop me from minimizing what I'd written. It's my nature to start joking around immediately after.

She did say I'd opened the door to good grieving work. The remainder of this work is just being open to those feelings of loss and grief whenever they arise. I think I can do that. Since I wrote those posts, there have been a couple times I've allowed mysef to be in touch with the mourning again. I really do feel like someone in my life has died and I imagine it will linger for a while.

T asked me about how I feel about my IC. I told her what I said here about how I am not sure how I feel about it.....I'm not sure I believe in it. I know it could well be a Catch 22. I don't believe because I can't connect but maybe I can't connect because I don't believe. She made a very interesting observation which was what prompted her question. She noted that my "Dear Daddy" letter (the goodbye letter) was written from this present day perspective and spoke nothing of saying goodbye to what I didn't have as a child. Not that it was "right or wrong". She just said it was noteworthy. I take that to mean I have IC work coming! I don't know if I need to make a conscious decision to believe in IC work and just try to let down the guard to attempt the work. But I think that will likely be my focus in the days to come.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Inner Child Work

As I think of myself as a child, these are the images that resonate with me. Pretty easy to see the theme.

What do these images say to me?

Shame. Wanting to disappear. Sadness. Loneliness. Confusion. Isolation. Fear. Denial. Pain. Trapped. Darkness. Self-Protection. Anguish. Silence. Secrets.

Inner Child work is something that has escaped me for the entire journey of my process to date. I remember doing an exercise when I was in a SA Group Therapy. I had to write a letter to my IC. I attacked it in an intellectual way. I wrote what I thought I was supposed to. Certainly better than admitting I was not ready for that step. They told me that was the next step in the checklist, dammit, I was going to get it done! I wrote and re-wrote my "script". I "performed" it in the group, giving appropriate pauses and emotion. It was meaningless to me.
Still today, IC work doesn't make alot of sense to me. I struggle sometimes with believing that the way I am currently really stems from all that happened so long ago. I struggle with the belief that there is really a child version of myself within me. And that I can communicate with her. I've never been able to before. Which, of course, could be for a multitude of reasons.
I thought, perhaps, as a bridge to doing some IC work, I would think about how I'd treat a young girl if I found her in the way I imagine my inner child must be. I imagine I'd find her huddled, stone silent, not making eye contact. She is barely breathing and, if she's crying, I can't tell because she's working so hard to not exist in this moment. Clutching her favorite doll, Doris, and a worn green blanket. Face covered, trembling, wondering how to make herself invisible. Uncomfortable, terrified, unable to be touched or consoled. Confused, ashamed, feeling wrong and just wanting to be left alone. Wanting to return home. Because she's used to the status quo at home. It may not be ideal but she knows how to navigate it. All of this.....this is unfamiliar and it's overwhelmingly threatening.
What would I say to this girl? I'd speak softly, slowly and gently. I'd introduce myself. I'd treat her with the utmost care, compassion and patience. I'd recognize her unspeakable fear and pain. I would ache inside for what she must be feeling and I'd long to find the words to coax her out of her shell so I could help her. I'd ask her if I could get her anything. I'd ask her if she knew where she was, how she got here. I'd assure her that she could trust me and I'm here to make her safe. I'd be sure she understood that she was under no pressure to talk to me until she was ready. That she's not in trouble; she did not do anything wrong. But that I'm here. And I care about her even though I barely know her. At this moment in time, she is the focus of my world and I will move mountains to make her safe and secure. She can trust me. I won't hurt her. I will do my best to understand her, to listen to her at any time she feels so inclined to open up to me and to explain to her what is happening and why. I will recognize that her small world has been flipped upside down and I would endlessly reassure her that everything will be alright now. That I am a friend she can trust and I will see her through to the very end; until she is content, healed, safe....and until she no longer needs my help to be free from the prison of her abuse. And I'd wait for her to feel the sincerity of my words and open some communication.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Building Blocks

I've been really rolling lately....addressing alot of big issues. These father issues are huge. Being in touch with my feelings. Finding a comfortable place with my mother. I'm even working on an Inner Child post. Therapy has been going fantastic. I've made progress in things I don't even realize until I see someone else bring them up and realize....hey, I don't do that anymore! So why, in the midst of feeling a sense of accomplishment in all of this, does the self-doubt return to say:

"hey.....hey, maybe you're not really doing as well as you think you are...."

"maybe you are fooling yourself"

"these things that have eluded you for years can't possibly just come so easily now"

"you're faking your way through this and you don't even know it"

"this isn't over"

"you're making a fool of yourself"

"others are reading your blog and laughing at you for thinking you've got it right"
"you're in denial.....again"

I detest that critical inner voice. The one who plays old messages. I can normally cut it off at the pass immediately now with a single word to myself. "Unproductive!" But what about when I'm not 100% sure that is who is doing the talking? I mean.....I've pushed through alot of Core issues lately and it was fairly "easy" (relatively speaking). I've been known to fool myself in the past by rushing through an unpleasant topic, trying to convince myself I'm done with it and over it. How do I know I'm not doing it again? I'm not sure. How do I know that I really "got it" this time?

I hate feeling like this is a neverending process. That every day/month/year brings another potential layer of issues to the surface. I mean....did ONE letter and ONE good soul-cleansing cry rid me of 38 years of father issues??? Of course not. I guess it's been one step at a time, building blocks if you will.... From a pile of mish-mosh, one is stacked on top of another, on top of another, on top of another until finally there is only a tower of blocks and no more mish-mosh on the floor. I sure wish I could see my mish-mosh pile so I knew how many more blocks I need to deal with!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Heard the best song

In my half awake haze this morning, I heard this song on the radio alarm clock. Never heard it before and, thankfully, the DJ said what it was. "In My Arms" by Plumb. I want to dedicate this song to my baby, forever! I wish every child could be guaranteed this promise.

Your baby blues
So full of wonder
Your Curly Que's
Your contagious smile
And as I watch
You start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight
Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Story books
Are full of fairy-tales
Of kings and queens
And the bluest skies
My heart is torn just in knowing
You'll someday see
The truth for lies
When the
Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
Cause you are never all alone
Cause I will always
Always love you

Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms
In my arms

Dear Father,

aka the DNA Donor I called "Dad",

As far as I'm concerned, this will be my final letter to you. In a recent exercise, I constructed the father of my dreams and I said goodbye to him. I believe that holding onto the desire for that father to someday be part of my life is what has kept me attempting to reach out to you. Hoping that one word I say would suddenly change everything. Hoping to change your mind and motivating you to be the father I needed.

This is a note I took in a T session some time ago and it's amazing how it continues to resurface in my life: Inherent in all of what I said to T is this deep down belief that [person in question] is capable of what I want from him/her and somehow holding it back from me. These are my illusions. That I'm not what I need to be in order to get from her/him what I want. That I need to somehow find the key to unlock her/him into being what I need. It's a carry over from the childhood abuse that taught me to assume responsibility. It can't be her/him....s/he is my parent/friend/significant other. IT MUST BE ME. This is something I need to let go of. I need to stop believing s/he is capable of more than what s/he is giving me because that is where I'm getting caught up and being disappointed.

Isn't that something.....this is the first time I've put that together to realize I do it with you and not just with Mom. But that was the whole point of this exercise. And it was the whole reason I've been afraid to just shut the door on my relationship with you. To stop trying. It was the dreaded "what-if?" What if one more letter makes all the difference? Because I held onto hope that I would someday get the timing just right, reach out to you at a receptive moment and say just the right magical words to transform your heart into being the caring, loving father you should have been. Well, fuck that.

You are who you are, who you have always been as long as I've known you. You're abusive, childish, immature, hurtful, hateful, prejudice, condescending, snide, cold hearted, selfish, closed off, sarcastic, controlling, unloving. Your arrogance and pompous attitude thinly veil your true personality which is broken, scared, insecure and damaged. I'm not going to empathize with that to my own detriment anymore. Things happened to you. Things happened to me, too. But I didn't end up like you. Because I took responsibility for my own life and made it better. You live in your own world and you can stay there. You can die, waste away and decompose there. Bastard.

You have robbed me of enough. I am SO DONE waiting for the day you realize what you've lost. I have lost enough to you. And I take back any energy I ever used to spend wishing on you to be who I needed. You are not that man. You never were that man. You are incapable of ever being that man. You're nothing but a horrid shell of a human being, rotting from the inside out. A complete waste of space. You are not worth my time and my energy. I am free from you. You cannot touch me, cannot hurt me ever again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Childhood of my Reality

I had a really good cry last night after I posted the Dear Daddy letter. I typed most of it with my eyes shut and tried not to go back and correct much more than typos. I noticed alot of run on sentences which I actually thought was good.....the thoughts were flowing very quickly. I feel like "my Dad" has died. And I suppose that was the entire point of the letter. Obviously, I don't know what will really happen when my bio-father dies but I have this feeling of peace right now that when he does die, I will have already grieved for what I never got from him. And it will be far less traumatic. I realize he is nothing but a shell, a figure of my past. A DNA donor. I don't have to try to reach out to him again because I accept that who he is, and who I want him to be, are two completely different people. I will continue to work on mourning that loss whenever I feel it come up.

The father of my reality is a sick, damaged, dark, depressed man. I hate remembering or admitting that we had some good times together but we did. I remember when our dog had 5 puppies, playing with him and the puppies. I can see him sitting on the ground with the puppies running and jumping all over him.
Times we had company over. He was a totally different man in front of other people. I wouldn't have minded that guy as my Dad. He was pretty damn charming.
The letter he wrote me on my 16th birthday telling me that I would always be his little girl, his "babe", and the necklace he gave me with it. If only his actions had ever once backed up those words.....

More prevalent are the memories like these:
"I liked you fine til you started talking"
When I broke my collarbone and he grabbed me by the arm, flinging me around, and proclaimed it was not broken.
His contribution to raising me when he told me my breath stunk and tried to teach me how to use Listerine at 10 years old.
Threatening to cut off my hair if I didn't stop with a nervous head-shaking twitch
Humiliating me in front of my friends
Throwing me down the stairs b/c I left a plate on the counter
Ruining holidays with his temper, sarcasm and silent brooding
Walking on eggshells around him at all times
Him drop kicking my cat off the back porch because she was meowing to go out
The inane morning competitions to get into the bathroom
Of course, the way he reacted to the abuse by yelling at me and forcing me to admit it was a lie
His hateful accusations of my being a whore

I'm sure I could go on and on with these but there really is no point. I searched online for an image to sum up the way I feel about him and his influence on my childhood and life but I could not find one. So, with the very patient cooperation of my DD, I made this one which says it all:

I give myself permission to grieve this loss. I wanted his love. Truthfully, I believe he did love me but only in his limited, conditional and warped definition of love. Nothing like the ways I needed it. But I don't need him or his love anymore. I have made it 38 years without it. And you know, I've turned out pretty damn good. And I can take the credit for that.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dear Daddy,

(If you've not been following along the last few posts, this is a letter to my fictional father. The Dad I've longed for all my life who I sortof created in the last post. Brought him "to life" so I could bid him farewell.)

Dear Daddy,
Where have you gone? Why have you left me? I miss you so much and I need you to just come and wrap your arms around me and tell me that you love me and that everything is alright. To remind me that I'm strong and that the bad memories don't have to overshadow everything that is good. I crave your voice and your sense of humor. I want your strong arms to wrap around me in shelter and support. I miss your caring advice, even when it's just silence because you know I already realize the right answer. You were so wise that way and I love that you allow me the freedom to be myself, always knowing I need not be more than that to make you proud. I miss our special times and I wish I had a hundred picture books and memory albums full of all of them. I miss your influence in DDs life and I know she would adore you the same way that I did and still do. I just need to hear you say that you wanted me and you cherished me and that you believe I was the biggest gift ever bestowed on you. That you never meant to leave me here alone. I want to be able to call you late at night and share with you the silly tidbits of the day because I know they will make your day better as well. I want to debate politics with you and exchange outlandish news stories. I want to have a memory bank of your favorite recipes and spend all day preparing them with DD because Grandpa is coming over and it's one of our favorite things to do. Where have you gone?? And don't you know how much I needed you?? Needed you to be the father you were supposed to be to me? Don't you know that your job to nurture me never ends even though I am grown up? It's not fair of you to leave me. It's not fair that I don't have you. Just because I'm not a little girl doesn' t mean that I don't need my daddy and I wasn't ready for you to leave me. I wasn't ready to let you go but I can see now that you are never returning and it pains me to the depths of my heart to say goodbye to you Daddy. You are my friend, my mentor, my helping hand and my crying shoulder. I don't know what to do without you but I release you because I know we will not see each other in this lifetime. It feels so wrong to let you go. I think of you, I miss you. I love you and I remember you with all my heart. Always.
Love, K.

The Childhood of my Dreams

If you read my prior post, you know that my T homework was to write a letter to my "Daddy", not my real father but rather the fictional Daddy that I wish I'd had. A few hours before I went to T last night, I was feeling the desire to write a letter to my inner child. IC work is something I've struggled with and so I've decided to approach that topic differently as well. Since I shy away from IC work out of the inability to connect with myself as that inner child, I figured....let me try to just connect to *a* wounded child, not thinking of her as myself per se. Maybe that will help me break through.

So combining my own project with my T homework, I've decided to conjure not only the father of my dreams but also the little girl, the "me" of my dreams. And then I can write to both of them and hopefully process some mourning/grieving work. The following are some random images that captured my attention and I'm going to start building my fictional, longed for, father/daughter relationship here.

My Daddy is my hero. I look up to him more than anyone else in my life. He makes me feel loved, special, safe. I know I can do no wrong in his eyes. He looks at me with such pure, shameless adoration. He lets me jump all over him. He answers every one of my questions. I run to him unabashedly when I want to play or snuggle, when I want to have my fears calmed and when I want to play make believe. I love the feel of his scruffy face and the way he smells like soap. We do eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses. We tickle and giggle.

I feel safe even when we're in unfamiliar places. Out here in the open, I know that nothing can hurt me while I explore. I am with someone who loves me and I know nothing of fear or pain. I have no reason for anything less than implicit trust. I am free. I am happy and curious. My Daddy is unendingly patient with me and we both laugh hysterically as we get soaked playing in the water.

I feel on top of the world up here on the pedestal of his shoulders. I feel his beaming delight as he introduces me proudly as his little princess. Just as he treats me; like his princess. A precious treasure. I am the most important person in his world. He makes sure I can see the if this entire event were staged only for me and no one else matters. He never shushes me when I ask questions; he is focused on what I'm saying and doing. His broad grin tells me there is nothing more important in this world than our special father/daughter time.

I know no fear. I have no concept that I'm not safe or could possibly get hurt. I'm with my Dad and I trust him implicitly to teach me and to guide me. I don't worry about falling because I know he will not let it happen. We are perfectly communicating, in tune with one another, as he patiently and slowly talks me through my little stunt! Without pressure or rushing, we make it to the other side where he celebrates my bravery and success.

At the end of a long day of playing and learning, I want to collapse into my favorite snuggly spot. I hear his heart beating beneath my ear, feel him exhaling gently over my forehead and all is right by me. I tuck my hand into his sleeve while I sleep. I can feel the unconditional love of my family surrounding me in our home and I've not a care in the world.

I have goals and thoughts and dreams for my future. A future as bright as the sun and as broad as the open horizon. I breathe deeply, relaxed and secure. I know I can share my dreams with my Daddy and he will listen intently, encourage me to tell him more. He will not judge or mock. He tells me he will do all he can to help me accomplish all I hope to. I have hope. I have love. I have serenity and safety. I am happy. I am a child, with child experiences, child knowledge, child concerns and unrestrained child joy. Every day is an adventure I look forward to because my life is content.

As I get older and am no longer a little girl, our relationship matures and grows. We share a special bond and I never hesitate to talk to my Dad about what is on my mind. He's never too busy for me. He works hard but his family comes first. He has time for me no matter what and he always wants to hear what is on my mind. He gives me an ear and guidance. He helps me build the tools of self confidence and esteem. He teaches me that everything I need to succeed in this world is already inside of me. He tells me he believes in me and that he's proud of me. He's one of those obnoxious Dads who sit in the front row for every school performance, camera flashing and telling nearby people "That's MY daughter!". He's the "cool" Dad who all my friends wish for. He never misses my birthday and he plans special vacations for us as a family, being sure to include little surprises that each person in the family will really love. He makes sure we balance work and play. He helps me with my homework because he wants to be involved. When I make a mistake, he never criticizes. He disciplines with love, always my best interest at the heart of it. He never yells at me, never threatens me, never intimidates me. He takes me seriously with my teenage crises because he knows they are the biggest things in my innocent world. He goes with me to college visits and interviews. He picks up a car decal from every single one we visit so that he can put it on his car the very second I decide where to go. He oozes pride for his once little girl who has flourished into a strong, confident young woman. He attends school conferences, parents weekends, graduations. He gives me away at my wedding and openly weeps at his baby all grown up. He gives one of those father toasts that leaves not a dry eye in the house. He becomes a doting grandfather with a wallet bursting with photos of his latest pride and joy. Every passerby is an unsuspecting target for tales of his granddaughter and how she is the purest angel this world has least, since her mother was a baby.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

WooHoo, T Update & Father issues

I'm 10 days binge free. WOO-HOO!!!

10 days into my 21 day challenge. My T said to refer to it as 10 days abstinent. Not sure I know the difference. But anyway.....It was actually a little tough tonight. Not so much a desire to binge but I did want to eat! I'm having company for dinner tomorrow and I was prepping alot of GOOD food tonight!!! But I made it. No picking. And I feel great. Note to self when binging becomes a temptation again: after less than a week, I have marked inprovements in energy, mental clarity, body aches, complexion, bloating and my feelings towards myself. I'm able to look in the mirror again. I feel strong and motivated. I even got on the scale for the first time the other day. I'm not doing this for weight loss right now. I'm doing it to kick the food addiction. But I do want to lose weight again as well. I haven't been on the scale in months. I've been avoiding it. I had a number in my head where I thought I would be. I was 25 pounds under that number, which was awesome! I'm not sure where I was, weight-wise, when I stopped binging but I'm certain I've lost some in these past 10 days. I can tell just by looking at myself. Although that's not the most reliable measure as I'm fairly certain I suffer from a MILD case of BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder). I can see myself, physically, completely differently from one minute to the next depending on how I'm feeling about myself emotionally. It's like walking through funhouse mirrors...I'm never quite sure how the reflection will appear to me.

On my way home tonight, I was thinking about a conversation I had with my friend last night. She ran into her XBF and she was upset that she felt like she still loved him and wasn't over him yet. I reminded her that she was wrapping up a bunch of old issues at the same time as dealing with the breakup. It got me to thinking about my last breakup with XBF and why it has taken me so long to get over him. Comparing that to my XDH....I felt like I was over him VERY quickly. I know my relationships have largely reflected my "father issues". XDH represented the violent, abusive and demeaning side of my father. I'm all set with that, thanks. That is why I had no trouble walking away from him. XBF, on the other hand, is tied up in the rejection issues...why wasn't I enough to make you love me? to keep your promises? why did you abandon me? The emotional crap.

While the agenda for T tonight was father issues, I had to start by telling T about my 10 days and telling her about what I've done differently. I prefaced by saying I hoped it wasn't ridiculous what I'd done...but that I'd given a name and a face to my addiction. She gasped....said it wasn't ridiculous at all. And she hugged me. She said this was a HUGE step because what I did was to take the addiction OUT of myself and put it elsewhere, giving it a tangible identity that I could fight, reason against and view differently. I'm excited that this step came so naturally to me. I almost hate to be optimistic so early in the process but I'm encouraged that I'm feeling differently about it right now. Honestly, I think this is the longest I've been "sober" in 2 years.

Okay, so we moved onto father issues from an old T Homework assignment. We agreed that there is really no point of my trying to talk to my father again. I really have said all I can say to him. We discussed the idea of forgiveness and what it means to me. I came down to expressing that it means a release of the memories, thoughts and pain that hold me hostage. I said I understand that in my brain but it just doesn't really translate. The question I posed at the end of my homework was "what do I gain by holding this pain so tightly to my heart?" As T began to speak to this, I was FLOODED with emotion and burst into tears. I realized that this pain is ALL I HAVE of my father. And once I let it go, I have NO father. And no hope of things ever becoming different. It's that last thread of hope. That blasted unrealistic shred of HOPE that the piece of damaged, demented, sick, twisted, cold-hearted crap I called "Dad" could actually turn into a decent person and try to make it all up to me. This pain is our only connection. And I don't know how to release that without falling apart.

I guess the answer is that I actually need to allow myself to fall apart. I have to let those emotions come through me to let them go. So here is my T Homework. I have to write a letter. A letter, not to my real father but a letter to the Daddy I wanted. And then I have to grieve that Daddy. I'm going to work on that this weekend. I'm actually very much looking forward to doing it even though I know it's going to be extremely emotional. But I've longed for so many years to be able to move past this stuff with my father and never understood how. This sat just right with me and I really feel this will be monumental in moving me in the right direction.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

One of My Worst Memories

***Possible Trigger Warning***
While reading many submissions on the Blog Carnival last night, I was overcome with alot of thoughts, feelings and memories. I was inspired, touched and stirred. For some reason, the following memory was brought to the surface. It's something I've never told the whole story of. I've referenced it flippantly. I am feeling compelled to put it to "paper" (or screen, as the case may be!) and letting it loose.

There is a tremendous amount of shame tied into this whole situation that I allowed. This was around 1988. I was 19 years old. I was lost beyond lost and as numb as if I were drowning in a pool of novocaine. I was devoid of self worth, famished for love although I had no idea what healthy love looked like. I was on an auto-pilot mission of self destruction and didn't even know it.

It all started with a phone call from a stranger. His name was Donny. He called me because, he said, he got my number from the stall of a men's room in a diner. (I am positively cringing as I write this) A "normal" person would have been mortified, hung up the phone immediately in complete indignation. Me? It was like I'd achieved stardom! I was "famous" and being written about in public places for my, errr, "skills." So naturally, after a few hours on the phone, we made plans to meet the next day. Did I mention he was fresh out of drug rehab?? Yeah, well.... So I went to his apartment the next day where I proceeded to sleep with him. We hung out a few more times. In all honesty, he seemed to be a slightly decent guy trying to turn his life around.

I had an office job during the day and worked a second job at the mall at night. I was at that night job when Donny and a group of his friends stopped by. A few days later, one of the friends that was with him stopped by my night job by himself. Mike. You knew just looking at him that he was trouble. Well, at least a person with their eyes open would know it. All I saw were these piercing blue eyes and someone who told me I was special. *Swoon* So Mike and I started hanging out. By hanging out, I mean: getting drunk in his crappy apartment in a seedy, dangerous downtown location. Drunk off stuff we bought from bootleggers who sold curiously bottled concoctions from their house windows in the middle of the night. Or him sending me into abandoned buildings to buy 8-balls of crack for him. With my money, naturally. Driving around to places where people routinely get shot. In my car. With him driving. Drunk or high. There was the time he tried to steal my car. That was fun. And when he did steal my jewelry right off me. Did I stop seeing him? Nope. I thought I could "rescue" him if I just gave him more of me. And there was the time he had all his friends over. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what kind of "friends" drug addicts have.

We were partying, drinking with his group of 4 friends. I hadn't had that much to drink but considering you never really know what you're drinking, I guess it was relative. I was very out of it. Mike tried to get me high. I never did use drugs much to his chagrin. I remember him putting some cocaine in his mouth and then kissing me. I suppose he hoped it would get me high? But all it did was numb my mouth. We headed off to the bedroom while his friends watched TV. He said it would be so hot if he could tie me up. Never one to refuse a request of a man, I said sure. So he did. And we had sex. When he was done, he had a cigarette on the edge of the bed as I remained tied up. I did ask him to untie me and he didn't even acknowledge me. He left the room. (As I'm writing this, I feel on the verge of a panic attack. Or vomiting. I need to break for a minute.)

Okay. Apparently he made a business transaction in the other room and sold me to his friends for drug money. Three of the four came in and had their way with me. I so barely remember any of it. I know I did not protest. I don't believe I made a peep. From how I feel when I think about it and how little I recall (thankfully), I'm certain I was largely dissociated. I numbed for survival. I'm not so numb to it when I think about the facts of it now even though the details are unknown. Let's face it....I don't need to know the details to know what happened. I do remember the last guy, Joe. I'd met him before. He was not a drug user from what I could tell and he'd casually warned me about Mike in the past. He'd also expressed a desire to date me. When he came in, he tried to talk to me and kiss me. He ended up untying me and helping me get dressed and get back to my car.

For whatever reason, a few days later, I decided that I needed to get my jewelry back from Mike. I remember giving my friend "J" Mikes address & phone number with explicit instructions to call the police if I didn't call her in a set time period. Why I felt so driven to recover my jewelry despite an obvious fear for my life is beyond me. Maybe it was some sort of declaration to take something back for myself. I don't know. In any case, I went to his apartment to ask for my jewelry (as if it hadn't been pawned 5 seconds after he ripped it off me...) and he pulled a knife on me. I fled. After that, he continued to call me. I'm sure he was pissed to lose his cash cow and slut. I didn't take his calls. Not long after I stopped answering his calls, he started stalking me. He would show up at the mall and just walk by my store again and again. I had to have security walk me to my car every night. One night I was coming home and he was standing at the top of my street, in a shooter's stance, with his hands held together as if they were a gun and he was pretending to shoot me over and over. Actually that happened twice and the second time happened to be the first day my parents were away on a week long vacation and I was home alone. I called the police and of course they were unable to do anything since he never touched me or made a specific threat. They did say they would patrol the area regularly. I don't know what ever happened but I never saw him again after that.

Years later I ran into Joe and he told me that Mike was killed in a drug deal. Good riddance, frankly. But when I think of the time I spent with him, the atrocities I allowed without second thought....when I think how easily that could have been ME killed in a drug deal. When I think of all the unprotected sex I had with him and other drug addicts...... The fact that I'm not dead from one cause or another is utterly shocking. I didn't learn my lesson after that. I continued to meet strangers, date drug addicts and have unprotected sex. It took several more years before I started to think perhaps I was on the wrong path. Just perhaps.... I have such a difficult time connecting to those memories as being part of ME and MY past. I feel like I'm watching a movie. Telling this story made me feel more connected which I guess is good? I want to grieve for that part of me that was so incredibly broken. I just ache inside that I thought I was no better than that. That I felt lucky to have his attention; proud to call him my boyfriend because it validated me as lovable. My family should be ashamed of themselves for the messages they sent me. I went out into the world believing every negative piece of garbage that was ever said or even insinuated about me and I paid for it over and over. And over. And over. And over. Fucking Bastards.

Mom, Health & 21 Days: Updates

Mom Update: I did send her an email to be sure she was alright after the other night at my house. She wrote back in an email entitled "If you're okay, I'll be okay" Blech. Doormat. I ended up talking to her on the phone the following day. We talked a little more about it and I basically told her she needs to assert control of the situation while respecting DD's reasonable boundaries. Mom went on to talk about how bad she felt when DD shut herself in a closet so Mom continued to try to coax her out. I told her to think about what she was saying in light of all I'd told her. (Silence) She didn't get it. I reminded her that DD needs space sometimes and if she's shutting herself in a closet to be alone, her more subtle requests for privacy have been ignored. I told Mom that her feeling bad about DD wanting to be alone is HER OWN issue and she needs to put that into perspective and know that DD is simply TRYING to take care of her own needs but my Mother is blatantly ignoring her and doing the worst thing possible. I reiterated a few times how DD is so much like me. I lightheartedly said "You've done this before!!" to which my mother answered "Well, you see how well I did it the first time around!" I told her this was her chance to learn from her mistakes. You know, there are times I really want to hug my Mom and empathize with her for a pretty crappy past. And I'm sad for her that she's not able to live a full life based in reality. If I can separate for a minute about the ways that it's impacted me, I just might give her that hug after all. There are parts of her I really love and admire. There are parts of her I really loathe and despise. It's so hard to balance the whole thing out.

Health: Went to the Dr again yesterday to be basically diagnosed as Viral Bronchitis. I'm on double steroids (one oral, one inhaled) as well as finishing out the prior meds she prescribed (anti biotics & inhaler). I don't feel horrible but I sound it. Undecided about my ability of singing at church tomorrow AM.

21 Days: I'm 75% of the way through day 6 and feeling great. No cravings, no real desire to binge. I must say that I've been MUCH more easily irritated and assume this is the cause. But I'm not sure. I have more energy. My joints feel better. I just feel better all over. Take THAT, "VOMA", and shove it!!!!! Mwaaahahahahahahahahahaaa!!!

Be sure to check this out!!

If you have not already done so, be sure to check out Enola's blog for this month's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, located here. Great submissions by all and excellent hosting!! :o)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I need advice!!

First, good for me because I'm 3 days into my 21 day challenge and feeling strong! 3 down, 18 to go. And I know I can do this!!

Second, good for me because I did talk to my mother. I could tell DD was starting to get to the point of being fed-up with my mother. I just held back, responding to DD in appropriate ways based on her actions. My mother was still "over-pursuing". DD walked away from her, came over to me and said "I don't want to talk to Gramma." (BTW, I gave DD MASSIVE praise for using her big-girl words and making this statement! I'm SO proud of her for stating her needs!!!) I asked her if she needed some space and she said yes. I suggested she go upstairs and come back when she was ready to play some more. My mother looked pretty upset and I said "She's just like me....she needs her space sometimes." I explained my theory of my mothers over-pursuing my DD. She looked so rejected. I told her to think of it like a cat who appears to be having fun and then suddenly it claws or bites you because it's been overstimulated. My mother did the "tail between the legs" thing. "Well if you think I shouldn't come over anymore....." I cut her off and said "DD enjoys seeing you. You just need to learn to read her cues better and respect her space when she wants it." I gave her some other suggestions. I told her not to let DD run the show. My mother says "She does" I said "With you, I know she does. SHE knows she does. YOU are the grown up. You need to control the situation."

I think I probably lost an opportunity to make it a more meaningful conversation but I was nervous and not thinking entirely clearly. When she was leaving, she did the passive thing: "Well, call me.....sometime....." It was VERY difficult for me not to "take care" of her. I wanted to make sure she was alright. I wanted to assure her how much DD loves her. I'm still feeling the desire to send her an email. I can guarantee that she cried as soon as she left here. My DD DOES love my mother. My mother will manage to crush that if she doesn't learn how to relate to her better. (Hmmmm........sounds familiar.......) So what sayeth the blogger community?? Would it be the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do to make sure my Mom is okay?

I'm stuck because I've been put in a caretaker position of her before and I resent it. But I also feel like, if I were a loving daughter and we had a good relationship, I'd check in to make sure she was alright. But we're not that. We're in this kindof fluffy, transitional place. I don't want her to feel hurt. I do want her to understand how to relate to DD so they can keep a good relationship. I just don't want to be taking care of her. I'm not sure what to do. HELP!

UPDATE: I was feeling alot of unrest about this so I called my T for perspective. She is so wise. I knew she would say the most simple thing to make it clear to me. She said "take it out of context of being with your mother" ie: what if this had happened with a friend? What would I do? Absolutely, I would follow up the conversation and make sure that person was alright. So I dropped my Mom a quick note just to say I hoped she was doing okay after last night since she was clearly upset. Reminded her how much DD loves her & looks forward to her visits. And I felt like that was the right thing to do.

21 Days & Update

Health Update: I've been kindof sick the last few days. I went to my Dr yesterday just for a meds check in but it was perfect timing. She's scratching her head at me a little bit. Not sure what I've got! I sound like I have bronchitis but I don't feel like it. No chest heaviness. No cold symptoms. No fever or flu. But I have this horrendous barking cough and am wheezing something awful. She RXed antibiotics first but thinks it may be viral in which case AB's won't help. She also put me on an Albuterol inhaler and on Mucinex. I am to go back Friday and if I'm not getting better, she will have to put me on steroids. Before I left the office, she had the nurse do a breathing treatment....the nebulizer kind. I was still wheezing when it was done so I had to do another. Can you say SHAKING LIKE A MADWOMAN????? I had to sit in the car and compose myself for a while before I felt safe to drive! And where did I drive to next? Starbucks of course.....because here's hoping that Albuterol jitters and Espresso jitters will cancel each other out. :o) Ask me how well that plan panned out..........

In any case, between jitters and coughing, I had a rough time sleeping. Today, I've been doing the inhaler as prescribed and I am wheezing again within 10 minutes. Good times.

My mother comes over tonight. I'm ready to give her the advice she requested, I think. Not sure if I will bring it up if she does not. I just may not have the energy today. But I'm preparing for it nonetheless.

And now for the 21 Days part: I was watching something that said it takes 21 days for a habit to be formed. 21 Days of the same behavior day after day. So I've decided that, one day at a time, I will make it through 21 days of victory over my addiction. I think I'm going to start referring to my addiction as "VOMA" (Voice Of My Addiction) and keeping that picture I posted in my mind. I guess it makes me feel like it's more tangible and hence "easier" to fight when I think of it in such concrete terms, as opposed to just this "feeling" that resides inside of me. I have made 2 days now. March 30 will be 21 days. Come hell or worse-than-hell, I will make it through 21 days. And that's the only time frame I am going to worry about for now. I'm going to make my list of distracting activities and put each on a piece of paper in a basket so that if I feel the urge to listen to VOMA, I will immediately be presented with something else to do and I won't have to put any thought into coming up with something if I'm feeling confused or overwhelmed. I can do this. And frankly, if I ~can't~ do this, then I belong in a rehab facility. I claim my power. I own it. I'm workin' it!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How My Daughter Came To Be

I'm on a roll of storytelling today. I mentioned in my prior post that my pregnancy was another story for another post. Since I feel like writing and not is that story.

I have always known I wanted to be a Mom. I was once pregnant in 1990. I was 20 years old; I was a disaster emotionally. My BF told me that I had to have an abortion and he would not support my decision to do anything else. I hated the idea. I wanted to give it up for adoption. Confused, unsure, scared to lose my BF....I made an appointment for an abortion. Fate intervened and I had a miscarriage 2 days before the appointment. March 6th was my due date and that child would have been 18 this month. I have no regret about was the BEST thing that could have happened.

I've mentioned I was married from 1998-2003. In 2002, we decided since our marriage was so crappy, we should definitely try to have a baby! I had some fertility issues so I went through massive rounds of fertility drugs and IUI. There was no good reason why none of it worked. I remember my first meeting with the Reproductive Endocrinologist when he said he'd have me pregnant within 3 months; I was an ideal candidate. Well, we ran out of money pretty quickly and things really took a turn for the worst in our relationship. So we stopped trying. I was devastated that I would never have a child.

When I left him in June of 2003, I went on a dating rampage. I felt fantastic! I was so happy to be away from him. I'd lost 70 pounds at that point. I had all this new found self confidence. I realized that I actually was very attractive!! And I'd never really dated before. So, I hit the scene HARD. I was a serial dater, going out with several men every week. I actually first spoke to DD's father, who I will refer to as "A", before I'd left my XDH. We met on a chat board online. We talked every day and established a friendship. In August, we decided to meet. He lives 2 states away. He drove up here to a party and we met there. It was really a quick hello at that point as....well.....he was 2 hours late and, in the meantime, I'd become preoccupied with another man! JB - who has since turned out to be one of my best friends in the world!

Fast forward to December '03. A and I had still been talking almost every day. My dating spree was tapering off. I was starting to feel the desire to settle in with one person. I expressed this thought to him and he wanted the chance to be that person. He had similar feelings, wanting to settle down, hoping to get married and have a family. So we dated. A month or so later, the decision was made to be intimate. Protection? "No worries", I say...."I can't get pregnant."

Five weeks later, enter curious non-stop cramping. "Hello, Dr? Something is wrong with me....I have cramps but no period."
"Could you be pregnant?"
"You haven't been sexually active?"
"I have but I can't get pregnant"
"Do me a favor honey....I'll make you an appointment for day after tomorrow but pick up a test and do it in the morning."
(insert eyeroll on my part) Ridiculous. Isn't she listening to me? I can't get pregnant.
I had leftover pregnancy tests from when I was trying with XDH. Following morning, it was such a non-issue to me that I forgot to take the test. I grabbed one and took it to work with me where I did it in the bathroom before anyone else arrived. Positive. PPPhhhbbbbttttt! THAT test is clearly defective. In the garbage it went without another thought. Off I go to the internet....convinced I have some horrible disease. Just to prove the Dr wrong, though, I picked up 3 more tests on the way home from work. I'll show them! Well.....Positive. Positive. Positive. WHAT the hell is wrong with me??? Looking up causes of false positives.....none of them apply. I have something so rare, it's not even documented yet!!!

Off I go to the Dr the following day. I remember this was Friday the 13th, 2/13/04.
Nurse: "So, what seems to be the trouble?"
"Well, I have been having these cramps but no period."
"Okay....tell me more...."
"Well, I DID take 4 pregnancy tests and they all came out positive!"
Excited nurse says "So, you're pregnant!??!"
I furrow my brow at the clearly insane woman and snap "No."
(As nurse probably feverishly scribbles in my chart - "Early pregnancy dementia") Of course, it was verified and ultrasound backed it up. I left there in a total fog. I called my good friend JB first. I cried. Happy tears, scared tears, tears of disbelief. I called A and said we need to get together. He can tell something is wrong and finally I blurt it out. "I'm pregnant." You know it never bodes well when a father-to-be answers that announcement with "Oh Shit." I never saw him again. We continued to speak on & off. He said he would pay half the cost of an abortion but that's all he could do. He didn't feel he had anything else to offer to me or a child. Ratbastard. I told him I was having the baby anyway. We talked on and off through the pregnancy just trying to iron out details. We agreed on an amount of child support. Largely, he avoided me, my emails and my calls.

At 31 weeks gestation, I went to my birth class. Alone. I'd been feeling crampy all day but thought it was DD bouncing on my bladder since she was breech and laying on my bladder 2 days before. Turns out I was having contractions. At the end of the class, as I was getting up to leave, I had a placental abruption. Thank God I was at the hospital. They rushed me upstairs where they were able to hold off labor and kept me on bedrest. I called A and he said he'd come visit me. Yeah right. Never did of course. 2 weeks later, my water broke and there was no holding off labor at that point. DD was born at 33 weeks, all of 4 1/2 pounds. While in labor, I tried to call A over and over. Calls, texts, I left voicemails. No reply. In fact, he turned off his phone. I finally got him on Monday AM (DD was born on Saturday) at work. Said he never got my messages. Um, ok. I asked him to come see her. To sign the birth certificate. He said he would. He never did.

Fast forward through 7 months of avoidance, lies and more lies. I decided to find another way to contact him since the cell was of no use and he'd caught on to my calling him at work. I paid $50 for an internet background check. That was the best $50 I've ever spent! It came up with addresses, phone #s and "possible relatives". So I figured....hey....I can't get him on board. Let me call his sister, who he told me he lives with, and see if maybe I can rally the support of his family. I had nothing to lose. So I dial the number and a woman answers:
Me "Hello. Are you by chance related to A?"
Woman "What do you want with my HUSBAND?"
(Jaw Drop)
Woman: "Hello?? Who is this? Why are you calling my husband?"
"well, he is my daughter's father and he's avoiding me so I am trying to reach him"
"He's WHAT?? How old is your daughter?"
"7 months"
She goes ballistic. He was there and she starts screaming at him. She's yelling at him, she's asking me questions. He picks up the other extension and tries to deny knowing me. But as I'm answering all the questions she is asking me, it's becoming very clear that he knows me, alright. Finally, he admitted to her that we'd been together. She throws the phone and I hear her screaming at him to get out of her house, etc, etc. He says to me "I will deal with you later" & hung up. The whole thing was surreal.

Next day he calls me and says "Now you understand how hard this has been for me."
WTF?? Really? Hard for YOU?? Turns out he already has 3 kids, one of whom is about the same age as my DD. He promised to pay me all he had agreed to since his wife knew the truth now. Of course, I didn't see a penny. So I took him to court. After multiple hearings, reschedulings, etc, we finally had the "big" hearing when DD was almost 2 years old. I represented myself and petitioned for more than what the law would normally allow in my case. Everyone told me I was nuts to try. But I won. I haven't heard a word from him since. He's never met DD. He did see her one time when I had to bring her to court with me. But didn't even look at her. How does one do that? Especially someone who knows what it's like to be a parent. How do you say "I'll be a father to these 3 but I'm going to ignore that one." I hate that DD has siblings she may never know.

I hate looking back on my life and seeing that twice I've been pregnant, each time told to have an abortion by the father. That's a huge rejection to me. I see how naive I was in dating and how I wanted to believe all that A told me even though his actions never backed it up. I so wanted to believe the best about everyone despite all I'd been through. I hate feeling stupid and used. I am scared that DD will have father issues after being rejected by hers. But I do have my baby. And whatever else I do or don't have in this world, she has been the ultimate blessing of my life and I thank God for her every day.

Letter to my Mother

I am feeling compelled to share this right now. I came upon it in the recent 2 year review I did on the events of my life and my progress in that time. I was surprised how much this really upset me to read again. I guess I have a whole new perspective on it now that I've seen my mother's reaction. I went into it thinking it could change things and make her into the mother I want her to be. I am still grieving the fact that she is not, and will never be, that person.

Preface to paragraph one: I'd asked her to babysit DD and she had other plans. She was very apologetic about it. She also said there was alot of tension in the air and she said she was sorry for whatever part she had caused.


No need to be sorry about tonight. You're allowed to have a life. I have a hair appointment on Saturday morning so if you can watch her then, it would be helpful. I'm pretty sure BXF and I will do a date night at some point over the weekend but I'll let you know when we make definite plans.

What tension do you think you have you caused? You're apologizing but I am not sure you have any idea what is wrong. Tension in the air….yes, indeed. Lots of it. I do not even know how to begin to broach this with you. It's such a small question but there is a lifetime behind the answer. I don't know that this is time to unload it all but I guess there is no perfect time to say such things, is there? I made it through a lot of my life by pretending. Pretending things were fine, pretending I was not hurt, pretending that I could put the past behind me and lead a "normal" life. I pretended so well that I convinced myself of it for a while. I'm past pretending now and everything I never allowed myself to feel is at the surface but I don't know what to do with 30+ years of hurt and anger. I don't know who to direct it at when I've invested so much energy in convincing everyone I was fine. I'm not fine. Not even close.

It is very difficult for me to be this open with you. It's something I've kept from you for a long time. For a while, that was in protection of both of us. I believe that now it is more about punishing you by keeping from you things you want to know, by building a wall. I realize that no one is benefiting from that but it's all I can do with a present manifestation of anger.

You said that no one ever told you what happened. After a great deal of thought, I have decided to share with you my story. I am going to preface this by saying that I understand what I remember may not always be completely factual. I was young; there are some things that I don't remember. I was damaged; sometimes my memories are skewed. Some things I am crystal clear on. Other things, I think I "fill in the blanks" out of my current feelings about the subject as opposed to being a true recollection of the events that occurred. In any case, this is as much as I can tell you.

I have nothing but bad memories of Dad. When you tell me about times that we did fun family things, or how he loved me once, it makes my skin crawl. I cannot think of him in any positive way. It's just not how I know him. I remember him being constantly harsh, angry, violent, withdrawn, intimidating, insulting. I remember his comment that he "liked me until I began to talk"….truly charming words from a father. In his words and by his actions, he told me I was stupid, lazy, naughty, worthless, unlovable. I remember him threatening to cut off all my hair if I did not stop shaking my head, a nervous habit I'd developed presumably in reaction to all that was happening in the house. I remember his irrational physical abuse; when I broke my collarbone and he flung me around by that arm insisting I was embellishing, when I didn't wash his plate and he threw me down the stairs(the incident that brought you home to find me cowering in the garage). When I came home late one night after being out on a date, he grabbed me by the wrists, twisting them so hard that I had to kneel to the ground as he insisted to know "what else" I had been doing with this boy while we were out.

So, in a strange way, the attention from Brother was welcomed at times. It made me feel special, like I had a friend and confidant and someone to share a secret with. All I knew is that my big brother loved me and wanted to spent time with me. It started innocently in California; playing games like "hun" (husband & wife), playing "sleepover" or "camping". I followed Brother's lead.

I have a lot of missing time from those years in California and prior. I am uncertain when and how the games progressed but I am convinced it was so gradual that I was unaware of it. Memories are more clear from the time we moved to CT. I was 9 years old. I knew that this was wrong. When I questioned that, Brother began to threaten and put doubts in my head. "You'd better not tell. No one will believe you. Mom and Dad will be mad at you." I remember a night that he walked by me in the hallway after a particularly upsetting afternoon by ourselves and he pulled out a knife as he was walking by me, touching it to my stomach. In fact, though this memory is hazy, I believe you were ironing in your room across the hall and I was talking to you when he did it. Do you remember this at all? I remember that it made me feel like nothing; I was so insignificant that he could easily get away with doing something so audacious. I remember he played it off as a joke. I don't know that it was.

The innocent games of the past had become serious invasions of my privacy and graphic sexual role plays. He was a teacher, I the student. He was a doctor, I the patient. He was a rapist, I the victim. I feel like I am about to throw up telling you this but just so you know the whole story, the actual acts were manual, oral and though full penetration did not occur, it was simulated closely. When his friends came over, he would coerce me into stripping for them and letting them look at me or touch me, promising they would be nice to me at school and it would make me popular. He would walk in on me in the bathroom, in the shower, while I was changing. This was no longer the attention that I wanted. I no longer felt loved or special. I felt dirty and used. I felt wrong and bad. But I did still want his attention and I went along with this on a regular basis. I wanted attention from someone. He happened to be the person I was most often with and so I took it from him because, I suppose, the negative attention was better than none at all. Perhaps it was already in my mindset that I was not good enough for more than that, or not worthy enough to refuse or to demand the treatment that I deserved. Dad laid the foundation for me to think that about myself. Brother just reinforced it. And through your inaction, so did you. This set an appalling precedent for my future.

It finally stopped when Brother starting dating Girlfriend. I believe we were about 12 and 15. I don't know what prompted me, maybe a desire to get back at him or maybe even to protect Girlfriend from him. Perhaps, in a twisted way, I was jealous of the attention that I no longer got that went to her. I told her what had happened between us. She immediately told Brother, and Brother told Dad. I will never forget Dad's reaction. Out of everything that has happened, I recount this as my most painful and vivid memory. I can see Dad, how he was sitting, what he was wearing. I can smell his Old Spice and his rancid breath; it makes my stomach turn. I remember his dark glasses perched on his nose as he leaned forward, glaring at me with loathing and disgust. I can hear him saying "You told her that he had SEX with you??" He demanded I admit that I was lying and made it up for attention. For me, what my brother had told me had come true. Worst fears confirmed. My father was furious with me. My parents did not believe me. I was made to feel like the wrong one. You questioned this in one of your emails…questioned that Dad did this. In my memory, you were right there. You were in the kitchen also. You were standing at the stove, Brother standing in the doorway, Dad and I sitting at the table. You don't remember this?

You are very peripheral in my memories. It comes across as you being "there" but not really "present", if that makes sense. Perhaps you were not there that night, I don't know. I think one of the very worst things about such a dysfunctional upbringing is the feeling that I cannot trust my memories, like I don't really know what happened. Possibly my recollection of you being there that night but not saying anything is an unconscious statement, representative of my overall feeling that you did not do enough to speak up on my behalf or protect me from these two people who abused me. I know that you knew something was happening. I believe you saw it on more than one occasion. Even if you assumed it was fully consensual, which one of your emails implied to me, you surely knew it was wrong. Why didn't you act when you knew the truth? How did you stand by and allow my brother to molest me and my father to tear me down? Rhetorical questions, as I know your answer. While I wholly disagree with how you chose to handle it, I can't say that I don't intellectually comprehend the choices you made. You looked at your own past and swung the pendulum to the polar opposite, thinking it would "spare" us the childhood you had. I get that but I'm tired of empathizing with it because it leaves me holding all of this within myself.

Unfortunately, I learned to take the blame and the burden on myself. I learned to expect very little from the people in my life. I learned all the wrong lessons about what love is and how it feels, about what family is and how they treat each other. I learned that I was garbage, that my wants and needs did not matter, that I was not worthy of love and protection. I learned how to be a doormat. I learned to excuse other people's behaviors and to reason away anyone else's role or responsibility. My empathy works to my detriment and I walked away from all of this feeling there was ultimately no one to blame except myself.

The cumulative effect of everything that happened is tragic. It took me a very long time to unlearn what I had learned. I still struggle with some of it. I don't know that you have any idea what kind of a young woman I was. I was utterly lost. I had zero self esteem, absolutely no sense of self worth. I gave myself away to anyone who would give me some fleeting attention just to steal one moment of feeling special or loved. I allowed myself to be used and abused because I knew no other way. Because I learned that was love. Sometimes I would meekly refuse, by no means believing I had any right to say no. When a "no" is that timid, I can assure you it is never heeded. It is nearly impossible for me to see "that girl" as myself when I look back. It's like watching a movie in my mind and my heart deeply, profoundly aches for "her". I was so numb and so disconnected from reality and true emotion. But I had to be to survive. I used to cut myself with razor blades. I'm not sure why. Self loathing, maybe, or possibly just the only way for me to feel something. Likely a combination of both. You saw the cuts on my wrists and arms and you sent me to a psychiatrist to whom I refused to speak. Your obligation fulfilled, I suppose?

I have fought tooth and nail for a sense of normalcy. I have fought even harder to find peace in my world. Every time I think I have found it, something else comes crashing down and shatters it. I thought getting married would be a new start for me. True to abuse survivor fashion, I married a cruel, abusive man who thrived on controlling me; a man with the capacity to strike me down with his attacks. I thought getting divorced would be a new start for me and it was, to a large extent. I did a lot of positive work before I left XDH. My intention was for your house to be a transitional place of financial regrouping for me but that all changed when I was blessed with DD's impending arrival. I sincerely appreciate all you do for us but I don't think you can fathom how it feels to live in the place where some of the worst and most painful events of my life occurred. To be surrounded by that on a daily basis is to be locked in my own personal prison. To never have had a place that I consider a true home for me, to not be able to bring DD home to a space that is peaceful, rips me to shreds. It is like a poison that is eating me from the inside out. I fear every single day what that degree of negativity is doing to DD, and her perception of me and of "home", during these critical formative years. I long to provide both of us with a home that feels like a sanctuary….what I imagine a home to be though it has never been that for me, as long as I can remember. It is positively suffocating to look down the road and never see a time I will be able to change this.

I've heard so many women say how having a baby made them feel so much closer to their own mothers. Sadly, it had the opposite effect for me. I look at that daughter of mine and I know for a fact that I have the capacity to kill, without hesitation or remorse, anyone who laid a hand on her. I cannot respect your choices. It used to make me laugh or even feel pride when I'd hear you remark that I "raised myself". Now it just really pisses me off. I shouldn't have had to.

Were you even aware of the things you were saying to me after DD was born? I remember you were on a tangent of telling me all kinds of horrible child abuse stories you'd heard about babies being raped, tortured and abused. I was so stunned that I could not even respond to you. Two years later, I am still in awe that you could relay those things to me without thought of how it would affect me or what it would mean to me because of what I have been through. When you talk to me about Pat's granddaughter and her "tough little life", it makes me want to grab and shake you. What about MY life? I feel like that escapes you completely.

I hate that any of this lingers for me. I want to run away from all of it and everyone who had anything to do with it. I reluctantly acknowledge that is not the answer and I need to somehow work it through so that I can be a better mother to DD. She is my ultimate motivation. I refuse to take the easy way out or to continue to avoid the unpleasantness of this situation. I don't know what I expect you to do with this knowledge or how it will benefit. I only know I've shied away from it in times past and it's not been resolved for me. I think I want a different and better relationship with you but honestly, I'm not sure how that will be. I don't know if it's too late for that. And it's scary to think of making a change or of opening up. I have such a wall built around me from this family. It's horrifying to feel out of control or to think of letting that wall come down. I don't want to give you the opportunity to disappoint me. I completely abhor being vulnerable, particularly in front of you. I would go to the ends of the earth to avoid it. Yet here I am doing just that and I have absolutely no idea where to go from here. I am so, sooooo angry. At this point, I'm not really sure at whom or for what. I just know I am. I cannot look you in the face. I can barely speak to you because I am afraid the floodgates will open. But, I guess they just did.

Well, in the end her replies were too little, too late. She did say she was sorry. She tried to justify some of her decisions. She talked alot about things with my father. She never once acknowledged anything I said about my brother. Her reply to my telling her what happened was "I can no longer say I'm uninformed." Well, how overwhelmingly compassionate of you! What I said in that last paragraph, "I don't want to give you the opportunity to disappoint me", was precisely what ended up happening. I was devastated but it was still important for me to have gone through this and to see that it wasn't me. I can say that our relationship is definitely different. Not sure that I'd call it "better". It's more real on my end. I've come to realize that my mother lives in her own happy-world of fantasy and there is no popping that bubble for her.

The Story of My Addiction

There is something so powerful about coming clean. I hated posting what I did yesterday. I hate admitting I'm out of control. Again. But, as they say, admitting to the problem is the first step. Problem is, I've been at this same step a million times before. And I've had minor successes. Once upon a time, I even had a major success managing to control my addiction for almost 2 years. But you thinking back on that.....I don't believe it was at the level of addiction that it is now. I think it was a comfort, a craving and definitely a learned behavior.

When I was married (1998-2003), the biggest thing my XDH and I had in common was eating. Seriously. So it was just part of a lifestyle. It was probably dissociative in that all the problems "disappeared" when we were having fun stuffing our faces. When I started making progress in counseling, admitting how unhappy I was in the marriage and changing things about myself, I started a healthy eating plan and I stuck with it for over a year. In that time, I lost 100 pounds, left my XDH and moved back to my house-of-horrors. (My mother's house where alot of the abuse occurred) The plan was to live there for a few months while the divorce settled and I was able to financially regroup and then get a place of my own. And then....I found out I was pregnant. (Another story for another post.....)

I was the PILLAR of healthy eating during pregnancy. I knew I was at risk for Gestational Diabetes and so I was beyond conscious of every bite I put into my mouth. It seriously helped that I had only 2 cravings....steak and garlic hummus. Other than that.....I had aversions to nearly, chocolate, ice cream, anything salty, anything fried or greasy, breads, seafood. I remember having a hysterical sobbing breakdown crying out that I was going to end up with a stupid baby because I could not eat fish and boost the Omega3s! Oh, pregnancy hormones....good times! I digress. So, after my DD was born, I weighed 10 pounds less than when I got pregnant!

But then came maternity leave. Here I was, with a 4 pound preemie, ordered to stay in the house with her for 3 months (due to high risk for respiratory infection) except for emergencies & Dr visits. And I'm in *THE* house. With my mother. With very little privacy. Sleep deprived. With a body full of post-partum hormones and a head full of questions, confusion, fear, nightmares. Now mind mother is a "do-er". If there is anything she can DO for someone, she will bend over backwards. She is also a "feeder". She set me up to lean on food as a comfort. You're upset? Here, have some cookies. Tough day? Let's go get cheeseburgers and fries. Let's stuff those problems down and pretend they don't exist!

So....she did my shopping. She cooked for me. I had a fridge overflowing with food, every day. Not that I don't appreciate her contribution because I do. I don't know how I would have been able to do that by myself since DD demanded to be held 24/7. I learned to do alot of things one handed but I was not comfortable cooking with her in my arms. In any case......enter the return of dissociative eating. Every time DD woke up to eat, I'd have something too. Our days were spent basically eating, sleeping, watching TV. As a preemie, DD basically just finished gestation outside the womb. She did nothing more than eat and sleep on my chest for those first 2 months. Couldn't resist adding this, DD at 8 weeks old in her favorite hangout:

These were our days. Not interactive at all; at least not for more than a couple minutes and then...Zzzzzzz. I was bored out of my mind, watched more daytime TV than is good for any one person! I felt completely and totally isolated. Her father had abandoned us. Having a child, a daughter no less, certainly brought up loads of issues for me, emotionally.

I met the infamous XBF when DD was about 2 1/2 months old. It's no wonder I latched onto him the way I did. He was my "escape". Someone to talk to. Someone who promised to get us out of the situation we were in. Two weeks into knowing each other, we were planning a wedding. And I threw myself into him, supressing myself in the process.

By the time I went back to work 4 months later, I'd gained 15 pounds. And then after being back at work for a week, the women in my department decided to get me fired. Long story not worth re-telling..... I'm back to being home. And a single Mom with no job. XBF was already starting to pull away and things were going downhill so I was left feeling so utterly stuck. By the time I started a new job 3 months later, I'd gained another 15 pounds. XBF and I broke up a couple months later and I stopped eating. I lost 35 pounds in a month. Damn, I looked good. That was August of '05. Since then, it's been pretty much a slow and steady gain.

I believe it really took off after DD was born. Being in that house and all the bad memories. All the issues and anger with my mother that was never touched upon. It just got worse and worse. Almost a year ago, I was able to buy a condo and move out and I felt that my eating disorder would subside as a result. But it's not happened. I believe 100% that it's become a genuine addiction in the past couple years and, even though I'm making incredible progress in therapy and I'm overall quite content with what is in my life....I can't seem to shake it now. It's beyond just being out of the triggering situation. I am so disappointed in myself. I'm ashamed and I'm miserable, physically.

As I said earlier, I've been at this step many times before. Yesterday I was able to claim a good day for myself. I ate well. No binges. I went to bed early. Good self-care. But Day 1 is easy. It's a few days in where that horrible voice starts to seduce me again, reminding me how good it feels to indulge. Throwing out every justification at me until one finally resonates and sways me. What will I do different this time? How do I make this my final visit on Step One??

Monday, March 10, 2008

Snowballing out of control

I was IMing with a friend this morning and I said I was feeling overwhelmed. She asked all the right questions and my head was swirling with vague thoughts. I changed the subject because I really did not want to try to pin down and admit to at the moment. But I realize that I have to.

I am out of control. I am powerless over this addiction. I have such great intentions and pep talks with myself every morning. I wake up feeling miserable and achey and old before my time. I have no energy and I know it's all a direct result. But it snowballs....the more I eat, the worse I feel. The worse I feel, the more I eat. The more shame and disgust I feel about myself, the more I want to escape myself. I keep thinking I have the ability to control this. I can't understand why I am just not making better choices. I can't understand why I'm driven to do that which I know contributes to my misery.

It's consuming. I'm so aware of it all the time. It's when I get home at night that it's a problem. I feel like it's no longer a dissociative escape but rather it's become just a flat out addictive habit that gives me that release of endorphins. I don't really know what to do. I just need to make different and conscious choices. Oh, my brain is so clever though. It knows just what to say and how to seduce me. I have this image of the voice of my addiction. This is the closest I could find.....but dark like this, distorted, disturbing. The big " know you want that. You know how good it will be and how good it will make you feel. No one needs to know; it's our secret. No worries, no's what you want. It's what you NEED. You can trust me, honey....I will never let you down. Listen to me and only me. I will take care of you."

I hate myself every morning for giving in. And every single morning, I tell myself I will make different choices today. But at the end of the's the same old thing. I'm so tired of it. I don't know how to make it different. I feel like I need to be in rehab but I just won't even entertain leaving my DD. I feel like I talk myself out of anything that could be a possible solution because it's inconvenient. Maybe I'm just scared to be different. Why do I hesitate to reclaim my power and control back from this hateful, self-defeating addiction which has no regard for my well being? Perhaps I've reached a point where my well-being is not at the top of my priority list and so I don't really care when I give in to what feels good at the moment. It's so much harder to fight than to just give in.

I'm just so tired of the same dialog every single night and every single morning. I'm so horribly, unbearably, unspeakably sick of it. I know what I need to do. I just don't know how to flip the switch and make myself start doing it.

My mother asked me for advice....

Before I go into that, let me first reluctantly announce: I'm sorry to say I had to add word verification and comment moderation to my blog as it seems the spammers have found my little corner of the online community. Blech!

Anyway.....So my Mom came over on Saturday morning to watch DD while I went to T. I'm only gone for about an hour but when I came home, DD was kindof worked up, cranky at my mother. She was hiding, clinging to me and whining/screaming at my mother. I don't know how to describe what she does, actually. Neither word really accurately describes it. It's sort of a short outburst of "Eehhh!" with a whiney undertone.

DD enjoys playing hide & seek and I don't indulge her in it too much. Call me a bad gets tiresome!! My mother is always willing to play whatever game DD requests. Mom says somewhere in the middle of the hour I'm gone, it changes from real hide & seek to more like DD telling Gramma to hide and not come out. ie: DD doesn't want to see her anymore. My mother called me the next day and asked what that means. Was DD just tired? She asked me to give it some thought and give her (Mom) some advice on how better to handle that. Okay.

I didn't really think about it til we hung up the phone and then I thought....what would she do if she were the parent?? I want to tell her to take control of the situation and quit being dominated by a 3 year old. So, in fact, I *AM* going to tell her that in as productive a way as possible. I just need to write/think it out here before I tell her. So the problem, in my amateur opinion, is that my mother "over-pursues" my DD. And I think it gets to the point that DD wants to get away from my mother (Boy do I know THAT feeling, lol!!) My mother doesn't know how to either read or respect DD's boundaries and seems to think that by going after DD with more "gusto" it will draw her back out when in fact it has the exact opposite effect. For anyone who has read Men are from Mars....this is like the rubber band theory. The more one chases, the more the other pulls away. I think the concept of respecting "space" is very foreign to my mother. She is a pursuer to the um-teenth degree. She becomes HIGHLY uncomfortable with space, with silence, with distance.

Hmmm, this makes me understand something else now. I used to complain that I would go out for an hour and come home to find every toy in the house scattered on the floor. Now I see why. My mother is trying too hard to entertain DD. When in fact, DD is a very content child. She's happy to play one thing for a long time. And she definitely does not need or want constant involvement from other people. In fact, as anyone who has had a child can tell you, the minute you can't give your child your attention is the minute they want it the most! So I am going to tell Mom that she needs to learn to read DD's signs but do so in a manner that still means my mother maintains control of the situation. ie: I don't want to play hide & seek anymore. When you're ready, come over to the couch with me and we'll read a book." Puts an end to the hiding game, is authoritative by decreeing that game is done, still grants DD the opportunity to have some alone time if she needs it and sets the stage for a new activity. Does that sound good???

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rain, Rain...Go Away!

Wow, it's POURING out there today and super windy, too!! I decided it wasn't going to stop us from doing errands. What a blockhead decision that was!! But anyway.....we made it. Of course, while I was at Costco, wearing yoga pants & a rain jacket, drenched to the bone in spite of said jacket and not wearing any makeup....I saw my college boyfriend. Isn't it always the way?? Thank goodness, he did not see me. He looks almost exactly the same except, I hate to admit, age has distinguished him and he looked even better. I was lingering, thinking about saying hi when his wife joined him so I jetted away!

A quick movie review for anyone who might consider watching "Notes on a Scandal". Wouldn't really recommend it. While it's not entirely graphic, there are several subtle seductions going on and it's not really all that enjoyable to watch. Some of it was downright uncomfortable. I love the cast (Cate Blanchett & Judi Dench) but did not care for the movie. Some may find it triggering.

I had T this morning. Didn't have an agenda from the week. So I got there a few minutes early and did my grounded breathing til a topic began to surface. I still have the urge to contact DD's bio-father. I want to ask him Why?? Why did you turn your back on her? Why did you make the choices you did? Why have you abandoned her and left her without a father? While I'd like to know those things from him, I realize that it really taps into the questions I want my own father to answer to me. So I decided it was time to get back to the homework T had given me several weeks ago. (See here.)

We only got through the part about my brother. She asked me to bring my notes back to our next session so we can go over the father part. She asked me to get in touch with whatever emotions I was feeling as I read to her about my brother. I felt sad and I was crying openly (and even looking her in the EYES while I did it....unheard of for me!!!) and I just said that was really all there was. There is a profound sadness for what I don't have. Here I have these 3 people who are my only biological family left in the world (except for 2 cousins who I never see) and I could care less if I ever see any of them again. I want a mother, a father and a brother. I just don't particularly want the ones I've got. And it makes me so sad to not have that. And it makes me mad, too. And I hate that I'm angry about it but there is nothing I can do to change or control that situation. I'm sad/mad on DD's behalf also because it means she is robbed of a family as well. T reminded me this is something I just need to allow myself to grieve every time I feel it.

I mentioned that there is such a distinct difference between what I feel for my brother vs what I feel for my father. There is still part of me that empathizes with my brother and, while I've allowed myself to acknowledge that it was abuse, I'll always consider the extenuating circumstances of how we were both raised. I know that the reasons he abused me were strongly based on things that were done to him &/or taught to him.

My father, actually both of my parents, on the other hand.....that is where all my anger rests. They had a different role in my life. It was their job to protect me, guide me, love me, help me. And instead they absolutely traumatized me. They abused me, neglected me, warped me and caused me untold anguish. Yes, I'm angry with them, for sure.

T asked me to think of my emotional self as a glass cylinder full of water and she asked me how much of that cylinder is full of anger. My first instinct was to say not quite half but 1/3 doesn't sound like quite enough. Maybe like 40%. That's actually improvement because 18 months ago, it would have been probably 85% or more. But we discussed doing the anger work so that I can effectively release that which is stored up. I asked T if it was "correct" that I felt like I didn't want to get rid of ALL the anger. I feel like a certain amount of it is healthy, protective and self-serving (in the good way). She said absolutely there is healthy anger and it's correct to want to maintain some of that in my emotional make-up. She said to think of my anger in terms of a dumping a pot of boiling water & pasta into the colander; let the water drain out and then see what is left in the bottom. Like the water is the unhealthy anger and the "pasta" is the good, healthy stuff. I really, really feel like I'm making my way to where I need to be. It's very encouraging.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Power of Mothers

In the process of doing my two year review, I dredged up some pretty heavy and unpleasant stuff. This was one such entry from 7/15/06. (Clarification for sake of understanding: After I got divorced, I moved into my mother's house temporarily which was the house where most of my abuse occurred.) This still resonates with me today.....the power of mothers.

Counseling Update: All we focused on last night was the last letter my mom emailed me. It was really tough for me to get through parts of it. T kept asking me what I was feeling or telling me to stick with certain feelings and all I could answer was that I was working so hard not to feel anything about it that it was making me sick. I physically restrain my emotions so hard that it makes my neck and throat ache. That's healthy, no doubt. All that kept going through my mind was "I hate her, I hate her, I hate her…."Right now I'm just questioning all of it. I don't want to do this.I don't know what good it's doing me to feel all of this garbage. And quite frankly I'm pissed off that this still lingers in mylife. Well, I guess linger isn't the right word….it's more like dictates. So I had a mother who made some crappy choices…..for crying out loud, I'm 37 years old. Does it really have to still matter? Why does it still matter? What can she tell me that I don't already know? And what purpose will be served in hearing it all again? I just want to run away. I think living here is making it all so much harder. She is in my face, even when she's not here. I cannot possibly convey how much I loathe living in this place. It is like being held captive in my own personal museum of nightmares. And she's the crypt keeper.I want to run away and never speak to her again. Why do I have to face all this to move past it. I mean, in fact, am I not prolonging it by forcing myself to experience it and face it again? I've managed to cut off ties w/my father and brother and look…..I rarelyhave issues surrounding them. Of course this begs the question if I've really dealt with anything about them or if I've just dissociated from it through "out of sight, out of mind." Who cares though? It's working. I just want to tuck all my family away in a box and have my own life. T said that she is not going to push me any further on this right now and she doesn't want me to do any more writing with my mother. This is obviously the place where I always turn back and run. So she's trying to let me sit here for a little while in hopes that I can get through the next step this time. The last thing in the world I want to do is sit here with all of this. I want to force forward or I want to run away. I would rather poke myself in the eye with a freaking pitchfork than sit here feeling like this for any length of time.Now I don't want you to take any of the following seriously because I am in sound mind and I would never ever carry out anything like this. I simply share it b/c this is a safe place for me and I am trying to express the depth of this pain at this moment. Last night when leaving T's office, I thought to myself about the power of mothers. And I started to cry so hard that I nearly choked. I looked at DD and realized that with some unintentional bad choices, I could totally screw her up and cause her this kind of hurt. And I wanted to kill her to save her from that. And then Iwanted to kill both of us to save us both from it. I just wanted to slam my car into a brick wall and be done with all this garbage. So, as I said….momentary, dissociated thinking and even when it's happening, I'm still coherent enough to know it's my mind and my pain playing tricks on my brain. I would never, never lapse into doing it. But that is how much it aches right now.