Thursday, May 29, 2008

No Such Thing As Monsters

My DD is going on 4 years old. For the first time in her little life, she's dealing with fears and nightmares. Her daycare had been listening to a childrens book on CD. It's about a little boy who is preparing to go to school for the first time and he starts having fantasies about what his teacher will be like. He makes her out to be a monster in his mind and envisions her eating students and all sorts of horrible things. In the end of course, she turns out to be a nice teacher and his fears were unfounded. I suppose I can see where they were going with the lesson in this story, especially since the kids are about to change classrooms in the coming weeks and some of their friends are graduating and going to Kindergarten. But when I look at the drawings in the accompanying's not really appropriate for children so young. My DD has been talking about the book for a couple weeks now and it took me some time to realize she was really frightened. I talked to her teacher and asked her to please not expose my DD to that story again. But the damage is done.
Last night, DD would not fall asleep. She kept calling me back upstairs to her room. She was scared and crying and kept talking about "Mrs. Green", the teacher in the book. I reassured her and we talked about the fact that it's a story. A pretend story. Just the way she didn't expect to see her favorite characters Frog & Toad, Corduroy the bear, Horton or Clifford the Big Red Dog in our house, she also should not expect to see Mrs. Green, the monster teacher. After all, there are no such things as Monsters.
Oh how I wrestled with saying those words.
But there ARE monsters, DD. Horrible, ferocious monsters who are disguised as everyday normal people. Oh how I wish, I WISH, the monsters looked like Mrs. Green with her scaly emerald skin, red eyes and firey breath. How I wish they were so obvious and easy to avoid. How I wish I would never have to warn you of the real life monsters who walk among us everyday. The people who will thieve your innocence, rob you of trust, pilfer your dignity and filch your sense of self. Who will tear out your very heart and soul, leaving you a shell of what you should have been. A shell scarred by the claws of that monster who will seduce you into laying your life down for his repulsive desires. To leave you feeling like YOU are the monster. I am sorry to lie to you, DD, because there are indeed monsters. But I am not ready to tell you about them yet and so, for now, you need not know of such things and I will make you feel safe for as long as I possibly can. May it always be as easy as reminding you "it's just a made-up story" and encouraging you talk about things that make you happy like ice cream cones, pink toenails, swinging at the playground and ballerina dresses.
I asked her "What makes you happy?" and she said "You do, Mommy."
May it always be that way. And may monsters be a thing of make-believe for the rest of your life, my princess.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Coming Out Of Hiding

Emerging from under the covers. Reluctantly. Why is it that when I need to reach out the most is when I retreat?

It's been over a week since I've posted. What has been going on in my world? Well.....*deep breath*....66 binge free days just went down the....

And I had a 12 day binge. And now I'm back at a new Day 1. I hate admitting that. But I guess being ready to admit it means being ready to start over again. Hate starting over. Hate FAILURE. Please no rosy, bright side comments about having had 66 clean days. I am not ready to hear it right now. Most of those 66 days were a struggle. I was never really excited about the amount of time I managed to stay binge free because I felt so "on-edge" most of the time. And I knew I was at a serious risk of relapse. I think all of this father stuff has just been too much for me to handle without my old coping tools. But they just don't serve me well anymore. I end up sick, miserable and hating myself. Not even able to look in the mirror. My sense of BDD takes over and I appear distorted to myself; enormous to the point of comic absurdity. I can't look. I want to hide even from myself.
In the days that I've been away, I've had 2 massive migraines. This mornings was the worst I think I've ever had. Vomiting over and over, every time I moved my head an inch off the pillow. So hard that I look almost as if I have 2 black eyes; blood vessels ruptured under both of them. I was truly, seriously contemplating if I'd rather wet my bed than to try getting up to go to the bathroom. It was a serious toss up. I'll tell you....if I had the waterproof liner on my mattress that DD does.....I probably would have made a different decision! I was literally just whimpering in misery. I had to take my migraine pills 3 times because I kept throwing them back up. DD is such an angel when I'm feeling this way. Thank God. I'm not sure if the migraines are from eating all the bad food (sugar, refined carbs) I'd cleansed my body of in those 66 days or if it's just from trying to suppress all of this emotional crap that needs to be dealt with. The thing is....I just don't know what to do to deal with it. I get what it is I need to come to terms with. It's just really hard to let go of the idea of something I've held onto so tightly. I so deeply wanted to give DD the family that I did not have. The funny thing is that by holding onto that desire, I am actually steering her right into the same feelings of abandonment and rejection that I've lived a lifetime with. I know I will come to terms with it. It's just so hard right now. I know the only thing to do is just to feel it little by little, over and over, as it comes it. Feel it, grieve it, release it. I think I'd rather pull my fingernails out with pliers.
DD had a playdate with her friend, C, over the weekend. C's mom and I are getting to be better friends the more our daughters play together. DD & C were playing out in the yard while C's Mom and I were up on the deck. C came running up to me to tell me that my DD had said she wanted to go to her Daddy's house before we went home. And she said it again later as we were getting ready to leave. "Don't forget that DD wants to visit her Daddy before you go home." Anyway, after the first time she said it, I started to cry. I told C's Mom the basics of the story. I felt like such a.....I don't know. A fool, I suppose. Unlovable?
This morning, we were listening to DD's music. There is a Laurie Berkner song that goes "I'm a little frog and my Daddy loves me, I'm a little frog and my Mommy loves me and when they tuck me in to say Goodnight, they say Ribbit-Ribbit, Goodnight!" And does the same verse for several animals. So DD says "Does my Daddy love me?" How the hell do you answer those questions when they come out of the blue?? Without falling apart, anyway?? I bought some time by asking her what she thought which she didn't have an answer for. I told her that she was very lucky because she is SO absolutely loved by all the people who are in her life. Told her how much I love her and all the reasons she's so lovable and special. I thought it was a pretty nice save, actually. No one prepares you for these major questions that just come flying out of the blue with kids. Mental note to never listen to THAT song again......
I think that's about all that needs updating with me.....nothing else really going on. Getting ready for vaca in 10 days and really looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Time to Extinguish the Fantasy

Had a very eye opening counseling session this morning. I love my T. I went with 2 topics. The first was what is going on with DD’s bio father. The second was my date last week. That one is easier to sum up so I’ll talk about that first. I told T how I felt responsible for what happened and was having a hard time assigning any blame on him. She gave me a little perspective on that. But what we did dissect, which was important, were my beliefs and expectations throughout the process.

She asked me: When you made plans to go out to lunch, what were your expectations?
I said “Umm. Lunch. And ‘safe’ time spent together.”
When you saw him at the restaurant, what were you there for?
“Ummm. Lunch. And being able to spend time together that didn’t revolve around sex.”
What was your interaction like at the beginning of the date?
“Friendly, like 2 people who haven’t seen each other in a while. We talked about computers.”
And then, what happened?
“We began flirting.”
She asked me how so, what that entailed & I answered “compliments, big smiles, hand holding.”
And did your expectations change at that point?
“No. I was just enjoying lunch with him and enjoying the attention.”
At what point did it escalate?
I answered that he began showing signs of arousal and started with touching my hands/arms differently. And introduced some innuendos. I followed and I felt I was giving him the “green light” at that point.
"Oh,” T says, “so at this point you decided you wanted to have sex with him on your lunch date?”
I replied “No, I guess I really wasn’t thinking ahead of the moment”

BINGO. I wasn’t thinking. I’m not thinking consequence. I’m thinking in segments which, as T pointed out, is generally NOT how I think. I tend to be a “big picture” thinker but not when it comes to this situation. I’m compartmentalizing each step because the process of engaging in sexual activity is disjointed for me since it’s really never existed in a healthy and real way. So the answer here was that I need to think through my actions and realize what the potential consequences are so that I can make different choices from the start.

Okay, the bigger topic: I was telling T about my correspondence with DD’s bio-father. In my last email, I accused him of something I later learned to not be true. I said that I felt bad and, even though I don’t believe he’s telling me the truth, I feel like I need to acknowledge that I falsely accused him. She cut me off and said “Listen….you need to detach. He is a sperm donor. He is nothing more than a number, like you went to a sperm bank and had a baby with that mystery sperm.” His identity needs to become neutralized. I need to redefine him. I continue to think of him as her “father” which causes me to conceptualize him in a certain way. By giving him that identity, I’m feeding the “father fantasy”. It sets me up to long for something that was not part of our “deal”. The reality is that we had sex. That’s all. There was no commitment; there was no relationship. There were no expectations.

Now, to clarify, *I* did have expectations. I thought there was a relationship. But the parts of me that believed those things and fed those expectations were not based in reality. They were more fantasy and not recognizing his actions, not being present in the reality of the situation.

What is happening now is that I have things I need to work out; things that have nothing to do with him. Things I can’t work out through him. But for some reason, I continue to try. By doing so, I continue to open up this painful wound, MY father wound. I continue to feed the pain, the loss and the longing. More importantly, what I am doing is setting a script for my DD’s life that says: “You have a father out there who doesn’t want to be part of your life.” If I characterize it as a rejection, that he doesn’t want her, then I will define her life and her worth as such. She doesn’t need to grow up this way. Our situation isn’t the ideal but it IS the reality. I can choose to feed the pain, or choose to feed the joy. I can choose to feed the loss, or choose to feed into what we DO have. Set the theme in her life that the people around her adore her and choose to be with her out of love. And anyone who chooses to not be in her life doesn’t matter.

Where I’ve said I will always tell DD the truth of what happened, I really wasn’t thinking about how I’m presenting it. I can tell her a better truth that basically says he was someone I spent some time with but he was not a meaningful part of my life. He is someone we don’t know yet my limited time with him produced, for me, the biggest joy of my life…..the unexpected surprise of my daughter! Children come into the world, and into families, in all different ways. This was how our family, she and I, came to be.

I need to drain the power from the events of my life, of her conception, or else she will never be free. She will become the victim to my past and my fantasies. Where I was in my life when he and I were “dating” fed into the unhealthy dynamic with him. I cannot now allow it to be unhealthy for her as well. It’s time to remove the personal aspect and stop reaching out to him. Let the child support system take its course. When we talked about this step, I felt a serious sense of fear, anxiety and LOSS. It’s like the same thing I did with my father….by keeping even the idea of peripheral contact alive, it keeps the fantasy alive. Once I take the step to extinguish the fantasy, then I admit that I am solely in charge of my own joy and fulfillment. Underneath it all is my relationship with myself. I put myself back in charge of meeting my own needs instead of giving that power to someone else.

I keep this pain body alive just out familiarity. It has no purpose. It has no substance other than the one I give to it. I don’t need to have the pain but I don’t always know who I am without it. T likened it to the shadow in Peter Pan. He saw as a literal reflection of who he was. Without the shadow, what is he? Who is he? This is not the story I want to write for myself OR my DD.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


When I went searching for an image for this post, this is not what I had in mind. I was looking for something like a hand dropping an object to symbolize my need to drop an expectation. But I saw this....mother and child. Garbage being dropped into the trash. And the words "Protect Them From Your Pollution". Hmmm, pollution?
Pollute: to make ceremonially or morally impure. See Contaminate.
Contaminate: to soil, stain, corrupt, or infect by contact or association; to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements.
You're probably wondering where I'm going with this by now.
DD's bio-father and I have been corresponding a bit. By corresponding, of course, I mean that I've been trying to get information and he's been a flat out lying ratbastard. His most recent reply, last night, was absolute, unadulterated BS. I began to write back to him immediately because I was incensed. And then I realized that no good could come of that. So I deleted it and went to bed.
This morning I was thinking and I realize that, in my head, I know full well there is nothing more for me to do here. I know that he is who he is. And recurring issue....I can't stop dancing around it and thinking that there MUST be some way to make him care. To make him honest. To make him responsible. To compel him to be something other than the deadbeat loser that he is. I know there is not. But I cannot DROP IT.
Pollution. Contamination. Undesirable Elements. My undesirable elements that I am undoubtedly going to transfer to DD if I can't get a handle on them. My disappointment in him and in my own father. My father issues. My expectation for him to be more than he is. My inability to drop it. To let go of him and know he is nothing more than a biological donor. All of these things can be said equally about my own father as well as DD's father.
If I cannot learn to get this in the proper perspective, to stop thinking there is something I can do to change what is, to stop feeling responsible for their behavior, I doom my child to a life being suffocated by MY pollution.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I've not been writing for a while. I guess I was in break mode? Nothing too big to write about. It was a largely uneventful week in my personal life. Work was crazy as two co-workers were both on vacation.

I did hit 60 days binge free last week. That was good news.

Mother's Day was alright. DD and I went to my mother's house for breakfast. Unfortunately DD was sick. She has asthma which was triggered by allergies. She was coughing so hard, even after 3 breathing treatments, that I had to take her to the ER later in the day. All is well and she's on steroids again. While at my mothers, DD is the distraction so that I don't have to interact with my mother all that much. I'm a little on "auto-pilot"" mode with her right now. I guess I'm more wrapped up in father issues at the moment. I was in another room yesterday when DD tripped and fell. My mother makes such a big deal out of it and it really annoys DD. I don't know why my mother can't understand this. I mean, I do....but still. I've told her this so many times. DD gets irate when my mother acknowledges an injury in her fawning, over-sympathetic way. The more DD gets angry, the more my mother tries to pacify her which only exacerbates the situation. I know this is about my mother being in a trance where she can't see what's right in front of her. My DD ended up shutting herself in the guest room at my mother's house til I got involved. I reminded my mother again that this is not the way to handle DD when she gets hurt. My mother quickly scurried into the kitchen. Blech.

I got her a pretty "vanilla" Mother's Day card. Pleasant, not mushy. Not sentimental. Just nice. Still it makes her cry. Double blech. Next year, remind me to stick to humorous cards only. I can't deal. is my issue dujour. Be forewarned that it's possibly a little TMI and part of the story is sex related:
I had a date on Friday. I met someone, "K", for lunch. He drove down here, about an hour drive, to take me out. I haven't seen him since October. And I've done that basically on purpose. Read beginning of the story here. After I made that post back in October, I did see him and I did sleep with him. I was going through this sortof....hmm, phase? It's so funny as I look back on that old post now. It's screaming at me of the vulnerability issues I've connected to and blogged about of late. I was all but saying it in that post but seemed lacking the final piece to make the connection. My fear of vulnerability was so paralyzing that I think I'd convinced myself that I was alright with casual dating, casual sex, just having a good time, no expectations, no strings. In fact, I'm not "alright" with that. Yet I am still frighteningly comfortable with it in an old, familiar, dissociative, masked kind of way. I didn't regret the night we spent together but it did bring to light the realization that these actions no longer fit me. But the new, healthy behaviors don't really fit me yet either. I feel like I've outgrown one "outfit" while I'm waiting for the tailor to make me a new one and I'm standing here naked in the meantime!!

Sadly, I don't think I've made much progress at all which is so entirely disheartening. I figured lunch was safe. No pressure, right? Just a one hour lunch in the middle of a workday. *sigh* He's so darn cute. And has this whole southern gentleman thing going. He was very focused on me, full of compliments. Not over the top, though. It's been so long since I've been on a date. I forget how nice it feels to have all that admiration from someone. Well, things started out lovely and then the flirtation crept in and then the innuendo followed which led to some reminiscing about the night we spent together. When we got back in his car, well......we nearly pounced on each other and started kissing. That was all I wanted. It was not all he wanted. He would have never known it was not all I wanted. Because I didn't say so. Well, that's not entirely true. He asked me to do something and I said I didn't want to. He asked me again and I did it even though I knew I really didn't want to. That was a turning point where I tuned out "the tailor" and decided to throw my old duds back on because it was just easier, more comfortable. I'll spare the details. But I returned to work in "old me" mode. Thinking that was "fun", it was silly, it was all fine and dandy. Because it's easier for me to think that than to admit that I just said "NO" to this guy twice and still allowed him to coerce me into going along with what he wanted.

Well, it's not fine and dandy. I gave in out of obligation. Out of the feeling that I had no right to stand my ground. Because...why? Because I've slept with him before? Because I give him mixed signals? Because he came all the way down here and bought me lunch? Because I'd rather be seen as the "good time girl" than some prudish, serious stick-in-the-mud? Nevermind what it does to my head & heart? Because it's really STILL, after all this damn time and counseling, STILL stuck in my head that I don't have the right to say no and to claim my body as my own? That I'm not allowed to protect myself when I feel uncomfortable? That my desires are not as important as someone else's? And do you see how I take the responsibility for this back onto myself? I can't bring myself to blame him for his actions or for not listening to me because I didn't act according to how I felt. It's my own fault.

After I let some of that sink in and admit that I'd done something foolish, I started to ponder the situation. What should I do? How do I feel about him? Do I owe him any sort of explanation? I know I don't want to go the casual sex route again. So I start I find out if he's interested in more from me and go from there? Again....not thinking of my own feeling on the subject before I'm trying to figure out his. How about....DO *I* want more from him? Well, on the one hand, this....on the other hand, that.....but then there's this....and don't forget that. Etc, etc, etc. You know the bottom line is that he is not the kind of guy I should be with. If after knowing him for almost 3 years, having been on several dates, having slept with him.....if after all that, I'm still not sure about him? I want to type in here something about his coercing me, not listening to me say no, etc.....but I just can't. I just can't say something that puts the blame of it on him because I feel wholly responsible. Dear God, I'm a rapist's dream-come-true.

All I can think about right now is the movie Chicken Little and the character Runt of the Litter (above). There is this scene where he's listening to 2 other characters debating and each time one of them says something, he agrees with their point and then he says "I'm a gutless flip-flopper!!" That's what my brain feels like on this subject. Why does something so perfectly obvious have to become so flipping complicated once it's sent to the circus I call my brain??
Would it be wrong to create a post label called "I'm an Idiot"? Because that is surely where this belongs.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Had a very good counseling session this morning and have been anxious to get back to the computer so I could write about it and give it more, well deserved thought. I spoke about my dreams and the recurring themes, of which T agreed with my analysis. I told her about the wedding dream. She felt the meaning to it was very obvious where I did not, at all! Just a sign that I was too close to it to see the meaning.

She felt the whole dream centered around my duality between illusion/image/"fantasy" and reality. Wanting the fantasy. Trying to create the fantasy. Struggling with maintaining it as the reality keeps trying to make itself seen. I wasn't grasping the entirety of this concept because I thought it just had to do with "A" and the situation with him. Then I went a step further to incorporate my father. But it's farther reaching. This is a central theme of my life. This is a by-product of my abuse. Put on the happy face. Maintain the illusion. Please the people around you. In the dream, when I asked A to take my DD so I could make my grand entrance, I was saying "Here, you take care of my little girl (inner child) because I need to go pretend that everything is wonderful.” A function (wedding) that is supposed to center on love, commitment, couple-dom… and I was in turmoil making my entrance, and subsequent escape, alone.

The gifts symbolize an acknowledgment; a validation of the illusion. Almost immediately in the dream, I was worried about him taking the gifts from me. I was worried about my validation being stripped away. But then I stuffed them in the garbage bag...because I knew they were based on something entirely false. In the end, I was drawn to have control of those gifts and to give them back because I knew they were trying to give acknowledgment to something that didn't exist. There was an element of that in my mother squashing the cake as well and my irritation that she was not able to keep my illusion alive.

T said there was a tremendous amount of conflict in the dream, which was excellent. I'm so glad she enjoys my angst!! She said this is my lifelong inner conflict: illusion vs reality. And she's right. It really is. Image vs vulnerability.

I had more flashes of dreams this morning. One of them involved my talking with a woman who could eat nothing but human flesh. I was watching her eat a piece of an arm. T said this was an expression of emotional pain eating away at me. She spoke of the “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem; a place where people go to pray and where some will literally throw themselves on the wall in an attempt to bury their sorrow into something strong enough to hold it.
She said I need to find my own form of “wailing wall” whether it be a real wall, a body pillow, etc but something tangible into which I can release my sorrow. Knowing that I’ve placed it somewhere else and I no longer have to carry it. My WHAT?

Sorrow? I don’t identify with that word. T said to me “You have already been hurt.” I gave a flippant “Shyeah! No kidding.” And she said “No, I want you to hear me. You have already been hurt so deeply.” When she said this to me, my chest began to ache. Literal Heartache. Really?

She went on to tell me that I am suffering from faulty thinking. I maintain this level of alarm, of defense. I am continuing to try to prevent something that has already happened and it’s a waste of my energy. I work so hard in an attempt to avoid being hurt when in fact, I’ve already lived through it. I survived it. Not unscathed, but I survived. But because I still deeply believe it’s going to happen, I manage to recreate it. The self fulfilling prophecy; I attract just what I expect. More hurt. The reality is that it’s behind me….it already happened.

This is where a MASSIVE step of vulnerability and of freedom will come into play. I need to choose to live my life free of the defenses against something that I cannot control. By choosing reality, over illusion, I can stay in the present and make calculated risks based on solid thinking, and open myself up knowing that it’s not decreed that I will be hurt. There is also no guarantee I won’t get hurt. I guess that saying which I’ve been known to scoff at, “Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt” might have some merit after all?