Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hey, this is progress!!!!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, today is my DD's 4th birthday. We've been making a VERY big deal of her special day!!! I'm so excited to celebrate her and make her feel cherished. I'm leaving work shortly to bring an ice cream party to her school. From there, we're going to get our nails done, the park and then out to dinner. Maybe ice cream. And some serious snuggle time at home.

After I got to work, a familiar thought popped into my head. "I wonder if Donor realizes it's her Birthday." But here is the progress.....the "new & improved" thought that followed "Eh, who the hell cares?!?"

Last year, that thought nearly ruined my day. Wondering if he remembered and then wondering if my other XBF remembered (for clarification, I began dating XBF when DD was 2 mo's old and he took on the role of "Daddy" for a couple years) And then my father issues surfaced and I had all this old emotional garbage to deal with.

Today....the thought showed up again without the emotional power it has held in the past. And THAT, friends, is a reason to party!!!

Four Years Ago.....

Four years ago, right now....I was awakened by my water breaking. And 15 hours later, my DD entered my world. It was all a blur. She was 7 weeks premature. I was scared and overwhelmed. The whole labor/delivery process was surreal to me. I'd heard her cry. I had a team of strangers doing all sorts of post-labor disgusting things to my body. I remember them bundling her up and she had that goopey ointment over her eyes. They showed her to me like a bottle of wine, as if presenting for my approval. She opened her little newborn slate blue/gray eyes and we looked at one another briefly. I said "okay" and she was whisked off to NICU. I put my head back down and tuned out as I wondered "What the HELL just happened???" and thought "Holy Crap. I'm a mother."

The past 4 years have been a roller coaster of the most intense highs, lows, unbelievable joy and blood curdling screams (LOL) I've ever experienced. I would not trade it for the world. Happy 4th Birthday, my baby girl!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Suffocating, Part 2 (ie: really long vent)

In no particular order:
Work is insanely busy and I'm attempting to do way more work than I'm capable of doing. While I've been honest about being behind and being overwhelmed, I don't have any real outlet to seek assistance. I've taken on a huge project which will require my time and focus over the next 3 months. In the long run, it will benefit everyone including me. But I'm not sure how I'm going to muddle through in the meantime. I've all but given up being online (socially) & even blogging during the day which were my stress-relief outlets.

It seems like I am only putting out fires while I'm here with no real opportunity to get caught up. So many things are so far behind that I'm working in reaction to the complaints or second requests instead of being proactive and on top of things as I like to be. It seriously compromises my intent to be "superwoman" and be able to do it all, and do it perfectly, all the time. And to top it off, I'm having some sort of internet issue that locks up all my sites and requires a restart about 6 times a day. Maddening.

My home is beyond disaster and verging on sty. The kitchen has not a square inch of empty counter. It's piled with dishes (some clean, some dirty), birthday cake projects (attempting to make some shaped cakes for DD's Bday), and all the things that accompany that....mixer, frosting, sprinkles, recipe books, etc etc etc. Let's not even talk about the kitchen floor that is in such desperate need of sweeping and mopping, it's disgraceful.

I've not done laundry, except for the quick emergency "Crap, I have nothing to wear in the morning, let me throw in a skirt and a pair of underwear" load, in 2 weeks. Thank God DD has more clothing than she can possibly even wear before the season is over.

My shower is starting to turn funny colors in the corners because I haven't had time to scrub it (since the 2am pre-court hearing anxiety scrub). I've been reduced to putting a scrub cloth under my foot and running it around the tub while I'm washing my hair. The shower curtain liner is beginning to polka dot at the bottom and since I don't have time to soak it in bleach, I just bought a new one. The new one is, of course, sitting on the counter still in it's package.....

Every night we come home and I dump everything on the dining room table because there is nowhere else to put it and no time to sort it. My mother is coming over for dinner tonight and I'm thinking we'll need to have a picnic on the living room floor. Which, of course, has not been vacuumed.

My contractor never finished my projects and I'm living with 2 holes in the wall, un-grouted tile walkway in the front hall, no carpet edge protectors so they are starting to fray, no floor molding in the kitchen, no doors on the basement closets and various other small projects that are starting to grate on my every last nerve.

Speaking of the basement.....just oh.....dear.....God.

Bills unpaid, not because I have no money but I never seem to find the time to sit & do it. The times I've attempted to pay things online it's been such a hassle that my blood pressure shoots through the roof. "Enter your PIN".....oh, the PIN you sent me when I opened the account in 1992?? Yeah, don't have that handy. No PIN? That's okay, request a new one. We'll mail it to you in 10 business days (while your bill becomes late and we charge you for that). Don't want to wait? That's okay....just put in the 3 digit code on the back of your card. Oh....that would be the card I threw in the garbage because I didn't want to use it to charge anything! That's can request a new card. You'll get it in 10-14 business days. Finally, I got the new card and brought it to work so I could pay the bill on my lunch hour and what does it say when I open it? "Must be called from HOME phone to activate card" Argh!

I fear that I'm screwing up DD left and right. I feel like the worst parent sometimes with no ability to give DD the life tools I want her to have.

I need to expand my social circle and have no idea where I will fit that into my life. And, God help me, there are days I really miss having a boyfriend. Last night was certainly one of them.

I have gained so much weight and I hate myself for it. I can't even look in the mirror anymore. I'm so disgusted. Which doesn't stop me from eating 2 pieces of DD's cake and hating myself for that, too. I am ashamed to be out in public.

I'm going to a wedding this weekend that DD is not invited to. For the first time, I really wanted someone else to watch DD for me. I really didn't want to depend on my mom. She was working, anyway. I asked 9 teachers at DD's daycare and none of them could do it. My mother ended up changing her work schedule so she could be available. I'm appreciative but I just wanted to do it without her involvement for a change. And frankly, the way I'm feeling about myself, the last thing I want to do is try to look half decent and be at a huge party. I feel so self conscious, I want to crawl under a rock.

Even my "down time" is not relaxing because it's go-go-go in preparation and I've got all my obligations on my mind. Last weekend sounds so nice on paper.....we went to a park & had a picnic. We went to a brunch at my BFF's house. All I can see is Friday grocery shop and cook in prep for picnic. Get up early, get me & DD ready, go to T, finish making the food, pack the car, drive to picnic which is lovely. Clean up, drive home (over an hour), get home late, DD to bed, cook for brunch next day. Try to clean up, no avail. Drive to friends house, brunch is lovely but DD is clingy, I can't relax, eye on the clock.....get home around 6 and need to cook for the week, lay out clothes, try to put some semblance of order to our lives for the following days. This week/weekend will be more of the same.....Monday was errands, last night choir, tonight dinner with Mom, tomorrow DD's bday, friday DD's Dr Appt. Sat wedding & stay overnight, driving back straight to a playdate at the park at noon & from there to a wedding after party at 4. Monday DD's Bday pictures & then hopefully will have a chance to grocery shop cook, clean & laundry for the week. And then back to work......

I feel like I am failing at everything I do right now.....can't do my job, can't raise my kid, can't keep my house in order, can't take care of myself. Everything is being half done because I'm only dealing with the worst part of each crisis. I can't relax. I stay up late every night attempting to get the bare minimum done. I'm exhausted. I can't wake up in the morning and then I'm late for work. Every morning is a fight with DD trying to get her ready. I feel like I've been through a war by the time I get to work every morning. I can't do anything effectively. I don't see anything that I can put on the back burner for now. I have the worst time asking for help but I don't even see what I could really even get help with right now. I feel buried, inundated, squelched, world-closing-in, suffocated.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Right now, I just need to let this picture speak for me.........

I am suffocating.

I do not know what to do to help myself right now. I can't even think about it with any sense of clarity to try to sort out how to get things back in order. I feel extremely out of control.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sometimes the Dragon Wins

It's been an interesting week for me. I've made a vow to be online less, much less, at work. I have alot going on in my professional life and I need to stay focused on that. At the same time, I've made a few small, yet huge, strides in my personal life. I inquired with the local Parents Without Partners (PWP) group about joining. They have several social events every week, some for the parents only and some for the parents and kids together. I'm planning to attend an upcoming open house to see what it's all about. It's a step out of the isolation I feel so comfortable with.

Another thing I did was to call a Chinese medicine center to set up an evaluation with a highly recommended acupuncturist. We've played phone tag and I haven't been able to actually set up an appt yet but I will. I want to see what it can do for me, for my stress level and for all the physical issues that my anxiety causes.

This morning I had a dream. It was almost as if I was in a virtual video game or something. Like I was fighting creatures yet I wasn't afraid. I knew I would not be hurt no matter what. I was going through a maze of corridors and all kinds of animals and creatures were jumping out at me. Things like bears, snakes, apes. But I'd just shove them to the side because I knew my task was to get to the Dragon. When I found the Dragon, he jumped out at me and I put my hands on his snout, in between these big spikes and I shoved him away. Dragons, or dinosaurs, can often represent old issues in dreams. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this dream. On the one hand, I thought it could be good because I was facing the Dragon without fear. On the other hand, when I got to the Dragon, I shoved him aside. So did this mean that I wasn't afraid to face my issues or that all I do is push past them?

I posed this question to T this morning when we met and she smiled. She got up and walked to the corner of her office and pulled a small framed picture off her bookshelf. She handed it to me and said "It's funny that your dream was about a dragon since this has been sitting there for as long as you've been coming here." It was a drawing of a dragon, similar to the one in this post and the words "Sometimes the Dragon Wins". Which doesn't mean that I "lose", so to speak, but rather that I recognize it's okay to stop fighting. Stop wrestling with the dragon (the past) and just let it be. It is what it is and slaying the "dragon" doesn't mean it never existed. There comes a time when you have to weigh the energy and resources used in fighting the fight against the process of just making peace with it.

I find this a very timely dream after my last post about loving myself and no longer questioning why my abusers did what they did. I've changed my focus. I'm not fighting the dragon anymore. I'm learning to let it be and to love myself enough to give up a futile fight. My energy is better spent focusing inward on myself than outward on that which is already done.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Loving Myself?

This photo has been on the side of my Blog for some time now. It was what was on my heart at the time. I searched and searched all kinds of image and photo sources looking for just the right image to capture the way I felt. I couldn't find it. So, I made this one myself. That's my DD and she so patiently let me write on her back with eyeliner and put her in various locations and positions. Only I know that she was giggling the whole time....LOL. I guess eyeliner on your back tickles.......who knew??

The question of "Why Don't You Love Me?" was directed at my family, namely my father. In my last therapy session, T and I discussed my critical inner voice. Following that session, and the afterthoughts that inevitably follow, I suddenly saw this image in an entirely different light. I saw it as my Inner Child speaking to Adult-Me. Why don't you love me? Why do you judge me and scorn me? Why are you ashamed of the pain that I rightfully feel? Why do you ignore me and keep locked so deeply in the dark?

I've been trying to notice the self criticism. Just notice....not attach, not judge, not condemn. Just notice. And realize how harsh I am on myself. How quick I am to believe the horrible statements. No matter who I learned it from or what influence it stemmed from, it's only me who does it to myself now. I do it to myself but then I use it as my Xena armor.

When I was in T last time and we were discussing it, I cringed as I asked "Is this like that old 'you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you' crap?" As we both rolled our eyes and T said "I'm not sure I would go THAT far......" But really, it is that premise. My negative self-image oozes from me and I use it to keep other people away.

So, as of today, I'm removing the image of my DD because I feel it important to move away from that train of thought. You know, it doesn't matter why my father/parents/brother/family did what they did, felt what they felt, acted how they acted. It doesn't matter. It's pointless to question because it keeps me stuck in the role of victim. In order to move forward, I am replacing the image with this, a reminder to myself:

Friday, August 15, 2008

One Year of Blogging

Today is my Blog's one year anniversary! I'll probably come back later or over the weekend to wax nostalgic about what the past year has brought. For right now, I'm crazy at work and this is all I can eke out!

I do want to take a moment to thank my friends and fellow bloggers for your feedback and support, as well as your courage in sharing your own stories and inspiring me to challenge myself. This has been a wonderful experience that I look forward to continuing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Death of Xena, Warrior Princess

<~ THIS IS ME. (LOL, I wish!!)
My good friend, J, is reading a self help book. Part of the book gives nicknames to different personality types. For instance, J falls under the heading of "The Little Girl" who struggles with insecurities and often turns to others for validation or help. She said she was having fun reading all the different types and matching them up with people she knows. And then she found my description.....Xena. The Warrior Princess. Swinging that sword....."keep away from me!" Tough, fighter, loner but only on the outside. The inner self is lonely and sad. Yep, that's me alright. See all that armor and junk she's wearing? It's quite a project to strip that down. I think maybe I've taken off the armbands so far but that's about it. :o)
I went to T last night, a follow up session from Saturday. We discussed what happened with my child support hearing. I told her that I was so happy I didn't go if for no other reason than just the way I felt when I heard HIS voice over the phone. It made me almost sick with discomfort. She asked me why, which I hadn't really thought about. (Someday, I will learn to ask myself these obvious questions.....) I fumbled with an answer, not doing well being put on the spot. Afterwards I thought about it and I think I figured it out. As soon as I heard that voice...which let me add is a very distinct, deep, SMOOOOOOTH voice which always used to melt mind created a slide show/movie of our times together. And as I was listening to him talk, I was watching the whole thing pass before me. And the feelings were coming up....the expectations, the hopes, the delusions, the disappointements. The fantasy. The reality. I haven't seen him or spoken to him in over 2 years and I think what just happened was the next step in "extinguishing the fantasy". (See prior post about that here.) I'd LOVE to say it was the final step....but in keeping with reality and avoiding setting myself up for disappointment, I'll call it the next step, just to be safe.
T & I spoke about my critical inner voice. It's been horrible lately. My homework after Saturday's session was to notice my inner critic. Here is just one tiny example. Monday, I was going to hand out invites to DD's bday party. Her party is still like 3 weeks away. I forgot to bring them. When I realized that, here is what my brain SCREAMED at me (pardon the language but it's necessary to convey): "Oh Shit, you Fucking Idiot!! What the Fuck is wrong with you. You are so Fucking stupid and worthless." And then I believe myself and I feel like scum. And I do this countless times per day for things as ridiculous as making a typo.
If one of my friends ever said something like that to me, I'd never speak to them again. If someone I knew forgot to bring Bday invitations and was upset about it, I'd say "Calm can bring them tomorrow! No biggie!" I need to remember to treat myself like a friend. Heck, even treat myself as I'd treat a stranger! Instead of as someone I vehemently despise. I said to T that I feel like this is a giant step backwards and she said it's just the opposite. I said that I feel like I've done this work before though. She said that maybe I had but it had been done as "Xena". She asked what I would call this part of me? I asked her to clarify...what would I call the harsh critic part of me or the cowering part of me who believes the critic? Boy I set myself up for this one when she answered "Both! Start with the part who believes the critic." I drew a blank, said I really wasn't sure. Okay then, what would you call the harsh angry voice? "My father", I answered, and then the realization......"Oh. And the other part is my inner child."
When I was in my early 20's and my brother had moved out already, he was at our house for a visit. He was wildly picking on me, sarcastically insulting on me in front of my mother and his girlfriend at the time. I was pretty new into therapy at that point and I remember being filled with anger and adrenaline as I put my pointed finger up to him and I said with 100% conviction "You are not allowed to speak to me like that EVER again." And you know, he never did. But it's that image and that phrase that I have to continue to call to mind now as I face that hatred inside myself. I have to talk back to my own inner critic and tell it "You are not allowed to speak to me like that anymore!"
I'll conclude with a sweet little story about my DD. I revel in her innocence. I'm not sure I've ever mentioned my father to her but a reference slipped out the other day and then I was questioned. Here's how the conversation went as we were driving home in the car and I decided to take a different route:

DD: This isn't the way home, is it?
Me: Sure it is. You know my father used to say "all roads lead home"
DD: Your father?
Me: Yes, I do have a father
DD: But where is your father?
Me: Well, he's around but I don't see him or talk to him anymore
DD: Why not?
Me: Because he's not a nice man and I don't want you or me to be around anyone who is not nice.
DD: But why is he not nice?
Me: I don't know, sweetie. I don't know why some people choose to be not nice.
DD: Maybe he pinched someone and he didn't say he was sorry and so he had to go sit in time out in the corner!
Me (with a smile): I think that could be it, honey.....that could be it.

How sweet that the worst thing she can think of that makes someone mean is to pinch and not apologize. I love seeing the world through her eyes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book Questions, Chapter 1

The book I mentioned in my Security post has a section at the conclusion of each chapter called "Have you thought about this?" I figured I'd blog my answers to help me in the process. What is almost comical to me at this point is that I STILL struggle with the term "abuse". I am STILL uncomfortable deeming what happened to me as abuse. I still want to take responsibility for it and, when I read the stories of what others have endured, I feel I have NO right to still struggle with any of this.

How did you survive your abuse? During the abuse, could you ever imagine what it would feel like to be free? I don't think I realized I wasn't free until much later. I don't feel like I "survived" the abuse....I just felt like I was living day to day in what was my "normal" at the time.

How did the abuse hold you back from having a full life? At the time, were you aware of the impact the abuse was having on you? I definitely didn't know how I was being impacted by the abuse. It held me back from developing in a natural sequence. Having sex introduced into my life at such a young age absolutely screwed with my mind and my perception of myself, of men, of love and the proper context of sexual relations. It also made me feel secretive and isolated, like I had this whole other facet of life that no one else could know about. (Hmmm....I wonder if this ties into my isolation issues now?) The abuse from my father made me feel unloved, unlovable, bad, bothersome. The messages from my mother (*smile*happy family*smile*) taught me to stuff it away and pretend all was fine.

Did you use your eating disorder as a survival mechanism? If so, how? What were some other things you did to help you survive the abuse? I guess I did use it as a survival. My family was big on soothing with food. God forbid we actually speak about something. By all means, let's fill our mouths constantly so no verbal unpleasantries have a chance to sneak out. My mother expresses love by doing for others which includes cooking & gift giving. (Oh my god - cooking & buying....the 2 addictions I struggle with the most...eating & shopping!) So food was a comfort to me and it was something I could trust since there were no words needed. And I believe that overeating was the beginning of subconsciously building my physical barrier of protection. Not that it helped. Other things I did to survive...well, I completely shut down. I dissociated. And I made sure I abused myself before anyone else had the chance to.

Was there anyone or anything (real or imagined) you held onto during the abuse? For example, did you have people in your life during the abuse that you trusted or could talk to? If not, did you have images or fantasies of a caring and nurturing relationship? No, I didn't try talking about it until much later. I had a stuffed panda bear who absorbed all my sadness when I let it out. And I had a fantasy boyfriend who loved me, cherished me, wanted to marry me and take me away from my family. This is when I was like 11/12 years old. How interesting that my fantasy was a romantic relationship instead of a family.
What strengths do you think you have that helped you survive your abuse? How can you use those strengths to heal from the abuse? I'm having a hard time with this one. I don't feel like anything I did at the time counts as a strength. I just did what I had to do. I didn't know anything else so I just found my way on a daily basis. I guess that, in itself, can be called a quiet strength, a will to survive. But it's a strength with limited usefulness. It doesn't serve me now to be so passive about my healing. It's hardly a full life when you're just trying to survive day to day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Relinquishing Control

This is my stomach right now ~~~>
Control is a big issue to me as I'm sure many of you can understand and relate to. Letting go of any portion of the control I have is really scary. Two issues in my life are testing this right now.
First of all, DD's daycare plans alot of out of school field trips. I'm not comfortable letting her go on a bus to public places without me. I'm too much of a "what-iffer". She's always stayed at school with the other kids who aren't participating. Well, this Friday the kids have a trip planned and every other student is going. Which means she would be alone at the school with one teacher. I can't make her feel like she's being singled out or punished by not doing something all the other kids are doing. So last night I gave her the choice and she said she wanted to go. I'm in knots as I sign the permission slip and think about her riding a bus on the highway to another town and being in this public place with teachers & other parent chaperones. I could volunteer to chaperone but I need to work. If I could take days off to take her places, I'd be a stay at home Mom! In the end, I think this particular instance of relinquishing control is good for me and good for DD.
But the next one.....well, I'm not so sure but the decision is made already so I have to live with the consequence. Today there is a child support enforcement hearing in my case. DD's donor stopped paying me in March and didn't start again til about 3 weeks ago, at a reduced amount. It's an interstate case, meaning he lives in another state and the court hearings take place in his state of residence. For this reason, I'm not required to show up at hearings. But I've been at every one since the start. I've done more than show up.....I've prepared, researched, documented. I wrote my own legal motion and represented myself in court, requesting a deviation from state law in my favor and I won. That was one of the proudest moments of my life. This case is near & dear to my heart. It's more than his obligation to pay; I feel like it's the principle of the matter for me. It's my way of not letting him get away with all the lies he told to me. It's building some financial security for DD's future. Through much angst and with the help of my friend, I made the decision not to go to today's hearing. Because of the distance, I'm allowed to request a telephone appearance. When I finally spoke with the supervisor of my case worker, after 3 days of trying to call with no answer & no voice mail to leave a message, she informed me that the phone appearance is only a request with no guarantee they will call. It's the hearing officer's discretion and, if they are running behind (and when are they NOT running behind), they will not call. Well, I had a bit of a meltdown and I guess my tears made her want to help me a little more. She found the case worker who will be in my hearing this morning and made her promise to call me if Donor does show up and there is a hearing. I don't trust them to follow through on this promise but I've made the calculated risk to leave it in their hands. Terrifying. As to whether this decision ends up being "good for me", hopefully I'll be able to answer that affirmatively in the next four hours. In the meantime, thank God for coffee & I feel like I'm going to puke.
****UPDATE: The hearing officer DID call. Donor showed up and we had the hearing with me appearing by phone. It all worked out great!!! They upped the amount he has to pay me toward his arrearages. When I say upped....holy COW. I mean he now has to pay me 20 times what he was previously paying. Literally.....20 times!!! That's just toward back support. The regular support order remains the same. I'm so happy!! Guess I can now say relinquishing some control worked out okay in this situation!! Now to make it past Friday without a panic attack.....!!!

I'm so "nice"

After I left T on Saturday, I had to stop at the bank. There was a man who walked in right before me and we both walked up to the counter where the bank forms and 2 chained pens are located. We were both making deposits consisting of several checks. His pen didn't work. He was waiting for me to finish so he could use my pen. I was in a state of high anxiety, nervous, feeling pressured to finish, feeling "watched", judged. Feeling like HE, this total stranger who was being completely patient, should not have to wait for ME. So I handed him the pen and let him do his deposit as I waited for him to finish. I felt really uncomfortable just standing there waiting. Embarassed, really. Embarassed at how worthless and insignificant I feel. As he was finishing up, he realized that I wasn't done yet. He said "You're not even done with it? Oh, you're so nice! Thank you!" Sure....I'll let you think I'm just nice, sir. Better than admitting I'm just a self-loathing, pathetic idiot.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Furry Gull-Mother

This is what DD calls Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. The Furry Gull-Mother. I can't correct her yet; it's just too funny. :o)

Seriously, I've been in therapy for too darn long to be able to watch movies like this. I'm watching it with DD thinking how screwed up Cinderella is.

First her mother dies when she's very young. Her father remarries this cold, hideous shrew of a woman who brings her two self centered daughters into the home. Then Cinderella's father dies. Abandonment issues! Anger issues!! The step mother spends all the father's money on her own daughters while forcing Cinderella to serve them as maid, cook, personal assistant. Yet she keeps a smile on her face throughout it all and dreams of being "rescued". Delusional!! Dissociated!! The step mother & sisters live in the father's luxurious home/castle while Cinderella is locked in a stone tower & forced to live there. Her only friends are mice, birds & the dog. Some may question her sanity at this point as she dresses them & has conversations with them!! She lives a lifetime as an unwilling recluse being verbally, mentally and emotionally abused by the only "family" she has left. Then her first night out of the house she "falls in love" with the prince in the course of one waltz? Come now.....what are the chances of that marriage being successful?? Happily Ever After, my ass.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Very interesting, yet again, how things align in life to show me what I need to be working on. My last post, Insecurity, was just the tip of the iceberg.

I bought a book well over a year ago. I read the preface shortly after I bought it and never went any further. It's been sitting around since then and it just happened to strike me last night to start reading it again. The book is called Free At Last! Subtitled: The Power of Relationships in Overcoming Trauma, Abuse and Eating Disorders. It's on the recommended reading list of The Renfrew Center which is the countrys first residential treatment center for eating disorders. Basic premise of the book is that positive, healthy relationships are key to overcoming a traumatic past and eating disorders.

In any case, for reasons unknown, I felt compelled to begin reading it again last night. Here was an interesting statistic on the first page. 80% of women with eating disorders have been abused or traumatized. Following is an excerpt that led to my realization:

"Some women describe their eating disorder as a survival mechanism. Some of my patients describe their eating disorder as "My only friend," "It made me feel comforted," or, "It gave me something to look forward to." The eating disorder becomes the only safe way to express one's feelings when leaving an unsafe environment. Another challenge for women in recovery is to venture out of the self destruction and create safety for themselves in their relationships. Surviving is the first step towards healing. The next challenge is to learn how to be in relationships with people and to trust. "

Food = friend.
Food = comfort.
Food = safety.
Putting all of this together in context with my recent feelings of isolation, the realization that trying to reach out and make friends terrifies all hit me. Food IS my relationship. It is constant, predictable, plentiful, safe. It doesn't talk back, it doesn't judge, it has no expectations. It also doesn't give anything back. It gives me nothing to attach to. Hence the reason I always need more....because I'm never satisfied, never full emotionally. Physically, I am almost always full but that's not what I'm truly longing for. My stomach is not the void that needs filling. It's my soul that is starving.

I have this Catch 22 going where I say I want to be close to people yet I put up my walls and I drive them away. In fact, the compulsive eating literally builds a "barrier" around me of extra weight. It makes me want to stay in the house, ashamed of my appearance. It makes me too ashamed to reach out to anyone. I create a self fulfilling prophecy where I withdraw or keep people at arms length only so I can then say "Aha!!! I knew they would leave me or reject me!" When in reality, I've left them no other choice. Really, I am perpetuating the victim role.

I was listening to a radio broadcast talking about the website Second Life where people create an avatar and live out a virtual existence from buying a house, opening a business, making friends, relationships, even getting married. The DJ's were questioning how people get SO involved in such a game. I can totally understand it. Long before the website, I basically did it and lived a fantasy life online. I can understand any form people get attached to in order to escape their reality. And this is one of the reasons I so love chat groups, my blog and online friendships. Limited risk. Socialization in isolation.

I went to T this morning and she asked me "How does your judgment of yourself play into this?" and I was struck immediately with an intense headache across my forehead, like the brow area. So painful, it made my stomach turn. I sat there in silence, thoughts flying through my mind so fast I couldn't even verbalize them. T asked me what I was feeling and I whispered "I hate myself." I told T about the headache and she said how interesting that was, because the spot I described is the frontal lobe, which is the seat of judgment. I simply could not even proceed in the session, it was too intense. She sat me in a chair and did some of what I jokingly call her "voodoo magic" which really is this energy healing work. It amazes me every time she does it. She uses her hands closely around my head and neck, very rarely even having to touch a key spot. As she does it, I can begin to feel the energy moving in my body. It feels somewhat tingly and I can feel it being drawn to certain spots. The last time she did this, I remember feeling as if my body was a zigzag shape and she said that was the broken flow of energy in my body. This time, I felt the energy flowing up the left side of my neck and head. It felt like my head was laying down on my left shoulder. Next my shoulders felt like stone, so heavy, and then I felt "buzzing" (for lack of a better word) in my left shoulder, chest, shoulderblade, neck & head. I felt as if I was tipping to the left and about to fall off the chair when in fact, I was still sitting perfectly straight. It's bizarre. But the headache was gone when she was done. I told her the experience I had and she remarked that the left side is the receptive side....almost like I was "reaching" for the positive energy.

She ended by giving me a homework assignment to just notice my self-judgments; don't attach to them. Funny, I said....the only thing I *can* attach to lately seems to be my self criticism. I normally see T every 2 weeks but she strongly suggested I come back in a couple days. It makes me nervous when she does that. But I go back on Weds.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


It's funny how events happen that bring a particular issue to light. Something last week sparked my recollection of when I began dating my XDH. Then I had a conversation with my friend J last night that brought up the insecurity issue even more.

I feel such pity and shame when I think about what I said to my XDH. I had been dating someone else on & off for several years when I met XDH. XDH said he wanted to date exclusively and so I was going to break up with the other guy. As I was getting ready to break it off with other guy, I called XDH and I asked "Are you sure you want me?" Before I do this, are you sure you want me?? Because I didn't want to let go of one crappy relationship til I was certain I was "secure" in another.

I guess I've always been insecure but certain times in my life, I've been better at hiding it. Hiding it so well that even I didn't see it. After my divorce, I was feeling confident in my physical appearance but emotionally still very insecure. I didn't know it at the time. Men wanted me and I knew that I could be whatever they wanted me to be. That was the secret of my confidence. I still didn't know who *I* was. So while this came across as massively confident and secure, I was really looking for someone else to make my facade a reality. I just wanted someone to love me and that would "assure" me that I was worthwhile. And I would find my security in them. At least til they screwed me over which I would then blame on myself and find another guy who I would turn myself inside out trying to please and trying to make him love me so I could grasp some security for another snippet of time.

Lately I've been musing over the single parent life and the isolation I feel. I realize, though, that in part I do this to myself. It became evident last night how tightly guarded I still am. I often feel sad at how few friends I have and how few people I can reach out to for support. I think about my friend, J, and how many people she has in her life and I feel envious. I was talking to her last night and she was asking me if there was a way for me to network with other single moms/parents. I told her how I've tried a Mom's chat board, a Yahoo group for single moms, created a myspace page, joined what is basically a "matching" service for mothers who want other moms to meet up with. And how miserably all have failed. With my schedule, it's just so hard to commit to anything in the "real" world, not to mention that I have yet to find such an outlet.

J suggested that I get in touch with a woman I was talking to at a recent birthday party we both attended. The woman is also a single Mom and we had a great conversation at the party. But she has 7 kids. As soon as J started suggesting this and talking up what a great idea it would be, my mind was saying "whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!!!!" Every excuse in the book was flying to my mind. How busy single parents are and especially her with that many children. But what it came down to in my mind was "why would she want to spend any of her limited spare time with ME?" And "why would I put myself out there asking to be her friend and give her the opportunity to reject me?"

I say I want friends but I don't do anything to cultivate that because I'm so insecure about what I have to offer. And I'm too scared to make myself vulnerable. I am isolated, in part, because I choose to be. Even here, in virtual world, I visit so many other blogs that I admire but I almost never leave a response because I don't feel my words are worthwhile or relevant. In turn, I don't get alot of replies on my own blog which then perpetuates my negative beliefs about myself. I've created a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel isolated because I isolate myself.

I'm just not sure what's going on with me right now. This post isn't flowing with the right words and it's not expressing the depth of emotion. Oh....I'm not expressing the depth of emotion. I think that's the problem. I think this is a very scary and vulnerable issue for me and I'm restraining my emotions as best I can which is why I'm feeling numb. Which is why my writing seems so perfunctory and detached right now. *~*~*~*~* I took a break in there for a while, did some breathing and tapping. I still feel fairly numb. I feel sad, actually. And I feel incapable of putting forth the emotional investment necessary for me to obtain what I desire.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I was tagged by Breaking the Silence to do the following. Thanks, I'm in need of something like this!

1. I'm tired of: Feeling like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want and need to.

2. I need to keep: motivated!

3. I am listening to: nothing, really....the hum of my AC, my co-workers talking and the incessant jingling of another co-workers chain belt that sounds like a dog collar.

4. I wish: I could win the powerball.

5. Chocolate is: necessary for survival.

6. I have lost my respect for: my mother. My boss. And pretty much 98% of all mankind.

7. I last ate: cobb salad & 1/4 of a spicy thai & basil chicken wrap.

8. Someday: I'll be organized again.

9. I will always remember: lots of things, really. Good things and bad things.

10. Love is: a big fat pile of bullshit. Bitter, party of one................

11. Today is: improving

12. Tomorrow: will probably arrive too soon!

13. Party: birthday? polictical? I don't get the question.

14. Where is your cell phone? next to me on my desk

15. Tired or Energy: Tired

16. Are you wearing jammies? I wish...but I have a feeling my boss would frown upon it.

17. Upset at? DD's sperm donor

18. Last beverage: coffee. Lovely, divine, nectar of the Gods Coffee.
19. Last phone call: work related, unfortunately

20. Last time you cried? this morning

21. Fallen out of love? I don't think so....maybe kindof. But really, I never loved him for real in the first place. I think it was more realizing that as opposed to falling out of love.

22. Laughed until you cried? Oh yes, thanks to my friend J, many, many times! Laughed until I've cried, choked, peed &/or shot various beverages out my nose!!

23. Met someone who changed your life? Doesn't just about everyone who enters your life in a significant way change your life in one way or another? Definitely yes, many people.

24. Most interesting thing you've done today? Looked at a website for one of my clients who is selling their 26,000 square foot mansion with photos and video of the house and grounds. Complete with glass enclosed wine tasting room, brick pizza oven, indoor pool, 52 foot ceiling in the great room & on the grounds are the bear & bull from Wall Street. I simply cannot imagine living this way....but I'd like to try if I could accomplish #4 on this list!

25. Favorite number(s): Don't have any

26. Current mood: "Eh"

27. Last people you hung out with: My co-workers at an office lunch.

28. Dream Car: Classic Olds 442 Coupe

29. Hair: Auburn, long & curly

30. If you could have one thing, what would it be? A (simple) cure for all types addiction. Like "Here's a shot. You're all better now."

31. Birthday: June

32. How's your life? Not as enjoyable as it probably should be

33. Last time you held hands with someone? This morning walking my DD to daycare

34. Last hug? This morning dropping DD off at daycare

35. Ever crawl through a window? Why would I do such a thing? There are these convenient larger openings called *doors*...................

36. A weapon to suit your personality: A whip....more specifically a cat-o-nine-tails, because I tend to lash out.

37. Where's your mom? In her OWN world!!

38. Morning or night? Morning

39. Last movie? Alvin & the Chipmunks, LOL

40. Scars: Many, visible and non.

41. Thing about the opposite sex you first notice: Eyes, smile, shoulders

42. Dye your hair red? I've done it. Probably not again, though.

43. Worst personality flaw? Impatient. (Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.......)

The Way Things Were Never Supposed To Be

Several things have gotten me thinking about DD's father. There was the incident this past weekend at the dentist office & the store. Speaking with Enola about her pregnancy and impending addition to the family. And yesterday, some child support issues reared their head again.

I've shared some of the story of the circumstances surrounding how my daughter came to be. Maybe I'm just in a "poor me" mood as I sit here hating so much of this situation and I reflect back on this bittersweet journey.

I've always wanted to be a Mom and always had envisioned the white picket fence, husband, 2 children, dog & cat. That's not the way it works for most people, I know. And honestly, things would have been worse if I'd been married to my XDH and had a child with him. I was in the process of divorcing him when I met DD's father. He turned out to be nothing he originally portrayed himself to be. I take responsibility for my role in perpetuating the fantasy.....I overlooked so many things that should have set off my warning bells. When I discovered I was pregnant, his first response was "Oh Shit." The following day, through text message as I sat crying at the hair salon, he told me he'd help pay for an abortion but didn't feel he had anything else to offer.

Becoming pregnant was never supposed to be a questionable, confusing, less than thrilling event in my life. People were often unsure how to react to my news. I'm pregnant! Errrr, Congrats? It's not supposed to be a question, right? My mother was ashamed to tell certain people. She was supposed to be excited about becoming a grandma, right?

Throughout the pregnancy, my communication with Donor was limited and only done through email, text or IM. I often had to chase him down for answers. My childs father was never supposed to be avoiding me. I went to appointments and ultrasounds alone, no one to share the excitement of the heartbeat. No one to "ooh & aah" over this tiny growing life rolling around inside my belly. No one to rub my swollen feet, to feel baby kicks with me, to peruse baby name books with, to register for baby items with.

I planned my own shower. I had to buy everything else on my own (well, my mom did buy alot for us). I had to accomodate a crib & changing table in my 1 bedroom tiny apartment in the basement of my mother's house. No nursery, no theme. Just trying to cram the necessities into an already full space.

The day after my shower, I went to the birth class at the hospital by myself. No one to go with me. I felt like such an unlovable, pathetic loser. I sat in the back, simply wanting to disappear into the wallpaper. I was so mortified at being there alone that I actually donned my old wedding rings and made up a story about my "husband" being called out of town unexpectedly for his sick father. I figured I'd never see any of these people again so it didn't matter if I told a white lie in order to make myself more comfortable. Laying on the floor doing breathing exercises.....all the other women excitedly snuggled in against their DH's or partners. Me? Propped on a pile of pillows. And then at the end of the class, I went into labor prematurely. And the nurse teaching the class rushes me upstairs to Labor & Delivery and says "honey, give me your husband's phone number so I can call him for you" and I have to shamefully admit I'd lied. Laying there in the hospital feeling more alone and humiliated than I can ever put into words. Feeling as rejected as a person can feel. And trying to reach out to DD's father to let him know what was going on. Still trying to engage him and force him to care about his soon-to-be-born child.

Through bedrest & medication, they were able to hold off labor for another 2 weeks. I was in the hospital for 10 of the 14 days. Laying there alone except for almost daily visits from my Mom bringing me clean PJ's & peanut butter sandwiches. I felt so isolated. And had Waaaaaayyyy too much time to think. I went home and then my water broke 3 days later and there was no holding back DD's birth any longer, still 7 weeks before her due date. Packing my suitcase in silence, alone. My mom drove me to the hospital which I hated. My mind was racing in every direction. I was terrified, excited, was completely surreal. It would have been nice to have support. Just someone to hold my hand and say "I'm here with you" I went through labor with only the hospital staff at my side. After DD was born, she was whisked off to NICU and I wasn't allowed to see her for several hours until she was stabilized. I showered; I sat there completely numb. I texted a few friends but I really wasn't all that close to anyone at the time. I'd been trying to call Donor since I got to the hospital. Not only did he never answer, but eventually he turned off his phone altogether. I caught him at work Monday AM (DD born on a Saturday). He said he'd come see us, said he'd come sign the birth certificate. He did neither and went right back to avoiding me.

Finding my way with my first and only child has been difficult. I never had much experience with kids and I felt so clueless with no one to turn to for an opinion, to vent, or for praise. Making all the decisions about her health, her care, her education, activities, discipline.....while sometimes I feel like the lucky one when I see other parents at odds about how to handle's also very isolating. It's all on me. Knowing my actions, my choices, my words are shaping who she will be for a lifetime is scary. Not having someone to share in the milestones, the frustrations, the saddens me. It saddens me for me and for her, also. Dealing with her questions, her friends questions about why she doesn't have a Dad....having to skirt the subject in so many routine's hard. I still feel isolated. I don't feel comfortable making play dates with other families. I feel "different" being a single mom. I'm sure I manage to exude that attitude and it keeps people away from me.

A child support issue came up this week. We're scheduled to go back to court for an enforcement hearing next week since SD hasn't paid since March. Recently he did begin payments again but not at the ordered amount. I'll keep a long story short but, in conversation with the case handler, I discovered yesterday that someone at the court "overlooked" the $8,000 of back support that he owes me and it was never entered into the judgment. Overlooked.....that is how I feel. So I've missed 2 years of his tax refunds at the very least because someone didn't take the time to read the order carefully. Man, that pisses me off. It just seems like I'm sailing along smoothly for a while and then BOOM!!! Titanic meets Iceberg.

Never ever do I regret that I have DD. I have something wonderful that came out of a bad situation. It's just now how I imagined my life would go. I wanted DD to have so much more than I had. I wanted her to have a "whole" family. And I know that she's got me and we're a family. I know that she's better to have one loving Mom than to have two lousy parents. I know all this. It's just not "the fantasy". You'd think I would have learned long ago that the fantasy doesn't exist.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


One of the big symptoms of my stress, anxiety and panic is chest pain. I often fear I’m having a heart attack. Before I went on meds, I was in the ER several times convinced I was having one. My Dr was good enough to order all kinds of tests to rule out cardiac issues which temporarily put my mind at rest. I do have a risk factor. Though I’m only 39, I am overweight and that scares me. If I did not have my DD, I’m not sure how much I’d care. But I have a horrific fear of dying and leaving her at a young age. It terrifies me to think of what would happen to her without me since she doesn’t have another parent to raise her. I know my mother would take her and I guess that scares me more than anything....thinking my mother would somehow fail to protect DD the way she failed to protect me. Fearing DD would end up just like me.

You would think this would make me uber conscious of my health but it does not. I continue with my eating disorder. I haven’t done much to deal with it. I’m avoiding some blood work my Dr ordered months ago because I know things have changed for the worse. Really, I bide my time. If you could hear inside my brain, it would go something like this:

“Grandmother was XX old when she died. Aunt was XX old when she died. Father is XX old and he’s still alive. There is [this person] who is XX old and he’s morbidly obese and he’s still alive. And then there’s this other person who was only XX when he died of a heart attack. Now….I know my cardiac workup was perfectly fine 2 years ago so I’m probably still okay. If I can just make it to XX age, then DD will be XX age and she’ll have had enough of my influence to be okay for the future.”

How sad that I don’t demand more for my life. How sad that all I do is calculate the odds like a big old Russian Roulette. How sad that I’m only trying to eek out a certain amount of years and, in the meantime, accepting feeling like crap and allowing my addiction to consume me, quite literally.

With no big fanfare, this morning I looked in the mirror, disgusted at what I saw and just knew I had to try again to face the demon of addiction. Usually, I have a “planned” restart day (generally a Monday morning) and I binge like crazy before hand in “preparation”. Not so this time. I just want to feel good again. And I want to make better choices and I want to be healthier to enjoy more years and more activities with DD. Why is food so much more powerful than those wishes? As I looked at myself with these thoughts in my head, I thought with every bite and every binge, I make my addiction more important than my life. I make food more important than my daughter. And that is unacceptable.

So I start again. Day One. Last time I made it to 60-something days. I lost motivation because I wasn’t losing any weight. I think that might have to do with the Effexor I’m on. So I go into this not expecting a loss but rather with the mindset of facing the reasons I make the choices that I do. Frankly, once I can face those, I can probably come off the meds and then hopefully I can start losing again. As Oprah says "It's not what you're's what's eating YOU." I know this is emotional in origin and I want to get to the bottom of that so that I no longer feel the urge to stuff it down with food. But for now….back at square one.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thumb Sucking

DD is a chronic thumb sucker. I’m having issues with this. First of all, I’ll admit it. This is the least of my issues with the situation and it’s a horrible thing to say but….it’s making her look different and that bugs me for some reason. I perceive some sort of "judgment" of me through DD's appearance and actions. It's wrong, I know and it's setting her up to carry this "perfection" complex that I have. I'm working on it....I'm working on it. She has a massive overbite now. Her teeth don’t touch in front. When she smiles, you almost can’t see her front teeth. It’s changing the shape of her jaw and the appearance of her face. In fact, I think it’s making her look more like her father. And who wants that??

Which brings me to issue #2. At the dentist on Saturday, the Dr said that her overbite was very advanced and he guessed that she has a genetic predisposition to an overbite. I thought about my family and I said no, I didn’t think so. He asked about her father’s side of the family. Not wanting to go into the whole story, I simply said “Not that I know of.” I hate that such a simple question is so loaded. I hate that I don’t know half of her genetic history. Before she was born, I had to go for some sort of genetic counseling, I think they call it. I asked her "Donor" at that point if he’d provide me with a simple family tree of health issues. Of course he said yes. Of course he never did it.

I dread the day those kind of questions are directed at DD instead of at me and she’s the one who has to stumble for the answer. I hate feeling like I want to pick up the phone and call him to ask him but knowing I can’t. I hate being forced to think about him at all, really. DD is in a stage of looking like her Donor. In the car, I generally flip the vanity mirror down and angle it so I can look at her while we drive. This morning, I couldn’t even look at her. I could only see HIM staring back at me. I detest being forced to think about him especially when I'm looking at my baby....the person I love more than anything else in this world.

Ever since the therapy session I had where T set me straight to quit thinking of him as her “father” and consider him as a Donor only, I’ve done really well with the whole thing. But then there are days when it all smacks me in the face. Later that day, after we left the dentist, we went to the mall for something and the ladies in the store were admiring DD, guessing her at about 6 years old. If I haven’t mentioned before, DD is very tall for her age. So I said that she would be 4 the end of the month and one of them said “Wow, Daddy must be tall!!” Such an innocuous statement for anyone to make and yet causes so much turmoil for me. I was glad that DD was so tired at that point it really didn’t register with her. I get so on edge waiting for comments like those to start her on another “daddy” kick. She’s not mentioned him in a short while and I’d just assume keep it that way! I digress.

Issue #3, which is really the most difficult for me. And it’s MY issue. My perception, my insecurity. Thumb sucking is a soother. Children need it; I get that. I sucked my thumb until I was 7 and only stopped when they gave me a retainer with spokes in it. I had good reason to suck my thumb and to need soothing with all that was going on in my world. I’m paralleling my beliefs about my own thumb sucking to why DD does it. I feel like I’m doing something wrong and somehow failing to make DD feel safe and that is why she needs to suck. I want her to feel safe on my terms and on my timeline, apparently. I really want her to stop for the dental issues more than anything. I don't want her to need a rake, braces or surgery. I’d be more than happy to give her back her paci in place of her thumbs. But I definitely feel like I’m failing to provide her with some sort of security that she needs and I hate feeling this way. I hate feeling like my choices or actions are leaving a void in her life.