Thursday, July 31, 2008

Greener Grass

I'm sitting at work this AM and a co-worker stops in to see me. He's an older gentleman, probably around 70. When he first started here, I could not stand him! I thought he was ornery, demanding, difficult and a real pain in the ass. As time went on, I realized that I was right, LOL. He IS all those things. But he's also a softie with a great sense of humor. Once I hit on that and started to figure out how to goof around with him, we've become friends.

Past few days he's been asking me about my car. I downsized last year from a Ford Expedition to a Toyota Rav4. Smart move! He has 7 children and a slew of grandchildren. One of his daughters has a Honda Pilot that gets 15 MPG. She was going to lease another one and he was trying hard to talk her out of it. He came in to tell me that he made her go look at a Rav4 last night and she ended up buying one.

I thought to myself how fantastic that still at this age, her Dad is looking out for her and trying to help her make smart decisions. And then I thought....she probably thinks he's a demanding, difficult pain in the ass! And she probably gets irritated at his persistence in giving his unsolicited opinion. Well, maybe it's a "grass is greener" situation....but I sure wish I had the opportunity to be annoyed by my father's over-involvement, opinions and protection in my life.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beyond Poop: Just Plain SHIT.

I'll spare you an image for this post. *smile*
I'm just in a really crappy (no pun intended) mood. It's been a trying time, for sure. Work has been so hectic and crazy. It seems like my In Box doubles on a daily basis and I simply can't do that much work. The 2 co-workers I depend on the most to help me just end up making more work for me. One because she is a self-centered, careless, unpleasant troll. The other because he is just an ass, really. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels here every day and for every step forward, I'm being pushed 2 steps back.

Leaving here yesterday, after a normally stressful day, I picked up DD at daycare. I go to sign her out and see she's not taken a nap. DD always naps at school so this is highly abnormal. Of course it happens on a Tuesday, which is my longest day because of choir rehearsal. Under any other circumstances, I may have skipped choir or just cut it short but we're preparing for our biggest performance of the year this coming Sunday. And I still have a sinus infection. The anti-biotics are not working as quickly as everyone assured me they would. So my voice is questionable for this performance. Stresses me out. I'm the "lead lead", the "top Diva" as I jokingly call it. Meaning there are 3 other women who sing the same part that I do but I'm the strongest voice and they count on me to lead my section. No pressure, though. :o)

So after I pick DD up, she is already whining at me in the car. We have to kill some time before choir and I don't have any errands to do this particular day. I tell DD I'd like to stop at the library. Noooooooooo, she whines; she doesn't want the library. I go anyway to discover they are closing in 5 minutes. Summer hours, I guess. So I say we can't go. Wwwaaaaaahhhhhhh, she cries; she wanted to go to the library. Tune her out...tune her out. I'm already feeling frazzled and numb. "ICE CREAM" the brilliant Mommy bursts out.....we'll go get a scoop of ice cream. Crying stops. We go get ice cream which DD plays with more than eats, drips it all over her dress, says she's done with it. She puts it in the garbage and then comes back & starts crying "I wasn't done!!!" Tune out, Tune out.

We get to choir (which is at my friends house, BTW) DD poops in her undies. She's wearing a dress and I've now learned not to let her wear nothing underneath after the office fiasco last week. Taking T's advice, I just say "okay, let's get you cleaned up." I clean her up and realize I've packed PJ's but no more undies and no diaper (which I still have her sleep in b/c of night accidents). So I tell her "Listen, we have no more clothes with us so if you need to go potty again, tell Mommy. Otherwise you're going to have to stay in poop clothes til we get home." She says okay.

Next I knock over my very substantial pendaflex file of music, which is all alphabetized. It shoots out across the room and I have to bend down (recall I've got the sinus infection so bending down is excruciating) and pick it all up then shuffle through it all and re-file it. Few minutes later, DD informs me she has now pooped in her PJ's. I say "Well, I'm sorry you chose to do that instead of using the potty. We have no other clothes, so you're going to have to live with it til we leave." I would have let her run around naked but I was worried she'd poop on their floor. She's crying. All my choir-mates are doing their best to tolerate her stink. I was horrified. Still trying to go on singing but having breakdowns instead. I had to stand away from everyone else b/c I was getting so stressed that being in a tight group of people was bringing on a panic attack. I had a hard time controlling my crying and I kept thinking this is when I miss having a boyfriend....when I just want someone who loves me to listen to me and give a hug. Then DD starts crying. She says she needs to poop on the potty now. I suspect it's a lie/ploy but I take her upstairs to the bathroom anyway. Lucky for me, there are some spare kids clothes hanging around at my friends house and I'm able to grab a pair of sweats that (sort-of) fit DD. The poop has worked it's way down both legs to her knees and as I take the PJ pants off, it smears all the way down & over her feet as well as getting all over me, under my fingernails. I throw her in their tub and wipe her down with TP the best I can then wash her off in the tub. Not realizing this tub has drainage problems until there is a pool of poopy water in the tub. I'm sitting on the floor and I go to get up, leaning on the edge of the tub, slip on the wet edge & smash my ribs into the side of the tub. Cry. Get the plunger & slowly help the tub drain out. Then clean the tub so I don't leave poop in my friends bath. We don't leave choir til almost 10. DD is awake until 10:30 and frankly I just couldn't wait for her to fall asleep. I needed the reprieve.

I was just so exhausted but still had dishes to put away, lunches to make. I slept restlessly, a battle of weary body, busy brain. This morning was a battle with DD, being that she was so over-tired. I love her more than anything but just was thrilled to leave her at daycare today. Of course, I get to work 20 minutes late, thanks to morning battles, and immediately there are emergencies, urgents and a tiff with the co-worker who is an ass. I broke down & had to shut my door. I feel very disconnected, physically, right now. Oh. lightbulb....time for grounded breathing. I did do my breathing and I came up with 2 prevailing thoughts: #1 - No Control. That's what is making me nuts. I feel entirely out of control. #2: HOLY potatoes my sinuses HURT!! :o{

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kid Stuff Update

I can't believe I forgot to add this in the post yesterday because I thought it was a crucial point that T made. She told me that, when DD misbehaves, I need to stop reacting to it as if it's personal. Like at work, when she pooped on the floor....I was mortified that my child would do this to me. In reality, she didn't do it to me. She just did it. T suggested I stop giving such power to these situations by providing just the negative attention and emotional rise it's meant to evoke. Next time, she says, clean it up and go on as if nothing happened. Easy to say. We'll see just how easy it is to put into action.

Well, last night, with all these new ideas swirling in my head about raising my baby, I tried a few different things. After I picked her up from daycare, we went to this great, independent toy store. I like it because they toys they carry are all meant really to foster imagination and activity. Nothing computerized or mechanical. Simple stuff. So I let DD choose a room and a family of Calico Critters. When we got back in the car, I explained to her that this is a very special toy just for her. We're going to start having short periods of "DD alone time" & "Mommy alone time". I set it up on her play table in her bedroom and I told her if she plays nicely with it, I'll keep buying her more furniture & accessories and then Santa will bring her the big Country House. I'm just trying to make her excited about playing alone and trying to break that need for my constant attention in a fun way.

Also, last night, as I was getting dinner ready, she decided to stand on the couch. This has been the latest battle of negative attention-getting. She jumps on the furniture. Over the weekend, she stood on the coffee table and jumped over to the couch, falling forward and smacking her forehead into the wall. You'd think she'd learn from this, right? No such logic in a 4 year old!! So, I hear her call "Mama, what am I doing?" and I see her standing on the couch. I took a breath, calmly walked into the LR, took her hand and escorted her down and put her in time out. When dinner was on the table, I took her out and asked her if she knew why she went into time out. She told me the reason, said she was sorry. I told her I loved her and we had dinner. During dinner, she asked me to tell her why she went into time out (she likes to rehash things for some reason) and I just said "that's over now, let's not worry about it anymore."

At bath time, instead of getting aggravated that she wanted to run all over the bedrooms instead of getting in the tub, I explained her options to her and told her to make her choice how she wanted to spend the evening. She reacted quite well to that. All in all, I'm pleased with how things went last night and I'm looking forward to learning and applying some new parenting skills that may help DD now and in the long run. This is THE MOST daunting responsibility in the world, IMHO. Knowing that my choices, words, actions, issues are going to brand her thought processes for a lifetime absolutely terrifies me.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Yeah, yeah.....I know. What a subject, right? Seems like my life revolves around poop right now!!! My DD has an issue with holding it for days at a time. Finally, at her Dr's suggestion, I pumped her up with a laxative to make it impossible for her to hold it so long. Well......

Friday afternoon I had so much to do at work so I picked DD up from daycare & came back to the office. I could tell she had to go so I asked her. No, she says....she wants to hold it til we get home. Not 2 minutes later, she tells me she went in her pants. Argh. Fortunately, just a teeny bit so I took her to the ladies room and she went on the potty. I washed out her undies and so she had nothing on under her dress. We come back in the office and I'm working away as she plays/draws, whatever. And she tells me she has poop on her leg. Hm...must have gotten there when I took her undies off? No, she tells me. She just pooped on my office carpet and then proceeded to kneel in it. Well, yay. I was absolutely stunned that she would do this!! Adding insult to was 90 degrees and our office building AC shuts down after business hours so it's hot in here. I picked her up to put her on the counter and clean her legs off which led to me getting a smear of poop up the front of my shirt. And, we have no carpet cleaning stuff here so I'm left with dish soap and hot water from the Poland Spring cooler and cheapo paper towels that shred when you try to rub with them. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what kind of a mood I was in by the time we left here at 7pm.

That night I had a dream. About what?? You guessed it. Poop. In my dream, my girlfriend J and I were at a restaurant. We both had to use the ladies room. More specifically, we both needed to poop, (which is how we kept referring to it in the dream). So we both go into the ladies room which is like a single large open room with one toilet and two doors. One of the doors was where we entered from the restaurant. The other is like a screen door which you can see through, obviously. There was a man standing outside the screen door. J states that she needs to go first except she's tra-la-la-ing around the bathroom, goofing off, dancing about. I'm getting aggravated with her b/c I really need to go and I tell her to hurry up & go so I can go. Except then I don't want to go because there are more men gathering outside the screen door and I don't want them watching me. J says something like "I don't know why you're so uptight about it. Everyone poops. Why are you so embarassed that you have to do it too? I'll poop right now and I'll scoop it out and hold it in my hands and show it to everyone!!" I told her that I wasn't embarassed that I had to do it, I just didn't want anyone watching me.

I felt this dream was fairly self explanatory. I mean "poop" is a pretty obvious dream symbolism. From my favorite dream dictionary: it signifies aspects of yourself that are dirty and negative and which you believe to be undesirable and repulsive. You need to acknowledge and express these feelings, even though it may be shameful. Release the negativity in your life. To dream that you are unable to dispose of the feces, suggests that you are unwilling to let go of your emotions. You have a tendency to hold in and keep your feelings to yourself.

The way that I interpreted this dream was right along those lines and I thought it was funny how J was saying she'd hold it in her hands and show it to everyone because J is very open with her emotions and has no problem expressing them freely. So in T on Saturday, I discussed the dream & what I thought it meant. T agreed but also pointed out the significance of the people outside the door, indicating how I feel very self-conscious and judged, or like people are hovering over me and commenting on my "shameful" aspects.

Alot of this T session, I spent talking about my parenting struggles. DD is almost 4 now and she's got a very strong personality. When I was her age, I was already being abused and I was in a situation where I had adult demands and expectations being put upon me. By the name of my blog, you know I have issues with wanting to maintain a facade of perfection. Well, naturally the "perfect" woman would have a "perfect" child. I find myself so often over-parenting DD on things that really don't require any intervention from me. I am so programmed to do-do-do and I have a difficult time just relaxing and having fun. So when DD is having fun, I tend to cut her off. Now, part of this is practical in nature for me. We have a long day and not much time at home together. I try to make that time productive as much as possible. I always feel like we're running behind. It stresses me out.

So, for instance: DD's shower is over and she wants to play in the water that's left in the tub. I don't really get why it's fun and I used to just say no, we have to move on & get some other things done. Now, I do let her play b/c I've found ways to be productive while she plays. I wash my face, change into my PJ's, get our clothes ready for the next day. When I hear her splashing in there, all I can think is "Oh God, it's getting all over the bathroom, now I'm going to have to wash the walls, the floor and rug will be all wet and I'll have to deal with that. She's getting the soapy water all over herself and I'm going to need to rinse her again." All I can think is "time wasted...time wasted...time wasted." So I tell her to stop splashing. STOP!!!!!! And she's upset and I'm stressed out. Really....a 4 year old stop splashing in the tub? Is this a fight I need to fight?

I realize I am struggling hard to control her where I need to step back and simply appreciate her emerging personality. Where I need to give her freedom to be herself. There is a poster at daycare that says "Children are to be unfolded, not molded." I just find this a really difficult line to walk. But T tells me she feels I'm "micro-managing" DD which is setting her up for feelings of inadequacy/self-consciousness. She suggests I give DD more freedom, alone time to explore. I say the problem is that when I do this, she does something outrageous that demands my attention. T says I've already begun to program DD to need that constant attention b/c it's now unfamiliar when I'm not hovering over her and she turns up the "naughty" factor to get my attention now when I don't give it.

Another example of my control issues: we go to the grocery store. DD likes the carts that have the little fire truck attached to the front. But inevitably, she later wants to get out of the truck and stand on the shopping cart bar, holding onto the handlebar where I push. I've been known to get aggravated with her for this. Like "we got the fire truck cart for you to ride in the fire truck!! So get in there & quit climbing all over the place." T says this is me being "rule bound". It's the way I am with myself and I'm projecting it onto DD. Meaning "I did "A", so now "B" has to happen." Newsflash: not how kids operate!!!! And why is it a big deal if she wants to go from here to there and have a little fun at the grocery store??? Why? Because I feel judged when she is anything less that "perfectly behaved." I have been taking a good hard look at my parenting lately and not really liking many things I see. But I'm having a tough time figuring out when to back off. Right now, I'm trying to take a pause before I give DD any commentary to see if it's really needed &/or productive. I don't want her to feel criticized. I remember feeling & saying that my father only wanted to be a father when I'd done something wrong. I don't want DD to feel that way. I certainly don't want her to lose her childhood to my anal expectations. I want her to feel free and happy; to feel that she is exactly who she is meant to be. Not feeling the need to conform to the desires of others. The way I have.


I am here because there is no refuge
Finally from myself
Until I confront myself in the eyes
And hearts of others,
I am running
Until I suffer them to share my secrets,
I have no safety from them.
Afraid to be known, I can know
Neither myself nor any other -
I will be alone.

Where else but in our common ground
Can I find such a mirror?
Here, together, I can at last appear
Clearly to myself.
Not as the giant of my dreams,
Nor the dwarf of my fears,
But as myself ~ part of a whole ~
With my share in its purpose.
In this ground we can each take root and grow,
Not alone anymore as in death,
But alive to ourselves and others.

~ Richard Beauvais

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Frogs, Sinuses & Child Support

(AKA: General Update!)

I wish I could recall more of what my dream entailed the other night. All I can remember is that it was filled with frogs. Jumping frogs, croaking frogs, trying to catch frogs.

So I go to my trusty dream dictionary which says the following:
To see a frog in your dream, represents a potential to change or to do the unexpected.
The frog may be a prince in disguise.
Alternatively, the frog may suggest uncleanness.
To see frogs leaping in your dream, may indicate your lack of commitment. You have the tendency to jump from one thing to another.
Alternatively, it may suggest that you are taking major steps toward some goal.
To dream that you are catching a frog, signifies your carelessness concerning your health.
To hear the sounds of a frog in your dream, signifies that you visit with friends will not accomplish anything that you wanted it to.

Could you narrow that down a bit, please???

I also had a dream about not being able to find my car which I know from past experience means I'm having feelings of not being able to claim/find my identity.

Health issues: I've been having all kinds of jaw/face pain. Haven't really been sure what to make of it. I thought it might be sinus, though I've never had sinus issues. Then I thought maybe just a cold. I know I've been clenching (or possibly grinding) my teeth at night and I thought maybe that was causing the pain. I thought about calling my Dr but figured I should try a few things first. So I spent $53 on "feel better" stuff: Sinus Meds, Neti Pot, night time bite guard to stop the clench/grinding. And since I was already there, I bought a massage thing to reach my "stress spot" (back of shoulder). *bliss!* So, in a nutshell, the bite guard has helped. The first night, I threw it across the bed, it seems, LOL! But I've gotten used to it now and the jaw/teeth pain is diminishing. I took the sinus meds....not helping. I used the Neti Pot (yes, were RIGHT!), it's amazing! At this point, I am fairly certain I have a sinus infection as I have strong pain on both sides of my nose, under my eyes & in my front teeth. My ears are clogged, I can't smell or taste anything. Made a Dr appt for this afternoon to see if she can help me. I have to sing at a really big event next weekend and I need my ears & voice back!!
**UPDATE after Dr. appt: She says I have a raging sinus infection and the beginning of an ear infection. I'm now on 2 OTC medicines, RX nasal spray & anti-biotics. Plus she says keep using that Neti Pot! It's a good thing it worked out for me to see her today b/c she said I would have been in agony by tomorrow.

My mom came over for dinner last night. I find myself being less on edge with her now which is a great development. She said a few things last night that I know, at one point in the past, would have set me off. I continue to take it day by day. She couldn't help but notice my sinus issues & commented that perhaps it was the dampness in my basement. She called me this morning and tells me that she went out first thing this AM & bought us a brand new $400 dehumidifier, just because. How did I know she would do that? I was going to get one after work tonight. Guess I'm off the hook for that. Thanks, Mom!

SD (DD's worthless bio father, aka: Sperm-Donor, for anyone new to my blog) stopped paying Child Support in March. I've been working diligently in trying to get this resolved. We have an upcoming court date for 8/12. Now believe me, I'm in no great hurry to drive to his state or to see him but I want this taken care of. Today, I checked DD's bank account & there are 2 deposits from him which total less than half his normal bi-weekly payment. I want to know what the hell is up. But my anxiety is up at the thought of having to go through this again. It consumed nearly a year for me in court dates, (each one being about 100 miles away, mind you), endless phone calls, legal research. It was exhausting. I don't have the time or energy to do this again.

So there is my update....nothing too huge going on. Very busy at work. Feeling crappy. Would very much like to go home and curl up on the couch. I can't even enjoy my coffee cuz I can't taste it!!!! This morning when I woke DD up, she was still so groggy and she turned her sleepy little face toward me and said "Don't you want to leave me alone?" I feel like saying that to everyone who calls and/or comes into my office today!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Emotional Freedom

Emotional Freedom Techniques
Energy Tapping
Meridian Energy Therapy
Energy Psychology

Call it what you will. My T is a huge believer in the mind/body connection. Sometimes I'm on board with her and other times pretty skeptical. The longer I work with her, the more I can't deny the solid connection of the two. We met on Saturday and I was a bit scattered when I arrived. I sat back on her plush couch and tried to center myself with some pleasant imagery. But it was not to be. There was a photograph I'd seen the day before that kept attacking my mental happy place. It was a photo of my brother holding my daughter when she was 4 months old. First time he'd met her. We went to his house for a holiday get-together at my mother's strong prompting. I simply could not rid myself of this image since I saw it. His face looks so evil to me. The way he's holding my DD looks like he's going to violate her. My T suggested we do some energy tapping around this image. She asked me for my level of distress associated with the photo on a 1-10 scale. Eight, I said. Tapping, tapping, tapping on my meridians. Distress level? Four, I estimate....the photo isn't holding as much power for me. But I'm being plagued by this repeating thought: "I can't believe I let him touch her. I can't believe I let him touch her." Tap on that thought....tap, tap, tap. Level of distress? Two. And guess what? With that, I realized what the actual underlying issue was that was causing that image to be so powerful. And the tapping stripped it of it's power.

I can't deny that the times I let down my "this is ridiculous" defense and I actually try it with an open mind, it WORKS. It is effective, it is FAST. And it requires no talking, no dredging up old memories, no conscious thought really. Just a couple minutes, concentration, breathing and tapping. When it was done and we discussed the underlying issue (which incidentally was not even a big deal!), I asked my T "WHY am I so resistant to doing this when I see how well it can work?"

I suppose it's my defense. I worry that in stripping away the paralyzing anxiety of a memory or image then I open myself up to the firestorm of unpleasant feelings surround that event that I've basically "locked" into my brain in a particular way. I fear that if I remove this from my brain in the way it's always existed there, then I may lose some sort of defense against it. I could become vulnerable. God help me....I may have to FEEL something!!!! But the beauty of the tapping is that it actually releases the trauma, or at least a certain level of it. It breaks down the power of that event or memory so that you don't have to feel it so intensely. Feelings are actually stored in your body energy. When you remove the energy patterns connected to certain events, you open yourself up for deeper, and quicker, healing.

This is an excerpt from one of MANY books on the topic:
Your body is comprised of energy pathways and energy centers that are in constant motion, a dynamic interplay with other energies and with your cells, organs, immune system, mood, and thoughts. If you can shift these energies, you can influence your physical health, your emotional patterns, and your state of mind.

Helps you to:
- overcome fear, guilt, shame, jealousy, or anger
- change unwanted habits and behaviors
- enhance your ability to love, succeed, and enjoy life

The energy approach can help bring about significant change in your life. With this strategy, stubborn phobias often fade in minutes; the lifelong effects of an early trauma can frequently be reduced or completely eliminated; uncontrollable anger can rapidly become manageable; even elusive physical problems may respond where other treatments have failed. Energy psychology is an amazing tool that puts the ability to effect change directly into your hands, and finally gives you control over your fears, pain, and destructive behaviors.

Such is apparently what happened with me and this photo. There was an initial subjective distress. T had me focus on the image and removed the power from it. Then we peeled off the next layer to see what was under it all which was an old news issue and easily dealt with. I still don't care for that picture but it no longer causes me to feel like vomiting and having a panic attack (in no particular order :o)

I'm trying to be more open to it. I'm hoping to use it to free myself of certain cycles I'm caught in. And my long term goal is to use it to help rid myself of my eating disorder. Stick with me for that journey!! I'll need all the support I can rally.

I read T my last blog post about my mother. We discussed it at great length. And T said something which she prefaced by stating "This may be very hard for you to hear. I don't think you would have survived without your Mother."

Ugh. Yes that was hard to hear, alright. Really??? After all this that I wrote, she wants me to be thankful for my mother???

T goes on and I listen quietly because I have a deep respect and trust in her. There was a time I would have tuned her out after that first statement but we've worked together for many years now and I know better. I don't always agree with her....but I always hear her out. She explains "she saved you on some level. You would not be the person you are today if not for her. She was your only source of warmth and of love. This, in NO way, negates her neglect, her poor decisions. It is simply to broaden your perspective, to possibly take in what is there and is hard to see." I told her that I have a very hard time with that statement because it may well be true in ways. I mean....I wouldn't be who I am today had I not had any of my experiences, good or bad, so I don't particularly feel like I need to throw her a parade for that one. And how can I say she "saved" me when she was, in fact, the one who kept me in a home with an abusive father and brother?? Yes, she gave me more on an emotional level than the men of my family but she also could have saved me by taking me away from them.

My mother's abuse of me was the act of neglect. And not in a broad sense but rather in a very specific way. The ways that she neglected my well-being were a direct reflection of her past. This was her woundedness coming through in her actions and blinding her to the right choice to make. I realize she was incapable of thinking that choice through. Let's face it....there is not a human being alive who is not going to make some choices based on their old baggage. Sometimes they are irrational choices.....bad choices made with all the best intentions.

My mother was a neglected child of an alcoholic mother. Her mother married five times. Which, in those days, was nearly unheard of. My mother's father killed himself. My Mom and her two brothers were split up and sent to live in different homes while my grandmother lived her life, partying it up and getting married left & right. So my mother grew up with a solitary goal: Keep the family together. An admirable sentiment. But her goal overshadowed her ability to evaluate the family and see who was being served or disserved by staying together.

I told T about what I said at the end of my post.....that I feel if I absolve her of her role in my past then I have to then consider doing the same to my father and brother. They were both abused in their own ways. Not true, T assures me. I have the right to a UNIQUE resolution of each relationship in my life. Consider where my mother is in my life right now compared to my brother and father. My father denies anything ever happened. I'm out of my mind according to him. And my brother? Well, his perspective is that it's just something we crazy, curious kids did together. There's no culpability. There's nothing. There's no attempt at a relationship, at amends. My mother can't grasp the full scale of what happened even though I've told her. She's too mired in her own pain to let it all sink in. But she took in what she was able and she said she was sorry. And she shows me that she loves me day in and day out. I don't need to generalize that if I forgive one I have to forgive all. I need to resolve where I can resolve and make peace with the people who have earned it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Mother

This is me. And my little girl on her 1st Birthday. And my Mom.

Mothers. Mothers. Mothers. Enola's post got me thinking about Moms. In particular, her statement of "There are times when not having a true mother is more difficult than others. ...... But it's also during those times when I despise her the most - for the fact that she's around, but not capable or willing to be the mother I need."

There are times I'm just not sure what to make of my mother. I have so many intense emotions about her that I don't know how to put it all into perspective. If she were not my mother, and I didn't have the history with her that I do, she is probably the kind of woman I'd wish were my Mom. She exudes motherliness. Is that a word? She's incredibly care-taking, soft-spoken, unselfish to a fault. She's a surprise. Wanting to take care of others. She bakes for everyone. She wants to DO for everyone. She never hesitates to move around her schedule for me if I need something. She gives me money "just because". Anytime I mention something I want, it magically appears. She brings us dinner every Weds night, intentionally buying way too much so that we'll have leftovers for the next night. She drives 45 minutes in each direction to babysit for an hour. She brings me coffee every time. She even makes an extra stop at Starbucks for me, after she goes to Dunkin Donuts for herself and to get a munchkin for my DD. She lives and breathes for her granddaughter. She is the proudest gramma that ever has been. My DD loves her, for sure. Though she's already well aware that gramma is a total pushover and commands no respect.

So, what Enola said before, about her mom not being capable or willing to be the mother she needs....I thought it was a really strong statement. And then I thought to mother is bending over backwards trying to be the mother I need or want. But there is so much history there. So much disappointment. So much pain. There is nothing that can be done about that now. I have talked to her about the past. She's apologized for her role in what happened to me. She still doesn't really get it.....she lives in the denial bubble. She has her two children completely compartmentalized. She doesn't doubt me when I tell her what my brother did to me. Yet she also refuses to acknowledge it in any tangible way. She still has a relationship with him. She's every bit as much a Mom to him as she is to me. Also bends over backwards to help him. Gives him money. Helps at his restaurant. Drives an hour in each direction to have a cup of coffee with him. She and I exchanged a heavy string of emails about my childhood abuse about 2 years ago. In her response, she wrote all about my father. Never once mentioned my brother. I think she is incapable of letting that information sink in because then she would have to make a choice between her kids, or just would have to believe something bad about my brother. She can't do it.

I don't know what this means. I don't know what it should mean. I believe I've accepted that she is who she is and there will be no big changes from her. I believe I've accepted it yet I still can feel disappointed when she does something that's utterly predictable.

Every time my mother leaves my house, she says "I love you." Every time, I don't respond. I look at my darling baby girl and think how it would rip my heart out if she did that to me. I feel guilty. I don't know if I love my mother. There are times I do. But I still don't say it. I don't want to set a precedent of having to say it. I don't want to encourage her to say it more. I think, actually, that I don't want to love her. I think I am afraid to love her. Because my love for her robbed me of so much. My love for her was exploited and taken advantage of. My love for her made me vulnerable. It caused me to cover my own pain and try to protect her. I want no part of that. I know in my grown up mind that there is nothing she can do to me anymore. But I think the little girl part of me has had more than her fill of grief.

I truly believe to the depths of my soul that my mother is harmless. She doesn't have an evil intentioned bone in her body. The emotional pain that was inflicted on me, from her, was born from her own distorted, abusive, traumatic past. But if I excuse her actions because of what was done to her, then in turn, I'd have to do the same to my father and to my brother. They were both victims of abuse and I don't see myself giving them the slack that I do to my mother. Maybe it's because her abuse never crossed the line into anything physical. Maybe it's because we are mother/daughter. Maybe it's just that this issue is shrouded in my anger and I'd have to actually tap into that to work it through. Or because she is the only member of my family I have in my life and I don't want to lose that last shred. Maybe it's me being a coward and afraid to upset the status quo. Maybe I just identify with her pain. But I did that to my own detriment for so long. Maybe I don't know how to separate how to empathize with her yet still take care of myself. Perhaps it's because I need to cling to the belief that just ONE member of my family maybe actually loved me and didn't want to hurt me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fear of Contentment

Where to start....where to start??

Long weekend was good. While I did not accomplish everything I hoped to, it was a nice mix of productive and fun. We went to a family picnic (when I say "family", I mean the family of my long time friend who are basically my "adopted" family) on Friday. DD had a great time playing outside all day. Saturday we stayed home, did stuff at the house. Sunday, I took DD out to breakfast & the park. Confession: I really detest being outside. I hate the heat. I hate the bugs. I hate not being productive. I'm a cave dweller. I like to be inside with little light. I've been really trying to suck that up for DD's sake. Though I'm pretty miserable when I'm outside, I thoroughly enjoy it after it's over! LOL! I know I've done something good for DD, even at a "sacrifice" for me. That's part of parenting that my parents never seemed to embrace.

I watched Intervention last night. I really love that show. This particular episode was close to home as the addict, Charles, was sexually abused by his father. I missed the first 10 minutes (darn TiVo!) but got the jist of the story. He was a heroin addict. One of the things that resounded with me, in terms of my own addiction, was something his counselor at rehab said. He said "Charles doesn't shoot up to feel good. He doesn't shoot up to feel bad. Charles shoots up to feel nothing." Oh, how true. Sometimes when I'm binging, I have this nano-second of clarity when I wonder what the hell I'm doing. It's not enjoyable. I feel disgusting afterwards. And there are times I'm forcing food down while my mind is saying "Oh God, I don't want that.....I wish I didn't have to eat this." It's just an uncontrollable compulsion sometimes. It's just a way to numb out.

The other part of the story that touched me was his brother, Leif. Leif was also abused by their father. Leif went the total opposite direction as Charles. Not an addict....but he was just oozing with rage. I mean, I could feel it through the TV. He was practically militant. So angry. A superior attitude like "I didn't turn into an addict....I have it all under control." He has no idea how it's affecting him. He has no pity for his brother. He kept saying he refused to let his brother bring him down. He attended the pre-intervention and as soon as the interventionist (is that the right term?) said that Leif needed to write a letter about his feelings, he threw down his pad of paper and refused to participate.

I found myself thinking that neither of those boys are in an enviable position. One needing to overcome an addiction. The other absolutely closed off in anger. However....I almost feel like Charles was in a better position of the 2 of them. True, he's a big time heroin addict which I cannot even imagine how hard that is to overcome. But the fact that he started and continued to use tells me that he could not avoid the feelings and the aftermath of abuse. He went to rehab and he did great. According to the show, he's been clean since January. Can you imagine.....being stripped of your defense/coping tool and then being forced to face your past and process all that pain?? It makes my skin crawl thinking about it. I give him so much credit for his accomplishment. Leif has not spoken to Charles since he entered rehab. I wonder if it's too much for Leif to face; if he almost reveled in being the so-called "healthy" one. Or if seeing Charles clean would be too close to home and bring about the possibility of having to face his own feelings. Just my amateur diagnosis!

Moving on......I mentioned a man that I've been talking to for a few months, KC. I was having some issues with his relationship with his children. I was observing that situation and asking questions but I'd not said much about my feelings yet. I was giving him a little time to sort things out which it seemed he was doing. But then he had a backslide with that. Again, I'd made some decisions on my own but I had not yet shared them with KC. We talked on the phone on 6/22 and that was when he informed me of his decision not to visit his DD. He said he'd be sending her a big Bday gift instead. I asked him what for, why a "big" gift? He said "I don't know....guilt, I guess." I pointed out that if he was feeling guilty, then perhaps he should examine if he was making the right decision. He said he was feeling down about it. Two days later, I hadn't heard from him in any form (phone, text, IM, email) which was unlike him. I called and got his voicemail and I left him a message basically just saying I knew he was thinking through some heavy stuff so to take the space he needed and I'd be here to listen when he wanted to talk. He sent me a text the next morning saying he wasn't ignoring me, his son came to town unexpectedly and they were visiting but he'd be leaving in 2 days and KC would call me then. I haven't heard from him since. WTH?? I'm not upset about it per se, as I was getting ready to break things off with him anyway. And I've been very grounded and detached emotionally so that I could evaluate him and our potential compatibility. He told me constantly how much he liked me, that I'd become part of his daily life, that he couldn't wait to come meet me in Sept. And then *poof*

I'm not upset. I'm just confused. I don't understand how you establish a friendship with someone, say all those things and then decide to just stop calling? When T and I discussed my observations of him, she did say that she thought the relationship (or lack thereof) with his daughter said alot about many things, one of which was his conflict resolution skills. I wonder if my comment about rethinking the situation with his daughter was enough to make him not want to deal with me? I don't know. I'm not spending my energy wondering about it b/c I just don't get it and I never will. But I'll tell you what.....I feel an odd sort of relief to have him out of my life and no real desire to talk to anyone new. I have several men who have expressed interest in getting to know me but I just have no desire. It's still very foreign to me to not crave the companionship of a man. But you know....I put DD to bed at night. I do what I need to do. Then I do what I want to do. I sit down in my PJ's with my favorite shows, my crossword puzzles and my knitting. I go to bed, turn on the digital music channel of my choice and I gleefully spread out across my entire queen sized bed and roll from one side to the other whenever I feel like it. I listen to other people talk about married/couple life and honestly.....I just don't miss it right now. I have my baby......I like it just us. I like that she has me to herself. I think I'm really content. Yet for some reason, that scares the hell out of me. It feels "wrong" for me to be content with that??

What is that all about? Old messages? My mother? "Societal expectations"? Fear, is it? Fear of being happy? Fear of accepting that life is good? Oh, oh.....I'm onto something. Shame....the "stamp" of being unlovable,. like a giant scarlet one wants one wants me. Pressure to have some tangible proof of being lovable, loved. Proof that I'm worthy of love. Proof for who? Who do I think needs to see this? Honestly, I do feel ashamed sometimes at the situation with DD's father. I'm so horrible and beastly that a man can't even stay with me after getting me pregnant? Rejects me and my DD? And then the man who comes in to my life next bails on me. Unlovable, unwanted, unworthy. Horrible, hideous, shameeful, fat and ugly. Frigid, man-hating, old-maid shrew. That is what I'm afraid it says about me. Time to re-work this message. Confident....self sufficient. Independent. Making the choice to be single because I'm happy with it. Because I don't need to be defined by another person or through marital status or relationship. Because I don't need someoone else to approve of me. Because I want to teach DD that you need to be your own person and not settle for less than what you want in life. And that it's not wrong for you to want something different than what others want or expect. How do all these thoughts co-exist?? Because in my conscious brain, I believe all that I wrote in the latter half of the paragraph. I had to close my eyes and tap into the first half....the ingrained messages. That is what is stopping me from enjoying where I'm at....from embracing my contentment. This subconscious message that it says something negative about me to be single. Well, I think I found my topic for T this week.....