Tag Archives: relationships

Where I Went, Where I Couldn’t Go, and What I Want: Part I {mentions death}

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{This post talks about death of family members and issues surrounding that.}

There’s so much to write about but I have to pick one thing at a time, so here we go for tonight. Forgive me if I get rambly or if some things are disjointed. I had to take my narcotic pain medicine but also really want to write.

In the past six months there have been three deaths in the family, two of them on DH’s side and one on my side. DH’s grandmother died at the end of December, my grandmother passed at the beginning of May, and we lost DH’s aunt less than two weeks ago. The deaths are sad, of course, but none of them was unexpected. All three beautiful ladies lived a long, full life and for each of them it is a blessing that they are no longer suffering as they had been before they passed away.

The death of my grandmother has hit me pretty hard, mostly because I loved her so much. But also because no one told me how poorly she had been doing in the months before she died and because I hadn’t seen her in the last five years of her life. Over the past few years I’ve actually wondered if anyone in my family would even tell me when she passed away, so I’m grateful that my brother called me that very evening. I understand that the reason no one let me know she was so unwell is because I made the choice to distance myself from my family, including my grandmother. Even though I know I’m taking care of myself and the rest of the system in an important way, I have a lot of guilt at times about not having been there. My grandmother and I were quite close for a while about 15 years ago and I try to focus on fondly remembering that time rather than my not being around during her last five years.

My grandmother’s memorial service is where I couldn’t go. The night my brother called to tell me she was gone, I knew I’d have to decide whether or not to go to her service. I wanted to go, of course! Make no mistake, I wanted to be able to honor her by being there. For a week and a half I put much thought into what the best thing was. In the end I knew I could honor and remember her in my own ways and that it would probably be detrimental for me to attend her service. I knew it would be triggering for me to be there, possibly very much so. My thoughts kept going to my abuser grandfather’s funeral, which was causing flashbacks and body memories. I was having a hard enough time separating that from thoughts of my grandmother’s upcoming service in my head without even being at her service. I also didn’t feel that the memorial service was the right place to reconnect with a bunch of family members, some I don’t know well and haven’t seen in years. I don’t know if my family will ever be able to understand that or forgive me for not being there, but I know I did the right thing.

Where I went was to the services for DH’s grandmother and aunt. And yes, this adds to the guilt I feel about not going to my own grandmother’s service. Grandma D’s service was four months before my grandmother’s service but I still feel like a hypocrite at times for having been there, and at Aunt M’s service of course. I also worry about what my family might think if they found out I went to services for people in DH’s family, one of whom I was not close with at all. But again, it comes down to taking care of myself. Being at these services wasn’t potentially perilous to my mental and physical health.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have pushed myself harder to visit my grandmother, if I should push myself to see my family. I know it would have been triggering to be around my grandmother and I know it’s triggering to be around my family, even though none of them is an abuser. I think about how indignant I get at times about my half-brothers not having anything to do with me since our father’s arrest, even though I had nothing to do with what he did and was his main target. I imagine my family may well feel the same way. We’re not the ones who did anything so why won’t she have anything to do with us? It is so complicated though, and I worry about all hell breaking loose if I tried to be around my family again. I know it would be triggering and I can’t bring myself to see how well I might be able to deal with that. I just can’t. I love my family, I miss my family, but I don’t know how to be around my family. And the more time passes, the harder I know it would be to jump back into their lives, to let them back into mine.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Sociopathic Blindness (A letter to my father)

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I’ve been crying on and off for many hours today. I wish you could see and understand why. I wish you could see how far-reaching your actions are. I wish I could open your sociopathic eyes and you could really see the damage you’ve done. But therein lies the problem: you are a sociopath. You don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. But I wish so much that I could pry your mind open so your eyes and your heart could see.

I wish you could see how much your entire family struggles because of your actions. Your brother has lost his faith, one of your sisters was nearly homeless at one point even while she was critically ill. Your oldest two children unable to work, one (me) directly because of what you did, the other indirectly. I can’t say anything about your two younger children because they chose to remove themselves from my life—due to your actions. All five of your grandchildren are struggling. Two have been homeless, another is on the verge of it. One is on disability directly because of your actions. One of your grandchildren has no money for food and is immobilized by depression and anxiety so hasn’t applied for food stamps. He’s so immobilized that he doesn’t care if he has no food and actually considers it to be a possible means of suicide, just letting himself fade away. Today I especially wish you could see that! I wish you could see how scary it is for this mother to see her child in such a horrifying place in life.

I wish you could see how your actions ripple out to those around us. My ex-husband and his family, my current husband and his family. My friends—and for a couple of them, their families. My therapist, who has cried for me on numerous occasions. People who treat our bodies and our minds. Your actions affect people in this community, this state, this entire country who have never met any of us—every person in this country who pays taxes so your children and grandchildren have shelter and food and a meager existence.

I wish you could see how ridiculous it is, how ridiculous it often feels to be proud that I haven’t been in the hospital in years and haven’t cut or burned or been in respite in over a year. I wish you could see how much I struggle just to make sure my top two priorities in life right now happen: eating a clean, wholesome, healthy diet and getting out for a walk every day. Some days I can still barely manage much more than that. I shouldn’t be reveling in not cutting myself when things feel so out of control. I shouldn’t be reveling in crossing off every item on my piddly daily list of tasks. I should be reveling in attending my 100th, 300th, 500th birth. I should be reveling in the way my fruit and vegetable garden would be looking this time of year. I should be reveling in the amazing things my children should be able to do.

I wish you could see the pain in our lives and on our faces. I wish you could have seen me sobbing uncontrollably at times today, and sighing and shuddering still, tears in my eyes. I wish you could have seen my husband trying to console me, holding me and asking if there was anything he could do. I wish you could read the words of my two best friends as they offered their love and support online today.

But even if you were right here with us you wouldn’t see it. Your sociopathic brain will never let you believe you’ve done anything wrong or see the damage that wrong has done. But really, the saddest thing is that you also don’t get to see how we are all moving forward in life. You don’t get to see your third grandson learning a trade he enjoys. You don’t get to see me healing so much that I can think about ending therapy, that even when the thought of harming myself shows up I refuse to do it because I know it makes things worse and it lets you win. You don’t get to see your son’s amazing faith in God in spite of all the damage you’ve done. You don’t get to feel the relief I have knowing that even though one of my children doesn’t even care if he eats, his brother is starting to be a productive, happy person. The very saddest thing is that you don’t get to see us live.

Edited to add: I can’t believe I made it through all that without crying! All day the post was writing itself in my head and I kept crying over what I might write. I’m really thankful not to be in tears again.

It Is What It Is (But I Don’t Have to Like It)

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I woke up with a nasty headache and haven’t been able to shake it. I just feel kind of cruddy in general, physically (damn fibro and all that goes with it). And I’m having one of those rough “This is not what I signed up for when I married DH” times. I seriously considered staying in bed today because I feel so sad and depressed about it. But as I laid there thinking about doing that, I was also able to tell myself that staying in bed wouldn’t change anything. DH would still be DH. I would still wish for something better. The menu and grocery list would still need to be done. I would still have to be responsible for everything. So here I am. I feel like crying and want to go back to bed but the fact is that the menu and grocery list have to be done. If I don’t do it we won’t have enough money for food by our next grocery day. So I’ll do it and hopefully can come out of this funk sooner than later.

Last night I actually thought about trying to put money aside so I could move out someday. It would take years to save enough for a deposit and everything. And I always have lots of thoughts like “What would be the point of moving? Then I’d be alone and it’s not very likely I’d ever find someone again. Who’s gonna want a fat, not pretty gal who is multiple and has been on disability for 17 years?” Sometimes I feel trapped. I know I could walk out the door right now if I wanted to but I have no idea where I would go. The money is technically in DH’s name. I technically have $1 of income. And we’d have to prove we lived separately before I could get my own money back where it should be. See why I feel trapped sometimes?

I feel exhausted and achy and cruddy but I need to get my act together and start the menu and grocery list. Somehow I need to get past thinking so much about having to do it because I’m the one who has to be responsible for everything. I’m not doing it because I have to be responsible for everything, I’m doing it because I want to make healthy meals and stick to a budget. There we got, that’s better. Healthy meals for me without spending too much money. That’s what I’m going with.

I know my life with DH is what is it is, but why can’t I just be okay with that? I hate this.

Birthday + Anniversary = Varying Degrees of Chaos

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I’ve been wanting to write but have a hard time churning out posts like some of you do. And sometimes I feel like what I have to say doesn’t matter. I know what you’re thinking and what some of you will probably say: that anything I have to say is worthwhile. There’s been a lot of feeling inadequate and less than others lately and it spills out into my blogging. I see some of you writing about therapy and healing and my words feel inconsequential before they even hit the page. But at least I can identify that a lot of this is feeling below you all. And I know it has to do with the title of this post.

My mother’s birthday is in a couple days. Even though our brief attempt at reconnecting didn’t work out for me, I still wish that I could write to her and tell her I want the best for her and that I hope she has a lovely birthday. I can’t do that because I can’t deal with the possibility of her starting to write letters again and the craziness that comes with that. But I honestly do hope her birthday is special. She had her faults and could definitely be abusive, but I extend far more grace than my brother seems to be willing to do, because I know she was abused and victimized growing up and then with my father. I’m sending you peace, PSD. You deserve that.

And then there’s the upcoming anniversary that has been causing so much chaos for us lately. In a month it will be five years since my father’s arrest for hurting my niece. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. He has been out of our life for five years! And yet he’s still so very present. The anniversary discombobulates us in general but it also has a few of us very much not okay. Robert has made physical threats toward this body, both regarding self injury and worse. Rhiannon is filled with guilt about not taking care of him “properly” and well enough to keep him from harming my niece and therefore getting arrested. She’s also stuck in one of her cycles of feeling like she’s not taking care of DH well enough, since taking care of the men in her life is her job, but also sad that it’s her lot in life to do this. And then she feels guilty for thinking such a thing when taking care of the men in her life is her job. *sigh* She’s actually considered purging since it’s a way she can have control over something. That is something we absolutely need to avoid since 1) it can spiral out of control so quickly, and 2) purging makes the gag reflex go into hyperdrive for us and the simple act of coughing turns into a mad dash for the bathroom.

Lately there’s so much desire from a handful of us to do some sort of damage to the body that I’m finding it harder and harder to keep everyone under control. I think about respite and even the hospital. If Robert goes beyond just berating me and threatening dire harm and starts making plans, I will be booking it to the ER and requesting a psych bed. It feels overwhelming to have to take care of everything like this. I don’t quite know how to delegate responsibility. How on earth do you delegate responsibility?!

There are things I want and need to be doing with myself and all of this chaos is making it rather difficult. Everything is so up and down.  I am–we all are–having a harder and harder time tolerating it. Just keep swimming, right?

Okay, I Hear You!

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Trigger for language and brief mention of threat of violence.

For several months now I’ve considered reconnecting with a few members of my bio-family. I had pretty much decided to get the ball rolling sometime this month or maybe next month, with some very firm boundaries in place. Thinking about it has been both exciting and nerve wracking. With Christmas and now the New Year past, there’s been a lot of anxiety, worry and agitation throughout the system. I worry about how to make it work for me in a way my family members can live with as well. I wouldn’t want to start something with them and have to pull away like I’ve had to do a couple times already; I don’t feel that’s fair to them. Yes, it would be taking care of me and everyone else in the system but I don’t want to hurt my family by being what might appear to be wishy-washy. For me, it’s better to keep my distance unless I know everyone in the system can handle it.

I know there’s been some dissent from a couple of us about this and this morning I discovered how strongly someone, Robert, feels about it. And for Robert it’s not a matter of “I’ll be damned if you’re going to reconnect with people who trigger you, some who seem to be in a lot of denial about what happened to you and in their own lives.” No, Robert doesn’t want me to connect with my family because he doesn’t want me comparing notes and/or talking about what the father did to us. Robert has an allegiance with the father and shows it in emotionally and physically damaging ways. And he has been part of some serious su*c*de attempts so I have to take him seriously and keep things safe and level for him to the best of my ability.

Especially in light of an email he sent our therapist around 3:00 a.m. yesterday. I discovered this shortly before I had to leave the house this morning, when I saw an “undeliverable email” message in my inbox. I’m pretty sure it got kicked back because of the clinic’s internet/email filter–practically every other word was the F-bomb. So then I had to leave the house to do the monthly grocery shopping while worrying that Robert could do something drastic, all the while trying to figure out the best way to discuss it with our T. As it turned out, when I got back from shopping I was completely wiped out from my pain medicine combo and from being so switchy. I had no choice but to take a nap. When I woke up I was talking to one of my best friends about it and she convinced me to leave a message for our T even though I was feeling so messed up. I also sent T an email explaining better than the phone message could what about was going on, and I included what Robert had tried to send her with the filter-hating language removed.

Here is what he wrote, exactly as he wrote it. If you’re wondering why he keeps saying he’s Robert, it’s because my addled brain let me call him Richard in therapy on Monday. There were reasons it happened but I sure won’t make that mistake again!

Robert. I’m fucking ROBERT. Richard fucking makes sure no man hurts her. I will fuck her up if I need to. I made the collage, not fucking Richard. She’d better not start talking to the family comparing notes and asking what they know. I’M FUCKING ROBERT!!!! She’s lucky she’s still around. What a worthless piece of shit.

I guess it’s time for Robert to do some therapy work. Or some kind of work. A couple of years ago he did a two-page collage with magazine words and some pictures and I pulled that out today to see if I could get a glimpse into Robert’s head and also in the hope that he’ll say more, write more, anything more. Somehow he has to figure out how not to be so aggressive and berating and downright abusive to me. Even though he hasn’t done any major physical damage in quite awhile, I can’t help but worry we’ll be in a hospital bed like we were a little more than three years ago when he contributed to a rather serious su*c*de attempt. We can’t have that again.

I’m not angry at Robert, I know there are reasons he has such an allegiance to the father and reasons why he can be emotionally abusive in very much the same way as the father. He obviously has a purpose and somehow we need to make that purpose work entirely for good. I hear you, Robert. I hear you and respect you and we will work through this stuff. It won’t be easy but if you keep this body safe I will keep you safe. That’s a promise.

Inspirationally Speaking, New Year’s Edition

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Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~ I’ve seen this quote attributed to at least two people. What I can definitively say is that I didn’t write it. ;-)

We’re entering a new year in a couple days! I can honestly say 2012 has been the best year of my life so far. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some major struggles, but I feel like things are coming more together for me and us. Our system is, in general, more settled as we work out how to deal with each challege that comes up.

I do have some hopes for the new year.

  • I hope to put aside $20 a month at least 8 months out of the year. (If my glasses break or we have a kitty vet emergency, we’re in deep trouble.)
  • I hope to keep doing light exercise 4-5 days a week, either walking somewhere or one of our senior chair exercise DVDs.
  • I hope to find ways to eat better that don’t require too much standing in the kitchen since I never know how I’ll feel from day to day. I’m thinking a simple but healthy soup once a week–minestrone, chicken & rice with lots of carrots, taco soup with plenty of veggies, etc.
  • I hope to reconnect with my aunts and also my niece and nephews. I want this so much but am pretty nervous about it. More about that in another post.
  • I hope to craft some sort of “advent” calendar-type of thing for December.
  • I hope to learn more about Paganism and similar beliefs that I and several of the others feel connected to. We want to bring this more into our daily life.

I know there are other hopes but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment and feel the most important.

Whatever your situation at the moment, I’m wishing you all a new year filled with amazing things that you might not even be thinking of. I wish you all peace and happiness. I wish that the new year will bring you new life, new energy.

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I’m in love with this gorgeous “New Life” print by JasmineCheri!

Thankful on Thursday

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Christmas is past–I hope you all made it through okay.

Today I’m thankful that I made it through Christmas amazingly well. Yes, some stuff caught up to us, but all in all, things were good. It was another year of reinventing, recreating, and that worked so well for us and DH. We had less trouble than last year and what a difference that makes. It was neat to start a couple new traditions and also think about what I’d like to do differently next year. The best part was having both my sons here for the first time in five years. I am blessed.

You made it through the holiday! Revel in that!

In Memoriam

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This evening I discovered that an old friend passed away—three years ago. Since the last time we connected (which was through letters) I’ve looked her up numerous times and had never come across her obituary until tonight. I believe this was for a reason. If I’d known soon after she passed, I think it would have put me over an edge I couldn’t go over at the time.

V and I met in a psych unit in 1994 but remained friends for years after that. I’ll never forget the first night as roommates. She asked if I wanted to play Hangman. I’m great at coming up with unsolvable words and I had a fantastic word for her. Nine letters long, a word many people have never even heard of, and she solved it after guessing 3 letters. That word was entomology. What we didn’t know is that we already had a connection. Her father was the head of the entomology department where my husband was getting his degree. About four years before we met I had actually nursed my older son in her childhood bedroom when we went to a dinner party given by her parents for students in the entomology department!

That word, entomology, was the start of a beautiful and interesting friendship. We would never actually make plans to get together, we just happened to run into each other now and then and sometimes we would go to her place or mine for a bit. And yet, our friendship was tight. I had never had a friendship quite like that and never have since then. It was relaxed but very loving.

V was severely anorexic for over 27 years and it’s a miracle she lived as long as she did. She was most definitely here for a reason. She was strong, independent and fought hard to keep living life. She could have gotten on Social Security long before I did–indeed, she was the one who told me about SSI–but she refused and did her best to work. Like I said, strong and independent. She touched and inspired so many lives, including mine.

My biggest regret with V is that one of the last things ever said to her was something I know was very hurtful. It was at a time when Gloria was in front (and quite fundamentalist Christian at that point) and it was something that even Gloria knew would not be well received. We never heard from V again. I did send her a birthday card nearly 9 months before she died and apologized for what had been said but never did hear from her. I hope she received it and knew how much she was loved.

V was here on Earth for a reason and now she has the peace she chased after for so very long. She is well now; she is no longer tired. I’m smiling and crying at the same time. E-N-T-O-M-O-L-O-G-Y forever, V! I love you so much. I’m a better person for knowing you–thank you for that.

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This is the card I made for her very last birthday. If anyone ever lived, loved and laughed, it was her.

Thankful, November 22

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US! I know this day can be very difficult so I’m sending peace to you all.

Today I’m thankful that this is the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. We haven’t even eaten yet but that’s part of the beauty of it. My sons are here and it’s been a very laid-back day. I prepped much of the food ahead of time so I was even able to take a nap earlier since my body is messing with me today with fatigue. We’re just chilling with our computers and Netflix and the smell of turkey in the air. No drama, no craziness, no worrying on my part about pleasing family in any way. My boys are perfectly pleased with the day. We all are.  I couldn’t be more thankful.

Thankful, November 19

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Today I’m thankful for my two best friends. I love having two best friends, each with their own amazing qualities. They each have their own ways of supporting me and their own similarities to me that make our friendships work.

I’ve been friends with D for nearly 24 years. We met while working together. Her oldest daughter was about 6 months old then and I’ve had the pleasure of being auntie to all four of her kids. D knew me when I was married to my first husband, saw me through the pain of being away from my sons after he and I divorced, and is amazing at bringing me back down to earth when I feel like I have failed my sons. She is the one who knows I did everything I could to stay in touch with my kids and be the best mama possible under the circumstances. She and I like to encourage each other with our daily tasks, in person and on the phone when we lived minutes apart, and now in daily emails. Because of her own abuse, D and I can relate well in that aspect and it helps us both. Even though we don’t get to see each other much we are still a big part of each others daily lives. I love that even though we had a huge falling out about 5 1/2 years ago, we were eventually able to pick up right where we left off and our friendship means even more because of that.

K and I met about 12 years ago and have been great friends for most of that time. The commonality of mental illness brought us together as friends and, of course, it’s something that still unites us. K has seen me at what I consider my very worst and it means a great deal to me when she acknowledges how far I have come. We’ve both come a long way. K and I are goofy and fun together. We instant message every day, sometimes for hours, and have developed silly words of our own that are derived from real words. And yet, we can swing straight into a serious, thoughtful conversation in an instant. She is my dance in the rain friend–literally, since we have gone out in a good handful of rainstorms and had a grand old time splashing though puddles and getting ourselves and each other soaked. K loves the nurturing mama in me and I love being a nurturer to her, even with simple things like what she calls my fancy hot chocolate (which isn’t very fancy, I just prepare it differently than she does). We also had a falling out for a bit at one point and were able to jump right back into our friendship.

There are some similarities in my friendships with D and K but it’s the differences between them that make each of them so special to me in their own way. I don’t know what I’d do without either of them and I’m so thankful for each of them. I love you, D and K!


I’m thankful for TeaBagsAndGardenias‘ gorgeous mixed media prints on Etsy!