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Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

At this point, what I really needed from you was the same patience and understanding I’ve given you. I told you that something major was going on in my life, and you were upset that I couldn’t tell you about it. I needed you to simply understand that it’s because my heart is shattered right now. I have fucked up my life, and I’m terrified that I’ll never be good enough to have my kids. I needed patience. I only told you that something was going on so you wouldn’t think I was ignoring you, or distancing myself from you. I wasn’t wanting to hurt you or tell you you were the only person I couldn’t tell about this. Honestly, you’re the only person I *want* to tell. I want you to know that I fail at life just as much as anyone else. I want you to know that I can trust you with even the most embarrassing, heart breaking aspects of my life. I simply needed to stay focused on cleaning, you didn’t have time to talk, and I didn’t want to break down into a sobbing mess again. I have almost no time left to get this done, and the pressure is really weighing on me right now.

You think I put this blog out there for everyone to see, but no one knows who I am. L knows I blog, but he doesn’t know where and he doesn’t want to read it, ever. I have only shared this blog with one person in my life, and that’s you. You are the only person that truly knows the depths of my heartache. I hope you can forgive me, and I hope that you don’t really think any less of me. I hope you can understand that the pain from this is paralyzing when I really think about it, and at this moment, I simply cannot allow myself to become paralyzed.

I want you to know that no matter what, I love you. My love is unconditional. I am not mad. I am a little hurt and really worried about you, but I will heal and move past that. I hope you can, too. And no, my image of you still has not shattered.

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Just when I think I’m actually getting somewhere with my life, something so earth shattering happens, it brings me to my knees… and no, I’m not talking about Cataclysm! Ever have one of those days where just as you’re taking your first deep breath for the day and enjoying the bit of silence nap time brings, there’s a LOUD knock on the door and someone shouting “It’s the cops! Come to the door!”? No? Well, I did!

So, I jumped up, in the middle of working on a project, leaving my scissors and lighter on my table where I was sitting, along with the rest of the things I was working with, and run to the door. First thing I see, a cop and two women. Ok, that’s weird… it’s like, my worst fear incarnate, but I’ve been doing so well, I just don’t get it. As I’m staring at them trying to figure out what’s going on, they say they are with the local police department and child protective services. I stand there, dumbfounded as I invite them in. The realization hits that I’ve been working so hard on getting orders done and products made for Christmas that I’ve sort of let some of the household chores slide. My nice piles of laundry in the kitchen are spread out all over the floor and looking worse than usual (we are four people, thank you!), and yes, it has been too long since the dishes have been done. The kids had just gone down for a nap and I hadn’t even had the chance to finish cleaning up. I was going to spend about 20 minutes working on projects then get back to work on the house when they showed up. My mind is racing uncontrollably. They ask if I know why they are here… how should I know? I just don’t get it. I’m wracking my brain trying to think of what the reason could be, but I can’t even wrap my mind around the English language (it’s the only language I know)!! I explain that I really don’t, so they tell me that someone called because they were concerned because our daughter said that her daddy hit her on the back of the head, and there was a mark! They asked if I knew what they were talking about, and my mind runs through all the horrible things I’ve witnessed L do, but that really isn’t something I’ve ever been aware of. All I can think of is when our 2-year-old son pushed our 4-year-old daughter over several weeks ago and she hit her head on the coffee table. Later that day, we were at L’s parent’s house and our daughter brought it up and said her head still hurt, so I took another look at it and thought it was a huge lump, but then I realized she had a matching lump on the other side of her head. It was just in that spot at the base of the neck, and it looked fine, just a bit red. I mentioned that to the social workers, and as I’m saying it, I start wondering if there’s any way to say that it wasn’t L without sounding guilty. They seemed concerned about where the kids were. I explained that they had just gone down for their nap. They asked if I would allow them to see the kids, and I said of course. They wanted to talk to me a bit more, though, and look around my place. They walked around taking pictures.

I don’t know if you’ve ever taken pictures of a messy house, but let me tell you, no matter how benign the mess may look to you, it always looks 10% worse in a picture. It’s the same principle as the camera adding 10 pounds, or how when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, you think you look good, but if someone takes a picture of you at some point during the day, when you see it, you think “wth, there’s no way I look that horrible!” After taking pictures of my messy house and pointing out the obvious insanity of it, they asked all kinds of questions. Yes, I may be a terrible person for defending L through all of it, but really, he isn’t anywhere near as bad as they were making him out to be. I explained that he had anger issues, that we’ve been trying to work out a separation and divorce for the past year, and when they asked why, I told them that with all the issues we’ve had, I just don’t have feelings for him anymore. Then came the questions about me…

“Do you suffer from any mental illness?” Well, yeah, of course I do. I’ve never tried to hide it. I have OCD and depression. “Do you take medication for that?” Yeah, I take Zoloft. “And are you in counseling?” Well, no… (crap, why does that suddenly sound so bad?) “And why not?” Well, because my last doctor was a loon, and I couldn’t stand her, but I’m not going to tell you that… ok, because I felt as though I wasn’t getting what I needed out of the counseling and was making more progress on my own focusing on the things that I felt would really make a difference in my life. My counselor wanted to work through the OCD, but I felt as though I had a decent handle on that for the time being and really wanted to work on pushing myself toward independence. “So, it was against their orders for you to leave?” What? No! That’s not what I said! That’s not what I meant! When I left, she seemed like she was ok with me leaving. She didn’t seem concerned and said she felt I had made good progress. “We were informed that you have a fear of leaving the house. Is that true, do you never leave the house?” Well, yeah, I have agoraphobia, but I’ve been working through it. When the weather is nice, I take the kids out to the park… (at this point, the tears start rolling) I know I sound crazy, I understand that the therapist knows what she’s doing, and was doing her job, but I just feel like I’ve made so much more progress on my own! “So, who takes the kids to the doctors?” When they need to go, L takes us, or our friend R will take us. “So, you go with them?” Yes, of course I do! I have trouble leaving, but it’s only when I’m alone. I get scared that I’ll get lost. I’ve gotten lost before. Really lost. And that panic comes back every time I go out without another adult. I’ve pushed myself to do it, though. To go out and not go far, but get comfortable and familiar with my surroundings alone so that I can keep branching out. “If you and your husband divorce, who will take the kids to their appointments?” Really? This has anything to do with the current situation? Well, I will. I will ask a friend for help, or I will take the bus or walk. Why do they think I’m so absolutely incompetent?

At this point, my sweet little girl comes out of my room because she hears me crying and people talking and she’s worried about her mama. I get down on my knees and she runs down the hall into my arms. I tell her that some new friends came by to visit her and that everything is ok. She asks why I’m crying, and I tell her that mama’s just a little sad, but that everything is alright. They ask her if she can give us a little more time alone, so she goes back to my room. I can’t imagine walking out after all the loud knocking, to your mom crying and THREE huge, male police officers and two serious looking women standing around wouldn’t be traumatizing. They ask if I feel capable of taking care of the kids. Well, yeah, I do! I really do. I am stressed, but who wouldn’t be? Who isn’t at some point? It’s Christmas, we have no money for gifts for the kids, but we’re barely making ends meet and we always have good food in our bellies and gas in the car, I’m going crazy trying to get a business going to I can stand on my own two feet, but loving every minute of it, I’m trying to do all the housework on my own, homeschooling my kids, and everything else life brings my way… yeah, I’m stressed, but I’m dealing with it.

“Oh, ok, and do you have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings?” No, I get up with the kids every morning. (Of course I have trouble getting up, but I do it. My kids come first. They are my world, and I would never lay in bed while they fend for themselves… I mean, really?!) “Give us an example of a typical day.” What? Um… ok… well, crap, why did my mind just go blank? We get up, between 6 and 6:30, have breakfast… I don’t know… we play, we draw… it’s just normal stuff. I do my daughter’s workbooks with her… we have lunch at noon, they play for a bit to get their energy out, take a nap at 1… “Ok, can we see the kids now?” Yes, of course. They are in separate rooms for their nap time. My daughter doesn’t take naps anymore, so she plays on my phone in my room and rests while her brother sleeps in their room. That way, she doesn’t wake him up. As we enter my room, “Hi, sweetie, is this YOUR room?” Ok, my daughter is FREAKED! I sit on the bed with her and hold her on my lap. I explain again that it’s my room. Ugh, there are clean clothes all over the floor in my room. I don’t have a dresser and the kids kept taking all their clothes off the hangers and throwing them all over the place, so I finally just started keeping all our clothes in my room. This can’t look good. Plus, add in the guitars and other large items that the kids aren’t allowed to play with, so they stay in my room, I’m realizing how bad my house really is. It isn’t to me because I understand why things are where they are and why. “Oh, so this is your mommy’s room? Do you *like* spending time in your mommy’s room?” Wth?! What are you implying? The only time she spends in there is rest time. She sleeps in her room at night. She doesn’t answer, I explain that she’s really shy, but that she warms up quickly.

Here’s where she gets really freaked out. “Sweetie, do you have an ouchie on your head?” Daughter says no. “Can you show us?” Wow, she’s 4! She’s not going to understand the concept of showing you something that isn’t there… So, I explain to her that I need to show them the back of her head, I lean her forward and move her hair out of the way. I show where the red mark had been, and I point out that she has the same lump on the other side. The social worker takes a picture and then looks all over the back of her head, feeling around for anything else. She says that she thinks the lump is just the lump that everyone has, shows the picture to her coworker, who says she doesn’t see anything. “There’s nothing there.” “Sweetie, are you afraid of your daddy?” Daughter says no. She says she loves her daddy, and they ask to see my son.

Oh man… that room is a mess, too! The kids room is full of their toys… and our daughter’s bed is a foam mattress on the floor. They like to take the sheets and blankets off of it and use it to make forts. That can’t look good. I’m beyond talking, though. No matter what I say, I’m just the crazy woman who is incapable of taking care of her own children and is covering for her abusive husband. They take a picture of my son, sleeping in his crib. The flash wakes him up, he looks up at strange people standing around him and no mama in sight… I have to stand outside the room while all 5 people shuffle out into the living room before I can get in to comfort him. I bring him out wrapped in a blanket. His newest skill is undressing himself. The house is warm, and I cover him well, so I just go with it when it’s nap time. He wants to wear a diaper to bed during the day and nothing else, so be it. I’m saving my energy for an important battle. I’m sure it doesn’t look good to them, though. I explain that he likes to take his clothes off and he’s learning to get himself dressed, as well. They just smile and nod. The two women and two police officers step outside to talk.

I’m standing awkwardly in the hallway with my son in my arms and my daughter clinging to my leg, staring at the third police officer. He tells my daughter that his daughter has the same name. I ask how old she is, and he looks at me like he’s surprised I have the mental capacity to form even the most trivial question like that. He tells me she’s 6 months old. I smile and tell him that that’s the start of my favorite time, when they start to really develop their personalities and they start really learning new things, and you can see that click when they discover something for the first time. It’s just amazing! He looks at me like there’s no way I could no that, there’s no way I could identify with him when it comes to children. I’m a bad parent, he isn’t. I realize at that moment, no matter what, I just went from taking all these giant strides and becoming the independent, mentally sound woman who I want to be, to being less than human in the eyes of everyone around me.

The social workers come back in. One takes my daughter off to the side and talks to her for a bit while the other one explains that my kids can’t stay here with me. I break down crying. Obviously… who wouldn’t? She explains that the house needs to get cleaned up. Yeah, I realize that. I hadn’t quite looked at it under a microscope until you showed up at my door, lady. And then she explains that I need counseling. I’m not sure why she feels it’s so important. I realize she doesn’t know me. But did I really sound that crazy? I mean, yeah, I was having issues processing everything, but the whole thing was such a shock. While she’s talking to me, my mind is going through a million other things, so I’m sure I seemed a bit out of it, but I felt that I articulated myself well, and honestly, if this had happened a year ago, it probably would have set me back so horribly. I would have ended up in the hospital, I’m sure. But, I’ve come so far in my self-discovery and healing, that I actually feel like I’m handling this well. I am scared. I am sad. I am angry. But I am strong. I will do whatever it takes to get through this and get my kids back.

The house is almost done. The social worker will be back on Friday at 2:30 to meet with me again and to check out the house. Then she will decide if the kids can come home. They are still in our custody, they are just staying with friends. It’s not the end of the world, and I am prepared to do everything they ask of me to prove that I am a strong, capable woman. I can take care of my kids. They have everything they need. I will work harder to keep up with the housework.

L came home from work when I told him what had happened. The social worker called and talked to him. She explained why she had been here, and then said that when they questioned our daughter again, her story had changed and she had said she had actually slipped on a cracker and hit her head on the coffee table. They realized that it probably wasn’t a true story since it changed so drastically. Isn’t it wonderful how the tall tales of a four-year-old can be so blown out of proportion? When she was talking to L on the phone, her biggest concern seemed to be my mental health. I was working through my problems at my own pace, one that I was comfortable with, but I’m no longer on my own time… now I’m on their time, and I know life is going to get a lot more complicated, and quite a bit more scary, but I’m ok with that. I will work through it and make the most of it. Maybe I’ll just end up being who I want to be a little bit sooner. Babies, hold on, Mama’s going to make sure everything will be alright! You are my lights, my loves. I missed singing to you tonight, and your sweet hugs and kisses. I love you with all my heart, and I’ll see you soon. Mama will make everything better, and you’ll get to come home, and I won’t screw up again.

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L finally responded on Friday. He said, “I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting, I know what I’ve done wrong. I don’t know how I got to this point, and I don’t know where to go from here, but I’ll figure it out.” That was pretty much it. Later in the evening, he told me he didn’t really agree with everything I said and he felt as though I had gone overboard. I just don’t know how to get him to realize that what he feels isn’t all that bad, when it’s almost daily, it is. How can he not understand that the kids and I actually have feelings. The damage has been done, and that’s really all there is to it. It doesn’t matter how bad he thinks it is.

At any rate, I’m immersing myself in my work. I made quite a bit of money this past week, but it’s all gone into paying rent. I feel like I’m never going to have a chance with D. I just don’t know how to deal with the sadness that leaves me feeling. And now I can’t even talk to him on the phone because L switched off access to that line when we got into the huge fight the other day. Not that I blame him, but I feel completely cut off from one of the few people I care to talk to. As much as I miss him, I’ve been so busy I haven’t really had time to feel too down. I just can’t wait to talk to him again.

I’m going to start focusing on what a healthy, functional relationship is so I can figure out what changes I need to make to be able to maintain any sort of relationship with anyone at all. That’s my next step now that I’m getting exercise in whenever I can. That’s been going pretty well, too. I’m not really doing anything in particular, but just making little adjustments here and there to be sure I get enough in. Playing a bit harder with the kids, walking more when I have the chance, that kind of stuff. Right now, though, I’m going to finish watching Monarch of the Glen (yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment) then head off to bed.

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L, I understand that I have hurt you. I know I can’t possibly understand the depth of your pain. I am sorry for that. I truly wish we had never come to this point. I don’t enjoy any of it. Your sadness breaks my heart. I wish I could do something to make it better, but I know I can’t. You have hurt me, also. You can’t know the depth of my pain. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it makes it even worse that you don’t hear me when I tell you this. You seem to want to be the only victim in this, but it just isn’t true. I don’t understand how you can make light of the part you have played in this. You don’t believe that you’ve been emotionally abusive. I’ve tried to explain it all before, and I will try one last time, just for my own peace of mind. I will put the categories which I feel we fall into in bold. I will be taking text from this site: http://www.thisisawar.com/AbuseEmotional.htm I will try my best to include examples whenever possible.

a definition of verbal abuse

You understand their feelings, but they never attempt to understand yours; * I have felt as though my feelings have gone unnoticed. You told me you didn’t see any of this coming, but I have been telling you for years that I am unhappy and didn’t know how much more I could take. P and R told you you were about to lose us. Your dad told you you were about to lose us. *

They dismiss your difficulties or issues as unimportant or an overreaction; *most recent case in point:

*L*: I see what I have done
I know that I have not been there. I know that I have been unloving and put other things in front of you
You are fucking leaving me for another man!!
So don’t act all high and fucking mighty here.
*me*: after years of emotional torment
*L*: Fuck that!
Fuck you
*me*: I’m not acting high and mighty, I know what I’m doing.
We have hurt each other. Neither of us has been hurt less.*

They do not listen to you; *You logged out before that last line above. You were done with the conversation, so there was no need to hear what I had to say. There have been numerous occasions when I have tried to talk to you about something that was weighing on my mind, and you have responded by telling me you couldn’t talk about it right then. But, there was never an ok time to talk about it. When I would ask you why we couldn’t discuss an issue, it was always because you didn’t want to get angry, or you were too pissed off.  When I do get the opportunity to tell you what I need to say, when you follow it up by saying “I understand” and nothing else, it doesn’t give me any sort of resolution. It doesn’t tell me that you truly understand, just that we won’t be talking about it. When you respond with “I know I’m an asshole” it tells me you didn’t hear anything I just said. I put a lot of thought into what I say so I don’t come across as just complaining and calling you a jerk. That also makes me feel guilty for expressing my thoughts and feelings.*

– They always put their needs before yours;

– They expect you to perform tasks that you find unpleasant or humiliating;

You “walk on eggshells” in an effort not to upset them; *The simple fact that I’m writing this letter because I have no other way to communicate my thoughts and feelings with you, is proof enough. You said you did not know if you would even read it. It has taken me over an hour already to get this far simply because I am trying to put my thoughts into words that will not set you off. I’m never sure how you will respond to anything I say or do. I am usually taken aback by your rage and anger, but there are times that you surprise me with your kindness and understanding. And the fact that both responses can come from the exact same scenario leaves me feeling anxious and confused most of the time. *

They ignore logic and prefer amateur theatrics in order to remain the centre of attention; *Yesterday will be my example. When you were waiting to turn and the person was legally walking in the cross walk and you started shouting at him and turning before he was out of the way, because you felt he was walking too slow, seemed very over the top to me. It wasn’t like he was taking one step forward and two steps back while flipping you off when you had the right of way. He was simply crossing the street at the appropriate time. In other instances, when I have called you on them, and asked if you wanted our kids to act like that, you have told me that you don’t want them to act like the other person. Who do you think they are going to emulate? The person they have some brief interaction with and will probably never remember, or their father who is always present and went from 0 to 60 in rage in seconds flat? Would the offense even stick in their mind if it wasn’t made into an issue? *

Instead manipulate you into feeling guilty for things that have nothing to do with you; *When you apologize, it is usually followed by “but I wouldn’t have _____ if you hadn’t _____.” When I hear that, I feel as though you are not only not accepting full responsibility for your actions, but you are placing the blame on others. I feel as though I am always needing to apologize for everything I say and do. I find myself apologizing for laughing or singing or trivial things that shouldn’t need any sort of apology. Then I feel ridiculous for apologizing. The whole time, I see a look of disgust on your face, and I have no clue what you expect from me. When one of the kids makes a mistake, you say things like “Why don’t you think?!” That tells them that they are stupid for making a mistake. That will make them feel guilty for not being perfect. *

They attempt to destroy any outside support you receive by belittling the people/ service/practice in an attempt to retain exclusive control over your emotions; *I know that you aren’t consciously trying to do this one. Looking back, though, I can’t remember any time you have had anything kind to say about the help that has been given to us. Pastors, counselors and friends. I’m at a point where I don’t even know if I can trust my own judgment when it comes to these people. I see things differently. When I try to tell you how I see these people, you don’t hear what I have to say, you just continue to disagree. *

They never take responsibility for hurting others; *I talked about this earlier. Even more in-depth, though, simply not seeing how you have hurt me. Not believing that you’ve been abusive. However you perceive your transgressions doesn’t really matter. It’s how the other person perceives them that matters. *

They blame everyone and everything else for any unfortunate events in their lives; *Most recently, I feel as though you are blaming the failing of our marriage on me. I am not trying to say I am not to blame, but I believe we are equally to blame. Before you blamed me, you blamed P and R for interfering. We asked for their help.*

They perceive themselves as martyrs or victims and constantly expect preferential treatment. *It seems as though you expect perfection from everyone around you, and then grace from everyone when you make a mistake. When you are rude to others in public or on the road, you always have a “good reason,” but they never have any reason other than they are idiots or jerks when they do things that piss you off. When I ask for help with things around the house or with the kids, you do those things begrudgingly. I always hear about how hard it was, how much of an inconvenience it was, or how horrible the kids were. How would you feel if I had the same attitude about everything I have to do? Time spent alone with the kids is always irritating and intolerable for you. I spend entire days alone with them. Why is it worse for you to have to spend a couple of hours alone with them than for anyone else to?*

Copyright 2006 Abuse List.

Just because you only punched a hole in the wall that one time, even though the wall was weak; just because you don’t intend to hurt the kids when you restrain them by their wrists or pick them up by one arm when you’re angry; just because you only held our daughter up against the door over your head and screamed at her that one time; and just because you were only trying to get our son to stop crying by covering his mouth with your hand once, doesn’t mean it isn’t abuse. I know it may be hard to see yourself the way we see you, but I’m sure it’s that way for anyone. The bottom line is you have scared us and hurt the kids. Not being aware of your own strength isn’t an excuse. Not meaning to hurt them doesn’t make it ok. Beating yourself up over what you have done without ever discussing it with me or anyone else, doesn’t resolve the issue. You need help.

When you are angry and you say things specifically to hurt us, that is abuse. When you won’t communicate with us, that is abuse. Blaming us for your actions and reactions, blaming us for your moods, that is abuse. Invalidating our feelings by telling us to just stop feeling a certain way or that we’re fine is abuse. Ignoring our kids, giving us the cold shoulder, being grumpy and distant without any attempt at telling us what’s wrong, acting like we should know what we have done to offend you, talking about our kids like they aren’t there, that is abuse. Always finding conflict and arguments with us and everyone around us is abuse. Making rude comments to people in public, knowing it is humiliating and scary, is abuse. Driving recklessly to scare me, is abuse. Claiming to never remember the abusive events, or downplaying their significance or severity, is abuse. When the kids call for you and you slam the door open and scream “WHAT?!” at them, and when they can’t answer because they are too terrified, you get angry that they didn’t need anything, that’s abuse. When you are nice and kind and then fly into a rage, that’s abuse. When you say things to our daughter like, “Ask a stupid question…” or use sarcasm to belittle and demean her, that’s abuse.

The following is from this page: http://eqi.org/eabuse1.htm#What%20is%20Emotional%20Abuse? I want you to see where I am getting my guidelines for what I see as abusive behavior. I will underline what I feel is the most pertinent information.

Types of Emotional Abuse

Abusive Expectations

  • The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs.
  • It could be a demand for constant attention, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person.
  • But no matter how much you give, it’s never enough.
  • You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don’t fulfill all this person’s needs.

Aggressing

  • Aggressive forms of abuse include name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering. Aggressing behaviors are generally direct and obvious. The one-up position the abuser assumes by attempting to judge or invalidate the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that are essential to healthy adult relationships. This parent-child pattern of communication (which is common to all forms of verbal abuse) is most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance.
  • Aggressive abuse can also take a more indirect form and may even be disguised and “helping.” Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, proving, and questioning another person may be a sincere attempt to help. In some instances however, these behaviors may be an attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help. The underlying judgmental “I know best” tone the abuser takes in these situations is inappropriate and creates unequal footing in peer relationships. This and other types of emotional abuse can lead to what is known as learned helplessness.

Constant Chaos

  • The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others.
  • The person may be “addicted to drama” since it creates excitement.

Denying

  • Denying a person’s emotional needs, especially when they feel that need the most, and done with the intent of hurting, punishing or humiliating
  • The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, “I never said that,” “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” etc. You know differently.
  • The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity.
  • Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the “silent treatment.”
  • When the abuser disallows and overrules any viewpoints, perceptions or feelings which differ from their own.
  • Denying can be particularly damaging. In addition to lowering self-esteem and creating conflict, the invalidation of reality, feelings, and experiences can eventually lead you to question and mistrust your own perceptions and emotional experience.
  • Denying and other forms of emotional abuse can cause you to lose confidence in your most valuable survival tool: your own mind.

Dominating

  • Someone wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it.
  • When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.

Emotional Blackmail

  • The other person plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other “hot buttons” to get what they want.
  • This could include threats to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, giving you the the “cold shoulder,” or using other fear tactics to control you.

Invalidation

  • The abuser seeks to distort or undermine the recipient’s perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient tells the person they felt hurt by something the abuser did or said, the abuser might say “You are too sensitive. That shouldn’t hurt you.” Here is a much more complete description of invalidation

Minimizing

  • Minimizing is a less extreme form of denial. When minimizing, the abuser may not deny that a particular event occurred, but they question the recipient’s emotional experience or reaction to an event. Statements such as “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re exaggerating,” or “You’re blowing this out of proportion” all suggest that the recipient’s emotions and perceptions are faulty and not be trusted.
  • Trivializing, which occurs when the abuser suggests that what you have done or communicated is inconsequential or unimportant, is a more subtle form of minimizing.

Unpredictable Responses

  • Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses.
  • This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what’s expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person’s next outburst or change of mood.
  • An alcoholic or drug abuser is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.

Verbal Assaults

  • Berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening
  • Excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation.
  • Blowing your flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.

 

I hope you can understand and accept your role in the breakdown of our marriage. We are both at fault. Neither of us is more at fault than the other. You said that you don’t think you could ever love me the way you once did. I don’t expect you to. I am not looking for love. I have been too afraid to tell you that because when you even started to think it was true, your anger was much closer to the surface and you were quicker to anger with the kids, your rages were more explosive and more frequent, and you refused to communicate with me at all. What I am looking for is a friendship based on forgiveness, understanding and mutual respect. If not for ourselves, then at least for our kids. You made it clear to me earlier that you blame me for our marriage ending. With this letter, I hope to at least defend my decision. I truly hope that we can now move forward with civility and focus on our children.

 

 

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I talked to D on the phone a bit ago. It seemed like forever since we last talked. It’s always so amazing to hear his voice. I get so lost in the sound, it’s like nothing else exists. I have to admit, though, I had a hard time not crying when he said that at the rate it’s going, I may never see him. If he goes into the army there in February, who knows when I would be able to… so… I just have to work harder at gathering the funds before then. Then real question, though, if I can, does he actually want to see me? I keep getting the feeling that he doesn’t. I don’t even know how to explain the feeling. Like, he says he would like for me to go over there, but his answer is always so ephemeral, so elusive. I can’t get him to tell me if there would be a good time so I can try to plan accordingly.

L has been getting more and more down the past couple days. He seemed like he was doing ok for a while, but now he’s back to snapping at all of us constantly and rarely speaking to me at all. I don’t expect anything more than that, but it’s hard to watch and hard to tolerate. I’m having trouble finding the courage to step in and redirect his anger when he’s yelling at the kids. He’s back to being a bit too rough with them and playing the emotional mind games with all of us. I’ve always been scared to stand up to him, but now that everything is out in the open and our relationship is over, I feel as though I have no right. Of course, I can rationalize that I’m just being silly. I have every right to protect my kids, but I hate seeing him go into a rage. I never know what he’s going to do. He keeps placing everything on my shoulders. I know that I deserve the blame, but he has told me that he just needs hope and happiness and having me back is the only way he’ll have that. He’s using his unhappiness as an excuse to be horrible to us again, and placing the blame for his actions on my shoulders.

I’m feeling like the happiness I’m trying to cling to is slowly slipping away. Not because I’m tying my happiness to anything specifically, but I just know that things are going to get a lot worse before they can get better, and I’m in such a fragile state right now. I’m trying to overcome so much and I’m in so much pain as it is, and going through so many life changing events all at the same time, I just don’t know how I’d ever be able to make it though unscathed. I guess that’s kind of the point, though. It’s how life shapes us. I just wish I had some sort of respite from all of this. I need my own little hiding place where I can go and be an outsider in my own life for a while and rebuild the strength I need to face what is coming next… whatever that may be.

Even with all of that, I’m finding this seed of peace growing in me. I’m finding strength in the fact that everything going on right now is an opportunity to create a life I’m content with. And, oddly enough, I am just so incredibly happy for D that he is truly enjoying and claiming his freedom. I know he feels his own happiness is elusive and a long way off, but he seems like he’s on the right path. I pray our paths join one day. When all is said and done, though, no matter what, I am better for knowing him.

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Well, ok, maybe more like the $1 question… I’m sure no one really cares aside from myself, but that’s just fine by me! So, did I do it? Did I break my routine? Did I take the first step toward a better me? The answer? YES! I did! I spent an hour at the park with L and our kids. I played like crazy with them! We ran around in the grass and played with their ball. We climbed the playground equipment and we had a blast! It was so wonderful forcing myself to do that!

I realize that something that simple probably doesn’t sound like much to most people. I don’t want to get too involved in explaining how I got to this point in my life, but at the same time, I think it may be necessary so I can work through some of the issues I have. I am agoraphobic. I don’t know what ended up making me feel so scared about being out. It was a slow process, though. When I was in high school, I had no issue with being out. I would go out for walks in the middle of the night. I was never really afraid of what could happen. There were several times that I ran into trouble, but I always got out without any problems.

As I got older, I stopped wanting to go out so much, but I just figured I was growing up. I didn’t have parties to go to all the time, I moved away from my home town, so I didn’t have anyone I could call up for a late night walk. I didn’t mind, though. Then I realized that I hadn’t been out of my house for a few weeks. I started worrying that if I went out alone, and something happened to me, no one would ever know. Then I started feeling like I was transparent and everyone could see just how crazy I was. I was always finding excuses not to go out. The panic I felt when I would be getting ready to leave the house was unbearable. It was like impending doom, and I didn’t understand where it was coming from.

I still don’t understand it. I don’t know why I suddenly became scared. I’ve been in therapy off and on for most of my life, but I am still no closer to understanding why. I finally realized in the past year or so, that the why isn’t really that important. It’s the forward momentum that is. Going out like that, and doing something that isn’t part of my usual life, is difficult. Today, though, while I was acutely aware of the fact that I was doing something outside of the ordinary, and that people were watching, I felt free. It felt good to just play and laugh and have fun with my kids. When I stopped to actually look at the people who were watching, I realized that they were enjoying watching us. It was a good experience, today, and I’m looking forward to going back tomorrow.

After we got home, and the kids were watching a movie with L, I found myself longing for D. I miss his face, I miss his voice. Instead of allowing myself to get lost in my thoughts of him, I got to work on a new product I’m going to introduce into my line of accessories. It was a lot of work, and I’m still a few days from being done, but it was just the distraction I needed. I worked for hours, and now I’m exhausted and I’m hoping that I’ll actually have a real nights sleep tonight. It’s been forever since I’ve slept well, but hopefully having such an accomplished day will be just what I need.

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There are so many things about my life that I’m just not happy with. I am not the person I want to be. Instead of focusing on all my short comings, it’s time to start doing something about them. I started this blog because I had no one to talk to about the feelings I’ve struggled with for so long. I know there will still be times that I have trouble coping with those feelings, but for the most part, I believe I have worked through the pain of them and am at a point where I can focus on some other things. I need to start shaping myself into the person I want to be so that I don’t get stuck in auto-pilot again. D needs his time to deal with his life, and while I wait for him to be ready to make a decision, I need to focus on who I want to be. I can’t work toward a future goal just yet, but I can work toward a future me.

The absolute first thing I need to deal with is my self-worth. I am an only child. My father was out of my life for almost all of it, really. So, growing up it was just myself and my mom. I love my mom dearly. She is my hero. That being said, she is a perfectionist. She is successful, intelligent, creative, talented, and all around wonderful. Growing up, I never saw her fail. She always talked about how well she did in school. She was a straight A student. I asked her once if she had ever failed a class. She told me that she never failed, but she did get a B once in PE because she just didn’t want to listen to the teacher one day. She was enjoying being outside on a beautiful day. That’s a lot to live up to. I was pretty much a straight D student. Not because I couldn’t do any better, but because I didn’t want to put everything I had into something and still not live up to my mom’s ideal. The school thing is only one example. I grew up thinking my mom was perfect. I realize she isn’t, and I am tired of trying to be the same, perfect person I saw my mom as. It’s not healthy for me, and it certainly isn’t the way I want my kids to see me. What am I going to do about it? I’ll start by really looking at my own faults and deciding which are things I can live with and which are things that I really need to work on. I will allow myself to fail and use my failures as teachable moments for my kids. I will not use perfection as my end goal.

I have always struggled with my weight. I am fat. I don’t like the way I look because of it, but I’ve never really cared too much. I don’t spend all my time obsessing over it. It is what it is. Instead of focusing on losing weight to look better, I am going to focus on my health. I’ve been vegetarian for almost 18 years. For me, it isn’t so much about what I eat, or even how much, it’s about getting exercise. My first attempt at “zombie proofing” my life, will be making sure to exercise everyday. I will find new ways to incorporate it into my life. When I start feeling like I’m going on auto-pilot again, I will take a break from my routines and focus on my physical health. I can’t do anything about the longing I feel for D right now, but I can do something good for myself to distract myself from the daydreams. It will be interesting to start here, tomorrow (because today is already over) and see where it goes from there. Just set this one goal for now, and see how it affects the other things I need to change. Once exercise is a usual part of my life, I’ll figure out what else I want to work on.

On a side note, I’m going to get a tattoo to celebrate my birthday. I found a really gorgeous silhouette of a tree with crows flying away from it. I am going to get it on my back between my shoulder blades with the crows up on my neck. It will be my second tattoo, and I can’t wait to get it done.

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