child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Monday, October 31, 2011

confronting my mom

So the other thing that I have done recently is confront my mom with the way she crossed boundaries with my kids.  I was really dreading it so last week when I saw her number on the caller id, I did the complete immature thing of letting it go to voice mail so I could know what she wanted before I had to talk to her.  She wanted to pick up my youngest from school, have lunch with him and then hang out with him until the older kids got out of school and then pick them up and bring everyone home.

I called her back and told her she could pick up the little guy and have lunch.  I said we had some errands to run so I would just swing by on my way and pick him up.  I could hear her disappointment when she said, "But I was going to just hang out with him this afternoon and then take him with me to pick up the big kids."  From somewhere deep inside of me, I heard a voice that I know is mine but sure sounded a lot more sure of herself than I felt, say, "Well, I have to ask the middle child if he is ok with that.  I don't know if he will want you to pick him up."

I heard her exasperation when she said, "Is that boy really still holding a grudge?"  And then my floodgate opened.  I never yelled.  I didn't even cry.  I stood my ground.  And still sounding a whole lot more confident than I felt I told her everything I had experienced for the previous 2 weeks in regards to the kids and their feelings toward her.  "Mom, when I got home, no sooner had hellos been said, I had a sobbing child sitting in my lap wanting to know why his grandma doesn't like him.  And I didn't just hear it from him.  All the kids have said you yelled all weekend long.  The oldest informed me that he got tired of listening to you yell and so he went and hung out with grandpa for the rest of the weekend.  The consensus was that there was a lot of raised voices and interrupting and harshness.  I have to talk to them and see if they want you to pick them up because I'm not going to have them surprised by it and feel like I didn't look out for them emotionally."

There was quite a bit more said, it was over a half hour of being on the phone.  Man did it feel good to lay it all out there.  It felt good to know I was protecting my kids and no longer being manipulated by my mother.  Hey, maybe that is the cure to mother manipulation.  Wait till she messes with your kids, suddenly you don't care anymore if she is happy or not!  Sorry, tangent. :)

She had been completely oblivious to how her words and actions had affected my kids.  She actually felt remorseful.  She insisted that she had to talk to them and let them know she was wrong.  Say what?  My mom actually admitting that she was wrong?  That is like getting a good burger at McDonald's, it just doesn't happen!  Now I happened to be already at the kids school when this conversation took place.  Don't worry, the kids were at lunch and I stepped outside when they came back in.  So I asked my middle child if grandma could pick him up.  First he said no.
"I think I'd rather you pick me up, Mom."
"Ok, but it would be Dad because I work tonight."
"Welllllllllllllll, I guess it would be ok for grandma to pick me up then."

I called her and told her she could pick up the boys.  We talked for over an hour.  She completely doesn't understand my middle child.  She doesn't understand why he takes everything so personally.  She wants to help toughen him up so he doesn't carry a victim mentality.  I told her when dealing with him, to think of me as a child.  She actually groaned!  Thanks, Mom, glad to know I was that hard to parent.  "Oh, yeah.  Over emotional about everything.  Feelings so easily hurt that you didn't know what was ok to say...."  She kept on like that for about a minute.  All of that time I wanted to revoke the privilege of being able to pick him up from school from her.  She always felt, without ever hiding it, that the way I was was wrong and it was her job to make me right.  My emotions were wrong, I should be logical like her.  I shouldn't be intuitive or sensitive because it was different from her and therefore wrong.  I had to keep a tight reign on my emotions when we were talking about his temperament being so similar to mine.  I wanted so desperately to shield him from feeling like his emotions are wrong or that he needs to be "fixed", as if he were broken!

In the end, she did pick up the kids.  She took them to a park.  She apologized.  Well, my youngest is convinced that she didn't, which is kinda funny story.  He told me that grandma did something wrong and didn't say sorry but he forgave her anyway.  I, shocked, said, "She didn't say sorry?"  I had to stifle a laugh when he very solemnly looked at me and said, "No, Mommy.  She said she was wrong and asked if I would forgive her.  I did forgive her, even though she didn't say sorry.  Was that nice of me?"

The kids are young enough that sorry still makes things better.  I wish I had gotten one too.  After all, I am the one who held my crying son and comforted him.  What mother could do that and not be hurt too?  But I am grateful that she apologized to my kids.  Even that is a huge step further along the road than she was when I was growing up.  Sorry is not a word in her vocabulary when it comes to me and my brother or even my dad.  I'm thankful that it has become a word in her vocabulary for her grandkids. 

It's not all better, but it is better.  I still feel very guarded with her.  I still feel very protective about my boys, especially my middle child.  But I do think it was eye opening to her to realize that she has a chance of damaging her relationship with them permanently if she isn't careful with her actions. I think it shocked her to realize that I won't force them to see her alone if they are uncomfortable.  I think she may think a little bit before she lashes out, at least I hope so. I hope that this will, in the long run, make all of our lives a little easier.  It is a lot easier to cross a line before one has been drawn and now one has been clearly drawn.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I did it

So many thoughts so little time.  So what do I share and still get my backside to bed to recover from no sleep last night thanks to staying up with a sick little guy?  While there is a lot on my mind, I guess I should update on the life events that have happened over the last month. 

I decided at a point that I was ok with Hubby touching me.  Not thrilled, mind you, but accepting of it.  He was wonderful, as he always is, and did nothing until I made the first move.  There is something about being the one in control that takes some of the fear out of "the event".  My body was no longer hyper sensitive and he had been patient.  I didn't want to take advantage of his patience just because I didn't feel like it.  Not being in the mood is quite a bit different from being traumatized.  So I kissed him a little longer than I had been and I wrapped his arms around me.  That is my sign when it is ok to touch me again.

And you know what?  That man was so very gentle.  And somehow being intimate with him was healing not damaging.  Somehow being with him made me feel safe again.  I can't even explain it because to me it doesn't make much sense, but it was like giving someone a broken vase and receiving it back fixed and filled with flowers.  It was a mental effort for me, a HUGE mental effort.  I had to recenter myself several times.  I had to force myself to stay in the moment, there with him, instead of retreating to my mental happy place.  It nearly made me cry once or twice to stay present, but I did it.  When my mind tried to shut off, I somehow reminded myself that this wasn't the men who hurt me and managed to bring myself back.

And it does help (sorry if this is tmi!) that while Hubby is wonderful about satisfying me, he doesn't get his feelings hurt if I don't "get there".  For a couple of times, I didn't want to get there.  That meant losing control of my body and that was just too scary for me.  I redirected a little, didn't get there and he wasn't offended by it.  Even in the deed, my body was mine.  He once again, ever so gently, brought my heart out of hiding.

I did it!  I rode the wave of emotion and didn't die from it!  Ok, so I thought I was going to at times.  I spent days crying or sleeping.  I refused to cook or clean.  I barely ate, I wasn't even hungry.  My dreams at night were riddled with suicide attempts.  I'm not sure that I wanted to die, but I didn't really want to live either.  I wanted to not exist.  But the point is, I did it.  I felt the emotion.  I didn't stuff the emotion, even though I really wanted to.  And in the end, I actually do feel somewhat better.  I made it through another emotional hurricane, and yeah maybe lost some windows and downed some trees but it didn't wipe me out.......this time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

coming to terms

I am realizing that I am coming to terms with my feelings.  The grief is still there but it is not all consuming like it was last week.  I guess it is true that in fully feeling this that I am starting to see some relief.  I'm a far cry from great but I'm not emotionally floundering either. 

A random story..... the other day someone told me that due to global warming, in a few years there will be no more coffee.  My response?  Well, I guess that gives me a couple of years to figure out my issues and find a new coping mechanism :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

physical sensations

I'm still struggling with my body.  I'm still not quite ready for Hubby to touch me.  My body physically tingles.  It is not the same as when my body tingles with desire for my husband.  It is a different kind of physical sensation.  I don't even know how to explain it.  It is definitely in my physical body but it is different from desire and passion.  It is a sensation that makes me feel vulnerable rather than desirable. It is a sensation that makes me feel like everyone else is as aware of my body as I am.  Is this unique to those of us who have experienced sexual trauma or do others sometimes feel like their body would cringe at the touch of a man?  Not indifference towards sex, just not in the mood, too much else to do that you forget that sex actually would be nice, like every woman at some point feels, but rather complete and total aversion to sex.  I know this feeling is one sexual trauma victims understand, I just wonder if it is normal for all women. 

Has your body ever tingled with disgust rather than desire?

Monday, October 17, 2011


It is gonna get easier, right?  If I keep feeling, I'm really not going to feel this forever?  Just checking.

difficult conversations

Boss Man J is Hubby's boss.  Over the time of working together they have become really close friends.  Saturday I sent Boss Man J a text.

Hubby said he's worried about me but hasn't said anything beyond that.  How worried is he?  How much of his stress is worry for me and how much is the stressful upcoming work week?

This message sparked an hour long texting conversation.

He's worried about you and your middle child and money and work. 
I wish I could make me better so I wouldn't have to be one of the things he is worried about.
Dawn, that man loves you and his family more than most people realize. And I think he feels such a strong sense that he has to provide and protect his family that when something is out of his control, he doesn't know what to do.
I know.  I feel just as out of control and I am just as scared as he is.
Is everything ok?

Well the conversation went on like that for a while.  Boss Man J asked me to not keep big stuff from Hubby.  Hubby being concerned about me has started to effect his work performance, minimally but nonetheless it is still taking some of his concentration off of his job.  The conversation was basically, DO ME A FAVOR AND JUST TALK TO THE GUY!  HE REALLY WANTS TO HELP YOU AND DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO!

So I did.  Saturday night Hubby and I sat down and I told him what had triggered me and why.  It took 10 minutes just to get the words out of my mouth.  I told Hubby some of the details of the abuse that I haven't ever talked about, even in my journal.  He is AMAZING!  He told me I'm a fighter.  I laughed at him.  "Tell me who you were dating 15 years ago."  I answered the boy I gave my heart to but then I realized it was the abusive boy who I was engaged to.  "Yeah, people who aren't fighters don't have the strength to get out of those relationships.  If you weren't a fighter you would have married him or even the other boy who used you for your body and to look good on his arm.  You wouldn't have waited for a man who would die for you without hesitation if you weren't a fighter."

He was there for me, loved me and comforted me.  And then he kicked my butt.  "How does not eating help?" Well that's easy to answer.  When I'm not eating I have something physical, something tangible to put my energy into so I don't really have to focus on the emotional.  And here is why he is a great husband...... "Well, when you don't eat your emotions go more haywire.  And then you don't sleep because your emotions are haywire.  And then you don't want to eat because your emotions are haywire.  It is a vicious cycle.  I know it is hard and it hurts but I need you to eat.  I don't ever want to bring our kids to the mental hospital to visit their mom again and when you don't eat or sleep, that is how you spiral to the point of being in the hospital."

So as a promise to my husband, I am to be in bed by midnight and eat 3 times a day (minimum).  He said even if I just need to eat "and".  Huh?  You know yogurt AND a string cheese.  Or apples AND peanut butter.  I hate doing it.  But I love him.  I hate that I made that promise.  It is hard to keep.  And it keeps me in the present instead of letting me check out so I am very aware of the pain.  I want to check out.  I do not like feeling this! Right now if feels like the pain will never go away, that I will be forever trapped in the sea of overwhelming emotions.  I have a great man beside me encouraging me to feel,  to do the work it takes to get better.

I hate food!  I know I am not eating enough but I am keeping my promise and eating SOMETHING. I'm grateful for Hubby who wants me to get better not just get over it.  I'm grateful for the friend who knew I needed a break and took me out for girl time yesterday while her husband watched the kids.  I'm grateful for the friend who talked with me on the phone for 2 hours last night.  I grateful for people holding my arms up right now because I really am tired of fighting and don't know that I could make it without them.  I'm tired.  I'm tired of having to fight.  I just want to lay down and give up but I have people who love me enough to not let me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

rambling to figure it out

I'm going to babble.  It may be coherent, maybe not.  I counted calories again this morning.  Haven't allowed myself to do that in a very long time.  I hate my body.  I hate the curves that make my body desirable to men.  I am very aware of my breasts today.  Today I long for the body I had a year ago in which my breasts had nearly disappeared.  I am painfully aware of my body in every aspect today.  I have hips, thighs and breasts.  I have a stomach that, in my opinion, is no longer flat.  Maybe my definition of flat is concave.

I want my Hubby to not worry about me, therefore I want to fake it.  I want to eat enough for him to not question or worry.  I don't want to eat a thing.  I slightly miss the hospital today.  I could sleep and cry and not have to take care of anyone else.  I didn't have to cook or think about food.  Someone else was taking care of my needs and no one touched me or needed me. 

I love the innocence of my children.  And I feel resentful that I didn't have that.  My children live in a world of safety.  Simply being near me after a bad day still makes their world right again.  I am so grateful that they are innocent, that they love life and that they want to be with me.  When I was their age I was screaming into a pillow that I hated my mom.  I wish I had the security of just being near someone making my troubles melt away. 

I feel very lonely and isolated right now.  I want to be loved and feel unlovable at the same time.  I want to be held and yet don't want to be touched, even in the slightest way.  I want to belong and yet feel like I will always be the window shopper watching through the glass as everyone else has a great time buying beautiful dresses.

The ache in my soul runs deep today.  It feels like a fault line in my heart, it could be fine for centuries but then one day, out of the blue, it causes a devastating earthquake.

Friday, October 14, 2011

big emotions

Something happened.  It triggered a very intense memory.  Overwhelming shame, intense hurt, unfounded guilt and huge sense of vulnerability have flooded over me like a tsunami.  I'm so far from ok.  I don't even know how to get to ok.  I have occasionally thought of this memory.  I never in a million years thought it would be triggered though or even that it could be triggered.  And now I sit here a broken heap of raw emotions.  I don't want to feel this.  I don't want to do this.  I don't know if I can do this.  I don't think I can fake it through this one.  But I also don't want to talk about it.  I don't want to even tell Hubby that I'm not ok because that would mean talking about it.  I want to crawl under a blanket and not exist.  I want to not feel.  I'd rather feel depression like a weight sitting on my chest making it difficult to breathe than feel this.  I'd rather feel the sad I felt this morning than feel this.  These emotions are so intense.  I wonder if they won't just sweep me away in their wake. 


I'm unbelievably sad today.  It's not the kind of depression that makes me so low that I nearly feel numb to life around me.  It isn't the kind that feels so hopeless that I cannot function.  It is just the kind that longs for a bubble bath and a really long cry.  The problem is that I don't even know what I want to cry about and I don't feel any tears behind my eyes waiting to slip from my eyes to roll down my face.  How can I feel an overwhelming sadness and not have a reason to be sad or a way to let the sad out?  Oh the joys of major depressive disorder and the effects it has on living life.  And the really sad part is that my medicine is actually helping and yet I still feel this way.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

full moon

I pulled out of the parking garage at work tonight to see a full moon.  Ahhhh, suddenly my evening made sense.  I'm not one for superstitions but having worked much of my life in retail, I have to admit there is something to the claim of the full moon.  People get strange during the full moon.  Drivers are a thousand times more distracted and people in general seem to just lose focus on everything.  Somehow strange things really do happen during the full moon.

My night was insane.  I had a couple of guys who were talking to each other rather loudly and they made a rather racist comment and then a rather crude comment.  I wonder if I looked a bit uncomfortable because all of the sudden the guy who was standing at the register looked at me and said, "Oh, sorry, Dawn.  That was inappropriate.  Earmuffs!"  It was nice of him to apologize.  Sometimes wearing a name tag is not my favorite thing in the world though.

I had a transaction that seriously took over 20 minutes.  This lady was interesting and her transaction just kept getting more and more complicated and frustrating.  Finally the transaction was finished and before my register printed the rental agreement for her to sign, my computer crashed.  I had to pull it back up and reprint her receipts.

I had a guy come in to buy a stuffed animal monkey.  He told me his son's room is decorated in monkeys.  I told him my son loves monkeys too.  Nearly every day he asks if I will by him the monkey at my work yet.  The guy asked how old my son is.  I told him the age of my youngest.  He told me his son is 3 months old.  Making conversation, I asked if the baby was his only child.  Yep.  And he asked me.  Nope, mine is the youngest of 3. 
"You have 3 kids?"
"Yeah, all boys."
"Wow.  How old are you?"
I answered.
"Well dang, you wear it well.  I totally wouldn't have guessed that or that you have THREE kids!"
I'm shallow enough to have reveled in that comment.  But it was still a weird conversation and not one I would have thought would have happened.

I arrived home to find my oldest, who should have been in bed asleep, wide awake.  His toe nail fell off the other day and now his toe is infected.  He was crying and moaning.  His toe was swollen and red and white.  Good times.  It was 11 before I could finally get him back to bed.

I'm exhausted!  It was crazy at work all night.  I didn't sit down once.  I came home to craziness as well.  I'm ready for a good night sleep and the full moon to be gone!

Oh, and this morning I played this word search game that is going around Facebook.  It is supposed to be a psychological type of game that the 1st 3 words you can spot in a word search are the ones that describe you.  You wanna know what I got?  Broken, funny and fat.  Really?  Seriously? Yeah, ready for this day to be over!

things to be thankful for

  • my son looking small because today was pajama day at school.  He looks so cute in his jammies!
  • having my computer upstairs
  • my oldest finally having his own room so we can put him to bed at the same time as my middle child without them keeping each other up all night
  • having a friend with tools and skills to help us with Hubby's brakes this weekend
  • a working washer and dryer
  • a working dishwasher
  • my middle child's smile with his 2nd front "man tooth" coming in
  • coffee
  • reading Breaking Dawn (again!)
  • Amy, Sarah, Kathie, Denise
  • my amazing Hubby 
  • that it is true about getting older making certain aspects of marriage even better ; )
  • meds that are starting to help and that I'm not too tired to realize they are starting to help
  • that my oldest had a rough day at school yesterday and wanted me to hang out with him.  Love that my presence still makes life right again for him!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

my Starbucks dysfunction

I absolutely love this quote from You've Got Mail...
"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino!"

So this morning I decided that a trip to Starbucks was in order and I did take advantage of the offer to get an absolutely defining sense of self.  I didn't opt for my usual venti non fat vanilla latte but instead ordered this...

venti, non fat, 4 pump (it is supposed to come with 5 pumps) pumpkin spice latte, stirred (and what the heck, I splurged) with whip.  I mixed it up a little.  I got a drink I really like.  Oh yeah, and I got a side order of guilt for making the barista go out of his way to make a specialty drink.  Yes, I am that dysfunctional.  Yes, I did feel guilty over ordering what I wanted instead of just going with the flow and not drawing attention to myself.  Yes, I am that big of a dork!  :)


This morning in the car the kids brought up the issues with my mom again.  Obviously I am not the only one who is hurt.  So we added her to our morning prayer time.  We prayed that God would help us to walk in forgiveness toward her even though we are hurt and don't feel like forgiving.  We prayed that God would bring healing to the rawness in our hearts from the wounds she caused.  And we prayed that God would give us grace so that we could extend grace to her.

It sucked.  I so didn't want to pray for her.  I'm still angry.  But what better time to pray?  I was reminded of Luke 6:27-37 while we prayed.  The summary of it is to pray for those who hurt you.  Everyone can love someone who loves them but God asks us to love those who hurt us.  It ends by saying "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful."  The next part says don't judge or you will be judged.  Um, yeah, conviction.

So then tonight at work I saw the textbook for a communications class.

I decided that even though I had a fun, little brain power, quite enjoyable novel to read that maybe I was supposed to read this one instead.  So tonight I read from yet another text textbook, this time to help me understand the conflict with my mom.  I was annoyed reading it because really, I know most of it but hearing it was still difficult.  The short version is that I have to take the high road and act with integrity or else all we will do is continue to fight, possibly sever what is left of our relationship, and in no way help my son.

The book gave advice like using "I messages" instead of "you messages".  You know, saying, I was really hurt and I felt disrespected rather than attacking and saying you were disrespectfulIt also suggested focusing on the future rather than the past.  Rather than focusing on the fact that she handled this completely wrong, focus on what our expectations for future interactions are.  Informing her that we won't be ok with certain behaviors in the future but not keeping the conversation centered on what she did wrong this last time.

Still hurt?  Heck yeah.  Still angry?  Yep.  But I have a better perspective tonight.  I know that I cannot harbor hatred and bitterness in my heart toward her and still be walking in God's truth (1 John is full of examples of if you harbor hate you are not living in the light, if you hate in your heart you have committed murder in your heart, etc.)  I know that God made her and loves her.  I know He can give me love for her.

I'm still not looking forward to talking to her about this, but still feel like it needs to be done.  I still very firmly feel that my son needs to know I've got his back.  And my kids need to see me honor my mother in the midst of conflict.  Someday they will be adults.  When that day comes, I pray that they will remember that I spoke the truth in love and honored my mother, their grandmother.  I pray that they will still know that I will always have their backs.  I pray that when I frustrate them, they, having seen me model it first, will act in love towards me.

And I pray right now that God will give me wisdom and grace to handle this and that He will help me to love her the way He does.  Heaven knows that is the only way I can do this!!!!!!!