Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year in Review - and Looking Ahead

'Tis time to reflect back and plan ahead ----



2006 (what was going on then - notes from a journal)
· Inability to relax or feel emotions.
· Plan out every conversation and for every possible scenario
· Coming off 2005 – a stellar year at work. I pushed myself relentlessly in 2005 to prove I could be super-mom, super-wife, super-employee. Then in 2006, I hit the wall.
· Start counseling in March – marital counseling at first, then individual as panic attacks became unmanageable. I began dealing with the abuse for first time really.
· Hit goal weight and stayed within 10 pounds – most stable with weight in years and in a healthy way.
· Up and down relationship with God
· Invited mom to a counseling session in July that changed our relationship in a way I don’t fully yet understand. She made her infamous “I just never saw sexual touching as a big deal” statement that I hear over and over and over in my head to this day.

2007
· Work stinks and I put partnership on hold. On the positive side, having the conversation with the bosses about re-structuring things was a huge step in articulating my needs and my boundaries. It also occurred after I recognized that I could not do it all and needed to set limits.
· Health – I’ve gained 30 pounds – some because of med issues and some because of poor eating habits. I also stopped working out and haven’t seen the gym in about 2 months.
· Tried some medication switches. One did not work and one seems to be going well. Depending on the day, my reaction to being on meds differs. Mostly it is a sort of reluctant acceptance.
· Self-injury – it wasn’t until I sat down to set my goals for 2007, that I admitted to anyone that I had begun SI-ing again. I opened up to T and to my online group. I joined an online SI help group as well as an online abuse survivors group. Things got worse. Then I quit. I am now over 100 days SI-free. There are good days and bad days. I will live with the scars on my legs forever, and the questions that go along with them.
· Move – I knew that I had “issues” with moving. I also knew that I wanted to move. I wanted a new house, closer to work. I finally got my desire. We are all moved and settled. Now I need to adapt.
· Verbalization – I started blogging and it has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. Expressing myself has helped me so much. Getting feedback and knowing I am not alone is a huge source of support. I wrote out my entire abuse story online –and survived. I’ve met some wonderful people online, one of which I got to visit over the summer, and two of which I plan to visit this summer. I still have difficulty voicing things out loud and that is a goal for this year.
· Emotions – I can now describe my physical reactions to situation. I recognize my panicky reactions to situations. I can explain them. Sometimes I can even talk about the thoughts that accompany a situation. I’m still working on assigning “names” to emotions.



For 2008
· Physical Health – eat better. Control my eating in healthy manner. Exercise more. Lose weight in a healthy, non-compulsive manner. More importantly, stop seeing my self-worth and beauty as so tied to my outward appearance.
· Self-injury – continue to remain SI-free. Work on overcoming the less SI-like, yet still compulsive behaviors --- my OCD-like tendencies (planning every conversation; catastrophising – planning for worst; needing to do things in series of 4, 8, or 16; and turning one way to avoid getting “wound up.”). Avoid replacing SI with other addictive behaviors – especially be on guard against weight addictions and medicating myself into numbness (medication addiction). I've become a bit too liberal at night with the xanax and ambien.
· Relationships - Mom and Husband. I need to find healthy boundaries in all my relationships, but especially here. I need to figure out how to react when their needs and mine collide. With Mom I need to determine if any relationship is possible. With DH, I need to work on our marriage – communication, respect, intimacy. On his becoming more of a husband and less self-absorbed. I need to work on intimacy without drugs, dissociation and panic attacks.
· Work – come to good balance. Stand up for myself in the negotiation process. Find meaning in work in a way that does not trigger. Find enjoyment in work again.
· Meds – get to a balanced point and a level of acceptance.
· Baby #2? – another year of thinking about this. Be in a position where I can get pregnant if I want. Not sure if that is a good thing now, or at all. I would like to come to a level of comfort and acceptance with whatever path is right.
· Fears – bring down to rational level (I.e. running into Toilet; confronting mom; running into father; confronted with having to talk about my story in a formal setting).
· Emotions – better at naming. Continue to work on describing physical reactions and thoughts in response to situations.
· Verbalization – get better at this. Set boundaries, verbalize them. Recognize my needs/wants and then express them.



Mostly I want to enjoy life and work on making my actual living reflect the priorities I have set - God, Family, everything else. I want to continue to enjoy my Daughter and her "snuggles." She is growing so fast and I want to enjoy every moment.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Finding the Balance - the sense of obligation versus my needs

I think this post is more for me to sort out some things, and given that I started this blog as a personal journal, that is probably something I should do more often.

As prior posts have demonstrated, DH & I have some issues to deal with for the new year. I have made us an appointment with his counselor, my counselor, he and I. This 4-way meeting is scheduled in mid-January. I have been trying to think of a concise way to describe my "issues" with DH. That's me - always planning everything ahead.

T and I have discussed my inability to make DH understand emotional issues. I've realized over the past few days, as the holidays have allowed us to spend more time together, that DH is very me-centered. He is focused on himself and his needs.

Hunting is a prime example. I have talked with him about hunting and how it ties closely to my not feeling chosen by him. It hasn't made much of a difference. He thinks now that he just takes our Daughter with him and that solves all my problems. Of course, he just leaves Daughter's care to his mother.

We sat down to look at a calendar. DH figured out that he was using 12 of his allot ed 14 vacation days for our trip to see "my family." Never mind that he enjoys these trips. Never mind that we discussed the fact that by choosing to live close to his family meant that longer vacation periods would be spent with mine. DH immediately talked about how that only left him 4 days (2 vacation and 2 sick). Since he uses one day for Christmas Eve and one for the day after, that left him 2 for hunting. I mentioned that there might be a need for him to use a sick day for an actual illness - his or Daughter's. Or that we might want to get away sometime. He said then he'd just have to take an unpaid day to hunt. He also assumed that Daughter and I would give him a "free pass" to hunt for his birthday/Father's Day. Because those days are not at all about allowing Daughter and I to do anything to celebrate him - but rather about his need to hunt.

I attemped to discuss with DH, the issues I had with Mom's visit. I had told Husband about Mom's email. That was the entire focus of his conversation. About how HE felt about her email. I told him I had decided not to respond. He then worried about how that reflected on him. I offered to let him respond, but that wasn't an option for him. He went on about how mom makes him uncomfortable and he just wants to avoid hanging out with her - he leaves the room - he'd prefer not to be around. I mentioned to him the struggle I was feeling about continuing contact. All he talked about was him - he didn't like what she got - why did she act that way to him - he didn't want to hang out with her - he couldn't figure out what to say - he couldn't make small talk with her. What about ME? Where is the husband who protects his wife? What about the husband that asks about how I feel about mom and what HE can do to help with the situation - instead of focusing on him?

I have been working on an overview of the last year. A look back at the goals I set for 2007, what I accomplished in 2007 and what I want for 2008. Two of the main issues involve Mom and my Husband. It's with finding the balance between my sense of the obligation I feel as a daughter and as a wife to meet Mom and Husband's needs.

I struggle with tension between people that I have a relationship with. Mom and I -- DH and I -- Other people and I. When there is tension and conflict, I will put my needs on the back burner to anyone else. With Mom, it is ignoring my panic and tension and other things, to focus on her desire to continue a relationship with me and my Daughter. With husband it is ignoring my wants, needs and panic to meet his needs. It doesn't matter what I have to do or how I have to hurt myself, I do it.

After last night's conversation with DH, I was really struck with how self-absorbed he is and how is is unable to see things from anyone else's viewpoint except his own. I went in to bed and was thinking hard about that. Thinking about how I get caught up with trying to be the Wife I think he deserves but am not focusing on helping him see what I need from his as a Husband. About how I feel a sense of obligation to meet his needs - even if it is at my own sacrifice. Since these were heavy thoughts, and since I couldn't sleep, I took an ambien. I had taken a xanax several hours earlier. I should start calling that mix the sex cocktail. I ~think~ that is what happened. It's a little fuzzy. Kind of like a lot of my memories. Where the outward signs tell me that what is fuzzy in my mind is a reality. But my memories are not clear. I woke up about 5 am in a cold sweat. That, I know, is a hormonal thing - happens same time every month. But whether that triggers the panic/nightmares or vice versa, I don't know. In any event, it's been a rough day with the haziness of last night hanging over me. And the resulting panic attacks.

Once again I am torn between finding the balance between being (or trying to be) the wife that DH deserves, while also setting (and keeping) the boundaries I need. It's an area I struggled with last year and will continue to struggle with for 2008 as well.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Surviving Mom's Visit - Part 2 - the Visit and After

As I said before, I tend to "distance" myself during a visit from Mom. I guess the technical word is "dissociate." For me it is like living the moment without emotions. Only after the event, when I am alone (key word) and safe, do I allow myself to experience the emotions. Well, "allow myself" isn't the correct word - it's more like forcing myself too. I used to try to just ignore them, but then they just re-surfaced in unhealthy (SI, etc) ways.

So I woke up after nightmares and the long night (see Part I) and my husband needed to return something at the store. He offered to take Daughter and let me sleep some more but I decided distraction was good and went with them. So I arrived back home only a few moments before Mom arrived around 10:30 am.

Daughter was all excited to see her and kept saying "MY grandma" and "I love you." Which was mixed for me. I'm glad Daughter wasn't traumatized by seeing this person she hasn't seen since April and I want her to have a good relationship, but the fact that Mom can stay gone this long and just pop back in irks me. I sort of wanted Daughter to say "Who is this?" and have Mom feel that pang of guilt.

This is the first year Mom has not asked for any suggestions for Christmas. She also hasn't seen Daughter in months and has no idea what she is into or what anyone else was getting her. I have mentioned that Daughter is really good at the Leapfrog matching/memory game we have. Also mentioned that Daughter is real good at puzzles and that I have exhausted the Dollar stores' supply of the 69 piece puzzles but I wasn't sure Daughter was ready for 100 piece (next size). So Mom buys her a 24 piece puzzle which Daughter announced "easy" and didn't want to play. And a Princess Memory game. Daughter goes in other room and comes back with her Leapfrog version and says I like to play this. Mom says "she doesn't have a princess one, does she?" So we played princess memory for a bit. Then we walked to the park, listening to my two-pack-a-day mother huff and puff all the way.

At the park, Daughter ran ahead. Shr was up the jungle gym and crossing over to the slide before I even realized what she was doing. First time she's done it without help. I mentioned it to Mom and she said, "yeah that is a big gap for her." At the other little playground, she scampered up another climbing thing and mom said "that makes me nervous." I know daughter can do that one though. I do sometims "spot" her though. When she came down, Mom turned away and cried, "Oh I just can't watch. I can just see her falling and cracking her head or splitting her chin open." (gee Mom like I did riding my bike 4 miles across busy roads at age 8???) I got up and went to "spot" Daughter and bit my tongue. Her concern and judgmental tone nauseates me.

A few moments later, I called to Daughter to tell her "2 more minutes" and she smarted back "NO, not ready yet." I mentioned to Mom that she was developing a bit of a smart mouth and Mom said "yeah she does" in a slightly disapproving tone. Not like Husband's mom who would have said "yes but all kids her age go through that" or something similar. But that judgmental tone again.

By supper Mom was beat and pretty much ignored Daughter. Husband and I are working on manners and patience with Daughter, but she is not quite 4 yet. She says "excuse me" almost all the time now, but hasn't gotten the hang of then needing to wait her turn to talk. We are working on it. But for now, we praise her for saying "excuse me and try to not make her wait beyond us finishing a sentence. Mom, however just talked over her and kept telling her to wait. If I paused to turn to Daughter and let Daughter have a turn, Mom kept talking - louder and right over her. Got huffy with Daughter interrupting.


Later Daughter was doing pretty good entertaining herself. She was having a parade - walking up and down hall doing different things. She just wanted applause and a comment as she came by. So I'd applaud and comment and go on talking but Mom just ignored her. At bed, Daughter was overly tired and a bit resistant to sleep. I suggested Mom go in and snuggle and read the stories but she didn't act interested (bedtime snuggles is my favorite time of day and I would have jumped on it) but I don't remember Mom being into that when I was little. So I dropped it.

I told Daughter to say goodnight. She was resisting bed and the whole hugging/kissing/saying goodnight to Daddy and Grandma process. Mom grabbed her and pulled her close for a hug. Daughter put her arms up in protest and smacked into her or grabbed her neck or mouth or something. I didn't see exactly. I just saw Mom's expression of mad/anger, and I don't - know - disgust maybe?? She put Daughter down and said "NO - you just wait and I'll put you down then." I told Daughter to say sorry (hating myself for that, but knowing that it is polite to apologize if you hurt someone even accidentally). Daughter pouted and had a sad/you hurt me look. I didn't force the issue. I took Daughter in her room. I asked her if she had hurt Grandma and she said No. I could tell she wasn't lying - so I strongly suspect she just put her hands up without meaning to hurt. I really think she was startled by being grabbed like that. I told her we say sorry even if we accidentally hurt someone. She understands that concept, I know, from school. Daughter asked to go kiss Daddy so I sent her out to kiss Daddy and suggested to give Grandma a hug. I let it go after that.

After that came the "alone time." No child distractions. We were talking about taxes and Mom asked itemizing. Says they usually don't. She had said "we" and "they" and "us" previously. My sister has asked her not to do that, but Mom does anyway. Mom then asked me if I knew some tax answer - said when ___ (she used his name) was in hospital they had lots of bills not covered by insurance. He was in hospital last Dec but bills paid in January. Could she deduct them this year? So I told her I thought yes and changed the subject. But when she said his name I got dizzy and panicky. I never use his name.

We watched criminal minds then and it was about a guy who came back from Iraq war and had PTSD. Lots of talk about that. I was uncomfortable when it talked about jumpiness at loud noises and stuff but no one else noticed. Then one time Husband and I were on the couch and I nudged his feet over. He asked in front of mom, "why don't you like feet - have you always been that way?" As if I'll explain it to him then......

Mom did get almost weepy when talking about her parents (G&G) and the knee surgery Gpa is having and how he is getting old. I just listened. How is it she gets weepy and emotional about her parents but no one else?

Husband stayed home (took off from work) and I thanked him for it. He said he would if I wanted him too and I told him I did. Although I really think it was more about his not wanting to work then about his being there. Because he was outside all day or in the basement and went to bed early -- so it wasn't much help.

When I went to bed I just said goodnight to my mom and walked down hall. Mom found me in the hallway and says "I need a hug". So I complied but she always hugs too long and too tight. I tried to pull away and she finally let up. Thank goodness for xanax.

Yesterday I had the usual after-visit edginess. My sister called to check on me. She says Mom is the same way with her kids - tired after a few hours. Also grabbing her kids for forced hugs/kisses. When her kids resist, she gets huffy. Then if the kids later offer one, Mom will say, "well I don't want one now."

Mom bought Husband and I two shirts each and a board game. It is the same shirt style (different color) she gets him every year. Husband said something to me about returning it. I'm not sure we can without a receipt and because despite being wrapped in plastic, it reeks of cigarette smoke. Then I got this email last night from Mom.

I was just sitting here, thinking about how much fun I had, and I remembered that (Husband) was questioning me about where I did my shopping. It didn't occur to me, until just now, that he maybe didn't like, didn't need, didn't want what I bought him. I checked just now, and I bought his shirts, and yours too, online from ____'s. So if you need to exchange, get a different size or get a refund, you'll know. Feel free to do that if you want. Sorry it didn't sink in, when he was asking. I just gave him a very vague answer. Love and hugs, Mom

My immediate reaction was to write back and reassure Mom that all was okay. I read it to Husband and kind of got onto him for whatever he said. He told me that it wasn't the case at all - he had just been trying to make conversation with Mom. He wanted to know why Mom had to "make such a big deal about every little thing." He was right. I apologized to him and will not respond, I guess. Need to check in with my objective friend, Perfect, on how to respond. She'll know. (ironically mom does make a big deal out of things that are little things, but ignores the huge elephants in the room).

I was really zoned last night. Went into to lie down a sec after supper and I don't know what happened. Something triggered me but I don't know what. I just remember taking a xanax and lying back down and knowing I would pass out. Must have fallen asleep after that. I remember Daughter coming in to say goodnight and husband asking me something. Woke up about 2 1/2 hours later. Was very disoriented as I usually am. Went back to sleep and woke up this morning.

Another visit over. That should do until about Easter.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Surviving Mom's Visit - Part 1 - the "before the visit" nightmare

WARNING - could be triggering.

I'm surviving Mom's visit. I started out saying I survivED (past tense) but since things never really hit me until later i think it is better to say I'm still surviving. I tend to survive by putting up a "shield" between myself and reality. Kind of like hitting a pause button that makes things fuzzy. But you can only hold "pause" so long and then I must relive the visit. At least now it is after the actual visit and I can do the "reliving" and remembering in a safe place without her around and on my own without anyone to disturb with my emotional response.

I talked to Mom on Christmas Day - the day before she was to visit. There was the usual awkwardness since I don't ask what she "got" for Christmas (I know she only gets gifts from Toilet). Although she was wearing a new necklace when she visited. She doesn't usually wear jewelry so I deliberately didn't ask about it.

Mom came to our new house yesterday (Wed). Tuesday night before her visit was rough. I stayed up late busying myself until 11 (distraction is good) then laid in bed awake until 2 am or so - worrying and running through scenarios. Got up about 2 am and took an extra pill and dosed off with horrible nightmares.


The scene was a mix of my current basement but then flashed back to childhood basement and the conversation the last time I was in that House of Hell & Horrors.

IN late 90s, I was home for my wedding shower. My college friend who was a bridesmaid and is also my Husband's cousin, came with me. Toilet was up to his old tricks of exposing and fondling himself in the living room. Where friend and I were present. I said nothing to him, despite the fact that I was 24 years old at the time. I waited until Mom got home and pulled her down into basement to talk. We were standing in the hall near bookshelves. I explained what happened and she asked me what I wanted her to do. Whether I wanted her to call the cops. I was not surprised that she again wanted me to tell her the answer about what to do. I was disgusted with her by then but just explained that his conduct was no longer illegal since I was an adult and he was in his own home. But I was more pissed than anything that my friend was there and what she might say. I was still playing the "perfect family game" and was terrified that if the real truth got out that the marriage would be called off. Only my future husband knew the truth and then only vague things. My future in-law family knew nothing and I wanted it to stay that way. So much so, that even after this incident, I allowed Toilet to stay in wedding and walk me down aisle to "give me away." (gag).

In my dream we had gone down to my current basement in my new house to show Mom around. She was looking at my bookshelves and seeing titles like "toxic parents" "sex abuse healing" and "self-injury" and "blood-letting." So she asked about all those books. She repeated that line I hear all to often -- "I never saw it as that bad." I was switching in my dream from that scene and talking in present to the time in 1999. Back and forth.

At first the dream was sort of okay - the kind of conversation I wish we could have had. Because she seemed receptive and was not making excuses. She wasn't playing the "poor pity me card." She was listening. She asked about the SI books and I refused to talk about it. (she doesn't know about that). I just told her it was no longer an issue.

I did, however, talk to her about how bad it really was - I still am not sure that she knows or, well, I don't know what all she knows -- I go really fuzzy and panicky and blank when I try to think clearly about what all I have ever told her. I want to believe that she doesn't know all of it. In the session I had with her and T, she was asked what she knew happened and her comment was "well I know he touched her boobs and stuff." T asked me what else and I managed to add the "crotch area." I did not say anything else - couldn't at that point. I can't remember what I told her when I first disclosed to her as a child. Not sure if she knows about that it was under clothes or was more than just "petting" - not sure whether she even cares.

I think I don't want to know for sure what all she knows. Because if she does know the full extent and still sees it as "not bad" then that is worse to me - would be extremely hard for me to accept. In my dream, I told her that in some states what happened would be considered "r***" (didn't say the word even in dream). I've never used that word with her in real life. She was shocked and wanted an explanation of how and I was trying to explain it but couldn't talk about it and getting panicky and that is when I woke up in a cold sweat. Took another xanax and passed back out.

In real life, even if I did tell her, I don't think she would see it as "true rape" since it wasn't the "standard intercourse" definition. I still have trouble with the "R" word myself (see here, and here and here), but my main issue is because I too have trouble as seeing it as "that bad." Because seeing it as "that bad" raises too many other issues. Makes the fact that Mom is still living with him all that much worse. I've still never been able to say the phrase "I was R****" - I just say "sexually abused. While I would never tell anyone else that sexual abuse is any less evil than rape, I see it that way with me.

Obviously I still have some work to do in this area.

Fortunately there is xanax and ambien to take after waking from these nightmares. And a husband who insists on returning an item at 8 am the next morning. So I was up and distracted until Mom's arrival. I was also zoned out and on guard. So I survived.

I'll save the details of her visit for later. If I'm wanting another xanax I need to eat some food.

(typo disclaimer - bandaged finger prevents good typing)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Memories

Well it started out rough - bronchitis, stitches and an emergency vet trip for the dog. But we figured that was our "3" and we were good to go after that. I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas this year. And that, is good.

Bronchitis wasn't any fun, but it did make me slow down. It forced me to stop stressing about getting unpacked and settled. It forced me to take time off work and get off the end-of-the-year hamster wheel (which DM's post reminded me that I run on far too often). In all, it was a good result from an otherwise "not good" situation.

Friday night our plan was to clean. Again a situation where I would have stressed over getting things "just right." Instead I spent several hours in Urgent Care (see here). Once again I was diverted from my intended plans.

The next day my husband took the dog hunting while my daughter and I headed out to catch up with some friends of mine. It was a great time for us. My husband called, running late, and mentioned the dog had cut her ear. When he got her home, it was still bleeding. Several hours later, no change. Given my history of dogs, vets and letting animals just suffer, then "disappear," I had mixed emotions about the whole situation. Finally I scooped Tallie up and took her to the emergency vet clinic. Several hours later, I was informed she would need to stay the night. It was extremely difficult for me to leave her there. I was quite upset. I got home about 11 pm and got up early to go get Tallie. She was super excited to see me, but not so excited about her new 'apparel'






Once again, my cleaning frenzy Saturday night and Sunday was diverted. I did get some basic straightening done Sunday afternoon. However, I had to really parse things down. I went into Monday, fairly relaxed. Despite all the unplanned events, I had gotten caught up on sleep - but also had my attention diverted from all the unplanned "stuff" going on.

Christmas Eve we travelled to my in-laws. My husband's family is great - a real family. They eat together and all gather for a big Christmas Eve gathering. All the activity is a bit much for me sometimes - too many people in one place, talking over each other. But I've learned to take a few moments to go in the other room when I need too. My daughter loves it, and it sure was fun to see her running around with all her cousins. How can you not help but get excited about Christmas watching 6 kids scream over presents.

We drove back here Christmas Eve night. Poor Daughter was too tired to do much, but we took care of the Santa milk and cookies for her. She slept well and even managed to stay in bed until 7 am this morning. It was fun watching her excitement. And I nourished my "inner child" playing with all her toys. A few hundred games of "Don't Break the Ice" and Barbies.

I managed to survive my call to Mom - the awkwardness where I don't ask her what gifts she received because I know she only got gifts from ~him~ and we don't mention him. Tomorrow she will be here - about lunch. And will spend the night and leave early Thursday. Fortunately my husband received the unexpected gift of an extra day off (somehow his HR person mis-calculated his time off, and despite his pointing out, they insisted he take it). So he will be home for support.

In these recent days I've been amazed at just how unplanned things have been. All my hypervigilence, planning, OCD tendencies have been tromped on...yet, it has all worked out for the best.

I can say that this has been one of the best Christmases. Which is a huge treat for me.

Merry Christmas !!!!

Merry Christmas !!!!!!

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I am enjoying every moment of my daughter's joy at magic of Christmas. We sang our Christmas blessing ("Happy Birthday" to Jesus) and danced to the new Barbie princess dance DVD. We've played Chutes & Ladders and with her new 'puter (computer). We've also been subjected (husband included) to endless applications of her new "makeup" (glitter lip gloss). She's adorable and her joy at the simplest things is a reminder of the true joy of Christmas with family.

Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas MEME - I'm it again :)

Anne at LifePundit tagged me.

1. When people say “Christmas” you immediately think….
Stress, fun, time off from work, decorating, shopping, presents

2. Favorite Christmas memory:
I don't have many childhood favorite memories. I do remember the tree from my childhood - it was always beautiful. I also remember my Nana getting all of us Cabbage Patch Kids. I don't know how she did it. Those were THE gifts that year - I heard she waited in line for hours. My most recent favorite was the Christmas when I was due with my daughter. There was something magical about being pregnant during a time of year that revolves around a newborn child. Every Christmas since then has been great - I love experience the joy of a child on Christmas and am grateful to experience that through my daughter.

3. Favorite Christmas song or carol: I love Canon in D (I think that's the one - the one they play at weddings) and Handel's Messiah as well as The First Noel and The Carol of the Bells.

4. Favorite Christmas movie: Charlie Brown's Christmas special

5. Favorite Christmas character: See #1 - I love the song "Mary did You Know?"

6. Favorite Christmas ornament or object: The one from my childhood that I have, as well as the old ornaments that used to hang on my Nana's tree. They are cracked and old but I still love them. I also love the hand-made manger scene from my husband's childhood. It is simple carved plywood colored in with colored-pencils. But I still love it.

7. Plans for this Christmas:family and fun and food

8. Is Christmas your favorite holiday? No, actually I like Thanksgiving best. I think Christmas is often too stressful and comes with too much anticipation. But I still like it.

I'm tagging:
LawyerChik at Park Bench Musings
Unveiling Hope
Kahless

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Off to a Good Start...

My husband and I were joking about how we might actually make it through one year without a claim on our AFLAC accident policy. Spoke too soon. We received a package in the mail that said to open immediately. It was a Christmas CD. The twine on the beautifully wrapped package would not come off. So I grabbed scissors and.....SNIP.....
OUCH. My husband is such a jokester. He told my daughter they could practice blood tracking in the kitchen. Smart aleck. We headed out to Urgent Care. After some mini-surgery and more cutting to remove some debri, I received 4 stitches. Lots of gauze and wrapping (it's amazing how many times you hit the pad of your finger) and I was released. Want to see?
Pretty isn't it? My daughter can't figure out why everyone keeps saying, "let me see it?" and then laughs hysterically when I show them. :)

TAG - MEME - Needs and Wants

Marj at Survivors Can Thrive started this and I've been tagged:

This holiday season, many of us survivors are rushing around trying to get our gift shopping done and get all those items on our lists checked off. For some of us, the holidays are a painful time of triggers and obtrusive memories. Whether you hate Christmas, really get into the holiday spirit, or just tend to run yourself ragged this time of year, it's time to pay attention to some of your own needs.I know! Let's make a list for ourselves and do it as a meme.I've created a list of "Survivor Needs" and I've arranged them from 1-25, like an advent calendar counting down to the 25th day of December. I've also sprinkled in a few things that I, as a survivor and a human, just want! For your own list, maybe you need to pretend it's not the holidays. Maybe you can't tolerate touch (even cyber hugs), but you want some healing vibes sent your way. Maybe you don't feel comfortable telling your story, but you want others to know you are a survivor and not feel so alone.This is your chance to communicate your own, personal survivor needs.You don't have to wait to get tagged with this meme. Grab it and post a list of your own!

Let's focus some attention on self care this holiday season...with an emphasis on getting our needs met in the New Year.
My Survivor Needs - As a survivor trying to thrive:
1. I need to figure out what I need and how to meet my needs.
2. I need sleep.
3. I need to work through my triggers and adapt.
4. I need to adjust to this new house.
5. I need to claim the bathroom and basement as MINE and not belonging to my memories.
6. I need snuggles daily with my daughter.
7. I need to figure out how to express anger and sadness other than taking it out on myself.
8. I need hugs from my husband daily- without any expectations.
9. I need comfortable blue jeans.
10. I need safe hugs from friends.
11. I need to find a healthy balance between work and home.
12. I need to set good boundaries with my mother.
13. I need extra visits with my sister while her husband is deployed.
14. I need to feel safe sharing my "background" with others.
15. I need frequent exposure to sunlight and the outdoors.
16. I need to make my personal Quiet time a priority.
17. I need sleep - naps and sleeping in.
18. I need to visit family this summer in the midwest (I think it's considered the midwest)
19. I need to learn to ask for hugs, cuddles and other safe touches.
20. I need to take everything so personally.
21. I need to stop trying to plan out every single solitary thing.
22. I need to RELAX.
23. I need to find a medication balance that lets me live my personal life and maybe (fingers crossed) be able to give my daughter a sibling.
24. I need to accept my family as they are and stop wishing they would change and morph into "normal."
25. I need to stop with the Shame and Blame and Guilt.


And, I also want (but don't necessarily need and/or might not ever have):
1. I want coffee delivered to my bed when the alarm goes off.
2. I want an endless supply of Lintz chocolate.
3. I want a blanket that automatically adjusts to my changing body temperature.
4. I want something that gives me the "after-effect" of SI, without having to SI.
5. I want to end all forms of sexual violence and child abuse everywhere, forever. (this one is too good not to steal from Marj).

Rules of the "Survivor Needs" Meme:
Please link back to this post so people can see the origins of the meme, get ideas for their own self-care list, see who's already been tagged, and maybe we can track how far this meme goes.

List 25 needs and five wants. Try to restrict your needs list to things that have to do with being a survivor of some sort of abuse, assault, etc. Your wants list can be anything...you want!

Use this list to remind yourself to get your needs met this holiday season and in the New Year.
Pass on the meme and tag five people to play the meme with you.

I tag:
1. Perfect.
2. Austin at the People Behind my Eyes.
3. Jewellybeano
4. Beauty.
5. JIP

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's FRIDAY

IT IS FRIDAY !!!

Not only is it Friday, but it is the Friday before a FIVE day holiday. Our office is closed through Wed and will not open until the 27th. And beyond that it is also PAYDAY. And since I'm still on "sick leave" technically I get to leave after lunch. And furthermore, lunch is being catered in today. Yeah. All good reasons to celebrate.

I am at the office. The OCD side of me could not bear to leave my office in such a mess before a 5 day holiday. Especially since our books close at 10 on the day we return. Which means I need to finish a huge paperwork project in the next few hours. But I also get to do an adoption this morning. And that is a fabulous way to end the year and start the holidays. Today I get to make the dreams of a couple and a little girl come true.

On a personal note, feeling better. As long as I behave and don't overdo it. Which means taking the elevator instead of several flights of stairs. And letting my asst. get my coffee for me instead of running to the other side of the building.

PS: Blogger says they've fixed the comment issue. Will someone without a blogger account let me know if is okay. While wordpress appears to have nice features, it's also very complicated and it would be very nice to stay here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday Ramblings

I'm finding it difficult to lie on the couch all day when there is a house to be cleaned, laundry to do and boxes to unpack. Yesterday I had no energy so it was easier. But I feel a bit more energetic after sleeping so much. Although I know that too much exertion will cause me to go into a nasty coughing fit. Luckily I have the "I just moved" excuse for why my house is a mess -- for another month or two anyway.

I enjoy the holidays for the most part. The time off work. Spending time with family. Holiday food and treats. The decorations. But then they are parts I don't really enjoy. The non-authentic Santa looking types - the ones that are creepy looking. I have my own issues with fat, bald, bearded men, especially if they have no teeth and smell like cigarette smoke and alcohol. I have issues with parents that force screaming children to sit on strange men's laps. I like the idea of Santa, and the pictures of the "real" looking Santas in books - just not most of the real-life fake imitation types.

I don't like dealing with family issues. My mom. Having to realize that my "idea" of mom is not the reality. Seeing other families that are so healthy and happy, and longing for that. Missing the idea of my mom and my dad, but knowing that the reality of having them in my life really wouldn't be a good thing. Dealing with my own issues as I visit my in-laws, who have absolutely adopted me into the family with open arms - it is my issues that make me feel like an outsider in all the family gatherings.

Sigh - I think I need to go find my box of kitchen utensils and make some lunch. While I don't want to over-exert myself unpacking, I also have a need to have my familiar belongings around me. And to be able to find the things I need.

This is my first time really alone in my house. DH left early this morning to hunt. I woke and laid in bed afraid at the noises I was hearing. But I gradually realized it was the creaking of the furnace and the sounds of my Daughter waking up. Yesterday the dog was here and I knew she would alert me to anything unusual. But today the dog is hunting too and I'm left on my own. I think I'll get some lunch, turn up the TV loud to hide some of the settling sounds and go take a nap.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Down for the Count

All work on changing my blog to wordpress has come to a halt.
All thoughts on finishing out the year caught up at work has come to a halt.
All thoughts of dealing with DH have come to a halt.
All thoughts of unpacking have come to a halt.

I'm sick. I hate being sick. I hate being needy. I hate taking medications. I'm not a good sick person. But bronchitis and a sinus infection have knocked me flat. I've been ordered to bed. I'm doing pretty well with that. Have been complying better than I normally do. Which is probably a sign of how bad I really feel. I'm in the office today only long enough to handle appts which have already been rescheduled 3-4 times due to being sick. I cancelled my ortho appt - last thing I need is to try to (1) handle being triggered, (2) try to keep my mouth open without coughing, or (3) have any more pressure applied to my head. Plus antibiotics upset my stomach and I'd hate to have my gag reflex hit at this moment.

I talked to T about the issue with my husband and we have a joint session set up for after the holidays. I'll have to write more about this later. It's time for another nap. I promise to gt back up and writing (and commenting) later.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

LEAVE MY STUFF ALONE !!!!

I have "issues" with packing and moving. I have "issues" with someone throwing stuff out, especially my stuff. DH and I have fought over this (if you want to see how I pardoned his life last time it is here). DH and I have discussed this, in extreme detail.

DH knows I have very few childhood mementos. And that three of them are stuffed dogs (that I have written about here) that are extremely important to me.

Over and over I have told DH to leave my stuff ALONE. I have defined my "personal stuff" to include anything that is "not his" and anything that is "ours". I have threatened to take his stuff (guns) and dispose of it.

There have been multiple arguments about this -
  • His throwing out and shredding personal and financial documents because the file cabinet was too "cluttered." (I ranted and raved).
  • His packing up all my books and removing them from the bookshelf that he disposed of.
  • His trying to pack up my stuff when we were moving. (I explained to him how triggering it was to have anyone pack my stuff up, and how moving was a tough thing for me).
  • His throwing out some of my daughter's stuff and my stuff when we moved. (explained to him how triggering it was to have my stuff disappear, and to see my child's stuff disappear).
  • His putting my wooden rocking horse on the back of his truck, exposed to the elements overnight to take it to storage (at which time I reiterated to him just how important it was that the few childhood items I have, remain safe).
I told DH that I needed to pack my personal stuff. I told him not to touch it. I rolled my china doll from my Grandma into the afghan from my Nana. I put it in a suitcase. Added three stuffed animals - my three stuffed dogs. Told DH what was in the suitcase and to be very careful. We loaded it on the truck. I unloaded it and carefully rolled it into the guestroom, to be unpacked when I had a safe place to put this stuff. It has sat there - along with lots of other boxes and stuff.

This morning I had to leave for church early. My husband brought my daughter by later. I picked her up from Sunday school and she proudly showed me, Chocolate, the ragged, stomach sewn-up, missing his nose, stuffed dog from my childhood. I was livid. But I waited until after church.

When we got home, I mentioned to my husband that I might take Daughter downstairs to unpack his guns (his prized possessions) and drag them across the floor and play with them. He looked confused. I looked in my closet and there was my china doll, on my top shelf. Max, the stuffed dog, was thrown on the floor in amongst my shoes. The afghan was thrown in the closet of the guest room and the little stuffed dog was nowhere to be found. Daughter later found it for me.

Husband claims he didn't know Daughter had it. What? I don't believe that - he got her out to the car, into the carseat, out of the carseat, and into church. But, how did she get it in the first place? He unpacked it, that's how. He unpacked my stuff, and then left it where she could get it. All is fine - everything is fine and put up. He thinks it's over. He doesn't understand why I'm mad - even though he admits we've argued about this before and he's promised before not to disturb my stuff.

He doesn't understand the big deal. I told him if this EVER happened again, I was disposing of a gun. He turned red and said he wasn't going to respond because it would be "bad."

I don't want to get rid of his stuff. I don't want to stoop to his level. But really, I have no idea how to get through to him. He says he understands. Apologizes and promises he will not do it again. Over and over.

Anyone have any ideas on how to make him get this?

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Light-Hearted Start to Friday

I'm tired of dealing with heavy stuff so I'm giving myself the day off. No worrying about the fact that my mom did her usual passive-aggressive s**t last night. So onto light-hearted stuff for Friday -

Please check out two blogs today. The first is Perfect. She is a dear friend with remarkable insight (although she'd argue to me that she has no insight). I'm privileged to have walked this healing journey with her. She's pulled me out of the ditches many times - sometimes climbing down with me to shove me up the side of the embankment. She just started blogging not long ago and I know she'd love to have feedback on her posts.

Also check out the Christmas edition of the Blog Against Child Abuse hosted by Imaginif. There is a lot of new (to me at least) posters there.

QUESTION for your tech-wizards - Blogger has made some changes, including not linking to non-blogger sites. So I'm contemplating switching to wordpress. Apparently I can transfer everything here to there. Anyone else done this? Have some hints?

And in the spirit of Lawyerchik who always manages to find 5 bright spots -
  1. It's FRIDAY! And I actually slept last night in my new house with the bed facing a different direction. Sleep is wonderful.
  2. Playing with my daughter. We played "house" last night. I had to be the "baby" and my husband had to be the "daddy" - she got to be the Mommy. My role was to lie in her toddler bed, cry occasionally, be covered up with pillows and relax. Sounds like a plan to me. My poor husband had to scrunch himself up into her closet. Daughter is infatuated with her new closet. It's her "fort" and she loves it. She pretended that was "Mommy and Daddy's room" so she made Husband crawl in there - then get out to check on "baby" and the "doggie."
  3. We have our tree up and Christmas decorations out. This is my first year with a fireplace and a mantel. We've not had the chimney cleaned yet (and with 70 degree weather, haven't wanted a fire anyway). But the look is nice.
  4. Food - thank goodness for food at the holidays. I cooked for the first time in probably 3 weeks last night. It was yummy and my "new" (to me anyway) oven worked really well. I'm so close to home that I ran back at lunch and got the prep work done. Then put it in the oven after work and had dinner on the table when Husband and Daughter walked in. Well, okay - Daughter didn't appreciate homemade chicken pot pie and mashed potatoes. So she had Dora Spagheti-os. But it's the thought that counts!.
  5. Zicam and Airborne (or generic equivalents) - wonder drugs. If you find yourself coming down with a cold or illness, start using them. I've been alternating them every 3 hours for the past several days. My cold is moving along much faster than usual and the symptoms aren't nearly as bad as I know they would have been. I can even talk a bit today instead of just "croaking."

Have a Happy Friday and weekend everyone! I'm going to try to leave on my 'happy face' for a little while today.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm SUPPOSED to .................

Everyone is congratulating me on the move. Saying how good it must feel to be in the new house in time for the holidays. How nice it must be to live so close to work. How lucky I am to be in that section of town and close to the park. I nod and agree, because those are fact statements. Of course it is good to be moved before the holidays, live close to work and the parks, etc. That's what is supposed to be. I don't know how to get there with my feelings though.

What I really feel is unsettled. Every creak of the new house makes me jump. I can't find anything. I can't sleep because I'm positioned differently in a room. I put nightlights everywhere but it is not helping. There are more corners and always someone coming around one. There are boxes everywhere and I can't find a thing. Routines are different. My patterns are different. I'm half asleep in the morning and I can't walk the same route. I can't reach the same way. I have to share a bathroom and be considerate of others needing time in there.

I'm supposed to like this house. Daughter loves it - her room is huge and she likes her closet. She loves to hide in it - and jump out scaring her mama to death. Husband loves the basement and the wooded yard. I'm supposed to like it too. It has the features I wanted. It's where I wanted to live. I keep saying that I'll feel better when...... it was when we signed the contract, when we started moving things, when the furniture got there, when we closed, when we stayed the night, when, when, when..... I'm ready for "when."

Beauty has moved a lot and has talked about feeling "unsettled" after a move. So this morning I went to her blog for some help. To see what she had to say about this issue. Coincidentally, in her post today, about needing some "inner adjustment." She says, "I'm not waiting for something ineffable to click into place this time around, some inner adjustment to my new living quarters, which will allow me to feel safe. This hasn't happened in a long while, if ever. I think I remember a time when I felt safe (bvt when and where?), yet there are no clear cut memories. You couldn't prove it by me. Perhaps I'm thinking of my earlier childhood before everything went to hell in a hand basket." Unlike Beauty, I haven't reached the state of settlement yet. I'm still waiting for that "click" so that I can feel safe. I don't know how to give that desire up. Maybe, like her it's because I have some vague semblance of feeling settled and safe - but I can't put my finger on when and where. I'm looking for that. I haven't given up yet, but I'm wondering if I should.

I'm afraid to admit that I am wrong. I am afraid to admit that I am weak. I am afraid to admit that I need. I am afraid to admit that I want. Because bad things happen then. I afraid to accept help and advice and comfort when offered. Because I'm afraid that I will hear "I told you so." I'm afraid that I will hear "it's too late. You are stuck now." I'm afraid of feeling obligated and having a debt to pay. I'm afraid of hearing "You owe me now."

I can't admit to my husband that I'm having doubts about the house. Especially after he told me that we far exceeded our budget already in moving expenses. I'm supposed to be the strong one that has it together. Last time I expressed doubts about something this important, he got all upset and angry. It was "too late" and I "should have said something." I know it was his fear speaking, but I still can't handle hearing those words.

I don't want to admit that I didn't get an answer when I prayed. I haven't in awhile. I'm going through the motions. Talking the talk. I read a devotional every night. Go to Church Wednesday and Sunday. Pray before every meal. Pray with my daughter. Have my own quiet time. But I don't feel anything. No connection. I prayed about this move. And I didn't get a "no" or any real sense of anything bad. So I just went with the flow. Because I know my husband prayed about it - and he seemed to think it was a good idea. So I went with that.

My husband is SO happy. I don't want to do anything to ruin it. He deserves happiness after putting up with me and my "issues" for these past two years. He's been really sweet the past two days (minor irritations aside). Last night he told me to go to bed because he could tell I was not feeling well and had lost my voice (a cold, I think). This morning the alarm went off and he wanted to snuggle. Just to hold me and rub my back. Well, last night I had gone to bed, wanting so badly to have someone to just hold me - but not like that. What I really wanted was for someone to snuggle with me, hold me - like I was holding my Daughter as I tucked her into bed - reassure me that everything was okay, that there were no monsters in the closet, and that the shadows of the new place were nothing to be scared of. I wanted a parent-figure. I wanted a lap to curl up in. A shoulder to cry on. Arms to hug me. I tried to capture that with Husband this morning. But it wasn't working. He was doing/saying the right things, but all I kept thinking was "where is this going?" What am I going to have to pay for this? What am I going to owe? Because all my life, protection has equaled obligation. There was always a give and take. Things had to be even. Reciprocal. There was no such thing as unconditional love. It was always conditioned on something.

I know that I hold myself back - waiting for others to leave. Because I am afraid they will. Afraid of what I'll owe if I accept anything from them. Any offer of kindness or a gesture of caring. I make excuses - they are busy, they have their own life. I try not to be clingy. I'm trying to make friends that I can call in need - even to just call up for dinner, coffee, a movie, a night out. But things happen and their lives get in the way. And somehow I always attract the ones with huge issues in their own life, that I then get caught up in solving. Because I'm the problem-fixer, the go-to gal. But more importantly, then I get distracted from my own needs. I don't want to be "that" person to someone else though.

Kahless, on her post today, talked about her fear of being smothered. I never would have thought I have that fear, but as I read on, I realized that I indeed do. She wrote, "My therapist always asks me about my fears when we talk about me standing up for myself and my predominant answer is about my fear of being smothered. I am very sure about it being a feeling of smothering, but then it puzzles me. I then look at my mothers recent actions, my sisters actions and I think the fear is about the smothering of my voice, my feelings and my wants.........If I ever dared to express myself then the result would be catastrophic to me as the child....." That is it in a nutshell. Exposing my voice and my feelings is bad. I had to stuff them down and make them go away - smother them.

I was trying to think last night about the last time I felt really connected, really happy, really alive. For more than just a blurb here and there. It was almost 3 months ago. I was trying to remember what was going on then. It was mid-September. It was before we had signed the contract on the houses. We were planning to move, but nothing firm yet. I was looking forward to my girls' trip. It was great weather - sunshine. Things were kind of slow but we were starting to get back into a routine with church, Bible study, etc. I had just seen my sister. I was still cutting - when I think of feeling, that's what I think of. That rush of feeling. Ugh.

I have to take a new road to work now. I don't get to pass "MY" bridge column any more. So as I often do, I found myself contemplating other hard objects. It's not an unusual thought pattern of mine - in many, odd ways, it is comforting (see here). Yesterday at lunch, I swung into Barnes and Noble and was skimming the Post Secret book. On the website, people have written about opening the books at stores and finding cards that fall out. I had that happen. One that I found was a picture similar to this that said "I'll make them think it was an accident." I could have written that one. I think about it often enough.





Okay I know it's time to reach out and ask for help. I had a T appointment last night - perfect opportunity, right. Especially with the posts and conversations we all have been having at Lynn's blog, Austin's blog, Rising Rainbow, and Kahless - about asking for help. About explaining what we need. Some of us have had bad experiences with therapy (I've had a few of those years ago). And some of us (yeah me!) are fortunate enough to be in wonderful therapy environments now. Austin was able to ask for what she needed (a break) and get it (way to go Austin!). I hate asking for things. First, because I don't know what I need. Second, because I'm afraid of the response. Even when the person has never given me any reason whatsoever to be afraid. And because asking for what I need means weakness in my eyes. And I absolutely despise being needy. But I need to do it. I need to ask for help. I need to recognize what I need and ask for it. I need to go back to what works for me (writing) and take baby steps toward where I need/want to end up (being able to verbalize). Because trying to just talk about it off the top of my head isn't working so well. Even though it is supposed to......

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Meme

Because I don't want to work....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both
2. Real tree or Artificial? artificial, because my Husband insisted. Although I think we may go back to real next year, given the amount of "non-Sunday School" language that came from his mouth as he put up the artificial one.

3. When do you put up the tree? usually the Saturday after Tgiv
4 When do you take the tree down? Usually New Year's Day
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes..but only cold. While I love coffee, those egg nog lattes are nasty.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? my Cabbage Patch doll that my Nana stood in line for to get for me.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, my husband made one out of wood and colored it with colored pencils. It goes up each year.
8. Hardest person to buy for? all those little gifts for Sunday school teachers, daycare workers, etc - how many apple ornaments do they need?
9. Easiest person to buy for? My daughter.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? a sleeping bag; an itchy wool sweater

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Charlie Brown's Christmas
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually Black Friday (day after Tgiv)

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes..but not within the family.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? White lights - my husband insists
17. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells; Christmas Canon; Mary Did you Know; O Holy Night; Angels We have Heard on High; Last Christmas; Ding Dong Merrily on High; The Nutcracker

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? travel Christmas Eve, home that night and Christmas Day.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Dancer, Dasher, Donner and Blitzen, Comet and Cupid and Rudolph ?????

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? a big red bow right now, but I'm on the lookout for an Angel
21. Favorite family tradition? Baking Christmas cookies and See #22

22. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? we always open 1 present on Christmas Eve and it is always new pajamas to wear that night so we'll look good for all those morning pictures.
23. Most annoying thing about this time of year. Driving within a 10 mile radius of any shopping center

24. Favorite ornament theme or color? the ones that have special memories tied to them
25. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? the desserts, my mother-in-law's vegetable pizza, fudge
26. What do you want for Christmas this year? I just bought a house - that's all I need


Jump in and Share! Post your answers on your blog - be sure to provide a link in the comments so we can find you.

NOTE - someone just told me that non-blogger commenters have to have an account now. For that and many reasons, I may switch to wordpress or my own url. If it won't let you comment under your name, just comment anonymously and type in your name in the comment section.

General Update

We've moved. All the stuff is in. We worked feverishly to set up my Daughter's room before getting her from daycare. Then ate take-out at the kitchen table, and put up the Christmas tree. So her room is done. And the tree sits in the living room decorated, amidst boxes.

Closing was scary. Last minute things like finding out there was an encroaching fence and the seller realizing she owed her ex-husband a large chunk of money and that he had a judgment against her house - meaning if she closed, she had to pay. Not to mention a termite infested tree that is leaning over the neighbor's house.

Also learned last evening that a former co-worker, friend and mentor gave up her fight against cancer to go home to Jesus. She was ready. She fought a good fight to stay here through Thanksgiving with her friends and family. But she was looking forward to going home to heaven. She passed away surrounded by her family and singing hymns and praise songs. When it is my time, that is how I want to go.

I'm fighting illness. All this stress, fast food, no sleep, etc has taken its toll. I was hoping to have some downtime this weekend, but we have a wedding (and now a funeral) to attend. Maybe Sunday will allow for some sleep. I crashed at 8:30 last night, right after watching Shrek's Christmas special with my Daughter.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my prior post. DH and I did some couple's counseling awhile back and I think it is time for some more - after the holidays. My daughter repeated back to me something I said - nothing 4 letter (thank goodness) or overly nasty, but in the tone I use. So I realized that while I may have "just cause" to respond, I need to be aware of how I phrase my responses.

One funny story - my almost four-year old has caught on to some spelling. Last night as we were putting up our tree, I wanted to know where her special ornament was. Each year we buy her an ornament geared to her favorite "thing." I put the year on it, and will give her those when she leaves home. Last year it was Dora. This year she picked out Tinkerbell. I wasn't sure if it was packed deep away. So I asked DH, "Where is the T-I-N-K-E-R-B-E-L-L ball" and Daughter says, "yeah I want Tinkerbell?" Smarty pants! Guess it's time for some pig latin or something.

I did receive a written job proposal back. It's not exactly what I wanted. It will add more, not less, stress to me. I am very tired of uncertainty, having had too much of it lately with my move. I'm going to have to fight the urge to sign it, simply to have it over.

I'm still figuring out the wireless thing at the new house and have to buy something called a "router" before it will work. So if I'm scarce, that is why. I'll be back soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rounded 1st and 2nd - stuck on 3rd

Sometimes I startle myself seeing how far I've progressed after almost 2 years in counseling. I'm now on 3rd base. But sometimes I look ahead and while I've come a long way, the home plate seems way off in the distance

First Base - recognize the problem.
This is step one of the long process. (I hate the word "process" - it implies long, hard, difficult path that requires lots of effort on my part). I have to pull the covers off my head, leave the numb safety cocoon, and step out into the harsh cold of reality. Once there I have to recognize and acknowledge the issue.

Problem 1 - DH has spent hours upon hours cleaning our old home. The one from which we are moving. Spackled walls, painted, used Magic Eraser, cleaned baseboards, scrubbed the garage on his hands and knees, dusted light fixtures, wiped down walls, etc.

Problem 2 - DH throws all of my daughters stuff and my stuff haphazardly into boxes and moves it. Way in advance. His gun cabinet and guns still sit in the room. Because they can not be moved in advance and they require special packing and care when moving.

Problem 3 - DH steps in cat poop in the backyard of the new house. Instead of laughing about the smell and mess (as I would have done), he freaks out. Realizes Daughter has it on her feet too, only she is wearing flip flops and it is in-between her toes. Daughter has a "phobia" with having things spilled on her or accidentally getting messy. She freaks. Starts crying. DH is mad and yells. Threatens to kill the cats. Yells at me because I can't find the baby wipes he packed. Then yells because I should realize wipes won't be enough and she needs to be dumped in bathtub. Then tromps through the new house (with dirty shoes) and on my brand-new white bathroom rug. Deposits daughter, with poop covered feet, on the floor (freshly scrubbed) of bathroom, instead of the tub. Daughter is hysterical. Crying about her feet and that "Daddy will shoot Miss Kitty." DH is yelling at me about how it is my fault because I couldn't find the wipes fast enough and I didn't come get Daughter. Then he apologizes in the car 10 minutes later and is irritated because I don't just "get over it." However, he continues to bring up the issue. Most recently this morning when he tells me I'll need to be at the new house to do laundry because he is out of clothes. I ask where all his jeans went and he says "well the ones are covered in cat poop."

Second Base - realize WHY I'm being affected
Problem 1 - this goes back to the childhood rule of "everyone else is more important than me." DH is spending hours cleaning a house that we are leaving. I agree the house needs to be left in clean condition. But I think a house we are living in also needs to be clean. All of a sudden DH's cleanliness standards have dramatically increased. He has never been that concerned about a house we are living in. And while he promises to work on the "to do list" to make our new house homey, I'll probably be holding my breath.

Problem 2 - steps on the "all my stuff disappeared, was ruined or broken" when we moved. I have "lost" several pets in moved. They somehow didn't make it to the new house. I have no childhood toys. The few barbies I carefully packed and put away were discarded. No books. Nothing. I do have one wooden rocking horse that my dad saved for me. DH threw it in the back of our truck. He thought to leave it there overnight, exposed to the elements and dew. Only after I threatened to do the same with his guns, did he put it in the interior of the truck.

Problem 3 - this reeks of "just like my father." My dad had a temper. He physically abused my mom and my sister, as well as his girlfriend. My mom swears the reason she left my dad was because he threw me up against the wall one time. I don't remember that -- but it's one more nail in the guilt coffin - MY getting hit is the reason the family broke apart. Then again, I also feel "left out" for not getting hit like the others -- guessing he didn't care enough about me to count me in. Most of my memories involve yelling. Dad's yelling scared the tar out of me. Nothing made me cower more. I wanted to hide in the corner. He yelled at stupid things too. Backing in a trailer after a long camping trip. Traffic on the interstate. Stepping in dog crap. It was always our fault. We couldn't direct him well enough to back in correctly. Our last minute trip to the bathroom put us behind and in traffic. It was our dog that made the mess.

Third Base - do something about it - and this is where I get stuck. I've tried to talk to DH about these things.

Problem 1 - I tried to talk to DH about his putting other people ahead of me. He just says I'm "oversensitive."

Problem 2 - I talked to him about moving bringing up childhood memories. He says, "Well why didnt' you say something?" Because I shouldn't have to relate everything to abuse for you to respond. You ought to care enough to consider the effect of your words/actions just because I tell you they hurt. And besides, if I had mentioned the abuse/childhood memories, you would have gotten mad and accused me of "comparing you to them."

Problem 3 - I shut down. He apologized. Then looked at me and said, "well aren't you going to apologize too?" I was honestly baffled. I asked him what he thought I should say "sorry" for? He said, "for not coming down to get Daughter and then getting mad when I tracked poop up the stairs and on the bathroom floor. You shouldn't have bought a white rug." Wow! I told him that I didn't see any issue with the way I had handled things but I was sorry if I had raised my voice. I wanted to tell him about how he made me feel. About how he scared me. About how I hated being forced to apologize when I hadn't done anything. But I knew the outcome - he would have said "you're pulling the abuse card again, aren't you?" He gets very mad at being "accused of being like them." I've told him that I know he isn't like them - but sometimes he acts in a similar way or the way he acts reminds me of that. According to him that is "my problem."

Conclusion - I'm stuck on 3rd base. I need a new route to home plate because apparently I'm getting "out" on this one. Any home base coaches out there have suggestions?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Dear ________ A Friday Vent

Dear Gray Chin Hair - where did you come from? I am not old enough for you. Go away.

Dear Pimples - I am too old for you. I have parties to go to this week. And it is the time of year where someone is snapping pictures every time I turn around. Go away.

Dear White Hair - I just colored you. Why are you back so soon? And why must you stick straight up?

Dear Realtor - next time I say "sure moving in December is no problem," just smack me. Better yet do not ever let me move again.

Dear Cookies - why must you go straight to my hips? Don't you realize that I have a Christmas dress to fit into this weekend?

Dear Doctor - next time I mention switching medications, hit me. Seriously. Especially at the same time as the holidays and moving.

Dear Nails - I know I've subjected you to packing boxes and tape. I understand you may break and split. But why must every single one of you break off beyond the quick. Ouch already. And when I cover you with press-on nails, please stay put. Nothing worse than having one of you pop off in the mashed potatoes in the buffet line.

Dear Inventor of Pantyhose - you suck. Seriously, do you have a PhD in torturing women?

Dear Fashion Police - why is it that Christmas parties require men to wear suits. They wear undershirts, dress shirts, ties and jackets. Then the same rules require that women wear sleeveless dresses. Or short sleeves. With pantyhose (no warmth) and skimpy heels. It makes it very difficult to regulate the temperature. The men sweat and the women freeze.

Dear Boss - why did you think it necessary to replace the carpet and re-paint on the one Friday when I'm in the office. Oh my head. I'm high as a kite and my head is splitting. No wonder glue carries warning labels. These fumes are killing me.

Dear Starbucks - why must your venti nonfat peppermint mochas be so addicting? And why must they cost $4.68. I'm broke already.

Dear Caffeine - thank you. I love you.

Dear Xanax and Ambien - I love you too - especially together.