Monday, March 31, 2008

I Could Kill her Right Now......(& update to prayer request)

Talked to my sister last night. BIL has pneumonia. But he was working some and doing better. Then my sister got a call this morning that he was "violently ill" and "unable to talk" and was being hospitalized. They will not let him call home - and he is unable to call at this point. I guess the theory is that she can't do anything and ought not worry? Anyway, his commander is keeping her updated.

BIL does not always take good care of himself. He's a go-getter. He over-exerts himself. Every trip, he ends up sick from dehydration. So while we expected some adjustment, we didn't expect this.

My sister called to vent just a few moments ago. And to let me know that BIL couldn't receive emails or mail yet but it would be delivered to his bunk (?) and he'd get it when released. We added him to our Church prayer line, sent a card out and a package out, as well as emails.

My sister said she had a thought this morning, "well at least he's in the hospital and they are having to deal with him - not me." Then she said she felt horribly guilty and as if she was turning into my mother. She had to work through that. Really, she was relieved that BIL wasn't calling from his bunk sick, but rather was in the hospital receiving care. But those old guilty, nagging voices can do some damage. I'm glad she recognized them for what they were and was able to beat them back down (she's SO much further along in this process than me.)

My sister got the kids off to school, and was trying to relax and catch up on some sleep and prayer time. She logged on the computer to send out an update and another prayer request. Apparently my concerned mother was feeling....motherly? Buzz, Buzz she went on IM. My sister ignored her. Then Sister's phone rang. Sister noticed it was Mom and ignored it. No message left. Then cell phone rang - mom again. Sister ignored it. Mom called back on the home line. Left a message, "I'm worried. I need to hear from you and know you're okay.....blah, blah." It's really about mom being able to email my grandparents and aunt (her parents and sister) that she has talked to Sister. So she can look like a caring mother.

So Sister decides to pick up the next time the phone rings. My mother then proceeds to ask, "are you sure he's that sick? I know he is homesick. Do you think he is faking it to come home?"

Sister - [thud] Uh no. I don't think they'd hospitalize him unless it were serious. And I truly doubt he'd fake it.

Mom - well, you know, not fake it, really. But just exaggerate things.

Sister - No. I really don't need this right now. This isn't helping.

Mom - well uh, I talked to Toilet (who fought in Vietnam) and he was talking about how units get all shuffled in combat and maybe BIL isn't used to taking orders from people he doesn't know.

Sister - [thud - WTF? You talked to who? About my husband? And I want his advice?] That's not it. I really don't need to talk about this. Good bye.

She then called me to vent. One good outcome - Sister no longer thinks she is anything like my mother. (and she is not). WTF was Mom thinking? First of all, we don't need you talking to your husband about us. Why the hell would we want advice from the son of satan - who has never ever met my BIL. Who doesn't know anything about this branch of the military or military life in this generation. Who doesn't know that my BIL is high-ranking enough to be in charge of others.

And NO he is not faking things. I know we (Sister and I) were not allowed to be sick growing up. We were always "exaggerating things" and it was never "that bad." Urgh. My Sister and I fight hard against those tendencies - denying that our own selves are sick, tending to doubt our children and husbands. It's hard work.

And thanks for triggering Sister (and me) with the thought that you share info with Toilet. Gag. That though -- is a post for another day. Right now I have to call Dell computer. Apparently an "unmountable boot error" is bad --- really bad. Bad enough (maybe) to take my mind of off killing my mother. Because I could right now. Don't mess with my baby sister. I guess it's my turn now - to deal with Mom and take the heat off Sister. Bleh.

Monday's General Update, Prayer Request, Etc.

Yawn. It's Monday. I made it up and out of bed and to the gym. First time in months. It felt good. I'm terribly out of shape. I am missing the extra hour of sleep though.

I went to a Women's Bible conference this past weekend. There were 4,000 more people than last year and the conference center was woefully unprepared. Mobs of people trying to get out 3 exits. The food lines were terrible. Staff couldn't keep up. I waited in line 1 1/2 hours and gave up. The music made up for most of it. It was fabulous. I saw Mandisa and Mark Shultz. Great, awesome performances. Chondra Pierce, a comedian, spoke about her struggle with depression, including being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. It was inspiring.

I came home and logged on my computer and got all updated on things. Then Sunday, my computer stopped working. It says Un-mountable boot something. Greek to me. I am hoping the computer tech here at work can help. I will go through withdrawals without my computer.

Weather is quirky. In the mid-70s on Friday. Capris and short-sleeve shirt weather. Then Saturday and yesterday it was rainy and downright cold. I'm wearing a sweater today.

Work is tough. It's slow, but I'm not motivated either. I'm exhausted a lot. Hoping exercise will help me re-gain some energy and also sleep better. The billing person here transposed a number and I'm WAY behind in meeting my goal. I have to wonder how patient the bosses will be.

An aunt emailed me wanting divorce advice. But I'm to keep it a secret from everyone. I hate family drama - yet without it I'm not sure what my family would do.

My daughter spent the weekend with my husband and the in-laws. She is terribly spoiled and a "Daddy's Girl." I did get snuggles last night though as we watched America's Funniest Videos together.

Prayer Request - my BIL, JS is in Iraq. He had pneumonia and is horribly homesick. He was hospitalized in Iraq last night. Please pray for him and my sister who is home with the children, worried and not receiving regular updates.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Few Syllables Makes a HUGE Difference

I had a horrible panic attack yesterday afternoon. I've posted before about my reoccurring nightmare (often while I'm awake too) that Toilet has abused someone else. I get a call from some official person - sometimes an investigator or police officer wanting to know if there are any details I can lend to the case. Sometimes a prosecutor wanting me to come testify in court - out loud. Once in awhile a defense attorney or my mother wanting me to speak up on his behalf. Those versions are the worst. They say things like "it's your fault. If you had told before, then it wouldn't have happened again. You're an accessory. You need to help us."

I was in my office when my assistant buzzed me. She said, "you have a call from LC."

"LC? Who is that?" I asked since the name didn't ring a bell.

"He says he is your step-father's attorney," she said (or at least that's what I heard."

[thud] [gasp] "What?"

"He says he is your future step-father's attorney," she says.

[future?] "Uh that doesn't make sense. Put him in voice mail."

I anxiously watch the phone, waiting for the light to come on so I can check the message.

[buzz] It's the assistant again. "He got it wrong. He is Bee's future step-father's attorney."

[heart thuds slower] "Oh," I say, as realization sets in. I am helping a friend's mother with a prenuptial agreement. This attorney is HER future step-father's attorney.

I have no idea what changes he wants to this agreement. I sure hope I took good notes.

I went on with my last hour of work and came on home. As soon as I walked in the door, I was sick. I took a shower and almost passed out. Had a horrible headache and needed to lie down. I was tingly all over and overheating. After a few moments, it dawned on me. This wasn't pregnancy sickness -- it was a panic attack. And suddenly it all makes sense. A few syllables (your) and a word (future) makes a huge difference.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another Brick in the Wall...

I finished a two day trial yesterday. I was exhausted. I'm not sleeping well and I was just plain done. I crawled into the bath. Drug myself onto the bed and collapsed.

I have days like that every so often. When I am just plain wiped out. Literally holding onto the wall as I drag myself down the hall. My defenses are down and I am like jello. Times like those when I tend to have flashbacks or when things click together in my head. Last night I felt like things were starting to come together and then b~o~i~n~g - it all flew out of my head, leaving me frustrated to the point of tears. WHY?

Much of my flashbacks are either auditory or a sense of presence/movement. Very little is visual. Things like certain words or sounds trigger me - like food chomping, dentures, gum smacking. Presence/movement is a trigger too - catching something out of the corner of my eye, the sense that someone is behind me or watching me, or being stared at.

I have learned to block those things out to some extent. To put up a barrier and tell myself that I'm safe and all is fine. The problem is that I end up blocking out lots of other things now too. I can't discern the good from the bad. I don't trust myself to filter things out properly and I often find myself back to numb.

In an effort to block out the bad voices - the "you're stupid" and "you're not good enough" and "you're lazy" and "you can't do that" and "no one wants you" and "you're dirty/filthy", I have blocked out the other voices too - the "good jobs." Back when I was really in touch spiritually, I would sometimes sense a voice - a verse or Bible passage or song would come to mind. On occasion I would have the sense that God was close by or near - a sense of safety or calmness. In blocking out the bad voices, I've blocked those out as well and I don't know how to get them back. It is extremely frustrating. I've blocked out God and don't know how to get Him back.

I've tried to avoid over-thinking about the things that pop in my head. To avoid over-planning. Then I get to a time and place that is "safe" to do the thinking/planning (like a T session) and I draw a blank. I was reading a book that talked about an amnesia patient and it was discussing the frustration this guy felt, unable to recall certain things. I can relate. I know things but I can't get them. The harder I try to recall and remember, the worse it gets. It is like a big, thick, brick wall I can't get around. I can only remember by being vulnerable to flashblacks and random things popping into my head - that is not safe and so I don't allow anything.

I was lying in bed last night and had a sense of slipping further and further away. I've been feeling unsteady and a sense of unrest for a long time - a need to find solid ground again. A need to find myself and trust myself to hold steady. I don't trust myself to keep me safe.

In my utter and complete exhaustion, a lightbulb went off. I was almost asleep (or heaving zoning out) and it clicked. I remember my mother never allowing me to dwell on things. It was in the past and behind us. We were to "put it behind us" and "move on." Her famous words "forget about it. It's over." I will never forget one conversation on a bright summer day. We were carrying soda out to the lunch truck to load it up. She told me, "you can be sad about this for a day or two, but I don't want you to dwell on it forever, like you have with the abuse. You need to get over things and move on. Don't let things like this tie you down."

If something bad happened at school or my feelings were hurt, I was lucky to get one shot at complaining, whining, crying, or just venting. After that I was expected to buck up and move on. You only got one shot at talking. If there was an argument or disagreement, you better say it right the first time. I think that is why I learned to plan ahead about how to word things. I had to do it perfectly. This is why I can't talk about things I've already discussed or worked through in my head. It's over. I'm supposed to move on.

In T sessions, I'll write down things to talk about. Then I get in there and can't discuss them in detail - nothing beyond the facts. Nothing about feelings. Because the feelings are gone. I've already done it when I wrote all that stuff out - I'm not allowed to do it again. I can't connect with the feelings in the writing. I am over it.

If I walk into a T session without something planned, then too often the thoughts have been pushed away. And I'm like that amnesia guy - I can't get it back and the harder I try, the more frustrated I get. I run up against a brick wall and can't get around it. What I really want to do is bang my head against that wall - hard and repeatedly.

I realized last night that I do a similar thing with my husband all the time. He is not permitted to have a new thought about an old discussion. I am constantly telling him "we've already been over that. You said this.... no changing your mind." If we have planned to go to restaurant X, he must go there. No having a different opinion four days later. I find myself doing this with daughter too. Telling her "we've already been over that. Remember?" I need to stop doing that.

I feel like I'm falling behind whoever it is that is building the wall. I take a brick down and they put another one up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Where am I Going with This? (and a question)

I have learned a lot in the past two years about the person I became after the abuse. My T calls this the "middle ground" - the what I did with the abuse. How I internalized it. The bad choices I made as a result.

I have learned a lot about who I might could have been before the abuse. The childhood I missed out on. I've also learned about this from watching my daughter. It will really be interesting as she hits 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 - the pivotal ages when my childhood was really lost. As I really catch a glimpse of a normal childhood.

I have learned a lot about the person I do not want to be any longer - depressed, anxious, panicky, overly-focused on work, work-a-holic, control freak, numb person. I've made some progress on leaving those traits behind.

My problem now is this - who the heck am I supposed to become? You know the question kids are asked - "what do you want to be when you grown up?" Well, I don't know. How do I figure this out? Is there a book I can read? A test I can take?

I do not really enjoy my work as much as I used too. I enjoy trial work. I do not enjoy the business aspect of things. I do not get to "hang out" with my peers as much, now that I am off the partnership track. I miss the camaraderie. I do not feel like I 'fit in' any more - this limbo stage where I'm not really an associate, not really a partner.

I love being a mother, but it has become more complex lately. Having a preschooler goes beyond simply meeting physical needs. I find the decisions I have to make very overwhelming. I don't feel like I have any idea what I'm doing - I am afraid that I am floundering, and dragging my daughter down in the process.

My identity for so long was the one who "got things done." I was the one "in charge." I was the ahead of schedule, organizer, to-do list girl who never called out sick or failed to do her assignments. I just finished a Bible study where I simplly failed to do more than half of the assignments. I have backed out of several commitments - using morning sickness as an excuse. Haven't gone to different events, that before I never would have missed. Haven't touched a Bible study in 3 weeks.

I was the perfect little mother during my first pregnancy. I was the most comfortable with who I was than at any other time in my life. I was super woman - did it all and did it well. Certainly not the case this time. Not at all. I'm not having the maternal feelings like I did before.

I've cut myself a lot of slack - I needed to. In some areas I needed to permanently lower my expectations (like work). But I need to get back on the wagon in a lot of areas (like being a good wife and mother). I'm just not sure where to start. Even more disturbing to me is that I don't know where I'm going. How am I supposed to become this better person if I don't know what that looks like?

I need some book suggestions - something to help with depression and finding myself (see last above.)

I'm also looking for a good devotion or Bible study book to use on a daily basis. A "how to find God" book would be good!Anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Day Inside my Head

Beep Beep. I slap the blaring alarm clock, snuggle down into the covers, and drift back off into sleep. My mind picks up with the remnants of my dream. I'm in a scrapbook store, picking out a pair of scissors. I like the pink ones, but I'm afraid Husband will think they are too expensive. The purple ones are nice and come with a trimmer, but I don't need a trimmer. The yellow ones are nice - just like my friend Angela's. Will she think I'm copying her? Or consider it a compliment. I know those are nice. They must be good ones - okay to use, if she has them. I hate decisions. Maybe I'll just get those. Beep, Beep. The alarm goes off again. I reluctantly get up and start to get ready.

In the bathroom I examine the intricate details of my face. Picking at any flaws and blemishes. Trying to mask the lines with makeup. Using eyeliner to even out the shape of my eyes. Not looking into my eyes - avoiding the "Dead" look there.
I leave for work. As soon as I climb in the car, I think about who is riding with me - the fictional passenger for the day. Yesterday it was a make-believe friend with whom I talk about my fears, anger, disappointments, stress, and other general life things. Sometimes I imagine my father showing up, unexpectedly - what I would say. It's a short drive to work. I'm there quickly.

In between phone calls and dictation, I check my blog and those of others. I relate to much of what I read. Images, sounds, and memories flash across my vision. I write some, processing things. While on boring phone calls, I play a computer game, something mindless to distract me. Keep my mind from wandering.

If I have to go to court, then it is back in the car for the twenty minute drive. I imagine the proceeding. Talk it out to my imaginary passenger. Envision every scenario. I wonder what the car next to me thinks, as I visibly talk to myself, complete with gestures. Sometimes, for a change, I'll sing. But the little voice in the back of my head tells me that I'm not good enough.

My husband calls and I get frustrated. I talk out the various ways to respond. Angry, compassionate, hurt, happy. If I've had a nightmare the night before, I'll daydream - see and hear my response. Too often lately, it's been figuring out what to do when the phone rings and I find out Toilet is dead and Mom wants sympathy. Or Toilet calls and Mom is dead and I have to deal with him about arrangements.

When I get home, it's listening to my daughter chatter in the background. While trying to focus on her, and get the replays of my day out of my head. Stop stupid chatter - get out! After supper, she and I play puzzles and games. If we aren't talking, I'm often distracted. She'll wave her hand in front of my face and say "Mommy, it's your turn." I read her books and snuggle with her. While my mind races ahead to what needs to get done.

Then the two hours before I need to go to bed. I try to get engrossed in a book. Read some blogs. Play a computer game. Watch TV. Listen to Husband chat about his day. Catch up on emails. Anything to keep my mind occupied.

I go to bed. Read my devotion. Say my prayers. Lie down and shut off the light. Try to get up enough nerve to shut my eyes. Listen for strange noises. Then the thoughts come. The planning. What if I run into Toilet at the book store? What if Mom is with him? What if I see him at a restaurant? What if he shows up at the courthouse to pay a traffic ticket? What if Dad calls? What if my aunt calls and Dad is sick or dying? What will I do? What will I say? How will I react?

If I've had a domestic violence case in court, sometimes my dreams will be of being attacked. Often my sister or someone else I know is there. I dream of reacting like I wanted to back then - when I was 11 and she was 9. Standing up for her and protecting her.

Finally numbness sets in and I sleep. One more day done. Until the dreams set in again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I ....wuv ....

That should read "I love my mother-in-law"....however my mouth is full of the Cadbury creme eggs she brought in MY easter basket. Yummy! You're never to old to get an Easter basket - so says my mother-in-law. And I'm inclined to say she is right.
My daughter was adorable in her pink frilly Easter dress with her pink straw hat. All she needed were some white lace gloves. She wanted to stay with us during church and dozed off and on throughout service. At four years old she often doesn't sit that still and snuggle, so DH and I took turns enjoying it.
Church was nice. We had a true sunrise service. Our pastor doesn't "do" mornings so typically it is a sun-already-rose service. But with the time change, sunrise and our service timed together perfectly. There is something wonderful about gathering together on the hillside by the rugged wooden cross and singing "Up from the Grave He Arose....." Daughter sat through the Cantata and didn't even ask where the bunny and eggs were! That has been my biggest challenge this year - trying to explain the true meaning of Easter, in four-year old appropriate language. It was a good reminder to me though - of taking time to reflect on the true meaning of Easter.
Cooking my first big dinner in my new house went quite well - even if the ham was almost too big to fit in the oven (smaller than my old one). We had ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, macaroni & cheese, broccoli and cheese casserole, biscuits and deviled eggs. My husband was amazed to learn that mashed potatoes can come from real potatoes, and not just flakes from a box! We even have enough left-overs for several days.
My husband worked all weekend on the chain link fence - it's up and done. No more dog inside the house while we're gone. No more worries about letting my daughter loose in the yard. He worked hard for two days straight, leaving me with my daughter to entertain. So naps were few and far between for me - although I did squeeze in twenty minutes today.
All in all, a very nice Easter. Complete with chocolate. Yum!
Happy Easter Everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Two DIfferent Worlds -- the beginning of the split

In my last post, I wrote about the atmosphere at my mom's house, where Toilet lived. He was a racist of the worst kind. He used words and phrases that make me cringe to even think about. I'm thankful that my beliefs and opinions on that issue had pretty much been formed by then - and I did not adopt his viewpoint. I continued my friendship with AM (see last post). I deliberately framed family pictures from trips with my father, just to piss off Toilet.

My father's side of the family was exactly opposite. I was still seeing my father quite frequently then. Dad's family sees no color and several of my uncles are in inter-racial marriages. I have aunts, cousins, and second cousins of different, or mixed, races. It was never an issue. I didn't have to worry about calling AM from my father's house, or inviting her over. I didn't have to worry about sharing a soda with her at his house, or inviting her to come in our swimming pool.

I'd return to Mom's house Sunday nights after a weekend with Dad. If we had visited with AM, or worse, yet, shared a swimming pool with her, Toilet would tell Sister and I that we were dirty and full of germs. Mom would tell him to "Knock it off" but he ignored her. Sister and I just learned not to talk about certain subjects.

On Fridays when I packed for Dad's house, I made sure to take one-piece bathing suits. I wasn't allowed to wear two-piece suits. No skimpy tops. No belly showing. No short-shorts. I couldn't bring any music with foul language. No R rated movies. Couldn't watch my usual TV shows. Had to hide the Harlequin romance novels and bring the Babysitters Club, or books like that.

When I would return to Mom's on Sunday, out would come the heavy metal rock music, fraught with cursing and sexual innuendos that I pretended to understand. The Harlequin romance novels would come out and I'd giggle with friends as we read the dirty parts outloud.

Transitioning between the two homes was like travelling between two different worlds. I learned to adapt in both. It was the beginning of the split - the different "me"s who could function in all different environments.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You Can't Feel That.........

Kahless wrote about Choosing Feelings, and how she was told that she was the one who chose how to feel. Her T pointed out that was untrue - in reality, a child doesn't choose feelings - they just happen.

I can't remember feelings just happening. Felings haven't "just happened" for me in a very long time. As a child, I remember being criticized for feeling the "wrong" feelings.

If I got mad, I was teased and laughed at. It was a game to see how mad I could be made. I used to (and still do at times) stomp my foot when I got really mad. There was a game my mother and Toilet played - to see who could make me stomp my foot, storm off, or otherwise lose my cool.

Toilet was the most evil, racist person I have ever met. One of my best friends in high school was black. We partnered together to work on a speech for English class. It was a demonstrative speech so we decided to bake brownies and then give a speech on how to bake. She came to my house after school to work on it. Toilet stayed in the other room - for which I was delighted, but he did it for fear of catching "germs." He made me scrub the kitchen after she left. Refused to eat any of the brownies that "she" (I refuse to repeat the derogatory words he used) made. I had to scrub the kitchen with bleach and all the pots, pans and dishes. I was humiliated for having a friend. Teased mercilessly for not having any "worthy" friends. Same thing when I wanted to go to the prom with a friend, since the last guy whose prom I went too, expected certain "favors" -- but since my friend was black, it was not allowed. Not if I wanted funds to go. I was teased for not being "good enough" to get a "real" date.

Toiled would engage my Sister and I in debates. About race, religion, and even minor things too. When we'd get mad, he'd laugh at us. Christina Aquila sings a song "Stronger" which says "Cause it makes me that much stronger - Makes me work a little bit harder - It makes me that much wiser - So thanks for making me a fighter - Made me learn a little bit faster - Made my skin a little bit thicker - Makes me that much smarter - So thanks for making me a fighter." Those debates with Toilet, wherein he'd laugh at me, made me learn to argue from my head and not my heart. It taught me to be dis-passionate about arguing. To completely argue intellectually. In a way, it made me a good attorney - I can completely distance my heart from my head when I argue. Instead of feeling anything, I get caught up in the intellectual debate.

However, I also learned to HATE being laughed at when I get mad. The one and only time I have gotten remotely violent with my husband, was in our first year of marriage. I got mad and he laughed at me. I threw a paperback book at his head. Missed completely. Then ran upstairs crying.

I cried because I heard my mother's voice saying, "You're just like your Father." My Father was physically abusive - emotionally too. I don't remember getting spankings from him. I recall him losing his temper and just lashing out, beating whatever he could get his hands on, then quickly getting over it. I remember him stalking toward me, hovering over me, me cowering at his feet, and him yelling - his shadow covering me. I didn't want to be like my father. So I learned to hide any anger. Stuff it deep inside.

One time in high school, I took a psychology class. We talked about choosing reactions to events. My mother got mad at me for some asinine thing. She decided to lecture me. Lectures from my mother, who was the epitome of "what not to do", did not sit well with me. I learned to stare at a spot just over her upper right shoulder and zone out. At one point she said, "you make me feel...." I responded with something I recalled from class. "I don't make you feel anything. You choose to feel...." She lashed out. Smacked me across the face. Told me to "quit being smart young lady. I don't need that psychological bullshit." From that I learned not to try to analyze or understand my mother. She was allowed to feel what she wanted. And I should not try to make her feel anything different. Me however, I should not try to explain my feelings. Or feel anything different than what they thought I should feel.

My mother cried a lot. She used tears to manipulate. She wanted you to come in and reassure her. Promise to do whatever it took to make her stop crying. From her I learned Crying = weakness = manipulation. Toilet laughed when we cried. From him I learned crying = weakness = stupid. I don't cry.

My father was not one to be reckoned with. It was a dictatorship in his house. You did not question things. He would ask a question with the answer clearly evident. "Taco bell sounds good for dinner, doesn't it?" Or, "what would you like for dinner. I was thinking Taco Bell, but it is up to you." I knew what the response should be. You did not question or argue with Dad. If you did, you were a "smart aleck." You were slapped or punished or received a fist raised threateningly in your face. I learned not to question things. Today I find myself saying, "whatever" or "I don't care." I find myself reading into what I think the other person wants. It is very difficult for me to make a decision when the choice is totally mine. I can't choose something just for me.

I don't feel anything spontaneously. I think it through intellectually. Is this feeling allowed? What will happen? What will be the response? If I dare to feel anything spontaneously, there is a little voice in my head that says, "You can't feel that.................." I fear feeling anything spontaneously. It causes me to panic as I await the outcome. And so most times, I feel nothing. And that is the worst feeling of all.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Standing up for Me

You'd think that since I'm in the profession of advocating for others, that I might actually be able to stand up for myself. Not so true. I'm the quiet one who doesn't send my food back when it is wrong. Doesn't make a fuss over bad service. Doesn't raise my voice at people.

Yesterday, I did it. I took that blog post in and gave it to T. And sat there. And discussed it - a little bit. That felt good.

Later I drove to the pharmacy where I waited in line FOREVER to get my morning sickness meds. I finally left, medication in hand and went to my Bible study. Sat down with relief to take the pill and realized it wasn't the usual color. I looked closer and realized I had someone else's prescription. It was in a bag with my name on it. However, the bottle was for someone else - same last name as me. Different first name - different medication. Thank goodness I had taken this medication before and knew it looked funny.

Back to the pharmacy I went. And this time I was assertive. I marched right up to the woman who had waited on me and told her of the error. She said it would be fixed immediately. Then I spoke with the pharmacist and told him this was entirely unacceptable. I told him that I was pregnant, and had I taken that medication every 4 hours (as I am to take my medication), it would have been deadly (the medication I was given was for blood pressure). He apologized. Tried to make excuses about new trainees. I told him, "As the head pharmacist, I suggest you keep a better eye on your trainees." Then I calmly walked out.

Go Me ! (We'll just forget about the fact that the waitress at lunch forgot to serve my lunch heated and I said nothing - just ate cold lunchmeat despite the fact that it's not on the "recommended" list for pregnant women -- hey, gotta start small).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Update to Hiding.........

Okay I went in for my appointment and she asked how things went and I said "ehh okay. It was tough." But she didn't follow up. So we chit chatted. I kept trying to figure out how to bring it up. Then at the end, I just pulled out my blog post and said, "I need to give this to you. I was mad when I wrote it." So, she read it, and apologized. She said she "didn't mean to do anything that came off abusive."

I felt kind of stupid spending one hour chit-chatting as if all was well, and then handing something to her where I was mad. But it took me 59 minutes to work up the courage. Let me add that morning sickness (I had run out of my meds) and anxiety do NOT go well together. I was sick before I went in and sick when I left.

BUT all in all, I'm glad I gave it to her (even if I didn't say it out loud or read it to her). That's progress. And I would have beat myself up if I hadn't.

Like Lawyerchik said in her comment, and like T said, she is human and will make mistakes. I do trust her heart and know it is in the right place. And I feel much better now. Thanks to everyone for their encouragement.

Hiding in the Corner....

I had a joint counseling (DH & me) session this morning and an individual one just for me is scheduled later this afternoon. I was so proud of myself. Didn't email T an "agenda" and just planned to "wing it." Prayed last night for clarity about what we needed to work on. Left my mind nice and open. Went in relaxed. This morning, DH and I had a slight "boundary issue" and I had been meaning to bring that up in our joint session, so I thought that might be a good topic.

I got there and had to wait but was chit-chatting with someone else who is pregnant. I was relaxed and joking and laughing. My husband shows up and we're all sitting there. Then his T calls us back.

(Background - DH & I initially both met with my T (female) and then I started individual stuff. Then DH started seeing my T's husband. Now we do 4-way meetings with DH, I, his T (male) and my T (female/husband of Dh's T).

So I walk in today, with some of my original fears left, although it's gotten a bit better. Last session, you may recall, was so tough I scheduled an individual one first - before I tackled the joint one. We talked about the "S" word. Blech. I talked about it - with a male in the room. Double blech. I survived. Not without some dissociation and falling apart afterward. I talked with my T some at our next session about how tough it was.

So anyway, get there today, wondering if this is going to come up. Wondering if I'll have the nerve to bring up the topic I want to discuss. And I go in and sit down next to DH. His T sits down and my T is.........not there. So his T says that, "since she had a session scheduled with me later, and since she had just got back from out of town, she wondered if she could bow out and the three of us just talk?"

Uh, what? Pardon me? What did you just say? You want me to what? Sit here in a room with two men. One of whom is old enough to be my father. The other about whom I need to discuss boundary things? I really thought I was hearing things. Surely my T wouldn't do that.

I guess I nodded. I know I sat there. I don't know what we talked about the first half. My husband talked a lot. I fidgeted. I know I should have said something like "why don't the two of you just chat" and left. But I didn't. I felt like the little girl hiding in the corner - mucking through things on my own again. So I did what I'm used to doing - zoned out, stiffened my back, and faked my way through it.

There was talk about how things were going good. DH said maybe we didn't need to come back any more. We caught up on general stuff. DH rambled. And things are better. We are getting along much better. I'm still not opening up like I need too - but that's my issue to deal with really. DH is too accepting of my facade - content to let me pretend and go right along with me. The conversation rambled along and I kept myself at a safe distance, unsure where things would go.

With 15 minutes to go, DH brought up an old argument about guns. Now there is something safe. I can talk about guns. So I jump in and handle myself quite well (pat on the back).

Whew made it. I don't think DH or his T knew. DH's rambling saved me from talking. And we leave with no further appointments. Not having talked about DH laughing off my boundaries.

So I'm supposed to go back for my individual session after work. Although I'm inclined to skip. I know she'll ask how this morning went. And WTF do I say to that? My friend told me to go - that it is good for me to talk this out. Intellectually I know she is right.

I'm mad. I know how important it is to take time off. I need it myself. I don't begrudge a vacation. If she had cancelled the appointment, that would have been just fine. I feel kind of "greedy" taking up two slots anyway. However, she knows how I feel about these meetings - how apprehensive I get. When we talked about it, she told me to trust her that her husband would be okay. And I said that I did trust her.

I need warning. I need advanced planning. She knows that. I can not walk into a meeting like this morning and handle it well.

I know family comes ahead of work. It should and it does in my life too. But that doesn't mean I'll make choices that are bad for my clients, or let the pieces just fall wherever they may. If you choose not to come into work, that's fine. But cancel things. Or call and give me the choice of whether to come - or have your office call to see if I'd prefer to reschedule. Don't just send me blindly into a situation you know will trigger me. I accepted a long time ago not being chosen first - I don't even expect it in this situation. But think about the outcome and let me know you're choosing to stay home.

I'm mad and hurt. Is this supposed to be some "lesson" or something? I didn't take to well to lessons like this when I was younger. And I don't appreciate them very well now either. I guess the real question now is what do I do with this? Cancel and not go back - continue hiding in the corner? Or venture out to express myself? By venturing out, I'm doing exactly what she would want me to do - the healthy thing. So in some ways that feels icky too - like I've been set up to do the healthy thing.

Blech I hate this. This is why it is safer just to stay in my corner - alone. Like Spilling Ink said in her blog post, "I'm so afraid to need people, and this, right here, is why."

(update after appointment is here)

I've Always Wanted a ........

Corduroy is one of my favorite all-time children's books. I was browsing an old book store a few years ago and ran across an old tattered copy. It had even been chewed by something (a dog maybe?) in the corner. I bought it anyway and ran home to read it to my daughter. It has since become one of her favorite books too. We can recite the words together.

If you have never read Corduroy then you are missing out. (click here and scroll down to read more) Corduroy is a bear in a department store. One day a little girl walks by and wants to buy him but her mother says no, and points out that Corduroy is missing a button. That night Corduroy sets off on a grand adventure to find his button. His ramblings disturb the night watchman, who carries Corduroy back downstairs and places him back on the shelf, still without a button. The next day the little girl comes back. She has counted her pennies and has enough money to buy Corduroy. She rushes home with Corduroy under her arms and he stares around the room in awe. He says, "This must be a home. I know I've always wanted a home." The little girl sews a button on Corduroy and gives him a big hug. He says, "You must be a friend. I know I've always wanted a friend."

This book is chock full of great lessons. Take time to notice the little details. Save your money for great surprises. Look beyond outward appearances. And be a friend.

Last night, however, I was lying in bed - one of those sleepless nights when I'm tossing and turning. Hubby was out late with the guys so it was just me in that wide bed. I was trying to rest but the disturbing thoughts wouldn't leave me alone. Pregnancy sickness was at full force and I wasn't feeling well either.

Times like those, I really want a Mommy - who will tuck me in, smooth my hair back over my ear, and snuggle with me. Reassure me that everything is all right. I was reminded of how I had tucked my daughter in just a few hours ago - how I had snuggled with her on the couch while we watched, yet another episode, of Dora. I've not had a Mommy like that. Like Corduroy, I don't know what it looks like, but I know I want it, and I know that I will know it when I find it. I long to say, "You must be a Mommy. I've always wanted a Mommy."

Monday, March 17, 2008

REST - more than a snooze?

I tend to think of rest as synonymous with sleep. I've been getting lots of sleep lately. Naps and going to bed early. Morning sickness and depression will do that to you. But it's not the same as rest.

This morning, I was reading in my devotional (Rooted in God's Love - Ryan) about Rest. It talked about Resting and I realized that Resting is not the same as sleep. Resting is more a condition of your soul and mind - a peacefulness. The passage says -
Most of us are not very good at resting. If we even pause in life, we tend to get anxious. But if we slow down long enough to actually rest, emotional pain and trauma may start floating to the surface. To avoid this, we drive ourselves mercilessly. We keep the pace of life set at frenzy and hope that we have the energy to continue living this way for a long time.
We also avoid rest because we derive such a disproportionate sense of value in life from the things we do. We do and do and do in order to feel okay about ourselves. If we pause long enough to "be," we get agitated. If we slow down long enough to actually rest, we can become profoundly disoriented as we experience threats to our identity as a doer.

But we need rest. Rest restores us. It restores our bodies from the fatigue of constant activity and adrenaline rushes. It restores our minds from the never-ending clutter of lists of things to do. It restores our souls from the insanity of grandiose self-perceptions of being both indispensable and capable of performing beyond normal human limits.

I know I have trouble resting. I have gotten far better about allowing myself to take naps on weekend. However, true REST is still an abstract concept that escapes me. I know I need to rest, but the fear of what thoughts might creep in, keep me from truly relaxing. I am hopeful that Resting is something I can learn to do soon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Back on the Meds Wagon - a general update

I took a deep breath and made an appointment with the midwife. I had the usual panic and dilemma. Do I call my regular doctor - I'm comfortable with her, have seen her before, but will she know what i can take when pregnant? Go to the midwife - I liked the one I saw last time, but no guarantee I'd get her again.

I called and got a very nice phone nurse. She took me seriously. Didn't "tsk tsk." Didn't judge. Didn't discount me. She squeezed me in the next day. My husband offered to go with me, but I decided I'd be more open and honest if he was not present. Plus I knew if there was any mention of risk/benefit, he'd be all over the "risk" part. I took a deep breath and went that morning.

I did not get the midwife I'd had previously. However, the one I saw was quite nice. She didn't ask too many questions about the "why" but stuck to the "what" I was feeling. I don't think she realized this was a "squeeze in appointment" but rather thought it was a regularly scheduled one. After we talked, she said, "let's get a listen to this baby." She couldn't find the heartbeat - typical with me. So I was taken over for an ultrasound.

Now I had assured my husband that this was not a regular appointment. I knew I was going to be in the doghouse for telling him he didn't need to come. I did get lots of pictures. Heartrate is great. Baby has a cute button nose and was waving its arms all around. My husband was disappointed that he missed the appointment, but he did enjoy the pictures.

I was prescribed anti-depressants and told these were fine to stay on - even while nursing. I hope and pray that I will feel better shortly. I seem to remember it taking about 2 weeks before others noticed a change in me, and 3 weeks before I noticed something in myself. The countdown is on.....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Experience a Re-Birth after Child Abuse – March 2008 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse

Welcome to the March, 2008 edition of the
Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

Since March is Easter, the first month of Spring, and the time we "spring forward" in the United States to set the clocks for daylight savings time, this edition's theme is Spring-related. Issues of re-birth, new awakenings, new revelations and starting over. Learning who you are after abuse is a huge issue that survivors deal with. Learning how to survive in the world after escaping an abusive environment is often difficult. Many survivors can pinpoint that time when they awakened to learn who they are today and began to move forward, blooming in their new, safe environment.

I learned from the After Silence site (sexual violence survivors website) that the lotus flower is one that rises from the mud - the deeper the mud, the more beautiful the flower. All abuse survivors have the potential to be beautiful blooming lotus flowers --- this spring, and always.

Warning! Some of these posts may contain triggering content. Please use caution when reading these submissions.

Angela presents You Can Stand Under My Umbrella posted at Reality Testing, staring out with those words too many of us heard - “What goes on in this house stays in this house.” It's a story of finding people who care, about whom she writes, "They showed me something about myself that I hadn’t realized before: I was worth being cared about."

Enola presents I Now Pronounce You Divorced. I chose this post to submit because it was a time when I felt a time of re-birth. While a fictionalized divorce, it is one of the most powerful legal documents I have ever drafted.

Advocacy & Awareness
Report IT Rally for Victim’s Rights posted at Menstrual Poetry. Report IT is a campaign Rally for Victim's Rights. It started locally on February 19 and will go nationwide on April 29. "Give victims of sex crimes the justice they deserve."

Rising Rainbow presents
Psychological Incest - What Does It Mean? posted at My Clouds, My Storms and Multiple Personality Disorder, saying, "This insidious form of abuse is most difficult to identify. Also know as covert or emotional incest it traps its victims in a web of conspiracy that is ensnares all relationships leaving a victim struggling with emotional attachments long into adulthood." Rising Rainbow does a great job of explaining what this type of incest is and why it is so horrible.

Marcella Chester encourages everyone to participate in the
Blog Against Sexual Violence Day 3 April 2008. You can find details at her blog - abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open. The theme this time is Prevent Sexual our workplaces.

Sometimes Saintly Nick
Incest: Does the Pain Ever Stop? A Personal Story posted at his blog Nick's Bytes. I had specifically requested that family members of survivors post about the effects their loved one's abuse had on them. Nick obliged and submitted this wonderfully written post he wrote awhile back, saying "In this post I write of the pain and trauma of incest and its on-going effects not only on the victims, but also on the people who love her/him."

Nancy presents PTSD and Me posted at Heal and Forgive, saying, "For me, PTSD was the most frightening aspect of my recovery from child abuse. Learning to stay in the present was the most freeing." Her post offers hope to those struggling with PTSD.

Healing & Therapy
Marj aka Thriver presents Begin Again Each Day: Be The Light! posted at Survivors Can Thrive!, saying, "This is a survivor story. It's also a healing story. But, most of all, it's a story about beginning each day anew, striving for unconditional love and being a light in the darkness."

April_Optimist presents
If I Were A Guest In My Own House (part 1) and Part 2 posted at The Thriver's Toolbox, saying, "How often do we really stop and realize how we speak to or treat ourselves? Especially compared to how we would treat a guest in our homes?" It's a great question to ponder.

Perfect shares a post from her self-titled blog called Nurturing Self Care. Perfect does great work with a therapeutic exercise and offers us all the chance to learn about self-care. Perfect is a first-time submitter and I look forward to reading more in future carnivals.

Marcella Chester presents
Katie Couric Misses Opportunity During Clinton Interview posted at her blog. This post explores the world of high school bullying and a missed opportunity by the media to shed light on this issue.

Holly Ord presents
Stop Protecting Pedophiles posted at Menstrual Poetry. This is a post about a Catholic priest-pedophile and how one parish failed the children. (warning for some language). In another submission, George Bush Thinks Poverty, Death, and Abuse are Blessings of Freedom, Holly critiques President Bush for the after-effects of the war in Afghanistan on women.

Rose W presents Not Your Pawn posted at Roses on the Moon, bringing light to the tragic fate of Cindy Powell, a woman caught up in the bureaucracy of the mental health system.

Dana brings light to another tragic case in her post Abuse cases spur reform in Hawaii posted at Principled Discovery.

Survivor Stories
writes a very moving story letter to herself at 15 on her blog, Beautiful Dreamer, called Dear Me at 15. The story outlines her progress through life, as she tells herself, "This much is certain: you will make it all the way into adulthood. Battered and bruised, yes. But alive in ways you never thought possible."


That concludes this edition. Thank you for letting me host. Be sure to submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival against child abuse using the carnival submission form. Our host for next month is Beauty at Beautiful Dreamer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blog Carnival Submissions Due

Today is the submission deadline for the Blog Carnival against Child Abuse. Publication will be Friday.

See the submission spot on my right-hand sidebar or click here to submit.

Note of clarification - there is a theme of spring, re-awakening, birth, etc. But your post doesn't HAVE to fit that theme. There are sub-categories you can fit under. And if you can't figure those out, don't worry either. Just make a note in the comments section and I'll move it to an appropriate category or create my own "other" section. The important thing is to submit!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Someone Pass the Cheese

Warning - whining ahead. It's Monday. I didn't sleep last night. I finally fell asleep about 4 am. Only to have the blasted alarm wake me up - I played slap the alarm clock until I was late. Showed up and my first appointment doesn't even show - I could have slept longer.
I get a call at 3 pm. My Daughter has a fever, keeps running to the bathroom but can't go and acts sick. I have an orthodontist appointment, so Hubby goes to get her. I reschedule all of Tuesday appts and make her an 8 am doctor appointment. I go to the orthodontist where I've been "blessed" by the new girl. I'll call her Ms. Torturer. She did not protect my gums when snipping the brace wires. As is evident, by my now cut mouth and fat lip. She left the wires too long, then said she'd just "bend them up" and "file them." She left me upside down - completely - forever. Did she not read my chart? Panic and anxiety. Pregnant. On meds for morning sickness. Ugh. Plus, of course, I can't have my xanax, so it was all me in there.
Just a note - deep breathing through a stuffed up nose, when you are lying upside down, pregnant -- it doesn't work so well.
I come home to find Hubby playing Nascar. He says Daughter was fine as soon as he picked her up. Maybe a tiny bit warm. Our thermometer disappeared in the move so I did the "mommy kiss on the head" test. Nope, no fever. She is eating ritz crackers and goldfish - watching a movie. Hubby meanwhile looks at me like I have three heads when I ask what is for dinner. Yeah buddy, you're home 2 hours early and playing playstation. He asks if I want eggrolls and I decline. He says "well I'm not hungry anyway. I had donuts at work." Okay, so I decide I'll make ravioli for me. Decide to check to see if he wants any, just to be polite. He says, "sure you don't want egg rolls." Apparently he wants egg rolls, so he'll try to talk me into wanting them. Sorry buddy - I'm pregnant. I don't want egg rolls. I don't to taste them, see them, eat them, smell them. Remember that book "Green Eggs and Ham" - yeah I no want them, Sam I am.
He leaves to go to Bible study and then play basketball. I proceed to bathe the not-so-sick child. Dope her with benadryl for her runny nose. And throw in ibuprofen because she says she aches and she's a tiny bit warm. She's hungry and wants pudding. I indulge her and then sniffle my way through library books. "Little Bunny Foo Foo" doesn't sound so hot when your nose is stuffed - "bibble bunny boo boo bopping....." you get the picture!
I put her in bed, take my medicine - now of course, my options are limited because heaven forbid pregnant women get any sort of real drugs (kidding). So I take the single ingredient sinus meds which do.....nothing......except upset my stomach. So I take phenegren which is supposed to make me sleepy. Only somehow it only makes me sleepy at work - not at night at home when I need to go to sleep.
I hear whining from the other room. "Mommy my belly hurts." I tell her to go to sleep. More whining. I finally cave. I bring her into the living room and tuck her in on the couch next to me. I haven't even gotten settled when she is snorting. Little faker ---- good thing she is so cute.
So tomorrow we have to be up, dressed, and out the door in time for her 8 am appointment. At which I will pay $20 to be told I'm an over-reacting mother and she is perfectly fine. Then I will take her to daycare, where they will again remind me of their new 'no green snot' policy. I will then present them with my doctors note which says she is fine. Then I will come home, since I've scheduled myself out anyway. I'll try to take a nap, feel guilty about the work I brought home. Promise myself I'll nap after the work. Finish the work, nap, only to get a call that my daughter has actually managed to throw up............yep, that's what will happen. I just bet you.
Oh and I have counseling at 5. Where I'm supposed to 'fess up to how I'm really feeling instead of the "I'm okay" and let's just chat about random stuff (far more fun). Sigh.....someone pass the cheese. I'm really missing my wine.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Two Years down this Path

March is the second anniversary of my starting down this path of recovery. If you read Perfect's post here, you probably noticed her two year "progress report." It took me a bit longer to complete mine, but now I have the advantage of "borrowing" her format.

Two years ago this month, I fell apart. My husband and I had been in some joint counseling to help us through some of the repetitive arguments we found ourselves in. One day at work, I started shaking. I had always had anxiety and panic issues. This time though I found myself in the bathroom, sick and passed out - losing time as I dissociated. I don't remember the details, but I know I reached out for help. I called the counselor we had been meeting with, called my husband and made an appointment. Thus started my journey.

Soon thereafter, Teri Hatcher came public with her story of having been abused as a child. She had kept quiet for years. An online mommy's board I posted on was full of discussion about Hatcher. Several posters discussed having been victims of abuse themselves. I threw out the idea of forming a small group private board. I was not sure, at the time, what we would do there. At first, there were about 10 of us. We posted our stories and I was amazed at the similarities. We cautiously embarked on our paths of healing.

Some of that group dropped out. Some weren't ready to heal or didn't have the time. Four of us stayed strong and have been there since the beginning. One in particular, Perfect, has become a close friend. She has been there through thick and thin. We IM often, email, exchange pictures, and will (finally) meet in person next month (I can't wait). She doesn't pull any punches, asks me the tough questions, and never fails to support me and offer words of encouragement.

I was blessed to find a fabulous therapist. Who went above and beyond her professional abilities to help me and support me from the very beginning. She talks a lot about the healing process. "Process" became a word I despised hearing. I did not want a process. I wanted it over and done with. Yet, I am still here, in the process.

Someone told me that healing from abuse takes an average of three years. I was dismayed. That seemed like forever. But I'm making it. The first year was spent covering the abuse - what happened and dealing with the memories. The second year was spent covering what I did to myself with the abuse - the self-injury, the blame, the self-protection. I'm not sure what is next.

I have lost some things along this journey. My relationship with my mother is much more rocky. My husband and I's relationship has been challenged. But I've gained things along the way. Wonderful friendships, both real life and online. And healing - definitely some healing.

VERBALIZATION – I started on March 9, 2006 telling my story with the generic “fondled me” and progressed up to writing it out with details. This was important to me and a very powerful thing to do. Writing it out, and talking about some of it, took away some of the power. In order to even write it out, I had to figure out a lot of things. Peel away the layer of fuzz and fogginess that had covered my memories for so long. Figure out chronology. Acknowledge how bad it really was – even finally admitting to myself, albeit very reluctantly, that it was bad enough to constitute legal rape in the state where it happened.

EMOTIONS – In March 2006, I wrote “I am very controlling. Also can be cold and unemotional (detached). A very eye opening revelation followed. I wrote, “I think I have a hard time with emotional stuff too. My dad was the most calm, cool, collected person I know - well except for when he wasn't in a rage. But he didn't show much heart or emotion. My mom used (and still uses) emotion to manipulate. Ironically I dated X for 2 years and then married Husband, both of whom are very open with emotions, which is admirable, especially for men. But I find myself physically and emotionally withdrawing when Husband displays tender emotions. I wonder what he wants or is up to or is trying to get from me. It's the cynical side of me.” I used to script out every confrontation and every conversation. I still do it to a large extent, but no so much at home. Now I tend to fly of the handle more with Husband.

GOD - I thought I had accepted God’s forgiveness and given up control to Him. I was wrong. I am still not in touch with Him. I want to be in touch, but I don’t know how. “Doing” God hasn’t seemed to work so well. I’m not sure how to go about the “feeling” part, although I have on some occasions. I've come a long way in my initial reluctance to see him as "Father" figure. But I know I have a long way to go too. I can say that I'm more honest about my relationship with God, and that is a good thing.

DAUGHTER – In 2006, I experienced my first ever throwing up illness with my daughter, and I realized my mom instincts are there – fully intact. The lack of mothering instincts is not an inherited disease. I had moments when I could relax and spontaneously play with her. I want those back – right now, off the meds, it’s not so great. I’ve very snappy with her too. But our bond is going to be more real (less fake) and much better than my bond with my own mother. Everything seems just fine when I tuck her in at night or she kisses me and tells me she will love me "always and forever."

TOILET – I still hear his voice in my head to often for comfort. I hear his voice over and over and over again telling me "you liked it and you wanted it" and I can't get it out of my head. In 2006, I ripped his picture off my wall (a wedding pic) because I became mad at overhearing my mother making plans to meet him after leaving my home. My sister and I were talking later and I expressed my desire for him to die before Mom so I won’t have to deal with him surrounding her death. They both smoke 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day, are overweight, do not exercise at all (walking around the grocery store winds them), drink like fish, and eat the worst food for a body. The odds are not in either of their favor. Later I write, “I am not ready to deal with the thought of him being gone. Is that odd? I mean if he's alive he could still come grovelling to me begging for forgiveness - (not that I'd give it). Totally out of the realm of reality. And I can't figure out why I think I need that. I thought I was to the point where I had accepted my lack of responsibility, but it's almost as if I want (need maybe) him to accept total responsibility. I need to get over that because it won't ever happen. If he's alive, I can still bug him - well, maybe. I hope that he has some guilt feelings. Even if nothing about what he did causes him guilt, I have to think that he feels somewhat bad at causing my mom pain - the pain of not having a "normal" relationship with her daughters. So part of me wonders if this whole lack of normal relationship with mom, let's keep her at a distance thing, is to cause her pain and therefore, maybe him?” Then just recently, he was struck down by a heart attack, somehow survived, and I realized that now I do want him dead. Just to stop the constant fear of running into Toilet, having him shout out what happened, and my fear that others will believe him and blame me.

NIGHTMARES –I dream of being called to testify against him – accused of being accessory in covering up his crimes, and finding out he has not stopped his aberrant behavior. This dream continues today. It’s one of the constant nightmares I have.

HUSBAND – he was clueless about the effects of my childhood on me. I kept it that way. I started dealing with this, and our entire relationship was rocked. From a noticeable drought in areas of intimacy to his needing to grow up and take over some of the control I had assumed for so long. Patterns have repeated over the past two years, with some twists – hunting is really about his choosing something over me. He gets all excited and plans every detail out – he doesn’t do anything like that for us. I retreat to my room and do more computer stuff. If I talk to him, I risk vulnerability if he chooses hunting over me again. Toward the end of last year, I stopped doing it all. I became the woman with no answers – he’d ask “do we have milk” and I’d say, “I don’t know.” He finally has gotten more accustomed to not assuming I have it all taken care of. As I looked back, I am appalled by all I did – laying out his clothes for him on Sundays???? What was I thinking?

MOM – In May, 2006 my “homework” was to start having the daughter role with mom – stop being guilted into calling or contacting her. I had a huge revelation the next month, when I realize that mom didn’t choose Toilet over me – she chose herself over me. In July 2006, I wrote a LONG letter to Mom. Then I called and invited her to counseling. In looking back at those conversations, I was very clear and level headed. I need to be that way all the time. Mom attended counseling and makes the infamous, “I never saw sexual touching as that big of a deal” statement. She then says, “I never knew how to be a good mom. I wanted you kids but never felt motherly. I never felt like I knew what I was supposed to do.” Mom said she was reading the Wounded Heart book after counseling – then she never mentioned it again. We’ve not discussed it again at all. I finally recognized and acknowledged the need for a “mother” figure and mourned that loss, while finally accepting that my mother can never be that person in my life. I wrote this to Mom which probably sums things up quite nicely - You worry about me? Where was your worry when I was 12 and your husband's new play toy? Where were you when I was 13 and told you what your husband did? Where were you when I was 14-20 and trying to drown out my memories in alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, and other troubling behaviors?

BUSY-NESS – I still tend to “do” and not “be.” I still have “busy brain” where my brain goes 90 miles an hour. In the Summer of 2006 I noticed that I did better when I was overly busy because I had other things to focus on. Then I cut out things so I could focus on some things. After that I missed the distractions. T was pretty blunt with me at one point. She told me that I am a great attorney, great mom, great wife and great person, but that it's not possible to be great at all at one time - not without killing myself, which is what I had been doing. She says she thinks a lot of the panic/anxiety is abuse-related, but a lot is the stress I put myself under to try to do it all on my own and do too much. I’ve now cut back a lot – but I miss having the distractions. Although right now, I have neither the drive nor energy to do anything.

COUNSELING – I can absolutely see progress over the past few years. I’ve talked through most of the abuse and the after-effects. I opened up and even let T hold my hand during a panic attack and, one time fell asleep/passed out from exhaustion after a panic attack. I’ve had panic attacks in front of her and am okay with it. Progressed to hugs at the end of sessions – which now I even look forward too. I miss our weekly coffee chats and online conversations, but mostly because I miss her company – not so much because I HAVE to have them now. It’s good not to have so many “emergencies” anymore. I do need to work on talking about things outloud without the need to write it all out and plan it all out. Also the ability to stop saying I'm "okay" and admit to myself, and others, when I'm not.

SELF-INJURY – I finally admit to pinning, my initial form of SI. Then I progress to cutting. This month I will mark 120 days SI-free. Although it has been a huge struggle the past few days, and it is only because there are no sharp objects (I have to confess to looking) in my house, that I can say I’m still SI-free.

PREGNANCY - when I started this journey, I was determined not to take medication that would interfere in my ability to try for baby #2. I put that hope on back burner and ended up just taking what I had too. Suffered through a jaw surgery which would have prohibited pregnancy anyway. The hiatus in intimacy took it's toll as well. Then, when I had given up, was on medication I was told not to get pregnant on, and was not trying, I turn up unexpectedly pregnant. A huge surprise. Not planned by the "oh so meticulous planner" that I am. I'm adjusting okay.

OVERALL PROGRESS – I can see major improvements in my responses to Mom – I'm not playing her passive aggressive games anymore. I'm also not as stuck on recovering repressed memories – if they are there they can come. I'm not stuck on saying the abuse things out loud either. I don't need to do that. It's just a form of punishing myself when I try.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT - I can see that I have low self-esteem – people get busy, stop emailing, stop calling – I start blaming myself. Others see me as so capable they don’t realize I have no self-esteem. I still find it easier to hate myself than blame others – I take all the responsibility, because then I see myself as being in control. I do need to work on relying on others more - risking that vulnerability that comes with letting others into my life.

I'm not sure what year 3 of this journey will hold. I want to try to reconnect more with my emotions from childhood. To come to peace with what happened and really accept it. I'd like to find "closure" and stop feeling unsettled, as if something else is waiting around the corner to get me.