Making the most of my "Dash"

Archive for the ‘Mental & Emotional Wellness’ Category

Do you think you’re better than me?!

Mister bought Dr. Keith Ablow‘s book, Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony: A Psychological Portrait.  Not because we have a sick interest in this family, but because of the psychological profile this forensic psychiatrist presents about this family.  Mister is always very curious about how people work, and what makes them to decide to do the things they do.  I find psychology equally fascinating, and have started reading this book as well.

There have been quite a few things that have struck me as I was reading.  One was a recollection Dr. Ablow had of a patient of his [to make a parallel point related to the Anthonys].  He was talking about a young girl who was convinced her parents had bugged every wall/room wherever she went, because they knew what she was thinking.  He told her that the situation was much worse than she thought, because the simple solution of removing the listening devices out of the walls would not solve the issue.  Her parents didn’t need to plant bugs, because they already knew what she thought and what she would say about almost anything… as they had convinced her of what thoughts and actions were allowed.  They happened to be only the ones that pleased them.

Whoa.  While I never reached a point where I was paranoid that my parents had listening devices everywhere, I had learned that doing and saying what made them happy was the only correct course of action.  When the patient asked Dr. Ablow how to get her parents out of her head, he asked her to remember the first time she decided it was too much trouble to resist them.  I immediately thought of this post I had written, where I had realized that my thoughts weren’t wanted or valued.

I had one other major incident as an adult that reinforced that my parents ‘wants’ came first.  I’ve had this particular thing thrown back in my face several times too.  My mother had made a comment sometime before I got married that she had gotten the “baby itch” a few years prior.  Dad had reminded her that I would be married soon and having babies.  She decided to wait for me to start having children so she could enjoy the joys of babies again. When my oldest daughter was born, she was the first grandchild for my side of the family.  I lived about three hours away from my family, but visited them almost every weekend with the baby.    Over the course of a year my then-husband and I had some friends that made the observation that my parents would never accept a “no” from me/us.  I laughed and told them that was not true, but deep down I knew they were right. A situation presented itself shortly thereafter that let me see whether my friends were right or not.

When our daughter was born, my parents told us that they would understand if they asked to have her for a visit and we needed to tell them “No”.   That they would accept that answer and not cause us any grief over it.  Fast forward.  This was our daughter’s second Christmas.  My parents asked if they could have her for the week (she was 19 months old), while my husband and I were working.  It was too difficult for my husband and I to get time to take our daughter to up to my parents’ house, not to mention the gas money involved.  I also wanted our daughter to be with us, until it was time to go up and visit them on Christmas eve/day a week later.  I told them No.  I explained why (because I thought I had to).  They “counter-offered” with an offer to pick her up themselves.  I said No.  This was unacceptable to them.  My dad called back and told me I had upset my mother.  That all she wanted for Christmas was to have her granddaughter, so she could have her at the Church Christmas dinner.  For pictures with Santa.  They couldn’t understand why I would not agree to this, because they had even offered to come and get her.  I was being stubborn, unfair, and unreasonable.  I had really upset them, but I stuck to my “No.”  My husband did not have my back.  I dealt with this alone, and the stress it caused for me was awful.

When they pressed me further to let them have my daughter for the week before Christmas, I blurted out what our friends had told us about them.  That despite what my parents had said, they would never accept a “no” from us.  My parents responded that they knew I had done this only to make a point, and that my friends (who they did not like) had pressured me to do so.  I was so upset, because my friends had not pressured me to do this.  They had made an observation, and I had a real life situation that proved they were right.  This became a joke in my family.  “The time Christine decided to say “no” to test her parents…and ruined a church christmas dinner for her mother”. Mental notes made from this experience: 1. They do not mean what they say; 2. It’s just easier to do what they want so there is no conflict or stress to deal with, and so you don’t have to hear “about the time you….” whenever they want to remind you that you were acting inappropriately.

Remembering that situation reminded me of other times as I was growing up when I would start to speak up to my parents.  I would start to exert my thoughts or opinions that might have been contrary to theirs.  I might have simply been standing up for myself.  I don’t remember the situations exactly.  What I do remember is that if I upset mom, sometimes she would directly ask, “Do you think you’re better than me?!” When that happened in my adult years, sometimes I would get a phone call from one of my sisters saying that mom told them I was acting like I was “better than everyone”.  Never was that my thought, or intent.  It was a slap in the face to hear this, and I would feel horrible and upset with myself for conveying that thought.  I would immediately back down and get back “in line”.

I already felt a bit of a misfit in this family.  We joked about “white-trash” behaviors, but honestly I felt like sometimes [most times, if I’m being honest] we were.  Sometimes I was called a Miss Goody-Two-Shoes or Miss Manners, because I would get so embarrassed at restaurants by what I considered impolite behavior (and it was!).  Maybe one family member would talk really loudly, or someone else would be eating and talking with their mouth full of food.  Sometimes  my parents would bring in cans of soda to drink, and even if it was at a fast food restaurant it embarrassed me.   I was made to feel as though I was being “too good” for the family for acting embarrassed.  So when I was asked if I thought I was better than my mom, it just made me feel worse.  Because I knew that no one should ever feel that they are better than anyone else. Especially your parents!

As I’ve been mulling these things over in my head this week, I had quite a revelation.  Specifically about the “Do you think you’re better than me?!” statement.   While I had realized in the last year or so that particular statement was simply projection, and had NOTHING to do with me; the other day it hit me that what parent DOESN’T want their children to be better than them?  I mean, isn’t that what our job as a parent is?! We tell them mistakes we’ve made so they can learn from them.  Aren’t we supposed to raise our children to make better decisions, do better things, be better people than we are?  We should be encouraging our children to do their best, be their best, and hope that their best is better than ours.

I have shared a lot of my parent-issues lately.  I told myself I would not be writing about these things on my blog, because my blog is not about these things.  It’s about me, and my life now.  However, I’ve come to learn that I’m still growing.  My growth seems to come in spurts, as I do things that jog a memory loose here and there.  Growth comes from revelations like these.  While these experiences are in the past and not something I particularly want to delve into, I appreciate the opportunity given to me to mull them over, gain some insight, and move on as a better person.

Gaining insight as I live my dash,

Christine

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Dear 16 year-old self, you are not welcome here…

A peek at my 16 year old self...

I have set a timer for 15 minutes.  I have to do that because I know that I  get so lost focused with what I’m doing.  Whether it’s blogging, responding to email, facebooking, reading a book, reading someone else’s blog, cooking, baking; the list goes on and on.  I need to be able to come up for air every now and then, and the timer helps me remember to do that.

This became a problem for me recently when Mister let me know that I was so deeply immersed in other things, that I seemed to be going down a different path.  Alone.  Without him. Without the kids.  In my own world, which was consisting of “other people’s” virtual worlds.  I became a bit very incredibly defensive.   That always results in my not hearing things that are said, in the context in which they are said.  Simply put, my emotions take over and I put a completely different spin on what I’m hearing.  Thus a rather difficult “conversation” ensued.  One in which I regressed to an old, and highly inappropriate, response.

“I’m in trouble.”  That has always been my main reaction whenever a situation arises where someone is upset.  Whether I was responsible for making them upset or not.  Frankly, that was the expected response for most of my life.  I have realized that I have often resorted to becoming a 16 year old girl in the presence of my parents.  That young girl would do anything to keep her parents from becoming unhappy with her, and even lived her adult life with that attitude.  If I did something that upset my parents, I was reprimanded for it.  Even as an adult. That never went away after I moved out and started my own family.  If I did something they didn’t like, then I [felt like I] was “in trouble”.  My “fix” to that would be to stop doing whatever it was that “got me in trouble”.

I understood what Mister was saying about my time and attention not being exactly where it should be. So, some of you may have noticed, I disappeared from the interwebz.  Sorta.  For a time, at least.  I didn’t want to make the blog disappear, as I think there may be a post or two that’s important enough to need to be out there.  During the course of my conversation with mister, I realized I felt pulled in too many different directions with the blog, my facebook page, other people’s facebook pages, and a particular facebook group I had joined.    So, I shut it all down.  To get out of being in trouble.  And then I started thinking.

I can take days to work through things.  Mister has had a difficult time with that.  We have agreed that there should be no unspoken resentment between us.  We both always want to be open and up front about whatever is going on in our minds and hearts.  So when I need time to digest things and figure out how I really feel about something, he has to make himself let me do that alone.  He would rather us work together to quickly resolve whatever the issue is, but I have spent so much of my life giving the expected response that now I really need to spend time figuring out what I really think.  We also always and ever try to do things to make the other person happy.  We both want what is best for each other.  And I came to realize that I was giving up things I wanted to do, because I thought it would make him happy and keep me from being in trouble.

I felt stirrings of anger.

And resentfulness.

This was badness.  I knew that either one of us sacrificing something that is important is not what our relationship is about, nor what either of us wants.

I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that my emotions, defensiveness, and inappropriate “I’m in trouble” response, had made me unable to hear what Mister had said during our conversation days earlier.  I heard him when he said, “I feel lonely when I’m sitting next to you” and “I feel like I can’t interrupt what you’re doing without upsetting you”.  All I knew was that to make him not feel lonely I needed to give him my undivided attention, and be able to do so at any moment he desired it.  But, that is NOT what he asked for.  I knew that he would never ask, nor want, me to give up things I enjoyed to make him happy.  That is exactly the opposite of what he wants.  All he was saying is, “I want you to be available. Not to other people you don’t really know.  Be available to me. To the kids.”

I also became acutely aware that the reason I had become so engrossed in doing other things online was to avoid having to think about an issue that, while I was only an outside observer, caused a great stir of emotion within me.   I had so many thoughts swirling around my head that needed to come out.  I was getting really pissed off, but I wasn’t ready to deal with that yet.  So I read other people’s blogs and threw myself into putting great thought and effort into commenting on their posts.  I felt a pressing need to distract myself by responding to any little comment directed at me on the internet.  I have since realized that there was nothing wrong with doing any of those things, and Mister was not “mad at me” for doing them either.  What was wrong was doing them to avoid an issue, and at the exclusion of other people.  My real priorities.

I discovered that I was in the midst of creating a situation of resentfulness between Mister and I. After a week, I had been able to understand the real issue, and was ready to discuss it with Mister.  He was shocked to find out that I felt I had been in trouble.   This particular response of mine is so foreign to him, that he does not recognize it.  He would never treat his own adult children that way, so he has no concept of any adult feeling like they are in “trouble”.

I love the relationship that I have with Mister. It is taking me some time to grow into my adult self.  Despite my occasional misperception of being treated like a child, he has NEVER treated me that way.  In my time with Mister, many of my reactions and responses have taken him completely off guard.   When I start to revert  to the 16 year-old, people-pleasing, “I’m sorry… I’ll never do it again… Whatever you want…” persona, he gets fairly upset.  He doesn’t want that.  No one who loves another person should want that.  Not even parents should want, demand, ask, or even tolerate that behavior from their grown children.  Logically, I know this.  Sometimes that darned 16 year-old in me takes over and tries to “fix” things the only way she knows how.

I write this not because I want to put our “stuff” out there… but simply to show that, as in all relationships, we are human and we have to communicate to work through our stuff.   Every one will lose focus of their priorities at one time or another.  I think it happens more now than ever, simply with the advent of the internet (particularly FB!).  I was headed down a path of anger and resentment that could have done some serious damage.  I was strong enough in myself to say that what I thought was the right fix was not working for me (this is not a familiar action to me).  I mustered up courage to tell my husband that very thing, and to tell him that I had completely misunderstood him in my defensiveness.  I experienced growth, in that I realized I don’t need to be defensive with my life-partner.  I simply need to communicate what I need, and hear what he needs.  I need to really LISTEN.

My timer has gone off at least 6 times since I started writing this.  Mister has rolled his eyes at me every time I stopped and came over to him and gave him a kiss.  I’ve reassured him that I am not setting the timer for him, but for me.  I don’t want to get so lost I can’t hear the kids when they call my name.  What I’m doing is not so important that Mister has to wait for an hour and a half before asking me a question.  I do this so I don’t forget that while writing makes me happy, I have people that make me happier.  I want to be available to them.  And… much like Mister, I love those little kisses!

A letter to my Daughter: I know what it’s like…

I’ve been wanting to write this post since I started this blog.  But, it was “heavy” and the words never seemed to want to come out easily.

A few months ago I walked into Megan’s room and noticed she was very upset.  I asked her what was wrong, and as the tears welled up in her eyes she said, “Nothing.”  My first instinct was to MAKE her tell me.  I’m the Mom, she’s the kid, she’s hurting, and I want to know what’s going on RIGHT. THIS. MOMENT.  I had to resist the enormous urge of falling back into the familiar pattern from my childhood of the parent making the child spill her guts immediately.  Instead, I chatted with her, asked probing questions, and  realized she really wanted to talk about what was bothering her, but she was afraid of getting a bad reaction.  A MOM reaction.  An overreaction.  Given what I have learned from my own experiences, I assured her there was nothing she could say that would upset me so badly that I would freak out on her.  I promised that I would calmly listen to what she had to say until she was completely finished.

That’s when she willingly spilled her guts.

Honestly, I did not envision my 15 year old daughter being confronted with the situation she told me about.  She’s a good kid.  She hangs out with the good kids.  When she spends time at her dad’s house, she’s with good “christian” kids.  So when she told me what had happened, my head almost exploded from trying to keep my promises to her.  When she was done I told her three things:

  1. “Friends” DO NOT put friends in the position she was put in. EVER. Period. Full Stop. End of Story.
  2. “Friends” DO NOT attempt to manipulate us with emotional blackmail when we do not respond as they would like us to.  Attempting to control anyone in that way is one of the worst things you can do to another person.
  3. She handled the entire situation with more maturity than I would expect from an adult, and I was SO PROUD of her.

In the middle of our conversation, I told her that I had been meaning to write a list of things that I have experienced that were difficult to get through.  I wanted to present it to her as a ‘Letter To My Daughter’ sort of gift when she graduated from high school and was beginning to live her own life.  I wanted her to know that if she ever experienced any of the same type of things, that she wasn’t alone.  She looked at me, with tears falling down her cheeks and said, “I wish you had it for me right now.”

That was a knife to my heart.  I felt that I had failed her, because it had been on my mind to do for quite some time (clearly for a reason).  I just did not think she would need it yet.  Then I remembered some of what I experienced in high school.  I remembered the situations I was in, and how mean others could be.  I realized that I, too, could have used this advice at that time in my life.  So, with that said, I am finally getting around to doing what I should have done months and months ago.

Writing a letter to my daughter.

(A lot of this is deeply personal, but I’m putting it out on the blog just in case anyone else out there may be  experiencing similar things, and might feel very alone.  You need to know… you’re not.)

Dear Megan,

As you go through life, you are going to have some amazing moments!  You will celebrate, you will be excited, and you will share that with those around you.  You’ll have some normal, every day moments and those you’ll share with your close friends. You’ll even share the irritating, piss-you-off stuff too. But, you will also have really bad moments.  Horrible, gut-wrenching, how-do-I-get-through-this kind of moments.  And you may feel like you have to hide those.  I know, because I’ve had some of those myself.  And, while your experiences will not be the same as mine, I hope that simply knowing that someone else has gone through difficult times will help you too.

I want you to know, you are NOT alone.  You aren’t the first person in the world to go through difficult things, and you won’t be the last.  You need to remember that there may be several million other people that might be having the same difficulty as you, at the same time as you.  I do not ever want you to feel like there is no one who could possibly understand.  I don’t want you to be afraid to tell anyone what you’re going through because you are afraid of how others will respond.  Of whether they will ridicule and reject you.  I especially do not want you to be afraid of me and how I may respond.  That’s why I need to share some of my darkest moments with you.

I Know What It’s Like…

  • I know what it’s like to hold all of your feelings inside because you don’t feel you have the right to really and truly say what’s on your mind.  Do not do this.  It is dangerous, because in the end you will become angry and bitter; or you will end up sacrificing your wants, needs, thoughts, and opinions in favor of others.  And you will lose you.
  • I know what it’s like to put myself in a potential date-rape situation.  I attended a high school birthday party sleepover where there was a lot of alcohol.  I had a few drinks, and put myself in the very scary position of being taken advantage of by a college aged boy.  I was fortunate in that I was coherent enough to say NO, and even more fortunate that he listened.  (This was one of the scariest things I did in high school, and something I’ve not told anyone about until writing this blog.)   Looking back, I know how badly that night could have ended.  I regret making the choice to drink, to not keep complete control over myself, and to have become so vulnerable as a consequence.  However, I learned a life-long lesson from what happened, and I would rather you learn by reading about this now and choose not to make such a bad choice as I did, rather than learn this lesson for yourself.
  • I know what it’s like to have lost a best friend.  You must remember that many friends will come in and out of your life, and their purposes are all different.  Sometimes they need you, sometimes you need them, and sometimes you need each other.  A Best Friend loves you as you are.   They’re the ones that know when you are troubled, even when you keep lying to yourself and everyone else.  They are at the ready to help in whatever way they can, and sometimes they have the difficult task of telling you that you need to help yourself. They’re honest, even when they know it hurts, but they will help you through the hurt.  When you have this kind of person in your life, be there for them in the way you want them to be there for you.  Remember that it takes two people to have a relationship.  Don’t abuse each others friendship.  Know that sometimes these kinds of friendships do end, and if that happens, do your very best to make sure you end it on good terms.  They may come back into your life.  Either way, you will have no regrets.
  • I know what it’s like to have gone to a four month ultra-sound check up during a pregnancy, and find out that my baby had been dead inside of me for a month.  When I decided to wait for my body to “naturally” go through the miscarriage, I emotionally and mentally flipped-out after waiting for two days.  I also know what it’s like to have the doctor have to surgically remove the baby, and that was psychologically one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.  I felt every little tug throughout the procedure, and my heart wrenched and the tears streamed down with each one. I also happened to be in a car accident the same day, at the beginning of the three-hour drive to the doctors office.  Later, as we were almost there (and in a different vehicle), one of the tires had a blow-out.  Remember, life is going to throw you curve-balls and sometimes they will all hit you all at once.    And you will learn that you ARE strong enough to get through them.
  • I know what it’s like to be so angry and yell at God. Out loud.  After losing my baby I had so many questions.  I was so angry at having to go through that kind of pain.  My mother immediately told me to never blame God or yell at Him.  I wasn’t blaming Him, but I absolutely was yelling.  I was questioning.  And while it might not be the popular thing to do, you need to know that God can handle what you throw at Him.  He’s big enough, and strong enough. If you need to yell at Him and question Him, then you do it.  And then… YOU wait and LISTEN for His answer.
  • I know what it’s like to be so overwhelmed at a job, and intimidated by the people there, that I wanted to quit.  I felt miserable, inadequate, and like a complete failure.  This was one of the hardest things for my ego to deal with, because I thought I could do everything well.  I decided to learn as much as I could from others around me, and do the best job possible.  I overcame the difficult obstacles, and ended up being promoted.  Don’t quit when things get hard.  Do the best you can, and see what happens!  If it turns out your best is not good enough for a particular job, then you can leave and move on knowing you gave it your all.
  • I know what it’s like to tell a family member some of the most embarrassing, humiliating and painful experiences I have endured, and later be told, “I just didn’t believe you, until [someone else] told me it was true.”  It hurts to feel like you’re screaming at the top of your lungs for someone to care, and find out they never even really listened to begin with.  I hope I will always hear you, Megan.
  • I know what it’s like to be told, “It’s just too much work and too hard to try” by someone who was referring to maintaining a relationship with me.  Relationships take work.  Sometimes it’s easy work, sometimes it’s hard work, but it always requires both parties to work at it together.  Love is so many things, but to me these are some of the important ones: Love is an equal partnership.  It is putting the other person’s wants and needs first, knowing that they are putting yours first too.  It is apologizing when you are wrong, and receiving apologies from the other person.  It is not keeping score of all the hurts you’ve felt, and then slamming the other person with them.  It is not harming the other person physically or emotionally.  It is not manipulating them to get your own way, and it never, ever, uses emotional blackmail.  It is constant communication, even when you don’t want to be in the same room with them.  It’s finishing arguments before you go to sleep, and then holding each other in your arms.  It is tender touches, looks, and kisses.  It’s respect for each other, always. And the moment someone in a relationship with you hits you or attempts to hit you, it’s over.  No second chances, no “they didn’t mean it”.  You walk away that very moment, while you still can.  It may save your life.
  • I know what it’s like to be so depressed that I didn’t care about anyone or anything.  Including my own children.  I wanted to be left alone.  I started to drink alcohol with the misguided thought of easing my pain.  I woke up in the morning wishing it was already 6:00pm and I could have a drink.  Alcohol is not the answer.  It is seductive, and is too easily abused.  Make it a rule to not ever drink when you are sad or angry.  It will not make you feel better in the long run.  It compounded my depression and I started lashing out at those around me. You probably remember that more vividly than I would like.  It took a long time for me to realize something was wrong, simply because I was locked in the “I am Super Mom/Woman and I can do EVERYTHING” role.  You must realize that taking on too much will eventually overwhelm you and may send you into a spiral.  You are not required to take on 500 different roles at once. Give yourself permission to say NO, especially to those who are closest to you. They are usually the ones to put the most pressure on you.
  • I know what it’s like to have felt so much pressure, and felt so hopeless, that I thought suicide was the answer.  Suicide is NEVER the answer, but when you are in that place it may seem like it to you.  It’s a dark and hopeless place, and it feels so overwhelmingly lonely.  But you must REACH OUT to someone.  Get help! Remember that there are people in the world who deeply love you, and losing you would be devastating.  You kids were my reason for crawling out of that hole and going to counseling.
  • I know what it’s like to have been so hurt and devastated that I felt like I could not breathe.  There will be times when you may be so crushed that you may feel that you can barely move.  You may want to crawl into bed, curl into yourself, and feel like you want to die or just sleep it all away.  You need to know that it’s ok to do that… Give yourself time. Grieve, cry, push it out of your mind and allow yourself to rest.  However, you CANNOT let yourself stay down.  Once you have regained your strength, you must get up, get out of bed and face it head on.  Do not run, do not hide. You absolutely MUST deal with whatever it is that has knocked you down.  Because it will follow you.  It will dog you until it drains every last ounce of energy and emotion from you.  You will probably need help getting back up and dealing with it. Get it; whether it’s a friend, minister, therapist or all even all of the above.  And know that you will survive it.  I promise.
  • I know what it’s like to have lost almost everyone in my life because I chose to no longer live the way others expected (and, I daresay, demanded) me to.   You know the difficulties in our family.  If this happens to you (I pray not), such a thing will cause you to lose your balance.  You need to know that you will find it again on your own.  It is your life, after all.  You will discover how strong you are, what YOU really think and believe, and where you really and truly put your faith.  My goal is to parent you in a way that you discover those things in a healthy way, without losing anyone around you.
  • I know what it’s like to have serious lies said about me by a family member, and upon correcting them, be told by another family member to “Take your lies, and sell your story elsewhere.”  Know that many people can be part of the same experience, but have completely different perspectives regarding it.  It is important for you to remember this, as it will help you put yourself in other people’s shoes and be able to understand them during difficult times.  It will help you to not hold anger and resentment against others.  You also must remember that you need to be true to yourself, should anything like this occur in your life.
  • I know what it’s like to have moved to another state with three kids and started life over.  Sometimes you may have to start over, from scratch.  Doing anything new can be difficult.  Being on your own can be scary. There may be a lot of obstacles, but if you know it is right, then you will do whatever it takes.  And you will be ok.
  • I know what it’s like to realize that I did not agree with some of the religious belief’s taught to me since childhood, to change churches, and then face such disappointment and anger from others.  Megan, you must serve God because you WANT to, not because someone else wants you too, or because you’ve been taught that great harm will come to those you love if you don’t do it right.  I don’t believe God wants you in church if you’re there for any other reason than because you want to serve Him.  God wants you to want a relationship with Him.  He is not going to force you into it, or threaten to harm your loved ones.  I believe He will be disappointed if you don’t want a relationship with Him, but He gives YOU the choice as He promised you a free-will.  I know you love God, you let Him guide you.

Megan, I want you to know that I am glad to have had these experiences.  If given the opportunity for a do-over, I would do them all again.  However, I would change my reactions in some instances.  I would take more time to think things through.  But, as Mister always says, the sum of your experiences has made you who you are today.  And I wouldn’t be the person I am without having gone through these things.  Even you have recognized and told me that I am a better mom to you, because of many of these experiences.  Only through adversity will you see who you really are, and what you are capable of becoming.  Without pain, and without suffering, you will never fully appreciate the good times in your life.  Or know the kind of people who you want to be in your life.

I also want you to know that when I felt that most everyone around me let me down, and I knew they felt I let them down, I always knew that I had never been completely abandoned.  I knew God was always there.  No matter what you do, or where you go, He will be there for you too.  My wish is to also be there for you, when you need me.  So many times I have tried to think of anything that would make me not want to have you in my life.  There is nothing, Megan.  I’ve imagined the most horrible things, and still, I love you so much that nothing I can think of would make me want you out of my life.

This is your life, Megan.  I will disagree and disapprove of some of the things you do.  I may express that to you.  But I will not force you to live your life my way.  I will honor your personal rights.  I will be here for you, I will encourage you, I will cheer you on, and I will do everything in my power to understand you.  And…I will always love you.

This is your dash. I hope this helps you to live it well.

Love,

Mom

Testy? ME? Noooooo…

Various pills

Candy! Oh, wait...

I wrote a post not long ago about how I’ve been trying, REALLY trying, to lose weight.  I mentioned that my doctor and I agreed to use a metabolism booster since my body seemed “stuck” (to put it in the simplest terms possible).  It’s been two weeks, and I know it’s doing it’s job.  And THEN some.

Let’s just say these pills are better off being called “Testy Pills”.  I think Mister has a very different name for them.  Taking them really contradicts my normally good-natured disposition. I seem to be constantly annoyed be every little thing nowadays.  Apparently I’m also snapping at Mister.  A lot.  I didn’t realize it until the other day when I mentioned to him, “I think this pill makes me feel irritable.” His immediate response was a very loud, “You THINK?!”  Apparently “testy” really is not the right word. But, he did follow that up with letting me know he understands this is not how I am, this is not how I want to behave, and we both know why I’m even taking them.

I’ve been annoyed at the ADD-like effect this gives me.  I have a much greater empathy for those diagnosed with it.  I get really frustrated that I want to get something done, but then I can’t finish it because I’m already focusing on doing something else.  Even sitting here typing this is annoying for me because I want to get this blog post done, but I can’t seem to focus on it properly. I’ve rewritten it twice now.  *sigh* I’ve actually been meaning to write this one for over a week, but it has just seemed like it would take too much time to sit down and type it.

I am more impatient than ever now.  While we were shopping today I wanted to ram the cart into some lady who cut me off.  I also wanted to smack the elderly women in the store taking up the entire aisle while looking at a something on the shelf.  Normally people who do that still annoy me, but I’ll patiently wait and then smile as I pass them.  But not today. Today, I had this incredible urge to grab the nearest item and chuck it at her while yelling at her “MOVE IT, LADY!!” Actually, I didn’t use those nice words inside my head.  I had better ones for her.  Obviously, I restrained myself from doing any of that since I’m sitting here typing this and Mister is not bailing me out of jail.

I’m doing fairly well at keeping the irritability under control.  The fact that Mister has come back into the house, interrupted me twice while I’ve been focused on this, and each time I was able to stop and smile at him, is a testament to how well I’m keeping it under control.  I am happy that I only have another two weeks of this.  I’m sure Mister is a lot more anxious for that time to pass and is counting down the days.  I have definitely seen some progress with the weight-loss, so at least it is working.  I do have to admit to being very concerned about how I’ll feel after I stop taking these.  I stopped drinking coffee, for obvious reasons, but I may end up having “four cup” coffee mornings after this is over.  Or maybe I’ll start sleeping. A lot. Either way, Mister is going to want his nice Missy back, and not this psychotic, almost homicidal killer of rude-women-shopping-in-grocery-stores.

(Make that four interruptions now, but who’s counting)

Keeping the dash interesting (from my perspective anyway)

Christine

P.S. I would be very remiss if I did not make note of the fact that directly after I finished writing this and went with Mister to pick up the kids we had what we’ll call a discussion.  Mister asked a question and I answered.  Mister then asked if I was feeling “testy”.  Now, maybe I’m the *only* woman in the world who gets her back up at that, but that comment was rather, er…. provocative.  I really wasn’t being testy with my response, I was nowhere near that, but Mister repeated that I was not “being myself”.  And after THAT, I went from perceived testiness to actual testiness.

I only write this to say that [while I did not acknowledge this in our resulting discussion] I realized later he probably was right.  (Do you know how hard that is for me to say? VERY hard.) I really didn’t mean to be harsh, sharp, testy or whatever with him.  But, I’m thinking that this medicine is not bringing out my bestest, brightest, and shiniest qualities.  I think he may have intimated that, but I’m sure it got lost between thoughts of “I am NOT being testy” and “not being myself? REALLY?!” So, while I oh-so-nicely (ha!) insisted that I was completely fine as he was insisting that I wasn’t, I might have overlooked the fact that the medicine has indeed made me testy AND sensitive.  I have to do a mea culpa here and say he is the one more likely to be correct given the current circumstances.  And once again, I must put out in the internet world (where it lasts forever) that he was right and I was wrong.  Ugh.

[MY] Personal Bill of Rights

Personal Bill of Rights

The rights I’ve posted below are extremely important to me, because up until two years ago I didn’t believe I had many of them.

I think of an incident that happened when I was about 12 or 13.  I was listening to a Morrissey tape when my Mom walked past my room.  For those of you that are familiar with Morrissey, you know that most of his music sounds very depressing and fairly mellow.  At least it did when I was listening to it in the mid-80’s.  Mom happened to walk past at a particularly “drumm-y” intro and reacted in an unexpected way.  I was raised in a very conservative home, so the drums were too much.   She grabbed the tape out of the player, and started yelling at me about the horrible music.  I remembered trying to explain that it wasn’t all hard rock like she thought, but back-talking was NOT allowed.  I remember standing there so angry and frustrated at not being able to say anything.  My mom was just as angry too.  I remember her asking me (and not in a calm way), “Are you angry with me?”  I knew her question was rhetorical, and I believe she wanted to hear me say, “No” but I thought to myself, “She’s ASKING me, and I’m going to be honest with her”… So I yelled, “Yes!  Yes, I am angry with you!”

To this day I am grateful for two things.  1. That my dad was just outside my room where I couldn’t see him; and, 2. That there was a bed between my mom and I.  Because she lunged towards me.  I’m fairly certain she was angry enough to actually do some real damage, had Dad not stepped in and grabbed her back.  I vaguely remember them saying something along the lines of not talking back to mom, my cassette tape being thrown away, and them leaving to go shopping in the city for the day.  When they came back later, Dad came into my room and gave me the tape back.  I also remember some sort of admonishment to not speak back to Mom and that was that.

I learned several lessons from that, and they pretty much shaped my relationship with my parents, and my life.  First, you are not allowed to express your true feelings…even when asked.  Second, when you’re asked a question, be sure you tell them what they want to hear.  Third, you keep your “bad” emotions stuffed, because no one really wants to hear them or deal with them.

Of course, that kind of relationship blew up in all of our faces a couple of years ago, when I was 35.  Through that learning experience I found a book Healing from Family Rifts by Mark Sichel that had the Personal Bill of Rights in it.  Sadly, most of those rights were a revelation to me.  However, I’ve learned to exercise them and I’m doing better at that.  Brad has been extremely helpful, in that he understands how I “work” and why I react the way I do at times.  He gently reminds me that I get to feel how I feel and encourages me to remember my “rights”.  These have also changed me as a parent, and I believe my kids are really benefiting from that.  Particularly Megan, who now knows she may tell me if she’s angry with me, or thinks I’m being unfair, etc.  She knows we’ll have a discussion about it, and if I’m wrong I will tell her so and apologize.  I thank God for being made aware of these, as it is simply having respect for people as human beings.

I Have:

  • The right to feel good about who I am
  • The freedom to say what I please and the wisdom to know when to say it
  • The freedom to protect myself in a responsible and mature manner
  • The right to ask for what I want, and the wisdom to know where and whom to ask
  • The right to exercise my innate creative abilities
  • The freedom to say no to a family member when dictated by my best interest
  • The right to respectful and dignified treatment
  • The right to know who I am
  • The freedom to know what I want
  • The right to choose the life I want
  • The right to assert my likes and dislikes
  • The right to accept myself for who I am
  • The freedom to regulate my thoughts and feelings without the input of another person
  • The freedom to cultivate interests and points of view
  • The right to tolerate points of view that differ from mine
  • The ability to accommodate another person without losing my own identity
  • The freedom to assert my rights without fear of loss of love
  • The freedom to assert my rights without fear of rejection and abandonment
  • The freedom to assert my rights without fear of physical or mental punishment
  • The right to say no
  • The right to feel alive
  • The right to believe I am likable
  • The right to make choices in my life
  • The freedom to choose my own friends
  • The right to set boundaries that will be respected
  • The right to follow my own interests

Maybe by posting these someone else will be able to find them helpful.

Living my dash (more freely)…

Christine

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