Friday, December 26, 2014

Stop reading NOW if the truth hurts!

Over the past few hours, as I swam through a tsunami of emotions, I feel even more determined to continue my journey as I have been. However, I want to give some clarity to those that may not understand my intentions. First of all, I do not blame my parents for the things that I did that caused detrimental consequences for me or those around me. I am 100 percent accountable for my actions. Let me be clear about that. It is and was my responsibility to manage my mental health, my physical health and my life in order to be a fully functionable human. I did not stay in therapy (as I should have), I did not stay on my medications (as I should have), I drank too much, I used sex as a way to meet my need of feeling love and cutting took away much of my pain so I didn't really believe there was anything wrong with me. The bottom line is, I was lucky. I was lucky that I wasn't in prison or dead by the time I was 30.

With that said, my childhood is a different issue. My parents had a responsibility to protect me, to nurture me, to teach me how to be the best human being that I could be. They failed. Period. That does not mean that we didn't have good times. That does not mean that I don't have good memories. That does not mean that I didn't or do not love them. Let's be clear about that. Speaking of memories, I remember NOTHING of the years 6 1/2 - 8ish. I barely remember years 10-13 and I have very few memories of the years 15-17. All the rest in between is garbled and messy, but i do remember both good and bad times.

With that all said, my blog, my story, is mine. I understand that writing about my experiences, may in fact, expose those around me, but I try as much as I can not to detail their involvement or at the very least to state that whatever happened does not necessarily mean how I feel today. I tell my experience of what I did, what happened to me and how I dealt with it, perhaps how I deal with it now.

I don't know if my actions as an adult were because of a chemical imbalance, my environment, my influences or maybe I just made stupid, immature choices. What I do know, is that, today, I base my life on what happens to me as an adult. If a parent calls me unloveable and a loser in my forties (yes, that happened), it hurts. If a parent refers to my half-siblings as her "real" children (yes, that just happened). It hurts. If a parent reacts to something I say about another family member and disregards it as a figment of my imagination, it hurts.

I love my siblings, unconditionally. I know that I have hurt them and I don't expect us to have a relationship beyond what they are comfortable with. However, let's be clear. They have hurt me too. It doesn't mean my pain is greater than theirs or vice versa. It is what it is. More importantly, what I felt in the past is in the past. Writing about it is about writing MY history, nothing else. Today, I care for all of my siblings, whether they speak to me or not. At the end of the day, I don't really care if they hate me, because I love them, I have forgiven both them and myself so my heart is whole in regards to that familial issue.

When it comes to my parents the relationships are more complicated. I will not sugar coat their dysfunction or abuse. However, I am not saying that they are horrible people. I am only saying that as a child, there was some dysfunction and abuse centered around me. As with other people, I gauge my relationship with them based on what they do now. The two examples that I mentioned above, force me to cut out the toxicity because there are still issues within themselves that cause them to say and do things that are not good for my mental health. That does not mean, I don't love them. That does not mean that they aren't good people. It does not mean that we didn't have amazing, beautiful, loving moments when I was a child or even as an adult. It means only that they have or are hurting me today and I have to decide if I want that in my life. I don't. Discontinuing that relationship is, at the very least, a necessity because they don't like what I have to say and I'm not going to stop telling my history. How they deal with that is between them and their God or their therapist.

Finally, it may be obvious that when I write about my parents, I am not speaking about my dad. The reason is because he is the only one that sincerely takes accountability for his role in my life as a child and how his parenting might have affected me as an adult. He is honest about who he is and he doesn't manipulate me by saying one thing and doing another. Most importantly, if I make him mad, disappoint him, hurt him, shock him, etc, he doesn't lay his feelings  on me. I don't know who he talks to about it, but what I do know is that he loves me unconditionally. He may be the only one in my life who ever has, besides my children.

I'm going to continue telling my story. I'm going to continue getting stronger each and every day. I will fall down occasionally. I will want to scream. I still want to hurt myself (but I won' least I'm strong enough today to know that I won't). However, I will not edit my history to make other people happy. I will not pretend that I grew up in some make believe fantasy (I did that already and it doesn't work). And I will not excuse behavior today because someone has to face their own truth. When I (ME) have to be the voice of reason in my circle of parental influences, then something HAS to be wrong because we all know I'm the messiest of us all. Just something to think about for all parents everywhere....

Thursday, December 25, 2014

...and this is what "she" said... Merry F'ing Christmas!!

It's Christmas Day. It started out amazing. My daughter woke me up early (5:30 a.m.) and after a good cup of strong coffee, we opened presents. As sad as it was not having my oldest daughter at home, I am so proud of all she has accomplished. Plus, watching the little one open her presents and seeing the joy on her face is one of the greatest moments as a parent. Her dad came over and we opened his presents and I was again reminded of how lucky I am to have him in my life and that we are still such good friends and that our priority is and will always be our children.

And then.... I spent some time sending Merry Christmas texts to all of those that I love. One in particular to my parents, which also asked if they would be around this afternoon because we wanted to come by with their presents. Then I received this:

Step-mom: "Go re-read your Dec 20th Blog and think again if I really in good faith should be wishing you anything. But try the real truth and fond memories of all I ever did for and my REAL children (I added the capital letters, but you see that right?) and my true family know the truth."

Me: "Wow! My Blog is about my truth. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it and I especially didn't blame anyone for our broken family except myself. I know I'm the reason we don't spend holidays, all of us together, as a family. And I absolutely have the right to speak my truth and how I have been hurt as well, whether anyone in our family wants to acknowledge that. This is just one more example of how this family is hell bent on hurting me. I have fond memories of my childhood too, but I was speaking about my relationship with my brother, whether you want to accept that or not. My blog helps a lot of people that grew up with toxicity and their own mental illness and dysfunction within their family. Thanks. Thanks for being another reminder of why the holidays bring me nothing but pain. FYI, I was raped when I was 6 years old right around this time. Bet you didn't read that in my posts, but that's right. What I've done to you and this family is the worst thing possible. I get it. I should really fucking love the holidays. Enjoy your REAL children. Just remember, my dad is MY dad and he will never turn on me. I was first and no matter what he tells you, I always will be. Don't ever contact me again."

Fuck, fuck, fuck!!! I am so fucking hurt right now. All I want to do is take apart my razor and CUT, CUT, CUT. This is why I don't have contact with my family, but I bring them back in to somehow make up for what I've done to them and then THIS.

I will never, EVER, believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas are anything but SHIT. Yes, I'll put a smile on my face for my children and I'll follow our tradition of making cookies for Santa, opening new pajamas and reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas', but I will never stop hating myself. I hope you, (step-mom) feel good about yourself. Talk to your therapist about this and maybe up your medication, because you haven't changed at all. I hope you cry when you read this. I hope you feel guilty for the rest of your life. You don't deserve my love because I am and will always be a better person than you, no matter how fucked up I am. At the end of the day, I try to see the good in anyone, even those that hurt me, until they deliver the final blow. I will NEVER let you in again.

Merry Fucking Christmas to me! I'll just be here spending the rest of the day hating myself. However, I know that I will stop crying, I know I will pull myself together and I know I will still be fucking awesome. Watch me!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I Give Thanks and Then I Cry

Wow! What a roller coaster of emotions the past few weeks. I visited my daughter and son - in - law over Thanksgiving in North Dakota. Aside from freezing my tail feathers, it was an incredible time. It made me proud seeing her so accomplished and driven. She and her husband have an extraordinary love and commitment for each other. No matter how much I beat myself up, I can't help but know that there must have been something good that funneled its way out of me in order to create something and someone so beautiful and healthy. Sure she has her issues, based on my lack of parenting moments, but she has found her own way of pushing past them. The most daunting weakness is that she has trust issues with me and because of me. However, we had an amazing talk and she was able to tell me honestly how my guilt deception hurts her. Letting go of my guilt for letting her down causes me to make promises to her that I know I can't keep. It was healing for us both as she let me know that she would rather be disappointed by not getting something, than knowing that I am lying to her. Another light bulb moment... disappointing loved ones is not the end of the world and completely normal. When relationships are healthy you will not be judged. You are not trying to meet unrealistic expectations and if the relationships are non-toxic, those you love will love you unconditionally no matter their emotions, be it anger, sadness or disappointment. Leave it to my daughter to continue teaching me how to re-learn what I should have learned as a child.

Thanksgiving was all that I could have hoped for. Having my children and their friends surrounding me with their youth and laughter was exactly what I needed. She even made our entire dinner from scratch. Albeit with some help, but watching her as an independent adult (she and her husband have also recently started their own business) was a moment I will never forget.

This time with her helped me to forget how Thanksgiving has been painful for me from the time she was born. Her father left me the day before Thanksgiving. He broke up with me with a letter because he couldn't look at me and do it. His guilt? Fear of my reaction? I don't really know, yet it was another stab in the heart as to how unlovable I am. At the time I felt that he was "the one". Looking back I can see that he was "the one I hoped would save me". A little over one month after we broke up, I found out I was pregnant. The holidays after that were both amazing and sad, but I survived every one of them until the year my final ultimate breakdown began.

I had been living a rollercoaster of ups and downs for years prior to the Summer of 2009. I had recently been fired from a job that I loved more than any job I've ever had. I know why I was fired. It certainly wasn't the first time I'd been let go for my unpredictable behavior. I was always very good at what I did. I just was never consistent.  I would have amazingly productive times and then I would call in sick for no reason and at the times I was needed the most. My emotions caused friction between myself and my supervisor and I mixed my personal and business life in a way that was bound to sabotage my entire existence. Sometime in October, a few months after I was let go, I had a full hysterectomy. 20 years of extremely painful and life threatening ovarian cysts had finally gotten to be too much for me.

As Thanksgiving approached I asked my family (step-mom, dad, siblings) if they wanted to come and have Thanksgiving at my house since I was still recovering from surgery.  I had a large kitchen and thought we could all make a day of it. I was curious as to why I wasn't getting a direct "yes" to my invitation until the day I talked to my brother. He told me that if I was involved in or at Thanksgiving dinner he would not come. He told me that if I wasn't his sister he wouldn't even like me. He basically let me know that my unpredictable and reckless behavior was no longer something that he wanted in his life. Needless to say, I was devastated. For years, I blamed him for how my life spiraled after that. We were never really close because he is much  younger than me, but I loved him so much. Perhaps, it was because I had stepped in so many times when he was a child to protect him from the violence, mental illness and alcoholism that went on in our house. Internally I believed this somehow made up for my childhood because I was now the protector. Perhaps it was because having a little brother helped me to believe in the good in people. Regardless, whatever fragile pieces I had left shattered. I have not spent Thanksgiving with my parents or siblings on my father's side since.

I'm still so conscious of this time in my life that even now as I try and rebuild my relationship with my brother after unforgivable betrayal to our parents, I know that I don't try as hard as I could. It still hurts. It is still a reminder of my self hate. Although my life and this journey grows stronger, things will never be what they were and there is a part of me that knows that the dysfunction of my entire family will never allow us to share memories that other families share. Even as I put all of my broken pieces together, I will never be able to build the family I so desperately want. And no matter how logic tells me otherwise, I continue to believe that this is, and will always be, somehow my fault.