Big Sister

I’m struggling being a big sister to an adult woman. Since I was adopted, and raised apart from my half sister, our relationship is non-traditional. We are closer than ever as she approaches her wedding day in 2 months, but this closeness also brings frustration learning about one another.

We have the built in family connection. She’s my sister and I adore her. I prioritize her in my life. I realized after my breakdown last year how much she adores me back and I was taking her love for me for granted. I have tried to be much closer to her this past year. My timing may suck since she’s about to be married, but you work with what you have.

The wedding, of course, is anxiety fueled and she’s an emotional creature – maybe even more so than I am. We are quite similar in our ability to be so direct it often comes out unkind and we’ve definitely been having our share of crossed wires.

Lately I just feel like ALL the wires are crossing and we can’t have any communication without a misunderstanding.

I have to admit sometimes I find it all too much. I am still struggling to find myself and I know the people around me are frustrated that I am still depressed so I’ve mostly stopped talking about it with them. I call if I feel I hit a bottom and need support, but otherwise I’m back to remaining silent about my own feelings. In particular, I don’t want to cloud my sisters special time. I already have terrible shame that I chose to go to Mexico for the surgery the day she got engaged. Even though the subsequent terrors were not of my doing, they impacted her in a significant way as she tried to support me…during what should have been the happiest time in her life. I will never forgive myself for that and the shame and guilt I feel is overpowering.

But every time I try to do what I believe would please get, I seem to get it wrong. Maybe it’s because I don’t actually know her well enough. Maybe it’s because I see her through a different lens. Maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe I just don’t know how to have an adult female relationship that’s as close as ours is. I don’t know.

I do know it’s bumpy and I want to fix it, but that can’t come until we can have a serious conversation/ maybe early next year. I just don’t want to add any anxiety. But, I fear it’s all I seem to be doing lately.

Planning her bachelorette has been horrible. What I wanted to be a classy and fun weekend isn’t the experience her friends, or her, were expecting. They would have been happy with a pizza and beer weekend – and getting a bit sloppy drunk. I shouldn’t have taken the responsibility on my shoulders when I don’t know her friends well enough. I should have asked more questions and spent less money. But I planned what I believed she would love, and it turns out it’s all too much. For her, for them, for me. I’m just over it all.

Without getting into the entire story, I just wanted the long weekend to pass with her being happy and no one else complaining. I wanted it over before it even started. I am too old to be doing this for the first time. What started out as excitement and anticipation has turned into a bit of dread.

I also found it highly unusual that every friend of hers was invited with a plus one and I wasn’t, when I asked to bring one before the invites were sent.  I replied with a +1 even though I didn’t actually have someone to bring.  Her mother doesn’t think I should have the distraction because I will be “working.”  Working until the party, then mostly alone as the ones I love are in the spotlight and its not “my” family exactly.   I do want to bring a date, but I don’t have someone who can easily fit in, so I am going to let them know, but I don’t actually liked being told I shouldn’t have a date.  They seem to be worried I would be distracted with a date – who wouldn’t show up until the party in any case.  I am already going to be distracted with 3 teen boys trying to get dressed in Tuxedos when I am not there to help them.

I just want her happy and I seem to be failing at giving her this happiness. Now I just feel like I will also fail her the day of her wedding as the Maid of Honor. It’s overwhelming me and making me want to pull away and get away from being in such a close relationship. It makes me realize I’m not very good at relationships like this, and makes me think it’s why I attract men who aren’t ready for relationships. I don’t know if that’s true or not, I don’t think I put negative energy into the universe but lately I feel so judged.

Judged that I went to Mexico. Judged that I’m now too skinny. Judged that I like fancy things. Judged that I speak my mind and it doesn’t always come out so nicely. Just always judged and found lacking. I don’t know when I’ve felt this defeated (consciously felt at least) for such a long stretch of time.

The only single place I feel at ease, confident and comfortable is within my Peloton community.

Granted, much of that community is social media and not “real” relationship, and maybe that’s why I feel safe. I do have real life Peloton friends as well and I feel like their entire approach to life is just different than what I’ve experienced ever before. It’s a community of support. A community of accountability. There are challenges we all get to meet together. We work together towards a common goal. It makes me want to help others who are just starting out with changes in their lifestyle.

Some days I seriously consider becoming some type of coach. I think I have a lot to offer if I could find the right niche. (I believe even Morava picked up n this in a comment!)

And, if the saying is true that you attract what you put out there, then it’s super interesting the man I’m currently seeing is in all sorts of transcendence. Maybe a bit too much for me, but I’m sure I could have a lot to learn from him.

I’m unsure how to manage my sister. I’m turning inward which is also making her upset because I’m withdrawn but I don’t know what else to do.

I read a few of her text and her Mom’s text to a friend of mine and she felt the same way -that somehow I was being penalized, or perhaps “managed” is a better word.  “we’ve got to make sure Maddy doesn’t jump off the deep end again” or “we don’t want any drama at the wedding.”  I may be wrong, but my instincts with these types of things are not usually off.

The wedding is now 3.5 weeks away and what was very exciting for me to be a part of feels like a drag now.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, yet I feel like something is wrong at every turn.  I am truly happy for her and I am touched to the core she asked me to be the MOH, but I am starting to feel like I was put in this position so I can be managed, rather than because I was her first choice.  It just sucks, feeling this way before the wedding when it should be such an exciting time for both of us.

Down in the Dumps

This episode with my kids knocked me way, way down.

And I’m guessing it’s obvious to my friends, or I’ve gotten them scared to death, because they are checking, checking, checking on me a couple times a day.

I can’t knock it.

First, the physical. I feel like I want to cry, like really cry. Get it out. I can’t. I just can’t for some reason. My insides are still buzzy as if they are in high alert. I don’t like this consistent feeling as it signals to me I’m waiting for something bad to happen.

Next, the mental. I’m playing some sort of waiting game. I don’t even know what I’m waiting for but that’s how it feels. I feel like I’m looking for something that’s coming and I don’t know when or how. A couple weeks back, when this feeling started, it felt positive a like great things around the corner. It’s turned into something else, like dreaded anticipation.

I have forgiven my kids and myself for the argument. I made an appt with the therapist for the 4 of us and all of them are angry and rebellious about it. They have some said things that I attribute to their Dad, but I find myself questioning if I really am “that person.” One son said “get a boyfriend already and take the pressure off of us.” Another one said “you expect too much from us and you’re always disappointed”. My toughest guy told me that no one will ever love the way I love and that’s a direct quote from his Dad. I can’t figure out if they are sort of brainwashed or if this is how they see me through their “adult” eyes now. It’s really upsetting me.

I haven’t heard from Mike which admittedly unbalanced me, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it.

I’m upset my sisters mother doesn’t want me to have a plus one at the wedding AND the fact I don’t even have a plus one to ask. I feel like the next 3-4 months of family events that I am ALONE in capital letters.

This feeling of being alone is bothering me. I’ve said it many times but I just want a relationship of some sort already.

I do see, at least, how to help myself beware of my anxious attachment. I think it takes practice as I’ve still gotten little hurts along the way.

I don’t understand exactly how my mind works in terms of the attachment. Tom and Charles were pretty close to “getting it right from go” but my mind selected Mike above them in a way I’ve been able to disconnect from Tom and Charles easily, but less so from Mike. And before anyone says much, this is me in my head, I’m not acting on anything – there’s nothing to act on. In my opinion anyone who says “we’ve been on two dates” just drew a clear line in the sand that I’m not on his radar the way he might be in mine.

My friends think I have more on my plate than I am acknowledging and it’s slightly reminiscent of last summer. Kids, men and work all culminating into concerns at one time and layering on the anxiety. I truly don’t think I’m built for the same level of intensity I was able to put out before, I don’t feel that drive that makes me so strong. Not consistently.

I will write about work in a separate post but at the moment I can’t seem to pull myself up out of my depression.

Crap Travels Downward

The day passed as most do at my new role, uneventfully.

But not in my head. In my head my world seems to be be suffocating me. My body is anxious and disturbed.

On Mikes advice, I try to speak to the x. I knew this wasn’t the right advice for me but I want to try anything at this point to feel better.

What a waste of an hour. This man doesn’t even know his own child. I can’t deal with his stupidity. Even worse, he says he can’t take care of all 3 kids because he doesn’t have the room, he’s busy renovating his mothers basement and he has a life. This lit me right up. I’ve had those kids for 2+ years full time. I need a break and you better fucking figure it out for a few weeks. His answer: no, let them stay “home”. I was livid.

My answer to him was “not my problem you live in a 2 bedroom apartment for 5 years and don’t have space, that’s been your decision, for now you need to parent all 3 of your children together”.

I know I shouldn’t be. This is a man who only cares about himself, his mother and his own satisfaction. A mother who needs a break from a full time adult child has no choice but to care for her child or they are on the street because their father basically rejects his parental responsibility.

His answer: they are 20. Well, two of them will be twenty in a week, but our youngest is 16. Either way, we are responsible for them until they are out of college. He doesn’t see it that way. Nor does he care. He’s got a girlfriend and he’s got a sleepover on Thursday so my son has no where to sleep.

Their Dad is ok telling them to get lost that he has plans.

I am not ok with that. I am not that parent. He knows this so I am left with full time care of 3 kids while the father lives his life and I have a nervous breakdown.

I am so angry. I’m so angry that I made myself sick today. I had to call the therapist for an emergency appt on the phone – that’s how worried about myself I was. I could feel the gently wrapped threads unraveling at a very fast pace.

I took another hour to speak with her. She was genuinely concerned and worried, but had little to offer at the beginning than “you are in a very difficult, nearly impossible, situation”. Yes! I know that! But I’m calling you for answers and strategies!

Eventually we got there. I got a script together for my next steps. It’s not what I expected but it makes sense to me.

I really couldn’t function properly the rest of the day.

The sexting with Mike had me feeling regretful for some unknown reason and the behavior I had with my kids was just leaving me unsettled.

I did tell my group what’s going on with me. Closest friend took me out for drinks and listened. She’s single and in her 40s not much she can add in the way of parenting. But she was there for me when I needed her. Another friend thinks the boys deserve strong consequences (read punishment). When I asked her what she would do differently she couldn’t come up with anything different but insisted she would be tougher than me. This friend is the antithesis of me – never wants to be in another relationship as long as she lives, including parenting her children or being obligated as an adult child to her mother or sisters. She does it better than anyone I know but literally hates it. Again, she was there for me.

I hate that I feel like I need a male partner to support me. Is it because I didn’t get any male parenting while I was a child and haven’t ever seen my x parenting our children? I think there may be something in there. I need male validation and partnership because this has always been a void in my life.

That evening I made another mistake texting Mike while I was at the bar 2 solid glasses of wine in and starting the third on an empty stomach. It started funny and silly but then I made a comment that maybe he could be less distant and just more like the guy I met.

The response: you are really off base. I’ve been nothing but nice to you. We’ve been out twice. I’m sorry you had a bad day and a shitty x

Nothing like being put in your place.

I reread my text and I don’t know how he went from A to Z but he did. I apologized that he misinterpreted my request for him to just be flirty while I was having a bad night.

No mixed signals in his text, eh? When you remind someone you’ve only “been out twice” it’s pretty clear that’s all it was and all it will be. I knew that. Of course I did. I was the idiot who crossed a line because I should never have text him today AT ALL.

He would have come back when he was ready for more sex and not before. But my anxiety got the better of me. I was needy and went to the wrong person for comfort. I knew he wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I needed but, yet, I still went.

After all – no one, not one person, could help me today. I wanted to go numb. I wanted to sit in a corner and rock and cry. That might have been better than trying to be strong. Maybe I should have taken the time to let it all out. I know that only I can help myself. If I had taken the time to walk through today’s scenarios calmly in my head I would never have made the call to the x or to Mike. I can only help myself. I know this and continue to fight it.

Now I am on a bus home, sitting next to a man who (if he bumps into me once more) I might punch. Dreading the fact that I need to have a conversation with two of my kids when I get home. It can’t wait.

The other kid is with his Dad but I don’t know what he will do Thursday and Friday if his dad kicks him out.

Is getting upset over the x and some dumb text to Mike the end of the world? No. However – I’m always concerned about losing control now. It was the same for a long while with the exercise, I was so afraid to miss even one day I exercised myself into oblivion. It was very, very hard to adjust to less exercise and not crucify myself when I missed a day for good reason. This little derailment is the same. I lost some control, I knew it what happening, I took mostly the right steps to correct it and I will get myself back on track (I think).

I’m obsessing at the moment and I think that’s pretty standard process for me. My mind has to flip everything over and beat it blue before I let go. I get into my head and spin myself into an endless loop that I have quite a bit of trouble breaking. I analyze over and over to see if different actions would have different results. It’s like replaying a horrible highlight reel.

I read an article that helped with post conflict redirection through mantra, and while this helps, I need to find one while I’m in the conflict (or on the brink of making poor decision or exhibit bad behavior)

I know I cannot Define myself by what happened. It’s a bump in the road and I will inch forward and recover. I’m writing as the outlet to help stop the rumination.

I need to reinforce to myself that I am valuable. I am worthy. I am god enough, strong enough, and smart enough. I need to establish a mantra I can repeat when feeling dating or kid anxiety. Mantras cut through the noise in my head and create peace and space. I’ve learned this from almost daily meditation but I need a short and sweet one I can put in my pocket and put on repeat.

I’m just struggling with this pit in my stomach I can’t seem to move past. Then I worry the pit is there for a reason I haven’t acknowledge and that scares me. My intuition is so sensitive and not often wrong. I’m not trying to ignore it I just don’t know what it’s telling me right now.

At the moment I am trying to repeat:

Whatever is meant to be, will be.

There is a time and place for everything.

This too shall pass.

I am still healing, learning and growing.

Everything happens for a reason, even if don’t understand that reason today.

The only thing under my control is me. Deep breaths. Chin up. One foot in front of the other.

First Sign Things are not Going Well off Meds

To say I’m upset is an understatement. Just over 3 weeks off my meds and the cracks are showing. I knew this would most likely happen, but was hoping for the best.

I had an awful night with my kids.

The youngest at 17 asked to go to a party. He came home blind-drunk and vomiting like crazy. He’s nearly 300 pounds and couldn’t walk. His friends and brothers had a terrible time lifting him up stairs and into bed. I didn’t know this until the next morning and it upsets me to no end.

The same night the eldest at 20 asked me to have 4 friends over. I agreed because I figured what harm could 4 friends do. Well, 4 friends shit faced drunk can do enough. I wake at 4:45am now and I asked him to shut it down by 11:30pm. They were so drunk and having so much fun that even though it was in the basement I could hear them all the way in my bedroom. They trashed the basement and my son slipped on the beer soaked floor and ended up in the urgent care the next day.

None of this came to light until I was on my commute home the following day.

When I arrived home and wanted to change the laundry, I saw the clean clothes I had washed in the morning and left in the washer in a big pile on the floor. Later finding out it was because the eldest had vomited repeatedly in his bed and he had to change the sheets. God knows if he just threw them in there without cleaning off the chunks. I wonder if he realizes he needs to change the mattress pad as well?

Most likely not because after we argued he left his tossed room and went to his fathers.

Then I had to pay some bills so I checked my Amex bill to find over $300 in food and gas charges interspersed between my dry cleaning and pharmacy run the kids will do for me. When I told the older boys that they had to pay me back, both went out of their mind that it wasn’t their charges. One got so angry he slammed the desk and things went flying, he broke a small desk accessory. The other threatened to cancel my birthday cake and presents if I took the money from him.

During this time I checked my youngest sons bank account to see he had spent well over $100 of his own money on crap food in the past week. He will be driving in a month and he needs his money for gas. He earned a good salary all summer and more than half of its gone already before school even starts. He’s also obese and I’ve been cooking on the weekends so he has healthy meals all week – no wonder food is going to waste.

I was so upset and so distraught I went straight to screaming and yelling because they continue to lie to me and say they didn’t take my card, it wasn’t them, pointing fingers at the other brothers. It makes me crazy and I went off like a bottle of pop clink fizz.

I exercised hard for about 15 minutes just to get out some of the frustration and then I poured a large glass of wine. I got into bed and took an Ambien.

Mike text during this time and then I called. He could hear I was upset and I told him a little but I don’t really want to tell him much since I don’t know him AND don’t want to scare him away. He really thinks I need to get my x involved to take over for a while. We hung up and then text sex started. I barely remember because I was drugged by that point. I wasn’t happy with what I saw the next morning. While it was just dirty sex talk, he didn’t deserve it from me. I haven’t seen him in 2 weeks and he hasn’t asked me out. When I reread the text this morning I find this embedded in there:

I’m more angry at the pleading text than I am about the text sex – but, believe me, I didn’t like that exchange all that much either when I re-read it.

What’s the point in chasing? NONE.

NO POINT AT ALL.

I truly don’t recall the entire text string. I know ambien, alcohol and emotion don’t mix and he got hold of me at a weak point.

When I woke this morning, I got right up to exercise which felt great. But I literally have this heavy weight on my heart.

I’m not sure I can exist without stronger meds. I feel like a complete parent failure and it just keeps happening, no matter how much I feel I reinforce and hold steady with good behaviors for my kids, they seem to find a way to walk all over me. Then they claim it’s unintentional. To be threatened that my birthday treats will be taken from me because of their bad behavior is a terrible feeling – the fact that my son doesn’t even see that he stole money AND then punishes me for his crime is making me sick to my stomach. The drinking is relatively common at this age but their lack of sense about blacking out or trashing our belongings/home is startling to me. The fact that they don’t think I SHOULD get upset over any of this and call me insane, crazy and over-reactive is hurtful.

My children have zero idea what it takes to maintain and support s home with 3 man-boys full time with no support.

Add in the Mike thing and I just feel crushed this morning.

I would like to cry but my makeup is already on and I have work to prioritize.

I feel so defeated today.

Oh, and add in two lesser evils –

Tom called and asked when he could see me again. I told him I had my sisters 30th birthday party and he was welcome to come since it’s dinner then a casino. He readily agreed. By evening he wrote to say he may have his daughter and would let me know.

My sisters mother is also concerned that I want to bring a plus one to her wedding. While I understand my priority are the obligations I have as maid of honor, once the ceremony is over I am alone. I will know a lot of people, but since this is my birth-family, it’s quite different. I am still an outsider in a way, which doesn’t bother me as I’m there for my sister, her mother and our father. But there will be 5 hours of drinking and dancing and I will mostly be alone and would like to have company. My friend agreed it’s a tough position to put a guy in and while I don’t disagree with that, the right guy would be fine. They don’t even have to come from hotel to reception until after ceremony. And they will sit with me at head table. I don’t think it’s crazy but a bit upset the expectation was I should be alone.

Tuesday just ended like crap and started off my Wednesday with a heavy heart I can’t shake.

Who Goes to the Bank Anymore?

*Rant ahead! Apologies in advance!*

Who actually goes to the bank anymore?! Welp, my Dad does and it frustrates the hell out of me!

My parents had about 4 local banks they frequented. Closer to my mothers death, we reduced everything into 2 banks across the street from one another.

Before my mother passed she was very careful to ensure I had everything in place I needed to manage their bill, accounts, homes etc. When she passed I sent the requisite death certificate and changed all names and added my name as POA. Then again last year, I updated everything.

But there has ALWAYS been that one bank and that one person at that bank who refuses to get it right. And this year I had enough of it.

I have been to that bank for the past two years. With my Dad. And yet, it never gets done correctly. I simply need to obtain the tax form each year.

But this woman at this bank thinks I’m out to get my Dad or something. I swear I don’t know what it is. But she told me (again) last week I was all set up for the internet banking and could access forms there. When I attempted access I found I couldn’t! I wasn’t and called the internet banking line, they said it wasn’t approved by the branch.

Why is this local bank so difficult? Any other bank in the world you can do this shit on line. I have every possible piece of proof they could want and have physically been to bank.

Then I called the bank and literally ripped her a new one. I don’t generally get mad and scream but 3 years trying to get a simple tax document on time has pissed me off.

My father is older so I hate to make him do things he doesn’t have to do. But when I told him how rude this bank was – he ran over and did something entirely unexpected – he withdrew his largest account and brought me the check to manage elsewhere! He claims he stormed into the bank and yelled at the manager for not “listening to his boss!”

I’m not proud that I denigrated into anger, but 3 years of this woman I insinuating I was pulling one over on my Dad was all I could manage – and I guess he got the best of them anyway.

Of course we went back to the bank, once more, together. I politely handed her all the documentation while my father was sitting next to me. She repeatedly asked him if he was sure he wanted to make these changes and he finally got so frustrated he told her if she didn’t do it correctly he was taking out the rest of it! Even then, she remained impassive to his frustration.

Subsequently, we went to the bank across the street where we were able to get what we needed quite quickly – with the same documents. The people at the bank have known my family for years, and treated us like loyal customers – and me like a daughter who was caring for her father as he aged. What a difference. I tried to convince my Dad to move everything into the one bank!

But, that’s his decision ultimately. I like that my Dad feels he has control of his own finances and some responsibility at 83 years old. He’s worked hard for everything he’s got. I only need the ability to access for taxes and the trust we established, it’s not life-altering.

I am amazed how someone at a small local bank is so willing to lose business when retail banks are really starting to collapse. Especially when the bank directly across the street treats you as you would expect when you actually go into a bank!

You Can’t Want it More Than He Does

My eldest son has chosen to come home from his college. While it wasn’t my first choice, I knew I needed to support his decision. I did everything I could to help him exit one school and apply to another. Let me tell you, it was a bitch in such a short time and he was generally useless but it’s done now.

Some things happened with his grades and classes that I am actually angry about. Not angry at him for choosing or doing poorly – angry that he takes the “Of course this always happens to me” stance. I want to throttle him when he pulls that. Take responsibility and own what you’ve done. Realize your errors or challenges and figure out how you can do better next time.

I’ve spoken to him about this and haven’t demonstrated anger, just support. But I hit a boiling point when he “gives up”.

Luckily, my closest friend and the therapist have been helping me with this. The most impactful statement so far has been “You can’t want this more than he does.”

And I think that hit the nail on the head. I wanted him to get it right, get it done, move forward and be successful. I knew what mistakes he was making but I also knew he wasn’t listening to any advice I was giving him. So I stopped. I just listened to him and asked what his next steps are. This ain’t easy for me – I want to tell him what I think he should be doing, but he’s 19. He needs to want his own future.

It was a powerful moment for me.

Because on the back of that, I then acknowledged that even if I did help him (and he potentially fails) it wouldn’t change the outcome. He will learn much faster when he sees his goal and tries to reach for it instead of me handing him trophies along the way for every small effort. It’s still a bitter parenting pill – I know I can guide him. But this is something he has to do on his own.

I kept thinking if I helped him, he would get to his goal on time (meaning graduate college in 4 years with his peers). And it’s possible he doesn’t really see that future as his responsibility, yet. But he won’t succeed until he does. He needs to want to graduate in 4 years from a great college with good grades. I wanted that for him and I know he said he wanted it for himself, but I’m looking in the rear view mirror knowing the trials behind me and ahead of him, he can’t see over the hill in front of him. He needs to get there on his own.

Ambition and aggression have always been a part of my nature. They came built in. No one really knows how or why that happens, but some people are just more like that than others. In relationship, I generally don’t do well with others who are not similar (mind you my best friend is polar opposite but more in that another day). I lean towards like-minded people. We all know this was one major reason for my divorce: I was moving forward fast and he wanted to stand still. When I see the “woe is me” attitude with my kids it makes me bonkers. However, if these are my kids, I can nudge, encourage and advise but I cannot DO for them what they need to do for themselves.

It’s a heartbreaking lesson to watch your kid suffer and struggle, partially of his own accord.

Here’s to hoping he finds himself and grows stronger in the coming semester. And here’s to hoping he doesn’t disrupt the house so much that all the peace of the last 4 months disappears.

When You See Your Reflection

My son is home from college and is deeply depressed. I knew there was only one thing I could say to him “No matter what you chose, I will support you.”

I knew he needed to hear that from me in order to release his tension and anxiety. He doesn’t want to go back to the college he chose.

I understand, he made a dumb decision. There was a lot of bad reasons he made that dumb decision and I wasn’t happy about it but he’s 19 and has to start making some of his own decisions. For better or for worse. At least this dumb decision created the opportunity for me to say to him “will you please listen to my advice this time and consider it more seriously?” He realizes now I know him better than he gave me credit for. He also realized his father is useless when it comes to serious decision-making.

What he hasn’t realized is that he is accountable for his actions.  Sometimes, he just gives up before he starts.  Re-enrolling him in college has been painful, and I mean like stepping on a Lego painful.  Some of his statements have been “I’ve done it already” “I knew this would happen to me” “Whats the point?”   Ok, registering late sucks because everything is accelerated, but it’s not the end of the world and I’m helping you every step of the way – but I cannot DO it for you.  I’ve been to college, this is your responsibility.

I don’t even have the energy to blog about all the things he’s said and the conclusions he’s come to. I would prefer he go back (to his original college) and make a try of it. In my opinion, he’s giving up and it smacks of lazy. I hate lazy. But, in my current state of apathy, it’s really hard to engage him when I understand so well what he feels. I just didn’t feel it at 19.

This week we had to move fast to exit him from one school and get him into another, temporarily. My belief, ultimately, is he’s young enough to start all over again and I’m not opposed to that. What I do fear is his ability to get under my skin and cause massive disruption in this house and family. I notice his twin is angry (at me) because his brother is home and being disruptive. The eldest is one entitled kid and while he knows I’m helping him and he understands, he doesn’t change.

He admitted to me some of his characteristics which bother him and it’s hard to keep my mouth shut when he’s such a reflection of both my x and myself.  He lies like crazy which is probably one of my biggest pet peeves with his Dad. I hate lying. My parents and brother were masters at it, then my x husband and now my twins. It’s a craft that makes me want to kill someone. I don’t even understand the need to lie – I can see some reasons – like they don’t want their “appearance” to be affected. They want to maintain a certain face to the world. Lying catches up to you. The truth almost always finds a way to the surface. Just writing about lying makes me angry.

I brought the boys to therapy last week so they each had an opportunity to discuss with my therapist. I was due for a follow-up Monday but had a stomach bug and couldn’t go. I don’t know what they said. They wouldn’t discuss it any more with me but said it’s mostly stuff I already know. As much as I believe I need to try to listen to my children to be able to help them, there’s a large part of me that just wants them to act like small adults and grow a pair of respect balls. I was probably no different as a teen – maybe meaner, even. But I held up my end of the parent/child relationship: good grades, a full-time job, responsibility for myself (doctors, laundry, car, school etc) and activity in general. My boys barely do a damn thing for themselves other than school – and I’m not that impressed with their grades. Sleep, eat and video games. That’s it. Is it too much as a parent to ask for more? Good grades and get a job are top of mind for my 19 year olds.

I see so much of myself in my eldest twin. I suffered in my first year of college and made irrevocable poor decisions. I want him to avoid the same fate. But he needs to listen and be open to accepting that he screwed up and can actually take a step backwards in order to leap forwards. I wish I understood that. I wish I knew there was time and opportunity if I was just patient and smart about my choices, but I didn’t have that kind of guidance. I did have support – my father didn’t understand how to support, but my mom did.  My eldest has both support and guidance.  Honestly, at 19, he’s got it great and still takes advantage of me.

I’m also angry as his father doesn’t seem to be invested. Maybe they have their own conversations but it infuriates me that his father has zero communication with me regarding our children. We didn’t parent together in marriage so I see nothing has changed with him but I don’t understand how a parent can be so far removed from their children. The boys barely see him and he doesn’t seem to care. He believes if they want him they will find him. There’s a large part of me that’s so angry with him that I hope they end up not giving a shit about him the same way he’s treating them. It’s amazing to me how little involvement he needs and they still love him. I hate parenting on my own (here’s where I say I miss Tony). I hate having to figure out these life choices alone. I hate not knowing what he is saying to them. Kids need parental consistency and I feel angry that we don’t give it to him because he refuses to have a co-parenting relationship.

My friend says I have to just ignore him entirely. What he says and does doesn’t matter and I have to focus on what I can do alone.

This just makes me feel more pressure because I don’t want to do it and certainly not alone. The only comfort I have is knowing this would be much worse if I was still married to him. I try and calm my anger by reminding myself that I’m glad he’s gone. Some days I can’t even believe it’s 4.5 years we’ve been apart – I’m so thankful to not be married to that man. I suppose I need to remember how grateful I am that I got out of it. Ever since the surgery I’ve been more angry at him than ever. He allows all the weight of parenting to fall in my shoulders and doesn’t share any burden. It is making me crazy because I am so weak at the moment.

I don’t know anymore if I am capable of holding the weight of my world on my shoulders anymore.  I’m not working (or doing anything else) and I can just about manage these kids.

Growing Up

Growing up….gosh I don’t recall as much as some other folks do. I think I had a decent childhood earmarked by things I loved and adored.

But when someone reframed events and circumstances for you (hello my therapist) you start to rethink HOW you remembered things. And I have an amazing knack for taking the good forward and leaving the bad behind. Sometimes even eliminating the bad so I don’t have to feel those negative things again.

My father never really engaged in a positive way with his children. I recall begging for any positive attention. I never really liked my father and it took a deathbed promise to my mother to stop arguing with him. My most outstanding memory was being hit by my father, or chased and punished. Until I was 16. Years later my mother and father denied he ever “hit” me. Because of my father ever “hit”Me I would be dead. He simply gave me “love taps” as they liked to call them. Nothing like gaslighting your own child, right?

My father now speaks and behaves as if my mother was the only person that mattered in his life. He has no engagement with his 5 grandchildren unless he eats a meal with us. I’m sure he loves all of us in his own way, but his way is something I will never understand.

I don’t recall him ever encouraging me as a child. I was always “fat” and he called me by a nickname I hated and begged not to be called. Even to this day he tells me how I don’t know anything. When I first got a job (in an office) he thought I would never have “hard work” because I wasn’t a laborer. At least his opinion of that has changed as he’s watched me kill myself working over the years.

I got my work ethic from him. And my ability to be stubborn and argue before listening. I am most unlike my father. I am pretty sure he didn’t like me as a child, but he is proud of me as an adult because he can see the fruit of my labor. I never told him about the surgeries or Mexico because he would never understand.

I still blame him for my mother’s end. Not her death, but how she lived in squalor because he was so possessive and wouldn’t allow anyone else to care for her when he clearly couldn’t. When I think of it I get so angry I could hurt him. My mother had to be carted around like a doll when she was in stage 4 cancer, diapers, and incoherent because of what “he wanted” to do. It was always his way or the highway. Still is. Now I just allow him into our lives on my terms since I know I have to accept him as he is. I feel sad he is my father and tried the best he could. I don’t think he really wanted children the way my mom did. He just wanted her to himself.

My mom, I still have a hard time admitting I wasn’t the child she wanted. An even harder time admitting she didn’t know how to mother a child like me. If she had lived longer we might have found our stride – but we didn’t for most of my life. I regret this immensely and hope this doesn’t happen with my own children. It scares me to death.

My poor mother had to deal with my father who was cruel and possessive, her mother who was mentally unstable and needy (and the two of them hated each other) and then I come along and I’m high strung and aggressive and want to be left alone. I don’t want to do the girl things she wants me to do. I don’t want to take care of her the way she cared for her mother at her beck and call. I watched her be miserable and refused it for myself. I watched her live my brothers life for him, coddling him to a point where he is incapable of being an adult (until he met a woman who kicked his ass!). Her life scared me. I know she wanted better for me and always encouraged me and was my biggest cheerleader – but she was disappointed in my lack of empathy and compassion when I was young (it was her hallmark). I have it now….but not sure if it would have been enough for her.

The hallmark of my entire young life was “not enough” or “too much” and then that carried through to my marriage. How do you forgive your inner child or begin to like her again when she was never just “enough”.

I also realized the first forms of validation I received on being enough came from boyfriends. This is probably why I continue to seek validation with men. The early boyfriends I had were so good to me. Every one of them wanted to marry me. They were all good men for that point in my life but I grew out of each one for one reason or another.

Looking back a growing up I realize I never really liked myself because my parents didn’t like me. I didn’t make solid friends until high school, around the same time I became interested in boys. We had moved twice when I was young and I just couldn’t connect to the girls until I joined Flag Squad In High School and became a part of a “team.” By that time the boys came on the scene and I never really developed those female relationships that so many do. I depended on men for validation from the very beginning.

So much work to do still and it’s so hard. How do you forgive and accept yourself for so many years ago? What if I never like that child? She was always awkward and needy. She never felt pretty until very late – 10th grade – when she realized how sexual she was. Will I always feel like that little girl? With peaks of happiness but not truly satisfied with herself underneath it all? Thinking and feeling that no one really knew her and loved her for who she was. They always wanted her to be someone else until she met her boyfriends. They wanted her just as she was. They would have stayed by her side. Why didn’t her parents feel that way? That she was good enough just the way she was?

Inner Child

Hello Madeline, meet Trixie.

Oh, you know each other already?

Hmmmm….

So work with my therapist has begun on my inner child. Basically, learning how to like and accept that young wounded girl and then learning how to re-parent her.

Truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about this work. I don’t like going back to revisit difficult things and I am a champion at forgetting bad things – also known as my stellar behavior to crucify myself on a daily basis.

A friend said to me: what you have been doing and how you have been doing it isn’t working, why not try another way? Open your mind and listen.

Because this is my nearest and dearest friend whom I trust the most, I agreed to try something different. This also includes a therapist who is also non-secular. I promised, while begging for life in Mexico, that I would try and turn to God. More on this piece to come at a later time.

This post is simply to introduce the idea of my inner child and how she will help me learn why my behaviors, especially my bad behaviors, have become my ultimate coping mechanism.

We spent a little time talking about my childhood and my parents. If you asked me, I would say I had a very good, and happy, childhood. That’s only partly true. I was a very dissatisfied child, worse so when my younger brother came on the scene almost 6 years later. I actually no longer dwelt on the cards I was dealt as a child, I thought – and still think, to some degree – going back to explore these issues doesn’t hold and value on how I choose to live today. I am aware of the things I was uncomfortable with in childhood, but prefer not to dwell. Further, I’ve been taught that it just sounds like privilege complaining. People had it way worse than me in their lives, my parents tried their best, my mother is no longer alive, and my father is nearly 82. What’s the point of reliving painful memories that can stir up old feelings of anger and sadness (amongst many other feelings) when I have moved past all of that?

Or, have I?

I am willing to explore it and think about it. Try to learn what I don’t love about myself that I allow so many others to determine my self-worth. And then learn how to love and accept all of me, so that I may share myself fully with others.

I will start with my adoption. I may have told the story in a past blog somewhere, but I’m going to write again. I will walk through some childhood memories and try to think about why my inner child is so unhappy and feels so unwanted. I think I have many answers already but I want to do the work in writing.

I feel a need to apologize to my mother in heaven before I start this work:

Momma, I love you more than anything and I’m sorry I was never the daughter you needed, but I loved you fully and know you would be so proud of the woman I’ve become. I know you won’t like this….I need to explore what’s making me so unhappy in my womanhood that must be stemming from my childhood. I no longer blame anyone, it’s only a process of realization. I know you didn’t like so many things I’ve done in my life that must have felt like direct attacks on your parenting, but you always, ultimately, supported me in the end. We were always uncomfortable together, you and I. It was never a fully harmonious relationship. We always questioned one another. I wish I understood you sooner so you could have felt more love from me than you did, but believe me, it was always there. You have, and always will be, my first love and number one. Please support this hard work I have to do. I don’t want to remember things that hurt because you are not here with me anymore and I feel it’s unfair, but I believe it can help. Please continue to stay by my side throughout. I love you.