Category Archives: Making family

Not All Revolutions Need Guns

Some are just heralded by phone calls.

Today my life programming got turned on its head. This has happened to me once before, with DH and my therapist. But I thought, “Both of them have a huge amount of time and energy invested in my well being,” and although what happened was revolutionary,  I couldn’t ignore it, but it didn’t cause a sesimic shift.

Today just might.

At one point or the other we had 4 neighbors here, raking, etc. and keeping DH company.

One neighbor’s son split and restacked the 8′ wood pile which had fallen last winter. His dad dismantled the rack and told me what I needed to buy so it could be used again. I was offered cabbage salad (good, even though cabbage is NOT my fave). And, and….

One neighbor asked me to call and asked how I was and I said, “Near tears.” and it wasn’t because anything was bad, it was because there had been people here, almost all day, doing things for us.

Frankly, yes, I was worried how we’d get through winter with DH partially disabled. He’s fine, he stopped taking anything that wasn’t over the counter when he left the hospital > a week ago now, but he’s not his normal self, yet.

And here were all these people, raking, helping me move boxes, splitting and stacking wood, etc.

A part of me went numb. That same part had the past two days been looking for the “gotcha,” the catch, because there had to be one, right?

Except there isn’t.

We’ve been here for 25 years+. I try hard to be the neighbor I’d want to have. And I realized today that I discount all of that, because I do it without thinking about it most of the time. But I guess it does count.

The echo from my past is several things:

“No one who really gets to know you will want to admit it.”

“No man will ever love you.”

Whenever anyone is nice to you, they’re just being polite.”

etc. etc. ad nauseum.

 

And today cried BULLSHIT to all of that!!!

Not all revolutions have guns.

mohamed-nohassi-odxB5oIG_iA-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

I changed the image, this one seems to work much better!

More Panic & Stories of Us

Okay. I woke again last night (this was written Wednesday), three times. This was better (?) than Monday night because I omitted the adrenaline content. I just woke up with a cramped leg, twice and a cramped arm once. If the panic attacks stay limited to the physical side waking me and I don’t wake up with the emotional backwash of panic/pain, I can usually just go back to sleep. I’m not sure what it is I do with my arm, but I keep pushing/straining with my feet. It isn’t restless foot syndrome that I know of, because it seems to only happen on the nights when the PTSD has a reason to be “active.”

I yelp every now and then and I keep waiting for the day the scream I feel inside gets out.

Poor DH!

But I suppose a few things: 1) He loves me, bless him and knows I don’t do this on purpose. 2) We’ve talked about it. and 3) It’s probably a small price to pay to finally get a clean (or cleaner anyway) house? I don’t know that one, you’d have to ask him.


I met him at a supermarket to combine errands and our other agenda. We were saying good bye in the market. I was at the end of an aisle, he was at the other end. I called, he saw/heard me and came to me. I leaned into him when he got there; he kissed the top of my head. Some woman we don’t know said, “Ahhh.” I guess she thought it was nice.

Reminded us of a few other occasions:

  • We both worked as volunteers at a public radio station. Because we worked in different parts of town, we usually met at the station if we were both volunteering the same day. DH came in and walked over to me. The fellow I was working with started to introduce us and DH leaned over and kissed me. The fellow said, “I guess you two know each other?” Um, yeah. It was cute.
  • Years later, after we’d moved north, we were in the local shopping mall, holding hands. A teenaged (or younger) male person looked at us and went, “EWwww!” I suppose that to him holding hands is the purview of people < 20? Don’t know. We were amused!

roman-kraft-266787-unsplash

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

One Problem with Recovery

I just looked at the “laundry list” for the adult children of alcoholics or dysfunctional families. Here’s a link.  Almost all of that pertained to me in the past. Almost none of it fits me now, thankfully.

If you look down the page, you’ll find the flip side of that list.  My problem is with #5. This one:

We stop living life from the standpoint of victims and are not attracted by this trait in our important relationships.

That’s pretty easy to see. What I don’t see addressed here (and haven’t found elsewhere) is how you deal with those who were in your life before — getting them to change the unspoken “givens” in your relationship? Demands don’t work. At least in my case, neither does asking reasonably. My answer has been to cut off my family and all but one of my oldest friends. I’d like to have relationships with them, but in most cases I’ve moved on and they haven’t. Or, in a few exceptional cases, they’ve moved on and I’m not enough like I was to be “interesting” any more.

Says a lot about your value to someone, ‘eh? Either you’re valuable because you’re someone to be “better” than or “entertaining” or you have no value. If I did something extraordinary, that made me well known, these people would almost all in my estimation reclaim their relationship with me, whatever it is. But as an ex-victim, ex-emotionally unstable, non-victim, stable, older, housewife, who lives in the middle of nowhere, without drama — I’m unimportant.

And if I did something important, why would I want to be connected to these folks?

My old friends, I thought would be happy for me, because they cared about me, and I was stable and happy. Nope. Almost without fail, they were bored by me, because I wasn’t “exciting” any more.

My family? Well, that’s more complicated. I think they’d also claim their relationship with  me if I did something “important.” But it’s probably easier to call me “overly sensitive” or some such, now, than realize that the only way I will allow them to have any but the most casual contact with me is to rewrite the premises.  I’m not less than them. Different? Yes. Less? No!

Much of the problem of course is of my own creation. I thought for decades that being less and interesting/unconventional were some of the only real assets I had, as I was damned with some undefined piece. So, I started all relationships with the idea that I was less.

I changed, but that doesn’t mean that others want or need to.

 

 

Depressed

I just watched part of a Hallmark movie. The daughter had some issue and her mother hugged  & comforted her. It occurred to me that I’d never had that. Never had a parent’s comfort, or I never let myself believe it was real, because it was just too dangerous.

That was the Catch-22 my abuser put in my head: that people who were nice to me were just being polite or faking it and/or that my family just tolerated me.

So, whatever familial comfort I may have been given didn’t work, because I thought it was bogus — meant to trap me into hurting more or showing more vulnerability, so they could laugh at me privately, again.

The world I lived in was hostile, uncaring, and somehow I was wrong and I had no idea why that was so or how to fix it.

Mostly these days, this sort of thing doesn’t get to me. Every now and then, something just hits me over the head.

My husband was gone, but came home as I stared writing this post. He looked at a piece online which had a link to a story about these ducks:

and if you can stay depressed after watching these useful clowns, you’re worse than I was!

My Dad

would be over 100, if he was still alive. His birthday was early this month.

I think, like everyone, when you have an anniversary of this type, you remember the person in question. I have and have been. I wonder what he’d think of who I am now? I’m very different from the daughter he knew. I’m also not “successful” in the same way that he used to deal with his kid crap. Would he think I’m a failure because I’m not all that interested in intellectual pursuits, scholarship, or seeking money/status/power?

I don’t know.

Hopefully it would be enough that I’m happy. Maybe not. There’s one thing I’ve finally accepted about almost everyone who “knew me when.” I approached my early relationships with about 3 premises: I was broken/damned, I was less than they were, or I was there to entertain. NONE of that do I do now.

Many problems I have with my birth family and old friends is just this: I won’t accept any of those as the premises in a relationship anymore. This confuses and upsets people who have known me for a long time.

They think I’m going to provide hours of entertaining stories about being outrageous, emotionally fall apart, or just agree that they’re inherently “better” than I am, and we may or may not “fix” me.

street signs

I don’t and won’t play anymore.

Makes things awkward ‘eh?

The performance art was exhausting. Thinking I was a homicidal maniac and being terrified of myself was exhausting. Feeling like I was damned and deserved whatever derision or nastiness put on me was crushing.

I’m not there. I’m not going back.

I’m boring, don’t entertain, have no need to be told how to live my life, and almost never do anything outrageous anymore.

Dad liked/encouraged my outrageousness. He didn’t understand the emotional over the top behavior. He was proud of my ability to entertain people and be a good hostess.

A Piece of the Clutter

are items staged to go “elsewhere.” Frequently, it’s items for sale, but sometimes it’s items to go into storage, into another room, be mailed, or some such.

I started working on those yesterday, that’s where the 45 photos (on the tally) came from. They’ve been on my desk, part of the clutter ON my desk, in an envelope to be mailed to a relative. I don’t have my relatives’ addresses anywhere.

This is a deliberate part of my moving away from my birth family and towards DH’s. Mine, whether they intend to be or not, are toxic for me, so I avoid them. Not having their addresses stored is one way I avoid them. I had to look up the recipient’s address. I knew their phone number and finally did a reverse look-up. It’s addressed and ready to to the post office this afternoon.

I have another envelope, for another family member, unaddressed. I had found her address previously, but haven’t gotten the piece of paper with her address in front of me so that I can address that envelope. Found! Will be mailed this afternoon 2/3/17.

The last pieces from this album will be donated to Dad’s alma mater, he taught there as well, so they have his “papers.” I have sold portraits of various family members at antique stores in the past few years.

Do I hate my family? No. But the person who abused me wasn’t stupid and used who and what my family was as another stick to hit me with. That brainwashing is so old and so deep that I cannot remove it, try as I might. My family isn’t the warm/fuzzy type where you can talk about things like that and actually get a response which includes an adjustment in behavior. They don’t value me enough to do the changing required to stop punching my buttons, they think my buttons are ridiculous.

I can’t undo the buttons, I’ve been trying for over 50 years, right? So, the answer is to not let them punch them at all. Removing my “family heritage” photos is another concrete way I can stop feeling tied to them. I have one framed photo of my mother, and that’s it in the entire house. We have photos of DH’s family waiting to be framed. When they’re framed, they’ll go up. That’s my family because of two things: they will try and be responsive if I ask them to change in some way. (It’s a reciprocal relationship!) Also, I don’t have the brainwashing pushing me with them all the time.

Is this my family’s fault? No and yes. No, they aren’t responsible for my behavior (buttons) but they are responsible for their own (lack of being willing to accomodate my needs). I will not fight them, and I will not ask, again. I will simply remove them from my life as much as possible.

Harsh? I suppose. But you know? I’m  much, much happier without them in my life. I have nightmares about one or more of them coming to visit here. I’d have to do an exorcism, or something. It would be awful. I keep wanting to move so they don’t have my phone number/address any more.

It isn’t so much that they’re deliberately cruel, although some of them are, it’s that because they think my triggers are silly, they ignore the idea that they might need to pay attention. The only response accepting any responsibility for what they did to me was the last time someone really went after me and I went into a full flashback? They said, “I’m sorry you went into your flashback.” as if the attack which caused it was someone else speaking, as if the 2 weeks it took me to get back onto an even keel was trivial. To them I’m sure it was.

That was the “best”, the most responsive person in my family. When I reasoned it out, I decided they were all just too dangerous for me to be in contact with, and mostly I stay away. Removing these photos is another way to distance myself. No more memory lane — Thank God!

I Discovered

…eleven years ago today, a website, 43things.com, which no longer exists, alas. I was looking for 43folders.com and misremembered the name. Best mistake I’ve ever made!

43t, as it is affectionately known, was a wonderful site full of (mostly) supportive people, many of whom are still friends of mine. The problems came about because it was an Amazon site and they had to make $. Instead of using what they had, namely a community of people who probably would have paid for a portal to be there, they did other things: supercheers, then links to FB and twitter available to anyone, for your posts or any other. It didn’t work.

11 yo birhthday cake

Many of us wound up at popclogs.com after 43t closed. My account is inactive right now. Can’t remember my password and there’s some problem why they can’t give it to me.

My dad and my mom and one of my best friends all died very near my “real” birthday, so I use today as my birthday instead — because I discovered my first real “family” eleven years ago, today.

Just a reminder to me and others — mistakes aren’t always mistakes in the long run and families can be made if need be!


I just updated the “chore status 8/1” post. It seems the more I get done, the more there is to do — discouraging!!!