Friday, July 30, 2010

Depressed again

Swimming in the Mekong in Cambodia.Image via Wikipedia
I can't explain it. I've been depressed this week. Today I had that old thought in my head, the one I have to bury every so often that says "Just shoot me already". Not healthy thinking. A couple of nights ago I felt like running to my room, diving under the blankets and hiding from the world. My daughter pulled me out after about 30 seconds. She thought I was playing "hide and seek", and we were supposed to be getting ready for swimming.

There was a whole paragraph here but somehow I wiped it out. I love the weather of summer, but my work is incredibly slow and although I have work to do it is not the work I enjoy doing.

I'm obsessing about things that I don't need to obsess about simply because I've got 8 hours of boredom on my hands every day. Boredom that will go away hopefully in a few weeks when the fall semester draws nearer. Hopefully. It's not a good time to be in my line of work right now, but I'm trying to hang in there. We don't have disability insurance and I'm not sure I want to put my resume together and try to find something else. I'm a long, long way from retirement so I know I need to suck this up and hang in there. Meanwhile I'm tired, depressed, and feeling stuck.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I am looking for inspiration today. I want to write, and I want to post, but I'm not sure what about. I wish I had some magic song lyrics or a poem to quote. Where does one find song lyrics about Al-Anon anyway? So many songs about drinking and boozing, but what about about recovery? Where do I find music like that? I guess I should Google these questions, huh? Maybe I'll come up with something.

The kid slept in her own room last night, the first time in a while. I cleaned it first and made it welcoming, and then hung out for an hour after she fell asleep just to be sure she wouldn't wake from the washing machine. Then I went to my own room, surfed the web a bit, and finally fell asleep. At 4am she called for my husband. I woke him, and then went back to sleep. I like nights like that!  :-)

My dad has had a rough week so far I think, but I am hearing about it from his girlfriend. He is being quiet and private like usual, not wishing to share much with me. I am trying to respect that, and am meditating about him in peace.
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Monday, July 26, 2010


This blog has been quiet for 6 days. I hadn't realized that until just now. My mom hasn't left any messages on the answering machine during the past week, which surprised me. Maybe she is unwinding, maybe not. I stayed busy for my part. Spending time with my husband, my friends, doing things we enjoy and not worrying about the rest. Life is too short for the wasting with the other stuff. Just focusing on myself and not worrying too much about my parents.

A nice weekend that got busy as we added to our plans, including an impulsive trip to Keene, NH yesterday.

So breathe in, breathe out. Taking it one day at a time and enjoying the calm after the storm.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sharing and experience

Someone posted on her blog about the difference she sees between sharing a problem and sharing a solution. When I first read it, I took it rather personally. Since I have recently been blogging about a specific situation with my mother, I felt like maybe her post was a response to mind. Now that I'm thinking it over though, I'm (almost) sure that's not the case. :-)

Anyway, for me I have a different experience. There are times when I want to blog about the "solution" and post about the slogans and the steps, and the recovery things that I am doing. Then there are other times where I feel it's important to identify something specific. I do this for 2 reasons. First of all, it's helpful to me. It helps my recovery and healing to put it all out there where I can see it, to process it, absorb it, and own it as my life. Second, I feel that in this sharing someone else might say "Hey, that's me too! I'm not alone in this!"

Many of us have crazy mothers. When I was in high school  I thought I was the only one. Well, okay, I knew someone else who had a crazy mother but she was crazy in a different way. She had a lot of headaches and was sick all the time. The apartment had to be kept quiet and dark, and my friend was on his own a lot. My mother was different though. I felt very isolated in dealing with her. No one else I have ever known has had a parent quite like mine.

So I post both about the flareups that we have, and about how I am coping. A lot of days I am simply putting one foot in front of the other, living in the moment, and taking things one day at a time. I'm enjoying the little things like a cup of coffee with my husband this morning at Panera, child-free. I focus on the good, my family, and my friends. On some days I struggle though, and those are the times when I am more reflective, and likely to spend a long time writing out a blog post.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Something from the ACOA site

I said something yesterday, quoted it actually, and I'm going to repeat it here:

"Our actual parent is a Higher Power whom some of us choose to call God. Although we had alcoholic or dysfunctional parents, our Higher Power gave us the Twelve Steps of Recovery." 

Now I've been meditating on this a bit. We are all God's children, or children of the universe, or however we choose to define it. I have heard often the expression "Anyone can be a father, it takes someone special to be a dad!"  But we don't seem to have an equivalent for mothers, do we? I haven't heard it.

So this person who gave birth to me, and who has abused me for nearly 40 years is my biological mother. I have never had a "step-mother", although I've wanted one. She is the only "mother" I've known. However if I remember that we are all "God's children" then maybe that will help me to detach, to let go of that fear of abandonment.

okay, that's it. Just a quick one for now.

Detach, detach, detach!!!!!

It wasn't enough. Giving my mother what she wanted yesterday only led to her asking for more. Instead of being satisfied with what she got, she called up this morning screaming for another fight. On the phone though it is easier for me to step back. She's not in my house or my car. All I have to do is hang up. So I answered her question politely, and repeated myself several times even though I knew she wasn't listening. Then the kid needed my attention and I excused myself abruptly. A few minutes later I called her back and she refused to answer the call. Later she called again, but this time I was out. She claimed she wasn't home when I called her back, and then she started in again about something else. When the message got too high strung I deleted it without listening to the rest. I don't need this insanity in my life.

After dinner I talked to my husband. I asked him some "what if I do this and she does that..." and a few other things. He told me what I wanted to hear. He told me it was okay to disengage even if it means a loss of material items. Sanity is more important.

I made a quick attempt to reach my mother and got her machine, no surprise. I don't think she really wants to talk to me. I think she just wants to fight. Now she is asking me for something she knows I don't want to give her- time and commitments. I won't go through all the details in the blog here. I can't explain nearly 40 years of history to someone who hasn't known her.

One person who does know her is my father. He was married to her for less than 3 years, but because of me and his own personal goodness of character, he has been around this woman for longer than I have. I am grateful for that. So I called him and talked for a few minutes. He is a great man when it comes to this stuff, much better than anyone else. He sided with my husband and said it was okay to detach and disengage. If my mother does something rash because I refuse to meet her terms, then that's her decision, her life. It's not for me to feel guilty about. He reminded me of the time many years ago when she and I were riding in a car and she just flat out hit me across the head while she was driving. He wasn't there, but I told him about it. I've mostly forgotten about it now, but it wasn't the only time. She likes to hurt people. Putting myself in her physical space is putting myself at risk for abuse of many kinds. I'm not the only one she has hit. My father reminded me of that. We briefly shared memories of witnessing her assaulting her 3rd husband. It's good to remember that it's not me. It's her.

So many things in my program help me here. First of all I have a right to protect myself and my family. Anytime abuse is involved the answer should always be "Get out, get somewhere safe." How often do we go back? Over and over again. Whether it's to a relationship with a man or a woman, or to a parent or a child, we keep going back. I am stupid like that, and it's been proven repeatedly.

Second, I am powerless over this. I am powerless over her. No matter what reaction I give her, she will do what she is determined to do. It doesn't matter if I give her what she wants today, or not. She is on some kind of roll and she's not going to stop until she hits her own personal wall. I don't exist. She is just going to go full speed until she breaks. Or whatever. It doesn't matter whether I say "yes you are right" or whether I say "No, you are completely wrong", she is just going to twist whatever is said to meet her own agenda and then she is going to follow that destructive path that is hers to follow. I cannot stop this. I am powerless over her. No amount of guilt is going to change that.

Third... God grant me the serenity to change the things I can, ACCEPT  THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE.... .... and the wisdom to know the difference.

Am I talking in circles yet? The arguments with my mother aren't over yet. I suspect they will escalate until we are not speaking to one another. She will bond with my brother while this is happening, no doubt, because she cannot stand to be on bad terms with both of us at the same time. My father reassured me tonight, my husband reassured me, and will probably have to continue to reassure me daily and often, and I have to turn this over to my higher power. Whether it's alcohol, drugs, or brain damage that's to blame the result is the same.

I wish she was a different person. I wish I could depend on her to be loving and kind. I know that side of her exists. I wish I could count on her as being a grandmother that my daughter could love unconditionally. However I have to accept that she is not going to change. She is 60 years old, and even if she gave up drinking she will never be "sober".

NOW I'm talking in circles. You may see more on this as the week goes on. I've said more here than I usually say about her. I try to keep this blog about me. I hope you all see that. I am struggling with my reactions to her behavior;  the split between "being a good daughter" and trying to protect myself from my abuser.

"We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally."
"Our actual parent is a Higher Power whom some of us choose to call God. Although we had alcoholic or dysfunctional parents, our Higher Power gave us the Twelve Steps of Recovery."

And then of course I need to keep repeating steps 1, 2, 3...  I admitted I was powerless, I came to believe, I made a decision to turn it over to my HP.

And this is why this blog is here folks. This is getting close to the root of it.

May you have peace today.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

winding up the week

Well I said yesterday that the week had been ups and downs and absent my mother. Ah but the powers that be couldn't let that one sit, and a call came from her last night and an urgency of "see me now!! Dammitt!"

So this morning I dutifully waited until 8am and then called her with her wake up call to be ready at 9am. The mission was to go to the bank to get me added to her safety deposit box "in case something happens to me". We had time for a couple of quick errands on the way, and started off pleasantly. This changed in the bank. Quickly tensions between us mounted, and when I was told that I needed to not only sign the form, but also be in possession of one of the two keys, we hit a wall. My mother did not want me to have the key. This I do not quite understand. I refused to sign until she promised me the key. The poor bank lady pretended to ignore the heat building between us, and the form was signed quickly for her sake. Out in the parking lot though words flew. My mother saying the worst of them. She called me "nosy" and more. Her biggest weapons began with "B" and "C". I hate the "C" word. I really do, it just gets under my skin. So finally I just pulled over and offered to let her walk herself home when we were within a reasonable distance. I continued for a while and then pulled over again and called my husband. We went over the situation briefly, and agreed that I'd be home an hour later than promised so that I could go back to my mother for Round 2.
When I entered her apartment she was on the phone with my brother telling him how awful I'd been (to put it mildly) but she quickly hung up. I asked if she was done with her ranting yet, and she wasn't quite, but she settled down quickly. I let her show me her living will, which I had seen 5 years ago and already have memorized. I let her show me life insurance paperwork, which I really don't need. I let her ramble about what furniture she wants to give me next year, what she wants my brother to get, when she'll move to Florida, and where she might go.... I let her do her thing for an hour. This is what she asked for. She just wanted my attention for an hour. I choked and gasped for air, but I was doing that in the car with her anyway, and we finally got through everything she wanted to say for now.
When I left she seemed calm and okay again, and I felt relieved that I wouldn't have to worry about her hurling rocks through my windows or causing some other kind of trouble. I'm really not sure what she planned to do if I hadn't turned around and calmed her down. Her threats were so vague.
What it really comes down to, and I have lived with this for so long is... she wants to be #1 in my life, and she's not. She can't be, and she won't be. My husband and my daughter come first, and she knows it, and she's jealous. She called me a rotten and lousy parent.
For my part, even though she's calm, I'm not sure when I'll see her again. I feel like she's been looking for a fight for a while, and she got one. She said some mean words, and she meant them, and I'm not going to heal from that. And yes, I said some words too, and yes I meant them. Anyone who has known me closely knows that she has inflicted pain and abuse into my life that no child or adult should have to endure, and there is no reason to forgive that.
We'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm not saying I'll never talk to her again. I'm just saying I'm not in any hurry. I know I was not at my best, and maybe I didn't use "my program" but then again maybe I did. I stood up for myself. I didn't let her walk all over me. When something was important, I held my ground and didn't cave in just to end the conflict and in the end I think she felt like we had worked things out.

Oh, and then... to make things bittersweet, like they were the other day... I went home to my husband and daughter, and in between "I love yous" and "lets get ready to go to that birthday party" my husband asked what had happened and I tried to answer him. He assured me that I was not a lousy parent and my mother had no reason to call me that. I am grateful for his love. Then my daughter and I went to a birthday party for a classmate of hers, and had a great time. Fun and sun and happy kids, with only a few typical 4-year old tears.

So the day ended on a good note for me, tired and happy child asleep before bedtime. My husband went out, as is his normal routine, and I settled down for a dinner alone and some time to myself.

May my higher power be with me tonight. I could use some goodness and guidance in my dreams.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Roller coaster week and my mother's not even in it

It's been a roller coaster of a week for me. I don't know if it's PMS, depression, or what. The week started with a real "bleha...." I don't like my job right now. Okay, who does? My husband HATES his job. So I guess he's got it worse than me. Then I went up to a nice "hey, I can take Thursday off and have fun!" And I did! I kept my daughter out of school and we went to a big park with lots to do, and met with friends old and new. I got to see an old high school classmate, and spent some time chatting with her, and then later a friend who I've known only online caught up with us, with her 2 kids. Her daughter and my daughter really hit it off, and became instant friends. So that was great too. Then we came back to reality, tired and hot from the sun. Met up with my husband who told us he'd been sick that day and taken himself to the doctor's office but not told anybody (like his boss!). This is the same old thing as before. I'm tired and frustrated, and not at my best to begin with. So I came crashing down from my high to his level. I tried to perk up by going out last night anyway, but I was just too tired and drained, so I turned around and came back home after giving my apologies to the people I was supposed to meet up with.

I need to find a way to apply the 12 steps to my marriage I guess, or find a way to get counseling. I'm not sure how I could fit counseling into my schedule. Having only one car means I can't even get to Al-Anon meetings now. My husband is not an alcoholic or addict, but he seems to have some kind of mental illness. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just normal to hate your job, get stressed out about it, and be the way he is. He's not hurting us, he's not abandoning us, he's just a stress case. Detach is what comes to my mind immediately, but I don't want to abandon him. I just don't have the answers. And I have to think of our daughter too, which I do think about constantly. I really don't think I can put this stuff off for a year, until we have 2 cars either. I just don't know how to "fix everything".

My high school classmate and I touched on corners of things, but didn't dig deep. We are both adult children of alcoholics. We weren't close in high school but it was fun to see each other. Still, even touching on things a little bit reminds me that sometimes those old wounds can bleed easily. They are old though, and I need to leave them buried. I need to live in the present because the past will get me no where.

So I am trying to turn things over to my higher power because God knows I need some help. I cannot do this alone. Step 1.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Well the dinner with my dad actually went okay. My dad and I exchanged books which was fun. He gave us many more than I gave him, but that's okay. My daughter's behavior was not perfect, but no one was too upset and the restaurant was pretty empty by the time we left anyway so no harm done there.

Last night I went to a new writer's group. Unfortunately the only ones who showed up was me and the facilitator. The thought of whether to stay or go crossed my mind many times over the 90 minutes that I stayed. Whether to return next week is still a question. If I go and I am the only one there again, will I feel like I am wasting the other person's time? If I don't go and no one else does either, how will she feel then? Honestly, I could write at home I think, especially after my daughter goes to bed. So why should I go for my own sake? I am happy that my local library is providing the space for this group, but if no one else comes then what good is it?

Believe it or not this leads me to "Service". The Facilitator of the group is also on the "Friends of the Library" board and immediately launched into me a spiel about how I should get involved with the group. I held my tongue and did not mention that we do give money to the library as often as we can. I did let myself mention that my daughter was still a little too young for most of the programs that the library offers. We do check out books and DVDs and request things through ILL, but we don't attend most of the programs that are offered.

Anyway, being of service... and how we do that. At our preschool we have chosen not to be on the Board of whatever, although we have been offered a spot. We discuss it every time we are offered and have declined so far. We do GIVE money and time. We do volunteer to help out with things, but we don't want to be on the Board. We give the service that we are comfortable with, and I hope the teachers and director are happy with that.

We also give money and items to other charities of our choice, including more than one library. So I feel like we are being Of Service, and as our daughter grows and our schedules change and our life changes there are things on my list that I hope to be Of Service to in the future. We do what we can. So why do I feel like I'm not doing enough? I guess when I hear a plea like the ones I hear I feel a little guilt, but when I talk to my husband he reassures me that we are fine. We do more than many folks do, and I should not dismiss the impact we are making in ways that not everyone sees. Sometimes when we are of service we do it anonymously, and that's worth something to all too.

Remember when you hear the calls to volunteer you don't have to sign up for something big. If you pick up the trash you find on your daily walk, then you are being of service. If you watch out for the kids who are playing in the street while mom and dad are busy talking on the phone or making dinner, then you are being of service. You don't have to give a million dollars or attend 40 hour weeks of meetings to be doing what needs done.

We give. We give a little here and a little there, and it all adds up.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I'm not sure why this word is striking me today, but perhaps it's because I see it all around me. Today a coworker greeted me with a "Hi, how are you?" I replied back "How are you?" and didn't even answer her question. She kept walking though, and didn't answer mine. Guess neither of us felt like being honest with each other or something. I don't know.

I'm having dinner with my dad and his girlfriend tonight. I'm dragging my husband and daughter along. This is a postponed Father's Day thing. Really, my father and husband probably would be fine if we didn't even do a father's day thing, but I feel like we SHOULD and I've got a gift from my daughter that was too big to mail so we're getting together for dinner. I'm sure my daughter would rather go swimming instead. Oh well. I feel the "insincerity" in this too. No one wants to do it, but we're doing it anyway because life is short.

And I remember that I haven't taken my mother's picture in a long time. I often think to take pictures of my daughter, but I don't always remember to take them of my parents, and I should. I really should. Sincere in that one.

It's hot, I'm tired, and the internet at home is keeping me awake at night past my bedtime. I don't want to work but I can't afford to take the summer off either. Sigh. So here I am, trying, trying to think of something to say because the blog has been quiet for a few days.

I need to be sincere as often as I can because insanity will find you all too soon if I don't.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thank you!

I see that the number of followers is gradually increasing. Thank you, thank you! I just got internet at home today, so I am hopeful that I will be able to post more often here, and post more thoughtfully as well. I won't always be so squeezed on time trying to do things on breaks at work or from a library parking lot or coffee shop or whatever. So thank you all for reading what is here, and inspiring me to keep posting. My gratitude to you all!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's been a busy week!

We had a great camping trip over the weekend. It ALMOST took my mind off of my supervisor retiring. Unfortunately the real world was waiting for us on Monday morning. Monday night we had to do the errands that didn't get done over the weekend. On Wednesday I left work early for a dentist appointment and a hair cut. Splurged a little on shopping for myself too. We ate out for dinner on both of those nights. Tonight we're going to stop at the local library I think, and if I'm lucky we're going to see a concert before dinner. I know I'm pushing my luck with that one, but it's free music so I'm hopeful. Tomorrow we're going to cut out of work early to get a squeak in the car checked out. That should put us in line for more music and possibly viewing some fireworks. So we'll launch into our 3-day weekend... Yay for July! If only it doesn't rain.

In times like this I don't read as much as I should. I'm not spending time with my parents. I'm just busy with the daily life of my job, my husband, and my daughter. One Day at a Time. Trying to enjoy things in spite of the tantrums that a 4-year old brings in between. Enjoy the company of friends too.

Oh, and I pulled the plug on the tv this week!! We'll have internet access set up at home soon, and I'll get some dvds from the library or from Netflix (signed up for that too). My daughter is not happy about the lack of tv, but my husband and I decided that it was time to let it go.

The lack of drama in my life this week... Grateful for that!!
If I don't get to posting tomorrow, have a wonderful Fourth of July!