Don’t Be a Bystander. It is One Step Away from Being a Victim

bullying

I don’t understand something. If a kid is getting bullied at school, what do we teach our children to do about it? Worse yet, if it’s your kid getting bullied? What do hope the other kids will do? Do we want our kids to say, “Hey, better him than me…” Do we want our kids to be bystanders?

Or rather, what might we say the to the kid who intervenes? Maybe it’s the most popular kid in class, the so-called best-looking kid or best athlete. And that kid has the platform on which to stand up for the bullied child and say “No! Not in my school.” Don’t we applaud that kid? We praise that child who stood up to the Bully and said No! Isn’t that what you teach your child? Isn’t that who you hope you’ve raised?

If so then why in the name of heaven do some of us then turn around and tell celebrities who stand up for immigrants and refugees and abused women to SHUT UP? It makes no sense. These are the people are kids idolize and frankly to some extent, so do we!   Meryl Streep is that popular kid saying “No, Not in my school.!” So is John Legend who said at the PGA Awards…

“Los Angeles is the home of so many immigrants, so many creative people, so many dreamers…And those of us who work in this business have the privilege of shaping how the world perceives this country we love. We are the voice, we are the face of America. Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions. Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump.   I want specifically tonight, to reject his vision, and affirm that America has to be better than that.

I love those words.

Stand up to the Bully. Because if we’ve learned nothing else, if left to his own devices long enough, eventually he comes after us too

Don’t Be a Bystander. It is One Step Away from Being a Victim

I have no people.

isolated

 

Lonely.  I have never felt this lonely.  And scared because people who feel like this usually do stupid things.  I used to do super self-destructive things when I was anxious or depressed.  It’s amazing I’ve survived this long.  You know, drinking ’til you blackout…going home with a stranger you just met…driving drunk.  I guess I have had my share of “get out of jail free” cards.  I don’t think I deserve them but nonetheless I am still breathing.  But I’ve never felt so isolated while having these other feelings.  I want to do something stupid.  I want to get out of this house, maybe just book a trip somewhere and disappear.  Drink myself into a stupor or worse.  But I can’t.  I can’t do that anymore because I’m a Mom.  I have to keep all of this bottled up inside and pretend I’m normal today.  It’s been going on for awhile but especially today.  And I can let it show.

But it must show, right?  Like cracks in the surface of my being where the reality just seeps out.  Like my spirit itself is shattering my body in order to escape?  It feels like that.  Like I will explode.  And I realized I have no one to talk to about it except my Doctors.  That’s it. The only people who I can tell how I feel are those whom I pay to do so.  And that is sad.

I keep thinking about Grey’s Anatomy.  Meredith.  If you are a fan, you’ll understand this. I’m like the “dark and twisty”  Meredith who is sinking into the icy water and not caring. No instinct to fight back.  Just allowing the water to slowly do its job.  I always loved the dark Meredith because she felt like me.   But as they always say on Grey’s, despite all their crazy, they have “people.”  They have their people.  And some people or even one, is better than no people.  I have no people.  My mother is a crazy narcissist and my sister’s life is a disaster.  I actually have to avoid them or I get worse.  My best friend lives so far away and works like 100 hours a week so I never even see her anymore.  The one close friend I had in this town turned out to be a Bible thumping hypocrite and tale teller.  She told my secrets to other people.  Not my people.

That leaves my husband.  I mean I can’t tell my kids I’m falling apart because I have no one to talk to.  They’d freak.  They cannot be my people.  But my husband.  I can’t talk to him anymore.  Our relationship is an emotional black hole.  The last time I confessed my anxiety to him he threatened to quit his job and stay home and take care of the family since I was incapable.  And he didn’t care if we lost the house because of it.  Which frankly is emotional blackmail because now…no matter what happens, I can never tell him about my sadness or my anxiety  or my panic attacks.  That jackass shut me up but good.  I’m sitting here today  because my PTSD made it so I couldn’t work anymore. Not at what I was doing.  Too much stress.  But now because I can’t work, I can’t leave.  I’m stuck here.  I’m trapped.  I have nowhere to go and no one to tell.  Except this page.  I write these words to get some of the sad and lonely bits out before my kids get home from school.

Maybe somebody reading this will be one of my people.  I can hope anyway.

 

P.S.  All credit to anything I cribbed from Shonda Rhimes.  I wish I could live in Shondaland.  I feel like she could’ve been one of my people.

I have no people.

The Mansplainers Need to Stop Telling Me to Calm Down

scared1I’m not going to lie.  I’ve been down.  Seriously rocked over what happened these past weeks.  I took cover the day the FBI reopened the email bulls*&t and I stayed down for a while.  I hid from all news sources for two days post-election because I couldn’t stand the sound of “his” voice, gloating and threatening and making my skin crawl.  Then I read a few headlines…but still remained off social media.  I knew the haters were hating and the trollers, trolling and the spewers of filth loving it up. And I knew I couldn’t handle it. As a victim of sexual assault I cannot properly adjust my working view of this country. It does not compute. We just elected the most unqualified person ever to the Whitehouse.   But that is not the real problem for me. For me, he is a vile misogynist, who from his own lips admitted to assaulting women and who simply does not deserve to be anything but arrested. And when the women came forward to tell their stories, he tortured them. He accused them. He called them ugly liars.

For probably a week after Election Day, PTSD was still controlling my life. But because my freaking husband can’t deal with me not dealing with the world, I have to get up and get moving. He actually threatened to quit his job to stay home with me if I didn’t “get over it.” He didn’t vote for the new Grabber in Chief. But he just doesn’t think my stress over the election is warranted. Great. My own husband, my “protector” has decided how I should deal with my fear and grief over this horror show. So I’m shaking, but I’m standing. Because now I know I can’t count on anyone to protect me.   I have to get my act together and get past the debilitating fear. Drugs, biofeedback, therapy, yoga…I’m using all the tools I can find because one thing that’s happened concurrent to all of this is now I’m PISSED OFF. And that is motivating.

The anger at having my feelings dismissed in such a way is pushing me up and out of my house. I don’t know if my husband realized how much his words hurt me or how truly angry with him I am, but he sure has gotten me up. First I got into my regular routine for a few days and now into writing for the first time in weeks or maybe it’s been months, I’m not even sure. I even went on my social media accounts. And I saw all the friends out there still fighting the inevitable. Still hammering away at people for choosing a truly hateful and detestable man to lead us. But that was not all I saw. I saw the mansplaining. I saw the disgruntled white men who voted for that man, all over social media telling us (in my case victims of sexual assault, but also all the other minorities our president-elect* has abused over the last months) we need to “calm down now.” The election’s over and we need to settle down and accept the results. Kind of like what my husband said, but this time mansplaining Trump to me. And they’re telling us why, no matter what, he’s better than HER. No, NO he isn’t. HE IS WORSE IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY, so stop telling me how I should freaking feel about it.

I’ve unfriended almost every single one of them. I actually told one of them first that he was a freaking lunatic (after he called HER the devil incarnate) and then I unfriended him. And now I WON’T CALM DOWN. I think I like being pissed off instead of scared all the time. The fear is exhausting. The anger is exhilarating and motivating. I’ve decided to start school again in the fall. I’m going to finish my degree in counseling and work with trauma survivors. Something tells me they’re going to need a lot of help the next few years. I will not allow myself to be a victim anymore. My husband is not happy with me right now. I hope we survive this. But he just doesn’t get it anymore. That’s the really awful part. He will never get it.

*Quick note:  I disrespectfully refuse to use the capitalized version of the word president, or any of its derivations when it references this person.  It’s still frigging America.

 

The Mansplainers Need to Stop Telling Me to Calm Down

I got “Mean Girl’ed” by My Own Daughter

mean-girls-pic

I know adolescence sucks.  I remember trying to be cool and popular and get the boys to like me, even at age 14 when I wasn’t even allowed to have a boyfriend.  I know it sucks starting 9th grade in a new school where you’re the newbie and the seniors scare you, although I honestly don’t remember why.  I do remember it sucked though.  I’m not an antique, YET…  But my husband and I do have rules and while my 14 year old daughter gets pretty much everything she wants, she just wasn’t allowed to start dating 1 on 1 yet.  That was it.  She’s really into sports so I actually believed her when she told me she didn’t yet care about boys.  And, up until this year she was a great student.  So I took her at her word on most things.  Dumb.  Very dumb.

But this Spring insanity overtook our home.  Like something from the depths of Hell, puberty broke loose from it’s normal retraints and my daughter, my beautful, loving daughter starting lying.  And lying, and lying some more and even lying about stuff she didn’t have to lie about!  She would look me straight in the eye and tell me things, like she didn’t have a date to the shool dance and oh how angelic she looked when she did it.  All the while of course she did have a date with some boy I never heard of.  And guess what, if she had come to us and told us the truth, and we met the kid and if they were going in a group, we could have worked it out.  But no…the lie was easier.

Then over the summer she lied about having a “Finsta.”  If you don’t know what that is and you are a parent, find out.  It’s a shadow Instagram account where they post what is “actually” happening in their lives.  Not the account you follow…a secret one.  And it takes some hacking to find.  I found my daughter’s on accident.  I found it because I found her best friend’s Finsta and of course with all the teenage stupidity that comes with the lying, comes my girl’s genius decision to follow her friend’s Finsta with her own Finsta, USING HER REAL NAME.  Well the good news?  There were no naked pictures and and a minimum of foul language, etc.  Somewhat all to be expected I guess.  Result:  She lost her iPhone for a week and cried like we locked her in the dungeon for a month.  But she swore up and down that was it…she would never lie again, especially about something as important as internet safety.  I begged my husband to switch her to an Android so I could sufficiently monitor the phone (iPhones are notoriously hard to mangage…just ask the FBI).  But he felt bad for her.  SuperDad wanted her to have all the cool stuff and he believed her… “she’s a good kid,” he said   “She won’t lie again.”  Can I just say LOL MOFO!!!

Then just this week it all blew up.  Since the start of the school year she’s gone from a straight A student to C’s and some B’s.  So, she lost use of her phone again.  So next, I found her on my younger daughter’s iPad.  Using an app she has been expressly forbidden to use:  SnapChat.  BTW, if you think Finsta’s bad, SnapChat is a parent’s nightmare packaged as a free app.  In that account (again my formerly brilliant child used HER OWN EMAIL ADRESS), I found that my daughter has no less than 3 different guys she “hangs” with, 2 of whom she snatched from her so-called friends who seem to not be willing to do anything about it.  She’s 14 for God’s sake.   I also found out she curses like my Dad who WAS AN ACTUAL TRUCKDRIVER.  And the worst thing of all, for me anyway…in order to get attention from one of these boys, she was bitching about me.  She was saying that because I have PTSD and depression, that I yell at her and take her phone and even though I apologize if I get very upset, it’s all just too much for her to handle.

You see,  I told her all about my illness last winter so in case she started feeling sad or anxious she’d come to me and her dad about it.  Instead I’m reading about it on the app from Hell.  I’m surprised she didn’t take pictures of me when I was being cruel by making her empty the dishwasher, which is her only damned chore.  I love my daughter, but I know depression and anxiety and she doesnt have either.    She does have a huge case of hormones though.  And she used me and my illness to get attention from this boy I never heard of, whom she’s been meeting behind our backs and from God only knows who else. Every Mom in the school probably knows I’m ill.  Given my social anxiety, this is a very bad thing for me.  The idea of spending time with any of these cliquey women (guess what… it’s the same in high school with the Moms as it is with the girls) had always caused me some anxiety but now, I’m getting panic attacks about it.   And all because my daughter is boy crazy…and a Mean Girl apparently. She Mean Girl’ed me into bed for the last few days and I feel like I’m the one in 9th grade.

Without a tear, she apologized for hurting my feelings.  You know when she did cry though?  When she heard she’ll never see that damned iPhone again.  Now I know what really matters.

I got “Mean Girl’ed” by My Own Daughter

My Husband Hates Me Again

cartoon-crazy-mom

Not seriously…but a little bit seriously maybe.

I cannot believe I haven’t written in 2 months and this is what I am going to write about.  But it’s the end of summer (an extremely hot August filled with grouchy and bored children), and I just couldn’t sit down and write about it.  I couldn’t put into words how much I hated going outside and driving to camp and even taking the time to water my flowers.  Yes, they are all very dead now.  No…I was too depressed.  So by Labor Day, I was no joy to be around.  I was, although, very much looking forward to school starting again.  I probably have been awfully difficult.  The heat plus the depression plus whatever is starting to “change” at my age all adds up to a truly sucky attitude.  But now to add to all of that, my husband has lost all patience with me.

Why did we have a terrible fight?  Why did we yell in front of the children, which by the way we (especially him) never do?  Why did he call me a bitch?  I wish to Hell I could tell you.  He was mad because he didn’t think I was diligent enough about the kids’ summer assignments.  He doesn’t think “anything happens around here unless HE holds it all together.” Maybe that was it.  I don’t think so.  I think he is mad because I’m depressed again.  I think he’s mad that we’ve been married what will be 16 years this month and I’m depressed AGAIN.  I think he’s mad I didn’t get better.

I don’t really think he hates me.  That’s hyperbole I’ve used to try and get you to read my blog.  I want someone out there to hear me.  Because no one in this house is hearing me.  My therapist hears me, but she always hears me.  She’s the only one.  I pay her to hear me.  If you’ve seen my other posts you know for sure my mother isn’t hearing me (and Oh, Lord save me, she’s coming next week).   But no, I don’t really think he hates me.  I just don’t think he likes me very much.  Is that possible?  That he loves me?  He thinks I’m a crappy mom and loves me anyway, but is just sick of me?  See he’s been divorced before and it was horrible on him and his other children so I think I’d literally have to Trumpishly  “shoot him in the street,” before he left me. But I just don’t think he likes me.  Maybe that’s a thing?  I don’t know.   What do you think?

I know I don’t like me so it sure seems possible to me.

My Husband Hates Me Again

I Gotta Believe…It’s Never too Late to Change the Outcome

no mean moms

Parenting with Depression and Anxiety

The mirror really does have two faces.  I’ve seen them both now.  Mine today and mine in 25 years, which is in fact, my Mother’s face.  And I’m not happy about it.  Don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with “looks” or vanity of any kind.  It’s all about what’s going on inside and there’s a whole lot to be worried about.  Mostly because there ain’t a whole lot good going on in there.  I’ve seen the future and it’s looking bleak.

If you read my last post (thank you!) you know I was curled up in the fetal position days before our family 4th of July party..dreading her arrival and praying for her departure. Well friends…it is now day 6 of our adventures here in CrazyTown and I’m still desperately awaiting her train to head out.   Because I’m sick, I’m terrifed of her saying something typically nasty and demeaning, so I’ve been avoiding her.  I try not to engage in much conversation at all.  I figured this would give her the hint.  She almost never comes here because she hates my husband (I’ll tell that story another day) so I’m not sure why my proverbial cold shoulder hasn’t sent her packing yet.  But she simply won’t go.   And it’s making me CRAZY(-er).  But I really don’t want to have a confrontation about it.  Whenever we fight I’m even more depressed than normal for days.

The only reason I have any relationship with her at all is so the rest of my family won’t hate me and so my kids don’t think of her as any stranger than she is.  But she comes here and sleeps half the day or sits in the den with them staring into space.  She doesn’t play with them or interact with them at all.  She was always like that with me.  That’s why I’m screwed up.  But for them it’s weird.  For years my husband and I made excuses and said it was because Poppy (my father) died and she was upset and lonely.  But NOW….she has a boyfriend.  Yes, someone has stepped up and been brave enough to take on the crazy and it’s like having the Wicked Witch of Southeast Florida being reborn as a 16-year old hormone.  She is still depressed and sullen, unless she is talking to him.  She says she’s exhausted and skulks off to bed at 6pm only to proceed to spend 2 hours on the phone with him.  Like we’re deaf and can’t hear her???  Isn’t that exactly like a child?  If they can’t hear you then for certain you can’t hear them?!?  And I realize all over again that I could have never made her happy..only my father could.  Oops, correction, ONLY A MAN COULD.

So this begs the question,  “Why is she still freaking here?”  I’m not sure, but she’s asked me about 20 times to go get a mani/pedi.  I refuse to ditch my kids to go hang out with her in a salon for 90 minutes.  I don’t care how long it’s been since I’ve seen her.  She’s their Grandmother and frankly shouldn’t want to ditch them either.  And it infuriates me that she wants to.  But I’m thinking, maybe she won’t leave until she can get her nails done before she goes back to see her boyfriend.  In hopes that this theory is correct, I’m going to take her to the salon today and drop her off.  Maybe I’ll pick her up too. (Just kidding).  And if I’m lucky, her next question will be, “where is the train schedule.”

Now this may all sound like a light hearted kind of nuts…and to some extent it is.  But my kids feel it.  They think, “Wow…haven’t seen grandma in awhile and she really doesn’t give a crap.”  And that makes me mad.  But I watch her drifting off into space and I think, hmmm, I do that….I have my own little world.  It isn’t one where I only exist if there’s a man around, but I do have my own “place” where it’s quiet.  And my kids can’t get in there.  And now I’m thinking I need to stay in the moment more.  Play more with them.  Stop isolating.  Clearly that’s genetic.  I want to be with my kids and should want to be with them more than be anywhere else in the world.  I’m still learning.  Never did have a role model.

The bottome line is this..I don’t want them 30 years from now praying for my departure (to Florida or the hereafter) and saying to themselves, “Why is she still here?” or  worse, saying to me, “Mom, did you want a copy of that train schedule?”

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My 4th of July Fireworks Began Days Ago

sad child

My Mother is coming…

This is so typical.  Because of my depression and PTSD, I often experience unexplained physical pain.  This runs the gamut from your average nagging headache to the most incredible migraines as well as Fibromyalgia.  That’s always fun because I never know where it’s going to hit me or what part of my body might become incapacitated for hours or even days.  And most times it comes out of left field, or at least I thought it did.  It is likely my fight or flight response, which has a mind of its own and reacts to perceived threats of which my higher order brain isn’t even aware.  And that definitely happened this week.

We’ve been planning for months now our families annual 4th of July party for this Saturday the 2nd.  The party moves around and this year I’m hosting.  It’s a lot for me to take on..20 or so adults and about 18 kids.  I must feed and entertain them all Saturday and in the meantime I can barely make dinner during the week.  But I’m pushing through because that is what we do!  On Tuesday though, I started feeling it.  I couldn’t turn my head from neck pain and I started having a headache that right up until this moment feels like it is blinding me in my left eye.  I couldn’t keep dinner down two of the last few nights and just wanted sleep more than anything else.  I couldn’t understand why though.  My husband is doing a ton to help and this year we are making everyone bring a dish of food or desert.  So I have some work to do but it’s certainly not overwhelming.

Given all this, I went to my Doctor to discuss it and of course she worked it out.  She just looked at me knowingly and said, “But…your Mother is coming, isn’t she?”  Oh Dear God, Yes, my Mother is coming.  She’s coming today in fact.  She’s coming a day early to “HELP” me.  She’s helping me so much I can’t get out of bed.

My Mother is a/the trigger for my PTSD.  She is only “a” trigger because there are others.  She is “the” trigger because she and my Dad were the original triggers (he is gone now).  And because she will not accept this fact or change her behavior at all, she continues to be that trigger.  I cannot be in her presence for very long before she says something that, maybe to the outsider might sound innocuous, but to the child in my head is defeating, dismissive…even soul-crushing.  My mantra is “Your mother cannot love you, but it isn’t your fault.”  That helps.  I tried visualizing with my therapist what my Mother might say today or tomorrow that could make me fall apart.  We visualized the words just bouncing off me or running right through me with no effect.  It was great for a bit…and then I saw this look on Mother’s face in my mind’s eye.  It was a look she uses often to express her utter contempt.  A look of disgust and total disappointment.  It blew through all my imagined protections and immediately withered my spirit.  My therapist said it was the shame I carry because my Mother couldn’t love me.  I’m still blaming myself.  That is truth.  That is the ugly truth.

But it’s worse that that.  I broke into tears because I know I have used that same look with my children.  I didn’t even realize it until that moment in my Doctor’s.  All these years of therapy and all these years of swearing I’d never be like my Mother.  All these years of doing everything I possibly could to NOT be my Mother and I knew it in an instant.  I use that same look to shame my kids.  And the self-loathing was so overwhelming for a few moments that I couldn’t breathe.  I was literally swallowed by such guilt and shame I could not breathe.

My Doctor said that in the course of 3 minutes we went from what my Mother does that makes me feel depressed to beating myself up again and that I cannot keep doing that.  Easy for her to say.  I said I had to immediately start watching my every word and now my every gesture with the children…they deserve better.  The Doc said, first you have to get past this weekend with your mother.  One step at a time.  Maybe her train will break down and she won’t make it??? I couldn’t be so lucky.  Nope, I’m going to have to deal with her.  I can’t cut her off…the rest of my family would be horrified.  They don’t know, nor could I ever explain how awful she can be.  She manipulates everyone who didn’t live in our house when I was growing up.  So to keep relationships with them, I have to keep her too.  But God knows I could live a much longer, much more peaceful life if I didn’t have to deal with this.  Sick for three days before and probably a week after.  I have to get away and meditate or pray or something while she’s here.  That or they’ll be way too many cocktails in my immediate future.  If you’re read this and you pray…say one for me.   Or just send me some good thoughts.  I need all I can get.

My 4th of July Fireworks Began Days Ago