Archive for September, 2011

PhotobucketYesterday, I shared the history of my marriage. Today, I am going to talk about what it is like today.

In 2003, I started having flashbacks and entered into therapy. It has been a long and painful process that has unlocked my capacity to enjoy and savor life. Sadly, hub has not come along this healing journey with me, even though I did invite him into it twice. Hub married such as messed up woman for a reason – he has his own issues. To have chosen someone as messed up as I was gives you an indication of the level of his own baggage.

Hub does not want to deal with his own stuff. He wants to stay in denial with me playing the role I played for so many years. Our dynamic was this – He would be miserable unless his environment was completely predictable in the way that he wanted it, and it was my job to shelter him as much as possible from the unpredictability of life. His mother did this for him as a kid, and I took over as his wife. Above all else, hub was not to be inconvenienced. Life must go as he expects it to go, and it was my job to mitigate any circumstance in which it did not.

I’m done playing this role, and hub cannot handle the “messiness” of life without me shielding him from it. Also, his biggest trigger is money, and the stock market and economy are things I cannot control even if I wanted to. That has kicked off depression in him (his mother suffered from depression, so there is likely a strong genetic component involved) that has been getting worse and worse. He is disengaging from life, including my son and me, more and more.

Meanwhile, I am in a place where I am ready to embrace life. I have worked very hard to reach a place where I can experience my emotions, and I am working toward staying more and more present. I am married to a man who is becoming more and more absent, sleeping 12 hours a day and living in his head or working when he is awake. This is not a good combination.

Most of the stories I read, whether they are in books or personally shared online on a message board, etc., tell of couples splitting up after one person heals from child abuse. That used to stress me out and depress me. I have endured enough loss in my life – I didn’t want marriage to be added to the list of losses. Also, I meant my wedding vows, and I also have a 10-year-old child who I don’t want to have to bounce back and forth between two homes.

However, the question becomes how does a marriage stay afloat when one person is reaching out and embracing life while the other person is shutting down and fleeing life? How do you keep a partnership going when you have grown so different? I have no answer to these questions.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

Read Full Post »

PhotobucketThe Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is on Saturday, and I have been slammed with more tutoring requests for Wednesday and Thursday. I want to pound out at least one blog this week, so here goes…

One of the harder issues for me to deal with after child abuse is marital issues, specifically dysfunctional marital issues. As my therapist has pointed out to me, I had nobody modeling or telling me what to look for in a spouse when I made a decision about who to marry.

I grew up in an abusive household, and my parents’ marriage was completely dysfunctional. They led separate lives – my father worked and/or traveled for work all the time, and my mother was obsessed with her version of religion. (My father was an atheist.) My sister and I grew up in two different families – the version when my father was actually home and the version when he was gone. He was mostly gone during my teen years up until his death.

I was raped in college, so I latched onto a boyfriend to protect me. I then transferred colleges, where I was raped again and then latched onto another boyfriend to protect me. The only requirements I had for boyfriends was that they didn’t rape me and seemed interested in me. That’s pretty much it.

I met hub in law school, my next stop at a school. We started dating a month into school, and I was never raped there. He was very mature/responsible compared to our peers, and he was the most predictable person on the planet. After a lifetime of having to be hypervigilant about what was coming next, this predictability was a relief. We married straight out of school despite the fact that we had next to nothing in common other than a law degree. Marrying him kept me from having to move back in with momster since I couldn’t find a job.

Now, my conscious reasons for marrying hub were not this calculated. I did love him. In fact, my host personality was absolutely crazy about him. Other parts of myself – parts of which I was unaware at the time – tolerated him as a means to safety. Hub never, ever pressured me for sex. He completely respected that I was not interested in intercourse until marriage, and we were together over 2-1/2 years before we married. So, he definitely has some good qualities about him.

Here’s the problem – I am no longer an abused little girl willing to make any sacrifice to stay safe. Our relationship was built upon me doing whatever he wanted, however he wanted, with no objections because I wanted him to stay and keep me safe. The one exception (which came as a shock to him) was my insistence that we have a baby and, when that didn’t work biologically, that we adopt a baby. Other than that, for well over a decade, I was a Stepford wife, always giving him his way in every area other than in becoming a parent.

More tomorrow…

Read Full Post »

Too angry to blog today

Hub and I had a huge fight last night, and I am still too angry about that to focus on blogging this morning. Hopefully I’ll start back tomorrow. Sorry. ~ Faith

Read Full Post »

PhotobucketI still have a few more days of my crazy schedule to go, but I need to blog to get a few things out…

First, today is the first day of Fall, which means that it is the Fall equinox. Anyone who suffered from ritual abuse might be feeling “off” today or have been feeling “off” all week. That has certainly been true for me. I have been grateful to be so compulsively busy so I can escape from the anxiety and depression “geyser” going in my head. I know this is “normal” for me, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Staying busy distracts me from it.

My momster is in ICU right now for very high blood pressure. My sister called me last night to tell me. Momster had very high blockages in both legs back in 2003. She had surgery for the first one and decided not to have the second surgery. She decided the “Lord” would heal her, so the surgery wasn’t necessary. I suspect the two are connected, but I am not a doctor.

Instead of calling my sister (who underreacts) and “worrying” her, she called her twin sister, who get hysterical over everything. So, my sister got a much more “shrill” version of what was going on when our aunt called her about it. My sister talked to momster at the hospital by phone (they don’t live in the same city), and momster seems pretty clueless about the severity of her condition. That’s typical of her – it’s all about denial.

Then there are my recurring dreams. I won’t call them nightmares because I think they are just a true reflection of how I am feeling. Very clearly, a part of me wants to make a big change in my life – a change the rest of me is not ready to make. If I didn’t have a young child, making such a big change would be easier, but I have to factor in the effects of any big change on my kid, and I am not ready to do that to my 10-year-old child. Apparently this is something that a part of my still “dreams” about, though.

I am heading back to my hometown next weekend for what was supposed to be my 25th high school reunion. The reunion committee botched it up, so I am now just getting together with the four people I still (sort of) keep up with from high school so we can have a 25-year high school anniversary dinner. I always get reflective before I return to my hometown. (This is not the city where the abuse happened – this is a city 30 miles away from there where we moved when I was 11.) I am hoping to see my grandmother one last time (she has failing health, and I only make this trip once every couple of years), but she has been declining visitors, so I don’t know if I will get to see her or not.

These are all just random pieces of what’s going on with me right now – stuff swirling around in my head. Thankfully, I have too much work to do today to think about any of this too much. The money I am earning will pay for a fun trip for my son and me in January, so I have that to look forward to. I always need something fun to look forward to in order to survive the holidays.

Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

Read Full Post »

Just checking in

Hi, all.

Just one more week left of my INSANE schedule. I doubt I’ll have time to blog today, but I do have a topic in mind if I am able to catch up on all of my work today. Please hang tight — my schedule calms down significantly after 9/27. :0)

~ Faith

Read Full Post »

PhotobucketAs I shared in my last blog entry, I am working a ton of hours right now. I am preparing students for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which is on 10/1. This is my first time actually teaching an LSAT class, so I am putting in a lot of hours making sure I know my stuff. I have tutored on the LSAT before and am tutoring two students now in addition to teaching one class and covering three sessions for another class.

On top of that, I am working two part-time jobs online through my other job. One is teaching a class that I have been teaching for well over 18 months, so that one isn’t stressing me out at all. The other job is doing document reviews, which means that I provide feedback on grammar and APA formatting for student papers. That one doesn’t stress me out, either.

What is stressing me out the most is trying to juggle all three as well as childcare for my son since the LSAT classes are all in the evenings or on weekends. Closely behind that is having people in my life who don’t respect the boundaries I have set until I get through this crunch time. I’ll teach my last LSAT class on 9/27. Until then, some things are simply going to have to wait.

Perhaps it is because two of the part-time jobs are online, or perhaps it is because people are used to me dropping things to put their needs ahead of my own (or likely a combination of both), but I have multiple people in my life who have not been respecting my boundaries. In the past, I would feel guilty and stay up until 3:00 a.m. to make time for all of these other requests. This time around, I am getting pissed off, saying no, saying no louder, and then getting downright bitchy about the no. Many of the people in my life don’t seem to “hear” the word “no” from me until I get bitchy. That makes me angry.

Why do so many people think it is OK to make demands on MY time? I am not talking about my kid, who does need his mommy. I am talking about grown adults who think that because THEY want something done now, it is my job to drop everything and tend to it.

I don’t do that to other people. I try not to ask favors of other people unless I really need them (such as asking three friends to each take my son for one Saturday while I drive to another state on three consecutive Saturdays to cover an LSAT class – nine-hours days with five of them spent driving). I always think of the impact of my actions on the people around me.

So, why do many people in my life think it is OK to have a hissy fit about something that directly affects me and then try to bully ME into putting time (that they know I don’t have) into their problems? I don’t get it. I worked 12 hours on Tuesday, only breaking for meals, and people actually expected me to put time into THEIR issues that day! I didn’t even eat dinner until 10:00 p.m.! That is completely unreasonable, and I let them know it.

I don’t understand why people think it is OK to treat me that way. Hopefully the loud no’s and bitchiness will enlighten them that this is not OK.

Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

Read Full Post »

No time to blog today

Hi, all.

My blogging will probably be spotting through 9/27, which is when this part-time job ends for this season. So, please bear with me. ~ Faith

Read Full Post »

PhotobucketI had a wonderful day yesterday resting. I did not rest the entire day, but I rested enough to feel rejuvenated this morning.

I have been working too much lately, and this will continue for two more weeks. One of my three part-time jobs ebbs and flows. I am teaching students how to study for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which is offered four times a year. The next one is on October 1, so I am very busy teaching a class as well as tutoring. Feast or famine is the nature of the job. I might not work again for this part-time job until 2012, but right now, I am completely slammed.

I worked 9.5 hours for this job on Tuesday PLUS an hour for job #2 PLUS an hour for job #3. Other than short breaks for meals, I did not stop. A month ago, I had not seen a paycheck in weeks. Again, nature of the beast.

I had worked all weekend (am covering a class in another state on Saturdays, which requires five hours of driving), all day Monday, and then this insane day on Tuesday. By Tuesday night, my brain was no longer able to process the formal logic required in class on Tuesday night. I made jokes about it with my class and pointed out that I, like them, needed to take a little time off from the LSAT.

So, I rested yesterday. I had three hours of work that had to be done for my other jobs. I did one hour before breakfast and the other two hours from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The rest of the day, I nurtured myself. I went to the gym and read my book while doing 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. I then did weights before coming home and doing yoga. I took a shower and then camped out in my bedroom.

I kept a scented candle lit all day (lavender/vanilla), and I watched the season premieres of two of my favorite TV shows. I ate what I wanted for lunch. Then, I took a three-hour nap. I was so relaxed that my body actually RESTED! (I continue my struggles with insomnia at night and awaken each morning around 5:00 a.m. with my heart pounding.) After I woke up, I watched a comedy.

Next, I picked up my kid from school. (It was an early release day.) He relaxed in his room for a couple of hours (he is wiped out as well because he won’t sleep when I am not home, and I don’t get home until 10:00 p.m. on Tue/Thu) while I did my other two hours of work. It seemed so easy because I was so well-rested.

Next, my son and I took our dogs for a walk. Then, we met friends for dinner at my favorite restaurant. (Hub is out of town on a business trip.) By the time I went to bed, it seemed like three relaxing days had passed.

I cannot believe how quickly a busy day flies by, whereas a relaxing day seems to take its sweet little time. That is exactly what I needed.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

Read Full Post »

Taking the day off

This week has been super busy for me. I am juggling three part-time jobs (just until the end of the month), and I worked from 9:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. last night, only breaking briefly for meals. In sum, I’m pooped. So, I am going to model resting today. Rest is an important part of taking care of yourself, and I am going to do that today. :0) ~ Faith

Read Full Post »

On my blog entry entitled Adaptability and Living Life after Child Abuse, a reader posted the following comment:

but.what do u do when u find anxiety overtaking so much of your life..?i find the more i delve into all ive learned i want only the reasonable safe nest i hv created for myself at home.agoraphobia would a relief by far if i cld afford it.sadly not kidding ~ Malanie

I come at this question from two directions – the early stages and the later stages of healing.

In the early stages of healing, I needed to find ways to manage my anxiety because feeling anxiety was a “normal” part of my existence. What worked for me was learning how to do deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. Some readers have told me that these methods did not work for them and had other suggestions, such as Pilates. (Readers ~ Feel free to jump into the comments with what worked for you!)

I also had to discover ways in which it felt safe to “be present.” For me, this started by being out in nature, such as taking a walk along the beach, and from being in safe groups, such as my Sunday School class. Being present is the opposite of anxiety.

When you are truly present in your life, you are “being.” I didn’t even know what that was like when it happened the first time. I felt like I had been beamed into my life and was an active participant, not someone watching from the sidelines. It felt peaceful – the opposite of anxious.

In the later stages of healing, it is time to let go of the anxiety crutches that got you through the early years. I have chosen to stop drinking alcohol or taking Xanax during the day and, instead, allow the waves of anxiety to come when they do. (While I am still not drinking, I am battling insomnia right now and sometimes using Xanax to help me sleep, but that is a different issue.)

What I have learned is that there is no way to “shut down” the “bad” emotions while still experiencing the “good” ones. If you numb yourself with Xanax, wine, or whatever your numbing agent of choice is, you interfere with your ability to stay present, which is the way out of the anxiety. It takes a leap of faith to do this because you have to face the anxiety head on. That’s where the fire hose analogy comes in – no matter how strong the wave of anxiety is, I am the fire hose (the body), not the water coursing through it (the feelings or emotions).

You cannot prematurely move from one place to the other, so follow your therapist’s advice. There is nothing wrong with using a crutch, such as Xanax, to help you get through the early years of healing. However, don’t allow yourself to believe that you cannot survive without it. As you grow stronger and discover the beauty of presence, you can let go of the crutches and step out into life. Anxiety won’t kill you, and behind the anxiety is joy!

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »