Archive for March, 2011

March 26, 2011

Toxic Relationships – my Dad

Some can’t be healed!

To much hurt to heal.

But I loved my Dad.

Last night I attended Relay for Life.  It is an event to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

My Dad had prostate cancer.  I could not light a candle for him.  I did not add his name to the list of those to be remembered.

I cried last night.  I cried for those who had lost their children to cancer.

I cried for those who had lost their siblings, mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers to cancer.

I cried because my Dad fought cancer but I could not bring myself to honor his memory.  He just does not deserve it.

I cried because I could not dare place his name beside the little girl I was there for, to honor her memory.

One day, as this blog moves forward I will go in depth into my toxic relationship with my Dad.  It was so toxic the best I could do was attempt to set some boundaries I could live with and still have him in my life.

He remained on the outer edge of my life until he died.

I cried last night.  And I am OK this morning.  Happy to have the day to enjoy my life!

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March 24, 2011

Toxic Relationships – shocked!

A relationship that is toxic because of your actions is one of the easiest to start to heal, but one of the hardest to admit.

It is the easiest to start to heal because once you recognize what your actions are that are polluting the relationship you just have to become aware and stop doing it.

Changing a behavior is kind of like changing a bad habit.  As long as you are consistent and conscious of what you say and do, soon it becomes second nature.

My mother-in-law was overly involved in my and Mike’s life.  It drove me crazy!  It was always a point of contention between Mike and I.  I would complain, which inevitably lead to an argument between Mike and I.

As Sinead and I continued to dissect my relationships, we moved on to my mother-in-law.

As Sinead and I would discuss how to heal this toxic relationship she would ask me questions.  Questions like “So how did your mother-in-law know that happened and therefor was able to give an unwanted opinion?” or “What did you think would happen when you told your mother-in-law that?”

After several sessions of the same kinds of discussion and questions, Sinead finally asked me “What are you trying to gain by involving your mother-in-law in your relationship?”

I was shocked by her question!  Shocked!

Sinead then said, “Exactly!”

I then admitted it was me, not my mother-in-law, that was the toxic party in the relationship.

Shocked!

By involving my mother-in-law in my relationship with my husband I was creating chaos, animosity, and attempting to drive a wedge between Mike and his Mom.

Remember this from the post “Not what I needed”: “So why was Mike attracted to me?  Sometimes we attract what we need in our lives to find a means to an end. A catalysis to break away from the ties that bind us.”

As much as Mike hated the chaos of this toxic relationship I had created with his Mom, he needed it.  But it was not something I could fix, he would have to do that on his own!

So I stopped!  It was just that easy!  It was strange at first because my mother-in-law just did not understand (and you could tell). It has taken years to repair this relationship because it was toxic from day one.

Now when I want to share something with her, I take a moment before I do to make sure my motives are good. She and I had a very rocky start, but we are getting there. After years of work I can honestly say I love her and I can honestly say she loves me too!

March 21, 2011

Toxic Relationships – some can’t be healed

My friend Rhonda (the one who found me after I attempted suicide) became overbearing in the months following my attempt.

She got angry with me often.  She would call me and ask what I was doing and I was doign something without her she would get angry. I had not left my home in a year and I was now making a choice to leave.  Every venture outside of my house for me was a choice that I had considered and contemplated!  But she thought it would be best if she was with me when I attempted such feats. And when I told her Mike and I were trying to work things out, she became enraged.  She called me over and over again.  She demanded that I have nothing to do with Mike.  She blamed him for my suicide attempt.  She would say the most awful things about him.  She knew the troubles Mike and I had.  She knew of his issues.   But what she did not know was what he was willing to do to be OK.

I spoke to Sinead about it often.  I felt guilty for not wanting her in my life anymore.  But I didn’t.  As I started dissecting all of my relationships, I realized my relationship with Rhonda was very toxic.  She suffered from depression and other mental issues.  When I did not have chaos in my life, I relished in hers. And I realized Rhonda had been my only friend for years.

After several sessions with Sinead where she was the subject I knew I had to end the friendship.

I told Rhonda that our friendship was over.  I told her why.  Surprisingly she said she already knew. She said I had changed.  And that she could not change with me.   She left my life without much of a peep.

We had been friends for about 5 years.  Really we had been the best of friends.

After that moment I never spoke to Rhonda again.

Changing a lifestyle sometimes takes drastic measure.  As drastic as it was, it was the right thing to do.

March 19, 2011

Toxic Relationships

We all have them.  But cleaning them up can often be quite the chore.

What I found in my life was the most toxic relationships were the ones that were the closest to my heart.

I loved my Nanny (who I have mentioned before and who was my Dad’s Mom)!  I loved her more than just about anyone else in my life.  But she loved her son.  She loved him so much that she used my love for her to manipulate me into a relationship with my Dad.  She would call and cry and tell me how worried she was about my Dad.  She would beg me to call him.  She would would say that it was my Moms fault that my Dad had issues and that I should not hold it against him.

I would only respond, “I know Nanny.”  Or “I will call him Nanny.”  But I did not know and I would never call.  Then a week or so later the call would come again, “Honey, did you call your Dad?”  And I would lie and say “I tried but he did not answer. or Nanny, I have been so busy I have just not had a chance.”  Lies.  All lies.  I would be full of guilt and anger after every call.  But I loved her so much (and I still do even though she is gone).  This went on for literally years.  Even visits to her house would go pretty much the same way.

For a while I tried to avoid her.  After Mike moved out I disconnected the home phone and only had a cell phone.  When she would call I would let it go to voice mail.  Then I would cry listening to her messages.

Sinead and I spoke about toxic relationships and identifying them.  Then coming up with a plan to “clean” them.  Turning them into healthy relationships.

Identifying my relationship with my Nanny as a toxic relationship was hurtful, but honest.  Identifying it as one of the most toxic relationships was devastating.

I rehearsed a conversation over and over with Sinead on what to say.

Then one day I called my Nanny and told her that my relationship with my Dad was between him and I.  I told her I would call him when I was ready but not until and if she wanted to call me she could but any conversation about my Dad was off limits.  I told her as much as she hurt for him, I hurt for me.  I then told her that I loved her very much but once the conversation of my Dad was breached I would hang up the phone.

It was months before she called again.  

March 15, 2011

A whole new chapter! Steps to recovery

Recovery? To define recovery, one must first acknowledge what they are recovering from.

My personal recovery is from chaos.  Chaos is my drug of choice.

You will notice I use current tense.  “IS” not was.

My recovery will be forever.  I no longer struggle to keep chaos out of my life, but to be honest, I am afraid of becoming complacent.  I am afraid one day I might let it creep back in.

Chaos was my normal for most of my life.  Replacing the chaos with something healthy takes work.  Changing my normal takes courage and a lot of will power.  It is not like changing a bad habit.  It is changing an entire lifestyle.

In the next several blogs I will take you step by step how I not only replaced my drug, chaos, with something healthy, but I will take you through the steps I took (some drastic) to change my normal.

I will also dispel the myths about my depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and personality disorders I was told over the years along the way.

I know this has been an intense journey, but I am so glad you all have stuck with me!

The next chapter will be a light in a very long tunnel.

March 10, 2011

A Love Story

When I filed for divorce it was not because I did not love Mike.  I actually loved him very much.  But Mike had become angry and unstable himself.  So angry and unstable, I felt I could not work on being OK living in the same house with him. I had also become incredibly dependent on him and I really wanted to break free and be OK on my own.

My insanity had added to his anger and instability, but as I mentioned before, Mike had some issues of his own.

After I filed for divorce Mike had a choice of his own, he could continue in his own insanity or do some work to get better. I never gave him an ultimatum, I never even offered him a glimmer of hope that our relationship could be saved.  To be honest, I really did not think it had a chance (which is why I filed for divorce).

I believe most men would have just moved on, but he didn’t.  He got help.

How do you know when there might be a chance to save a relationship?

When the person you love is willing to do the work to be OK themselves! And Mike was going to a group to talk about marriage issues, depression issues and other issues weekly.

During this time I was doing my own work.  I was learning about the basics.  The tools of life and was barely learning how to use them.  I was learning that everything in life was a choice.  And on those occasions when something occurs that you have no control over, you still have a choice in the way you react.

After a couple of months he and I started talking to each other in a civil manner, for quite possibly, the first time ever.

Two weeks before our divorce was final….

Mike and I made a promise to each other. We promised each other a happy life no matter how much work it might be, he and I were both worth it!

PS:  We still are!

March 8, 2011

Waking Up

When I woke up in the hospital I was just mad!  Mad at my Mom and mad at my Dad!  Mad at Mike and mad at me.  I was just MAD!

But beneath all of that anger was the love I had for my son!

When Jake came to see me at the hospital he asked me with tears in his eyes, “Mom, are you dying?”  “Do you want to die?”  I did not know how to answer him.  My heart was breaking for him.  I saw myself at about his age.  I never asked my Mom if she was going to die, but I expected it all the time.

Jake is my everything.  And when I decided to die I thought I was doing him a favor.  My life was better when my Mom died and now it is better because my Dad died.  But the truth is it could have been incredible if my Mom had ever worked to be OK and if my Dad had done the same.  I was so mad at both of them for not.  And even worse I felt like I had not been worth it to either one of them to get help!

I realized when I woke up in the hospital that I did not want Jake to just be a little better off without me.  I did not want him to be mad at me and think he was not worth the work for me to be OK.  Suddenly my love for my son and looking beyond myself into his future pushed me to be so mad that I decided. . . NO MORE!

I was going to get better and be OK, not only Jake but for me!

I had finally woken up!

March 7, 2011

Wow, I was mad!

When you have a significant loss in your life you greive.  I lost my childhood and my father when my father started molesting me.

The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

For most of my life, since the molesting started, I had been stuck in the bargaining, denial, and depression stage.  I just never got to a place where I could move on.  And if I ever got angry at my Dad I did not stay that way very long.  Not long enough to work through my anger.

But when I woke up I was PISSED OFF!  And I stayed that way long enough to help me move on to acceptance.

I was mad enough to start working.  I was mad enough to do what really needed to be done.

So begins the act of healing.

First thing on my agenda. . . file for divorce!

March 6, 2011

Facebook

You can now friend me on a Facebook page I made specifically for my blog!

http://www.facebook.com/nomorevictim

March 5, 2011

No one should be so hurt

that they are broken.  But it happens.  People break other people.  People hurt other people.  Parents hurt their children.  Siblings hurt each other.  Friends hurt each other.  Strangers hurt each other.

Most say they want revenge or justice for the hurt they have suffered.  But I believe what people really want is to hear I am sorry, I love you and I hate that I hurt you!

So what can you do if that is just never going to happen?  You tell them.  You tell them, even if they are not there to hear you, you hurt me, I want you to love me and I want you to be sorry that you hurt me.

Then you say: even though you hurt me, even though I am broken now, I am stronger than you ever thought I could be, you will no longer keep my power, and despite you I am going to be OK.  Better than OK!

Then you work your ass off to do just that!

It is time to heal….

It is the end of 2003… and it is time to heal!  To be better than OK!  No more surviving, no more almost dying… it is time to live!

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