Posts tagged ‘Family’

January 3, 2012

Taking inventory step 3 – unhealthy people

We all have had, and some still have, toxic people in our lives. So now that you have made a list of the unhealthy people in your life, if you wish to truly be healthy, you must decide what to do about those people. As I have written in the past, if a person is incredibly toxic and I find myself not being able to maintain healthy boundaries, I remove that person from my life. It may seem harsh, but my sanity, my balance are what is most important to me.

For those people who are not toxic, but display unhealthy behaviors I set boundaries. I am very clear with the people in my life. I am very straight forward about my mental health and why it is important to set boundaries with people.

An example: I have a friend who really likes to party. Not all the time but she likes to party pretty hard. I have went out with her on a couple of occasions and realized how unhealthy her behavior was. Close to toxic! However, as long as I do not go out on the town with her we can be really good friends. So I have told her that, although I enjoy her friendship, I cannot go out partying with her. It took a couple of times of her asking and me saying no, but she finally gets it and no longer asks.

Again, (and I will say this over and over again) talk to your therapist about how to approach people and how to set boundaries with them.

Your choices will get better and better every time you set a boundary with a person. You will begin to see how strong you really are. You will also begin to feel healthier with every boundary you set and keep.

I hope you are doing well in this journey! And again if you have any questions or any comments please feel free to contact me! You can leave a comment here or you can contact me via email @ nomorevictim68@yahoo.com

Now that your human inventory is complete, and in the next several blogs, I would like to address the issue of having a job and dealing with the people you work with. I will then address triggers, how to identify them and what to do about them! And soon we will work on building a support system, building self-esteem, and making a choices – consequences journal!

Love, Veronica

Advertisements
July 27, 2011

Before and after my Dad died

I was numb. I was shocked. Although I knew it was coming, somewhere in the back of my mind I just could not process the thought of him dying. Not only dying, but committing suicide. But after he did kill himself I was OK with his death. I was not hurt or angry that he had killed himself. I understood why he would and he had explained why he was going to do it.

But when we got a copy of his will, that is when I became angry and hurt. It is not that I wanted money. It was that he left my step-sister pretty much everything. He left my brother a bug chunk of money as well (which I expected). But me and my sister – $500! And that was not the hurtful part.

What hurts?

1) When your own father misspells your name in his will.

Yes, he did not even spell my name right!

But, two, was the conversation I had not long before his death that hurt the most!

I thought I would have the opportunity to go back to him and readdress what he said.

But that day never came.

July 24, 2011

After the reunion, what I always wanted to be

As I posted in this blog: https://nomorevictim.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/the-family-reunion/ I found that I had become very strong.  I could stand up for myself, I could face challenges, and I could walk away from a situation without feeling defeated.

This was a defining moment in my life. My life became clearer – sharper, and so did I!

Within a year, I decided to go to college. And soon I will be graduating with my AA and transferring to Sam Houston State to get my BA in Education! I currently have a 4.0! I am the student I always wanted to be.

I may have never asked my Dad those 8 questions, but what I did do was become the daughter I always wanted to be even though my Dad would never be the Dad I had always wanted.

I am the wife I always wanted to be. After that fateful day, I no longer leaned on my husband for emotional support. I discovered I could take care of myself. This new sense of self helped me to be the wife I always wanted to be. No jealousy, no anger, and no fear of abandonment.

Today, I am what I always wanted to be, but never imagined that I could be.

Happy!

But I will admit, it takes work and dedication to be happy. Is it worth it? Hell yes it is!

June 8, 2011

The Family Reunion

As that day in September of 2008 approached, I was filled with anxiety.  Not only would my Dad be there, but so would my Nanny and my sister (who I had not seen nor spoken to since 2005).

In addition, I was completely off of all psychotropic medication.  I was managing my life well, but still lived in fear of having a setback.

I had a plan on how to handle almost every situation that came at me while I was there. If my Nanny made mention of my relationship with m Dad, I would just tell her that we would talk about it later and that it was her birthday and I was there to celebrate her. If my sister would not speak to me, I was OK with that too. I know at some point I had hurt her enough to where she no longer felt comfortable with me in her life. I was OK with that, I had felt that way about others in my life and, although I was not sure why, I could understand not wanting chaos in my own life. My Dad, well he had a way of getting under my skin… my weight. All of my life I had been to fat in his opinion. And when I lost all of that weight, every time he saw me, he would say how great it was that I had finally lost some weight. It is sad really, because as thin as I was, I was very unhealthy. However, by 2008, I had started gaining weight back. The ultimate plan was to leave. Mike and I, even today, have a deal… if ever one or the other wants to leave a situation – we will leave together. No matter what.

As we arrived my Nanny was driving up as well. (That’s right, on her 95th birthday she was driving up!) As I greeted her the first thing she asked me was if I had seen and talked to my Dad. I replied I had not but I was sure he was inside. I am sure my discomfort gleamed on my face. She just gave me a hug and then walked inside. She never mentioned a word to me again that day about my Dad.

As I finally made it inside I saw my Dad, my brother and my sister. I felt this incredible sense of dread come over me. But as I got closer my brother hugged me and whispered in my ear “Everything will be alright.” My sister then gave me a hug and said, with tears in her eyes, that she had missed me. I told her I had missed her too. Then I made my way round to the rest of the family, giving hugs and asking how everyone was doing. And then I saw my Dad.

Dad, “Hey there Pooh (my childhood nickname) you look like you are gaining weight.” I replied, “Dad, I love you, but my weight is none of your business.” I remember Mike reaching for my hand. My Dad turned red then said, “well you look good.”

Then I noticed his leg! It was awful looking and for whatever reason I immediately ask if his cancer had returned. He hushed me and said he just thinks it is a cream he used. But you could see it in his face, he knew what I had said was probably the case. Then he said he was going to the doctor next week.

My Dad’s own words “At Labor Day the start of September my right leg began to swell and look very muscular. I guessed because that was where I was rubbing testosterone gel on it and it was just becoming muscular and strong. I was so wrong. By the middle of September the leg had changed to a blue-green-yellow color and my wife had me go see my favorite GP-MD. When he saw the leg he said CANCER. Another PSA was done and came back at 51.6.

In October my right leg began to bleed and produce a whitish liquid. Pus I guess. This lasted a few weeks and then cleared up.”

That day will live in my mind forever, it was the beginning of the only relationship I ever really had with my Dad and it was the beginning of a renewed relationship with my sister. It was also the last celebration I would have with my Nanny.

The relationship with my sister is still alive today. Sadly, I do not believe it will ever be what it once was. My heart was broken when she left in 2005 and cut me off, and although I am sure she had her reasons, I can never suffer that hurt again. So I will guard my heart forever. It will always be somewhat fragile. Broken pieces put back together, no matter how strong the glue might be, are never as strong as they were when the heart was whole.

The relationship with my Dad was a ruse. I had no idea until his death that I was a pawn in his life to get the attention he needed and/ or wanted from his wife. In addition, I believe he knew that without some type of a relationship with me he would never get to know my son. And being a grandfather to Jake was something he really wanted. Despite that, I am glad I had it. I learned so much during the time with my Dad. Although, in the beginning, I was just a tool to gain attention from Elly, as time went by I think maybe for the first time ever he began to see me as his daughter. And for the first time possibly ever, I think he felt remorse. Not only for what he had done to me and my sister, but for what he had done to my Mom. A week before he died, he disclosed his part in her death. Something many had suspected over the years.

He was there!

May 10, 2011

Fine tuned?

Well OK, not quite.  But my marriage and my relationship with my son just started working.  It seemed like the more I recognized what I needed to do to be OK and actually did it, the more both just seemed to work. Around the beginning of 2005 Mike asked me to start working with him.  No pressure, I could leave when I wanted to and I never had to deal with customers.

It was a win-win.  I got out of the house and he got a free part – time employee.

As most of you know I had lost a ton of weight between 2001 and 2004. And even though I had started to learn how to balance my life, I still lost more weight. It would not be until 2005 that I would really start to balance not only my life, but my weight as well. 

2005 Total weight loss – about 80 lbs.

Mike and I became not only working partners, but friends.  We started working together instead of against each other.  We learned to support each other on the rough days.  We learned to celebrate each others good days.  Our marriage just became this awesome love story.  One I had always dreamed of but never – ever thought could ever be.  Mike is my love, my hero, my friend, and my lover.  Never, did I ever believe he could be those things, not because he could not be, but because I believed for so long I could never be worth having someone so wonderful in my life.

My relationship with my son just seemed to get better as well.  No more yelling or fighting.  I was learning how to be happy, maybe for the first time and those closest to me were learning as well! I learned to be patient with my son, to understand he was a teenager, and that I was really his Mom and my job was to not be his friend or his drill Sargent but his guide.  And as a guide I could not make him follow, I could only set a path before him.  He is my pride, my joy, and my love.  He is now my guide as well as I am still his.  Being a parent is the best thing I have ever done.  And I am so glad that I figured it out before my son was grown and it was too late.

From 2005 until 2008 life seemed to just be OK.  It moved at a slower pace.  We went on vacations, to New Mexico and Canada, and life was good.  No stress! I rarely heard from my Dad.  And my Nanny was getting older and had her own health to contend with. I think she finally made peace with the lack of relationship I would ever have with my Dad.  My Dad’s cancer seemed to be in complete remission.

All was quiet!

Then in 2008 we were invited to a family reunion!

And to be honest, I was anxious – almost afraid!  I had not been on medication for several years and there had not been a true test as to how I would do without it.

What I could have never expected happened, I learned I really was going to be OK without medication.  That I really was able to control mania and depression.  And with this discovery, I made a life changing decision.

Next…. The Family Reunion!

May 3, 2011

NO!

Once a person has the ability to observe the warning signs that a manic episode is approaching they can then take action.

I am so incredibly aware of my body and my brain that, the minute I feel my jaw tighten or that I wake in the middle of the night and cannot fall back to sleep, I start relaxation techniques, I identify the source of my stress and make a note to address it after a good nights sleep, and if I cannot identify in a few minutes I make a note to attempt to identify it the next day. I literally write it down! And I follow through!

My mental health is so important to me that I will do whatever it takes to be OK. I have walked away from friendships that have become toxic, I have dropped a class that I felt uncomfortable in (as in REALLY creepy uncomfortable, I trust my gut!), I have a straight forward approach to other humans, I say what I mean, I no longer play the nice girl game (if your outfit is ugly and you ask me, I will tell you it is not flattering! If I don’t I will feel horribly guilty and be stressed!).

But the number one key to my success is learning one word. . . NO!

You can ask, but the answer is probably going to be NO!

Nothing is more important to me than me. Because if I am crazy I am good to no one, especially not to me!

Now you might be thinking, “how selfish!” Your damned right! But not near as selfish as a person who never says NO and is always overwhelmed and having a nervous breakdown on a regular basis. They give – give – give until there is nothing left. For a day, a week, a month, a year – they hold it together. Then they break. And all hell breaks loose with them!

Why do people do that? I will tell you why I did it… because I always thought something was wrong with me and I wanted people to like me! I wanted to be accepted. And I honestly believed that no one would like me for just me! I was broken and I was afraid everyone knew it. The truth was, everyone did! Not because of my past but because of my present.

Oh don’t get me wrong, people loved the fact that I was the go to person! But when I would break a little bit more they would whisper “Poor Veronica, she had a tough childhood, she can’t help it.”

Oh, yes she could and she does!

Discovering the tool – NO, has been a literal life saver!

April 18, 2011

Bipolar disorder

Since the recent news about Catherine Zeta Jones I thought it was time for bipolar disorder.

According to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, people with bipolar disorder type II have never experienced full-fledged mania. Instead they experience periods of hypomania (elevated levels of energy and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as the symptoms of mania). These hypomanic periods alternate with episodes of depression.

That was one of my many diagnosis’s. What I find ironic is this describes many people I know. People are sometimes happy and sometimes sad. It is the extreme of the two that is cause for concern. However, I feel like this diagnoses could easily be abused.

I was prescribed a mood stabilizer, some worked… I became a zombie! Never really happy and never really ever sad.

I do realize I have a tendency toward true manic depression. But do I really need to be medicated?

What if I was taught life skills to handle stress? What if I was able to identify the clues of mania. And for that matter depression.

Learning to truly manage my life has been incredible. Knowing I always have a choice (ALWAYS) has been the most empowering, yet it was a devastating part of my recovery in the beginning.

Why devastating? Because it made me responsible for me. I can no longer blame those or the events around me for my misfortune because I have a choice, not only as to my actions but my reactions.

In my next post I will explain my bi-polar disorder and how I live (actually thrive) without medication!

Bi-polar disorder does not have to be a life long illness, just as depression does not have to be a life long illness.

April 4, 2011

Depression

According to the World Health Organization depression is a common mental disorder.

Facts
Depression is common, affecting about 121 million people worldwide.
Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide.
Depression can be reliably diagnosed and treated in primary care.
Fewer than 25 % of those affected have access to effective treatments.

According to the Mayo Clinic there are numerous depression treatments available. Medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy) are very effective for most people.

But is medication really a treatment or a tool?

Medication serves a purpose. If someone is so depressed that they can no longer function or have become suicidal it can be a used as a tool. It can help a person to be able to get to a place where they can start to understand why they are depressed and how to not be depressed.

But a treatment?

You cannot treat years of abuse with a pill. You cannot treat a lifetime of dysfunction with a pill. You cannot treat low self esteem or self worth with a pill. You certainly cannot treat self hatred with a pill.

Depression is insidious and cannot be cured overnight, in a week, or even in a month. And it cannot be cured with a pill.

So how is depression cured? In my experience, with the right tools. You all have read about “The Shovel”, which I had been using for years the only way I had ever been shown to use it. I not only needed new life tools, but I needed someone to show me how to use them!

Building a life tool kit! Finding someone to teach you the correct way to use life tools!

Step one – find a therapist!
Find a therapist you feel comfortable enough with to share. Find a therapist you feel uncomfortable enough with that you do not feel like they are a friend. (We tell friends what we think they want to hear).

Step two – Tell your therapist what you expect from therapy and that you need their help so they must be able to demand your honesty.
By setting the stage of what you expect from your therapist, you are setting the stage for real healing. I told Sinead “I am done with feeling like shit, I want to be happy and I need for you to be tough and help me do that!”

Step three – do it!
Be honest! I used to find a therapist and just give enough information to get through the session. Why? Who was I helping? Not me!

Step four – do the work!
If you come up with a plan of action with your therapist, follow through! As I discussed in “Toxic Relationships” I rehearsed conversations with Sinead. I also came up with several plans with Sinead and I followed through!

Step five – do not stop until you are done! I have been through a slew of therapist over the years. I never really got anywhere with any of them and never saw the same one for longer than a couple of months. But I saw Sinead for years. And even though I have not seen her on a regular basis in a couple of years I know if I need her she is a phone call away. I actually went to see her soon after my father killed himself.

April 3, 2011

Where next?

Healing toxic relationships are the most important part of my recovery. By acknowledging them and identifying why they are toxic I am able to keep balance in my life.

But healing toxic relationships are only a part of my journey to sanity and recovery. So I think I will attempt to dispel all of my diagnosis over the years.

First, I think it is important for my readers to understand that I do not deny there is depression, bi-polar disorder, personality disorders, etc. What I do want you to know, for my life anyway, is that medication does not heal any of these, nor is it something I will need forever.

A psychiatrist once told me, “You have an imbalance and in order to fix that imbalance you will need to take medication the rest of your life. Much like someone who is a diabetic.” That was a lie.

It is a lie I have heard many times!

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!

%d bloggers like this: