Posts tagged ‘Toxicity’

August 4, 2011

His final words

He told me he would die soon. He said he was ready to die. He said the cancer had won, he hurt all the time. He was tired. He would shoot himself soon.

We made small talk for a moment.

Then…

He told me how much he still loved my Mother. He told me about when they met, what he first thought when he saw her (an injured bird), and how he fell in love with her the moment he sat eyes on her. He went on and on for what seemed like an eternity about Mom. When he finally stopped talking I said,”It is so sad that she died so young.” He replied, “Yes, but that was the way it had to be.” I responded, “She just could not stop drinking, she was so drunk when she died.” And he said…

“Actually Veronica (he inhaled and sighed), when I saw her, she wasn’t that drunk.”

I never followed up. I never asked, “What does that mean.” I never said a word. I just sat there, dumbfounded.

He then changed the subject and asked me if I really thought I had a chance at finishing school. I did not answer right away (still in shock I guess). He then said, “You know Eva (my step sister)… blah blah blah” that is all I heard. Then he said, “Well, I guess so far at least you have a good GPA, maybe you will finish, who knows.”

He took a breath…

I said, in a whimper, “Yes, I think I can finish school.”

He said again, “Well, maybe you can.”

He changed the subject again. He talked about how proud he was of Jake.

And just about that moment, my son, Jake walked in.

He and Jake started talking.

I just sat there, feeling numb, disconnected. It was as if I was watching the two of them from somewhere else.

In that moment, all of the pieces that I had worked so hard to put back together felt as if they were fracturing. Chipping away.

My adrenaline was pumping. My heart began to race. My brain started banging around inside my head. My thoughts were flying fast. I was trying desperately to keep up with their conversation.

At some point, I interrupted their conversation, and began to argue with my father, over..? It had something to do with politics… really? Nothing, it was over nothing. Yet, it was an argument over everything!

He became irritated and ask me to leave.

I did.

About a week later, he shot himself.

July 11, 2011

8 Questions I wanted to ask. . .

but never had the courage!

  1. Do you love me?
  2. Do you know that you hurt me?
  3. Does it matter to you that your hurt me?
  4. Do you understand that for many years I was actually beyond hurt, I was broken?
  5. Do you know what that means?
  6. Do you know that I hurt so bad that I wanted to die?
  7. Does that affect you, knowing that you are responsible for that kind of hurt?
  8. Who hurt you, why are you so broken?

Instead, I learned to play bridge and he and I would meet to play often, I met him for lunch, I helped him come up with a diet program, I listened to him when he needed, someone other than Elly, to talk about his cancer, I listened when he told me he had bought another miracle cure on the internet and I never – once judge him for it, I took him food that I had cooked or baked, I took him supplies after the hurricane, I cried for him when he told Nanny, his mother, that he was dying of cancer, and I listened when he told me he was going to kill himself: I never criticized him, I never told him not to do it, and I told him I could understood why he would commit suicide.  

What was my payoff?  Today I can tell myself that, despite him, I was a good daughter.  And why that matters to me, I really have know idea.  

July 9, 2011

One Year Ago

My dad and my brother, less than a month before my dad committed suicide.

July 7th was the one year anniversary of my father’s death.  My brother, sister, and I all met for dinner on Thursday.  We talked about that day:  how we felt, what we were doing when each of us received the news, and how we feel now.

Incredibly, I feel no sadness.  For me, my father is not really dead.  Since Elly made the memorial service about her and the fact that we were not allowed to see his body, my father’s death has never felt real.

In reality, it does not matter much to me whether he is alive or dead.  Oh it did for a little while, but today I feel neutral.

From 2008 until his death, I cared. I knew he would be dying sooner rather than later and I wanted to get to know my dad.  And the truth is, I kind of did.  But I was to afraid to ever ask him the questions I really wanted to know.

Being a victim of sexual abuse, I believe, makes you afraid to open up conversations with the abuser.  I was afraid to ask him why.  I was afraid to ask him anything about it.  I was afraid he would tell me it was all my fault!

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 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 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 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!

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.  

%d bloggers like this: