Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Age appropriate behavior

A friend emailed me this comment about the last post: "You have already decided that she is not the right therapist for you. In part because she was incapable of discerning the difference between you in a stable place and you in crisis. Why are you allowing someone with such poor observation skills who has no personal interest in helping you authority?  (I'm not looking for an answer, just trying to get you to think this through a bit.) All the people who genuinely care about you are telling you this is helping, but the one person who shouldnt matter makes an uninformed statement of opinion and thats the one you're listening to because she's an "authority figure"?? She's feeding your inner demons, which is absolutely not what you need right now. You need to decide whether you want to trust and listen to her, in which case firing her was a bad idea... Or whether firing her was the right thing in which case you need to not lend weight to her opinions. HTH"

Yeah.  Yeah, that's what I am fighting with.  I am fighting with who is allowed to set my boundaries for me.  I have traditionally (during childhood) let other people set my boundaries for me.  The periods of my adult life where I have gone through trying to set more boundaries have been dramatic and ridiculous and over the top.  A lot of the time I can't let people touch me.  I have to have a ridiculous degree of control over how and when it happens if someone is going to touch me at all.  But that's not the point right now, or is it.

I can't be around Shanna because I do not trust myself to be age appropriate with her.  When other people hear that they freak out because of course if I am talking about all these horrible ideations I'm having, of course if I want to hurt my children so badly that I tremble, I must be shattering a lot of other boundaries, right?  But I'm not.  I am withdrawing.  That's hard on Shanna.  Shanna is used to me being available 24/7 to do what she wants when she wants.  It has been that way for three years.  Right now I feel like what we are doing is cutting the cord finally.  Shanna can no longer be treated as part of me and I can't have my whole life in front of her any more.

How do I properly segregate my life in ways that allow me to be a good, stable mother?  I have these memories.  I have these freak outs.  I have periods of time where I cannot be quiet.  I cannot be slow and measured.  I cannot go at the speed she needs.  Sharon is right that you have to be aware of the limits of your audience.  But I think she is wrong about where I need to care.

Maybe in a cosmic sense I should feel more responsibility for the lives and feelings of everyone I know and I should shut up or only tell stories in ways that are safe for the readers.  But that's the crux right there.  I don't have to be gentle with readers.  I can scream and shout and use as much profanity as I want and even if people are cowering... I don't have to be responsible for it.  They can have their reaction to things away from me and then come back to me to talk about my experiences.  Because I have to have people respond to my experiences.  I feel like a liar.  I feel like there is no truth in my words because no one knows them.  At this point that isn't even true anymore.  I have been telling stories for over a decade.

And I still have friends.  I have people who can sit in a room with me and listen to me talk about the sensation of my father raping me with compassion and love.  They do not flinch.  But they aren't enough.  The extent of my pain is such that I cannot tell one or two people.  I can not go to a therapist and deal with my shit in privacy without inconveniencing other people.  I can not go to group and say enough for other people to not feel alone but not enough to traumatize them.  I am too traumatized right this moment.

That's hard and scary.

I just broke for a long phone conversation.  She is the one who has been standing close to me the most lately (other than Noah or the kids).  I've been building to a really big freak out for a long time.  I have been having small things freak me out or I've been intensely needy... really since I got pregnant with Shanna.  Having needs that I cannot take care of for myself has been hard.  It has seriously eroded my sense of self.  I feel like I am a despicable drain on the system.  I feel like I should cease to exist.  But I'm having a bad minute.  I can't even say morning and be honest and that's progress.  I spent two hours this morning out interacting with my children and it was really great.  I did well.  They did well. They were thrilled to see me.  Now they are playing with friends because I'm not doing as well.  That's the right choice.

I realized this morning that I am obsessed with my story to the point where I don't even know my kids' stories.  That bothers me.  Do you know what story Shanna is seeing right now?  "Sometimes my mom cries and goes into the garage.  Then friends come over to play!"  I am so convinced I am a bad mom and I'm not.  I phrase things in the most negative way possible.  I phrase things in the most dramatic way possible.  Because I feel like I am being abused.

When I became a mother I decided I was going to be the Best Mother Ever.  I was going to do everything Right.  I have driven myself insane researching things.  I read a lot of extremist points of views and talk about them fairly loudly.  So people think I am very extremist.  The problem is that I'm not extremist in a way that lines up with any clearly defined camps.  So I feel very alone.  I don't have a family identity so group identity is ridiculously important to me.

I feel like I am doing everything wrong because no matter what I can find people who want to tell me I am doing everything wrong and when I was a child I was told I deserved whatever people said/did to me.  And everyone tells me I am wrong.  Over and over and over.  And I think this is what I am stuck on right now.  Maybe.  This second at least.  I'm tired of being wrong all the time.  I am so exhausted by the effort of standing up and saying THIS IS ME AND I DESERVE TO BE HERE TOO.  I am so tired.

Being the Best Mother Ever is hard.  Noah refers to it as the High Intensity version of parenting.  Other people call the sane version of it Attachment Parenting.  And the only people who are dictating my attempted behavior are strangers on the internet.  Who the fuck cares if I am or am not AP enough.  I do.  And it hurts my feelings that I am doing everything I am physically capable of doing for my children and it is killing my soul and I am told to suck it up.  Children should not leave their mothers at all for three years.  Shanna turns three in six days.  Am I waiting until she is three to have a life back?  What about Calli?  Did I sign on to "do" AP with one child and now I am throwing my second child to the wolves?

I can't keep doing what I am doing.  I'm not going to.  I am changing things.  But they aren't changing fast enough and this is so fucking hard.  We leave on the trip in three and a half weeks and Sarah moves in two weeks after we get back.  Yes, this is hard.

I have already compromised or thrown out most of the AP stuff I tried for with Shanna.  If Calli doesn't want to take a nap on the schedule I try to keep her on she will be left in the pack and play to put herself to sleep, even if she cries.  I can't be on a babies schedule anymore.  I am creating a space in my house where I get to have grown up things and not wade through toys.  It is glorious.  I am not going to be alone all the time any more.  I am not alone all the time.

Why the fuck am I so scared.

I am afraid that my mother isn't a monster.  I am afraid my mother is just a woman who was acting out after she was heinously abused and when she had periods of intense recovery she couldn't see me anymore so she stopped ensuring I was safe.  That's not the true story either, but it's probably close to the truth.  My mom sent me away a lot when I was little.  I would go stay with various people, often Aunt Vonnie...

And then I got derailed.  And my family blew up.  And I am no longer in contact with anyone at all because I told my brother he had a choice.  He can honor our dead father's memory even though Jimmy knows our father raped his daughters or he can stand up for me.  He deleted me on facebook.  And my cousin sent me a hysterical nasty-gram telling me that I am terrible for hurting her family.

It made me laugh.  I guess I'm free.  They aren't my family any more.  That is so awesome!

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