Can't Seem To Let Go

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Not long after my mom died, I was on the internet trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I wasn't "grieving" because, truth be told, it was a relief when my mom died ...and that bothered me. What kind of person is relieved when their mother dies? 

When other people talk about their deceased mothers, they would get choked up reminiscing about fond memories, and wish for a few more minutes with their "best friend." I could never come up with a fond memory, but I could think of a million that, if I voiced, would make people shake their heads, smile at me, and say, "You must have remembered that wrong", or "No, not your mother. Why would you say something like that about such a wonderful woman?"

Something I typed in pulled up the term "Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents." I had heard of the term "narcissism" before, but I had always thought it applied only to people who thought they were more beautiful and smarter than everyone else. Reading the articles and stories posted by others, I started seeing a very familiar pattern.

There were insults and criticisms that were regularly and cruelly spit out in private, but rarely in public. If it was in public, it was said in a way that would seem like "concern."

She was a delight in front of other people, but would turn ugly and abusive once we were alone. If I mentioned her cruelty to anyone, I was told I was mistaken, I got it wrong, or my personal favorite, "Mothers don't say things like that to their children, why would I say something like that?"

I found out I was not her biological child when I was 16. It wasn't a big surprise actually, as I had questioned her about my parentage before.  When I questioned why I was different from the rest of the family, her response was denial first, then to attack me. "You have oily hair and skin because you don't wash yourself well enough/use the correct shampoo/eat wrong. No one else the family has that problem, so it must be you."  When I asked why I was pigeon-toed when no one else was, the explanation was because as a BABY, I refused to hold my feet in the correct position. 

I will never understand why it was MY fault that my adoption wasn't done legally. I couldn't get a drivers license or a job because there was nothing legal with my name on it. My mother told people I didn't have a job because I was lazy.

I was extremely close with my grandmother. My mom's favorite way of keeping me in line was to threaten to not let me see her.  She told me that my grandmother was just as guilty as she was that the adoption wasn't legal. If the truth came out, Grandma would probably be sent to prison. God she was a joy!

In my home, children should be seen and not heard ...and not even seen if you could help it.  I was not allowed to go out and play with other children, I was not allowed to have children over. I was not allowed to join things that would have me interact with children. Her excuse was that she had already done all those things with my much older sisters, and she wasn't doing it again. Not exactly the training ground for learning how to interact with my peers. 

I should "act my age" at all times, no matter if I was 5, 8, 10. Acting my age meant I should be a little adult.  My favorite things were reading (anything that let me escape into my own head), jigsaw puzzles (again a quiet solitary activity), and listening to music (only allowed with headphones on and in the basement. No dancing or singing allowed.) I had no idea how to play like a child, so I had trouble making friends.

I was told over and over that my "biological father" didn't want to have anything to do with me, he already had two daughters that he raised. In actuality, he was an alcoholic who didn't want another baby when their marriage was failing, and wasn't really around me at all during the two remaining years before they divorced. She said he chose not to see me, to avoid having to pay child support (a lie ...you can't pay child support on a child that was NEVER LEGALLY ADOPTED).

When she remarried, I adored the man who I call Dad, but he was "set in his ways" and believed that all child rearing should be done by the mother. Everything she said or did was right because "She's your mother. You owe her respect." But even his love wasn't exactly unconditional. After one of their regular fights, he would go into his "dark place" and not speak to her OR ME for days or weeks on end. I couldn't depend on him because he made it obvious it was easy to cut me out. I lived for the times when I had his attention - getting good grades, and cleaning my plate. He liked a kid who ate, and when you have one parent encouraging you to eat, eat, EAT, and another who is telling you what a fat pig you are, it messes with your head. To this day, I have weight issues

I had been told all my life that no man would want me, so of course, the first one who showed me affection had no problem getting me to have sex. I was pregnant when I got married young. I didn't get to go away to college like I had dreamed, but the voices in my head told me I wouldn't have done well anyway. I worked, and then had to help mom take care of my dad until his death. I promised him I would take care of my mom. God, I hate deathbed promises.

A few years after my father died, my grandmother was extremely old and frail. She was living with my mom, and I could see how scared she was. Her voice would shake and she would get teary eyed. Mom would yell at her because she needed to use a bedpan or had to have meals fixed for her. My little family moved in to help with Grandma. I took over grandma's care, bathing, feeding, cleaning up after her, doing laundry, etc. During the day a nurse would come to take care of her, "relieving" my mom of her hardships, which she exaggerated to everyone and anyone she could. She only took over Grandma's care at night, but she told everyone that she did it all, and no one else lifted a finger to help.

At one point after having my 2nd child, I was working 40 hours a week, raising two kids, making three different meals at a time (Grandma had special diet, baby had a different one, and then there was the rest of us), cleaning the house, doing laundry, and taking care of my grandmother - which included getting up at least twice a night.  And yet all I ever heard from my sisters was that I needed to help out more, mom couldn't do this on her own. They certainly couldn't help, of course.

For four years, Mom would try to abandon her for the holidays. She told my sisters that my grandma didn't want to be around family. The truth was, she didn't want my grandma taking away the attention from her. The medical equipment was "embarrassing," and would "distract from the party," so I spent most holidays driving back and forth between home and whatever house the festivities were being held. 

I never received any thanks for how much I helped out, but she always told me what great things my sisters were doing or promising to do with her. As far as Mom was concerned, my one sister walked on water. Everything she said or did was perfect, and the fact she did absolutely nothing to help with anything was just the way it was. I was here, and I should be the one responsible, period.

After all the years of nastiness and selfishness, my mom's health went downhill, at the same time of my older sister's. There was no insurance, and no money, so I became Mom's full time caregiver. Even then, when she was completely at my mercy, I still couldn't treat her the way she really deserved to be treated. I was gentle. I put up with her constant criticisms and insults. I made sure she went to her doctor appointments, got her prescriptions, and took her out often.

When she developed dementia the real fun started. I couldn't sleep at night because she tried to wander. She would complain about things that didn't happen or weren't said. Then there was the actual "crazy" stuff that comes with dementia (trying to eat out of the garbage, looking for "missing children" from the news in her closets, almost strangling her dog because she tightened the collar as tight as it would go, stripping naked, defecating wherever... you get the idea.)  I felt alone. My husband was never the nurse type, and I didn't want to put any of it on my kids.  My oldest sister was dying and I was trying to be strong for her. My other, perfect, sister acted like we didn't exist, and if she did show up, it was all about how hard it was for HER.

My oldest sister died, and my other sister had to be talked into coming the funeral. She lived 30 minutes away. It was so far to drive. Her anniversary was coming up, and she didn't want to have go to something that was going to ruin her mood on her anniversary! How selfish of our other sister to die at such an inconvenient time!

She would promise my mom a visit, a trip, anything, but never follow through. Every cancelled promise was taken out on me. After my sister would call to say she wasn't coming, within minutes, my mom would have an "accident," usually involving the above-mentioned defecating somewhere that would require extensive cleaning on my part. 

When my mom finally reached the point requiring hospitalization, my sister finally showed up. Like my mother, she only did when it was "public." If I had kept my mom at home, she never would have came to visit, but in a public area like a hospital where she could get sympathy, she was the concerned daughter making a daily visit. It was then I discovered that my sister was just like my mom. 

I was spending hours a day at the hospital, waiting on my mom hand and foot.  I knew her schedule, her moods, her doctors and her prescriptions. I answered all the questions, my sister knew nothing. When I went to visit one morning, I was pulled aside by one of the nurses. Apparently, my sister took it upon herself to notify the hospital that I was not biologically my mother's daughter, and therefore all medical decisions were not to be brought before me, but her. I was good enough to physically care for her ALL BY MYSELF for years, but not good enough to decide when she needed hospice?? That's where my sister screwed up. The nurse herself was adopted, and had a hostile relationship with her own sister-who was not adopted and was constantly trying to make the adopted one seem lesser. Not the best choice to try to get on your "adopted is lesser" side.

Its been four years now. I have no contact with my sister at all. I hear from my daughter that she posts lots of messages on Facebook on how much she misses my mom, how depressed she is that the extended family has "abandoned" her, how she was so close with my mom at the end, and nobody appreciates how this loss has affected her.

Meanwhile, I am still angry. The mention of my sister's name gets me riled up. I have a hard time remembering my mother without getting upset, teary and emotional. I don't miss her. I am just so pissed off over my lack of childhood, the constant insults that make me question everything I do to this day. My husband tells me "get over it" and that's it, that I'm making it worse on myself. He doesn't believe in therapy, although I really feel I could use it.

The thing that really messes with my head was the last thing my mom said to me. I had been with her all morning, and had to pick my son up from school.  I was gone about two hours to get him, feed him, and help with homework. As soon as I walked in, she started in on me. Where was I, why was I gone so long? While I was apologizing, she startled me by asking when I (my name) was coming. She then started ranting again, how I call and say I'm coming, and then I never come, that I promise over and over to visit, but I never do. I realized she wasn't talking to me, she thought she was talking to my sister! She fell asleep for a few minutes, and when she woke up and saw me, she asked me when I got there.  I told her I just got there, she could go back to sleep and I would be there when she woke.  Her last words to me were "I know ...I can always count on you ...you are always here for me." 

Is it strange that what she said at the very end of her life bothers me the most? That she acknowledged that I was the one who took care of her, and that she knew my sister did nothing. I was the only one there to hear it. It bothers me that my sister never heard for herself that her mother knew she avoided/abandoned her. Instead, she goes around like the wounded child. All her friends gather round and tell her what a good daughter she was. They tell her how bad I am for neglecting her now, after everything that was done for me, bringing me into the family and raising me like I was part of it.

 

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The Night I Signed My Life Away

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He had asked me for a divorce, and I had fought for months to keep that from happening. I loved him, and I didn't want our family to fall apart. I knew there was another woman, even though he wouldn't admit it. He had never admitted to any of the others, why would he tell the truth this time?

I was annoyed by the irony of how he wanted to sign the divorce papers. He had dropped off the papers at the house for me to read them, but he didn't want either of us to sign them until we were together. It was like he wanted it to be some kind of sick date! How romantic of him, right? Let's get together as a couple and sign the divorce papers. Be still my heart!

I had been avoiding reading them until that day, trying to delay the inevitable. I knew there was nothing I could do. He'd made up his mind. But when I sat down to read them, I couldn't believe my eyes! Here was my way out of this! The papers said that I was agreeing that our marriage was irreconcilable. The thing was, I didn't belive our marriage WAS irreconcilable. I thought it could be saved. This was a legal document. I could not put my signature on a legal document that I didn't agree with! So if I told him that I believed our marriage was worth saving, and I couldn't sign the papers, maybe he would agree to work on it!

He came over that night, cheerful as could be, ready to have our special little night of writing off our marriage. I took a deep breath and told him I couldn't sign the papers, explaining my reasons.

His rage was immediate. I saw his eyes go red and his lips swell up like they always did when he was ready to start punching things. I knew he'd had an anger management problem before we met. I'd read his homework from the court-appointed class that he'd had to take. I knew he'd lied on the homework, making things look less than they were. But he seemed to have learned from the class because he'd only ever thrown things before when he was mad at me. It had only happened a handful of times, but he would grab whatever was closest to him, throw it, and then stomp out of the house.

I had never worried about him actually hitting me.

But now he was on a rampage. His fury was terrifying. He punched his fist through a tv tray that was in the living room, completely destroying it. He took the little table that my dad had built when I was a child, that our daughter used to do puzzles and color, and smashed it into the floor. The corner of the little table was crushed, it dented the hardwood floor, then it bounced and hit the edge of our brand new tv. Thankfully, it didn't hit the screen. But it left a permanent mark on the tv's frame that I could never clean off, no matter how hard I scrubbed. 

Then he crashed his way through the house and into our bedroom. I was even more terrified because our daughter and our foster daughter were asleep in the next room and I was so afraid he would wake them. I didn't want them to see this side of him.

Once in our bedroom, my terror turned to horror as he grabbed the golf club he always kept next to the bed - for protection from intruders - and started swinging it around the room. He smashed the glass on the pictures hanging just a few feet away from my head. For the first time in our ten-year marriage, I was truly afraid that he might actually hit me. I stood there sobbing, pleading with him to calm down.

And that's when I knew. 

Our marriage could no longer be saved.

He had crossed a line that I was not willing to deal with.

Our marriage really was irreconcilable.

I told him I would sign the papers. As quickly as the rage had entered him, it was gone. We went into the kitchen where we sat down at the table and signed the papers. He hugged me, then left. I cleaned up the mess he had made, so the girls wouldn't see it in the morning. Then I went to bed, where I cried myself to sleep.

It took me a few days to recover from the impact of seeing him so angry. I deeply mourned the end of the marriage we could have had.

But one day, about a week after signing the papers, I realized I was done. I no longer wanted anything to do with him. I was ready to move on and make a new life for myself.

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Memories Thought Never To Be Forgotten...

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This will be long ...for me at least (A.D.D. will start soon..)

If you have read my stories, you will know that I don't forget faces, especially those from relationships. And if you have read my stories, you know I talk about one specific girl in my stories - "Marie." She put me in a downward spiral of self hate, self harm, and no self worth.

School recently started. I saw her, but I didnt recognize her. Me, the one who never forgets a face, never gets over a girl, and I forgot! I got over her. I wanted to start crying, breaking down. For some reason, my life had frozen. I didnt try to look for her like I used to. I had forgotten her, forgot it all. I didn't just forget "Marie," but the rape, the hate, all of it. 

I forgot everything except the hate. People hate me because I have screwed up. I am angry. I have unimaginable rage. Right now, even the computer I'm typing on is angering me so much, but I resist. I resist the urge to lash out.

So, I met a girl. She is the sweetest girl, and she just stops me. I know I will regret saying this, but I really do love her. She is my world. When "Brina" just caresses me and holds me tight, she stops the rage and anger ...and the self harm.

The earlier generations don't seem to understand. To them, depression is a mood, not a mental ilness. We didn't choose the pain, self harm, or anger, we were born with it. We grew up faking the smile, hiding it untill some sees a cut, the scar tissue, the hole in the wall, the pure hatred of society.

We struggle to simply wake up in the morning and function as a human beings, yet we still wake up. We get up, even though there is no motivation, our faces tear-stained, our hearts beating for that one girl or boy we like. We want that one special person to know the pain, the quirks, the oddities, and unknown anger. We want that one person to look into our eyes and know our hearts beat for love.

I want that one girl to see me and know that my eyes see only her. I want her to see why I wake to an ever-beating heart deep in my chest.

I found that girl. And she saw me...

My anger is clashing with my feelings of love and affection! Please help me. Reach out to me. I want to start changing my life! 

Stay strong, all of you. YOU are my family.

 

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DOH Monday: Birthday Balloons

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Recently, Sunshine's grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday.

As if that weren't awesome enough by itself, Sunshine's sister cooked gumbo for the occasion. Sunshine's sister is why I love cajun food; that wench can cook her ass off and that gumbo was fucking amazing.

There were also balloon bouquets on each table.

 

 

After the party was over, nobody knew what to do with all those balloons. So we cut them loose and let them fly so that they could bring a smile to somebody's face as they floated overhead.

 

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Good News!

The profile setting glitch has been corrected and you should be able to set up new profiles and log in now!

Please share your stories.

We all learn from each other, and there is strength in knowing you are NOT ALONE.

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 Much Love, 

The Band

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