Notes to Self

March 9, 2015

How normal is my abnormal?

Yes; it’s been a really long time since my last post. I am just too damned busy. While I haven’t been writing in this blog, I am still going to therapy so progress is still being made. I have often wanted to post; even came up with the title and started writing it in my head, but just couldn’t get the carved out time to sit and type. How lucky I feel to be doing this now!

 

So, to the point: yesterday was an awful day. I was alone with the kids. I started the day exhausted (my now 1.5 yr old is constantly waking throughout the night and screaming until you rock him back to sleep). The weather was to be nice so I wanted to take the kids to the park. My daughter wanted to ride her bike. OK. Before my husband went to work I unloaded some stuff from the trunk and got the bike and pump for my daughter and then shoveled out a push-trike for my son (it was buried under many feet of snow). A few frustrating hours later we got into the car. Toddler fell asleep quickly so we drove for a bit – went to a drive thru coffee shop (I could barely keep my eyes open). The “awful” of yesterday started here. The shop didn’t have the cake pop my daughter wanted and she didn’t want anything else they did have. As soon as I drove onto the highway she starts screaming that she wanted this or that. Oh how hungry she was and now what was she going to do? (Of course she didn’t want to eat before we left the house and also didn’t want to eat any of the food I brought with me). As she continues to scream and cry the toddler then starts crying. Such fun. Soon she calms down and we get to the park. I ask again if she will eat something but she declines. Then we have to fight over her outerwear; too cold for the minimal vest she wants to wear but I let her get out of the car and find out for herself. As I unload the bike and trike my son falls and hits his head (not hard but keep this in mind for later). So, finally everyone is properly dressed and we are ready to go. The coffee I so desperately need still hasn’t made its way into my bloodstream, but continues to spill out everywhere else (oh what fun). I have to navigate a kid on a push trike, a 4 year old and a bike (with my coffee) through the parking lot and across a patch of ice, slush and water. My daughter finally gets on her bike and three seconds later is screaming to get off. The wind is too strong and she is scared. I realize that she is also hungry and feeling weak. Tears and screams and I declare we are going home. Daughter wants ice-cream from the shoppe. I say no (she hasn’t had anything decent to eat all day and I am not filling them with ice-cream). More tears and screams. And no, you’re not watching anymore TV either (after several hours in the morning it was too much). Silence on the way home.

Get home and ask her to pick what she wants to eat. She chooses frozen pizza. I make it. Neither kid will eat it. Chicken nuggets it is. At this point I have totally shut down. I am withdrawn and unavailable to my kids. No emotion (other than some annoyance). My daughter asks me if I am frustrated. I tell her to let it go and take opportunities to tell her it’s not her fault. Nuggets are done. The toddler just wants to use the nugget to suck on ketchup. Eventually he eats some. Need to change his clothes. Done eating and they go play. I start cooking. Amazingly the two kids play together without me and they are having fun. So I am cooking and I think all I have to do is pretend I don’t love my kids – then they’ll play together (instead of fighting) and I can do chores. I think that’s absolutely pathetic, ridiculous and it makes me feel totally useless and unloved. Then I start feeling selfish and childish and shouldn’t I just grow up. They asked for ice-cream; I gave them an ice-cram pop. They ate silently. My daughter even wiped off my son’s face. I finish cooking (I imagine that the kids won’t eat it anyway so wasn’t that a total waste of time). I sit down with them. My daughter offers me a hug. I start crying (just tearing)- she starts crying/tearing. I again remind her it’s not her fault (within context of a conversation).

 

Not wanting to play with them I turn on the TV. I can’t bring myself to open back up. I can’t initiate interaction without feeling like I would be a big fake. I literally feel turned off, as if a switch was thrown and I don’t know how to flip it back on. On top of the event itself, I am dealing with guilt. Guilt over losing my patience and getting snippy. Guilt that I let myself get like this again. Guilt that I ruined the day. Guilt that my kids have to suffer me. So the inward hatred gets worse. I just stare.

So the toddler heads up the stairs and I must follow (a favorite game is to go up and down, up and down…on the plus side, my daughter, who did the same thing. was really good at the stairs!). My daughter runs up to be with us, yelling that she’s angry with me for leaving her alone. The two kids play on the bed. The toddler spits up a bit but it gets in my daughter’s hair. Yeah – now I need to figure out how to bathe her and deal with him. Eventually I have to put him in his crib so I can wash her hair. He does nothing but scream and cry. Ok. Now everyone’s washed and dressed. They play some more and he spits up a bit more (not on her) – third change of clothes. Takes some time to calm him down but eventually he falls asleep. I told my daughter (who is now watching TV) that I was going upstairs to get my son to go to sleep and that she wasn’t to call me unless she saw fire; I wasn’t coming back down until he was asleep (she has a habit of calling me for every little thing and it ends up taking 3 times as  long to get my son to sleep). Fine – done – he’s asleep. I return downstairs and she tells me she didn’t see fire and didn’t call me. My heart breaks a little.

We sit there as I try to offer some love. Try to cuddle her. Watch TV. Finally my husband comes home and my daughter tells him all about the awful day (in snippets that aren’t cohesive): she said no to ice-cream and I didn’t see fire and then she came downstairs again (I thought it was interesting that my daughter referred to me as “she” and not “mommy”). Then the remainder of the night was all around frustration. Everyone annoyed and tired. Everyone being cranky. What a wretched day.

 

So, today I woke tired and unhappy to have to get up. The toddler was cranky too (daycare called to say he is hitting and they think he should move to the next class). My daughter seemed to remember the pain I caused her the day before. Dropped the kids off at school and the toddler didn’t care that I was leaving. Gave his sister a sweet kiss and long hug. When it came time for me to leave my daughter clung to me. Eventually we both start crying. I didn’t want to let go either. I wanted her to know how sorry I was and how sad it made me to know that I made her sad. But I didn’t know how to apologize again. I didn’t know how to apologize for being a shitty mom and a selfish person. How can I say I am sorry that I am so pathetic?

 

Today I am trying to make sense of this. Trying to figure out what went wrong, why and how I can stop it from happening again. I get annoyed that things don’t go smoothly; perfectly. That my daughter didn’t have her food and that I didn’t then have anything that she wanted to eat. That I was on the highway and couldn’t stop. That somehow any other mom would have done this morning better and no one would be crying and everyone would be having fun. I am the reason my kids’ life sucks. I am incapable of being a good mom and I am failing, and failing them. So from there, on to the fight about clothes and that my son fell (which, had me thinking later that he had a concussion b/c of the spit up, which wasn’t a lot and his crankiness), the spilling coffee and trying to do too much with only two hands. I think the internal message to myself is that there must be something I am not realizing – there is a better way to do this and I just don’t know what it is. I am inherently a failure and I am pathetic. My kids will grow up unhappy and hate me and really I don’t deserve to be their mom. Frustration descends as I tell myself how much I suck. I feel trapped and helpless. Now trying to maneuver the push-trike, the bike and the kid back over the slush, ice and water…and then there’s a guy who seems to be telling me I am in his way – I ‘m not sure what he’s doing but it’s adding to my frustration (or is it anxiety??). I am aware that I have fallen into this again. I am aware that it is happening but I feel like it is too late. Like I have gone too far and the feeling of failing (that I let it happen again) is consuming me. I am consumed by guilt and hatred (for myself) and a feeling of helplessness.

 

I have to wonder how much of the first part of yesterday is normal. Do other kids cry and scream when the shoppe doesn’t have what they want? Was I stupid to take the kids with the bikes to the park? Was the coffee just too much? What is normal, what did I do that was abnormal or silly to even attempt? Shouldn’t I be able to do it all? Doesn’t everyone else? What’s wrong with me? My therapist and I have talked about the fact that while I may realize how unrealistic my expectations are or how irrational my thought process is, the emotional piece is on autopilot and I have the emotional reaction and can’t stop it. He says that the more I am aware of the reaction and sort of talk it down, then the less it will occur. I am not sure that the state of “less” is happening, although I really have no data to support it one way or the other. All I know is that I feel awful – guilty and sad and so so sorry for making my kids’ day full of sadness. I grew up sad and I don’t want that for them. I just can’ seem to change this reactive state.

I don’t know how to make it up to my kids. How to undo the damage I have done. Will they hold it against me? Will they remember? Do they hate me already? These precious years that I can never get back and I am wasting them on silly frustrations.

September 10, 2014

I surrender

This morning I felt so defeated. I got in the car to drive the kids to daycare and I said to myself “I fucking surrender”. A moment earlier, when my daughter whined about wanting a different book to take to school (after she whined about wanting her dolls that were left in the house and I returned to the house to fetch them, brushing my hair for the first time since showering as I walked back to the house), I took the wrong book from her hands, threw it on the car floor and plopped the book she wanted into her lap. I felt like such a winner. I am an awesome mom.

 

I am so tired; absolutely exhausted. Not just from this cold I’ve been fighting for two weeks (I don’t take medication while breastfeeding), or from still waking 3-4 times a night to nurse the baby, or from taking care of the two kids on my own, or from a full-time job, or from cooking, cleaning and all the other shit I have to do. But also from feeling so damned lonely. And from fighting with myself about everything.

 

The mornings are insane. We all wake up late and have less than an hour to when we should be heading out the door. But of course this isn’t feasible so when it’s after 8 and I know that I will be late to work and unable to find a parking spot, I get really ticked off. I am constantly forgetting things, I never have food to take (and when was the last time I ate a vegetable?)….. I seem to carry a minimum of five bags (and a kid) and I just feel like my entire life is one big chaotic mess. There are some mornings I don’t get to shower.

 

I realized that I feel like my husband doesn’t match my level of effort toward childcare, house maintenance and just overall getting stuff done. And this angers me. I feel betrayed. Unloved. Unsupported and sometimes like a sucker. But then I wonder how much of this is me being unrealistic in my expectations (both for myself and for my husband) and how much is appropriate (this is the fighting I referred to earlier). So I get even more angry from being so unsure of things. It is clear to both of us that our priorities are different. For example, I want a clean, neat house that doesn’t piss me off (operative component is that I am not pissed off by the state of my house, not necessarily that it isn’t messy). He doesn’t care that much about that facet right now. He doesn’t get annoyed like I do (although there are times it frustrates him as well). So I battle with all of these things and push him away and get angry at him at the same time. Yes, I blame him. Not sure why. I don’t know what he does with his time; I just know that isn’t what I want him to be doing with it. (you should be shaking your head or laughing at me right now).

 

The layers of guilt and pressure and fighting just go on and on. When my 3.5 yr old screams in frustration the moment something doesn’t go her way (e.g., trying to take off her shoe), I know that’s my fault. I know I have failed her. I know that if I can’t fix myself I won’t be able to undo this damage and she will have a really tough life. But this morning I felt like I just can’t keep fighting. I am spent. I don’t see a light at the end of this pitch black and seemingly never ending tunnel. I just see more and more and more that needs to be done and I feel alone in facing it. I feel defeated. Like no matter what I do, I will always lose. I will always fail and there is always a better way to do it; I just can’t.

 

Life is passing by and I am struggling with what has often been referred to as “sweating the small stuff”. My therapist commented that I was worrying about the superficial things (like a messy house) but have the big, important things covered (like feeding my kids healthy foods) – note that this morning I was also steaming and pureeing broccoli for the baby…because there just wasn’t enough to do I thought I would add one more task…………….

 

So today I haven’t done much work and don’t really care to. I find everything rather pointless. I ate a bunch of cookies (and of course feel sick to my stomach). I will become progressively more annoyed as the day goes on and I will probably go to bed thoroughly annoyed, not sleep well and then do another day of this shit. Again and again and again. I just give up. I can’t give anymore than I already am and I am running out of steam. I don’t know what to do.

March 24, 2014

Why can’t I ever just…

This morning I finally got up (sort of) on time and hopped in the shower while my toddler was sleeping and the baby was content (enough). My husband was awake so I wasn’t worried. And then I heard the crying…

Shortly after my daughter was born I joined a gym to go swimming. I used to swim competitively and I really needed exercise and some time out of the house. After all, babies can’t always have their mommy’s, right (or so everyone continuously told me)? The last night I went swimming (which was only the first few times that I went) I recall being in the water and thinking how wonderful this was and how I felt like I had come home again. I was enjoying the feel of the water, the smell of the chlorine and the fatigue that slowly overcame my (out of shape) muscles. And then I got home.

When I walked in the door my daughter was screaming crying and my husband was sitting on the couch looking completely spent and helpless. I can still feel the shock. I thought here I was thinking all was well and enjoying my time in the water and all the while the two of them were absolutely miserable. I felt guilty and frustrated at the same time. So that was the last time I left my little girl at night, that is until I was in the hospital when my second child was born (she was 2.5 yrs old).

Many times over the course of the first year or so of my daughters life I would be in the shower (getting ready for work) and thinking all was well, until I turned off the water and heard the crying. Soon I would always hear crying and got in the habit of shutting of the water int he middle of my shower to figure out if it was my imagination or was she actually crying. Regardless of whether or not she was crying, I would rush out of the shower, rush to get dressed and end up being overcome by the time I actually left for work. I had spent the morning nursing and pumping, packing bottles and lunches. I was tired! But my husband was able to have over one hour of personal time in the morning. I always thought that this wasn’t fair and the less personal time I had, the more angry I became over it (and this is the point of this post…keep reading).

 

This morning while I showered (and note that I hadn’t showered since Friday morning), I was in the middle of loving the hot water when I heard the knock on the bathroom door (which I only closed to avoid waking my daughter) and then the pouting. Oh crap I thought, this is terrific. I even thought I heard the baby crying so in the middle of brushing my teeth (yes, I do this in the shower to save time) I turned off the water. Yes little girl, I will be out soon! I shouted. But still she whimpered, sitting on the floor outside of the bathroom.  Great I thought and I turned the water back on – back to RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH. And then I said to myself why can’t I ever just –

 

And then it hit me.

 

All this time I have been thinking that the fact that my children cry when I am not around, or when I am trying to do something (like go to the bathroom or make some seriously needed caffeine, I mean coffee) means that I have somehow failed.

 

Ah yes, that old chant. You are a failure, everything you do you don’t do right. People are miserable because of you.

 

I never thought your babies want their mommy because you have bonded so well with them and you breastfeed so of course they want you to hold them. Of course they miss you when you are gone.

 

Nope. I just think that I am a rotten mom and an even worse wife. This morning I thought how much my husband must hate me because I left him with this mess of crying kids. I should have done better, I should have made it easier for him and there were things I could have and should have done (that is if I were capable of knowing what the right thing is) so that everyone woke up with smiles and were happy, happy, happy.

 

Seriously? Even Mary Poppins can’t do that.

 

As for my jealous (ok, anger) toward my husband who gets to spend time clipping his nails every morning (I do this only when they start to dig into adjacent toes…keeping them trimmed is just a waste of precious time I don’t have)- it’s just self-loathing turned outward. I don’t do it right and I am a failure and terrible mom, which is why I don’t get any personal time but look at him all free and clear. No stress, no worry. I hate him (I really don’t – I truly love my husband, even when we are fighting). Why doesn’t he do the same for me? Why oh why can’t I feel free from the constant stress of worrying whether or not I am screwing up my kids and making them hate me and feel as unloved and as worthless as my parents made me feel – all because I want to make some damned coffee or sit without someone or something hanging on me for 10 f’in minutes.

 

And how exactly is that his problem?

 

So the theme of my current rehabilitation has changed from figuring (identifying) all the ways my parents taught me to hate myself and how it has manifested in my life, to figuring out how all that shit has fucked up my marriage. You don’t know what you don’t know. So help me know. I don’t think I am solely to blame for all our marital issues, but I also think that I have been difficult to be with for nearly 17 years and don’t you think he has developed some defense mechanisms and ways to tune me out just so he could survive? Like the other night when the baby was up crying and I didn’t want to get back in the habit of nursing him all night (he finally sleeps and only wakes 2 times!!!!) so my husband was trying to put him back to sleep – I said do you want to try a pacifier? I had one in my hand but instead my husband got up, brought the crying baby into the room where my toddler was sleeping to fetch the pacifier from the crib. Then I went in and said forget it, I’ll just nurse him. That must have been fun for him. (and there’s another lesson in this but I don’t have time to write about it right now). I realized that I have always said “do you want to…” when I really meant “would you please…”.  So last night when I wanted my husband to go to the basement and get the blankets from the drying I said wanna go get the blankets and then quickly corrected myself saying would you mind getting the blankets from the dryer.

 

It’s a small step, but a step. I wonder if he recognized it.

 

As for my lack of personal time and the effect any personal time has on my children…it is temporary. It will pass. And I need to see it as them wanting to be with me and not me being punished for not doing things right. I am a good mom and I show my kids love and respect and by wanting me to be with them they are telling me they feel the love and want more.

September 1, 2013

Low self-esteem can be exhausting!

Something relatively minor happened at work on Friday and I am still obsessing over it. I have lost sleep because of it.

I have learned by now that when I can’t “let something go”, its because I haven’t resolved it for myself.

The event happened, I reacted, called a few folks, got a resolution and yet I am not done with it.

The issue, I realized this morning, is the way I treated myself when the question first arose. The doubt and worry I had about something so minute. When I talked to a friend/co-worker she told me what to do and it was that simple, yet I was envisioning everyone thinking I was a terrible person! And so I made it a bigger deal than it was, and now I am angry that I did that.

My husband said to focus on the fact that I have recognized his and how that is furthering me along the “road to recovery”- that I am becoming a better person. While I agree, I still can’t stop being completely annoyed.

It isn’t just the event and the ridiculousness surrounding it, it’s that I think so lowly of myself and that I let my family continue to treat me so poorly to encourage the low self-esteem for so long. I am tired of finding more ways and further reaches of how my poor self-image affects my everyday life. I am not surprised by the effects, just where it comes up and how it then affects me.

I am just tired of it. I want to be “normal” and not think twice about little stuff. I want to stop doubting myself so quickly and I want to stop obsessing when I do.

I’m just tired of it all.

July 16, 2013

In War, inside

I remember the day I was listening to the radio and a song by The Who resonated most amazingly; “I don’t need to be forgiven”.

I have been searching for the fundamental (irrational?) thought that will lead me to victory. Maybe there isn’t one, but I am finding one that is very influential: while I do not believe I did anything wrong, I have not forgiven myself.

December 21, 2012

Where you end and I begin

According to my therapist, when children are young there is not much separation between them and their primary caregiver(s) (i.e. parents) – they see themselves and their world through their parents. It is the job of the parents to reflect back a positive image of the child (so the child sees their self in a positive way) and as time goes on, the parent must allow the child to develop into an individual – to separate from the parent. This involves allowing the child to differ in opinion and “rebel”; to be unhappy with decisions made by the parents and to voice such opposition. However, the key is for the parent(s) is to maintain love for and acceptance of that child no matter what (you know, unconditional love).

 

Evidently, many parents fail at this. Instead of viewing their child as a separate, discrete individual, they see the child as an extension of themselves. And they expect the child to act accordingly. My therapist likened it to how one might expect an arm to move as you tell it to and imagine how upset you would be if this arm went left when you told it to go right. How dare it not do as you instructed!

 

In my quest to figure out WHY I have the thought processes and behaviors that I do, I am trying to understand the connection between my parents parenting and my current mental state. I do not feel that I can change until I understand why, to the extent that I can.

I am struggling to draw connections between the parenting I received and the thoughts I now have to change. I imagine there is a flow chart that can be drawn – some way to schematically show the if/than arguments.

 

My parents were never happy with what I did, how I behaved or dressed or talked. I was never what they wanted me to be  – regardless of the situation or conditions. I was always lacking something – I didn’t get all A’s or the haircut was nice but my mother would have preferred something different. Of course these are the stereotypical things that parents say – that most folks discuss in therapy. But taken together, over a lifetime, and mixed with other major traumatic events in my life (which I believe were inevitable consequences of circumstance), I am left with this:

1) I do not trust my own judgement, which causes anger and frustration (the death spiral)

2) I do not think I am worthy of love or have any right to ask someone to do something for me (I build walls and don’t let people in; I have no pride)

3) I am not, and never will be or could be, feminine, pretty or sexy (I never look in mirror’s and go through mental hell when I have to wear anything but jeans)

4) No matter what I do, try to do or want to do, I will fail (I have no hobbies or goals in life and no sense of accomplishment)

 

Up until a year or so ago everything I did was done to make my parents and sisters happy. For example, even after I moved out I would mow the lawn, rake and shovel. I would sometimes send my husband (much to his significant dismay). I listened to complaints and ran errands and let them blow me off for someone (or something) else (and never said a peep). I did it because it made them happy and that meant I was good and maybe they would love me. I beamed whenever I was told how helpful I am! This would make me want to do more.

But I am now realizing how much of my actions (or lack thereof) were done just to take care of their mental health. I won’t argue or speak up for myself because that angered them. I won’t tell them my opinion or not go along with their plans because that angers them. I will stay close to home so I can take care of you, even if I hate this damned state. I will put up with the hurt and criticism, judgement and insults – because you are family and, as you have always told me, all I have to count on in this world is my family. When no one else will be there, you will. I view myself according to how I think my family would view me and the decision I am about to or have just made. And since their view of me is/was never favorable (unless I had just done something for them and in accordance with their preferences), then all I think is that I have and will fail.

 

Action will correct my thought processes. My therapist says I need to stand up for myself and confront them when they say or do something I don’t like or when they ask of me something I do not wish to do. When asked why I don’t do this I said it is because it’s not worth the hassle. When I have spoken up I just get questioned more “well don’t you think that ___” or “why do you think that ____”. It’s tiring and I don’t want to deal with it.

So here’s another “cause” – they don’t listen and they don’t pay attention. The last time I went clothes shopping with my mother I was in the 6th grade. She pulled some awful, ruffled shirt off the rack and I replied (rather loudly) “do you really think that is something I would like?”. And that was that.  With all of the choices I have made with my daughter – they still question and criticize. They have not heard me or paid any attention such that they would understand and appreciate that all my decisions are based on what is in the best interest of my daughter, rather than what I do or do not want or what they expect. No, I will not wake her up from her nap so we can be on time for appetizers. No, we will not stay past her bedtime; she gets cranky and unhappy. We will go home so she can sleep.

Last night I was talking with my mother and she started lecturing in a very disapproving tone. I fell silent (as I have been doing – and then I just say I have to go and hang up). But then I thought about it and decided to “confront” her (and by the way, I should mention that confrontation scare the hell out of me – with anyone – my heart pounds, my voice quivers).  So I told her what I thought and she just kept challenging me and I realized that I didn’t know how to stop it. What did I need to say to get her to stop talking? My life isn’t your business unless I make it your business. And if you don’t like something it isn’t your natural right to tell me so.

I am seeing clearly how I have become what I am. The logic is unfolding and the consequences come forth as if challenging me to refute their existence.

Self-doubt; you are a product of not having been heard or given the opportunity to safely make mistakes. No, it would not have been tragic if the skirt I was trying to make didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. I would have learned something from it. I would have tried again and become more skilled. Except I just gave up. Lost interest in trying anything since I would only fail.

 

Overall I am hopeful for my recovery. While I see there is a lot of active, in the moment work to do; I think I can change.

I need to change. I am tired of being negative and self-hating.

My daughter needs me to change. I need me to change.

I don’t feel that I have really worked through all of this information such that I feel clarity. But I am getting closer. This has helped.

Inch by inch, row by row…..

November 19, 2012

You’ll be the judge of my judement

I had a “breakthrough” in Therapy last week. I am still reveling in the realization.

I am a rather ‘black and white’ or ‘all or none’ kind of person. Either I am really busy or I am spending my day in front of the TV. Either I am being “healthy” or I am overeating. Either I was flawless or I completely failed. Get the idea?

Extremes. From one end directly to the other – no stopping in between.

And when I am forced to be somewhere in the middle I get angry, frustrated, worried, annoyed and, I guess scared.

This came up when discussing the amount of TV my toddler watches. I can’t handle it. The pressure of trying to figure out how much is too much or when is it ok and when isn’t it. I said I’d rather just throw the thing out the window than deal with this frustration!

Then we realized it was a matter of me not trusting my own judgement.

Avoid having to make a judgement call and life is fine.

 

There comes a time in our lives when we can no longer hold anyone else accountable for how we behave and think. That’s not to say, however, that they aren’t still the root cause.

In prior posts I have discussed this as well as the fact that lately I have been remembering things I long ago hoped I had forgotten. Like when my mother and I went to the eye doctor to see about getting me contacts (I was somewhere around 17 years old) and she told the doctor she didn’t think I would clean them well enough so she was opposed to me getting them. I will never forget how taken aback the doctor was. Here I was, almost college bound and my mother was doubting my ability to take care of (disposable) contacts! I can’t remember exactly what he said but I remember how it made me feel; triumphant. It wasn’t because I “won” getting contacts, but rather that I was defended and this ridiculous charge against me had been dismissed without hesitation from someone who hardly knew me. As I write this I realize that my feeling of joy at the doctor’s response was just as pathological as my feeling of despair at my mother’s initial claim. It all boils down to this:
What I think doesn’t matter. I am always wrong and everyone else is always right. I have poor judgement and I will always make the wrong decision.

 

My parents always doubted me. Always criticized and judged everything I did – from the way I brushed my teeth to the man I married.

I am left not trusting myself and not believing that I can and will make good decisions. And over the years it has become second nature.

 

For example, when I make a wrong turn or get on the highway in the wrong direction – I FLIP OUT!

Anger boils to the surface in seconds. I scream HOW could I have done that! WHY don’t I know better! WHAT is wrong with me???

 

Self-beratment. That’s how I roll.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, but no worries, I’ll keep fooling myself for you so you don’t have to do the work anymore.

My internal dialog is insane. This morning I was looking for some food in the freezer and when I finally realized where it was I said to myself “It’s in that container you idiot!”

 

My parents still doubt my judgement. Everything I do with my daughter is criticized and questioned.

Although sometimes I make decisions and that’s that, most times I fret and worry and talk about it over and over and wonder and worry and get angry and annoyed then I cry and talk about it with other people and finally a decision is made but that’s not the end of it…I have to fret over the decision and how it will affect everyone else and was it the right one and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then I worry that my husband loves me less because I am so crazy. So I start to seek validation from him.

How do I learn to trust myself?

 

On the path to recovery I am noticing every stone of self-criticism and self-doubt.

But the more I uncover the more angry and sad I become.

I scream HOW could I have let them do this to me! WHY didn’t I know better! WHAT is wrong with me???

 

What’s that saying – just being aware of it is half the battle?

September 27, 2012

If you haven’t anything nice to say…your assumption is flawed!

Filed under: Growing pains, I asked "Why", Them vs. Me, Therapy — Tags: , , , , — me2self @ 8:51 am

While no one likes to hear people complain all the time, we do like to vent about the things that bother us.  There are a few, like my husband, who don’t complain much. He says “I already lived through it once, why do I want to live it again”. I on the other hand review the event(s) several times, each time from a different angle/perspective, and I think I am starting to understand why.

My therapist has been extremely helpful. I would say that I wish I had met him years ago but I know that it is only at this point in my life that I am in the right place at the right time.

I started therapy because I found I was getting more and more angry and frustrated. To help me understand my anger and frustration my therapist has had me write down the trigger (event or thought) and the associated emotion(s) and thoughts. I am then to challenge each thought. The idea is to refute irrational thoughts with facts. Yesterday I found something interesting.

 

When the trigger is my family, I have no irrational thoughts until I realize the secondary emotion (self-doubt) and then I go on autopilot self-destruction. One recent trigger: My eldest sister told my daughter she was silly because she didn’t want to be held by my sister (that’s right, a 40+ year old told an 18 month old that she was silly because she wasn’t acting in accordance with how the 40+ year old thought she should be acting. Who’s the child?). So I got angry. This isn’t the first time this has occurred. I did not react (although in my mind I was thinking “who the fuck do you think you are!”) but rather politely informed my sister that my daughter is attached to me, that it is a good thing and that she will grow out of it. My sister rolled her eyes and replied by saying to my daughter “ok – see you when you’re seven”.  (again, in my mind I am thinking “you stupid, selfish idiot” – see, I haven’t had anything nice to say so I haven’t been blogging).
As I worked through this I realized that even though I do not believe for one split second that I am a bad mother or that I made the wrong decisions in the rearing of my child (to the contrary, I am very pleased with my relationship with my daughter and am aware, and thankful, that she is a very happy and healthy little girl!), I somehow found myself going through self-doubt. This was the autopilot bit. I had no irrational thoughts about my mothering and had all the facts I needed to know that I am a good mother and to feel satisfied with the decisions that I made thus far. But somehow the anger I felt was linked to feeling inadequate.

 

It seems that I am living under the assumption that my family is always right, I am always wrong and they will always know better than I do. This Fundamental Belief is my active default and overrides any contradicting emotion or thought. (I have to make a computer joke – I need to change my normal.template! he he).

This appears to be why I can never let anything roll of my back. I obsess and review it a thousand times. I find my fault and then the other party’s fault. I conclude with a list of the things I should have done differently and a statement of how stupid I am for not thinking of those things to begin with. I feel obligated and pressured to act in accordance with their wishes and feel frustrated and angry and enter self-doubt when they are unsatisfied with me or my behavior (and of course my child is an extension of me).

But then the therapy session was over…

 

So until next week, bite your tongue and find your flawed assumptions.

 

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