Good revelations in counseling today. My daughter might be trying to trigger me so I revert, thus making her more powerful and feel in control. She’s feeling out of control, and this is the easiest path to make her feel better. This can come through with the name, as well as telling me to ‘calm down’ or disparaging me, my choices, and my concerns. She’s trying to take on the parenting role.
I was able to voice that I couldn’t reconcile blending who she was as the former name with who she is with this name. Yesterday I realized that maybe with the name change, she’s really saying she is not, nor ever was, the other person. My counselor suggested rather than trying to blend the two together, to consider this an expansion on who she is. I like that imagery. I can definitely do that. I can embrace her, with her new name, because she is who she is. The name doesn’t change that, though it tells me more about her. More than she realizes, probably.
I was able to put into words another aspect of my problems with the name change. I felt that by calling her the new name, I would be admitting that all the untrue things she believes about me are actually true. By clinging to her old name, I was basically saying the lies are not true, and standing by that. I’ve come to realize that calling her the new name does not mean the alternate reality is true. I know it’s not. And I know that she cannot cognitively recognize they’re not the true reality. She believes the stories she tells herself and others. Nothing I do will change these beliefs, and it seems everything I do to try to change them is believed to be manipulation and lies. Rather than fighting against this no-win situation, I simply choose to no longer fight. I realized yesterday that was one of my options: stop fighting. Often, what she wants from me is a fight to prove her correct.
My best friend let me know my daughter is telling her friends that I am kicking her out when she turns 18. She’s voicing a fear, I know that. But they believe her. I have actually told her the opposite: I do not believe in kicking out kids when they are 18, because they are not yet true adults. I told her this 2 years ago when she thought I’d kick her out for being angry with me. Two weeks ago I told her to take her time to figure out what she wants to do with her life, because she’s always welcome. She has put an artificial deadline on herself for years; she always talks about how horrible it is here and can’t wait to be 18 so she can leave.
I need to remember that all of her stories, alternate realities, they’re actually her fears. She speaks her fears as though they are true, perhaps hoping they don’t come true, but in preparation that if they do come true, she already knew.
My poor, frightened little girl. How I wish I could swoop her up into a huge hug, cuddle her and let her know it really will be ok.
We put our oldest cat, George, to sleep today. It was time, but I second guessed myself from the moment I made the decision, last night, until I spoke to the vet. When I described what was happening with him over the last few days, she agreed he was ready. I’m glad he wasn’t in any pain. My daughter held him in her arms as he passed. It was a very difficult thing for her to do, and I know she did it because she thought no one else would. I said I didn’t want to because I wanted to give the kids a chance to offer. I have a small understanding of grief, but it’s more than they understand. I knew that one of them should hold George, difficult as it may be. There are things they would regret later, so i offered to take a picture of each of them holding George before we left the house. Only the youngest turned me down. At the office, George wouldn’t go out of the carrier; normally he’d get out when the door opened. He looked at my daughter, then looked at me, across the room, and his eyes wanted me with him. Only for me did he rub his head on my hand, round and round. He wanted me there; maybe I should have held him. But, later on my oldest admitted he wanted to be the one to hold him, but his grief paralyzed him. I almost asked him, too, because George was his cat. However, I thought this was something they needed to offer; I didn’t want to push and make him feel like he should do it, though he might be reluctant. Now he needs a pet to love on. None of the others are his.
Yesterday I entered a discussion on Myers-Brigg personality type, specifically my daughter’s. It was a bit eye-opening and helped me understand her a little more. I sensed these things, but they didn’t make sense. Then I asked about the name change, and someone explained the thought process there, as well as how it is interpreted when I have trouble using the new name.
Because I don’t wanna. And as I was slowly waking this morning, the reason why finally became clear.
Because now that she’s chosen her own name, and we made it official, it’s as though I really am not her mom. She’s made that assertion for years, and now it’s true, no matter all I’ve done. No matter that I am her mom. I’m not. The name was the final nail in that coffin.
And, oh God, it hurts to be so rejected.
While getting ready this morning, I looked around my room and realized I’m living in a cage. My room is a cage. I spend almost all of my time in this room. I hate the living room, with it’s bright coral color and lack of warmth, huge TV hung in the corner of the room, and complete lack of comfort. The kitchen is a narrow galley and not a place I like to hang out in. In both of these rooms, the windows are old, drafty and super dirty. I can’t open them properly or easily to clean out the old spider webs and empty egg sacs. The only cheer in the kitchen is the brightly colored vodka bottles on the window 1/2. The pink paint is gross.
The office is actually a large, dark room into which the back door enters. It houses the computer amoire that is just a storage receptacle for media and other items that don’t have a space elsewhere. There’s a chest freezer, 2 book cases, a 2 drawer-file that’s crammed with unfiled paperwork, and a large buffet. I wanted that room to be a family art gallery, but it’s lacking. Every room has unfinished pieces waiting for my husband to finish.
The last room in which I could spend my time is the sunroom, which is off the living room. However, being a sunroom, it’s full of windows and cold in the winter. It’s the room that sold me on the house, though. Normally the kitchen banquette is in the room, but the table is too small and the seating too tiny for my family to use. Therefore, the room is a dumping spot for my oldest son’s stuff that he doesn’t feel like taking up to his room.
So, I choose the warmth of my own bedroom in which to spend my time. There are piles of crochet projects, magazines, bins with more yarn, book shelves full of books, and hardly any organization. Again, more unfinished parts of the room, waiting for inspiration to strike my husband.
On days when I recognize I’m living in a cage, I want so very badly to leave it all. To live freely in a sun-filled studio where I am free to create and grow. Where the other pieces of the cage, the bars I can’t see because I focus on one or the other, can’t keep me imprisoned.
The truth is, though, that I have the key. I don’t have to stay in this room all of the time. I can figure out organization that works in my room, my home.
When my daughter changed her name she knew there would be ripple effects, repercussions. I don’t know if she knew how vehemently opposed to the change people are and were. One of my son’s friends told a mutual friend that the change was wrong and disrespectful because she changed to a masculine name. It created a bit of a stir among the teens, including friends going to her defense on her FB page. Vaguebook passive-aggressive replies that, of course, were confused by those to whom the comments were not directed. It’s a natural consequence, though. I will defend her right to determine who she is even while struggling to come to terms with the change. I honestly can’t remember if I’ve called her by any name since Wednesday’s change.
My parents are especially hurt. They haven’t texted me or her, but they did send an email on Friday. They’re reeling from the news. I explained my own difficulty with the situation, as well as shared some problems we’ve experienced in the last few years. They still don’t know how to respond, but said they’d continue praying that she would “find her way back to us.” Sigh. Those are the same words they used against me when I left their church in favor of a different religious path. I’m never going back to that church, but I never left my family. My daughter hasn’t left us, she is only determining who she is.
My daughter’s name was changed today. For months, since the end of summer, she’s said she doesn’t identify with her given name and has wanted to change it. To a masculine name that cannot be confused with a woman’s name.
It wasn’t something I could accept, so I wasn’t in a hurry to do it. As a minor, my husband and I had to agree to it. She did the leg-work, found a website that helped with the paperwork for free. We did print it out months ago, but didn’t follow through for various reasons, primary being my husband had surgery in December to donate a part of his liver.
We returned home the week before Christmas, and I realized we really needed to get this done. She turns 18 in May, which would make a name change more complicated. Personally, I’d be ok with having her go through the steps as an adult, rather than hiding behind me and my husband. Anyway.
It’s been hard to accept, and I still don’t. She’ll always be her original name to me. My memories are of her as her original name. Her name means a great deal to my husband and me. She’s X, the Promise Baby. She was conceived after a devastating revelation in our marriage, and I consider her to be God’s promise to me that our marriage would be restored (still waiting) and if all else fails, God is in control. Now she’s some stranger’s name.
I’ve talked to her a couple of times to try understanding why she wanted to do this. I know it’s not personal, but it feels like a rejection of her whole family, of us.
She’s too young to get it, and maybe I was too much of a push-over. Our relationship has been rocking for a few years. I want her to know I accept her for who she is, and it has to be regardless of what she calls herself, or how she classifies herself. She does not know that, as my counselor reminded me, a name is like a prophecy. We become our names, and those names are spoken from on High to the parents. I made the mistake of telling her my husband always wanted a girl with her name, and maybe he would have named another girl that name if given the opportunity. That last part wasn’t correct, but she didn’t believe my husband when he tried to correct it. But, it’s true; her name was given to her, and only her. Women grow into their names, and their names can give them a clue of who they can be, and more. I struggled with what to call myself for decades. In high school I experimented with changing how to spell my nickname, and for a few months went by my given name. I finally settled on a spelling for my nickname, and stuck with that for 20 years. However, when I turned 40, that nickname was too cutesy for who I have become. Around 40 I desired to be called by my given name. To me, it’s elegant and beautiful. It speaks of strength and softness. It’s a warrior goddesses name, and I bear it proudly. But, it took me 40 years to embrace.
For now, I will mourn, and I’ll let myself grieve for as long as I need to. I don’t know if I’ll ever come around to embracing the name my daughter now calls herself. In the end, though, I embrace my daughter and that’s what counts. I hope she recognizes that.
Tonight was the wake for my friend that died in her sleep. They don’t really know yet what happened. She said she wasn’t feeling well, went to sleep, and in the morning her daughter found her face down, cold but one arm still warm. She didn’t have a heart attack or a brain aneurysm. She was apparently on an experimental drug: it was the first day she took the drug. I hope they ran tests, etc, to determine cause of death. She’s had a lot of health problems for the last decade, but none of them related to each other. Like, broke her foot at work which took forever to heal, then someone stomped it and broke it again. Then weeks later she was hit in the head by a flying tire at a water park and suffered a concussion that took about 18 months to heal. Last year she was hospitalized for flu, bitten by a brown recluse on the back of the neck and required hospitalization for that, and hospitalized for several other things but never revealed to me why.
I processed some of my feelings with my counselor this week. I realized I saw parallels between our lives, mine and Trisha’s. Except for her, the situations turned into worst case scenarios. Like, her first husband was addicted to porn, but then he acted on the addiction and moved into full-on sex addiction. Her second husband was the 1st husband’s best friend, and was very against the cheating. And years later, he cheated on her and their marriage also ended within the last year. While married to her 2nd husband she went back to school and became a reflexologist. She was just starting to get her own business off the floor last summer when I last saw/spoke to her.
However, she embodies the word LIFE. She always smiled, always had a positive outlook, always hoped and believed in and for the best. She lived life. She moved forward and made the most of what was handed to her. We were pregnant at the same time: me with my youngest, she with her only.
Her death is showing me life is short. It’s too short for me to live in fear of screwing up. I don’t care if I choose to do something and it’s not “the right thing”. I can change direction. I can change my mind.
I want to move forward. To no longer be afraid of making mistakes or making the wrong choice.
So, I kept the appointment with the job center and got some more leads. I also took 2 tests at CLC to help the job center help me. I stopped at a teacher’s office and chatted with him. I have been wanting to do that and I did it.
I told my counselor I want to throw shoes at something, but I can’t remember what. Maybe my fear of making wrong choices? I remember saying I want to throw shoes at it and live LIFE, big puffy capital letters LIFE.
Today was pretty much what I expected, and absolutely fine. I woke up tired, having stayed up way too late and went to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. I reset my alarm for another 30 minutes, which flew by.
Within minutes of the second alarm, my husband came to bed. He said, “Happy Mother’s Day” and said he had a really hard time staying awake on the drive home because it had been a really rough night at work.
I dragged myself out of bed to discover my daughter in the bathroom. She had to be at church early because she was working in the nursery. I let her know I’d be late, and asked if she minded walking. There are benefits to living 1.5 blocks from church!
While I was in the bathroom getting ready she left for church. I woke my youngest, who basically couldn’t move. Another child of mine with insomnia, apparently. Gotta get more cal/mag into him.
I finished getting ready and let him stay home for a ‘mental break’. We’re both struggling a bit with this church. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not like ‘Home’ the way it is for my other kids.
I got to church 30 minutes late, and sat in the way back. My oldest had walked to his female friend’s house, then church long before I woke up. When they did the ‘meet and greet’ my oldest brought over a carnation that an elder had handed out to the mothers.
It was an ok service, the part I attended. Singing hymns, praying, sermon, another hymn. Sermon on 2Tim1. I wrote my grocery list, created a daily schedule for myself (which I already blew!) and activities for the week.
As the service was wrapping up, I slipped out. I really didn’t want to talk to anyone. My spiritual mother attends the church, but I just wanted to be left alone. I don’t care about Mother’s Day. It feels so contrived.
After church I washed dishes, made myself lunch (tilapia and lettuce) then took my daughter to Trader Joe’s to get food for myself and my newly-vegetarian daughter. Then head home to watch my sons play soccer. Oh, got snubbed by another soccer mom. sheesh. Before the game started I headed to WallyWorld to finish shopping. In doing so, I missed one son’s goal and the other son’s time as keeper. Coach bought roses for all the players to give to their moms, so I received two. After the game, we headed home. I cooked myself dinner while the oldest went with his female friend’s family to dinner. My daughter baked a home made pizza for herself and her brother. I ate all 4 pounds of strawberries that were bought at TJs. Soooo, back to the grocery store to get more strawberries and a few other items.
As I was looking through my Google+ I found a Mother’s Day Proclamation from 1870 that I love. I wish Mother’s Day still concentrated on it’s pacifist roots rather than it’s commericalized, forced sentimentalism.
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
—Julia Ward Howe
Today I graduated from community college. It took 27 years to do it, but it’s done. I have to get a job now but don’t know in what. I think I’ll need to just start applying to anything I’m qualified to do.
However, I’m not happy to be done with this portion of school. I still don’t know what I’m going to do from here. I want to continue schooling but don’t know what to study. I spoke to my friend, who is the assistant dean of science and math. He suggested I look into laser photonics or nanotechnology. The meteorology class made me realize I might be interested in science. I want to know the why and how of things in the world. He was shocked to find out I took Calculus I and II when I first went to college. The positive side of laser photonics is that there are many openings in our county, yet very few taking the courses. There’s one other college in the US (I think that’s what he said) that teaches LT, and that school is in Iowa. It’s new and growing.
Related to this, I saw only one of my teachers on the stage, and it was the teacher I most hoped to see. I’d like to strike up a friendship with several of my teachers, but doubt that would ever happen.
What I’m taking away from these 2 semesters at school is an awakened thirst to learn more, do more, experience SO much more.
Today I had a thought that stumped me.
I was sitting in the hair stylist’s chair, getting my blonde back, and realized I miss my husband. The guy I thought I married, the one who made me feel like the only woman in the world. And I sat there thinking about that a little bit.
Then I started to wonder how we can get that back: me the only woman in the world, and him the only man in the world.
But here’s the difficult part: I’ve changed. When we got married, and for quite a long time in our marriage, I was blind to quite a lot. Blind to aspects of myself and my brokenness and by default, to his faults and brokenness. As I get healthier and more self-aware that has changed our marriage. He doesn’t seem to know me, and more often than not I’m really irritated with who he is. He claims he’s always told me who he is, but I don’t think so.
When we were dating, he talked to me, saw me, built his world around us. The one time I made a conscious decision to trust him because he hadn’t given me a reason not to, he actually was blatantly lying to me. If the person he is right now is who he was then, well, he was blatantly deceitful to me.
That leaves me to wonder: do I miss a real person, or the image of a person I thought existed, but doesn’t.
No matter how often he acts as though I’m the only woman in the world (though that hasn’t happened for years), that wasn’t the truth. There were always the women on the internet, in pictures and movies.
I guess, apparently, while he lied to me when we were dating and first married, the man he’s revealed himself to be since then is the man he really is.
I’m sad for the hopeful girl I was. The excited bride with expectations of difficulty but having a partner to tackle that difficulty together.
Sad as I am for that girl, I’m excited for this woman. One week from today I graduate with an Associate of Arts degree from the community college. I will miss class. I will miss learning and growing through studies. I plan to get back to the classroom as soon as possible, though I don’t have a plan formulated. Instead, I must get a job this month. Paying for my son’s college is taking priority this fall; paying for a 2nd mortgage is taking priority this month.
My daughter just tried grilling me regarding how long she has to go to counseling. I told her last week I’m not qualified to make that decision. She and the counselor can set goals and when she’s achieved those goals, and when the counselor said she has, she can stop. That’s, of course, not good enough.
Those who say mental health care is non-negotiable just like physical health care, help me. She says the anxiety she has over going to counseling means she can’t concentrate in school for 2 days before the appointment. At cosmetology, she’s doing extremely well, but for those days she can’t accomplish what she needs to do, has anxiety attacks, and no way to make them end because there’s no end to the appointments.
There was so much more, but in the end when I say she needs tools to help her with whatever is bothering her, she hears me say she’s broken, defective, bad, wrong, etc. No one can tell me this is NOT a direct result of the punitive years of raising my kids.
She’s counting the days until she turns 18/graduates from beauty school, can get a job and move out.
She doesn’t know in our state if a 17 yr old leaves the home they’re not considered run aways. They can legally move out at that time.
So calculated and calm. She wants space, away from the whole family, because she thinks the whole family hates her or can’t stand her. And if we say we love her and care about her, it’s not enough. I don’t love her enough, and she doesn’t trust it.
She says what she hears, but what she hears is NOT what I’m saying and I think it’s a miscommunication between her N and my S? Or maybe she’s actually a P to my J? I don’t know. But when I try to clarify all she hears is she’s wrong and bad.
No one can tell me there’s hope. I see the pain in her eyes. I also see the anger, hate, and how much she’s willing herself to not care, to feel nothing toward me.
I have a personal boundary to not discuss such things after 8pm because I can’t fully engage. I allowed her to walk all over that boundary because she pulled the never/always card. You always say you won’t talk about it now/you never talk about it later. I feel pulled to take care of her deep hurt when she brings it to me, and pulled to hold to my boundary. Neither of us wins.
I’m so confused! I hear conflicting advice, and I just don’t know what to do. It’s true, unless she wants the help, it’s a waste of time.
All of this triggers me, and I can’t make any decisions until morning. I need a break from all of this, but there’s no taking breaks. It’s really hard to realize it’s all gone. And to have my own mental illness struggle thrown back in my face, because all the years I struggled to get through it is when she was hurt because I abandoned her. Stopped doing whatever I did as a mom during that time.
Right now her counselor is mine, and while she’s good for me, I don’t think they’re a good match. Carol is too much like me, according to my daughter.
I gave her a choice of counselors: Carol, another woman in the practice, a man, the doctor over the whole group, and a new art counselor. I think art therapy would be the best choice, but she says it’ll ruin art for her. She does art by herself. She also doesn’t trust anyone because they’re strangers and if she’s a danger to herself or anyone they will have to let someone know. She thinks they’d then share her whole file with someone, I don’t know who.
Tonight, I’m ready to give up on this.
Oh, I said this reminded me of when she was young and only wanted peanut butter sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and macaroni and cheese. I tried introducing healthier food, but she refused. Just like when I couldn’t make her eat a more varied diet then, I can’t make her use the tools offered to her. She heard me say she is choosing bad, and is bad for choosing bad.
No matter what I do, our relationship is very damaged. I took a calculated risk in getting her to counseling because, “it can’t get any worse.” Well, it could. My goal for her a few weeks ago was we’re not communicating. She’s communicating, though; she confidently told me what she’s thinking and argued her point well. I almost wonder if someone is putting these thoughts in her head, but I’d rather just give her credit for being very intelligent. She has no problem communicating. She has a big problem hearing what others are saying.
It does feel like we need to figure out how to co-exist, and once she’s on her own maybe with space we’ll heal. It doesn’t feel as hopeful as that sounds. “Gee, maybe when she no longer has to see me every day she won’t hate me so much.”