Thursday, March 29, 2012
I had someone I'd already identified as a possible predator (your gut instinct and your close friends' opinions and/or instincts are incredibly important to trust!!!!) decide that, while I was alone, walking my service dog, he would whistle at me as he drove by. For those familiar with boundaries, and the pushing thereof, this might be a simple or obvious testing of boundaries with a passing acquaintance. For me, it was a slap in the face- a total wake up call. I refuse to take responsibility for someone else's actions, but I have learned one thing about predator's patterns: they will push any boundaries that aren't clearly enforced by the other person. I had not made my boundaries clear enough for him to respect them.
I stormed into the building, saw him standing near the entrance and, loudly, and without stopping to actually discuss anything or give him any play, I told him not to EVER whistle at me. The next day, he approached me, asking to talk. I told him we could talk right where I was standing, in front of several people I knew and trusted from group. That's when he apologized.
I don't doubt I was labeled a "bitch" that day.
To quote a picture I came across (and can't seem to track down now) the other day, bitch beats stupid m----- f----- every time.
A gentleman, for lack of other term, who I'd had to listen to my gut instinct scream "THIS IS WRONG!" about every single time we were in the same room- and we have never been alone, I promise you- admitted to, among other things, being a sexual abuser of children as a teenager the other day. I tell you, people, when my gut says something, I will listen every time.
Today, I ran across this article on recognizing a creepy dominant. It is written for the BDSM community, but, as I read it (it was linked in the survivor/anti-rape/pro-sexuality blog Yes Means Yes) it was blindingly obvious that, though these were rules set for that community, they applied to a much wider range of people.
The red flags listed in this article (and PLEASE feel free to read the original! I can't say enough good things about it!) are: He comes on too strong too fast, He's consentuality challenged, He has "connections" and is "experienced", He "essentializes" dominance and submission, He manipulates your desire to be a good bottom, and He's usually doing something wrong.
For non-BDSM purposes, the wording changes, but the overall concepts are, more surprising to me than I would have expected, very much the same.
While I'm using this other post as an outline, I want to remind everyone these are just my experiences, and my opinions may vary some. Also, males are not, by any means, the only exploiters or abusers out there, so please forgive gender pronouns, and take them as non-gender generalizations, not accusations.
He Comes On Too Strong: This is an easy one. The guy/gal that is your new best friend, is all about changing your entire life/perspective/experience, etc. from the very first moment you speak to them. They deserve-and demand- all of your attention, and expect you to swoon from their advances. They aren't always loud when they approach- sometimes divide and conquer is the most effective, and dangerous, tactic for these guys. To be honest, more often than not, you never see it coming. This guy used to be the nicest/coolest/funniest guy you ever met. One of the best bosses I ever worked for was sent to trial for raping- with use of drugs- thirteen young women that he knew from work.
He's Consenuality Challenged: Oh, he didn't mean anything by it, it was just a joke. He starts with things you or a friend can blow off, but it's something that is pushing a boundary that you have. He makes a sexist, racist or dirty joke, often indirectly at your expense, to see if you'll object. Playing it cool might seem like the "nice" thing to do, and it is- but he has to start somewhere. The longer you take to put your foot down- to look them in the face and say "that's not okay" and walk away, the longer it takes you to not be flexible or give someone who is testing boundaries that second or third or fourth chance, the farther he'll go. You know what you're okay with- no touching, no inappropriate jokes, no anything YOU aren't COMPLETELY comfortable with, end of story.
He Has Connections And Is Experienced: The guy who knows the owner/bouncer/bartender, etc at this great little bar/club/whatever. He's moving in, making you feel like you should be bragging about even having met him, because, hey, this guy knows everyone! That's not to say the connections are real or fake- that can vary, though, often, they seem to be falsified. This one is key to making you feel inadequate, less than the predator, like you don't deserve the attention you're getting- weak and insecure.
He Essentializes Dominance And Submission: This one, at first, doesn't sound like it applies to non-BDSM'ers. However, the behavior is very typical of this type of person. He knows it all, because he generalizes in order to label and manipulate. Good girlfriends/boyfriends/etc do this, and behave this way- you're clearly not one of those or you wouldn't be dressed like that. Generalized statements that belittle those who do not behave as she/he expects.
He Manipulates Your Desire To Be A Good Bottom: Another one that some might not see as being applicable, this one is VERY important to watch out for, no matter who you might be or what you might be into. Anyone who uses your wants or intentions against you, especially in terms of twisting previously stated/expressed boundaries, is a predator, in one sense of the word or another. Like a good salesman might use your interest in one vehicle to get you to "see" why you really "need" this one that's priced $5000 higher, this guy uses your interests, intentions, and any other "bait" you give him/her as a vice to twist your arm.
He's Usually Doing Something Wrong: I can't restate this one enough: TRUST YOUR GUT. Whether he's violating a clearly-expressed limit or giving you that pushy-guy vibe, don't hand over the digits, or give this guy just five more minutes so you don't seem rude. Manners and self-image are easily preyed upon in these scenarios, and, when you're no longer comfortable, you're no longer safe. If you trust your gut and get away from this guy, the worst that's going to happen is you find out he didn't rape anyone. Seriously, though, what if your gut is right?
Now, I'm not, by any means, saying that all men even have the potential to be rapists. I truly believe there's a number of them who could never bring themselves to even be involved with something that could appear unsafe- these are usually the guys who are "too nice" for the record. If you haven't kept up, I am married to White And Nerdy aka Mr Nice Guy. About the only time he doesn't seem quite so nice is when his passive-aggressive side comes out while he's driving. That aside, there are good guys out there. Ladies and gentleman, folks of every shape, size, gender and sexual identity known and unknown, the folks who are most likely to hurt you are the ones you already know. One article on Yes Means Yes says that the figure of stranger-rapes lingers at about 15%. The guy in the bushes is more likely to have lost his watch than be looking for someone to rape. The guy who calls you in the middle of the night, and shows up on your doorstep when he knows you're alone, even though you asked him not to, he's the guy you need to be keeping an eye on.
I hope this helps someone- anyone.
I was recently thanked by a barely-20 year old local girl who I'd given some advice to on a stalker issue she had with an ex. She'd been raped when she was younger, which caused conflict within her very close family, and she was scared to bring this new situation to her parents, though she lived under their roof. I explained to her that, by going to her parents BEFORE this boy was showing acts of violence, she would be showing them she could, in fact, be trusted to handle herself, and, if that failed, play the daddy's little girl card.
A restraining order has been filed, her parents are aware of the situation, and they aren't upset with her for "getting herself into" this situation. I helped someone avoid the situation I found myself in. What more can you really want out of life?
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Then another guy, one who I've already had issues with and identified as a possible predator, drove by on his way in and whistled at me.
I lost nearly all control. I was angry after the first bit, but figured it would blow over. The second incident left me fuming, angry and enraged. As I came in from break, I yelled at the latter guy to never whistle at me again. I managed to keep my mouth shut to the guys until one of them said something about me being angry. It came out without me meaning for it to, but I told him I was still pissed off that he felt it was alright to put down women. He said he was just joking- a pretty common defense for him- and I said it wasn't a joke, and walked outside. Buffalo Boy saw me walk out, obviously upset and on the verge of tears. He came over to where I was and tried to talk to me. More calmly than I was sure I'd be able to, I told him that I was still upset over the derogatory comments about women, so I wasn't in the best mood. He got angry at me, made a comment about me and the other female in the group taking things too personally, and walked away.
I tried to clear things up with him, sending him a carefully-worded text message explaining why it upset me. I told him: "You'll always be my brother far as I'm concerned, and maybe if you were the only person pointing out our shortcomings, I wouldn't feel like I needed to defend myself. But there isn't one person or form of media that hasn't shown bias, either intentionally or without even understanding that they are. I'm sick to death of feeling like I need to be protected and taken care of and tired of being scared because men are bigger, stronger and faster. I'm done believing that."
He responded with another "you're taking everything too personally and blowing this out of proportion" bit, essentially saying that I was making everything about me. I told him I had tried very hard not to put him down or be disrespectful in my text message, and I wished he'd done the same.
I am done wishing I could be stronger or better or safer. I'm done being scared. I can't continue to live this way, because this isn't living anymore.
It's time to make a change.
Monday, March 26, 2012
I had read The Hunger Games Trilogy shortly after the announcement was made that a movie was in the works. I had a friend who commented on one of my pictures that I "look like Katniss Everdeen". This, naturally, led to a Google search, and the trilogy came highly recommended. (Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead!) It was almost impossible to keep myself from reading a book about a girl who's physical description does sound eerily like me. This was the picture that received that comment/compliment:
After I began to read the trilogy, I was hooked. Suzanne Collins is a truly gifted, incredible author. The way she describe's Katniss' thought process as she goes through trauma and recovers from it, as she describes her thought processes after having been through some heavy stuff as a child, the woman is nearly describing me, in so many more ways than just the physical. The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, distrusting people and having abandonment issues, but, ultimately, being more of a survivor than anything else... Describing the way she feels about people in her home district after going through the games, the clear signs of Post-Traumatic Stress this girl displays, that I relate to on the deepest level, to include her inherent mistrust of her own mother, despite and because of her own maternal instincts, this girl is ME.
It sure doesn't pain me that this book has the single best strong female lead character I have ever run across in my life. I could not be more impressed with the depth of the characters in the book, nor with the intricate, beautifully crafted story line. Miss Collins is brilliant.
After seeing the Hunger Games movie yesterday, I am more determined than ever to focus my attentions, where the media is concerned, on games, movies and television shows with strong female leads. Especially as I lose the Soldier part of my identity, especially as I grapple with my own demons in treatment, especially as I unearth events I had forgotten, I need the influence of strong females. I wish I had a mother to turn to in these situations, but, for all intensive purposes, I never had a mother. What I need to remember more than anything in the days, weeks and months that follow is that, above all, I am a survivor. I have survived my mother's abuse, her alcoholism, I recovered from my own voluntarily, I survived multiple sexual assaults and molestations. I survived a divorce, homelessness, and joined the army, only to be put down by them years later, and, ultimately, am going to survive losing what I'd intended to be a career in the military.
I think the media could use more female survivors in the spotlight. I know I could.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
More than six years after my second rape, I'm still unearthing memories- whether I like it or not.
I'm staying with Buffalo Boy this week, while my husband is in the field- again!- and, last night, a memory came out- an entirely separate incident. Lurking in my dreams are images that bring fear, many of which I can't identify a reason or memory for. Yet they haunt me- a pair of gray suede shoes and original-cut acid washed jeans, bushes, a beach house...
I will have so much to try to explain to my husband, but, really, most of this will never be as simple as an explanation.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
I don't want to have biological children.
I'm sure it helps that it's not as easy for me as it is for most, and that my (sorry-excuse-for-a) mother convinced me to tie my tubes at eighteen years old, so I couldn't pass on my "issues" to any biological children. However, something inside me is shifting, fast and hard, and I'm barely managing to keep up with it all.
First, I think I'm finally accepting the idea of life with Post-Traumatic Stress and some BPD symptoms. Despite these issues, and maybe in some ways because of them- and the fact that neither are considered uniformly genetic- I am coming to terms with the fact that my past frigging SUCKS. My mother, another child, two different adult men and a 13 year old boy changed the path of my life, and took away a lot of happiness for me- but where they tried to leave a void, something else has begun to grow. It's big, it's tough and it's real scary, but I think it's a future.
I don't want to spend another minute obsessing over in-vitro fertilization or birth plans. I have spent so much energy hating that I wouldn't just find out that I was pregnant some day, when, all that time, the woman that looked back at me in the mirror was a child born of that situation. I was, if you ask my mother, an "oops" baby, although she said that about my younger sister at one point then changed her mind. I was a baby born to two married parents who had been together for over a decade. A DECADE!! That's unheard of these days! Two years later, they divorced, and it got worse from there. Why, why WHY HAVE I BEEN SO STUCK on having a child the same way my mother did? Giving birth does not make a mother, let alone a fit one! It's so cliche to say that there are so many kids out there who are unwanted and why not give one a home.... but, dude, I was one of them!!! My mother put me in foster care at one point, and that was the least abuse I underwent!
Why should I do it her way? Why should I work so hard to undo what my mother imposed on me, when I could keep someone else out of that situation? The two biggest positive influences on my childhood were my stepdad, who never had biological children, but was quick to take care of my sister and I as his own, and my babysitter, Grandma Vera, who was- you got it- a foster mother. She adopted two of her foster children- at least two. The two people who made it possible for me to be as happy as I was when I was little were people who took care of OTHER people's children.
How did I miss this all this time?!
I was talking to my friend C who's teenage sister is pregnant with an unwanted child right now in another state, and I started talking to my husband, and considering the possibility of interracial, open adoption. Then I stumbled across a blog post titled Teenage Boys Aren't Meant To Live At Home and, at about the point the author says that everyone, if they're honest, wishes they could have the easier life of a biological child, it hit me: I don't do anything the easy way, and that's what I've been trying to do here- and, go figure, it hasn't worked. Yes, it WOULD be easier (and probably cheaper) to go through in-vitro, and have "our own" child, but a child who has never known abandonment, who has never known contempt and abuse and who only knows unconditional love.... Can I handle that? Unconditional love is a foreign language to me in so many ways. I still demand my husband explain why he loves me and why he stays with me some days. What about having a child "naturally" would be right in this situation? When all I've known is abuse, when all I can relate to is fear, would I really do more good than harm for a son or daughter who didn't know that life?
I work best under pressure- and I think I've finally found the challenge I've been craving my entire life- loving an unloved, unwanted child. What took me so long?
It made me realize that I need a community, and one I'm honest with. My husband and Buffalo Boy are the only ones who know the full story of what happened on Friday. I'm ashamed of what I did, but it has changed my life and opened my eyes in a way that scares me, but also gives me hope.
I need to pray again, daily, I need to start attending church every week, I need to pull those people I trust in closer- which means asking for help. You cannot be part of a community without equal give and take, as well as communication, which means I need to start speaking up because I am not only depriving myself of that sense of community, but others, as I refuse to allow others to help me when I need them most.
I'm scared, and I'm worried, but the only way out is up, and it's time to start climbing.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Today, hubby and I did a lot- and almost all of it public. We got up early and went to the mall, where I got a pedicure and my hair touched-up, the latter of which almost ended with me freaking out... almost. I get why having my back turned to anyone freaks me out, but I can't comprehend how every other person on the PLANET seems to WANT their back to EVERYONE. My wonderful service dog even started getting upset at one point. The stylist had me sit at the back of the salon, while she had several other clients, right next to several people I didn't know, while multiple people walked back and forth in front of me. I had left Sugar with the husband, thinking it would be quick and easy- he had to bring her over to me, for which I got a great deal of dirty looks from said stylist.
Anyway, we went to see Buffalo Boy briefly after that, then lunch- at a restaurant. And then my husband took me to two different stores, and bought me a new pair of cowboy boots, a new straw hat, and a really cute necklace-earring angel wing combo.
I haven't been out in public nearly this much in.... I don't know- a really long time.
Granted, it's Saint Patrick's Day, and everything was relatively quiet (due to pre-gaming, I assume) but I did it- and without meds. I'm really, really happy. It wasn't as easy as I wish it had been, but I'm so thrilled I managed it all.
I may never be happy in the same way as I used to be, but I'm getting better, even if it's never the same... and it won't be.
Well, friends, I'm not sure how much I'm willing to detail my stupidity on the world wide web, but I can tell you that, this morning, I am happy to be alive.
I had a serious wake-up call yesterday, in the form of a line of a song I've listened to a million times. I never caught or noticed the one line in this particular song before. I'll never know how I managed that, but, yesterday, it stopped me in my tracks, made me realize that what I was doing was wrong in a very big sort of way, and made me work very hard to attempt to correct my blunder. Naturally, my husband popped up at exactly the moment that would force me to explain to him what I'd done, and I did.
You know what the crazy part is? He still loves me anyway.
I don't know exactly how I'm going to move forward from here. The only thing I'm sure of is that I need to fix things, and I need to work harder than I've thought I was able, and I need to change a whole lot more than I believed I did before yesterday afternoon.
White And Nerdy and I talked some yesterday, and we think that our best long-term plan is to put off having our own biological children- maybe permanently, but we will revisit that when my health is more stable. We are going to look into becoming foster parents when we move to Tucson. I am going to go to school to be a mechanic, and my husband will go to school to become an engineer- which branch of engineering, he has yet to completely decide. Being a mechanic will give me a number of opportunities and possibilities I may not otherwise find all within one career/skill set. It will allow me to do one of the few things that's held my interest for any period of time, despite what some might consider a lack of natural ability, it will put me in the only career field in the United States in which women are nearly guaranteed to make more money than men (true story!) and it will allow me a great deal of flexibility in my work, as it's something that, under the right conditions, I can do from home or on almost any street in town. It will give me an outlet for my tomboy behavior and attitude without restricting my options as much as the military life has done.
So far as foster care goes, I believe becoming a foster mother will give me more of an opportunity to impact the future than having a child naturally- or as naturally as I'm physically capable, I suppose. I was put into foster care at one point in my childhood- for how long, exactly, I'm not sure- and I know the fear and horror that so many of those children feel. I know what abuse is, personally, on many levels. I understand the "lost boys" mentality of children who have grown up without adults they can really trust. I know full well that being a foster mother is going to be the hardest thing I ever do in my life, but I also know that, if I make a difference to one of those children, I've saved a life and changed the world for the better. We will have a three-bedroom house. It's really not that hard to make one of those a room for one foster child at a time or a set of siblings trying to stay together. I know that being a foster mother means I will have to, at some points, give up a child that I have started to love as my own. The fact is, maternal instinct is something I have almost too much of. I believe in my heart that I can do this, and that I can help children who's own families are, for whatever reason, incapable of caring for them. I expect I'll end up adopting one of my foster children eventually, and maybe that's what I'm meant to do. Maybe that's all I'm meant to do, so far as parenting goes. There's been more than one child I've loved as my own, despite my lack of children, already. I cared for two little girls for many years, Raven and Haley, who I still love dearly, but have no way of contacting. There is a precious little girl named Reyna who I hope someday is able to forgive me for and understand why I wasn't able to stay in her life in the role I wanted. She is a special, beautiful little girl, who is so smart and so loved and I really hope she grows up to understand that. I also hope she grows up to understand that what other people say to us, teach us, and do to or around us doesn't define who we are in the long run- that we are the only ones in charge of ourselves, and that we make the choices to throw out the bad and keep the good from anyone and everyone we come in contact with, even the women who gave birth to us. I wish I knew how to stay a part of her life without feeling like I was hurting her by being unable to see her, but I understand the pain that comes with separation, and reminders of someone's existence without their presence can make that pain so much worse.
Then there was Pyper, who I know will never read this or hear about it, but whom my heart still aches for. I knew her less than a month, but she told me she loved me the first day she met me, and, Lord knows, I felt the same then and I still do. I hope she's able to break the cycle her parents have created, and become the person I know she can be.
I think that's more than enough emotion for 4:30 in the morning.
Have a good day, everybody, and, please, be happy to be alive today- because, without a doubt, you are meant to be here if you are, so it must beat the alternative. I'm glad you're on this earth with me, no matter who else isn't.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Now, I spend a lot of my time talking to Buffalo Boy, because he gets what I'm going through, isn't going out to the field on a weekly basis, and he breaks down for me where I've screwed up and where my thinking is irrational. We don't do much, but it's easy to be with him.
My husband mostly seems to tolerate me- I know he still loves me, but I'm not any fun anymore, and it's getting harder and harder to open up to him. I can feel my defenses rising the more times I hear that he's going out to the field, the more I hear about preparations for deployments. I just wish he'd leave me sometimes so he wouldn't have to watch me freak out, fall apart, and melt down, especially when I seem so incapable of even talking to the man now. When he does touch me, half the time I don't want him to and don't know why. When he isn't touching me, all I want is to feel like he really loves me and wants to be with me, even though I don't even want to be with me anymore.
I want him to be happy, and he's not, not with me. I don't know if I'll ever get better, and there's a strong chance that I won't get much better than this. This may be what he wakes up next to everyday for the rest of his life- well, the ones that don't involve going to the field or deploying. I wouldn't be surprised if he cheated on me. I'm not capable of making him happy, I'm not even capable of making myself happy. I love my husband, and I want him to be happy....
And it's only 0630 in the morning....
It's going to be a long day.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
How do you just open up about having been suicidal to someone who wasn't there or even reachable at the time?
How do you turn on the faucet to pour out emotions and stories that happened when the one you love and are trying so hard not to hurt or run from was away?
He's in bed, asleep. Despite my questions, and my attempts to talk today, I feel like my words were wasted. If he has feelings on any of what I'm going through, he's not showing them to me, and he's certainly not talking about any of it.
I hate that I make him deal with this, with me.
I feel like I'm slowly drowning in a tar pit- slow, dark, hot and never-ending.... and oh so eerily quiet.
After months and months of panic attacks, I've had several days straight of anger- some of those days had no anxiety at all, which felt great, but those were the ones in which the anger was swallowing me whole, a dark mass that would gladly engulf anyone who dared cross it's path, and violently.
I don't know if this is a step forward or a step back, but I feel nothing positive anymore, I'm dead to anything happy, cold to the touch.
Monday, March 12, 2012
I've never attempted suicide.
That statement has been a source of pride for me, especially when so many of my closest friends have at this point.
Today, though, I was a candidate for suicide. It wasn't any one thing- the fact that our post is trying to ban service dogs, the fact that my husband and I are now staring down the barrel of our first deployment together, the fact that I've been through child abuse, two rapes and a myriad of other abusive situations, the fact our apartment reeks of mold, everything to do with the army... It's not just one thing. When my husband's boss (e7 type for you military-savvy folks) told my husband that I "needed to learn" to be in situations that put me into flashbacks, well, I couldn't come back up.
I begged him to leave me tonight so I could do it without feeling guilty.
He wouldn't, and neither would Buffalo Boy.
I guess I don't get out of it all that easy.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Now, having been an Army wife for two years, a Soldier for more than four now, and soon-to-be Army wife again, well, there's no surprise when the word "deployment" starts getting thrown around- it's part of daily discussion, what-if's and just-in-case's. We are a nation eternally at war, there's no escaping the possibility.
Before I try to rationally explain the implications and total freak-out I'm experiencing in my head, let me tell you what our last few days have been like.
Recap: Wednesday afternoon, my husband calls me to tell me he'll be leaving for an overnight field problem/range the following morning. I avoid asking what time until many hours later, when he says he will be leaving the house around 0330. Thursday, bright and early, he's gone, and I'm too on edge to sleep. I manage to pack a lot of anxiety into that day, then spend much of the evening with a friend from treatment, who discusses his not-quite-ex-not-quite-girlfriend having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and the symptoms he lists ring all too true of myself. My husband comes home around 4 Friday morning, and we crash-hard- until he leaves for work about two hours later. We knock out as early as we can Friday night, only to wake up to a leak in our apartment ceiling at 0630 Saturday morning. We call the front office, and leave a message when nobody answers. Nobody returns our call.
Husband then goes off to help his friend move for the day, and I head back to my friend's house, because I simply don't handle alone well, and, fortunately for us, neither does my friend right now. We watch tv, and hang out through the afternoon. Then I get my husband, and we come back to my friend's house for a few more hours, coming home after that to find it is nearly raining in our apartment. The "rain" progresses for the next few hours, until we're calling ever emergency maintenance number we can find, and demanding they do SOMETHING. The water has been shut off by around six this morning, and, now, at eleven at night, our apartment still hasn't completely dried out- and all that was effected was carpeting, walls, cabinets and ceilings, thankfully.
Now, about half an hour ago, The Nerdy One mentions we're looking at deployment in about nine months.... This means he'll be out of the Army within months after returning from this deployment. I text my friend, I'll call him Buffalo Boy, and tell him what's going on.
Now, Buffalo Boy has gone from being a friend I see regularly to FAMILY in the last couple days. He's saved my life with the information and support he's given me, and probably saved my marriage in more than one way. He's the first person to get my trust in a non-relationship and completely unconditional manner. I trust this guy, I know his values, habits, emotions and I've never understood what it's like to have a "family member" where there wasn't a question of some sort of perversion. This guy has my back, and it doesn't matter time, place, or anything else. He's my brother.
I found my brother in the looney bin, that could only happen to me.
Anyway, The Nerdy One and I are discussing possibilities and Buffalo Boy is reassuring me that, no matter what, he's going to watch my back, even if it means protecting me from myself sometimes.... and it does.
I can't lose my marriage, I can't wreck it or hurt my husband... I've made too many crappy choices in my life, and I won't go back to allowing that to be my norm....
I'm scared out of my mind, but somewhere in my gut, I know that this will happen, and that between my husband and my new-found Brother, I will prove something to myself, and, frankly, that's not a whole lot more comforting than knowing my husband will spend roughly nine months in harm's way.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Hell is not fire and brimstone.
Hell is realizing that you are lost spiritually and that it's very possible you may not ever get any better-.that you may have come as far as you can.
Hell is trying to figure out how to avoid disappointing everyone you've made promises to if you can't ever become the person you know you should be.
Friday, March 9, 2012
He's been working for nearly two days straight, with about two hours early this morning at home. He finally came home this evening, and I tried my best to bring up what I'd learned about the BPD.
"Honey, do you know what borderline personality disorder is?"
"How much do you know about it?"
"I mean, I've heard of it before."
....I didn't really know where to go from there. I gave up.
This man is my best friend, truly, but, it's frustrating to feel like you're talking to yourself sometimes. This isn't the first conversation that's fallen flat because his attention was elsewhere, but I personally feel like it's probably the most important. I just want to be able to tell him I know why I've been so crazy my whole life, I finally get it, and... I don't know. I know he would tell me it's great, and then he'd get distracted by something else, and I love him for who he is.
That sure doesn't mean he frustrates me any less, though.
He was tired today, he's going to help his friend move tomorrow, and Sunday we go bowling, and I'd REALLY like to go to church, finally.
And then it's Monday and back to the Monday-Friday only seeing each other long enough to figure out what we're doing for dinner and we don't even talk while we're eating anymore.
He knows I feel this way. I don't want to make him sound like a bad guy, he's not.
I just don't handle life well, I guess.
We were sitting there, about eleven at night, watching Smokey And The Bandit and talking. He was highlighting some papers he'd printed off, mostly about Borderline Personality Disorder. His ex-girlfriend of several years exhibits a LOT of symptoms of this, and he was reading some of the more surprising/dead-on ones out loud. Several of them hit me really close to home, although my habits aren't quite as extreme as most folks diagnosed with BPD exhibit.
When my friend mentioned that it's generally caused by neglect in childhood, my ears perked up. One of the most common symptoms is idealization and devaluation episodes- and I don't go to the extremes his ex-girlfriend did, but I have, for a long time, recognized the pattern of behavior in myself. Many of my relationships wouldn't last a month- things were ideal at first, beautiful, wonderful, what I wanted for the rest of my life, and then it seemed reality would set in and I was out. I can look at the explanations of BPD now, and realize that many of the behaviors I've worked so hard to change have been linked as much to a milder form of BPD as to PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder are very commonly diagnosed in the same person, and are considered to be very closely linked issues. I can see, with the information that I have now, that the way I've idealized my husband much of the time, only to find myself on other days playing with a lot of "what if's" in my head is simply another symptom of all of this. I can see that the rapid emotional changes aren't simply my reactions to trauma-related stimuli. I have recognized, over many years now, that I have had some pretty major abandonment issues, and, reflecting on my life, I'm really not terribly surprised by that.
Am I happy to know that I have symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder? Not a chance. It is, however, a little bit of weight off my shoulders knowing that my lack of gratitude, my bouncy-ball emotions, my fear of abandonment and unexplainable jealousy isn't just a character flaw that I've inherited from my mother or something. It feels really good to know that even the non-PTSD behaviors that have frustrated and worried me are logical and something that can be dealt with.
It's no secret that I come from an abusive home, but the thought of a mother raising her child to trust her own intuition was such a powerful idea to me! I've had a lot of ideas, thoughts and plans on raising children when we finally have the money for in-vitro fertilization, but there was something so obvious about the idea of raising your child to trust themselves and I couldn't believe it had never occurred to me.
Then I realized something else- isn't that the ideal outcome of parenting? Isn't the ultimate idea behind raising a child into adulthood raising someone who is trustworthy and dependable, even to the extent that they trust themselves?
Thursday, March 8, 2012
When I complain about him not doing the dishes, it's because I love him enough that I spent an hour or two cooking him a homemade dinner myself, rather than just throwing something in the microwave or ordering in.
When I get irritated because he left the top off the Aquafor AGAIN, it's because I know that, even if his tattoo is peeling, he can rattle off statistics and facts about what that kind of singing where they change their pitch repeatedly is called (he told me last night, I don't remember), he can do serious math in his head in five seconds flat and explain things like calculus and trigonometry.
When I talk about my husband, I'm talking about the man who can stop everything, no matter how I've treated him, no matter what mood I've been in or what I've promised him, and hold me through the time-traveling, talking to me and reminding me to stay with him. I'm talking about the man who teases me at dinner because he caught the waiter checking me out, and start playing Ms Tattoo Girl every time I get embarrassed because I know I stand out and people are looking at me.
When I talk about my husband, I'm talking about the man who has taught me that unconditional love isn't some theory or myth, or something that only God and some animals are capable of. This is the man who has seen me so angry I've thrown things, hit things and people, he's seen me cry, he's seen me at my absolute worst, and this man still puts his arms around me every single day and tells me I'm beautiful and that he loves me. He's seen me lose control of my emotions in really embarrassing situations and he still tells me he's never giving up on me or leaving me.
This is my second marriage. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I've hurt a lot of people. I don't understand why God or my husband believe I'm worth this kind of love, but I know that I've met the man that I want to argue over baby names with, and the man I want to yell at for letting the kids eat junk food and the man I want to drag out onto the dance floor on our 50th wedding anniversary.
There are men in this world who get what I've been through and/or who I am better than my husband, that's the truth. There is nobody else, though, that will be open to both me getting a Nightster (you know, when I win a few million bucks in the lottery) AND vegan meals, or who is totally okay with me putting up Buddhist statues (yes, I own that one) in our living room, listening to Kick It In The Sticks on repeat for days (okay, he's not really a huge fan of that repeat thing) and for not threatening to kill me for talking about dressing our dog up in costumes.
I love my husband with all my heart. I'm not perfect, I'll never claim to be, but I am so grateful for this man.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
I need to stop worrying about getting better and/or going back to who I used to be. That person is gone, and she's gone for a reason. I need to simply get past being whatever this mess is, and focus on becoming the wife and mother my family deserves to have. I need my husband and children to see me happy, to see that I love them, and to see that a woman doesn't have to be angry to survive.
I don't recognize who I've become, and I don't like who I see in the mirror, but whoever I keep trying to find under the rubble is gone, nothing but ash now, and I need to accept that so I can start building whoever this person looking back at me is going to be. Charli is dead, the bear has been fought, and the only thing left is to teach this new, baby phoenix how to fly before it turns to ash like it's mother did.
Friday, March 2, 2012
I'm in the women's group now and, yes, it's an entirely different animal, therapy-wise.
And every single woman in there thinks she knows what the others have been through and what the answers are. I'm so not handling that well.
Today, however, Sugar and I managed to go grocery shopping- unescorted- after we had a long, ridiculous day.
I could not be more proud of us.