Growing into Me with Bipolar

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Duh!


Ok, lately I’ve bitched about my son and his choices, and I’ve bitched about my daughter acting too much like the teenager that she is.  I’ve been really down, really hurt and really mad that they had not turned out properly, that that means I am a failure (and I guess by default, they are too).  Well, I am here to say I am well and truly put in my place, and now feel so sheepish, so embarrassed, I am full of regret and wish I could take back all the things I thought.

What I realized is that I was being so, so selfish.  I could not accept that they could make different choices, or have different opinions than me.  I was obsessed that only I could ‘make them come out right’, and then when they didn’t, I immediately blamed myself for not being a good enough ‘mom’, and simultaneously blamed them for being difficult and not doing/thinking what I wanted them to.

In other words, I am not a bad mother.  They are independent, thinking, strong teens almost ready to fly on their own.  That is a success, not a failure.  That means I am a success as a parent, as are they as great people.  I have been wallowing in self pity, and saying how bad I am and how bad they are.  But if I had really and truly looked around me and seen how great my kids really are, and how much thought and time and effort I have put into being a good parent, I would have seen how selfish and controlling I was really being.

Regardless of what religious choices my son makes, or how much time my daughter spends at home, or whether they moan about having to come to the table for a family meal, they are wonderful for who they are. They are proud, strong, independent, and speak their own mind and make their own choices.   They are my kids and I will always be proud of them (and of I guess that means of me too).  Sometimes, you have to look around you in the physical world to know if your feelings about yourself, your family and friends, is really accurate, or if you are just momentarily being swallowed by a strong event.    Sometimes the feelings you feel are wrong, and not based in the real life world.

I Lied


I’m sorry, im sorry i lied to you.  I’m sorry i lied to myself.  I told myself it was the right thing to do, that it would be true.  But everytime, i just dug myself a little deeper.  And now, i’m so far down i know it’ll never be right, i’ll never fix it.  I know i failed; i didn’t mean to lie–i meant it to be true.  but now i see i’ll never be able to make it so, to fix it.  I am a failure, everywhich way you look.  All the things I thought I could do, wanted to do, when I started my life, seemed doable, seemed within my reach.  I just knew that if i kept working, I would get everything I ever wanted.  I surely couldn’t fail.

But as time went on, things were lost.  At first, I thought, it’s ok…there’s still more time, it doesn’t matter yet.  Some things I let go, some things I took off my list.  This kept happening as time went on until the only things left on my list were myself and my kids.  These now seemed to be the only things still possible to succeed at.  The rest of my list has been erased.  For the last 7 years I have devoted all my energy and all my many many neverending thoughts to making sure my kids had the best life, a life better than mine.  I needed to do this to make up for all the mess I caused from being bipolar, from how I took away their wonderful, stable life, and now I have to make up for it by giving them better than what i had.  But i am failing at this too, this last, only, goal.  We have never lived in as nice apartments as I did.  We are always scrimping and saving and never end up having anything.  No going to movies, no eating out, no activities.  We sit at home and don’t talk.  We live in our own worlds and I am constantly reminded how I have failed to give them more than what I had, and that I was the one who took that from them in the first place.

The only other goal i still had left was myself.  To be successful, to be somebody.  To have a professional job, to be able to live comfortably and have some of the extras, to travel, to show my kids the world.  But now i know I will never be that person; i will most likely never even work full time again, and even if i do work at all, it will be entry level, part time type of stuff.  I will never make enough to take care of myself and my kids, to do the things I want to do.

So, all those times when things were bad, and i told my kids that it will get better, that things will change.  That i, mom, will make it right.  Those were all lies, lies that i desperately wanted to make true, that i hoped against hope that i could force them to be true, if i just worked hard enough, just tried more.  But they were still lies, even though i covered my eyes with blinders in hopes of making them become reality.  I am sorry.  Sorry for all the lies.  For never being enough.  For never doing right for you.  I’m sorry, so sorry.  So sorry.  I won’t lie anymore, or make any promises i won’t be able to keep.  I won’t say I can make things right again.  Because now i know they never will be right, no matter how much i try and how hard i work.  Nothing will ever be ‘ok’ anymore, and I will quit trying to make it be.

You have to let go, to see what comes


In addition to having school starting for the kids, and just finishing up moving, I have been having a lot of stress with my kids.  Well, I know for most people, that is fairly typical.  But for my relationship with my kids, it has usually been characterized as ‘really really good’.  I know I have been lucky with having that, but that still doesn’t prepare you for when it isn’t.  My son, A, is 16, and my daughter, H, is 14 (almost 15!).  They are both such great kids (almost real people).  Sure, they have classes they struggle with, and they get a C or two.  But they have always been respectful, caring, towards me.  They are helpful.  They listen when I talk, we don’t argue, I listen to them.  They say (to others) that I am their best friend, the one person they would go to, that they know I have their backs.

But the last month or so has been marked by ‘typical’ teen behaviors; like suddenly my son has decided to convert to Mormon, his girlfriend’s religion.  While I understand his need to make his own choices, to flex his new wings, even to rebel against what is is done at home…I’m not so ok with this that I can just accept it like its a new fashion trend.  I want to be able to accept this…but I just can’t.  Choosing a different (or no) religion is a big deal.  Its more than just ‘teen rebellion’.  If I do just accept this, then ok, we won’t argue.  But I’m still his mother, he is still my kid, and I just don’t think he should be making these kind of decisions.  I think at least we should dialog about it, go over the pros and cons, and the reasons behind why he wants to do this now–are they just to fit in with his girlfriend?  Or is there more to it?  Why this particular religion?  But if I even try to go there, he sees it as me putting him down, not respecting his autonomy.  And when he gets defensive, so do I.  So, we can’t even talk about it now.  I am glad he is so independent. That he knows what he wants, what makes him happy.  But I am not quite sure how I am supposed to be his parent now.  In 2 years, he’ll be moving out, going to college, an adult.  But how do I parent him for these next 2 years–he is too much of an adult to just rescind his ability to make his own choices.  Yet he is too young (in my opinion) to make these adult choices without input from me.  If I just put my foot down, I will drive him even more into making hasty decisions, more away from talking them through with me, more into more rebellious choices.

The funny thing is, I was (I thought) prepared for this stage.  I had prepared myself for if/when my son did drugs, got drunk, partied, had sex.  I was ready for these typical teen behaviors.  But instead, I get something completely different.  I get a son who wants to change religions, and not to just any religion.  I see that compared to the things I was prepared for, I should be grateful that he is not partying, having sex, drinking and doing drugs.  I should see how good a kid/person he is that instead he is converting to  Mormon.  Shouldn’t I, as a parent, be saying how great it is that he is not into anything negative or dangerous–that instead he is into spirituality?  And I am!  I am so happy he is not into anything dangerous or illegal or unsafe.  But just cause he is  responsible most of the time, and mostly mature, doesn’t mean he is ready or prepared to make such big life decisions right now.

And as for my daughter, we have also usually had a very close, tight relationship.  She often comes to me for advice on problems, on feelings, on issues with friends.  And I listen, and I try to answer to what she is really asking about.  I try to support her, and guide her.  And usually, until recently that is, she is receptive and appreciative.  But, again, in the last month or so, this has started to change.  Now, we are commonly either not speaking to each other, or arguing that the other isn’t listening.  She comes to me now with the same kind of issues, and when I try to give her my response, that is not what she wants.  That is not the right answer anymore.  What she wants now is to tell me a situation, and then agree with whatever she says, even if I think I understand the situation and have a different suggestion on how to proceed.  She no longer wants input from me, unless is agreement.  She has always been forgetful, always leaving a mess wherever she goes, and always forgetting what she needs.  I have become accustomed to following behind her, gathering up her mess, and reminding her (repeatedly) of what she needs to have, or do.  This has never been a problem between us, because she always appreciated that I made sure she was prepared, that I made sure she had the things she wanted because I gathered them up as she shed them and returned them.  But now, suddenly, I am not supposed to remind her of anything.  I am not supposed to gather up her shed items from various places in the home and return them to her.  NO, she has NOT begun doing these thing for herself.  Yes, she is still a mess in the making and and doesn’t remember what she needs or where they are.  So, she still needs someone (me) to remind her.  But now, she becomes angry with me if I do.  Then, when she later is unprepared, she is angry with herself and with me for not telling her.  So, I can’t remind her of anything without starting a fight.  A fight where both of us, generally not wanting to argue, just stop speaking.  Sometimes, for a few minutes, but others for the entire day.  And if I don’t remind her, then it’s a fight later on because I didn’t.  So, either way, she has quite really talking to me.  I am supposed to either just agree, or not say anything.  I am supposed to let her fly on her own and  not remind her to be prepared, then she will be angry with me for that, or for not doing that later.

I have reached the last stage of parenting, I know this.  I know it is all new rules.  What I don’t know, is how to keep that deep, true line of communication present between us. What I don’t know is how to let them go and try to fly, and trust that what comes next will different but just as good.  I am really missing the closeness we have usually had.  And I’m really not sure how to do this next part, and I am really afraid they won’t come back and I will lose them.

Letter to my Mother


Mother,

Here I am going to say all the things I always wanted to tell you, but I either didn’t or you twisted what I said or you just didn’t care.

I spent my whole life trying to prove to you I was good.  smart.  responsible.  caring.  I tried sooo hard to earn your love, your affection.  Every day I lived in fear of you, of your words, of your tone of voice.  Of your hands.  You terrorized me, every single day.  All I wanted was for you to not despise me.  I don’t know what I ever did to you that you felt you had to make me a perfect automaton who never had their own thoughts or actions.  I don’t know what I could have done for you to feel the need to instill fear and terror in my mind when I was only 3 years old.  I remember so clearly trying to stand in the corner by the door without moving or taking my nose off the corner.  You made me stand there all day, because I would always squirm or wiggle inadvertantly, so you made me stay longer each time that happened.

I always knew you hated me.  And I knew it was a secret that only I shared with you.  It was so confusing that when others were present, you actually seemed nice, even interested in me.  When I was still little, I didn’t understand this;  I thought that somehow I had done the right things, acted the right way, finally made you see what a good, nice, smart, responsible girl we were.  And then, I would do the same things the next time to told me to do something, only this time, you would bend over and put your face in mine.  It was always so angry, so ugly and distorted, it scared me to see it so close.  I wanted to squeeze my eyes so tightly shut to make you stop.  But I was too afraid even to do that.  I knew if you saw my eyes close, you would just make it worse, scarier, more threatening.  So I held my eyes open in front of that face you made, and became perfectly still, because I knew if I showed any weakness you would only have more fuel for your white hot burning hate.  Then you started yelling, when you knew you had me paralyzed, unable to move or speak.  I was your captive and you tortured and toyed with me like a boy pulling wings off flies, or burning ants with magnifying glasses.  For so so long, I thought I was somehow incapable of doing anything properly.  I thought I was useless, clumsy, and basically I didn’t trust anything I thought or did, and was afraid to try anything I didn’t already know how to do.  You did this me, mother.  You made me doubt every single thing about myself.  Now in my 40’s I am finally beginning believe in myself, to trust myself, for the first time ever.  Why did you have to punish me-for just being your daughter?  Why did you have to give me pain instead of love?  And why did you have to enjoy my suffering so so much?

For years I thought you must love me, because you said it sometimes, without being mean.  And because when others were around you treated me like you loved me.  And so I thought that your hatefulness was really you being demanding, tough on me, but because you loved me and wanted me to do things right, and know how to act.  I thought for so many years that if I could figure out how to do things right, what answer to give you when, that I would finally get you to stop hating me.  This was probably the most cruel torture you could have done.  I believed I actually had a chance to make you not hate me (I gave up on getting you to love me by the time I was in high school) You had by then made me doubt every single thing about myself, and also made me loathe every part of me, because I couldn’t ever do anything right according to you.  By the time I was a teenager, I didn’t even care if I got your love or affection or attention.  I just wanted to stop hurting for once.  Just once, I wanted to live in a safe place where I didn’t need to walk on eggshells, and wonder with my every word and every action if you would attack me again.

By the time I was 14 I had been raped.  Then I loathed myself even more.  I started drinking, partying, and became too promiscuous.  You didn’t care.  You didn’t talk to me.  You didn’t validate me.  You didn’t show affection, except if you call screaming, shrieking, tirades of my worthlessness and uselessness love.  Oh, and the occasional punch, slam or smack.  All the things I did, were all because I knew I was nothing.  Because you made me believe that.  Because you made me break into parts.  Because you are so inhuman and hate yourself more than anything but can’t accept it, you brutalized your own daughter from birth.  Instead of building me up, supporting my dreams and goals, you took every chance to rip me to shreds.  You may have broke me, but you didn’t kill me, didn’t eradicate me.  I managed despite your efforts to have 2 wonderful kids, to finish college,  and to do a  job I loved for many years taking care of others.

You don’t own me anymore.  You don’t even know me any more.  The person I am now was born from your hate, and from the others that came to help me survive you.  We have gone through the crucible and come out stronger.  We are joined now to make us successful, working together to be strong and stable.  Kicking me out at 17,  punishing me and my kids when my husband left me and I had no income or home, and wrapping it all up with the things you said to me the day I had to send my kids away from me, out of state, to their father, are unforgivable.  And the irony is that I forgave it all, up until the very last thing.  The day I lost my kids and sent them away, you said the cruellest, hurtfullest, nastiest, unforgivable things.  You (and oh yes, your mother was there chiming in too) told me with glee in your eye how I deserved to lose my kids, how I was a failure as a mother, how if it was up to you you would tell the courts and judges and anyone else how unfit I was and should never see them again.   You said in that cutting, snarky, voice with a smirk on your lips, how I would never be welcome to even your spare bed.  How I should go and crawl into the gutter that suits me so well and never come back out, because that’s what I have always been–nothing more than gutter trash.

You stole from me every single chance to believe in myself, to have confidence and courage just to make yourself feel good by turning your self hatred onto me.  I am not your punching bag anymore.  You do not own me anymore. I have claimed ownership of myself.  And I choose not to surround myself with abusers any longer.  So after 5 years, you have written to me twice in the last 2 months.  You think you can get in touch after saying those things to me?  You think 5 years is gonna erase your pure and unadulterated glee at telling me I am nothing but trash?  You think now that I have been rid of you for 5 years and have finally found myself, have started to discover who I really am, and am actually starting to like the real me, you think that NOW I’m gonna let you back in my life?  When would that ever in any situation ever, ever happen?  For the first time in my life, I am finally safe.  My home is finally safe.  I do not live in constant fear of the next attack.  I will never let you in again.  You and other abusers have taken up enough of my life.  I will never allow myself to be hurt again.  I will never forgive you for denying me what every child should have, unconditional love and support.

In the end, all that self loathing and hatred and anger that you turned onto me for 36 years, has backfired.  You thought if you focused your pain on someone else, like me, that you wouldn’t feel so awful.  Well, now I’m done, and you have only you to live with, with all that anger and self hatred, until you die.  The only person you can hurt now is you.  And even if you fool someone into being your friend or husband (again), it will be short lived since  it will end just like all the other marriages and friendships–with them leaving you because you are so hurtful and vile.

And I am a good person.  And I am  responsible.  And I am a good mother–a very good mother.  I guess its just who I am.

 

Unbearable


This post may be *Triggering*

This post may be *Triggering*

it is unbearable to continue on, to keep going knowing that everything is hopeless, no matter what i do.  i have the solution, the permanent solution, in my hands…i don’t know anymore if i should wait or not.  i don’t know if waiting will make it better or if acting now will make it better for them.  i’m no good.  no good to anyone.  why wait?

the problems never cease.  just when i thought i might have $50 left after bills, my grocery purchase overdrew me.  now i can’t pay any bills at all.  why did i buy the food then?  why didn’t i wait?  we could have gotten by with the odds and ends left after all the real food was gone.  but i thot no, we needed food.  and now the bills can’t be paid, not one.  i can’t buy cigs, i have to give up coffee.  the cause of the problems this time?—my ex—he hasn’t paid his child support, and it’s already 1/2 way thru the month.  he claims it was taken from his check (so ya, he already got paid this month, so i should have the money) so, he claims he can’t do anything more about it to see where it went, why we don’t have it.  ya, so….maybe we’ll get evicted at the end of the month.  yippee-skippee!  gee, that sounds like so much fun, i can’t contain myself!  and there’s nothing i can do til the 11th of may—that’s how long Child Support Enforcement gives him.  will be a little too late by then, so, no help there.

and oh yea, ex had to pay double payments for a few months as a condition of getting his passport approved.  apparently i spent the money ‘wrong’–i was supposed to have saved some for my daughter to take an overseas trip.  but i don’t remember that at all.  and i spent it getting a car for my son, who just got his licence, and they can share the car next year when she gets hers as well.  so now i am the bad guy, i ruined his gift to his daughter, spoiled the trip and after screaming at me, now he is ignoring me…so i can’t even ask about where the child support is for this month.

what good am i anyway?  is my being here even helping my kids?  maybe they would just be better of with their dad–he wouldnt punish them by withholding support if they lived with him.  he thinks by withholding support he is punishing me, but he’s not…he’s just hurting them.  but he doesn’t care, he has no conscience.  if i was gone, they would go to him. if that happened, he would gladly get them what they needed, no more of these kind of games, cuz he wouldn’t have me to abuse.  no more push and pulling the kids in this war he insists on having with me.  if i was gone, the conflict and the money would no longer be a problem.  they would have what they needed with no more worry and no more drama.  if only i was not here.

i have the solution.  when will it be the time to make it all right for them?  i don’t know how much longer i can wait to use it.

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