The Fallout

I’m not sure yet what the repercussions will be of my behavior…of how I’ve treated people. I’m already riddled with guilt about it, to the point where it makes me very moody and irritable…which, of course, drives people away. Vicious cycle.

I’ve only started to explore my issues with intimacy. Until I started trying to analyze why I was like I was, I didn’t realize I had issues with intimacy. I had boyfriends, I had friends, I was generally social, I got married, had kids…held down jobs…all very social things. Once I started really looking at myself though, I remembered that I rarely let anyone, friends included, get too close. In high school, we partied, we hung out, we talked..but it was all very superficial for me..nothing too intimate or personal that showed the real me…I kept everyone an arm’s length away. In fact, I only let my guard down when I drank. That was when I could be silly and carefree. Otherwise, I was generally pretty serious. I never would have thought of myself as serious. It wasn’t until the past 2 years that I have come to see myself as others do. It took a series of events that happened in a relatively short period of time, for me to admit that I am, in fact, serious.

A student at the school I worked at said to me, “Why don’t you ever smile?”. Huh…I didn’t realize that I didn’t smile. Every time I would see him in the halls after that day, it would remind me to smile. It would make me realize that I wasn’t naturally smiling if seeing him would force the smile…I’m not sure how genuine it looked. He did amuse me though…that he had the hutzpah to tell me what was so obvious to him.

A co-worker would often remark on how different I am from my mother. My mother happens to be the most gregarious, loud, funny person you will ever meet. She loves attention, meeting people and engaging in conversation with anybody she meets. She wants to help..get involved…make a difference. In other words…she is intimate with the world..she connects with everyone she meets…she devours the marrow of the bone of the joy of life..doesn’t waste a minute.

I am different from my mother. Remarkably so. So different, in fact, that she annoys the crap out of me much of the time, which people o not understand..can’t comprehend. “She is such a wonderful person! You are so lucky to have a mother like her!” She is a constant reminder that I am serious. She, being the Pollyanna that she is, is in complete denial as to who I am. Either that, or she is ashamed of who I am. She would never admit that. To admit that, would shatter her distorted view of the world and her self-image. She doesn’t see imperfections in herself or her children. To do so would mean needing to accept the fact that her daughter isn’t a reflection of herself..or worse yet, that there are parts of her that are reflected in me. The parts that she is ashamed of.

Because she’ll never see me for who I am, she hasn’t been able to offer me the support and encouragement that I need. She is so in denial, that even my telling her that I was suicidal didn’t elicit much concern. Her response was, “Oh honey…I am so sorry. This too shall pass.” Seriously? What world are you living in? She blames all of my problems on everyone else in the father, my husband, my in-laws, the neighbors, my friends (I don’t have any really, but she wouldn’t admit that either) all to blame…all out to get me because they are jealous of me. Imagine that. She really thinks people are out to sabotage my life and hurt me because they are jealous of me. Unbelievable.

When my husband, T, walked out, she said “He always thought he wasn’t good enough for you.” No, she always thought he wasn’t good enough for me…her perfect baby. It infuriates me that she can’t see me for who I am. If she could just admit that she isn’t perfect and that she didn’t give birth to perfect children, she could actually be a better mother. Ironic.

When T and I were at the depths of our marriage..devoid of love and intimacy, he tried, one more time to reach out to me, literally and figuratively. As I was getting out of bed in the morning, he reached out to playfully pull me back into bed. I yanked myself away from him and spat, “Stop!”. He asked, “Why are you so angry?” That was the first time that I was able to put a label to what I was. I was angry. It was literally an Aha! moment for me. I know it sounds weird. I knew I was unhappy and anxious but…he was right…I was angry. This was something I had never considered. And yet, it made perfect sense. When my stomach would tie up in knots, it wasn’t always anxiety…being nervous about something. Most of the time, the pit in my stomach was anger…I was completely pissed off at someone or something that had the audacity to annoy me. It would set me on the journey to discovering exactly what was I so angry about?

Around this same time, I looked in the mirror and saw that the line between my eyes was very deep. I frowned so much that the line was very harsh. I stared a long time at my face. It had become so hardened…barely recognizable. Very serious. Who had I become? I hated that line, but by the end of that summer, as I was working through my recovery, I had developed a love/hate relationship with it. I didn’t wish it away anymore. I wanted it to stay right where I could see it clearly, so that I would forever be reminded of what and who I was, so I would never repeat my mistakes and fall back to being that monster again.

I’ve tried to let my guard down…be more spontaneous…be more silly and care free, but it doesn’t suit me. I thought I could do it. I thought just because I recognized that I was serious, I should be able to be less serious…right? Wrong. I just can’t do it. It flies in the face of who I am. I do have moments..when I laugh out loud with my kids…giggle with my husband…but these moment are the exception. I am at the point now, where I am unclear on whether I should be working harder on this personality flaw, or simply learn to embrace it…embrace me. Problem is…I don’t particularly like me. At least I am self-aware now. I am reflective. I just don’t like my reflection.

My only comfort is in knowing that at one point in my life, I was able to be intimate. When my now 19 year old son was born, I know I showed him love. We were very close..he adored me. I know I put a lot of effort into making him happy and bonding with him. There was a point when we were afraid he was too attached to me..that he had such separation anxiety that he wouldn’t be able to make succeed in school. He hasn’t talked to me in 4 years.

When my now 14 year old son was born, he had several complications. They weren’t sure if he would walk or talk. There were no guarantees. I loved him unconditionally. I spent countless hours working on communication with him. I broke my back helping him to walk. I was his fearless cheerleader in anything and everything. I organized medical appointments and therapies. I enjoyed being his mother so much. He inspired me. He inspired me so much that he sparked my desire to get my Master’s in Education so I could work with special needs children. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I lost patience with him. His transition from a little boy to a teen-ager was tough for me.

I love him with all my heart. He has such a sweet disposition. It is a shame that I become so easily irritated by him. Even more of a shame that I don’t connect with him anymore. I want to apologize to him, but when I have tried, it makes him uncomfortable. I don’t think he understands. Or maybe he does all too well, but it is very uncomfortable for him to see his mother as a bad person with many flaws. He, like my mother, would rather see me through rose-colored glasses. He’s wonderful like that. He sees the good in everyone. He loves unconditionally.

My now 13 year old daughter, K, was born 11 months after her older brother. I don’t know how we did it, but my husband, T, and I managed to care for these babies, one with special needs, as well as their older brother, and to actually enjoy doing it. I was always anxious…afraid I would mess up..feeling like I would never be good enough…but I enjoyed being their mother. I remember T and I, performing our night-time ritual with the kids, dancing around the living room..and then into C’s bedroom, prancing around, singing and dancing like fools. Boy, those were good times. I am so glad I remember being like that…happy. Being a good mom.

K is just like me…cursed with anxiety and OCD. She is also stubborn and emotional. She was such a sweet little girl…my little gypsy child…with long curly hair..dancing on the beach. I grew short with her too..she was in pre-adolescence. I want to say it was hormones, and not me, that made her turn into a moody child, prone to acting quite witchy and nasty to me. I can blame some of it on hormones, but she learned much of her behavior from me. She witnessed me losing it, yelling and complaining…treating people badly..being mean.

My youngest daughter, T, just turned 7. She never got the best of me. By the time she was born, I was already on a slippery slope. I don’t have clear memories of her as a baby. My husband raised her. I was working full-time. He did a marvelous job. She is so laid back and easy-going like him. She is an absolute delight. She actually said to me today, out of the blue, “I am so glad God made us.” What an absolute angel she is. I pray to God I don’t crush that beautiful spirit of hers with my darkness…with my seriousness.

I know the impact of my thoughts..I know the poison in my words and actions. I know I must change. I am on the road, but it is so hard and time is fleeting. I pray my children thrive despite me.



~ by imasurvivor2013 on April 17, 2013.

4 Responses to “The Fallout”

  1. I have a grandmother who sees everything through rose colored glasses too. I think my own mother sees things through sunglasses. Some clear corrective lenses would be nice.

    • Ha! Corrective lenses would be very helpful for many! The world may not be as pretty as some would like but seeing the raw reality of it is the only way to make true connections with others.

      My relationships with many are so superficial either because I am not honest about who I am or they do not see the real me.

  2. Your post was so powerful, and your writing is beautiful. I could relate so well to the anger. I always thought of myself as Strong, not Angry. When I had my “aha” moment, it was very frightening. And humiliating.
    I was definitely Angry.

    My anger also affected my beautiful kids and our relationships. With God’s grace, I have gone through intensive therapy and recovery to discover, greive, and process my anger. Because of this, my anger has faded and my relationships with my kids continue to heal and grow. In turn, their relationships with others have improved also.

    I share this with you to give you hope…it’s never too late to repair your relationships with your kids. Your willingness to own your anger is such an important part of recovery. You are doing the right things. Hang in there.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. My mantra has been “It’s A Brand New Day” (like the Van Morrison song!) every morning…but then I get lost along the way and slip into old habits and apathy. I need to let go of the hurt and focus on connecting and being in the moment. I haven’t figured how to successfully do that…but I’m still trying:)

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