Sunday, March 27, 2016

There was family drama with one of siblings this week, precipitated by myself which is most frustrating.  So much more convenient if you can blame someone else.  I messaged my sister in law on Facebook , thinking that it was just her Facebook page.  Apparently not.  I caught my sister in law up on my life and then said that I missed her and her kids but my brother, not so much sadly.

This message was never meant for my brother.  It was a private message to my sister in law.  And I am sad that I don't really miss my brother.  He read the message and sent back a snarky come back and then my sister in law weighed in, very angry with me.  As my daughter pointed out to me, what did I expect?  If the shoe was on the other foot, how would I feel?

The whole thing upset me and I vowed to myself to let my siblings go once and for all, with sadness and love. 

Last night I googled toxic families because I was still upset.  I came across many accounts of fucked up families like my own.  And then I came across an article about narcissistic families, which is something I had never heard of.  I started reading and recognized myself, my siblings, my parents, my whole family.  It was sad and frightening.

My siblings cannot be any different than what they are.  I don't fit in.  But the whole family has a habit of poking each other with spears and then running back into our caves to hide and protect ourselves from each other.  Mum was a great one for telling me horrible things that my siblings had said and I imagine she said things to them about me.  In narcissistic families, a parent will keep siblings fighting with each other because if they love each other then the parent doesn't get the love. 

I'm not blaming my mum or my dad.  I imagine they grew up in similar families and were just repeating what they knew.  At least that's my theory.  Another theory is that I am a difficult, bitchy woman who can't get along with anyone which is how I felt last week.  I cried a lot.

When I went to bed I couldn't stop crying and then I did some CBT.  I started thinking about the relationships I have people who are not my family.  I seem to manage fine with other people.  I don't get along with my ex but there are many reasons for that.  My siblings and I don't get along.  We all seem to resent each other.  I know for myself I can't be objective about my family.  I get a hurt a lot by them and I imagine I hurt them as well.  It seems like an endless loop of hurt and hurting.

Anyway, I did convince myself that I'm not just a bitch who likes to hurt people.  I also decided to stay far away from them.

In my mind of course, I would love to have a family that I could talk to, get support from and give support to but that's not what I have.  I'm not so different from my mum.  Always hoping for what I want and not believing what it is. 

I watch Blue Bloods on TV, a show about a family of Irish cops.  They argue, they disagree and they also support and love each other.  They forgive each other.  I have no ability to do that.  I can't forgive and I guess that's why I feel so bad.  I can't forgive my siblings for hurting my mum, even as she hurt all of us with her needs.  As you see, an endless cycle of hurt and hurting with no way out.

Friday, March 25, 2016

I'm going to take a break for awhile.  Thank you all for taking the time to read my writing and for commenting. 

Ain't family grand? 

Friday, March 18, 2016

When my husband left town my girlfriend and I decided to break into my house.  I kicked a basement window in, which was quite therapeutic at the time.  We lowered her son through the window into the basement and he made his way to the garage.  The only door that wasn't barricaded was the side door into the garage.  He let us in and we proceeded to unbarricade the doors.  My friend helped me to cover the broken window with some wood.  My daughter and I moved back into our house.

The next day was a Monday and I had to work the next day so I was in my pyjamas and housecoat when I heard a knock on the door.  I looked through the window to see a friend of my husband's.  I told him to go away.  He did and he phoned the police to say there was an intruder in the house.  The police arrived at 10:30 pm, my daughter and I were in bed.  I let them in and told them what had happened and that it is not a crime to break into your own house.  They agreed with me but still wanted to see identification and proceeded to walk through the entire house to see what was going on.  They also called off the canine team that had been called in response to a break in with suspect still in the house.  Nice.

I understand why they did what they did but it was humiliating to have to show my ID to prove that I could be in my own house.  It was embarrassing to have police cars lined up outside my house, again.  And then one cop wanted to know how big the house was and how big the yard was and when it was going on the market.  Again, I understand, the police see a lot of domestic disputes and why not get a heads up on a nice house that will be going onto the market soon.

I spent the next two weeks living in fear of the day my husband returned.  I packed up every single thing of his into boxes, labelled them and stacked them in the garage.  What I really wanted to do was to set fire to them on the driveway but I didn't.  I had the locks changed back to the old locks.  He cut off my telephone so I had a new telephone line set up and I waited. 

I got really sick and two days before my husband was to return.  I was still terrified and my wonderful girlfriend came over to protect me and to talk to my husband.  It was her that showed my husband where all his stuff was.  I'm still thankful for that Daphne.

I was talking to a friend at work the other day about how much I have been reliving the past these last few months.  It frequently pops into my head and swims around, demanding my attention.  The past is haunting me right now and she feels it has to do with my upcoming marriage.  She's probably right.  The big guy asked me this morning why I wrote what I wrote in my last post.  It's time to put away the past and move forward.  For me, I have to get it out of my head and the easiest way for me to do that is to write it down. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I've been cleaning and going through old papers.  Eight years ago I told my ex-husband I wanted a divorce.  A month later he bought a condo in Vancouver.  Two months later I bought a townhouse and moved.  He wooed me over the next seven months and convinced me to sell my townhouse and moved back home, to try again to make our marriage work.  So I did.  I moved back home in April or May, can't quite remember but I knew by the end of June that I had made a huge mistake.

Things didn't get better, they just got worse.  That fall I told my ex-husband I wanted a divorce.  We barely talked.  Katie was living at home at that time and I managed to find an agency that would care for her, the only one I could find who would care for her because of her behavioral problems. 

We rented an apartment for Katie and she was set to move into it on December 28th.  On December 25th, after Christmas dinner, my husband packed up and left.  He had to work that night but declared he was not coming back.  He took one of our pots but left the lid.  Never did figure that one out.

So I moved Katie into her place on December 28th by myself.  My husband went back and forth between our house in Edmonton and his place in Vancouver.  I decided to try dating, partly because I knew my husband would never let me go.  I think he though of me as his property.  Nobody else could have me. 

I ran into a guy I knew at the gym and he asked me out for coffee.  I said yes and we started seeing each other.  One night at the beginning of February I came home around eleven to find my husband passed out on our bed.  He already had a place in Vancouver and was supposed to stay in the spare bedroom when he came to visit the kids.  He had been over at a neighbor's and gotten completely pissed.  When I came home I tried to wake him up and asked him to go into the other room.

He started yelling at me that this was his fucking bed and his fucking house and he didn't have to fucking move if he didn't fucking want to.  At this time our middle daughter was downstairs in her bedroom, right below ours.  My husband sprang out of bed and was waving his arms around and backed me up against the wall as he was yelling.  He scared the shit out of me.  I'd never been afraid of him before but I was that night. 

Then he laid back down on the bed and yelled at me that I was a bitch and a cunt.  At that point, shaking, afraid and now angry, I grabbed a votive holder on the chest of drawers and threw it at him.  I missed and hit the wall, so I grabbed another one.  This one hit him on the elbow and nicked his arm a little, a drop of blood came out.  He grabbed the phone on the bedside table and called 911 and said,  "I want to report an assault!", at which point, I turned and fled the house.

I drove over the guy's house that I had been seeing.  He was sound asleep and not at all pleased to be involved in a domestic dispute.  But I couldn't stop shaking and crying so he took me in and I spent the night there.  In the morning I drove home only to find myself locked out of the house.  When I rang the bell, my husband came to the door and told me that he wasn't letting me in.  I called the police and about an hour later they showed up and talked to my husband.  He wouldn't let them in at first but finally relented.  He made them wait too.

The police came into the house with me so that I could take some clothes and personal belongings with me.  I was ashamed and embarrassed.  The police were nice but I felt like a criminal.  A neighbor took me in, and my middle daughter as well.  My husband wouldn't let me back into the house.  That night I had to call on the officer who had responded to my husband's "assault" call and asked me for my side of the story, so I told him the truth.  He said that he knew my husband was very drunk and didn't think any assault charges needed to be laid against me. 

He also asked about Katie.  My husband had told the officer that Katie was not safe where she was.  Apparently my husband had phoned Katie's apartment in the middle of the night, drunk and said things, no idea what.  I had an email from the director of the agency saying that they were not willing to deal with drunk men in the middle of the night.  That it had to stop or another agency would have to be found to care for Katie.

My husband left town a week later.  He changed the locks on the house and barricaded the doors. I remember someone saying how horrible it all was and I replied that it was nothing compared to having your daughter declared mentally retarded.  Nothing was as hard as hearing that.  I was also amazed at how many people offered up their homes for a place to stay.  I had friends, people who cared about me and that meant so much to me.  It was hard but not awful.  I'd forgotten that.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"In seeking to eliminate anger and hatred, the intentional cultivation of patience and tolerance is indispensable.  You could conceive of the value and importance of patience and tolerance in these terms:  Insofar as the destructive effects of angry and hateful thoughts are concerned, you cannot get protection from these from wealth.  Even if you are a millionaire, you are still subject to the destructive effects of anger and hatred.  Nor can education alone give you a guarantee that you will be protected from these effects.  Similarly, the law cannot give you such guarantees or protections.  Even nuclear weapons, no matter how sophisticated the defense system may be, cannot give you the protection or defense from these effects..."
     The Dalai Lama paused to gather momentum, then conclude in a clear, firm voice,  "The only factor that can give you refuge or protection from the destructive effects of anger and hatred is your practice of tolerance and patience."  ( The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, pg, 253)

Wise words for these times.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

I've had a headache for three days.  I had a massage today, hoping that will help.  I also took a muscle relaxant, hoping that will help.

Things I'm thankful for today.

Signed on with a realtor today and officially started looking for a house.
I've seen Canadian geese pairs everyday this past week. 
We can hear them too, flying over the condo.  I love the sound of their honking.
A wander through the greenhouse.
Sunshine and a mild day.
A massage.
Hugs from the big guy.
Very thankful for the weekend.  It's been a hellish month.  One nurse off sick for three months, another for a month and chronically short staffed, which leads to the tight muscles and headache. 
Sleeping with the windows open.
New books to read.
Very thankful we're booked to go to Waterton and Jasper in June.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, March 7, 2016

We had a meeting with the director of agency that cares for Katie this past weekend.  She's a good woman.  She's spent her life trying to improve the lives of disabled people.  The agency she started is not for profit and they agreed to take Katie when nobody else would because they believed they could make her life better.  And they have.

But this weekend we found out that Katie will probably have to move.  The agency is giving up care of Katie's roommate because of an issue with the roommate's public guardian.  The public guardian is insisting on changes in the home that the agency feels are unsafe and I agree with the agency.  But what do we know? 

So our options were to keep Katie where she is and find a new agency to take over care with all new caregivers, or to move Katie to a new home with new roommates and the same caregivers.  Pretty much a no brainer.  I can't stress enough how wonderful the people who care for Katie are. 

So a move.  Katie hates change.  She will have to move to a new home and have a new roommate.  It will work out;  it did last time but it will take time and work. Her new roommate will be an older woman and maybe that will work better.  Katie and the roommate that she has now are around the same age and fight like young woman do.  Her new home will be half of a duplex with more disabled people living in the other half, so no pissed off neighbors complaining about wheelchairs or banging on the walls. 

The big thing is that the caregivers will remain the same.  I'm deeply thankful for that.

Yesterday when we picked Katie up, her caregiver pointed out to me that Katie has bruises on her right breast.  I asked her what happened and she mimed pinching her breast and crying.  I asked her if it hurt and she cried.  I don't know if she was pinching her breast because it was sore or irritated, or if the pinching was just another form of self abuse and was now sore.  And Katie can't tell me. 

So I guess it'll get better or it won't.  We'll see what happens.

Yesterday I bought her a balloon and Smarties and that made her smile.  Sometimes, that's enough.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Long Beach, Tofino.

I'm reading a lovely book.  "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler.  Just like the title says, it's about cultivating happiness.  It's not a how to book but it kind of is.  The book has inspired me to be more compassionate, even to those who irritate the living shit out of me.  It's making me stand back and look at how I am involved in the dynamics of dysfunctional relationships. 

I work with a nurse who is not overly competent.  Her fear of making mistakes leads to many more mistakes and what really drives me crazy is that she refuses to accept responsibility for her mistakes.  She's been off work since Christmas because she hurt her finger while scraping the ice off her windshield which has been nice, not that she hurt her finger but that she's been off.  Without her there the tension has gone way down.  There is no underlying feeling of distrust that normally permeates the place when she is there.  We are working together as a team most of the time.  I feel like I can trust my coworkers to do their bit, something lacking when she is there sadly.

But she's coming back to work at the end of the month and I want to make a concerted effort to feel compassion for her.  It must feel awful living in a world where you don't trust anybody.  To be constantly on guard, which strangely is how I feel when I am around her, constantly on guard.  I want to be able to do this, I want to be able to see her as a deeply flawed human being, just like me.  We are both human beings.  We both want the same things, to feel loved and to love.  To feel safe.

I want to find a way to transcend my old way of dealing with her which is not at all helpful and which wears me out.