Blinkers, Blinders and Blindfolds

I was prompted by a comment made by a friend of mine on one of my blog posts yesterday.

Dragonfae said: “What is it with mothers in denial of all the nasty crap and the need to deal with it?”

I’ve given it a lot of thought.

Growing up, my own mother had a tendency to hide from things that she didn’t want to acknowledge.  I used to tell my best friend that if there was something outside herself that she didn’t want to see – she’d “slam the window shut on it”.  Actually, it was more like a steel wall coming down, blocking all visual, sound, every sense, really.  As though, if she could just block out all of the sensory information about it – it wouldn’t exist.

My mom had a really strong “Blindfold”.

The problem with that is that when you wear the blindfold too long – you end up squinting when it’s finally removed, shocked and disoriented by the light of the truth.  It makes it all that much more difficult to face the things in life that are right in front of you, and you are usually in it up to your elbows by then, because you decided you didn’t want to see it coming.

Then, there are the times when we all – me included – wear the “Blinders”. 

There are times when we’re so focused on what’sright in front of us,that we don’t see the mess coming from the side, or from behind.  Focusing on the task at hand is good, and gets the job done, but you don’t want to be so blind to what’s going on in the worldaround you that you get mowed over by something you didn’t use your peripheral vision for.

I’m guilty of that to a certain extent.  There have been things in the past that I got side-swiped by, simply because I was too focused, hyper-focused, on something else. 

But you can still end up “ass-deep in alligators” before you actually see the trouble surrounding you.

So, I think I’m going to practice being the last sort of person I pondered on today.

A “Blinker”.

Because maybe I close my eyes for a second, to re-orient my vision and perspective…

But at least I’m looking.  I’m seeing.  And I will know what’s going on around me.

I won’t hide behind a more convenient “Blindfold” or even the hyper-focus of the “Blinder”.

No more side-swiping, no more refusing to look at the hard truths…

Even if I don’t like them.

Pull the Trigger

Everyone has an event, a person, a habit or a pet peeve… that just pulls their trigger.

The “emotional volcano” trigger.

It’s that one thing that just crosses every line you have drawn in your head, that sends you over the edge, and down into the abyss.  Reason takes a hike, and emotion takes over, leaving you flailing and usually, struggling just to keep breathing while the world seems to crumble around you.

For me, I’ve got a couple of things that trigger emotional overload.  One major event being one I wrote about a while ago, that happened when I was a young teenager.  Anytime this gets brought up, referenced to, or triggered in my memory… I lose some of my rationality, and revert to a more basic, almost animalistic, id state.  Fight or flight takes over, and reason goes by the wayside.  I lash out or shut down, depending on where I am, and who I’m with at the time.  But it’s not about the thinking part, the reasonable part of my brain.  It’s about the lost, scared, betrayed child inside, wanting repayment, validation, and revenge.

Talking to EldestDaughter last night, I told her something that I realized about her a while ago.  Even though she knows that she has made her choices on her own, good and bad both, and neither one of us blames her Paternal Gene Donor for her behaviors…

I know that a lot of the reasons why she does what she does, is because she’s been looking for his affection, attention, and acceptance all her life.

And has never gotten any of it without strings. 

There has never been the “unconditional” terminology attached to his feelings toward my daughters.  They always have to do things his way, or he pulls his affections back and holds them for ransom.  And in fact, in talking to ED, I learned that his other children, the ones that live with him, have to toe the line too, or they lose his approval and his affection, too.

And so, I told ED… that her PGD is her trigger.   Every time something happens between the 2 of them, or something that even reminds her of him… she falls off the wagon, emotionally. 

Sometimes, she’ll do something stupid… and while she knows that he’s not to blame for her choosing to do these things, it is a bonus to get his attention.  Even if it’s negative – at least he’s paying attention to her.  He sees her, even when it’s because he’s mad, and flies off the handle, he’s acknowledging her.  And she gets some of what she searches so hard for.  His attention.

I told her too, that until she gets her real feelings out in the open about her dad, with someone who can help her figure out just why it triggers her behaviors, she’s not going to be able to change the stupid habits.  She’s working on it now, and has been talking to a counselor about just this very thing.

But it’s a process, and probably going to be a long one. 

Especially because the PGD doesn’t believe in therapy.  Calls it “psychobabble”, and claims it’s never done anyone any good, ever.  That ED will never be able to change her behavior, even if she’s in therapy for the rest of her life.

Because… he claims, people never change.

And yet – when I met him, he was a drug-using, long-haired, hard-drinking band boy.

Now?  He’s a Bible-thumping, alcoholic, hypocritical, power-hungry, arrogant…

Not that I’m bitter at all…

I’ve always tried to keep my personal opinions about the PGD to myself in front of my daughters.  Growing up, I wanted them to make up their own minds about what kind of relationship they wanted to have with him.  I tried to keep any criticism of him out of the conversations, even when he did things that made me want to scream (like “forgetting” YoungerDaughter’s birthday for 3 years in a row).

For years, I told the girls to “make up their own minds”, and kept things from them both that might color their opinion of him.  I didn’t want to influence their relationship with him, because 1)  I knew that their relationship with him was between them, not me and them; and 2)  I knew that he’d hang himself, given time, and enough rope.  He didn’t disappoint.

Yeah, his history of crap behaviors over the years is yet another trigger for me, as you can tell.

ED is doing her best, having opened up a lot more in the last few months, and especially in the last week, than she has in a long time – if ever.  She’s starting to recognize that when she spins off into wild and stupid behavior, there’s usually something behind it that starts the whole thing to begin with.

The Trigger.

And once she identifies that moment… that one thing that set her off in the first place, she can choose to not follow through with the old behaviors.  She can choose something healthier for herself, and step away from the thing that caused the problem.

And that’s one of the keys to therapy. 

It’s not about the therapist filling your head with psychobabble.

It’s about the therapist giving you a safe head-space to open up, spill all the beans out in the open, and find the answer for yourself.

And then, you can choose – eyes open – what you want to do about it.

Pull the trigger?  Or lay down the gun and go off in a different direction?

Your choice.

Why The Sun Didn’t Have To Rise Today

image

The sunrise was beautiful.

And I hated it for its very loveliness.

There’s been a lot of drama going on at my house, centered around ED, & a past history of mistakes and stupid behavior.  It all came to a head this morning.

My eldest child has always been the neediest of them all.  Always the one who most desperately needed validation, affection and acceptance.  Tough on the outside, she puts up a front of invulnerability and a seeming lack of caring what others think of her.

But it’s a mask.

She hides, terrified, behind that front, praying that someone will love her unconditionally and completely.

And though I and many others do give her that, it’s never been enough.  There are some people, important to her, who have never been able to give her what she needs from them.  And she has not been able to get past that.

ED also has an addictive personality.  She falls into things that she thinks will get her that attention she craves.

And one of these habits has gotten her into serious trouble.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, while she was living in the little town she moved to, she got into the habit of using marijuana.

She’s clean now, but one incident where she got caught, saw her in trouble, & it’s come home to roost now, with her being pregnant.

This morning I had to watch as my child was taken to be put into an in-patient treatment facility, so that the county can make sure that she and the baby are “clean”.  She has to stay there until the baby is born.

Yes, her habit was illegal, dangerous, healthwise for both her and her child, & I understand that she needs help.

But, she has been clean and in out-patient counseling for months, coming to the realizations that the behaviors were wrong, and that there were other ways to get the attention she needed so awfully bad.

And I had to watch her disappear into that sunrise,  not knowing if I’ll get to be there for the birth of my grandchild.

If the father of her baby will be able to be there for it. (They’ve both been staying with me while he works the oil rigs up here)

We will be able to visit, once a week, but it’s not enough.

Not nearly enough.

So this morning, I wish the sun hadn’t come up.

Thirty

Thoughtful Moment:  Having someone trust you with something that’s precious to them, is humbling.  They trust you not to break it, not to hurt it, and to treat it with the respect that they hold for it.  The same goes for that person introducing you to the important people in their life. 

This weekend, I was invited to meet A’s 2 children.  “A” is the man I’ve been seeing for about the last 6 months.  He’s met my kids, almost right from the start, but then my kids are older, teenagers and young adults, and it’s a little different then.  A’s kids are younger than OnlySon, and so I understood the wait. 

Not only that, but A’s kids live with their mom, almost 2 hours away, so he doesn’t get to see them as often as he’d like.  I know how badly I miss my own when they’re gone, even though they live with me, primarily, so I don’t want to intrude on time that should be special for him and them.

This weekend, however, he called and asked if I wanted to come over and meet them.  And yes, I was nervous.

(And yes, A, I know you’re reading this and laughing!)

I was nervous that they wouldn’t like me, I know it’s hard for kids to accept someone else in their parent’s life, sharing time and affection.  YoungerDaughter and OnlySon had their individual issues when I started dating again after the divorce, and, for the most part, we’ve worked through them.  I know there will probably be more in the future, it’s the nature of dating when you have kids.  Jealousies pop up in the strangest ways, sometimes, but as long as the kids know that I’m still there for them, and love them (well, DUH), then any little issues can be resolved with minor fuss.

So, when I went over to A’s house, I was nervous.  I felt a little like I’d been handed a Faberge’ egg, and asked not to drop it, while walking on marbles…

Well, of course, once I got there, I relaxed.  A’s kids are a lot like him, and that’s just fine with me.  I laughed quite a lot with his daughter, and his son was a quieter, peeking presence, keeping just enough distance to maintain his shyness. 

We watched Bee Movie. 

His daughter, “E”, and I bonded over fart jokes and talking about some of the weird things boys do.  I told her that her brother wasn’t so different from OnlySon, even though there’s 6 years’ difference between the 2 of them.  (OnlySon is 13, and A’s son is 7). 

And later, E told me she liked me… mainly because she thought I was funny and had soft hair… but hey!  It’s a start! 

It means a lot to me that I was trusted with the two people he holds most precious.  I’ll do my best not to break it.

 

Twenty-Eight

I know I’m cutting this post pretty fine.  7 minutes past midnight…

Thoughtful Moment: Courage can take many forms…while cowardice takes but one.

A friend of mine posted something on Facebook the other night, and I’ve been thinking about the permutations of her statement since then, and came up with the thoughtful moment for today.

There have been a lot of times this last week that have driven home the statement above.

Courage can be small, like trying something you haven’t had to eat before.
A turkey wrap with a spinach spread for me… I’m not a big fan of spinach, but decided to give it a whirl.  I’m still not a fan of spinach.

Courage can be something “mid-sized” like admitting to being wrong, and apologizing for it.  Not myself this week, but someone close, who had to apologize to someone else.

And of course, Courage can be something large, like doing something that you’re truly afraid of, like telling someone your feelings.  Or running in to a burning building to save lives.

Cowardice, on the other hand… takes only one form.

Running away from that which you know you should do, and letting fear rule your choices.

Be brave. You’ll like yourself better in the morning.

Twenty-Six

Thoughtful moment:  It doesn’t matter what they say, it doesn’t matter what they do, or how old they are,

 when my children fall down, I want to pick them up.

 

 

 

We’ve got more drama going on at the house, again. 

It’s not the end of the world, but it is stressful and serious, and not really something I’m ready to make public now, if ever.

Suffice to say, that parenting never stops.  There will always be times when your child needs you, either to physically be there to help, or just emotionally to support.

And it’s hard to watch your babies, no matter their age, go through things that are so painful they make your chest hurt.  You want to step in, help out, fix it, make it go away, make it stop hurting.

But you can’t.  Not always.

Sometimes, the only thing you can do is hug them, tell them you love them, and that you’re there if they want to talk.

But you still want to pick them up, snuggle them like when they were little, rock them and let them cry if they need to, and soothe away the tears when they’re over.

No matter what other people say when they tell you “It’s just never going to end with this child, is it?  You really need to just tell them to grow up and let them hit rock bottom once.” 

It doesn’t work like that for me.

Yeah, I might get pissed at the things they do, sometimes.  I might yell and be angry at their actions.  But I still love them, and will never simply “abandon them to their fate”.

I can’t just leave my child, crying, hurting, curled up in a ball on the floor.  I don’t care how old they get. 

I. Will. Be. There. For. Them.

That’s the kind of mom I am. 

 

 

Twenty-Four

Thoughtful moment: What do you write about when you’ve got nothing?  Crossed out sentences, deleted lines, if this had to be put down on paper, there’d be tears, smudge marks, and random, small holes from erasing and re-writing too many times.  I think I need to get out of the house, away from all the mundane stuff and drama in my household, and see something different.  I need to do something “different”, just to get the muse a shot in the arm. 

I’ve got one week left on this experiment, and I’m about tapped out for thoughtfulness.  (Does that mean my brain’s fried?  Well, I knew that a long time ago)

I need to get outside my comfort zone again, I think, and do something that will shake me a little.  Rattle the ole brain-box, and make me look at things with fresh eyes. 

Aw, crap.  One of the women in my office wants me to go do karaoke again this week….. that’s probably my best bet for shaking me up, considering my stage-fright.  Well, guess who’ll most likely be appearing soon on a karaoke stage nearby? 

I get stuck in such a rut sometimes, I get used to a certain routine, work, home, sleep… and around again.  I do get time to spend with the guy I’m dating, and that’s a great break-away from routine.  He pulls me outside my comfort zone; he shows me that the rut is a rather boring place to be, and you don’t have to be in it all the time. 

But the thoughtfulness stuff he makes me think about… is NSFW or K. 

So I’ll stick with the mundane, the “normal” stuff. 

And if… when… I get back up on stage, I’ll let you know how it goes.