Nail In The Coffin – But Whose Coffin?

Quite a lot has happened since I’ve last been on here.  I’ve wanted, many times, to come and write…But I’ve inevitably been so tired that I just end up falling asleep before I get the chance to get any thoughts out.  I’ve struggled with medical issues that continue to plague me.

But that’s not what brings me here tonight.

My job….Isn’t it pathetic that out of everything we as humans (or, we Americans…) can experience and do with our lives, our jobs have the ability to either make or break us?  How wonderful the world would be if we could all seek the knowledge we desire without financial barriers, to discover other cultures, to all learn how similar we are no matter our differences.

I’ve learned in my time now that I can see the best and the worst of people when I work with them.  I’m sure that’s the same of most professions.  How can you not get to know people so intimately, spending 40 hours a week with them?  However, there is something…disturbing to me about my boss, who began his position as director of our office in March.  From our first sit down during his initial week in the office, despite the outward appearance of collegiality, we clashed.  I do not know why.  This is truly not a case of my inability to see how I come across; I have had others confirm that it does seem like my boss doesn’t like me, no matter how kind, courteous, efficient, helpful, or any other adjective I am to him.

Here’s the kicker.

In a conversation with one of my colleagues, who happens to be my closest friend and the only friend who knows the deepest secrets of my past, he said some disturbing things.  He told her about his abusive past, which he’d mentioned before in a way to give context to how he sometimes doesn’t pick up on emotions very well.  He then told her that he “saw me coming from a mile away.”  He told her he could tell I’d been abused.

At that point in time, I’d had ONE conversation with the man.  How the FUCK could he know that.

It gets worse.

In another conversation with him, he was trying to “flatter” me into being willing to become a glorified secretary because that position was cut from our office budget.  My position is so many steps above that it’s not even funny….He has an illusion that he can move someone (me) into that position while retaining my current title.  While attempting flattery….or intimidation…. he commented how well I work with students.  He said it’s something that can’t be taught and that some of it’s natural, some of it’s training, and, of course, some of it’s from my background.

I was totally “there” and “present” during that meeting but for a second I just receded back into myself and started asking, what did he just say?  I wanted to verbally ask, “…And what background would that be?”  But I had lost my nerve.  With that one word, he took all of the gusto out of me.  And he knew it.

He had all the power.  With one word. One reference.

So, after a few other awful things happened in our office to me and to other people, we’ve finally had enough.  We went to the Equity office and Human Resources.  They are conducting an investigation, handled personally by their director.  I’ve already had two sit downs with them.  They’ve pulled in my direct supervisor as well as at least 6 other people from my office.  Yet, during my two sit downs, I couldn’t bring myself to mention his comments about my past.  Believe me, I had plenty of other problems to talk about….But I couldn’t do it.

Until today, when I saw how, over the past few days, he’s still been threatening good people with termination with no cause as if nothing is happening and ignoring the entire office except those who flatter him or get in his way.  So, I decided that I wanted to add a little fuel to the fire.  Perhaps put a nail in the coffin…..I don’t know.  I hope HR is preparing one for him.  But just in case, I’m going in to HR again, tomorrow, to tell them about what my boss “knows”….or thinks he knows.

I’m not a particularly good Christian. I rarely pray, and when I do, it’s pathetic.  Most Christians would probably listen to my views on God and religion and laugh and say I’m going to Hell…But no matter.

I need something tonight.  Prayer.  Karma.  Luck.  Because I’m about to tell someone (HR) about my past, who is then going to share it with someone else and then someone else.  The group of people who know is extremely small.  The amount of people who believe me?  Even smaller.  And, oh yeah….I can’t remember what I’ve put on here and what I haven’t, but my mother knows, or knew.  She’s decided she doesn’t think anything happened now. So count her in the group that doesn’t believe.  Super helpful.

But my boss could see me coming from a mile away.  What is this world that I live in?  How will I ever come to terms with this?  Even when I don’t share anything, my past comes up and haunts me.  Even when I don’t believe my past anymore, something comes up and haunts me again.  I will never be free of this, will I?

 

 

The Therapy.

The blog is the therapy.  I knew it, but I didn’t truly realize it until now.

What I mean is, when I can’t talk to someone else – not completely – and when I can’t talk to my therapist, I come here.

Right now I’m not talking to my therapist because I’m fine.  I don’t need therapy.

Funny thought.

So here I am again, 2 days in a row after months unwritten.  The topic today? Me writhing in my own shit once again.  I made my bed; now I have to lay in it.

Only…This bed yells at me, tells me something is wrong in me, that I have hate in my voice when I speak (perhaps I should speak with Hillary Clinton).  Tells me I have no right to speak to my doctor on my own. I speak back in a confident voice that is not my own. And once the call ends, I break down. I break down for hours without end….because the tears seem to come from that endless well that I’ve spoken of for so many years.  Yet I’ve never reached the bottom.  When will I find it?

That bed.  I’ve made that bed.  And now I’m laying in it.  And it wreaks.  It crawls.  The bugs are biting me in unseen places.

I come home and realize: I never should have done this.  I knew it could never work.  He was never a changed person.   Did it happen?  I don’t know.  But I can’t handle him.  I was healthier without him.  Undeniably.  Yes? No?  So many doubts.

The only thing undeniable right now is the love my Golden Retriever has for me right now. That….Now, that, is something I can always count on.  For now, that will be enough to satisfy this troubled soul.

Inexplicable Explanation

 

These past few weeks, I’ve been finding myself becoming increasingly more of a sap over small things.  Or suddenly struck with fear or dread over something I see on the television.  I watched Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. I am a horse lover, so I like the movie, but I cried the entire time.  That’s not normal.  I cried when a man was kind and caring to a woman on a television show.  And I start thinking, “Wow, I’m emotional with no explanation.” But there’s always an explanation.  I just have yet to find it.  Or want to find it.  Normally it’s the latter.
I had not been putting much thought into it until it refused to be ignored the past two days – over the weekend, when I was laid up in bed from a herniated disc in my neck.  I’m going on month 5 of this, and after a long week, I had planned on having no plans over the weekend.  Apparently, my emotional self, and all the other “selves” that come with that, took advantage of this time.
Perhaps I have been avoiding them.  Even neglecting them.  Or perhaps I’ve downright abandoned them lately.  I think I’ve had to.  I’ve had stress lately…I think I’ve lost time once or twice.  My memory has been downright shitty.
And now I’m crying at animated movies narrated by Matt Damon from 2002.
How the fuck did I get myself here?
I keep thinking, “Yeah, you’re good…You don’t need therapy anymore.  Besides, what else can she help you with? Clearly, you’ve made your decision.  Clearly, you think you can handle having contact with your father while still living near your mother who works long distance for your father.  Clearly, you think that’s the only way forward right now, so clearly, that’s the way forward.”
Clearly.
Have you ever gotten yourself so screwed over in a position….Financially, mentally, emotionally….That you just can’t find a way out?
That’s where I am.  It will be years before I dig myself out of the hole I’m in.  I’m working on it.  I’m trying to explore possible escape routes.  But it appears I will have to suck it up and take the long way out.
I sure hope my life is worth it. Good thing I’ve got this new semicolon tattoo on my ankle to keep me sane.

Worth fighting for?

Everyone around me says that, of course I need to fight for this relationship. He’s my father.  It cannot be that simple. It is not that simple. 

This time around, he is acting like he wants a relationship, even though he doesn’t hesitate to hurtle insults at me and then deny that he’s done so. But, this time around, I feel even less like I want a relationship. 

Yes, even though he’s my father. 

I feel like I’m living in a surreal land, where everyone, even my most trusted friends, are more on his team than they are on mine. It’s simply because it’s hard for them to place themselves in my shoes but it still hurts. And it still makes me question what kind of person I am. 

“But he’s your father…”

“Don’t you want your father in your life, in any capacity?”

And when I answer no, especially when he tells me that he finds fault in who I’ve become, i get blank stares, or frustrated sighs, or outright arguments as to why I am being too cruel and harsh. I feel no compulsion at all to have a relationship with him. My rational mind knows this to be completely reasonable. Every other part of me is in complete turmoil. 

The question that keeps playing over and over in my mind: “Is there something wrong with me that I feel absolutely nothing, no compulsion, no feelings (except negative), no desire whatsoever to have a relationship with my father?” And here come those questions of fundamental flaws. All over again. 

Coincidence? Perhaps not. Or perhaps this situation is just raising the right questions. 

…And 2 months later…

I reestablished contact with my father 2 months ago for the first time in 3 years.  It was sudden and unexpected, but uneventful.  Or, as uneventful as something like this can be.

I visited my father, per his request, only a couple of weeks after we reestablished contact.  It went fine.  He was simply “showing me off” to his employees and colleagues and wanted to impress me.  I’m not fooled by his attempts, but it’s typical for him.

Life just continued.

Christmas Eve.  My father decided that he wanted to “hash out” some of what happened on the day that I told him I no longer wanted to have contact with him.  I asked him why we needed to go over it, since all is said and done.  He told me that he has a major problem with how I treated him.  He said he couldn’t understand what he did that was so bad.

I didn’t, and don’t, have the courage to tell him.. or ask him… if he did what I think he did…or know he did?  Do I know?  Do I really?

“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde

I just tried to appease him enough by telling him I was sensitive and the things he would say were too much for me to handle growing up.  It was enough to end the conversation.  Apparently it wasn’t enough to satisfy him for good.

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” -Criss Jami

Today, I received a text message from him saying that he wanted to “talk.”  I had a very bad feeling about it, but I called him anyway.

He said we had a lot more to “hash out.”  I asked him, why do we still need to go over the past 3 years?  He said it was because he has such a big problem with the way I treated him.  I explained that I had to do what was right for me at the time, and while I understand it may have been hurtful for him, it also wasn’t easy for me, but it was still the best way for me to figure out who I was, take care of myself, etc.

“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” -Malcom X

He didn’t like that answer.  He just kept pestering me, asking me how I couldn’t feel the need to apologize.  I told him that it was the right thing for me to do.  He accused me of never telling him “why” I didn’t want to be in contact with him anymore.  I did, partially, but he doesn’t remember.  However I told him that I was terrified, because any time I say anything that he doesn’t agree with, it turns into an argument that ends in a screaming match.

He switched tactics.  He said that it has become obvious to him that there is a major problem with how I was raised.  A dig at my mother, but also telling me that he sees fault in who I am today.  I told him, immediately, that if he is telling me that he sees a problem with who I am as a person today, I will end the conversation.  He mentioned our old neighbor, who used to spank his children (quite often, quite hard), and how his children turned out so wonderful and that they must have been doing something right.

I told him that I will not continue to have someone in my life who keeps telling me that he finds something wrong with who I am today, because I feel more secure in who I am as a person than ever before, and that it was those 3 years apart that helped me define that.  He told me how selfish that was and how selfish I was being.  I said that I am not being selfish by taking care of myself when necessary, and he insisted I was.  I “threatened” him that if the conversation continues the way it was going, I was going to go right back to not talking to him, because I don’t need a person like him in my life.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

He wanted to know why I didn’t “worship” him like my cousins worship their father, who is quite a mess.  He wanted to know what he did that was so bad that he didn’t get the same treatment that they give their father.  I asked him if he has any compassion for me, for the journey that I’ve gone through.  He didn’t answer.  He just said I’m unbelievable.  He said I’m selfish.  Several times.

I told him I can’t talk to him anymore.

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

No matter how strong I may have gotten, this still rips me to pieces.  It still makes me question everything.  It still makes me question my self worth, my value as a person, my character… all of it.  And even worse, everything that he said, all of his questions, make me question the very basis upon which I’ve built the stronger me.

I feel like my whole self is a game of Jenga, and almost all of the pieces had been put into place.  But now, I’ve suddenly had several key pieces removed, causing the whole structure to wobble and sway and threaten to collapse.  I’ll get over it, of course.  I always do.

And that’s the end of that.  Forever this time.

“As you become your own advocate and your own steward, your life will beautifully transform.” – Miranda Barrett 

 

3 Years in the Making

It has been a long time since I have written a blog post.  However, considering I am not finding many other outlets helpful, except for a visit to my therapist for the first time in a couple of months, I am coming back here to air some of what has been going on in my head.

So here is what’s going on, in a short and sweet manner…One that, if there is someone reading this, will allow you to decide if you feel like reading further.  In October of 2012, I officially broke off all contact with my father due to many years of abuse (in every sense of the word).  It is now 3 years later.  I have not had any contact with him, and I have not seen him.  No birthday cards, no Christmas cards, no attempts from him to fix the relationship.  Nothing.  He didn’t even seem to care.  The only clues that I had that maybe he cared were his sudden habit of drinking – when he never used to – and being even more belligerent to his staff at work.

3 years later.  On Friday of this week, I will be flying down to visit him.  At his request, his suggestion.  I said OK.

How does this happen, you ask?  That is a damned good question.  It’s happened so quickly that even I have a hard time keeping up.

To make another long story short, I sent him an email a couple of weeks ago with some unsolicited advice about a business he was helping his brother start in the town where I live (he lives 1,000 miles away).  His brother knows nothing about this town, but decided he likes it because his daughter, my cousin, is now in her first year of college year.  I sent the email to my father with the advice more as an “I told you so” if the business failed, because I was intentionally shut out of all prior planning on it.

My father was apparently very impressed by my input, and suddenly all contact with him was restored.  And part of me is pleased that he likes me again.  That he is proud of me….That I am doing things that make him proud that I’m his daughter.

And a whole huge part of me is disgusted at that.  HOW could I be proud that this man – who did all of those things – is proud of me?  HOW could I possibly WANT to be in contact with him again?  WHY do I want to please him?  Or, more accurately, why do other parts of me want to please him?

And then there’s an even worse part.  One that has tortured me for years, but has turned the heat up several hundred degrees.  What if I am able to be pleased, because those parts know that nothing happened?  What if nothing really happened at all…What have these last 6 years of therapy been about?  What about the last 3 years of no contact with my father?  Did he deserve it?

Rationality kicks in for a quick moment.  How often I dissociate.  The extreme fear I feel.  But…what if the fear is only of being wrong, and not of him?

And then I question the question.

And I panic, because through it all, there is a small part of me – a young part – that is curled in a corner, terrified, asking me why we have to see him again.  He didn’t change over the 23 years we had contact with him…What makes us think he would have changed over the last 3 when we didn’t?

Nothing.  Logic and emotion tell me that there is absolutely no reason to believe he has changed.  And so, despite all of the disagreement about who he is, what may have happened…Or what may not have happened…There is one thing we agree on:

When is the monster in him going to come out? When am I going to do the wrong thing or say something that will bruise his fragile ego? Am I – are we – strong enough to withstand the force of whatever (figurative) blow we may take?

My therapist – J – is not so sure.  Neither am I.  It has been many years, but the last time I visited him, I dissociated the entire time.  I was in a dream state.  the. entire. time.  We talked about the possibility of just not going.  I told her I already agreed to it, because I felt obligated since he is helping me get out of some financial trouble that I am in at the moment, and I do not want him to think I am using him for his money.  Is that bad?  J says it’s not. I’m not so sure.  For years I’ve been so determined to get out of this hole on my own, but it would be so nice to not constantly be in the red.

So, I told J that I was afraid of offending him by not going.  Or embarrassing him in front of his employees if I suddenly don’t go when I said I would.  J pointed out that I was taking care of his feelings.  That I had automatically – without even realizing it – fallen right back into the cycle of taking care of his needs.  She called it icky.  And it is.  It makes my skin crawl.

I feel like a failure for letting that happen and not even noticing it.  J warned me that it may happen again when I’m down there, and I may not realize it until I’m very far into it.  Which begs the question.  WHY AM I GOING?

I feel guilty.  And he already purchased the airline tickets.  And…not going is almost assuring that the monster will come out, while going may keep it at bay.

Then I asked J, how do I know the line between taking care of myself and being fair to him?  To phrase it another way…If I have made all of this up and none of it actually happened (except the fact that he’s a raging narcissist…I know that is true), how do I give him a chance to be a father, within limits, while still taking care of myself?

I’m already numbing myself out completely.  I have a constant compulsion to completely break down, but I can’t seem to let myself.  Even though I’m still safe.  I asked J if going would set myself back many months.  She said she didn’t know, but that she once had a patient who visited his family of origin for a period of time and it was a major setback for him.

I don’t know what I’m doing.  But I do know that I feel more alone that I have in quite a long time.  Ironic considering all of the parts that are chiming in lately.  Let the games begin.

 

What other shoe?

Oh, yes.  That one.  The one I was waiting for and nearly thought wasn’t coming.  But no, oh no, no, no.  There it is.

My mother has gone batshit cray cray.  Putting humor to this is the only way my mind can cope because this is just…Blank.  Wordless.  My mind can’t fathom it.

For years, my mind, the big parts, the little parts (especially the wee little ones), held onto my mother being the sane one.  Being the more protective and safe of the two.  She yells and slams the door and I sit outside of it crying as a 6 year old and begging her to forgive me for God knows what?  Doesn’t matter.  Her arms were safer than his.

She would tell me I was selfish right after my parents divorced and I wasn’t taking care of her needs enough.   She still didn’t call me a bitch like he did.  She would tell me I was beautiful… during the times she wasn’t criticizing me about my weight.

She cried on the side of the road and told me her life was a deep, dark depressive hole.  I had her move in with me so that her burden of paying so much rent could be lifted and perhaps she could escape the wrath of my father.  It did not happen.

I cut off contact with my father, and instead of being proud of me, she begged me to apologize to him for the sake of her life and her job. I was getting stronger.  I did not apologize, but I told him to take out his battles with me and not her.  She was still unhappy with this.

She kept expecting my constant apologies like I always used to give, but I continued to grow stronger, thanks to my friends, my job, my therapy, my ever-growing, ever-changing adult life forcing me to establish my own identity, separate from her.  She did not, and has not, been getting those apologies.  I am now labeled as a selfish person who fails to take the blame for the “thoughtless behavior that I unleash on others.”

I am now labeled as “physically violent.”  My mother tried to physically restrain me the other night, grabbing my wrists.  I made a motion, not a violent one, but an automatic reaction to pull my hands away, and she fell backwards.  Dramatically.  I say this because she has openly admitted to a friend and me that she has intentionally thrown herself off of the stairs for attention (then quickly added, as a child, as an afterthought).  Coincidentally, a similar incident happened a couple of months ago.

Back to our argument.  She fell.  I tried to go to my room and requested she go downstairs, to her basement apartment, which we agreed would be kept separate from my upstairs apartment.  I shut my bedroom doors.  She yelled at me through the doors that I will be alone for the rest of my life if I continue to act this way.  I opened the doors and told her, “What right do you have to say that, seeing as I am the one with a plethora of friends and you stay home alone all day?”

She did not hear this.  I walked past her to get the phone to call my friend so that it would diffuse the conversation.  I tried to walk out the front door.  She blocked my way and I pushed past her.  She fell down again.  Her arm reached out for the banister as she fell, and then she took it back.  She never makes any attempts to catch herself.

She screamed at me that I will be alone for the rest of my life.  Curious how this started?  It all started because she spoke again with my ex-boyfriend who is only 20 years old (I am 25), and he told her intimate details about his sexual abuse.  She proceeded to tell me as if it would make me want to get back together with him. She started to tell me details.  I stopped her and I said, “Before you go any further, have you even thought about what effect this might have on me?”

She ignored me.  I took that as a no.  And it hit me…She is pissed that I won’t tell her any fucking details about my sexual abuse from my father – her ex-husband. And I realized that I want nothing to do with this woman.  Nothing.

I packed a bag and left.  I stayed at a hotel that night and spent the next with a friend.  I am stuck in this house agreement with her until we’ve earned some equity and can sell it.  She has plans to renovate her downstairs area.  I asked her to please prioritize the door separating our two floors and that I would like a lock on my side.  She agreed.

She sent me a scathing text telling me to “NEVER touch her in a violent way EVER again.”  I told her I don’t want to be around her.  She said, “Trust me, I won’t go anywhere near you.”  Apparently, I have the whole world snowed.  All of my friends, my therapist, everyone I meet.  None of them know the “real me.” Only her and my ex-boyfriend.

Apparently, I am a threat.  Maybe I should wear a mask like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

It’s too bad…. My fingers are so tired from typing all of this, I don’t even feel like typing out the whole story of the guy that came to my door and requested a “ride” from me, had scoped out my house earlier in the day and was convicted of kidnapping, assault, and robbery a year prior, and the police hardly did a thing. It’s been a fun few days.