Friday, March 02, 2012

Why does seclusion and restraint seem to trigger me.. a/k/a my story

I went on a jag about seclusion and restraint - emailing the world, posting here, on facebook.  I was infuriated, driven by what I thought was my child's experience with restraint. 

Was that all there was to it?  Why was I so angry about this topic?  Why did I feel so compelled to stop it from happening in our schools?

I've been doing a ton of soul searching these days.  I've found a new therapist who I absolutely love.  She's just granola crunchy enough to appeal to that side of me but very down to earth and level headed.  She's guided me through some self hypnosis/medatation stuff which has seemed to opened my heart, mind and soul greatly to my past.

While the topic does get a lot of fuel from what happened to Dylan last summer, it also gets a lot of fuel from my past. 

***********WARNING - POSSIBLE TRIGGER ALERT**************

My friends from childhood would tell you... they were my friends from school.  No play friends.  I was contantly punished.  In my room for days on end coming out to use the bathroom or eat.  My books were my friends.  I'd sit on my desk with the window open whenever I could and read.  I'd watch my brothers play with their friends in the driveway and dream about the day I would be able to leave.  I know (or maybe rather hope) that I didn't spend as much time confined as I remember.  

I was allowed out to do my "chores" (which were often the reason I wasn't allow out and confined to my room).  I was responsible for cleaning up the living room, dining room and kitchen.  That was before school.  Then I'd have to come home from school and redo what I did in the morning because either I didn't do it right or my parents, brothers and sister would make a mess and then I'd have to clean up the bathroom and do the laundry.  I've heard that my father's family would call me Cinderella behind our backs.  They weren't too far off.  Crazy thing is, our house was always a mess (think horders).

Then my sister was born.  She got my room and I was in the basement.  No heat, no air conditioning.  Only good thing about that was I could sneak out and smoke.  My room was so cold in the winter, I'd have a glass of water next to my bed when I'd go to sleep and when I awoke the next morning, it had a layer of ice.  I had an electric blanket which was great except one day after a shower, I was so cold I jumped onto the bed which caused the bed frame to jump up, connect with the socket the blanket was plugged into causing a fire.  I pulled out the cord, getting enough of a shock for my hair to stand on end, blacken my hand and burn the shit out of me.

Don't get me wrong.  I did get out and wasn't locked in there always but enough to make an impact.  Enough for it to tell me I wasn't worthy.  I wasn't worthy of companionship.  I wasn't worthy of security.  I wasn't worthy of the love my brothers and sisters received.

Self worth... it's such a tricky thing isn't it?  It's the value you place on yourself yet that self  worth is based almost entirely on the way certain people in your life treat you.   Yes, we can grow beyond it and that is what I am hoping to do.   A good part of my self worth is based on the fact that I was abandoned by my birth mother and then had a mother who resented me, hit me, berated me, used me and generally just didn't like me and a father who sat on the sidelines watching this happen to me.

My husband likes to say I have W*nder Woman syndrome.  I pride myself on stopping when I see people in trouble like car accidents and such.  I've attributed it to the fact that no one "saved" me as a child so I need to save the world.   I realized yesterday that it also has to do with my self worth and wanting approval from those people in my life that I value. 

My Mom loves to say that my behavior is always attention seeking.  "Look at Me, Look at Me!" and she'd wave her hands in the air.  She's partially right.  I'm seeking attention not for the sake of attention but to gain her approval, her acceptance.  Something I've come to realize that I will never get.

I was thinking about a fight I had with her when we made the decision to adopt.  She was mad at me because I didn't consult her.  Paraphrasing.... I can't believe you didn't come to me with this!  If anyone knows what its like to take in a child that isn't yours, it's me!  I heard her and then shoved it deep down.  It resurfaces in my mind recently and I guess I finally understand what she was saying.  If she said what she really meant, I think it would have sounded more like.... don't adopt because you'll never love that child as your own.  Now, before anyone gets their panties in a twist, that is NOT how I feel about Dylan.  It's simply how I think my Mom thinks of me.

I guess you can only keep things bottled up for so long.  Everything is coming to a head these days and it's crazy.  The path of self discovery can be rough but interesting.  Most times I feel like I am observing from the side lines and then jump into the frey to feel what it's like and jump back out again when things get overwhelming.  I have a new therapist who is wonderful and really helping me through this process gently.  So forgive me if I just throw things up here as I process.  Some may make sense, others not so much.  I don't believe my family reads my blog but if they do, I hope they understand that this is MY process.  Eh, they aren't talking to me anyway so I doubt they read this.


  1. That is just awful. It breaks my heart that this was your childhood. Mothers are extremely powerful figures for a young woman. Doesn't sound like she was much of one which is so opposite of the way I see you. There is so much love for Dylan and so much devotion to him. Clearly, you rose above it all. Sometimes, you just have to work through the hard parts to get to the other side and see how far you've come. (((Hugs)))

  2. Your mother is toxic, period. If you are not able to get her to see any of your pain, then she should be abslutely avoided because she injures you by her very presence.

    And her behavior toward you as an innocent beautiful child? Excremental! I'm not a violent person but when I hear such pain and trauma inflicted, I get so angry and want to go back in time to rescue the child.

    I'm glad you found a new therapist and can process these old wounds. But I am so sorry you are so triggered right now.

  3. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Your mother was shit. You only think you are shit because you spent so much time near her that you mistook her stench as having been yours. She is radioactive. The closer you get to her and the longer your exposure the sicker you will get. She should be composted not consulted. You owe her nothing, and washing her contagion off of you would be the best thing you could do.


  4. Anonymous9:12 PM

    It is my firm belief that your mother accused you of being attention seeking because of her own self-absorption. ANY attention that wasn't paid to her was wrong. She deserved ALL of the attention. If you wanted any, you were being selfish. Look at her reaction to your decision to adopt: why didn't you consult ME. Not congratulations. Not even sharing her thoughts or feelings, however warped they may be. Instead she is angry because you didn't pay attention to HER.

    You deserved compassion, companionship, love and security. These are pretty basic human needs that even an impoverished parent can strive to satisfy, and as a child just knowing that your parent care enough to try makes all the difference. She invested zero effort in you, and if you ever dared to ask for any, she would flap her arms at you. Would you ever even dream of MOCKING your child like that? She is a walking sickness. She deserves NONE of your attention, any that you give her is a gift, and if she doesn't show proper appreciation then I hope you have the strength to disengage.

    And kudos on your new therapist!


  5. Whoa...something magical just happened when I read this. Aside from being gobsmacked and empathetic to your experiences growing up, you said about how Marc calls you Super Woman and how you theorize you have this need to save the world because no one saved you as a child...OMG, a HUGE light has just gone off inside me. You hit a missing nail on its head in my world. Thank you.

    But more than that, thank you for sharing this. I'm so sorry you went through this kind of neglect and experience (you and I could compare notes. I had a Ghenghis Mom too. My Step-Monster.) Your self-awareness sets you apart and makes you bigger and better than the situation you were thrust into as a kid. And your incredible love, warmth and genuine beauty carry you through making a difference in Dylan's life and here you are, the most incredible Mom ever!!! I love it that we can transcend our experiences. xoxoxo

    You continue to be an inspiration to me! You rock! And still loving your blog.