Need to Calm My Nerves

2 years of therapy and today all I want to do is crawl into bed and cry.  It is taking every ounce of control I have not to let the tears flow today at work.

Evidently, my mother has remarried and I received an email from my new Stepfather (as he signed it).  Since I don’t know him, I am assuming his intentions were most likely good.  Probably a misguided attempt at facilitating some sort of reconciliation.  I’m sure he did not realize how much anxiety this would cause me, at least I hope he didn’t as that would be cruel.

I don’t understand how someone could expect I would want to communicate with them, when I am sure every thing they have ever been told about me is negative, cruel and blatantly untrue.  There is no way i would ever convince him I am not the evil, conniving bitch I have been made out to be, so what is the point?  It makes me very uncomfortable.

I have been blamed for everything wrong in my mothers life from her marrying her second husband (how this could possibly be my fault , I’m not sure) to my breaking up the same marriage.  What’s ironic, is that while my own father refused to communicate with me but, I still communicate with that husband.

I don’t see how I could be the center of all that is bad in her universe.  Why should all the blame be placed on me?  I don’t know how you could end up with 3 children, all with problems that they either take prescription medications for or choose to self medicate with alcohol and drugs and honestly think that you have no responsibility for these problems.

No one is saying her life was easy.  Growing up with a narcissistic, domineering mother and a pedophile father could not have been easy, but at some point you have to admit that there may be something wrong with you and maybe you should get some help.  After all, everything that goes wrong can’t be someone else’s fault.  At some point you have to break the chain, otherwise the pattern continues generation after generation.

I was 24 when I decided to break the chain.  The moment came suddenly, it didn’t have a build up, just cruising along and EPIPHANY!

On this particular day, we were out at a psychic fair and were heading back home when my mothers “wife” had to stop by her work and pick up her check.  Now her wife always took forever at everything she did.  She was slower than molasses.  We were in a 2 door car, mom driving, my brother was visiting from Seattle (his first visit since he left town right after graduation), it was September in South Texas which can still be brutally hot.  My mother pulled up under an awning just far enough for her to be in the shade, leaving my brother and I with the sun bearing down on us through the rear window.  We were in a 2 door car with little wriggle room in the backseat.  For an agoraphobic, this was torture.  I had anxiety attacks before when I felt trapped, especially in the backseat of 2 door cars and had always been told to stop being such a drama queen.  To make matters worse, as she always did when stopped, she turned off the engine so there was no air and the backseat had no windows.

Now this might sound petty and you may not understand why I remember this one event so clearly and my heart still races recalling it reliving the anxiety I felt that day; I think anyone that has a moment that single-handedly changes the direction your life is heading in, tends to remember that moment.  This moment was mine.

Up until this point my mother and I had for the most part, been good friends.  We had a lot of fun together and spent a lot of time together.  Up until then, what I knew I considered normal for everyone.  Then my mind started flashing to being teased (at home) when I started getting breasts, that when I got my period I was so afraid of being teased, I didn’t tell anyone for 6 months; being taken with a fever & chicken pox out camping and boating in an aluminum boat; being told for as long as I can remember that I was proof contraceptive creams didn’t work; never receiving a real compliment (mothers compliments were like a double edge sword, (she would say, “you don’t look half bad in that shirt, considering it came from QVC”). All the years of sarcasm and insult humor that as a defense against, i also developed.  Insult humor is not necessarily hurtful at the moment uttered, but it build over the years and the only when to deal with it is to develop the same skills to deflect it.  I have spent the last decade trying to retrain myself, some days it works, some days it doesn’t.  Of course, my 2 brothers that she raised are exactly the same.  It’s very hard to have a serious conversation with either of them.  When they hear your mother calling you a bitch and a slut on a regular basis growing up, even jokingly, that stays with them.

On my wedding day, she told Jerry he could go ahead and leave, no one would blame him and then proceeded to tell some of his Aunt’s & Uncle’s (whom I was meeting for the first time) that they should know they are getting a real bitch in the family.  I can’t believe Jerry actually stayed.  His family didn’t want to hurt my feelings so I didn’t hear about this until a while after my wedding

You never knew what mom you were going to get.  Her moods would change in an instant, at least towards me.  The boys were always treated differently than me and even between the 2 boys, there is a clear hierarchy.

My mother hated her mother and had a difficult relationship with her until the day she died and I think by having me, she had the opportunity to re-enact the relationship she had with her mother, but this time she would assume the role her mother had and try to make me feel like she did.  I think this was her way of working things out from her childhood.  Hence, the abused becomes the abuser.

My mother blames my youngest brothers problems on his father, my middle brothers problems on her father and my problems, I’m not sure, so we’ll just say because I’m a bitch.  However, I think it is far more likely that like her mother and her grandfather (maternal) and her children, she suffers from a psychiatric disorder.  Otherwise it miraculously “skipped” her generation.  Studies say that children that are predisposed to a psychiatric disorder by genetics, are 4 times more likely to develop a disorder if raised in a household with an untreated or uncontrolled disorder.  The common denominator between everyone in the household is the Jodrey genes so I don’t think blaming the fathers will work any longer.

At the very least, growing up my mother was manic depressive/bi-polar.  On the high end of the scale, I wouldn’t rule out a borderline personality disorder.  I can forgive someone for past mistakes, but only if they own those mistakes and are getting treatment.

The past 2 years I have worked very hard at making my self a better person.  I sat down and wrote out a list of everything I don’t like about myself, everything I do or say that may be hurtful to others and anything else I could think of.  No one asked me to do this, I just decided that i wanted to hold a mirror up and write down everything that was reflected that I could change and be the better for.   It wasn’t easy, but I felt stronger acknowledging that in addition to being far from perfect, I could be mean unintentionally.  If someone can’t admit their flaws, they can’t work to change them.

Everyone has regrets in their life, but you have to move on.  My mother won’t let anyone do that.  She always jumps to the past.  She will still throw something I did when I was 16 years old up and get pissed and ruin the day.  In the past, just talking to my mother required a 12 pack and an extra pack of cigarettes. If the phone rang and those items were not in the house, Jerry would run to the store.  I used to binge drink to deal with stress.  Coincidentally the last time I binge drank and got out of control was the last time I saw my mother in the Bahamas in March 2008.

I don’t “blame” my mother, but I do think she needs to claim some fault.  Only the 3 of us who spent our lives being raised by her have seen all the sides of her personality.  She’s pretty good at just showing people what she wants them to see.

The only thing I have blamed her for is my relationship with my older brother.  We were friends before he fled to Seattle, but after that I am fairly certain, she started slowly and managed to drive a wedge between us to the point I was not invited to his wedding because as she told me, he said “it would be uncomfortable with me there”.  Which I have no idea what that meant.  I believe she started it, but he is a grown up now and needs to make his own choices.  She seems to be happiest when the kids aren’t talking to each other and our only contact is going through her so she can filter who hears what and how they hear it.  She takes that to the extreme of not even giving us each others address or phone numbers if we ask.  That doesn’t matter much for me, I’ve had the same phone number for 11 years, my brothers moved around a lot and used no contract cell phones, etc…

One thing I do find curious is how my older brother always seems to move to the opposite side of the country that she is on.  He is planning a move to Oregon now from South Carolina and she is in Maine.  When she was in Texas, he was in Seattle.  The only time he lived near her is when he was trying to get his life back together.

While some of the things we have tried in therapy have bombed and sent me into a deep depression (contacting family), for the most part everything has been good, especially 2011.  Everything isn’t perfect, but I never expect it to be.  Jerry is a wonderful husband that keeps me strong and he has been so supportive of everything where so many men would have bailed.

I needed to vent and I’m not sure my train of thought stayed focused, but I mainly wrote this to calm my nerves and hopefully dispose of the urge to cry.  Writing things out usually stops the anxiety and the nightmares that stress cause.

if I skipped around too much, that’s the ADD and I’m not in the mood to go back and edit.  Sometimes reading it right after I write brings the anxiety back.  Maybe I’ll proof it later…  It’s just for me anyway

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