The world as seen through the eyes of an exhausted, caffiene addicted, homeschooling, atheist mama.

Posts tagged ‘abuse’

It’s good for the soul

I haven’t written in a long time. A really long time. Since early May, in fact. I feel bad about that. Or, I would feel badly about it if I actually didn’t. My intentions were so fucking good, so I don’t feel too bad that I didn’t bog all three of my followers with whiny shit. I just figured we’d move to Dallas and everything would be okay and I’d start blogging about all the wacky and crazy adventures we were having out there.

I didn’t want to talk about how much I miss my brother and how I don’t know how to deal with the loss of the only other person in the world who lived, and could vouch for, my childhood.

I didn’t want to talk about how sad it is for BB to miss his cat and how it breaks my heart to comfort him as he cries.

I didn’t want to talk about how Hubby was let go from his job and we were left scrambling for a way to pay our rent.

I didn’t want to talk about how he found another job that took him to Dallas or about how he left us behind, me with my grief and BB with his, to pack up and say goodbye to the only life BB’s ever known.

I didn’t want to talk about how hard it’s been to be a single mom for nearly two months or about how exhausting it is to pack up an entire life all by myself.

I didn’t want to talk about all the tears my son has cried over leaving his house and friends. I didn’t want to talk about all the tears I’ve cried over the same. I didn’t want to talk about how moving makes me feel like a six-year old, how I don’t want to be an atheist homeschooler in the bible belt, and how freaking scary it is for me to open up and make friends.

I just thought I’d move and then I’d give a happy update about how well we’re all adjusting, how awesome Hubby’s job is, how awesome all our new friends are, and how I was worried about homeschooling in the bible belt for nothing because there are TONS of great secular homeschoolers out there.

That was truly my intent. Please believe me.

But no. That’s not at all what’s happened.

Hubby was laid off last week and he’s back home now. He’s home and all the the money we lost trying to move us to Dallas is just plain gone. He was let go on Friday morning and he got home late Friday night. Just in time for Father’s day on Sunday.

And that was good. Oh. That was so good. Having my husband home again. Getting to spend Father’s Day with him. That part was good.

But that other part, the part where he’s unemployed and has no real prospects on the burner…that part sucked.

Wait.

It still sucks.

So the two of us spent the whole of today looking for work. It doesn’t matter what; we’ll do whatever it freaking takes to be okay.

And I was sad and scared, but I thought “At least we have a house to live in.”

Oh. Dumb, sweet, naive Mom’sEye.

Our landlord has decided he wants to sell the house and he still expects us to move out at the end of June.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!!!

What the hell? What’s going on? What the fuck is happening????

Where is the Zombie Apocalypse already? Why why why???? Why can’t everything be okay for once????

I was an abused child. My brother was an abused child. His abuse eventually killed him. My abuse made mothering the most difficult and triggering thing in the world. But I thought I was doing a good job. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink excessively. I don’t beat the shit out of my son, cheat on my husband and spend my days chasing random men for my next high. I’ve never made my son homeless, I’ve never blamed him for my own shortcomings. I’ve been a really good person. I’ve been the best person I could possibly be.

Maybe I’ve not made all the best choices, but when your mother is an abusive drug addict, how do you learn to be responsible? I did the best I fucking could! I don’t spank. I don’t hit. I don’t scream. Sure I yell sometimes, but I’m not abusive. I’m not.

I’ve tried to break the cycle and shit is supposed to be better because of it.

But it’s not.

We’re two fucking weeks from being homeless. We  have no jobs. We have no money. We have no family to rely on or to help us.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to wrap my head around the shit that is my life. I don’t know how to wrap my head around the knowledge that I brought my son into this life and I’m just setting him up for future failure. He doesn’t deserve this. Me? I do. I can accept that I deserve all the fucking shit that the Universe wants to throw at me. But my son? No. He deserves more and better than I can do for him.

How does a mother deal with that?

I’m so tired. I’m scared and I’m sad and I’m grieving and and I’m tired. More tired than I’ve ever been in my life. More tired than anyone should ever have to be.

Why don’t you blog? asked Hubby.
Because I don’t want to whine and be depressing.
Eh. Just do it. It’ll be good for your soul.

And so I did. I’ll let you know if it was good for me when life gets a little better.

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On Being a Mother and a Daughter

Four years ago, I cut my mother out of my life. I have mentioned that I talked to her while planning my brother’s funeral. Of course, I had to. Stuff needed to be done and I had to have some of her input. Her son had just died and she needed help planning things. My brother had just died and I needed to take care of things in a way that I felt would honor him. I went out there to lay my brother to rest, not to mend fences or re-hash the past. I drove 12 hours through barren dessert for a reason that was much bigger than her or me. I went out there with the intention of putting all of my own baggage and shit aside for a few days so that I could focus on the task at hand.

But I hadn’t spoken to her in years, and I’ve spent those years agonizing over whether or not I did the right thing in telling her to back off. I spent those years mourning for the mother I needed but knowing I’d never have her, no matter how many chances I gave. I spent those years fighting the demons of my childhood–trying like hell to be the kind of mother she wasn’t. Trying like hell to be the mother that my son deserves.

When you grow up in an abusive home,  that abuse is always inside you, just looking for a crack in the armor so it can get out. As a mother, I’ve struggled with finding appropriate ways to deal with appropriate childhood behavior in my son. The appropriate reaction to a kid who doesn’t want to eat his salad is not to throw him into a wall or force the food down his throat. Hell, even toddler could tell you that. But that reaction is in me and it takes a lot of work and self reflection not to let that reaction out. When you grow up hearing that you can never count on anyone, that everyone will eventually let you down, that you should never get your hopes up because you’ll always be disappointed, when you you grow up hearing  “get the fuck outta my sight” , “you ruined my life” and “it’s your fault”, you start to take it to heart; you start to believe “it” is your fault, whatever “it” may be. You start to believe that since your own mother felt you ruined her life, then clearly you must not be worth much to anyone else. You start to think you are worthless, ugly, stupid, unlovable, unloved. When you grow up knowing these things are truth, it’s hard to back up enough to realize that what you know as truth is nothing but a pack of lies that were spoon-fed to you so that you wouldn’t struggle, so that you wouldn’t question, so that you wouldn’t complain or cry. They were lies that were spoon-fed to you so that the one who was really and truly responsible could absolve herself of responsibility.

It has taken years of anguish and hard work to realize that I wasn’t at fault and that putting up clear boundaries wasn’t selfish or wrong, it was a necessary step in becoming the mother I want to be–the mother my son deserves.

While driving through all that barren land, between calls to the funeral home and family members, I was trying to wrap my head around seeing my mother again. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless. I didn’t know how I would feel or react when I saw her. The ball had been in her court of a long time and she never bothered picking it up and tossing it to me. God, I was terrified that seeing her would make me feel like a small child again. I was so afraid that I’d just fall right back into the role of trying to please and appease, knowing perfectly well that I would fail.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. Apparently, all the agonizing I had done over the years since I cut her out had been part of a healing process. I saw her, I hugged her, I let her hug me, and I took care of business. But I never felt that rush of guilt I expected to feel. I also didn’t feel an overwhelming need to mend the fence, either. I pretty much felt…empty. I felt like  the desert that I drove through–capable of sustaining life, but just barely.

A desert landscape

I was capable of being gentle with her, I was capable of  being kind and compassionate as she dealt with her guilt and grief. I was able to be patient as she tried to find the words she needed to express her wishes or thoughts concerning my brother. I was capable of keeping things on task as we sorted through his stuff and chose clothes for him to wear. I was capable of holding my tears back so she could shed hers. It turns out, I was totally capable of being a wonderfully decent human being.

But I was incapable of falling into those old patterns. I was incapable of just forgiving and forgetting. I was incapable of pretending that my brother’s death was the thing that would make me see that life is fragile; life is tenuous and unpredictable, so I need to patch things up with the only mother I’ll ever have, before it’s too late.

My brother’s death helped me to see that by letting go of my mother, I have become a better mother. His death has showed me that I am a strong and healthy woman in part because I was able to put up boundaries with my mother. My brother’s death helped me to see what my son and husband couldn’t: It’s not my fault. I am not a horrible, vile, evil person for making the choices I have made. I am a good mom, I am a good wife, and I deserve all the love my family has to give me. I deserve to be happy, I absolutely deserve everything she taught me I didn’t deserve.

I wish her well in her life. I wish her happiness and love. I wish her health and friendship. And if or when she can do the things I need in order to have her a part of my life, I will be here. The ball is still in her court, I’ve just stopped caring whether or not she throws it my way.

Goodbye, Little Brother

My little brother died yesterday.

He wasn’t really little. He was less than two years younger than me, but I practically raised him. We went through hell together when we were kids. My parents would disappear for a day or two at a time when we were little and I had to figure out how to scramble him an egg when he was hungry. When he had a bad dream, he woke me up and I helped him go back to sleep. When I was about ten, he developed a fear of the boogey man after we had been  home alone for a couple of days. I was afraid of the boogey man too, but I didn’t tell him that. I told him that the boogey man was called the boogey man because he carried a boom box into kids’ rooms and boogied the night away.

He said I helped him be brave and strong. The truth is, he made me  brave. I couldn’t have faced the demons of our life if I hadn’t had him to help him face them.

He gave me a nickname around that time: Little Mama. He said I was more a mother to him than our mother was. The nickname stuck and eventually our parents started using it. At the time, I took it as a badge of honor. I was a good person. I was helpful. I was responsible and I was grown up. Looking back, it breaks my heart that I had to take on that role. And it breaks my heart that the only kind of mothering he got was from a sister a couple years older than him.

Don’t get me wrong. We fought. A lot. Siblings do that. But we also depended on each other. Siblings do that, too.

As we hit puberty, we started to get on each other’s nerves, but we were still really close. All the moving, all the uncertainty, all the fear bonded us in a way that seemed unbreakable.

When I went away for college, I cried for the entire first year. I felt so much guilt for leaving him behind, but I knew I had to get out of there. I knew I’d die if I stayed where I was. We started to drift apart. Bad shit happened to him and I wasn’t there to help him through it.

He told me he resented me for abandoning him.

How could he not? I was the only mother figure he had, and I left him with a strung out mother who dragged him half way across the country to live with her drug smuggling boyfriend.

I had BB and we tried to reconnect, but I think he was too far broken to ever let me back in all the way. We fought. A lot.

Apparently grown siblings do that.

I abandoned him again. He was so angry with me and we couldn’t have a conversation without fighting, so I just stopped contacting him. He stopped contacting me. We just let each other slip away.

I didn’t expect him to die. In the back of my mind, I always thought we’d come around again. I always thought that’d he be there for me to bounce my memories off of. I thought he’d be there to help me make sense of everything we went through together. I thought he’d always be a witness to our childhood.

But the only person who could attest to what we went through together is gone. The only other person who has the same memories as me, the only other person who can validate my past, had a seizure and died.

My brother is dead and I’m alone with my memories. The good ones and the bad. I’m alone with nobody to understand-nobody to laugh when I sing “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. There is an entire lifetime of memories that are only half-memories now.

Jer, I’m so sorry for all you went through. I’m so sorry you felt I left you, and I’m so sorry I didn’t get to tell you goodbye. No matter what you may have felt or thought, I always loved you, I always worried about you, and now I’ll always miss you.

Love,
your sis.

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