I had begun to research Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) many months ago, in an attempt to make sense of some of the psychological troubling things going on in my life that were making me feel as if I was going insane, which, in turn, left a few to actually believe I was psychotic and unsafe/unstable as a person, what I learned has been both freeing as well as troubling, as it still is difficult to navigate the emotions that come from this disorder in children.

I am shamed to admit that I believe both of my children suffered from this after looking at the symptoms (only 1 of many available symptoms lists) and reflecting on the life I led during some of their most formative years in an abusive marriage.  I feel guilty that they may suffer from this disorder, or at least have to a degree while some was simply due to their ages, when I know I was working 2 jobs from the time my youngest was about 2 until she was 8, plus in that time I was in the process of trying to divorce and had begun to live part-time outside of the marital home in another city for 4 days a week.  I abandoned my children when they needed me the most and I left them in an abusive situation that I felt I had no real way out of other than to work as much I was (and then begin a home based business where I traveled a lot and even when I was home, was quite often busy with the business aspect, and not there for them emotionally when they needed me to be).  I vowed to stop being so involved in my side business and strictly stick to my full time job (which involved me working 6 to 7 days a week for approximately 5 months or so out of the year), when I knew I was determined to end my marriage, and especially after the final incident between my ex-husband and I ended up with him in jail for domestic assault and a CPS investigation occurred.  I knew I needed to stay at home and focus more on my children, and the guilt of knowing I allowed them to be in a very unhealthy situation drove my motivation in many ways, even though I never really wanted to end my side business since it was something I truly enjoyed and was quite successful with it.

I can look back on things now and see why my children throughout the years had many issues with me being an active parent; I had been in many ways, but once I began working 2 jobs to support the household bills (just to make ends meet), I had left them into the care of my ex-husband who had his own troubles with depression, anger, and poor coping skills when it came to stress.  I wish I had other options, though it was either that I worked 2 jobs, or we would lose our house due to not being able to pay the mortgage (let alone other basic needs), and while I’ve gotten over being bitter about that situation, it definitely was a huge part in how my children have struggled for the last almost 3 years since the domestic assault incident to have connected with me and are now not showing as many symptoms of RAD with continued therapy for each of them, as well as continued effort on my part to enhance my parenting skills.

The very difficult part in this is the isolation I felt in the thoughts of this disorder/other psychological problems as being a very realistic thing happening with hope to overcome, not simply just affecting my own children but also feeling another child I cared for and was close to for a little over 2 years had/has the same disorder that could be overcome with support from various sources.  My children’s father has not been very supportive of therapy efforts for our children over many years (he has been against any form of psychological therapy other than to suggest I seek it out for myself only), though especially within the last almost 3 years, however, he has begun to be less critical of my efforts to have our children continue different forms of therapy.  It also felt like denial and a lack of support in what I felt were potential problems from the father of the other child, though there was nothing I could really do, since it wasn’t my child.  I have never truly felt supported when it came to my own children’s problems, let alone someone else’s child’s problems, and as much as I love the other child that is not mine and tried every thing I could to be there as a loving and supportive parental model for them, the more I did that is suggested to control the disorder, the more chaos and fighting happened that culminated in 2 people (at a minimum, as others were involved, but not on a daily basis) leaving a relationship, a home, my children, and me.  The more I researched this, the “parental figure” that is not the biological mother/father of the child, will usually get the brunt end of the disorder, and unless the biological child’s parent is supportive of the other parental figure, then more chaos and fighting will tend to occur and it tends to be a large factor (if not the largest factor) in many relationships ending.  My children did their fair share of acting out in ways that made it very difficult to co-parent effectively with their biological and non-biological parental figures involved, and I can look back on quite a few things and see that while, at the time, I thought of even a worse scenario than RAD, it definitely fit and explains a lot of the conflict that happened.  Logically knowing all of the information I do up to now makes it a bit easier to put into practice some good general parenting skills, it certainly does not help the feelings I have of being a complete and utter failure as a mother, let alone a woman worthy of a relationship, or coming to grips with some of the very critical remarks about me as a person and parent that I’ve heard over the years (including more than just the last 2 years).

It was heartbreaking to have a child, whom I went to great lengths to show love and affection to as well as make them feel as if they were one of my own even though they were not, no longer in my life, let alone the knowledge of my part in making things worse for everyone involved.  In some ways, though, I know having the father leave me/the relationship and detaching was for the best, especially when it appeared, from my side at least (probable biased/irrational thinking) that led to some resentment, that children could talk about me/others in my family poorly without reproach or confrontation, yet when I reached out to friends for support of the situation that I felt like I was getting totally lost in, I was criticized for “talking shit” and “blaming”. I felt like some sort of double standard that was difficult for me to accept, so I know, logically, that what happened with ending things/the situation as we had known it for a while was for the best of all of us.

I not only saw and admitted to what my own children did, I admitted to times I acted in a way that was more irrational and emotionally reactive instead of the more calm and rational person I have tried to become over the years, and still want to become.  I felt dismissed and I didn’t feel validated, which ended up leading me to act much more emotionally than I wish I would have and know I can control better.  I know I can do better; I want to continue to grow in how to not be as emotional when it comes to handling difficult situations that are triggers to the side of me that deals with stress, so I can become better at being proactive instead of reactive.  It takes practice…something I’ve been determined to consciously be more active in doing each day in some small way or another.

I feel more shame and guilt than I do resentment; my own children appear to have suffered from this disorder, which is guilt inducing in so many ways even though none were officially diagnosed (that I am aware of).  Unfortunately, the shame of being seen as a “bad” parent and avoiding reality made it a difficult thing for me to accept, so I strive to keep working each day on trying to understand the intricacies of some psychological reasons for others’ actions/reactions so it will be easier to forgive and let go of things that ended up invading my dreams and brought me to a psychotic point (not just with parenting and goes as far back as pain I’ve dealt with since a child). I know it’s best for me to accept reality for what it is with my children and continue to learn better parenting skills for their sake, as well as anyone else that enters my life in an intimate relationship of any sort (regardless of it being male or female, platonic or romantic), as I do not wish to make the same mistakes I did before…I never want anyone to suffer the way we all did again…children or adults.

I wish I would have learned about this disorder 3 or more years ago…not only within the last year…as maybe I could have handled things better and not ended up abandoning my own children for so long, let alone another child that really needed a supportive mother figure to not abandon her/shut her out of their life again.

There is so much guilt, heartache, and such a deep sense of loss, on so many levels, and some days, the pain hits out of nowhere, and I feel as if I’ve taken 2 steps forward, then 1 step back.  I know I just need to keep moving forward and learn from all of this…


People I work with, along with close friends, are now commenting daily on my weight loss and are actually getting concerned, though all I can reply back with is that it’s just from stress, though I leave out the “from the abusive life I’ve lived in for so long and am breaking free from each day”.  I just want this torturous part of my life to end.  I mean, I think 30+ years of physical, mental, and emotional abuse, mainly as me on the receiving end, though also being the one to dole it out from time to time, is really taking its toll on me.

This has affected me physically, as I go into an almost anorexic state of eating when I feel the pressures of my emotions encroaching on my brain, and I lose my appetite when I am anxious more so than eat when I should or even when I try.  When there is severe anger that results in bitter and dramatic lashing out and doling out pain purposely, I lose any appetite for, sometimes, days on end.  In the last year I have lost nearly 30 pounds, and I don’t want to lose anymore, though what can I do when I’m finally trying, and succeeding, in shedding of the mountains of effects of abuse that went on for so long, and he finds some way to get into my brain, fucking my head so hard that I almost feel physically disoriented.

Why?  Why does the timing always come on the heels of my happiness?  Does he do it purposely or is it just a very stunted defense mechanism that he finds is most effective?

I had, probably, the absolutely best week and weekend of my life, other than the standard “best” times of my wedding and 2 of the most wonderful children I could have asked for in so many ways, and he just had to try to bring me down to his level with judgements that cut me down so much that, yet again, I was nothing but a worthless slut that simply slept with any man she could and was a spoiled brat that wouldn’t accept what he wanted to give…his love and affection.  I was a quitter and continually just lead him on.

But wait!  He doesn’t want to get a divorce and even before he asked for an outright answer prior to actually accusing me of sleeping with someone recently, he was the one that “made out” with another woman from his own past, which turned into, when speaking about the make out session a 2nd time, getting oral sex from this woman, which then turned into, when speaking about the make out session from a strange first topic that was tied to it, he “made it to 3rd base” with her when I finally asked crudely and bluntly “So, what, you finger fucked her?”.

So, he did all but actually penetrate her, which he said he just couldn’t do because of his feelings to me (being his legal wife), which all happened within a week and a half of finally meeting each other for the first time in so many years, and he has the audacity to make accusations that I had slept with someone else and tell me that I am still continuing to be a cheater?

I fucking hate him some days.  It’s mind fucks like that which drives people to insanity and if they don’t know how to deal with it, end up believing some of the awful insinuations that are thrown out there but never directly confronted.  Then the “perfectionism” comes into play during conversations, making sure to deflect more and your attention is diverted to repeating what you said in some specific way that is more correct than originally stated.

He is a master at this, and after I finally was able to physically put distance between us when I was living with a friend in another city for a few days a week a couple of years ago, I became determined to get myself and our children into a safer and healthier situation, otherwise I feared that they would end up repeating the same cycles for possibly the same amount of time as me, if not more.  My job as a parent is to teach them how to make it in life and survive so they can hopefully thrive.

I didn’t realize that the 12-step support group I began to attend 18 months ago for one reason, would open my life up in ways to see the entire situation of my life with more clarity and a determination from the absolute depths of my soul.  I felt, day by day, that I was more of a warrior in a way, planning on attacking the toxicity that was slowly killing not only her, but the family she created and had always wanted.  I knew it would take time, patience, planning, and trying to grow stronger each day to make it to the end, where her new life would begin, though I had not even come close to thinking it would end up like it has so far.  The most surprising things have been both emotionally and physically draining, as well as emotionally and physically energetic.

I realize that I’m still allowing him to control me in some ways, but I will not let him, as I am not as weak as I once was, and I will continue to get stronger as I can see reality for what it is and I refuse to focus on things that distracted me from the realities before me.  The cliché of how the best revenge is to be happy is definitely one I seem to come back to, as this is how my life seems to have always been – every time I have something good happen, either my mom or my husband was there to pull me down in some way.

One of the most recent moments of just how insidious those soul torturing belittling and condescending words can infuse your entire being happened when I went out with friends to sing karaoke.  Why I didn’t realize it then, but realized it after he verbally beat me down the next day calling something I did inappropriate and attacked the character of someone I care about, who happens to be male and likes me, and all I could see was rage building within me, and the clarity of why I did, or better didn’t do, in trying to sing came to the forefront during my insomnia afterwards.

I get up on stage every so often within the last 4 years and read my poetry, which is a way I show the absolute pain I’ve been through, as well as the hopes and joys that really only occurred within the last 6 or 7 years, and is my soul written out in an artistic form that is open for interpretation, as a way to still keep my soul hidden as only I know what memories those poems invoke for me and I don’t have to speak about them as my poem will speak for me once to cover so much.

If I can open my soul up that way, then why the Hell can’t I get up and sing a song in front of, most likely drunk, people instead of simply belting songs out in my car or in the comfort of my home?

Oh, that’s right.  It’s probably because I’ve been told since I was a child that I was not good at singing whatsoever, even when I was in choirs within our church and during middle school.  I think my husband’s criticism of my singing hurt the worst because he would make sure I knew that, since he sang in an A Capella/barbershop chorus and was in choirs for a longer time than I had, that he knew more than me to be judgmental and critical of my pitch or tone, under the pretense of trying to make sure I didn’t make a fool out of myself and to get better at singing.  I have been told, while trying to lightly sing in the vehicle with him over the years, to just stop singing, as it was too hard to listen to. Oh, there are so many times and ways he told me how horrible I was at singing, and how he didn’t like me trying to sing at all, that I get embarrassed if I sing around anyone other than a few trusted people.

When I would go with him to his practices, I would sit there in awe of him, and I would praise him often outside of the practices as well.  I know my one downfall in this scenario is that I was a 19/20 year old girl on the heels of past family and relationship trauma, and I was a bit too clingy to him being of drinking age and wanting to go out with the group after practices to a bar to socialize a bit.  I tried to make up for it by praising him and requesting that he sing around me more often, though I wasn’t wise enough to know that some ways of requesting are more harmful than helpful, and I think my requests of singing something other than his chorus songs, to sing me something more contemporary, as it would show off his talents in a way I rarely had gotten to see, though I think he felt that I was attacking him, and it may be that I wasn’t as clear in communicating then compared to now (though I am sure I can still learn more ways to communicate clearly and concisely), even though I never meant it other than encouragement.

So, I was at the bar with some friends recently, and I had 2 people who care about me a lot try to get me to pick a song to sing.  Granted, that night, in and of itself, was quite emotional and probably for another entry, which left me feeling just a bit more introverted than extroverted as I was earlier, and I just had this nagging thought that I didn’t want to embarrass the ones I cared about so much, so I just didn’t want to take that risk or put myself out there like that.  I couldn’t let myself give that part of me to be possibly attacked and used against me like it had been for so long before.

I broke down in tears when I came to that conclusion in the shadows of the night that I stared at for so long alone the night after the bar and shortly after my husband’s latest confrontation with me.  It is a hard habit to break those, almost automatic responses and defense mechanisms, to let yourself live authentically to the world, and while I’ve made some strides, I have at least one more first step to make now…

I won’t let him do that to me anymore, because even though we are legally married, I keep being reminded of why I knew, but tried to deny it and work against it for years, that I did not want to be married to HIM and began my journey that has come to where I’m at now.  The journey has a lot of bumps to go over, but I know now that they are not mountains, as I thought they were at one time, and for that, I am grateful and I am looking forward to finally getting up on stage soon and actually sing a song around a crowd, and be glad I finally found the courage to do it and not worry if someone wanted to criticize me or say that I do not sing well at all and should not try again.  I have been around enough nights of karaoke over the years to know how people react to other people singing, and I know I’d rather get some drunk laughs or praise, or sober helpful hints or small signs of support, regardless of how well I did in their opinion.  I know that, in all reality, most people do not treat others they way I allowed the most important people in my life to treat me, and I am finally ready to just do it.

Ironically, what he does not realize is that for all the character attacks he threw at the man who has spent time with me most often lately, it is that man who has touched me quite deeply by treating me with more respect and courtesy than I have received in years.  He, probably unknowingly, is the inspiring me to let myself stop living and looking in the past in more areas in my life than I had already consciously chosen to move forward in prior to actually spending any time with each other past occasional messages within the last few months or the one or two yearly social functions we had attended together years ago.

My friend asked me to pick one of two songs, and while he sang the song I chose, I was delighted to receive an impromptu serenade for part of the song, along with him coaxing me into joining him for a few measures and a kiss before he went on to end the song and left me blushing, to be totally honest.  My great friend that was with us leaned over to me after the exchange and said, “I’ll be the first one to say it, ‘Aww…’ and I mean it in a very good way.”  In those short moments, a memory of that time in history, along with how I physically and emotionally felt then, will forever be seared in my soul.  It is a moment I can hardly describe, let alone the rest of that night, but I know it was such a positive impact that no matter what is said to discredit him, this man has proven that, as an imperfect human, he has more class and puts in more genuine effort than the man that was attacking him, and that’s all that matters to me.  I learned a lot from the mistakes I have made and the struggles of my marriage, let alone struggles of growing up, and the one I think is most important now is to listen to those around me and take heed to what they say…

They remind me of where my passions are and when I am truly happy.  They remind me that they are looking out for me, and if they believe that someone or something may be unhealthy, they will tell me, so I should take their support as genuine and notice the reality of what they say, or even don’t say.

Yeah, I think that karaoke will have to be a “to do” one evening fairly soon…all thanks to you.


I talked to her last night for about an hour and a half, quite peacefully, and intimately as well, which opened my eyes and heart to keep things moving towards peace as far as my efforts were concerned.  She was the one that reminded me that at some point we have to stop being enablers.  I do not think she knows just how ironic that statement is in my life now as I have woken up enough to see my enabling behaviors that I need to keep under control, for many reasons, though most important was for the sake of my soul.

The irony, for me at least, is that as I have begun to put my foot down with enabling in many ways, she gives me ideas of what I can do to stop it while she is enabling in ways I just can no longer do and will only continue to impede on his growth and health if she cannot do what I had the courage to do, so to speak.  She, who could not do what I did while she was married, out of fear and such dependence, is oblivious to the mirror she should be looking at, instead of his or mine.

I love her as if she is true family, and we have had some wonderful times along with some painful ones, so I do not intend to sound as if she is awful, because she is not.  She, though, is definitely one I learn a lot from in some of the most unexpected ways, regardless of whether she intends a lesson or not.  However, that does have its disadvantages, as they may not always be the best things for the type of person I really am, whether positive or negative.

One thing she said that hit me hard last night during that time, other than the statement about stopping the enabling, was the fact I seemed so much more calm and relaxed than I had been frequently within the last, oh, I don’t even know how long anymore, and she didn’t specify a time length either.  She also said how nice it was that we weren’t snapping at each other every single time we spoke.  The final confirmation as to how I should be acting, came when she confessed that, when I picked the kids up from her house her initial statement that it had been a pretty good weekend wasn’t totally the truth, which I had wondered by the way she looked, sounded, and even acted that night when I spoke to her then.

Little does she know just how difficult it can be to not lash out in some way to the comments and interactions that happen, not only between him and I, but between her and I as well, because some of my thoughts can be so sharp and brutal, that I would be seen as, and teeter on being, a truly vengeful woman.  If I give in to the thoughts, I would be giving further validation of what was, and is not, reality, and for the sanity and serenity of my life, that is something I just cannot do. 

The fact that our children have already picked up our habits in a way I would have never wished on anyone, is what helped me realize that I must take a really steep high road throughout the “bad guy” reputation I have to accept as part of placing healthy boundaries, was what took the proverbial cake, in a way, for I knew before I even had children, I would not let them repeat the same misery I had known, whether it is the abusive ways I had lived through as a child, or the abusive ways I lived as an adult. I do carry guilt for not realizing sooner that I already had let them live that life and was grooming them to live it as either the abuser or victim as an adult until it invaded not only my dreams, but even during my most lucid states.

I now have to enable in one way, giving of myself that I may not truly want to, because I know I’m strong enough to stand my ground when it needs to be.  My boundaries are more firm than they have been before, especially once I was able to look at the entire 35 years of my life on a large scale to analyze and find something that made sense.  The pieces started to come to into focus while I was in the hospital with my daughter for those 5 days years ago, and I began truly looking for my soul, because I knew I was feeling the same as I had in my relationship with my mother when I was younger, though I was a capable adult that did not need someone else to survive.  I wanted to know why I felt like I was a child again that was beginning to believe she really was not able to live up to the expectations and questioned her own abilities that were being pushed to the side, even though she didn’t know what she could do differently because everything was so vague.

I felt so scared during the time our daughter was struggling with her health, and emotional waves just over took me to the point of a deep enough hole that I had an overwhelming urge to truly connect with the ones I loved in case someone’s time ended sooner than I would like.  When I reached out for the one that swore, and still swears to this day, that he’d be there for me if I really needed something, he turned me away and made excuses for his rejection, minimizing the reality that I was at an emotional breaking point and needed help of some sort.  I thought I needed my husband, but what I have learned is that I needed a life partner as much as a friend, something I had tried to make what our marriage was based on.  I had assumed his view of a marriage was the same as mine, though as I was reminded many times to never assume, as it makes an ass out of you and me, here I am deciding it is time to stop being an ass, because I am tired of him hiding behind me like that. 

I have taken the brunt for long enough and am determined to put the things I have learned since then into practice, because I will not take blame for doing enabling things that divert the attention from where it is truly needed and help him project things on me.  I was and am tired of being a dartboard for him and simply done with being an easier target to avoid things he does not like within his own mind. In essence, I am done being a victim of a bully that I love unconditionally by trying to control things I couldn’t, which was done because of his inability to handle uncomfortable and painful things.

I refuse to feel like that ever again, and while I feel guilt and shame for not being strong enough sooner, it truly is motivating me more than anything else, because I refuse to let our children live the life and feel the way I allowed and perpetuated any longer, simply because I had guilt for abandoning my own family before and swore to not do it again, and the fear of what might happen if I just did it again.  I cannot and will not, even if I am not perfect, I am striving for progress, not perfection, at keeping myself and my children healthy, including communicating of boundaries and respect…of that, you can take to the grave with me.


“It’s too bad that’s the way you see me sometimes…” in addition to a few other statements I noticed, were a way of reaching out to feel better about himself, as in he was reaching for compliments and to feel wanted.  I believe we all tend to do this passive-aggressive move from time to time, though it felt over the years that, as time went on, my attempts at complimenting him and showing him that he was wanted, felt like they became wasted efforts, as his self-confidence dwindled, while insecurities and pain turned into resentments and grew more frequent.  It was a frustrating thing for me, because even I knew deep down, now that I can reflect, I had my own insecurities that swelled to the surface and took on a form that I didn’t acknowledge or handle in a way that was healthy either, and included manipulation of some severe degrees.  I even manipulated his family in attempts to avoid certain conflicts and feelings of failure in regards to being able to have what I wanted in life.

At some point I became someone I didn’t want to be, and I felt like I was a caged animal, so I intentionally set about the wheels of motion that has led me to be where I am now.  I became selfish in many ways, yet in others, I actually was still loyal, and that is where so much of my pain resides, even now, when something triggers the memory or brings the anger I had been trying to release up to the surface again.  The few honest confessions from him the last few weeks, especially, has left me going from controlled rage of indignation, to holding onto a thread of hope that the man I thought was hidden deep within him would finally be able to shine on the world.

The first one that comes to mind is how he described one of his female friend’s ex, which in summary came down to this, “He was kind of a douche.  He couldn’t hold down a job and she was working to support him by working 2 jobs and finally she just couldn’t take it.”

He did notice my facial expression change a bit after I initially heard him say that someone was kind of a douche, since I am not used to hearing that phrase come from him, and then I heard the “why” the guy was a douche, which was the bit of the woman working 2 jobs, and she kept it up for 2 years, but she just couldn’t take it anymore.  I kept my composure and didn’t really say anything, which was a good thing, because I think things would have taken a turn for the worse if I said what was frantically running through my head upon soaking in what he was telling me.

“If you think he is a douche for that, then what do you think you are?  Do you realize I never once called you anything like that and yet you feel it’s something I need to get over and you avoid the reasons I have now been working 5 years holding down 2 jobs?  Oh, you think you get to give her a ‘you should never have to do that’ and emotionally, let alone physically, comfort her about her situation but continually refuse to truly apologize to me for doing the same thing?”

Bitter?  You bet your ass!  However, I chose to not be passive-aggressive or spiteful even though I wanted to very badly lash out at that moment and pass along the pain he just dealt to me back at him.  It was tough, but I did it, and I even confronted the pain a little bit later, trying to communicate that the statement stung, and tried to simply say that her situation, for that specific scenario, is eerily similar to what I went through and stuck through for 4 years before really standing my ground and becoming what was, and may still be, seen as even more reason to claim I was giving up and not trying.

I am not sure if he really understood that even though I feel pain about our situation and hearing about something similar to someone else, I wasn’t trying to bring up or hold onto the past, per se, but looking there to find the underlying reason of why hearing or discussing the facts brings about so much venom between us.  Looking at my initial reactions and how I tried to calmly discuss it a few minutes later, I was able to see that the reason I was hurt so much was the denial of individual and mutual realities, which has brought about resentments between the both of us.

For me, it was a door that was never closed because the core reason(s) we got into so much financial problems were never addressed so we could try to find a solution to the problem, not just cover it up.  I don’t like confrontation, though I knew even years before, that confronting things did not need to be an all out war, and if the perceptions were open enough, it could be seen as an understanding and finding a solution that was more of peace, than victor or loser.

I tried, I really did, though at a certain point, I stopped trying because I was trying to carry him along on moving forward and he was slowly losing the momentum to move forward, and he drug me back.

Ironically, he did that literally, as well as figuratively, when it came to me trying to help him sleep in bed as his sleep apnea was worsening as he continued to gain weight.  He would get upset with me for tying to wake him from sleeping in the living room on a chair, and it would sometimes take me an hour or more to roust him so he could lay down in bed instead of rocking forward and backward and his head fall back and forth almost in a whiplash like fashion.  I worried so much about his health, that his apnea would wake me up in the middle of the night, which became so frequent that I had to face reality for what it was, and we had no life insurance, one thing we cut back on prior to me getting a 2nd job and, the fact of the matter is, we kept the full load of cable and spent in a way we never should have.

I felt guilty for allowing the life insurance to be dropped, because his health was spiraling out of control, and it was a subject that he didn’t like about himself, which therefore was a land mine field if you dared to even tiptoe near it.  Talk of his weight, not even to ridicule, but to genuinely express concern, was met with disdain and anger.  Talk of his sleep and my manipulative tactics as well as directly confronting it was met with resentment for trying to control him.

I admit, I was trying to control him, though I thought it was what was best at the time, because I was concerned and didn’t want to see him suffer as it seemed like he was.  I manipulated him in many ways, tying every known method I could find, to try to take care of him and keep him from a fate I feared he was nearing every day.  It does not matter what my intentions were, because no matter the intention, it was not right of me to try to control him like that.

Even though I can look at it like that, it still brings me pain to know that he views me so negatively and feels I gave up or did not try hard enough, especially within the time frame he gave me, of at least the last 4 years.  I saw the last 6 years, especially, as trying harder than I ever did before, even though I did have my times of yes, giving up because I needed the break from sheer mental, physical and emotional exhaustion from trying to hold it all together and control things I couldn’t and shouldn’t have controlled.

At some point, yes, I said that if he was not willing to do the one thing I asked him to do to help us find solutions to problems that had been and continue to be the exact same problems wrapped up in different topics at times, but always the same core issues at the heart of it, by going to marriage/couple’s counseling with me to have someone unbiased helping us mediate and learn to communicate the difficult things instead of being so abusive to each other, then there really was no marriage and I wanted a divorce.

My asking and stating what my deal breaker was has never been done by manipulation and stated multiple times before I filed for divorce, even documented and saved electronically.  I tried…yet the fear and guilt of losing the one true thing I always wanted, a real family that stuck together, is what kept me in the habit for so long.  No matter how bad it got and how I didn’t want to be married to my husband any longer, I wanted the family unit together as much as I wanted to breathe, though as I let certain distractions in life to over take me, I began to realize that, in the silence, the reality was that I focused so much on saving my marriage and trying to cling to a family, that I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I was on a path of destroying it in some very unseen ways.

It was then that I knew I needed to change directions and focus on what the reality was, which all seemed to have really come to a head when our daughter was in the hospital for 5 days being evaluated for failure to thrive.  Those 5 days put my whole world on it’s side, and I knew, without any shred of doubt, that it was time for me to do some serious soul searching if I was going to give our children a healthier life than what I had.  I began my journey there, and it is hardly over yet, with even more to be learned as I continue to move forward from the past I let get out of control by trying to avoid it instead of dealing with it in a healthy way.

 

A Bitter Reality

December 13, 2012


First song that sets the backdrop for this part of my life has got to be “Narcissistic Cannibal” by Korn, with the raw and deep emotions in not only the tone of the voice, but in the message it actually conveys within the lyrics. This applies to a few people in my life only and things I keep in my life when I probably shouldn’t let some things just continue to be status quo…

“Don’t wanna be sly and defile you
Desecrate my mind and rely on you
I just wanna break this crown
But it’s hard when I’m so run down…”

I truly am run down from trying to maintain a status that flexes to and fro, with hidden expectations that turned to resentments, between someone who is to never to break a promise yet striving for perfection, and the most vile person that quits when they promised they never would. I want to stop wearing this invisible crown that changes on a dime, and I never know what will be blamed once I started to rely so much on you. My mind has been ravaged in ways that cannot begin to be told, sending it bouncing to extremes from one end of the pole to the other.

“And you’re so cynical, Narcissistic Cannibal!
Got to bring myself back from the dead!…”

I have always been to blame for the problems, and he always wanted to be right, no matter what the actual cost was, and I accepted it for a time, being dragged away from who I was towards what I know was dead…my hopes and dreams of further education and exploration of life, with someone I would be honored to call a life partner, best friend, soul mate, lover, and maybe even husband…while helping them grow in whatever ways they may want.

“Sometimes, I hate, the life, I made
Everything’s wrong every time
Pushing on I can’t escape
Everything that comes my way
Is haunting me taking its sweet time
Holding on I’m lost in a haze
Fighting life to the end of my days…”

I hate that I let my life get this way. I rushed into something because I felt the hurt of an unspoken rejection. I was rescued right when I was close to both making it completely on my own and losing it all because of one wrong move fueled by good intentions. I took words at face value and chose to ignore behaviors that were abusive, and even fell victim to being the attacker, so I own up to making it worse, or at least not actively better. I take steps forward, seeking outside help, for I feel it’s taking so painstakingly long and I have these hurdles that keep popping up that I have to continue conquering to get to where I want to be and letting go of that toxicity because I won’t stop having dreams and goals just because of you.

“Don’t wanna be rude but I have to
Nothing’s good about the hell you put me through
I just need to look around
See that life that has come unbound…”

The Hell you put me through has some happy moments, sometimes as small as pebbles, some a bit larger like a smooth skipping stone, and only a couple large rocks, filed away in my mind, heart, and soul. The effects of adding other stones on top of those, as they were held to the limbo status, because of the fears you carried and I had to hold as well because you chose to deny them, tossing them behind you, not realizing they landed right in front of me in my path of you. I held my stone but dropped in pace behind you slightly. With each denial of the reality I spoke of, I added my own stones inside me so I could focus on moving the stones you kept laying in my path, trying desperately to be what you said I was, yet continually had more stones added in front of me you expected me to work a way around to find you again, so I eventually started tossing a few stones your way as well as I wore further and further down. Once the stones got to be too great for me to bear, I finally saw that for me to lose the burden I was carrying and tossing, I had to toss the stones a different way, whether it was knocking two stones together to break them into smaller and more manageable sizes or acknowledge the size that they are and toss them beside me to mark my path…

And now is where the next song in the backdrop of my life starts chiming in, “Breaking The Habit” by Linkin Park, which I will break down in my next entry, because I know I will break the habit that has taken over in direct as well as insidious ways, and not only survive, but also thrive, even if only emotionally…


I have decided to get back to my spiritual self and try a total of 5 exercises that were suggested, which is to help me identify what nurtures my soul and how to continue to nurture my soul.  The first of the exercises entails listing at least 8 of the most poignant moments in my life, good or bad, as even pain can touch the soul to the core, so while this may take some time, and multiple entries,  I can’t move forward if I do not put one foot in front of the other and take the leap.

1. Michael, whom I called my best friend in Kindergarten, moved to another city in 1st grade, sent a letter to me after he moved, and when our family moved to another state, my mother tried to help me locate him before we left.  Even though I was so young, I felt such a deep connection with him and could honestly say that I loved him.  The letter he wrote to me is still to this day, 27 or so years later, burned into my brain and I can see it in my mind as if it was on paper in front of me.  My experiences with Michael brought me profound happiness, serenity, loss, grief, and even a sense of betrayal when I never heard from him again, even after I replied to his letter to me.

2. My first experience of physical abuse, and each experience of physical and emotional abuse from that point on that spans a total of 27 years or so.  I could not understand it, but I know I felt such humiliation and an overwhelming loss of my sense self that I swore I would never do that to my children.

3. Camping, fishing, and canoeing with my family every summer in California and Wenatchee, WA.  I felt the most serene during these times and felt connected as a family.

4. White water rafting with my mom and brother one summer when I was about 9 or 10.  It was exhilarating, terrifying, and something I will never forget and hope to do again sometime.

5. Picking out a Christmas tree every winter and cutting it down ourselves.  The most memorable of these times was when we picked a tree out when I was about 13 and after we cut it down with a little hack saw because we didn’t have a chain saw, we got it home only to realize that it was too tall to fit into our house.  We cut the top off the tree and ended up with 2 Christmas trees that year.

6. Moving from Sumner, WA to Lewisville, TX when I was 14.  That was a very painful move but it was poignant in the fact I was able to see my mother make a very hard decision on where to be transferred to for her career based on what was best, in her opinion at the time, for her children, more so than where she wanted to go.

7. A family trip to Puerto Vallarta when I was about 11 or 12.  I experienced a whole new culture and thought I saw my mother happy for the first time in a long time, even in the face of my sister being extremely ill after drinking/using the local water when brushing her teeth.

8. The day I met my, now, ex-husband.  I felt empowered enough to suggest doing something I had not normally done with anyone by inviting him to come back to spend time with me after a party I hosted had ended.  It was a sensual night that led to something both deeply emotional and deeply painful while containing some of the most spiritual moments I have ever encountered during sex.  If it were not for meeting my ex-husband and throwing caution to the wind, I question whether I would have had so many soul touching moments as I have had, both good and bad.

9. The planning of my wedding, in addition to my wedding day.  It touched my soul to see my ex-husband take so much care in helping with the planning, including putting together my wedding veil, and even setting up the reception hall for after the ceremony, all while I simply sat on the sidelines on the day of the wedding.  I was touched so deeply with gratitude for everyone that helped with keeping our costs down, from the music DJ that simply asked for a dance with the bride as payment for services, to the co-worker that made a tiered wedding cake at no charge (which has a hugely funny and ironic story that, in and of itself, was a poignant moment), to the wedding party that helped decorate the church and reception hall, to my ex-husband’s uncle that printed our invitations free of charge as a wedding gift to us, to the 3 family members of mine that showed up, and the couple of close friends of mine that were friends prior to meeting my ex-husband.  The planning and day of the wedding left me feeling completely humbled and appreciative of every small thing in life, along with learning how to laugh at even the cake that had icing melting off the cake and a tier fall because we got married on the hottest day of the entire year.  That cake, while it ended up being one of the ugliest things I have ever seen after laughing about how it was just too darn hot for it to be perfect and thanking the cake maker, while trying to reassure her of absolutely no hard feelings or disappointments about the impending disaster cake, was the best tasting cake I have ever had…and I swear I have yet to taste a better tasting wedding cake to this day.

I am sure I will add more to this list, as I have not even discussed the deeply touching moments related to my children and friends of adulthood yet, let alone some of the accomplishments and passions I have, and I cannot wait to continue adding to this list.

Not What It Seems

August 29, 2011


Love and devotion
At times most inanimate
Cold silence filling the voids
Trembling with fear
Avoidance reigns on high
Reeking of desperation
If only to not make waves
Comfortable bliss in denial
Fantasies crumbling
Fairy tales disappear
Reality too painful
Accountability kept at bay
Losing it all slowly
Finding it inched away
Everyone else to blame
Nothing defined or set in stone
Lest a promise actually be broken
Belief in yourself non-existent
Yet praise is the goal most sought
Growing apart daily
Turning away outstretched hands
Sincere in hopes to travel the perilous road
While guiding and helping
Never seems to be good enough
Double standards as the set standard
Refusal to look in the mirror
Or refusal to move from the line
Control the ultimate high
Respecting fear
Instead of commanding respect
Close minded views
Never to contemplate the other
No need for discussion
“Right” the gold among the copper
Self-pity and martyrdom
The tables turn once again
Mountains from mole hills
Brushing dust into a corner
Until mountains are made
Thin ice to skate
Emotionless and logical is professed
But logic is instantly struck down by emotion instead
Afraid of being alone
Others in company swimming in loneliness
Oblivion taking shape
Daggers of buried pain
Rip apart the fabric
Disappointment falling to the Earth
Drama of extremes
Silent films
Yet screaming horrors
Filling most days
Peaceful melodies only in slumber
Deafening noise in wake
Believe what you may
Though tomorrow it may all go away

©Ami May 2011

Emotional Waves

August 8, 2011


I can’t seem to write out my thoughts, which has been the easiest way for me to express my life, and now it makes me wonder just what the Hell is going on with me.

How do I say that I am in pain…feeling such sorrow and loneliness…yet feel hope and love?

How do I say that I am scared…yet feel so confident?

I am so very nervous about being vulnerable, yet I ache for the comfort in knowing that I can be totally and utterly vulnerable.

Maybe my goals and aspirations are too lofty, but carrying the burden of all-too-real responsibilities is taking its toll on me.  I was too lost at one point to even realize I had such dreams, and in those dreams were pieces of me…my heart and soul were scattered there…and while I tried to conform, I gradually lost my passions until it seemed as if I was only a shell of who I once was.  Then again, I’ve grown older since then as well, so some feelings of losing myself may be that I actually became a bit more mature and wiser.  At least that’s the way I chose to think of it during the darkest moments to keep the morose thoughts at bay.

Dark thoughts and feelings, including resentment, replaced a bit of the shreds of my being that were drifting away in the breeze.  I’m amazed and disgusted, looking back on it now, that I was barely much more than just a shell of what could even remotely be considered a human being.  I was hurt enough that my soul seemed to be drawn out of my body excruciatingly slow…a torture I wish on no other.

I was an inanimate object, the easy target of ridicule and shame for a time, then came the insidious rejection without so much as a word.  I felt so completely used and violated.

I often question which one hurts the most – the slaps, punches, chokes, pushes, screams, sarcasm, rage, and belittling remarks, or the avoidance and denial of what brought the psychosis to a head.  I am still ashamed that I gave in to going down the road of playing an abuser and a martyr to match the intensity and, in a sense, passion of the relationship, and only for a small moment in time, just to try to keep the peace, did I give in to the avoidance and denial.

None of it really makes any sense; it doesn’t seem logical or genius.  Some genius may truly be madness, but really, just how far mad does it have to get for it be considered utterly logical and bright?

Why did I venture out and see the world I had been missing?  Why, of all the times in my life, did I let his words push me over the edge?  Why did I find so much around me tempting, all while hearing the often said cliché, over and over, of “the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, until you make the jump and realize it is nothing but the same as the side you left, including the work it takes to keep it going”?

Unfortunately, the people who seem to say that the most are the ones that were discarded and still bitter, or simply believing in the fairy tale that they were so much better than the other person and of some better moral or ethical fabric.  What’s even more sad is the holier-than-thou statement is what ends up leaving battered spouses (whether physically or mentally) staying right where they are and they resign themselves to constant toxicity to pray that they never hear those guilt inducing words.  Oh, there are plenty of other disgusting comments said in reply to ending relationships specifically (especially marriage), and I could spend hours simply dissecting the manipulative tactics and bullying remarks that are most often more damaging than helpful, but that, my friends, is for another time.

I am absolutely not a saint, in fact, far from it, however, I cannot, and will not, take full blame as it was a partnership, no matter how toxic it was in all reality and what I brought as detrimental to the table.

Now my mind shifts to hearing the pain and shame in her voice that left me quietly sobbing.  No matter her downfalls, she does not deserve the troubling times she is facing, and I wish I could take the pain and stress away from her.  She is, after all, only my mother, yet I can’t simply snap my fingers and have it go away for her, no matter how much I wish I could.  Through all the pain we dealt to each other in the turbulence of our relationship, we grew closer and finally learned respect and how to love each other more deeply than I ever thought we could.

From her unrelenting anger and hurt that left me wondering how to even think I could be more than simply the devil incarnate, came me, as a woman, who has a hard time doing many things, but who has always ended up surviving, and in some cases actually thriving.  In hindsight, as I look at her through the eyes of someone walking in some eerily similar footsteps, including motherhood, her actions truly were understandable.  From her constant cries of betrayal and lies, came me, a woman, who tends to trust quite blindly and tends to believe in the possibility of forgiveness and change.  It’s astonishing to me that in the process of trying to be the complete opposite of her, I find so much in common with her.  I see myself purposely trying to find, and ride, that fine line between extremes, as I know in my heart and soul that there is so much of her that is worthy of praise, and so much of her that is worthy of forgiveness, as she did what she did for the sake of survival, not to be someone worth hating.

My true nature is very giving, yet I find myself at times, wondering if I am that way only to receive something in return.  I question my own motives occasionally, after all, most people question whether I am genuine at all in regards to my incentive for doing certain things.

Even though I am not a glorified soul, I am most certainly not a monster, so why do I feel like I am, especially when I actually speak from my heart and soul about my wants and needs?  Why, when I actually stand my ground, am i seen as something hideous and worthy of contempt?  Why, when I was opening myself like a book, were things so hard for others to take that I was left standing alone?

Does any of that really matter anyway?  I really don’t know if it really matters, but having so many unanswered questions haunts me at times…such as now.

Sitting here in almost absolute silence make my thoughts seem so loud, and they keep me from slumber this night.  The words born from these almost psychotic thoughts are racing and non-coherent; partial sentences that probably only make sense to me.

And now, I decide, that another time may be best for finishing these thoughts…