Hey! Thanks for doing this and putting a new question in the queue. It works so much better now!
I'll be here tomorrow for you!
What is going on? Tell me about the pit.
It sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed by your emotions. We have been working on some very heavy duty issues and processing all of that, plus whatever you are working on with your therapist, is going to have you feeling out of sorts. That is very normal. You are trying to bring up some strong emotions from the past, deal with the effects it has on you now and keep on with your daily life. That is a lot.
You need some down time. Some time away from thinking about past abuse, current marriage issues and life in general. Is there a way for you to take a bit of a break? Maybe take a drive or even sit in your room with a good book and some tea? Or even do something to spoil yourself like a massage. That may help you alleve some of the pain you experience and pay some much needed attention to yourself at the same time. Or take a nap. Close your eyes, and sleep.
Allow yourself to cry. Crying is never a bad thing. It is only a symptom of what is going on inside. You are sad. Let it out. And don't forget, you are strong. But being strong does not mean you stop crying and deal. It means that you know what you need and how to express it. It means you reach out when you need help. And it means you find what you need to help yourself feel better. And I know you Rose, you are strong. Remember, this too shall pass.
You're welcome. Sometimes I think a good hug would be better than any words I can come up with. Words seem so inadequate when you are feeling so down. But I am glad it helped.
Whenever you feel like you don't want treatment, that is the best time to do it. That resistance you feel is about all the stuff (great clinical term, eh?) inside of you trying to get out. Facing it is hard, very hard work. So talking tonight to your therapist is not easy. But the progress you make will be amazing. Let me know how it goes!
Oh, I'm sorry. Two hours is a long time. Get some well deserved rest and let me know when you are ready to talk.
I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your son. Abuse is horrible. And to have your son victimized by this woman then have her blame you makes the situation even worse.
It sounds like at this point your son as dealt with what happened in some manner. If he is in a relationship and the relationship does not have any outstanding problems, he may have been able to somehow integrate the effects and dealt with them. But that does not mean he has no long term effects. There may be issues he is not aware of yet, or has hidden so well that no one can tell.
Some of the long term effects of sexual abuse include physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, TMJ syndrome, erection problems and chest pain. Emotional symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, self harming and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and drug and alcohol use. If your son experiences any of these, it may stem from the abuse.
It is never too late have him see a therapist. Since the effects of abuse can be long term and often hidden until adulthood, he would benefit from at least short term therapy. Since this was not an issue that was discussed with him when it occurred, he may have had other effects that he is even unaware of. Therapy can help uncover any long term symptoms and also help him know that if he ever experiences any problems in the future, he can come back for help.
He may also benefit from you and your husband (if he is willing) being involved to get this out in the open and talk about it in therapy. Abuse often causes shame, not only in the children abused but within the family as well. Your son may have been abused by this other boy, but the damage from that abuse affects both families. Talking this out helps take away the shame and lets each person express how they feel. Healing takes place once everyone can be open about it.
Here are some books to help give you more information and guidance:
The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Dan B Allender Ph.D. and Dan B. Allender
Why Me? Help for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse (Even if they are adults now), Fourth Edition by Lynn Daugherty
Hush: Moving From Silence to Healing After Childhood Sexual Abuse by Nicole Braddock Bromley
I am glad you told me about this and I hope what I wrote helped. If I can do more, please let me know. I am sorry you and your son had to go through this. But bringing it up even now can help your whole family find peace and heal from it.
I can understand your feelings of guilt. Every parent has them and they only intensify with a situation such as what happened with your son. But you can only do so much and you did the best you could with what happened. When you look at the entire situation, you were alone in coping with it. It was overwhelming. You were working and trying to care for your children. Any parent could react by many different ways. You love your children and you are there for them. They know that. And that makes all the difference in the world.
And it is never too late to get him help. I think your idea is a good one. Getting him therapy for one problem and letting the treatment team know about your thoughts is good. If they do a thorough assessment though, this issue should come up. I am hoping that they include you in the assessment so you have the opportunity to bring it up then.
Impulsive behavior can be part of ADD, but because of your son's abuse history and his relationship with his father, he may act out because of those things as well. It is a good question to ask at your son's evaluation and see if they can get a good idea of where his acting out comes from. It may take time in therapy though to figure it out for sure.
I am glad you got the book. I hope it helps you. I find it quite useful and I keep a copy nearby. Let me know if it helps you.
I do think there is a time difference, I just wasn't sure of how much. I was thinking 8 hours but you are probably right. It's 4 pm now in Pennsylvania where I am, if that helps!
I am glad you got a chance for some downtime. I hope you have a chance for more up coming.
Have a good night,
I didn't know there was a British summer time. Very interesting. Americans call it Daylight savings, which you might already know. We don't change the clocks back until October. In the spring, it's forward (lose an hour). Fall back, spring ahead. It's strange and no one seems to like it, but we do it anyway.
Well, now we know when to write so we might catch each other on line!
I'm not clear about what she means by depressed adult. Maybe she means you have Dysthymia, which is a depressive disorder that lingers, often for years. It is characterized by hopelessness, loss of energy, self criticism, guilt, trouble making decisions and feeling sad.
Major depression is also a possibility. But I do not think your symptoms are severe enough to be Major Depression.
Given all you have been through and the burden you still carry, you may very well have Dysthymia disorder. You would need an evaluation to be sure, but if you feel you have the symptoms, then you may want to talk to your doctor about it.
Dysthymia is difficult to live with but you can work on it. Part of the burden for you is a combination of self esteem issues, the heavy responsibility of parenting and your marriage. Feeling powerless to control your environment can have a major influence on depression and your ability to get better.
It seems your husband looks to you to parent him. All of his behaviors are about himself and the burden is on you. He does not take care of himself (in the good ways), he does not take care of you, and he does not care for your family. So you are left to be the sole parent in charge of the kids and an adult who gets into trouble on his own. He is not respecting you as a person or as his wife.
You may want to consider Rose that you are angry at him. With the way he manipulates, dumps on you and acts towards you, you may feel a sense of rage, or at least some simmering anger. You may also feel hurt, used and overwhelmed. All of these feelings can cause you to feel depressed.
I think that this is good progress on your part. Looking at how you feel from every angle and working towards feeling better. I don't know how K is working on this with you so I don't want to interfere. But if I may suggest that self esteem work is a good place to start or even just work on in general. Building your self esteem will help you feel better overall and address some of these problems for you.
Happy Saturday to you too! I'll talk with you soon,
I agree, it is hard to make progress while you are with DR. He drags you down and makes it hard to move ahead. But that does not mean you cannot learn about what you are going through and work on things. And when you do get out, you will be better for it.
Hang in there. Hope is not lost. You are strong and getting better.
Get some rest and take care. I will check in tomorrow in case you write.
Going to your cottage will not mean defeat for you. It is taking charge of your situation. It is saying no to DR's behavior. It also means peace, a place of your own to go for sanctuary. But if you feel strongly about it, you could always tell DR to move out. It's worth a shot.
You are not crazy, by any stretch of the imagination. A sign of severe mental illness is when you don't worry about being crazy and you certainly don't ask for help. Most people do not fall into that category, and that includes you.
You are overwhelmed, though. You are doing some very tough work with me and with your therapist. You are also dealing with DR and all the trouble that goes with it. You're fighting a battle inside and outside and that is hard. You need a big break, time to think it all through. That would help you feel less overwhelmed and anxious.
It is hard to say what would be the ultimate drug therapy. I don't mean to make it hard on you by telling you that, it is just not possible to say because each person (as you know being a nurse) has different body chemistry. So one drug that works for one person does not work for another. A class of drug you might want to try is an SSRI, especially the older ones. The have proven to be very effective and they do not have as many side effects. See if your doctor feels they may work for you.
With DR emptying your bank accounts you may want to consider opening your own. That gives you control and lets DR do what he wants with is accounts. Then when he is out of money, he is responsible for it. It also gives you a sense of control and less stress.
You are doing fine, Rose. You may not feel like it, but ups and downs are ok. Feeling down is hard, but you are strong and will get through. Remember, your kids love you. You are a great nurse. You have me and your therapist. We all care about you. Treat yourself nice today and give yourself something to look forward to. It'll help you pull through. And write again if you want. I'll check in tonight.
You're welcome, Rose! That is such a sweet thing to say. I am glad I can be of help, anytime.
Have a good night and I'll talk with you soon,
Don't worry about Sundays. I am more than happy to talk to you then. It also helps me because I can totally focus on you since I'm not working on anything else. Just Rose and Kate time!
It sounds like you have tried a good number of medications. I'm sorry they have not worked well for you. That is not unheard of though. So many people tell me that their medications caused more problems than they helped. Sometimes persistence pays off and you do find a medication that works. Keep trying. Until you run out of medications to try, you still have options.
DR is wrong about your ability to think straight or your overall emotional status. I know you and I have no idea what he is trying to say. It is very common with narcissistic personalities to think everyone else is crazy and they are not. After all, if they were crazy, then they could not be perfect, as they feel they are. The trick here is to tune his opinions out and see them for what they are, one self centered person's opinion. It also helps if you can see that you are more that DR deems you to be. He is only one person and he is biased. It works for him if you do not see yourself as important. That way, you don't challenge him and you don't start seeing him for what he is or the things he does to you. To challenge him would take away his ability to use you for his own benefit.
It would be a great step for you to take the money out of the bank and put it in your account. I'm glad you have thought about it. By doing that, you say no to DR, you build your own self esteem and you create a bit more independence for yourself. The boost to your self confidence alone is worth the effort.
Good for you for not doing DR's sheets as he demanded. He is an adult and he needs to remember that. You work and you care for the kids. That is enough work that you do to say that he needs to do his own sheets. Hang in there and stick to your guns!
I hope I did not come across as implying that you need to take a break from our conversations. You can do that, but only if you feel the need. This is your time, not mine. What I was saying is that you need a big break from all the stress in your life. A time to reflect and let down a little. A vacation or even a weekend away. We did talk about that at the beginning of our time together, but since then you have done so much good work that I thought you might need another break. Just throwing the idea out there in case you do feel the need.
I hope your day is going well,
You are welcome, Rose. It is good to know that what I said helped. I am happy to be here for you. Hearing that you feel better helps me know we are on the right path.
I hope your daughter will change her mind and go with you on your get away. Some mother/daughter time is a wonderful chance for you to bond with her. I wonder if she is feeling torn about her relationship with you and her father. Some children feel responsible about troubles in the family and are upset about who to be loyal to. She may feel that if she leaves her father to be with you on vacation, she is being disloyal to him and it will hurt him. It is no one's fault she feels this way. It is just how some children handle family conflict.
Interesting about DR with your parents. Even with them, your parents, he feels free to monopolize all of the attention. He does not sound like he has much insight, if any, about his own behavior. How did your parents react to his speech about himself?
I have heard about the technique your therapist is using with you. I have not used it recently, but it is very interesting. The results are usually surprising. What K is doing is asking you to use your other hand to access the opposite characteristics of your brain. By doing this, you can access other parts of your personality, ones that you keep reserved since you always express yourself through the other part of your brain when you write. This gives your right side a chance to express your feelings through different filters which may allow for accessing your deeper feelings, or to at least see your emotions from a different level. People who have used this technique in studies reported amazement at what they were able to bring out as a result of writing with the opposite hand.
I am very curious now about how it turns out for you! If you feel comfortable about it and want to share, I'd love to know if you found the exercise useful.
Have a good night, Rose. Sleep well.
Your therapy session sounds like it was quite trying. That is a lot of heavy duty deep feelings in there. It can wear you out easily. And who says therapy is not hard work? I think it's some of the hardest.
The situation with your daughter is tough. DR is trying to impress her like you said. The trick is balancing out what he does and making sure she understands that those were Dad's mistakes and they are not right for her to try. She is trying to make a connection with him that is very normal. Most children feel the need to identify with their parents and when you have a role model like DR, the child will try to find a path to connect, even if it is right through the dysfunction. This is the path Poppy found. You can counteract it by just being there for her and having your own connection to her. A get away with you, Poppy and Sam would be ideal. You could still spend some alone time with her but on her terms, with Sam along.
It's good your parents understand about DR and how he monopolizes. In a way, they protect you from a much worse situation. By censuring what they say, they save you from more conflict with DR and they protect your privacy as an individual. It's nice to know that they care that much.
Have a good night, Rose. Sweet dreams!
Rose, that is beautiful. It is full of meaning and symbolism. It's rich and deep. I can't help but think of all the things you have gone through and how you are sharing your secrets and emerging to show your wings.
Thank you for sharing this with me. I'm going to keep a copy of it.
Get some rest and I'll talk with you soon,
I have to agree with K, the view you have of yourself is incorrect. K and I both see you as a person who is kind, thoughtful, smart, and resourceful. But this is not how you feel about yourself.
Low self esteem, or who you feel you are, is the main question here. What is your view of yourself? Who is Rose? Understanding how you see yourself is an important first step. You cannot confront the false image of yourself if you don't know how you see yourself. Try listing your attributes. What words describe you? Let me know what you come up with. Whatever it is, it is something we can use to work on your self esteem.
You did not get this way by yourself. You are not born feeling bad about yourself or your abilities. You were taught to feel this way. After talking about your childhood recently, I understand where you got these feelings from. But understanding that the messages you got as a child are about your parents and not about you can help you build your self esteem as well.
This is an issue that needs to progress slowly. It's a great time to work on this and I'm glad you mentioned it. It's a pivotal part of your recovery and I think once you work through this, you will find that many issues fall into place.
You're welcome, Rose. I'm glad to know that you feel better. I'm here for you.
Discussing how you think of yourself can wait until you feel up to it. Get some much needed rest and we'll talk when you are ready.
It sounds like you have a very nice weekend planned. I hope you have time to pamper yourself a bit.
It's been hot all over the U.S. for weeks now. Kind of scary. It's usually not this hot. I'm praying for Fall to be early and chilly!
It's interesting what you said about your self esteem compared to DR's. I like that. If your game, let's tackle that insight!
Have a good night and take care,
That sounds like quite a complicated situation with M. Is he aware he is putting you in such a position? He does need to do some work to help you out on this one. M talking to DR may or may not help, depending on how you feel DR would react. But knowing ahead of time is important. A family meeting with your kids may also be a good idea. They need to hear this situation from you first, before anyone else has the chance to set an idea in their minds. It's harder to change an idea once it is there so talking to them first will help them know your version first when the subject comes up. And it gives them a chance to ask questions. It also tells them you are honest and you trust them, both good things when dealing with something like this.
Also, it would be a good idea for M to take a break with you. The less contact, the better. His persistence is only making your situation worse. At this point, he needs to think of you and not his own feelings about this. He may want to think about backing off a while until he settles from his divorce and you have a chance to work through your marriage. It usually turns out bad when someone leaves one relationship and immediately starts another. Most of those relationships do not survive because of all the unresolved feelings from the previous relationships.
I'm glad you are game regarding your self esteem compared to DR's. I found the comparison interesting because I don't perceive DR's self esteem to be high, in a good way that is. It is high in a self centered sort of way, and that is not the definition of good self esteem.
The definition of self esteem is a person's view of themselves. Healthy self esteem is when a person as a mixture of feeling worthy, confident, compassionate, respect for one's self and for others, and involves integrity. It is being ok with putting others before yourself, with the knowledge that you are not a lesser person for it. You feel you are a valuable person without putting yourself on a higher plane than others. You don't need to criticize or belittle to feel good.
Using that description of self esteem, how do you feel about your own self esteem? How about DR's?
I hope DR is ok on his drive home.
My bunch is three kids and a husband. Plenty to handle to be sure! My kids are a little younger than yours, but I still find the experience useful because it helps me to understand a bit more about how it is to handle the stress you have to deal with and how your kids may respond.
I'll be here tonight and tomorrow so whenever you are up to talking again, I'll be here.
It does seem that M is not willing to see that you need those boundaries. I am wondering if he is just so much in love and not seeing this as clearly. But you are dealing with this well (like you need another stressor right now, right?!). Maybe leaving when he comes to see Dave will help? That would be inconvenient, but for a while it might help.
No problem, we can chat tomorrow. I'm very interested in your thoughts! Don't worry about my Sundays. I enjoy our time together.
Good night, Rose. Sweet dreams!
Your lists are fascinating. I can see how you view yourself and the characteristics that are offsetting themselves. For example, you see yourself as fragile, yet you are also resourceful. Being resourceful is not an easy task. You need to come up with creative ideas and actions that fit a complex situation. That speaks of strength, not fragility. So how do you mix the two? How does that work in your thoughts and feelings about yourself? You may not feel that such a strength is worthy of praise from others.
I see that you listed so many positive traits for yourself. You are all those things to be sure. Realizing that they are all true of you is one step and letting yourself feel them is another. How do you feel about picking one trait for a day and "wearing" it all day? Be Rose the creative person for a day, for example. In what ways to do you find yourself expressing your creative side? As you go through the day, notice your creativity. Then praise yourself for it. It is a wonderful trait to have that you express in a unique way that is about you and no one else.
There is nothing wrong with your negative traits. What you need is a balance in your life between positive and negative traits. If a person was all positive traits, then that person would be unbalanced. They would not be real with who they are. The issue here is the importance you give your negative traits. Being a non social person is actually a good trait. If everyone was outgoing, this world would not be an easy place to live. We need different people to make society interesting. And not everyone expresses themselves well verbally. It is what makes good writers, thinkers and other people we need in our lives.
The trick for you, Rose, is to stop magnifying your "negative" traits and start seeing them as good. The gap between your listed traits needs to move closer to each other. For example, instead of seeing yourself as uninteresting, see yourself as interesting to some and not to others. No one can be interesting to everyone. There are always going to be people drawn to you and others who are not. It is the same for all people. The quality of those relationships are key as well. If someone who is outgoing attracts a lot of attention, how much quality is in that attention? Some people are just attracted by the noise the person makes. Some just want to be where the action is. Others are truly interested in the person. But if someone is attracted to a quiet person, then they are there to find out more about that person. They look deeper beyond the quiet for a person of value. That weeds out the people there for false reasons and brings people of quality.
What do you feel so far about this?
I am interested as well in your listing for Dave. But because I want to focus on you first, I hope it's ok if we leave Dave for next time.
I am sorry to hear about Poppy. My daughters have experienced similar troubles with my youngest just going through it herself. I think the teen years seem the hardest with girls cycles. The hormones and the ups and downs take a toll and make it all the more difficult. I hope she feels better soon.
Let me know what happens with M. That is quite a situation and not an easy one to cope with.
Rose,You have good insight into yourself. I can see how you would feel your traits are girly because of what you were taught about yourself. But when I read about them, I thought of you as strong and independent. Those are the traits of a warrior, someone who has been through a lot and survived. But you know, it would not be bad if you decided to rebel a bit against some of those traits. Shake things up a bit. Try not being responsible for one day. Or try not being there for everyone. You have kids so some things you will need to do for them. And they need to understand what you are doing is not about them but for yourself. But otherwise, be irresponsible Rose for a day. Do the unexpected and let loose.
Now that may be confusing from what I suggested before. But focusing on seeing yourself from a different point of view is good, whatever that view may be. However you approach that, by trying on a trait for a day or rebeling for a day, it changes your perspective. You don't have to see these traits as permanent. Sometimes Rose wants to be reliable and sometimes she wants to be silly and forget her schedule. Putting yourself first when you need to and being in touch with yourself is part of good self esteem.
I'm glad to hear Poppy is feeling better. I bet it's very reassuring to her to have a mom who is a nurse!
I'll be checking in later tonight. Until I talk with you again, take care.
I understand. It sounds like the last post meant something to you. You feel very overwhelmed. Suggesting that you not be responsible for a period of time made you feel upset. I can see why. Dave dumps on you and you feel........what about it? I can see you are feel strongly about it and I'm wondering what words you would use to describe your feelings.
We will work this out, Rose. I know you are going through a tough time. Let me know when you feel up to talking. I can wait.
You're welcome. Anytime that I can be there for you.
It is good to hear you be angry. It is good to hear you stand up and say no. This is healthy and it is right. Dave is using you and putting his feelings on you, imposing on you. He is not helping and he is not supportive. You have a right to feel upset and overwhelmed because of his actions.
But you are not trapped. You are starting to flex your muscles and therefore your options. Not doing up his bed, not informing him of appointments or any other "duties" you accepted in the past is good. You are changing and it's a positive change.
Saying no needs to happen more in your life. This is where the overwhelmed, trapped and unappreciated Rose comes in. You are accepting those feelings because that is how you got attention in the past. You were the good girl. If I do this for you, you will like me and care about me. It's a coping mechanism. A good one to get you through childhood but it's not working for you now. It doesn't work with Dave, for sure. He is not providing you with what you need.
Good for you, Rose. I'm so happy for you. This is a good sign and a very good step up to getting what you want out of your life.
Have a good night and be good to yourself. I'll talk with you when you feel ready.
I feel a great need to see you face to face right now. I can feel your anguish, your pain and your exhaustion and I want to comfort you and talk to you. You have suffered a great deal at the hands of Dave, who thinks of himself only and leaves you to care for him as if he is a grown child, always just out of your control. I am so sorry about what happened to Sam. You care very deeply for your son and your daughter, I can tell. And to have to do what Dave should have been doing had to be heart wrenching. It is unsettling that Dave did not show any guilt or regret and did not sit with you and Sam through Sam's recovery. To leave your child like that when he has been hurt so badly is amazingly self centered.
You have been a single parent the entire time you have had children. In addition to caring for your kids, you have had to deal with Dave's behavior which is out of control. He is needy of you, invasive and leaves you to worry about his self destructive behavior. You have enormous stress on you. No wonder you feel the need to escape.
Being angry is a good emotional response to this situation. Your description of Dave's attributes a few posts ago is very parallel with his actions. He is all of those things. But most of all, he is hurtful to you.
Dave has choices. He could be responsible. He could sit with the children and help them with their homework. He could be reliable to you. He could care for himself because it is important to you and the kids. He should be there to help you. He should be a good provider. All of those things are expected from a husband and father. You have a right to expect them. You have a right to boundaries. You have a right to have a good marriage with a partner who you can love and respect.
You could have gone on more about how you felt in your last post. There is so much you have lived with and kept inside that it pours out when you have a chance to tell it. That means you have been through too much, a trauma if you will. Abuse is always a trauma. You may have PTSD from your marriage. You have mentioned that before. No one deserves this kind of treatment.
Let's try something----
If you could do anything without consequences, how would you live? What would you do about your marriage, Dave and all the other troubles this has brought you?
What do you think?
Take your time. When you are ready to talk again, I'll be here.
Thank you for telling me about your experiences with Dave. That was good information. It does fill in the blanks and helps me understand your situation better.
I am sorry you are feeling bad. I think it has to do with the work you are doing with me and with K. This is painful and difficult to deal with. It brings up so many feelings that you have worked on repressing for a long time now. You had to repress them, otherwise they would be too hard to handle. But now you are pushing to recover. The cutting is a release, a way to let out some of the stress you have no other place for. I am sure you are familiar with the why but I think it ties in a lot with your efforts to push through this pain and recover. You are facing the abuse of your marriage, your painful and lonely childhood and the overwhelming reality of your present situation. That is no easy task but you are willing to push your way through. You have enough strength to want to get better, when it would be easier to hide and keep going the way it is. No stress, no having to face the pain.
What works for you when you feel like you are going to cut yourself? What kind of talk goes on in your mind? How do you feel? I would like to help you if it's ok with you. I know you probably work with K on this so if you don't need more input, I am ok with it.
I hope your session goes well with K. Take care and I hope you get a chance to have some down time tonight.
I'm sorry about that. I know the question bounces to the queue when you respond. But only the experts see it. They ignore it when it has my name in front of it.
If you feel more comfortable, you can contact the moderators to see how you can make your posts private. It will not show up on the queue but come to my email instead. Let me know if you want to do it this way so I can be sure to catch your posts.
Then I feel honored that you are willing to share with me about your cutting. I understand your feeling embarrassed and that this is a big risk for you. And I respect that. As always, whatever pace you want to take with this is fine.
No down time sucks. Sorry, that is not very therapeutic, but I do understand that very well!
I hope you have a good nights sleep. Take care, Rose.
That was quite a conversation you had with M. It seemed to me to make some things clearer yet some things more difficult. You both seemed to agree that staying away from each other was a good idea but in deciding that, you feel somewhat responsible for M's feelings about this whole thing. There is a lot of emotion in your relationship and a lot of unresolved feelings.
It seems that M is willing to respect your feelings but can't help putting out some of his own onto you, a slight manipulation if you will. It's probably has more to do with his highly emotional state right now and the belief that a relationship between the two of you will make his sorrow go away, than him just trying to control you. He keeps trying to connect with you and is presenting ideas such as going away together as a way to try to further your relationship.You are the one who is keeping the relationship in the neutral area until M sorts his marriage out and you find your way to what you want to do with your marriage. This is not an easy situation and I have to say you handle it better than most people would. It would be quite tempting to leave your marriage and Dave behind and find happiness with M. But I think your insight lets you see that it would not all be a fairytale ending. You are facing your problems instead and dealing with reality. It's a very healthy way to deal with this.
But the other side that concerns me is whether or not you feel worthy of M's attention. You mentioned not being sure you have any feelings for M anymore. That makes a lot of sense. But I wanted to take a peek beneath the surface just a bit. Do you feel that someone like M, who is healthier emotionally than Dave is from what I can tell, could love you and that you could be in a happy relationship instead? It does not necessarily have to be with M, either. With anyone is ok. We talked about your ideal relationship before and I wonder if you feel it could ever come to be? What do you feel about this?
The another side of this is whether or not you feel put upon because you are being the rational, responsible one in your relationship with M. It is a role you need to play often, especially with Dave. It seems to fall to you in your relationships to control your feelings and be responsible. How do you feel about that?
You mentioned that you and K have talked about when to mention this relationship with M to him. How do you feel about waiting? What do you feel would be a good time? Have you thought about what you might say? We talked about this before, but it's been a bit of time so you may have changed your mind some about it, especially since you have talked to M since then.
I am sorry to hear that M may be ending his partnership with Dave. That is a big change, especially for you. You have not been able to depend on Dave to bring in a steady income for the family so the burden has been on you. I can understand your concern. This is another stressor on your marriage and on you. What are your expectations of Dave once he learns of what M is planning to do?
I hope your work day is going fast. The 12 pm shift is hard, it seems like it goes on forever and it breaks up your day a lot. Do you have a day off tomorrow?
I will check back in throughout the day and evening so if you write I will be here.
Talk to you soon, Rose.
No, you are not. You are being responsible enough and what you did was a good balance. You took care of Poppy (your first priority) and made sure she knew what to do. She is old enough to take care of that much herself. Dave, on the other hand, is not helping. Though it is good he fed Poppy, he should at least respect your directions enough to follow them. You run the house and you deserve that respect. The fact that you made bread on a day you had to work and deal with other responsibilities is more than good enough. Dave needs to respect what you did.
He is also not caring for you. He wants love and attention from you and wants to know your business. But he does not show respect or love to you in return. Noticing that you could use a night off from making dinner or that he could even make it himself would show that he cares. You are seeing this situation correctly.
I just got your second post. You are taking this all in and making it about you. It is not about you. It is about Dave and his behavior. Being angry and feeling sick inside is probably because being treated like this reminds you of how you were treated as a child. It confirms, to you, that you are not worthy. That is an old message. And it is not true. That message is about your mother and about Dave. People who are damaged emotionally usually have trouble facing their own demons so they put it out on those they feel will accept it. You are open to that now. But that is changing. You are working on blocking that message by building your self esteem. The more you work on yourself, the better you are able to put those feelings back on Dave and make it about him, where it belongs.
Is there a way for you to express how you feel right now? Can you write, yell and scream in a pillow or go somewhere?
How do you feel about telling Dave what you think of his behavior?
I understand, Rose. I imagine you feel that expressing your feelings to Dave is like talking to a brick wall. But telling him about how you feel is not so much about changing him or even getting a response out of him. It is for you. It lets you express your feelings to the appropriate person. This is so you don't take in his abuse, you let it out by telling him how you feel. It helps you from keeping it in and hurting yourself, gives you practice with putting your feelings where they should be and serves to tell Dave you are not happy with how he acts. He may not show he cares, but if you ever decide to leave, he cannot say he is surprised.
Don't give up, Rose. It feels like a mountain you have to climb, but really you are already half there. You are reaching out, sharing your feelings, and thinking through all your emotions. You are gaining insight and you see things you did not see before. You are growing and that butterfly will come out. She is preparing.
I hope you can get some sleep. You mentioned using medicine to help you. I wondered if you ever tried Melotonin? I'm sure as a nurse you know what it is, but I didn't know if you tried it. My sister is a nurse and she swears by it.
Take care Rose. As always, I'll check in as often as possible so if you need to talk, I can respond quickly.
Yes, you may be wasting your breath, on him. But not for yourself. What you want to say is good. Tell him those things. Don't look for a positive reaction because you may not get one. But by telling him that you are not going to be handing him everything and you are too busy to cater to him, you let him know that you are not going to take his behavior. He may very well continue as he has, but somewhere inside of him he may start to get an idea that you are fed up and are going to change things. And this is about change, for you. Changing how you react to him forces him to change in some ways. If he ignores you, it won't work for him. Just like you did with changing his sheets. He eventually did it on his own. It may take 100 tries, but he may begin to understand. And standing your ground gives you self esteem, takes back some power for you and improves your outlook.
Good stuff, Rose!
I enjoy your posts! Do not hold back or apologize for what you need to express. All of it has meaning and it is important. Plus it helps me understand more fully what you feel.
I am glad you have a day off today. K is right, rest time is good. You know what they say about all work and no play. There needs to be a balance and you have had too much work lately, emotionally and physically.
Helping you last night was the least I could do. I thought it was good that we could be together on line and respond to each other quickly. I was thinking of you last night after our conversation and hoping you did get some good sleep. Sometimes that takes the edge off a bad time.
It sounds like your situation is M is a bit clearer. You have uncovered that you suppressed feelings for him. And you know you suppressed your feelings in favor of a more responsible approach. That was the best way to handle it. You had to consider his wife and kids (especially since he was not considering them) and you have your own family to protect. It was the right thing to do and a "good" responsible action to take. But knowing those feelings for M are there helps you know that you could be with him when everything clears up.
Feeling worthy of M's attention and love is about your self esteem. If you don't feel worthy of anyone's love, then you will not be able to accept it. You'll move away from any relationship that makes you feel appreciated or loved and accept those that make you feel what you expect to feel, down about yourself (like your marriage to Dave). It is not that M's love is special and one person is more worthy of it than another, it is whether or not you feel you can accept it. Putting your expectations on M as the only other person who could love you says that you feel you are not worthy. But you are worthy of anyone loving you. You may even want to switch that around and say whoever you want to be with needs to be worthy of your love. Right now, Dave is not acting in a way that makes him worthy to be with you. That is not a devaluing of him as a person, but rather his actions towards you and the kids. He is not acting in a worthy way towards you.
The feelings that you feel about leaving Dave are normal. It is hard to think about moving on when you have invested so much into the relationship. Even though it turned out badly, you still at one point in your relationship loved each other and you have kids together. Any loss is going to hurt. And it is a big change from what you are used to. You know Dave, his patterns, what to expect from him and what your relationship is about. Changing all that is scary. But you are right, the situation with M and Dave's business together will probably shed a new light on the issue. If Dave is unable to handle his responsibilities, then the stress of this problem may be the final break.
Your son seems quite supportive of you. He sees the writing on the wall and knows. Poppy also sees what is happening but may not approach it as Sam does so it could be harder for her. But sometimes kids surprise you. It is not uncommon for a child to feel the tension in the home between the parents and be relieved when a separation occurs. It brings a sense of peace to their lives.
I hope the sleep over goes well. It may be that T's threats have to do with trying to let her unhappiness show rather than causing trouble. She probably does not want to do anything that would further the chances that you and M would be together. Blurting out what she knows to Dave would certainly up the chances he may leave and give you and M the chance to be together.
Ending the marriage when you feel ready is key. You will know when you cannot take anymore and it's time. You are already saying in so many words that you are preparing. As long as you feel you have your business in order and you feel ready with the kids and where they are with it, then you will know the time.
Taking time today is a good way to sort out your feelings. You need time to think and to decide how you want to work things out.
I hope your day goes well. You deserve a day off!
I am so happy to give that support. It is a privilege to be there for you.
I am so sorry about your experience with Dave. Wow, that is very cold hearted response he gave to you. Then he attacks Poppy and tries to control the camp out. It definitely fits the narcissistic personality disorder we talked about before. From what you experienced today, I do not think getting through to Dave is going to be easy at all. It sounds like Dave has perfected his narcissistic response to cut you out completely. Whether he was angry about something (could he suspect the situation between you and M?) or he has decided this is how he wants to respond to your needs, this is not a good sign. The key to a marriage that works is that both people are willing to work towards a good relationship. Dave is not only refusing to work on your marriage, he is refusing to acknowledge you at all.
My main concern, however, is how you feel about what Dave did. His behavior fits your feelings (or some of your feelings) about yourself. How are you feeling about this?
It sounds like Poppy feels her father's outbursts very deeply. She will take Dave drunk because he is emotionally available and less threatening when he is drinking and she craves that connection. This is another burden for you (and for Poppy) to carry as a result of Dave's behavior issues. You must be there to comfort and to fix when he is acting out. And his actions are based on his need to be the center of attention and interfere to make things go his way. So his behavior takes over and makes everyone's life harder.
Your son sounds like a wonderful young man! It is so sweet that he missed you while he was gone. You must feel good having him home safely with you again.
You are very worthy of a good relationship. And you are more than worthy of love. And you will get to the point of believing that. I think you are well on your way. Maybe M is around in your life to show you that there are other options, more than what you have now. Not just for an affair, but that there are others out there that see you differently that Dave does. M shows you that the possibility of a healthy relationship is there. It may not be with him, but it is there.
Have a good night, Rose. I hope that you are getting some needed space tonight. I'll talk with you soon,
Hi, Rose! What's going on?
Thank you! You are so kind. That is beautiful and made me smile.
I hope your day is going well too.
Please do not worry about repeating what Dave said. I am not offended in the least. I am glad you told me. This was an important part of your interaction with Dave. It shows some of the problems going on with his reasoning and his logic. His reasoning was not about hating Yankees, it was about being jealous of your relationship with K. He is angry that your attention is on something besides him. He wants to "talk" with you because it is his way of controlling you and the relationship. He does not want you sharing yourself with anyone else, for when you do this, he loses control of you. What he did fits very well with his issues with emotional abuse. Emotional abusers are jealous of their partners doing anything that does not have to do with them or that is sanctioned by them.
In your interaction with Dave, did you see what happened? You, Sam and Poppy all reacted to Dave. Poppy gives up early and removes herself from the situation. She does not want to take in what is going on (covering her ears). Her reaction is to avoid or to feel hurt. You and Sam both try to reason with Dave. You allow him time to talk, even though you both know what he is saying makes no sense. When you try to express you own opinions, he shuts you down and accuses you of starting an argument. He turns it on you instead of seeing himself as the problem. He does not have insight nor is he interested in changing.
His confrontation with you out in the field is another example of him pushing his agenda on you. He does not want to hear that you missed him helping you with this task before, he wants to insist that he knows the right way now to handle this problem now, even though he has not be involved before now. He is coming in late to the game, ignoring your experience and telling you how to do a job you have been doing all along. That tells you that Dave feels his way is superior, even if it is not. And it says that he does not respect your experience.
Dave is not going to see any issue with his behavior. He does not see it as a problem. Part of the difficulty is that he lacks insight. The other is that he sees other people as lower that he is. He fancies himself as "knowing it all" very typical of someone who is narcissistic. They must know it all so they can feel superior and demean others. For to admit they don't know everything would mean they are flawed. They would lose control and feel bad about themselves.
Next time Dave goes off or tries to draw you and the kids into a lesson, try ignoring him (only if you feel that would not put you in any kind of danger). Leave the room if you need to. Don't try to reason with him or otherwise interact with him. If he wants to help you with the nettles or something similar, let him have at it. You can always repair the damage later if there is any. By refusing to argue with him and ignoring him, you develop some control of your own. You say that you are not going to allow him to put you lower than he is. You take away his self importance. This may shake things up a bit, but it is important that you begin to take a stand and gain some control. Some of the things you feel like depression, low self worth, anorexia and cutting are all tied into your perception of not having any control over your life. By ignoring Dave, you start exercising your control muscles. You can start to gain strength and begin to develop a better sense of yourself.
What do you think?
That is a huge shift and lots of changes for you to deal with. I am sorry things are heading this way. Even though you would be better off without the stress of Dave's issues, it is still a loss- of hopes, dreams and all you wanted out of your relationship.
It sounds like you are in a good place with the kids. They look to you for stability, which you give them in a healthy way. They seem to understand well what is happening.
Even though I cannot be there to comfort you face to face, I send you a hug across the miles. You are doing so well, Rose. I am quite impressed.
A good night's sleep will help. Talk to you soon,
You're welcome Rose!
That is one long session with K. I'll bet you are beat. I am used to only one hour sessions and those can sometimes be rough for the person I'm seeing!
I am concerned what K might be worried about with you. I hope you are doing ok. If I can help in any way please let me know.
Good night, Rose. Talk with you tomorrow.
I can clearly see why K is concerned. Dave's behavior is quite frightening. It is good that she went over a safety plan with you. You do need back up plans in case Dave acts out violently. I hope you will continue to work on it so you and the kids can be safe.
I understand what you are saying about not feeling afraid of being hurt. That is the nature of being abused, as a child and now as an adult. You were taught from an early age that you deserve to be hurt. You accepted this because it is how you survived and how you attempted to get approval, and possibly the chance of love and affection, from your parents. It is possibly Stockholm syndrome as you mentioned when we first began to talk. Or it is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Either way, you know no other way. If you had been raised with all you deserved, love, attention, hugs and affection this behavior from Dave would raise serious red flags for you and you would high tail it out of there.
The trick here is to not give in to the desire to be hurt. It is realizing that you are worthy of more. Worthy of love. It is a false belief that hurting yourself or not being afraid of Dave hurting you is a good thing. Being scared of Dave reminds you of the times you were afraid as a child. That can be oddly comforting to an adult abused as a child. It is what you understand. That is why you see so many abused children grow up to accept being abused in relationships, work situations and society as a whole. They expose themselves in hopes that they can gain comfort from someone treating them as they feel they deserve.
It may not be comfortable to you, but keep pushing the envelope. If you are unable to think of yourself as deserving, think of your children. They are witnessing this behavior from Dave. Throwing a plate into the sink causes a startled response to those witnessing it. This causes a deep seated feeling of anxiety because of the unpredictable nature of Dave's behavior. So your children may grow up and become easily startled, possibly anxiety ridden. Traumatized as well. Your children are learning that their father can act any way he wishes. Poppy may feel since she is used to seeing this it is ok to marry a man like her father. It becomes what she is used to. Sam may not react that way, but he could. The potential is there. So thinking of them when you work on leaving may help give you the motivation you need.
I know this is hard. It is a battle, everyday. You work hard, take a step and then it's two steps back. But you have made extraordinary progress, Rose. From when we met until now, just a few months. You have great strength and I have no doubt you will succeed in starting a new life that is free and healthy.
I understand your message. I am not permitted but if I can work it, I will.
I hear about the UK riots. Very upsetting. I am hoping they can get it all under control soon. I hope you don't live too close by what is happening.
Have a good night, Rose. Take care and be safe.
You are very welcome! I am pleased that I could help. It is so hard to see while you are in it. But your insight is so good that you make this easy!
I am sorry about Poppy. She is coping by denying what her father is doing because it is probably the only way she can handle his issues. Keep talking with her, even if it is just for a little bit. Every time you talk to her, it may chip at the defenses she has up until she finally can see.
Most people feel nervous at the doctor's. I know you said that your doctor can be difficult in her understanding at times. That makes it harder. But you are doing so well and you've come so far since the last time you saw her. Keep in mind that you are strong and you have overcome so much. Don't discount that progress. I think it will go well if you keep that in mind. Let me know if you get time how it went.
I may be in and out during the next few days so please bear with me. I am out of town unexpectedly. I want you to feel you can write anytime. I will be checking my email to be sure I don't miss you. I just can't answer as quickly as I'd like to because I will be doing a lot of running around.
Take care, Rose. I will be thinking of you.
It sounds like your visit went well. I am glad for you. I bet you are happy it is over! Hopefully, they will offer to refer you to a pain clinic. Constant pain can affect your overall well being, as you know, and doctors need to do a better job at paying attention to that.
It's good you have a day with Poppy tomorrow! I hope you both have lots of fun and that good things come out of your talk with her.
Everything is fine with the trip. It was an unexpected family situation but not a bad one, thank goodness!
Yes, I just got back about an hour ago. Whew, I'm glad to be back. It was a long trip.
I will be hunkering down here for the rest of the day so if you want to write, I'll be checking in like usual.
I hope you are doing well. How did your day go with Poppy?
I missed you as well! I'm glad to be back and be available to talk again.
It sounds like Sam is doing his fair share of traveling. Wow, he has been out and about a lot this summer. It's good to see new things but it is also good to be around the familiar at home too.
Your room sounds lovely. The way you describe it, it sound cozy and welcoming. It is good to have your own space that you can feel safe in and call your own. Everyone needs that.
I referred the question you mentioned to a colleague of mine who knows more about such things than I do. He is very good. He also works here on Just Answer so if you want to contact him directly, I will give you his information. I hope his answer helps you.
I am concerned that Dave is feeling the need to tell you that you need this type of treatment. Why does he feel you need to see this person?
It really sounds like Dave is ignoring his responsibilities and forcing you to deal with his clients. It is amazing that he feels that it is alright to allow you to take the brunt of the client's anger for him. That is in essence leaving you open for criticism that he should be dealing with. How do you feel about what happened?
How would you feel about allowing him to answer the phone when a client calls and ignoring the calls altogether? Or maybe getting him a separate line for his business? There is nothing wrong with you protecting yourself from this happening again.
We can work on whatever you feel is on your mind right now. We are not forced to work on anything in particular. It is whatever you feel works for you. If you would like to work on the cutting, that sounds good to me. How have you been doing with it?
I am looking forward to reading your poem!
I do have a lot of animals here. A couple of dogs, fish and hamsters. I used to have a cat, but she died last year at age 20.
I hope all is well where you live with the riots. There is some information we are getting here about it but mostly the government and economy problems take over most of the news!
Take care Rose. I hope you are having a good night tonight and are able to have some peace.
You sound like you are gaining strength. I can tell in your words and how you are expressing your feelings. It is so good to see.
You have a good grasp of the boundaries and how Dave crosses them in your relationship. It is very clear from what you said that he crosses many of them and either doesn't care or doesn't notice (maybe both). He allows you to be the head of the family, the protector if you will, while he is the trouble maker. Except you do not have control over him as you would a troublesome child. He is an adult and he is making adult sized problems for you.
I think it's great you choose to ignore his phone calls and messages from his business. Maybe turning the volume down when you notice it's a client so you don't have to hear what is being said. But there is no real way to deal with seeing his customers in public. I think though that people know you are different and they understand that one spouse can be one way and the other be different. It is just sad that you have to deal with Dave's irresponsibility rather than having the opportunity to be proud of him and feel secure in his ability to do his part in the family. I can feel the burden you express in your words. It is a heavy one.
The difference between Mark and Dave seems quite glaring. It is good Mark is in your life so you do have the chance to see the difference between them. Not that you wouldn't already know that without Mark, but to see it up close gives you that extra insight into what you have to deal with with Dave.
Dave would have to be very into himself to not notice that you see doctors and other professionals. It is very interesting that the only people he does notice in your life are the very ones that threaten him. Talking to therapists may help you see that Dave is what he is and that you are not happy. It also helps you recover, which Dave is very threatened by. Without you, he would need to face his own demons. He would need to be responsible as well. A very scary thought indeed for him.
From what I remember, we have covered a lot of ground! I need to go back myself and take a look at all we talked about. You are really emerging and you have come a long way. It is something you should be proud of. You've done a lot of hard work.
It sounds like you have quite a lot of animals! We also got one of our dogs at the Humane Society. I think they have great dogs. Mixed breeds have the best of all the dogs that make them, in my limited experience anyway!
If I may ask, what is a budgie? I am assuming from what you said, they are birds but I can't help but be curious!
I'm glad to hear that Sam is home safely. Food is such an important part of a good trip that it is disappointing when it is bad.
Here in the U.S. we have the same issue with anything that makes the news. It is slice and diced and put under a microscope. But that is politics and news. I understand your frustration with it.
I hope you have a good night and Dave leaves you alone. I'll be checking in for the next few hours in case you want to talk.
It sounds like you had a very nice day with Poppy. I agree with you about not bringing up the divorce idea directly. Poppy is smart and she gets it. Like we talked about before, she is probably using a bit of denial to cope. Nothing wrong with that. Easing her into it is a great option. It helps her not get too defensive and shut out the idea all together.
I can see your strength in how and what you write. You are starting to express dissatisfaction with your marriage and you are pointing out the gaps in your relationship. You do not defend Dave, but instead face his difficulties without hiding them. You are also facing the shame and regret Dave has put on you. You acknowledge it and you cope with it. It is not pleasant and most people would try to push it away. You do react to it (some of the cutting is an example) but you still face it. You are truly brave.
That is a heart wrenching incident with Dave causing that accident. I, too, find it amazing that he has not learned from it. Even after you left him to cope with it himself (good for you!) he did not see that as a problem. That is incredible denial or narcissism, maybe both.
Your feelings about this incident are definitely appropriate. It is good that you allow him to have natural consequences to his behavior. You could also, if you choose, contact the police each time you are aware that he is driving drunk. That way, you don't need to feel responsible for his actions. And you know that you have acted responsibly in return, maybe saving someone's life in the process.
Get some rest tonight and I will talk to you when you feel ready. I'll be thinking of you.
I am sorry for all that you have gone through with Dave and his alcoholism and subsequent behavior. It is a difficult situation to handle. By default you become the responsible person and take on all of the tasks and jobs associated with being a single parent. You are, at this point, acting alone in your family, taking care of the kids, finances and household responsibilities. You just have the addition of Dave causing you heartache and problems.
I can understand your guilt when you tried to tell Dave last year after the village show that you wanted to leave the marriage. It is hard to be the one to say it is over, even if you have plenty of reasons to do so. And alcoholics and other abusers are very good at manipulating the situation to make it seem you are being the unfair person and hurting them terribly. They twist it around and block out what they did to cause the problems in the first place, or they do not fully recognize the damage their behavior does. It can make you not only feel guilty, but you end up placing the other person's needs over yours. Your goal becomes making them feel better when they are the ones making you feel worse. It is also placing the relationship before your own needs, which is very easy to do in situations like yours.
Given your childhood, the marriage fits what you believe about yourself. But that is far from the truth of who you are. The truth is you are beyond being treated the way Dave treats you. You have rights which includes being treated with respect. You may not believe that right now and that may be why you cope the best you can with Dave's behavior.
I thought we could take a closer look at your marriage and see what you think. Here are some of the things to look at in your relationship:
Is this relationship more important to me than I am to myself?- are you putting the need to keep the marriage together in front of your own happiness? Would you be happier without the marriage or are you happier together?
What is the cost of staying in the marriage?- what do you give up to stay in the relationship? Make a list of things you feel you give to the relationship to keep it going.
Is the relationship an equal partnership or are you the only one contributing?- are you by yourself in this marriage or is Dave contributing in any way?
Building your self esteem, as we talked about before, will help you see some of these things clearer. If you can, keep trying to affirm something good about yourself every day. If you want help, K and/or I can provide some ideas or input to get you started. It may seem silly at first, but doing an affirmation every day helps you begin to believe you are worthwhile. And it helps counteract the messages you got as a child from your parents that you are not worthy of love and attention.
I hope that you get some down time tonight. You can let K know that you are not up for a session. She will understand. Sometimes you just know when you need a break and it sounds like for you that today is one of those times!
Take care, Rose.
Rose, that is horrible. I am sorry that Poppy was treated in such an abusive way by Dave. He was very mean and cruel to her. I hope she is alright.
Let me know, if you get a chance, how things are.
Thank you for letting me know what happened. I was worried for you and for Poppy.
I agree that Poppy took what Dave said in and she probably does not want to face it. Facing it would be deeply hurtful and she would have to look at the situation in a different light, and let down her defenses. It sounds like that is much too hard for her right now, which makes sense.
Dave wanting you to pretend that he did not behave the way he did and wanting you to hug him is reprehensible. It is amazing that after verbally abusing Poppy (and you indirectly) he feels he can get his needs met still. And he requires you to sit still for him. Wow.
You did have a long session with K. But in light of what happened tonight, that is probably very good. I am glad K was there for you. You needed someone. And I agree, you handled this situation very well. You are strong and getting stronger all of the time. As you progress, you will take steps to change things. It has to be a slow progression so you have time to adapt. As long as you feel you can be there for Poppy and Sam and you are not in danger, you can take the time to get to where you can leave.
Take your time with the homework. It is something you can think about as long as you need to. It is mostly to help make things clearer in your marriage that you may be unhappy with and may not realize should be better for you.
Have a good night, Rose.
Rose, what a day for you! It sounds like you need some time to think. Maybe do something therapeutic- a long walk, shopping, or coffee in a cafe for example. Some "me" time should help. You have a lot on your plate and many emotions to work through.
I'm here whenever you feel ready. No rush.
Get some rest and I will talk to you soon,
Thank you for the beautiful picture! I love colors all mixed together like that, they are so pretty.
I am sorry you are so bogged down with responsibilities. Going to work on little sleep is hard.
I hope it goes quickly and you are able to get some rest.
Take care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you as well.
I am glad you had some time tonight to yourself. I bet it's nice to be able to take a breath and relax after so much work this past week.
I understand the need to complete all of the work yourself. That is something that women take on themselves because of a giving nature. But it is also not wanting to put work on others. We feel guilty asking for help. One study showed that women do three times the amount of work than others in their home, especially their husbands. This is also part of a self esteem issue. It is not feeling worthy to have a break, to have down time and enjoy yourself. You must do all the work to prove you are worthy.
Good practice would be to delegate at least one thing a week. Do it at home and at work (if you are allowed to do it there-if not ask for help instead). You can make it as small a task as you'd like. Try it out and see how you feel. You may feel guilty, liberated or something else entirely. Let me know how it works out for you.
So Dave has brothers that are the same as he is in behavior? How do you feel about that? Are most of the people in his family dysfunctional in their behavior? What do you usually do to cope with contact with his family? I agree, most alcoholics need little reason to use. It becomes so much a part of how they function they can't act without it. And events such as Show day would be impossible to resist.
It is interesting that Dave wants to know all about what is going on in the house. He is alert to the topic being about him or when you have contact with someone he finds threatening. Also, he zeros in on activities that he feels either need his input or that he wants to control. Trying to find out from your conversation with Sam about what was horrible shows what Dave finds important. Also, it says that he is capable of tuning in and paying attention when he feels he needs to. That is important because it means that he could also tune into you and the kids on other things of importance that have nothing to do with him if he chose to.
I am sorry that Sam is having a difficult time with school. Though I am impressed that he does well in Philosophy. That is not an easy subject at all! It may be a matter of time for him, that's all. And an assessment for ADD would help a lot. It would at least give him a way to know why he may be struggling. If I can help in any way, let me know.
Piercings are one of those things so popular now. We thought two piercings were a lot when I was a child. Nowadays it is so much more accepted to have several, and all over too! Some of them look painful to me!
Take care Rose and get as much rest as you can tonight. I will talk with you soon,
I understand your need to do things yourself to be sure they get done. That is not unusual at all when you are the mother, wife and bread winner. You are trying to be as efficient as possible and make your own life easier. And even though you struggle with fibro, you still feel that need to do what you can.
What makes it all the more difficult is Dave's inability to be there for you. Even the children are doing their part, which it should be the other way around. Dave should be picking up at least half of the work and the kids doing some here and there every day. Husbands who refuse to help around the house are usually either self centered or feel that work at home is beneath them (usually taught to them by their parents). With Dave not acknowledging your needs, it fits in with his profile of narcissism. Not making even an attempt to help means he is not in tune with your needs or anyone else's.
It sounds like Dave comes from a family that taught him to think of himself. If his brothers and other relatives act in a similar fashion, then that is usually a good indicator of what went on in their home when they were young. And the connection with Dave's father being alcoholic is obvious. Seeing his father die a horrible death did not change Dave's decision to drink. The denial is very strong that he could end up the same way.
For Dave to admit he has a problem with alcoholism and narcissism would open the floodgates of pain for him. He is deeply insecure and probably afraid. He deals with it by putting himself above others. And he kills the pain with alcohol. Until he admits to feeling insecure, he will most likely stay this way.
It sounds like you have done a lot to help Sam. And I think he will find his way. I can't tell you how often I hear about college age adults taking time to find what they are good at and/or what they want to do in life. Many seem to catch on around age 20 or 21. So Sam is doing well. What I meant by helping is taking a look at Sam's symptoms and seeing if they fit ADD. I won't be able to provide a certain diagnosis, but it may give you an idea if it is a possibility. I was not sure if you had done this already though. You may have.
At the show, being with people that you know means having someone you know see your circumstances with Dave. Suffering from a low self esteem makes facing this problem even harder. You may also fear that they would think less of you because of Dave or even because of who you are. A stranger, on the other hand, does not know who you are. They cannot attribute Dave's behavior to you or not make the link as easily because they do not know you. Being associated with someone who acts out is not easy. No one wants attention drawn to themselves, especially unwanted attention. You feel the shame of Dave's behavior because the way he acts can make you feel you are accepting of it, when you do not. It associates you with him just because you are with him. You may also project your feelings of insecurity and possibly anger and shame onto others. If you feel the way you do about yourself, then others either feel the same or even worse. This is not true, but it is common to feel this way.
Others you know who see you with Dave at the show most likely see you according to their own filter. Some will understand because that is just their nature. Others may be critical, but it is because of who they are, not who you are. And still others ignore it. They don't feel Dave's issues are that important. What is important here is what you feel others think of you. This will tell you much information about how you feel about yourself, which is something tangible we can work on. Try saying what you feel others are thinking about seeing you out with Dave. Or even by yourself. What is going on in their heads? What do you feel they say about you?
Thank you, Rose! The butterfly is beautiful. Blue is my favorite color too.
It's good to hear from you. I was just wondering how you are doing. I hope your day went well too. It's late so you are probably settling down for the night.
I'll talk with you tomorrow. Have a good night!
Rose, thank you for sharing all of that with me! I am humbled that you would tell me of your pain and suffering with your marriage and all that went with it. It is not easy to share deep pain and I admire you for letting me know what happened to you.
The first thing that struck me in the beginning was the rape. The pain you had gone through as a child was awful enough. But having it occur just as you were seeking out independence and moving to go on your own continues the thread of pain in your life. To be put in a position of vulnerability again is a tear to your soul. I am sorry. I hope you feel you have worked through it and healed as much as possible. Let me know if you want to share more. I'm here.
It strikes me that Tony was the right relationship for you. It was healthy and what you deserved after the abuse you went through as a child. I believe you recognized this off the bat. But so did your father. He saw the relationship through the eyes of someone who finds it alright to hurt his daughter. So he was not looking at it as a good match for you, he was seeing it in a dysfunctional way. How do you feel about your father ruining that for you?
Your description of the beginnings of your relationship with Dave was exactly right. Though you see it now, back then it was too hard. To have that kind of insight at such a young age is rare, especially in the case of an emotionally abused child/adult. As an emotionally abused child grows into adulthood, they still seek to connect to someone who will remind them of the parents who could not love them as they deserved. Dave was the person who triggered those feelings for you. He was older (parental), had seen the world more than you had (more experienced), he was narcissistic (most abusive parents are), and most of all he treated you like you were used to and the way you felt you deserved. He presented himself as a way for you to repair the damage of your childhood. You could connect with him, fix him up and maybe things would change for you. When the warning bells went off, you ignored them because you learned very well as a child to ignore those kinds of feelings. Push down your own needs, serve others so you can be loved, and don't ask for anything for yourself. Live for the other person.
I can also see Dave as a charmer. He manipulates to get his way. He saw you as his meal ticket, a way to get through life without anyone demanding anything from him. So he found out your buttons and pushed them with all his might. He cornered you, gave you no choices and presented himself as a needy puppy. Once he was in, he tuned out from anyone but himself and started taking from you and everyone around him. You were the life he could never achieve himself- support, selflessness, intelligence (he may have smarts but choses not to use them), and caring for others.
You mention that in the beginning, Dave was all you were not with his experience. But I believe you were all Dave was not. He took advantage of that.
Now you blame yourself for not seeing Dave and the situation for what it was and getting out. But you did see it for what it was. You were just so hurt and in so much pain that it was overwhelming to push Dave away. Also, an abused child grows up to have so much hope that things will change, even if the situation seems hopeless. You learn that you have to find that little chance that something will be better because to believe otherwise means that your life is over. What you feel now is extremely common. Many, many emotionally abused women feel exactly like you do. Why couldn't I see it? What is wrong with me? They blame themselves instead of seeing themselves as doing the best they could with what they knew. If everyone saw abuse and was able to run from it, then abuse would not be a problem. But as you know, there are so many victims and survivors of abuse that the number of books, resources and websites still are not enough to address all the needs. For the victim, there is always that hope, as small as it is. When you combine it with an abuser's ability to manipulate and push their way and will into the relationship, that it becomes almost impossible to see your way out.
Rose, you are strong. For anyone to survive a childhood like you did, a rape and your marriage and still have an open heart, care for others and raise such wonderful children you have to be strong. You have survived. It is a sign of great endurance and honor. You could have easily been beaten down, given up and let Dave have at it. You could have kept this all to yourself and never let a soul know. But you are strong. You reached out, got the support you and the kids need and you are ready to move on. You found the way out and you are walking towards it. Think of Dave, do you think he will ever get better? Ever reach out? Care for someone else? Help someone or make a difference in another person's life? He does not have the strength that you do. I would hope for his sake that someday he would find it but at this point, you are far beyond where Dave is.
I can understand Sam's frustration. He needs a father who is a good example for him, who can teach him and guide him. Dave is not only not meeting Sam's needs, he is acting in such a way as to cause Sam (and Poppy) distress. Sam is acting in a very appropriate way, given the circumstances.
Thank you for your concern about reimbursing me. You are so thoughtful! But you are very kind to me and I appreciate it.
Rose, it is very normal to experience an "out of body" feeling when talking about trauma you have gone through. it is a defense mechanism. And defense mechanisms help you survive. Distancing yourself from what you went through gives your mind a way to cope with the invasion of the abuse on your emotions and body. You find a safe place and hide inside. It keeps it from seeming real and that helps you live through it and emotionally survive it.
Even now, you are suffering with abuse from Dave, which helps you keep the wall up and the distance from your own emotions. To feel that much pain while it is inflicted on you would be too hard for your mind to bear.
But now you are getting ready to face this. You are looking right at the horror, sadness and deep pain you have suffered with for so many years. All of those tears you spoke of was the pain seeping through and pushing to be out. You allowed it to come through because you are healthy emotionally and the feelings were not compatible with the healthy Rose. It had to come out. So you battled in your mind to understand what you felt and you got it. You figured it out, in all the muck and craziness that is abuse you connected the two sides and realized that you needed to let it out. Once it was out, you started walking towards the light.
I understand that you feel bad about not seeing the abuse for what it was. But K did a good thing. She is helping you see that history and that you did what you could with what you had. You are healing, Rose. So many out there stay in the suffering, never seeing any other way. They are not dumb or stupid or lack insight. They just have different messages in their minds. Ones that tell them they will never be ok on their own, they don't have the strength and that they deserve this. You may have had similar messages, but you are able to overlook them and keep pushing through.
Rape victims often feel that they should not "let" the rape happen. But if you could have prevented it, you would have. This is not your fault. Rape is never the victim's fault. Never. It is always the perpetrator's fault. If this happened to another woman you know, would you feel it was her fault? No. The same goes for you. If you choose to work on this part of your trauma, then seeing the perp at fault for this will be part of the healing process.
Your feelings about your father and the situation with Tony is very appropriate. Your father betrayed you over his own prejudices. He put himself before you and your happiness (sounds familiar). Have you thought about writing a letter to him about it? You don't have to send it. But just writing out your feelings as if you were telling him can be very helpful. It gets it all out and lets you look at how you feel, deep inside.
I hope all goes ok with Dave.
Thank you for your kind words Rose! That is very nice to know.
Fewer tears may also mean that you are seeing things more clearly. You probably developed better or different ways of coping. It most likely led to you seeking out help because a part of you understood that you needed out eventually. Just a possibility.
I hope you sleep better tonight. Sweet dreams,
I am sorry you are feeling so upset. It sounds like things are hard right now. Do you feel the kids are upset about their father and the situation with him, or other things that are going on?
I am glad to hear Sam is ok with therapy. It is a wonderful idea to have them both attend. They need time to work through all the feelings they have about their father and the situation they are in.
I hope you rest well. I wish I could offer more right now besides a cyber hug. I hope K was able to help during your session. I am here for you whenever you can talk.
Thank you for the clarification about Sam. I missed that one.
Well, it does seem that Dave and his issues have had an influence on Sam and Poppy. Sam is easy to anger and Poppy is hitting, both things that Dave has used to express his feelings. It is very understandable that the kids are vulnerable to seeing the behavior and picking it up. After all, for them, they know no other way (from their father). It is normal for kids to incorporate what they see into what they do.
They are also upset inside of themselves. They probably do not know how to process the behavior they see from Dave so they become insecure and act out instead. Fighting, pushing their wills and trying to feel better about themselves by "one upping" each other is the only way they know how to handle it. In therapy, they would learn how to identify what they are feeling and find better ways to express themselves. Healthy behavior that they can use in all situations. So far, they have only had you to model such behavior. And a lot of your healthy behavior is spent trying to deal with Dave's dysfunctional behavior.
Here is a book that may help you and the kids:
When Parents Have Problems: A Book for Teens and Older Children With an Abusive, Alcoholic, or Mentally Ill Parent by Susan B. Miller
The book may help the kids to start identifying some of the behavior they are seeing and how to separate the behavior from Dave from who they are.
Most likely, the kids are arguing so much in order to not only express some of the personal frustration they have about what they see, but also to blow off some steam. There is only so much upheaval they can witness with Dave's behavior before the tension gets to them and they begin to fight amongst themselves. Notice how they compare each other to Dave. They accuse one another of being like him. They are saying, in essence, that it is Dave's behavior that upsets them and they are fearful that they will begin to act like him. Sam is already showing signs, but he also has his insight and your behavior to help him offset the anger. During the teen years, kids develop the person they are going to be by looking to the same sex parent in the home. For Sam, his father cannot model the right behavior for him. So Sam is left feeling frustrated and lost. For Poppy, she has you, but she also needs to learn from Dave what men should be like so she can form relationships in her life. Her inclination is to defend Dave because she is having a hard time facing his behavior.
Therapy can help them express their fears and vulnerability. It can also give them a way to learn how to voice their deepest feelings. It is a complex and difficult situation when you have an abusive parent who hurts you in so many ways. But they do have you and your stability to help them through. That is going to be what helps the most.
This is a down time, but things will improve. The path is never smooth but once you get through this, it will be better. You are a good mom to your kids and that makes a big difference.
Rose, I hope you can tell Dave to leave. He is trying to manipulate you and wants from you what he can never give you back. He needs to find a way to deal with himself.
Are you ok?
I am glad you are alright. It is not ok to have your personal space violated, particularly by someone who abuses you. It is another form of abuse for Dave to push himself on you and force you to care for him emotionally.
Take care tonight. Let me know when you can talk again and how you are feeling.
You are thinking about telling Dave to get out which is great progress. Thinking becomes doing and doing is action. Poppy telling Dave to leave you alone is her reading the situation just as you do. Dave is being self centered, hurting you and acting strange. He wants something from you all of the time without earning the right to what he wants.
Dave is angry with you because your suggestion for him to get help makes him face that something is wrong. He doesn't want to think he could be the culprit in all this. It is a good sign that he is mad. It means you are on the right track. This is about him, not you (which we already knew but he doesn't!).
I am looking forward to hearing the good news!
Oh, yeah. Up and at 'em early!
I would've loved for you to be number 1000! It's hard to believe that I've talked to that many people.
My kids are not in school yet. The are renovating one of the schools and need more time so they are starting late. They are happy about it!
It's good to talk to you. I'll check back in case you post.
Have a good day, Rose.
It sounds like everyone was busy tonight in your family! I am glad there is the possibility that Dave will be out this weekend. It gives you time to rest.
Are you thinking about ending your therapy with K or just taking a break?
The kids can go to therapy with you as a family, if you feel that all going together would help at least initially. Let the kids know that you feel it would help them cope better. I am sure they understand but just asking them to try it for a short time would be a good option too. Talking never hurts.
I am sorry to hear Sam is struggling with University. But I think your advice to him was excellent!
I'd love to have you as a co worker here on JA! I am not sure of their current need for nurses but you could apply and see. It would be a great job for you.
I hope your night goes well and you get a lot of time to yourself!
Talk to you soon,
It sounds like your sessions with K have been very helpful to you. I understand about how hard it is to talk. We mentioned this before, but if you are introverted that is going to make any verbal communication difficult. But there is two sides to that. One, you may be introverted and have a hard time expressing yourself. Two, there are issues from your childhood that factor in how you express yourself. Figuring out what is just your personality and what is about the abuse you suffered is important.
It is sad and a shame that you have to hide your therapy from Dave because of how he responds to it. For him to put himself first and not allow you privacy is awful. You deserve time for yourself and the respect and privacy to get it. His need to take over your life and not only drain everything he can out of you but constantly demand to be the center of attention has to be beyond stressful. Although it is common for narcissists to act that way, that does not make it easier to cope with. They cannot stand not being front and center for it all, which leaves you to either push the issue or give in. I wonder what would happen if you pretended to be self centered? How would Dave react?
If your therapy with K is becoming hard, it could be for a few reasons (besides Dave's insistence on making it hard for you).
Part of it could be that you are at a point when therapy is working and you are making progress. Your work with K has been intense (from what I know of it) and you may have come to a point where you need time to work through where you are. I mentioned before that I have noticed a shift in your outlook and feelings about your life. No doubt your work with K has helped you get there. Now it is a matter of adjusting and beginning to apply what you have learned to your life.
Another reason you may need time is because you are about to face something big. Sometimes when people are in therapy and begin to come closer to a discovery or break through, they start to back off therapy. Part of it is the overwhelming nature of facing something like that and part of it may be fear. That is ok and very normal.
The way you know therapy is over for good is when you struggle to find something to talk about. You begin to feel that you can cope on your own and that therapy is like visiting someone you know well and you are just hanging out together. You have no major issues to bring up and overall you feel fine (and much stronger). All therapists should strive to never see their clients again. That sounds so awful, but it is important. Helping your clients learn to cope on their own, feel good about themselves and handle their lives in a healthy way is what a good therapist does (and much like you do as a nurse). If you are not doing that as a therapist, then you need to get out of the field. You are not helping anyone.
I took a look at sand tray work and it is interesting. It involves using mini figures, objects and sand in a tray. You move the objects and figures around as you want. What you come up with is like telling a story about your feelings without having to talk. For example, if you placed a female figure on one end facing the middle and all the other figures facing the female, that might say you feel everyone is against you or you feel alone. It is quite creative and would probably be very useful in therapy.
Fidgeting with objects while you talk to someone usually indicates nervousness and uncertainty. It is like someone bouncing their leg when they talk. It helps the person vent some of their energy from feeling nervous. It could also indicate boredom or irritation. It is a way to cope with energy you feel from whatever you are doing at the time. It serves a good purpose as it helps you get rid of some of the nervousness so you can focus better.
What do you have planned for Dave's birthday, if anything? If he is off doing his own thing, then that would give you a nice break from focusing on him.
I hope work has been ok for you today. It's not gray here yet, that will be in a few months. The hurricane is coming up the coast starting today so that has everyone's attention.
I'll talk with you soon, Rose.
I would love to work on the introverted/childhood issue with you. If you want, can you tell me more about how you feel when you talk with others?
Dave is very up front about being the center of attention, it seems. And he imposes on you a lot. How do you feel when he pushes his way and ignores how you feel?
I am sorry about your parking ticket! That is so discouraging. Would you be allowed to have special parking due to your fibro? In the U.S., they have what they call handicapped parking, which is always in the front of a parking lot, for people who can prove a disability of any sort. It just seems unfair you have to walk so far to work.
The hurricanes go up the coast and sometimes come inland a bit. So far, we haven't seen anything where I am but hurricanes are unpredictable so we'll wait and see! I just hope everyone got out in the affected areas so far.
Have a good night, Rose! Enjoy your time.
Thank you for asking about me. I appreciate it.
We are doing fine. I do have family that live right on the coastal beaches and they had to evacuate so that is somewhat unsettling. One family member needs to head back tomorrow so we are checking the forecasts as often as possible. It should settle down soon though.
I'll talk with you later,
Rose, that was funny! I will be watching that space!
As you describe how you feel about social interaction, many options pop in my mind. Introversion (as we talked about), social anxiety, low self esteem, and general anxiety. It seems that when you feel as if you want to socialize, you have an easier time of it, like today when Dave's nephew and family came over. When you do not, it is harder.
The contrast you made with Dave's family and your family was insightful. You were noticing the intricacies of how they interacted compared to your family. I am sorry that you feel loss over what your family life is like compared to theirs. Recognizing the loss is important. It helps you grow from what used to be normal for you- accepting Dave's behavior and allowing it to occur, to now, where you recognize the effect Dave has on you and your children. Just that contrast is a major growth point.
It is also important to see that your children, while growing up in a different circumstance than others in their family, will also learn different skills and grow in different ways than the others. For example, they will be more able to handle stress and conflictual situations. And they will be more resilient than other children. They will have positives that come out of growing up as they did.
Tell me if this sounds right- do you feel worse socializing when Dave is with you? From the examples you gave me, it sounds this way. But I wondered what you thought. If you do feel worse with him around, that might be a big factor in your fear of socializing.
Here is some food for thought. This site gives a good picture of an introvert. See if it fits you or if not, what you feel about it:
Enjoy your time tonight! You sound so happy and I am glad you have this time for yourself.
The weather is good here, thank God! The news says that several people lost their lives, including two children so far. I can't help but feel a deep sorrow for the families. And there is much damage from the storms, estimating to be in the millions of dollars range. I am just praying that the rest of the hurricane season passes much easier!
I am glad you felt that the introvert article helped. I sent it to you in hopes that it might make it easier to look at where your feelings about socializing might have come from. I know you mentioned your childhood was difficult and expressing yourself was not encouraged. I wondered if you felt that caused your introversion or that you felt it was part of your personality?
Your reaction to socializing with Dave sounds very normal to the circumstances. Anyone would feel as you do about going out with him in different situations. But it seems you are very well aware of the boundaries in which you are comfortable and that is good.
How is everything else going for you? Are you still enjoying your weekend? Kate
That is wonderful to hear, Rose! I am happy for you. You deserved a break and it sounds like you had a great one.
I would love to see your photos! If you feel comfortable, that is.
I'll be here tomorrow whenever you are ready to talk.
Reading your first post, I could not help but feel a need to comfort you. I can see that you loved your weekend, the weekend of freedom from Dave and his overwhelming personality. But when you are with him, you seem to feel tired, sad and lethargic. You want to snuggle in and hide from the world. I would say that Dave and his behavior have a profound effect on you. His actions and behavior permeate your existence. When he leaves, however, you become as a butterfly. You are happy, relaxed and carefree. Even your posts are full of happiness and exclamation points! You enjoy yourself and feel good. You go out and engage in life. The difference is amazing.
How do you feel about the contrast in yourself with and without Dave around? What do you feel causes the change in you?
After reading the rest of your first post and your second post, I can see more clearly how you feel about socializing and how you feel about yourself. You are naturally intelligent and very good at expressing yourself, when you feel you know your material and you are helping someone. But when you talk to those who you feel are your equals or who you feel are above you, you lose that confidence and your ability to express yourself. I think that when people are able to see you and therefore judge you, you feel blocked from expressing yourself. I say that because you talk to me so well. I understand what you say and I appreciate how you say it. You "speak" to me clearly, intelligently, and with a wonderful clarity. I can "see" your words. They come alive for me off the page, if you will. So expressing yourself is not the issue here. You have it in you. It is just getting it out when you are face to face with someone that is hard.
I believe that you do have some symptoms of social anxiety disorder. But because you are able to get in front of others if you are prepared and you are able to talk just fine to those you feel comfortable around, I would say that you have symptoms of social anxiety but not the diagnosis itself. The other half of the issue is your self confidence. How you view yourself is how you feel others view you as well. You were raised to believe that you are not worthy of love and attention just for who you are. You had to try to earn love, and even then it was not given to you. So learning that others do not value anyone less than perfect or good is part of your inner dialog. It is what you believe about yourself. That is what causes you to cross the road when you see someone you know. Talking to them is painful because you believe they think of you the same as you think of yourself.
But as a nurse helping patients, you know that you understand more than they do and you can help them. And they will appreciate that help. It takes the judgment out of the equation.
You mentioned not having a good memory. Memory can be improved. And not everyone has a good memory. But you do retain what you do not feel anxious about. Take your nursing for example. Most people who are not in the nursing profession would be overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge a nurse must have to be good at their job. All the medications, procedures, keeping doctors informed (dealing with doctors behavior, ugh) and just the amount of caring for others requires someone who not only is intelligent, but that can remember a lot of information in a very confusing situation. You can do all of that. So intelligence and retention is not a problem for you. Therefore, I believe it is how you think of your intelligence that is an issue.
This is good work, Rose. I know it is not easy. But you are really stepping out and facing a lot. Strength and grace through it all. If I may, could I give you a hug across the miles? You deserve it.
I hope your night is better than the last one. Sleep well, Rose. I will talk with you soon,
I am sorry that your session did not go well. I hope you get some good rest and feel better.
How are you? I missed you yesterday, I was too poorly to write, but I feel better enough to be up today. I hope to have a day out with the children before they go back to school, Poppy wants to go rock pooling- one of my favourite things to do at the beach. The weather is a bit dull, but we will go anyway.
I can't think enough to write intelligently, so I've pulled up a letter I wrote to my GP about Sam when I wanted to have him referred for assessment re ADD. Would you mind giving me your thoughts please?
Sam was a big baby. He was very hungry, colicky, unsettled, demanding, wouldn't sleep. I didn't know what to do with him, how to make my health visitor understand what problems I was having with him. I kept thinking if only I had a video camera I could show her the mealtimes, the night times, the all the times. I had him sleep in bed with me to get some peace, then I moved into his bed with him when he was old enough.
When Sam was 31/2 he was sexually abused by a child minder's 15 year old son. There was no evidence, but Sam's description of events was enough. The act was vehemently denied by the boy's father, I was too afraid to pursue it further. I just hope there is no lasting damage.
Sam was a child that was everywhere, into everything, needing little sleep and constant attention, when your back was turned something would be happening, no chance to relax unless he was asleep on my lap. He was noisy and active, and very bright, but had problems with his fine and gross motor skills. He didn't play rough and tumble with the boys, didn't take bumps and knocks well, and he hated getting dirty. He was very sensitive, cried a lot, had some episodes of being bullied, and had difficulties with friendships. No-one at school thought he had a problem, he was ahead of his year, but he was disturbing and easily distracted, very fidgety, and couldn't settle to task. At home he would procrastinate constantly, (still does), and would need more help and supervision than I expected to get things done timely or at all. A 10 minute piece of homework would take an hour. His hand writing was terrible and his drawing skills were very immature. He would make us late for school or the child minder, for one reason or another, and my stress and coping skills were starting to be challenged, especially as I had little help from Dave, and I was working shifts. One day when he was taking part in a gymnastic display at school, I could see there was something amiss - there he was for the whole school to see, unable to do a roly poly, or walk along a balance beam, even holding someone's hand. His PE teacher had always given him a hard time, couldn't catch a ball, couldn't kick well, all the other boys in his year were the other extreme, very capable physically it made Sam stand out so much more. So I did some googling, and came across dyspraxia, which I'd never heard of, but I found he fitted the term perfectly. School said,yes, how right you are!!!!! cue Ed Psych at long last (he's 9).
I had him assessed by DDAT (DORE) and they described him as having a developmental delay disorder, and signed him up for a two year course of activities to improve the function of the cerebellum. We plugged on with the twice daily exercises, usually with arguments and cross words, until we could bear them no longer. We didn't finish the course, but I hope it wasn't a waste of time and money. I just wanted to do what I could to help him, I felt bad and sad that he had to struggle so much with his life.
When it was time for us to look at secondary schools for Sam, his form teacher told us that she didn't think he would cope in a main stream secondary school, she imagined him in a class of 30 spending the whole lesson, whole day, fiddling, or day dreaming, not learning a thing. She knew he was bright, but he had spent his primary school years in a class of 12, and under her nose where she could keep him on task. So I was thrown into turmoil as to how to facilitate his education.
After much deliberating and advanced maths we sent him to Stover with class sizes of no more than 15, and a high proportion of children with SEN, so I hoped they would take good care of him.
His reports and parents evenings were full of ‘lack of concentration, always disturbing others, easily distracted, getting little work done in class, messy work, fiddling, won't sit still, work handed in late, late for class, not reaching expectations, should be up the top'. Homework was always catching up with class work plus set homework. I could never leave him unsupervised to get on with his work, I would be up and down the stairs to see if he was getting on with it, nothing done while I'd been gone, ended up spending my evenings watching him, never going out because it wouldn't get done, if not done he would be in trouble and have to do it again the next night to catch up, I found myself planning my life around Sam's needs, and so not having a life. Dave had his own. When it was exam time he couldn't look at a book without me to keep his attention on it. Any homework took 3 or 4 times longer than necessary. I wanted to stand back and let him get on with it, but I knew that he would have to spend more time on things at a later time to get it done at all- whose best interests was it in to leave him to it? I didn't want him to fail at school, that would dent his already low self-esteem even more.
So I spent hours and hours over years and years giving Sam all the time and help he needed to get through school, and feel good at the end of it. He was still bullied, still had relationship problems, still ridiculed for his quirky behaviours, his angry outbursts, his lack of sporting abilities, his awkwardness, but as he grew up he became more in control of himself, more self-assured, more outgoing, and had a lot of good friends who accepted him and he didn't feel he needed to prove himself all the time. I asked the SEN tutor if she thought he was ADD, but had no definitive answer. I think he is.
He has a compulsiveness to be clean and washes his hands over and over. He showers every morning, even when he doesn't have time. That is more important to him than being somewhere on time, catching the bus for school. I spent 5 years every morning telling him the time, asking him to speed up, to PLEASE be on time for the bus, PLEASE not to expect me to drive him all the way to school yet again, sometimes 2, 3 times a week (let's just leave Dave in bed shall we, better that way, saves World War 3 before school!) It was the same, no matter how much time I gave him to be ready.
Sam was studying for his GCSE's a year ago, and I was very stressed because he needed so much supervision to get him to get his course work done before the deadlines. He could not work for more than 10 minutes without a break and so his flow of thought was constantly being interrupted. He would not work without listening to music, and any computer work was staccato'd by a need to put another track on on You Tube, and maybe watch the video at the same time.
Since starting at college I have made it clear that I cannot help him, there is no room in my head to cope with his needs. I feel terrible that I can't give him time anymore, and he is failing. I don't know what to do to help him cope with his future, he is scared that he won't get a good job, he knows he won't cope at University, he knows that he can't study alone, can't plan for himself, can't meet deadlines, is often late. I have put so much effort into helping him try to overcome all his weaknesses, which is why I am so exhausted, why I couldn't cope anymore.
Today, nothing much has changed, he is still noisy, still fiddly, touches things, bangs the drums, breaks his pens, can't settle, up and down, procrastinating, late for the bus, hyper-clean, angry, defensive, disorganised, needs little sleep, easily bored, low self esteem........but has amazing attention for his X Box!!
I might be able to think later...will write again. I'm sure there's more I want to say...
Hope you have a good day,
Thank you Kate :)
Hi Rose, it's good to hear from you!
I am at an all day seminar today, unfortunately. Is it alright if I answer you tonight? I want to take the time to give you the answer you deserve.
Hi Rose, I'm finally back. The seminar was good. It was given by a neuropsychologist who heads up a large institution in North Carolina. The seminar was about anxiety. The lecturer mixed the medical model with the psychological model (of course!) and it was fascinating. I learned a lot.
Thank you for waiting for me to answer.
Your description of Sam's symptoms made me think of ADHD right away. It is very typical for children who have ADHD to be very good at video games, since the fast pace keeps up with their minds. Additionally, Sam's difficulty with focusing and with sitting still also sounds like ADHD. It runs in families, so if you or Dave have relatives that have ADHD or ADD, Sam could inherit it. It also is much more common in boys than girls. Lack of sleep as well as learning disabilities are often ADHD in disguise. Treatment is Ritalin as you probably know.
In Sam's case, I would rule out the ADHD first. I would also consider Aspergers. I say that because of the social issues. He may not have a full blown diagnosis, but traits of it instead. Though I think the ADHD could explain some of the social issues, ruling out Aspergers is important. If he would have Aspergers, it definitely is a mild version since he has gone on to make friends and be more social.
I think your diagnosis of Dyspraxia is exactly right. Sam's trouble with coordination and his inability to perform simple tasks is explained if he has Dyspraxia. Dyspraxia patients often have trouble in school, failing almost every subject. They have difficulty with simple tasks such as drawing a straight line or tying their shoes. Each child is affected differently so consulting a doctor is important to determine the level of treatment needed.
I would also rule out OCD. Being late for a bus over hand washing and showering a lot could be just anxiety, but it is explained better by OCD. The compulsion is to keep the anxiety over the obsession under control. It provides order when someone feels out of control. OCD is treatable through therapy.
Although I think ADHD and Dyspraxia is probably the two main issues, it would not hurt to be sure that Sam does not have a learning disability of some type. It could be a secondary diagnosis if ADHD is ruled out.
What do you think of any of these possibilities?
I was happy to help. I understand the stress of having a child with a disability. My son had Autism. Although I do not reveal that to too many people, I wanted to let you know that I know the stress and the hardships of trying to get help and hoping and praying that he gets better.
I admire your strength and your determination to see this through with Sam. Having a child with a disability is not for the weak. You are a good mom to him, and to Poppy.
Sam's feelings about facing adulthood and all the responsibilities is so normal. I know that with his struggles it is harder for him, but with help he should do just fine.
When is his assessment supposed to be? I am learning a little about the system where you live but it is not familiar to me.
With the additional symptoms you mentioned that Sam has, I agree with you that he does have OCD. The good thing about that is that OCD is treatable with therapy and medication. If you have Anafranil in the UK or something similar, that is the preferred medication. He can also take SSRI's augmented with anti psychotics if he has some evidence of a tic disorder.
I believe Sam's OCD may have started as a result of the stress from Dave's issues. It is probably his way of coping with the chaos his father caused and still does. It is an anxiety based disorder and often develops as a result of trauma.
For you, helping Sam with this can be done some at home. It is better in therapy, but if he has to wait a long time you can try some techniques with him to help him try to control the compulsions. It is good he has insight into his OCD, that will help him to respond to therapy.
The idea is to prevent Sam from responding to the obsession by performing the compulsion. So for example, if Sam feels dirty and wants a shower for the second time that day, he should do something to prevent himself from showering. Instead, he should do something unpleasurable- go for a run, pinch himself, dunk his hands in cold water, etc. It may sound crazy but making him face something he doesn't want to do will separate the obsession from wanting to do something to satisfy it. Eventually, Sam needs to work on separating himself from the obsessions and compulsions. The therapist can help him see himself as who he is without the OCD. Who would he be without OCD? What would his life be like? Once he can picture that, he can start to see the OCD as something separate that can be treated and eliminated and not part of who he is.
I agree about the Aspberger's. I just thought I might throw it out there just in case. But I think he has too many social contacts and interactions to have Aspergers.
I think we are losing each other because our thread is long. When I reply I try to save the answer before I send it because it sometimes disappears on me. Would you like to start a new one? I don't like asking, but JA won't let me do it. It's up to you if you want to or not. I can still save my answers if that helps too.
I'll check back in a bit to see if you posted again.
I hope that you are getting some good rest as I write this. You sounded so tired and overwhelmed in your first reply. I am so sorry.
Feeling alone and overwhelmed gives you no place to express your feelings so cutting would be natural for you. But what about the situation makes you feel that you need to hurt yourself? I understand cutting, but I want to know it from your perspective. Tell me about your process. I know that you feel embarrassed by this, but it is more common than you may know. And I do not think poorly of you because of this. I feel sorrow and understanding.
I agree with you, ending therapy right now would not be the right thing to do for you. Talking to K more than once a week may be the problem with your sessions, or it may be that you have come to the point that you are going to make a breakthrough. When people have therapy for major trauma and issues like PTSD and abuse, it is common to have plenty to work on initially. But then therapy comes to the point that there is a wall, so to speak. This is where the person has a thick wall of defense, where all the deep pain and sorrow is underneath. This is a hard and difficult time. Breaking through the wall is not easy but once you are beyond it the real healing begins. This may be where you are. I sensed it some in our talks but was not sure yet. But in therapy, it is up to the client to make the choice whether or not to break through the wall and face what is beyond it. What do you think?
It sounds like you need to talk more about how you are feeling, but face to face is hard. You have said that seeing someone inhibits your thoughts and ability to express your deepest feelings. It could be that when you are near the "wall", it is too hard to express how you feel to K. Writing out your feelings may be helpful. Journaling is great. Do you have other ways you express yourself that helps? Getting those feelings out without being verbal is one way to deal with it.
I am sorry that the appointment is taking so long for Sam. But doing some of the work with him at home will help until he can finally get in to see someone. There are some good resources out there to help as well. I can also help you find some. Let me know.
Dave should be part of this situation with Sam but I am not surprised he is not. I read in your letter to the doctor about Dave not being involved and I felt for you. This is a lot to handle on your own. Most of my son's treatment was my responsibility as well (not for the same reasons you cope with but for other reasons) and I did not realize how stressed I was until it was over. So taking care of yourself when you can needs to be high priority for you. I know you have precious little time. But you are worth every little bit you can squeeze out.
I think you would make an excellent psych nurse! I do believe it is less lifting and more about medications and therapy. I would imagine that some psych courses and getting some experience would be the basics to getting into the field but I'm not sure about that. I can tell you that once you are familiar with the psych medications and the DSM, you will be more than prepared.
I do not recall the thread you mentioned about divination. But if you want to start it, it should pop up on my account. I will follow it from there. If you do not hear from me within a day, though, try me back on this thread. I understand you do not want to put a new thread out there on the queue. No problem.
I do not have too many plans for the weekend so I will check in as often as I can. It is Labor Day here in the US so almost everyone has Monday off. But I am sticking to my regular schedule so write any time.
I hope your night goes well and you get the rest you deserve. Sweet dreams, Rose!
How are you? I want to share with you tonight, but not up to writing much.
No prizes for guessing who these 2 are!
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I'll see you on my other post in a wee while,
Thank you for sharing the picture with me!