sarahbyrdd: (Default)

In yesterday's NY Times there was an article and related "Well Blog" entry on separating from toxic parents. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/health/20mind.html?em

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/divorcing-your-parents/

The comments on the blog are now at 500+ entries.  It's amazing how many people eat their young.  I've found reading the blog comments to be very ... comforting?  liberating?  I think the thing that's blowing everyone's mind is to see this discussed out in the open.  Sure we've talked about it with our friends and to our therapists and possibly other family members ... but in so many cases the Keeping Up Appearances is so entwined with the abuse/neglect that the child questions their judgment about whether what's going on is actually wrong. I call it being down the rabbit hole.  If everyone says your parents are great, why is your experience so different?  If wrong is your normal, how are you supposed to know what's what?  I haven't chimed in on the Times comments (yet), but it's great to see so many people standing up for themselves and their healthier futures.
sarahbyrdd: (Default)
Got over tired (and stressed out) and the plague finally caught up with me.  

The news from the North is that Dad's been moved to the same nursing home where he was over the holidays to get his feet back under him.  Fractured ankle on one side and a broken baby toe on the other.  No casts, just boots.  When I spoke to him on Monday, he seemed to think he'd get sprung after a week or so ... so we're looking at this Friday or Monday for his discharge.

I had a doctor's visit myself for a long overdue general check up on Monday (also part of my stress).  It seems my BP is trending high again, and my first ever EKG was "wacky".  Um. Yikes.  I can't say I'm surprised, and the sources of my stress are no mystery.  Anyhoodle, the doc suggested that I go back on St. John's Wort to help with the stress/depression issues, and has admonished me to track my BP for the next few weeks and come in for a follow up.  Ugh. 
sarahbyrdd: (Default)
--I'm starting to feel normal again.

--I had a conversation with my father in which I gave my schedule and committments priority while still acknowledging his wishes.  It's called "Setting Limits", Sarah.  It's what the grown-up kids do. 

--Tonight is a night for mac-n-cheese.

--I'm looking forward to Birka.  Both for the event and the getting away aspects.  I'm ready to have a good time.
sarahbyrdd: (Pennsic)

I didn’t make it out to MA to check on Dad this weekend because of all that dang snow. I’m actually good with it.  In my session with Dr. E last week, she pointed out that Dad’s not actually currently asking for any help. I’ll worry one way or the other, and this way I worry without having dragged back and forth across 3 states in one day. I do note, however, that there was a tinge of a guilt trip when I spoke to Dad yesterday, even though he called me twice to tell me to not come.  Be that as it may, all this ‘rent trauma obliterated my 2008 summing up post. Better late than never!

 2008 has been, overall, a remarkably good year. I have a job that pays well that I don’t hate which is allowing me to finally pay down some of the debt I’ve been dragging around for years. I became a godmother. I’ve gotten myself a therapist to help me sort through the tangle of my relationship with my father and his wife and their drinking. I’ve rejoined the SCA, made many new friends and found new outlets for various creative endeavors.  I took a 2 week vacation for the first time in my life, and it didn’t involve visiting family. I participated in monthly dinner parties with a group of fabulous women. I weathered growing pains in old friendships.  I did a ton of traveling for pleasure, and got into the habit of spending weekends outside of the city. I also took a big leap of faith, accepted the possibility of a life different than the one I'd created, and fell in love.

I know this coming year is going to have its challenges, but there’s also good stuff coming my way.  I expect my relationship with my father will change (for good or ill) without my stepmother around.  Pulling up stakes and moving to New Haven to cohabitate with Bytchearse in November, when the lease is up on my NYC apartment, will be Very Exciting! Very Scary!  Very Wonderful!  The great day-job hunt for a CT legal secretary gig will start in earnest in May or so, but I’ll also be looking for private voice students and possibly a paid soloist/section leader position at an area church/synagogue. Or, something else entirely may appear for me professionally.  I couldn't foresee what 2008 threw at me, who's to say I know what's coming in 2009.  I'll just keep looking for the bends in the road. 

sarahbyrdd: (rents)
I had a perfectly mundane phone conversation with my father this afternoon.  He had some how "locked" the keypad of his cellphone and needed help figuring out how to unlock it.  I googled the problem and gave a possible solution.  Also, they will not be coming down to NYC in December (thank goodness!), and the housekeeper has a bad cold. 

We ended the conversation with him saying that he'd gotten a "cryptic" christmas card from a friend that basically said that 2008 is ending full of suck (economy, stocks, black man in the White House) but was otherwise great.  I said that didn't sound cryptic, but more ironic, or possibly sarcastic, and suggested that maybe 2009 would perk up.  Who knew that'd be a conversation stopper? *snortle*

And for the record, I'll say that while the economy is looking grim and some retrenching will be required in my world, 2008 has been a pretty fantastic year, and I have high hopes that 2009 will be even better.
sarahbyrdd: (rents)
After much back and forthing (on the part of the MA'rents), and with the blessings of Dr. E., I'm all set to spend tomorrow afternoon with the MA'rents and (in addition to introducing them to Bytchearse) tell them, kindly, but in no uncertain terms why I haven't been visiting much and why I won't be visiting much unless they make some changes (It's the drinking, stupid).  Having made the decision to lay that particular truth out there, and having sat with it for a few weeks, I'm feeling calm and reasonably good about it.  It's been helpful to 1) know I'll have Bytchearse with me for speedy application of hugs and emotional support once I've done the deed, 2) realize that whatever realtionship with them I think I'm protecting  by not saying anything doesn't exist, and 3) mentally prepare for the various possible reactions and realize that their reactions aren't the thing here. Its my saying it that's important.

Think good thoughts tomorrow afternoon.
sarahbyrdd: (Default)


Back from the shrink.  I think she's going to be good for me.  Today was mostly a rehash of the situation and where I am with it all, plus some background.  But there were a few items that popped up with new connections. 

The stepmonster is the gatekeeper in my relationship with my father, and I'm programmed to react as if that's The Way It Is.  To the point where, when I was getting divorced, and maybe could have used a little emotional support from my dad, he was in the process of drying out and the Stepmonster told me not to tell him what was going on.  As I'm remembering, it was a good 3 or 4 months after the fact before I broke the news to him.   Looking at it that way, intellectually, I know that's rediculous, and I should talk to my father (or not) whenever I see fit.  Conditioning is a bitch. 

Just because I wasn't litterally in the position of getting them to bed and picking up the beer cans when I was a kid, doesn't mean that I haven't done "cleaning up" in that house.  I've been part of the making everything look nice and normal to the outside world: being a good and obedient kid no matter what zingers and invective was flung in my direction, not calling the MA'rents (the supposed adults) on their bad behavior, trying to make my father "proud" even though he was a crappy parent.  

Also it's impossible to help people who don't want the help you're giving them, and won't help themselves.  And BTW, it's not my job, and I shouldn't feel responsible to fix them or the situation.    Yeah.  Knew that part, intellectually.  Beliving it in my heart is the hard part. 

So, yes.  A process, but this is all good. 

Also, suddenly I feel like I'm in Bizzaro world where everyone agrees that Dad and the Stepmonster were shitty and inappropriate with me, instead of the usual, "they're such nice people, so much fun ..."  Bizzaro, but also a relief.  I'm not so nuts afterall. 

Meanwhile, I have wings and beer and a new novel to fall into for the rest of the afternoon.  And tomorrow there's sleeping in, laundry and seeing my sweetheart.  Most of my life is pretty great.

sarahbyrdd: (rents)
Just called into work to take the next two days as personal days "to deal with some family issues".   Whodathunkit, actual legitimate mental health days: first session with a therapist today and I think tomorrow I'll find a daytime meeting just cuz. 

This week's bits of progress:

--Being able to tell someone in her family that the Stepmonster is a mean drunk, has been all my life, and be heard and validated.
--Question:  Why was it my responsibility to get along with the Stepmonster when I was the kid and she was the adult?

I'll be curious to see what comes up in the session today.

For now, I'm going to make some breakfast and enjoy a lazy morning. :-) 
sarahbyrdd: (rents)

I spoke with my father this morning to follow up on his voicemail yesterday.  The stepmonster was taken to the emergency room yesterday because she was very weak because she wasn't eating.  They're feeding her intravenously at the hospital to get her strength back up.  I aired my concerns about their inability to take proper care of themselves in their current house.  Dad countered that his physical therapist was saying that he's doing better since they installed the chair lift.  Mazeltov, they're not having to do the stairs in the house anymore.  That still doesn't get the stepmonster to eat (and not drink) when she's home.

I'm feeling a little less panicked about the situation, but still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the thing.  I have an appointment on Thursday with a counselor who can hopefully steer me to a therapist that's actually on my insurance.  Yay Insuranace, Yay Employee Assistance Program, Yay understanding HR Director.
sarahbyrdd: (Default)

Friday I finally got off my duff and went to talk to the HR director about the situation with the MA'rents by way of 1) I know I'm feeling snappish and distracted on the job and want to let someone know what's going on and 2) may need to take personal time with very little notice.  She was entirely sympathetic, and yet another voice falling in line with the "you've got to take care of you" chorus.  Best of all, when I mentioned trying to find a therapist on our insurance she gave me an actual name and direct dial of someone to talk to at our EAP to get a proper referal and said that if he wasn't able to hook me up she'd get our insurance agent to help or do it herself, but that by no means was I to have to sit down with a directory and do blind calling myself, cuz yeah ... not up to that right now.   I was also assured that "everything was fine here," so those feelings of fucking up right and left at the office, are just that ... feelings.  

Bytchearse was able to visit Friday night-Saturday day.  Hooray!  Between colds, my temple rehearsal schedule, and working our tushes off at events together and apart, we haven't seen each other much in the past month, and when we have been together there wasn't much quality time.  I really needed to just be with my sweetie, and it helped immensely. 

Today I've got the time to get my self well set up to deal with the week.  Organize meals to take to the office for lunch and dinner, get laundry done, etc.  I've got rehearsals Monday and Tuesday night, and services Wednesday night and all day Thursday.  Fortunately, I think it should be a calmer week at the office now that month-end is taken care of. 

Excuse me

Oct. 3rd, 2008 08:11 am
sarahbyrdd: (Default)
Could you stop the ride?  Please.  I'd like to get off.
sarahbyrdd: (Default)
This is the same oogy feeling I had when I was gearing up to ask for a divorce. 
sarahbyrdd: (Default)

I had a thought about going to an Al-Anon meeting tonight, but I seem to be putting off that particular mental housecleaning in favor of some actual cleaning around the Not So Secret Hideaway, but there's still buzzing in my head:

Cut for excessive navel gazing )Edit:  Mom came over for some emergency shrinking.  Doing better.  Not looking forward to what I have to do, but doing better.
sarahbyrdd: (rents)


I went to my first Al-Anon meeting last night.  I didn't speak, I just listened to the shares, got a feel for the process and content, and didn't linger after.  I gather that there's a "beginners" packet that I should pick up sooner rather than later, which I'll acquire at the next meeting I attend.  If I'm remembering correctly they suggest that beginners audition 9 different meetings (as in venues/times?) to give the process a fair shake.  It might be challenging to fit 9 different meetings into my schedule, but I'll give it a good effort.

The sharing process felt familiar from the seminars I've done with Landmark, and I've already done a bunch of reading on the subject of being an adult child of an alcoholic, so this mostly feels like a continuation of the mental housecleaning I've been engaged in for the past several years ... though of course this is taking one of my most charged topics head on while that situation is boiling to a crisis point.   I expect it'll get a little (okay, a lot) bumpy on occasion, but it's bound to help at least a bit.




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