Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Title-less ... that's how overwhelming it is
This is the first day in a long time that I have really wished I could see my old therapist. This might be the first day I've felt like this since packing up and heading down here.
It's not about being here. In fact I don't even know what it is... but I am one hell of a ball of pissed offishness today... and yesterday too now that I think about it.
I even yelled at the kids yesterday. Something like "GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!!" while they continually rammed into my legs while I was cooking and simultaneously trying to tell Mr F off on the phone. While they did have it coming (and knew it and quickly scurried off to their bedroom as ordered), honestly, I rarely lose my cool... it's just not like me.
There is the obvious stuff, the financial stress that while gets better also lingers like a festering sore.
There is the long summer with endless possibilities that already seems to be flying out from under my fingers with nothing much to show for it but some put away laundry.
But there is also other stuff that is eating at me. Trying to make decisions that are hard but necessary and trying to own the right to make them without feeling guilty. Knowing that I've done what I can to communicate and I can't control how those things are received or what is done with them. And do I care? Honestly, I care less and less these days and that is a good thing. I used to be crippled by the what ifs of how I was perceived. It is getting easier to trust that I know my own intentions.
By random chance I checked a book out of the library. It wasn't at all what I thought it was. I thought it was a book about family activities. It turned out to be a book about emotionally healthy families written by a therapist. I flipped through it and found an essay that struck me immediately. It perfectly expresses how I choose to relate to those close to me and her examples for doing so were practically ripped out of Mr F's family's dynamics.
I don't know if I'm allowed to do this but I thought I'd copy out some of it. It was titled "Be Willing To Make Waves" and is taken from Judy Ford's Wonderful Ways To Be A Family.
"Resentments are caused by doing things you don't want to do and then behaving like a martyr. Nothing destroys relationships quicker than towers of resentments and mountains of hidden anger. If you live in a family, you'll get angry... Your family will be closer when you recognize your anger, express your anger appropriately, and allow them to do the same. When you accept that making waves is healthy, you won't have to walk on eggshells around each other."
Thirteen-year-old Sydney was angry at her father and adamantly told him what she was thinking... Jake, not interested in seeing his daughter's point of view, warned her, "Keep that up and you'll be grounded." In fact, he enforced the "don't make waves" policy whenever his children expressed any anger or disagreed with him. He thought it was disrespectful for children to disagree or be angry with their parents. It was okay if his children expressed anger at some injustice in the outside world, but expressing disagreement toward him was not allowed. Those disagreements had to be kept under wraps.
A "don't make waves" policy has lasting negative effects on family relationships. Hiding your thoughts and keeping your feelings in check can put strained distance between you. Now, rather than expressing herself directly, Syndey hides her thoughts, disguises her opinions, and takes her frustrations out in other, less healthy, ways. And because she has to put her energy into pretending, a distance has grown between her and her father. Years from now when Jake wonders why his children don't talk to him abut important things in their lives, when he wonders why there is tension is the air when they are together, it just may be because his children stopped sharing long ago."
I am not currently struggling with making peace with Mr F's family. I have come to a quiet peace about how things are and am actually more comfortable now than I was before everything erupted. Sometimes it is the not knowing that is the most tormenting.
But I have other things and relationships that are bubbling away that very much relates to this essay. And it found me at the right time. Because I need to make a decision and not let the underlying stress continue to misdirect itself toward my kids or my spouse. I need to stop worrying about how my actions are perceived by others and start worrying about what action is best for me. Really best. Because always feeling like you have to make someone else's *best* come true while continually sacrificing your own is not ever going to make for a fulfilling relationship... or life. Sometimes doing the "right thing" isn't the right choice for you. That's why I wish I could talk to my therapist. I am in need of a third party stamp of approval that I am entitled to not make a self sacrificial decision for once.
And FOR SURE the finances are not helping matters. Just when you think you've got it under control you hit another stumbling block. And the stress of this past winter is still so raw that even a hint of a problem is enough to get my stomach in knots and for me to want to take to my bed. Not feeling in complete control of this situation is KILLING me.