Yesterday morning I was riding on the bus and ready to cry….
Then I got to the coffee shop ready to cry…
Then I got into work ready to cry…
I just don’t get it. How is it when I make space for myself to cry it doesn’t happen, but right when I don’t need it too and am forced to stuff it down it comes.
The thoughts…. what was I connecting too. I know it was real, and based on the past, not some conjured up vision of something that will never come to pass based on the hypnosis of music and time. It’s much easier to cry by finding the backdoor to connect with the emotion than it is to connect with on my own; I’m sure something profound and damnable can be said for this. Music, anime, reading something sad… all of them help me to connect with the emotion but it’s still outside myself… still…. thoughts… what was I thinking.
Statements such as “what happened to you was not okay” have suddenly taken on a new depth and meaning; no longer do I just silently agree and thank them for their kindness… there’s something to be internalized now. The hardest chapter for me to go through in my recovery work – the precious child in a healthy family, it details what good parenting looks like and suddenly…. images of my childhood resurrect from the grave.
My dad pulling the silent treatment on me when I had a question for him… then I would beg and he’d get angry…. then I’d ask once, wait by his side for a minute or two, and repeat the question again in case he didn’t hear me…. then wait a little longer and say “I love you” to see if he was in fact able to hear me or was ignoring me…. he’d say nothing, and I would leave upset.
My mom…. so many injustices. In a healthy family the parents pay attention to both children to understand their behavioral patterns; she however played favorites based on who the father of the child was, and their sex. I, being the oldest and female, would be shamed for my emotions. I was labeled crazy, unstable, a bitch, and told it’s my fault for being 10, being 12, being 13, and so on.
I remember sitting at the dinner table at my Nana’s house in Orlando – to my left was my brother, to my right and at the head of the table was my dad, and across from me, to my dad’s right was my Nana. I’m *trying to eat her food and I had my elbows on the table… I was uncomfortable sitting there and needed to lean forward, and because of my discomfort I kept forgetting her command and kept putting my elbow on the table. To remedy this situation, Nana stabbed my arm with a fork… and it hurt… a lot. My father who was supposed to protect me and stand up against this injustice instead goes “Well, you should have listened to her – maybe next time you’ll learn.”
Maybe next time I’ll learn…
Maybe next time I’ll know better…
Punishment was swift, brutal, didn’t match the consequences of my actions, and inappropriate for a young child… but eventually I learned…
I learned that every time I was punished, it hurt, and I was a failure. I was a terrible child, and it was all my fault.
I learned every time that love is determined by my ability to obey… there was no repair work, there was no “lets sit down and talk this out” with affection and reinforcing value and self-worth after, only more restrictions.
I’ll never forget the day I got into that fist fight with my step-father when I was 10… his trigger was slammed doors. If you slam it, he will storm in screaming in your face at the top of his lungs, face as red as blood with spit coming out of his mouth… my mother supported it. I punched him so hard they claim I fractured his rib…As awful as it sounds, because it is, I hope I did. They didn’t bother going to the doctors to check it out so who knows if they were telling the truth; manipulation has always been my mothers fondest tactic.
*Note: Syrus is my autistic son, whom I love to death*
Mom: “A friend of mine has 2 boys with autism and works in homeopathic/natropathic medicine; she was telling me about her kids behaviors and how she managed to cure her children of their autism through supplements that they take to remove the excess metals from their brain. Their personality was still the same, but the behaviors were gone.”
Me: *panic coursing through my veins at the rights violations they have committed, threatening my sense of safety and my sons.* “What behaviors exactly are we referring too?”
Mom: “You know, the autistic ones”
Me: “Why would I wan’t to change that?!? Don’t you know how awful this sounds? You’re suggesting I change my son when I love him for who he is, as he is, autism and all, and you still haven’t told me what behaviors you’re referring too. Don’t you know how unethical this sounds?” (I knew she was full of shit at this point and was lying – she has no friends, and she certainly doesn’t have any that match the perfect packages she’s trying to project)
(mom’s boyfriend steps in)
Randy: “Why does it have to be about ethics? This is about medicine, not ethics. We’re not changing him, we’re just trying to make his life better. Do you know how many documentaries I’ve watched of autistic people who were never able to communicate, and then one day they managed to use a computer and finally expressed how much they hated it – don’t you think you’re actually harming your son by not doing this?” (referring to the bullshit videos they asked me to watch on curing autism, which includes, but is not limited too, swallowing ocean water which would kill anyone).
Me: “No, those individuals do not make up the whole of the autism community, especially concerning those who take pride in their autism/aspergers; it’s part of who they are and they take pride in themselves, advocate for one another, and were even outraged when they changed the aspergers diagnosis to autism spectrum disorder because it erased a part of their identity, their community, their culture as a whole – yes, I’ve seen the videos of autistic people able to communicate for the first time through technology, and I work as a DSP advocating for adults with disabilities. They’re an amazing group of people, and so is my son. Please stop shaming me by suggesting I’m harming my child by not “curing” him because I refuse to take up your cause when that’s not my decision to make – thats his to make as an adult, and again, you haven’t told me what behaviors you’re guys are talking about, and it is all about ethics because how you treat people is everything in this world.” (I hope my son never looks at himself as worthless because of his diagnosis, he’s so much more than sensory differences and delayed learning)
At this point my mother precedes to attack my intelligence, and I retort by telling her I’ll talk to her “facebook friend” and asked for her name so I can reach out to her about her experiences “curing” her children (because it either serves to humor my mother or trap her in a corner to prove shes lying – it happened to be the latter of the two).
Mom: “Well, she very hard to get a hold of. I usually just leave a facebook message but it can take upwards of two months until she gets back to me.”
Me: “Thats okay, I’ll do that then. Whats her name so I can leave a message; I mean you told me she found out about Syrus and his autism by going through my facebook and confronting you about it, so if shes so interested in me and my son then you should have no problem with me talking to her. Whats her info”?
She never could give me any information… in the end it was a giant lie. She didn’t have a friend with autistic children who worked in holistic medicine, she was referring to herself digging thorough bull-shit bogus medical videos and crap and wanted to experiment on my son to make herself feel better about being a grandmother. Shes told me more than once she feels uncomfortable being around him because of his disability, and wont take any time to spend with him alone… you know, what grandparents are supposed to do. 😦
No family support. I spent my life raising her kids… Jamie crying his eyes out because he missed her, cognoscenti enough as children to blame my dad and say it was his fault we were taken from her (kidnapped), but not old enough to know she threw us away in exchange for dating her high school bully who eventually beat the shit out of her…
I still haven’t explored much of my relationship with my dad at all in therapy. Trying to keep the codependent/love addict modal in place, knowing full well how the cycle goes, I’m a love addict, my mom is a love avoidant, and the #1 complaint I’d hear about my dad from women is how needy and clingy he is… and he is. He’s a love addict too. At 13 I’m sitting in his car watching him ball his eyes out wailing out loud 2 years later over my uncles suicide… my dad found him. He’s banging on the steering wheel mourning the loss of his brother and I felt so powerless… so hopeless… I’m so sorry for your loss daddy…. I’m sorry you had to be the one to find him…. but I’m so proud of you in your recovery work too. It’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to cry… if only I had the ability and know-how to say that too him, but I was 13… theres no way I could have…
But I digress… none of this is meant to blame, but connect with pain… thoughts that bring me to the cliff where I can cry; the emotional precipice where I can connect with my inner child that I rejected.
I remember lying in my bed for ages when I was in 5th grade… so about 10. I hated everyone and everything, and was when I attempted my only suicide attempt.
I look at my son… he’s 7… I was just a baby… a baby who wanted to die. What could I know of life, other than shame, blame, and no healing to be found.
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself”
I’m not… I’m a child in grieving. I lost my mother as a child, and then I found out she didn’t want me. I was kidnapped as a child by a man who’s supposed to be my father, but I had no real relationship with him… and it was nothing but dominance and control. My sense of self-worth and value based on my ability to follow commands.
I’m terrified I do this to my son, but it’s so hard to raise an autistic child… the parental handbook goes out the door.I’m thankful I’m not the mother my mom is, but I’m terrified I’m an awful mother… it’s so hard to find the balance. I dont want my son to hate me the way I hate my mother… nor do I want him to chronically live with the feeling that he’ll never be good enough as I do with my dad.
This. These are the tears I needed. They’re not heavy… the dams not broken… but the seed has been planed.
I guess it’s time to start working out of that breaking free workbook…. I need a more guided measure to connect with this pain and find the injustice. It’s one thing to be told what happened to me as a child was not okay and then rationalize it with the strengths I developed as a result of pain…. it’s another thing to feel it for myself… the very thing I stuffed away as a child. The very reason I grew up hating everyone… this is it… no one was there to comfort me or mourn my loss, to feel my pain or contextualize it and put it in it’s proper place to allow for healthy grieving. I carried blackness in my soul to protect me; if I didn’t feel the pain then I can mechanically get through my life until I turn 18 and leave this shit hole. Everyday was a countdown to when I could move out. Every. Damn. Day.
I wish I could apologize to the people I pushed away with my problems… I was a child looking for healing putting too much on others because there were no adults to help lead me through this…. especially him. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to apologize to profusely to him for the baggage I dumped on him…
No one taught me healthy boundaries…. but then again, looking at everything that’s unfolded in his world… there’s a journey of healing that awaits him, and I wish him the best of luck. If only I understood what was really going on…
Once I realize what was not okay in my upbringing, I’ll be able to establish whats not okay in how I’m treated as an adult…. this is the root of self-respect.