There were several factors that went into bringing me to a point of crisis, again.
First and foremost, sleep deprivation. 3 hours of sleep twice in 3 nights is not a good state of affairs when someone is mentally and emotionally fragile. We’d told the kids about the divorce, and then had to try carrying on as normal in order to help ease them back to a feeling of calm and safety. I was having to spend a lot of time with my husband due to him either being on holiday or working from home while the kids are on break. The stress was enormous.
On the 31st, I’d had a conversation with a friend that also happens to be a lawyer. I wasn’t asking for legal advice. When my husband posted about the divorce on facebook, he’d asked people for advice about helping kids through divorce. Our mutual friend offered to talk about that with him, and I wanted our friend to be aware that my husband wasn’t necessarily going to be honest or receptive, depending on the information he received. I wanted to make sure my friend was aware that if my husband said anything about me or why the relationship was ending, that my friend should reach out and get my side of things.
I had a little bit of a breakdown during the conversation. Told him that my choice might be ‘homeless and unemployed’ but knowing that my children were in a financially stable situation with a parent that does love them, or take him to court and see him spiral out, potentially losing his job and then ending up on welfare with my children.
He couldn’t give me legal advice, but did urge me to arrange to see a lawyer. Since my husband took control of our finances he recommended I see about getting family to help me out, which led to me revealing that the one family member that might be able to help pay for a lawyer had a very negative opinion of me and appeared to be getting friendly with my husband. The rest of my friends and family that would want to help are struggling, financially.
In addition, I’d been thinking about the advice my therapist had given me. That I needed to think about what I wanted and create a vision to pursue. This backfired in a huge way. In a general way, I want to be happy and independent. When it came to specifics, all I could think about were things I want that just aren’t feasible for me to obtain.
I’d been watching our 13 year old working on breading shrimp and chicken. He loves to cook and wants to challenge himself. That reminded me of the person I’ve fallen in love with, who also likes to cook. I had an involuntary image flash to mind of the two of them bonding over cooking, and it went straight to my heart.
I’d told myself I wasn’t looking for someone to be in a step-parent role for my children, or even interact with the kids if they didn’t want to – and yet when I saw that image in my mind, I wanted that – to build the kind of relationship with the person I’m in love with so that they’d be okay spending time around my children, too. Only luck and chance will give it to me, though, I can’t make it happen.
The other things I want aren’t easily achieved, either, and often rely on luck and chance as well. Plus, at that moment in time, I couldn’t even summon ‘want’ for much at all. Want was a source of trauma. Want was a source of pain. Want was a reminder of deprivation. I can’t motivate myself with a vision of things I want when there’s no way to control achieving those things.
There was also the personal realization I’d had – I’m not really an extremely honest person that gets TMI because she can’t help it. Being excessively honest and TMI is a trauma response. When I was a child, and had “sinned” I would try to keep it a secret. My parents couldn’t punish me for things they didn’t know about, after all. The problem, of course, was that God knew my sin. It would weigh on me. As time went on pressure would build to confess my sin. My conscience would begin eating me alive. I would eventually feel physically ill trying to keep my sin a secret, at which point I’d break down and confess to one of my parents.
Confession would remove the weight of guilt. I would stop feeling physically ill. Being excessively honest and TMI was my psyche’s way of avoiding the painful emotions and physical illness associated with guilt and secrets. You can’t have secret guilt build until you’re ready to explode from anxiety if you just don’t keep secrets.
I’d been reliving other childhood memories, too. Traumatic, painful memories. Memories of events that had shaped the person I became. Events I couldn’t control.
The cherry on this shit sundae came early in the morning after my 3 hours of sleep, while I was scrolling facebook trying to distract myself.
There was a post from my husband about our youngest, and my mom and little sister had both commented.
They haven’t interacted with me since Thanksgiving. They didn’t interact with my post announcing the divorce. They haven’t texted, or messaged, or phoned. They have made no effort to reach out to me, but they’ll sit there and have pleasant conversations with my ex.
I had no barrier, no resilience to protect me in that moment. The hurt went straight for my heart and tears started streaming down my face. I shared the screen shot in the group with A, M & my sister J, just to vent in that moment. When my sister J saw it later, she offered excuses for my mom – things like that my mom is probably just worried if she doesn’t play nice with my husband, he might not let her interact with her grandkids. That, of course, doesn’t explain why she hasn’t bothered reaching out to me. She could do both, after all.
This is how it goes, though. People in my family offer excuses for my mom’s behavior and beliefs. They shelter and protect and defend her – which wouldn’t be such a big deal if that sheltering didn’t come with denial of my reality and a refusal to acknowledge the traumatic impact of my mom’s choices and the way she raised us.
The emotional pain became physical. My chest hurt. I had to sit by and watch as people that should want to show care and support for me ignored me instead.
(Looks like I’ll need to make this a 3 parter if I don’t want the individual parts to get excessive in length.)