Lost

It’s been nearly a week since I wrote here because I’ve just had too much swirling around in my head to make sense of any of it. Last week my father called my husband again and left another voicemail. This time it was to say that he was bringing my nephew up to his other grandparents for Thanksgiving (they live 2 hours from me and he has to pass through on the way there). He wanted to know if we could meet for lunch “so my nephew could see me”. I was immediately torn. It’s been over 6 months. Other issues came up for me. On one hand, I think he’s somewhat of a fool to ask when he has shown no sign of missing me, being sorry, or willingness to change. On the other, I almost want the opportunity to give him a piece of my mind in person. I was having a lot of trouble with this and I asked my husband to call and find out if his return trip was an option (because he had suggested a day we both have to work and I definitely need my husband there if I do this) and what my nephew wanted for his birthday. They played phone tag and it became apparent that my father is hiding the calls from my sister. I’m not sure how to explain how much or why that hurts. Except that the fight in March that led to this involved him choosing my sister. He watched her physically and verbally hurt me and stood there refusing to speak up though I begged him to. I feel like that’s the way my whole life has gone. I’ve always had to fight for the smallest bit of attention and it just hurts too much to feel like I was never wanted and it hurts now to think about being somewhere I’m not wanted. I’ve developed a defensive mechanism – I need people to come to me, I can’t reach out because I can’t handle more rejection. It’s destroying all kinds of relationships in my life. Anyway, my father finally called at a normal time of day and wasn’t able to give my husband any details about his travel plans other than a sob story about having to stay in a motel over Thanksgiving because he couldn’t make the drive up and back and up and back again so close. The truth is, he should have given up driving a while back and it scares me for him to be driving my nephew around every day. The truth is, my sister should be taking care of her own child. And yet one sob story that’s left on the voicemail every time is that “neither daughter is speaking to me”. What can I say? My sister has walked all over everyone her entire life and he refuses to stand up to her or to make her stand on her own two feet. They live together and he pays all the bills and provides all of the child care while she verbally abuses him day in and day out. I finally accepted that I can’t make either of them change a long time ago. I guess I had harbored some hope that walking out of my father’s live might be a tiny wake up call but I was wrong.

Combined with the stress the whole situation with my father brings, my husband and I were struggling too. He can be inconsiderate sometimes but there is one disagreement we have that never seems to stop. He cannot help around the house and he cannot pick up after himself. I wake up every day to a dirty house and it stresses me out. I know that I’m sensitive to it and I’ve tried explaining it to him. He always promises to do better but he never follows through for more than a day. He can’t seem to grasp that it makes me feel like he doesn’t care about me because he clearly doesn’t care about something that is important to me.

On Sunday things were starting to boil over. My husband asked me what was wrong and I told him I didn’t want to talk about it. I said this because I knew my bad mood was not all his fault and I was trying to move past it. He insisted on pushing me over and over again until it devolved into a fight. He just couldn’t give me a moment’s space and I ended up saying I didn’t want to go out with him that evening because I didn’t want to be around him. Later in the afternoon I asked him what he wanted to do and he blew me off. Normally I would have apologized and kissed his a$$ and made everything better but he’s been so irritable lately and he never apologizes, he never makes the first move to resolve a fight and I was frustrated and tired of feeling like I was the only one who wanted to fix things. So we stayed home. Later as we started bickering again he made it clear that he had really wanted to go and he was really mad about not going. I felt/feel horrible. I feel like I ruin everything for us. I fought off tears for hours before going to bed. This morning I woke up depressed. All I wanted was to reach out for him, to find some comfort, but I didn’t because I know he’s still mad. And I’m still fighting the tears.

Between the situation with my father, the situation with my husband, the ending of a long term friendship last week, and a stressful period at work, I just feel lost. I don’t know where I am or where I’m going. Unfortunately when the depression comes barreling in like this, I don’t necessarily care. I feel like staying lost.

Little Earthquakes

On Tuesday I was talking about how I lashed out at a friend over email. Well his next email was worse, it felt like a personal attack on one hand but also a prime example of what I have been telling him I don’t like about our friendship on the other. I gave myself over two hours before I responded. And then I was brutally honest with my thoughts. I’ve felt for over 6 months that this friendship was coming to an end and I was ready to be done. We’ve both changed and in very different directions. I’ve even told him several times over the last few months how I felt and I didn’t know why we were still friends. That sounds harsh but I said it a little bit nicer. My brutal honestly made up for months of putting everything as nicely as possible. He chose to take something very personal and throw it back in my face. It confirmed to me that I was doing the right thing. I think I only held on so long because I don’t have very many friends and he is one of only two that I knew prior to my mother dying. I have to quit holding on to the past. It’s not like he ever even met her and we weren’t close yet when she died. He made a point then of dropping off a deli tray but only when he knew that no one would be there. I think I still resent that, that he couldn’t show more support than that. The other thing I really resent was a big letdown. We had just moved back and were staying an hour and a half from here but I had finally found a job here and he said I could sleep on his couch until I had the money to get an apartment. Then the day before I am to begin work, he calls and says I can’t stay there the first few nights because he has other company. I lost my trust then and I bounced around for a couple weeks before finding a room to sublet. He never could understand why it bothered me so much. The last few years we’ve seen each other less and less. He’s only met my husband twice in the 7 years we’ve been together. I finally realized that regardless of having been friends for that long, it wasn’t a healthy relationship. Sometimes it was even toxic. I can’t say that I don’t feel a void in my life but I don’t miss him either. I just miss having more people to talk to I think.

I talked to my therapist at yesterday’s appointment and she said something that really resonated with me. I’m going through a lot of changing and growing and it’s a lot like an earthquake. Things like this will happen the same way tremors and aftershocks happen. I have to be prepared for it and make my choices thoughtfully so that I don’t do something I regret. I’m glad I took a couple of hours to make such a big decision and I don’t regret it.

Annoyed

One of my new office mates that I know I’m cool with is out yesterday and today. The other, who I knew would be a small issue, is working my nerves already. She talks to herself all day long and then sometimes she actually expects me to answer instead of answering herself. I can’t tell the difference, she uses the same voice for everything. It takes her 5 minutes to say something that might take anyone else 1 minute because she has to stare at the ceiling in deep thought between her words. And then rephrase what she said just to make sure. The extra phone lines have not been moved yet and she kept picking up the phone while I was on it earlier trying to get someone to come give us some help mapping networks. She also tends to take advantage of anyone she can to do grunt work for her. I was warned about that when I took this job and, so far, have managed to stick to my own work. I will have to set the precedent all over again now that we’re sharing space. I don’t mind helping a coworker at all but she is the type who will ask you to sharpen her pencils for her (fortunately that happened to someone other than me). I think we’ll be fine once we settle in, it’s just a trying week here.

Unfortunately all of this has made me grumpy and I’m being snappy with friends instead of supportive. I usually am just honest with them but I don’t feel like I can be when I feel this way because I have a tendency to be more mean than honest. I just don’t have the energy to deal sometimes. I know, I’m a horrible friend. I try to be as supportive as I can but I often feel like I give more than I get and then I get tired of trying so hard. This is why I have so few friends now. And I avoid making new ones. I know I don’t have the capacity to be a good friend right now, I can’t even take care of myself. Most days I am just too worn down to care about myself so extending that to others just isn’t possible right now. I hope it will be someday though.

I’m looking forward to therapy Thursday. Not that it will be a necessarily positive session but a needed one. Truly, I probably need to go much more often than I do. The two nightmares I posted on here have been the absolute worst but it seems I’m having smaller scale nightmares most nights now and I’m exhausted. When I’m exhausted, I eat more and get even grumpier. I’m more emotional and snap easier. Like I just did with a friend on email. I read what he said and anger and disgust just overwhelmed me. I lashed out and hit send without thinking twice. Granted, when I feel this way, it often takes me hours to think twice.

Just Venting

Today I finally got fully moved into my new “corner”. I ended up having to move all of the computer equipment myself so my back is tight and throbbing. I had hoped to avoid this and take as few muscle relaxers as possible. Now, if my boss had told me I would be moving back when she decided instead of waiting until the last possible minute, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Now that I’m in here, I realize I will be spending tomorrow cleaning. It’s so dusty! I’m suddenly congested and my eyes are watering but it appears to only be the dust so it’s fixable. My office-mate is not here today or tomorrow so I have a little time to settle in on my own. Mexican food was provided for lunch so now I’m dealing with heartburn and upset stomach as well. So let’s review: felt pretty good this morning. Currently: back is throbbing, head is aching, nose is running, chest burns and stomach is doing somersaults. If ever there was a time I wish I could call in sick without getting in trouble!

So how do I know my boss decided I was moving well before she told me? We were in the main office last Thursday and she mentions that she had ordered the new chair especially for me since I was moving back. Well the orders take a least a week, then the chair has to be put together, and it had already been sitting there for several days and no one had said anything. I have one other problem with this chair. She ordered the “big & tall” chair. While I appreciate her trying to be thoughtful, it’s huge compared to the others so it’s embarrassing. I wasn’t having any problems with the others either. I’m kind of insulted and yet I don’t really understand why since obviously my weight is no secret. I guess maybe if she had said something first? I just don’t know. I made a point to thank her this morning to see what she would say (and because I really do appreciate the thought behind it) and she was very pleasant but just a little awkward. Oh well, life goes on and I see my therapist later this week.

Changes

Yesterday afternoon I was told I would be giving up my office today and moving back into the pit to make room for a new administrator. The “pit” is the main office. It has 4 desks and currently 3 women, one of whom is my supervisor. I call them the mean girls club. I think that they are mentally stuck in high school and they’re the girls in the clique that whisper behind everyone’s backs. I sat out there when I first took this job and at first it was okay. Then they got comfortable with me. They’re loud and obnoxious and catty. Then came a conversation on instant messenger about another coworker that escalated to my supervisor jokingly saying she wished this other coworker would die. There is also a problem with the layout. The last desk simply doesn’t fit so the chair is in a walkway. There is no privacy, no personal space, and you’re constantly bumped into. This was a particularly difficult situation for me since I am already very self conscious of my weight and felt like I was in the way. I told my supervisor and our department administrator (the decision maker) that I was very distracted and unproductive in that environment. Within days we had a plan for me to move into an office once a doctor moved. They warned me that when we ran out of space I might have to give it up.

The problem is that over the course of the months I’ve had this office, I’ve developed such a problem with these women. I’m nice to them and they are polite to me. But they were unhappy I didn’t want to be part of the club and they made it obvious. One of them doesn’t even look at me or say hello. They “forget” to include me in department lunches. I watch them have their whispered conversations and disappear for hours at a time together. When the department administrator told me I had to move back in there, I said okay. I said I could deal with it. What choice did I have? I walked back to my office and it hit me and I cried. I fought the tears for nearly two hours while emailing friends and my husband. I feared for my mental health and I simply can’t afford to leave this job. I would find another job, but the job market here is still bleak.

Finally I sent a message to the one friend I have in this department and we took a 15 minute walk and talked about it. She brainstormed ideas with me and we came up with some potential options that I may have been blinded to if I had stayed in that place of mental turmoil. I was nervous about approaching the administrator but then I happened to run into her in the bathroom. I kept it casual and just made the suggestion that I move in with another coworker. Now, the girls here really don’t like this coworker and can’t understand voluntarily being around her. I’ll take some grief for that. But, if I can’t have my own office, I feel it’s the lesser of two evils. Truthfully, she’s not that bad. And we won’t be face to face, it’s an L-shaped office and she’s in the short section and I’m at the far end of the long section. She also works 10-7 while I work 8-5 and she’s out and about quite a bit. I will have to share the long side of the L with a part-timer but he’s a friendly, quiet guy who also chose to work in there rather than in the pit so I have no hesitation about sharing space with him.

It’s not perfect. But it’s tolerable and will keep me here in my job. It will keep me from dreading coming to work every day. I’m disappointed in my initial reaction but glad I recovered in a matter of hours. I’ve mentioned this to my therapist but we haven’t had time to delve into the issue of why I react so strongly to everything. Maybe next week we should take some time to explore it.

Remembering

The day my mother died was sunny. I know it was cold and windy, and even though it was early January, I remember feeling the warmth from the sun that Saturday.

I was in the car with my soon-to-be-ex-husband. We were working through some of our issues and I was driving. My father called and asked me to meet him at the hospital because my mother was having chest pain. I took my ex back to his car and then headed to the hospital. I remember not being ready for my family to know that he and I were on friendly terms. I don’t remember if my sister was already at the hospital when I got there.

My dad told me that they had a fight that morning. He told my mom that “one of them would have to croak or they would have to get divorced”. She had been in her bedroom and had decided to get up and take the dog for a walk. He saw her from the master bathroom window. She came back inside and told him her chest was hurting, especially in her back. He called an ambulance.

She had flirted with the paramedics. My sister wandered in and out of the waiting room. She was talking to her boyfriend on the phone for most of the time. My dad was getting hysterical and had to go sit in the waiting room. It was just me and my mom and I was holding her hand. I got to tell her I loved her. She told me she knew she wasn’t going home. She was afraid. I told her she was wrong.

She squeezed my hand tight when the pain came. I don’t remember letting go. I just know I was moved aside by the nurses when she coded. I was standing outside the curtain crying when the nurse said she was sorry and walked out to the waiting room with me.

My dad broke down immediately. He saw my face and he knew. They took us to a small room and various people came in to talk to us. I don’t remember saying much of anything to them. The organ donor coordinator came in and I didn’t argue when my sister said that my mom wanted to be an organ donor. I still don’t know if I believe her. Some of my mom’s closest friends stopped by. My sister had started calling them immediately. I was in shock at the time but now I don’t understand doing that. It seems better to spend time with family first, to let it sink in. I don’t remember the rest of the day, any of it.

I know in the following days I spent a lot of time at my parent’s house. It seemed there was nearly always a house full of people. I remember sitting on the kitchen counter in the corner. A guy I had just started casually dating came to the house and he was very supportive in those days. He met my parents for the first time the night before my mom died. He spent time with my father but my mom had gone out to dinner with a friend. She said hello to him when she came home but said she was tired and went up to bed right away.

It was my almost-ex-husband that came to the funeral with me. He was family. Afterwards there wasn’t room in the family car for me for the 3-hour drive to the burial. It was my dad’s niece who rode with him, my sister and her boyfriend. So my husband made the drive with me. On the return trip we weren’t invited when they stopped for lunch at a german restaurant.

It’s ironic, the past couple weeks of my life I have realized the hurt my mother caused me and started to deal with it. I have always acutely felt the pain from my sister and often from my father. But I am only now realizing how much of an over-arching theme this has been in my life. I know that I need to forgive in order to heal but I haven’t reached the point yet where I’ve figured out how to do that. Maybe it will come naturally as I work through this process.

Last week I felt like the grieving finally started. I’ve learned that I have to accept my mom for who she was rather than pretending she was perfect. I’ve identified why I hurt so much. I’ve written her a letter I can’t send. But I didn’t know how to grieve. I’ve spent my time wondering how to make that happen so that I have a chance of moving forward. Maybe you can’t make it happen. Maybe you just have to open yourself up to feeling everything you’ve been denying.

Last week I got in bed and I was holding the teddy bear my husband gave me and I thought about how I always get my stuffed Frosty the Snowman out when I’m sad about my mom and especially through the holiday season. I left him on the shelf but it made me start thinking about my mom and my grandmother. And for the first time last night I could remember how it felt to hold both their hands. I cried hard for an hour.

I feel like I’m grieving for the first time. And I don’t like being this sad person but I know I need to let it be for awhile. I need to give it time to sink in. She’s never coming back and I can’t change the past. But I can forgive the past in due time. Maybe that will come naturally when I’m ready the same way grief has come.

Forgiveness and Rejection

I got stuck mid-week. I was at a point where I had processed my feelings about my mom but I didn’t know where to go from there. Is forgiveness the next step on the road to healing? I’m not sure it’s necessary as I don’t harbor ill will towards her. I don’t really know how to forgive. Maybe I already have without a conscious effort. Forgiveness is a problem for me regardless of whether it’s necessary in this instance. There are a lot of other things in my life that I need to forgive because I’m holding on tightly to the hurt.

I had a therapy appointment yesterday afternoon. We talked about the progress I’ve made with this issue and how it relates to so much of my life. Many people have hurt me in much the same way, it’s kind of a theme. And I don’t trust because of it. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. My therapist classifies it as a fear of abandonment. I’m not sure I feel that abandonment is the right word, maybe rejection is more accurate, but our time was up. She asked me to think about how I deal with this fear and how I should deal with it.

I know that I deal with it by typically leaving people before they can leave me. In more recent years, I simply don’t let people get close to begin with. I have a constant fear that my expectations will never be met, that people will always let me down. And so often, that’s exactly what happens.

It’s finally becoming clear that most of the problems in my marriage are mine. I fought to leave my husband for the first three years but I didn’t really have anywhere to go and he held on tight. I’m so grateful that he did. I still have my problems, and I still start a lot of fights, but it’s the only relationship in my life with any security. And yet, I fear if I was 100% honest with him, that he would leave. And I would deserve it.