just thinking

I ahven’t written in forever, and I don’t really know what I”m going to write right now, but I felt I needed an outlet. The last few months have been crazy. From new jobs, to panic attacks, to Robby being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, and now to me home with a concussion.

We’ve been trying to do so much better, with me not taking care of him and with him making smart and healthy decisions, but it doestn’t feel like we’ve made much headway. He’s still overspending and over eating. And I”m still picking up the slack when I know I souldn’t. ANd I think this concussion has really made me realize all that. Because I should be willing to let him take care of me. I should be excited for him to take care of me. But other than him worrying about me, I don’t feel very taken care of. I feel very lonely. ANd i know that the concussion has messed up my emotions, but it’s all just so much to deal with. I’m getting scared we won’t be able to move because of the overspending. I”m worried we’ll never be out of debt becuase of the overspending. I’m worried he’ll never get healthy and I’ll lose him too soon. And it really hurt today when he said he’d noticed that I could stand to lose some weight. I know that I’m big, and I’ve been working on gettin ghealthier. I went back to zumba and I still go for walks, but that just felt like a knife in the gut. I know i need to get healthier, and I’m trying. BUt it felt like he was criticizing me when he doesn’t even try. he’s spent over 60$ on fast food just in the last two weeks. I wanted to spend that money on paying down the credit card or at least put it in savings, but now it’s gone. And it doesn’t feel fair. Because it’s my money too. I know I don’t make much, but that doesn’t give him the right to waste all the money. Plus, I never get treats. He’s eating out pretty much all the time and I’m eating left overs (that I made) til I”m sick of them because I do’nt want the food to go to waste. ANd i know i should have brought this all up with him sooner. It’s my fault for letting it fester. But it’s got to stop.

And i’ve really been struggling with being off work this week for this stupid concussion. I know I needed the time off, but i didn’t want it. I lve my work and I want to be there. ANd i’m afraid that by missing this work they won’t want to hire me. I also realized that this reminds me too much of when i was a kid and would stay home. SOmetimes I was actuall sick, but most of the time it wsa the depression. And i always felt like a dailure. Life i was in trouble. Because I’d always have to go to the dr for a note and it always made me feel like I was messing up. Also, it felt like by not being at school, I was giving the other kids more reasons to hate me. I believed taht if i wasn’t a school, then i coudln’t prove that I was worth something. Like by not trying to show my value (to people I didn’t even like) that I was actually losing y value as a person. ANd of course that just made the depression worse. Part of me wants to go back to work tomorrow, part of me thinks i’m not ready, and a thrid part thinks that I’ll never be ‘ready’ and I’ll just have to dive in. I know once I actually get back to work, I’ll start to feel better. Being in a routine always helps. But im’ so scared. And I’m scared I won’t be able to handle it and i’ll either get worse or i’ll have panic attacks again. Becuase i kind of feel on the edge of a panic attack now. I just want to hide and cry. I just want to feel safe and supported and valued. I just don’t want to feel like everything is broken.

Advertisements

Frustrating Fish

So a few weeks ago my co-worker friend T told me about a program called Pets in the Classroom, where you can apply for a grant to get a pet for the classroom.

Super cool right?

Well, the only catch, was that my boss wouldn’t let me get anything other than fish (lame), but I really wanted to add more nature to my room, so I went ahead. I’ve had fish and I’ve never had any trouble with them, so I wasn’t too worried. I filled out the forms, got the confirmation, and got my coupons in the mail. I was super excited, and so were my kids.

So Robby and I went to the pet store and picked out the tank and all the supplies and set it up in the classroom. We let it sit for a week to get acclimated, like you’re supposed to, and went and got our fishies the next weekend. We picked out a snail and a green cory catfish to help clean the tank, and we also got fancy guppies, thinking they would be a simple but pretty fish and they could have babies for the kids to watch.

Boy were we wrong.

One male died before the weekend was over (we purposefully got them on a long weekend so that if any kicked it we could get them out before the kids saw them), then another died later that week after some really weird symptoms. She would swim upside-down, fall to the gravel, only use one fin. It was weird. Then the kids and I noticed that the other fish had cuts in their fins and were missing some of the color on their fins. The male used to have a big beautiful polka-dot tail and by the end of the week the center of it was completely plain.

Robby came in Saturday and looked at the fish (he showed fish tanks in 4H, cause apparently that’s a thing) and he said he thought they had fin rot, so off we went to the pet store again. The fish lady agreed, and said if we wanted to try and save them we could use a medicine tablet, so we got it, gave it to the fish, and went home. The next day (Sunday) they all looked way worse. Huge chunks of their tails and fins were missing, and a few of them were swimming wrong. The fin rot was too advanced, so we ended up doing a mercy flush, and went back to the pet store again.

This time we got 2 mollies and a platy. I had mollies when I was in high school and I loved them. They lived a long time, they had lots of babies, they were easy to care for. But the male dalmation molly died later that week. The other two seemed to be doing well, and the kids named the fish; Molly for the black female molly, and Swimmy for the platy.

Well, we noticed that Molly kept biting Swimmy. And every time, the kids would completely freak out. I mean, yelling, screaming, the whole nine yards. Crazy levels of freak out. And, of course, today Swimmy died.

So now I get to explain, again, that we lost a fish.

And I am worn out. I thought getting fish would be a fun thing for the class. That the kids would go “cool, fish” and move on to the next thing, and if one died, then I would eventually replace it. But they are FLIPPING OUT over EVERYTHING. And they want me to fix EVERYTHING with these fish. I get that some of these kids haven’t experienced loss, and that’s fine. But I can’t handle 15 kids screaming and yelling at me about the fish every 2 minutes. I can’t take the guilt that I couldn’t save the fish. Again. I can’t take the pressure that I have to be responsible for not only the fish, but for making sure all of the kids are okay.

And I feel like I’m failing.

Because I can’t keep these stupid fish alive. I can’t explain why they are dying. Or I can, but I can’t do anything about it. And I can’t keep the kids from being upset, or help them feel better. And I can’t handle the kids freaking out about the fish and do the rest of my job.

I’m getting grouchy and short tempered. I feel like I’m unravelling at the edges. I just want the fish to live, for things to be simple. For the kids not to freak out.

I just want peace.

I don’t want to feel like I’m failing.

The Bad Guy

To me, our family has always been the most important thing. Rob and I are meant to take care of each other, and that includes our family and our home.

But I keep feeling as though I’m the only one who is truly making the effort to take care of our family and home. I’m getting so frustrated of having to do everything.

Of having to constantly talk him into going to work. I get that you don’t necessarily want to go, or that you’re tired or feel like crap, but you still have to work unless it is absolutely not possible. Working is a part of life. It’s necessary to keep our life going. We can’t pay our bills or buy groceries or even live in our house without our jobs.

I am beyond grateful that he worked for those years I was unable to because of the PTSD. He went above and beyond for our family, and I don’t understand why ever since then he has pulled back from being an active part of our family. Actually, it was during those years that he supported us that he started to pull back from being a member of our family. He worked, but that was about it. Slowly, I did more and more until I was doing everything for him. He even admitted that he was taking advantage of me.

I just don’t understand. Was it that he felt resentful? Overwhelmed? Overburdened? Does he need to lean on me now like I leaned on him then? I just don’t understand. I wish he would tell me.

I hate feeling like I am forcing him to be a part of our family. Like I am the bad guy. Part of me wants to just let it go. If he doesn’t want to be part of us, part of our family, then I shouldn’t make him. Because I am so hurt, and so tired of this fight. But another part of me can’t let it go. I feel like if I don’t make him go to work and don’t tell him that his apathy hurts me then it will get worse. That it will fall apart. But it feels like things are falling apart, because I don’t want to be the bad guy. Because it’s been years and he keeps doing it.

And I keep being the bad guy.

Little ‘T’ Trauma

Lori and I have been talking about my need to protect myself for the last few weeks, and my view on why I feel the need to protect myself, and she thinks that I am suffering from something called “Little ‘T’ (t) Trauma”.

Big T trauma (Trauma) is a horrific event. A person who is gang raped, someone who survived the 9/11 attacks, being in war. Something that would be horrifying to anyone. Something that you would expect anyone to get counseling for.

Little T trauma (trauma) is an ongoing scarring event. Being bullied your entire childhood, an overly critical parent, living in a household with an alcoholic or addict. Something that causes your reactions to become ingrained overtime into the very nature of you, so much so that you don’t even realize that you’re different.

Lori thinks–and it makes sense now that I look at it–that the extreme bullying and ostracization I experienced from 2nd grade on developed into a case of Little T trauma and I have never really recovered from it. It’s why sharing things about myself makes me feel vulnerable and unsafe. Why I don’t like to talk about myself, especially my struggles. Why I always feel as though I have to keep everyone at arms length and even have a hard time opening up to my husband and my family. Why I can’t for the life of me ask for help even when I know someone is treating me in a damaging way. Why I have this overwhelming fear of telling people what I need. Why I am terrified of showing any kind of weakness or flaw, because a part of me is just waiting for someone to turn that against me.

And I always thought that the kids who turned on me just liked him better. I thought they looked at my story (the truth: he abused me) and his story (the lie: I made up the story that he abused me to get him into trouble because I was ‘mad at him’ for him ‘breaking up’ with me in 1st grade) and just decided to take his side.

I thought it was a normal kid argument. You see it all the time: Kid A and Kid B argue, A says one thing, B says the opposite. The class takes sides. A few days (or hours) later, it’s all over and everyone is friends again.

But they never got over it.

They never decided to be my friends again.

I kept thinking ‘maybe this is the day they’ll be my friends’. Maybe this time they’ll include me. Maybe this time they won’t tease me. Maybe this time I won’t be the brunt of the joke. Maybe this time when I trust them, they won’t torture me. Maybe this time, maybe this time.

But this time never came.

Ever.

And I could never figure out why. I didn’t make sense. And I kept trying. For years. I know it sounds pathetic, but I just kept thinking that somehow, someday, I would discover the right thing to do, to say, something, anything to make it all go away. But it just never happened. They were always against me. It never got better, I just moved away.

And as I talked to Lori and told her that I could tie the bullying to the very day that I came to school and the kids had all turned against me because they believed him, she pointed out something I had never realized before. They only ever heard the lie.

After I told my parents what he had done to me, they held me out of school for a day. From what I know, they contacted the school and he was sent to a counseling session. I can clearly remember being terrified to go back to school. I didn’t want to face him. I didn’t want to face anyone. They were all going to judge me. I was convinced everyone would hate me. I know he had told me that everyone would hate me if I told, but my parents didn’t hate me, so I don’t know why I was so scared to go back to school, but man was I scared. I don’t remember if they kept me out a second day, or just part of a day, or what, but I remember them telling me that I didn’t have to tell anyone why I wasn’t there or what had happened. That it was nobody’s business but mine, and they didn’t need to know. That the teacher’s weren’t going to tell the students, and that he shouldn’t tell anyone either, so there was no reason to be scared to go back to school. So I went. But the moment I walked into the classroom, everything was different. I could feel the difference in the room, and I remember seeing the kids across the room whispering together and I immediately felt afraid. The girl–who until that day was my best friend–came up to me and said (in an extremely superior and condescending voice) “He told us what you did” and swear I could feel the world drop from under my feet. What I did?

What I did?! I had never been more confused in my life.

I asked her what she meant and that was when she told me. That he has told everyone that I made up the story that he had abused me just to get even with him because he had broken up with me the year before. I tried to tell her that I didn’t make up anything, but she didn’t believe me. She walked away and I remember standing there at my little yellow locker, just fighting down the panic and the sorrow.

I always figured that somehow the truth had gotten out and he had panicked and tried to counter it with the lie he told, and they chose him and the lie. But, as Lori pointed out, they probably never heard the truth. Other than that one little girl, I never talked to anyone. They never heard the truth. So, to them, his lie was fact. In the minds of all those kids, I was a vicious liar just trying to hurt their friend. I hate that anyone could think that I was capable of purposely hurting someone. Because the exact opposite is true. He hurt me. I was just trying to get help. It feels like he was punishing me for trying to get help.

And he didn’t even need to tell that lie. No one would have known why he was pulled out of school. There was no reason to do that other than to be malicious. He went to everyone before I was even back at school and told this giant lie just to purposefully hurt me. How can someone be that evil? I can accept that the abuse was a reaction to him being abused, but telling that lie was more damaging to me than anything else, and that was just done out of spite.

He cost me my childhood. I didn’t have a childhood, I barely survived it. And I can never get that back. And I just have to keep trying to heal, trying to recover from what he did to me. And it’s just so unfair because there is no justice. I never did anything wrong and I am left to pay the consequences. I am suffering. I have to work to heal, fight to heal, pay to heal. My life has been damaged, broken, and all I can do is live with it. More than anything, I just want justice and I feel like I will never get it.

Because I’m still living in this trauma. Still expecting everyone to be against me. Still feeling like it’s not safe to trust anyone, because the second I do, they’re going to turn on me. And legally there is no way to get justice. It’s past the statute of limitations. It doesn’t matter that he sexually abused me, it’s been too long. And in any case, there is no documentation because no case was ever opened (which makes me wonder if the school believed him). And I highly doubt there would be a way to get justice for the bullying that was caused because of his lie, even if I had reported it at the time. I hate knowing that he did these horrible things to me and got away with them.

I hate that the more I understand what happened to me the more broken I feel.

 

That’s Not What You Say

I published my piece How It’s Supposed To Be on Facebook yesterday, both as a note on my page, and to a group I belong to called M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) (their FB page is here) . Most people were extremely supportive, and just said things along the line of “I’m thinking of you” which is wonderful. But my mother wrote this:

I miss Jamie, too. I hope you, someday, have a child to enjoy. You are BOTH wonderful people whom we LOVE SO MUCH!

Now I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but her response kind of rubbed me the wrong way. You don’t tell someone who is mourning their child that you hope someday they have another child. That’s like saying “You’ll find someone new” to a person going through a divorce. You don’t want someone new, you don’t want a new child, you want the one you lost.

Yes, Rob and I do want to adopt a child some day, but that in no way diminishes the pain we are feeling now. And it will in no way take away the pain we will feel for the rest of our lives. The pain of losing Jamie. No child can replace another, and it offends me that she even suggested that. That someday, by having a baby in our arms, our hearts will be healed. Because that’s not how it works. Jamie will still be gone, and we will still miss our baby. We will be overjoyed at this new little life, but that love makes a new piece of your heart grow, it does not refill the piece that is taken when your child dies.

Losing Myself

I hate feeling like I’m losing myself.

I used to be able to process things and work through them, now I have to shove them aside so that I don’t burst into tears. Then I come home and burst into tears. I’m not able to remain in control like I used to. I don’t have the confidence or the surety that I once had, and I hate that I’ve lost that. I know that it’s temporary, but in a way, it’s worse to know that I had it and now it’s (temporarily) gone. I feel as though I’ve become helpless. I know I used to be worse, but I never had a ‘better’ to compare it to. I never knew what I was missing.

And now I do, so while I’m trying to hold it together and make myself work through the situation, I also feel as if the former, stronger, part of me is trying to hold on but is slipping and can’t figure out why. It’s like losing the ability to do something you could always do. I’m losing that part of me that made me feel free. And that scares me more than I can put words to. And I hate that after all the work I have put in, it’s already slipping away. That I’m already slipping away. I’m so heartbroken.

I know this can be fixed, and that in time it will be fixed, but it’s just so hard. And I’m so tired of it being hard. I knew there would be some regression, but I didn’t think it would be this drastic, that it would hurt this much.

It’s Not Tattling

First, I would like to update you on the domestic violence situation. I want to thank you all for your advice. Unfortunately, the laws about domestic violence are incredibly stupid (in my opinion) and only the woman being abused can actually press charges against the abuser. So basically, I can’t do anything for her except call the police every time I hear him abusing her.

Ugh.

But I was talking to Robby last night, and he pointed out that the sounds we have heard that we have attributed to the neighbor boy throwing a tantrum and the dad yelling at him, might, in fact, be abuse.

I never even thought of that.

I can’t believe I never thought of that.

I think I was just so stuck in my head about the neighbor lady that I didn’t make that connection. And I had wondered before if the dad was abusing the son, not too seriously, but in passing. I didn’t have anything other than a paranoid feeling, and I didn’t feel right calling social services about a hunch. But now we have solid evidence that he abuses his wife, so there is a strong chance that he abuses his son, too.

I thought and thought about it, and decided that what made the most sense was talking to my director at T***. I could explain the situation to her and see if (and who) I should call. So that’s what I did. And, like I thought, she said that I should report my suspicions. So she gave me the number, and told me to tell whoever I spoke to exactly what I told her. About how I know he abuses his wife, and I have heard sounds that could have been child abuse. She said that it’s possible they already have a file on him, and even if they don’t, at least they will start one.

And then she said something weird.

She said that every time she called to report she always felt guilty, as if she was tattling.

And I was so confused. How in the world could you feel guilty for reporting suspected child abuse? I can remember a few times in Junior High when I was being brutally picked on and I decided to tell a teacher, and I did feel guilty. But I was 14 and trying to stand up to a bully. At that age, you don’t have the conviction to stand and say ‘what I’m doing is right’. You feel guilty because the popular kids picking on the ‘fat kid’ is ‘normal’ and who are you to try and change that? To say it’s wrong? But when you are an adult, and you are trying to protect a child, how on earth could you think of that as tattling? It’s not as though you are lying to get the parent in trouble; you are trying to protect the child. And reporting based on a feeling verses actual evidence are two very different things, but still, how could you feel it is tattling? It is never tattling.

Maybe it’s because I was abused, maybe I just have a different point of view, but the main thing I feel now that I am preparing to call and report him to child services is determination., I am determined to stop him. I am determined to protect that little boy. I am determined not to let him get away with this. And I am determined to do everything I can to make those things happen.

Asking for Advice (Please)

I know what it is like to be terrified of your abuser.

In all honesty, I am still terrified of mine. And I’m a little scared of my neighbor because of that residual fear of my abuser, so I completely understand the fear she is living with every moment. I just keep praying she finds a way to leave and/or get help.

If I knew her, I would talk to her about making a safety plan and tell her my story and encourage her to get help, but I don’t even know her name. And I worry that her husband would be suspicious if all of a sudden I start talking to her. Plus, neither of them work, and if she isn’t with her husband then she is with their son, so I don’t even know if I could get her alone.

I just don’t want to do anything to make the abuse worse for her. Should I try and talk to her? Which would be better, risk bringing his wrath on her by talking to her, or wait and hope I can catch him abusing her on tape? I know she has to be the one to press charges, but if I can get it on tape, then I have proof to show the cops and maybe that will help (?).

Please, advice. I can’t just keep waiting, wondering if each sound I hear from next door is his next strike, her next cry.

What Kind Of Person Does That?

I had to call the police this morning because I could hear my neighbor beating his wife.

It was just horrible. I’ve heard him yell before, but she has always yelled back. At least, I thought she had. But this morning. This morning was like nothing I’d ever heard before.

I had my headphones in and was listening to Harry Potter while I worked on our budget, and I had just taken my headphones out to call AAA to have them jump my car when I heard it. He was yelling. Like I said, I’ve heard him yell before. Unfortunately, him yelling isn’t uncommon. And, to be honest, Rob and I have wondered before if he is abusive, but we’ve never had anything other than a feeling.

Until today.

Because among his yelling I could hear banging–thumping even–and a guttural wail. It was that soul deep cry that happens when you’re heartbroken. I made that exact noise when Rob and I were falling apart last year and when we lost Jamie. I have made that sound so many times when the trauma of the abuse consumes me. I know that noise. And I felt myself grow cold when I heard it come from next door.

I think they were in the front of the house because that’s where the sound was loudest, so I cracked our front door open so I could hear more clearly. And what I heard just confirmed that he was hurting her. There was lots of swearing. She was moaning and crying. She said ‘please stop’.

He said ‘I can do it harder’.

And that is when I called the police.

I don’t know if they heard me call, or if I was too loud when I shut the door, because the sounds stopped abruptly while I was on the phone. I gave the dispatcher all the info I could, and they said they would send someone. Then she asked if I wanted to leave my name, and that’s when I hesitated. I knew that leaving my name would help her if it came to court, but I was also terrified that he would find out I had turned him in and then come after me. I asked the dispatcher if giving my name would help keep her safe, and she said that they prefer witnesses leave names and contact info for those types of calls, so I did. And I’m still scared.

I kept glancing out the peep hole every few minutes, praying that the police would get there soon and help her. I imagine it didn’t take long for them to get there, but it felt like forever before they showed up. I finally saw the cop at the door, but he didn’t knock. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to hear her cries (although she’d been quiet for a while) or what, and he walked away for a bit and then came back. After a while, he walked away and another cop left the house, so I think one was in the house while the other was outside.

But then they still didn’t leave. They were hanging around in the side parking lot next to the neighbors house. And then a few minutes later the neighbor rode up to the sidewalk on his bicycle. He got off the bike, looked at the cops, and said “do you guys know what’s going on?”.

And that’s when I realized.

They keep their bikes on the back porch. He must have gone out the back door, gotten his bike, and rode off so that he could claim he hadn’t been there. And I just couldn’t stop thinking “what kind of person does that?”. Not only does he beat his wife, but he has the malice and forethought to think how to make himself seem innocent. That’s just horrible. And way too familiar.

I want to help her. I want him to have to pay for what he’s done. I don’t want anyone to have to be trapped, but I don’t know how to help her, and that makes me feel helpless. The only think I can think of is to keep my eyes open and if I hear anything again, I need to get my camera and record it so I have evidence. I don’t think talking to her will help, because most physical abuse victims won’t leave their abuser, and if she didn’t take the police’s help then she probably won’t take help from anyone.

And I’m scared that he will find out it was me and try and take revenge. But I hope he is a coward, like most abusers. And the situation brings up bad memories and feelings, but all I can do about that is process it, talk to Robby and Sheila about it, and try to help her so it doesn’t haunt me. I could never know abuse was happening and not try and help. I just keep praying that he will get arrested.

But At Least

The idea for the post It Must Be Nice had been bouncing around in my head for a while now.  Rob and I have so many student loans, and with me having been unable to work because of my PTSD, we have really been struggling financially. Now my insurance is changing because I am turning 26 and we have to pay for it out-of-pocket.  between all of that, we are starting to drown under bills. Today we got the ER bill for when Rob was going through his migraines (I can’t remember if I wrote about that or not) and it is $913.92 and that really shook me up. So I wrote It Must Be Nice.

But I have so much. So I am writing this post as a celebration of the good things in my life.

 

It must be nice to not always have to worry about money.

But at least we are lucky enough to have work that pays

To not have to budget every single penny.

and we have enough pennies, even if it’s a struggle.

To not have to put back items in your grocery cart because you can’t afford them.

But at least we never go hungry

To not have to put off buying things you really need, or replacing things that really need replaced, simply because you can’t afford it.

and if we are really in need, we have family we can turn to for help.

To not have to underplay how desperate your money situation has gotten.

But at least we have enough.

To be able to be the one who pays when you go out to lunch with your friend.

But at least I have loving friends who understand and are willing to treat

To  be able to give the gifts you want to give to the people you love the most.

and appreciate the creative handmade gifts we give, and know that we love them with all our hearts.

To have the funds to donate to the causes that pull at your heart.

And at least we can donate our time to those causes

To have the money to help others.

and money will never stop us from helping others.