Triggers

A trigger in psychology is a stimulus such as a smell, sound, or sight that triggers feelings of trauma“…(Unsure of source, just googled the definition.)

I’ve been experiencing a lot of triggers. It’s all the way people, namely my husband, speak to me. He takes a tone with me that triggers my memories of the first man I married.

And I hate it. I’ve brought it to his attention time after time, but it just never stops. So either he doesn’t know he is doing it, or does and thinks that after 12 years together, that my skin should be thicker and it shouldn’t bother me.

But I can’t take it anymore. It’s triggering really, really bad memories. So it all came flooding out last night. The final trigger(s) came while sitting at the High School basketball games last night and having everything I said snapped at.

I don’t know the technicalities of basketball, he does. I had a couple of questions, and every time I spoke he made me repeat myself, then responded in such a way that I felt insignificant and belittled.

I spent almost the entire boys game not speaking to him at all. I had worked myself into such emotional turmoil that I had become fearful of another response like I had been getting.

Then after the game, we wait for my daughter, who is a cheerleader, to gather her stuff and we walk out. Our youngest was with us too. Whenever our girls are around, he generally jokes around and has fun.

It was on the 15 minute ride home that I finally told him to stop with the attitude towards me. He chuckles and says he doesn’t know what I’m talking about and drops it. I say a few things under my breath, but then stay quiet.

I felt the fear creeping in again. I will never live in fear of another man the way I feared my first husband. So after we get the youngest to bed, he goes to bed. I sit on the couch a minute and hear our oldest get in the shower.

So I go talk to him. And I tell him I can’t continue to be treated and spoke to like he is doing. I ask him what I’ve done to deserve this, and he really doesn’t say much. I start bawling. I tell him that every time he speaks to me the way he does, that I’m triggered. I see the face of the ex. The more he keeps on, I tell him it’s like I can physically feel the ex’s hands around my neck.

I know he would never lay a hand on me. I’m not fearful of that. But my trauma tells me it’s coming. That’s how I always knew I was about to be in trouble with the ex. His tone would change.

I told my husband that I couldn’t be belittled any longer. That was how the ex did it. He made me feel insignificant, right before unleashing his wrath on me. Never again will I be made to feel that way.

Still, not much was being said on his part. He just kept looking at me like he could not believe what he was hearing. I took it as he was too shocked to know what to say, trauma said prepare for a blow up. Trigger.

So I went into the bathroom and told my daughter she needed to get out of the shower. She must have heard my voice shake and asked if I was alright. I had sat down by now and buried my head into my hands sobbing. She immediately asked me what was wrong, and I pointed towards our bedroom.

She is a very smart girl, she knew I had finally come to my breaking point. But as I sit there, the memories come flooding back to the night the ex almost killed me. I can’t separate the two anymore. I start shaking and rocking.

She’s had enough and goes to the bedroom to talk to him. I about got physically ill thinking if she says what I think she is going to say, he could really be pushed. She came back into the bathroom, told me what she said and that she got no real response from him.

I sent her upstairs and told her to go to bed. I gave her a hug and could see the heartbreak in her now puffy red eyes. She kept telling me that I shouldn’t be afraid of him, that he would never hurt us. I know that myself. But I couldn’t shut the trigger off.

So I went and spoke to him again. I asked him if our daughter was in trouble for whatever she may have said, and he said of course not. I acknowledged that I understand his stress from work, but that neither I nor the girls are his co-workers. We deserve respect. I explained to him that I don’t mean to “ask stupid questions”, but I get confused easily. The brain damage from 18 years ago is showing signs of returning.

I tell him that also. I just unload. By this time my chest is killing me, my eyes are super swollen, but I feel relief in knowing that I finally stood up for myself. I made it clear that I hate letting myself be fooled by my previous trauma into being scared of him.

He reassured me again that I have nothing to fear. I did go to bed instead of sleeping on the couch, and I’m pretty sure at one point in time in the middle of the night when he rolled over and hugged me that I felt the dampness of tears on his cheek.

I’m still very tense today, but probably more so because I tend to bottle things up for soooo long that when I do finally let it go, it’s months and months of feelings all streaming out at once.

So far today I’ve noticed a change in the way he speaks to me, to all of us. I just hope it continues to improve, as I can’t take another trigger like that again. It was too much.

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A sob story

I have a really, really hard time with being completely satisfied with where my life is right now. I know I have two wonderful girls and an amazing husband, but that’s all.

I no longer have a career, or even a job outside of the house. We aren’t exactly at the point where I need to have a job outside the house, but I feel like the longer I wait the harder it will be to work again.

I scroll through Facebook and see most of the people I went to High School with being successful in their careers, owning huge homes, driving fancy cars, traveling, etc. And then there’s me. I didn’t finish college.

Hell, I barely started college. In fact, it was my daughter filling out information for her Pre-ACT test Monday who brought up that point. And in a way only she could.

She knows the story, I had finished high school at 17 and was enrolled in a community college for Emergency Medical Technician that fall, still 17. I made it to orientation and the first class before I spent the next 3 months in a coma.

So when the form that she was filling out asked if her parents had gone to college, she raised her hand and asked what to put down for her Mom who couldn’t start college because she was in a coma. She said the gasps were kinda loud.

She laughed when telling me about it, and I did too. I wasn’t mad at her in the slightest, it was just a different perspective. I wasn’t able to start college, but what’s my excuse for going back?

Besides the fact that living in the middle of nowhere offers very little resources, I don’t know what’s holding me back. I know my desire is still strong, and I only slightly doubt my ability in that field, but I just don’t see myself actually going through with it.

It’s sad really. I was going places 20 years ago. I had goals, I had dreams, I was determined, I was unstoppable. I have none of that now. I know we all look back at our younger years and wish we would have done things differently, but this is really eating at me these days.

I’m not a fan

Halloween. Not a fan. For reasons that are obvious, and some not so much.

First of all, being raised in the cult, Halloween was the epitome of the Devil. Nothing good ever came out of it. I was usually allowed to watch the Charlie Brown special, but that was about all.

In school when the other kids were drawing their jack-o’-lanterns, I was coloring a pumpkin. A plain, orange pumpkin. During the party, I got to sit in the hall. You know, where the bad kids were sent. I wasn’t being bad, I just wasn’t allowed to celebrate, so I was sent to the hall.

Fast forward to being out of the cult where Halloween was an option, but I still never liked it. It still scared me. Having suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury right before my 18th birthday, the part of my brain that separates reality from dream was a little screwed up.

I had a hard time differentiating between what I was seeing and thinking wasn’t real, and the games my mind was playing with me and telling me was real. No joy there.

Fast forward now to parenthood, and it still hasn’t gotten any better. I have a really hard time sometimes with recognizing people that I see fairly often, but throw a mask on, and I’m out. Even little kids. It’s very unsettling.

I let my girls dress up, but never anything too scary, bloody, etc. My youngest is Uma from Disney’s Decedents today, and my oldest is the purple half of a box of Nerds candy. I’m good with that.

But, I’m also going to the school for the special elementary costume parade, and I’m not excited. It’s cute, yes, but for me it isn’t. It floods my mind with too much. Whether memories or just too much stimulation for my brain.

I’ll push through it though because my little one wants me there, but she’s let me off the hook by telling me she doesn’t need me to come to her class party!!! I think I’ll survive another Halloween after all….

Until tonight. And taking them out trick-or-treating. Uggghhh, I forgot about that for a moment!! Not a fan of that either. I don’t like the dark and I don’t like Halloween. Did I mention that already?!

The saxophone

Ok, I need advice. A should I, or shouldn’t I thing.

The backstory:

During the High School Football Homecoming game a couple of weeks ago, my daughter’s saxophone was knocked off the bleachers by a punk Freshman who didn’t say a word about it at that time.

But, he fessed up when the band director asked about it. The thing is, this punk kid happens to be the son of one of my friends. One of the friends I’ve had the longest here.

It had to be taken to an instrument repair shop, because she wasn’t even able to play it. 10 days later, today, it was ready to pick up. $75. That’s not a lot of money, I know. (She’s had it 6 years, and this is the only time it’s had to be sent in for repairs that weren’t just from normal wear.)

But, it’s the principle of the matter. This kid is a jerk and gets away with it because nobody tells him the right way to act. I feel like his Dad doesn’t even try. And that bothers me.

So here’s my dilemma…. Do I say anything to the Dad, (my kind-of friend these days) in the hopes that he’ll actually make his son do the right thing and contribute, or do I let this be a lesson to my daughter about how to be responsible.

It’s her responsibility to put her instrument somewhere safe after her band performance, and before she has to cheer. Yes, she’s in the band, a cheerleader, and in the color guard. I was sitting in the stands, she could/should have brought it to me. I could have taken it to the car if not just set it by me.

So, it’s a lesson she learned the hard way. But, I feel the other kid who damaged it should also have to face the consequences and at least split the cost with her. Heck, even a small donation would serve a purpose!!

I just don’t know that $75 is worth potentially pissing the “friend” off, or making the punk kid retaliate and do something more stupid!!

Oh parenting, what fun!!!

Mega Millions

So I bought the winning ticket this evening. But shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone yet.

I know once it’s made public, everyone will crawl out of the woodwork like roaches.

The family who has disowned me, the ones who I am dead to, they’ll come crawling back

But, my lawyer will only remind them to get the hell out of my face, I won’t have time for that.

Wouldn’t that be fun??!!

Seriously though, whoever wins this will be set for life. I just hope they are smart with it. Hell, I’ve learned the hard way not to waste money.

There was a time I didn’t have it. I mean none. But it’s just a good idea to always live beneath your means. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you should spend it.

I just had a little math lesson with my oldest daughter on just exactly how much interest one single million dollars could bring in. I would have lots of bank accounts just sitting there collecting interest.

I also won’t tell anyone. I don’t think I would even act like anything had changed. Well, except for the fun I would have telling the cult loving “family members” to kick rocks!!!

Well, I’d get new clothes. Clothes that actually fit me after the weight fluctuations I’ve had the last 10 years. That would be how they would know I had hit the jackpot, I’d be wearing clothes that fit!!! 😊

Fussy…

After being on Fall Break since last Thursday, the girls have to go back to school tomorrow. And the youngest was fussy and doing everything in her power to stall.

With J working ridiculous hours thanks to fall harvest, poor girl is all sorts of off her schedule.

F-“I don’t want to go to bed. My tummy hurts. I have to go to the bathroom. I don’t have to go to the bathroom. Can I sit on the couch?”

Me-“You have to go to bed. Your tummy hurts because you ate really well tonight, it’s called being full. Go to the bathroom. At least you tried. Yes, you can sit on the couch for 5 more minutes, then it’s off to bed!”

Story of my life. I swear I’m raising a future F.B.I. Hostage negotiator. Another one that is, her big sister was the same way!! When it’s finally time for bed and she’s all tucked in…

F-“Is it morning yet?”

Me-“Yes. Technically.” Midnight is morning, right??!

Now all is quiet, the oldest one has gone to bed. I’m crossing my fingers that she feels better tomorrow. And the fussy one, she’s been asleep at least 45 minutes now!!

She strikes again…

Well, she’s struck again. The monster that is self pity, emotional blackmail and guilt. Masked as my Mother.

It had been far too quiet for too long until my phone beeped with a super cryptic voice text. Telling me that she’d had surgery Tuesday. And that’s it. For the next 4 hours, my texts went unanswered.

Then as I open my mouth with disdain that she couldn’t just pick up the phone and call me, it rings. Dammit. She sounds horrible, incoherent. I hate to say this, but overly dramatic with a dash of fake.

I’ve been down this road with her before. Too many times to count. I’m trembling, all I want to do is cry, but all I can do is stop. I keep my tone level and slightly annoyed. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad person, but I just can’t with her.

I’m mad that not one person “surrounding” her with love and prayers and all that jazz, couldn’t pick up the phone and call me? Then she wants sympathy? Not going to happen. Not this time.

She isn’t even making sense which tells me she’s either really drugged, slowly losing her mind, or lying. I can’t help but lean towards the last. I’m not letting her get to me. Through the “sobbing” and the hacking and the snark, she tells me that it was emergency surgery. (Again, I believe that warrants a phone call from anybody, not me having to find out in a 15 second voice clip.)

I still say nothing more than, “Oh.” She tells me that she’ll be recovering for 2-6 months, having to learn to change her bag in the next few days, and so on. Still, I only say “Oh.”

Until she tells me not to tell anyone. Especially her mother, my grandmother. That’s when I lost my cool a little. I jab back with, “Oh, so lie and keep things to myself. Seems to be quite the thing with your family, doesn’t it?” I probably didn’t need to go that far, but I did

I don’t deserve this. She doesn’t deserve me keeping silent about anything I’ve always kept silent about. Including this. So I just tell her that yes, I’ll keep my mouth shut, I do know how to do that well. She snaps back with, “well you learned from the best!”

Did I? Did I learn that or was it self-taught. I was forced to keep secrets all my life. I hardly see that as learning. I taught that to myself.

I suppose she hung up the phone and thought what a heartless brat I was. Oh well. I care in that I’m a human being and I don’t want anyone to be in ill health, but that’s about as far as my sympathy goes.

I can’t, I’m done….

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Seriously, those words have come out of my mouth 500 times today. On a good day, I say it about 200 times. But today was one of those off days.

My Dad came through surgery ok yesterday, though it was a tough go getting him there. His blood pressure spiked and was at critical levels. They couldn’t get it down.

If I would have been there, I could have calmed him down. I’m about the only person in the world who can make that man laugh. I bawled. I looked at the clock and thought if they’d postpone surgery until I got there, I would go.

It would have taken me 10 hours, not considering the hour I would have lost due to crossing time zones.

Then I got the call that they went ahead and gave him some meds to relax and took him back. They would monitor his BP during surgery.

I cried some more. My dear daughter hung up on her boyfriend and hugged me in the hallway. She later told me that she told her boyfriend, “Sorry I hung up on you. My mom never cries. She was bawling, so I had to go.”

I cry, I just don’t do it in front of people if I can avoid it. I cry proud tears when I watch her cheer or play her saxophone or sing. I cry. She just doesn’t see me.

Anyways, so about 2 hours later, I get the call that he’s out of surgery, but that it was the worst case his surgeon has ever seen. The bone spurs were so bad, they were growing like mushrooms.

That poor man has suffered for years with this. I can’t wait to see him in a few months, walking without a limp!! It will be amazing.

Anyways, they called me from the hospital room last night, and I was relieved to hear his voice. Although it was raspy and groggy, it was still Dad. Talking about “seeing Jesus.” Not a religious man-anymore-I was waiting for the punchline. Yep, there it was, he was talking about my cousin. Who doesn’t know what a razor is!!

Even after a rough surgery, a ton of medicine that he has never had before, he was cracking jokes. When he asked for water though, I could tell he was still not awake-awake. So I just sat there quietly, listening.

He called me bright and early this morning, and sounded much better. Though he said he was pretty sick to his stomach. No hip pain though. Which he said is odd, after all these years of hurting so bad.

He was doing well this evening when I talked to him again, and had been up walking and doing therapy. He should get to go home tomorrow. I’m excited for him, but scared. I know he’s going to push himself too hard, and that won’t be good. Baby steps. He has to use baby steps!!

I’m hoping he gets better sleep tonight knowing he gets to go home tomorrow to his own recliner!! And fireplace. And cowboy hat!!! I’m hoping I can calm my crap enough myself to get some sleep tonight, this terrible mood is getting to me, and everyone in my path!!

Parents…

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A year ago on this very day, my oldest daughter had to be taken via ambulance to the nearest hospital, 35 miles away, due to a bad reaction to her allergy immunization. Scariest day of my life. Her breathing was labored, she was pale, shakey and everything else, but heartbeat was steady, so the medics didn’t find it necessary to administer Epi.

Her allergist yelled at me for not using the EpiPen when he called me the next day after her primary care physician contacted him. Needless to say, we haven’t been back to that arrogant asshole since then.

Anyways, fast forward a year, and here I sit 620 something miles from my Dad in my hometown, who is about to go in for a hip replacement surgery. He’s almost 63 years old, and this will be his first ever surgery.

And I’m not there. I wasn’t able to make it. Mainly because I hate making that trip alone, and it’s a busy, busy time for the girls at school. With my husband’s work schedule this time of year, I couldn’t justify leaving and not knowing that the girls would be where all they needed to be.

Also, my Dad didn’t want me coming up alone with the weather changing. It’s already snowed there.

Then, just over 600 miles away is my mother, in a different state, going through a medical procedure of her own. She should be out by now, but I haven’t heard. No news is good news I guess.

I feel helpless. I would have been there for my Dad if at all possible, but feeling bad for not choosing to be with my mom. But, I’m closer to my Dad, and well, I would have gone there if I could have. So there’s that.

Then there’s the fact that my mother is in a religious cult that I broke free from 20 or so years ago, so there is really no one there with her that will contact me. Stupid brainwashed people. And her new husband and I despise each other, so there’s that too.

Well anyways, just wanted to put some feelings into words, before going back to sitting here worrying and feeling helpless.

And…. I’m done!!

Seriously, yesterday I was in the worst mood. I mean even the voices in my head were pissed at each other and wouldn’t shut the hell up. I hate that. I was so sure that I could beat the crap out of anyone, if given the chance.

I definitely had to use self control when it came to my Kindergartener telling me that the boy in her class was still hitting her in the chest and the butt. That freaking kid is a nightmare.

He isn’t just being a cute little boy with a crush. No, this kid is awful, he even makes fun of me, To My Face!!! His divorced parents are both drunks, his dad probably never sees him. And mommy’s new “fiance” ahem..”boytoy” is a kid himself. It’s just a freaking shit show. I almost called the bitch and told her I was coming over, to meet me outside. But, needless to say, I didn’t.

I try my hardest not to hate, but that woman is one I would gladly break my own rule for. Ugh. Anyways, so I contacted a para-professional that my daughter says she tells when this kid is touching her, and she claims she didn’t know anything about it.

Well great. Either my daughter isn’t telling me the truth, or this para is just trying to stay out of it. She’s a good friend of mine and she knows my hatred runs deep for that family, but still. So I had to calm my shit and ask my daughter that she please tell a different adult when this punk kid is bothering her.

My oldest daughter, who is a sophomore at the same school as her little sister, chimes in and tells her baby sister to “let her know the next time it happens and she’ll take care of it.” That girl is short but scrappy!!! And most high school boys are scared of her! I can just see her confronting the boy who is bothering her sister! I don’t condone violence of any sorts, but to be a fly on the wall if it comes to big sister “taking care of things” would make this Mama proud!!

So, I’m done for the time being. If it doesn’t stop with this kid, I’ll go to the principal. I’m completely bypassing the boy’s mom, I’d just get pissed off at her and bitch slap her!! Seriously, why is it so difficult to control your kids and tell them to keep their hands off other people. This is why sexual harassment runs rampant these days!!