putting the puzzle together again #recovery #mentalpod #mentalhealth #familyreunion

July 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Awww. Sweet Saturday. I am sitting in my living room with my 14 year old fox terrier curled up on a blanket on a nearby chair. The house is still asleep but I am up early as usual. Our 4 year old shepherd x is dozing in his crate upstairs waiting for me to put on my shoes and take him out for his first walk of the day. Husband is still sleeping. In our guest room, my grandson is sleeping. He has come to stay with us for awhile. We don’t know how long he will be with us, he will let us know when he is ready to go.

Yes, it happened that quickly, from not seeing him for four years to having him come to stay.

Yesterday midday Husband and I were getting ready to go to the job site. I heard voices outside and saw Daughter and Grandson down on the sidewalk. Daughter had come by to talk about Grandson coming to stay! Of course, we are delighted to have him here.

It feels like a missing puzzle piece has been put back in the puzzle. It feels so good to be reconnected with Daughter and Grandson. Daughter tells me that she will spend a bit of time with me before she heads back home.

Grandson is going to come to work with the company Husband and I work at. We are carpentry apprentices. Grandson is going to come on as a labourer and work a shovel and wheelbarrow. I hope it works out.

I am noticing how much I have changed in the four years since I was with my daughter. I am less anxious, less intrusive, and I am better at abstaining from bringing up emotionally difficult topics. I think I have been hard to hang out with because I have had a compulsion to bring up difficult emotional topics with family members. I know this compulsion comes from a lifetime of having to pretend these difficulties don’t exist so that I can have a sense of belonging to my family. I’m pretty much fed up with it. At the same time, I miss having family to hang out with. So I have to reconcile this internal state of being pulled apart even as I am trying to put myself together.

I remember the excruciating pain I felt when my daughter disclosed that my ex-husband had molested her. It was like I lost my footing and was in free fall off a precipice. I could not make the reconciliation between the man I had loved and who had fathered my sons, and the same man molesting my daughter. I so depended on him, at the time, for every shred of identity and esteem that I could muster. To have him revealed as a liar, a cheat, a thief, a scoundrel, a coward, an abuser, a betrayer. It was too much. At the time I didn’t believe I could live without him. It was the darkest hour of my life, perhaps worse than the day my father told me he was moving out and leaving me, with my four younger brothers, in the care of my mother, a paranoid schizophrenic in the grips of extreme psychosis and hallucinations.

For years I suffered a horrendous split in my reality, because I stayed with the abuser and my daughter moved into foster care. After I finally left him, I reconnected with my daughter, but our connection was marred by my extreme state of guilt and shame for having betrayed her trust and abandoned her at the tender age of 13. My guilt and shame had the effect of distorting our relationship and after 14 years of attempting to rebuild our relationship she broke off from me because I was setting boundaries for healthier communication between the two of us. I was working with a therapist at the time, and it was being revealed to me that I was allowing her to manipulate and use me because I was not dealing with my guilt, shame and horror at what had happened to her.

During these intervening four years I have been working to come to terms with the various forms my drive for validation takes in all facets of my life. This blog is part of that process. Listening to the Mental Illness Happy Hour is part of that process. Attending my Saturday afternoon NA meeting is part of the process. Earning a living, keeping my house in somewhat tidy shape, looking after my dogs, finishing my degree, expressing my creativity and artistry are all part of the that process.

I don’t know how it is going to turn out, and I don’t know where I am going to end up. For now, I am grateful to have my grandson back in my life. And my daughter somewhere nearby. Putting the puzzle together again.

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