cryin’ on my therapist’s couch

Soon to be a Lifetime original movie.

I feel better today. For the moment, anyway. I have been having my ups & downs more rapidly than I am comfortable with. My therapist attributes it to my having summers off of my degree-seeking schooling. She believes I do not know how to manage the lack of direction I perceive when I am not engulfed by my studies and motherhood. There is an awesome collection of essays about how writer’s tend to lose their identities and their minds a bit when they become mothers. It is called Mother Reader, and I really need to re-read it.

One step I have taken towards feeling a bit more sane is limiting my time goofing off on Facebook. Generally, I believe, I go on there desperately seeking adult interaction. I also look for parenting ideas and knowledge of issues in which I am interested. However, I go on there a bit manically throughout the day–compromising my ability to be present for my kids. I have even noticed that their demands escalate when I am on Facebook. Plus, I do not spend time blogging or working on finding editing work, etc. when I am obsessively scrolling through Facebook. I figure if I can quit eating after 8 pm (which I have done in order to be healthier & more fit,) I can avoid checking Facebook when I am wearing my “mom” hat and only interact on Facebook when it is mostly “me time.” Is there ever an entirely me time for a mom with small children?

I’m sure by the title, you are expecting more about my therapist visit–or are simply relieved to know that I am in therapy.
Here’s what I was thinking after seeing her yesterday. She asked me, “What is the one thing, be it sleep or more time, that you feel you need in order to feel less overwhelmed?”

I did not have to think long. “To have the dad gone,” I answered. Not “gone” in the way he suspects I want him gone (lately he has been accusing me of plotting his death??) But gone in the sense that we do not live together, and in the sense that I do not have to deal with his stuff on top of my own stuff as I try to be a good mom.

Which then made me realize, that is exactly the reason I gave her almost three years ago when I first started seeing her. She asked me my one big reason for being in therapy. I gave her…the dad.

At that time we were living in a 30 plus person cooperative house in downtown Madison. We were sharing a room in order to save money and because we were, once more, trying to work things out. I had just had a baby, my daughter, and she had suffered a rough birth. I wanted to move out of the dad’s room in the co-op, but there were no other rooms available for me. Imagine two adults, two kids, and a baby sharing a room in a house shared with 30 some other adults. Now imagine that those two adults have the communication skills of cranky preschoolers. Hence I sought therapy.

Shortly after this I was ill-treated (and illegally discriminated against) by members of my co-op for having kids, but eventually I managed to get a small space of my own and then a bigger space after that. At which point it was rather obvious that the dad and I were broken up again, so I said to him, “If you do decide to date someone, please wait six months–to make sure it is serious–before bringing that person to our home.” I felt that needed to be said since we did share space in a cooperative house. He agreed and immediately started having sex with one of our housemates whom I believed to be a friend of mine, though our relationship was difficult for me.

I found out about their relationship when she betrayed my trust and told him something I said in–I assume–an effort to turn him against me. I found this especially abominable considering the dad & I had a difficult relationship to begin with but were doing our best to co-parent and be friends while living in close proximity.

This began a horrific cycle of obsession, hate, and anger between the dad and I as well as other members of our house. Having been out of that house for a year now, I feel I must have been half insane while I was living there. I am a highly sensitive person and living in a cooperative house with as much drama as that one had–I must have been in a constant state of arousal–not the good kind.

When I moved out, I meant to leave the dad once more. However, my co-signer on my lease fell through, and the dad offered help. Still reeling from the drama and damage of my cooperative experience, I was vulnerable enough and desperate enough to think we could work things out. And, of course, I was pregnant again.

Which brings us to present day on my therapist’s couch, realizing I am in the same boat I was in when I entered therapy three years ago…but with one more kid on board.

Boy, I am a slow learner.

looking for the lost mama

When I had my first child, it was easy to get lost in motherhood. After all, I was well used to losing myself. I often hid from myself in relationships. Preoccupying myself with throwing myself, heart & soul, at one person or another. Then, in cherished moments of clarity, running as fast as I could to find myself again. Leaving. I loved leaving a terrible relationship. With a note, with a changed phone number, with a move to a new town. Like fasting to get rid of toxins. I fasted and got rid of toxic relationships.

I was fast buried in the relationship with the dad when I became pregnant. I’ve read recently that it is normal for women to immerse themselves in motherhood and how romantic relationships suffer for it. Mine was destroyed by this phenomenon.

The dad who did not want to be a dad in the first place could not understand how he had lost me to our baby. However, he did nothing to win me back, as–in retrospect–he had done nothing to win me in the first place. My being a whirling dervish of epiphanic revelations & neurosis–I never required being won. I was used to doing all of the work. In fact, should a man try to win me, it would only cause me to spin away–confused by the foreign notion of kind words, supportive efforts, and loving gestures.

I want to be treated nicely, but I don’t know how…or what it looks like, exactly. I know what abuse looks like. It’s not that I trust abuse. I just recognize it. Therefore, it enters my life more easily than love and support.

When I look at a picture a friend has posted, with sweet words, of his wife and children. A picture worth a thousand words. You can read the love he feels so thoroughly through the lens of a camera and the screen of a laptop. He adores his wife and kids. He probably even washes the dishes. He probably helps with his children and comforts them when they are upset instead of referring to them as “shit stains.” He probably never accuses her of plotting to kill him, blaming her for everything he feels is wrong with his life.

There are no pictures like that of me and my babies.

I wonder how lost I would feel in my role as a mother if I had a partner telling me that everything was going to be okay instead of disappearing, physically and emotionally, as if our existence is more than he can bear.

I want to know how it feels to find myself again. Long enough to breathe again and be a good mom and be who I am without feeling like I am wrong for it.

I need to leave. It should have happened a long time ago. All I can tell myself is that I had to create these four beautiful souls from our union before severing the relationship the kills me a little more each day.

bitching about the ex

i have a sister who always bitches about her ex.  she calls him names and complains and i would just rather not listen a lot of them time.  i worry that this is what my blog will become.  however, i actually started it for this purpose.  i had no where else to go.

i started this blog because i had no where else to bitch about my ex who is still very much a part of my life and does not tolerate my talking about him to anyone.  he fears my speaking badly of him.  years ago i blogged about him all the time.  this pissed him off.  i told him not to give me bad things to say about him if he did not want me saying bad things about him.  eventually i quit the blog.  his anger at it was too much for me.

i started this blog secretly.  i wonder if he knows about it.  we live in the same apartment.  does he notice when i am working on one of my other blogs that i have a third blog?  has someone who reads one of my other blogs come across this one and told him about it?  what would he do?  would he be hurt?  angry?

the dad, as i call him, has never been violent with me.  he has been rough with our kids–grey zone things like a swat on the butt or a quick grab to the arm.  i call him on it because i know that even “harmless” things like that hurt–deep in the soul, they hurt.  but he has never raised a hand to me, and i wonder if he ever would.  i theorize that most abusive men i have been with know not to hit me because i would leave in a heartbeat.  if he were to leave the grey area in his dealings with the kids–i would leave.  i should leave anyway, but i keep giving him the benefit of the doubt.  fearing his anger & cruelty.  fearing his pain.  he likes to hurt me with his own pain.  how does he even know to do this?  how does he know it will work?  once before i was able to break free of the dad’s hold on me.  i embraced my role as the bad guy.  breaking his heart.  tearing apart our family.  and i was rid of him.  but he worked & he wormed & he got back in my head.  it’s been 3 years of my trying to get him back out again.

i’ve once again lost interest in his pain.  now i just have to push past my fears of confrontation.  those are deep-seeded fears.  but i can do it.  it takes its time.  but i can do it.

so if you’re tired of hearing me bitch about my ex.  tired of hearing me plan on leaving him–but never quite doing it.  this might not be the blog for you.  i may always be bitching about my ex–although i do have other things to do & talk about, so it will not be a constant.  and though it takes me a long time to work through my emotions and fears, etc.  i do work through them.  and i do save myself in the end.  i always do.