I have been asking myself lately, “Am I a bad mom?”. The reason I have been asking this question is that my children aren’t speaking to me. As long as my boyfriend is in the picture, they want nothing to do with me.
They have a valid point in their stand against my boyfriend. See, they are aware that my relationship has put me in danger in the past. So they feel, and rightfully so, that forgiving him, getting back together, and moving forward is a bad decision. I can’t say I blame them. I think about how I would feel if it was my mom and I know I would be mad at her, although I wouldn’t refuse to see her over her choice.
Maybe the difference is that they are given the choice of whether to see me or not. I have major mixed feelings about that. On one hand I agree they shouldn’t see me if they don’t want to. On the other hand, if I don’t have my boyfriend around them, which I don’t, then what’s the big deal? They need to spend time with me.
I understand they are worried about me, but I am a big girl. Also, unfortunately, I only get about 12 to 16 hours with my kids in a whole month. The rest of the time, I’m living my life.
I don’t mean to sound insensitive, I’m just being honest about the way things are. Trust me, I wish like hell I had more time with them. I also know they are in a much healthier environment living with their dad and step-mom, and that is a fact that took me years to come to terms with. They have stability with their dad that I am not mentally capable of giving them.
So, other than worrying about me, why do they care who my company is when they aren’t around?
I wrote in an earlier post that I proposed that my family life and personal life be separate things. Why can’t that work?
I imagine 100 women gaping at me right now and wondering how I can be so awful, shaming me, and judging me. Go ahead. You aren’t perfect, and although you love your kids very much, if you had no choice but to have very limited visitation with them, what would you do with your time? If your kids lived an hour away from you, and you saw them 12 hours a month, would their opinion of how you spend your time and who you spend time with matter to you? Or would you tell them to hush, mind their own business and say they are kids and have no idea how life really works, yet alone the complexity of romantic adult relationships.
This situation is a tough one because I see both sides. My kids aren’t just being brats. They are way above average intelligence, compassionate, funny, spiritual, talented, just the whole package. They are outstanding. It would be different if they were simply brats wanting their way. That is not who they are at all. I believe their standing comes from genuine love and concern for my well-being, and although I appreciate that, they are after all, still children, and don’t know the consequences of us being estranged. It could possibly have life-long effects which could include anger, resentment and unhealthy relationship patterns themselves, which science teaches us that fun fact.
If my children had to be around my boyfriend in any capacity, and they were afraid for my safety or their own, the decision would be simple. His ass would be gone. No question.
In this case however, they do not ever have to see him. Ever. We don’t have to talk about him, in fact, we can pretend he doesn’t exist.
If I break up with my boyfriend, in my case, it should be for my own personal reasons being that I am the only one around him. It might happen, believe me, he pisses me off on just about a daily basis. The choice to break up with him should be mine though and I don’t think it’s right for my family to dangle my relationships with them just out of reach unless I make the choices they want. That doesn’t seem right. I would never think of doing that to any of them, whether I agree with their choices or not.
So dear readers, hate me if you want. At least I’m honest enough to admit my humanity rather than hide it. So many women are in shitty marriages and pretending everything is okay while their kids are there every day to witness the horror show.
So judge me if you must, but before you do, I sure hope you know what it’s like to not have regular visitation with your kids that’s out of your control, while you attempt to scramble some sort of life out of the remains of your broken heart. I also hope you are in love with someone who drives you completely insane that your family hates and punishes you for being with. Then and only then, do you have the right to judge me.
This isn’t the first time my family has disapproved of my choice of partner.
Many years ago, I left my first husband for someone else. A woman.
It was a crazy time, and the first in a long line of bad choices which led me down an incredibly rocky and unstable road.
Then, A part of me knew it wasn’t the right choice, but I couldn’t live in my mind unless I acted on it.
Clinically defined, Impulsivity is “an individual’s predisposition toward rapid, unplanned actions without regard to the negative consequences of these actions to [oneself] or others”
I don’t understand why I must act on things when I know deep in my heart, it isn’t good for me. Family & friends can try to steer me right, and I will continue on my destructive path.
The path of least resistance is the direction an object or person moves forward with the least amount of obstacles in the way. When I make a choice, it’s usually, the one my mind can handle at that given moment.
I tend to be on the anxious side. I have been that way as long as I can remember. (see post) For myself, when faced with a difficult choice, I have to do what I can handle. It’s how I have survived for almost 38 years.
Imagine having a conference with your conscience. You’re sitting in Jiminy Cricket’s office, it’s rather small, but comfortable, & Jiminy says, “kid, if you make the choice I am proposing, it’s going to shut you down. You are going to feel like armageddon is here and you are in line to be dipped in molten lava & wait time is 10 minutes & counting.”
I would say “Oh, sweet Jesus!” as I shift uncomfortably in my chair, “I just can’t do that, Jiminy. I mean, won’t my heart explode while I wait? How do you prepare for LAVA?!” I take a deep breath and ask “Got any other options?”
“Well, yeah,” says Jiminy unsurely. “You could go with this series of choices I have outlined here. (hands me a large, heavy book with the sinister title of Easy Now, Pay Later) It’s a really tough read, a lot of sad parts and some of it makes zero sense. If you go this direction, there will be more trouble but smaller bites.”
I set the book in my lap and say, “I’m gonna go with this one Jiminy, thanks. No lava baths for me.”
Then, he starts singing “When You Wish Upon A Star*, and I get the hell out of there. My mind can only handle so much.
Jiminy is an asshole too. He gives me the choices, then when I inevitably pick the hardest choice for the long run, he taunts me. Occasionally I hear, “could have just had one really hot bath and this would all be over. Yep.”
Thanks Jiminy, I know. I got this.
I know what has happened in my relationship with Jason, I haven’t forgotten. He will probably do stupid things that piss me off, but I am going down this road because it’s my choice.
I didn’t make this choice to upset or hurt anyone, and personally I think asking me to choose between Jason and my family is not an option I should have ever been encountered with. It only caused further upset, piling another 1000 degrees to the lava I was waiting in line to dip in.
I couldn’t handle it.
I know my choices don’t make sense to my family, but they are my choices. Ultimately, I am the one having to live with them. With that being said, I must be sensitive to how my relationship affects them. That is why I am proposing to them that from now on I keep my personal life seperate from my family life.
That is a new concept in my family because we have always been close and all up in each other’s business. For the sake of their sanity, I think this idea is a viable option.
As far as I go, I’ll be fine. I’m simply going to keep reading my book and conferencing with Jiminy when he comes at me with something harrowing.
Sometimes, I might say, “what the hell!” and dive into the lava. Sometimes, I won’t. I will be okay though.
I chose yesterday of all days, to turn off the feature that had me pre-approve all comments on my posts.
I chose to do this because of the way my mind was working at the time. My mind very forcefully said,
“Who cares if someone disagrees or doesn’t like my post, or says something negative about what I choose. I want the criticism, and I feel passionate about everything I publish. If it makes it to the public eye, I put everything in it. So why the hell not?”
Everything happens for a reason and if a certain comment hadn’t been made and gone very public, I wouldn’t be writing this post now.
I don’t know how many of my readers saw the comment before it was removed, but it’s ok. I’m grateful it happened because my silence on the issue further stigmatizes mental illness. That goes against my goal.
Personality disorders often go without being treated due to being widely misdiagnosed.
Personality Disorders are one of the most heavily stigmatized mental health conditions a person can experience. This rampant stigma has both tangible and emotional consequences that can worsen existing difficulties. Stigma shows in the form of judgments, blame, negative assumptions and discrimination.
Stigma can lead a person experiencing a Personality Disorder to feel ashamed and hide their suffering. This leads to further negative emotion (shame, loneliness, fear) and attempts to suppress distress. Suppression of distress and self-invalidation typically results in further emotion dysregulation, dysregulated thinking and out-of-control behavior.
Even if individuals are determined enough to push through the stigma and seek treatment, they may encounter even more stigma. Some mental health professionals are reluctant, or even refuse, to diagnose and/or treat a Personality Disorder, even when a person clearly meets diagnostic criteria. ( Article about Borderline Personality Disorder)
So here we go… I’m divulging personal stuff I never intended on divulging, because my boyfriend has a Personality Disorder with war related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
To be diagnosed with a Personality Disorder, you need to have severe problems functioning in one or both of these areas:
Self-Functioning: A fully functioning person is in touch with his or her deepest and most innermost feelings and desires. This individual has received unconditional positive regard from others, does not place conditions on his or her own worth, is capable of expressing feelings, and is fully open to life’s many experiences.
Communication skills involve both listening and speaking effectively.
Assertiveness skills involve expressing yourself and your rights without violating others’ rights.
ConflictResolution skills help you resolve differences so that you may continue a relationship effectively.
Anger Managementskills involve recognizing and expressing anger appropriately in order to achieve goals, handle emergencies, solve problems and even protect our health.
Jason has problems functioning in both areas, and his PTSD exacerbates everything.
Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., CGP, says men with Narcissistic Personality Disorder follow a “love pattern” in their romantic relationships that they reproduce over and over again with different women.
The most common “Narcissistic Love Patterns” she has named, “The Romantic, “The Big Game Hunter,” “The White Knight,” “The Novelty Seeker,” “The Hater,” and “The Recycler.” The consistency in all of the patterns, is that he loves you and wants you, then runs.
Jason is kind of all over the place. He can’t be put into one particular pattern, however, he runs. A LOT.
Ok. Are you with me so far? Good. Because now I’m about to throw a giant chink in your chain…
Everything I had researched and studied, mostly made sense and sometimes were spot on. The major factor that set Jason aside, is his ability to love.
I kept studying various publications and I kept studying Jason. A common thread throughout everything I studied, are the misconceptions commonly inherent in Personality Disorders by Behavioral Health professionals themselves.
I read a hundred different articles and various publications stating a narcissist can’t love or have empathy for others.
I’m here to tell you, that is not correct. I know Jason loves me with every ounce of his capability. Finally, I found what I know to be true.
In Rosenbergs book, “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us,” “garden variety narcissists,” or those with NPD are capable of love and empathy AS LONG AS IT MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD OR THEY GET SOMETHING IN RETURN.
Since they desperately and perpetually seek love, appreciation and affirmation from others, they will consciously and unconsciously (Human Magnet Syndrome) gravitate toward others that can meet this impossible need. Sadly, however, the people who are going to fall in love with them and, consequently, try to take their problems and pain away are deprived of the very same love, respect and care that the narcissists fight so hard to obtain. These unfortunate people are almost always going to be codependents.
(Entering stage left is… Ms. Codependent herself… ME.)
Rosenberg goes on to say that his book also explains why codependents are the only personality type that can actually withstand the narcissist’s selfishness while shaping it (distorting it) into a loving relationship.
He states as a fact, that narcissists and codependents love each other. The feeling is quite real to them.
The narcissist falls deeply in love with the codependent because she provides unconditional love. It’s the one thing the narcissist believed was impossible. She loves him for his true self, so he has found his soul mate.
Rosenberg says the unstable and fleeting nature of their love experience is best explained using a metaphor- a bucket with holes.
Narcissists need a steady stream of unconditional love, respect and care to keep their hole-ridden bucket filled.
No amount of unconditional love or affirmation, kindness, empathy, etc., will ever keep their “buckets” topped off. Hence, their need for affirmation, attention, etc. while desperately self-promoting themselves, gives us an idea why they are motivated, if not addicted, to their narcissistic ways and why they are unable to stop.
But here is the rub: they can only adore and love people who fill their holey bucket. They really do “love” these people – their codependents.
And the codependents selflessly “love” them back.
With Jason’s PTSD combined with a personality disorder, over a period of time, his “holey bucket” empties. He begins to see my flaws and they piss him off. Another scenario is he will try so hard to get my attention and love, ending up feeling slighted. He thinks I’m too busy writing, or playing a game on my phone to notice he needs, “Sarah Time”.
Then, as he watches me make plans with other people, he feels he must not be as important as they are, I don’t appreciate his hard work and effort, and his bucket depletes.
The empty bucket leaves him feeling insecure and afraid, and those feeling manifest themselves through anger. The fear and insecurity also ensures he will develop a fear of me leaving him. Those were the times there were violent outbursts. The scary stuff…
Jason and I are not stupid people, and our love for one another is making us look at ourselves and our relationship from a new perspective. We had to start asking,
“What does our unique relationship need to survive and flourish?”
The first thing I knew I must do, is stop being a victim. Jason isn’t a horrible person. He has fucking issues. So do I.
I wouldn’t ever be happy with a “normal” guy, the kind everyone thinks I deserve. I will get bored with that guy. I will end up breaking his little heart when Jason shows up and says, “Get in the car, I’m gonna beat the breaks off this dude and then we’re getting the hell outta here.”
Yep, that’s the guy I’m ridin’ with.
I’m not Jason’s girl because I’m scared. I’m not scared anymore. I meant it when I said that part is done. We are someplace else in the evolution of our relationship.
I’m Jason’s girl because as fucked up of a dynamic it has been, I see him trying to be a man worthy of me. I watch him listen and give input, trying to understand the mysteries of the mind with me. This shit is going to be hard, but the really scary stuff everyone was worried about, is over.
On to the next hurdle
To the people disowning me for choosing this path, I get it. All I ask is to please open your mind and consider the possibility that what looks like a cut and dry cycle of abuse to you, is in reality, a stepping stone to a new level of understanding and existing.
I know I am on the right path for me.
I feel that some very real discoveries are in the process of being made in the field of mental health and although you are very open-minded and a wonderful advocate for your cause, you are lacking an understanding of some of the very real and very big issues some of us face every minute, of every day.
Mental Health stigma is not as big of an issue as it once was, but it’s still way bigger than I thought. There is so much that is still unknown,and when we are dealing with the unknown, we are limited to our understanding of it.
As mental health patients, we have not been taken seriously in the past. That is changing. Those of us who are able, have a responsibility to ourselves and to others who are suffering to educate everyone about the parts of mental illness you can’t understand from reading a textbook, publication, or observation.
We will never have it all figured out, but my purpose is clear to me.
TALK. WRITE. EDUCATE. VOTE.
I love you, B, more than you know. I hope you can forgive me for the worry and stress my being in your life has caused you. I hope we can come to a compromise where we can still be family that does things together. I hate to think of my life without you in it… You said something to me last week that has stuck with me. You said you were willing to help me if you felt like we were on the same team.
A heartbreaking truth about being mentally ill, is for the most part, you feel extremely misunderstood and very alone in the world.
Advocacy is appreciated and necessary, however, we crave unconditional love and support, regardless of there being a lack of understanding concerning the “whys” of our mentally ill behaviors.
We don’t know why most of the time.
I can promise, I will always do what I believe is right, and I know sometimes I will be so wrong. I’m learning and traveling through time like everyone else.
Recently, I broke up with my boyfriend, many of you know. What I haven’t been talking about is everything he has been doing to get me back.
He has been busting his ass proving himself worthy to be with me. The bad part in all of this, is his standing with my family.
They all hate him. I’m not exaggerating either. They really, truly hate him. In fact, if you mention his name in my mother-in-law’s presence, you see a physical reaction.
My family’s disdain for this man has kept me from telling them about what he’s been up to, which is unfair to him, I think.
Most women bitch to their girlfriends about their man troubles, but I bitch to my family. This was a bad idea. They only know the very worst of our relationship and hardly any of the good stuff.
I didn’t tell them how difficult I was and how I pushed him to the brink when I was irritated. I left out all the months he took care of me night and day when I couldn’t get out of the bed.
I understand everyone’s concerns, but last time I checked, I’m a grown ass woman. Its crazy for me to hide like a kid when I’m 37 years old.
I admit that Jason has his share of faults and has even put me in danger in the past. That no longer occurs.
I have also noticed people are very accepting of my type of mental illness, but not as accepting of his type so much. Jason has PTSD and not just any form, his comes from fighting and unfortunately, killing for this country.
He also has some attachment and abandonment issues. Combine his mental illness, my hard headedness and willingness to push him to the brink of insanity, and it’s been a recipe for disaster in the past.
We have learned how to handle each other in certain situations and the danger factor is no longer present.
An argument I get a lot from my mom and mother-in-law, is how they can’t see his good qualities. To be fair, neither of them are ever around him. Their accounts of his behavior are based solely on me. I am not always a reliable source, especially when my emotions are involved.
I am around him every day. I see his good qualities all the time. Not only is that a fact, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter if they see his good qualities or not. I do. I’m the one in a relationship with him and if I see his good qualities and want to have him near me, that is my choice. Period
If I am to be honest, I have been a cheater and a liar before. In fact, I had an affair during my first marriage which ultimately ended the relationship. Once trust is broken, it’s incredibly difficult to get it back.
Of course, no one cares about how the cheater feels, they cheated. They deserve pain, guilt and whatever else happens as a result of their bad karma. Until I was the cheater, I assumed they didn’t feel guilty about their actions anyway.
I can’t speak for all cheaters or former cheaters, but not only did it not feel good to cheat, the remorse I felt once I was found out and seeing the pain I caused was truly awful.
Karma working the way it does, it would make sense for me to pay for my decision to cheat. The mere feelings I had were not sufficient. Well, I paid in spades.
Everyone knows the saying, ” once a cheater, always a cheater”. That rule doesn’t apply to everyone.
I became an anti-cheater, or as someone affectionately called me, the “Monogamy Nazi”.
Honesty, fidelity, and trust became the most important things in the world to me. There is no room in my world for infidelity.
Lying and cheating tend to go hand in hand. Lies become necessary to carry out the cheating and to keep the affair going. Once the habit of lying has begun, it’s like a contagious illness, it spreads. It spreads into all areas of your daily life, and after a while you may even begin to believe the lies yourself.
With my monogamy comes honesty. I am honest to a fault at this time in my life. I have never liked to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I will if I have to.
*If anyone would like me to tell you about yourself, just ask. I will begrudgingly oblige.*
Keith’s death also has contributed to my lack of filter. My mother-in-law refers to a condition very similar as “grief-stripping”.
The whole point of this rant is to let it be known that I understand what it feels like from both sides, and they both suck.
Being the one cheated on feels horrible because of the betrayal. Your body and soul should belong to your partner, and that is sacred. When betrayal occurs, it’s a violation of this sacred bond and ultimately, a violation of trust.
Being the one cheating sucks on a different level. You know you’re screwing up, and you know you could lose everything you have that truly means everything to you, but the lure of infidelity can be exciting and intoxicating.
Once the cheating has happened, there’s no going back. You can’t take it away, no matter how much you may want to. If your partner finds out or you tell them, their pain becomes your pain, and it should. I had to keep in mind that the pain I felt merely witnessing my partner’s pain, was nothing compared to how felt.
My pain was well deserved.
The cheater and the partner (or former partner), now have to deal with the consequences of infidelity.
If you stay together, be prepared for a lot of work. Relationships are hard work without betrayal, so throwing the wrench of deceit into the mess makes it extra tough, but It can be done.
My best advice is this; cheaters, accept responsibility. Do not blame your partner for your bad choices. It’s your fault and yours alone. If there is a problem at home, go home and fix it. All of that energy used to lie and sneak around can be transferred to your relationship and fixing what’s broken.
Ok, now the victims, because that’s what you are. The betrayal feels awful when it’s done to you. If your partner comes clean and wants to work things out with you, you have a decision to make.
Do you stay with this person, or go?
If you stay, be prepared for a tough road. If you leave, then do your best to move on in a healthy way. In both cases, forgiveness is in order.
Always remember, forgiving isn’t for the person who wronged you, it’s for you.
Respect yourself, love yourself. Make your stance on what your needs are and stick to your guns. If your partner loves you and truly wants to make it work, they will work to keep you and they should.
If they won’t fight to keep you and work really hard, LET THEM GO.
So my man is not perfect by any means. In fact, we have had our share of issues since the beginning of us. One thing I am absolutely certain of however, is that he and I are meant to be together. There have been many crazy coincidences since we met that cannot be ignored. I met a woman recently that has known my man since he was very little and this woman also knows my family including my mom and favorite uncle. This is just one of many things that is a little creepy.
I have a “pod” theory. I believe we all have a “pod”. It includes people we know or have yet to know and that we are meant to know. I believe we have more than likely lived many lifetimes with these same souls with their involvement in our lives varying from lifetime to lifetime. I think we keep finding each other over and over again because we each fill a purpose for someone or more than likely, multiple people. Meeting Jason in this lifetime has taught me innumerable lessons and also given me a love I never thought I would ever have again.
When I lost my husband Keith in October 2017, I was convinced he had been my greatest love and I would never find that again. I was ok with ending up an old spinster with 100 cats. I thought I saw my future so clearly. I was so, so wrong. Jason came into my life unexpectedly and the love that followed being even more unexpected. I was in the throws of grief and he helped me in ways no one else could have. We have had problems though and it’s been a tough road at times but it was bound to be. He was newly divorced and I was newly widowed. We weren’t ready for what was happening yet there it was. With these life changing events right under us, there have naturally been challenges. The awesome thing is that we continue to thrive and grow together as a couple, as friends and as a family that we are creating together. He is my family.
I have been struggling lately with trust. It’s made me clingy and weird and I have hated myself for acting this way. I have come to a realization that I trust him 100 percent with my life, my heart and my soul, and this fear I have is based on actions of his, which were based on his own fears. The most important thing is that not only is he still here with me, but he chooses me every day and I choose him. I have every confidence that our upcoming marriage will be strong and last because we have already survived the impossible together and survived the even further impossible before we ever met. We are simply survivors. I can’t think of anyone I would rather do the rest of life with other than him and thank God I don’t have to think about that. My man is here with me and here is where he will always be. It feels good to know that and really know.