Guilt, Shame, A Healthy Selfish

I had a session with my therapist this past Thursday, and not a minute too soon.

I visited my mother last Wednesday and when I walked into her room she had a box of all occasion cards spread out on her bed and she was looking through them with great intent. After greeting her with a hug and asking how she was, I inquired about the cards… Mom told me her table mate that she eats her meals with got them for a gift and said she would never use all of them so she told mom to look through them and take what she wanted. Mom asked me to help her pick out some nice ones so I started looking through them with her. I noticed there were several that had duplicates so I asked mom if she wanted me to pick out one of each card that had a duplicate and she said yes, that would be great. When I had a nice selection of different kinds of cards for mom I asked her what she wanted me to do with them. She said “I want you to take them home and keep them and when I need one I’ll call you and have you bring it up to me”. Then she said “oh, and isn’t your birthday on Sunday?” I acknowledged that it was and I knew what was coming next… Mom said ” pick out one you like for your birthday..” I asked her if she wanted me to sign her name on it too and she said “well you know I can’t write…” I can’t even begin to explain how that affected me and even worse, I can’t explain why it still does… All I know is it did…

So the next day when I went for my therapy appointment…I talked at length to my therapist about the card incident and she told me I need to cut the time I spend with my mother to no more than one day a week and no more than two hours during that one day visit. She told me since I can’t impose those boundaries with my mother on my own…she is imposing them for me as part of my ongoing therapy. She said you are still recovering from a rage that caused you to have a break from reality. Rage so strong and so deep you couldn’t deal with your brother, mother, or anyone’s anger because you were trying to control that rage but you didn’t have the coping skills to be successful because you never learned coping skills as a child. She said “Virginia, you’ve already suffered one breakdown and my job is to make sure that doesn’t happen again. She told me my mother is a definite trigger to me and the reason I can’t just walk away from her is because I was raised in a guilt and shame based environment instead of one that was based on honest love and acceptance, and that my mother still controls me with guilt and/or shame…” She said to this day if someone makes you feel guilty enough or shames you enough you will do whatever it is they want. She sited the examples of if I don’t go to see my mother for whatever reason… even when she has upset me,,, I feel guilty, or worse, shameful because I think I’m not doing what my Christian Faith would have me do…She told me guilt and shame are two of the most powerful emotions a child can be controlled with. She said she believes that my mother decided when I was very young and she looked around and saw this one little girl among all those boys…that she would “train” me to do her will, and she did it without ever raising a hand to me…it was all done by making me feel guilty if I didn’t want to do something, then making me feel ashamed for not wanting to do what I was asked to do…”I told my therapist I would speak to my mother about limiting my visits to one day a week and no more than two hours per visit. She agreed and said she would like me to come back next week and do another EMDR session, this time around my mother, because I’m never going to change my mother at her age, so she said I need to be “desensitized” to the things my mother says that are triggers and/or hurtful to me…well now, isn’t it a shame I have to be desensitized from my own mother…? But, I’ll do what I have to do to keep my recovery moving in a positive direction…

Today, I went to see my mother. I took her the supplies she asked me to bring and as I was putting her things away I told her I couldn’t come on Wednesday because I have a doctor’s appoint (which I do) and that after that I would only be able to visit her on Wednesday’s from now on. And then, there was “that look”, the look that always stopped me in my tracks when I was a little girl…I can’t explain it I just know it’s a look that needs no words. But, I kept talking through it to mom telling her I need to have some time to do some things I need to do…(my therapist told me I need to replace the time I would have spent with mom on Monday’s with something fun for me. She said I need to replace a negative experience with a positive one and it needs to be something that makes me happy…she called it being “healthy selfish” and said I need to get real familiar with what that means for me)…Mom just kept looking at me and said “well don’t forget about me”… I smiled and said “I doubt I’m going to do that mom, I just need some time and space that’s all…I’ll still come up on Wednesdays and stay with you from 8-10 when you go to your church service. Mom just shrugged her shoulders and said “well I guess I’ll just let them do whatever they want to me then since you won’t be around to see what’s going on…” I said “you’ll be just fine mom, and if you need anything you can call me and let me know and I’ll bring whatever it is to you when I visit on Wednesday’s. I said “you’ll see Danny on Sunday’s and me on Wednesday’s so you will have at least two visitors per week.” Mom just kept looking at me and said “you’re not my visitor, your my daughter and your suppose to be here with me when I need you”. I said mom, I’m going to be healthy selfish because I need to do this for myself. It’s OK if you don’t agree, but I still need to do this for me. She said “well what if I had been “healthy selfish” with you how would you have liked that?” I said “mom, I need to go now, you can call me whenever you want and I’ll see you next Wednesday.” I gave her a hug and left.

Shantel, I write this blog mainly for you, and when you read back on this I want you to know I hope I never, ever, made you  feel guilty or ashamed about anything and I hope I never do going forward. I want you to have your own life and live it to the absolute fullest. As I get older, I don’t want you to ever feel like your responsible for me in any way shape or form. I’ve always said I want people  in my life that want to be there for their own reasons….not because they feel obligated in any way.

Do I feel guilty? Yes. Do I feel shameful? Yes. But at least now I know why and I’m working on it.

Stay Tuned!

Advertisements

A Sense Of Entitlement

Today, while my daughter, Shantel, and I were working our volunteer shift at Maggie’s Place, we met the mother of the new triplets that just joined the house last week. This young mother (I’ll call her T) of triplet boys is just eighteen years old…I can’t even get my head wrapped around what a challenge it is going to be for her to care for these three precious baby boys as a single mother once her six months at Maggie’s’ Place is over and she has to go out on her own.

When I first met T, I got the sense she was quiet and somewhat shy. She was sitting in a rocking chair working on her homework on a laptop computer. She had one of her babies laying on a blanket asleep beside her chair. When I spoke to T she softly said hello but didn’t really make full eye contact with me. I asked her if all her babies were doing well and she said yes. I asked her where the other two babies were and she told me her mother had them for an overnight stay at her house. T kept working on her computer as she was talking to me about her baby boys. Finally, the baby lying on the blanket next to her began to stir and wake up. T never made any attempt to pick him up or even stop what she was doing to see if he might need changed or fed. She just kept working even when her precious baby boy began to cry…I kept watching T to see if she was trying to “tune the baby out” or if she was going to show any sign of interest in her baby crying louder and louder with each passing minute. T just kept working like nothing was going on at all. I was just about to ask T if she would like me to pick the baby up and feed him for her when one of the other mom’s walked over and picked the crying baby up and took him to a changing table and changed his diaper, then asked T where his bottle was. T told her where to find the bottle but never took her eyes off the computer screen. When the other mom changed and fed T’s baby she put him down in a swing and let him sleep in there.

The phone rang and I got distracted with the business of the day but later, when things settled down a bit, I went back into the community room where T was still sitting in the same chair working on her computer. Every now and then she would stop to laugh or joke with yet another mom who had joined the group. After a bit T’s baby woke up crying again and T once again showed no reaction what so ever to the babies needs so I asked her if she would like me to see if he needed to eat again or needed changed. T shrugged her shoulders and said “if you want to, you are the volunteer and that’s what they do”. I picked up the beautiful baby boy, just three weeks old, and changed him then fed him another ounce of formula and rocked him as I tried to get him to burp. The baby settled right down and went back to sleep. As I continued to rock and hold the baby boy, T started talking to one of the other mom’s in the room and told her she was so frustrated she thought she was going to “explode”. The other mom asked T what was wrong and T started going on and on about all the house rules and how she didn’t see how anyone could “live like this with having to ask permission to do things and having chores to do at specific times etc. She said she didn’t know how much longer she could put up with all that…The other mom told T “I know what you mean, when I first got here I felt the same way but it did get better after a while and if I can do it you can too”. T said “well you are able to hold your feelings in I’m not and I’m about to let all of them know exactly how I feel”. Then T, who said she needs volunteers to babysit for her even when she is there because she is still recovering from her C section…and can’t really get around that well…got up out of her chair in one swift move and told the other mom she needed to go to another room to get away from all this or she was going to blow up and she stormed out of the room!

At this point I’m thinking you have got to be kidding me…This young girl run her life off in a ditch because she didn’t want to “follow any rules”, got herself pregnant with triplets, got lucky enough to get accepted into Maggie’s Place when there is a waiting list a mile long, has free food and shelter for her and her three babies, access to every available service Maggie’s Place has to call upon, free counseling, and round the clock volunteers at her disposal to help her with her three babies for free…and she wants to bitch about following the rules and do come chores and ask permission for certain things…and to put the topping on the cake…she talks down to the volunteers who are trying to help her…

All I can say is some people never cease to amaze me with their Sense Of Entitlement!

Stay tuned!

The Man Had A Gun

That’s all I heard, as my world stood still, when my daughter, Shantel, came home from school yesterday and told me while she was waiting for her Dial-a-Ride transfer to pick her up at Fry’s food store, a man and woman inside the store were caught shop lifting, and were being detained at the front of the store right by the bench where Shantel, and some other people waiting for their dial-a-ride transfers, were sitting.

At first, Shantel said she didn’t really know what was going on, then she heard a woman say “I’m only twenty years old, I didn’t know stealing was wrong”. Shantel said she heard one of the Fry’s employees say ‘give us the stolen items and we will wait here for the police to arrive”. The next thing Shantel heard was one of the people waiting on the bench with Shantel  say “the man has a gun“. Apparently the man who was shoplifting with the woman, pulled out a gun and was about to take things into his own hands when all of a sudden the police arrived and took control of the situation… Thank God!

Once I got my heart started again, and my mind wrapped around the fact that Shantel really was OK, I began to ask Shantel more details about the shoplifting event. I asked her if she was scared and she said a little but she knew where the door was if she needed to run so she decided she was safe. That’s when I told her “you can’t outrun a bullet Shantel”. OMG, this girl has no fear…I suppose that’s because I have enough for her and I both, and then some! I also asked Shantel what the other dial-a-ride people said to her after the incident was over…Shantel said one elderly lady, who was sitting there with her son, said “we’re from New York City, and as crazy as it gets there, we’ve never seen anything like this”. I asked Shantel if the police asked her any questions and being the never-ending comedian she’s always been…she said  “well they couldn’t ask me if I saw anything so why would they want to ask me anything at all?” I asked her if anything happened that she hadn’t told me but she said no, after the police got there her transfer cab came and she was safely on her way home. Thank God!

As Shantel’s mother, of course I always worry about her, especially when she is out and about on her own, but I try really hard to not let my fears of what might or could happen show through to her because I want her to continue to be the strong, independent, woman she has become…but that said, I don’t think I can get enough therapy to make me be OK about her being around situations that involve “a man with a gun that required police intervention.

I continue to pray for a more peaceful world for us all to live in…

Stay Tuned!

Up Before God

No, your computer isn’t broken…I really haven’t posted any new blogs for several days now because my six-year-old computer crashed, again, for the third time. I love technology when it works right, but absolutely hate it when it doesn’t.  Anyway, I have a new laptop now and I’m very happy to be back, and even more happy to know you missed me:)!

I have to say, when frustrating things happen, it is good to keep a sense of humor or have someone around who can make light of a situation, even if you don’t really know the person.

My daughter, Shantel, is trying to find a job. I have never in my life seen anyone who wants to work more than she does. We’ve told her she doesn’t need to worry about getting a job right now and in fact I really wish she wouldn’t because I want her to give her studies her full and undivided attention. But, she is young, and wants to spread her own wings and see how high she can fly, so I do all I can to help her.

Shantel can fill out some on-line job applications on her laptop that has the JAWS program on it which reads to her information that is on the screen. However, there are some on-line applications that will not accommodate JAWS so I read the questions and fill in the answers she provides. I thought I had seen it all when I helped her complete a FRY’s food store application for a courtesy clerk. The application was forty-two pages long! I was so frustrated by the time I finished with it I told Shantel I think we could get into the Secret Service easier than get a job bagging groceries at Fry’s!!!

Well, today, Shantel asked me if I would help her complete an application for Hyatt Regency. They have a part-time opening for a bus person. Shantel asked me if I thought she could do that job and my first response was “of course you can, it’s just clearing tables”. Then Shantel told me a friend of hers said she didn’t think Shantel should apply for the position because you have to be really fast as you carry dirty dishes back to the kitchen area. I told Shantel most places have a tub to put the dirty dishes in so you can carry then back to the kitchen, and that’s when Shantel asked me if I thought she could do that with one hand…reminding me that she is blind and needs her other hand to “see” where she is going…my heart sank as I realized just how difficult a simple bus person job could be for Shantel. But, Shantel is so determined to have a job, so I told her if she wanted the job bad enough she would find a way to make it work. We filled out the on-line application which was about twenty pages long and when I tried to submit it, a box pops up saying “you have to complete an… on-line survey which takes about fifteen minutes, before submitting your application or your application will be rejected…We’re talking about a bus person job here people…We completed the survey, which was 100 questions. Here are a couple of the ones that stood out: ” there are 50 hours in a day?, you can count to 10?, and the all time favorite, you can see to read this question?”…I would really like to meet the person that makes up these stupid questions…

Finally, we were ready to leave to take Shantel to school. But first, she wanted to stop at Wal-Mart, then make another stop to get her breakfast.

By the time I pulled into Wal-Mart, I was frustrated beyond belief and thinking to myself…”it would be nice to just own my own life and not have my life governed by the needs of others… (** Note to self…be glad you have others to do things for and stop complaining…:) Shantel gave me her list of items she needed and I walked her sighted guide to collect them. When we finally arrived at the checkout counter, a very small framed woman with a very perky voice said “Hi there ladies, how are you doing”. Shantel said we are fine and I asked the woman how she was for lack of anything else to say…She looked at me and said ” All I can see is the backside of my pillow right now because I’ve been here at work since four o’clock. I said ‘wow, that’s early” to which she replied ‘yes, I was sitting up in my bed at two-thirty this morning trying to get motivation to drag myself to the shower and I started thinking to myself What Am I Doing Up Before GOD”! I don’t know why, but that just CRACKED ME UP!

I don’t know if I get up before God, but I know I thank him everyday for people with a sense of humor!

Stay Tuned

I’m Not Cindy

My name is Virginia, Cindy left you long ago…just like the song “I’m not Lisa, my name is Julie…”

What’s in a name anyway? Does it make a difference what we are called? I believe it does. I’ve known several people, some in my own family, and some who are my friends, who changed their birth given name to one they prefered or one they felt suited them better. Why, because they believe, like I do, that there is power in a name. Your name has the power to become your identity. It can identify you with your past and it can identify you with who you have or want to become.

Yesterday, my nephew, Tom, you might remember him from the photos I posted of he and his beautiful family when they came to stay a few days at our home around Christmas time…, well Tom sent me a note letting me know he reads my blog and now that he knows where the name Cindy came from he is going to start calling me Aunt Virginia from now on. What a great compliment to me. Not only does it tell me he understands my blog and the very fact that I choose to title my blog “beyond cinderella” for a specific reason which is to show how I moved beyond the name I was tagged with as a child, Cindy, short for Cinderella. A name that was never really mine but it is what I was identified with for all my life which meant my real name, Virginia, and who I wanted to be identified as, was pushed to the background of my life… so for the first time since I have been Tom’s Aunt, I signed my note back to him yesterday as Aunt Virginia and it felt so good. So very good. Thank-you Tom for your insight and understanding. I love you so very much.

Why is this such a big deal to me? Because I’m not Cindy anymore, my name is Virginia. Cindy wouldn’t have accomplished all that Virginia has. Cindy was weak, obedient and scared. Virginia is strong, independent, and speaks her mind. Cindy would never let her own daughter, Katie, go when she couldn’t reach her anymore. Virginia knew Katie was running because it’s easier to run from the pain you feel than to face it and deal with it. Virginia knows if it’s meant to be all things will work themselves out in time. Cindy couldn’t have met the challenges of Corporate America and worked her way up the ladder of success because she was too shy, and had no leadership skills to draw upon. Virginia taught herself how to gain leadership skills and use them well. Those leadership skills helped Virginia fight for Shantel’s rights all through school where Cindy would have collapsed under the pressure and stress. Cindy would never put her life out here on a blog for not only her daughter Shantel to have, but for the whole world to see and draw strength or insight from if they need it. Virginia stands proudly behind every word and shares herself and her life with anyone who wants to follow her.

No, I’m not Cindy anymore, and at the age of sixty-one (in a few short days) I proudly claim the victory of my birth given name.

My name is Virginia.

Stay Tuned!

Go In Peace

In my last post I told you I put myself in “TIME OUT” from my mother and that I was going to use that “TIME OUT” to clear my head, my heart, and recharge my spirit, before I could go back to see my mother again which I intended to do next week…

Well, after a lot of ignoring my mother’s phone messages asking me to come back now…a lot of crying, some sleepless nights, wine, prayer, and a lot of self-talk…I went back to see my mother yesterday.

When I arrived at my mother’s room I said “good morning” she looked up at me and started crying and said I called and called you. I said I know mom but I wasn’t ready to talk to you. I wasn’t trying to be mean to you but I needed time to clear my head and my heart and recharge myself so I could come and talk to you in a peaceful manner.  I said mom, you can’t force someone to be ready to talk when their hurt or angry. It’s better to let them retreat with dignity until they are ready to try again. Mom said “I’m sorry Cindy, and I’m going to try to behave better”. I hugged her and told her it’s not a matter of “behaving” mom, for me it’s a matter of us being able to talk to each other without hurting one another. I said I want our visits to be pleasant. I don’t want to upset you mom, and I don’t want to be upset either. So can we agree to just take it one visit at a time and can we agree that when I come to see you will know I’m coming because I do care about you and I want to make sure you have everything you need, that you are being well cared for, and I want to be able to talk to you about things you do everyday here at the care center and share with you the things I do. And, when it’s time for me to leave mom, I want you to be able to let me go in peace knowing that I stayed as long as I could and I will be back. I asked mom what she needs from me and she said you do enough for me already I just need to know that you’ll always come back. I promised her I would and told her “I guess we will just have to keep trying until we finally get it right”. Then we went to the activity room and watched the price is right together until it was time for her church service and for me to “go in peace” which I did.

Some people reading my blog may not be able to understand my relationship with my mother. If you have or had a wonderful, loving relationship with your mother I envy you and I’m sure you can’t understand my relationship with my mother. Many, many  things have taken place between my mother and I that caused a significant strain on our relationship over the years. But still, we continue to try to hold on, and continue to try to work through the pain and tears and the sometimes darkness of our relationship until we find the light that allows us to get to a place where we can stop hurting each other long enough to actually listen before we talk and that allows us to agree to start over again and keep trying to make it better because that’s what family’s do…for my mother and I that’s the BEST we can do. I’ll take that and try not to expect anything more.

Stay Tuned!

Time Out

I need a break from my mother so I’ve called a time out for myself.

My new mantra of “treat her better than she treats you” didn’t help me achieve the desired result I was looking for with my mother, but it did help me leave her room Monday without saying more than I already said and something I know I shouldn’t, when yet again she became angry with me because I couldn’t stay as long as she wanted me to due to other commitments I needed to keep.

I went to visit my mother Monday as usual and I noticed right away she was upset but she didn’t come right out and tell me why. I asked if she saw my brother, Danny, on Easter and she said “yes, he came but he couldn’t stay long because he had people coming to his house for Easter and he had to get home because he was cooking the meal. She said Danny stayed about an hour with her and she was glad to see him. As mom was talking to me about Danny, one of her resident friends came to her door and said good morning to me and asked if I had a nice Easter. I said I did and started telling her about the baptisms of twin girls we were invited to attend and how my family went out to lunch after the baptisms were over. I noticed mom was getting very agitated while I was speaking to her friend and I knew this was not going to be a good visit.

After mom’s friend left mom’s room, mom told me it was her shower day and her aid would be coming to take her to get her shower soon. She said “you can go to the activity room and wait there until I get my shower”. I had already been with mom for an hour and forty-five minutes so I told her I would stay with her until the aid came to take her for her shower but I couldn’t stay after that because Monday’s are my day for adoration at church, and this particular Monday was my day to cook for the priests as well. At that mom became very upset and said “since you don’t seem to have any time for me in your busy life you can just leave now”.  I sat down on mom’s bed and said “mom, why are you acting like this”? Mom said “well your always so busy but you don’t seem to care if you spend time with me or not”. I kept thinking “treat her better than she’s treating you…” but I said “who gives you more time than I do mom, who makes sure you have what you need and pays your bills and does you personal shopping… who treats you better than I do mom” Mom looked me straight in the eyes and said “the people here do”.  At this point I should have just walked out but I needed to tell her how I feel so I said “mom, no matter what I do for you it’s never enough. I have a life too and a husband, daughter, home, and interests of my own. I didn’t put you here mom, and you are not going to make me feel guilty because you are here, and it’s not my responsibility to sit here all day with you. I said, mom, your always pissed off about something and you turning into a bitter, angry, old woman. I said I am doing the best I can for you and I give you all the time I can but if that’s not good enough than perhaps you can just ask the people here that you think treat you better than I do if they will just do more for you because I’m done!

Then I got up and walked out the door. As I was leaving I heard my mother say “good-bye” but I just kept walking.

Later that afternoon the phone rang and I saw it was my mother. I didn’t answer it because I don’t want to talk to her right now. I just need a break from mom so I’m putting myself in “time out”. My mother left a voice message saying she didn’t want to let this go on and on and she had a really bad day…she wants me to call her but I can’t right now, I just can’t. I’m taking the time I need to clear my head and my heart. I’m taking time for me…perhaps next week I’ll be better prepared to deal with my mother again, but for now, I just need a “TIME OUT”!

Stay Tuned!

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

ChefDeHome Blog

Be a Proud Home Chef

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

%d bloggers like this: