I’m a rather curious person. And I’m also a curious person. I like to click on the people who “like” my post and go to their blog to see what they have to say. What’s their take on life as they know it?
While perusing others blogs I came across an article The S.A.I.D. principle, posted on February 9, 2013. It means Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. I found this on the Real Women’s Health Blog. She’s got some good stuff there.
While exploring this topic she posed the question: If faking a smile can make you happy, does whining make you more miserable? I think this is absolutely true in a most profound way. I know that whining never solves any problem that I have.
Nor does having a tantrum. But, but…tantrums are so cathartic, even though they do tend to damage people and objects subjected to said tantrum. Whining only turns you into a sniveling bowl of poorly set jello. It doesn’t help at all. It’s not cathartic, it’s not satisfying, and it does not help the situation. It just makes you and those around you more miserable. And it reinforces a sense of helplessness and being an all-around ineffectual person. “I can’t or won’t do anything to make this better, so I’m just gonna sit around and bitch about it.”
Years ago I sat through many a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon (for people who deal with other alcoholics). These people are ruthless I tell you! I’d be sitting around nursing my crappy coffee in a Styrofoam cup and singing the blues. “Oh woe is me, my life sucks, and this will never end.” The old wise ones would tell me things like: “Put on your big girl panties…. Get off your pity pot.” My favorite was “come down off that cross honey, there’s only room for one up there.”
I would of course become outraged. “How DARE you say that to me! If you had the problems I have…<insert horror story here>…blah blah blah.” Then I’d calm down, shut up and listen. Everyone who has to deal with substance abuse or mental illness or any other freak show has their own horror story. The may be different from mine but they’re all terrible.
I’ve listened to people talk about their schizophrenic or bipolar/alcoholic daughters, who would go off their meds, disappear from the face of the earth for a year or 2 and then show up out of the blue with another baby for the grandparents to raise. Then after another year or 2 the daughter would pop back up and say “Hey, I’m all better now, gimme back my kids.” And with the courts behind them, they snatch the kids out of the stable environment and go off on another magic carpet right, kids in tow. How’s that for a nightmare scenario?
I’m grateful now that I heard these stories. My daughter tried that with me. She did not even ask, she demanded that I take her children. And threatened that if I did not take the kids, I would never see them again. Fortified with the information I had – I refused. I told her that she needed to get straight, get treatment and TAKE CARE OF HER CHILDREN, THE KIDS SHE GAVE BIRTH TO. It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.
I got a ton of flack and grief from people who don’t understand the labyrinths of hell that is untreated mental illness and substance abuse. “How could you do that, what kind of person are you that you would not take in those kids?” It cut me to the bone. I was a single woman at the time living at a barely subsistence level myself. I was in no position mentally or financially to take on the raising of 2 children.
Unfortunately she made good on her threat. I have never seen these 2 grandkids since. She disappeared again for a couple of years when I failed to meet her demands. I found out later that she gave the children up for adoption. She claims the state took them away. I don’t know what is true around this. But I do know the kids are in a stable 2 parent home, cared for by people who love them and can give them a happy life. Could I have done that? I don’t think so.
Am I whining about this? Nope, just stating the facts, Ma’am. Tough love is exactly what is says –tough. You might be better off walking barefoot across hot coals topped with broken glass. I guess what we have to do is pull way back and look at the big picture. Would things have been better if I chose a different path? I don’t know. I will never know. I just have turn left at the next star and head straight on ‘til morning.
Thought I would explain why Mr. Grandson suddenly dropped out of the picture. He was the whole reason for my wild camping adventure in the first place. He flaked out at the last-minute and announced he was quitting the National Guard. And no I didn’t forget him at a rest stop 🙂
Now on the face of it, you may think hmmm that’s not a wise move or even hoorah. However, that was our main condition for him living under the roof of Mr. Husband and myself.
3 months ago he arrived at the airport here in Big D. He was 23 years old, broke, skinny, tired, scared, had a variety of unaddressed medical issues and a substance abuse problem. I knew all this from the beginning. We were hoping to help him get on his feet.
We had 2 conditions for his remaining here. 1) no substance or alcohol use and 2) he had to honor his commitments to the National Guard. We wanted this second condition because we thought he needed the structure in his life and his insurance was dirt cheap. A much-needed benefit considering the state of his health.
Over the next months I chauffeured him to countless doctor appointments, substance abuse counselling 3 times a week and so on. He cleaned up, gained 35 pounds (our grocery bill almost tripled), and even began to speak in a respectful alert tone of voice.
So he got big and healthy, regained some self-respect and then went to the other extreme and got all cocky. The day before we due to leave to drive him to Guard duty in New England he announces he was quitting. Mr. Husband and I were heartbroken and felt sort of suckered. I don’t think Mr. Grandson thought that the reaction would be immediate. He hasn’t experienced much of that in his life. I told him quitting was a deal breaker and that we would take him to the bus station.
As he was packing his bag, we approached him and asked one last time, “why are you doing this?” He straightened up, looked us in the eye and said “you told me you wouldn’t be behind me if I quit the Guard, every action has a consequence.”
Wow, he had come a long way. He had enough mental acuity to take a concept we were trying to teach him, turn it around, and throw it in our teeth. At that point I decided that he had to leave immediately, not 6 hours later. He finished packing and we drove him to the bus station, sporting a ticket that we purchased, of course. Haven’t heard from him since.
I was heavy hearted, emotionally whipped, and all packed up with nowhere to go. The next morning my mom said “why don’t we just go instead of sitting around the house moping.” And so we did.
I hope that Mr. Grandson got something from his 3 month stay with Grandma and Grandpa. There is another way to live and life doesn’t have to be a constant stream of melodrama, emotional pain, and failure. Maybe someday he will look back at this time and think that it did him some good. All I can do is hope and pray for him.
When in between adventures at home I tend to get introspective and start reading all kinds of wild and crazy books. Seems I’m not content to just sit around and twiddle my mental thumbs.
Started reading the Tibetan Book of Death and Living after watching a documentary The Quantum Activist. Theoretical physicist, Amit Goswami mentioned it during the program. Now I’m having all kinds of strange dreams and am evidently working out issues from the past in my sleep.
Having my grandson here is definitely stirring the sludge at the bottom of my psychological pot. His way of dealing with authority or just about anything is from the victim/I’m being taken advantage of mentality. He has no concept that anything that happens today is a direct or indirect result of what he did or did not do in the past. Where did he learn this from? His mother, of course. My daughter. She could figure out a way to blame the state or someone else if she deliberately shot herself in the foot .
Where did she learn this from? Why me, of course. The me that existed 35 years ago. I am not that person now. I spent 35 years going to therapy, psychiatrists, Al-Anon meetings, adult children of Alcoholics meetings, marriage counseling, meditation, acupuncture, spiritual retreats, pilgrimages, aura cleansing, novenas, sweat lodges, prayer circles, bible study, rosaries, more meetings, lighting candles, medication, introspection, retrospection, cleansing juice fasts, navel gazing, star watching, shedding tears, having nightmares, making amends, listening to Doctor Laura on the radio, and reading almost every self-help, or self-improvement book ever written. Even the cells in my body are not the cells that were in it 35 years ago. Spooky. What a blast from the past.
Just for the record the 2 favorites that I read over and over are: When I Say No I feel Guilty, and 10 Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up There Lives.
When all that is done, I think traveling is so much easier than the above route and a helluva lot more fun. The very nature of travel forces to you to another mind-set. To enjoy it all, you must give up any delusions of control the minute you set foot on the curb at the airport. At that point it’s too late to go home and get anything you forgot.
The plane leaves on time and gets you where you are going or it doesn’t. At your destination you are a stranger in a strange land. What is in what is out? Up or down? Acceptable or unacceptable? Where is the toilet? If you are in a country with a different language you are completely out of your element.
You must be creative and communicate without your comfy known language for the most basic needs, food, water, telephone, and shoe store. Right and wrong become more subjective rather than absolute. It’s difficult to get in heated discussions about politics, or anything else, using sign language. Even rude gestures don’t mean the same thing in other parts of the world.
I can’t wait to go again. While I’m waiting nothing is stopping me from investigating the possibilities from the comfort of my den.
What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours. I woke up happy today. Yesterday morning, I woke up in a crappy mood after a night of ridiculous nightmares. The least weird of my dreams was watching my mother go base jumping off a bridge with a satellite dish/umbrella hat strapped to her head. You heard me. And then it got weird. A pre-coffee hub-man questionnaire set me off and it was downhill from there.
Today is a wonderful day. I woke up happy, twice. The first time was 2:30 am. Went out to the patio and sat in the dark Texas night. This is the time of year when the wind blows hard late at night. It talks to you through the leaves on the trees. Whispers “what’s bothering you child? Let it out, let it go. I’ll take it away in the wind.” Woke up the 2nd time at 8:30 and still happy. I can live with this.
What was going on? Paralyzed with fear and anger, I’m beating myself up for having feelings. Smacking myself in the head with a hammer is more productive. At least I have bruises visible to others.
So what am I angry about? My beautiful daughter, lost to me in her own personal hell of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse. 39 years old and looking like she got dragged behind a truck. Hell yea I’m angry! But I feel better today because I let myself admit it.
I’m angry that she dragged her children through this hell with her. I’m angry that she let her youngest children be taken away by the state, because she was off drugging and left them alone, again and again. A loving family adopted them and they are in a much better environment now.
I’m angry because her darling oldest son, now living with me, basically grew up with wolves. No guidance, no example of any kind of values other than survival. I’m angry, NO, make that blazing, white-hot, steaming, raging, furious, that she blames it on me! Angry that much of society also blames it on me. I blame it on me. Where did I go wrong? I’m a terrible mother. I dared to try to have a life. If only I had done something differently. If only…….. Knowing that this is complete and total bull shyte doesn’t make it hurt any less.
What am I afraid of? I’m afraid to get my hopes up. Afraid that grandson will hang in there for a while and then get sucked back into the nightmare. Afraid that my daughter has damaged her brain beyond any hope of recovery and a meaningful life. Afraid that she and I will never have a real conversation again. One that involves loving communication, rather that yet another attempt to con me out of more money.
So I woke up happy today. Sounds strange, but it is the feel good kind of happy that happens after getting a huge splinter out of your foot. I know there are other splinters lurking around in there. Dealing with this kind of grief is like having Malaria. It goes, comes roaring back like the 2nd half of a hurricane, and then goes again.
Today I chose joy. And lot’s of coffee!
No one said it was going to be easy. But darling grandson has gone from Mr. Contrite to Mr. Cocky pants in 5 days. Which leads me to ask the question. Is keel hauling still legal? OK that’s too extreme. What about a light flogging, only 30 or 40 lashes.
The honeymoon is definitely over. Now the hard work begins. To say I was disappointed and angry is the understatement of the century. I shut myself in the bedroom and cried for a while. Life is never dull. That’s for sure.
Mr. Cocky has been home from the treatment center less than 5 days and now thinks he’s knows it all. I woke up this morning to a messed up house. Soda bottles all over, some spilled on the carpet and hardwood floors. Over flowing ashtray on the patio. A half bottle of vodka gone and a kid passed out on the sofa in his underpants. The house pretty much looked and smelled like the morning after a frat party.
All righty then. I told him to get up and clean up. He pissed and moaned and complained. 2 hours later he was still piddling around and hadn’t cleaned up. Then the excuses started. “My head hurts, I feel sick.” Well yah! And guess what, that’s too bad, get up NOW. I had a come to Jesus talk with him myself. Later this afternoon Mr. Husband had another sit down with him.
We gave him a rope with the booze and he hung himself with it. So now drinking is off the list of acceptable behaviors in the house. Tomorrow morning it’s off the counselor because he admits, today anyway, that he can’t get clean on his own. Way to many issues going on in that skull of his.
O lord give me strength, and a sense of humor, and the courage to say what I mean and mean what I say.