Posts Tagged ‘pain’

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Parenting: Conflicts and Avoidance, Part 3

March 29, 2014

Part 3: So what am I teaching my children?

This has definitely been on my mind as the week has gone on. I wrote a letter to these two friends just so that I could process my thoughts. I ended with:

Don’t ever regret telling me. Regret that so much of this could have been avoided if I had only been told sooner. In the name of “letting them work it out” you have only taught them that avoidance is okay and they are learning nothing and T1 is learning exactly what I believe—that no one is trustworthy, no one gives opportunities for personal accountability and improvement, and that walking away is preferable to working things out.

I’ve read this letter to T1, both in its original form and when I edited it to include my self-reflection on if I was just as guilty of not letting the other parents know of their child’s behavior. T1 and I have discussed this entire situation at length. We’ve gone through the whole gamut of emotions.

But have I shown her the correct way of dealing with this? It occurred to me that while I feel justified in my reaction as a parent, it may also stem from my trauma thus making it an extreme reaction. And one that these parents just don’t get.

My initial trauma came from choices of others not protecting me–as my 14-year-old self says, “Not putting me first.” I can be rational and understand that choices were made with the best of their ability and that their hands were tied. I get that. But it has always driven me to demand my due. Even with the Chief. My biggest struggles with my MIL were about her making demands on the Chief and not expecting him to put me and the girls first, or at least give us the common courtesy of checking with us first. (See my posts about the Pineapples.) It really wasn’t until about both girls were born and we had moved south that the Chief and I finally got through to her. And I love her dearly. Just so we’re clear, the Chief isn’t a Momma’s Boy and the situation perplexed him too.

The trauma in recent years, both occasions, were because I was once again not considered and not protected by those that should have stepped up to consider and defend me. Trust me, I am not self-centered enough (despite some accusations) to believe I should be the center of anyone’s world or the first thought before they act. Nonetheless, the damage was done and it could have been avoided.

Was no one going to step up for T1? While the accusations were true she was not alone nor were the other children innocent. The question I keep asking is why is my child the only one who crosses the line with the teasing and nasty comments? Everyone gives as good as they get but it always ends with my child saying the last thing before the others run off to their parents, crying about how mean my child is. And what is that line she keeps crossing?

And why didn’t my friends let me step up to help her learn what that line was? I will always step up for my child–that includes defending her innocence and correcting her when she is in error. Who else is going to do that? Certainly not these other parents.

These thoughts took my breath away. They hurt.

I’ve had friends and acquaintances just up and walk away rather than work things out. Learning later some of those situations could have been fixed if I had only been told is where my outrage comes from. Others maybe I was too young to know how to handle. I wasn’t taught to deal with things head on. Hmmm… much like these girls (and parents)? I expressed as much to T1.

But these other emotions? They come from a deeper hurt.

T1’s emotions this week have also roller coastered. She’s sought out both girls; she’s apologized. The one who has frozen her out has not responded but an actually conversation has not taken place. I’ve seen her get angry, just like me, about the pots calling the kettle black… and coming to me with a myriad of examples.

I’ve had to caution her about doing that. “Don’t give in to that anger. If it’s never bothered you, you can’t bring it up, but yes, those are good examples of how you all treat each other.” But I hope she knows I feel her pain and her outrage, her confusion, and her sorrow.

I did take her aside later this week to express my concern over what I was teaching her. “My emotions, my struggle, are coming from a place of hurt. From damage. I’m not sure it is healthy or that I’m being the best example.”

I’ve never talked to my children about my initial trauma. I don’t intend to if I don’t have to. T1 knows about the circumstances of the last two. “I wasn’t put first. I wasn’t protected. No one stood up for me. That is my damage. But I will promise you this, I will always stand by you. I will always defend you. And teaching you for years to come is my job.”

In regards to my PTSD, writing my response helped me avoid some of the downward spiraling and obsessive behaviors a situation like this could cause. I’m not one to harm myself but man, what would I give to have another friends say to these women, “Did you know I had to talk her off a ledge last night thanks to you two?” I want a knight in shining armor to sweep in and defend me and my child. It is this reaction that got me thinking about where all this was coming from.

I told T1 that I haven’t decided what I will do with my response letter. I don’t know if it is a moot point and they just won’t change or if I should give them the opportunity they never gave me. I did ask T1 her thoughts and I think she very maturely said, “Send it to them.”

Part 4: What to do…

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E.o.t.T. Pressing On

February 9, 2013

It has been an interesting week at the gym. I might have gone for 130 lb. press this week but it didn’t happen. Why? That’s a good question.

Last Friday (the 1st) I pressed 120 fairly easily. 5 sets of 2, working on holding my breath and pushing through. I bailed on the timed run after that because the wind made me feel as if I was running naked. I’m not sure how long it took for to feel my thighs again.

Monday (the 4th) I substituted so I went to the gym on Tuesday. We were going for 125 lbs. We were also making a change–it would be an actual press and not my usual Swiss or multi-grip bar work out. **I had the wrong kind of bar listed in my original posting. Sorry for the confusion.**

We were going for 4 sets of 2.

I lost confidence. Not sure if it confidence in myself and then ultimately not having confidence the trainer was going to grab the bar should I crumble… I don’t know.

I have a neck vertebrae that will get subluxated (moved out of place) that causes pain in my collar bone–I had actually thought is was my first rib out of place, but after examining me the chiropractor feels it is a neck misalignment. I was feeling that on Tuesday. It figures as I’m due for a visit to the chiropractor. Was this going to cause pain or weaken my left arm? Would I be able to still press if one are wasn’t at it’s best?

Should I compensate by driving through my healing and engaging my back? I was feeling my lower back tense up in ways it hadn’t previously. With lower back issues, what would I do if those muscles seized? I couldn’t afford to have my back go out.

Would my trainer catch the bar?

It was not my best day. The 4th set was abysmal. A clear indication I needed to work on 125 lbs and proper technique before even thinking of moving on. My runs were sad but thankfully not pathetic (and thankfully not timed).

Wednesday was my circuit and while I didn’t kill the times I at least ran through each set maintaining the same time of 1 minute 30 seconds. Runs were okay.

Yesterday the trainer said we’d go for 125 lbs but just three sets of two. I hadn’t been to the chiropractor so I was still favoring my left arm. My back did a little better–tried a different position. I also tried not to slow the bar down and do what is called “a light touch”–you need to stay in motion to use the momentum to keep pushing. My sets weren’t bad but I still don’t feel confident. Not in myself. My trainer did a good job of making sure I was confident in his presence–he was there to catch the bar should I crumble.

My timed runs were interesting–first 6 laps were right on target with previous times. I lost about 20 seconds on the second set of 6. Not my worst time, but not my best either.

It feels bad to doubt myself. I’m not sure where it is coming from.

Next week he has declared that if I can keep to M-W-F then we will bench all three days and practice 125 lb. till I get my confidence back. Hopefully a massage and an adjustment will do what they should and my left arm, neck, and low back will be ready for the challenge.

Or is something else draining my confidence?

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Mom Guilt … Will it work?

November 17, 2012

I am not the perfect June Cleaver housewife. Never claimed to be. I’m not a hoarder either but I could see that I walk a fine line between becoming OCD or a hoarder … so please do not mock my mess or you could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. That being said, my mess has order (to me any way). It rarely contains actual trash though when I purge I usually can catharticly have bags full to donate or dump.

When the children were little I used to make the excuse that I cannot get to my stuff, my rooms, because I was always cleaning up after them. Always is actually the incorrect word to use because time spent cleaning was relatively low on the scale of how I spent my day. But when I did devote time to cleaning it was to clean their rooms, their bathroom, and the public rooms (kitchen and living room). This meant when guests were over they at least had a clean bathroom and the door to my bedroom remained closed.

I have tried rewards. I have tried punitive rewards. I have tried bribes. I have tried allowances. I have threatened to throw things away. I have pleaded with them that if their room was not up to the Chief’s standards HE was going to force me to 1. throw their things away and 2. make me give up my retail therapy!

My children are not stupid. They have figured out that if they can only outlast my angered shouts and screaming “You live in a pigsty” that I will eventually accomplish in the space of 30 minutes what I had been screaming at them to do ALL afternoon.

I cannot fault them for exhibiting the same tendencies as me. They come by it naturally. But there are things that I just cannot grasp. The amount of honest trash that my oldest leaves in her room like a trail of destruction is staggering. Wrappers of all sorts and crumpled, useless papers. TRASH. Broken toys. I challenge anyone to go through my piles and ask me what something is for I and I will be able to tell exactly what project/scrapbook I am saving it for. But you will not find trash.

I am almost to the point where I will have to make sure that anything in our house does not come in a wrapper–food, toy, clothes, you name it. Gum wrappers are the worst. And the culprit who buys her the most gum is my mother!

I have recently taken to saying, “No, no, don’t bother. Your maid is here. I will do it.” Because apparently screaming “I am NOT your maid!” had very little effect.

Tuesday before the Chief and I left for the awards dinner, he left a very prominent note for T1 that her bathroom (T2 has hers as well) was not in an acceptable state and that she needed to remedy the situation. Wednesday it looked pretty much the same when we got home. At least the babysitter had T2’s bathroom or mine to use. And honestly, I did not expect the babysitter to be the heavy–what was she going to do? Enforce “You can’t go to scouts if that bathroom is not clean”? That’s not fair to the sitter.

Thursday it looked the same. She had huge chunks of time both Wednesday and Thursday to bang out cleaning this bathroom. I would also like to point out that there has been a tube of toothpaste and a stick of deodorant on the floor for the entire week and I want to know which child is not brushing and starting to get a body odor funk. Thursday night while the Chief and I were meeting with two of T1’s teachers she and her sister were at the book fair planning their purchases. I bought several books for T1.

Friday I had company coming over. I could have cleaned a little more on Thursday to spare myself the frenzied cleaning I knew I’d have. But I didn’t. The Chief and I are a good team. He cleans the kitchen while I work on other rooms. He vacuumed up the greyhound hairballs. I spent almost 40 minutes scrubbing down T1’s bathroom. My guests were to arrive 15 minutes later and I still hadn’t gotten to the dining room or the living room. As I said, I spend so much time cleaning their stuff that I never get to mine.

Thankfully my guests ALL ended up 45 minutes late. I ate lunch with them in my gym clothes.

And my hands hurt. You see I was on antibiotics for a sinus infection and that means no Enbrel. I’m going on 18 days without a shot. Some may ask, you’re complaining about your hands hurting but you post that you can bench 130 lbs? There is a difference between grasping a bar and pushing with all your might for a few seconds to keep that bar from crushing you and the contortions scrubbing for 45 minutes can do to your hands. A HUGE difference.

About a year ago as I was finally starting treatment for the PsA the Chief had a conversation with the girls about their obligations to the family and that it would mean helping more as I may have physical limitations. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Afterall, I’ve been their maid for 11 years at this point.

When T1 got home from school, I said, “I used to make it an excuse to say I was always cleaning your rooms and your bathrooms and couldn’t get to my rooms. It was an easy excuse. Today, it was reality. I spent 45 minutes cleaning the bathroom you were told three days ago to clean. 45 minutes I was supposed to be using cleaning up the living room and dining room for my guests. And you know what? It hurt. My hands are killing me because I haven’t had a shot in over two weeks. You had time Wednesday and Thursday. And I bought you books. You owe me now. I cleaned your mess. You owe me.”

The Chief says, “Let me know what that Mom Guilt gets you… Good luck with that.”

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Grief, Comments Welcome

October 11, 2011

Please feel free to share this and I encourage responses as I contemplate the circumstance I am in.

Grief has certainly been part of my life this summer, losing our sweet greyhound Cassie to cancer. But I find myself grieving as I come to terms with my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. DH and I had a long talk last night–oh, how I’ve been missing him and his voice. There were things we both said that I would like to put out here and see what others have to say.

Generally most people follow the Kubler-Ross & Kessler 5 Stages of Grief model. 1. Denial, 2. Anger, 3. Bargaining, 4. Depression, and 5. Acceptance.

Recover-from-grief.com lists 7 Stages. 1. Shock & Denial, 2. Pain & Guilt, 3. Anger & Bargaining, 4. “Depression,” Reflection, Loneliness, 5. Upward Turn, 6. Reconstruction & Working Through, and 7. Acceptance & Hope.

I was discussing the new medication I am on with a friend who has psoriasis. Because of the side effects of the medicine she has opted not to take the stronger medicines that treat the condition and she does not have the arthritis as of yet. I wrote to her that I would be crippled if I did not take it so the benefits far outweigh the potential side effects. That doesn’t mean I am not worried about those side effects. Today I seem to be queasy and I wonder if it is the “intestinal upset” from the meds. I look in the mirror and wonder if my hair will start to fall out.

I also wrote her the following:

I work with my trainer to get fit, lose weight, and prevent becoming diabetic and on medications for the rest of my life before I’m 40… and here I am. On medications for the rest of my life.

What I said next is what had DH a little ruffled.

I believe it was the stress of events 10 months ago, coupled with taking too much ibuprofen for the aches and pains of working out, that triggered the onset.

DH wants to know why I must have a reason. Why is it necessary to assign blame?

Because I think right now I’m stuck in Stages 2 on both lists. I was very angry when we first got Cassie’s diagnosis but I was rational enough to realize that cancer in animals “just happens.”  Why can’t I accept that the PA just happened–luck of the draw. I pointed out to DH “then there is no point to even continuing with the trainer, is there? We know it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.”

I am grieving the fact that I will never be healthier than I was 10 months ago*, no matter how much I wish it. No matter what medications I take. This is what I wanted to avoid. Why did it have to happen now? I am still angry about events 10 months ago but the Christian in me knows I have to let that go. Where does that leave me? Looking at what I was doing with my trainer–I had just started bench pressing and had strained pectoral muscles for the first time. I was popping ibuprofen. I find myself saying, “If I had only known… I would have put up with that pain if it meant avoiding this.”

So it really is a chicken or the egg kind of thing with a little bit of Russian Roulette because of the genetic predisposition.

I know DH is worried I will hold on to blaming myself, and he knows blaming the stress event will also eat at me, so I know he wants me to be okay with this emotionally. Believe me, I want to be okay. I want to be positive and hopeful that the pain will go away (to a reasonable degree) and I will be back to E.o.t.T. full force here in no time. It may take a while as we don’t know what the immediate side effects will be just yet.

I don’t think it is realistic of DH to expect me to move on so quickly. But how long will I stay stuck in Pain & Guilt and Anger? I don’t think there is any bargaining… unless you count me wanting to know if the MTX really is my only option as I stared at the over the counter joint remedies. When will I move out of this “depression”–will I find myself almost crying every Sunday when I take the pills? Will I only move to Acceptance when I feel confident the side effects have been minimal and there is no point worrying about my liver so long as we keep up with routine checks and avoid alcohol, NSAIDs and other “banned” medicines?

DH knows me. He knows it doesn’t take much for things to eat at me. He has my best interest at heart, of course. But as I grieve and come to terms with this, the last thing I need to hear repeatedly is “Get over it.” (Not that this is what DH is saying.) It is never that simple. Not when I can so clearly see a beginning of all of this. With Cassie, how long was the cancer in her before it started hurting her? We’ll never know and there was nothing that could have been done. With me, what if I wasn’t taking the ibuprofen at a time when I was under so much emotional stress?

And so you see, I’m back to the beginning… I’m not sure I could just accept that it “just happened” but I agree, I don’t know what point there is in assigning blame. It doesn’t make me feel any better.

*Interestingly after I wrote this, I thought about this statement. Already living with a heart condition, this is actually the second time I’ve had to come to terms that my body has limits and weaknesses. I was 27 when diagnosed with SVT and I have chosen not to have the corrective surgery yet. I still don’t think I’m ready to have that surgey, not even if the risk of ending up with a pacemaker is only 2%. We’ll see what the cardiologist says on Thursday…

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