Living Life In A Straight Jacket

I actually came out of therapy today excited. I know, I’m a weirdo 😉

Here’s how our convo went:

Iris: “So you had your first marriage counseling session yesterday…how was it?”

Me: “Good. Awkward. Uncomfortable. We were with a new neutral person, and here he is – the victim. And here I am – the offender…”

Iris: “Victim?? Offender?? He’s NOT a victim. You are NOT an offender. Why are you using those words? You didn’t commit a CRIME!”

Me: *eyebrows raised* “I BROKE A COMMANDMENT”

Iris: *laughing* “Yes, what you did was wrong. It’s good that you know that.” 

At this point, I’m wondering why I feel so strongly about the commandments, and why she’s taking it so lightly. It looks like that huge ass tapestry of Jesus on my Granny’s wall and the constant play of Ben-Hur had more effect on me than I know.

Iris: “Who made you feel like you don’t matter?”

Me: “My parents, I guess. My Dad was always busy working, and when he wasn’t, he tried really hard not to be around. Emotionally, or physically. And my Mom was always busy cooking and cleaning and making sure everything was ‘just so’.”

Iris: “So they never really engaged you?”

Me: “No, I guess they just maintained me.”

Iris: “Did you have meals together.”

Me: “Oh yeah. Every night. Those were the worst. So tense and uncomfortable.”

Iris: “What?! That’s horrible. What were they like?”

Me: “I always had a nervous twitch going on…my leg shaking, tapping, stuff like that. And I always got fussed at by Dad for it. Anything that wasn’t -just right- got you fussed at.”

Iris: “Your whole life was like that. When someone came into your room, it was ‘Oh no, what did I do?'”

Me: “Pretty much.”

Iris: “You never got to figure out who YOU are because you were forced to maintain what they expected you to be. Normally, after leaving home, kids rebel and decide they’re not doing anything they were required to do at home. You never did that, you just carried all those expectations and requirements with you into marriage, and into motherhood. You had your little rebellion recently, I hope you enjoyed it because it’s not happening again. Now, I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you feel like eating chicken every night, eat chicken. If you want to go to bed at 9, go to bed at nine.”

So basically, my goal is to not feel like I have to do anything because of someone else. Every day I am to take 15 minutes and write down what I LIKE. Anything. The goal is to learn who I am and what I like – without anyone’s influence.

She hit the nail on the head, for sure. I have always felt that way. Like I wasn’t able to be myself.

Now, I know my core values. I know I married the right man :):):) I know I love my children. That much, I know without a doubt. I guess it’s every other detail I have to ponder.

She said that once I figure this out, I’ll be less nervous. She said she sees a lot of women that don’t know who they are. They have just been something for someone for so long that they never figured it out.

Well, at least I’ll figure this out before I’m 30. Barely. lol

Turns out I’m NOT mentally ill!

Or at least, that’s what my Mom said.

Yes folks, my mother is in town. I don’t think I’ve mentioned her much before, so I’ll be a good non-mental-person and give you a quick summary of our relationship:

Up until my Dad was found dead in a field in Miami (yes, I know, that was my first thought too…”They have fields in Miami??”), Mom and I were best friends. Called each other every day kinda thing.

Then when Dad died, there was an insurance money hullabaloo. It was really more like a massacre. At least, I feel like it massacred our relationship. 

The plan paid out 100k. My Dad had my brother and I listed as the beneficiaries. So it was split and we each received a 50k check. Mom told my brother and I that 10 years prior, when I was 16 and he was 12, we had all made a deal that when Dad died she would get 50% and he and I would split the rest 25/25.

Yes, she thought it appropriate to hold a conversation like that with her 12 year old.

Either way, my brother and I basically responded with “Umm….negative.” You can imagine her reaction. She was actually trying to convince my husband at my Dad’s funeral to talk to my brother and I and help change our minds. *cringe*

My Mom paid the premium for the insurance for many years…I wrote her a check for twice the total amount she paid. I don’t know, that felt fair. I had two small children, my husband was getting out of the military, and we were planning to buy our first home.

And yes, we all knew Dad had embarked on a path that he was likely not to come back from. And we were right. I remember Mom checking the obituaries for his name constantly, and then announcing to me that he’s not dead…yet. Just waiting on the check to roll in, huh?

So, Dad’s dead, I am overcome with grief and requiring to be heavily medicated, and my Mom is sending me hate texts. I adored her. I thought she was perfection. She knew EVERYTHING. I wanted to be like her. And all of a sudden, I don’t know her. My whole life had just changed.

It’s been over three years and things are less uncomfortable now. Still awkward. My husband says he sees a lot if my symptoms appear whenever she comes around or when I know Im gonna see her.
I know it does. I get tight. I get anxious. I can’t make a decision. I detach; I become an empty shell. I don’t like to move, I tend to stare off. 

She’s in town with her boyfriend, and one of his children, his girlfriend, and their baby. They’re camping about 30 Mins away. They live about 5 hours away, so every year we visit them while they’re camping. Its really funny, and my kids love their Grammy. We visited tonight, and when it was time to leave, my husband and my Mom asked if I’d like to stay the night and spend some alone time with my Mom.

Ok. Easy fix.

“I didn’t bring my medication…”

Yes! Brilliant, once again!

Mom: ” I can just take you home in a bit…?”

I ended up staying for a bit. Failed miserably at bingo, but showed my greatness once again when Mom unleashed a whopper on me while chatting afterwards. Here’s how it went (Mom is in bold):

So how is therapy going?

Which one…?

Well all of them I guess.

Alright. My individual therapy has moved to every other week now.

Have you ever considered using a church counselor?

For Marriage Counseling?

No, for you.

I feel that would be negligent on my part.

Honey, you’renot mentally ill.

*insert big long pause where I weigh my options of looking like a stereotypical mentally ill person or respond with tact*

Actually, there is a normal range of emotions. And then there’s extremes in either direction. That’s bipolar. I am bipolar.

I just think you over think it. If you didn’t worry so much you’d be able to live a little better.

I probably do over think it. But I have to understand the illness in order to control it. And I HAVE to control it. I’m still early into this and need to become more comfortable with understanding myself and how I react to situations before I can just forget about it for a while.

*She nodded to that comment* Then, I strategically pointed out that the camper roof was leaking in a couple places and we got off the subject.

I just don’t think my Mom believes in mental illness. She hasn’t said it, but she’s said everything else. She doesn’t have to say it. It’s the feeling she puts off. Like it’s just an awesome excuse for being weak or for not knowing how to prioritize or think or for just being stressed out.  My favorite phrase she likes to use: “Honey, WE ALL are a little bipolar.”

So that’s right folks – You Too Can Be Bipolar!

My husband had a very interesting idea: that my Mom is in denial because if I really do have a mental illness, then my Dad probably did too. That means that he wasn’t just being a douche when he had his addiction problems that she left him over. I imagine if she chooses to believe that he had something wrong with him, like me, that she would feel immense responsibility and guilt for their relationship ending the way it did.

Ugh. I get so stressed out being around her.