Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Great Divorce

***Edited as after I read this months later, it's boring and not entirely accurate in what I wanted to convey*** 

There are lots of drafts in my blog history. I start to write and then -- oh well, forget it. I slam the laptop lid down as all the thoughts swimming in my brain just cannot be expressed articulately enough for a blog very few people actually read.

So here goes nothin' cause I got nothin' to lose. 

I am an estranged parent. My daughters no longer want any contact with me. There, I said it.

You heard me, my daughters want NO contact with me anymore.

Parental alienation makes you feel physically ill. And you can become physically ill. I have.

It makes you feel like a pariah in society. And you realize you are a pariah in society, shunned and shamed. 

You begin to question and overthink everything you've done as a parent. Did I screw up that bad? Sure feels that way.

But wait, what about this? I supported you, all of you, my darling daughters through this... on and on goes your brain, circling and analyzing every decision, every sentence you can remember, since the day they were born.  

At first you're in denial, disbelief, then as the stages of grief unfold, well, every stage is now your new normal. 

Am I the toxic, narcissistic, borderline personality disordered human that had the audacity to give birth? 

Or as one person called me on social media -- the amazing perfection of evil? Yeah, I've been called evil. And creepy. And bipolar. And crazy. And a pill popping crappy mom. And yes, some of those labels were given to me by my daughters. Ouch? More like -- what and how and I AM SO VERY SORRY...... 

Sooo with that swirling around in your brain, you go to therapy, or at least I do. I've been going for over a year.  And so far my therapist (who has a Ph.D.) sees no evidence I am anything of the above. Yup, I've been tested.

Did I have a nervous breakdown in 2014? 
Why yes I did, thanks for asking. 

Do I have P.S.T.D.? 
Why yes I do, thanks for asking. 

Am I marked because of it? 
Why yes I am, thanks for asking.

Was I hospitalized? 
Nope, had to keep working. 

Was I medicated for it? 
Actually nope again as I was taking an anti-depressant prior to having my breakdown, so when it happened, I just didn't see the point anymore. 

I was and still do take a medication for panic attacks..yup, but only taken as needed. Brother, let me tell you when this estrangement started -- it was needed.

My brain bruised for a short while there and like any bruised muscle it's healed.

Healed brain bruises - aka nervous breakdowns, in no way implies people are suddenly gonna treat you nice. Or nicer. They're not. You're marked. 

The month of May is National Mental Awareness month, however, allow me to let you in on a little secret. That's kindof bullshit. 

'Cause you're everyone who watched you have your nervous breakdown, meltdown, whatever you wanna call it. And they don't forget it. Ever.

You're pretty much screwed. So get used to it. 

They don't know what triggers set your nervous system into overload and caused the implosion, explosion, breakdown, during one single event and they don't care. 

But that's ok, -- well it's not, but what choice do you have? 

For me, therapy and support (and yes my panic medication) from a few select people helped me gain the strength to reclaim my sanity and learn a tough, rough, sickening lesson. 

That quote they use in Al Anon --- "what people say behind my back is none of my business"... it helps. 

Now back to being completely alienated by the people you love the most. Your children. 

It's like no emotional pain you can imagine. 

You're paralyzed, depressed, angry, sad, resentful....mostly sad though, hence the stages. All the time. 

Even when you're laughing. Even when you're making love. Even when you're humming along's looming in the back of your brain. It never leaves. Never. You're changed. 

Tears stream to and from work in the quiet of your car. Or in the quiet of your cubicle, or in the quiet of your bed.

Your relationships change. Acquaintances now become distant; your true friends -- if you're lucky enough to have any -- they listen and listen and listen. And listen again. That gets old real quick.

If you're lucky enough to still have your mom, and your relationship with her is good, you are lucky. 

You begin to hate yourself for burdening your family and friends with your tale of woe. You hate yourself anyway. Your kids hate you, so why not hate yourself? Your identity or should I say -- my identity-- was completely morphed into being a mother. A mom. That's it. Not a person, not a caseworker, not a friend, not a daughter, not a woman, just a mom. 

The guilt. Oh my gosh, the guilt. The shame. Personal, societal, shame.

Therapy helps with the self loathing and guilt, but my therapist doesn't agree with every word I say, she looks at both sides..which I need. 

You also begin to need your mom, even if she's 83 and you're 56. You end up really needing your mom. 

You send your children apology letters, cards, emails, gifts, whatever to reconcile. 

You feel absolutely, positively shameful, remorseful, and you cannot stop thinking; what a shit for a mother I must have been. That was one constant - I must have been a really terrible mom. 

You ask, then beg for forgiveness, so many times, you reach a climatic revelation --- what am I apologizing for again? Am I apologizing for my nervous breakdown, am I apologizing for my actions thereafter, or am I apologizing for not being the mother you all wanted or needed?

I am apologizing for everything above.

You get used to the no reply. You get used to being blocked on social media. You get used to no acknowledgement on holidays. Or at least I have. There's a numbness after months and months of silence between yourself and your children. Hard to explain. 

I lied. I'm not used to it. None of it. Especially the part of reading what your daughters actually think of you. Let me tell ya folks, avoid that at all costs. Avoid reading what others, people who don't really know you, but have influence over your adult children, advising your children, "yeah, your mom is crazy...just get together with your siblings over the holidays", let me tell you peeps....that will break your heart in half.

My heart broke so hard, I had an EKG a few months ago because my chest pains were so strong. Good news, I didn't have a heart attack. Bad news, my heart has been attacked.

So why did I call this post The Great Divorce? I don't know, maybe because it's my favorite novella by C.S. Lewis?  Maybe because divorcing from my three daughters is worse than any divorce I've ever experienced? 

I've been divorced twice, now there you go with your judgin' ...I remarried the love of my life, my first husband, father to my estranged daughters. So stop your judgin' peeps. Your life is probably messy too. 

I won't judge you for whatever mess you're in as long as you don't judge me. Deal?

And if you are going through your own version of a Great Divorce -- Welcome...have a seat....I'm sorry.

Really, really, sorry.