On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


WG is so happy to not be in the classroom.  She had a brief moment of ennui when we went to the grade school this morning to formally withdraw.  She saw some classmates and a teacher and paused for a second.  Then a slow smile crept across her face and by the time I had a copy of the withdraw document she was skipping and singing again.

It's a little hectic at the moment.  The cyber school program is fantastic but we're still in the meet-and-greet stages so there's a lot to do and no obvious routine.

My school is awesome.  Originally we began as a supplement for home school families. We offered workshops and classes in the subjects that homeschool parents felt like they were unable to teach their children, in particular the sciences that required lab experience.  The founder/director of our school had her two sons at home, or with her when she substituted at the local prep school, or taught at the local christian school, etc.  She was not surprised that I made the choice to pull WG from public school and is flexible and understanding so that WG can be with me.

For right now, she's using my classroom computer in the back of the room but hopefully I can get into the building this weekend so I can rearrange my classroom and put the computer and student desk up in the front by me.  I have some learning challenged and ADD students that are disruptive and she can get caught up in the fray.

Tomorrow a 6 week homeschool workshop begins and I'm up for the science labs. Grades 3-12 so WG gets  to attend.  Even better, our math teacher that has taken the year off to raise her newborn is homeschooling her grade schoolers, including her daughter that is two days younger than WG.  Social events already!

Still working on the lawyer thing.  Still mad.  Still breathing and trying to get through  one day at a time without losing my mind.  Sissy makes that last one hard: she screams.  A LOT.


Best wrap up to the day?  Coming home after buying the kids ice cream (a bribe to get them to finish their homework/classwork) to a message on the voicemail from the bank.  He's behind on the equity line. Again.


Sunday, September 23, 2012


I want restitution.  For everything.  ALL of it.  Every last ounce of every bit of everything that has been taken from me.

I want it NOW.

The children's dad had his lawyer send a financial settlement agreement to my lawyer's office.
1.  he doesn't want to pay his portion of accrued marital debt
2.  he want's Sissy and AB's SSDI to count toward his portion of their child support
3.  He wants to reduce what he's paying in child support
4.  He wants to continue to use the home equity line of credit, borrowing freely even though that's MY equity because I have paid the mortgage, insurance and taxes on my own for the last nine months
5.  He doesnt' want to be held in contempt if he doesn't pay the equity line according to the loan agreement
6.  he wants ME to be held in contempt if I do not pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance in accordance with that loan agreement
7.  He wants to file joint taxes for 2012
8.  he doesn't want to pay alimony because we're both self-sufficient (but if I'm self-sufficient and have been since December 2011, why should I be expected to file jointly?)
9.  beginning in 2013 he wants to claim  Sissy and AB every year and I only claim WG

I am so mad I can't sit still, think straight, eat or speak.

Oh, an my lawyer quit, referring all of her clients to the ex's firm.  All clients except ME of course.  And my lawyer has yet to make a recommendation for who could take my case.  And I don't have money for another retainer for another lawyer.

And Sissy nearly ended up in the psych hospital again this week.  And knowing that I had so much crisis with her and called the state crisis hotline twice and had the mobile crisis team at the house to do an intake to determine if she should be hospitalized, her therapists NEVER called me or showed up.

And WG is an angry mess and the school is not seeing the whole picture so I've decided to withdraw her and home school her.

I haven't told her dad that yet and her first day is tomorrow.  he can kiss my grits.

I busted up my  ankle and haven't been able to wear closed shoes since Wednesday.

There's just so much on my plate.
I want to scream
I want to hurt something
i want someone to hurt as much as I do
i want restitution for all of it.
I want people to stand up and say, "HEY!  SHE MATTERS!!!!!!'
I want the pain to stop
I want life to be happy
So much has been taken from me.  More than words can say.  I have nothing more to give. To anyone. Ever.

I'm going to change my name back to my maiden name once the divorce is final.  And should there ever be another individual in my life that I might consider spending my life with, I still won't change my name.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm Gonna Be RICH!

Yesterday was a half day, the county was doing in-house teacher work days so the children got sent home at 11:35 and 12:15 respectively.  Which meant I had to find a substitute for my classes because our private school doesn't do in-house days.

I took advantage of the extra time and went to the music store to purchase the mouth piece for AB's Baritone.  Yep.  AB is in band and playing the Baritone.  It is SO.STINKIN'.COOL!  Except for the cost. EEK. A mouthpiece cost $60 and that was the discounted price.

The kids were bustling around the store looking at all the instruments and music books.  It was fun to be in there with them.  When I was in school I played piano and sang and the music store always felt like a safe, friendly place.  So much potential for greatness just at my fingertips.

Sissy had the same buzz.  She ran to me waving a Beatles Anthology music book.  "MOM!  Can I buy this?"

OK, first of all, Sissy is perpetually broke because she can.not.handle.money.ever.  (Side note: this week she told me she wanted to run for student council: assistant treasurer.  No, I didn't laugh at her.  I kept my composure but it was hard to do.)  My reply, "Uh, you don't play guitar."

"Oh."  She spun around and looked at the wall of hanging guitars.  "Can I get a guitar so I can play this?!?" She shook the music book in the air over her head.


"But mom..."

"My name's not butmom."


I turned to pay for the purchase while the three of them wandered into the guitar room.  I took a few deep breaths and walked over to them, receipt in hand.


"yes. they are beautiful guitars."

They erupted into a chorus of pleas that I make purchases of $1200 guitars for each of them.  Even the ukeleles were $100.  I smiled sweetly and remarked that they really were lovely and so cool and yes who wouldn't want to have one and of course it would be fun to learn to play.

I managed to get them out of the store, Sissy still stuck on how she was going to save all her money and buy a guitar and the Beatles music book and then, just as we pushed entered the parking lot she exclaims, "I'm going to be RICH!!!!!"

"Ok.  How, exactly?"

"Everyone loves the Beatles.  They're famous!"

"Still don't so how that will make YOU rich."

"UGH!  The Beatles are FAMOUS!  I'm going to make so much money!"


"I'm going to learn how to play guitar and then play the Beatles music and people will pay me!!!"


"Because it's Beatles music!"

"But you're not a Beatle."

"I'll be playing Beatles music!"  then to herself, "All the girls are going to be crying."

"YOU'RE a girl.  Why would the girls cry when YOU play the Beatles music when you're not a Beatle?"

"Because that's what girls do.  They cry when they see the Beatles."

"You're not a Beatle.  You'll be Sissy playing Beatles music."

"STILL!  They'll cry."

"And HOW are you going to make money?

"They'll pay me $5."


"Yeah!  So they can let me teach them how to play Beatles music!"

"It may take you awhile to become rich at that rate."

"STILL!  I'm going to be rich.  And FAMOUS!"

"Can I have your autograph when you're rich and famous?  And will you buy me a new car?"


We all got into the van and as I buckled up I realized just how hard it is to keep a straight face.  When she's a giant toddler it can be very amusing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Perhaps Today

How am I?

I'm pacing inside a delicate china shop, being ever so careful not to break or bump or disturb anything.  It's considerably challenging.  I was asked by the proprietor to check my bat at the door but I have big backside, wide hips, jabbity elbows and huge feet.  And I really don't like to be without my bat.

I don't like to leave home without my bat because it's the only way I know how to protect myself.  Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far, Roosevelt said. [1]  Good advice.  There's never been a time that I haven't felt like I needed protection.  There's also too few times that I felt like someone had my back.  One hand. I can count on one hand who my staunch defenders are.

I laugh because then I don't have to share my pain. I don't share my pain because it has no limits.  It has no limits because I've only known pain.  So I laugh.  I wield a stick.  I ...

I pace in a china shop being certain that I break nothing.  Delicate items just scream at me, "You're such a stupid idiot.  You can't have nice things like us.  You don't deserve it."  I pace and admire, hands clasped behind my back, my feet dragging on the floor because I have enormous clown feet that trip me and get in the way. A dangerous physical trait in a china shop.  I verbally declare how pretty the items are knowing the compliment won't be returned.  I avoid seeing my reflection in the polished silver and crystal because my likeness on those surfaces will decrease the value.

I think to myself, all I have to do is make a mad dash for the entryway, snatch my bat and charge through here, destroying at will.  That's all that stands between these precious momentos and their anhilation: my will.  I chuckle to myself.  I know how strong my will can be. Strong enough to hold back my own anger and pain.  The Hoover dam has nothing on me.

I walk past something especially poignant that captures my attention.  A carved figurine of a mother holding a newborn infant.  She is embraced from behind by her spouse.  I twist my fingers around the invisible leather grip of the bat in my hand, the bat that I've left at the front door.  Yes, even THAT has been taken from me.  THAT.  That moment.  Stolen.  Not retrievable.  No restitution. No apology.  Just "in your face bitch, you can't have this.  ever.  NOT EVER.  You will NEVER get this."  Maybe a tear fills my eye.  Maybe I bite my lip.  Maybe my hand makes a fist so tight that my nails dig into my palms and leave a mark.

The salesperson approaches me, "Can I help you with anything?"  I am pulled from my darkness back to reality, the lights of the shop suddenly too bright.  Can she help me with anything? She has no idea what she is asking me.  No. No she can't help. No one can.   I pause and say politely, "No.  Thank you. I'm just looking."  I walk to a nondescript corner of the store that has a generic product display of some colorful mass-produced flip-flop adornments. Useless crap that ends up in the trash.  Why do people spend money on this shit?  To make a flip-flop look pretty?  What's the point?  I look at the price tag. $17.99.  I snort.  I can't afford a flip-flop that costs $17.99 let alone the interchangeable pink polka dot ribbon straps with plastic gem stone in the center.  If this is the kind of crap a woman is supposed to buy to make her look pretty and desirable or to make her feel good about herself I guess I'm no kind of woman at all.

I leave the store, grab my bat and head for home.  Next time I tell myself.  Next time I'll let this bat make a hole in my self will and I'll fly through there like a wild banshee and destroy it all.  Next time I'll be brave enough to let that glass menagerie know that I deserve to be heard.  That my pain is real.  That I count too.  Then I remind myself that I'm barely making the mortgage and how the hell am I supposed to replace a store's worth of expensive merchandise? And do I really want to go to jail? Or end up on "Snapped" on the Oxygen Channel?  I turn on the classic rock, roll down the windows and crank it to full volume.  Ozzy is singing "Crazy Train".

I get to my driveway and put the van in park.  I turn off the engine and sit.  I sit in the silence until my mind isn't shouting angry thoughts anymore.  I sit until my hand is no longer itching to throw the bat around.  I sit until my eyes stop watering and my nose stops stinging and the lump in my throat melts away.  I sit until I can count out 10 blessings that I have in my life currently.  I sit until I can remember that there is a woman on this globe somewhere who would gladly trade my pain for hers because she's been through so much more than I could ever dream of.  I sit until I'm back in the present, the broken record of hurtful, stinging words and memories has ceased to repeat and is replaced by the chatter of the squirrels in the pine tree over my head. I sit until I can hear the wind whisper something soothing in the crest of my neighbor's fifty year old oak.  I sit until I see the face of my chihuahua peer through the front window and scratch at the glass, beckoning me to go inside.  I sit until the front door opens and WG comes running out saying, "Mommy!  Guess what animal I am today?"  I sit but I turn back the key in the ignition so I can hit the power window button on the driver's side door, letting it automatically roll down at just the right moment so WG's face and arms lean in through the open window to kiss and hug me.  I sit until she says, "Mom? Are you crying again?"

"No." I wipe my cheeks with my sleeve.

"Mom.  Yes you were."

"No.  Really.  Just allergies."


"OK. Maybe just a little WG."

"It's going to be OK mom.  I promise." I hear my words coming back at me from my eight year old daughter.  I chuckle.  Do I really say stuff like that?  Geez.  I'm so fucking optimistic.  What a pain in the ass.

"Yup. OK.  I'm coming."  I unlatch my seat belt, bend behind me to grab my purse out from it's hiding place so it won't be stolen in my absence, take a deep breath and open the door.  All the while WG is chattering away about the dog she is going to pretend to be for the rest of the day and I bite my lip as my eyes well up because she's blessing number one on my list, always. One day, I tell myself, One day I'll be brave enough to let people know what has really happened to me without the fear of retribution from the people that have hurt me. One day I'll be strong and not be afraid.  One day I'll be important enough to myself to no longer roll over and take it. 

One day when I get fucked off on facebook by my sister because she got pregnant a third time without being married and I just didn't want to read her messages on my facebook wall about how hard her life is and simply asked that we take a break from talking on facebook and after all the years of her shit I just couldn't deal with it, I'll defend myself. 

One day when I find out my former spouse and his entire family knew that he was sterile when he was 15 from a severe case of the mumps but no one bothered to tell me, i'll stand up for my rights and ask for an annulment instead of a divorce.  Because it was never a legitimate marriage if he never disclosed his sterility.  Because I didn't find out until January of this year, a month after I left him. Because just last October his own mother was still crooning that she knew, just knew that one day God would bless the two of us with biological children...

One day when my mother asks me what happened to me and my sisters and wants to know why we turned out the way we did, I'll tell her that when dad died, all the parenting we were ever going to get on this earth died with him.  One day I'll tell her that her emotional, negligent and mental abuse of the three of use remaining in her care after his death nearly cost her our custody on numerous occasions but the people that always asked me if I wanted them to report her to social services always got a "no" response from me because I was afraid that my youngest sister would be separated from us and put up for adoption.

One day when I am stalked at college by my mother's ex fiance who is psychotic, I will call the police to protect myself instead of calling her to tell her i'd seen him so she could deny that it could ever possibly be HIS brown, 1982 station wagon with the five trillion bumper stickers all over the back and HIS fucking fedora upon HIS fucking bearded head behind HIS fucking steering wheel, driving 10 miles an hour down the exact road that I had to cross at that exact time of day to get to my next class.  

One day I'll tell people that last fall the ex called me a fucking bitch in the morning because I pointed out that he never met our son's developmental delay specialist, a doctor that has been treating our son since he was three but by four pm that afternoon he was posting on his facebook wall  that I was the best wife ever.  One day I'll make people understand that he does shit like that so you won't believe me when I tell you the TRUTH.  So he can laugh and say, "What?  That's nonsense.  She's crazy.  I never said that to her.  Didn't you see what I put on facebook just this afternoon?  She doesn't remember how things really happen.  Her whole blog?  It's a complete exaggeration.  I only told her I was proud of her for writing it because I knew it was a good emotional outlet for her.  Of course I never called her a fucking bitch.  I've met AB's doctor.  Many times.  We have always been equal partners in the responsibilities of raising the children."  

And you'll say to me, "Wow.  I don't know what to believe.  he seems just as certain of his truth as you do of yours."  

One day I'll say to that, "Hopefully the integrity of my character speaks for itself.  If you don't know me well enough to see the truth, then you don't know me and we don't need to continue being friends.  Or family."

One day I'll tell you all of that.   And more.  One day I will matter to myself.  One day the burden of carrying my pain and anger will outweigh the burden of pain it may cause others when I tell the truth.  One day I'll actually use the big stick I carry when I speak softly and that bat will come flying through the air and smash the facade to smithereens. One day.

Perhaps today.

Then I remember that WG is still chattering away at me about her doggie plans and I look down at her and smile.  My left hand smooths down the hair at the top of her head and I kiss her on the forehead.  I take her right hand and enthusiastically say, "That all sounds like a really great idea!  What will your dog name be?"  We go through the front door to see Sissy picking at our black lab's hemangioma again and I sigh, still standing on the threshold of the doorway and say, "Sissy.  Room.  Now." And  she screams and wails that she hasn't done nothing, she's always getting blamed for everything and I only take up for WG and it's not fair.  I hold up my right hand and begin counting down from five.

"FINE!"  She screams again and  stomps to her room.  WG pulls on my left hand reminding me that she is still standing there just as AB paces past us, mp3 player in hand, headphones on, asking me without stopping or making eye contact what we're having for supper.

I turn to WG and smile."Well little beagle named Tawny, I think it's time to eat. What do you want for supper?"

*BARK* is her reply.

[1]Big Stick Ideology

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good Day

Every time I think I've gotten to a place in my personal therapy where I think I will finally be "OK" something else comes up.


Onward and upward.   I will pull through and I will be stronger and more whole.  I've long since surrendered the hope that I will fully recover and have accepted that a part of me will always be missing.  But I won't let that one dead part of me consume the rest.  Here lies the difference between a substance abuser and an over-comer: the self-motivation and will to do more than survive but to thrive despite the pain and heartache.

This is where I tell you that I can empathize with Sissy.  I can accept that parts of her will also be forever unfixable.  But it's also when I tell you that choice will always be a determining factor in success.  Where is the line drawn in the sand?  Ah.  The conundrum.  The distance between self-actualization and surrendering to the pain is different for everyone.  My new job as  Sissy's parent is to help her see where the line in the sand is for HER and to give her the strength to acknowledge that she can still choose to over-come.

It also means that as I accept my own short comings, I have to accept whatever hers will be so we can cohabitate in a healthy, functional way.  For a parent, it means grieving for self AND for your child.  Children of trauma are often blissfully unaware of what has been taken from them.

So I continue on this odyssey of ups and downs, twists and turns, brick walls and sink holes.  One day I will stop being afraid but conquering that fear means I have to face the darkness head on.

In four weeks it may be possible that all three of my children will be on A/B honor roll for the first time in our family's history of education.  If it happens I've promised them a fancy dine-out experience complete with wearing our Sunday best.  Meanwhile, Sissy is on restriction.   AB is coming around, begrudgingly accepting that sixth grade requires more of him and WG is soaring high, finding new strength in different extracurricular activities than she's had before.  It's a fledgling year for the four of us.  I'm hopeful, apprehensive, nervous and daily fighting my own emotional battles.

Today I woke with a start without the aid of the alarm.  Eyes popped open, pupils dilated.  One more nightmare startling me awake.  WG curled up by my side because after visits with her Dad, she is often upside down emotionally and finds comfort just being near me.  I covered her with my "sheep", a fleece blanket that is piled like a woolly sheep, beckoned the dogs to go out for their morning business, woke up my two middle schoolers and began another day.  Coffee on, music turned to our favorite 80s mix station, my mom's bird chirping good morning and Sissy actually getting up after only three calls for her to wake.

Maybe today will be a good day? 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

MAD Hatter

In my last post I argued that it is pointless to be angry with mental illness because all it does is make the healthy people in the relationship angrier.

Apparently fate thought it would be fun to prove myself correct.

Good gravy, I'm so freakin' mad.  SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO mad mad mad mad mad.

I can't even intelligently type my thoughts.  I have 500,000 angry thoughts running through my head, the accumulation of a lifetime of loving mentally ill people that have abused me and lied to me and lied ABOUT me, betrayed me, belittled me, devalued me and ... dear God, I'm so mad.

I'm sick of the off handed apologies when the mentally ill loved one decides it's easier to just apologize than defend their error.  Those aren't apologies, those are statements that get me to shut up because why would I stand my ground then?  Any kind hearted individual says to themselves, "well, they apologized.  That's something."  Except when the apologies keep coming and the restitution never follows.  Or the acknowledgement that I'm not a punching bag.  Or that I deserve more than an apology.

Or the fact that the mentally ill person's choices have irrevocable consequences on MY life that I will have to suffer for the REST of my life.

Loving people with mental illness is so isolating.  And inadvertently they capitalize on that isolation.  If you're spending all your day trying to assist mentally ill persons through their mentally ill machinations then you're not spending any time with healthy persons.  In the absence of healthy thought processes and behaviors from people that love you correctly, you begin to think the only way to be treated and loved is in the mentally ill fashion.

Then you forget.

You forget that you're being abused, mistreated, devalued, betrayed, lied to and lied about, belittled and harmed irrevocably.

Until  it's too late and the damage is done.  And no amount of apology or restitution will make up for it.  And you're left holding a bag of writhing, poisonous snakes, no healthy relationships to find solace in and a lifetime of consequences for the choices of the mentally ill people that say they love you but in reality have no friggin' clue what love is. 

And then you wonder if you're loveable yourself, particularly if you've only surrounded yourself with people that love you in erroneous ways.

Then when you get so mad you want to do something erratic to release the tension and anger and sorrow, the mentally ill person points a finger at you and says, "see, YOU'RE the crazy one, not me"

I've followed patterns of mental illness from one relationship in my life to another and I just can't take it anymore.  I'm not sure if I'm more mad at myself, mental illness, the system that doesn't provide genuine help for these diseases, or the mentally ill persons that don't give a flying flip who they hurt just as long as their mentally ill thoughts and behaviors can be justified at all cost, even at the cost of losing their loved ones.

Because mental illness ALWAYS thinks it is the only truth.

I'd be less vague if I thought I wouldn't get hell, fire and brimstone from the mentally ill people in my life: past, present and future, who might or might not be reading my blog now or in the future.  Because if there's one battle I DON'T have the energy to fight is the battle that defends the truth on MY behalf, the battle that wages war for ME, the battle that advocates for MY rights.

That's what mental illness does to the healthy loved ones. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Truth

In a court of law before a judge, we are asked to raise our right hand and solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.

The whole truth?

The whole truth is humans don't know how to be truthful when they think their butts are on the line.  It's our carnal nature to save ourselves at all cost.  Throw in mental illness and well, the whole cause-and-effect, morally-ethical, conscience-driven attitude doesn't exist.  It's broken.  Caput.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Never existed, don't expect it to appear out of thin air.  The diseased brain is quite simply, chemically incapable of doing anything other than preserving self.

Consider it the system default of survival mode.

The truth is, when you spell it that way, can you really blame a person for hunkering down, locking jaws, sinking in their teeth and defending the carnage of their erroneous thought processes if said individual is instinctually tripping the fight-or-flight switch when faced with any and every situation in which their appears to be a threat of survival, no matter how small?

Can you?

I don't see how I can be angry with that.

No.  Anger at the chemically diseased brain and the individual in which it resides accomplishes nothing.  In fact, it can be argued that said anger only makes the healthy individual in the relationship angrier.  Because the truth is...

Mental Illness is NEVER a curable disorder.

Cancer attacks at the cellular level and destroys tissues, organs and organ systems.  Viruses lurk and pervert healthy cells with their terrorist DNA.  Bacteria eat and eat and eat and destroy, destroy, destroy.  All can be treated. Some with successful outcomes, others with the inevitable preternatural demise.

But mental illness?

It is the proverbial Boogey Man that stealthily and silently attacks when the victim is unaware.  It is the vicious bull dog chained up in the junk yard and never fed.  It is the conniving temptress on the street corner making promises of pleasure at a cost.  It is the Grim Reaper, stealer of souls.  It is the slithering snake that glides under the front porch to wait for you to let out Mr. Jingles for his  morning game of cat and  mouse.  It lies, how it lies.  Lies upon lies upon mountains of lies until the truth is so far gone that it becomes the lie.

The mystery of Sissy's "capped out" status is solved.  The current agency that is working with her case cannot write the PRTF because then medicaid will consider them as incapable of providing adequate services to their clients.  In other words, medicaid will say to themselves, "hey, this is the third time this patient has been referred by this agency for residential treatment. Clearly this agency doesn't know what they are doing."

The new game becomes not how to therapeutically manage my daughter's illness with medications and DBTs while she lives her days at home being pleasant for teachers and screaming shit at me but how to seamlessly switch core providers without interrupting the dosing of her psychiatric medications or letting on that my whole M.O. in switching providers isn't to provide better services for her but to get another agency to write the PRTF.


I could play the "call 911 or the crisis mobile team and go to the emergency room and hope to get a bed on the temporary pediatric psych floor while she is assessed by the on call team so they can determine if she needs a 1013 or a RTC placement"

Which, as history and experience will tell me, is crock load of crap.

Because the truth is, everyone that works in the mental illness field is being convinced by insurance companies that mental illness IS curable, manageable, treatable.  You see?  Lie becomes truth, truth becomes the lie.

I've had just about all I can swallow of mental illness, the stigmas, the idiocy of bureaucracy and the insanity of insurance.  Today my daughter was all over the universe with her mood swings, tantruming, erratic behaviors and mania.  And that was just today. From 4-8pm.

Oh, I'll raise my right hand and solemnly swear all  right.  How offended are you when you hear a steady stream of expletives?