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

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. 


Ashley said...

Still reading. Still listening. I'm sorry. I wish I had something else to say.

r. said...

You mentioned being abused. If the relationship in question was with an adult, don't be afraid to use the phrase "domestic violence."

Lots of people don't think of their relationship as domestic violence, they think it's the woman who has been beaten shitless and is black and blue in a shelter. They think, "He only threatened to hurt me; he didn't actually do it." Or, "He only threw something at me, but it didn't hit me." Or, "He threatened to hurt himself, not me, so it can't be domestic violence." Or, "We were only dating, we've never lived together." And so on.

The truth is, violence and abuse is about control. If someone threatened you, it's abusive even if you weren't actually injured. If they threatened to hurt someone else, including themselves, it might still be a domestic violence situation. (And it definitely is if they threatened to hurt someone other than themselves.) In my state at least, if it's an intimate relationship, a parent of one of your kids, or a member of your immediate family, it's domestic violence. (As in, if your son beats you up, that's domestic violence.)

I say this because that phrase is magic in terms of getting people to sit up and pay attention. It also sometimes gives you more legal rights than you'd have otherwise.

Where I live, economic abuse and other forms of abuse--things like controlling the person's access to money, identifying documents, and communication with the outside world--don't necessarily qualify to give you the extra legal rights. But if these things describe your personal situation, it's worth doing a google search for checklists or other things to describe the abuse.

A lot of times, you do feel like the crazy one because it's hard to describe to others just how bad and f'd up the situation really was. In times like those, the best ways to describe things are with lots of details. Details go a lot farther than adjectives in my opinion.

Sorry if this is reading too much into what you wrote. If you're still going through the legal stuff, you'll probably not want to publish this comment, so that no one will say that your allegations characterization of events were improperly colored by this comment. But I just thought it was some information I'd pass along.

Integrity Singer said...

THanks R. Yes, it's domestic violence and I'm glad it's stopped. I use the word "abuse" loosely because it fits neatly in the average individual's perception and it avoids google searches. :) As of today I'm nine months seven days abuse free. I attended safe homes support meetings for several months after I left my spouse and it was very helpful, and sobering to acknowledge all the abuse I'd suffered for so many years. Still in recovery. Still having to deal with him on a regular basis because the courts here did not believe there was enough reason to keep him from the children.

r. said...

Gotcha. I'm so sorry you went through all that, but congrats on being able to end the relationship and restart your life. I man a legal aid line at work, and most of the calls involve ending relationships where there was DV. I know how daunting it can be to leave when you have kids to support! (Not to mention the mindgames, threats, and real danger that for some women accompany the act of leaving.) You're doing the right thing for yourself and the kids. I hope things get better for y'all, and soon.