Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Kinder and Gentler Life for Me

The Fine Artwork of Carolyn McFann

The beginning of August is blissfully peaceful and calm, just the way it should be. I am busy ordering new equipment to do a better job on artwork for my business, as well as getting things around the house exactly as I want them. The cable guy came this morning to install a better quality service than I previously had. My other, previous carrier was highly overpriced and new "fees" kept creeping into my bills so I switched. I pray this one is as good as it seems. Anyways, that is done, along with many other chores around the house that needed to be done. I keep as busy as possible to keep my morale high and things running well here.

The split (as far as I am concerned, permanently) with my parents is very hard on me, as they are family, and I do love them, but the facts remain the same, that love is not enough and there must be mutual kindness and respect (which there never has been). It's not good to love people who just are so negative all the time, so controlling, hostile and critical. I have let go and as much as it hurts, it is for the best. My real family are my unrelated friends, who have never been mean, cruel or angry like that. Normal people can discuss disagreements without hysterics, uncontrolled emotions or vindictiveness. It feels good to have peace. It's not the end of the world. I'll be just fine. I've been on my own since the age of 17. My heart is just broken and needs to repair itself, that's all.

I just finished repotting a large Hibiscus tree that I got recently, and it's doing great. With fertilizer, a big flower pot and some pruning, it has begun to flourish and develop many new buds. It has double peach-colored flowers and every day I come out to a few flowers in bloom (the flowers usually only last one day). Maybe later I'll get another with yellow flowers, they will brighten up the house in the winter with their cheery blooms. I had a huge Hibiscus tree before, it grew so beautifully but died when I drove it down in searing heat to Florida. I was so sad that it died, so this tree is going to be as pampered as it was, and grow just as big and strong. I love plants. Now that I'm settled, I plan on getting busy with the garden, maybe planting some bulbs this fall, and really getting landscape work done in the spring. Nothing is more therapeutic than working with plants or pets.
My new therapist is a lovely person, kind and knowledgeable. We're getting to know one another and she's been very helpful so far, in translating my reactions to my parents for me. She says that abuse survivors are strong, and that it takes time and some self-caring to get through trauma like I've been through. I have Post Traumatic Stress from childhood, which seems to be cropping up as I recover from what she says was a trauma of having to deal with the last attack from my mother. How does PTSD show in me? Sleeplessness, I rarely sleep, flashbacks of the incident, anger (inside, nobody sees it but I feel it), temporary blackouts in my mind (holes in my thinking at times). It's annoying. My mood is calm and I never freak out. My stress shows in my stomach, churning, in knots. I'll be so happy when this PTSD goes away again. It doesn't happen all the time, usually just after extremely upsetting events. And it can carry on for awhile.

So, gardening, working on the house, working on my business and going out helps me to work though it all. Life is good. I'm not a victim, just a person in transition. It's a great life, away from my parents. It just takes time to let go of wanting to contact them. Contact brings pain. A relative on my mother's side of the family told me that she had to stop contact with her mother when (same thing) the abusiveness got to be too much. This woman grew up with mom and is a kind and loving person, nothing like my mom. She knew mom and my maternal grandmother (who also was pretty insane) and she knows me. She says I'm level-headed and strong, and that I'll be just fine. It means so much to hear this from her, someone who knows the family dysfunction. She believes in me. I told her that I was very grateful for her input, and she supports me. I'm not alone. My life is wonderful away from family insanity.

When I was 12 and told that I don't have to grow up and be like my mother or grandmother (my biggest fear back then), I did everything in the following years to go to therapy and get help, to make sure of it. All these years later, it's very clear that I'm nothing like my mother, and that is a huge relief. Still, I have issues of my own (especially anger/sadness at not having the kind, emotionally stable parents I so desperately wanted), and so I get help again. Nothing wrong in it. Therapists are like coaches. They are objective and can see things that may be difficult to notice when in the middle of a tough time. Also, they offer alternative ways to handle the situation in a non-judgmental, supportive manner. It's not shoved down my throat, and I am able to choose my own way of dealing with outcomes after weighing all of my options. Therapy is awesome.

The whole goal is a peaceful and wonderful life. I have it..mostly. Inner peace is the hardest to achieve but I'm working on it. Like the song says, let there be peace on earth..and let it begin with me. I'm not mean, I don't hate my parents. I love them with all of my heart. They meant well most of the time but didn't have the ability to show love in a respectful or kind way. It is imperative to have boundaries with a family like this. They never listened or cared about the boundaries (you must not be cruel to me, please respect me, etc). It's hard to understand if you haven't lived in a family full of anger like this one. No more fighting for my emotional wellbeing. It's my life it's been always..I just slipped off track by letting them back in. Now I know better. I'll be ok. They're always ok. A kinder, happier and gentler life, and continued business success, to me, is the best "revenge". There is no need to spend energy on anything else.

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