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Category Archives: Ther-a-WHAT?!

Continuing the trend

My father is the most negative human being that I know. He actually used to be angrier, or at least used to show his anger more, but as he’s gotten older, the anger has turned from cussing and throwing and breaking shit, to just being a downright bummer.

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and when I called my dad to thank him for the birthday card and check that he mailed to me, we ended up having a relatively decent 35 minute conversation about how my life was going good, how work was going good and how I didn’t really have a lot to complain about. I’d venture to say that his ability to withhold the negative peaks at around 36 minutes, though, because we quickly went from HAPPY HAPPY to “Just be glad you have a job because if you didn’t, you’d have a hell of a time finding one right now.” and “You should be better at saving your money” and “Well, I gave you that 6 months ago – you haven’t done it yet?” Thank you dad, for ruining whatever high I had on life by inserting your usual bit of negatively slanted realism. Can’t I just be happy for a frickin’ minute, here?!

Most people who do that to me usually get thanked for dropping the Bummer Bomb in some snide, sarcastic way, but my dad is not most people. He is the poster child for emotional suppression and avoidance, so if I were to bring it up, he’d just get angry and most likely say something like, WELL, IT”S TRUE ISN’T IT? To which I can’t really argue, but there is a thing called TACT that he seems to lack. In fact, his need to end on a sour note seems almost purposeful to an extent – there was nothing in our conversation that could have segued him into how suck-tastic the world is or how terrible the weather is or how awful the state of the economy is. He just started hating on shit with no prompting. Yeah, I get it, sometimes shit sucks, but if all you do is dwell on the negative, everything becomes ABOUT the negative and I’ve worked really hard to get my thinking out of that downward spiral pattern. And this, my friends, is the long winded version of why I don’t talk to my father very often and when I do, it’s in very short bursts. Gotta get out before the negativity sets in.

 
 

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Daddy Issues

I’m going off of memory here because I’m lazy and don’t like to incorporate research (BLECK) into blogging, but I believe it was Freud, and Oedipus, that theorized our first loves are our opposing sex parent when we are babies and young children. Little boys love their mothers and little girls love their fathers truer and deeper than they think they’ll ever love anyone else, and the reaction of said parent is more important to how we shape our views of ourselves than I, and most people I’d wager, ever realize. Whether this is true or not, I can’t tell you, but I know for me, my father and our relationship has proven to be the catalyst for most of my crazy issues as an adult.

My parents divorced when I was about 5, and most of the memories that I have of the time before are not so peachy. Lots of yelling, lots of fighting and lots of pissed off dad. His anger was scary, he’d yell and scream and throw shit, and as a 5 and less year old kid, I had a decision to make – be afraid of my own father, or try to do things that didn’t make him angry. Queue the emergence of my brilliant wit. I learned quickly that when dad was laughing, he wasn’t yelling and the choice for me was obvious – I wanted a laughy dad, not a screamy one. Besides, a couple of hits on the ass with a wooden spoon would have even made Jesus renounce his religion, if it had happened to him as a three year old.

Flash forward to my adult life and the main lesson that that little girl learned – do whatever it takes to avoid confrontation and make sure everyone is happy in order to avoid chaos and fear. To this day, I make jokes in tense situations to avoid the anger or sadness that may present itself otherwise. Laughter beat out dads anger, but the laughter was just masking my fear, not displacing it. Don’t get me wrong, I love laughing and having a good time, but I pushed myself into being that way as a child because it was a way better option than being screamed at and cracked over the ass with a wooden spoon by my dad because I spilled some milk on the kitchen floor. Remember – 5 years old and less….

Our relationship as adults is less of a relationship and more of a requirement. He expects me to honor and obey, and forgive him when he tells me that depression is something I should be able to handle myself, and that it’s ‘stupid’ that I am on antidepressants. He wants me to go out of my way for him and give him the unconditional love that he’s never given me. He wants me to yearn for his affection that he withholds like it’s the last jar of peanut butter on earth. Yet, despite all of that, I still try to make him happy. I still try to be uplifting and funny and I still try to be that little girl who he used to get so much enjoyment out of  – but as an adult, it’s harder for me to suppress the fact that I’ve never felt my dad loved me for who I am, only for the laughter I could create. I’ve always felt he loved me just because I could make him not be angry, and that isn’t the unconditional love that a child needs from their father. It’s made me derive my self worth through how I can make others feel – if I can’t make people turn that frown upside down, then I’m worthless. If I can’t solve a problem for someone, I’m a piece of shit, and so on and so on.  I want him to be happy, I want him to enjoy life, but every time that I try to bring that to him, he shoots me down. He makes sure every conversation ends with a ‘reality check’, which leaves me feeling like the world is terrible and not worth being a part of. He’s so resistant to letting go of his negativity and constant belittling that he makes no effort to ease our strained relationship, despite the fact that he is acutely aware that it exists. And that makes me sad for him, and sad for me because there is so much more to this thing called life than just hating on it and bitching about the bad shit that happens to us all sometimes. I want to have a relationship with my father that is healthy and loving and where I feel he accepts me and that I am good enough to be called his daughter, but I’m realizing through age and therapy that that just isn’t going to happen. He’s always going to think I could do more, or be better, or thinner or prettier or a harder worker, but not in an encouraging kind of way, more like a ‘you are not good enough’ one.

Tonight in my therapy session, I realized that my dads happiness is not my responsibility, and it’s OK that that makes me sad. I cannot live my life for him, and I cannot allow him to drag me down when I find something to be positive about. I love my dad, and I always will, but I don’t LOVE my dad, and I wish that I could.

 

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Sometimes, hindsight sucks

Today I let a little crazy out. My man and I had this wonderful weekend together full of awesome people, literal fireworks and tons of Q.T. and I almost fucked it all up in about 5 minutes time, just as he was leaving. At least, that’s what I thought until he proved me wrong.

My past still seeps through into my present at times, and while most of my past is what has made me who I am today, ergo, I am thankful for it, there are plenty of things from my past which benefit no one, no how, no way. Mainly, this is regarding my previous dating encounters, as those are still the my biggest hurdles of insecurity in life. However, I think anyone with a pulse can agree that past relationships all have their double-edged swords. On one sharp side, I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made and I have managed to stop picking men who have issues with commitment or emotion or who hate their mothers or anyone with a womb, but the other side of the slice is that those ‘learning experiences’ jack you up so much emotionally that when shit happens which triggers memories, before you know it, you’re sobbing hysterically into a sofa pillow cushion wondering why in the hell you don’t just magically become the crazy cat lady now and save yourself the anguish of WAITING for it to happen.

Despite the fact that I sipped copious amounts of crazy juice this afternoon, lost my shit for a minute or thirty, and even shed a few tears (but don’t tell anyone), instead of spinning wheels away from crazy town faster than a Delorian, my man was so worried about MY feelings that he stuck around and talked through things with me until I felt better, even though that meant his time table was pushed back and he got home later than wanted/expected for his stupid early 5:30a Monday morning. He was more interested in making sure he and I were copacetic than anyone I’ve ever been in a relationship with and I could not express to him, or you, how incredibly amazing and wonderful that is if I sat here until my ass and fingers went numb, using a thesaurus to select any and all words related to AWESOME in three to five different languages. His concern for my feelings eased my worries faster than an ice cube melts in hell, yet on top of that pile of awesome, just to assure me more so that all the amazing things he said earlier were incredibly true, he called me on his way home under the veil of being lost, just to make sure that I was OK. Seriously, the man knows his way home by now, and I generally am anti-lying, but I’m OK with this particular guise.

I am so happy that lately, people are remarking upon how happy I look, even when I’m not talking about him and I, and even when they have no idea that my man even exists. And ya know what, I’m not even gonna pull the “I don’t know how I got so lucky” card because dammit, therapy has taught me that I deserve some fricking happiness at this point in my life and I’m finally starting to believe it. I’ve been with terrible men, I’ve been with men that just weren’t a good fit for me for one reason or twenty, and everything in between, and I may sound like a selfish asshole when I say this – but I DESERVE someone who appreciates me, crazy and all, and who gives as much of a shit about what I think and feel as I do about what he thinks and feels. And I truly think I’ve found him, especially after today.

 

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Some things change, some things stay the same

It’s been several years now since it started, (somewhere between 4 and 6, I honestly stopped paying attention) and yet I’m still about to write this next sentence: My therapist has suggested that I start blogging again. It helps to solidify the neuro pathways that I’ve rediscovered and it helps to emphasize the reasons behind why I’ve made the choices that I’ve made, and why I used to think that I only deserved [X] amount of anything – happiness, love, kindness, friendship, you name it. I almost feel like I should create an entirely new blog as I am not the same mentally nor emotionally as I was when I started this, or even the last time I posted, and its only natural to want a fresh start after such change.

My ‘perception filter’, as my therapist calls it, is still distorted to a point, but I’ve managed to get the blame game down to a dull roar and I can now see where my deep-seated feelings of guilt, worry and my overwhelming fear of disappointing others comes from. The knowledge alone has opened so many doors in my head that I feel like my brain is a freaking mansion as opposed to a cardboard box. A cardboard box that was once shared with evil, spiteful rats, gnawing on whatever was left of my well-being without regard.

Thanks to my amazing therapist and my own want to learn and grow, I am excruciatingly happy today. I am content with who I am, and I am content if there are people out there who don’t like that, or me. I can say with confidence that, emotionally, there isn’t much I can’t handle now, and I have more confidence and trust in myself now than I’ve had in a long time. Life is good and I look forward to each day with a genuine smile and the outlook that great things are on the horizon. After several years of dating, trying to find the man who fit into my needs and wants while I fit into his, I have found one who is the closest I could ever hope for, and I know that were it not for my therapist and the progress that I’ve made personally, he would not be in my life at this time, and that is the best motivation to continue to grow that a girl could EVER ask for.

I hope to continue to explore myself and what makes me tick, and I hope that I can begin to start sharing my growth again via writing, as it truly is something that I enjoy and I denied myself enjoyment for too long. I saw something via one of those witty websites the other day, a meme of an EKG heart rate; underneath it stated “If life didn’t have ups and downs, you’d be dead.” Well spoken and a good reminder that the bad things that happen don’t have to define who you are or what you do – YOU make those choices and only you can take back the control and turn life into what you want it to be. Thanks be to my therapist for helping me learn that lesson.

 

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Feast or famine

It seems that I only feel like blogging when I’m hating on myself via some deep-seated emotional issue that has been triggered by a thought or some outside event. This post shall be no different from the norm.

Failure is a word that triggers a strong emotional and mental response from me. It could be failure to complete a task appropriately or the failure of a relationship – it doesn’t matter, either way, I end up feeling like a fuck up who can’t do anything right or correct in life. This is a feeling that has followed me around longer than I’ve probably even been aware of it, and it’s become a topic of interest over my last few therapy sessions.

Each time I recount the failure of a relationship, or that one time I applied for something and was denied, or when I just allow people to take advantage of me, I end up a bleary eyed mess and full of emotional turmoil. Mistakes are failures, the inability to mesh with a single person for the rest of my life is a failure and you bet your ass that I’ve failed at life because I’ve never accomplished the dreams I had as a stupid child. It’s enough to drive a person into a downward spiral of depressive sludge.

Today, as I was having a moment of incredible weakness to my BFF, I kind of realized that in some deep, dark, psychotherapy place in the recesses of my mind, my parents divorce has warped my perception of relationships and their levels of success or failure. I’m sure it’s much more involved than that and I’m sure it has a lot more to do with the whole inability to deal with or discuss emotions that my entire family possesses, but I’ve never really thought of my parents divorce in a negative way until today. It’s one of those situations where the more you learn about yourself, why you react the way that you do to certain things, and where those feelings of inner turmoil and blackness actually COME from, that you can’t help but start to look at events in your life differently.Some end up being more detrimental while others end up having that silver lining to them. My BFF pointed out that relationships take two people and that I cannot blame myself for the end of every relationship because I AM AWESOME. So, in a moment of clarity, I’ve realized that I AM awesome, and have apparently been setting my sights too low, hence the fizzle of each of my past relationships. Awesome shines brightly and some people just burn faster than others. To truly be happy in life, I need to aim high and find someone who’s awesome matches my own, instead of dialing down my aura to fit others.

 

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Lesson #4,624 or Why therapy is a good thing

I had yet another interesting session with my therapist this week. Perhaps it was due to my emotional state as of late, or the phase of the moon, or the status of my menstrual cycle, but she seemed…….short with me. As if she felt I was lacking forward momentum; hung up in some sort of way. And I am, but I just can’t get past it enough to literally GET past it. I try, then I figure I’ll fail, then I quit. Quitting is always easier than failing, I figure. But I feel like my struggle to change is starting to frustrate her, which  makes me feel kinda shitty. I mean, it;s gotta take a special talent to frustrate a therapist, ya know?

I have this one constant complaint and it’s a real roadblock in my emotional development. My therapist is fond of using a metaphor regarding how I view myself through a distorted filter. I see others differently than I see myself, and I often pound on myself like a bully. So she’s started this new thing with me that begins with “If one of your friends was dealing with {whatever issue of the moment}, what would YOU tell THEM?” And I gotta admit, it helps!

This weeks session focused heavily on my biggest issue and she pretty much told me that it was time to shit, or get the hell off the pot. Obviously, she put it much more eloquently, and in some sort of psychotherapy terminology, so it sounded less harsh, but the fact remains – she’s right. I USE this against myself, and stop myself from having to make the changes that I need to make to be HAPPY. Why would a person deny themselves happiness? Why would they purposefully put everyone else ahead of themselves? Why would I want to set myself up for failure? BECAUSE I’M CRAZY. I mean seriously, how long have you known me?

Truthfully though, I realize that she’s absolutely right. It’s hard to be 30 years old and feel like a child being scolded, and I’m sure she never meant for it to come across that way, but it shocked me enough to start making some choices and getting some shit done. I’m hopeful that the momentum lasts, and so far, each time I’ve started to have my doubts, some thing has been happening to bring them back up; but I’m not counting any chickens, yet. Just a few eggs.

 

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Some girls really do have all the fun

This weekend was my annual family reunion. My dad’s side of the family is Italian and they make it a point every year to re-une. Every one from my grandmother to my cousin’s one year old was there this year and it actually was very nice. No one got stupid drunk, no one set anything on fire, and no one managed to cuss anyone else out. All in all, I’d consider it a raving success, especially when you take my family into account.

The last couple of years, my one cousin has been hosting the reunion at his home, which happens to have my fathers house between it, and me, so I called my dad to see if he wanted to carpool. I need to preface this with the fact that I did NOT ask my father if he wanted to carpool with any ulterior motive – I just thought it would be nice, and as long as he was OK with leaving when I needed to so that I could get home to care for my dogs, I thought it actually made some sense. Anyway, so when I got to his house, he had the garage door open and his truck out in the driveway, which meant one thing: we were taking the VETTE! Hot Bloody Damn! Here we go, boys and girls. We were taking the 2000, 6 speed, 345 hp black on black convertible to the family reunion. Please understand, my dad does NOT bring the vette out but on the rarest of occasions, and it must not be raining, have rained, or have rain in the forecast, or else she won’t come out from under her car covered, curtained windowed garage prison. But saturday was GORGEOUS and my dad was feeling ire, apparently, so out she came! AND………….wait for it………………….I got to DRIVE!!!!

We arrive in perfect condition, and I will admit to cresting nothing above 80 in that car – I honestly didn’t feel safe as I drive it so seldom, and if ANYTHING were to happen, I think my dad would LITERALLY kill me. Then and there. Seriously. So the rest of the family reunion carries on as expected – drinking, eating, laughing, reminiscing, kids screaming, adults screaming, etc. – until my dad says “Did you tell your sister you drove the vette?” NO, Why would I do that? So that she can give me some whiny crap about how it’s been such and such amount of time since SHE’S driven the vette? No. Thank. You. So, my sister says “No, but you did” back to my dad. Then started: “Ya know, I haven’t driven the vette in YEARS.” Neither have I, sister. “Well, you know, I didn’t even drive it that far last time I drove it.” Well, sister, I didn’t ASK to drive, dad offered. Next time, you can drive and pick him up so that you can drive the vette. Ok?

I must admit that I do find satisfaction in burning my sisters ass. She gets herself so worked up over the dumbest things, it just cracks me up when she gets so upset. She starts in with the Woe-is-me routines and lays it on thick enough that others not savvy to her ways would be sucked into her abyss of negativity. All I heard was Blah Blah Blah as she rambled on about how unfair it was, half in jest, half in stark faced sincerity. Thankfully, this all happened as my dad and I were leaving for the night, so I simply got in the car and did what ANY good sister would do – I hammered that shit down and just about spun into second gear, then third. My hair waved GOODBYE as my left foot pumped the clutch and I jammed it into third and my smile opened up greater than it has in a long time, and stayed that way the entire ride home. She’s so pretty, she’d make just about anyone smile.

You'd be jealous, too

 

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