Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Failing, Failure

The last couple days have been tough. There is nothing monumentally wrong that most families and relationships don’t typically go through. But when I feel like everything around me (or 80%) is failing, I end up feeling like a failure.

My sister was her supportive self today when we talked. She gave me her opinion that I am one of the most capable people she knows and far from a failure. Thanks sissy! Deep down, I guess I know I’m not responsible for everyone else’s choices, but it’s hard when stress can feel unrelenting.

I got talking to a client today and it reminded me of research I read years ago. It said that females in particular tend to be prone to an “internal locus of control” which, like anything else, has its good and bad points.

When a woman is faced with a problem or hurt, she usually asks herself what she did wrong and looks for how she can fix it. An external locus of control would assume someone else screwed up. The good part of the internal focus is that it can lead to empowerment and change. The bad part is that it can lead to over-responsibility and unnecessary self-blame.

Generalizations almost always get you in trouble so please understand these thoughts don’t apply to every single person in every single situation. As an observer of human behavior and relationships, I have to say that it does seem to often be the case though. Women are often the “emotional thermometers” in relationships. It’s almost comical when a couple sits down for session and the man briefly declares things are ok. The woman wants to know who he has been living with because it apparently isn’t their home. As she recounts the week’s activity, the man will eventually nod in agreement. “Oh yea, I forgot about that,” or something similar.

Anyhow, when you intensely love and care for people around you, it can be heartbreaking when you are disappointed, worried, concerned when you see those around you making choices that hurt you, or worse hurt themselves. Probably the most intense pain is around the love and concern a parent has for their child. A child of any age, no matter how old he/she gets.

I’m doing ok tonight. I’m exhausted and feel like a wet dish rag. But talking to people who care and an unscheduled call to Scott (my trusted therapist) reminds me that these things too shall pass. They hurt like hell, but I don’t need to fall into the abyss or anything. Tomorrow will come and I will just do the best I can again. I’m usually the only one that asks more of me than that.

Hope all is well in your world, wherever you are. Take some time for self-care, but stay engaged in life and people. It’s worth it, even when you’d rather punch them all…LOL.


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Lost

Nope, not talking about the TV show. I’m talking about a text I sent my friend in Georgia. She asked how I was and I said I was spiritually and emotionally lost.

I am very, very aware that things in my life could be much worse. I am very aware that other people are suffering unimaginable situations which make mine pale in comparison. I know that any of the things in isolation that I face I could handle with relative ease. But the accumulation and what feels like a relentless pace are rendering me confused and unable to recover in between.

In the last three weeks:

-I was not rehired for a position that was important to me, apparently because of the integrity that I stood up for
-I walked in a place to find a guy I had only dated for a little over a week (but had been friends with for years) was a liar and manipulator, right in front of my eyes
-A relatively new friend turned on me because he didn’t check out the facts
-I said goodbye to my sister who moved to Tennessee
-A former friend of mine where the relationship turned sour vandalized my property and I spent a couple of days with town officials and police
-The relatively new friend of mine that I forgave (because everyone deserves a second chance, right?) turned on me again and left me completely stranded with a massive house project and a great deal of stress because he again, didn’t bother to check out the facts
-Had a very beloved client in crisis mode which entailed phone calls to paramedics, supervisors, family members, etc.; He is doing much better thank God, but it was very scary while it was happening.
-Received a phone call asking for my attorney information because of the legal action suit filed against me with the IRS; turned out it was a scam but it scared the crap out of me until I figured that out with my research.
-I’ve made about 40 phone calls to handle my father’s medical, financial, and legal issues. I also worked on his house which he is trying to sell and have become an amateur realtor overnight. Sometimes there is stress with the family about these issues, and sometimes we work together well. The list has been endless.
-Continued to be a mother, homeowner, business owner with all the stresses and time constraints that everyone else has. Nothing unusual about that. I’m just more exhausted when managing things because I’m stretched so thin from everything else.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things. The upshot is that when I have some time alone with my thoughts and feelings, they go in crazy places. One weekend I was toying with the idea that the universe was getting revenge on me because of something I did in my twenties. I hurt someone very badly and she forgave me. So I thought maybe the universe was mad that she didn’t punish me.

My kids have been struggling with some of the bad things they are watching around them and wondering why their father died when other people survive cancer who are not doing good things with their lives and just hurting other people. I have no idea how to answer them because it makes me burn up inside when I see it too.

The whole thing that happened with Tim- the massive amount of support we had, and the amazing story that became my books- maybe I am seeing another side to it. While all of that positive stuff is true, maybe there is also a side effect that I am just realizing. It made me think that the world is a lot kinder than it really is. It made me trust more than I should. It is different when you have this big thing that everyone gets excited about being a part of. This great thing happened to us during a terrible thing that happened to us and the community around us was transformed with us. But lately, I just see so much yuck, I wonder what happened to all that good will?

And every time, after all my crazy thoughts, I circle back to my church. I don’t know why in the last couple of months this is coming back so strongly, but I always end up there now. I am lost and hurting, and I hate the fact that I don’t have a pastor to go to anymore. I lost them over five years ago, the church family that was a pillar of strength for us during Tim’s illness. Three months after he died though, some bad things happened because of some bad people, and I lost them. Sure, there are a few close friends that I still have, but I have lost the church as a whole. My son is growing up without a church home. And my heart aches so badly because I don’t feel I will every recover from the loss of my minister and how abandoned I feel.

Today is a good day. I still have people who love me and are there for me. Some came and helped me with that massive house project. One went grocery shopping for me this week. But overall, I feel like I mistrust the world and I have no idea how to make sense of life or my emotions. And I’m angry that I don’t have the man to turn to that I did trust at one time.

Lost. It’s a good description word. I will just keep getting through each day and tackle each obstacle like I always do, but internally I’m lost. It is what it is.

P.S. My apologies to those of you who like it better when I’m funny and positive 🙂


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Men

Well, I am starting to come to terms with the possibility of remaining single. I don’t know the future of course, but I am trying to see the glass half full part. I’ve always been aware of the half empty part when it comes to not having a partner, but sometimes I can see that it might be easier to remain alone.

I have blogged often about some of the trials and tribulations of dating. My second book has a chapter dedicated to dating. I have often said that men have no special link to craziness. I talk to men all the time that have equally crazy stories about women. My experience is with dating men of course, so I thought for a change I would write about some truly GREAT thoughts about men. (No, that is not written with sarcasm.)

The old Girl Scout song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” At my age, more and more of my friends are silver… or else bald.

Anyhow, John is my newest friend. I borrowed his cowboy hat at Karaoke one night and now here we are. John and I are friends, and one of the nicest things is that we are not dating so I can say he does all these lovely things just because he is a good guy and for no other reason. He has been off work so he claims he is bored and needs things to do. I suspect, though, that he would help me anyway. Last weekend, he picked me up on Friday night and took me to dinner. My dad had been in the hospital overnight and I was exhausted and stressed out. He got me just to “get me out of the house” which was exactly what I needed. On Sunday, he brought lunch for me as well as Colin and Frankie. They were boneless barbecue pork chops and they were yummy. Then he helped me in my yard for several hours. I got so many tasks done on my daunting list and that was incredible. After that? He let me drive his sleek Corvette and we got the largest peanut butter ice cream sundae I have ever seen. You rock, John! Oh, that’s right. I’m not done. On Monday, he still had some time so he brought me lunch AGAIN and helped me several more hours. Thank you, my friend! I do hope when you are in need, you will let me return your kindness.

And then there is Richard. We dated briefly last year. His work is seasonal, but he is still available when he is working. Right now, he is not working as much so again, he never seems to not be around for emotional support. I could call him at 3:00 AM and he would answer. We talk for hours sometimes. I listen to him as well, but usually I feel like he listens to me with the patience of a saint. He never gets overwhelmed by me or my life, and has wise advice to offer. He has a new girlfriend now and I am very happy for him. He has become a dear friend and a true emotional support.

I’ve blogged about Mike several times. You may not have known it because I didn’t always name him, but I’ve written about him. We have dated on and off for a couple of years. Now we have settled into a deep friendship. We would both say like best friends most of the time. We are polar opposites in many, many ways but I have managed to learn a tremendous amount from him. One of the biggest things is his encouragement to take care of myself. He has helped me have better boundaries in my life. He has helped me to learn not to be taken advantage of so much. I have learned to own my anger. Things can get a little feisty with him as you can imagine, but he is usually the first person I think to call when almost anything happens in my life. He has been a great companion, too. He lives nearby so we often walk Taffy together, or get groceries, run errands, etc.. He also makes me laugh my ass off. You know I love you to pieces, Michael!

Mark is the one I have known the longest. He and I dated on and off for about 18 months. Now? Well, I can best describe him by saying he is a true and loyal brother. Mark has a kind and gentle spirit. He is as dependable as the sun rising. He has his own timetable, but he always gets there. He is the graphic artist for Baby Coop Publishing. And he is the main handyman around my house. He shoveled snow off my roof with me during Snowvember last year. He has done about a thousand projects on my house. I have inherited his family as well. His parents look at Frankie like one of their own grandchildren. His sister and brother-in-law are dear friends of mine. I still share lots of holidays with all of them. He is family. Simple as that.

Mark is the one that said this is how relationships are supposed to be. We tried a dating relationship but that didn’t work out. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about each other anymore. I may not have found a life partner, but I have some very wonderful men in my life. Too many times, break-ups are ugly and contentious. I’ve had plenty of those too, but I wouldn’t trade these guys for anything. Single isn’t entirely horrible…