I am taking a huge risk here and am going to bear my soul to you all. I know that for those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that we have been dealing with a very stressful situation with my husband's siblings and now his parents also. I have been struggling, like deep depression, sense of dread, bursting into tears over minor things, threatening to leave just to escape this whole mess, having a dark cloud over my head that does not let me fully experience joy like I should kind of stuff. We got some amazing news over the weekend and I realized that although I was happy about it, I did not experience the fullness of joy that I really should have given the wonderfulness of it all. I am generally a pretty happy and upbeat person for the most part and did not realize just how bad things were getting for me emotionally. Today that all came to a head over something that should have been a minor thing, and a comment that our son Josh (who is home on leave) said that usually would not be a big deal, but given my fragile emotional state, opened the floodgates that led to my Ah Ha moment. I do suffer from an anxiety disorder and from PTSD due to some childhood traumas. That is something that I don't usually disclose much. I wrote the following on a forum that I have belonged to for a long time now, a place where I can be open about things that I usually keep hidden. I am going to edit out a few bits because the could cause great pain to a few people. I am hoping that maybe by me sharing this, it will help someone else too who is struggling like I have been. Be blessed!
I'm struggling today emotionally and again dissolved into tears. I so wish all this crap would stop. I hate that Josh is having to see me this way. Jeff explained more to him about what is going on and now Josh "gets it" about why I am such a wreck right now. Josh told me that I do not have to be the "strong one" for everyone else in the family and that I had been trying to be that for far too long. I think I have figured out that my PTSD from some childhood trauma has been triggered by all this mess. As a child I was always told that I had to be strong and take care of everyone else and that I was responsible for them. If something bad was happening to me, it was to be swept under the rug (including being molested for years by someone outside the family) and not talked about...I would just have to deal with it on my own because it would bring shame to our family. My mom finally took me to a psychiatrist for "family counseling" when I was 17 (something I had been begging for for years) after she scared herself with an outburst that she had. I never told the psychiatrist about the molestation but did tell him about some of the other stuff. He was amazed that I had coped as well as I had for all those years and advised me to go far away to college so I could finally live my own life and not be responsible for everyone else. I was a child that was forced to be the adult and caretaker in the family, the "mom" to everyone. I went twice before the appointments were cancelled. I think we all would have benefitted greatly from some good family counseling and could have avoided so many more years of hurt and pain. But it is what it is and my mom and I have worked through our stuff and are now very close and supportive of one another and for that I am extremely thankful!
I now realize that I have fallen back into the same pattern of trying to be strong and take care of everyone else but me. I have stuffed my feelings and put up with way too much for far too long "for the sake of my husband's parents". I have these conflicting feelings of love and yet intense hurt (and even anger) because of being rejected by them and being told that they know we are strong, we will understand and that we will always be there for them, but their other adult children (the colossal screwups and narcissists) "need them more" and that their needs and wants will always come first. Well we are not that strong, we don't understand, and are so hurt by their behavior...all of us! Meanwhile, I go into "mom mode" and try to make sure that everyone else is comforted, taken care of, feels loved and valued (including my MIL and FIL) and I try to "make things right" for everyone and keep hitting a brick wall. Same thing I was expected to do and happened in my childhood. Wow, just getting that out and coming to that realization is making me feel stronger and more able to cope. I think Josh's remark and my subsequent meltdown actually unlocked the key to why I am at this point. I must remember to thank him for that. And for the record, Josh felt awful about my bursting into tears and his part in it and was really sweet, loving and supportive when he came in to talk to me about it. It was nice to have my grown son hug me and tell me how much he loves and appreciates me and all I do for our family and for him. Maybe this is the turning point for me. Maybe some "self care" is what I need and to be able to not only intellectually step away from the situation but also do so emotionally as well. I know it will not be easy and that I will still struggle, but at least this is a start.