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.
Without getting into too much detail,we have so much in common Debbie. There comes a point that you have to start living your life for yourself, and if parents or in-laws don't appreciate it, that's on them. The hardest thing to do is learning not to feel selfish if you can't do for others for the sake of your own sanity. Trust me, have been there, done that, there does come a day when it gets easier. Sending you a hug!ReplyDelete
((((((HUGS)))) back Jane and thank you. I am so sorry that you have had to go through any part of what I and/or family is going through. I think you hit it on the head about learning to not feel selfish if I can't do for others at the sake of my own sanity. That is a pattern that is so ingrained in me and one that is hard to break out of. Thank you for the understand, hug and the encouragement. Be blessed Jane and have a wonderful weekend!Delete
OMG!!!!! No wonder life is getting to you. I would be in no fit state to care for anyone with what is happening now, and I don't have the horror of the childhood nasties that you do. Big hugs from across the globe Miss Debs.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your hugs Jane...they are much appreciate. :)Delete
Father God, please send your Holy Spirit and wash my sister clean of all the yuck and stuff that has been tormenting her. I plead the blood of Jesus over her mind and her body and her spirit. I pray that her relationships will be made whole and right. I pray that her emotions will be made whole and right. Give her the Shalom peace of Jesus by the Holy Spirit—nothing broken, nothing lacking, nothing missing. I ask it all in the name of Jesus. Amen.ReplyDelete
Hugs to you Debbie!
Harvest Lane Cottage
Thank you for your beautiful prayer for me Laura. I am starting the process of healing emotionally again and that is a very good thing. :)Delete
Be blessed my friend!
Traumas life that are the injuries no one sees when looking at you. No one knows how much it hurts. No one can really help you endure the pain. However, I will say that your positive attitude is a great thing. It has probably helped you so much in the past and will continue to help you in the future. I wish for you the release from past injuries. I wish for you the strength to endure what you must. I wish for you sunshine in your life to help heal you in the future.ReplyDelete
Thank you Barbara for you wonderful wishes for me. :) Being happy takes so much less energy than being depressed and I really do want to live life to the fullest and enjoy all that I have been blessed with. :)Delete
God bless you my friend. May God lay His healing hands upon you.ReplyDelete
Thank you Cheryl, I really do appreciate it. I've been keeping you and your situation in my prayers also. ((((((HUGS)))))Delete
I am so glad for you that you have had this moment of realisation and that it will perhaps become a turning point of moving onwards in life for you. You don't always have to be strong in any situation, it is, as someone wise once told me, alright to "feel the feelings" so go ahead and feel what you feel and let it out once in a while - or even more often! Sending good thoughts, hugs and hopes for moving onwards and upwards and stronger, but only in yourself and for yourself! xxReplyDelete
Thank you Amy for the hugs, good thought and hopes! Your friend was very wise in their advise. :) I am doing better after my "ah ha" moment. The gloom was blown away and I was able to fully experience the joy of having our family together last night. :) Be blessed!Delete
Dearest Debbie... how very BRAVE of you to bare your heart here! I appreciate you gently sharing the most difficult details that make up the fabric of your life. I too, as dear Laura has already prayed, pray for you that the Lord Jesus will give you peace and focus as you walk through this difficult time. How wonderful that your son is so compassionate! Will be praying for you dear friend!ReplyDelete
Marilyn, that you for your prayers. I am truly blessed by all of my sons and my daughters (DILs) who are such caring and compassionate people. Getting hugs and from my grandsons last night and seeing their smiling little faces also really helped. Be blessed my friend!Delete
I do not know your full situation, as I have not read all of your back posts that you referred to, but I do understand how it feels to walk through pain that is so deep you wonder if you will ever be able to come out on the other side. I am here to encourage you with the fact that, yes, in time, you can!!ReplyDelete
We have had a rough year. My husband lost his job, and is still not employed. It was hurtful that way it was done, to put it mildly. Because of that, we had to sell our property, nice house, etc. and move to town--a pretty big blow for country folks. We are coming through this trauma, with the help of the Lord, family and friends. BUT, some family has not been supportive. In fact, we've gotten the attitude that they are fine with what happened to us--we are supposed to suck it up and get on with it--after all, we are "strong" and therefore "fine." Many friends have completely disappeared from our lives. Where'd they go? We didn't move that far away. Others have been there for us in an amazing way.
As sad and sorry of a situation as this is, I think one reason that we are getting through it is because, pathetically, this is not the worst thing we have lived through. In the past, we've walked through a couple of situations that left us reeling, devastated, betrayed, and emotionally broken. They were so horrific that there were days where we felt we could hardly get out of bed. I don't care to share the details, but let's just say that people we loved and trusted ended up in prison when it was over. Both times. One thing I did that helped a lot was to pray that God would show me one good thing each day. He was always faithful. He always did. I read the Psalms a lot. I focused on the good things He showed me, to the best of my ability. I did spend a lot of time with special little people, both my own and my nieces and nephews. We went to therapy for over a year (twice) during both of those situations. We dragged any affected children to therapy for ages, as well, sometimes kicking and screaming, but they went. And, over time, we came through it. The hurt and pain is still there to some extent, but we've learned to deal with it, and the best part---we truly have joy. I'm glad you are on your way there. During the first of these life-altering situations, I determined that I did not want to end up as a bitter old lady. I wanted to have joy, and be happy to the best of my ability. I have bad days. I struggle with feelings of sadness, depression, and anger at times. But, with God's help, overall--I am not bitter, wallowing in despair, and consumed with anger. I know you can make it through, too. And, in the end, have joy!
(((((HUGS))))) Becky. I am so sorry that you and your family have gone through all that pain, especially at the hands on people you loved and trusted. It always amazes me that you can be there for someone else over and over again, but when you need them, they turn their backs on you. It hurts. I like you, decided long ago that I was not going to let bitterness and anger eat me up inside. I became an advocate for women who have gone through similar things that I have experienced. It became my ministry. I do believe that where our greatest challenges and areas that we have overcome are where our greatest ministry can be...if we are strong enough to allow God to use us to help others heal.Delete
Thank you for sharing your heart and experiences with me Becky. I am praying for nothing but good things for your family and that your husband will find another job that will be the perfect fit for your beautiful family.
Much love to you!
I read your post yesterday and was very moved by it. So moved that I was speechless and didn't have words to comment.ReplyDelete
I am sending prayers as well because I have learned that our God is the true Healer. He knows us so well and is the One to lean on when hurt happens. I,too, love reading the Psalms when I am in pain. And, over the last few years, have reached out as well to some amazing sisters in Christ who have prayed over me and for me. I pray that the Holy Spirit will hold you close and let you know without a doubt how loved you are. And that healing is possible.
I'll save some other things for another post. For now, let me just say that I finally (or at the right time) got into therapy when I turned 50. I believe God brought me to the right family doctor and the right therapist to bring healing from my childhood and teenage years. In my experience, it's never too late to work on long hidden hurts. Praying for you. SJ in Vancouver BC
SJ, you comments and sharing of yourself always touch my heart so deeply. I'm so glad that you got the help that you needed to work through some of the pain and I am so sorry that you had to experience that pain in the first place. ((((((HUGS)))))) The Psalms are a wonderful source of comfort for me too my friend.Delete
I am so sorry that you are hurting Debbie. Please take of youself and know that I am praying for you.ReplyDelete
Thank you. :) Our family is taking care of each other and I am taking time for me too. Today we joined our DIL Heather, son Chris and the grandboys to celebrate Heather's birthday. :) It was a very good day!Delete
UI am happy to hear that. :-)Delete
I too struggle with PTSD. So often others equate PTSD with combat veterans but often do not realize that regular, everyday moms sometimes have things so devastating happen in their lives, they are left broken, deeply scarred, forever changed, and haunted by past events, just like our brave service members.
I pray that our Lord surrounds you with supportive people who will choose love over judgments.
Hugs to you, my friend.
With Christ's love,
((((((HUGS))))) to you too Mrs. B. I'm sorry you also struggle with PTSD. It can be so scary can't it. YOu can just be going along with life and boom, you are triggered by something and just do your best to try and hold it together so people don't see how badly you are falling apart on the inside. I'm keeping you in my prayers also my friend.Delete
Oh, yes. You are so right. Thanks for your prayers, You will continue to be in mine.Delete
What a powerful post Debbie! Like others have said, without going into detail, we have a lot in common. Childhood trauma is devastating and forever changes that person's life. That person will never know what they could have been if events hadn't occurred. And that's hard to accept, it's hard to keep your brain from wondering "what if". I suffer from PTSD and anxiety as well, it affects every area of my life. I'm working with a therapist for the issues, but it's a long, slow, painful process. I don't talk about it much on my blog either, because there's too many people that read it that could be hurt. Mainly my family members and my parent's friends.ReplyDelete
I really do hope that things get better for you Debbie. I will keep you in my thoughts.
Dear Jessica, I am so sorry that you have also gone through major childhood trauma. You are right, it does forever change you. (((((HUGS))))). I am glad that you are working with a therapist to help you work through things. I hear you on not wanting to hurt the people in your life bu sharing. I don't think my family reads my blog much. The ones that might already know about what happened. The ones that don't to my knowledge don't read it. The last thing I would want to do is hurt the ones that don't know and I pray never will.Delete
Praying for you my friend. Be blessed!
(((HUGS))) Debbie. Thank you for sharing what you have. I will simply say you are not alone. And it's OK to take care of yourself, too. I wish you peace and joy. Take care.ReplyDelete
(((((HUGS))))) Bless. I think there are many of us who have gone through similar things. Praying for you my friend.Delete
heartiest best wishes dear ,be in peace stay calm and positive .God has given us strength to face hardships of life oyu also have them just bring them out of yourselfReplyDelete
Thank you. :)Delete