Who Am I Really?

What is said in this video always sets me to ‘verge of tears.’ I don’t usually cry when I listen to or read things like this,  because there is a wall up to the idea. My psyche doesn’t want to see or feel that I…that the human is me, doesn’t even know what that means. It (my psyche) knows that the work is hard to come to such an understanding of who I actually am. I don’t know, perhaps crying would mean admitting that I’d better get to work somehow. And the freeze response kicks in because I have no idea where to start with that.

I am lost and don’t remember when the last time was that I didn’t feel that way. It may have even still been in the womb where I lost who I am, which means that I actually never had the opportunity for a self identity.

This is dark. No wonder the world has been dark for so long.

I know only from a couple audio recordings from when I was about three that I did have some semblance of a self. My voice, it’s so happy. It’s so…well…it’s child like. I can tell that I’m not worried about anyone’s judgment of me. At the time the recordings were done, I would have still been an only child and had my parents to myself.

One part of the recording is me jumping around in the tub. Both parents are there. My dad is talking to me to get me to talk and it seems that I am standing up, as it is the end of the bath. My dad tells me (jokingly) that I’m a nitpicker, in response to something I’d said. And I apparently liked that word and I start to jump up and down in the tub repeating, “Nitpicker mommy, nitpicker.” Over and over again I repeat it.

I wasn’t thinking about whether my mom would be mad at me for splashing around. (She wasn’t and neither was my father.) I wasn’t thinking about how someday the baby that was in my mom’s belly would one day rage at me or that I would bully him for years. I wasn’t thinking about being bullied at school by a nasty nun/teacher or other students. I wasn’t even thinking about how my father had yelled at me on days prior to that.

I was simply doing what I felt.

I don’t have that in me anymore. It was a somewhat gradual loss but at the same time, my self stayed hidden in certain situations and circumstances as I grew up.

Now at 52 I still play small. I have no idea who I am and each day I wake up feeling like I’m living a nightmare. That happy little three year old is so buried, I barely feel her as part of me anymore.
Sure, my circumstances play a part in that. (But who got me here?)

I’m not satisfied in my main relationship. I’ve separated myself from people I used to call my friends. Most of them still live a lifestyle I don’t feel is a good idea for me. I can’t seem to do anything in moderation, let alone discipline myself.

I don’t work, I’m isolated and I breathe cigarette smoke from the apartment below. But all those things don’t contribute half as much to my loneliness and feelings of being trapped as the fact that I have no clue as to who I really am.

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While My Father Was in Hospice He Had Terminal Agitation and My Mother Never Warned Us

This morning I was thinking about my father in hospice. While he was there, (and dying), he would periodically look at his hands, one at a time.  After napping (or dozing), he’d hold out his hand and look at his palm, then turn it over and look at the back of his hand.

I can’t be sure what his thought process was, but my guess is that he was checking to see if he still had a body, or if he’d died and gone to “the other side”. Whatever that means. I don’t have a whole lot of faith when it comes to all that. And I am not clear on what his thoughts and beliefs were at the end of his life.

I am guessing that at some point he came back to some sort of faith after not really spending much time thinking about God or anything pertaining to that subject, once he took all his kids out of Catholic school and stopped going to church.

He’d gone to school at a seminary…some of high school and some of college. He’d planned to be a priest. But apparently, the story goes, when he met and started dating my mother he’d changed his mind. So he had a belief in God and most likely a belief in heaven and a hell. And since the Catholic church and schools teach about purgatory, he likely had a belief in that also.

But before he’d gotten to the point of laying quietly in that hospice bed, he had something called “terminal agitation.”

I’d never heard of this before this experience and so, of course, I wasn’t expecting it

At some point, early on, after he’d gone to hospice… voluntarily…he got agitated. He would yell about leaving and going home. At this point he could no longer walk on his own and this man, he was tall and heavy.  Not fat, but certainly solid.

The combination of his restlessness, his size and the frustration/anger of that restlessness, made it really difficult for those experienced to handle it, let alone us kids.

The worst of it was when all three of us kids were there and not only was he yelling to go home and get out of there, he also thought he was seeing his brother, who’d passed a few years before.

It was upsetting to say the least. Finally the nurses told my sister and me to leave the room. My brother stayed because they needed him to help, given the fact that he was now just as tall and certainly bigger than my father. It wasn’t anything my brother objected to, and there is NO WAY he would have left that room even if they’d insisted on it.

It’s a good thing my brother was there because none of those nurses would’ve been strong enough to deal with it. My father kept standing up. And I remember them trying to get him to the bathroom while he was still up and about. They could barely handle the weight of my father in that situation.

One of the things that bothers me so much about this terminal agitation thing, is that my mother was a geriatric nurse! How is it that she would not talk to us about this possibility??? About the fact that terminal agitation even exists???

Fuck! How dare she not discuss this with us. She knew very well that none of us had been in such a position to have been caring for someone dying.  She surely had been around lots of death herself being in geriatric nursing. So wtf?

Not that I think she did this to be malicious. She simply didn’t think about it. But the thing is, she didn’t CARE to think about it. A thoughtful mother who is well aware of in the capacity she was aware in, would talk to her kids about many of the possible things that could happen when someone is dying.

But not her, she just let us find out for ourselves.

I would think, and this is just a guess, that terminal agitation is likely to happen with certain PERSONALITIES. Which would be those who need control of situations, especially those who need that control in a pathological way. (That would make me a likely candidate to be honest) so I’m not judging that about him.

My heart went out to him when it happened. I wanted to let him go home. His behavior meant he was a disruption to the peace and quiet in the building. It meant that he was going to be more work for the nurses there too. Which meant that they could probably not get those drugs to calm him down fast enough.

It is beyond me how he would’ve preferred to go to hospice when he really did have the opportunity to die at his home.

I’m sure he was influenced by the doctor on this. And we would’ve needed more help than just us three kids at the end. While he was still alert toward the end, he needed the bathroom often. That was difficult for the nurses at hospice. So another tall man would’ve been needed. But it was doable. The money was there to pay for more help.

In remembering this shit I’m wondering why the fuck did my mother not talk to us about this and feeling really angry about it. It feels like a dirty trick to all involved. She could’ve helped with suggestions too. Even without that agitation, he was still a big guy and a male home health aid would’ve been much more helpful.

Idk, maybe she did talk about it to the others. After all I was the doormat and left out of their little pow-wows for sure. Only God and they know what I don’t.  So for all I know she did mention the possibility of it…at least to my brother.

Considering my sister’s reaction the day my father really went off, I’m going to guess she also knew nothing about it either.

But…Fuck you mom for not preparing us better. For not helping more. For not making yourself more available. For leaving us to care for the husband you divorced all on our own. Just fuck you!

Bully Meets Match (Poetry)

I was ten, maybe eleven.
I’d just finished a diving lesson
Drying off, I lost myself in a daze.

From inches away I heard
“What’re you lookin’ at?”
And saw that tough girl sneer.

Shaken to  aware I replied,
“Something that looks like a dog’s behind.”

She stomped through the grass
In her bare feet
And said,
“I’m gonna kick your ass.”

I stared with a glare
I didn’t care.

She was none the wiser
About my skills
As a fighter

She threw her punch
As expected
My block
Was met with shock

“This is good” I thought
“I really need the practice”

So…
to the ground I flipped her
Just as I was taught.

A (not so) Obvious Revelation: Boundaries

I had this…hm…I guess I’d call it a revelation today.  It’s something that would be obvious to some, but has not been so obvious to me.

I never really thought of myself as co-dependent in this relationship/situation. Dependent yes. Co-dependent, not so much.

But I was wrong.

In the last week, a series of events has happened that made me realize this morning, that one of the issues and causes of my deep frustrations and intense emotional reactions during our interactions, is that I have little to no boundaries.

Of all people I thought I had boundaries with and it finally dawns on me that I don’t.

He has had to depend on me for rides in the last weeks. Because of a particular medical reason he cannot drive his stick shift Jeep.  He could drive my car, but tbh, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.

The communication with this guy, is for me to pull out of him the needed info or to at least initiate the conversation most of the time. When it comes to knowing that he needs rides to doctors and elsewhere, I want to know in advance when each appointment is. And in order for me to find that out, I have had to ask…much to my frustration. Instead I would much prefer he simply offer it up and write it down somewhere that I can see and reference it to remind myself.

I don’t mind helping him out. That’s not what this is about. I just want some consideration and time to prepare myself. With PTSD it is difficult for me to drop my shit at the drop of a hat or find out the night before that I’m driving him to an appointment the next day when he’s known about it for weeks.

Another thing that came up is that he has a form that needed/needs filling out by the doctor I drove him to see last week. Did he take the form with him? Nope.

This came up this morning again after feeling annoyed and highly agitated about not being able to get a straight answer to a question I asked. Honestly, I’d rather someone just tell me they don’t know and that they have to check than try to make something up or garble the info to the point that it makes no sense. Big fucking trigger for me.

At this point I’m feeling like I’m a narcissist…or maybe borderline because I’m not controlling my temper at all. I’m visibly and audibly distressed. At the point I reacted to not getting a straight answer, I became acutely aware of my back tightening up and I was like, “Not a- fucking-gain”

It seems like each time I attempt any sort of conversation it just ends up that I’m annoyed, frustrated and distressed…whatever it’s about. It could even be a joke, something that was was supposed to be completely light hearted. I end up feeling completely misunderstood and instead of shaking it off, I become anxious and feel compelled to explain myself.

When I couldn’t get that straight answer earlier, I became so distressed, like I was drowning or something. Like the situation was hopeless and I screamed, “Are you fucking serious???!!!”

It wasn’t always like this. He was always quiet. But it used to be fun talking to him.

Now it’s like opening an uncooked clam. The difference is I would give up on the clam and throw it back.  Both of us would have been better off if I’d thrown him back, at least on the night I discovered he didn’t take the lead on the dance floor after I twisted his arm to dance with me.

I’ve thought often about that and feel that I’ve taken on the masculine roll in this situation in some ways.

The circumstance we were in this morning in the car, I was able to drop him off and go for a ride. I went to Wawa to get some coffee.  On my way I wanted to cry and I did a little. But I didn’t want to get into a full out bawling session because… going in public.

I felt like I wanted to jump out of my body though and I just felt so sick of this repetitive pattern.

And on my way back from getting coffee, it dawned on me.

Boundaries!

I don’t draw boundaries, ever.

So in this particular scenario of B having a form that his surgeon needed to fill out and him not taking it with us to the appointment he had last week.   There are plenty of reasons for my aggravation behind this:

My expectation would be that a grown-ass man would not need to be reminded of this or ‘chased after’ to get this taken care of.  That he would have the consideration for the ‘driver’ he is relying on, so that I would not have to make another trip up there just to drop the form off…because he’d need it before his next follow up.

My reaction is to berate him for this, which winds up shaming him. He apologizes and says things like, “I didn’t take it because I didn’t know if he’d fill it out or not.” (This reason makes no sense to me.)

But in his defense, he does walk on egg shells around me. He is nervous because of my impulsive/high emotion reactions.

I would never try to justify my behavior and I admit that my reactions are abusive. Whether it’s because of all the accumulated stress or not, if I’m honest, I’ll tell you that he probably forgets because of stress.

But still, boundaries.  Normally, I’d be pissed off and just take the form up anyway and become resentful and the same scenario around a different thing would repeat itself.

But this time I drew a boundary. I made it clear that it was not a punishment. Something that would normally keep me from drawing this boundary in the first place would be my own self-doubt, feeling like I’m saying no to punish him for not being what I wanted or not doing what I needed.

But upon the realization that boundaries or lack thereof were a real problem with me, and likely a huge part of where my outbursts come from in the first place, I knew I was drawing the boundary for my own sanity. To improve my own self-worth, self-confidence, to be less co-dependent.

And so I told him that I would not take that form up there nor give him a ride to take it. That he would have to find another way. And so he did.

And I actually feel better. I feel like I have a little bit of control. I feel like I have shown myself a little self-value.

Later today, hours after I had made the initial self-realization about my specific situation, I found the video below.  I don’t agree with everything he’s saying here, but there’s some good stuff in reference to co-dependence and boundaries.

In fact I had formed some of the same thoughts on what he says about boundaries before I heard him say them in the video.

-Boundaries are one way of understanding your own values, which is part of having a relationship with yourself.

-There’s an aura about boundaries that reflect the self, and shows outwardly, because I think knowing you have boundaries, allows you to feel a certain amount of self-confidence.

I also want to comment on what he says about karmic relationships. I don’t take this to mean anything about past lives and the relationships from those lives. To me it’s about how those familiar (frustrating, abusive, toxic) relationships keep coming into our lives because of the programming we were subjected to.

Cirque de Sink

I know this is getting boring but this apartment hell has to be documented.

Nasty the landlady is one of those ‘difficult people,’ to put it lightly and a few nights ago I went on a rant to B about being tired of being dismissed.  I seem to be dismissed at every turn and not just by her. I’ve been dismissed as being too sensitive by family, so-called friends and others too.

My experiences have been minimized by many people too, including Nasty the landlady.  “No one’s ever complained about that before.” She likes that one and I’m learning too slowly for my sanity when to keep my mouth shut.

So now we’re still dealing with the sink.

See, she’s got this service she uses for the building. It’s kind of an insurance policy with repairs and replacements included. So if something breaks and needs repair or replacing she doesn’t take a big hit financially.  Makes total sense. I have no problem with that at all.

However, the plumbers that have been here now three times, have not found the leak I know is there.  The sink of course won’t leak when the people who need to see it are around. But we do have a bucket with some water in it. Not a lot. But enough to indicate there is water dripping from somewhere.

A short recap:
The first visit the plumbers were here, they tried to say there’s no leak because they couldn’t find it.  Nasty said, “You’ve got to find it, this is my property we’re talking about. I don’t want water damage.”

So they continued to look and then claimed they found a pin hole leak in the sprayer hose.  So they came back a week later with the wrong part. When they discovered this they left to get the right one and replaced the supposed leaking hose.

Although I can’t complain about the replacement, because the hose is now long enough to actually use, where as before it really wasn’t. We don’t use it much anyway.

I had all the stuff that had been under the sink cleared out and sitting in the corner of the dining room. Since I didn’t believe that was the problem, I didn’t bother putting them back, knowing full well they (or better yet another plumber) would eventually be back.

We still saw the water as it ran down the hose that’s attached to the faucet (not the sprayer) and drip onto a paper towel we had placed there. We had a bucket there at first but it would never turn up having water in it so I thought it might be evaporating. Putting a paper towel there, showed me I was right. Even if it dried before I saw it, I could still tell it had been wet.

Nancy (landlady) and I went back and forth texting, her asking me every so often if there was leaking. Most days there wasn’t and other days, it seemed hardly worth mentioning.

One Sunday night it was dripping like mad after we’d used it for washing dishes, but when I texted Nancy, she said she couldn’t come up to see and would be up the next morning to look at it. Well that next morning it was no longer dripping.  Soon after she concluded that the problem was condensation and then went to Home Schlappy to buy some thick and long piece of insulation that would never fit onto the hose she’s got under this sink. Even if we cut it, which is possible, it’s too thick and bulky to get around the skinny hose under the sink.

The night B was going to attempt to actually put that insulation on the hose, he found it dripping pretty fast and took a video of it. And then sent it to Nancy. Of course it didn’t work on her phone and she couldn’t see what we could plainly see right in front of our eyes.

She still got the plumbers to come back though. And so last week they were here, one of them stinking up the apartment with his cologne, again saying they can’t find the leak. So now it seems they are at the point of throwing shit up against the wall to see if it sticks.

They caulked around the sink, using the logic that the water could be going through the cracks and getting under the sink.  After they were done caulking they said to not use the sink for 12 hours. Then rethought and said, “You can use the faucet but be careful not to get the area where the caulk is, wet.”

That was at 9:45 the morning they were here. I forget which day at the moment.

Well, I wanted to keep our dishes soaking in the sink for the day so they weren’t too nasty when I was finally able to wash them, so I used a little tub to fill with water inside the sink being very careful to not get any water outside the sink…just as the plumber had said.

About a half hour or so after I’d run the water into the tub for the dishes, I noticed water seeping out of the front of the faucet, pooling in the corner on the stainless and then dripping into the sink. (Not touching any of the caulk because of the lip on the sink keeping the water from the counter.

Well, dumb ass me texted Nasty to tell her this and she texted me back, pretty much scolding me for using the sink.

I reminded her what the plumber said and even though I said nothing about it, I also got pissed that she didn’t acknowledge the actual issue.

She texted back with something about him probably saying that we could use it a little, because we complained about not having use of the sink, although he wasn’t in the apartment when I whined a little about it.

It ended with her telling me not to use the sink, see what happens and we’ll take it from there.

I decided then that I was done communicating anything about it unless it was an obvious problem that no one could dispute, including her.

That night, after more than the twelve hours was up, I went to the kitchen to do the dishes. I hate to wake up to a sink full of dishes.

By the time I was finished, I noticed that the caulk on three sides of the sink (left, right and front) had mostly dissolved. The back was still intact because it hadn’t gotten wet while I did the dishes and they had caulked heavily back there too because that’s where they were guessing the leak was coming from.

Tonight she texted B and instead of asking a question she said:
“Since I haven’t heard from you I assume the leak is fixed. Let me know.”

B texted back:
“I’m not sure if the leak is fixed or not because the pipes are currently dry but there is water in the bucket.”

She texted him back:
“That’s because it’s not leaking from the pipe. More than likely it’s leaking from where the plumber sealed the sink. Using the sink only 2 1/2 (she forgot the word ‘hours’) after he sealed it may be the problem. He’s coming back on Wednesday between noon and 1pm. Hopefully he won’t charge us if that’s the case.”

What’s this us shit. It’s her fucking property and I explained to her thick headed ass that I didn’t get the fucking caulk wet, which is what would’ve fucked it up, not just using the sink.

I miss our plumber. I miss living in our house.