Friday, July 9, 2010

Healing a Crappy Home School Marriage/Family

One purpose in starting this blog was to be honest- painfully honest- about the reality of what this Christian home school marriage and family was REALLY like behind closed doors. It is at times very embarrassing and scary. I am opening my life up to the world- a world that is not always caring and supportive. So please be gentle, dear readers.

I think that soon I will be able to repost all my previous entries. detailing the ongoing saga of my marriage and family. Remember that when I started, I had no idea how things would end up. I am seriously optimistic now that not only will we all turn out okay in the end, healed and wiser, but that I will be contentedly married to the same man! Well, the same man genetically, but a more whole and healthy version of that man. =)

Things could still take an turn for the worst. Our therapist thinks that when the trauma memories finally come, they will be hellacious. Actually, she thinks that not only will the memories be hellacious, but that living with my husband at the time could be really ugly and painful for our family too. I am hoping she's wrong, and that my husband will be able to deal with his anger and pain in a healthy manner, one that does not include transference aimed at me. But we'll see.

It has been one month with only three touchy situations, which is a new record! Also, in all three instances, my husband has worked his action plan for getting back to a good place, and his plan has worked! He takes his journal, Bible and Life Skills notebook off to a quiet place to spend 30 minutes doing whatever it is he does. Whatever it is, it has worked every time! This is great news!

But life is not perfect. This past Monday was the third touchy situation. It's highly personal, and since I already wrote about it to an internet friend, I will copy elements of that email here by way of explanation:

Honestly, we had a bad moment yesterday- it was setting up over a 24 hour period but it manifests as just a slipping away into himself so it's hard to point to a WHEN- but (and this is in complete confidence, por favor) it ended up with me coming on to him in bed yesterday morning, him brushing me off, me pointing out that all is not right in his responses/lack on interaction with his wife and him telling me I was acting like his mother!

I was able to say that his life was way more messed up than I know if his mother got into bed with him partially clothed and tried to initiate some romance!!!!

This snapped him back to reality, but I was already sobbing. I sobbed for like five minutes before I could stop. It's so heart-breaking how easily he slips away from me and becomes this mean/rejecting/judgmental/critical person.

At least I know what's happening now. It doesn't make me any less hurt, but it does keep me from trying to reason him back to being the man I married. Hence the helpless sobbing, which is actually an improvement.

These moments used to morph into hours long (days even) PAPD "discussions" in which he would give me just enough seemingly real positive feedback to hook my heart only to crush it with sarcasm/put-downs/denial and start me trying to explain myself better, blah blah blah. I really believed if I could only make him understand how he was hurting me, he would stop. Now I know it's not about me in the first place, so nothing I say or do can change it.

Now I just shut up, but I can't shut up the tears. =(

Happily, he did pull out of it. He hasn't always in the past. When he is in his trauma brain tears do not illicit compassion but contempt. It is good that when confronted with the irrationality of his belief about me (surrogate mom) that he came back to the present.

The trigger? His parents are coming this weekend. Ugh. But, at least we are in therapy now. In fact, he has an appt today, and I have one tomorrow. I know God will enable me to be kind to them, and this is one of the situations that explains why Jesus said "Love your enemies and do them good".

I blame fundamentalism more than his parents, but they chose to stay in that religion and they bear blame for that. They did leave the mission field when he was a junior in high school, so they wouldn't completely miss out on knowing their children. But even then, the religion was/is always in the way of real heart communication and love. Sux but that's their choice.

On the bright side, my husband has a new family now, and we really do love him! I tell him that a lot, and he is healing. Thank you Jesus for your unfailing love ! Enjoy the GIFT of GOD today- eternal life, life, life- rich and full and freely given! Love, SS

Peace and good will to all my readers, and if you think of me this weekend, say a prayer for my family!

So there's a snapshot of my marriage, but I wanted to write a bit about Hillary's book and my relationship with my daughter.

My daughter and i had a long talk yesterday, complete with raised voices, impassioned pleas and lots of tears. Long story short, I crushed my daughters heart with all my perfectionist moral demands on the one hand, and fits of frustrated bitching sessions on the other. Squeezed between the moralizing on one hand and mommy's bitchy meltdowns on the other, my child decided not to feel anymore.

I have referred to her time of depression before, so long time readers know that at about middle school my daughter just shut down. She was practically catatonic in passivity and refusal to enter into heart relationship with anyone, retreating to her room, stubbornly yet quietly defiant. It broke my heart, and started us on the journey to realizing the fundamentalist family paradigm of perfection was not a workable "vision".

There was more to it than just this giving up on her part. She had the whole opposite-gender-parent bonding going on at this time, which is unavoidable and appropriate. Sucked for me that my husband was depressed, in denial about his own heart, and emotionally/psychologically abusive to me on a regular basis, even eventually physically abusive to me on occasion. I may have been pleading with her for mercy and love, but Daddy was giving her props for rejecting me and making my life hell. It was ugly all around.

When my daughter got involved with a young man who had all of her Daddy's negative psychological issues, then and only then was my husband willing to take a look at himself and question what the hell was going on in our family. I thank God for Joel and Kathy Davissons' Marriage Intensive, where my husband was confronted with the fact that he was abusive, a habitual instigator of domestic violence in our home.

The healing began. My husband accepted responsibility for the whole mess, and my daughter's heart began to soften. As my husband has grown in love towards me over the past year and a half, my daughter's heart has been open to more and more healing from the Lord. She left the abusive relationship behind. She is growing in the Lord. And she is coming out of her shell.

But I have responsibility in all this too! Yes, I was unloved and under psychological and emotional battering that I did not understand. I was confused and hurt and crushed under the weight of responsibility for taking care of everything while my husband was on the road, persecuted when he was home. BUT I HURT MY PRECIOUS DAUGHTER! I crushed her heart. And I never wanted that to happen, but it did. I did.

I do accept responsibility. I told my daughter I was wrong and that she deserved better, and I cried because it is SO TRUE! And my daughter told me, "It's okay mom. It wasn't that bad. I got through it."


I remember what it is like to be that little girl myself. Reading Hillary Mc Farland's book Quivering Daughters reminded me what it was like to be that little girl! In spite of my daughter's reassurance, I cried all the harder and insisted that yes it was bad! And it was wrong! And she deserved a whole lot better! And we both cried lots of tears.

I pray that those tears are healing to her heart. My daughter deserves to feel again. She vowed to stop feeling because of ME, because I hurt her so many times in her young mind not feeling at all would be better. I am so ashamed to type this openly. Yes, I repented afterwards, probably the next day or even that same day, but all those people who told me that would make all the difference, I've got news: it makes some difference. It does not make everything okay.

So pray for my daughter too. She needs love and healing and grace to be strong and whole and feel fully alive again.

Oh, and one more thing, as much as I want that for her, I can't make that happen either. Apologizing over and over, giving her advice to do this to be healed, or read that, will not help her at all. Having screwed it all up by human effort, I don't think I can use that same human effort to make it all better.

Nope, I have only one hope: the merciful love of Jesus! The Holy Spirit can bring healing to her, in the way and time that is best for her. And that is my prayer. I have no right to demand it happen quickly, so as to ease my pain and regret. I can only love and accept her as she is, and pray for her with a heart of love.

Nuff said. I think this is really three posts in one, but I have a busy day so I don't even have time to edit this. Please forgive any poor grammar, confusing construction, or anything else a good edit would have fixed. I have company coming in two hours! 0_0


  1. I'm glad your husband is doing so much better. I'll pray for it to be a good weekend. Like I say all the time IRL, "Have fun!"

    Also, I basically turned off large parts of my emotions and self (for example, thinking I had grown out of being a creative person) for more than a decade, mainly due to the issues with my dad but also because I was intimidated by my own intenseness. Just in the last few months I am rediscovering huge parts of myself that I vaguely missed for years but had no idea how to recover them. My family and best friend are pretty shocked a lot of the time because unexpected things are happening (and my best friend has never known me be anything but controlled and quiet) but I am rediscovering my feelings. I'm not really scared of them anymore and I think that is what it took for me to allow them back. It's not even that I'm going around being mad or anything, it's more like the whole range of emotion that I didn't really allow myself to experience except as it related to my animals (safer).

    So I would bet that pretty soon your daughter will be doing better. Your family is healing and changing quite rapidly right now but it sounds like she's actually a bit more "awake" already, in my distant not IRL opinion.


  2. L,

    I am so happy for you! (((L)))

    Ah, the Gifted Intensity! (From The Gifted Adult by mary-Eliane Jacobsen) I know it well. Someone once said "Our strengths pushed to an extreme become our weaknesses."

    Intensity is great because it allows one to truly experience life with great passion. The flip side you already know too well- it can become overwhelming and even paralyzing.

    Here's to finding the right balance in every facet of our lives! =)

  3. Thanks for being so open about it! It helps give me hope. :-)

    I am so thankful that you are willing to grieve what your daughter experienced, even if you were part of the pain. Healing comes a lot easier that way.

  4. {{hugs}} Your vulnerability regarding your marriage, as well as your humility and willingness to be honest, even when honesty hurts, are all precious, precious facets of the jewel named Shadowspring. {{more hugs with prayers}}

  5. Thanks, Shadowspring :)

    I looked at the book you listed and it reminds me of some of the things I've read about Highly Sensitive People. Quite interesting, but if I am gifted, though, I think it's mainly in terms of common sense and curiosity, well, and animal stuff!

    I think the only person in my immediate family that is not super intense is my sister R - the rest of us are like 2x as intense as most people. It must be genetic, agh. LOL.

    Have a good weekend!


  6. L,

    I don't know a thing about Highly Sensitive People. Does that mean spiritually sensitive? Touchy? And animal stuff is gifted too! Seriously!

    Most people think of gifted in terms of mathematically gifted or being a gifted writer, but really it is having an extra fine-tuned ability to do/learn/accomplish something that leaves the rest of us with a sense of wonder.

    My daughter is that way with languages and art. My closest sister is a gifted artist and art teacher. I like to think of myself as gifted with words. My husband is gifted in math. And my son, I would say he is a gifted musician and friend-maker. =)

    And it probably is genetic too! It certainly seems to run in families.

    Though your intensity may not stem from the same batch of genetic glitches that produce giftedness, or unusual ability in any area of life, it still could very well be biology.

    That is the crux of Dr, Jacobsen's book- that the genetic glitch that confers special ease and ability in one area often comes with at least some of these other traits. Gotta love recombinant DNA! God is so creative and wise!

  7. Pain effects different children in different ways. My sister is killing herself not eating because of pain. I screamed mine out in my sleep.

    Pain is pain. And pain is that bad. But God can heal and restore us all the more. I remember as a little girl hiding when my parents fought and hearing God say, "I am with you. I am going to use you in ways you cannot know." None of that is to say God wanted that for me. I could hear God say, "I'm so sorry. This is not what I wanted for you," but I could also be assured of God that the pain was preparing me for ministry.

    Like your daughter, I went through a period where I made wrong choice. But I came around. And I also reached the point in my life where the guilt was eating me up so much that I had to go to Jesus. AT that point I realized how deep the lies were in me as I was unable to truly believe I was forgiven. That led me through a process of healing, which I am convinced is open to anyway.

    Remember this dear friends: God has not only died for your sin, but also your pain and your shame.

    Blessings to your family.