Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

Life is really good right now. My dear husband is happy again, now that he returned to his old dose. Son is happy. Daughter is happy. House guests are mostly happy. I hope you too are happy, dear readers!

And for all those preachers from my past who told me that happiness is over-rated, and what you really need is joy, I say: You can't separate the two. If you claim to have joy while you are in fact unhappy, you are just playing with words.

Happiness, I was taught, was dependent on circumstances, while joy is a gift from God that enables one to be happy regardless of circumstances.

Huh? You can be happy and yet you are not experiencing happiness at that time? Gobbledy-gook.

So I wish us all happiness, in the midst of all our circumstances: those laced with uncertainty, those that are easily enjoyed, and even those that sanity demands we NOT be happy about. May little moments of laughter sneak in and lift you out of even those unhappy circumstances.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guest Post by Sandra

I put back up the last two posts, in part because I received this instructive and encouraging email from Sandra (you can read her blog, Chronicles of a Christian Heretic here). She gave me permission to publish it, so here it is!

Also, good news, as my husband returned to his former dosage his joy in living has returned as well. He still needs to make an appointment with his doctor to let him know that coming off the meds was not working well so he went back to the old dosage. I'll be praying for him that he will be able to do that soon and with no shame. For whatever reason, there is a lot of shame associated with needing medication for anything in his family. Fundamentalism is so weird. Without further comment, I give you Sandra's email:

And why is it the depressed can't just say "I'm not doing so well today. I'm sad and I don't know why." or "I can't stop thinking about xyz and it's really bumming me out." ? Doesn't my husband know by now that I can be counted on to be compassionate, understanding and lower my expectations accordingly?


You took down your posts this morning but last night's was still in google reader this morning and this paragraph jumped out at me.

I can only speak for myself and not your husband, but I know that when I am "in a state" (whatever not-healthy state that may be), I literally and truly don't usually know it for a long time--well past when it is glaringly obvious to everyone around me and even to myself in retrospect. In the moment, I am literally blind to my condition. And when it is pointed out to me, even in all civility, I turn on whoever is unfortunate enough to have thought I could be civil in return.

It would seem like the simplest of things to make one the statements you suggest above and I know my family would be incredibly gracious if I could bring myself to make them. But I can't do it very often. Most often, I can't because I can't see that I'm creating a problem; when that is pointed out to me, I refused to admit that I've been creating a problem (it's ridiculous and REALLY makes things worse but it is just how the chemistry works). Partly I am so embarrassed to have been caught in a state I was unaware of that I am furious at myself and I take it out on whoever brought it to my attention (kill the messenger). Of course, I know that my family is (still) loving and gracious enough to accommodate me when I am "not myself" (certainly not the self I prefer to be) if I could just give them the chance to be. But when I am not myself, I literally am not rational, I canNOT think in such a straight line.

In another paragraph, you mention "faking it". Mostly, I don't realize that I am faking it (although, again, clearly I am). "Fake it 'til you make it" has become more than second nature to me--it has been my default position for so long that I don't even know what not faking it looks like. I have to think really hard to find my real response to things (and that's when I'm in a rational state). The learned behaviors were learned so well, so young, and at such cost to my Self that I can't NOT respond with them when I'm in "a state".

Much love and "been there, done that" grace to you and yours.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

The day started out bad, was good in the middle, and ended poorly. My husband is clearly depressed again, and though he put a lot of effort into trying to make a good day, he crashed. I wish instead of faking it and trying to push through, he'd just come out and say "not feeling well today, I will be doing the best I can but understand it is like slogging through jello".

But he won't. Sigh. I was relying on him to be well, and when he fakes it that just winds up in an argument. I notice he's not really "here". I keep catching him withdrawing from the conversation, doing poor work, acting socially inappropriate, and not knowing he's depressed, I get irritated.

If he drops the ball when he's not depressed, and I point it out and ask for help getting it going again, he is quick to apologize and get in the game. But when he's depressed? Oy vey. "I'm sorry I'm not good enough for you." And then the anger and invective come charging out at me, for daring to say anything about his obvious anti-social, childish behaviors.

I wonder how often depression results in domestic violence in other people's lives?

And why is it the depressed can't just say "I'm not doing so well today. I'm sad and I don't know why." or "I can't stop thinking about xyz and it's really bumming me out." ? Doesn't my husband know by now that I can be counted on to be compassionate, understanding and lower my expectations accordingly?

Or is it just my depressed husband who does that?

We had company this evening that we could have easily rescheduled. Our guest even called and said in light of the storm moving in, were we still going to go ahead with the dinner party? If I had known my husband was depressed, I would have taken the phone and told him that he probably shouldn't come and we'd do dinner another night. As it was, I left it up to my husband and he told the guest to come on over. And then ignored him once he got here. Such an unnecessary and unpleasant thing to have happen.

So, anyway, he did agree he was depressed again. We both had a good cry and then he went to bed early. I cleaned up after the dinner party and my teen and adult daughter helped. I had hoped that going back to the full dosage of his med would kick in right away, but maybe it will take awhile. Anyway it is not very much fun, and after things were going to well, too.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Peace and good will, SS

12/26 Dh went to bed at 8pm last night; woke up considerably happier. Looking forward to the meds stabilizing again. Ayiyiyi.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Antidepressants and domestic abuse

Republished December 29 after publishing Christmas Day and removing late that evening.

Two weeks ago my husband started weaning off of one anti-depressant and increasing the dose of another. I sent an email last Sunday to his therapist "for your info and my permanent record, as I will be keeping a copy of this email."

Just wanted to let [name] know that [my husband] was doing a medication change, and it has not gone without affect on his personality. He was more aggressive in driving, compulsively eating again, withdrawn, and antagonistic when any of these issues were brought up as a problem. This is a change back to old ways of thinking and behaving. After weeks of no time-outs at all, there were three days of time-outs last week, with Friday night requiring more than one time out that evening alone. He went ahead and took another dose of the med he was quitting (I don't why the doc didn't choose to taper him off) Friday night and he is better, but not fully happy and participating in life with joy like he was before.

I'm posting it here because I know women in other bad marriage situations read here, and it would be duplicitous to hide problems. He is still not "fully happy and participating in life with joy like he was before."

He is returning to the old husband, the one who pleasantly enough ignored everything I said until I was frustrated, and then responds to me as if my normal human frustration at being stone-walled is characteristic of "a bitch". My efforts to talk to him about how his personality and behavior have changed are called "mean and hateful". I can not account for this return to his old ways other than the changes in medication.

Last night, as we went to bed he read from one of the marriage books we have found helpful, apologized for not helping me as I had asked earlier that night, and promised he would help today. We got into bed and were both almost asleep. My cell phone rang.

It was my daughter with an unexpected crisis (no one's hurt). My husband's response was to turn his back to me. When the phone call continued, he let out an exasperated sigh. He did this a few times.

Wow. Total abandonment of both me and my daughter in one grand gesture. She is shivering in a parking lot afraid and worried about this fender-bender, and he has NO COMPASSION. He hears me comfort her and offer advice and he HAS NO DESIRE TO COMFORT HER OR SUPPORT ME.

Instead, he feels put out and has no problem passive-aggressively broadcasting his self-centered disorder as self-righteously as he can. Unbelievable.

When I do finally take a break from my phone call to tell him to get up (my job as ezer, and he has agreed repeatedly he wants that kind of relationship) he grudgingly does so. He is very kind to my daughter on the phone, but not to me. When the crisis is past and I try to talk to him, he is not at all interested in bringing healing to our relationship.

Unbelievably, he denies that he abandoned me to deal with this myself and was a self-centered jerk, because in his mind once he did get up, then the facts, that he laid there for five minutes sighing in irritation and never did man up and do anything motivated by love, but ONLY took any action in the form of REACTING to my frustration and rebuke, were magically erased from accountability.

All attempts to address the real issue- his self-centered return to PAPD- are being met with classic PAPD behavior. Trite apologies with right words and no emotion. Self-righteous withdrawal into himself when I point out the reality that in human relationships, this is not enough. One must do more than apologize, one must repair the damage done. He knows this. PAPD counts on it. That way the original offense can multiply and cause more pain and damage in the relationship while allowing the PAPD to pity himself as the victim here.

(Religion teaches this constantly. Anyone who brings up a problem "needs to forgive" i.e. suck it up and accept the mistreatment. I hate what the church has done to the words of Christ.)

Well, I had hoped that after a full night's sleep, he would be reasonable again. Nope. Full blown PAPD this morning, complete with physical, verbal and emotional symptoms. When I tried to talk to him this morning (yes, in a calm rational voice, though we are discussing a problem that an apology alone won't solve) he first withdrew his arms, next crossed his arms over his chest, and then actually started to walk out of the room.

I thought his conscience must be scratching his heart somewhere, because then he did come over and lay beside me and put his arm around me, though his arm was now across my neck. I noticed he could have hurt me badly, but chose to assume it was not intentionally intimidating. But then he started repeating, "poor baby" and I then I knew for sure this man was not in his right mind.

This "poor baby" crooning is a personal symptom of his when he is in a PAPD episode/domestic abuse. It's physically manifesting that in his thoughts he is belittling and infantilizing my concerns. Another term for is is misogyny. He is not an adult having a conversation with another adult; he is a god managing an inferior being. His patronizing behavoir is intended to make him look good and reveal his contempt for me at the same time.

The literature about PAPD points out that this is (subconsciously?) intentional and that this thinking about oneself and others is the bedrock on which all the passive-aggressive behaviors are built. Heck, it is the bedrock upon which all domestic abuse and violence is built.

So silly me, I tried having a rational conversation about this too. Why do I think he will hear me with a heart of good will when he is like this? That is about as likely as snowfall in July.

So he turned that around to say I was saying hateful, cruel things about him (pointing out his PAPD behaviors) but he loves me anyway. O. M. G. The therapist calls this the reptile brain and I see why. I might as well be talking to a reptile.

So, he is in a "time-out" right now, but barring some miracle of God all it really is a free pass to avoid dealing with his very real personality problems that are causing distress, pain and frustration to those he loves while indulging his ego. There was absolutely NOTHING humble or honest about his going to this "time out". He is attempting to use it as just another weapon that keeps intimacy and love from invading his life. Ugh.

Well, good news on my front. I am frustrated, but I have a plan. Go back on full dose of the anti-depressant immediately and make an appointment with the doctor next week to discuss the persistent personality problems that are accompanying these changes. That's my bottom line.

And if he chooses not to? At the very least, he will be sleeping on the couch. As to further consequences if he persists in misogyny/self-absorption/resentment? I don't know, but I know that God will be my strength and deliverance.

Peace and good will, SS

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Deify or Defy?

What should be the proper response of a believer to an other who wants to claim for themselves the title of gatekeeper to God for that person? Is not complying with that demand giving to that mere mortal equivalence with God himself? If this mere mortal claims the right and responsibility to interpret Scripture, issue edicts, demand total submission and obedience, are they not putting themselves in the position of God himself?

What blasphemy! What arrogance! And yet, whole ministries and families run on these very presuppositions. Not only so, but they market the ideology and ensuing lifestyle to others. It is an extremely profitable business, if the Vision Forum full color catalog and the prices of their wares are directly related to the success of their venture. Big bucks are flowing into the idolaters coffers.

It all comes down to this for the children of patriocentric homes: deify or defy.

Deify your father, ascribe to him all the rights and privileges of God Almighty, live as if his words are the edicts of the Most High, in other words, commit blatant idolatry... or defy him.

Just say no. In that simple act of honesty, "no, daddy, you are not god", the children of these homes face an emotional cruelty that mirrors the excommunications the Roman Catholic authorities handed out to those who dared defy their claims to supreme authority acting as the sole representative of God on earth.

I have seen and read with my own eyes, listened with my own ears, of multiples stories of excommunication. Daughters who just say no to idolatry are cut-off from their families "for their own good". Just like the Catholic church excommunicated Martin Luther for defying their idolatrous claims to power and authority, these daughters (and sons) are sent edicts, damning them to hell in some cases, cutting them off completely from all love and fellowship with their families in all cases. And like the devout Catholics of the seventeenth century hated the Protestants and joined in the persecution of those "rebels", followers of patriocentricity band together to ostracize and persecute the faithful believers who have just said no to Daddy, casting them out with the dreaded charge of "rebel" as in days gone by.

I never thought I would see the day when the evangelical community so closely resembled the Roman Catholic church of the Middle Ages. Everything that was wrong with the Roman Catholic church then, all that our fore-fathers struggled against, is now repackaged as "the true faith" and sold in glossy catalogs, wholesome-looking web sites, promoted by fresh-scrubbed speakers at well-attended modern convention centers and parroted by a world of wannabes looking to be included in the esoteric circles of the truly committed. The office of "priest" is now conferred upon daddy, but all of the power ascribed to the role remains the same.

Deify or defy. Idolatry or obedience. Traditions of men or the terrifying leap of faith into the holy wild with Jesus.

To all of my sister in Christ who have chosen Jesus over Daddy, even though it meant excommunication and exile from all you have known and loved, you are in good company. I know that Jesus will never fail you nor forsake you, and life will be a grand adventure as you go from glory to glory with the Lord leading every step of the way.

Mark 10: 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

You made the right choice.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Love and Peace at Christmas

One of my favorite blog authors is Eric Pazdziora, who a regular guest writer on one of my favorite blogs, Quivering Daughters.

Both Hillary McFarland, the blog owner of Quivering Daughters, and Eric Pazdzoria, guest author, write with a gracious gentleness that soothes and heals. I hope your heart is inspired and uplifted by this recent blog post about Christmas trees, as mine was. Peace and good will to all who read here. May you find what you're looking for, and when you do, may if satisfy your heart in every way. SS

Monday, December 13, 2010

Biblical Economics in Comics: A Home School Mom's Review

*This post will be edited at a later date for clarity, style, spelling, grammar and punctuation. I am extremely busy IRL but just had to get this out there!

Many years ago (6? 8? 10?), back when I still frequented home school conventions every chance I got, I first came across this book. I was thrilled at the concept of a complicated subject presented in comics. I had a gifted student for whom I was always on the lookout for fun-loving ways to introduce higher concepts. Having already purchased A Cartoon Guide to Physics on a previous shopping spree, I didn't even look at this book before whipping out my wallet and adding it to the home school treasure trove known as my learning library. Besides, Vic Lockman was a famous catroonist. I was familiar with his work because I grew up reading newspapers. Smugly I placed it on my library shelf when I got home, knowing I had my students' future educational needs already covered.

Middle school days arrived sooner than expected, but I did not panic. I was well prepared. We had spent years learning world and American history, so once our state history had been duly taught, learned and mastery quantified, it was time to move on to civics and economics. I searched the social studies sections of my book stash to see what I had available so I could plan a unit study on economics. I smiled broadly as I rediscovered my long ago purchase, Biblical Economics in Comics by Vic Lockman.

I poured myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a spiral notebook for planning out exactly how I would present the contents of the book, and settled down for what I thought would be a comfy read. After only a few pages, though, my opinion of this book, Vic Lockman and the vendor from whom I made my purchase, went through a radical revision. And I do mean radical.

You see, I was still living in a spiritual wonderland where I believed that everything described by the adjective "Biblical" would actually be wholesome evangelical doctrine, safe and nutritious as mother's milk. Surely it would glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished work of atonement on the cross. It must have been written to draw people closer to the Lord of Love, the God of Grace, the Shepherd's leading of the Spirit of God. It would be full of things that were "true,...noble,...right,...pure,...lovely,...admirable,...excellent,...praiseworthy" in keeping with Philippians 4:8. That was my naive assumption.

Instead I opened up a book that was base, mean-spirited, ugly, opinionated and not at all praiseworthy. In shock, I kept reading, like one stares in fascination at an infected wound. How can this exist in the world?! Who lets this happen?!

By the time I was done with this little tome, and I read it cover to cover, though not without many outraged interjections to my husband ("Honey you won't believe what he says next!), I decided to keep it on my library shelf. It is the single best example of propaganda I have ever come across, and I have used it as such in my civics courses ever since. I even have my students write essays explaining how the propogandist Vic Lockman uses style (cartoons seem wholesome, innocent), caricaturization (the way he draws the "bad" characters versus the "good" characters), demonization of entire classes of people (those working for the government, called "beaurarats" and drawn as rats; people using government assistance as all lazy con-artists), misrepresenting opposing ideas (portraying economists promoting government spending as economic stimulus as heartlessly promoting vandalism in order to stimulate spending) and worst of all, denying the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by calling for a theocracy in America based on the Old Testament system of law as "Biblical".

I kid you not.

Jesus said plainly that his kingdom was not of this world, and told Pilate that if it were he would have led his followers to war in order to establish his earthly kingdom, but He did not. The Savior of the world was never interested in setting up a political realm where people were forced by law to obey the Bible. Instead, he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. He even plainly pointed out the deficiency of the law when he said, "You have heard it is written...but I say unto you..." several times in his Sermon on the Mount. The apostles later reiterated by the power of the Holy Spirit that the kingdom of God is not "meat or drink" but "righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".

Theonomy is blasphemy against the Lord Jesus Christ, and this little cartoon guide promotes this blasphemy unabashedly. Be warned, home school parents!

For years I have been using this book as an example of propaganda at home, and occasionally posting about my experience with it on various online forums, but without every bothering to go look up the title and author from the shelf and naming names. What prompts this post now, you may wonder? I saw a full color Vision Forum catalog yesterday, and there in living color this poison little propaganda booklet is prominently featured. If I had the catalog in my possession, I would give out the page number.

Be warned away from this blasphemous book, home school moms who love Jesus! Don't be fooled by the innocent presentation of the comic format, there is poison inside. Jesus did not come to set up a political kingdom on earth, but to transform hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, given to all who call on His name for mercy and life.

* If the temptation to attempt utopia on earth by promoting a "Biblical" theonomy appeals to you at all, run out and find a copy of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale and Albert Marrin's Stalin: Russia's Man of Steel . Read them both repeatedly until you are cured of your idealistic fantasy about the power of government to bring heaven on earth.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Personal Holiday Update

For all my longtime readers, I wanted to give a personal update on the state of my marriage.

EMDR/trauma therapy is continuing to be, well, therapeutic. =)

My husband and I are both in therapy, but we are NOT in marriage therapy. I can hardly stress that enough. We are each in individual therapy working on our own issues. We happen to be seeing the same therapist, but that is ONLY because this therapist is competent enough to keep her clients work confidential and separate in her mind, even though we are married to each other.

For newcomers, we are in therapy because of domestic violence issues, even though we are not in marriage therapy. Long story short, for many years we were happily married. I am not saying we were perfectly healthy- looking back there was emotional abuse going on and warning signs that things were not all right- but there was still a lot of love between us, forgiveness, affection, fun. I guess an apt comparison is to diet: we were not always choosing the healthiest foods (thoughts, behaviors) but we were young, active, and making enough good choices to stay healthy.

We had first one child, a daughter, and then another, a precious son. We were actually pretty happy (though my husband had some stress from work relationships now and then). We both had active spiritual lives. I was loving being a SAHM, and my husband was still my hero. Life was good most of the time.

Then (and the timing did not seem significant at the time) my husband took a job that required full-time travel. He was drawn to this occupation at about the time my son grew to be the size/age that my husband had been when he was sent away to boarding school by his missionary parents. Looking back, it is clear that the emotional wounds my husband suffered at that age resurfaced, yet the denial surrounding the life of missionaries is SO STRONG that neither of us ever considered that a contributing factor.

All I knew was that in spite of my being super-supportive of his new career venture he began to be a real jerk whenever he was home. He became very harsh with my son, openly favoring my daughter and treating me like I was stupid. All my concerns were emotional hysterics, rather than valid observations. Looking back, I am amazed that we lasted through this scenario as long as we did.

Every time I was close to leaving him, he would pull it together. I am both a forgiving and an idealistic person. Second chances are my specialty. And when confronted, he did make the big changes once he saw I meant business. The first time we almost divorced, he managed to get placed locally and get off the road. He renewed his spiritual life. We went to an Assembly of God Marriage Encounter and he diligently applied the program. Disaster was averted.

Time went on, and our marriage managed to do okay. With a lot of effort on both our parts, we got by. We even had moments of happiness that could even be called seasons. But always he would revert back to his misogynistic, patronizing behaviors eventually. He would stop communicating with me, and start trying to manage me. All of this time, he had some deep personal issues that went completely unacknowledged. Everything was my fault. I was overreacting. I was too emotional. Women, huh? >:[

I have two close friends with whom I would share all the frustrations and triumphs of life. One started telling me that my husband's behavior was abusive. I blew her off at first. We were good Christians, dontcha know? His behavior was certainly carnal. He was living a somewhat fleshly lifestyle. I could even admit he was "in sin". But abusive? That was a word for the drunk who came home and beat his wife up physically- not for my professional, white collar, middle class, suburban, evangelical Christian husband!

Finally it got to where life was impossible. I could not get my husband to hear me, no matter how I tried. He no longer considered me a fully functioning human nor a friend. He responded to me as if I were insane and unreliable no matter what the subject. He sparred with me verbally as if he considered me an enemy. He was unkind, obstructive, and rude when he spoke with me at all. Most of the time he used passivity, silence and inactivity to hurt me.

I remember once when we took a walk to go talk, and I sobbed deeply asking him why he hated me, what had I done? In a moment of honesty, he admitted he hated me and also that he had no real reason for hating me. He was genuinely distressed to admit this and promised to stop. Ah, if only it had been that easy.

I was talking with my other friend, a retired career woman, and asking her for help in formulating a plan to support myself so I could leave the marriage. Her precious husband advised me to at least give it one more try, as he did not want to see me plunged into poverty after all these years of faithfulness on my part. They suggested the ministry my other friend recommended. And so I agreed.

Shortly after that I began this blog. At that Marriage Intensive Seminar by Joel and Kathy Davission, I realized that I was in an abusive marriage. I came to see how by internalizing wrong teaching from the church (woman submit crap) I had intensified the problem and enabled it in reaching the dangerous proportions the abuse in our marriage had reached. I learned how my husband, by resisting my stated needs and obsfucating the conversations I had with him, my husband was (subconsciously but still purposely) manipulating me to become so frustrated I would be the first to raise my voice, allowing him to dismiss me as "too emotional" "hysterical"- even calling my response to his stone-walling tactics "abusive". And my Christian training enabled that to happen. Whoa.

My husband woke up to the fact that he was in fact an abusive man. At this point it manifested only as long-term emotional, psychological and verbal abuse. It was soon to escalate to physical abuse. Ironically, the wall of denial had already begun to fall down before it reached that point. If you would like all the details of how change and healing began to come to us, take the time to read all the past posts labeled "home school marriage" and/or "PAPD". (There is a lot of overlap on posts under these two labels.)

So now we're caught up, right? Okay, FINALLY the update!

My in-laws were here this past weekend. My husband remained affectionate and attentive to me while they were here, and I know that was purposeful and I appreciate it. My father-in-law spoke very disrespectfully to me once, and I calmly and immediately replied, "do NOT speak to me that way, I deserve to be treated with respect" and my father-in-law offhandedly said "sorry" and continued to make his point with respect. Wow. That was pretty cool.

I did not helplessly let him talk to me that way. I did not "wait" for my husband to confront him, and then feel hurt and dismissed when my husband didn't take up for me. I don't need my husband to take up for me. I can take up for myself. BUT knowing my husband was emotionally on my side was a satisfying reward.

He still isn't strong enough to personally confront his dad, and I am okay with that. He's working on it, which is more than most Christian men will ever do. I am so proud of my husband that he has stopped blaming me for all his deadness inside and is healing and growing as a person. He thanked me for taking up for myself and not trying to push him into something he agreed needed to be done, but that he was not ready to do. Isn't that awesome? It's like our marriage is an egalitarian partnership! (Ooooh, I said a naughty word. heh heh)

He recently met with his doctor to go over his meds and evaluate how they are working, and he came home so happy. When his doctor asked him when was the last time he had depressed thoughts of wanting to no longer be alive, he couldn't even remember that time. The anti-depressants and therapy are really paying off for him. I am so happy for him. He is so happy.

So, there you have it. The state of our marriage is: healing. No major problems since these posts here and here. We have come to a place where I can confront him calmly, and if he remains in his reptile brain, I can calmly walk away. He then gets it together (amazingly sooner rather than later!) and we get back in synch. So far, so good.

For my part, I am continuing in EMDR therapy for myself. I want very much to be able to go back to school and finish some kind of training and start a real career commensurate with my abilities. :) I would appreciate all prayers that I be accepted into the training course to which I have applied, and that I will be able to finish the course and succeed in a career that would pay enough that I could be totally self-supporting. Not because I am planning on leaving my marriage, but because that's what grown-ups do.

I want to take my place in society as a useful contributor now that my home school career is coming to an end. I am more scared than I thought I would be, and for the first time I am actually worried about being accepted for something I am applying to for admission. Yikes! Wish me well.

Peace and good will, SS

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

I can't believe I am up typing at 5:00 am. I have been up since 3:00 am. This doesn't happen to me often. I hope it doesn't happen again for a long time.

Holidays are often such stressful times for people because of family of origin issues. I don't usually have much trouble with those, seeing as how I am a grown adult with a family of my own. However, my twin sister being so seriously ill complicates things a lot. It has drawn me into the outskirts of family of origin complications, and that's why I can't sleep tonight.


It's a Biblical term, you know. Once a year, the High Priest would lay his hands on the scape goat, pronounce the sins of the people over the goat as he laid hands on it, and then the goat would be led into the wilderness and abandoned.

As the Priest turned his back on the goat and walked away, he was walking away from the responsibility for the sin of the people. None of them would be held responsible. It was all the goat's fault at that point.

In my family, I am that goat.

I didn't volunteer for this role, I assure you. Neither did my twin sister, who shares the role with me because of the misfortune of being born a twin.

Talking to her recently, I also was reminded just how negatively my family of origin chooses to view me. My oldest sister, whom I once asked for temporary shelter if I needed to leave the marriage, is spreading this confidential news all over the family of origin relationship sphere. Of course she puts her own twist on it.

In her version, I am melodramatic and just crying for attention. Plus, if there actually IS any problems in my marriage, they are all my fault. I am lying about my husband, he would never hurt me. I am an evil, vindictive person out to destroy a good man. *sigh*

I can't believe I trusted her.

Well, for all of you who pray, please pray for protection for my very sick twin sister. I was surprised when the whole family came together to help support her in her time of illness. Our family is so ungodly, though very religious, so any practical compassion on their part is a true testament that the forces of good are at work in the earth!

They are still one screwed up dysfunctional family though, with a history of blaming everything on the twins, perpetual scapegoats that we are. One the one hand they do currently provide financial support for my (very sick) twin. On the other hand the last time my oldest sister visited her in person, she accused her of faking her illness.

She made these accusations publicly and with a great deal of anger. Talk about kicking a person when they are down. It was wicked. It was cruel. It was destructive. It was ugly.

But she is the one who holds the purse-strings. What can my twin do? She is completely at the mercy of my oldest sister.

So here's the bad news: my oldest sister hasn't spoken to me since she freaked out on me almost a year ago. She had just returned from a visit to my mom's, which seemed to take her right back into the old family role of mom's co-abuser.

Now she is going back to visit my mom again, and intends to then immediately go see my twin sister. I am terrified for my twin. At the very least she will be verbally and emotionally abused during this visit. Don't suggest I am just being negative; I know these people well.

But at worst, my oldest sister is about to abandon her again. It is entirely likely that she is going to announce that the rest of the family is tired of financially supporting my twin. She will probably tell my twin that the Lyme disease is her fault somehow. Likely my oldest sister will hint it is all in my twin's head, and if my twin would just try harder to be well, she would be. Maybe my oldest sister will outright accuse my twin of faking it, like she did to her on her last visit.

I know how my family works. If they want to stop supporting her financially, they will do it in such a manner that they can blame my twin. They will torment her until she breaks, and then spread the news amongst themselves about how ungrateful and hostile my twin was, and after all they did for her! They will tell themselves that my twin doesn't deserve their support. They will try to torment her to the point that my twin herself will refuse their money.

I say "try" because that is not an option for my twin. She is permanently disabled by Lyme disease. She can not work. I think she is still getting government disability, but that is a paltry sum. She is on Medicaid, but then Medicaid doesn't cover Lyme disease. The government health care doesn't acknowledge that chronic Lyme exists, even though Americans die from it every year.

We send her rent money every month. My younger sister pays her prescriptions. My older sister pays her private health insurance. Even my NPD mom chips in, surprisingly.

My older sister organized all this, in her moments of Christian conviction, about the same time that she reconciled with me. Of course those days are over now, and I am afraid that all the Christian charity has dried up as well.


I am asking God to heal her, as I have been all along, but no miracle has been forthcoming yet. Maybe if you join your prayers with mine?

Pray that God will turn my oldest sister's heart: that she will not be able to go see my sister immediately after visiting my mom. That's is the absolute worst-case scenario for my twin.

Pray that God will stir up the hearts of my family once again to true Christian love. It was a miracle the first time. It would absolutely rock my world if He would do it again.

Can you hear me now, God? Out here in the exiled wilderness where the scapegoats go? Does anyone else hear me? If you will join me in prayer, please leave a comment. I am so in need of hope this morning. Maybe God will come through for my precious twin if we all pull together in prayer?

I feel rather puny right now. ~SS