2:13 a.m. - 2014-12-29
I spent Christmas having email war with Hotel Whore. She sent my kids home with cookies for their Grandma (my mother). I told her I don't want her cookies. She accused me of abusing my kids. Yeehaw and we're off.
I can't help wondering if the things she says are true -- that I really am a horrible person. I know I don't abuse my kids, physically or emotionally. I suppose I KNOW that I don't abuse my kids and so my fear isn't "I have screwed up" but "I will screw up, because I am a worthless person."
My dad was abusive when I was growing up. I still feel guilty saying, thinking or writing this. Our family code was that family came first, and going outside the family in any way, including criticizing members, was betrayal and made the betrayer a horrible person and a liar.
For years I didn't believe I was abused because he didn't hit me, other than spanking (which was violent, terrifying, and had a shoulders-to-heels strike zone). He twisted arms, dragged me around by my hair, threw us, slammed us into walls, choked me. But he never hit me, and never (most especially) in the face. He left marks, but never where they weren't covered by long sleeves and pants. He left me with chronic back pain and an inability to sleep at night. But those things can be attributed to other causes, just like my mom attributed the bruises to something else, other than her husband.
I remember how I felt about my parents, especially my father, and I fear my kids will feel the same way someday. Not that they'll fear I'll kill them -- I have never given them any reason to fear me physically -- but that they'll hate me the way I hated him.
My mother said all teenagers hated their parents, so for a long time I thought this was normal, too -- how I felt. Now I know that most teenagers don't actually hate their parents. They resent rules, but they don't actively wish their parent was dead. I despised that man with every cell in my body. I felt that he had turned me into a piece of garbage that no one would ever want, someone I would never want to be. I felt polluted and dirty. The abuse wasn't sexual -- some inappropriateness, yes, but nothing hardcore -- but physical stuff can violate your body and sense of self, too.
I still feel worthless, broken and like a piece of trash most of the time. I avoid friendships, emotional revelation, and self-exposure. I have zero sex drive because whenever someone touches me, I go away in my head. The idea that my body can be a source of pleasure is foreign to me. I don't want it and don't experience it. Even backrubs from my wife feel invasive and dirty to me.
I don't like people to know how I feel. I don't like to know how I feel. I cope by being a perfectionist, mostly in school and in physical appearance (ie my weight). I always fall short of my expectations and hate myself for that too.
I have a hard time enjoying my children because I expect them to reject me too.
I try to be a good mother, wife and friend. I do. I don't lack caring; I don't mind people needing me or leaning on me or trusting me, and I try to be trustworthy and loving and supportive and kind. It's the reciprocity thing I have a problem with.
I have the week to spend with my kids because we are all on vacation, and I am writing this so I remember that the way I feel (depressed, worthless as a mom) isn't because it's true; it's because I've been conditioned to feel that way for most of my life. My divorce really renewed it.
I am a good mom and I'm good with kids. I know I am. My kids adore me. That's what A always says. They both always want to be near me, on my lap, or doing stuff with me. My kids are happy and they know they are loved. I quit drinking for them, I quit my career for them, and I will postpone chasing my dreams (Doctors Without Borders) until they are adults because I love them. I never hit them, scare them or call them names. I tell them every day how glad I am that I get to be their mom. I can have fun with them this week if I choose to let myself. We'll do puzzles and play games and have popcorn and movies and build lego masterpieces -- all the things I feel guilty doing and enjoying because I feel guilty doing anything I view as "fun." I'll give myself permission to have fun because they deserve it. Even if I can't believe that I do, they do.