Personal Craziness Index

In the last couple of weeks, as my step work has progressed, I have been introduced to this ‘personal craziness index’.

This can be found in the book above that I have been working through. Essentially it distills the character defects, painfully worked out through my step 4 inventories, identifies (lots of) behaviours that arise from these and suggests you chose the seven most ‘measurable’ on a day to day basis. Specifically those that indicate emotional disequilibrium…

So on my list are things like ‘messy bedroom’, which comes from my tendency to procrastination and a recognition that for me, a tidy and clean personal environment indicates a degree of emotional stability. Others include ‘irritability with kids’ – again when I’m feeling stable and robust (and not over dramatising) I’m better able to manage the normal ups and downs of life with three teenagers; messed up eating patterns ( a nod to the long standing, and now intermittent, craziness of my food intake) and absence of mediation / prayer/gratitude list … again, when I’m emotionally ok, I make time for these things … and I recognise that they are important for me.

At the end of each day, I add up the number of ticks in the boxes, give myself a score out of 7 for personal craziness, and jot it down. It’s a pretty accurate reflection of where I am.

Right now, I’m at 6/7. This is not great.

I going to offload a bit here, because it helps me to write this stuff down..

Firstly the kids. Son1 is home; after an aborted attempt at a conciliatory chat on Saturday (he stormed out) he returned in a much more reasonable frame of mind on Sunday. He accepted that he had broken the rules, and that part of my frustration with him came from his lack of contribution to any tasks in the home. He’s been much better since then, has cleaned up after himself, cleaned the kitchen and generally been a lot more helpful. I agreed to lay off the ‘get a job’ pressure for a week .. result a much more harmonious relationship. So much for son1 (for now)

Son3 is really no trouble. Hes been watching, a bit wide eyed, at the strife – and I can see him listening and learning. He gets himself up for school, is oi his homework, has submitted with reasonable good grace to the removal of his gaming computer during the week and is generally low maintenance. So much for son3

Son2 is the focus of stress right now. Is this me ? I don’t actually think so. Last week he failed to attend school /college on Friday when he had opted not to attend an optional team building day at Go Ape (for anyone who doesn’t know this is an activity center which involves swinging though trees / high ropes and activities up in the canopy) For a kid with a long standing discomfort of heights, not going seemed reasonable. What he neglected to tell me was that he should, therefore have attended normal lectures. He didn’t. He then missed his private maths tuition in the afternoon which he ‘forgot’ despite my reminding him twice during the day. This cost me Β£40 for nothing. Yesterday, after a massive tantrum he failed to turn up for his scheduled sociology lecture, which resulted in school phoning me and informing me that if he missed on further class he would be asked to leave.

Great.

He has adopted his older brothers mantle of lying in bed all day, amidst a jumble of dirty plates, clothes and books all over every surface and the floor.

I am very busy at work and simply not there all day to insist he clears up. Today I told him that if the space is not clean by the time I get home, I will confiscate his phone for a week. Lets see what that achieves.

So other stresses.

Last weekend I received a bill from son2’s private psychologist for Β£920. I was expecting Β£345. Plus a ‘bit’ . She charged me 1.5 x normal rates for a shed load of work she did (unasked) in August… she never informed me she would be charging me 1.5 x normal rate (which is Β£125 /hour) nor did she offer me the option to defer this till September nor did she give me any indication of the costs accruing. I raised these issues with her and got aΒ  flat ‘this is the bill, pay it’ response.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place. Son2 likes her, he trusts her. She has been working with him for 6 months. I am very loath to disrupt the therapeutic relationship. BUT I feel she has been unprofessional and disingenuous and I no longer trust her … certainly I don’t trust her to be transparent about her charges. I’m very angry and very frustrated, but I’m mindful that I have a tendency to both overreact and paradoxically to minimize. so I have no idea if my reaction is reasonable. And that stresses me still further.

I know I should be happy that I’m sober. I AM happy that I’m sober, and I know all of this stuff would be harder if I were not. i just feel I’m lurching from one crisis to the next, clinging on with my fingernails and trying to create the order Im desperately seeking out of the chaos that is my lived experience.

 

 

 

 

Predictable

It’s the fourth morning that son 1 has been exiled. Sons 2 and 3 and I have been busy, the Den has been cleaned and rearranged so that Son 2 can have his band practice in there, and son3 can use the running machine and gym equipment. Now that it’s no longer a health hazard, filthy and messy (and coincidentally has, at last proper windows and a lockable hardwood door) they are re claiming their share of what was always supposed to be a shared space for the kids.

I have blitzed son1’s room, reorganised, cleaned and removed unnecessary stuff. A trip to the dump will be required at the weekend, but home feels calmer, cleaner and more settled.

On a less positive note, after two nights my ex husband says he cannot have son1 any longer and turns up on Thursday evening on my doorstep with son1 and his stuff. Son1 is defiant, unrepentant and angry. He refuses to apologise, ex husband reiterates that he ‘cannot’ have son1 at his mothers house any longer. I, massively put on the spot, say that he will be welcome home when he can accept and live by my rules. Son1 stomps off.

FFS.

Now that the threat of having to actually step up and get on with it is passed exH back tracks and says ‘of course he CAN stay’ … but son1 has made his way to my mothers house. This is better for him, since Granny will be sympathetic, will look for excuses for his behaviour, is a soft touch, and has WiFi ….

this is BAD for my relationship with her, for my brothers relationship with both son1 and her, and potentially for my brothers relationship with me, which, given that he is my most important source of sensible, unbiased, relevant advice fills me with dread.

All of us, stuck between a rock and a hard place, forced there by the unacceptable behaviour of a 19 year old messed up kid.

and what of him? My sponsor made a perceptive comment yesterday, she asked me if I was going to talk to him about his drug addiction? I hadn’t heard thought of him as a drug addict. And she pointed out that his drug taking has already had significant consequences for him, he’s lost his place to live… and when I think of it like that they have been other consequences too …. there is an addiction and recovery chart that I used with my sponsor, I’ve reproduced it below…

Now I don’t know how far down that slippery slope he is, but certainly some apply .. “work and money troubles”; “unreasonable resentments” and “excuses”…

I know he will say he’s not physically dependent, and I agree with that, but I’m beginning to look at him not so much as a recalcitrant, obstinate, lazy, teenager, but as a troubled, psychologically dependent addict.

And I know a bit about addiction.

I’m not so arrogant and stupid (or Co-dependent) that I think I can fix him, (and I will need to guard against this) but this relationship breakdown is probably at least partly about his compulsion to manage his frustration and emotion by numbing it with drugs …

Of course it’s partly about my stronger, more focussed self laying down boundaries and insisting on them being respected. That’s a change, and it takes some getting used to for the children.

So he will be visiting us later, for a “talk” … and I think I will start with that chart, which at least opens up a conversation…

wish me luck !

🌷

Consequences

This morning I found a contraption similar to the one above next to my sleeping 19 year old son.

For anyone who doesn’t know, its a grinder that breaks up clumps of marijuana leaves so that they can be distributed more evenly in a joint. He fell asleep in the Den last night and I was looking for him that morning as the dog is limping and needs to go to the Vet.

Oh dear.

Stupid boy doesn’t even have the nous to clean up after himself.

You might remember that the last time I found this stuff, about 3 weeks ago, I made it crystal clear (again) that I would not accept this in my house. He remembers, and so do I.

I’ve talked a lot about boundaries and consequences in this blog. About learning that boundaries are essential for my own self esteem and to maintain some order at home. About realizing how angry, powerless and resentful it has made me in the past having all my needs and requests ignored. And I have realised that at least for my younger two children, they feel better ‘contained’ when the rules are clear and enforced.

I set a clear boundary. I gave him one chance, one ‘mistake’, and I told him what would happen if he transgressed again and I discovered it. He has.

And I have told him to leave.

I called his father and said that he will need to stay at his house, and I told him to leave. Very calmly, no shouting and no hysterics. No anger. I’m very disappointed, but I’m not angry.

Not easy, by any means. But the consequences of NOT following through on my clearly stated (and not unreasonable) ultimatum, seem to me that they would be worse.

Son2 says I should be thinking about why he does this… and of course I do. I understand that he’s stressed about starting College, I accept that hes anxious about making friends, and I get that he’s under-occupied, bored and restless. I have given him many suggestions of things he could do to fill his time in a productive way, many options of clubs or sports or hobbies he could take up. Most importantly he could (and should) be looking for work… (he’s not)…

I cannot make him do anything, I cannot stop him smoking weed, loafing around and wasting his time, I cannot get him a job – but I can draw THIS line – no drugs in my house.

And I can enforce my consequences.

My mother is wringing her hands and is predictably full of plans to control him, get him away from people she perceives as leading him astray (they have all left College anyway) MAKE him clean up his mess etc. But all these plans won’t work,Β  because you cannot control what a 19 year old man does every minute of the day, he makes his own choices. He knows perfectly well that marijuana demotivates him and leaves him apathetic and lazy, he know perfectly well that he needs to look for work and how to do it. He knows perfectly well that his messy dirty health hazard of a bedroom upsets me – but he doesn’t care enough to not smoke drugs, make an effort look for work or clean up.

And trying to make me accept this, tolerate it, turn a blind eye, be endlessly supportive won’t work either because it will just make me angry, irritable andΒ resentful.

So, he will need to stay at his paternal grandmothers house with his father. Where there is no wifi, no home comforts, no dog; where he will be eating plastic food out of packets and where he is not wanted.

I don’t know how long for, or if there are conditions on his return, but here I draw the line, and I will take whatever the consequences are in the longer term because I can see no alternative at the moment.

Predictably I feel guilty, a bit wobbly, and very unsure. Once again I’m back to trying NOT to blame myself – my mother told me I am ‘obsessed’ with son1 finding a job and ‘taking it out on him’ because my ex Partner refused to get a job. This is not true. I want him to get a part time job because

  • he needs to earn some money to fund his leisure activities
  • Having 4.5 days a week to do nothing, with no responsibilities is not good for anyone. College is not much more than two days a week and hours of unstructured time are not great
  • I want him to understand the value of work, at present he just doesn’t
  • I believe it will make him grow up a bit
  • I expect it will help his confidence

I’m very tired of the stress. I’m very tired of the constant uphill battle to get sons 1 &2 to function in a vaguely normal way, but I can no longer just turn a blind eye to the kind of behaviour that is contributing to a lifestyle and life choices that I do not accept are best for anyone.

Sigh. Interestingly I still feel better than I did last week, my self discipline in respect of my personal mental health programme is definitely paying off, and I am much calmer inside. Thank God!

The narcissist and the empath

This is the most chillingly accurate description of my last relationship I have ever read.

Someone sent it to me, and it reduced me to tears – (of sadness) for that vulnerable damaged woman I was, sadness, but also compassion and tenderness .. and that’s one big step up from loathing, self criticism and self hatred

Here

I don’t know why the written word should be so powerful, and move me so much … but each of these stages happened to me so exactly as described … I feel ill now, literally sick to the stomach, and I know I need some more self care, and self love … at least for this weekend.

Lost Ground

This is raw. So don’t read it if you are feeling low /wobbly …

Yesterday was a seriously bad day.

In the last 6 weeks, since I went holiday, I have been doing well in lots of ways.

  • Feeling strong
  • setting clear boundaries with my sons, my ex partner, a work colleague
  • My eating patterns improved beyond recognition

I am quite sure this is because before I went away I had built some good ‘self care’ habits

  • Acceptance of a higher power
  • Regular prayer / meditation. Short but regular.
  • Attending Church
  • Attending AA meetings, again not masses, but a couple of times a week
  • Working through stuff with my sponsor.

I ignored the subtle eroding of this routine since I came home as I felt good, and everything was going well. I ignored the subtle erosion of my mood, I ignored advice to go to meetings, I ignored a chocolate binge earlier in the week with accompanying feelings of self loathing …

In my anxiety about my children, increased work pressure, and everything else competing for my time and attention I neglected my carefully, painfully learned self care.

You can guess the rest.

No, I haven’t relapsed in the alcohol way, but I’m sitting here this evening feeling thoroughly miserable, having eaten everything I could find, stressed, anxious and low. And I know I HAVE to do something about this, or I will relapse..

I cannot understand why I have effectively self sabotaged like this. It’s been a long hard road to that place of increasing confidence, relative emotional stability, and peace, and it was such an empowering place to be.

I know what I need to do, I just don’t know why it’s so hard to motivate myself to do it.

Is it possible that these self destructive patterns serve some kind of ‘other purpose’ for me? That, although I desperately don’t want to be a messy, depressed, eating disordered, active alcoholic, that this served some kind of function for me? That breaking the patterns and habits of a lifetime is hard not just because of the neural pathways I have laid down over the years, but because these behaviour shielded me from ‘something’..

this is hard. I also think the re-emergence of my exPartner after 6 months silence has disturbed me. His emails, and the anger, resentment, and distress they caused me, have underlined that I am not at that place of indifference and forgiveness I have been aiming for. I want to forgive him, because then he can’t touch me any more, I want to forgive him for ME , so that I can find peace … but I can’t (yet) . I’m still too hurt, too let down, too angry. And I still react too much to these (understandable) emotions. It’s probably ok to be angry, he did great damage and great wrong to me, and my children.. but I judge myself harshly for not being able/ ready to move on and forgive / let go.

On reflection it’s this self criticism which is more damaging than the anger.

Having largely removed him from my conscious thoughts, and actively decided NOT to read more about narcissistic relationships, not to include books about toxic partners in my reading lists, and not to lurk about on Internet forums where damaged partners of narcissists share their pain, I now find I’m back to reliving my hurt, anger and self doubt … and back to reading others stories, and feeling their pain, reliving my own. I had accepted I will not get answers, I had fully recognised that he cannot see what he has done wrong, because he simply doesn’t get it, and I had accepted that I was deceived, manipulated and lied to not because I am an idiot: stupid and naive, but because he is very very good at lying, manipulating and deceiving for his own ends.

I so want that back.

This place, this emotional desert, with no protection against wind and sand storms and the cold night, is horrible. I need to rebuild my little oasis, and I need to take more care of the metaphorical ‘tent posts’ , canvas and fire that form the basis of my shelter.

PS. It’s Saturday now,. And I’m a bit better. Went to a meeting yesterday and going again this weekend. Been praying. Will go to church tomorrow, will be ok.

I hope

🌷

Dullsville

Yesterday I had a day when it seemed that just maybe everything was going to be ok for a while.

Son1 is attending College and remains enthusiastic, Son2 started his new school and despite being beside himself with anxiety prior to my taking him, he called at lunchtime to say it was ‘ok’. Anyone who has or has had a 16 year old son will know this is code for ‘much better than I feared’ … Son 3 is back at school and some stability appeared to be returning..

Sadly not so for long, this morning son3 is at home with tonsillitis, Son2 was back to morning vomiting and panic attacks and I just feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of it all. I wanted to stay home with my youngest today, I know he’s 13 and ‘can’ stay alone, but he was hot and miserable this morning and I would have liked to have the day with him. But because one partner is off, and there is stuff to do and to take a day off will cause an issue, I went in.

I joined a Facebook group for single mothers who are also doctors. I thought I might meet some nice people. And they are nice, but the group is filled with mothers who have had horribly abusive relationships, and many who are still struggling with divorce and financial wrangling. I just feel incredibly sad now and somehow deflated.

This post is shit too. Not interesting witty or insightful. Just boring. Like me I guess, boring, untrusting, spikey, lonely, introverted and sober

Great πŸ˜”