Wednesday, August 12, 2015

it's complicated

A friend, to me:  I need to tell you this because i care about you, because i care about your kids...
    I believe it's all your fault.
    I see you together and you don't do it right (parenting, interacting, being with each other).
    He wouldn't be having the troubles he is now if you had done it right all along.
    It's not physiology, it's not chemistry, there's nothing wrong with him at all.
    It's you, you did this to him.

Lots and lots and lots of words to that effect

My husband, to me: she's angry, she's bitter, she can't manage to keep her own life together and it's so much easier to lash out at someone else than to face that

But if she's not wrong.....

Months of recovering from the shock and the trauma, months of working towards understanding and healing and learning how to move forward.... Our understanding of mental illness and mental health... My small flicker of hope closely guarded and tended, but growing...   All destroyed utterly in a few short sentences.

I've been - what - since then - empty, raging at myself, consumed by guilt, hollow, worthless, ashamed, paranoid, unsure

I can't reason through this
What if she is right?
What if I'm one of those people who completely mis-reads everything?  What if I really am that awful?
I can't ignore that possibility if there's a chance i am keeping him from getting healthy

My husband, to me:  why will you not believe me when i tell you she's wrong?  why do you not believe me, why will you not give more weight to what i believe, I've been here, she hasn't, she sees glimpses, i live it, am part of it.  Why do you let her have that power over you?

Why indeed.

Why am i not strong enough to trust him in this, why can't i follow him, or even let him help me.

Honestly, he should have a slave who is good and worthy and who can obey.  That's not really me right now.


  1. Just by going off what you've said here, I'm inclined to think that you need to remove this "friend" from your life. Seriously.

    I find it extremely hard to believe it is all your fault, you seem like a loving mother and wife...

    It does no one any good to beat yourself like this--trust him, not this so called friend.

    1. Misty,
      thank you! I am working to shift my thinking - I know that, all else aside, it's not at all productive to look at things her way. and it is good for so many reasons to trust him.

  2. I don't comment much- but love reading your thoughts. Seriously, that isn't a friend. First, unsolicited advice brings with it a supposition of an agenda - it just does. Unsolicited advice couched in terms of "helping you" but in actuality, denigrating and undermining you, is a supremely passive-aggressive but pointed attempt to derail and undermine- .. the only thing that is even more glaring is if the unsolicited advice starts with "I hate bringing this up" or "I hate telling you this" - because in actual fact they LOVE it - and get a charge out of seeing their poison get a reaction. Your husband is the one who knows you. Unfortunately, some people can see the areas which we all have of vulnerability and will gleefully attack it under the pretence of 'helping'. Don't fall for it. Listen to yourself - stand aside and look at yourself with a kind eye and realize life is all about struggling and trying to get things right - that we are all fallible and make mistakes but in the bigger picture, do we try? Are we mindful of where we want to improve? Are we mindful of NOT harming maliciously or deliberately? We are human. that's ok to be human. Cut that person out of your life.

    1. selkie,
      Wow - it is good to see you pop up - i had no idea you still read my words - i'm flattered. The more i roll her words around in my head (as much as i am trying not to) and i see how she operates in other times, it feels more and more cruel - but dressed up in concern. Now i need to find a way to deal with her, her in person and her impact on me. thank you so much. I hope you are well.

  3. Unfortunately I understand the self doubt all too well. It's like a runaway horse and gets the bit in its teeth and off it goes in the wrong direction carrying you with it. I overthink everything.

    I had written two whole paragraphs that were kind of brilliant and concise, and when I went to post and log in to do , poof, all gone. I had been trying to think what David would have told you.

    My flustered and upset version is this..."Why am i not strong enough to trust him in this, why can't i follow him, or even let him help me." It's not lack of trust in your husband, it's not about strength, it's not about following, it's a crazy cycle of overthinking and perfectionism and they have a life of their own. Honey you would never hold anyone else to the same ridiculously high standards you hold yourself to. If a friend came to you and told you all this, your response would be much kinder to her than you are being to yourself.

    At the most personal, pared down level who matters? He does, you do, your kids do. Hold on tight to that idea, when the doubts batter you (they will) just hold on. If you keep turning back to that rock pretty soon the waves will calm and lose their power.

    Only the two of you see everything that goes on between you. He's in it with you. That woman is not.

    1. monkey,
      Thank you so much. The self doubt absolutely is out of control right now - and clouds all my thinking, about everything. You're right - i wouldn't let anyone else believe the things i'm believeing about myself, like you say - out of control. I am working to try to nurture the good thoughts and shut out the bad ones - but that's a lot of (over)thinking too. I so appreciate your words.

  4. umm…
    Because she struck at the heart of your deepest fear and that's irrational territory?

    I told you… I'm coming to your place and we're going to go stink bomb her house.
    (selkie, please feel free to join us…)
    Because she is NOT a friend.

    1. A stink bomb is much nicer than what I was thinking greengirl should do, but it's still a really good idea!

    2. You can join us, too.
      We'll go for pizza afterwards… :-)

    3. Ooooo, can we also toilet paper her house?! I've always wanted to do that...

      Either way, I'm totally in. ;)

    4. Truth: when my second daughter's boyfriend cheated on her then whined when caught and wanted her to 'forgive' him - first love - long-term- him and the girl he cheated on her with - ALSO a so-called "friend" - I got her up at 3 a.m. and we egged his house - yeah - I know, infantile but hell it brought a smile to her face for the first time in ages - and we only used a few when she called it off and said no- he's not worth it!

    5. HA! I've never tried the physical revenge thing - i can see where that might be satisfying. Thanks all of you.

  5. OMFG that is NOT a friend! kick her to curb if you haven't already.
    Bloody bleeding hell, how bloody dare she?! what is she, some kind of trained children and families psychologist?! well is she?!
    She must be a bleeding marvel if she can glean the crux of the whole situation from a few glimpses of a few interactions.

    mental illness is just that - ILLNESS. Would you be beating yourself up as much if he'd contracted flu and you convinced yourself it was your fault that you'd only made him wear two pairs of socks and not three?!

    Just (((Hugs)))

    You can't just obey and switch your emotions and reactions round just like that - well, if you can, for the love of pete please teach me how to as well!

    Logically, you see your husband is right. But you strive to be the best, do the best you can, so you're quick to look to yourself, rather than others, when something goes wrong, I'm guessing.

    just (((hugs))). Ignore the illmannered, ignorant cock weasel, listen to your husband and the doctors etc, be as kind to yourself as you can xxx

    1. mckitten,
      That's kind of it - she is in the middle of a lot of really sucky stuff right now - i got together with her to try to support her - i think she really didn't want that, couldn't deal with that - clearly found it much easier to tear me down than to have someone in on her difficulties. I can certainly accept that different people deal with personal problems differently, but this went way too far. This is her pattern - ususally i'm good at letting it roll off my back - but she knows me well and knew how to hit what i couldnt ignore. So - clearly, once i find my footing, i need to work on figuring out what i really believe about all of this so i can be confidnet in myself and useful to my son and really with my husband. Thank you thank you. And thank you for the other words as well.

  6. First of all, not all friends deserve that title. Friends support you and lift you up. Now i only read here, but i am pretty positive she is so very wrong. Listen to hubby, He is the best judge. None of us is perfect, but i think you are just the slave,,,wife..mother....that your hubby needs...and more importantly wants. We are all critical of ourselves, me included....
    Listen to hubby...and to us, of course.....giant HUGS to you...and the evil eye to your so called friend...
    hugs abby

    1. abby,
      This helps. It is so hard for me to fathom doing what she has done - to imagine being so cruel - so it is hard for me to discount her words. But i need to. Thank you so much.

  7. Greengirl,

    I am so sorry someone thought it was their right to pass judgement on your life. I am so sorry that someone hurt you with their spite and ire. I am so sorry you were betrayed by someone you counted as a friend.
    That hurts so much.

    Ask your husband to repeat, repeat, repeat.

    Keep tending.

    1. bleuame,
      Thank you. He is - he is managing to reach me and reinforcing me. I don't know how he is able to - but he is both giving me room and nudging me forward. "Keep tending" - that says so much - i need to be able to do that - i need to focus on what allows me to do that.

  8. I am so, so sorry that woman caused you to doubt yourself and your life with your husband so badly. I know all too well the power of the voices inside our heads, the ones we work so hard to silence, to replace with positive voices, to work against. All to be blindsided by a "friend," and then they seem more powerful than ever. That friend is NOT RIGHT. You and your husband have built a life together which she is not a part of, and that life together is beautiful, valuable and inspiring to so many. Please, please listen to your husband when he tells you she's wrong! I know it is so damn hard to silence the "what if" circles. But think of this--has anything, about your life, materially changed since BEFORE that skank said what she did? NO. Your life is just as good, just as hopeful, just as healthy as it was before then. Please, please please don't let a bitter, vengeful woman who apparently can't stand to see others happier than herself ruin something beautiful.
    It's alright to hurt--what she said hurt like hell. But don't let it poison you the way it poisoned her.

    And please, for yourself, for your husband, for your children--cut that woman out of your life. No friend would ever say that to you. EVER.

    1. his,
      Was that intentional, i love that your initials spell 'his'? No - nothing has changed - only her words. That is a very good point. These thigns don't have tests or measures - the only way to know if things are going well or not so well is our instincts about them. I think that is hard for me - she has caused me to very much doubt my instincts about it all. I need to judge for myself though. Thank you for your words.

    2. gg,

      Nope, the initials weren't intentional--didn't even notice until you pointed it out! I love it myself, too :)

      Hang in there. That kind of doubt is so darn insidious. Your instincts haven't changed. Your life has not changed. Hope is still there. Lean on your husband & Master until you regain your footing. Hugs!!!!

  9. GG…it is not my custom or nature to post on sites but let me just say to you that friendship comes in many forms – some friends just pass through – some are lifelong – some come from the most unexpected of places and some are toxic. Well guess where my vote goes with your friend (yes I’m using finger quotes).

    Toxic friends tend to take the righteous attitude that they are justified to tell you ‘as a friend’ their limited understanding of a situation regardless of the brutality of their words; that their words are somehow shrouded in wisdom and enlightenment and that their perception is true. They believe they are helping as they slash away at your vulnerability inflicting pain for the better good.

    Toxic friends are not friends.

    Move forward GG, have faith in yourself, your husband, your family. Do not let the self doubt that is now bubbling inside you rise to the top and play its ugly monologue in your mind. You have been on a tough road and you have survived. You lived through the crisis; she did not. You have worked to understand the situation; she has not. You have walked through the valley of shadows and reached the other side; she will not.

    Toss aside your so called friend; listen to your partner, your husband, your master and hear the voices that are in your corner. Hands are being offered to lift you up, shoulders to cry on and the cry of battle to defend the attack that has left you emotionally undone. GG sometimes friends come from the most unexpected of places. Read this page again and you will see what I am saying and perhaps if you can take a small piece from my book of life when it comes to toxic friends – Never Let Them Win!

    ~ Sub Jane ~

  10. Dear Green Girl,

    I'm glad so many people have told you that she's not a friend and that her words are toxic and not to listen to her. I totally, totally agree with them, so I'm going to tackle this from a different perspective - and hope it's more helpful than annoying. If you're still upset about these accusations and carrying linger doubt, then please - before you read the rest of this comment - sit real quietly and take a couple of deep breaths Just a couple.

    Then sit for another minute and just notice your breathing. You don't have to do deep breaths, just notice your breathing.

    The point of that is to help pull you out of emotional mind - "the stew" as my therapist calls it - where you've been treading water. Once you're aware of your breathing, and maybe feeling a tiny bit better, then keep reading.

    Seems like this "friend" has brought your worst fear to life - that's it's your fault your son is depressed. And it's a belief that lots of parents, maybe particularly mothers, can relate to. It's the "if I'm not a good parent, my kids will be messed up," and the flip side of that, "If my kids aren't ok in some way, if there's something wrong with them, it's my fault for being a bad parent." Those are common underlying beliefs that parents have, and neither one is really accurate.

    So here's some facts to consider: Everyone is messed up in one way or another. No one is perfect. You are flawed, and so are your children. And that's ok. The "flaws" we have - which make up some of our personality and help us develop character - are based on a combination of nature - how our brains are wired, our temperament, our talents, and so on - and nurture - the things that happen to us. If you think about children - figure 50% of it is how they're born (we don't really know the percentages, right? It's one of those things scientists argue over) but figure it's 50/50.

    So 50% is nature and if the other 50% is things that happen to them - think of all the experiences your child has had in hia lifetime so far. All the people, all the media he's been exposed to, grandparents, siblings, peers, teachers all the events. And consider the interactive effect - the ways that who he is impacts the world around him and then that impacts him and so on.

    If you believe that who he is and whatever problems he's experiencing are because of your "bad parenting" - what does that do to all the rest of his experience? And if you're responsible for the "negative" aspects of who he is, then aren't you also responsible for the positive aspects of who he is? And if that's true - then who is he? Is he just an extension of you? No, of course not. He is his own person, inherently flawed and immensely lovable, as we all are. If you're taking the "blame" for how he is, you are erasing him.

    This isn't something your husband - Master though he is - can resolve for you. You can't blindly believe he's right - um, in my opinion. If that were possible, you would have already done it. You have to sort through this crap yourself - it's your task to figure it out.

    Sorry to be so - you know, psychological here. If you want to talk about it more, you know where to find me. Or talk to an objective someone else - a trusted professional. I think your "friend" has her own issues and is using you to distance herself from her own stuff. Don't rely on her judgment.

    Many hugs,


    1. sofia,
      thank you. i was actualy able to breath before i read your words - that isn't an easy thing for me - but was good advice. Your message is easy to agree with, much harder to really internalize, believe and accept the implications of - for me at least. And i do, absolutely need to figure this crap out - it isn't a matter of simply rejecting one side and believeing another - i am not perfect and there are things i can do to relate and to parent better, and to not be so vulnerable to things like this. I find the process of finding someone to work with daunting, but i think that is part of the work i need to do. I so appreciate your words, thank you.

    2. So glad it was helpful - I'll be thinking of you, sending good energy your way. <3

  11. There is nothing more I feel I can add that hasn't already been said.

    It's difficult, this 'friend' clearly has issues, that's my perception, in her mind she may well really believe that what she is saying is right and that your too blind to see that, so it's rather difficult to reason with someone when they are so set on what they see .

    But, you know differently, your Master knows differently, her words, intent behind them hurt, im sure, but try, really try not to dwell on them, if she can't change, don't let her words give power over you.


    1. tori,
      thank you - i am starting to be able to move away from focusing on her words, it will take more time for me to be confident though.

  12. Gg,

    It has been my experience that friend and foe a like say all sorts of things they should not, sometimes they intend to say mean things and sometimes it just comes out that way. I don't know your friend and I don't know your relationship with her so it is not place to comment on how good a friend she is or whether or not you should "kick her to the curb" only you know that history and what you should do on that front. I do believe her words were unkind, unnecessary and as these kinds of comments often are uninformed. We don't make people mentally ill, period. It is not caused by parenting anymore than a brain tumor or cancer would be. If your child were physically ill there would an out pouring of support, a wave of sympathy and a deluge of offers of help. How sad in this day and age that we still stigmatize mental health in this way.

    Decide what you will about your friend based on a whole relationship and if this was a last straw so be it. Her comments were however simply wrong and friend or not pay them no credence.

    Sir J

    PS a note to Selkie - I agree with Greengirl so nice to know you are still around, you are thought of often.

    1. Sir J,
      Thank you. I don't believe she wanted to be cruel and i believe she has my sons welfare at heart. I think she is unable to see how her words might impact me and unable to try to imagine there are pieces to the picture she can't see. I will need to find a way to remain cordial with her; I havent figured out whether to just let it all flow away or talk to her about it. I'm not sure it really matters which i do.

      I am working to get back on track with the work we have all been doing to help my son, which largely involves giving him room to breathe, to work on himself and to heal. I appreciate your words. It helps me to hear over and over that what we are doing is on the right track.

    2. just a note to Sir J. - so lovely to hear your kind words - I miss our old blogging days ... my best to you and your lovely Lady.

  13. So...She doesn't sound a like a good friend, and I am totally down to join in the night of stink-bombing and egging. Though, my suggestion is that we save up some eggs on the counter for a while to get the full effect!

    Joking aside, because while I do appreciate a bit of levity when I'm down, this isn't a funny post. Mental health issues are touchy, and poorly understood by people in general. I think that when you have a family member with those kinds of things going on with them, people on the outside tend to assume that there is always some thing "you" could have done to prevent it, some magic wand you can wave to make it all better only if you try hard enough, some way you could have fixed things before they "broke". And that's just not true. Carrying the knowledge that it isn't true doesn't always mean we actually believe they are wrong in our hearts because it is so easy to second guess and wonder what we should have done differently.
    People are who they are. Their brains are wired the way that they are, regardless of the help we offer, the way we raise them, how we try to help them--we cannot make someone something they are not. We cannot iron out the kinks in other people's minds, or truly prevent such kinks from ever occurring no matter what position we hold in their lives. We can't "make" people be happy, just like we can't "make" a person dominant or submissive.
    I've been around here long enough to know that whatever is going on with your son is not because you are a terrible person or "did it all wrong" Sometimes things just are what they are, and all we can do is our best. It doesn't always feel like it, but that is good enough.

    Crazy how we can believe and trust so deeply in our husbands, yet sometimes when we want to believe they are right more than we have ever believed anything at all, we can't. But I think that he is right. Who knows you better than anyone else? I'm willing to bet that person is him. Don't let your "friend" derail whatever peace and confidence you have come to in yourself. You deserve better than that, and so does your family--you just aren't a toxic person. You're a good mom, and you do the best that you can. That is the most any of us can do.


    1. lil - thank you. I think that mothering (probably fathering too) is different from so much else that we do; the stakes and the investment are so much higher. I worry about how i do my job, my other relationships other things i do - but i have better feedback on how i'm doing, and frankly - they don't mean as much. So i can trust myself and trust him more easily. This whole mom thing is different though. And moslty because - like you said - our children are their own people and in the end i can't change him so fundamentally. I'm startign to regain a better perspective on all of it. thank you.

  14. Sir J,
    You are correct, as usual. Noone reading Gg's blog knows the history she has with her friend. You are also correct on the mental illness. It is very sad that after all we have learned about mental illness, we continue to attach a stigma to those who suffer from it.
    I sincerly hope that your son is begining to heal. As a parent of 2 grown children i can tell you, you will always worry. Although I do not know the nature of your son's struggles, I can empathize. I can tell you that my son threatened suicide after his friend took his own life. The fear, the worry, the constant vigil. I remember it well. My son is now grown, in the military, married, and has a beautiful bay of his own. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
    As parents we try to raise our children the best way we know how. We try to teach them right from wrong, good from bad, etc., etc., etc. The list never ends. At the end of the day we can not teach them everything. We can pray, continue to teach, and always love and accept.
    Keep your head up, keep trying, keep loving. Know that you and your family are not alone. You and yours will be in my prayers.

    1. Daisey - Welcome. And thank you. It is good to hear the success stories and not just the horror stories.

  15. Hello GG
    I deleted my first comment because I misunderstood that you were actually talking about your son's condition and not that of your husband. I can relate to the mental health issue of a husband directly but only indirectly to your particular dilemma having had two close friends with the same circumstances (or similar) as yours. The most important elements of recovery, it seems to me, is to listen to anything he wishes to share and for him to know that he is good enough just as he is. This lightens the load for them remarkably. It is only natural that you give your energies to the healing of your son at this time. I completely understand this, but also very important that you stay strong as a couple, but you know this. Sending you my very best wishes.

    1. Vesta,
      Thank you so much. I'm starting to find my footing again - at least from this comment that threw me so hard. We are working to give him what he needs and still keep ourselves strong and solid with each other. Hopefully it will all be enough all around.