Tag Archives: Parenting

The pain of really seeing yourself

I remember clearly the day I was somehow capable of seeing myself. I mean, truly seeing….

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I didn’t immediately seek help but it was at that moment when I  knew I needed it. I would continue on a path where it took me years to seek treatment but in the back of my mind I knew I was sick. The image of my face burnt into my memory. Why I could see myself this day and then not again, I do not know.

I had been starving myself for days. I was constantly tired and sleeping more and more. It had to be from the lack of nutrition. I loved sleeping. When I was asleep I didn’t have to worry about food or deal with people expecting me to eat. I had also convinced myself that as I slept I was getting thinner. I did eat but I would binge eat and then rid myself of all the large quantities of food by forcing myself to vomit. Then I would go without eating again. I also popped laxatives like candy. The feel of food in my stomach disgusted me. I had to get rid of it as soon as I was able too. Sometimes this meant hiding and vomiting after eating out with friends or family. I always managed to eat in front of others. I never wanted anyone to know about my secret battle with food. I thought I was hiding it but I now believe some people knew.

On this particular day I had woke up late again. I dressed quickly and grabbed my makeup bag to finish getting ready at the office. There was a small mirror in the hall where I could finish up my makeup before the office would get busy.

That is when it happened. I walked past the mirror on my way to the restroom and I saw it… I saw me. I saw a person I did not recognize. A pale person drained of life with a sunken face and large protruding cheek bones. I had brittle hair and extremely dry skin from the continual vomitting. There were black rings around my eyes and a yellowish tone to my skin. I was horrified!
I was seeing myself… the real me. A person I had never seen. I did not want to believe in that brief moment that the reflection I saw was me but I knew in my gut that it was.
I do not know what happened in that moment that allowed the true image of myself to be revealed. It was as if my mind opened up for a split second allowing me to view the monstrosity I had become. I saw what I had done to myself.

This moment prepared me to believe I truly needed help and eventually I did get treatment. It would be several years down the road but that day stuck with me.

Today I try to lead a healthy lifestyle. I still have days where I struggle with self imagine but I look back and ask myself, “was I truly happy in that condition?” Of course the answer is NO. My size, weight, ect… none of that really made a difference. What mattered most was dealing with what was going on with me on the inside. Finding what was behind my behavior. There were so many underlying issues I hadn’t faced at the time that fed into my disease…  Until I faced them, I could not truly face myself and my own reflection of truth.

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I feel helpless

Sometimes the anger fills me up. Sometimes I get frustrated at my dad and then I am angry at myself for feeling angry. It can be a never ending cycle.  

My father has a mental illness. At this point my dad who is 59 years old seems to have the understanding of a teenager. It is such a hard thing to explain. I don’t know if this is caused from him taking so much medication over the years for his schizophrenic episodes or if it is part of the progression of his mental illness.

He seems to keep getting himself into trouble. He calls me and he is upset over the next thing he has gotten caught up in and I feel helpless.

I feel helpless that he won’t listen to me and nothing I say changes his actions.

I feel helpless that I reach out to those I think are there to help him and there isn’t much that can be done.

I feel helpless that I am always concerned for my dad’s safety and wellbeing but there is nothing I can do about it.

I feel helpless and how I feel really doesn’t matter.

My father has lived with my family in the past but moves around a lot because of his paranoia. Right now he is back living with my grandmother – his mother. She is elderly and she gets extremely upset at him. They constantly argue because she wants to help him make good decisions and he seems to defy everything she says.

There are a lot of people over the years that have taken advantage of my father. One female had him returning stolen items to Wal-Mart and getting the cash in return. He also purchased her a car and took out several payday loans for her. He was sending her money while she was in jail and supported her and her family when she got out. She continued to tell my dad she would marry him while she was seen with other men.

Another woman mistreated my dad so badly that she would pull his hair and force him to do drugs (my father had never done drugs or alcohol). She did horrible things to him as he gave her money every week and drove her anywhere she wanted to go. She ALSO made promises of marriage to my father.

This last female also has a mental disability and is younger than I am.  I am talking over 20 years younger than my father. My dad was married to her at one point but he feared for his life so they divorced after a little boy was conceived. This boy is now 10 years old and is also mentally disabled. This female blames my father saying his genes were bad. There have been constant fights as my dad has gone back and forth. She dangles the carrot (so to speak) in a constant effort to get money from him. The sad part is I have a brother I barely know and more children are involved.

I have come to the conclusion that my dad is lonely and I cannot control what my dad does. I talk to him and try and reason with him but that doesn’t seem to work. So, right now I just love him and I pray. I pray that he will make smarter decisions and that he will just be happy. I just want him to be happy because I know, really, that is what he is truly searching for.

And I pray that I can let go and stop being angry at my dad, at these women, and at myself and just be the supportive daughter that my dad needs me to be.

Me and my dad

Me and my dad

 

It’s Not About YOU – (When Children Make Bad Decisions)

I have always been open and honest with my teenage boys when it comes to discussing alcohol, sex, drugs, and well, most anything. I have even discussed times when I have fallen short in hope that they would make better decisions in their lives than I had. But even though I always pray that God will give me wisdom and insight to be a good parent, my boys have not always made the best choices.

I recently discovered something about one of my sons that lead me into panic. I cried, man did I cry. I was hurt. I knew I taught him better. I was always a good example in this area but yet… my son’s actions did not reflect any of those things. I wanted to have a fit, sit him down and ask “how can you do this to ME?”

My son at the time was away for a few days and I had decided that the day he returned I was taking him and giving him a good talking to. He would have to see things my way and change his actions.

That night before I would see him, I prayed. I prayed about how to handle the situation.

My prayer was simple “Lord, what should I do? I do not know what to do!” I am glad I prayed. God showed me I was taking my son’s actions WAY to personal. I was hurt and offended… Wasn’t I a good enough parent to prevent this? Where did I fail?

Then I realized something. My son’s actions had nothing to do with me. YES, his actions were against anything I would want for my son. NO, I did not condone his behavior but it was not about ME. He wasn’t intentionally doing something to hurt me. He had made a decision… It was about him and what he decided and not about me at all.

I think one of the most painful things to do is watch our children make bad choices.

We will do everything in our power to prevent our children from making the wrong choices. Especially when we know that it may be something that can affect them later in life. As a parent it is our responsibility to guide our children, to teach them and to take control of situations that can harm our children. In my case, my son is an adult so I cannot control his actions but I can still talk to him about the consequences of making bad choices and most of all… I can give loving advice and pray for him.

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As parents we want to jump in and control a situation and when we don’t have control we get upset, we panic and we want our way.  I wanted my son to see it my way.  He did not. I had to step back, give him motherly advice and then leave it in God’s hands.  I can get angry and try and force him to do things the way I want which may drive a wedge between us, or I can make sure he knows where I stand, continue to pray and show him love.

I am a firm believer that more can happen, more lives are changed, more hearts are open to listen and receive if we give love rather than hate.

Right now all I can do is take it one step at a time knowing that I am teaching and leading my children the best I can and pray, and then pray some more. The rest is between them and God.

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