Sunday, February 28, 2010

Healthy selfish

18.
Healthy selfish...I've heard this term used several times, at first I didn't really understand it but now I know what it means, and I like it. I don't believe in being a selfish person so at first I just couldn't wrap my mind around this expression or even the meaning but after hearing the true meaning I came to not just understand it but I love what it means.

I take it to mean not allowing people to use you, take advantage of you, make you feel guilty or even push your buttons. You have the right to say no to people...something that was very hard for me to do for many many years...without feeling guilty...and you don't even have to give an excuse...all you have to do when asked something by someone that you don't want to do is polietly tell them no I can't, I'm sorry. So simple and effective.

It's not being selfish at all...you're just really protecting yourself and that's a good thing. People use guilt as a very effective tool to get what they want and once you start reconizing it you'll even realize you've probably used guilt to get what you want. I never want to use guilt again and I won't allow anyone to make me feel guilty ever again.

When guilt is out of the way, you will do things for people not because you feel guilty but because you really want to do for them, and not expecting anything in return and that's a great feeling.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My past is not my today and it is not my future!

17.
I know now...at 49 years old, my past does not define me, my past mistakes do not define who I am today. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've been so ashamed for so long because of my mistakes but I have moved on and I have learned by my mistakes, and I will not make the same mistakes again and I have learned how to forgive myself (one of the hardest things I've ever learned to do, but the most important thing needed to be able to move on) and today I am grounded, I am happy and I am who I want to be. I am improving me...continually. I'm not pretending to be anyone or anything that I'm not. I am real and I am keeping it real...I love Jesus, He is my savior, my God, my Lord, who is always faithful and does not change. I do pray to Him and I do read the bible, but not as much as I'd like to. I sin just like every human does and He forgives me because I repent. I smoke cigarettes, I drink wine every now and then and a little too much once in a great while. I do swear too much and I'm not proud of that, but it happens. I try to keep a good out look on life and I try to laugh and smile as much as I can because it really feels good. I have come to realize it's a choice to be happy or not to be happy, and I choose joy!!!

In 1987 after my first divorce with my high school sweet heart, I allowed my brother and a boy friend to move in with me and my four children. At first it was fun. I was so excited to be free from my marriage because of the abuse. But then they, my brother and boyfriend started bringing drugs in, I refused them at first but gave in eventually. What a huge mistake that was! A three month long regretful party. In that three months several banks were robbed by my brother and boyfriend, I drove in two of them and after those two I made them move out of my house..I hadn't been to bed in seven days and I thought I was going to die. I was done, I hated what was happening to me and I missed being a good mommy. The guilt was unbearable, the shame was too.

That night I prayed a lot and begged God to let me sleep and to let me wake up the next morning to get my kids off to school. I asked for strength not to do drugs or even to have a desire for them any more and I prayed for forgiveness for doing them in the first place. God answered my prayer!

I woke up the next morning a new person, rested and happy. I got my kids off to school and then cleaned my house and did about twenty loads of laundry. No joke, I really did have that much laundry piled up. When you're on drugs like I was, cleaning is so not a priority. But I wanted my life back...the past few months were not who I was and I hated those months. I hate the memories today of those few awful months.

My brother and my boy friend did one more bank robbery and got caught. They ended up doing years in prison and paying restitution. I believe my brother spent seven years in prison and my ex boyfriend spent a lot more time in prison because he kept messing up and getting into more trouble while in prison. I plead guilty for driving but thank God they just wanted me to tell the truth and to testify if it went to trial. I took my plea agreement and it never went to trial, we all took our plea agreements. Of course I took my plea agreement, I had four children, I did not want to go to prison! Although some thought I was awful for saying I'd testify against those two. But I look at it differently than them, I chose to quit before caught, I also plead guilty because I was guilty of driving in a couple of them and the law let me have my freedom,I was acquitted, thank God!!!

A year or so after that I started going out a couple of nights a week with a few girl friends, that lead to even more guilt and shame, I was out while my kids were home, I hate that I left them while I was out with the girls, I felt like a bad mommy again. And I still think I was a bad mother to do that. I ended up meeting a guy that I ended up falling in love with. It was a toxic relationship and I knew it had to end. We were together for about two years when I decided to get out of the state so he'd have no choice but to leave me alone. No matter how hard I tried he would not let me go or allow me to go. When I tried once to break up with him he killed my kitten. It was the sickest thing I've ever seen. Cops were called several time but he just wouldn't leave me alone. He told me he was going to break my neck and had it twisted to one side so hard I couldn't believe the pain. My kids saw him do this and called their dad who called the police and it stopped for a while. He threw one of my sons down our stairs once and started stalking me and even my parent's home to see if he could find me. I had no choice but to sneak out of the state. So I let my ex husband take our three boys and I took my daughter to Idaho with a girlfriend of mine and her two kids. The plan was that when I get a job and settled into a house my ex and his wife were suppose to let me have my boys back. I couldn't get a job for nothing! I tried every place there was but no one was hiring. My ex walked the paper work through the day I left to stop my child support payments as fast as he could and didn't tell me about it. I now had no money and I was expecting a payment any day to hold me over till I could get a pay check coming in. But since the paper work was walked through I didn't receive my check. I lived in Idaho for thirty days and drove back to Az with my daughter. I was shocked that my ex had pulled this and left me and our daughter penniless. I got two jobs when I moved back to AZ and an apartment, then I told my ex that I want my boys back, but while I was gone he got a lawyer involved behind my back and I lost my sons...the most painful thing I've ever lived through in my life! I was devastated! I knew then...never to trust him again...ever!

Then about four months later my brother introduced me to Bob, through a letter since my brother was still in prison. Bob's a guy he became friends with in prison for the same crime, bank robbery because of drugs. He said I can trust him, he's a Christian. And so I met him and our first date was to his church, which I loved, and six weeks later I married him. We moved to Ohio with my daughter, Karen, nine months later. My ex and his wife after keeping my boys from me decided to let them come to Ohio and live with me, about eight months after moving to Ohio. It was a miracle!! One of the most awesome times of my life! Praise God! My four kids and I were back together living in the same home!

For the next nine or so years we were in church two to three times a week, I tried being the best Christian, the best mom, the best wife I could possibly be. I wanted to make up for my mistakes. I wasn't ever going to screw up again, I wasn't ever going to lose my kids again. I quit smoking I didn't cuss, I didn't drink, I read my bible and prayed for hours every day. I wouldn't even go one mile over the speed limit. I tried every thing in my power to be as clean and perfect as possible. And there were some great times, although inside I knew things weren't perfect in my marriage, at least not to me, most of the time after getting to really know Bob, I hated him, he made me sick and angry. He seemed so jealous of me having kids. But I still wasn't going to jeopardize losing my kids again. So I guess I ignored the verbal and spiritual and emotional abuse. I ignored the control my husband had over me and I tried very hard to ignore his sarcasm, which made me think, some Christian! and I didn't fight it, his control, his words, his actions, because I didn't want my kids to think there was anything wrong in our marriage. I just wanted my kids to be happy and secure. And he really was a good step dad even though he did what he did to me.

We moved to Florida for a year, after being in Ohio for three years then we moved back to AZ. I was so glad we did, I missed my parents and my siblings very much. My husband and a co-worker started their own business and it took off from the start. We were making more money than ever before and it was great, we bought new cars, had a house built for us, went on vacations, bought the kids cars as they turned of age, bought property and rented them out, we didn't want for anything. Well I did, I wanted a baby so bad I couldn't stand it, so we paid over $10,000 in cash to get a reversal on my tubal ligation and I had a baby.

Then when our son turned 3 I left my husband, I would do anything to keep him safe and since he was being abused I got us out. I had no choice, my job is to protect my children and that's exactly what I was going to do, no matter the cost, which ended up costing me a lot. I went from riches to rags!


Years ago I went to my woman's doctor, while waiting for my doctor to come in I read the poster hanging on the wall. It was about abuse. It was a list of incidents or situations and at the end of the poster it said if any of these are happening to you you are in an abusive relationship. I answered yes to almost every incident but I thought there's no way my marriage is abusive, My second husband loves me and takes care of me and my four kids, I mean we have our problems but he doesn't physically beat me up like my first husband did. Yeah, I thought, he's controlling and sarcastic but not abusive, not really.

Most of the yes' I answered I made excuses for, and he's a Christian, no way, he's not abusive. I got defensive about it and then I started thinking about the years with him, could I be so blind to or use to abuse that I just didn't see it as abuse? And I knew the answer was yes. It made me sick to my stomach and I knew deep inside that he, my second husband, was an abusive and extremely controlling man.

I remembered this poster through out my marriage and when my ex started getting worse towards me it scared me but I just wasn't ready to quit. When he started getting worse with our son, ready or not, I knew it's over and I would do what ever I had to do to save my child from being hurt.

All the memories flooded back, the ones that disturbed me for years. The ones I didn't understand why he did or said certain things to me. But I know now it was a tactic of his to slowly strip me from myself and from being independent and to have no self confidence, to convince me that his way is the only way and that I am to submit to him as my "head" and second to God, no matter what.

I was like the frog that gets put into a pan of cold water on the stove top and the water slowly turns to boiling then the frog is boiled to death, without even noticing it, since it was so gradual. That is how I felt, he was slowly killing me, who I was, what I believed in, he tried to control even my thoughts and actions. And yes there was abuse too. His threats alone were abuse! He even tried to turn my family against me, he tried to convince them that I am not "right" in the head, and that no one could help me but him and that I needed help, I needed him. When I heard this I was shocked beyond belief that he'd go to these measures to keep me from leaving him. Now that is sick and he is sick for all that he's done to Bo and to me and to my grand kids and to my older kids. I could go on and on and on about what he's done to us because even though I didn't see it at the time that I was in it, I can see it all so clearly now and it took me literally a few years to not be down right shocked that some one could do this to some one else. It took me several years to get unbrain washed!

Well today...I am on talking terms with both my ex's(well unless they read my blog and get angry about me telling all of this truth about them)...they come to birthday parties and holidays since we have kids and grand kids together. Not being "involved" with them, and being able to forgive them, I can stand to be around them and actually enjoy conversing with them. But that's as far as it goes. I'm not their "property" any more so there's no fear being around them. I'm lucky that these particular men are not like many I've heard about that even though the relationship is over they still want to control your life. I know one like that and it's awful. He just wont let her go and tries to make her life hell if she even thinks of seeing anyone else, but he can see anyone he wants any time he wants...double standard and down right sick!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Keeping It Real

16.
Keeping It Real
I hear that expression a lot. I can't help but wonder, do I keep it real? How much should I share when talking to people, when blogging, and am I "keeping it real" if I don't share everything? And if I share too much about my life or my past will it cast a shadow of doubt to others about me...will it ruin my reputation today?

Well I guess since I really do believe in "keeping it real" when I blog and or journal if anyone reads my stuff and has a question or comment etc. they can feel free to ask me about what I've wrote and I'll go into more details if need be. I like blogging, it's therapy to me and it may help someone else out too who may be struggling with the same things I've struggled with or struggle with.

I'm not the same person I used to be, age, experiences and everything in my past has helped change me to be who I am today, a more caring, confident, understanding person. I'm a more patient mom than I was when I was raising kids in my 20's, I don't take life for granted any more and when I have something to laugh at I cherish that moment and go with the laughter. I enjoy being alive more than I ever have, my heart burst with true joy over the simple things in life. Because truely, the simple things in life are the real things that matter in life.

Every morning when I wake up I thank God that I have another day to live, to work, to laugh, to cry. As I watch my daughter drive off with her kids to school and I watch my son walk across the street to his school my heart feels a bit sad that they have to go but also with so much love for them that I just smile. And I look forward to them coming home from school.

I love my older children so much too and I miss them more than ever, I have some awesome adult children! I am a very proud mom and grammy!!! Life has never been more enjoyable for me.