[L]ast night I got blindsided again. Some really hurtful things were said about me and behind my back and I'm ready to runaway and never come back. I know that when you get knocked down, you're supposed to stand up again, but I'm losing the fight in me. I'm sick to death of being judged by people. I am tired of Christians being so dang mean. Those invisible knives that keep getting plunged deep into my soul are starting to bleed me to death.
I have only one thing to say to Paula:
I hear you, loud and clear!
I could say the exactly same thing.
Danielle has been home from respite for about a month, and on medication for a little over three weeks, and things have been measurably better. We've gone a month without major tantrums, threats or acts of violence. Things have been really pretty decent, which is a huge change from the way things were before we sent her off to respite. The break from each other and the new medication have made huge improvements in our child's attitude.
And that's great. Things are a lot better.
But that doesn't make everything okay. I feel this external pressure that I should somehow be automatically ready to "start over" or to "forgive and forget" about all the violence, threats, false allegations, and verbal aggression that has plagued our family for years. I feel like family members, friends, and the so-called caring professionals think that we should be able to magically start over fresh, as if none of the things that have defined our relationship with our child had ever occurred.
Although I do have the capacity to forgive, I will never be able to forget. I am too battered, bruised and traumatized to be able to put everything behind us and act as if it nothing has happened. I feel completely used up, and when it comes to my kid, I don't feel like I have very much left to give her. I'm really very tired.
I shared this with our new therapist this week. I mentioned during our family session that I felt like the past name-calling, verbal aggression, threats and acts of physical violence had completely damaged my relationship with my child. I spoke of how when Danielle behaves nicely towards me, it feels insincere, as often she's putting on the sweet charm to convince me to give her something she wants. I shared how I'm really struggling to have much in the way of tender feelings towards her, because of the horrifying abuse she's heaped upon us over the past few years.
The therapist nodded and claimed to understand. She turned to Danielle and asked her if she wanted to improve her relationship with us.
Danielle was staring off into space, completely disengaged. When the therapist called her on her daydreaming, she sat up with a start.
"What?" Danielle asked. "Oh, umm, I guess so," she finally mumbled.
I found the session rather troubling. Danielle was evasive and disengaged, and seemed unwilling to commit to the idea that violence and threats in our home are unacceptable.
There's no question that things are substantially better in our home, but that doesn't suddenly make everything okay, especially when it comes to our relationships. A few days ago, Danielle came home from school, extremely upset. Apparently one of her straight friends at school had called one of her gay friends a nasty pejorative, and she came home in tears.
I felt more emotion about the gay friend who had been the victim of the verbal bashing than I did about my own child's feelings of upset. I imagine I should have felt more, but I'm to the point where I I've been kicked so many times that I do not have the strength to stand up again. I cared that Danielle was upset, but I simply couldn't create much emotional energy to do anything about it.
"I'm sorry this happened," I told her. I listened to her tearful explanations, but I didn't want to engage them too deeply. I didn't have the emotional bandwidth available for a multi-hour conversation, as so many of her upsets seem to require. I was facing a looming deadline, and I really needed to get back to work.
Some of my family members seem to think that I should be viewing Danielle's medication as some sort of magic cure that will solve everything that ails our family. I don't think that a prescription can be the Holy Grail in that sense. Yes, it's clear the medication is helping and making things better for us and our child, but it can't undo everything that's transpired. Although the drug may very well help her mood, it won't suddenly improve her weak problem-solving skills, her lack of good judgment, or guarantee she will pass the state's required academic tests.
So better is really better, but it doesn't solve all our problems or magically make everything okay.