Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dealing with my own shiznit

When we started this adoption journey, I read a lot. Because that's what I do. It's a way I keep my shiznit together.

Many of those books offered the advice: deal with your own trauma/triggers before you deal with trauma kids, because their trauma is going to spark your trauma.

Say wha?

Enter Ego, Stage Right.

I don't have trauma issues. Sure, like everyone else I have problems, but I'm an intelligent, equipped adult who dealt with them. After all, I have some of my own kids who I haven't messed up. My husband and I are married and we managed to get an approved homestudy without any raised eyebrows, so clearly we have our shiznit together.

So. . .whatever. I deal with my own shiznit just fine.

Excuse me for a moment while I laugh so hard that I pee myself. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Because, you do know what happens after Enter Ego, Stage Right?

Enter Reality Bites, Stage Left.

Enter Life, Stage Right.

Enter Huge Knock Upside the Head, Center Stage Parachuting Down in a Somber Display of Black Lights and Ominous Music.

Because, holy shiznit, as I am discovering, I had no idea just how much Shiznit I had hanging around these hallowed halls of my soul.

* * * * * * * *

The last few weeks have been rough. Like bottom of the barrel, kicked me when I'm down rough.

Actually, the past few months have been increasingly tough. Even though my boys' healing behaviors have, overall, been increasing, my ability to cope with life has been drastically decreasing.

In addition to the problems of raising troubled children, a whole lot of other "problems" were suddenly surfacing and tripping me up.

Problems that, pre-adoption, I had been very good at compartmentalizing. I suddenly found myself unable to do so. The stress of trauma parenting and the stress of life and other issues were breaking me. Quickly.

I finally came to the realization, with the help of some very honest, been-there-doing-that friends, I can't just "deal" with all of it. That it is nearly impossible to keep it together when there is just SO much to deal with. That while I *might* have been able to keep it together pre-adoption, there is NO WAY that you can keep it together when you add in the stresses of trauma parenting.

That's right. I have to actually work through this.

Enter SuperTherapist, Stage Right.

This journey of life is funny in the way that one day you are walking along, thinking that you have your shiznit together, and then suddenly---WHAM! You learn an integral truth about yourself that you have been ignoring all along.


My name is Sarah, and I am afraid of my emotions.
I'm afraid of showing others my messy emotions.
I'm afraid that my feelings will turn off others and I'll be abandoned.
I'm afraid that my feelings will be a burden to others.
I'm afraid that my feelings will anger others and I'll receive payback.

Gee, and to think that 4 years ago I thought I had dealt with all my shiznit!

I deal with my emotional fear by COMPLETELY BURYING my feelings. I am The Quintessential Emotional Grave Digger. Give me a shovel, and I can compartmentalize with the best of them. I have perfected the Stepford/SuperNanny (when times are tough, just pretend a television crew are following you around) approach to life as a way to keep on keeping on.

But the thing is, you can't keep on keeping on that way forever. What I'm learning is that Strength is not suffocating your emotions as a means of controlling life's variables.

Strength is owning your emotions, and knowing that you have a voice to speak them.


That's a pretty big lesson to learn. Realizing that was both a HUGE RELIEF and a HUGE HOLY SHIZNIT moment.

And then after that realization, another realization nearly knocked me over (man, I'm so self-aware. . not!)

Did you catch what I never did?

Hiding emotions?
Desperately trying to control life?
Not feeling emotionally safe with others?

Hint: What children do we know who approach life just like that?

Good God, you'd think that since I have nearly the exact same set of issues, I'd be AWESOME at dealing with theirs.

Well, I can offer empathy. I a boatload of empathy. But I'm struggling just like them.

It's time for Mommy to start using her Powerful Voice and Claim Her Emotions.

This is SO hard. So, So, SO hard. I can't believe how I just thought my kids would figure it out quickly, on their own.

Because, cripes, 36 years into this ride, I'm not much further developed than they are.

I have to face these problems head on. Because I cannot handle the stress of parenting my sons AND the stresses that we have swept under the rug and managed to trot around years past.

Holy shiznit.

The past few weeks, I'm opening up my emotions regarding some huge problems. Giving voice to all of my feelings, no matter how messy. Having hope that those who hear them will react appropriately. Knowing that even if that doesn't happen, I will survive and be better off for it, having owned my own emotions.

That feels good. That is empowering. That is the good side about opening up.

The "bad" side, which is also the predominant side, are that HUGE WAVES of pain, anger, hurt, fury, frustration, grief have been knocking me down.

Over and over.

In tears, this morning I've told the therapist how I've felt. How overwhelmed. How helpless. How scared that I was going to be stuck in this cycle of crappy feelings forever.

After our meeting, I'm feeling reassured. In fact, I feel hopeful for the first time in a LONG time.
I trust that the more I claim how I feel, the more I can process. The more I use my strength and set healthy boundaries in my life, the more I will heal.

I trust that this process can work in my boys. And I trust that this process will work for me too.

Good lord, do you see the parallels with my boys? And they are finally opening up their feelings and these HUGE WAVES. Identical HUGE WAVES.

Time. We need Time and Love and Reassurance and Patience.

Today, for the first time, I feel hopeful. That with work, I can heal. And move forward. And that maybe my life won't feel sucky and overwhelming forever.

But, man, what a long, strange trip this has been.

Enter The Beauty of Life, Stage Right.

I'm a big believer in looking for the good in times of adversity. Now, when I'm in the pit of despair, I completely admit that I can't see and/or I don't believe in the silver lining. But things are looking up, and I see it.

And look at what good is coming out of this! Out of all this trauma, I am learning about myself. I am growing. I am learning how strong I am. I am surviving. And maybe, someday, I'll feel that I'm thriving.

Enter Healing, Stage Right.

Big, messy, feeing healing. For both me and my boys.


Lisa said...

Healing with the end in sight....hooray!

Healing in the middle suuuuuccckkkksss big fat hairy bull balls.

Thank goodness Orlando is in sight now....:)

bbbunch said...

When I met you, I thought you were a "nice" Mom to talk to. Over time, I would see you twice a week at our class, and I thought you were a "really nice" Mom to talk to. Then you got "real" with me and showed me who you are, and you have become one of my dearest and most treasured friends. You are amazing. I am so thankful that you are focusing some of that work and energy on healing deserve all the happiness in the world! YOU WILL THRIVE!!!

I am always ALWAYS just a phone call/email/bike ride/car ride/run away (and I always have alcohol...just saying) ;) Love love love you, girl!

Amy said...

Amen, Sistah!! Take care of yourself.