Obsessions Are Useful Things

and now that I've worked hard and managed to stop obsessing (temporarily?) over a "hopeless to be had" I'm being hit full-blown with IFKALP issues.

I swear... I can have it "all together" and be OK, but the *minute* the subject comes up as something I'm going to have to deal within a few weeks BAM I'm back to freaking out.

I KNOW he can't get me anymore. I don't talk to him. I have caller ID and I don't even have to pick up the phone when he calls because the Sun can. I can even be calm when he does dumb shit to the Sun. But the thought of being anywhere close to him or having to think about negotiating a visit or whatever just causes all sorts of stress. I'm at least past getting butterflies in my stomach when I go up to Yonkers or Cross County. I can be on the Sprain or Bronx River Parkway and breathe easy. I can pass what used to be his exit and and *almost* not acknowledge it, and I don't feel like crouching down in my seat in case he can see me.

Other women have gotten their asses beat. Matter of fact, the Professor told me that the day before, a woman who lives upstairs from where she works had her ass beat, in public, *in the nursery* simply because she brought her children to school. They actually had to call the police in order to get the man to stop beating the shit out of his wife. Can you imagine? That never happened to me.

But as anyone can tell you, who has ever experienced it, sometimes verbal and emotional beat-downs are far worse than physical ones. I had my ass beat by my ex-husband years ago. Coupla times. The worst time was when I was picked up by neck and slammed against a wall, then thrown down on the ground. We ended up in the bathroom where I vaguely remember trying to kick him into the tub but of course he was bigger than me. His hands around my neck got tighter and tighter, and something (those voices?) reminded me that possums played dead when confronted with attackers, and so I just let myself go limp. I was lucky that that stopped him. I was lucky that the only thing that came out of that was a black eye. I was lucky that I was young enough and unbroken to get up and leave him shortly after. I burned with righteous indignation at being physically hit, because I *knew* it wasn't right, no matter what I'd done. My own father never beat me (though I had spankings as a younger kid--and a spanking and a beating are NOT the same thing) and the last time my mother tried to hit me, I wriggled out of my clothes and ran away laughing. I was 11. So I knew I didn't deserve to be hit.

But there's something about mental manipulation that can really fuck you up. Especially if you're the type to feel mighty about yourself. Particularly if you're the type to overthink things. And you know enough about me by now to know those voices have raging debates in my head as it is, and I listen to them. So when someone outside of your head is making you second-guess yourself, it's just not a good combo.

At first I didn't mind debating IFKALP on things. I didn't mind that he challenged me. I didn't mind that his opinions on things were as strong--if not stronger--than mine. I didn't mind that I couldn't just "roll over" him. But I was always taught "rules of engagement"--you don't call names, you don't take the cheap shot, you make up from a fight before you go to bed. You don't hold grudges or dredge up past injustices. You speak your mind, however passionately, you come to an agreement or an impasse--either you agree or agree to disagree, and you move on.

But IFKALP never played by those rules, and in fact, just when I thought I'd figured out his rules he'd go and change them. Or worse yet, tell me those weren't his rules to begin with so he wasn't going to follow them. Or even better, claim we never discussed the rules at all in the first place. It was very disorienting. And I got tired of always trying to figure out the mood du jour or the rule of the day and just kind of shut down. Tried to block it out, because the other thing that was happening was that he simply wouldn't go away. He'll never go away.

On the positive side, it means the Sun knows he has a dad, and he loves him. But as the Sun gets older, IFKALP is beginning to treat him the way he treats everyone. Sometimes it's great and it's party all the time; other times it sheer hell. And I can see that The Sun is getting to where he won't deal with the other stuff.

I've been mentioning that IFKALP was annoyed that the Sun wasn't calling him frequently enough. Over the weekend, the Sun spent the night out with the Moon, and then the Moon was over here. As far as I know IFKALP called the house maybe once or twice, but I'm fairly certain that the Sun spoke to him. It wasn't enough, apparantly, and during a call on Monday evening, IFKALP told the Sun he was going to shut off the phone that IFKALP gave him. The Sun burst into tears. I told him, don't worry about it. To be honest, I really didn't think he would.

But he did. He shut off the phone, because the Sun doesn't call him frequently enough. As in every day. As in, an 8YO child should have his phone on all the time. And the thing was, yesterday I'd forgotten my own cell at home. And the Sun's basketball activity was canceled, and the Sun picked up his phone to call me and tell me... and couldn't dial out. When I finally got to him, at Karate (he was OK; the school is small and great and cares for him as if he were a family member) he held up the phone and said "He shut it off". He was hurt. I blinked. Wow.

So to "joke" him out of it, I said "Well, congratulations, you're a grown up. Your dad now treats you like he treats everyone else." He laughed. But it ain't funny.

And me, trying to show maturity and that I'm willing to negotiate, am in the process of setting up a visit that will give IFKALP the opportunity to see the Sun in a karate tournament, and in his 3-school violin concert. It it works, great. If it doesn't well, I can show I tried. But I'm having SERIOUS heart palpitations over it.


Janet said…
As always, your words ring true. I remember the beatings, covering up the black eyes with concealer and covering the buuises with long sleeve shirts in the summer. I can look at the scars left by other lacerations and remember. But I agree-I would rather have received a beating rather than the way he messed up my head.

I'm sorry about the phone. That sucks. You are a great mom, and you are raising the Sun right. He is very smart, and unfortunately is learning how to deal with IFKALP's mood swings.

What I "hear" in your stories though, is that the Sun is managing to do this without the "fear". He is strong, like you. He gets hurt and sometimes doesn't understand, but it seems as though he's separated from the stress by a degree more than mom is/was. This is good. This is all because of YOU. He will be successful in his lifetime because of you, and despite IFKALP.

Good job!
Julie said…
I saw the Sun that day, walking through the cafeteria, holding his phone and looking oh so serious. The female half of married couple and I smiled because he looks like such a little man sometimes. I wish we'd known he was dealing with such grown-up issues at that moment - we'd certainly have given him a hug, or a karate chop or something to help him through it.

You're doing so good by the Sun. Keeping talking to him about IFKALPs nonsense. The hardest thing about growing up with a crazy parent is thinking that no one understands and wondering if you're the crazy one - the wrong one. The more you give him skills for coping with IFKALP, the better off he'll be. And you're doing a great job of that.

Hugs, and keep breathing - as long as you're breathing, anything is possible.
The Bear Maiden said…
Oh, hey you two :) Thanks for stopping by. That post took me all night to write, lol cuz I kept falling asleep on it. But thank you. Janet, I do see that he's strong, and I thank God that he is unafraid. I made it my business to see that he wouldn't be afraid. And I admire his maturity and fortitude, but I wish he didn't have to have it so soon. And Fat Lady, I so appreciate knowing that you and others are there to see him when I can't. And so now you know... when ever he's quiet or looks extra grown or mature, or tries extra hard to be good, he's usually stressed about something. When he was little and would see us fight, he'd try to be so mature and "good". It broke my heart; but it spurred me on to fight that much harder for him.
Job said…
You're a better [wo]man than I [Gunga Din]. I wouldn't be attempting to set things up for IFKALP to see the Sun... i give you a lot of credit for doing that in the first place. All you can do is offer and if it doesn't work, oh well. *His* loss. Wash your hands of it.
Job said…
should have also said... are you able to get the Sun his own phone [to be able to reach *you*]?
LJ said…
Hey Jesi-
Just stopped by 'cuz was missin ya over @ the expms. I pop over here to catch up on you guys when I can. cool tattoo! :-)

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