What a wonderful Christmas!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It probably sounds a little odd but I have been enjoying the very long post begun by MWM regarding many of our manipulative fathers (and some of our mothers). The stories are heartrenching and it has taken a lot of time for us all to write and a lot of time to read and be a part of. It has been more healing than anything I have tried or done in a long long time.

    husband and I will be alone for Christmas this year. No one has taken us under their wing, and normally this would be something I fret and worry about until something is either planned by us or we are invited somewhere. I don't feel bad about it at all. I know in theory that when I let myself go to that dark place where my father never had a kind word for me and beat me and called me names, or remember the horror we went through as a family with L's dad and step-mom that those things are not now and I don't have to fight that battle this very moment. That post - especially the idea of how small we were when these things were happening - has really opened my eyes to how much I have to actively participate in enjoying my life. I have a very nice life and a wonderful husband and I shouldn't let those people from my past take that away from me. Our blood relationship doesn't give them a special dispensation to enter my head with their bitterness.

    I usually sleep in. With all of the muscle fatigue I have from any regular day I just need more sleep/recovery time than others. I've had a sinus thing for a few weeks, and it isn't really bothering me except at night just as I drop off and I start coughing. Last night was bad, and I got up and took some cough syrup with Hydrocodone in it which helped the cough but keeps me jittery, so it's kind of a trade off. I dozed off around 3 AM and was up again at 5:30 trying to fall asleep before husband got up for work. husband finally got out of bed to get the dogs fed around 6:15 after his phone vibrated the 3rd time. It gets too hot in the morning for me to sleep if the door is closed, so I ask him to leave it open. Normally I sleep through that. But I could see him feed the dogs, and then getting his cereal ready so he could go to work, and I thought, "I'm going to need to shut the door so I don't see all the activity." Then I thought, "That poor man - if I just get up and close the door he'll think I'm never satisfied. 'Door open, please.' 'Door closed, please.' I am so lucky to have a man who loves me so much and whom I love. I need to stop being unhappy about things that are years ago and thousands of miles away and just go tell him that I love him." And so I did. I got some nice hugs and cuddles, and went back to sleep. And I woke up with a sense of safety and strength that I rarely feel.

    That's day one. I need to keep remembering that feeling. Merry Christmas to you all. I'm spending mine with my favorite person and I couldn't be happier. I hope that you all will have a moment this week to spend time with the people whom you love the most and who make your life good for you.
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  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I feel that way, too. I wonder if it's because we have known one another so well for so long. I feel heard and validated and clean. It is always so hard to speak the words that describe what happened without awakening a shame load so toxic that it seems healthier to just let it be. That happened after I posted about some of the things that happened, but I was okay. I came through it okay.

    I was always so raw, so vulnerable after therapy. There was nothing to do with the reawakened shame. It was almost like being abused all over again. Here, I can write as much or as little as I like without time constraints. I hear all of our stories too, and become angry for each of us.

    There is strength in anger.

    I can see the wrongness in it when I think of these things that happened to one of you as little girls in a way I cannot see the wrongness in the things that happened to me. I know what I saw my mother do was wrong...but you don't see it from the same perspective when it is happening to you, of course.

    One of the strangest things to me is that terrible things would happen (in the night, mostly ~ my father worked nights, when we were younger) and we would go to school the next day with all the other kids. If there were tests, we took them. If it was time to learn long division, we tried. Whatever it was that we were supposed to do, we did it. I know you all did that, too. Looking back as an adult, I wonder how we were able to do it.

    I wonder how we were able to function, at all. How could we have learned, and been graded, and have succeeded as we did with what was happening to us?

    They have taken their last pounds of willing flesh from me, too.

    I don't know that I have been this angry about what happened to me, before.
    How little we were....

    I could see that, in the stories each of us told.

    How little, and how scared, and how innocent we all were. This is a major thing, a major shift in perspective. The abuser in my memory looks twisted, now, instead of powerful.

    So much of the spiritual damage lived in the abuser's eyes, in the certainty in them.

    I'm so glad, Witz.

    So happy for you both.

    Here is an interesting thing. My mother has done all she can to subvert the way each of her children feels about their mates. I wonder if on some level, you broke through some layer, some abusive layer comprised of what you felt about yourself in relation to your mate.

    That has happened, for me.

    It is a choice, you are right. I feel that.

    And when I do that, I feel strong, too. Defiant, almost, to have those good things like respect for my mate, or joy and trust in him. I think it may be true even with our pets, Witz. So, maybe, with any smallest joy that is there for us, our abusers rotten little ghosts are tucked away inside us somewhere, requiring that we choose against ourselves on some level when the option for joy appears.

    Simple joy in affection, or in the way the sun shines through, or a breeze. I think all those things were forbidden to us on some level. We weren't supposed to be happy. It was risky to be happy. It was better to be prepared, and we never knew when or how or why we would be hurt, next.

    Our husbands must love us more than we can understand or believe.

    How cool is that?!?


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  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    And now I know that if someone asks me if I have plans for a holiday, I can without shame say, "husband and I are spending it together." That's all that really matters.
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  4. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Honestly I can't wait to say that some day. Maybe not every year but I would love to snuggle up in a cabin in the woods with my husband and wake up to a beautiful Christmas morning.
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Witz. Most of the time I don't really think about the past anymore. It must be there though since I have such a fascination with learning all I can about the personality disordered. I spent some Christmas's bummed out that it was such a small group. You see wonderful, fun Christmas's on TV, right? Uncle Joe is a blast. Cousin Rosemarie is emotional and cries at everything, but she loves everyone. The kids may fight, but they hug in the end. And finally everyone is somehow standing outside, looking at their mansion full of lights, Dad is wearing a Santa hat, and they are all signing Christmas carols while the neighbors slowly join us and join in and it has been a blast. Even Elmer and Oscar, who have been fighting for years, tear up and hug under the moonlight that sparkles on the clean white snow. Perfecto!!!!

    Fantasy is wonderful. Few people have that experience with family. Those who do are lucky that so many people can get along. Usually when you get a lot of people together who are competitive in some ways, as relatives are, there is dissension and fights and bad feelings and somebody drinks too much and everyone has gossip for the next day.

    Witz, this year, like you, I am just happy to be with my foursome...my loving husband, my special daughter and my awesome son...and we never forget the pets!!!! They get presents too! There will be no arguing, fighting, dissension, backstabbing...nope. And then, as a bonus, Jumper and me and driving to visit my older daughter and her SO and my grandbaby for a few days starting Sunday. I used to pout because they don't live right next door. But so what? We see them enough and, when we do, we always have such a nice time and such warm feelings. Even 37 promised to Skype on Christmas Eve so I can talk to my grandson.

    And if this were just me and my loving husband, it would be peaceful, loving, quiet and comforting.

    I stopped wanting the big flashy family long ago when I realized how much of that is just for show and how hard it is. Do I really want forty people in my house, like some of my co-workers will have? I'm not that social. No. I want to be with those closest to me whom I trust.

    Witz, you brought up all the good feelings I need to have every year, heck, every day.

    Thank you again.

    Many blessings to you and to all of us who have weeded toxicity out of our lives and made our lives peaceful.
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  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your post made me smile Witz. Recognizing the preciousness of our moments is a gift. Recognizing that we're loved and feeling that love is a blessing. I am happy for you. I feel that way too, I feel so grateful for life, for all the love and for Christmas spent with those I love. Merry Christmas to you and your husband.........thanks for the post......
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think it would only be odd to someone who has not been through what so many of us have. I have been so blessed by reading the posts on these pages. I only wish I could have found this site years ago and I might have saved myself a few years of soul searching. My bio-father was the one that abused me and once my mother discovered what he was doing to me and my sisters she got us out of there. It took me many years to work through the shame of my childhood but I did it. I also found someone who truly loves me. My husband adopted my difficult child, those first few years were wonderful, then the chaos started. Through it all he has been by my side supporting me and loving me. I do not take for granted how blessed I am.

    My difficult child is in his mid thirty's and I don't think he will ever change. I will always have hope that someday he will but I keep myself grounded in reality.

    My life isn't perfect and I don't think I would want it to be because it is through the trials of my life that I have learned and grown as an individual. I have family that I love dearly and some that I just tolerate. I have wonderful friends and belong to a great church. All in all my life is pretty darn good.

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming New Year.
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  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Without shame.

    I am savoring the taste of that.

    The taste of I am, of we are, "enough."


    My parents refused to host the holidays, did not send birthday cards, did not pay for weddings or visit the hospital when babies were born. I think I posted before about the shame of that sort of thing happening where husband's family could see and question it.

    How extraordinary, when I think of it in this light!

    Christmas was a painful sort of joke in our family. My father would do things like hang Santa in effigy on the front door instead of placing a wreath. He thought that was hilarious.

    So it is probably very true that laughter, in my family of origin, was a cutting and lonely thing. I had lost touch with those old feelings of rejection, but they are a glittering piece of the pain that surrounds the holidays for me now.

    And that was the loneliness, and those were the hurts I was soothing, on those holidays when we did have our children and grands and husband's extended family with us.

    Isn't that something.

    It certainly does suck to have come out of an abusive family.

    At the heart of it, one more time, is that old fear that I have become my mother. husband and I actually fight about that. I will have anyone, any neighbor who is alone, any person without family, in for dinner with us on whatever holiday it is. My Italian husband feels holidays are for family. If you don't have family with you, then you stay home and call them on the phone.

    I swear, that is what we do.

    It doesn't work well for my family of origin, of course. Calling on the holidays, I mean. But husband has enough relatives (who are usually all together somewhere) that we are able to celebrate whatever it is with whoever is there over the phone.

    The key topic of conversation?

    Food! How was the sauce. Who fried the shrimp. Did so and so bring those wreath cookies. husband's mom is in a nursing home this year. The family are making the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes and bringing it in to share with her there.

    Isn't that a nice thing?

    Shame and rejection, creating and celebrating jealousy between the grown sibs ~ these are the forms abuse took in my family of origin once the children had grown. Now adults with their own children and with the families of their mates to celebrate with, we had become too independent to hurt in any other way.

    I never understood that of course my parents knew what they were doing.

    Of the grown sibs, only my sister resents and refuses to take part in, the work and expense that make the Christmas celebration so special for everyone. The rest of us love it. Love the food, love the decorations and presents and will host any and everyone who finds himself alone on the holiday.

    My sister will gladly partake of anyone else's Christmas. But as I posted on another thread, her children will have been taught to sing, loudly and repeatedly, a Christmas (or 4th of July, if it is summer) song.

    This is lovely imagery. I wish that for you, too.


  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am so happy you are here with us, Tanya.

    Merry, merry Christmas!

  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cedar, my family was like that too. After I had 37 I got violently sick, was bleeding internally, and had to go to the ER right away. I was only 24 and still not used to the go-to person not being Mom, although she had never been there for me. I mean, on TV Mom is always there, right? I called her to ask her if she'd please watch my month old baby while I found out why I was bleeding and had a fever of 103?

    Her response is etched in my memory. "No, I'm not going to start with the babysitting."

    I don't remember if there was any more to the conversation.

    My mother-in-law was called and rushed over and never forgot it. Ever.

    My parents did pay for the wedding. It was $800. My mom was proud of how cheap she got it. She bragged about that to others in the family. The ways she did it was to have it on a Tuesday instead of a normal day. Only twelve people were allowed to attend and there was no entertainment. THere WAS dinner. It would be one thing if they were poor, but we weren't at all poor. After it was over, she threw that $800 in my face many times. "I gave you a NICE wedding and spent $800!"

    I was only 20 when I got married or I would have married at the Justice of the Peace. But they wanted this particular rabbi to marry me and husband, although husband was not Jewish (I did defy them on this). My parents thought that having my husband married by a Rabbi would somehow make us raise our children Jewish. So I went along with the wedding to please them, not because of what religion we were raising our not-yet-here children. I was still under my parent's thumb and this is what they wanted and I was desperate to get my mother to love me still. I'm sure that the really mini-wedding was spoken a lot about as well. I remember a few cousins were invited that I didn't even know and that I had no say so in who came.

    Of course, onward, Mom never even acknowledged my children's birthdays and mother-in-law, who was an angel, never said a word to me (except about how she couldn't understand why Mom wouldn't come when I was so sick). But she knew something was different.

    To add to the embarassment, she had another son who was also married and my sister-in-law had an awesome family, tons of fun, inclusive of all, just great. I was very shy and used to sit in a corner looking at this huge, normal family interacting in positive ways and having fun with each other, even while I was so socially inept that I took frequent bathroom breaks with a book in my hands. I would wish her family was my family.

    When you are very young and married with little babies, things like that matter to most of us. I was not ready to handle it then. I would end up in tears, ashamed and humiliated by the way my family treated everyone, including me, my husband, and my children.

    When I think about those days it almost seems like they happened to somebody else.

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    @MidwestMom, thanks for sharing. You have amazing strength.

    This is so true!!!

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I must not be as far along in my healing process as you are, MWM. I am still so surprised by that sense of freedom that comes with changing perspective! I don't know quite what to make of it. I have always "made room." Inappropriate behavior was something to be understood and forgiven in the expectation that everyone would take the high road and all would be well in the end.

    Boy, is that not true.

    I don't even know whether I was taking the high road, anymore.

    Maybe I just couldn't face losing what little I had.

    Isn't there something in the Bible about that? Something like "...and what about the guy who has only a little whatever it is?" And the answer is: "He shall lose all that he has."

    And when we do?

    We are free.

    So, I'm still a little giddy around the whole prospect. Every loss is a win. Soon now, everything that told me who I was, what I could expect, what I deserved, how far or how high or how low I could go ~ that will all be gone.

    And I will be empty. No expectations, no guilt; fully present.



    Isn't there a Buddhist concept of the empty bowl? And something about the sound made when a particular tool is used to make it ring?

    I see that bowl, flashing in the sun...but I don't hear it, yet.

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cedar, you are definitely on the right track :)

    Today I did a guided meditation that drowns you with positive affirmations, Buddhist style. One phrase, that kept being repeated, hit me in a new and validating way.

    "There is no past. It doesn't exist."

    That's so true. It existed once. It is over. Whatever happened happened. It is dead. Long live the Present!!! We control the present!

    I really liked that phrase. It will stick with me.
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  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I like it, too.

    It is a strangeness how the same words take on different meanings depending on the perspective from which we hear them.

    I would never have gotten "There is no past. It doesn't exist."

    That was never true for me before, I suppose. The past was way heavy, its running colors leaking into every smallest thing.

  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I didn't think of it either. But it's true. It's gone. It's over. It no longer exists. The only moment that exists is right now. And now is what we make of it.
  17. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Looks we all got "Enlightenment" for Christmas! ;)
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    "The past is behind, learn from it.
    The future is ahead. Plan for it.
    The present is here. Live it!"
    Thomas S. Monson

    This is for January on the motivational calendar I bought Jumper for her dorm. It's good, but I think I like "the past doesn't exist" better. It works for me. And it's true. It existed. It is gone. It isn't the present...unless we allow it to be.

    What do you think?
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I will be back.

    With quotes.


    I love this question.