We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser.
Letters where actual contact is just not possible.
Do you have a letter you can't send?
Why not send it to The Band?
I have wanted to write this letter to you for years now but I haven’t ever found the words to write what I really needed to say to you.
You will never know or understand just what you did to me when you told me through a text message on Christmas Day that you wanted a divorce. You can’t seem to understand how, even though I tried to get past it, I just couldn’t seem to trust you again.
I have never understood how in the hell you thought it was a great idea to tell me on Christmas Day. You could have waited a day or two, but no - you had to do it that day. Now for the rest of my life I will remember it. It is part of my Christmas every year. I have a national holiday to remind me of the day you decided to tell me you wanted a divorce.
I did know that it was coming thanks to a mutual friend we had at the time, but I really didn’t think you were so coldhearted as to tell me on Christmas.
It has been three or four years since it happened and I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I keep hoping that in time the pain will fade but who knows if it will or not.
People think I am crazy for refusing to pay for the divorce just to get it done and over with, but because of how heartless you are I don’t feel the need to make things easy for you. Since I never have to see you and being married doesn’t really affect me, I figure we can stay married until you decide to pay for it or you want to get married again.
I hope one day someone will hurt you like you hurt me!
- Your Wife
Single parenting has many challenges, especially when the custodial parent feels overwhelmed and unsupported.
This is her story.
I suppose I'll start with our marriage and divorce. Bottom line is, we never should have gotten married. Admittedly, we were that couple that got pregnant quickly and rushed into marriage due to family pressure and because we THOUGHT it was the right thing to do. Add a basically bad love match to all the other problems we faced - financial difficulties, PPD, and substance abuse - it was a recipe for disaster.
We divorced about four years later.
One of the reasons I left my ex was because we disagreed on what our roles were. He was perfectly okay with working a full time job and leaving everything else to me. I didn't agree with that (especially since I worked, too). I suppose it's no surprise that now that we are divorced, his participation is even lower.
It's frustrating enough to have to deal with constant cancellations or just not showing up for visitation at all, but on top of that I'm dealing with a man who borders on being a deadbeat dad but thinks the opposite of himself and absolutely refuses to admit any wrongdoing.
For example, our son is four years old and struggling with using the potty for bowel movements. We have both been frustrated for months. I've tried everything and told my ex everything that I know about potty training. Now, my ex is saying that I'm not helping him (I am the custodial parent, by the way) and that my methods aren't working so he has decided on his own course of action.
The next time our son has an accident when in his father's care, my ex says he is going to bring our son home to me and just keep our daughter. My ex seems to think that this will send our son a message that we are on a "united front" and that "neither mom or dad will stand for a potty accident."
Now I don't know about any of you, but if I were a four year old, this is how I would understand it: If I have an accident, dad won't spend time with me. So, I better learn to poop in the potty so that I can spend more time with my father.
It might work, but should preschoolers really be taught that their parents' love, time and affection will be cut short if they have an accident? Or do something bad? After all, he's not bringing our son home when he intentionally draws on the wall (although he does call often on "his weekends" when the kids are acting up, but according to him, I'm also not a good disciplinarian).
I don't even have words for how frustrating this is. I wish more than anything that he would just grow up.
That said, the more important issue here is the children. Unfortunately, they witnessed a lot of abuse between their father and I - yelling, screaming, throwing things, etc. - and the remnants of those times are still around.
Lately, our daughter in kindergarten has been getting in trouble at school for the same issues. I've tried a rewards chart and she loves getting her stickers but it's not helping her see the bigger picture. I also moved her bedtime up to 7 pm and rearranged her room so that she has more privacy and noise reduction from her hyper little brother.
Maybe it's just an adjustment period but after that, she started getting into trouble even more! For the last month, she has averaged two "sad notes" home every single week.
I just don't know what to do any more. I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and I'm being pulled in a million different directions. Every time I try to talk to someone, I get the same old cliches about this all being my fault. I know that I have made so many mistakes but I just need help moving forward.
I live by parameters.
My mother drilled into me two fears; the fear of not being productive enough and the fear of repercussion.
Always being obedient, always being highly productive, always caring what people think about me is the main source of my anxiety. I MUST achieve. I MUST fear what will happen if I don't, if I'm not good enough, if I'm coloring outside the lines.
I don't know where the parameters came from that I once decided I have to live by. I just know they are there and if I dare to step outside them, I will be "in trouble."
I am a 31 year old woman, and I find myself thinking this, even saying this: I don't want to get into trouble.
Today my daycare provider, a friend of mine, texted me to ask if my daughter was coming today. She was concerned that I might keep her home because we were struck by an ice storm. Immediately, my heart began to race. These, my thoughts: "Does she want my daughter to come today? Does she need the money? Does she want her to stay home? Will her kids be off school and maybe she wants a day alone with them?"
I can't make a decision based on what I want because I'm afraid of how it affects everyone else. I wanted my daughter to go to daycare, but while trying to predict what the daycare provider wanted, I decided it was more likely she wanted her to stay home. So, that's what I did.
This is just an example of what I do to myself.
My main anxiety stems from the fear of getting in trouble because I fell in love.
I am recently divorced. It's been a year since my husband moved out and we officially divorced in July. I fell in love with someone else before my husband and I separated, and even though it was absolutely the best thing for everyone that we parted, the guilt burdens me.
As it should, right? Because I deserve to feel guilty. Because even though my husband abused me and controlled me, I shouldn't have fallen in love before we divorced.
So, now, my love has asked me to marry him. I happily accepted - I have never been so encouraged or supported by anyone, and I am joyous that we found each other. It feels like a rebirth, a second chance at the healthy life everyone wants.
And, yet... it doesn't fit into my parameters.
I'm uncomfortable telling other people, because I fear they judge me for finding love so soon.
I'm terrified that I will "get in trouble" for following my heart and for not following how "it's supposed to be."
I honestly would be more comfortable if I had stayed with my mean husband. Not happy, no. I'm very happy now. But I'm uncomfortable because of how it may look to everyone else.
I try to tell myself it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. But it does. I live in a small town. I'm in a sort of prominent position. People know me. Reputations matter here.
Does anyone understand this or have something wise to advise?
In the course of the last four days, I have read every post on this site (thank you OCD). I was searching for resources regarding mental illness deriving from childhood sexual abuse and Google was kind enough to direct me here.
I've always thought that my issues were inconsequential. That I have had no worse experiences than any other soul on this earth. I've shared some of my experiences with a select few people, and the look on their faces has always puzzled me. This is my life, what is there to be shocked about?
Back on point. Spending these last four days reading about all of your joys, heartaches, pain and recovery has jostled a few memories of my own. Some things are always at the back of my mind, but others have been dredged from the depths.
Let's start with my diagnoses.
I've been diagnosed as Bipolar twice (but I contest it), Anxiety and OCD. The Bipolar was diagnosed during two full fledged breakdowns. The first was after a half-assed suicide attempt during a bad marriage at age 24 and the second during the first five minutes with the WORST PSYCHIATRIST EVER. Seriously. This guy grandly announced I was Bipolar after I mumbled it was a previous diagnosis.
But that's a story for another day.
I feel it's time to finally tell my story. I've avoided seeing this information in print for years. I've carried so much shame, self-blame and self-doubt that my soul is weary. While I'm not yet ready to delve deep into my experiences, this is a good place to start.
I was sexually abused by our 16 year old neighbor and his 15 year old sister somewhere between the ages of two and four.
My parents separated for work for six months and I witnessed my mother's breakdown when I was eight.
When I was fourteen, I had my first suicide attempt which was, thankfully, a rather pathetic one. When I was fifteen I had my first attempt at therapy but I did not say one word for the entire six sessions.
At seventeen I was raped for the first time at gunpoint by a "friend." The same year, one of my best friends committed suicide. I was the last person to speak with him. He told me that he was going to do it, but I did not take him seriously.
I made a second suicide attempt at age nineteen. Swallowed over 400 aspirin and ended up in the ICU for four days. There was some limited therapy to follow but I don't remember much about that. I told my parents at this point about the sexual abuse. It was the worst thing I have ever had to do in my life and 20 years later my mom still cries. It kills me.
When I was 24 I got married for the first time, and at 25 I had my first affair. I also tried to commit suicide for the third time. I was driving my car over 100 MPH on curvy back roads and attempting to run it into something. This landed me in a psychiatric ward for two weeks, with a Bipolar diagnosis. My marriage ended two years later.
At age 28 I was raped a second time by two men while I was drunk and in a foreign country.
When I was 29, I found out I was pregnant and had an abortion. The man that I assumed to be the father threatened to kill me if I even thought about having a baby while the man I am dating tells me that he will leave me if I have this baby. I was wrong. About it all.
I got married for a second time when I was 32, and it took all of three days for it to go to hell. Three years later I began having daily panic attacks, and within two months I am unable to leave the house. I developed paranoia and severe depression. I started seeing the WORST PSYCHIATRIST IN THE WORLD. Because of this man, I lost my job.
Shortly after losing my job, my husband told me that he really never loved me and that he just used me to get our house and the money I made. This does not assist with my recovery. He raped me. I moved back in with my parents.
After three more years, I was finally free of that man. I was broke as hell, and my credit was ruined but I was extremely happy.
Now at age 39, I have been out of work for two months with an injury. I am thankful that I have support, but the depression that started last April has blown up. I feel lost.
There is more, if I only could remember.
Thank you, all of you, for inspiring me to start this.
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site to vote and check out the other categories!
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site
to vote and check out the other categories! - See more at: http://bandbacktogether.com/all-posts/#sthash.iZSQRkS1.dpuf
Narcissistic Personality Disorder can permeate every family dynamic.
This is her story:
Smiling down at my beautiful three-month old daughter, her eyes the most beautiful dark, chocolate brown I've ever seen. Her tiny little lips perfect cupid bows, a personality as big as Texas shines from her eyes, lighting up her adorable face.
A crowd-stopper at three months of age - she already has two bottom teeth! I'd swear on a stack of Bibles that she understands me.
Of course, I keep my feelings to myself - ALL mothers must feel this way about their children, right? This little brown-eyed beauty WAS special; for a secret reason. Only one other human on the planet knew the horrible secret I kept locked deep inside.
This child was almost an abortion.
At twenty-one, I found myself pregnant again, thirteen months after giving birth to another baby, married to a man so horribly abusive that I'd pray for a fist to my face just to get it over with.
I was bound to a theological system misinterpreted by the men who preached it. Looking back, I wonder how many of our religious leaders were covert Narcissists, using a Loving and Benevolent God to abuse the women in their lives and congregations. I'd see it Sunday after Sunday, women in impossible relationships seeking answers to their pain.
Divorce was unheard of; separation with "the intent of reconciliation" was the "Christian" term for what to do when you finally ask for spiritual guidance from the "Leaders." You'd see these women each week, desperate for solace, battered from years of being "obedient," weak from loss of hope.
Surely, God must hate me.
Or, I have to work harder, pray more, be a BETTER wife. I knew he was a bad man when I married him - I made my bed, I must lie in it.
At home, I have one beautiful, precious green-eyed blonde baby, thirteen months old. She doesn't have a mean bone in her little body. She's a sweet, loving baby with a tender heart, not an drop of malice.
We can tell. Moms. We know.
When my beautiful sweet daughter was thirteen months old, I found myself pregnant again, unable to get a divorce. I know that I cannot have another child with this man.
I told no one.
Finally, I told the only person I knew would never judge me if I decided to have an abortion; she knows I cannot have another child with this man. My loyal to the death sister-in-law, best friend, wife of my favorite brother.
She took me to Planned Parenthood.
Abortion had been legal less than ten years at the time; pretty bold move, if you ask me.
She and I sat in the waiting room, silent. My brother was watching all the kids, never ever saying a word about the choice I was making. He never judged me, he knew my husband.
As we sat in the waiting room, I prayed to a God I desperately needed to hear from. I was considering the Christian unthinkable.
My decision wasn't the baby's fault; my decision was based upon the monster I'd willingly married. I hadn't known that he was a Narcissist and a misogynist. He no longer tried to hide it. I know that another baby was NOT part of his diabolical plan for world domination.
Needless to say, I changed my mind about the abortion.
I stood up, looked at my best friend and said, "Let's go."
Now, here I was, my second daughter cradled in my arms, about to nurse her. Her sparkling chocolate brown eyes, smiling, her cupid bow lips curved in what appeared to be adoration, her two tiny, sharp as hell, teeth visible. I'm thinking, "Look at her. I almost lost all the joy I feel this moment." Love washed over me as we locked eyes.
With her eyes still locked onto mine, grinning widely, she bit me - a pain sent shock-waves through me. Still, she was smiling.
I reared back, flicked her on her cheek and said, "NO." She just looked at me.
I picked her up, looked into her beautiful sparkling brown eyes and said, "Don't you EVER do that again! Do you understand?"
She started howling like I'd broken her arm.
I put her back into her tiny little bassinet, letting her cry it out. I was PISSED: that kid just bit the shit out of my nipple and ENJOYED it.
From that moment, I knew this child was different from her sisters.
My middle daughter has an off-the-chart IQ, and she was mean. She lied compulsively, even if the truth would've better served her. She created chaos between her sisters. She'd steal.
She was beautiful. Charming. Gifted student. Master manipulator. Opportunistic. Seemingly innocent while being precocious. Musically talented, she sang like an angel, gifted at piano.
Rage was one of her tools. Fear of upsetting her caused an entire family system to revolve around her until she was three.
Then, I outwitted her.
There are consequences for EVERY decision to be bad, do bad, or cause bad and a parent must be consistent, each and every time. Once I understood her motives, it was easier to separate her bad behavior from age-appropriate behaviors.
My kid had to know that if she was going to choose to misbehave I'd move Heaven and Hell to reach her, make her apologize, sit on my bed for 15 minutes. THEN, she had to tell me what she'd done wrong and why. If she decided to be stubborn (and she always did), I had to be more stubborn.
She had to sit on my bed for 15 minutes for me - I knew I had to be calm to discipline her. If I tried while I was angry, it fed her own calm. She fed off chaos. If I removed any scintilla of what she was trying to get, forced her to accept responsibility for her deviant behavior, we both won.
I gave my beautiful, talented, gifted child the gift of shame.
Shame to my little girl equated rage. Discovered doing something intentionally and deliberately wrong, hurtful, deceitful or self-indulgent didn't cause her to feel badly.
No, she became enraged when she got CAUGHT.
I could always tell, like only a mother can, when she switched into survival mode. I called it, "Making her sit down while she was standing up on the inside."
Self-will is incalculable. The strength inside a person cannot be measured.
If this power is used for good, we see people like Mother Teresa. If this human spirit is used for personal gain, we see people like Hitler.
I was raised by a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Munchhausen syndrome, married a misogynist monster narcissist.
When she was fourteen, she chose evil over kindness. By then, I was a newly separated mother of three teenage daughters. Her behavior went into overdrive, becoming worse each day. Every attempt to help, use therapy, use love failed.
Her fangs grew before my eyes. Her rages kept our home in constant fear of upsetting her.
I got pissed.
I told her that I knew and understood how she thought. Why she behaved the way she did. What her motives were and why. The only explanation of my knowledge was divine intervention.
She sat transfixed as I spoke to her.
As I did, she began to cry genuine tears - I did not take mercy on her. I continued explaining, using vivid adjectives that finally reached the shame deep inside her.
My hope, my prayer, was that she would choose to use her genius for good, rather than personal gain and self-indulgence.
Nobody gives a shit about a genius who's an asshole, I explained. Your choice, I told her. Now YOU get to pick whom you will serve. You've just reached the age of accountability.
Self-indulgent genius and future criminal?
Or earn multiple masters degrees? Master many languages? Become a world traveler and consultant?
The choice was hers.
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