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I Will…Come Out On Top

This year, it’s time to take action. It’s time to pull our heads out of our asses and make some plans for world domination.

How? By telling the world, not what we want to do this year, but what we will.

So what will YOU do this year?

It’s already been a rough year for me. Just seven days in, my five-year old son was diagnosed with Leukemia. It has floored me. I am still in shock. Daily I struggle with the WHY WHY WHY of it all.

Still, I can make this year my bitch. I cannot – and WILL NOT – let the whole year be a sinking ship.

I will take care of myself. This means giving myself a break, letting myself off the hook, taking days off work when I need to, continuing my healing through therapy, taking naps… It also means getting dressed every day, showering, and not letting myself slip into a depression. I will continue to do things that bring me joy – like travel – and try to let go of the worry.

I will be there for my son. I will advocate for him and help him create good memories to balance out the less palatable ones. I will continue to give him a stable home life with structure despite the bomb that has gone off in our life.

I will keep working toward my goals – personal and family goals. My husband and I have plans for this year and next – plans we’ve been working toward since we met – and I will not let them get derailed. It would be easy to push everything aside, but the RIGHT thing is to show our son how to live in the face of adversity.

I will nurture my primary relationship. I’ve been stressed and overwrought and altogether tapped out emotionally lately. It’s okay to have low points, I know, and my husband and I are helping each other as best we can. Our relationship is important and provides a foundation for our life as a whole. If we take care of our marriage, the rest of our life will benefit.

I will allow myself to stumble.
I will give myself permission to be less than perfect.
I will celebrate my victories.
And I will make it through this year.

Narcissistic Parentification

I learned about narcissistic parentification today. I’d been aware of narcissism and parentification as separate things prior to this, thanks to my son’s father, but I didn’t realize these two things often went together.

Yesterday my 6-year-old son attempted to stab himself in the eye with a pencil. This occurred after being asked not to throw paper.

He decided he needed to punish himself.

Thankfully, my husband caught the pencil and it never touched our son’s eye. Still, it was terrifying. This is not exactly new, although this is the most extreme self-punishment to date. Often when my son thinks he is in trouble for something, he will self-discipline by hitting himself or knocking his head against something. I’ve asked him why he does this, and he tells me that it’s so that he remembers what not to do.

We have an extreme perfectionist on our hands. This, too, I’ve known for a while. He has always been the kid who won’t try anything if he’s unsure he has it mastered. I had to get down on my hands and knees and physically SHOW HIM how to crawl when he was a baby! He wants to do everything perfectly the first time, and he will hide the fact he knows how to do something until he feels he can demonstrate the skill perfectly.

We’ve told him again and again how much we love him and don’t want him to hurt himself. We’ve told him it’s okay to make mistakes, that it’s expected and even necessary in order to learn and master new things. We’ve emphasized the fact that he isn’t in TROUBLE when things like this happen – that we are just reminding him to help him learn for next time. Yet, it doesn’t seem to register. He hurts himself anyway.

He is a 6-year-old self-injurer.

Lord knows he has plenty of reasons to behave this way. He is fighting cancer, has changed schools and residences in the last year, and is about to become a big brother.

And then, well, his dad is narcissistic…

Since my son’s self-injury has escalated even though the rest of our life has calmed down, I looked up the effects of narcissism on children today. And that led me to narcissistic parentification.

I learned that children of narcissistic parents are more prone to pediatric anxiety and depression. They can be self-destructive, have an irrational fear of failure, and either have difficulties in school or strive to be perfect.

Everything I read reminded me of my son.

2010: Year of the Suck

Cancer took my Daddy not even three months ago. The rest of the year hasn’t been much better.

2010 was supposed to be a fun year. A great vacation with my little girl – she was turning 5. We were so excited. First inkling that 2010 would NOT be cool? My 5-year olds dad would not allow me to get her a passport to take her on a cruise. The bastard didn’t think I’d bring her back! Wha? Obviously he knows me even less than he did when we were married. Idiot.

So my dreams of a Mama and Gigi vacation were put on the back burner.

February 2nd, I turned 32 and I wasn’t happy about it.

Where was my life? Not where I wanted it even though I did everything the right way. I graduated high school, went straight to college, graduated college, married college sweetheart and waited the right time after the wedding to have baby. We thought that three years was a good amount of time.

Uhhh…not so much.

Marriage was not a happy thing for me. Every day, I was put-down. My self-esteem shattered. I found out I was pregnant (because, you know, that’s what happens when you have sex and don’t use protection. After, all it was “cheaper” to use condoms instead of birth control pills. Or something like that).

All my life I wanted to be a mother. My pregnancy was awful. Not because I was sick or anything but because my husband was an asshole. He called fat and crazy, I started believing him while I wondered what the fuck I was doing with this bastard? Well, I needed to work things out because we were having a baby. And not just a baby…MY daughter, the one that I been waiting my whole life to have.

She was born on a freezing cold St. Patrick’s day. Came screaming into the world and was…perfect. This child was sent to save my life, I knew that the moment I saw her. We named her Grace (I call her Gigi online for “privacy”). I promised that little girl on the first night of her life that I would never let ANYTHING hurt her. ANYTHING or anyONE.

Life went on with a colicky, very super-attached-to Mama infant. That child cried more than I thought anyone could ever cry EVER. I wore holes in the carpet walking with her jiggling her and whispering “shhhhhhh shhhhhhh” to get her to sleep. We moved to a brand-new city when she was five months old. Because it’s REALLY a good thing to uproot a mom with severe postpartum anxiety and depression from her only support system (her family) and move her with her colicky infant to a new place where she has to “bring home the bacon” while he leaves at 6:00 am every day to get a fancy-schmancy MBA. I was in a really good place in life. /sarcasm

Two months into the hell that was this move, I was on the phone with my mother while I was pumping in a dark, cold, hidden office at my work. I told her how awful The Husband had been. I told her that he’d said he would “rather me be dead than be Grace’s mom.” (Now there was more that happened but I’ve blocked most of it out. Some broken closet doors, a night spent sleeping with 911 dialed on my phone in front of my daughters crib and some other stuff)

Somehow, this didn’t concern me for ME…but for her. My mom decided that she and my father would hook up their trailer that night and make the 3 1/2 hour trek and move us home the next day.

The next morning I got up and dutifully kissed my husband goodbye. I called my parents as soon as he was out and could no longer be seen on the road. By 12:30 we were headed “home.” I called The Husband and told him that we were gone and things needed to change before we came back.

I fully believed that we WOULD be going back. But then? Then my colicky cried-all-the-time-unless-she-was-attached-to-Mama’s-boob became Super Happy Confident 7-month old. What? My child was picking up on every single source of stress in me and reacting from that. Weird. I’ve always said she is my heart and she truly was…we have been cosmically connected from the moment of her conception.

Anyway…4 years and much angst, tears, anger, hurt, hearings, court sessions, lawyers and judges later – I was declared free and divorced from The Husband. Whoopee! But yet I still had to hand over a piece of me every other weekend and every Tuesday evening. Grrr. I still hate him even though he is now The Ex.

Anyway…2010 was a year of promise. It was going to be good. I had a job that was as close to my dream job as I could get (or at least as close to my dream salary being somewhat geographically challenged). This was going to be a GOOD YEAR.

And then? It wasn’t.

February 4th. My Mama took a slip on the ice. A couple of scary moments where we thought she was bleeding in her brain. BLEEDING in her brain. That was bad. I took off work and ran to rescue my child (whom my mother took care of and didn’t know if she was at school or not because she wasn’t quite sure when or where she fell – a severe concussion will do that to you).

February 5th. I got fired from my job. FIRED FROM MY JOB. I’m a single mom who bought her very first house not even 5 months before and my jackass bosses FIRED me. I won’t get into reasons but let’s just say they aren’t exactly all “legal.”

Then my Daddy starts having health issues while we are still dealing with my Mama’s issues. Now yes, I’m 32 years old but when I say I’m close with my family – I am CLOSEWITHMYFAMILY. Multiple conversations with each of them a day. These people are not only my blood relations but my best friends.

So…winter turns to spring, I may or may not be enjoying a bit of unemployment fun and playing the “stay at home mom” gig. Never thought it would happen as I’m a single mom and well, I have no sugar daddy.

April…my fabulous Daddy is diagnosed with fucking brain cancer. BRAIN CANCER. It seriously doesn’t get much worse than that. He died not even three months after diagnosis. Motherfucking cancer and the motherfucking staph infection that came with his surgeries. I am not prepared to be half an orphan. I’m too young for this crap.

Then my sister…ahhh…my sister. There are not enough words or space on this site to even get into her. I love her, she drives me crazy and I love her 4 children as my own. She moved them 3 hours away. 3 hours away! Not the best choice given everything going on (and by everything I mean that this storyline could rival any soap opera…I’m NOT KIDDING). So my dad dies, my sister moves, my daughter-my heart-my sidekick in everything starts real life school and I have NO FUCKING JOB.

Add onto this that my nephew (0ne of the 4 that my sister has birthed) has leukemia. Yeah…unfortunately after everything we’ve been through this year that is an afterthought now. Poor kid. But he is doing well so that’s always a positive.

So…that’s my story. I have no “home.” This story could go under abuse (which I grazed with my marriage to The Ex), Divorce, Cancer, Parent Loss, Grief, Economic Struggles, Infidelity if I got into my sisters story, chronic illness if I went into all of my back story (Ulcerative Colitis), Depression, Anxiety, Postpartum Depression, Family Relationships, Pediatric Illness and it could go on and on. So I just choose to categorize it as “Things That Are Bullshit.”

So my Band friends, this is a small piece of the fucked up-person that is me.

I’m in a full scale “life sucks” moment now and just hope eventually maybe I can shit rainbows and see unicorns again. Maybe after I kick this damn strep throat that I have right now. School cooties.