PTSD from parenting abused children

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Here is what happened this week and why I think the crazy lady took over my body:

1) After approving Skippy for disability benefits, Social Security is stalling again. So I thought we had a break financially, but we really didn’t. There is no end in sight for our financial struggle. On top of that we were informed by the welfare liaison that we might be investigated for fraud. While our attorney explained his speculation was unsubstantiated, that fear of being watched and judged has lingered.

2) The apartment complex took down the playground with no notice, claiming the equipment was too costly to maintain. When I tried to politely inform them that we regretted the loss, the office lady commenced in arguing with me, telling me no one used the equipment and there were plenty of parks in the area. I told her my kids used it and couldn’t be expected to walk a few miles in traffic to go to a play park. When I got home, Skippy was in tears and for days bemoaned the loss. So again, someone exerting power over me, and I have to live with the consequences without a say so.

3) I watched a woman pull out in the middle of traffic in a red light over the train tracks. If it wasn’t for Boe honking his horn to alert oncoming traffic, she would have been T-boned right in front of us…and with our luck a train would have hit her. Visions of trying to resuscitate her flooded in my mind.

3) My ex-foster daughter decided to go on the attack and cussed me out. I still don’t quite understand why. She said that I said things to Fred against her (which I didn’t). I had these visions of her and Fred sitting around griping about what an awful parent I was…laughing at how crazy I am. Mind you, I have always been kind to this girl. I took care of her for a year until she turned 18 and ran off to live with her boyfriend to live in a tent…in Fairbanks, Alaska, (though we told her she could stay with is as long as she needed). When she left, she completely burned us with the mental health agency we had worked with (not terribly uncommon for emotionally disturbed kids, they make many accusations, some deliberately, some simply due to hypervigilance). For whatever reason and even though the agency could not substantiate any of her accusations, they chose to drop us as therapeutic foster parents. We sold our house and left choosing to find another way. Eventually this girl contacted us again, and I’ve maintained a guarded long-distance relationship with her. But I’m not sure I can keep that up when she turns on me like this with no warning. I know it isn’t fair to her, and that it isn’t her fault she is like this. But I’m too wounded myself to help her right now.

4) Fred introduced me to a new girlfriend, then promptly lost her, it breaks my heart every time this happens. He loves so intensely. He also dropped his ice cream at the store, swore, and got reprimanded by some old lady. While amaranths he handled it brilliantly Instant panic hit when I heard this seemingly unimportant event. I wasn’t there to buy him another ice-cream cone.

4) I am working on a portrait of a blond beautiful little boy. The son of a successful attorney and chiropractor, his family is happy and active in my former church. He and his siblings have everything my children don’t. Health, faith, money, security, emotionally stable parents. With the help of his parents this kiddo will go places. He and his siblings look too much like I did at his age. I’ve had to have several therapy sessions just to be able to complete this portrait of him. But. I. Did it!! While it will not hang in the Smithsonian, I feel it’s a beautiful portrait, displaying the depth of the soul beneath the perfect face. Except….the kiddo’s aunt told me publicly on facebook that she didn’t even recognize him. On top of that, I have not heard from his parents and am starting to wonder if all this emotional effort will be for nothing.

5) We had a scare with Tory when he reported an ear infection that has been lingering. He waited until he was in a lot of pain to tell us, I was sure that we had once again caused physical damage by not being a observant enough of our child.

6) I’m having nightmares EVERY NIGHT. All of them have Andrew (Fairbanks) in them as still part of our family, my love for him taunts me, condemns me. I want to erase him out of my life. But he returns, over and over. The me in my dreams still doesn’t know what he is doing to my children. She is still trying to make him happy, still trying to be his mother. But there is this feeling of doom regarding it all…this feeling of something is wrong…and I keep looking and looking for it and can’t find it…I have separated him from the other kids, but I can’t get rid of him, and I feel guilty for wanting to. The floor to his room is cracking, broken, slivers of wood jutting up everywhere…I can’t repair it. It breaks faster than my repairs. Boe says it’s because my repairs aren’t sound. I don’t know how to fix a floor properly, So I hide with the children in the other room. But that floor is starting to crack too.

7) I got this weird obsession with reading about lobotomies (yes, I said it was weird). I spent hours reading up on it. If I had lived during their height of popularity…I’m sure I would have gotten one. It’s what they did with the mentally ill. Not just the super complicated cases, things as simple as depression! Your husband could decide that you are slacking in your wifely duties and send you to get a lobotomy!!! I don’t cook. I would have gotten one for sure,

8) My monthly cycle started. I could feel the hormone drop and all rationality escape. And the pain…it’s constant. I’ve been trying to get this under control but every medical intervention has only made it worse.

9) Last night I watched Cold Case. Of course the particular episodes had to do with a wounded soldier from Vietnam, a mother whose affair leads to the death of her child, killed at the hand of her son. an episode where a character loses his girlfriend to suicide, and another character throws her train-wreck of a sister out on the streets because she can’t get well fast enough, Sigh…too close to home.

10) Boe has been more communicative with his mother lately. His mother has always felt I was crazy, prone to exaggerate and embellish. She has expressed her displeasure with me (and Boe) repeatedly. We don’t live up to her expectations. But Boe has always been devoted to her…as he should be. She does not recognize what an amazing son she has.

11…the last straw) Inspite of Skippy’s enormous and unexpected success at the talent show, he goes through inconsolable depressive episodes. I feel like I’m stuck in a repeating loop. Fred was like this too. When we found out about the tumor I thought maybe the tumor caused his wild swings, now Skippy is exhibiting the same behaviors. He doesn’t have a tumor, Mental illness seems to run deep in my family. He came home this morning screaming at the top of his lungs that he can’t stand the f-ing bullying. (I detest vulgar language and have taught my kids NOT to use it). Instead of thinking, I panicked. I ran outside barefoot and hardly dressed and started yelling at the kids playing, demanding to know what they did to my son to upset him so much. To my horror, I realized they were all considerably younger than Skippy. They were playing nicely. One of their dads came out and politely explained Skippy was asked to leave because he was using bad language. I burst into tears, realizing the crazy lady had taken over. I turned around and ran home.

So what do these events tell me? I guess the crazy lady isn’t so unpredictable after all. She takes over when the real me is feeling under attack and helpless. It isn’t just the triggers or just the hormone imbalance. She is PTSD, the soldier stuck In battle…seeing threats everywhere. She is the adult that didn’t protect me as a child, the mother who over-reacted when I made human mistakes. She is my personal bodyguard that makes sure no one can get too close, because no one is safe, everyone is suspect.

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