Victoria Day

A good day today — our Victoria Day, so a holiday Monday. I don’t get paid for it, but I do get to enjoy it. We have perfect weather for our holiday, maybe a little too warm, but very cheery overall. And I woke up in a fairly good mood. I’ve been getting a lot of rest, and careful to do nothing triggering – no long walks (but lots of shortish ones), no violent movies, nothing too too difficult. And in the end, I am feeling better than I have in a while.

This morning I phoned a friend and we went for a walk down by the lake. If you get there before noon, there is something fresh and magical about the light down there. And all the people are still relaxed, the kids are still happy, things are good. By 2 I was back at home, to read my mystery, waste time, do laundry, and in the end, cook some aspargus and eggs. Aspargus just tastes like spring to me. And I simmered it in my large wide pan, instead of zapping in the microwave, which makes it taste better I think. Add a little butter and lemon…ah…..

Shall I do a complete update on my life? Perhaps

Work is slightly better. I have a project, and am not ignored quite so much. The key is interacting with a few people outside of my immediate team. If that goes well, my teammates start treating me a bit better. Yes, I am left out when the women organize a special lunch trip to the gluten-free bakery. Nor am I asked to go along on the little walk after the long meeting. I meet my two teammates outside, as I didn’t know they were there, and I always take a little stroll down the driveway in the afternoon. This particular afternoon I stroll down, and there are my two team-mates, just turning at the end of the drive. The man has the grace to blush when he sees me, but I don’t care. I make a joke that they’re trespassing on ‘my driveway’ and walk on by them.

I no longer try and be included. I just listen to my music, talk a bit to others, and let them be.

On the home front, things have been stormy. I live in an unusual situation, as my landlord is my ex husband. When we split, he split our house into two self-contained apartments (he’s an architect). This was a bad idea, but at the time, it seemed OK. It made sharing childcare easier, and as I had no work at that time, it was OK for me not to pay rent right at first.

Now I pay rent, but reduced from the market rate. It kind of works out, but sometimes not. Now is a ‘not’ kind of a time.

I don’t get on with my son, who is now 21. Though we get along much better by phone now than we did living together. My son is a bully. He picked sides, and he picked his dad’s side, and blames me for everything. So he was basically a nightmare to live with for me. He is bigger than I am, and can push me around. Not that he physically does that, though once he veered in that direction.

Anyway, he hasn’t found a job for the summer (he goes to uni in a different city), so now wishes to move back with his dad and work for his dad on renovations, getting paid of course. Because our apartments are in the same house, he tends to live in mine, and just go to his dad’s to sleep. I clean up you see, and his dad, not so much. Also, I tend to have food here. And he prefers my couch and computer.

He tends to be up all night and sleep during the day. So he ends up waking me (I wake up at the slightest noise).

I don’t want him here.

After much anger and back and forth, we’ve reached the compromise that he will stay at my parents’ house and my ex will pick him up and bring him to the house each day. I wonder how long that will last.

I know I should not be living here. But I’ve had such financial struggles. And if I keep earning as at present, I may be able to save enough to buy something of my own in a year or so – a small condo perhaps.

I had no one to help me when we seperated, and I didn’t realize I was entitled to be bought out of the house. If I had, I could have bought something small for myself, and left entirely. Though at that point I would have had to have made room for my son also, so it could not have been that small.

My son has good points – he is a talented artist, he is smart and pretty good looking I think, but then, I’m his mother. But I know I cannot live with him. I see no signs that he’s changed.

Oh dear. Serves me right for not moving on properly. But if I can hang on here for another year, keep this contract, then get another good one, I will be in so much better shape financially.

What to do, what to do….This has just happened in the last few days. I am hoping that somehow someway this arrangement with him staying with his grandparents will work out. I can find another apartment, but that would take a few weeks.

I get incredibly stressed when my boundaries are not respected. And my son does not respect boundaries. He’s never followed rules, he doesn’t understand that sometimes I simply cannot deal, but must have time alone. Similar to his dad in many ways, but his dad is a grown-up, and my son remains a child.

In other news, I have also begun attending a support group called Emotions Anonymous. It follow the twelve steps, similar to AA. About a third of the time is spent on reading about a particular step, then people can ‘share’ if they wish. People talk, are listened to, and silently accepted, but what they say is never responded to. Anyway, so far I’ve gone once, but I quite liked it. I like that there’s a program for getting better – the clear aim is to get better, which is not the case with all support groups. Some are simply maintenance, keeping people on an even keel it seems.

I immediately bought and read their ‘blue book’ and I’m going to keep going for a while anyway.

Oh, and I thought I’d add a note as to my ‘label’ or diagnosis, or whatever, of PTSD. I have PTSD stemming from sexual abuse that occured when I was a very young child, from which I have flashbacks and a lot of trouble sleeping. The abuser was a family relative.

I’m not working on this at present, as other issues are at the fore. But I just thought, anyone following my story might be wondering why I say I have PTSD. My immediate family didn’t cause it – though they didn’t help either.

So I went from a sunny day to some not-so-great stuff. But the odd thing is, I’m not feeling too too bad about all this at present. My symptoms are not bothering me, and  I seen to have a reservoir of cheer to draw on for the present.

I do not know what the next days will bring, so I’ll enjoy today. One of the EA maxims – giving up control of what we cannot control and finding tiny bits of peace and enjoyment.

  1. Paula said:

    I have been to EA here in Europe for a while till I went into trauma therapy. The flasbacks you are having are often treated with EMDR. I dont know if u have health insurance yet I know having EMDR helps often quickly to rid you of flashbacks. Moving on from there is then easier with therapy or EA etc. On top at amazon there is a great "PTSD workbook".I am so sorry for the situation it must be draining right now, yet I am so proud of you. Very proud. You kept your boundaries when it comes to your son. Yes you are his mother but that doesnt mean he is allowed to violate your boundaries and he is 21. We are all sometimes frustrated when we dont get what we want – such is life, yet it doesnt allow him to violate your boundaries and that is a way for him as well of growing up and maturing however much he will be pouting šŸ˜‰ It means as well that you stop enabling him to behave this way.Well done, you have matured in pain (as we all do, in pain I mean)when it comes to your situation in your office. You accept where you are welcome and feel better. You go out alone and that means you stand up to yourself and others, showing that you are not needy.Your living situation is a bit unusual. Please be kind on yourself. Whatever happened during the time of divorce is what happened. Now you know better and are ready to adjust and move on. It is quite common that we see mistakes or not so good decisions in retrospective only, That is what the retrospective is for šŸ˜‰ In my eyes you show lot of awareness, insights, will power and determination; and already harvest small successes like at work and settling situation with son. You truly can be proud of yourself! Love from my heart to yours.

  2. diver said:

    Hi Ellen. What a great post, such fine 'life blogging'. Thanks for sharing that 'life update' :)I've got a 20.5 yearold. I read somewhere that the main 'developmental' issues around 21 are about severing material and psychic links to mum and dad; and that parents are usually doing their kids a favor encouraging (or pushing) them out and into a more independent lifestyle at this time. It's good for their psychological health, apparently. So hey, perhaps the move has advantages for you all? Those household circumstances of yours … I dunno, I probably lack the facts here … but 'cut-price rent' for you hardly seems like a fair property settlement to me. Not that I know anything about Canadian Family Law … I've often wondered about your diagnosis and to see it spelled out like you did, well, thankyou Ellen, it sure helps one understand you better, for example the stress you feel when your boundaries are not respected. How intense it must be for you!Glad to hear about your reservoir of cheer – I do hope that pond is a deep one šŸ™‚

  3. gniz said:

    Great work Ellen, keep it up. Remember, things can and may get tough again but enjoy the good times and remember that the tough times will pass as well.You're reaping the rewards of all your hard work! Kudos!

  4. Em said:

    hi ellenlove the picture. im glad you had a good day, doing things that would bring peace. the group you attend sounds good, keep going to make improvements in your life is only a good thing. sa can certainly alter ones life and bring lifelong probs, finding the answers to overcome these ingrained emotions needs working on and you certainly are moving forward. xxxxxx

  5. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,I don't know if that is a photo from the lake but if it is then it looks very peaceful down there. Well the way you describe it too it sounds like a nice tranquil spot to spend some time.Your relationship with your son sounds very much like the one between my mum and my brother. She gets very unsettled when he stays for any period of time. In her case I think she though she was finally free of him when he ran away at 15 but every time she gets settled he appears again leaving a mess in his wake and she spends her time tidying after him.It sounds like you are handling working life a lot better. As someone looking from a far it appears to me the best solution. If people are not willing to bend a bit then there has to come a time when you stop trying to connect for your own well being. Its not nice being iscolated but its a little better than being shunned by a clique continually who are obviously not worth the effort.I do hope your circumstances change some time in the future. One thing is for sure and that is that you do not lack the effort, determination and focus when it comes to dealing with your home life, working environment and PTSD. If there is a way to change these things then I know from reading your blogs that you are one of these people who will find that way and do it.All the bestNechtan

  6. Ellen said:

    Thank you dear commenters. Sorry for the delay in responding.@Paula – I've actually tried EMDR twice, and it's always made me worse. Maybe I didn't stick with it long enough, but I think it is not good for me. Glad it helped you. I may look for the workbook, thx.Thanks so much for your kind comments about my situation. It is a stupid situation, but you're right, I had better not beat myself up about it. Life is just difficult. My son is not here yet, so we'll see. Hugs@ diver – glad you liked it! Interesting that you also have the same aged child – you could be very right about the develpmental stage. You're quite right about the settlement. My ex did own the house before I moved in, though of course was paying off the mortgage during our marriage. And I didn't work, though I did take care of his child and him for ten years…So I didn't contribute directly to the mortgage. So it's not black and white, but still, I would have been entitled to something. Water under the bridge – this was years ago. Yeah, it occured to me that I've never explained myself, and it's painful to discuss, but still, I want to tell the right story about how I came to have PTSD. Cheers@gniz – thanks gniz@Em – Glad you like the pic! Toronto can be beautiful at times. Yes, I'll stick with the group for a bit I think. Thanks Em and hope you're doing well.@Nechtan – Yes, it's from Lake Ontario. It is a nice spot, though it gets a lot of traffic as the day goes on on holidays…Interesting about your brother – I smiled when I read that. I think my son is kind of like that – both angry and rebellious, and asking to be cared for and 'picked up after'. I appreciate the vote of confidence Nechtan. šŸ™‚ Hope you're doing well.

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