No wonder why I have trouble finding Hallmark Cards for the family

This is a post that was born out of a conversation on one of my posts recently. It’s talking about the relationships with not just my mother, but my sisters.

An astute commenter asked me a question.

Do you think that some of the drama with your mom and sisters stemmed from competition? I can’t imagine there being three daughters vs. my mom.

Actually, in my family, there were a total of 4 girls, three of whom were conceived with my with biological dad, then one more (and a brother) conceived with my step-dad. I’ve contemplated the family dynamics in our home for many, many years (even without the help of formal therapy or psychology courses or self-help books; some of my education on such matters came from wise friends – some who were wise way beyond their young years).

Yes, a lot of our problems did stem from a lot of competition. The two most competitive children were my oldest sister and my youngest sister. Oldest sister was the prettiest, most popular, in gymnastics and the swim team, and flaky as dandruff, but extremely nasty, mostly to me. She terrorized me any time she could.

I could tell you the story when I was 11 and she was 13 she told me my mom was going to send me to a mental institution, where they would give me 21 shots because I was crazy. I could tell you how many times she told me I was “fat (but looking at my childhood pictures, I was solidly built, but not fat), ugly, stupid, four-eyes, bi-polar, I’ll never be normal or have friends”. Whenever she could, she got a dig in.

She was physically vicious when my mom was working. One time, when I got a 4 x 2 inch second degree burn on my forearm from an iron…she hit me right on the burn and half of it tore off. It hurt like hell. It bled and had then of course, formed a 2 inch square scab that lingered for weeks. Another time, she hit me in the back of the head while I was drinking milk at dinner time because she was mad at me. Another time, she chased me with a big kitchen knife, around the house, out the patio door. I ran to my bedroom window, opened up the screen and climbed in and she followed, knocking over a treasured figurine of mine. I honestly don’t know how it ended. I’m not dead and I have no scars, so somehow she must have given up.

When I was 21, and she was 24, during a physical fight, she pulled my hair. I left the house to get away from her and go for a walk. As I walked and rubbed my hurting scalp, I pulled out clumps of my hair…no wonder why it hurt.

I could never figure out why she never got into trouble with such things. It seemed like my mom never believed me when I told her these things happened. For that matter, I never knew why my sister hated me so much. If I was so inferior to her, why did she have to hurt me? Yes, obviously I was her whipping girl for all her problems.

Youngest sister was the sick one…her drama came from multiple illnesses. She’s been in the ER more times than I can count. She was also very nasty, not just to us, but her friends too, some of which who broke off friendships with her because of how mean she could be. But because of her being in “generation Y” she would use e-mail to spread her malicious venom.

Me and the next oldest sister was the most un-dramatic. She was more “live and let live” though. I was always going in to fight everyone else’s battles because I saw people that were hurting each other. I tried to get everyone to act reasonably and use logic, not irrationality. Most times they turned on me. Eventually (just a few years ago) I stopped trying to save everyone. They have to fight their own battles now.

My mom was…is…Catholic. Well, she is in name only. She would drag us to church for 7:30 mass faithfully every Sunday morning (to get it out of the way), and then sometimes she’d step out of church and we wouldn’t get out of the parking lot before she swore.

Her credo…”do as I say, not as I do”.

But as far as my mom goes…it has a lot to do with money/power/control. She likes it, has some of them, but always wanted more. Any time I was in “trouble” she would tell me she’d tell my grandfather and grandmother, telling me they’d 1) die of a heart attack from the shock of how bad I was or 2) write me out of the family.

She succeeded once in having me almost written off. I have lovely letters written from each of my grandparents castigating me, calling me “an ingrate”, and “incorrigible”, and “a disgrace”.

I asked my husband if she thought my mother was intelligent/shrewd. His almost instant response, “She likes to think she is”.

My step-dad had his issues too. He started a fight with my mom when he was drunk and he got physical with her. I pulled him off of her and he pushed me away, then came to his senses and left. On another occasion, he threatened my mom with a knife. I stepped in between him and my mom and faced him down and said, “go head and cut me, I dare you”. He dropped the knife and left. One time he threw a half open beer can at my mother. I was next to my mother, trying to get her to stop fighting with my step-dad and counseling her out of her anger. The beer can hit me in the side of the head, stunning me. He had the audacity to say, “Oh, I’m sorry, Casey, I didn’t mean to hit you, I meant to hit your mother”.

So…yeah…when it comes time to finding Hallmark Cards for my family…I sit in the store trying to find an adequate expression of my tolerance for them. Sometimes I make my own cards and just forget the sentimental expressions.

So tell me friends…does this family stories count as abuse? Sometimes I think it’s just stuff that happened and it happens a lot in families but it doesn’t make it abuse, and it’s all in the past anyhow. Sometimes I think, “no, this was abuse, physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual”.

What do you think, because I honestly don’t know. How bad does it have to get, how many instances of physical expression does it take to count as “physical abuse”?

I want to believe my family wasn’t that bad, they weren’t evil…but sometimes I wonder.

This family garbage, by the way, should have been left behind when I went to university. Only it hadn’t. I wasn’t allowed to live on campus. The deal was that I had to commute to the elite Snooty U while living at home to deal with the family I had. I saw a horrible vision into my future had I gone that route…with me struggling in my coursework, having to come home to deal with the sociopathic behavior of my dysfunctional family and me giving up at some point and hanging myself like one lost soul did at that university I was going to attend.

I’m not bitter about that, even if I do get melancholy for what could have been. Not one bit. Even when my brother got not only a free ride to elite Snooty U AND got to live on campus IN THE FOOTBALL FRAT HOUSE 10 years after I should have matriculated (yeah…guess who was the golden child…yeah, I get that it was because he was a boy…I’m totally okay with that, honest I am…no penis envy here). I saw turning down the opportunity of a lifetime because I wasn’t a gambling kind of woman. My life and my sanity was at stake and the odds were stacked against me. I knew that then.

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15 Responses to No wonder why I have trouble finding Hallmark Cards for the family

  1. HeatherB says:

    Oh Casey….. 🙂

    Her credo…”do as I say, not as I do”.–I just had to laugh. I can still here those words coming out of my mother’s mouth….for the hundredth time!

    And about the greeting cards….seriously, every time I look for a mother’s day card, I’m trying to find one that doesn’t say too much. Just enough to be honest. It’s hard.

    Your mom sounds like a perfect cross between my mom and gramma. We are all enmeshed so deeply that both of them are mother figures to me, my gramma even moreso than my mom in some ways. She also told me I was fat when I was just developing in my preteen years. Now I’ve got severe food and body image issues that I just can’t shake. How can you leave this stuff in the past when we still carry it as baggage? And if your people are like mine, they aren’t carrying any of it. They don’t remember what they did to me. So, I carry their baggage along with mine. It gets heavy.

    I always thought I wanted to have a sister. Someone to be on my side and deal with mom with me. But I can see from your story that adding more estrogen to the mix could have made things even more volatile. I am so impressed by how bold you were and seem to still be. My mom had me cowering in the corner and I would neve dare to stand up for myself or her. Children were meant to be seen and not heard after all!

    Blessings,
    Heather

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Heather…

    What I failed to mention was that while I put up a brave front in front of them, I would occasionally lie on my bedroom floor, in the fetal position, crying my heart out, and wanting to die. I came dangerously close to killing myself when I was 18.

    There would be times when I believed the accusations that I was crazy and bi-polar and “in need of professional help”.

    How did I manage to leave that in the past? From having trusted friends who were wise beyond their years who could straighten me out and tell me I was not the messed up one, and for giving me a life-line.

    I could not do this alone.

    I wrote two stories on how this happened, that I wrote earlier this year.

    On Friendships

    What would you do?

    I became brave because someone believed in me. I started believing what those voices of rationality said about me…that I was worth fighting for.

    And now…because I’m having these conversations with you and others, that are very, very enlightening to me and supportive and are helping me to put them really in their place.

  3. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Heather,

    Do you have anyone who believes that you are worth fighting for?

    You need that…a cheerleader to say…you CAN do this. You are stronger than you think you are.

    My friend, because you are trying to make sense of all of this, I know you are stronger than you think you are. It takes a very strong person to look at these deeply complicated family issues and be willing to go “back there” to where it all began.

  4. HeatherB says:

    Casey,
    I read this message at just the right time! I had just had an argument with my husband, and I was feeling really crushed. My husband does not understand why I feel everything so deeply. I can’t help it. I experienced a disappointment and I just needed to talk about it, but he doesn’t get it. He loves that I feel great joy, but does not want to deal with my lowest of lows. And after that discussion left me in tears, I read your message. What I realized is that my husband believes that I’m worth fighting for. Through all my emotional ups and downs over the past 9 years, I know he will never leave. So, he is the one. And I needed to remember that. We’re not really in a good place in our marriage right now, but he is the person who tells me that I can do anything, I am beautiful, I am a child of God. I am a lot stronger now than I was in my parents’ house. I really blossomed into my own person after leaving there. That was also when I came to know God. God is also the one who says that I AM WORTH IT! If the God of the universe calls me his daughter, then what do I care what my family says? That was incredibly comforting. My lingering troubles have more to do with not feeling like I have anything worthwhile to say. Why would anyone want to hear me? I didn’t finish college, so I feel like I have nothing that makes me credible in speaking to people about the things I’m passionate about. Even though I have done extensive reading on anything and everything that piques my interest! It also has to do with my passions and ideas being “alternative” to the norm, so I am afraid of the criticism that comes from being different than most people. I know all of this comes from my “mothers.” I just need to get them out of my head!

    Have a happy day Casey! Can’t wait for your next installment. 🙂

    Heather

  5. raisingsmartgirls says:

    [Note: Click on Green Bolded words for other links]

    Interesting that you should have a heavy discussion with your husband last night. So did I and it was very similar, and it could have resulted in a lot of hurt feelings, misunderstanding and angry, frustrated words…but the realization that while my husband will never quite know what the internal landscape of my mind feels like, he is my safe harbor in trouble waters. He has a calming effect on me when I get too intense, even for me.

    I know of 2 adults (one male and one female) who never went to college. One was making $50,000 at a bank who started off as a bank teller. Another one is now making $80,000 as a commercial insurance broker, after working his way up and learning something no one else did. My point? Over time, with “slow and steady wins the race” and consistent focused effort, they got to where they were “successful”.

    As I’m thinking of my “skill set”, I think of a few things: the things I’m good at, the things I know/enjoy studying, and the skills I love to use. I look back at the past, and see what skills get used most often, and I realize they do get used most often because they give me the most “bliss”.

    I’m starting to organize my thoughts regarding those skills in the Master To-Do (Career) list . There’s a few resources there to read up about developing your talent.

    But…you and I both know there is those external messages we’ve gotten from our mothers and grandmothers (and in my case, my sisters too) that cloud our judgments about ourselves, and gave us lies about who we really are. Our self-concept is a mixture of truth and lies…but the lies are so convincing that we have adopted them as truth.

    I spent a lot of time with really trustworthy friends and parents of friends, teachers, and my high school guidance counselor and a few therapists I saw for a brief time who helped me re-write my self-concept. I literally had to ask them: “Am I really as my family paints me out to be?” “Am I as bad and crazy as they are saying?” I had NO idea how to tell the truth from the lies until I asked others outside the family.

    The responses I got were astounding. They all told me, “Casey, you are one of the most level-headed teenagers I know”. Even the professionals I talked with, who were trained to look at family dynamics, basically said to me, “you have more insight about your family dynamics than I could teach you”. Which is why therapy was usually only short term, just long enough where I felt heard and validated for my perceptions.

    I had to decide who I was going to believe, the opinions of my dysfunctional family, or the opinions of about 20 other people who saw me in a COMPLETELY different light.

    And you can bet, that my family absolutely did NOT want me speaking to people outside the family about the family’s dirty laundry. Because you know why? Then I’d know the truth about myself. That’s why my mother didn’t want me having boyfriends, or going “far” away to college. I would not be able to be controlled by their “brainwashing” techniques. And, I hate to be melodramatic, but that’s what it was. It was gas-lighting crazy-making at it’s best.

    You have to decide who you are going to believe – those who you know are trapped in dysfunction, or others who know you out of the context of your family.

    I don’t know you, but I know I would like you if I could meet you. I know I’d like to be your friend and go out for some coffee (or tea or hot chocolate or whatever you drink) and chat about the things we care about.

    That “feeling so deeply” is a gifted trait to be cherished. It’s the emotional and sensual overexcitability that is not a curse, but a blessing. It is your ace in the hole. It is the stuff of poets and musicians, and writers and artists and Renaissance men like DaVinci and mathematicians (have you read Lockhart’s Lament?) who engage the right brains as well as the left brains.

    Those extreme highs and lows? I wouldn’t want to live life without them. I know the lows are nothing to be afraid of…that I will ride them out and with a little self-care, they will pass. The highs are extremely wonderful…reminding me what I love about life – nature and my husband and my children, and contemplating how much good can I bring to others if I share my perspective.

    Both traits are what God gave you. And this is why,

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11 (NIV)

    Here…think about the good you’ve done for me by sharing your perspective and your story? You cared enough about me (even without knowing me for real) to engage in a conversation with me about some really, deeply personal and painful stuff.

    I have a small suggestion. If you already haven’t started a blog or a journal…give it a try. You have started the journey to finding your inner wisdom. Journaling will help you keep discovering the good stuff about yourself as well as help you cast off the unhelpful.

    Our “negative stuff” that comes out is overwhelming to those we love at times. But we need to give expression to it – either in spoken words or in written words. We need to get it out of ourselves to help release it.

    I’ve heard about “re-writing the internal tapes” of our self-concept that others decided for us. It’s time to make lists of our positive attributes.

    When I worked in forensics (an incredibly stressful and emotionally taxing job) I had to create a “good stuff about me” file in my work drawer – something I could pull out when I was feeling crappy and overwhelmed.

    About 6 months ago, I realized I needed one for me now, because I don’t have work, or many friends (because they are busy with life) to remind me how special I am.

    I have a box filled with things that make me feel good about myself – letters and emails from friends who I love, my 8th grade science fair project report, writings of mine (some good, some not so good but I like to think what my younger self thought about).

    Don’t have a lot of stuff like that? Print out my comments on pretty paper if you can (don’t have printer? I’ll send them to you on pretty paper that you can have for yourself).

    I had an alternative thinking, wholistic, spiritual, massage therapist friend who specialized in Eastern methods (using incense and chakra-clearing and meditative methods during her massage sessions). The best thing I loved about her (besides her quirkiness) was the fact that she wrote affirmations to herself with pretty handwriting and decorated with handmade designs. I have a few of them.

    She frequently left them around her home, up on her mirrors, up on her dresser, hanging on walls and doors.

    What was she doing? Re-writing her internal tapes.

    I have never forgotten this favorite quote from my friend Dave when I was 17.

    To thine own self be true ~ William Shakespeare.

    When I looked up the context of this quote:

    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    ~ William Shakespeare

    I’d add to that “Thou cans’t be false to any man or woman (not even yourself).

    What a very strong impression a simple statement has made on my life. I hope it becomes one of those new internal messages.

    Soon I’m going to look into something called Transactional Analysis when dealing with difficult/abusive people. There are simple phrasing to politely “shut others down” and disengage from the fighting. I’ve already shared with another friend from an abusive family and he’s agreed with me that it is a very sound approach.

  6. HeatherB says:

    Wow. So many wows there! The fact that you take the time to write such a reply says so much about you. I haven’t had and do not have now, people who will take the time like that. I suppose most people just aren’t interested in much below the surface. I have had a very few close friends in my life who are willing to talk and think as deeply as I need to. I am so uninterested in surface friendships. I have many of those now since we moved 500 miles from my hometown, and I do appreciate those women. I appreciate having playdates and coffee and a babysitter if I need one. But, man do I long for a friend who is interested in more than the weather! The friends like that I’ve had ended up moving states away and we’ve become email friends because we are so caught up in our own lives.

    For perspective, when I see that you’ve written such a long reply, I feel so valued. But when I reply to you, I feel like, “I must keep it short, she certainly doesn’t want to spend too much time reading this.” I hate that my internal tapes are playing that message. I think I’ve just had too many people in my life that did not spend time with me. And I’m sure those messagse are even keeping me from making good friends in real life.

    I’m so happy that you affirmed me in my thoughts about my argument with my husband last night. I actually emailed him late in the night because my little one was keeping me up after my husband was in bed. I knew that I needed to write down my thoughts, because I have a hard time speaking without crying when I’m upset! So, I wrote him all about how I feel things so deeply in both directions and that he has to take the bad with the good. And that I need him to be the safe place for ALL of my feelings. My husband is very much a “power of positive thinking” kind of guy. And I really agree with alot of that, but sometimes, I’m just SAD. He said I was having a pity party because I wasn’t getting my way. So in my email to my husband (how poetic!) I told him he had to take all of my feelings or I would shut down completely. I am sure I will stop feeling altogether if I am not allowed to express my negative feelings. I could no longer be the wife who pretends to be happy all the time and stuffs my hurts to protect his ego. I haven’t seen him today yet, but I hope he took it well. 🙂

    I would love to know if you have thoughts on giftedness and if it can be hindered. I know that alot of gifted kids are just so far out there that nothing is going to stop them. But I believe that my two boys are moderately gifted and I know there is a genetic link. I remember my mom telling me that I was reading at 3. My mom has almost no memories of my childhood to share with me, but there are a few things that I remember, and that is one of them! Growing up, I was pretty much left to raise myself. I had people who would take me to activities sometimes, but as far as learning and homework, I was on my own. I don’t believe my mother ever read me a book. If I needed help with homework, she offered “look it up in the dictionary.” I know that I had poor comprehension scores which made reading frustrating for me, but I was in accelerated math classes in junior high. When my high school math teacher recommended I start calculus, I retreated in fear. When I went to my first therapist at age 19, I asked her she thought I was learning disabled or crazy. She said no, that if anything, she thought I had above average IQ. And now that I’ve “come into my own,” I feel like I’m very bright, but there is a wall between me and my potential. I love art, but I can’t draw for fear of failure, I love to read but have little comprehension, I love to sing but have terrible anxiety about singing in front of people. I still do math problems in my head just because I’m bored. An then I read about the emotional depth of gifted people and it SO describes me! So, here I am left thinking that maybe I had the potential that I see in my boys and maybe no one noticed, took the time or even inspired me to try. And now I’m just stuck. I watched the video in your new post and it intrigues me, I think I’ll go look into it a bit. I don’t even know what difference it makes now, except that I would like to get unstuck! There are many careers that I can see myself loving, but college just doesn’t work for me. The lack of comprehension makes studying impossible. And I just can’t get into all of the subjects outside of my areas of interest.

    I know that experiences are relative, but I look at you and all that you’ve accomplished, and I think WOW, you have had success academically and professionally, and now your a SAHM! You can do it all lady! You have proven yourself in the past, you are proving yourself in the present, and there’s no doubt that there is more out there for you in the future!

    I must be making progress…look how long this reply is! 🙂

    Thanks for all of the little nuggets of inspiration. I am really going to try to soak those in.

    Heather

  7. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Heather.

    It’s easy to “talk” to you. I feel, quite honestly, in many ways like you are very much a “kindred” spirit. Besides, in this time in my life…I feel very much that this is what I am meant to do – provide an understanding ear to those who need it. It’s my way of “paying it forward”.

    It was only about a year or so ago that I “fairly” regular get-togethers with other moms of young kids. I went on Fridays to a MOPS group, I had play-dates with the kids preschool friends, I met at the local mall because they had a public free play area for the little kids.

    But it was all superficial. And what was worse, I had been the AP mom in the middle of mainstream parents, and/or Christian Ezzo-ers. Talk about having very little “neutral” topics to talk about. Not that I wasn’t completely socially inept. I actually usually am. But I wasn’t happy about sticking to topics that I didn’t get upset about (discipline was off limits, infant feeding choices, and kindergarten readiness too – because my kids didn’t have any of the same issues other parents worried about because they were ahead of their kids developmentally by a fair bit).

    And then of course, when the kids started going into grade school, I lost some of the “friendships” because the kids all went to different schools.

    Yes, I do believe there is a wall between you and your potential. I do think that you perceived you couldn’t comprehend things.

    I did a quick google search about reading comprehension in adults. I found this:

    http://www.understandmore.com/WhyPeopleHaveProblems.htm

    It’s very interesting. I don’t know if that is you. Do you have problems forming mental images when you read a good story that fascinates you as you read the story?

    Perhaps it’s not that you don’t form images in the first place. Maybe it’s a short term memory problem. Or maybe you just get like me and space out a little bit because something you just read triggered another (or a few other) thought(s) and you realize your eyes tracked along an entire paragraph but your mind wasn’t 100 percent focused on it because you were focusing on the thought process in your head. I do the same thing with conversations with people. I’m basically lost in thought because something someone said triggered another thought. By the time I get back to what people were saying, they’ve moved on to something entirely else.

    It’s not a problem so much with comprehension in the first place as it is a bit of an attention issue. I have such a problem with it at times, I gave it attention on another post of mine.

    Hyperfocused, yet scatterbrained.

    My family used to sarcastically call me an absentminded professor. My mother used to say, “honestly, Casey, if you didn’t have your head screwed on, you’d lose that too” because I was constantly forgetting where I put things. It wasn’t that I wasn’t paying attention on purpose…it just that OTHER things were more important to pay attention to.

    But, like everything else, paying better attention just takes a little effort – and LOTS of reminders (datebooks/planners, timers, watches, calendars) and practice and USING the planners. I’m great at getting planners going, and not using them, much preferring the “fly by the seat of my pants” attitude. Actually, but I really do a disservice to myself by not sticking with the planner I created.

    As far as giftedness goes…I do not doubt that you are gifted (starting calculus in HS – yes, sweetie…that’s a big sign), but you have been failed by your family. I believe that the family trapped you and stopped your emotional development so much that you stopped trusting you could develop your gifts.

    I can tell you, even though my math ability was dead average in high school, I am re-exploring math now with my girls and I’m telling you…I’m having a blast. And I’m ticked that math in my day was so darn boring and now it’s filled with wonderful math manipulatives and games. I think math is fun.

    I have to ask…simply because I can’t remember if you mentioned it or not…are you a member of Gentle Christian Mothers message board or Mothering.com’s message board (there is a HeatherB on there and I don’t know if that is you or not)?

    If you aren’t a member of GCM, you’d quickly find out that,

    Happy is not the only acceptable emotion (yeah, I even wrote a post about that too).

    The more difficult feelings like sadness, frustration and anger are acceptable too, but that’s where a compassion goes a long way. GCM is a very grace-based, gentle parenting, attachment parenting, positive discipline message board who’s purpose is support and encouragement for mothers who want to live as God intended – with grace and compassion and gentleness.

    As far as your husband goes…make sure to reassure him that you are going to be fine if he just sits nearby and lets you express your feelings…that it’s just like the ebb and flow of the tides. Let him know that this is how you process things to get to the other side of them.

    As long as you aren’t hurting anyone in the process of unloading some intense feelings, you need to have a safe place to unload them. But feeling them and needing to express them aren’t wrong.

    As far as unblocking yourself…have you heard of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? She has a pretty amazing 12 week process to help you creatively unblock yourself. It starts with The Morning Pages:

    “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only”.

    Here’s a pdf file of The Basic Tools to get you started on how it works. Check out your library for the book. The morning pages a very successful way of banishing the critical voices in your head with regards to your creativity. In many ways, it will help not just your creativity, but will probably help restore your faith in yourself.

    Oh, and if you hadn’t figured out by now…I consider you very worth my time, which is why I am doing this.

  8. graceandgranola says:

    I started my BLOG! Ok, I didn’t actually write anything, but I set it up. Now I just need to find the words. Last night, I was sauteeing spinach and garlic while having an internal dialogue about I don’t know what, and then it hit me–THIS is why I need a blog! So, thank you for suggesting it. I am finding that this is turning out to be a really neat time in my life. God is really just putting people in front of me that are edging me along on my journey in finding out who I really am.

    Where to start today….I found your blog through MDC. I’m not sure if it was on one of your posts or if someone else linked to your blog about doing science experiments with the kids. But that’s how I found you! I saw on this blog that you mentioned your daughter with SM, and then I knew exactly who you were from MDC. I am not HeatherB, but heatherb917. I also remember looking at GCM before, but I find myself at MDC all the time, because I am more comfortable with my gentle christian side than I am my NFL side. I am always looking for the NFL perspective on raising kids, nutrition, healing and now the giftedness. I wish your blog had the “quote” tool like on MDC so I could reference all of the “AHA moments” I read in your blog!

    I completely agree with what you said about the superficiality of the moms groups because you can’t talk about anything, really. I am passionate about being a christian mother, pasionate about natural health and nutrition, and somehow those two things conflict in the real world. I really want to find a way to live fully in each of these areas that are so important to me. Add gifted kids and my inner life to the mix, and it is just hard to find a great friend match!

    About comprehension….I mentioned it because as a child I always scored low in that area on standardized tests (like 25%). I actually hated reading as a child, and I don’t know that I ever read an entire book during junior high and high school. I would just skim a bit and see if I could pass the tests! I was a really poor student, and I attribute most of that to not wanting to read. Now as an adult, I really love reading, and I do alot of the things you mentioned like getting stuck on a thought but continue reading the text, and yes, I do that with friends too and I feel terrible about it! I wasn’t really like that before I had kids. I was a much better listener. But now I always have so much going on in my head I can’t focus. But, in general. when I read a book, I love what I’m reading at the time, but most of the concepts leave my brain after I’ve finished the book. I think it’s a short term memory problem. And I also think I’m a more visual learner. I would love to attend an MDC conference with speakers that could SHOW me what they do and I could really soak it up that way. I can form mental images very well, although I don’t read much for pleasure, that is, I don’t read fiction! There is too much out there that I want to learn! Maybe once I’ve learned all there is to know, then I’ll pick up a novel. 🙂

    You mentioned using planners, and I am fantastic at starting those! I actually used to have a great memory for dates, phone numbers and names. But it seems like ever since the kids came along I am really slipping. I don’t know if between sleep deprivation and constant caregiving my mind is just deteriorating, or having the kids really started up these passions I have for raising them well and I’m doing much more thinking about all that goes along with that.

    I am going to go now and spend some time looking at those links you mentioned. Thank you very much!

    Have you heard of the book Professionalizing Motherhood? I have not read it, but a friend of mine loves it, and she is also wrestling with being a SAHM and leaving her profession behind.

    By the way, I would love to sit down and have coffee with you too! I can imagine we could sit and chat for HOURS!

    Blessings!

    Heather

  9. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Yes, kids change an awful lot. I didn’t have attention problems too badly before kids, and I was incredibly focused on my work. I did enjoy what I did and I was really good at the lab work, so my hands were on “auto-pilot” while my mind was free to wander about all kinds of thoughts. Then of course, after I quit my job to raise 2 kids, I got pregnant quickly afterward…then came three years of mommy brain. I was nursing my youngest for 3 years, so I’m sure breastfeeding hormones had a lot to do with it. I believe I started this blog not quite a year later, and have been regaining my ability to be coherent again.

    I’m looking forward to checking out your blog (I took a peek and it looks like like a pretty template). I will love to read it and see what kind of things are on your mind. I will add you to my blog roll to keep you close by.

    Oh, and I just got done reading an article about success in a magazine and interestingly enough, those people who are really successful throughout history do not have a conventional formal education. It’s remarkable that success isn’t dependent on a degree, but rather on being able to use knowledge creatively and know when to turn down opportunities (like formal education) to do something they have a strong desire to do.

    It’s fascinating stuff and it’s going to be the subject of a future post.

    Good luck with the blog and I’m looking forward to reading more of what’s on your mind.

  10. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks for the book rec too by the way. I have to bbl. Good luck with all the reading. I’ll leave you to get on with that. 🙂

  11. Mom Gail says:

    Hi Sweetie,
    I really enjoyed our conversation this afternoon. I am e-mailing you. i feel that there was something unsaid and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I Love you

  12. raisingsmartgirls says:

    I did enjoy our conversation too, Mom Gail.

    I’m looking forward to the email. I love you too.

  13. Mom Gail says:

    Hi Casey,
    I found this at work. It’s very interesting. Sounds like someone we both know. I’ve thought that this fit to a tee. I have quite a few patients that fit this diagnosis. I work in a mental hospital, it’s common. To me, she’s a psychopath, but they are one in the same.

    Profile of the Sociopath:

    Glibness and Superficial Charm

    Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    Incapacity for Love

    Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

    Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

    Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

    Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

    Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

    Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

    Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

    Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Other Related Qualities:

    Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
    Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
    Authoritarian
    Secretive
    Paranoid
    Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
    Conventional appearance
    Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
    Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life
    Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim’s affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
    Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
    Incapable of real human attachment to another
    Unable to feel remorse or guilt
    Extreme narcissism and grandiose
    May state readily that their goal is to rule the world

    (The above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)

    ——————————————————————————–

    NOTE: In the 1830’s this disorder was called “moral insanity.” By 1900 it was changed to “psychopathic personality.” More recently it has been termed antisocial personality disorder. To me, she’s a psychopath. Same difference

  14. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Mom Gail,

    Oh, wow…I’m stunned. And I see her in all of this.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    I will be back later to talk more about it.

  15. Heather says:

    Casey! I just wanted to pop in and tell you that yesterday I sold my laptop…which was totally a blessing, but now I’m relegated to using my husband’s pc when he’s not on it until I replace mine in the next week or so. I’m still reading and loving your blog, just not as much time to thoughtfully reply. I look forward to getting plugged back in, learning from you and starting my own blog!

    Heather

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