"Success...

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." - Orison Swett Marden

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Moving Forward As A Mother Destroyed ...What About My Children?"

This was initially written on February 25, 2015 as a 'piece of expression', or journal entry. Today I have expounded and concluded it. It is in braving strong fears that I come forward with some of the content I am revealing...

I didn't want to face the day this morning. Overcoming that dread is more often a challenge than I'd like to admit. I dragged myself out of bed, well, the sofa this morning, because I didn't even have the motivation to get up and go TO bed last night. And then I sort of meandered a tad before I determined to make something to eat and get coffee. When I made the decisions to take action on those, I took control to start my day, rather than remain on the sofa, mostly sleeping and then too feeling hopeless and defeated.

Instead I'm here writing. A skill I am fairly good at. Not stellar. I'm also decent at teaching something I've learned or taught myself. And above-average-good at persuasion. This made me a very good salesperson. However I cannot seek my best interest at the expense of another's, because of conscientiousness, empathy and compassion. This would be integrity -"selling ice to an Eskimo" would not be a job that I could ethically do. Having a purpose, or the lack-thereof, is largely the issue with dragging myself out of bed in the morning.

Last night I was in angst to join my friend Diana. Diana took her life a little more than a year ago. She suffered from a particular type of mental illness that plagued her with incessant and persistent fears and doubts surrounding concepts she had little control over in this mental environment. No amount of internal work to build a life would have done the trick for her, it was external circumstances she had no control of or way to overcome. These prevented her from obtaining the best and most efficient or effective treatment. Constant mental suffering composed her life. There was no overcoming these barriers to treatment and healing. May be had the external factors been available to her, achievable for her, she could have succeeded in healing her mental health / illness. She had multiple times in her life previously made every effort and attempt to do so, with no lasting change and results. She truly did all that she could do and brought an end and peace to her life, with the absolute last resort.

My ex-significant-other pleaded with me to consider my children in this scenario. I brought up the gloomy reality; how can my children give a shit about me, they don't give a shit about themselves? I can't lead them TO water, let alone of course, make them drink. This is because, while it's severe to say, the situation is such that the challenges my children face, I can be of no help to them, and likely will never be able to be a source of help to them. Even in the few cases where my children might entertain the idea that something they're doing requires change (as it's the origin of a particular difficulty in their life), they are satisfied believing change is as achievable as making it a statement. To promise the change, at the begging, pleading, or all around grief of themselves or those that love the individual, would be making what is called a 'false promise'.

This means the same thinking which created a problem won't solve it. Even when an individual wants to stop the grief and misery, their best intentions aren't enough. If they are honest about the mess that surrounds their life, then it's required that they too be honest about the thinking and behaviors that made it that way. The want for change, the hope for change will likely never be enough. It becomes necessary to treat the thinking errors and distorted perceptions which from out of, he / she is creating their life. Without treating and changing those, 'installing' a better, functional, operating program, it's like running glitchy virus-tainted software. Until you REMOVE and REPLACE those cognitive and perceptual distortions, the promise to stop or change is called a 'False Promise' for regardless of well meaning intentions, without the tools and skill sets to follow through, almost eminently change will be unsuccessful.





Every last person that struggles with and suffers from maladaptive thinking errors and distorted perceptions had elements of 'predisposing factors'. These are dysfunctional events or circumstances that began early in life and continued - they are part of what created the patterns of behaviors. Divorced parents, abuse, unhealthy relationships, the list can be detailed and lengthy. Identifying these helps to reveal the 'map' that an individual traveled, that took them to where they're at now. Without understanding how they arrived at their destination, they're likely to be inept and unable to change the course of that destination.



Tools and skill sets. These are essentially the 'new software' to start running. Implementing them is like 'installing' that software. "If you always do what you've always done, then you're going to get what you've always gotten". That might sound stupidly obvious. And yet, insanely, this is how one keeps themself stuck in the repetition of maladaptive behaviors. Without change that is. You've got to learn / know what to do and how to do it in order to bring that change, and of course, stick with it. That's what you learn, the 'tools and skill sets' to apply, so that once you've identified and understand the patterns of thinking and behaviors that kept you in a destructive cycle, you develop healthy thinking and ways with which to run your life.



My children were introduced to drugs by their father when they were nine and eleven years of age. Just before that time he chose to have me put in prison, under the guise that I was to be held accountable for my past wrong-doing. A viable crime as the law is written, had been committed by me eleven years prior, of which he was a victim. To what degree and how he was victimized he extensively confabulated. And the end result of having me do prison time - removing me from parenting my children, was not because, I was treacherously perpetrating atrocities, requiring to be stopped. What it was about becomes more and more evident as the long and twisted truth is dug up and exposed. One discovers I am not the only wrong-doer, just the only one taking responsibility. That willingness combined with this family's narcissistic dynamics, positioned me ideally for a scapegoat.



Discrediting and eliminating me was a necessary part to achieving his goals. I would need to be a monster (that very label has been stamped on me, labels are for identifying contents, I am not an article or container). I would need to pay him child-support. His power and control along with everything that was already to his advantage, was misused. Including his not just bending the truth, but out right lying. Clearly not any thought of the children, the impact of such consequences on them, was given any attention. While my children stayed with foster-grandparents during my incarceration, he avoided the heavy and confining responsibilities of raising two young children, of which whose lives up to this point in time he had put little investment in at all. Then, in a matter of a few weeks before I was to return home from serving my two year sentence, he filed an 'emergency custody order' to take the children from me, making him the sole custodial parent. Co-habitating with his father, he was permitted to live freely of the responsibility of living expenses, in exchange for covering his and the children's expenses in food. And this area as well, the children have suffered his neglect.



As long as the children take care of their 'chores', staying out of trouble, he practices a 'hands off approach'. Not looking to be saddled with inconveniences (responsibilities), in his care the children have been free to roam with little to no parental guidance or supervision; failing grades, getting through schooling by the skin of their teeth, truancy, living at the houses of friends for days and weeks at a time, drug use / addiction, run-ins with law enforcement / criminal behavior, the detriment of consequences runs on. He is both verbally abusive and belligerent as well as physically. He behaves as a menace and a bully (interestingly he prides himself in being an MMA fighter). He refuses to seek counseling or treatment, and despite in the past having being court mandated too, has not obtained counseling for the children.



His bullying has been horribly destructive to my children and me / our family, I validly fear him, for years now. If I speak not of these things / stay silent, -it's like 'tapping out' - he'll let me lay, won't do further punishment. If I speak out -he and his family will continue taking a hostile approach, scapegoating me for the wrong I have stood accountable for, -faulting me for his wrong-doing. The family has a blind allegiance to it's own, it's as simplistic as maintaining they have no fault of which to be culpable. They are bullies in their own right, in this manner I have taken their punishment, 'behaved', sat quiet, at their destruction of my children / me / our family / our lives. Some of the individuals were more involved than other family members at the detriment -but all have contributed by not holding him accountable for what are his own responsibilities, wrong and even illegal behaviors.



My children were not treated respectfully by the men that took over the care for them and away from me. In addition, those men, their father and grandfather, display distinctly traits of narcissism; in their self-perceptions they are wonderful people, doing a wonderful job, trying to do their best when those around them are the problem and the reason why the good things don't materialize (they take no culpability for their actions, as in their perspective they do no wrong -it is always justifiable as due to the fault of others). My children were / are not treated with respect, they are treated as problems. They are not helped to find the strength and confidence in themselves to identify what are their problems, let alone how to approach and overcome them. They're shown by example to not look within, but to find excuses and put blame on people and things. Naturally my children do not see the abuse they need to be protected from. They will protect their abusers: Stockholm Syndrome, they will stand up for and make excuses for their abusers.

This was the third time my eldest has attempted to come live with me. Well, it's not living with me he's seeking, it's when 'push comes to shove' out of the chaos and dysfunction that is present in his residence 'over there'. As well as his life in general where his apathy and drug use exacerbate the very misery he's seeking to avoid. Naturally, though providing him an environment with consistency, guidance, unconditional love (not absent of conditions of rules, boundaries and limitations) and accountability -the long history of dysfunction (predisposing factors) and it's affect on his psychological / mental health, keep him from being able to work within maintained boundaries and expected responsibilities. He adamantly refuses the need for help with drug addiction and abuse and balks at the most basic practices of healthy living / choices. He begins to blame me for anything and everything as 'the problem' (wonder where he learned that from?) and we can't even get to square one.



This leads me to where I began this story.... waking up on the sofa. Yesterday my son had handled something in such a way that I had concern for a 'red flag'. Just before he got out of the car when I was dropping him off at school, he told me not to pick him up, that the wifi in school didn't work well (for him to Voxer me what was going on). He would have someone take him to his dad's where I would pick him up and his mattress that we were getting. He told me he would call me from there. He shut the door and left. I know my son, with drug-use thinking, he will orchestrate opportunities to go use. This certainly hinted of that kind of orchestration. Since I knew 1:00 is the time he typically gets dismissed from school, I wanted to be there when he came out so that I could speak with him. I was there at 1:00 and waited for 20 minutes and then sent him a Voxer, explaining I was not happy how he let me know of this as he was getting out of the car, where I couldn't speak with him further. I wasn't a taxi. I'm already committing to picking him up m-f at 1:00 from school, taking him to work Saturday thru Wednesday at 4 or 5 then picking him up at 9 or 10, I'm certainly not doing this to enable him so that he can continue using drugs. When he called me from his dad's to pick him up, I wanted to talk about this. He was defensive, siting he was not high, or had used and therefor saw me as the one in the wrong.




Often our conversations are like high-wire balancing acts..... every step I take has to be so precise and careful, it is incredibly precarious. One wrong move and he's lost. Now this is my son -not a friend. It's not my job to save anyone. But it is joyfully my responsibility to do everything I can, to work with and help my son, my child / children. When it comes to trust and pot smokers, my ex significant-other's behaviors and lies have so malignantly violated my TRUST that I lost the patience and thus ability to maintain the great feats of focus required for communication with my son. It was like that wound of injury was compromised and in that instant our communication was lost, I couldn't reach him. He turned verbally belligerent, that could not be ignored. I couldn't salvage it, he couldn't stop worsening things. It just turned ugly.



And that was it. He left my home and with it my care - there's no longer the circumstances to provide opportunity to help him. I cannot reach my children. Even having the opportunity to reach them is golden. Angry, heartbroken, standing by watching the tragedy unfold since his 'father' put me in prison, broke up our family and demolished their lives.... the outcome isn't much different than I guessed it would be back in 2007 (when I was sent to prison / the forced abandonment of me on my children).

My children were not raised seeing the men in their life serve as examples as how to treat women respectfully. Not to mention the character annihilation a narcissist will inflict on his scapegoat. My sons' picture of who I am and the mother I was to them has been overhauled with a multi-faceted approach and brain-washing spanning years. And similar to their lack of awareness and understanding of their own victimization and abuse by these people, they don't recognize any of it for what it is, how it took place. My sons weren't just removed from me in a physical existence, but just as cruelly and uncaring emotionally and psychologically as well. Their father and grandfather, very consistent with narcissistic traits, are too consumed looking after their own best interests, distracting them from those of the children's. Having undermined me so perniciously and completely, there is no wonder that my children have no kind of relationship with their mother. Thanks to the handiwork of these adults in their lives, our children don't know how either to respect themselves, their Mum, nor any of the other adults which should be responsible for their care and upbringing.

The truth is, and the fact remains; my children need me and I need my children, our family begs to be restored and healed. Returned to a family, built into a loving, healthy unit. The Stockholm Syndrome, dysfunction, the solipsistic mindset of narcissism, etc., too many barriers they are not even aware of, let alone understanding the need to overcome them with help or treatment. Without treatment / learning the skill sets for change that is needed, there is little to no hope for them to overcome their addictions or navigate a happy fulfilled life. There is no example set for them by the people they choose to follow, there is no teacher they will seek to lead them. They stay so far and clear away from anything remotely conducive to healthy, what could possibly wake them up, alert them to take notice? They have to be shown this and understand it. How's that going to happen? Who's going to or even be able to take that on? Yet, OUR FAMILY MUST BE RESTORED. MUST BE RESTORED. RESTORED. Problem - Solution -  Application -  Results



I 'rolled up my sleeves' and did the dirty work of self-introspection, taken responsibility and ownership of myself, my actions, their impact, to face the role I played and how I created what was a mess of a life. (Incidentally, narcissistic-types, who often need 'you' to be wrong, so that they can justify, excuse and deny any of their own wrong, will not accept your accountability and consequential apology... any finger of blame needs to point AWAY from them, TO a villain, all the better). This led me to work hard and long at both learning and utilizing tools and skill sets. I now live and exemplify (live by example) those personal responsibilities, observe and respect healthy, appropriate boundaries of 'self to others' and 'others to self'. This requires a conscious choice. It also has strengthened me to stand up to abuse / abusers.

I have done all that I can do. Something has to give with the circumstance outside of / external to me. Income / ability to care for myself, solid / healthy people for help / support and to be 'there'. The few people involved in my life are individuals with their own hefty set of dysfunctions. One that can and does put effort into seeing and changing life for the better -it is a slow process. And another that has not yet overcome denial which keeps old patterns repeating themselves. Moving forward requires the support of healthy and functional people. External (outside of myself and my control) circumstances must be made available and achievable to me, so that I can bring lasting change and results. For building my own life, to assist my children in building their own lives, and ultimately healing from destruction of our family.

With little to no ability or control over the barriers which are outside of me, I am prevented from building a life. I have a purpose, but no way to fill it. It is the living day to day in a barely-able-to-exist or survival state in which I feel I am like Diana. Diana had no means or resources to her available or achievable in the building of a life -she experienced constant, ceaseless suffering. She brought peace to herself by the last resort - ending her life. To me going to the other side is 'returning home'. I have no (means to create) purpose here. Under the right circumstances -not just perceived, but ACTUAL- ending life in such a situation, is not a 'bad' thing. Would I choose otherwise, yes! 


Last resort? No, it's not. Regardless, I pull up the boot-straps, put one foot in front of the other, take one step at a time. Despite the very desperate and bleak life handed to my mother (covered in previous posts), I have to credit her for she forged through. She hung in there. And I will do more than merely 'hang in there'. I recognize that I lead my children, even if only in their subconscious awareness. No matter how bleak or desperate life appears or is in actuality, I personally can't get to the end of it without having given it my all. I'm still working on that, and I choose to be an example of that for my children. They are everything that matters here on this Earth to me. My conscience drives me to be a humanitarian and good steward of this Earth. 








Saturday, April 26, 2014

I Have A Face... I'm Human! Acknowledge & Honor My Rights!

Beyond a superficiality, I am not able to connect with people. This is due to the contrast of my life by comparison to theirs. To begin to understand, one would have to truly be a humanitarian, and be moderately aware of the state of ill-health that permeates our world.
I have not had the good fortune, in significant relationships, of having healthy people, able to be helpful and contributory, in my life. My story is so sad and tragic, that to share it is to impose a burden. Unless of course I'm connecting with another, who like myself believes the responsibility for the change needed in this world starts within. ...To speak it is not to live it.
Next, my trust has been so profusely violated -I'm almost incapacitated to reach out. I suffer -in an environment where little will change, without help. Rare is the person/s, the circumstance/s I can trust for this help or change. But I can not survive without it.
There is so scarcely hope I debate if causing my death isn't how I must proceed. Understand though, that LIVING is what has been taken from me. Existing has become the totality of my experience in this world.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Understanding the OCPD in My Life

I think I understand now. Well at least I understand so much more, I understand better. At the time I wrote the post Get It Together, Keep It Together, Reach for Success, I wasn't far enough along that I had learned I was diagnosed with OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). Now I'm not one for labels and the generalities that accompany them. But this type of label seeks to comprise a host of cognitive and behavioral descriptors manifesting as the disorder. From there simple observation reveals the obvious. The purpose in recognizing the label or disorder is to address the thinking errors, like cognitive rigidity, that cause maladaptive behavior. It's when behavior works against you in life and relationships that making adjustment and change seeks to improve it - make it workable.

One of the distinguishing differences from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and OCPD is that the personality disordered individuals will site their behaviors as positive aspects to them, which they find desirable. The obsessive - compulsive individuals find their symptoms an affliction, often creating much pain. I, however, do experience afflictions as well. When I absolutely cannot function, as a result of being unable to set up order or having order within and around me, it becomes a disability.

The affliction is that I need order to get order / orderly arrangement, without the order I'm non-functioning. It's very grieving. Interestingly, with the order in place, I am highly functioning, able to accomplish achievement which comes from the reward of serious discipline.


The above pictures are from the Body For Life Challenge I entered in 2004. This is a 12 week program of weight training and 'clean', or healthy eating. In the 'Before' pic I was a size 16, weighing around 190 lbs. (I am 5' 7".) In the 'After' photo, I was a size 7, weighing around 140 lbs. at 12 % body fat. I continued training and went to almost a size 5, weighing around 130+ lbs. I maintained a workout and healthy eating regimen up until the Fall of 2007, at which point my life took a hit like no other. This achievement clearly observed in the above photos represents how functionally I can operate with order in my life.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Hope Of A Family

She was the youngest of five children. The oldest brother and sister shared a different father than the three younger. Her next oldest sister and brother and she were within a few years age of one another. Billy was a casualty of the war, and idolized by my mother. Sylvia married a man who came out of the war to be a drunken abuser. How badly he abused my aunt I'm not sure of. They owned a store, a little store in a little Pennsylvania town that we would visit from our home in Ohio. My cousin Kelly (Sylvia's granddaughter from her oldest of two sons) and I knew that a stop at the store meant our pick from the shelves of candy! Aunt Sylvia would sneak it to us if Uncle Paul was around, we wouldn't want for him to yell at her. She babied those she loved, some might say she was a push-over. I remember she was diabetic and didn't keep it well controlled. From what I recall my mother and she were close. We loved Aunt Sylvia, she was very endearing. I was a young woman, in my teens when she passed, I do believe from complications of the diabetes.

As for her full siblings there was a lot of tension between her and them. She had quite possibly as a child been annoying as the baby of the family I suppose, and from what I could gather from my mother she disdained their need for appearances. That being so you could understand why they weren't favorable to the reflection she might cast on them. I was too young in those days to be aware of when and how my mother's mental illness affected their relationship with her, but no doubt it did.

Her father was physically abusive to their mother. While she shared that with me as a young child, she was not real descriptive. I do vaguely remember trying to get details of it out of her. She was great for pauses in conversation that accompanied distant stares. I never met my grandmother, she died a few years before my birth. I knew she was Hungarian and spoke broken or scarce English. My grandfather was a child of immigrant parents from Italy, he was an electrician and a ditch digger. His children had at one time or another worked with him on jobs....back when we didn't protect children right out of the responsibilities that moved them into adulthood. They learned a good work ethic. But he was a stoic man, he did not show affection.

My mother had more than one miscarriage before giving birth to me. I knew from her that she had wanted a child so badly that my father behaved jealously over her importance for a baby. I do believe, that like myself, a child/children represented the hope of a family for her. Where was the love and closeness for her within those that were her family? Billy died when she was but a child. She rarely saw her older sister Sylvia, who left home to marry, and then at the age of 16 herself she left to marry and join my father as he was stationed first in Florida in the Air Force, next in California. Her mother passed when she was only about 25. The remaining of her 'family', not close or loving relationships. And then 2 months after I was born she and my father divorced. There she was, a single mom with a 2 month old infant, some serious mental health issues, and the only people she could call family a couple thousand miles away. People that thought of her more as a burden than a family member compromised by distance whose life they wished to enhance with their support - Ha!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mother's Mental Illness

As a child I was removed from my mother's custody more than once to be placed into foster care. My parents had been married ten years when I was born, and two months later were divorced. My mother had mental illnesses, was a single parent and both the youngest of her siblings and the black sheep of the family. I was scarcely of school age when I remember accompanying her to at least one visit to her 'shrink's' office. I knew Dr. Finch was her psychiatrist and he prescribed my mother pills......medication to quell her rage. Which even in multiple doses they did not at times. It was the mid to late 60's and I don't believe terms like bi-polar or manic-depressive were around. But she most definitely suffered from these types of chemical imbalances as well as paranoid schizophrenia.

My mother sat me down at the age of about eight and informed me that at that time my father - who was back in California, we had moved here to the East coast perhaps six or so months previously - was drugging her. In this elaborate scheme she explained he was paying people, those at the establishments where she frequented for coffee and food, and drive thrus, and others to 'break' into our apartment and drug her coffee. I listened to her explanation quite seriously as the complexity and unreality registered.....this could not be! Even in my eight year old head I could see the scope of such a scheme was beyond my father's orchestration and financial means! Never mind that it sounded ridiculous, but none-the-less I gave an affirmative nod and answered yes when my mother pleaded "You believe me Bobbi Lynne, you believe me don't you?!". I knew she needed me to say yes, and I most certainly couldn't speak of anything rational against her, her need so vital of me believing in her and this as well.

What had begun happening is that she would get wound into a rage, it would escalate and climax, she would rant and rage for sometime before winding down and then repeat the process. She could go on for hours like this, and she frequently did! She would start these rages even while sitting down at a restaurant after having drank her coffee. She had a mouth like a truck driver and she spared no expletives. It was horrifically embarrassing and always scary because we, her then boyfriend Ernie and myself, knew there was no curbing any part of her actions and behaviors. We were in it for the long haul. If we were out in public we had to wait until she would comply with our directives to leave -  you sure as hell didn't try to shut her up or hurry her to leave! And then we went home to ride it out. There were many a nights where I got little sleep or rest for her 'bummers' as we called them appeared as though they would have no end. When she did not pick back up I was too relieved for words.....but I also knew 'it' would rear it's ugly head again....where and when nobody could know. 

It would be years down the road before I ever acknowledged that I had been abused by my mother. I was actually 38 the first that I even thought of or ever verbalized myself as having been an abused child. While the system had removed me from my mother's care, and I had been fortunate, blessed if you will, to be placed in good foster homes to my age of eighteen, it had done so without ever teaching me how to deal with my mother's mental illness, nor of it's affect and impact on me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Get It Together, Keep It Together, Reach for Success

For several years now I've had a real struggle getting my life back together. I have gone through enough trauma that I became progressively more isolated. The one individual that's been my primary relationship has been terribly undependable. His dysfunction has become my dysfunction.  Where I once had control of my environment to create organization, structure, order, routine and self-discipline, I now try to accept what I cannot change. I know what it is I need, I don't know how to accomplish it alone or with out the help and support necessary. This leads to a great loss of hope.

This is a start of what I need in my environment so that I can return to the healthy functions I used to live prior;

ORGANIZATION is required for structure and order.
STRUCTURE and ORDER come from maintained organization.
Maintaining structure and order create ROUTINE.
Maintaining routine develops SELF-DISCIPLINE.

The basic areas to organize, maintain structure and order, create routine and develop self-discipline;
1) Personal environment
2) Personal self
3) Time and tasks
4) Money and other resources

Personal Environment
Home, car, work place, any physical space you take up; keep tidy and clean, maintain in all ways

Personal Self
*Physical; your body: eating/diet, activity/fitness, etc.
*Mental; education/learning, etc.
*Psychological or Spiritual
*Social; relationships, etc.

Time and Tasks
Plan and Schedule; Events and Tasks

Money and Other Resources (i.e.; time, labor, etc.)
Budget; well managed and maintained bills and finances, etc.; what you have, what you owe; what you're saving, what you use, etc. ...Can only commit any resource what you have or have enough of....


Consistency, dependability and balance are all a result of living this way. It's quite simple to accomplish but you have to live it.
If you do not live this way you become ineffective, inefficient and even destructive/counterproductive; 'all over the place'.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My first entry!

I just set up my blog. Wow! I've wanted to do this for a long time. So I'm excited! This blog is really just for me....and I'm not sure how it will evolve, or what exactly it will become. I have thought that I should plan it out some. Like maybe set up an outline, do some ideation first. Or then again, just put it all out there and let it morph into its own thing. Hmmmm. Well whatever, tonight it is late, I have some laundry to tend to, do the bed-time ritual thing and get myself into bed. It takes me awhile to fall asleep. I think this is age related. So I take melatonin.