JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Creepy, Angry Men

So there's been a guy that I've been no-strings-attached having pretty hot and steamy sex with for the last several months. We don't go out or do much else other than have sex.

Tonight he contacted me, saying that he had a really rough Christmas. So I invited him over. He told me the whole story, getting angry and raising his voice and mocking how his daughter called him abusive. I felt like I was listening to my dad, and it really creeped me out. He also said that the only thing that controls his anger sometimes is pot and that he doesn't have any friends in the world other than me, and maybe one other guy who isn't in town right now.

I wove it into the conversation that I'm starting to date someone else and probably won't want to sleep with him once I start sleeping with this other person. He just picked his stuff up and left.

I'm feeling really creeped out by his behavior and that once again I was attracted to someone who has an angry, verbal abusive tendency. How? Oy! Anyway, I refuse to believe that this is how most people are. I think that the more that I heal, the more that I will be attracted to better, less abusive people. I'm a little worried about what he's going go to do with himself. He's 40 years old, bipolar, in a depressed phase, self-medicates with pot and alcohol, and doesn't seem to have a sense of how to deal with his emotions. I fear that he might be suicidal, although he hasn't mentioned anything.

But, I have to focus on getting myself together to go to Kansas City tomorrow. Wish me a safe flight!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Should I Sue Dad?

There have been big issues with my grandparents' estate since my grandmother died last here. My aunt arranged to get more than her fair share by taking advantage of being my grandmother's caretaker. And it is becoming more and more clear that my father is working to take my mother's share of the inheritance even though it is set up to go to me and my sister after she passes. My good friend from high school, who is a lawyer, has been pushing me to consider suing him after Mom passes, and until now I've been against it. But, I'm starting to wonder about it.

Clearly, Dad is going to remarry after Mom passes. He'll probably leave Mom's money to his new wife. And my grandparents were very concerned about setting up their grandchildren and would not be happy about the money being left to my father. Also, my father is using a power of attorney for my mom to make these decisions that was set up after Mom's Alzheimer's had progressed to the point that she was no longer able to make these sorts of decisions. Now, I think that she would clearly want my Dad to make health decisions for her, I don't know if she would be comfortable with him changing my grandparents' estate to take the money. It makes me especially frustrated too because I've had to fight Dad to get certain things for my Mom.

If I do sue Dad, he'll likely not want anything more to do with me. And granted, I'd be pretty fine with this because he's been abusive my whole life and it would be probably a blessing to not have to have that in my life anymore. But, I can't decide if I would feel comfortable doing it. Nothing would happen until after Mom passes.

Just to give you some context, we're talking about $2 million. What do you think?

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I've been having a lot of vivid dreams lately. Last night was particularly vivid. This guy that I had an amazing romantic affair with in Egypt when we were both like 19 years old. In the dream, there was some sort of adventure, and I would say this dream fits into the series of dreams that I've had for years about struggling against evil forces. It felt good to have a partner in the dream; Jason (the guy) and I just ran into each other, and then all the feelings were there.

I haven't thought about him in a long time. After we both left Egypt, he went on to a study abroad program in Africa. I started having serious health issues and had to drop out of school. He dropped me before he came back to the States, and I never saw him again. I think that the heart break made my health problems worse.

As I'm procrastinating here at my computer, I decided to google him. He's got a webpage with a picture which looking at made me tear up. He's a professor now, and I find it ironic that we've both traveled down this academia path. I won't contact him, but it was interesting to look at someone from my past. In all of my pictures of Egypt, he was backlighted and dark, so you couldn't make out his face. I used to joke that it was as if I had made him up. But, there he was at his alma matter, looking serious and older.

Dreams are funny. Its interesting these connections that we have to people in our past, even after we think we move past them.

As I breathe in, I acknowledge all of the love that we had and the pain that he put me through. As I breathe out, I let go of my attachment to him and of the pain.
And then, I wish him well and go back to work.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Survivor Needs MEME

Marj at Survivors Can Thrive has created a MEME about what survivors like myself need and want, and she's tagged me! The rules, according to her, are at the end. The point of this MEME is that we learn to take better care of our needs in the coming year. So here goes:

What I Need

  • I need good sleep for 8 hours a night. It doesn't come easy, so I need to practice cognitive behavioral therapy and sometimes even take anti-anxiety medication.
  • I need to feel supported and cared for and noticed.
  • I need to eat well and avoid triggering foods.
  • I need to exercise regularly to relieve stress and release endorphins.
  • I need to stay present with my feelings and not try to push them down or avoid them.
  • I need to learn how to enjoy the present moment instead of getting lost in memories of the pasts or fears about the future.
  • I need to be able to reclaim my sexuality in a healthy way.
  • I need to tell people what I want, to surround myself with people who respect my boundaries and give me what I need.
  • I need to develop healthy self-esteem.
  • I need a community.
  • I need to be working to make the world a better place.
  • I need to talk about my feelings and experience, to be heard and supported in my quest.
  • I need to be free from people who abuse and misuse me.
  • I need time to myself, to just be, to snuggle with my dog.
  • I need to be believed when I tell my story or tell others what I need.
What I Want
  • I want chocolate, wine, comfort food.
  • I want something to take the pain and suffering away.
  • I want lots and lots of good friends.
  • I want hot, steamy sex.
  • I want to succeed in my career.
  • I want a life partner.
  • I want a vacation.
  • I want a cure for Alzheimer's.
  • I want my Mom back.
  • I want pictures of my family and from my childhood.
  • I want my cousins, Kathy, and *A to start talking to me again.
  • I want to eliminate sexual violence.

Rules of the "Survivor Needs" Meme:

  • Please link back to this post so people can see the origins of the meme, get ideas for their own self-care list, see who's already been tagged, and maybe we can track how far this meme goes.
  • List 25 needs and five wants. Try to restrict your needs list to things that have to do with being a survivor of some sort of abuse, assault, etc. Your wants list can be want!
  • Use this list to remind yourself to get your needs met this holiday season and in the New Year.
  • Pass on the meme and tag people to play the meme with you.
Survivors I'm Tagging

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Update on Dad's Health

My sister called me this afternoon to tell me that Dad got the results of his recent testing - turns out he has a 1" aneurysm in his aorta. If it gets much bigger, he'll have to have surgery, and it could possibly rupture at anytime and kill him. Dad, of course, has no plans to change his high cholesterol, high fat diet or start getting any sort of aerobic exercise.

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Getting Back to My Quest

I've had this realization that I need to separate from my father. My whole life he has been abusive - calling me names, yelling, manipulating, lying, controlling, and crossing boundaries inappropriately. He has never been emotionally supportive of me, although he's been richly financially supportive as well as friendly to me in order to get me under his control. He'll go through periods of being nice, but inevitably the abuse will return.

The only way forward is to become completely independent of him. I can't learn to rid myself of the effects of the abuse if I'm in a situation to encounter again, especially in this repeated and consistent manner. I cannot remain dependent upon him for anything - not financial advice, not details about my mom. I talked with Hospice, and they said that they'll give updates to either my sister or I as well as Dad. And I'm going to have to let go of having input on what happens to Mom. The decisions are in Dad's hands. This is what Mom wanted, so I'm not going to keep going through all of this turmoil trying to fight with him over what I think is best.

I have been falling into a bit of depression, and I think that part of it is this anger that I have towards both my parents - my father for being abusive and my mother for allowing him to be this way and never standing up for me. I'm also angry with myself for not standing up for myself sooner and for not valuing my own safety. I have to express that anger and get it out of my system, or else it will turn in on me into depression.

I think that the next step in my quest is going to be to say goodbye to my mom, to come to terms with my anger, to find my independence from my father, and to work on creating a positive and healthy life for myself with people who will not abuse me. Instead of being with my family who NEVER valued my needs, I need to surround myself with people who recognize my needs and will support them getting met.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Changed My Flight

After a long day and night of stressing about it, I decided to still go to KC, but just for much less time. I changed my ticket to fly out the 29th instead of the 20th. My sister is going to let me stay at her place even though she won't be there. She also said I can borrow their car. I told her that maybe by then Dad will be in better spirits and will pick me up and let me drive Mom's car (that he clearly keeps only so that I have something to drive when I come to town).

Changing my ticket cost me $143 and renting a car, if I do that will cost $200. A hotel will cost an extra $400-500. The issue isn't that I can't come up with that money, but after traveling already 3 times this year to Kansas City, having to pay $20/day to have my dog watched, cab fare to and from the airport in Santa Barbara, this really adds up.

I'm still not excited to go, and I think that my friends will all be out of town for all or most of that time too, but this is my way to have more time at home and still make it to Kansas City. And now I don't have to stay at Dad's. I still have plans on New Year's without having to stress out about it (although I get a bad feeling about the situation with Cory), I can still spend some time with Mom.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Don't Put Her Call Through"

So hospice organized an informational meeting with the family and facility today. I was going to participate on speaker phone and woke up early and reorganized my schedule. Then, I get a call from my sister just before the meeting was to begin saying that Dad says I can't participate on the call because I'm too controlling and told the person at the front desk that if I call not to put my call through. I'm very hurt and angry.

I've decided that if I do go to Kansas City, then I'm not staying with him. He's out of control with these hurtful, angry statements, and I'm not going to put myself in that environment. I wonder if its worth going now at all - my sister and her kids won't be there for most of the time because they're going to Florida. I'm going to have to rent a car and maybe get a hotel. Its going to be expensive. I won't have a good separate office space with which to work. I don't want to see my father. And I don't know if there's much to do for Mom at this point. She doesn't know who I am and doesn't much respond to me. Its always horribly emotional to travel, takes a lot out of me, and puts me behind with work.

What if I just stayed here and went to Esalen for New Year's? I could catch up with work and have some relaxation. What if I went just to KC for a couple of days around New Year's? I think its a shame to not be there for Mom, but she was the one who chose my father. She chose to marry him and for him to be in charge of all these decisions. I don't have to keep choosing to have him be a part of my life. This is hard enough as it is to deal with without his abuse.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Dad's Calling Names, Family's Falling Apart

So, my sister called me this morning from Costco. She ran into Dad, who looked at her and asked "how's the little [name of my aunt]? That's what you are: a little [name of my aunt]." Now if you've been following my blog, you know that my family fell apart because of arguments between my father and my mom's sister, who my father despises, so you can imagine what an insult that is. Then, he just walked off.

When I spoke with Dad later in the morning, he told me the whole story and like trying to argue with me. Then, he got off the phone.

I don't know what to do. I feel so depressed to have the rest of my family fall apart in this time where we really need to be sticking together. I called in Dad's best friend to help, but my sister is almost definitely going to go to Florida when I'm there. So, I can stay at their place, however, it'll be weird and won't get to see my niece and nephew. My sister is going to stop going to dinner with my parents, which means Dad will have to stop taking Mom out.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Family Power Struggles

I just heard back from my sister who had dinner with Mom and Dad out tonight, despite the fact that there's horrible ice on the roads. Apparently Dad finally shared that he's put Grandma's condo on the market under value for a quick sell, and he's paid someone to go in and get rid of all of Grandma's personal effects. We're both really annoyed, especially my sister, who had left some of her own things there last time she went to visit because Dad said he didn't have plans to sell the place right away.

AND after I'm doing all of the research, Dad apparently told my sis that he is planning on ordering the blood test for Alzheimer's. I still have to arrange on my own the early onset genetic testing, but now I have details as to how to go about it.

My sis claims she's going to Florida asap, which means that she probably won't be in town when I get there. She wants to get to Grandma's condo before it sells, even if the stuff is gone.

So now I feel like there are these huge power struggles going on - Dad's not being honest, sis is focused on herself. But, Dad is certainly not communicating well with either me or my sister, and I'm really sick of his manipulating behavior. I'm sick of him keeping me in the dark. I'm frustrated that he's been going forward spending his time on the condo when Mom's had such health issues, and he's been using the excuse that he doesn't have time to get her proper care.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Feeling Down

I've been feeling very lazy and a bit down lately. The pink eye is just finally healing - turns out it wasn't an infection, but just an allergic reaction. I've been napping every day, barely working because its been too difficult to read with the pink eye.

Mom has been registered with hospice, which will bring her lots more services and really help her. But, as happy as I am to have help get this for her, it is still sad. See, hospice is only ordered for people who are not expected to live longer than 6 months. So, its not a nice hurdle to pass.

She still isn't on any anti-seizure medication because the house doctor that Dad finally met with says that seizures don't cause someone to pass out, so he isn't convinced that's what she's having. I spoke with someone from the Alzheimer's Association who said that was b.s. though. Luckily, on the 18th, a week and a half away, she'll see the neurologist who saw her last month at the hospital. So, hopefully, he can come up with some sort of treatment game plan.

I can't make myself work even now that my eye has healed up enough. I just feel really lonely. My mom is dying, and I want to talk to someone about it; I want someone to come over here and comfort me and fall asleep next to me and hold me and tell me that everything's going to be okay. Even though everything isn't going to be okay. Mom is going to die. Dad is really struggling. We all feel overwhelmed and scared.

So, for tonight, I should focus on work and then go to this party. I don't feel like socializing. I am annoyed that Penni has been majorly blowing me off, and I feel like she thinks if I'm not going to have a fling with her that she doesn't want to bother with me. I'm a little peeved about it.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Arguments, Ambulances, Seizures, and Pink Eye

Last Friday, Mom was bleeding from her ear. Mom's home called Dad at 5:30 am wanting to call an ambulance, but Dad refused. He told me some story about how she's all okay, and Mom doesn't need to go to the hospital unless she's bleeding profusely.

My sister pointed out that Mom was probably bleeding internally and that this is serious. But Dad wouldn't budge. There's an appointment to see the home doctor on Thursday. My sis and I have been arguing with Dad about getting Mom medical care. But, dad won't budge.

I developed pink eye after having my eye lashes tinted. Dad had pink eye last week or two weeks ago. I think a part of the infection for me is my body trying to tell me to stop over empathizing with Dad. I have to focus on taking care of myself and let go of this focus on him.

This morning, I was awoken by calls from my sister and dad. Mom had a big seizure this morning and was unresponsive so the facility called 911. Dad is pissed that he wasn't called and went to the hospital and took her back to the facility even though Mom had taken a lot of ativan to prevent further seizures and could barely keep her eyes open.

I spoke with Dad's best friend today on the phone about it. She's a nurse. She said that the bleeding last Friday was probably seizure related. And Mom NEEDS to be put on an anti-seizure medication asap. Hopefully Dad will listen.

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