I told her I would rather wait to start the family therapy for awhile. I just am dealing with too much that I am not yet ready to face the kids. Originally she agreed to see my 11 year old instead but then realized we needed to get her setup so I agreed to do the first family session. We played a game that included some thought provoking answers. Everyone agreed we needed to bring back family game night, we needed to do more as a family. I shared how hard it was to not take the kids on a vacation every year as my father had done for us. My wife and I were surprised by some of the answers as each child was able to say some positive things about our family. The obvious elephant in the room was the relationship between my son and I which hasn't always been the best. He is worthy of a full day's blog so I will wait to elaborate. My son has Aspbergers and expressing himself is not really his strength but yesterday he was spot on. Took awhile on each answer but listening to him talk I realized how mature he had become and as his Dad I now needed to repair some of the hurt and begin to enjoy him as a Man and no longer view him as a boy. I am very protective of my son. He doesn't always see it but I have championed his cause throughout his schooling but have struggled with our interpersonal relationship.
I am still working through dealing with the many relationships I have ended. Each day memories hit me and some are very painful. There are 2 things in my last 2 posts, that combined, make this struggle hard and intense. Looking back a few days I referenced an excerpt from an e-mail where my friend had said he had at times questioned why he put up with me. If you take that and combine it with #6 on the things my wife said, "Do you find yourself making excuses for their behavior and try to convince yourself they are ok?"
Not a great recipe. At least in mind. To think that my friends had to put up with certain behaviors and probably they as well as my wife had to make excuses and convince themselves I was 'Ok'" was hard. I imagine one of everyone's fears is "I wonder what people really think of me?" I think that's a road best not traveled and God knew what he was doing when he gave us that internal "filter."
Now as these thoughts flood my mind, at the same time I am cognizant that much of what I believed in, many of my strong convictions, even they way I assumed everyone thought like I did are not entirely based in reality. It's like trying to bake a cake in a microwave oven.
Part of my disorder is manipulation. That is also tough. I mean isn't virtually every conversation, letter, e-mail written or spoken done to illicit a certain response? Is being good at that supposed to adversely affect me? Where are my motivations? What am I really looking for? These are all new concepts to me. I've never concerned myself with what someone else thinks but have argued the process that led to what they think- to great lengths. Was I ever justifiably angry? Did some of these relationships need to end? It's very hard to sort these out and I am blessed with a therapist I feel I have connected with as my journey is a long one.
Yesterday I focused on an old friend. Probably my best friend from about 2008-2011 and easily in my top five of all time. I had ended that friendship in a horrible way. In particular I made a threat that crossed a line. I had written a few times asking for forgiveness with no response and I didn't blame him one bit.
This was a classical case for me. I had idolized him for years. I had become very close then in a fit of anger threw it away. My father has asked how do I reconcile some of the relationships that I have destroyed that don't appear to be abandonment related? It's like this....imagine a skittish cat. He lays there but any noise startles him, you could be petting him and he gets startled, digs his claws in you and takes off. Well its not just abandonment that triggers these but also
- Emotional dysregulation — extreme emotional responses, especially with shame, sadness and anger.
Any of those. Abandonment may be the driving issue for me but the others are as well. All of them lead to these explosive episodes. Knowing these can never be fully controlled is scary as well. The affect it has on my family when I quit a job is monumental.
I sent an e-mail to him. I did not know if he would read it. He replied and it was amazing. It was brief and yet clearly showed some interest in reconciliation and moving forward. It also had a Christian theme to it and I am excited to hear how God has been working in his life as well.
I went to bed a little more at peace. I know I have done a good job in caring for many people in my life. To some I have been their rock when they needed one. There is a purpose to my life and God will reveal that to me in his way and time. I do believe that I have faith, as Hebrews 11:1 say's
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"
Again, I am no expert these are just my experiences and perceptions. I do feel called to fight the stigma against Mental Health issues. The stigma is overwhelming and the support equally underwhelming. I feel led to educate others. Between my desire to teach and my mother's wish of me being a pastor, this may be a good fit! I need a platform and God willing I will find one. Because he ain't finished with me yet :-)