To Practice What I Already Know

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Blogged while trying to avoid yard sale preparations.

I have “unspecified” anxiety – which I’m fairly certain just means, “I get nervous frequently and for no apparent reason.” My grandmother had anxiety, and I’m just going to assume it’s genetically inherited since I have no real reason to have it otherwise. Well, okay – I have a good reason, but I seriously don’t worry over Veruca’s diabetes. I just DO IT.

Anyway, counseling. I went to counseling. But not for anxiety. However, I was anxious about it. I’ve been to counseling before, and it wasn’t really for me. I went in my 20s because I thought I should, and the therapist was great, but I really wasn’t into sitting on a couch dissecting my childhood and my character. For the record, I’m still not.

I went again about 3 or 4 years ago, after the custody crap was over, in an attempt to heal myself from the trauma of that fight I didn’t start. I went once. I ran. Far, far away. This therapist was a little “too close” to the situation I was trying to heal from. She asked too many questions about the technical parts of the custody battle, like who was the judge, who was my attorney, who was his attorney, etc. And here’s where this healing foray for me ended – she knew everyone involved. Well, everyone but my attorney. My anxiety took liftoff to space and it was over. My trust ended before it even began.

Anyway, back to the present. Long story short, after the debacle in my ex’s driveway I called for an appointment. I had a long wait. You know when you have plenty of time to ruminate over something, and you start coming up with reasons not to do it? Yeah.

I have been having issues with Veruca for a while now. Mostly parenting issues. I have realized that she causes me anxiety. She is demanding, and spoiled, and challenging, and takes no prisoners. She will ask me something a hundred times, and no matter how many times I say no – she’ll ask just one more time. That expression, “when momma aint happy, aint nobody happy”? This is Veruca. Now, I’m fully aware that she is not the problem. I am.

The counseling I was seeking was two-fold. One, was empowering me to become a better parent and take control. The other was about working through old baggage that I carry from an abusive marriage. Baggage I had under control, until that day it wasn’t.

“Jane” listened intently, repeated back to me what she heard, and made suggestions. Followed by orders to put my crown back on and stop taking shit from Veruca. Essentially, shut down the learned behaviors by NOT reacting emotionally to them. Being matter-of-fact. Sounds easy, right? I had been taking the “choose your battles” to new levels by pulling out of the war altogether. Or, I continued to engage with her when I should have been saying it once and meaning it. I knew that this was a huge part of what was usurping my joy. I am the one who has the power to be happy, and the power to stop a little terrorist from taking it away. Sometimes ya gotta fight the battle to win the war. It’s a process.

So far it’s been a week, and I’m feeling much better. So far, Veruca hasn’t really tried to engage me in anything. I practice deep breaths and matter-of-fact statements and, though inside my heart is racing and I’m tense, I focus on a calm face and voice. It seems to be working. However, having lived twelve years where you never knew what was coming around the next corner, I’m not so naïve to believe that everything is hunky dory.

As for the second part of my counseling needs, I was reminded that I was married to a “big bully” who liked to control everything, and everyone. The acknowledgement of abuse. And, while it seems silly, I needed to hear a professional tell me that what happened in the driveway was assault. It was assault. And I could have called the police.

And in one quick statement, that’s all over with. And, aren’t you glad you’re not married to that anymore? Yes it is, and yes I am.


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