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  1. Seeking Assistance

    Here's an update on the parent front. Some background info: My older son (who I'll refer to as C) used to live with a roommate in an apartment. He had one of my cars, which he used to go to work and for whatever else he needed it for. He was responsible for gas, insurance, and maintenance - we kept it in my name because the insurance rates were lower that way. About a year and a half ago that car died because he hadn't been changing the oil regularly. A few months later, due to his roommate screwing things up, he had to move out of the apartment and since then has been living with me again. A few months ago we got another (used) car, which C has been using like the previous one. Ever since, my father has been criticizing me (yes, me) about C not taking care of the car. This was standard procedure for both my parents. They also never called C about anything - they called me and expected me to know C's schedule, or to make decisions for him, or to answer for him on any topic. It was as if C wasn't a separate person but somehow part of me, which is exactly the way my parents view me - as part of, or belonging to, them. Last week, my father called my cell phone. Since I'm still not speaking to my parents, I didn't answer, and he left a voice mail. The week before that, C had the new car inspected (state law), at a garage our family has been using for several years. Apparently, my father was there last week and was discussing the state of the new car with the mechanic, who mentioned that he had noticed that the oil was low. The angry voice mail my father left was all about how we weren't taking care of the new car and the same thing was going to happen like it did with the old one. Remember, he called me, even though he knows that C is the one using and taking responsibility for this car. This was the first communication I've had from either of my parents since I had stopped talking to them nearly three weeks prior. I was more than a little upset, and I sent the following to my father as text messages. I chose text messages because it's always been the case that whenever there's any kind of contention between me and my parents, if we're talking about it and I start to say something they don't like, they cut me off and won't let me finish or even make an attempt to understand what I have to say. With text messages they can't interrupt me. Here's what I sent [with some explanatory comments in brackets]: 1. I personally changed the oil in C's car just this past Sunday. [at C's request - he doesn't know how to do that yet] 2. D [the mechanic] said the car needed no work when he checked it before we bought it, even though the guy at the dealer said it needed a strut (as I told you at the time) but when D did the inspection we had to pay almost $300 for a strut to pass. D has screwed up on me before - I won't be going there any more. 3. If you want to complain about C, call C. He's a separate adult now, not part of me, nor a child I have to relay messages to. 4. As I said, I changed the oil. Stop making assumptions about the way things are then complaining [i actually used a somewhat stronger word there] about the assumptions. Get the actual facts before you speak and maybe there won't be fights like the one we had 3 weeks ago. You and Mom have been doing that all my life and I won't stand for it any more.
  2. Seeking Assistance

    It does feel good to have that one weight thrown off. I have to admit, though, that I haven't seen any large changes in my actions since then. I still have all the fear that comes from what I've internalized all these years, and that's still enormously in the way. There are things that I really need to do right away that I'm still putting off.
  3. Seeking Assistance

    Thanks!Once again I haven't posted in a while, but I have an update (which will follow).
  4. Seeking Assistance

    For the time being I've put my parents aside, physically if not psychologically. Here's why: One of the immediate problems I'm facing is financial. On Friday I went to my parents to talk about it. Given what I've posted here about them, you might think that wasn't the best route to take, but things are nearing desperate so I'm trying whatever I can. Now, this financial crunch is, as far as I can figure, temporary. I need to get through the next month or so and things will be better. So I asked them if they could help with that. Turns out they can't afford to right now. To me, that was the end of the discussion - no problem, you can't do anything, I'll find another way. But that wasn't the end for my parents. This temporary crunch turned into THE END OF THE WORLD: I've failed. All the choices I've made in my life have been horrible. I'm incapable of handling life. My only hope is to give up everything and turn my life over to them - sell my house and possessions and take myself and my children to live with them. I was given orders, and when I tried to explain things the way I saw them I was basically told to shut up and obey. I started arguing, and suddenly just stopped. Then I walked out. Haven't spoken to them since. Won't, for the foreseeable future. Actually, it was very liberating. My mood before the encounter was extremely depressed, in the clinical sense. At times I wondered if I might do something to myself. After that, though, I felt something resembling confidence. I began to see new possible ways of dealing with the financial situation. I made some phone calls, did some things, and have some options. I don't know if they'll pan out, but at least I opened them up. This doesn't solve the problem of what I've "internalized" over the years, but it's something.
  5. Seeking Assistance

    This is something I definitely must work on. Thank you so much.
  6. Seeking Assistance

    Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely take a look at it.
  7. Seeking Assistance

    I apologize to anyone whose post I didn't reply to. Thanks to everyone for all the support and suggestions. I'm hoping to get over the two biggest hurdles in the next few days. I have a friend who doesn't live very close but who has offered to help a little, to sit with me while I work on the big tasks and help me keep on track. If I can get through that much, things will be immensely better. If anyone has more to suggest, I'll be very happy to hear it. You guys have been wonderful. I wasn't expecting such interest and caring. I never do. I wish I could express how much it means to me.
  8. Seeking Assistance

    I almost never get angry. I used to, but it was (psychologically) beaten out of me, both by my parents and my former spouse. It's another thing I'm not allowed to do. My therapist used to ask, in an almost incredulous voice, "Where is your anger?" When I do get angry, I fully expect some sort of abandonment to follow. I don't know how to "get in touch with" my anger. I sometimes fear that if I let it out it will take over and I won't be able to stop it. Not that I'd ever do anything to hurt anyone, I don't have that in me, but I worry about losing control of something. Maybe it's that particular control that I need to lose.
  9. Seeking Assistance

    Wow. That would be a huge step for me. I'm just not allowed to fail, at anything, no matter how small, at any time, for any reason. I know that that last sentence is completely irrational, but that's what's inside me. Any little mistake was pounced upon when I was growing up, and even after. One time I was sitting at the kitchen table with my parents and we were talking about music. A song came up and I got the title wrong. You would have thought my mother won the lottery, from the look on her face as she cut me off and corrected me about it. I felt about an inch tall. Every time I make any sort of error of any kind I cringe inside and usually flee from the situation, physically or psychologically.
  10. Seeking Assistance

    I like this idea. I've tried other "tracking" techniques in the past and found I couldn't stick to them, but I could always try again. Thanks.
  11. Seeking Assistance

    That's a good idea. I'm trying to come up with ways to catch myself starting the pattern of avoiding with games or whatever, and if I can do that and substitute something positive, even if it doesn't immediately advance my most pressing tasks, it could help. Thanks.
  12. Seeking Assistance

    Things are to the point now where I have to be able to face the tasks at all before I can begin breaking them down. I don't have very good time management skills. When I can get started I proceed like your factory worker. For more complex time management I'm not so good.
  13. Seeking Assistance

    This is pretty much exactly the sequence I go through. Stephen Speicher called it avoidance, and it happens in a split-second. The next step is to walk away, "just to get myself together," and once I do that I'll be able to handle things. I start doing something that takes my mind off the tasks, and never end up "getting myself together." Eventually it becomes "OK, we'll do better tomorrow" and another day is lost.
  14. Seeking Assistance

    Thank you. I would appreciate talking with you some more.
  15. Seeking Assistance

    Yes, it can feel like that. Most of the time I feel little or no motivation to do much of anything.