September 23, 2009


Can You Fathom A Family?

Update: This post was written as a submission to this month's Family-Themed Edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. It is up now over at Paul's blog, Mind Parts. If you haven't already visited, please do. And won't you please leave supportive comments for these brave bloggers participating? Thanks!


Whenever I speak of my "family" of origin, that's what I do: I put the word family in quotation marks. I don't consider myself as a person who had a family growing up.

Whenever there was some strife or "upset" at a holiday gathering or the "family" dinner table (which inevitably there almost always was), my mother liked to lament, "Can't we just be a family?" So surprised you have the nerve to even ask that question, dear old mom. But it's a good one. I don't know. Can we be a family? What makes for a family anyway?

What Is a Family?
What Is a Family? by Marj aka Thriver on

Let's see. Do you make a family by getting Grandma to buy frilly, fancy clothes for your children and then parading them around to the homes of relatives to sit still and proper, with their mouths shut and their hands folded in their laps? Hhmmmm...I think that's called "keeping up appearances." No, that doesn't quite seem to be enough to cut it to me.

Maybe you make a strong family by neglecting to get proper medical treatment for your children when they are deathly ill or have been severely injured. Nope. Don't think that's it, either. How 'bout calling your child "bad, dirty and evil" after you allow their father to have sex with them? Nah! Don't think so. Prostituting your daughters out to other men? That definitely doesn't work. I know! Claiming a child as a dependent on your taxes after they've been working to earn their own money since they were 11 years old and completely on their own (so they can't file their own income tax)! No, that doesn't define a family either.

Do I sound angry? I hope so! You may have noticed--if you've been reading my blog for a while--that I was able to sneak in a new detail there that is quite heinous. It's something I've been working my butt off on in therapy lately. I'm quite motivated to resolve this hideous, new area of retrieved memories so that maybe, some day, I can relax during the fall months and not freak out in dissociative dysfunction every year. Yeah, I deserve to feel my feelings of anger. I never deserved to be treated this way as a helpless, innocent child.

Do I sound sad? Probably so. I am doing a lot of necessary grieving. I certainly grieve over the childhood and the family I never had.

But, I am also happy and rather proud that I have the chance--and I am taking it--to break the multi-generational cycle of abuse. I can end the legacy I was born into. I've been able to create my own family with my husband and my beloved son.

I am not like my own parents who, at best, saw children as a bother and a burden. I can remember it like it was, literally, yesterday: The day I brought my tiny bundle of joy home from the hospital was one of the happiest days of my life. I don't remember being any more elated on any day before or since that time. It was a time of pure joy that I was able to claim because of my commitment to break the cycle of child abuse.

Has it been easy--trying to fathom a family and forming one--with no positive role models of my own to follow? No, it hasn't been easy. I would be lying to you if I said it was. All three of the members of this family are in therapy. I don't think there's any other way, when the person in the mother role has a severe dissociative disorder.

But, we are facing our issues and challenges, not just keeping up appearances. We love each other and we strive every day to show it and to keep our family communication open. My son will be 13 on his next birthday. But, he still asks me for hugs. The insightful bugger even said to me, just the other day: "You've made great progress on your disability. I'm proud of you, Mom." My heart swells. Yes, we are a family. I get to say that because of the commitment I made even before my child was conceived. We get to claim that because of the love we share, the words we use, and the action we take to be a family.

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September 17, 2009


Emotional & Technical Difficulties: Please Stand By

My computer is giving me fits again. Firefox is not working on it. I've got Internet Explorer working intermittently, but! I've tried to just go down my links list and visit everybody, in case I can't do that for a while.

I'm really bummed about Polyvore, as that has been one of my life lines lately. With my slow connection, I haven't done as much over there for a while. The other day, I was trying to build a collage and parts of the page (the ones with the necessary buttons, for crying out loud) kept disappearing. Aarrgghhh!

I'm also reeling from this Fall Memory Maze I'm trying to navigate. The other day, I woke up so afraid, I couldn't get out of bed. It was so bad, I couldn't get any comfort going at all. It was all I could do to jump out quickly and grab the phone to call my husband. I asked him to come home and stay with me a while. The wonderful angel did! He brought me tea and sat on the edge of the bed for a while. I think I had a brief glimpse of what agoraphobics must go through. I told my husband, "I know it doesn't make any sense, but I feel like there are mean people out there (outside) who want to hurt me." He stayed with me while. I finally got dressed and my hubby stood there while I watered a few flowers. The fear eventually died down.
Barbed by Marj aka Thriver on

This collage represents how I've been feeling often lately. Scattered, afraid...on the verge of becoming unraveled and completely hysterical. I'm doing extra therapy this week. I think I'm very close to something new and really big in the Autumn Memory Department.

Don't forget, everybody: The next Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse will be over at Paul's blog, Mind Parts. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, September 23rd. He's only got a handful of submissions so far, so let's get those in! Here's the submission form. Would you please go around to blogs and remind each other? I may not be able to do it as I'd like with my computer woes. Thanks!

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September 04, 2009


My Life Lines: A Pencil & A Rake

Therapy and feelings work have been intense, but I've also had some productivity in other areas lately. Although I'm coming to terms with the fact that my huge backyard landscaping project will go to the three-year production plan, I'm happy with the results. My backyard is truly turning into a sanctuary--and I need one of those! One of these days I'll get some photos up. I even have some "before-and-after" photos I can share if I can figure out how to post them here.

For now, I'll leave you with some pix from Polyvore. I've been very active over there making collages, and I even know how to embed their code to make the collage show up here. Hooray for little ol' cyber klutz me! ;)

I just mentioned to my hubby this morning that I really hope that this will be one of the last years in my life that I have to deal with so much anguish in the late summer and fall months. Hell, for the last several years, the m.o. has been: Get really triggered and freaked out in August (with firefighter parts coming out, wreaking havoc, getting suicidal and running away); try to cope and do mega therapy in September and October (stay out of the hospital and squeeze in some time with hubby for his October birthday); then brace myself after that for the onslaught of the dreaded holidays.

It would be really nice not to have almost half of my life on hold during these difficult months. For one thing, this is harvest time. I like to harvest and dry my herbs and then cook up big pots of soup and ratatouille to freeze for the winter. I also have loads of work to finish up in the backyard project before the gardening season is over. Then there are the fall colors of Autumn I love so much. So, this would be a nice time of year to be present for and enjoy.

Another thing I'd like to have some assurance for is my
botanical illustration courses.
I've only got two classes under my belt so far. I took them in the spring. But, I'm hoping I'll be able to commit to getting my certificate in botanical illustration before too long. The classes are expensive, though, and I want to make sure that I can make it to them--not miss any for any freak-out reasons. So, I'm hesitating taking some that are in the fall catalog. Oh well. We'll see.

One thing we do have set up already--Yay us!--is the next two hosts for the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. September will be hosted by Paul at Mind Parts and October will be taken care of by Lynda at Child Advocacy Law. So, we'll have some continuity there.

I'll leave this post up for a little bit. My computer is giving me fits again. I'll try to get around to your blogs and comment, at least, though.

Dream Job: Botanical Illustrator
Dream Job: Botanical Illustrator by Marj aka Thriver on

The Healing Garden
The Healing Garden by Marj aka Thriver on

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