Monday, August 16, 2010


I guess before we actually get down to serious BlogTherapy, I should take at least a moment to address real therapy. One of you commented that therapy can be "painful, brutal, and tough." That is true. It can be all of those things. However, if therapy is that bad, not going is even worse. I know that some people think therapy is for weak people. Not so. Only strong people voluntarily go to therapy. It requires courage and the weak person just doesn't have it in them. I liken therapy to cleaning out your mental house. It is a room by room process. Some rooms are not so bad and others are freaking terrible. The doors have been closed and locked for a long time. The reason for that is because a disaster happened in that room, and it was messy, and awful. Now it is messy, awful, dusty, and cobwebby. Yuck.

That means going in there and examining the wreckage. Deciding what stays (is fixable), what goes (not fixable), and rearranging the furniture, and cleaning the whole room. Sound like work? It is. Here's the kicker. Sometimes these crap-filled rooms are huge. What that means is that one room might be taking up 50% of the house. If that is the case, I need to get that room cleaned up. Something that huge cannot help but impact the rest of the house, even though I thought I sealed it off by closing the door and locking it. That is living in the land of denial. And you thought it was just a river in Egypt.

Having been to therapy before, at least I know what some of my issues are NOT. That does cut some time down here. Thank goodness for that. A lot of people have issues with their parents. Lucy March has/had issues there. I don't have those. My mom and I had some issues when I was living at home as a young person. That was a case of two people who were too much alike trying to live under the same roof. Was she a bad mother? No. My father was a good father. I can't blame any of my crap on my parents.

Now, the relationship my parents had with each other wasn't great. After I saw the movie HEAVEN CAN WAIT in the sixth grade I knew it was something like that, with the exception of the wife trying to kill her husband part. Plus they were really rich. I think I am telling this wrong. They were two people who lived in the same house but lived completely separate lives. How's that? They didn't argue ever. They didn't fight. They rarely talked to each other. They could go days without talking about anything other than "dinner" topics. (i.e. what's for dinner, pass the salt, pass the green beans, that was good, thanks for making dinner, etc.).

By far, the most dysfunctional relationship that I saw up close was my mom's parents. That would be my grandma and grandpa, who are now both deceased. I know from pictures that I loved my grandpa as a little girl. I can see it in the photos. I don't remember loving him. I don't remember liking him. I remember tolerating him. I remember being really angry at him. I loved my grandma until the day she died. However, there was a point of revelation in my 20s when I found out that she did leave him when I was a kid. She left him. And he managed to make the rest of HIS family so miserable that they were calling her and putting pressure on her to take him back. So, he changed his tune and promised to change. And she went back to him. My mom said that she was so happy while she was separated from him. She was *thisclose* to having a life. He was good for a while, but he slipped back to being the verbally abusive person he always was. She would stand up for herself for a while and say, "I left you once and I can do it again." And that shut him down. For a while. But when she didn't leave, that threat lost its power. And she got tired of saying it, and they fell right back into their old familiar dance. (I know all of this from my mother. When I found out that she went back to him and stayed even after he reverted back to his old ways, I was frustrated with her for enabling him. I understood her reasons for not leaving earlier. But she knew she could do it, because she had done it, and then she just stayed. I still loved her after that, but I didn't understand her choice.)

Anyway, back to the dance... That dance was him treating her like crap and her letting him. There wasn't any smacking or hitting. It was just an onslaught of meanness out of his mouth to make her feel small 24/7. The irony was that she had a great job. He had worked at a tire plant and was out of work on permanent disability. He had been for as long as I could remember. She worked at the children's home. I don't know what level job she started at, but she was running a lot of different departments when she retired. In other words, my grandma was not stupid. The only person who ever spoke to her that way was her husband. She was respected enormously at work and by everyone else in her family. As you might imagine, she worked many years past the date she could retire.

I already wrote a blog about the first time I stood up to my grandpa and verbally let him have it. (I posted the link. I didn't realize this blog was so old ~ January ~ that no one actually read it. It has 0 comments. Wow. It is actually one of my better pieces. Go figure.) I think I am the only person who ever stood up to him in our family ever. Turns out that was the first of a couple of times. He got it a few more times from me before it was said and done. It was because I was done allowing him to stomp all over everyone. They may not be willing to stand up for themselves, but I was done, and I would stand up for them. The days of me sitting and listening were over. I even stood up once for me.

We are talking about my grandma and grandpa's marriage because it is the perfect model for my marriage with The Operator. And I still do not understand how that happened. I got to watch that marriage up close and personal for 30+ years and hated every moment of it. I swore to myself that I would never marry anyone like my grandpa. I married someone exactly like my grandpa. The irony is that I didn't even see the pattern until The Dixie Chicks came out with the CD that had TOP OF THE WORLD on it. My mind is so bad that the name of the record has deserted me. The Operator loves concerts. He will drive three states away to see a concert. I will drive at most three hours to see a concert. Of course, if he gets the tix as a surprise for you (and when I say you, I mean me) you go. Anyway, it was The Indigo Girls and The Dixie Chicks. Well, he hit me right in my musical happy spot, so I had to go. We totally missed The Indigo Girls due to traffic. Someone had a blown tire on the freeway and everyone had to slow down and look. It backed up traffic for two hours. People are stupid. Anyway.... We did get there before The Chicks came on. This was before Natalie shot her mouth off and made everyone angry at The Chicks. I am not angry. I think everyone has a right to an opinion and just because you're a celeb doesn't make your opinion any better, worse, or smarter than anyone else's. It is just an opinion. Big whoop. Moving on...

So, The Operator decides to walk around while The Chicks are singing. Whatever. It turns out to be a good thing because they start to sing TOP OF THE WORLD right after he leaves. It is at that moment that I have the revelation and I start to cry. I mean bawl my eyes out right where I am standing. It clicks. I am my grandma and The Operator is my grandpa and how did this happen?

All I have right now is one piece of a crazy puzzle. I modeled after my grandparents and their awful marriage. I know that is what I did. Now, I have to figure out why.

For those of you who have never heard or seen the video for TOP OF THE WORLD, you are about to. Don't forget to turn off my music player at the bottom of the screen,

And this is the song that the Chicks released after Natalie aired her opinion and got a whole bunch of negative pr. I am not sure that this was the best choice since it didn't propel them forward. However, I can understand the feeling behind it.


  1. awe, how horrible for your grandma. She sounds like she was a lovely lady. Abuse is abuse, no matter how you slice it. I think that verbal abuse leaves wounds that are more difficult to heal (they can't be seen, we all know that)but they leave wounds that can basically scar us for life. I am so sorry that you fell into the same type of relationship that your grandma had, but the important thing is that you were able to get away from it. I'm so proud of you for your interest in self examination and more proud of you for doing the most difficult task of really looking at yourself. What a wonderful way to get on the path of self healing!!
    Love ya Robin!

  2. I am glad you left him. I have never seen that video but that is the most truthful thing I have seen in a while.

  3. In cases like this I try to see HIS side. Why? What lead to this? Maybe that's my problem...

    I think I married my mother. She was always highly critical and so is my husband. Criticism is what I know and feel comfortable with. I think I criticise myself a lot also.

    Good luck with your therapy Robin. I think we could all use some on this bumpy ride.

    WOW. This post certainly scratched some of MY wounds as both a child, person, wife and parent. Thanks.

  4. opinion about therapy is a bit different. I don't think that not going to a therapy is worse than going. For some people it just isn't going to work out, not everything is for everyone, I suppose. Plus, it's SO important to find a good therapist who will tell you to move on from some messy rooms in your mind if you really don't need lingering on there. I mean, so many therapists would instead talk over and over the same things in order to get your money. My friend who, like me, was to MANY therapists, finally found a shrink who told her what was her problem. He said: "you're too intelligent for a therapy". I'm not saying that therapy is for fools, though. I just don't know what I mean, haha. Nice conclusion, isn't it.

    BUT I've got something better. I've found photos of Eminem SMILING. Yes, I did. I'm going to post them in my next blog entry. But I don't know if that'll be tonight because I've got horrible headache and I'm a total looser when it comes to dealing with headache...

  5. This was so moving to me. The first time I heard this song, I was actually in my car. I had to pull over finish listening to the song and hit the loop button and continue all the way home (rest of the trip) listening. It was the most interesting, thought provocative song I had heard in a while and I generally don't like country go figure?? This had so much meaning to me and related to part of my family as well...I'll share with you one day. I gotta go to bed it is 427 am here. But great post. Oh and it was Wide Open Spaces I believe..the CD name. Another one on there i love is Godspeed...sang it all the time to my grandson in'll have to read a post of mine about my relationship with him. Tearful...Happy now though. check it out if you have time.


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