October 4, 1998
Been trying to help a friend to deal with some children she has been babysitting. Their previous babysitter was a twisted and spiteful person, who taught them more about hate than affection. I gave some advice about dealing with them, which she suggested I put up here:

"But what should I do about the oldest? She keeps telling me that she hates me."

I chuckled and told her a few things to say about that:
"Well, I *love* you."
(only partially effective in actual use - works better if the child also hears this at other times)
"That's nice."
(more effective - doesn't give the child any easy openings and can also be used for things like "You're the worse/meanest....")
"If it makes you happy."
"If it makes you feel better."
(Extremely effective - shows that you care about them, but are not hurt by their behavior - I get the most annoyed looks when I do this *g*)

As for the threats like "I'm never going to talk to you again!", "I'm going to hate you for the rest of my life!", and so forth:
"Really? Is that a promise?"
"Thank you, it will make things easier for me."
"Of course!"
"That's very thoughtful of you.", etc.

My daughter pulls the "I hate you" bit every few months. She usually stomps into her room out of frustration, stays there a few hours, and then comes out as sweet as can be to me. "But I thought you weren't going to talk to me again, ever." She tells me that she changed her mind, then she hugs me and life goes back to normal. You just can't take this stuff personally, because many times it isn't really you they hate but what is going on and children don't have the ability to understand what is actually upsetting them at the time.

You can only cure hate with love and patience.

Which brings me back to my self-therapy efforts. I've put off doing the rest "Healing the Shame that Binds You" for a few months now. *sigh!* The next section deals with learning to love yourself and I've been having problems motivating myself. Guess I just need to sit down and do it.

October 11, 1998
Well, I haven't just sat down and did the exercises. I had an ovarian cyst burst early last week and have been dealing with the after effects. I'm feeling a little better, but I still feel a little nauseous when I do too much.

Still, I've been reminding myself on a constant basis that I need to learn to love myself, even before my last journal entry. It must be having some effect, because I was in a craft store and all the sudden I caught a very unflattering view of myself in a mirror on the floor, leaning against a wall. I mean, I couldn't think of a more unflattering view of anyone. But instead of cringing like I usually do, I thought, "Gee, I don't look all that bad." You must understand that I am quite overweight, but at that moment it didn't seem to matter.

A few days later, I had a dream where I saw myself without clothing. I wasn't as large as I am now, but I was still quite plump. I actually thought I was very beautiful. It seems that my subconscious is accepting the me that I am a lot better than my conscious mind is.

I am going to have a very busy week, this week. I doubt I will be able to set aside time to do those exercises, but I will continue to remind myself that I need to love myself. I will also remind myself that I need to do those exercises.

October 19, 1998
I had a wonderful day today.

It didn't start that way. A cold front came through in the middle of the night, aggravating my fibromyalgia and keeping me from sleeping. Then the plumber decides to show up this morning before I could get any more cleaning done. I mean the house was an absolute mess! Stunned, I decided that I had two ways to take this. I could either spend the whole day miserable in embarassment, berating myself for being such an awful human being, or I could be grateful that God saved me from doing myself in, in an effort to appear "acceptable".

You see many times in the past I have worked slowly to reclaim my house from its perpetual messiness. Halfway there, I decide "Gee, if I worked hard for a day or two and get this placed completely cleaned, then all I would have to do is put this same amount of energy daily, like I do now, and I would have a spotless house." And every time before, I would go all out and push myself to exhaustion to get my "clean" house--only to become so weak and sick that I can barely move for days--during which time the house becomes completely messy again and I'm back to where I started (if I'm lucky).

I actually reached that "light at the end of the tunnel" place about two weeks back, but before I could implement my own downfall, that ovarian cyst burst. I talked about it with two of my closest friends and we joked that it was God's way of saving me from myself. Well, I was about to do it again today. I wanted the house clean for the plumber and I had finally got over the weakness from that burst cyst. I was going to clean really hard today, but I was too tired this morning and fell back asleep after the kids got on the school bus. Finally, I got myself awake and was taking care of a few things when the plumber showed up. You see, I was suppose to call him to find out when he could come over to put in our new gasline. And since he didn't park directly in front of the house, I hadn't seen any sign of him when I glanced out my window.

I could have died. I had been suffering from depression all weekend and I was sure this was going to be something else to destroy my self worth. I showed him and his assistant in and explained what was where, apologizing for the mess. I went back to doing laundry and dishes. After awhile, the plumber left and it was just me and his assistant. While I helped him to find a few things, we began to talk. It turned out that he was a total dear and understood my situation exactly. We had even knew a few of the same abusive people and had both removed ourselves from their company. We didn't go into detail, just a few words about that situation and we both knew that we were fellow survivors.

So, instead going around the house mentally beating myself, I happily went about doing what I could do, secure in the fact that someone up there must love me or I wouldn't have a day like this. Not only was the assistant wonderful, but the plumber's son came by to help with the job too, and they did more than just what we asked for, without charging us more for it. My husband was even impressed with their work. There was one mistake that happened in the middle, but it was understandable and will be corrected in a later stage of our remodeling anyway.

*big smile*

I keep praying that someday I will find a middle gear between giving 150% and giving 30%. I think God's helping me to carve out that notch.

October 26, 1998
Last Tuesday or Wednesday, we had an almost perfect afternoon. I found out I had lost five pounds in the past week. The kids came home happy, I had been doing well, and my husband didn't have to work overtime. We talked sweetly to each other. It was wonderful.
Then later, the kids were playing nicely together in another room, I was still doing housework at a pace that wouldn't make me sick and my husband was remodelling our main bathroom so our wheelchair bound friend could use it. I sat down for a short rest when he can out as proud as can be of his workmanship. He had braced the walls for extra support for the handrails. He tested it by putting his full weight on each support section. I agreed with him that it should easily support our 6+ foot friend, and he exclaims, "Not only that, but it could even support your weight!"

I muttered that our friend weighed more than I did and my husband gives me this blank look and says, "He does?" I say, "Yes, he does."

What can you do when you realize that your husband has you visualized as the epitome of largeness? I mean, my friends keep telling me I'm not really that bad, but they're all females. The thing is, I've always suspected he felt that way. Even in the past when I would start to slim down, he wouldn't notice. People I hardly knew would ask me if I lost weight, and if he was standing right there, he would get this look of shock on his face.

He told me when we were engaged that weight didn't matter to him, that no matter what I weighed, he would still love me. He said this after I revealed my worry about being able to stay relatively "unfat". I told him back then I wasn't that great of a housekeeper. At the time, he just smiled.

Now, he doesn't care what else I'm good at. He just wants me to keep the house clean--even when he leaves his stuff around and saws wood in the livingroom. The man's a slob, but I'm the waste of human flesh because I can't keep the place clean. The kids even wonder why Dad can't put away his own stuff. Well, in fairness, he does put some stuff away, but the moment I get an area clean up, either the kids pull their toys out into it, or my husband starts a new project in the area. I would rather have the toys--at I can move them without destroying something. He doesn't understand that it is harder to clean when you have to work around a large pile of stuff. I'm suppose to be careful about leaving out harmful things (which I'm pretty good at doing), but he suppose to be able to leave saws, knives, solvents (which make me sick--I make him move those), and such without the kids touching them. I'm not even sure when he has finished a project sometimes because the stuff is still out.

Still, he has made some effort to be a little better, but I'm still considered the one with the problem. I've been trying to be a little more open with my affection, but it's hard because he considers just about every display of emotion to be manipulative. I use to hide a lot when I wanted to cry, because I was too proud to let him see. Then I found out during our marriage counseling that he thought I cried to make him feel bad, and that my tears weren't sincere. I can't win for losing.

We dropped out of counseling, because he wouldn't admit he had any problems and, damn my stupid psyche, I would subconciously take over the session with my problems so he would be spared the pain of facing his own. We even discussed this during our last session. What it all boils down to is that counseling isn't going to help us a bit, until I can stop trying to protect his feelings or he starts to face his own problems.

Meanwhile, I have a hole so deep in my soul that I doubt any mortal can fill it. I've been neglected most of my life. Just last week, my two best friends mentioned in two different offhanded, yet very compassionate, ways that I was starved for attention. It was really weird, because it was during two totally different conversations, and they practically used the very same phrase. But it's true, after all those years I pretended I didn't need it, I am now desperate for it. Maybe too desperate.

I guess I should go back to having visits with my younger self. I should probably go back to studying my scriptures, too. It makes me feel better, but for some reason I don't keep it up. Well, I do justisfy the scripture bit with the fact that I do know them pretty well, but still I am a whole lot more stable when I read them on a daily basis.

Face it . . . my need for attention is too great for anybody here to deal with. I might as well give up that fantasy. God and I are the only ones who have the time, patience, and motivation to take care of it. Everybody else has their own problems--they don't need mine.

Just checked the scale. I lost four more pounds.

October 31, 1998

Okay...so I've come down with a bad headcold and my back still hurts. So my friend's steam cleaner died before we could get to the carpets and the books on the shelves need straighten. For all practical intents and purposes, I have a clean livingroom (and dining area too!) and I'm on my way to reclaiming my kitchen. YES!!!

In other news, my friends have informed me that my previous journal entry was not a self-pity one and have suggested I remove my warning at its beginning. I'm not used to complaining about something without feeling guilty. To me, many complaints I make about my own circumstances seem, well, like a weakness. So I am going to give myself permission to complain more. I just hope that someone will let me know when I cross over to the self-pity side of things. I really don't have an idea where that line lies in regards to myself.

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