Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Big test tomorrow
When I woke up last year and was finally convinced that it wasn't 1994 it was a big shock, to say the least. Then, as I learned more about my life in the 14 years I had lost a couple of things that were even bigger shockers, I was married and going through a separation that was going to end in divorce with a woman I don't even remember dating, and that I had 4 kids. In 1994 I had no desire to have kids. Kids were great as long as they were someone else's. I was the usual bachelor. Feed the kids full of sugar as long as I was around. The big difference was I was also a release for the sugar. I remember at the bar I worked at here in Jacksonville as a bouncer one of the bartenders an I became like brother and sister, we used to get off of work and go to her house and make chocolate chip pancakes for her kids. They would get up and eat and then crawl around on the Buf gym to release some of the energy. Then I would go back to my barracks and she would be stuck with the rest of the sugar rush. It was a good time. Now I found out that I had 4 of my own. Within a couple of days I was served with a restraining order that stated that I was a physical threat to my ex-wife and the kids. Family Advocacy Program(FAP) from base was brought in to my situation, and with the findings from their investigation I was told that there was a "high probability that I abused my ex and my kids, and a high probability that I will abuse again." This was a major blow to me. I can't imagine abusing anyone!!! In all honesty to me that is one of the worst things that a man could do in his life. Speaking to my therapist the other day I told her that to me abusing a spouse and kids to me is the ultimate sin. It is one thing that there is no forgiveness for. I still struggle with this every day. The only memories that I have had of my ex is of her crying and scratching at her arms. The only memories that I have of my children is of them crying. No smiles, no laughs, not one single happy memory. It has been driving me slowly insane. I have been offered many explanations of reason for the kids crying mainly because of me either returning or preparing for a deployment. None of which have made any connections in this messed up mind of mine.
May of last year at the grocery store a simple brush of a hand sent me into a major down spiral. I developed a major fear of women and children, along with a host of other phobias. Over the last year I have struggled many times with the idea of giving up my parental rights as I didn't feel that I deserved to be involved with the kids. Especially since there was a "High probability that I would abuse again". I have done this and instead have struggled with the idea of trying to get back involved with my children. Since I received Sally I have intentionally pushed myself to try and cope with children. The woman thing I am no where near ready to try. Any time a child with their parents have come up to me and asked about Sally I have tried my best to deal with my anxiety and take a knee and talk with them. It has been one thing that I have had a lot of difficulty in coping with. I have had a couple bad reactions afterwards including knocking one child back with my arm when he got up beside me and touched my arm. I instinctively jumped, and accidentally knock him back into his mother. Kids still are one of my 2 biggest problems. A couple of weeks ago I went down to a house that had 2 younger children, one teenager and one older gal that were there. My stress level was through the roof and I had to really concentrate hard on keeping my cool. I managed to do stay there for an hour and a half. The kids though helped by not coming too close to me which helped. The youngest one Amanda, who is one of the clients with paws4people has really given me mixed feelings the last 2 times that I have seen her. When I have seen her she taps on her arm that she wants to snuggle with me. Even though I have always kept my distance it still made me tweak. Susan has told me that Amanda doesn't do that with many people. There are times that I have hoped that there is still a part of me some where in this mind that is the old me that could have fun wit children. Then the findings of FAP come back into my mind and I keep m,y distance. I don't want to hurt anyone any more.
Two weeks ago my therapist met with my ex and my girls. My ex brought up the idea of recording the meetings. I watched the videos, of the kids talking about their Dad and couldn't make the connection that they were talking about me. They talked about learning to cook, working on science projects, riding bikes, sounded like a caring father. Then they started talking about regretting spending time with their friends because that time could have been spent with their dad instead. About having to act like adults now because Dad isn't there to mediate between them. They talked about a Dad that would try and succeed in cheering them up when they were up set. None of these thing connected with me to them. Parts of me really wondered what kind of a Dad would put their kids through this kind of hell? Why would a Dad that did this to his kids deserve to be around them again? The came the memory that they were talking about me. It was very hard to watch these videos. Honestly in a lot of ways it was almost like they were talking about a Dad that had died. I have heard some of the same comments from people that have lost their Dad. When I watched the videos I had hoped that hearing their voices would bring back just one good memory. That didn't happen. Instead the images of them crying came back and haunted me more and more.
Now for the big test!!! Tomorrow I am supposed to meet my daughters for the first time since this happened to me. Talk about a major test. I already have the feeling that everything I have learned in working with Sally is going to be used during this meeting. I already know I will have to get up and leave a couple times to let the anxiety calm down. We are to have an art therapist there too. This way it will give some distraction. Just typing this I can feel my anxiety shooting through the roof. "Baby Steps" is what everyone keeps telling me to take. Somehow it seems more like I am taking "Baby Falls" instead. As a kid learns to walk they take those steps that are too big and end up falling. Sometimes they catch themselves sometimes they fall. Don't know which it will be tomorrow. Can only wait and see.