Are you guilty of……….Self-Sabotage?

Having recently read an article on this subject, I have discovered that my husband and I are very much guilty of self-sabotage. In fact, my husband has raised this in the past knowing that he often deliberately ruins things that are going well in his life because he expects them to fall apart anyway. We are creatures of habit and naturally learn ways of life that aren’t necessarily good for us. We do them anyway because we feel that they protect us and we have grown accustomed to them.

Living with my father and receiving daily insults about my character, programmed me into thinking I was incapable of being loved. When someone showed signs of caring deeper for me, I’d usually push them away. I’d think it was a trick – a trap. A way for them to use me for their benefit. I distanced myself from them until I realised what I was doing and quickly tried to mend it yet by then it was too late. My self-sabotage would earn me a broken relationship with no respect from them or for myself. It would throw me into a vicious cycle where I’d berate myself for my actions only to act them out again as a form of self-preservation. No one else can hurt me if I hurt myself?

Both my husband and I have anxiety issues. I constantly doubt myself. I do not have an ounce of self-belief. It has not always been like this but ongoing stresses have crept in and now I am battling with my anxiety. Writing helps and as long as I have an outlet, I feel okay. I am better with self-sabotage now although some would question whether staying in my marriage in a relationship that’s had so many let downs is not another form of it. I like to think it isn’t.

I am trying to be positive. In every aspect of my life and for someone who is prone to self-sabotage, this is quite a feat. However our daily stresses remain, we feel anxious most of the time, we doubt ourselves, we argue. We are trying but not quite on the road to success.

I guess the first step in overcoming it is recognising it and we have done that. We know what triggers the self-sabotage so can anticipate it before it happens thus sometimes even stopping it. A bit of anxiety is good. We as humans find ways of protecting ourselves and being cautious about things is a part of that. It’s when it takes over your life and stops you taking a chance – you have to break it.

Get perspective.

Get focussed.

Know that good things in your life are happening and they are allowed to happen. They can continue to happen.

Just don’t sabotage it!

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The Right to: Have some ME time.

Whether you have a hectic career, you are a busy mother, you work late or just have too many things to do: everybody needs some ME time. Stress is a killer. It is one of the causes of high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, depression. Stress is a part of everyday life and we meet it at times when we’d rather not, usually when everything seems to be happening at once. The best way to take control of it is to have some time away from it.

Taking ten minutes to read a bit of your favourite book or watch that programme you saved on SKY + can be the difference between keeping your sanity and reaching breaking point.

It is not selfish to have some time to yourself. Yet the pressures around us tell us we don’t deserve to put our needs first.

Last year I posted something on Facebook about wanting to pamper myself – haircut or massage, can’t remember. Many mummies liked it and could empathise greatly. One woman found her way to it and commented that I should be more focussed on my daughter and should not have time to think about myself. This kind of comment was not meant maliciously but it was written sarcastically and it did bruise me. I really struggled with being a preemie mum especially in the first few months. I had only worried about my daughter, so much so that I hadn’t left the house in ten weeks for fear of infection. I was neglecting my mental health which was clearly starting to affect my relationships with others.

If I hadn’t taken any time out for myself, seen a friend for a coffee, gone shopping, had a haircut, I would have gone insane. The stress was overpowering me and I constantly felt ill. I can deal with not brushing my hair for three days or eating lunch at four in the afternoon because my exhausted baby refuses to nap. I can handle waking five times through the night not knowing what is upsetting my baby or wearing an unchanged, sicky t-shirt all day. I can do all that as long as I have some time for myself.

I have been lucky. Even during the worst times with my husband this year, he has always given me a bit of “time-off”. He has taken baby our for a little walk or watched her while I read a magazine with a cup of coffee for ten minutes. In that sense, he was amazing.

Channel 4 in the UK, shows a programme called, ‘The Three Day Nanny’. The nanny goes and helps a desperate family in need of her services. Last week, they showed a couple at breaking point with twin girls. The mum looked after the girls for the majority of the week, solely on her own. She barely left the house and was unable to complete the simplest of tasks as the toddlers were such a handful. In an interview at the start of the programme you could see tears in her eyes as she seemed so anguished at not having any time to relax and do something exclusively for her. Sadly, she did not have a husband that offered her this. In the two years since the children had been born, he had NEVER offered her a hour on the weekend to have the girls and give her a break. He admitted it freely like it was a norm. I’m sure it does happen and many mums are put in this position.

To have a healthy relationship with anyone, you need to have breathing space. That includes your children. Many women get that when they return to work but like the struggling mum on the show, I will be at home every day looking after my little girl. It was my choice (to a point, we could not find affordable childcare) so some will say, “Deal with it” but I am entitled to have a break.

Thank you David for all those breaks you have given me.

And to the woman who told me off for wanting to take care of myself, like I said to you before:

Happy mummy = happy baby.

Our demise (how it all began) Part 1.

As I stated in my last post, my husband and I are trying to work at our relationship. We do this not only for each other but for our beautiful daughter. Our broken marriage sadly was never very strong but I never imagined we would ever be in the situation we are now. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs, ours always even from the very beginning. The two of us are very different people yet we were drawn to each other at the start. He was the man I could be myself with. No airs, no snobbery, no judgement, just easy. I had never had that before but things clearly changed.

I have to break this post into two parts. I mean how do you sum up the downfall of a marriage in one post?

I can’t spell out an exact breaking point or a specific trauma between us. Our demise has been very slow burning over the last three years. I think my husband probably proposed to me for the wrong reasons. We had come to the end of a pretty trying year between us. I had discovered some revelations about my ‘dearest’……things that threw our relationship into disarray and made me question everything I have ever stood for. You know – the ‘I’d never stay with a man if he did that to me’ kind of stuff? It wasn’t soul destroying but I was pretty pissed off – “betrayed” is a good word for it. I’ll leave you guys to draw your own conclusions on that.

We “worked” at our relationship back then, all those years ago and we did actually sort it out. I forgave him and we moved on and on New Year’s Eve 2010, he proposed to me. Maybe he felt pressured. One of the reasons we had problems back then was that neither of us truly opened up to each other. We were in a very superficial relationship. My life at the time was one big headache as my abusive father was very much controlling my life. For the first two years we were together, I lived with the abuser. How could I show or tell my husband the truth about him? He was so charming to my then boyfriend. Like every other, he liked my father, he could not see who he really was and by the time he saw his truthful nature, my husband was too gutless to do anything.

Even with someone I was still alone.

I accepted his proposal. I needed something from him – a commitment. We had just begun living together, I should have seen that as enough. We weren’t ready for marriage but pressures and excitement from family and friends cascaded us into wedding prep and a day that we never should have had.

I cannot talk still about my wedding day. I do not hold good memories of that day. Not because I got married but because of the issues and ordeals my father put me through leading up to and on it. I spent the majority of the celebration in my hotel room with a glass of wine. I felt disgusting as when most brides lose weight for their wedding, I had put on well over 14 lbs within a year for mine. My dress was tight and I knew it was obvious. I put my hair up which is something I NEVER do in my actual life but I did for the most special day of my life because I thought, “That’s what brides do”. Well what about what I do? I really lost myself at that time. I often talk to David about that day. He did not enjoy himself either. The whole thing resembled nothing of us. I really did it for others. We even invited people that meant nothing to us. Why? Numbers? To be polite? Probably.

It’d be very very different if I could do it again but that doesn’t seem likely now does it?

After the wedding, things returned as they were. Except the year would now be tarnished with my father’s death. I do not feel sad for that time, it is the happiest moment of my life his passing but the weeks before he died were hellish. He wouldn’t stop, even at his end. My new husband was phenomenal. He showed me a side of him I thought I would see from there on in – confident, protective, loving. I never saw that guy again.

Stresses followed. My father’s will, my sister, her husband, deliberately making our life difficult, making things awkward. My husband was in a job he wasn’t enjoying. That changed him. He became isolated, discarding friendships in preference of staying at home doing nothing. He even blamed me for not seeing anyone. I saw my friends. It was his choice to abandon his.

I like my independence. I like to spend time alone. By now, we were in each other’s pockets. I couldn’t stand it. I would often go to my mother’s for a night on my own just for a bit of distance. Perhaps that isn’t normal but I wanted to miss him, I wanted to want to go back to him but I was reaching a point where being by myself seemed more of a good thing than being with him.

We hadn’t even been married a year.

Having a child together was not a rash decision nor was it an accident. Things did get better between us. We wanted a child. There are no regrets. My wedding day was not the most special day of my life, the day I gave birth to my precious daughter was and it always will be.

It was also the day that changed everything for me and my husband. He became someone I had never seen before – a man I did not recognise. He ruined the first 6 months of my daughter’s life. A time where I should have focussed my entirety on this little being, I was having to worry about a grown man who should have been there for me instead of only thinking about himself and for that I will never forgive him.

Part 2 to follow soon……….

The Never-Ending Story.

Nothing to do with the film but everything to do with the story of my life.

A few months ago, I made a conscious decision to stop blogging about past, to focus on the happier things occurring in my life. Blessed with the news of the pregnancy, it seemed like a new start. A chance where I could finally look to the future. My father is no longer a problem physically yet his ever-controlling presence sadly still exists.
I am yet to see a penny of my inheritance as I approach the two year anniversary of his death. To make matters worse as I am still residing with my mother, I still have to endure the daily torture of passing my old abuser’s home every day to work and back.

This is something sadly I have grown accustomed to this past year however it annoys me slightly that the new owners have already moved in and re-decorated, moving forward with their lives and I am stuck waiting, without news, on a chance to move forward with mine.

Surprisingly, that I can deal with.

The real upset is my sister.

I have always said to David, to my friends, that one day soon she would begin to etch herself back into my mother’s life and today we discover she is continuing her journey back to our mum.

It all began last year on Boxing Day when my mother received a card from her. Slowly, over the year, she has found new ways to find an avenue to return. It is never consistent. Instead, every few months she re-appears and toys with her mother’s emotions. An opportunity allowed itself in April. A chance appeared by natural where she could have easily re-entered the family ‘fold’. However, it was her choice to reject that chance when I attempted to call her and inform my only sister that I was pregnant.

She would not allow it. She just would not speak to me and the sweet, innocent news was broken to her by email. Yes, I did not hold back either. I felt at that point, it was within my right to tell her a few home truths about her. Many, many times over many many years have I listened to her tell me my faults and I have always bitten my tongue in reference to her. Mostly out of fear to awaken the beast inside. Her anger has always been terrifying (at times worse than his). However, I am a thirty two year old woman and she is forty for crying out loud. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the reasons why you are so estranged from your family? We NEVER walked away from you.

Many would ask why it bothers me that my sister is back in contact?

Let me make it clear – she is not back in contact with me. Only my mother. Cards on her birthday only. Letters only addressed to her. Did she congratulate me on my good news? No. Has she mentioned the baby when writing to our mother? No. Her intentions are very clear. She wants my mother back only. NOT me.

Well let me make my intentions clear.

I will not go through it again. I will not participate in any mind games. I refuse to be controlled. You may think your trusted strategy will bring you great success again, after all it worked so well with our father. I cannot speak for our mother. I do not know what you intend to use for your advantage this time. Will it be the tried and tested emotional tactic of using the grandchildren? Or perhaps the fact that you’ve suddenly realised you ‘need’ a mother figure in your life again? Just hurry up and make up your mind.

To be honest, if you really wanted to move forward you would not be pushing me aside. Hurt does not even cover it. You abandoned both your parents yet offered your love back to them like nothing had happened. Yet that love has never been offered to me.

Just say it. You wish I’d never come along don’t you?

I look at my friends and people on Facebook sharing photos of their sisters and I’m jealous. After all these years, I’m still jealous.

At least it proves one thing.

I have a heart.

Sleeping in Pregnancy – What to Expect.

As my pregnancy progresses, my sleeping habits are changing too and I can only predict it’s a sign of things to come.

There is a lot of advice out there when it comes to what is right and wrong. I have looked on several forums too and many expectant mothers advise different ideas. I can only go on what’s recommended by the professionals and what has worked for me.

1. Sleep on your left side only- A difficult task I find for the entire nine months however they do say for the first trimester it’s okay to sleep on your back. It would be my luck that I most prefer to sleep on my right side though (!) Apparently, this isn’t any good as your ever-growing uterus pushes down onto your liver which is harmful for you and the baby. So left side it is! It is by sleeping on this side that baby receives all the nutrients and oxygen it needs through the placenta and if it’s good for baby then it’s good for me.

2. Do expect to visit the toilet through the night – Sadly, this night-time adventure began for me at five weeks pregnant along with my other annoying symptoms. It has strangely become my way of life now! I’m certainly used to it after 21 weeks. Your kidneys are working super hard to accommodate the increased volume of blood that baby needs. This filter process means more trips to the loo. As baby grows, pressure is placed onto your bladder which also results in regular and frequent visits to the bathroom. Some expectant mums find this happens for them more in the day but it can equally occur at night. Last night was my personal record as I was up 7 times!! Shocking. Worst of all, this symptom gets worse during my near approaching third trimester. Joy!

3. Do drink some warm milk or herbal tea before bed – anything really that is soothing and will naturally aid your sleep. I have been having a hot mug of skimmed (non-fat) milk before bed since the start of the pregnancy. I have found it really helps to drift off into a natural sleep. If you aren’t too keen on the taste of milk, add a teaspoon of honey to it just remember to brush your teeth after!

4. The curse of the leg cramp – Sadly cannot be avoided. This symptom only started for me at month five. I have suffered from leg cramps before, usually when overweight or dehydrated. They tend to occur for both those reasons in pregnancy too. By five months your body should have gained some extra weight so naturally leg cramps will happen. Same goes for keeping hydrated. It may not keep them totally away but it certainly helps. Stretching the leg out and pointing the toes to the ceiling helps to relieve the pain.

5. Back, leg and hip pain – Different to the cramps, this pain is more of a throbbing sensation. Almost as if you have pulled a muscle. Simple solutions: For your back and hip, a pregnancy pillow I’ve heard is fantastic. It keeps you lying on your left side and takes away the pressure. For your legs, I just elevate them onto a large cushion or pillow. By the morning the pain has totally disappeared. Try to keep your legs up or raised on a chair every time you sit down too. It really helps.

6. Napping is your friend– Unfortunately, the majority of us are tied to a job for most of the day during our pregnancies so napping at the expected time (3pm- er how??) is a struggle. For the last few months when returning from work I have felt it necessary to take a little nap especially in the heat. Sadly, napping at six in the early evening is no good for falling asleep later on so I began putting off having naps only to feel exhausted the next day. Try to find a moment to get some shut eye. I found that my fifteen minute journey on the tube was a good time to have a power nap. Okay, it was nowhere near enough but it helped. Now that I’m on my five week school break (yes I know!) I can finally integrate naps into my schedule and boy, do they feel good.

Approaching the 6 month mark!

This Monday will mark 6 months of my pregnancy! I cannot believe that I have almost reached this point. The time is literally melting away. On Tuesday, I will finish work for a 5 week break (as I work in a school) and god, do I need it! The weather has been phenomenal these last few weeks and it seems that in London, it may be getting hotter for the foreseeable future. I love the sun and the heat, but being in built up London and travelling to and from work on the London Underground makes it very hard to survive and endure the sweltering temperature. Especially when pregnant. So I am very much looking forward to the option of staying indoors!

Bump: Perhaps slightly bigger especially at the top of my stomach. 

Cravings: Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, bread, butter, fish curry.

Current Health: Healthy! My head cold and cough has disappeared now. Asthma seems to be better too so generally feeling normal again.

Movement: We had a little panic last week as baby’s movement seemed to ease. I asked a friend at work for advice and she recommended asking my midwife who we’ll be seeing next Wednesday. It’s only to put my mind at ease. I have felt the little one I’m sure but having not had a baby before, it’s all still pretty new to me. Not knowing what to expect is a hindrance. The flutters and tingles happen on a regular occurrence.

Size: Baby is the size of a large mango now. 6 months and it’ll be the same size as an ear of corn! 

Symptoms: The beginning of a few stretch marks have appeared on either side of my belly. I’ve been using Bio-oil to help. Tiredness has reappeared and every day after work I’m ready for a long nap. I know you’re not really supposed to nap after three as it can interfere with your nightly routine. However, at 3pm, I’m at work. So no napping then! 

State of Mind: Feeling happy and excited for the holidays. A little annoyed by people who think every pregnancy is the same and feel it is okay to freely patronize me. Yes, yes, I know you’ve had several children and experience many a pregnancy but that doesn’t mean what I am going through bares little significance or is exaggerated. Okay?

 

Love & authority.

4th November 2010: Phone call 9.30pm, diary entry –

Told me he was too angry to talk to me all week. Told me not to speak when he spoke nor to contradict him (not allowed an opinion). Continued by saying I have tortured him. For thirteen years, since the divorce, I have tortured him. Said I was “different”, “lovely” before the divorce then I suddenly transformed after it. Blames all my behaviour on my mother and my sister saying they “brainwashed” me throughout the divorce. Actually, we barely spoke to each other back then. He was the one doing the brainwashing! Told me he has suffered for thirteen years with my behaviour. Hundreds of episodes like last week.

I’m disrespectful.

“A father’s job is to love and have authority over his daughter,” he said to me with every belief in his absurd and worrying words.

Last week, I had NO right to ask him for respect. It was not my place. I am the child. At twenty eight, I am the child. A daughter cannot demand that. I have no right to want politeness from him let alone ask for it. Told me he cannot “go on like this”.

No Daddy. We can’t.

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
Leonardo da Vinci