Strange days

I suppose this is all part of the trauma recovery process, but I have had some really strange days recently.

Mostly, the strangeness has resulted from my newfound feelings of dissatisfaction with my work life. During the trauma therapy, I learned that, in fact, the life I had been living for all these decades really wasn’t the one I chose. As a victim of long-term domestic violence, combined with dealing with his sexual abuse of our daughter, I have had serious trauma and PTSD symptoms.

One of those was the inability to make choices about my life. In some ways, I THOUGHT I was making choices — but looking back, they were really more about surviving, not living.

Now, I’m finding myself in a position where I truly hate — HATE — my job. Some days I barely make it in there. What is bringing about this hatred? Three things, as best I can figure:

1) It’s very paternalistic. Both directors are male, and they assert their authority every chance they get. Our overall boss is male. And, it’s a medical school: university plus medical doctors = male-dominated culture. I don’t want to work for this many men, especially men who enjoy being in power.

2) “Leadership” doesn’t lead. They don’t want to be leaders, and they don’t have what it takes to be leaders. I am learning nothing from them and, if given the opportunity, could lead them as well as run circles around them.

3) The job itself allows me very little creativity and autonomy. Every time I assert myself, I’m told “no.” My boss doesn’t come right out and say the word “no,” but he acts passive aggressively and undermines my work on a regular basis.

My solution: Strike out on my own. So I’m developing my own business and will stay in this job until I can afford to quit. It’s tough. It means that I literally work all the time: Before I go to the office, on my lunch break, when I get home after the gym at night, almost all weekend/every weekend. I’m determined, though, to make this business succeed.

I have to. My mental health depends on it.

Two nights in a row

Two nights in a row of serious nightmares is enough already. Different general topics, same underlying theme: being trapped in a situation I can’t get out of, and no one believes me.

Gee, do you think it could have something to do with my past? AND my present?

I felt trapped in my abusive marriage, of course. But I feel trapped in my current job situation right now, too. It’s a very patriarchal system, everything is managed top-down, and most of the people in charge are male. So it’s literally a patriarchal/paternalistic environment.

I hate it. I need to get out of there. And I’m trying to do that — I’m looking for work elsewhere and am also trying to figure out a business model to do on my own. I’m making progress on that latter front, but it’s slow going right now. I need to speed it up. These dreams are making that clear to me.

So I suppose bad dreams aren’t all bad: they can reveal some truth that I need to see, and then act upon. I’ll take more action. TODAY.


20 years ago today

My mother died 20 years ago today. She was 72. I was 30. My daughter was 3.

I was happy that my mother got to know my daughter, even if it was only for 3 years.

Unfortunately, my daughter has no memory of my mother except that she took a lot of pills, which was true at the end of her life. She had always been a healthy woman, very active, ate well — a health nut, really. Then she was struck down by cancer and lived just 7 months after the diagnosis: “cancer of unknown origin.” By the time the doctors found it, the cancer had spread from wherever it started all the way to the sac around her heart.

She went through chemo for three or four months, which we all knew was pointless. But she and my dad wanted to try, anyway. I was glad that by the time she died, her beautiful hair had grown back in.

The day she died, when I came home from the hospital I went into her room and looked through her dresser. In the jewelry drawer, I found a Ziploc bag filled with all the hair she had lost.

I went to her closet and took out one of her favorite outfits and laid it out on the bed. Then I put it on. I couldn’t bear to see it so lifeless.

I miss my mother every day. But I am extremely thankful that she saw me leave my horrific marriage. She knew that my daughter and I would be OK.