Author Archives: Mama's Tantrum

About Mama's Tantrum

Midlife tantrum: Mothering a toddler while healing from childhood trauma. And trying not to throw a full-blown tantrum.

Trust or bust!!

There was a time when if someone asked me whether I had trust issues, I would have said no, and I wouldn’t have recognized the irony of simultaneously having suspicious thoughts like, “What are you hinting at?” or “Why exactly are you asking?”

Lucky for me I’m in therapy.

Lately I’ve been feeling pretty sane. No flashbacks. Totally present with my family. Sleeping through the night. All good, normal stuff, leading me to indulge in a fantasy of scaling back on therapy.

Gong! Turns out it’s a bad idea.

Healer Lady and I discussed it a bit during this week’s session, but came to no solid conclusion. Then, after not having much else to discuss, about 40 minutes into the 50-minute session, she asked how I was doing with trust in my relationships.

My internal response – are you fucking kidding me?! I’m mildly exhausted by the fact that she’s like Superman with x-ray vision of my head.

My answer to her question was pretty much guilty silence. So, my fantasy of scaling back will remain just that.

Watching Nugget interact with a cashier at Rite Aid later that day, it hit me that I may not be capable of teaching my daughter to trust. I might screw her up on this one. Instead of saying hi back to the guy, her initial instinct was to duck below the counter so he couldn’t see her. I could totally relate. But being able to relate to that urge of wanting to be invisible may muck up things up on my end.

If I were to be really honest, my trust issues result in my desire to be actively and aggressively anti-social. (As I wrote that, I realized that my friends are so screwed.) But unless you’re some sort of eccentric recluse of stature, like J.D. Salinger, you can’t get away with that shit and not end up like this dude:

Unabomber. Infamously a recluse who needed serious therapy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, hoping not to become a total weirdo and hoping not to raise one, trust is next on my therapeutic agenda.

Trust or bust, baby!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hot for Therapist: Part 2

Walking into Healer Lady’s office last week was like walking into a republican’s campaign headquarters. I felt like a total impostor, and I fantasized about taking bold action that would sabotage the success of the candidate – in this case me. But my friend’s voice was in my head, telling me to suck it up and tell Healer Lady about the hots.

I think I said the usual “hi,” but I can’t even be certain of that because I was too busy having an out-of-body experience.

Taking my place across from her in the chair that I always feel like such a slouch in, she asked, “What are we doing today?”

Ugh. The moment had arrived.

The details are murky, but what I do remember is that I stated that I had something incredibly uncomfortable to share. I took the very valiant (it was indeed valiant) step and said something to the effect that I kept thinking about her. At some point she asked if my thoughts were “romantic,” which I distinctly remember because a) I wanted to throw up, and b) I hate that word. It conjures up this:

Nice pecs, but still gross.

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Hot for Therapist

It’s true. Somehow, I’ve got the hots for Healer Lady.

Not my therapist.

When I recognized it, I told myself it’s that she’s easy on the eyes, good at her job, has a friendly personality and a southern accent – so what’s not to like.

The attempt to minimize it failed and I completely freaked.

There is one problematic layer after another with this. Let me name the top issues:

  1. She’s my therapist. Statement of the obvious, but I still need to put it on the record.
  2. I haven’t had the hots for anybody since Sweetie came into my life. No, I’m not asexual. Sweetie can attest to that. And there’s really not a day that goes by that I don’t check somebody out. Sweetie can also attest to that. But having the hots is different.
  3. I see Healer Lady twice a week. There’s no escape.
  4. It’s wacked.

So I talked to a friend about this situation. She was completely blasé, and laughed as I squirmed. Speaking in an utterly amused tone, she informed me that it’s a common occurrence in therapy and that it actually has a name called transference.  As relief began to settle in she dropped this doozy:  “If it’s interfering with therapy, you gotta tell her.”

Fuck that!

Picture of a confession.

The prospect of sitting across from Healer Lady and casually dropping that I’m preoccupied with thoughts of her helped me readily determine that everything was copacetic and it would all pass like a bad cold.

Wrong.

The unfortunate revelation that the hots were indeed impeding therapy forced me to reconsider telling her.

Here’s the problem: for a couple of weeks, I’ve struggled to talk about the teacher in therapy. Shame manages to  overwhelm any ounce of courage and suppress language. I literally can’t speak at times, and I’m uncertain how to say what needs to be said.

Throughout therapy, this has always been the case when discussions have led to the teacher, but the difference now is that there is something that feels oddly similar about my relationship with Healer Lady and the teacher. I can’t articulate it. It’s just a feeling.

So, I told her.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Confession.


I heart Linus.

I’m generally uneasy in social situations. It’s not that I don’t like people; it’s that to feign normalcy I have to muster up conversation and some of it has to be about me.

It makes me feel like this guy:

Linus

Sharing opinions or personal information like whether I like crunchy or smooth peanut butter is lost on me. I mean, who cares?

Healer Lady would probably suggest that I fear intimacy. She’s never actually said this, but she recommended a therapy group that focuses on communication and intimacy. I can take a hint.

Still, I have solid proof that…

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Black Widow

Inspired by one of her pals who recently liberated herself from the diaper, Nugget made the request to put on underwear.

Allelujah!

She’s adorably delicious, but I can’t wait to get as far away from her bodily waste as possible.

I yearn for the day she does this. (Pic from weebooktada)

We granted her wish to wear underwear and she proudly pranced (As a feminist, I don’t use that word lightly to describe my daughter) around our house, frequently asking, “Wanna see my underwear?” A pause would invoke a more aggressive sales pitch: “They’re purple,” she would add.

As she pointed out the details of the design on her underwear, her innocence and vulnerability almost hurt to witness. My mind wandered again to Penn State and to my own history.

In a lot of ways, there’s nothing shocking about how the perpetrator was able to do what he did. It’s classic. Charming perpetrator places himself in a position to gain access to children. He impresses the community, the families, and, most sadistically, the children who looked up to him.

The person who sexually abused me for 2 years was my teacher. In my case, the perpetrator was a woman.

She was the most popular teacher. She was hip, cute, and fun. She was married to a handsome guy and she knew the words to the most popular songs, which endeared her to the students.

Healer Lady described her as “shiny,” and that is a spot-on description. She was shiny and everybody wanted to be next to her.

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Penn State of Mind

I’ll ‘fess up that when I see Nugget skillfully kick a soccer ball I think that she maybe the next Mia Hamm. Or when she places the “tethescope” on my belly and provides the diagnosis that I have squirrels in my stomach I conclude that she will be a brilliant doctor. Or when she attempts to negotiate every term of her dinner it’s clear to me that she’ll be a damn good lawyer. Or when she jams on her guitar like Ani Difranco it’s just a matter of time before she’s a total rock star, but only after she gains a good sense of herself so that she doesn’t Lindsay Lohan her life.

Rockstar

Regardless, we’re one of the few lucky American families that have just enough disposable income to sock away a little each month for college, so we do it diligently in the hopes that we can send her to a good, well-respected college or university.

Then something like Penn State happens and I’m left wondering what exactly is a “good” or “well-respected” college or university in this country?

Since I began therapy, I’m generally unable to read the news because the rampant salacious headlines are triggers. Instead, I go straight for any other section that’s not likely to cover the latest murder, sexual assault, etc.  I can’t hack that shit.

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Sleepless in Vermont: Night Terrors and The Exorcist

Nugget has had night terrors for the past several nights.  If you’re one of the lucky ones whose child has not had night terrors, think Linda Blair.  The fact that my daughter looks like she’s possessed while having night terrors is not inconsequential; I absolutely hate anything having to do with the subject of being possessed, and its entertainment value is completely lost on me.

When I was around 10 years old, I was minding my own business, watching TV with my parents one evening.  There was a trailer (we called them commercials back then) for The Exorcist.  I nearly shat my pants. Before me was a crazy-eyed kid, about my age, crawling on the wall, making sounds like a cat in heat.

Note: In an attempt to post a photo of the possessed child of The Exorcist,  I Googled “Linda Blair” and the images of her in costume from the movie gave me a minor heart attack. Seriously.  But I discovered that she saves animals through her organization Linda Blair World Heart and her make-up is much better in real life, which is sort of a corrective experience.

I was surprised when mom and dad expressed excitement about it.  They called it a classic flick. That 15-second trailer revealed a new fact of life: the devil or one of his minions was lurking around my bedroom, waiting to pounce on me.  I was absolutely terrified.

My parents’ excitement for the movie indicated that they would be useless in my defense, so in anticipation of it being on TV, I hatched a game plan that involved being at the far end of the house while they watched it.  Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil.

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