Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Emotional Vomiting

Well, things came to a head yesterday.  In the morning I brought LG to school, then took WG to Floortime therapy, where I spoke to her OT about the head shaking she's been doing lately.  Then I drove her down to San Jose to her school, went to my therapist (how in the world did I ever get by w/o my therapist?!?!), went to the bank to pay the mortgage, came home for a quick lunch and a bit of "Doctor Who" on BBC America, picked LG up from school, got WG off the bus, gave her a bath, made dinner...
And found out that I have NO ONE to watch the kids while I do my new teaching job.  Was talking to Hubby about it over dinner, and he made a comment that struck me in a certain way, that wasn't meant in that way, but still made me feel even worse than I already did.  Then, via email, I got a message from the OT (how did I ever survive without her?!) who had done some research on the kind of head shaking WG has been doing and told us we need to see a neurologist, just to be on the safe side.  Because that kind of movement is often (but not always) related to SEIZURES!
So by this point I was feeling the old anxiety creeping in.  I haven't had a panic attack in years, but if I were still prone to them, this one would have been a doozy, lol!
We then went to my in-laws' house.  My F-I-L is home from the hospital and doing well, but needs to convalesce for the next 4 months.  My M-I-L is taking care of him.  And she's a retired VA nurse, so he won't be able to get away with ANY bunk, lol!
I babysat my nephew, and kept an eye on my little monkeys. For a little while there I felt a bit like a zoo keeper during a full moon. But it was fun, and got my mind off of things for a bit.
AT bedtime, once the kids were asleep, Hubby and I had a talk.  I told him all the things I've been feeling lately, and I mentioned how hurt I was by his comment about my job.  He truly didn't mean ot the way it sounded, and was horrified that he'd hurt me.
See, THIS is what I NEED to remember when I'm feeling this way!  If I just TALK to him about it, he understands!  We clear the air! No, he's not perfect, and sometimes he gets defensive, but who doesn't?
I'm also FINALLY realizing, deep down where it matters, that the happiness of others is not my responsibility!  Yes, my kids are my priority, but I cannot always ensure that they will be filled with unending joy.  And, well, they don't have to be!  Because they need to learn to deal with their emotions now, not when their in their 40's.  I think a BIG mistake a lot of us parents make is trying to keep our kids happy ALL THE TIME.  It's just not realistic, and doesn't prepare them for the world.
But it's especially true that I'm not responsible for the emotions of other adults.  I was with someone once who drank a lot.  I blamed myself for his unhappiness.  Isn't that typical enabling behavior?  I didn't confront him about his drinking because I didn't want to be a "nag."  I thought that if I were a better person, he'd be happier and wouldn't drink so much.  Textbook stuff.  And you know what?  He blamed me, too. I was there, and I accepted the blame.  I didn't value myself AT ALL.  And neither did he.
I was thinking about this the other day, and I said to myself (because this is how my brain works), "Alyssa, if you had THAT much power over other people, the world would be run by ducks.  Because you'd have all the control, and you like ducks more than you like people, so you'd put the ducks in charge.  But the ducks are NOT in charge, therefore it stands to reason that you DON'T have that much power over other people, and their emotional well-being IS NOT YOUR JOB!!!!!!  So there!"
It makes sense to me, anyway.

Today is the second anniversary of my dad's passing.  I kinda feel like he's up there, guiding me along this specific path.  Like I'm doing the things he wasn't able to do, emotionally.  He was of another generation.  And while he never hid his feelings, I think he had trouble recognizing the deep-seated issues in his own life. I know he wouldn't want me to live like this; a walking, talking, tightly-wound bundle of anger, anxiety, insecurity, depression, and deep. DEEP sadness.  And he DEFINITELY wouldn't want his grandkids to learn to live like that!
So my job is to take care of myself.  To find a new way of living, to be a better example for my kids.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dragged, Kicking and Screaming, Into the 21st Century. Oh, And a Tangent.

So we broke down and bought an iPod Touch, 4th generation.  We did our research, figured out which iThingy we wanted (iPhone? Too many monthly fees.  iPad? Not quite ready for that.  Ah! iPod Touch! Everything we need in a small enough package for the kids!)
Because there are so many great things for the kids available in an app, including assistive communication tools.  I was sitting between LG and my nephew, who is all of 2 1/2, and both of them were effortlessly navigating iPhones.  Meanwhile I couldn't even figure out how to turn the darn things on!
Today, however, Hubby gave me a little tutorial, so now I can at least download stuff onto our new iPod. I was quite proud of myself, for about 20 minutes! Until I realized how much  I don't know about all this new-fangled technology.
I also realized I needed a break, and left the kids with Hubby while I went off to Barnes & Noble to read magazines and have a Frappucino.

Hubby is watching HBO.  LG is repeating all the bad words.  I think it's time I brought him upstairs.  More tomorrow.

Well, it's tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it's 3 AM and I've been up since 12:45, having finally fallen asleep at 11:30 only to be awakened by WG's wails.  Hubby calmed her down, but she stayed awake and started wandering.  I put the gate up in her room, and have been awake ever since.
This is after my "day off," which included me making 3 meals, washing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk, grocery shopping, and getting my monthly allotment of a whole hour to myself.
This MUST change.
Am I the only person here capable of doing laundry?  Of washing a dish? Of preparing food?  Of cleaning up messes?  I think not! 
I need to start just taking more time for myself.  Like Hubby does.  Men are better at that than women are.  (It's the ONE thing I will say they excel at over women.  OK, and beard-growing, for the most part.) They don't seem to ever feel guilty about it, whereas we tear ourselves to shreds if we dare sit on the couch before the house is spotless and everyone else is blissfully happy. ("Spotless" being a relative term in our house.  Basically, it meansbeing able to navigate a path upstairs without fear we will fall over some kind of clutter and hurt ourselves.)
It seems we are going in circles: I take care of everyone and everything until I realize I am doing it with very little help.  I get angry and tell Hubby I need more help.  He agrees, and helps for a bit, until I start doing it all, again, and getting angry, again.
This past week was INSANE!  Hubby was in Yosemite last weekend, so the rest of us were helping his folks get the house ready for when his dad comes home from the hospital.  Monday was the surgery.  All week we have been driving down to Santa Clara to be with him.  Meanwhile, his mom and sisters are staying at a hotel nearby.  (Actually, his mom had been pretty much living at the hospital, until the doctor ordered her to go back to the hotel and get some sleep.) And, of course, we're all working and/or going to school.
Needless to say, by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around (I taught Saturday morning), I was in desperate need of a break.  Didn't really get one, though, until Sunday afternoon. 
And now it's the wee hours of Monday morning, and I'm wide awake.  Which completely STINKS!  Because everyone else is asleep, and even if I am able to fall back asleep, I have to be up in 2 hours.  And WG will NOT be happy in the morning, because she was up for 2 hours tonight. I will drop the kids off at school and try to nap when I get home.  But I also have to do the laundry, clean the house, take the dog out, and bring the kids back down to Santa Clara to visit Papa.  Hubby will be working then going to his motorcycle class. 
There are times, and this is one of them, when I feel like a single parent.  Hubby has agreed not to take any classes next semester, because I am working more hours and need help with the kids.  He also goes to the rock gym with his friends every Friday night.  And I'm glad!  It's a good thing, and he needs it!  But I am still in the isolated, new-mom, I-have-no-friends, I-hardly-leave-the-house-except-for-work phase 7 years after the fact.  It is very difficult and extremely lonely.
There are times, and this is one of them, when I feel I am being taken for granted.  I cannot count how many times I have told Hubby this over the years.  I don't understand why we keep falling into the same patterns.  I guess that's part of life?  If you don't stay vigilant, history will repeat itself.

So, here are my new resolutions:
I am NOT solely responsible for keeping the house clean!
I REFUSE to feel guilty for asking him for help.  Yes, he works full time.  But guess what? So do I!  I just don't get paid for all of it!
I need a social life just as much as he does.  I would also like him to carve out some time for just the 2 of us.  I am NOT solely responsible for this relationship!
If this insomnia keeps up, I WILL go to the doctor and see what I can do.  Preferably without sleeping pills.
I will NOT feel guilty for having him take care of WG when she wakes up in the middle of the night.  I did it every night for 6 years.
My work is no less valuable than anyone else's.
My TIME is no less valuable than anyone else's.
I am NOT the maid, the cook, the chauffeur, the therapist. I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, and, first and foremost, I am a PERSON!
I will NOT feel guilty for sitting down and reading a book.  I don't get vacations, I don't go out, as we've already established.  Reading is my vacation. If I can't have that, then, trust me, you do NOT want to be around me!

So there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Bit Disappointed

I'll probably catch all kinds of flak for this, but I'm gonna write it anyway.
I was reading Tony Horton's blog (he's the creator of, among others, P90X.  A program that I tried MANY times, as I believe I've mentioned here, and had to stop because I kept getting injured.)  I LIKE him.  I think he's smart, and I like his goofy sense of humor.  I sometimes do his 10-minute workouts when I'm short on time. Or often before I go off to teach Pilates. 
Lately he's been on a no-caffeine, no-alcohol, ONLY natural substances in the body, no-immunization kick.  And, as this is my blog, and I'm entitled to my opinion (as he is to his, especially on his blog), I'm going to respectfully yet vehemently disagree.
9 babies in this state have died from Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough.  I used to think vaccinations were the prerogative of the parents.  Until I learned that they don't prtotect individuals, but communities.  The fewer people within a population who are vaccinated, the greater the risk to everyone, not just those without vaccinations.
I say this, as you know, as a mother of 2 Autistic children.  Because I would rather have them alive with Autism than dead from a preventable disease.  And many kids with special needs have compromised immune systems.  So coming into contact with a carrier of a disease is REALLY BAD for them!  And a carrier may never develop the disease, but can easily pass it on. 
I'm not going to sit here and demand that parents get their kids vaccinated.  But people my age and younger don't remember a time when everyone was deathly afraid of the water.  Not because they'd just seen or read "Jaws," but because Polio was rampant, and going for a swim could put you in a wheelchair, an iron lung, or a coffin.  This was REAL.  And Polio is making a comeback in other countries of the world.  With all the inter-continental travel that goes on, it is only a matter of time before it shows up here again.
We also don't remember when drinking unpasteurized milk killed people.  Painfully.  (I drink almond milk, so I don't worry too much about it on a personal level, but still...)
Are we, as a society, over-medicated?  Absolutely!  Should we take a close look at vaccines, how they are produced and preserved, and how many we give our kids at a time?  Definitely!  But isn't there a middle ground here?  Can't we protect our kids and ourselves without creating superbugs or leaving ourselves vulnerable to disease?
In all fairness, Mr. Horton (as far as I know) doesn't have children.  He doesn't know the fear a parent feels when their child is sick, or the absolute horror of even imagining the worst happening. I'm sorry, it's one thing in the abstract, something entirely different when it is YOUR child.
Yes, I have stayed awake nights wondering if my kids would have Autism if we'd refused vaccinations.  I have Mom Guilt over it.  But the bottom line is, my kids are alive and in good physical health.  And, with other family members with Autism on BOTH sides of the family, I tend to think it has more to do with genetics than vaccines.  Besides, I have friends who haven't vaccinated their kids, yet those kids have STILL been diagnosed with Autism.  So how did that happen, if vaccines are solely to blame?

As far as alcohol and caffeine, well, I don't drink.  I like my coffee. Sometimes I'll go a few days or even a couple of weeks without.  Do I have withdrawal symptoms?  I don't think so.  I feel fine.  No headaches or lethargy.  Well, no more lethargy than usual, lol!
The point I'm trying to make is that I am done with extremes.  I will no longer take on a behavior or give something up just because someone tells me too. I am done with gurus.  It is my choice.  My drinking coffee doesn't seem to have a negative effect on anyone.  And if it does, then I will stop. If It is conclusively proved that my life will be shortened because of the coffee, I will give it up.
Because my kids need me.
And they are my reason for everything that I do, or don't do.
I am my own guru.
But my kids are the boss of me!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


He's doing very well, knock on wood!  He's sitting up and responding to simple directions.  We're gonna go visit tonight.

In other news, the kids thoroughly enjoyed their swim.  As did I.  And I enjoyed my bike ride today. It's rather nice to have some time to myself!
OK.  That's pretty much it.  I'm going to go wash the dishes.  I know you're jealous!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Am SUCH a Jewish Mother!!!!!!!!!!

(I just logged in and I see that I have 22 followers!  WOWEEE!  How did that happen?!?!?!  And, oh yes, THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!)

As I write this my father-in-law is in surgery.  Open-heart surgery, to replace a completely blocked artery and deal with 2 partially blocked ones.  My M-I-L and 2 S-I-Ls are at the hospital, down in San Jose.  They're staying at a nearby hotel.  My S-I-L from Hawaii flew in on Friday with her 2 year-old to surprise them.  They were supposed to be in Hawaii right now, but, of course, had to cancel the trip.  So, if Mohammad can't come to the mini-mountain, the mini-mountain comes to Mohammad, right?
Over the weekend we fixed up a downstairs bedroom for Dad.  He and Mom normally sleep on the 3rd floor but, well, that's not gonna work right now.  So we cleaned out the downstairs and put a bed in, along with a TV, and he'll hopefully be very comfy there.
Meanwhile the rest of us are trying to stay busy and calm, and not freak out.
Which isn't easy, let me tell ya!

So, in order to keep myself from going bananas: have I mentioned that I've lost 4 pounds in the last couple of weeks?  I think this normal eating stuff might just work! I haven't been obsessing or counting calories. Of course, I DID weight myself, but not obsessively.  My clothes felt looser and I've had some comments, so I was curious.  I'm also trying to get my family to eat more healthfully.  Heart disease runs in BOTH sides of the family, so it's kinda important.
In a little bit I'll be taking the kids to the pool. We haven't been in a while, and it's beautiful out.  Plus, it'll keep us busy AND tire them out.  They love the pool, so it's a win-win.

OK.  Gotta go.  And I try to tell myself not to worry, but I am, after all, a Jewish mother.  Worry, for me, is like oxygen.

Have a great night, and I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Sometimes in life you just have to feel bad."

From a book I'm reading (that I mentioned in the last post).  Some of the best advice I've ever received.  Simple, straightforward, and true.  See, I've been misinterpreting things for a looooooong time.  When I heard about balance and equanimity, I thought it meant always being calm and never having "negative" emotions. 
Um, no.
It's actually accepting those moments of so-not-calm and NOT feeling happy! and living with them.  Feeling them. Truly feeling the emotion, then letting it go.  Emotions are like tantruming 2 year-olds; they want us to notice them and take care of them.  If we ignore a child all the time, they will try to get attention any way they can.  If we ignore our emotions, they will do the same. If we keep stuffing them down or shoving them aside, we'll either end up on a huge binge or at the post office with a sawed-off shotgun.  (This morning I wanted to hurt a postal worker.  Not with a gun or anything.  Maybe one of those big club-shaped pillow thingies they use in anger management classes.  'Cause she was being a BITCH!!!!!!)
It's like bravery; we tend to think of bravery as having no fear.  But that's not it at all, and is, in fact, the opposite of bravery!  The really brave people have A LOT of fear, but do the task anyway.  For example; both of my kids, at some point this year, have changed schools.  It wasn't easy.  But they have stuck with it.  They go to school every day.  Sometimes there are tears or tantrums.  Usually not.  They do their work.  They come home, go to bed, and go back to school the next day.  For kids who are young and have trouble with transitioning, this takes a whole lot more courage than it does for someone to hang glide down Mt. Kilimanjaro.  IMHO.  Because the latter is someone who NEEDS the thrill, while my kids are just trying to get through the day.
If something doesn't scare you, it's easy.  It's doing the thing that scares the pants offa you that is hard!

So now, I have another favor to ask: my father-in-law is going in for open heart surgery on Monday, early in the morning (around 5:30 AM).  If you could, would you send some prayers and good thoughts his way?  Thank you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thoughts at 3:30 AM on a Monday

I feel nauseous.  I think in a good way.  I went to a pretty intense yoga class yesterday with lots of twists.  Maybe it's all those nasty toxins moving out of my system?  Plus, Aunt Flo just showed up.  Oh yeah, and I was starving after class and ate too much.
That might possibly have something to do with it.
Plus nerves; today I'm doing a teacher-training for a group that teaches drama and playwriting to elementary school kids.  My husband worked for them before he got the VA job.  I don't actually have a position with them yet, but maybe sometime in the future.  Meanwhile, I'm doing the training today, and I ALWAYS get nervous before these, no matter how many times I do them.  And I've done them A LOT, lol!
And they're always fun, so I don't know WHY I get so freaked out.
Oh, wait.  Because I'm me, and that's how I roll.

Haven't heard yet about the other teaching job, at the synagogue.  I'm nervous that I won't get it and nervous that I will.
Of course.

Wondering if I should just stick with yoga, Pilates, walking, and riding my bike.  Those are the workouts I love the most.  I use weights in my Pilates, and yoga's great for EVERYTHING.  And it helps with all that worry!
And I'd probably sleep better.

Reading another normal eating book.  Called "Normal Eating for Normal Weight."  ALL of it it is directly applicable to me.  Others have issues with parts of it, which I understand, but, quite frankly, that's not my problem.  I got enough problems of my own, and the book is helping me, so that's what matters to me right now. 
Also realizing that what others have told me is selfish on my part is actually, well, not. 
At all.

It's not that I don't have energy, it's just that it's focused differently.  I came to this conclusion an hour ago. 
Because when I was 28, I was teaching at 2 universities (one in Pomona, an hour west of Los Angeles, and one in San Diego), PLUS doing 5 performances of "Romeo & Juliet" a week in West L.A. PLUS teaching 2 mornings a week in East L.A.  I couldn't do that today.  Because I didn't have kids when I was 28.  It's not that I had SO much more energy; believe me, raising kids takes more energy than ANY class or ANY play ever could! I've just focused my energy.  I'm not as scattered as I was back then.
Thank G-d!

Tried to watch the MTV VMAs last night. 
I'm just too old, and I just don't care.
Plus, remember when they were fun and irreverent and kinda dorky?  Now the popular kids have taken over and it's not fun anymore.
So I watched "The Tome Traveler's Wife."  I'd never read the book, and now I'm kinda glad.  'Cause when I read (and YES, I read, shut up!), it's an emotional investment.  And this one would have left me sobbing and bereft, at a time when I couldn't afford to be. (Kids were VERY young, Hubby was away most of the time, and I was already crying too much from being completely overwhelmed.)
Eric Bana is pretty awesome.  I like Rachel McAdams a lot, too.  But I'm a little sick of seeing 40 year-old men paired with 25 year-old women (who never age, even as their onscreen kids grow up).  (Like in this new movie "The Town?" Ben Affleck is one year younger than me.  Which means he's, yes, 40.  and Blake Lively is his girlfriend in it, I believe.  She's, what, 23?!?!?!  That's kinda gross, and I'm a fan of the Affleck.)  But I enjoyed the film.

Hubby's going to Yosemite next weekend.  Taking a long weekend.  This time I'm going to be smart and call in the reinforcements (aka in-laws) to help with the kids.  I'm going to yoga.  I'm taking time for me.  I'll try not to worry so much about everything. Or feel guilty about taking a nap on my days off when the kids are in school.
'Cause for the past 18 years I have run myself ragged.  I have worked 18 + hour days, often 7 days a week.  I have had almost no real vacation. I have taken care of everything and everyone else. I have worked and sweated and worried and tried to live up to everyone else's expectations while having none of my own.  I have put myself last, and it has been too much and gone on for too long.

And now, I must go back to bed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wow! And Pain.

Thank you for all the great comments on my last post!  You all had some terrific advice, and it's nice to know I'm not alone, in so many ways, lol!
It has been quite a week here.  I went in for my second interview on the teaching job, and it went very well.  Fingers crossed!  I won't hear until next week, as my interview was Tuesday, then Wednesday and Thursday were Rosh Hashanah, and now it's the Sabbath. 

Last night it took me 25 minutes to get from our home to the freeway.  It normally takes 5.  Then there was an injury accident on the freeway (Hope they're OK!), but I managed to get to work with 5 minutes to spare.  At the gym, the TV was on but without sound.  There was a breaking news story, a huge fire somewhere, but I couldn't tell where and I had to get to class.  When I finished, I noticed I had a text message from Hubby; turns out that the fire was the one you've probably heard about by now, in San Bruno. A gas main in a  residential area exploded, and resulted in flames up to 1,000 feet.  There's a huge crater where there was once a neighborhood.  And it's so awful and sad and scary (especially since Hubby had driven right by the sight of the explosion 45 minutes before it happened, on his way home from work.).
San Bruno is a very cool suburb, just north of the town where Hubby grew up and right next to SFO.  Which is why most people thought, at first, that a plane had crashed.
This comes on the heels of another accident; last Thursday a small plane DID crash into the lagoon just 3 blocks down the street from our house.  All 3 people on board died.  I was driving home the other day and saw the fusilage being recovered.  I think if I never see anything like that again I'll be very happy.
But back to the explosion; it happened at about 6:15, as people were sitting down to dinner and/or to watch the first football game of the season. San Bruno is a very family-oriented community.  It's pretty diverse, not at all far from the city, and a little more affordable than other towns in the area.  In fact, we thought about moving there when we first came up from L.A.  Our son went to summer school there a couple of years ago.  It is a great community, and everyone came out to help as soon as this all happened. 
I guess I'm asking for good thoughts and prayers for these folks. It is a horrible thing that has happened, and a lot of people have lost everything.  It breaks my heart, and makes me feel kinda helpless.  I did donate to the Red Cross, and tomorrow I'm going to go give blood, which are the only two things they want right now. (They said they actually have too much food, too many clothes and blankets, etc., which just goes to show how much people ROCK!) And already today stores all over the county were taking donations.
But it does look like more people are going to die.  There are folks in the hospital in critical condition, with 3rd-degree burns.  Off-duty emergency workers were taking victims to the hospital in their own cars and the hospitals were overwhelmed.  Yes, it could have been a lot worse, but it's still pretty bad.

And, of course, tomorrow is September 11th.  (And soon, the 2nd anniversary of Dad's passing.) It's all a bit overwhelming, isn't it?  The hurricanes, floods, fires, and now 9/11.  Oh, and let's not forget people who want to burn sacred texts.  It's all kind of...Armageddon-ish.  Especially when one is PMS-ing.

Oy.  I think I need to go take my kids to the pool and remember how lucky I am!!!!!!

Take care, everyone: G-d Bless and Blessed Be.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Real Food, Real Mad!

I've been perusing the new Jamie Oliver cookbook ("Jamie's Food Revolution") and, as usual when I look at his books, getting inspired.  I first bought one about 6 years ago, and used it constantly.  (Who knew that the Brits could make good food, lol! And who knew that chicken baked with bananas and corn would turn out so well?!?!?!)
This was when he did his first school lunch program, in the UK (He did something similar in the U.S. last year.) It's what gave me a real appreciation for family meals and real food. He also has a regular column in Australia's "Delicious" magazine; hella expensive, but SO worth it! (That's where I first heard about Curtis Stone.  Did you know that when he first came to the U.S. an started filming "Take Home Chef" he prowled the aisles of Gelson's grocery store in Pasadena?  The very same place where I'd do my shopping while my son had his occupational therapy nearby!  I started dressing nicely and putting on makeup, just in case.  Never saw him, though. Sigh.)
But, I also have a confession to make; at Safeway today, I picked up a few boxes of Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice frozen entrees.
Because...I LIKE them!
There's a part of me that chastises myself for it.  It's frozen, it's processed, it's all the things that "real" food isn't.  Then another part of me pipes up and tells the first part to stuff it. That's the same part that tells me it's OK to have a Coke Zero now and then.
I LIKE that part!
That second part may just be the part that's holding on to whatever vestiges of sanity I have left.
Because, as we all know, I have perfectionist and "good girl" tendencies. Success is elusive, nay impossible!  I can never be thin enough, smart enough, good enough at ANYTHING, and certainly not healthy enough!
For example: I went to the dentist recently, convinced they were gonna tell me I had a mouth full of Jack Sparrow pirate teeth and would need 6 root canals. Y'know what they said?  I needed 2 fillings re-done and a cleaning.  Oh, and a mouth guard, 'cause I grind my teeth when I sleep.
Then they gave me a new toothbrush, set up an appointment, and sent me on my merry way!
No one scolded or yelled at me.  No one tsked as they looked in my mouth.  In fact, they were all very nice and helpful!
It's hard to get used to.  After so many years of being criticized an manipulated, I've come to expect it. (In fact, the last dentist I went to yelled at me and scolded me for being in pain after chipping a tooth and EXPOSING A NERVE!!!!!)
Because I've been thinking A LOT about the way I was spoken to and treated for much of my life.  And reveling in the feeling of self-righteousness that went along with it; It WASN'T just me!  I WASN'T being paranoid!  People really were overly critical, and judgmental (emphasis on the MENTAL, in some cases). I remember one day in which I was criticized for the way I walked, the way I danced (which, granted, was pretty spazzy), the fact that I chewed my lip and/or twirled my hair, and for misreading a rehearsal schedule and coming in 10 minutes late.  The ONLY time, in 5 years, I'd EVER been late, for ANYTHING!!!!!!
It made me feel like crap, but it was par for the course. By that point, it was what I expected.  I had ZERO self-esteem, and believed the people who told me I was worthless.
It's funny; the only compliments I got at that time were for my appearance.  Because I was VERY thin.  Of course, I was thin due to the double whammy of anorexia/anxiety.

Recently I ended a nearly life-long friendship because I realize that I CANNOT be this person's idea of a friend.  As I looked back on our relationship, I started to see just how much damage we'd done to each other over the years.  This person is highly judgmental, and often misinterprets words and deeds.  It then takes hours, literally, to soothe their hurt feelings.  Y'know what?  This person and I are adults now.  We are 41 years old.  I have 2 kids, and this person is NOT one of them.  This person is also missing a sensitivity chip when it comes to the feelings of others.
Sorry, I don't have the time or the inclination to deal with it. I have enough insecurities of my own.  Don't try to give me yours.

And it hit me yesterday, when I had a good Mad going, that I no longer have tolerance for BS. I won't go into the details of the Mad, but it lasted a good 9 hours, lol!  At one point I was feeling guilty because I thought maybe I was being a wee bit selfish.  Then I realized, NO! I am NOT selfish!  What does my life consist of?  Working and taking care of my kids!  That's IT!!!!! I don't go out with friends, I don't go on vacations very often, and when I do, guess who's watching the kids while everyone else goes off and does their own thing?!?!?!  I was feeling manipulated again, and I blasted that guilt away and replaced it with MAD!
And it was GOOD!!!!!!! I stood my ground, and I ROCKED!!!!!
Because I am NOT a lesser human being!  I DON'T have to agree!  I HAVE an opinion, and it is as LEGITIMATE as ANYONE ELSE'S!!!!! And I'm NOT gonna smile and nod on the outside while I seethe on the inside anymore!  I'm not gonna sit back and let anyone insult me anymore!!!!!