General Question

Cupcake's avatar

Any words of wisdom/encouragement/support?

Asked by Cupcake (15508points) December 4th, 2009
31 responses
“Great Question” (6points)

I’m not sure how to summarize without writing a book. I’m a newly married almost 30 year-old mother of a 13 year old. I’m in graduate school and have a final exam next Thursday and a 20 page research paper due the following Sunday (it’s my first 20 page paper ever). I have barely scratched the surface of studying and writing the paper and was reserving this weekend and every weeknight to study/write.

My father had very complex back surgery last month and was just (surprisingly) released to go back to his winter home in Florida in a few days. I had been planning on spending time with him and his wife after finals and spend Christmas with them (we’re never together on Christmas), but now they’re leaving the day before my final exam.

I have a history of depression, although I have been doing very well for the past couple of years. I have PTSD stemming from abusive relationships and being raped at 15 (which resulted in my pregnancy and the birth of my son).

My husband is in the process of adopting my son. I recently purchased a background check online to find the bio dad’s contact info for him to be notified.

My son (and I) saw his bio dad once in 1991. We met at a park. It was awkward and uncomfortable and the only way I could get through it was to pretend to myself that I hadn’t been raped… that I’d been the one to blame and he hadn’t done anything wrong. Well, that caught up with me and I ended up in a 6 week outpatient psychiatric program and on several medications a couple of months later to prevent me from ending my life.

My son’s bio dad showed up at our house 2 days ago. He’s in the military and being deployed oversees very soon and wanted to see my son this weekend before he leaves the area. He’s willing to sign the adoption papers if there is a clause included that allows him to see my son when he is in the area (every year or two). Long story short, my son wants to see him and he wants to see him every year or so when he’s in town.

Since then, I’ve been fighting falling apart. I’m struggling to get through daily tasks. Showers take forever. I can’t pick out clothes to wear. I find myself blanked out staring at the wall several times throughout the day. I jump when there is a noise behind me. I don’t want to be touched. I don’t want to answer the phone. I just want to sleep. Work is a joke… I’m sitting her accomplishing very little… but I don’t really want to go home. I’m going through the motions fine… and sometimes I feel “normal”, but mostly I feel dissociated. I know that kind of goes with the PTSD deal…

My question is… how in the world do I handle all of this? This weekend I have to say goodbye to my Dad (and I have abandonment issues… this is not easy for me), I have to bring my son to see his bio dad for the second time ever, I have to emotionally support him, I have to study and I have to write a 20 page paper. And I really, really, don’t want to fall apart like I did eventually after seeing the bio dad last time.

Thoughts?

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Answers

gemiwing's avatar

Wow, that’s a lot to deal with. Find your friends/support network and use it. Talk to them about how you’re feeling and about what you’re afraid of. Lean on your husband and keep him in the loop. Journal it out- write about every little thing about this you can think of. Better to have it on paper than in your head on a loop.

Do you see a therapist? This would be a good time for one.

flameboi's avatar

just breathe… look forward, and continue, you will be fine, take what comes to you in your own terms, you are as strong as you want to be, limits are in your head :)

Qingu's avatar

I feel kind of dumb giving you advice since I’ve never been through anything a fraction as bad as you have.

But what I do when I’m feeling depressed or inconsolable is “give myself a vacation.” I just accept that I’m going to be sad for some time and there’s nothing I can do about it, so I sort of let myself wallow in it for a day or two. It almost always ends up running its course.

So maybe take a day or two, sit alone in your bedroom with Ben and Jerry’s, watch sad movies, and don’t try to push aside your sadness.

I guess it’s sort of like how if you’re feeling sick, you should just vomit and get it over with instead of prolonging your nausea by trying to avoid throwing up. Of course, I never follow that advice because I hate throwing up.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Jeez, sounds like you’ve had to deal with a lot in your life. I’m sorry you’ve gone through so much pain.

It seems weird to me that your son’s father should have any rights to see your son at all, seeing as he raped you. Does your son know about that? And does he really want to meet his father again? If it was me, I would slap a restraining order on that guy ASAP…

I can understand if you want to protect your son from the pain that you’re going through, but if you’re not talking to him about it, you should. It can be a traumatizing thing for a child to suddenly find out their parent has been suffering for so long and they have been completely oblivious to it.

It seems like you’ve been going to a therapist about your problems, which of course is extremely important. You should not try to go through this alone, especially if PTSD and chemical depression are suppressing your body’s natural ability to cope. But just going to a therapist when things get really bad won’t really do as much to help as it could. It’s just as important to have someone to talk to for everyday life issues as much as it is during a personal crisis. Medication can help too, but be careful not to depend on drugs alone to solve your problems.

The most important thing right now is to surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you and will help you through this difficult time. Maybe you can talk to your advisor about getting an extension on your paper until you have a little more time and emotional energy to do it. The stress of school on top of all your personal problems can create a really dangerous situation.

I know it’s hard, but concentrate on keeping yourself together. You’ve been through tough times before; you should be able to recognize when you are getting worse, and when you do, be proactive in getting help before falling into a downward spiral.

You’ve made it this far; you’re obviously strong to deal with all this, even if you believe otherwise. You will make it through this as well. Good luck to you.

Cupcake's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko – It’s hard for me to explain without writing pages and pages… so I kept it to a “minimum”. :)

We were in high school. He claimed it was consentual and the grand jury threw the case out (which made sense since I didn’t tell anyone until I found out I was pregnant and then I just looked vindictive). So there are no legal charges against him.

I have called the police to report harassment (after seeing him the first time 8 years ago) after he called repeatedly each day up to 13 times in one day.

I have kept my son from him which has been easy since he no longer lives in the area, has a wife and kids elsewhere, hasn’t requested a visit since and has never sent money or a birthday card.

My son doesn’t know he raped me, as far as I know. He did overhear that I had been raped (this was a few months ago) but has not talked to me about it.

I would like to tell him my side of the story some time. Actually I’m dying to tell him. But I need to be very cautious that I’m telling him for his sake and not for mine. So far it has just been for mine. I want him to judge his father based on his father’s actions/inactions towards him and not me. I actually think they speak loud enough.

My bottom line is that I did not want his father shaping his character. Obviously he hasn’t. Seeing him once per year, likely with me present, will not change that either.

It’s not an easy decision. I don’t want him to influence my son, but I don’t want to keep him from knowing his father.

It’s interesting to note that prior to getting married, my son was uninterested in seeing his father. Now that he has a dad at home, he is willing to pursue some kind of relationship.

marinelife's avatar

I am so sorry that life is piling on right now. Please get some support for yourself when you have to meet with your son’s father. Do not go alone.

Your son has a natural desire to see his father. Especially since he does not know what happened to you. At 13, he is at a critical developmental age. This would not be a good time to tell him about the rape. I think if you can get through this next bit, time is on your side. Your son’s biological father will be gone for a long time (especially for a 13-year-old). Meanwhile, he will be building a relationship with your husband.

He will have your love and care and your husband’s, and the values and thinking skills that you have instilled in him to eventually make his own judgments about his biological father. Meanwhile, as hard as it is, you remaining neutral about this man and not being the source of any negative talk is what is best for your son. Because that is so hard, you must seek out places where you feel and vent and talk and get support. Definitely, I would connect with a therapist. That person may also know if there are support groups for this problem. Please take good care of yourself-for you and for your son.

Have you gotten legal advice? Do you have full custody? It is likely that the biological father would have to legally seek parental rights including a paternity test (unless you acknowledged him as the father on the birth certificate). While that was going on, you could possibly keep him from visiting your son without your son knowing the why (after all, this man just drops in whenever). It might be possible to make sure the visitation, if granted, was supervised.

I am sorry about your Dad too. Maybe a trip with your son to Florida after the holidays would provide some healing for all.

Please keep us posted.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Cupcake The legal system in this country is so flawed, it’s disgusting. Far too often people do not get punished for their crimes. But I guess it’s all we have.

I can understand this is a very difficult decision to tell your son about this. 13 is a delicate age. Have you talked to your husband about telling your son? Maybe the two of you could figure out a way to do it together, and decide when the best time to tell him would be. Of course, no decision is going to be “easy,” as there probably is no “good” time to tell him about something like that.

It is interesting that your son has suddenly become interested in seeing his father now that you’re married… Maybe your son has mixed feelings about your husband? Maybe you should get to know how exactly he feels about your husband and his biological father. I think you are making the right decision to let your son base his opinion of his father on his actions towards your son.

Obviously this is a very difficult and complicated situation. Talking to your husband, friends and especially a therapist are definitely good ways to figure out how you’re going to deal with it all.

janbb's avatar

Jeez – that’s a lot going on! I’m really sorry that you’re facing all this. I would think it would be almost impossible to focus on schoolwork right now. Could you talk to your teacher(s) about taking an incomplete and at least postpone having to do the paper until the semester break? Also, is there anyone else who can take your son to see his father so that you don’t have to face him again? Try to figure out where you can find some wiggle room so that everything is all on you at the same time. And ask your husband and friends for help and understanding.

qashqai's avatar

I don’t have any words of wisdom, unfortunately.

But there’s one sentence, my ancient Rome history teacher told me once. It was something sounding like that <Rise like phoenix from the flames!> Since then, it was all downhill. I didn’t understand well if it happened because of those words or if it was just pure coincidence, but I repeat them to you, wishing you the same luck I had.

Cupcake's avatar

My husband would be there too. It wouldn’t just be me and my son with his bio dad (God willing that will never happen).

I’ve thought about not going for my own mental health. My issue with that is that I’ve been married a short time and I think my son would need me to be there with him and my husband. I have to put him first. Unfortunately this situation is so time limited due to the military issue.

trailsillustrated's avatar

sounds like you have too much on your plate. could you put school on hold for awhile? and if your son wants to know his dad, encourage that. he needs it. your husband sounds great-let him help you.

Cupcake's avatar

My husband IS great. He’s a rock. He’s handling things perfectly.

I’m thinking about contacting my professor. Isn’t it funny how knee-deep (or, rather, chin-deep) in a situation you don’t see what things you might be able to let go? Thanks, guys. I really appreciate your responses.

trailsillustrated's avatar

@Cupcake my situation is entirely different than yours and I know your’e not wanting to keep your son from his dad, but thought I would say that my kids were kept from me and now as teenagers they feel resentful and betrayed because of it- good luck to you I know you will pull through

MissAusten's avatar

@Cupcake First, I have to say that I admire you tremendously for not using your son as a weapon against his bio father, for not turning your son against his bio father, and for being a working mom, wife, and student. I’m so sorry that all of this is coming at you at once.

You might be able to get an extension on that paper. At the very least, talk to your professors and let them know that you have a few personal, very stressful things happening at once. You might be surprised at how they will work with you to help you out. I can’t offer better advice than above on the rest of the issue, but I do hope things improve for you soon!

augustlan's avatar

I just wanted to say I’m sorry you’re going through this. {hugs} to you.

zephyr826's avatar

This is a really difficult situation. I can’t imagine dealing with all of this at one time. Fortunately, you have wonderful husband (hey, he’s worth 10k lurve) to help you through this meeting with your son’s father. You recognize the signs of your PTSD and can hopefully head them off before they become debilitating, and you are a strong enough woman to allow your son to see his father, even though the bio-dad does not deserve the privilege. We are all here to send good vibes and hugs your way. And you are doing a great job!

fireside's avatar

As the new husband in the story, I really appreciate everyone’s responses about this. Until Cupcake emailed me about this question, I hadn’t even thought of the possibility of asking the professor for an extension on the paper. Considering how thoughtful she has been about this paper, I think it would be easy to show that she has really made good strides towards completing this paper and would be able to get it done with even an extra week.

As far as the bio dad situation goes (great name, btw, “Bio Dad” – sounds like an Eddie Murphy movie) I was actually here when he showed up at the door and could tell that he was sincere and humble enough to warrant another chance at meeting his son. If I was going to Iraq and had such an unresolved issue in my past, I know I would want the same opportunity.

Conveniently, he showed up at the same time that we are trying to track him down so that he could be informed about the adoption proceedings. Even though he has had no involvement with our son, he does have the right as “bio dad” to be informed and doesn’t technically need to give consent, if we go through the courts.

After he showed up, I contacted the lawyer and found that we could have him sign a pretty simple form that says he is okay with the adoption. Since he has never expressed interest in securing parental rights and fiscal responsibility, he doesn’t have much incentive to not sign this other than the fact that he wants a chance to know his son. If he will sign the form in exchange for an agreement to pre-arranged, supervised visits on an occasional basis at the discretion of our son and his mother then I think it will work out well.

Cupcake has said all along that she does want the two of them to at least be aware of the other even if it was just for practical things like medical history and parental consent when our son wants to get married. I think she is actually handling things amazingly well including the phone call with “bio dad” yesterday. She is right to not tell our son about the circumstances of his conception unless he asks. She and our son are very bright and when the time is right, they will be able to have a very open and honest conversation about it.

The key is that this is being done for our son and he just so happens to be interested in knowing more about his ‘bio dad’ right now. probably us getting married has a lot to do with that. He hasn’t had a father figure in his life ever until now (other than his grandfather). Plus he (and I) just read a series of books (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) about a boy who didn’t find out who his father was until he was 13, which is our son’s age now. In fact, the day that his dad showed up, before he knew, he was writing an outline for an English paper and the main character was on a quest to learn more about his biological father. I was pretty surprised to read that outline when I reviewed it!

Anyways, thanks to all for the warm responses!
Sorry for the wall of text

Cupcake's avatar

@fireside – my eyes get teary and my heart quivers whenever you say “our son”. I love you.

@everyone – thanks so much for all of your responses. They really help. I’ve requested Monday and Tuesday off of work and will either be taking care of myself or writing my paper then. If I’m taking care of myself, I’ll talk to my professor on Monday before class and show him my outline, explain what’s going on and request an extra week for the paper. We’ll be spending some time with my dad and step-mom on Saturday. I have to decide if I’d rather squeeze the meeting with the bio dad on Saturday (a busy day with a few hours free in the afternoon) or Sunday. Maybe the busy day would be better and then I can stop wondering what it will be like.

I can’t even express to all of you how much I appreciate your comments. Thanks again.

trailsillustrated's avatar

none of my business but why has the bio dad never paid child suppport? and now? he should be paying something shouldn’t he? and the state goes after people so you would get years of back support, too- for his college years

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Can you let your husband take your son to meet his birth father, and work out the details? Ask your dad for a plane ticket to visit him after the holidays? You get to the library and write. Don’t give the past permission to interfere; think of you and your husband as a packaged unit on this one.

Cupcake's avatar

Thanks so much for all of your support and suggestions.

We made it through. We got everything done and I got my final grade in my class. I had requested an incomplete and was told that if I got everything handed in before my professor turned in final grades he would just submit my grades on time without an incomplete – which is what I did.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but I’m doing fine now. Thank you for your kind words.

zephyr826's avatar

@Cupcake That’s wonderful. I’m so glad that things worked out as well as they did.

janbb's avatar

@Cupcake Cupcakes all round! Good on ya!

fireside's avatar

Not only did she not get an incomplete,she got a 96 on her 14 page paper and she introduced some knowledge that the professor hadn’t heard before!

janbb's avatar

Oh, oh – way to go, Cupcake!! Let’s add pancakes to the cupcakes!

Cupcake's avatar

@fireside shhhhh…

<big cheesy cupcake smile>

BraveWarrior's avatar

Well done @Cupcake Congratulations!!! You are truly an overcomer and should be proud of yourself! (and your hubby is obviously proud of you, too! – lurve to him for the public kudos!)

MissAusten's avatar

Wonderful to hear! I love how @fireside brags on @Cupcake. Gives me warm fuzzies!

augustlan's avatar

Yay! So glad to hear all of that news. :)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I say “follow the logic it usally always lead back to the truth” but someone sent this to me and I will share it with you, you might find parallels in yur life.

Don’t give up…..

One day I decided to quit…
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality. .. I wanted to quit my life.

I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
“God”, I asked, “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”

His answer surprised me…
“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”
“Yes”, I replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them.
I gave them light.
I gave them water.
The fern quickly grew from the earth.
Its brilliant green covered the floor.
Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said.
“In year three and four there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.
But I would not quit.

“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. ..But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.

It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.
I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”

He asked me. “Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots”.

“I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.” “Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said.

“The bamboo had a different Purpose than the fern.
Yet they both make the forest beautiful.”
“Your time will come”, God said to me.
“You will rise high”
“How high should I rise?”
I asked.
“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.
“As high as it can?” I questioned.
“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”
I left the forest and brought back this story.
I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you.
Never, Never, Never Give up.
For Prayer is not an Option but an Opportunity.
Don’t tell the Lord how big the problem is,
tell the problem how Great the Lord is!

Heavens door open this morning, God asked me… My CHILD…
what can I do for you?” and I said ”
Please protect and bless the one reading this message.
God smiled and answered… “request granted ..

Cupcake's avatar

Thanks @Hypocrisy_Central. Your timing is perfect. I’ve recently been dealing with this issue again… in a slightly different way. Although now is difficult, I know that in the end everything will work out.

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