My Mother-in-law and how she shows me unconditional love…

One of the best things that happened to me a few days ago, on my birthday, was receiving a birthday card from my Mother-in-law.  Most years she forgets to send out cards so I’m ALWAYS honored when I go to the mailbox and see her handwriting on the outside of an envelope.  I’ve got to give her credit though because she’s a whole lot better about remembering than I am!  I’m ashamed to admit that I truly suck at making a day special for my loved ones.  The people living in my house reap the rewards but those that don’t live here rarely get remembered.

The point of the post isn’t to talk about remembering though.  It’s to tell you how I’ve been SO blessed by my husband’s family.  You all know by now, what MY family is like.  I don’t know what it’s like to have a close family or what it’s like to truly be loved by a family.  I know what it’s like to be “judged” and “used” by my family.  It was a shock when I was shown unconditional love by a family who didn’t have to show me love.

First of all, I want to tell you what the card said from my Mother-in-law…

“Any woman can be a daughter-in-law.

But it takes a certain spirit,

an openness,and generosity of heart

to make the “in-law” part

drop away,

leaving that comfortable word


You’re a caring person…

loving wife…

giving mother…

and your presence

in the life of our family

is simply a gift.  “

Dang!  That made me cry.  I don’t even know how to accept love or compliments!  I guess it hit me so hard because my own mother doesn’t feel the same way AND I know that Katherine (Mother-in-law) really feels this way.

She didn’t have to accept me the way she did.  Ben’s family had gone through the horror of his 3 other marriages before I arrived.  They’d “accepted” every one of these former wives, even when they knew they’d never last.  Ben had a definite “history” when it came to women, that’s for sure.  But that’s a post for another day!  I’ll save THAT for when he makes me mad 😉  lol  I need to tell you that these people are Christian’s of the Southern Baptist type.  They scared me and that’s NO joke!  I’m Catholic and it’s no secret that Baptists don’t like Catholics.  These people actually READ the bible and LIKE the bible.  Except for religion class in Catholic school (a million years ago), I’d never read even part of the bible.  Ben’s family doesn’t just go to church on Sunday morning but Sunday night and Wednesday nights.  Their recreational activities revolve around church.  Mine never have.  They’re also very “Southern” people who didn’t really know or trust “Yankee’s” such as they think I am!  lol  They’re the type of people who say “Well, bless her heart”, in the sweetest most loving way.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that Southern people say this only when they think you’ve done something really stupid and they’re too kind to call you out on it.

When I tell you about Ben’s Christian family, you might imagine people who don’t live what they preach.  Christians get a bad rap for being hypocrites but not THESE people and most especially NOT his mother!  She lives what she preaches and believes.  Only she doesn’t preach at all.  She leads by example.  She very quietly sits and reads her bible and only talks about it if you ask her about it.  She’ll mention something in passing but doesn’t shove it down your throat.  She’s so kind and loving that you can actually FEEL her love as soon as you get out of the car to hug her.  I’ve never been around anyone like this.  She believes in being a submissive wife.  It’s no secret that I DO NOT believe that I should EVER be submissive to ANYONE, but most especially my husband, her son.  I could go on and on.

Okay, you can imagine the amount of adjustment my new Texas family had to go through and that I had to go through for a few years.  Although, they never let me see that they were having to adjust to me.  I’m loud and bossy and sarcastic.  I say words like “God” when I get mad (that’s a very bad word to them) and I call people “dumb asses”.  They probably dropped to their knees at night in prayer over the things I’ve said and did!  They only showed the world how proud they were of me though.  I have ONLY ever been shown love by my mother-in-law.  She’s cried with me and laughed with me.  She’s felt my losses as if they were her own and she’s shared her thoughts and feelings with me.

Most of all, she’s treated my children as if they were her own grandchildren.  I wasn’t expecting that and neither were my kids.  We knew they’d TREAT my children with love and respect but we just weren’t prepared for them to actually LOVE them.  My girls feel closer to Katherine than they do their own biological grandparents.


(Here’s one of my daughters snuggling in Memaw’s bed with “Ming-Shoe” the doll that Katherine made for her.  Julia feels safe and comfy in Memaw’s bed and I love that!)


(she just sits, ready to give love to all her little one’s no matter their age)

Most of the time I spend in Texas, Katherine allows me to run her house the way I do everywhere I go.  You know the Mother-in-law on the sit com “Everybody Loves Raymond” right?  That’s how I expect mother-in-laws to be but not Katherine.  She’s happy to sit and read a book while I destroy her kitchen.  And TRUST me, I DO know how to destroy a kitchen.  She’s so gracious and never imposes her will on me.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I impose my will on her.  She’s not used to a whole lot of commotion and when I’m there, I bring my chaotic life crashing into her’s.  I’ll never forget the time she asked me if she could “help” in the kitchen.  Of course, I thought I was being considerate and polite when I told of “of COURSE you CAN’T help in the kitchen”.  I just wanted her to sit there and rest.  I felt like I didn’t want her to go through any trouble when my family was there.  For YEARS I did this.  Finally, a few years ago, she so softly, and kindly explained to me that sometimes a mother wants to feel wanted and needed.  We live over 10 hours away from her and she never gets to be a “mom”.  Sometimes she likes to show US how much she loves us.  Wow!  She didn’t want me to be ashamed because she’d NEVER want anyone to feel shame BUT I was SO ashamed.  I learned to step out of the way and allow her to be the mom when she wants to be the mom.


(here’s me not only taking over her kitchen but taking over her kitchen AND even wearing her apron!  lol)


(Another picture of the mess I make in her kitchen but THIS time I had some help from my little niece Selah!)


(here I am even taking over her Christmas tree…  Geeze, I’m just so BOSSY!  lol)

Like I’ve already said, my Mother-in-law teaches by example.  She rarely needs words.  She’s watched, through the years, as I’ve ignorantly allowed my children to get themselves into trouble.  I was a LOT more lenient than she would have been but I had more faith in my girls than I should have.  I allowed one of my daughters to spend WAY too much time with some boys she met and became friends with in Texas.  They were friends of the family’s so I felt like it would be okay.  It got to the point where she was never home for dinner and she would only come in once a day to say hello to Memaw and GG (Katherine’s mother).  I didn’t want to be too strict with my daughter and I wanted her to have fun too so I allowed her to spend the night camping with these friends and family.  I could tell that it was bothering Katherine (mine and my daughter’s actions were not only improper but just down right rude) so I began to make my daughter stay home more often.  After all, we were only there for a week or two.  Later, we found out that my daughter was doing things that I won’t mention here.  Point being that Katherine knew she was in trouble and instead of imposing her opinions or judgments  on me, she quietly let me know that I was being too lenient by her actions.  She prayed for my daughter and cried when she learned that my daughter was hurt and was going down the wrong road.  She cried real tears like she would do for her own biological granddaughter.  I still can’t get over that.

Over last summer, when I was hospitalized in ICU, my husband called his family and I guess told them that I wasn’t going to make it.  They’ve been in this rodeo more than once with me and have never made the drive to St. Louis to come to the hospital.  I didn’t expect them to this time either because Katherine is responsible for taking care of her 93 year old mother.  Besides the fact that her OWN health isn’t great.  The trip is very hard on them and impossible now for GG.  My sister-in-law told me that Katherine prayed about it and felt like God was telling her to “go now”.  They immediately packed the family up and made the hard drive with 2 small children and 3 adults JUST to see me one more time.  I don’t think they expected me to be conscious but when they walked into my hospital room, I was awake and able to speak.  I believe I was hanging on because my husband told me that I needed to hang on just a little while longer to see “Mom”.  I remember feeling SO much love radiating from Katherine when she walked through that door!  It made me WANT to get better for her.  I promised her that it wasn’t my time yet and that God was good and I was sure I was going to live.  Actually, I was more worried about her making that trip and then turning around and needing to go home the very next day.  SHE wasn’t though.  She was there for me, to hug me and to hold my hand and pray, in person, over me.  The way a REAL mother would.


(Katherine lovingly does her mother’s hair for church so that GG can feel beautiful too.)

I feel unworthy to call Katherine “Mom”.  I know she wants me to and she certainly deserves the title…  but something inside me won’t let me most days.  I feel like to be her “daughter” , I should be a whole lot more deserving or full of grace.  I’m getting better about it but I’ve been in the family for 12 years.  Today, instead of feeling unworthy, I just want to take a second to thank God for this woman who has shown my family and I so much love.  I’m smart enough to recognize that’s it’s not very often that a wife can brag about the fact that they actually LIKE their mother-in-law.  I don’t just LOVE her, I respect her and actually LIKE her.  Thank you God for this woman.  Because of her, I know the love of a real mother and I am blessed.


(she loves us all like we were her very own)


45 thoughts on “My Mother-in-law and how she shows me unconditional love…

    • Awww! You just made my day! THANK YOU. My husband jokes but it’s not really a joke…. he says I’m really ugly if I don’t smile! lol I guess I deserve that since I tell him he’s fat all the time. Ahhh… the love! lmbo

  1. I LOVED reading this. 🙂 It sure sounds like you finally have the family you’d always wanted. Katherine seems amazing. You, my dear, are truly wonderful and I am glad that others see that. And yes, like Olivia said, you are very pretty…inside and out. ❤

    • Aww! Really, you just made me smile from the inside out! Thank you SO much for that 🙂 And yes, I didn’t expect it but his family ended up being the family I’d always dreamed of having. I’m really not deserving of them but they don’t seem to mind. The really awesome thing is that I’m learning to be a better person because of them and especially because of Katherine.

      Thank you for being so sweet! I hope YOU have this kind of family with your fiance’ 🙂

      • You put yourself down too much. :/ You are far greater of a person than you give yourself credit. ~*~ HUGS ~*~ I am so glad that you have them though, what a blessing!!!!

        Fiance? We’re not there, yet. But, I firmly believe we will be. We just celebrated six months yesterday and we’re so happy, always talking about our future. Zach adores him and so does the family of mine that has met him. Speaking of moving forward, when he closes on his house and things are situated with my grandma, my kiddo and I will be living with him.

        His mom passed away one month after we began dating and sadly, I hadn’t met her. My first time time seeing her was at her wake. 😦 That is actually how I met his family, not easy, but I am glad I could be supportive in that difficult time. His dad has grown fond of me and thinks Doug and I are great together, that I am good for his son. His grandparents all seem to like me, as does his one sister and brother in law. His other sister thinks I am a good person, but isn’t fond of my not being a virgin, having a kid, etc etc. Meh. It is what it is, but yeah I am happy that his dad approves. He’s actually given me some side work while I look for a stable job. He bowled league with us and that gave him the chance to really get to know me. Doug comes from an amazing family and I am glad to be a part of it now. ❤

      • I thought you were engaged because I know we’ve talked about when you get married. I think we were talking about a song though (one that you’d posted). lol Anyway, you will be soon, it sounds like. How very sad that you met his family during his mom’s funeral! Not a good place to socialize and get to know people. I remember you talking about working for his dad at times. Hope the job search is going well too! So is your son going to live with you full time once you move in? What fantastic news!!!!!! High five sistah!

      • Oh no, it won’t be full time….but it will give me more of a foothold to go after more time once I can prove to the courts I am more stable. I am just saying, there is room for Zach at Doug’s home, Doug made sure of that. 🙂

      • Awww. Well good luck with the courts eventually. That’s a good feeling when your s/o shows concern for your child… and when he shows love, that’s even better. Dough sounds like an awesome guy! Better hang on to this one 😉 lol

      • Doug is amazing and yeah, you can bet I plan on holding onto him for as long as life will let me. ❤

  2. Ben,,,are you “Mr And That’s All She Wrote!” 🙂
    Sure that is you awaiting an ice cream ? lol

    Also great blog.
    LOL @ “I will call my mom”
    ha ha

    Brilliant stuff

  3. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award | Shadowed in Moonlight

  4. This is an amazingly beautiful post and I have thus nominated you for the very inspiring blogger award: This post had me torn between laughter and tears throughout the whole story. Laughter because reading this makes me realize you really are an Aries through and through. Tears because what you describe here is both precious and beautiful. You are very fortunate to have found and been accepted by such a wonderful family. I have to admit that I envy you for it. The underlying concept of this post is what I’ve been searching for my whole life, I’ve found one person, thus far, that I can call family. It’s enough for now. A lot of the time I wonder if my dreams are even possible, but hearing stories like this gives me hope.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to keep hijacking your comments. I blame you, you’re entirely to thought-provoking and easy to talk (write?) to.

    • AWW! You really make me want to cry! People like you make blogging worth it. You don’t hijack my comments 🙂 You actually conversate (is that really even a word? lol) and I LOVE it!

      Yes, I am blessed that my husband’s family is now my own. I didn’t really know it was possible either. It IS possible for you too. That 1 person that you can call family? Some people don’t have even 1 person. By the time you;re my age (a thousand years form now) you’ll have other very special people. How can everyone not love you? You’re just too dang likable!

      Oh and yes, my Aries really DOES show through in this post. lol It’s funny because my Mother-in-law thinks astrology is of the devil. lol If she only knew… But I didn;t even realize how MUCH I sounded like an Aries until you just mentioned it.

      I almost forgot to thank you for the award! lol I got a little too wrapped up in myself once again. hehehehe

      • So true, and I am deeply grateful for Hope (as she is known in Blogland) and that she keeps standing by me, no matter how many dips I hit as I process things. She’s a true and loyal friend, and those are very rare creatures. I don’t know where I would be without her, probably nowhere pleasant.

        The devil, you say? Hmm, interesting concept for purposes of mayhem, but I don’t seem to recall reading about that in my Satanism 101 class last semester… Kidding, completely kidding. And yeah, only I ram would butt her mother-in-law out of her own kitchen, tsk, tsk. 😉

        On a side note I have officially lost track of the number of on-going conversations we have going in various locations, but we must be breaking some kind of blogger etiquette by now. I mean you can’t have this much fun without breaking a rule somewhere. I must go consult Emily Post on this issue…

      • I was thinking the same thing about having so many conversations going on. Wow. I do this with one other person in blogland (my Scottish friend). Geesh. It takes us all day to read and comment but it’s fun to find people you REALLY like!

        Hope, huh? I’ll have to check her out. I’m SO happy you have a loyal friend and now you can call her family. That truly CAN happen with bloggers. I have several people I follow on wp that I USED to follow on a site called Vox. When it shut down, we lost so much. Now we found each other again. We used to send gifts back and forth and became real friends. We shared invites to visit our real life homes. Pretty cool! But you have to be committed to keep these blogging relationships going.

      • She doesn’t have a blog. Once the craziness with the move and all the medical issues we’ve been having this year settles down, she might start one though. I’ve been working on getting her to give it a try. She’s a complete health and wellness nut and I think she has a lot to share. She converted me into eating healthy and taking care of myself better (she’s big on nutrition), and I think she could help out other people too, just by sharing her own experiences. I just call her Hope when I mention her on my blog, from a memorable day when we were picking out hippy names.
        I never expected the blogging community to be so warm and welcoming. And I didn’t know that they could get so tight. That’s pretty awesome. I’ve never been one for social networking (I’ve tried various forums and Facebook, but they never worked for me), but this is different somehow. Maybe because I’m different now. I didn’t come here seeking to connect to anyone, I just wanted a space to be creative and share my work, but it’s become something more, and that’s beyond awesome.

      • It is cool.. this wp thing. Not everyone is so loving but many are.

        Your Hope sounds exactly like my Libra bff Beth. She’s actually starting her blog right now, as we speak about health and wellness. ALso her own brand of spirituality… much of like what you and I have been talking about.

        I totally didn’t read that Hope lived with you? Did I read that correctly now, that you’re both going through a move? If she does live with you, you’re a very blessed woman to have someone you love and care about so much live with you especially now that you’re going through this with your health. See, even if you only have a family of 1, this can be more meaningful than a family of hundreds. Besides, I think you might do best with small numbers… now that I know you’re a Scorpio, I can say that 😉

      • You read it right we live together. She made the grievous error of marrying my father. I haven’t mentioned that anywhere because “step-mom” isn’t really a good label for her and I really don’t see her that way, nor her I. I am blessed to have her around, especially since she cooks, and she’s definitely been very helpful with the current health issues (I would have no clue what was going on otherwise). My other housemate, my father, is a great deal less welcome.
        Yeah, I’m definitely a quality over quantity kind of person. I don’t want a lot of family members, just more than one. And preferably a couple that aren’t so involved in my bio family. Three would be excellent, five would be epic, more than that is probably overrated anyway.

      • Aww! So is she happy being married to your father? I’m only asking because I’m hoping she’ll stay, for your sake. That’s pretty selfish of me isn;t it? But I love my stepmother. It sounds like Hope is more like a mm to you anyway.

      • Happy? That’s actually a complicated question. She’s a bit codependent so she loves being in a relationship and she has terrible taste in men, so unfortunately this isn’t the worst relationship she’s ever been in. On the other hand he’s a narcissist. I’m not being sarcastic there he really is a narcissist, and a narcissistic Aries is about the worst combination I could ever dream up. He’s also an alcoholic and is occasionally emotionally and verbally abusive, but at least his job is such that he’s not around much. She won’t divorce him though, her upbringing was very clear on when divorce is acceptable and so far he hasn’t crossed any of those laws. No she’s not really happy. No, she doesn’t really love him. But she’ll stay. Our relationship has progressed past the point of being dependent on her relationship with him so I’m not worried even if he does cross the line.
        Sorry, I realize that’s probably a heavier answer than you expected, but if you ask me a question I will give you an honest answer. It’s just the way I’m built.

      • Oh that’s so sad for her! My dad is a narc/ sociopath so I know what a “narc” is. I also know a woman (who loves to call me her bff) and she’s a narc. I want to smack the crap out of her. No, I can’t imagine a narcissistic Aries. Also an alcoholic? You’ve been through too much, haven’t you? My dad was also an alcoholic/drug addict. Wow. I’m just sorry Hope feels like she needs to stay. I’ve been there though and it’s a lot harder when it’s you who has to make the decisions to leave.

        No, I’m the same way you are as far as if you ask me a question, I’m going to answer it honestly and yes, I probably always give too much info. That’s how I’m built too.

        Here’s my blog about my dad. This is only one but you’ll get the idea. Sorry if you’ve already seen it.

      • Nothing worse than an unpleasant person that gets the idea that you actually like them. Odd as it sounds, I think he tries to be a good man. He’s more misguided than cruel, more broken than manipulative. On the narc scale he’s probably pretty mild as far as it goes. I’m not excusing him or his actions, never that, but I understand him, more or less. He really does love me and I even think he loves Hope, but he’s toxic and there’s nothing any of us can do about that, well he could if he wasn’t blind and unwilling.

      • I really DO understand what you’re saying about your dad. I get it because I get MY dad and still love him despite all the terrible things he’s done. He’s SO toxic too but if it’s possible for him to feel any love at all, he loves me and he loves his wife. O at least, I should say that he needs us. So I really do understand about your dad loving you and you feeling love for him and even sympathy.

        It really makes me think, do MY kids look at me that way? I mean it’s scary because ALL of us are broken in some way or another. I guess I’m constantly worried about affecting them in the way your dad affects you. I know I’ll never be as bad as my dad or mom but the way I was raised lends it impossible for me to be able to tell if the way I am is “normal”. I try SO hard with them but I’ll probably never get it right. Ah well, I guess as long as I’ve broken the cycle of abuse and they DO know I love them so much, maybe that’s going to have to be good enough.

        It makes you think though. I hope your dad sees what he’s doing before it’s too late. I’ll bet it would break his heart if he knew how you and Hope saw him. It’s impossible for an alcoholic to see things in the correct light though and as long as he keeps drinking, he’ll never be able to see with the RIGHT eyes.

      • I call it destructive love, as I am a firm believer that there are many types of love (I believe you gave me a lesson on not so long ago 😉 ), and because it’s the love born of familiarity and time. I love all of my parents (mom, dad, step-dad), but I don’t like, respect, or trust any of them. It’s the kind of love I would gladly be rid of, if it were only that simple, that black and white.
        My dad is an interesting guy, he’s smart, in fact, he’s one of the most academically intelligent people I know. But he has all the emotional intelligence and impulse control of a five year old. And honestly that how you have to treat him if you want results rather than a tantrum. It would be nice if he could see the internal consequences of his actions on the people around him, but he’s simply incapable of seeing through someone else’s eyes. Even without the alcohol it wouldn’t make any difference.
        As far as the other, well, personally I’m terrified of the very idea of having children. I don’t like being around kids, in a lot of ways I never was one, so how would I have any idea of how to treat one? Even when I was little I preferred to spend time with my teachers rather than my peers, when I spent time with anyone anyway. I still don’t generally get along with people my own age. Case and point: this conversation.
        I can see that you truly love your children, and I want with all my heart to say that’s enough, but as we just said I know my dad loves me too and its not enough. But for this I will pull from the other reply you gave me recently, I can tell you right now that none of my parents spend any real amount even considering what my wants and needs might be, much less attending to them. They no doubt have a number of ideas about what THEY think I should want or need, but that rarely has much connection with reality. Love, trust, respect, and honesty. As long as those things are in a relationship, at least for me, I can deal with anything else.

      • Aww wow. You gave me a lot to think about. I’m in awe and completely shocked right now, reading how similar you are to my Scorpio friend. She was terrified of kids and didn’t like them either. She was in her late 30’s before she had her only child and that was a complete accident. Now she says she still doesn’t like kids yet she’s the best parent I’ve ever been around. It takes a lot out of her and she sacrifices so much for her daughter. SHe was also a loner in school. I’ve known her and been friends with her since we were 10 so I remember her to be the same way. I was her only friend but as you know, I was so pushy that she couldn’t get rid of me and she eventually just shook her head and laughed, giving into my “charms”. lol Talking to you is like talking to her. I told her about you today. She laughed SO hard when I read to her how you made fun of me! Apparently she agrees with you or she wouldn’t have laughed that hard! lmao

        Your dad… we also treat my dad like an infant and I shake my head when people like my mom say that we should all stop giving in to him. You hit the nail on the head when you said you treat hm like a baby because you don’t want the tantrums. We do too. You’d think at MY age, I would just walk away. As you said though, it’s more complicated than that. ANd I HAVE walked away for years. He won’t be living for that much longer because he’s 70 and has heart disease. I DO love him though and it’s strange and I don’t understand it. Here’s what I believe. I believe that we’re born to these people for a reason. We need them to become the people we’re supposed to be. If that makes sense? If it gets TOO bad and you need to leave your parents because they hinder you from being the person you need to be, then you should remember that they’re only “the vessel”. They were the vessel that was the “means” to get you here. There might come a point where you’ll outgrow them and need to leave.

        It’s sad when you realize your parents are only human. I know you recognize that. Sometimes our parents seem far less than human. It amazes me that with the parents that you describe, YOU still came from them. Why weren;t you completely screwed up? You must be a very special kind of person who could shine despite them. And you do SHINE, even if you try not to so that nobody will see you 😉

        Thank you for your honesty about my girls. It means more to read honesty than when I hear or see smoke being blown up my a$$ by people who tell me everything’s going to be okay. From you, I hear the reality. I do spend a lot of time worrying about them. Its legit. I listen to them because I doubt myself. You’re right though, sometimes love isn;t enough.

      • Of course she agrees with me, I speak naught but the truth, albeit it with a heavy dose of sarcasm ;). I can just imagine you pestering the poor Scorpio child at school who just wanted to be alone and dragging her off on all sorts of misadventures. Sometimes the hard-hardheadedness of an Aries simply can’t be denied.
        I can’t say that I’ll never have kids, there are days when I think that it wouldn’t be so bad, on the other hand there are a lot of days when I don’t think my family’s bloodline should be continued. What if I couldn’t love my child? Or what if I don’t like them? What if my child inherited some of the mental issues my family obviously has? What if I had a child with a disability? I don’t think I could handle that. I think it whether or not I have one all depends on whether or not I am able to find a partner that I actually want to spend the rest of my life with and whether or not I could picture having kids with him. I think a lot of the fears I have are likely unfounded and I’ve known a few people who hate kids, but not THEIR kids. Things would probably be a lot different if they were MY kids.
        I used to think that if I ever had the chance I would just walk and never look back. There were times I dreamed of severing all ties with everyone I’ve ever known and starting over completely somewhere new, where no one knew me or my family. I thought if I did that I would be able to forget the past. I know better now. The past is a deeply integrated part of who I am and as we discussed I still love them, I still want them to be a part of my life. I can say that this: I have no regrets, not about anything. Not for what was done and not for what I did. I wouldn’t be who I am today without those events and I am who I was meant to be. Which syncs up nicely with your beliefs that we’re born to our parents for a reason. I believe in fate and I believe that we go through things that we go through in order to learn the skills we’ll need later in life. One day I’m going to need the lessons I learned from my past.
        I am screwed up, to a degree. I’ve practiced self-mutilation (not anymore), I have serious issues with intimacy, for a four to five month period I forgot who I was (I had my memories, but I forgot what made me “me”, my values, hopes, and dreams) which was the most terrifying event of my life, and I recently learned that I have serious issue saying “no” even when saying “yes” is potentially detrimental to my health (I’m working on that). I was able to protect my core, the rest of me got pretty battered, but the core of who I am is undamaged and I’m guessing that’s more what you meant. Protecting the core came at a price, but it was worth it, in the end.
        I’ve spent so much of my life learning how to be invisible, to go unseen and unnoticed by the world, and may I say I was damn good at it too. I was mistaken for a ghost more than once by my peers. I’m trying to unlearn it now, at least enough so that it’s no longer instinctive and involuntary. I’m slowly starting to accept that letting other people see me isn’t dangerous. It just takes time to break eighteen year habits.
        I can’t stand being lied to, even when people are trying to be kind. My life was a web of lies for a long time, I have no tolerance for it anymore. So I make certain that I don’t lie to other people (my bio family members being the exception to that rule, for the sake of my sanity) or engage in any other form of deception. It sounds like your kids have a good relationship with their extended family, at least on your husband’s side, and I think that if it were me I would at least take solace in the fact that if/when I came up short they would help pick up the slack.

      • Okay so you’re 18? You have the wisdom of a 40 year old and maybe older. There’s NOTHING I can add to anything that you said. So you’ve rendered me speechless and as you know, that’s almost impossible for an Aries to be speechless. lol All joking aside, self mutilation is something I’ve never been able to wrap my head around. I guess it’s one of the signs of the times. We just didn’t DO that back in “the day”. Maybe we didn’t think of it? I couldn’t do it because I’m terrified of pain and blood. Which is weird because of all the blood transfusions I have to get.

        I remember knowing that I was going to walk away and leave my family. I knew that I would graduate from hs and then leave. However, my senior year, I got pregnant and it became necessary to graduate 9.5 mos pregnant. I had to wait to have the baby and by then I’d decided to wait for my brother to graduate. He was a year behind me and he was my soul mate. After he graduated, we had actual plans to kill my dad if we had to in order to take our little brother and run. NONE of that came to fruition because 2 days before my brother graduated, he was killed in a car accident. Life is a tragedy sometimes but just think of what would have happened to us if we HAD gone with the plan! We actually thought we’d get away with killing dad because everyone would feel sorry for us when they found out what he did to us. NOW we all know that nobody really cares and we would have gone to prison. So basically, we were born into prison with the parents and then we would have ended life in prison. In reflection, I think God knew that it would have been my brother who carried out the plans. I was the mastermind but it was going to be HIM who actually DID it. God took him 2 days before the plan! He’s in a better place and that’s the honest to God’s truth. He couldn’t have lived any longer like we were living because he had such a soft heart and was hurt so easily. God took him home but it took 20 or more years before I was actually “whole” enough to begin to live again.

        Wow… all that because you shared your story about wanting to leave. Here and I JUST said you’d rendered me speechless. lol I guess that should tell BOTH of us that I’m never really rendered speechless. But it’s YOUR fault for making me THINK. lol

      • I’m 21, I said eighteen because I was being generous saying that I’ve been working on breaking those habits for three years.

        This where we run into another of my little quirks when people ask me questions I assume they want complete and true answers, additionally I tend to think that if someone brings something up that want to know more about it. So, on the subject of self-mutilation I am not at all surprised to hear that it’s not something you did. It sounds like you were beaten fairly regularly and that violence was a frequent part of your life, both directly and indirectly. Why on earth would you hurt yourself on top of that? So it makes perfect sense to me that you would never feel that urge.

        There are four general schools of thought on the matter. The first is from psychologists and the like that say the endorphin rush offers people a relief. I will admit that was a pleasant byproduct of self-mutilation, and I do seem to exhibit some masochistic tendencies for mild physical pain (there’s a poem about that here:, but that wasn’t my primary purpose. Some do it as a punishment, I’ve never had any real interest in that. Some people think that people do it for attention, which I can honestly tell you was the furthest thing from my mind. And finally some people think its part of a fad, usually lining up with the goth/emo cultures. Having never belonged to either group I can’t say one way or another if that’s true.

        There was a number of reasons I started doing this. First and foremost, it was training for me. I thought that if I could deal with physical pain, if I could learn to endure it, I would be able to better handle emotional pain too. I was correct for what it’s worth, that strategy worked extremely well for me, especially when used in conjuncture with other things. Second was that I hurt so much on the inside, my soul was bleeding and it was tearing me apart I needed the outside to reflect what was happening within. Third was boredom and numbness, my life had routine that varied only minimally day by day. School, my room, school, my room. Occasionally we watched a movie or played a game, otherwise it was all the same. There were long expanses of nothingness where I would go numb. I needed to feel something, anything. The fifth and final reason was because all the pent up rage I felt towards my parents had nowhere to go, I mentioned earlier that fighting back wasn’t an option so hurting myself took the edge off, made it bearable for a time.

        I think self-mutilation is more publicized now, but I don’t that it didn’t exist back in “the day”. I’ve volunteered at a number of zoos and the like, I can tell you that if you don’t keep animals stimulated they’ll start displaying self-mutilating behaviors and other problems. I think it’s a basic thing that starts to happen in semi-extreme or unnatural settings.

        It sounds like you were really close to your brother. It’s unfortunate that he died so young, but I think your point about it being part of a larger plan is valid. Ending your life in prison would have been sad after all you’ve been through and I think, hearing you talk about your dad, that you would have regretted it if you had actually followed through. I was an only child, I wonder a lot about how my life would have been different if I had had a sibling.

        Lol, you can’t keep a good Aries down. Our comments here are beginning to look more like novels ;).

      • OMG! You’re so right about the novel thing! I want to write SO much. Eventually, I think we’re going to have to exchange phone #’s so we can talk about all this stuff.

        You fascinate me! You’re right, I DO want to know more about the cutting thing and anything you volunteer. I’m a sponge. So for me, you’re dead on, giving me the details.

        The thing about the animals that self mutilate is SO interesting. The way you described self mutilation makes so much sense. I just never thought about it that way. You’d think I would have because my step daughter, who I raised, was a cutter. She’s bi-polar and schizophrenic though so I never really thought of it as anything other than psycho (sorry… don’t mean to offend – but you know me!) … I was desensitized because she did it for attention, which she now admits. I guess there are MANY different personality types and many different reasons. YOU, my friend just explained it to me in a way I could understand and FEEL. You’re right to say that because I was beat every day of my life, I wouldn’t have needed to feel anymore than I did. I felt TOO much and relished the peace and quiet, assuming I ever got peace and quiet.

        I don’t have time to say all I want to talk to you about. Geeze… we really DO need a book to discuss all this. But HEY! I’ve been thinking about guest blogging? I was wondering if you’d, at some point, feel like writing a piece on my blog pertaining to cutting and your experiences? I think it’s so important that people understand that this is a REAL issue and it doesn’t happen to people who’re only looking for attention. You’re just the person right for that job. If you’re able to make ME feel, you can make others feel and not judge. It’s something to think about 🙂 I’ve got to run now but I hope your day is bright and sun shiny! You’re just such a blessing to me!

    • Animals self-mutilate must commonly by obsessive grooming. Birds are the worst they’ll pull off their feather’s until they’re bald. I’ve never seen that myself, but there was one parrot at the a zoo I volunteered at that we had to work very hard to keep happy so that he wouldn’t hurt himself. Living things don’t handle captivity very well, which is one of the many reasons I’ve chosen not to follow that career path, which was my original plan.

      I completely understand why you would have that view about people who self-mutilate, a lot of people have that view and with your step-daughter I can see how that would make things worse. People like your step-daughter give people like Hope (she was a cutter) and I a bad name (no offense), because they take something that is deeply meaningful and painful to some people and use it as cheap, shock-value system on the people that care about them (It’s been driving me nuts, and I hate to pry, but is this the “wayward” daughter you talk about sometimes?). I have trouble respecting people who do that and the same goes for those that are just following the trends.

      As you said there are many different types of people in the world and in truth there are just as many reasons for why people people do this. For example, even though cutting is by far the most popular method of self-mutilation, I don’t think I actually fall into the “cutter” category. Even in my issues I refuse to conform. I did cut, on occasion, but it was relatively rare for me. I was more creative in my methods especially since I had to find ways to do this without leaving an obvious mark (mom didn’t take kindly to it when she found out).

      I would be honored to guest blog for you at some point, just tell me if/when you want to do it (but please, for the sake of my sanity, not this week). You’re right this is a highly misunderstood issue and if you think my story can help raise awareness, even if only a little, I am more than willing. I’ve actually been thinking that we might move this show to email. I’m not saying I’ll stop commenting on your posts, try and stop me in fact ;), but I thought that way we wouldn’t be cluttering up your comment section quite so much and I would probably be a bit more comfortable there. Not that I’m uncomfortable here per se, just that our conversations have probably crossed the line into something more appropriately discussed in a more private setting some time ago. If you want you can reply to this to my public email worldofjnix at gmail dot com and I’ll give you my personal one. Don’t feel pressured about it either way, I’m happy enough with chatting like this, so if you prefer to keep this setup that’s fine.

      Oh, and please don’t wish me a bright and sunny day, I just spent the whole day outside painting the house. A cool and cloudy (but no rain) day would be far more appreciated at this point 😉

      • HAHA! No sunshiny day for you! Ok… I’ll check out your email. I’m bad about checking email but I’ll try to keep on top of it because I don’t want to lose track of you. So be sure and check yours! lol Mine is michelle_dicken@yahoo

      • Dang girl! I’ve missed you! My computer is whacking out on me and I need to get this comment to you before it shuts down on me again!!!!! lol I haven’t had a chance to see if you wrote me back but I’m going to get to that in a second, I promise. I have been thinking about you and I’m hoping you’re doing well! (((hugs)))

      • I replied to your email (it’s actually a two part reply), but from my personal account so it’s a different address, Scorpio is part of the subject. Let me know if you got it :). I hope you had/are having a good trip with your girls.

      • I still haven’t been to my email but if I can’t find you, I’ll let you know. I’ll try to type in your name so it shows up. I have to do it that way because I get about 100 emails a day. I guess it’s time to set up a different email so I don’t get crap ? lol

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