1. Cry. A lot. Not those little sissy tears, either, that dramatic one-tear-down-the-cheek. No, I'm talking a good old fashioned bawling and gasping and keening your grief until you're weak in the knees and you can barely stand.

2. Pray. Somehow. For something. Even if you are not sure it'll do anything. They don't even have to be coherent words. (Many people choose to combine steps one and two.)

3. Bring someone you trust in the room to catch you when you keel over, to hold your arms down to keep you from hurting yourself (and them),  to remind you to breathe and keep you from hyperventilating, and to slap you in the face with truthful statements. Trust me-- you'll need that.

4. Talk about it.

5. Sleep on it. You're way too emotionally wiped to do anything else, even though you don't feel like sleeping.

6. Somewhere between steps 1 and 5, have a cup of tea to calm you down. It works wonders.

7. Blog about it. Even if you can't find the words, and can barely bear to obliquely reference what's going on, it still helps to get even a speck of the turmoil out, or at least to break through the numbing haze that you're wandering around in.

8. Cry some more. At any time. Really, it's okay. Expected, even.

9. Do what you gotta do. In this case (hello, unexpected twist), it's going door to door.

At least, this is what I did last night and today.

I was doing fine yesterday morning and early afternoon, but when I came home from work something twisted inside of me, and I just crashed. I was depressed, and a few things after that contributed to a desperate, sad kind of mood. I was trying to be optimistic and look on the positive side, and I could see good things, but the mood just wouldn't go away.

Went out to dinner with L and some of her friends, and I ate soy. Quite a bit of it. So I wasn't feeling well when I got home, not to mention that E was texting me about work stuff and for some reason I was really annoyed by it, so I made a strawberry glaze pie.

I texted C that I needed to talk to him, but when he got home I gave him the cold shoulder. I just didn't feel confident enough to broach the topics that I needed to, and I was feeling too down and "I just don't care anymore" to even try. I learned something last night-- C's automatic response when someone is upset is to leave them alone and figures they'll talk when they're ready. That's how he works. Mine is the opposite-- I want him to "come after me" when I'm upset, otherwise I feel like he doesn't care. But he was trying to care for me by giving me my space. Isn't that funny?

Anyway, when I finally did talk to him later, we discussed how I feel like I'm just part of the scenery to him now... and how we are basically ships in the night because of our different work and sleep schedules. He shared that he doesn't want to smother me and how he has been trying to take care of me because he doesn't want me to get burnt out by staying up super late with him. Oh, that man. I love him. (Even though I was so down yesterday that I contemplated leaving... again. That's me-- the runner. Sometimes I feel like I'm bipolar or something.)

So we agreed to have a "date night", a time for just us once a week, that way we'll be sure to be spending time with each other. He gets to choose what we do one week, I get to choose the next. I'm glad for that.

We didn't talk about that till after the crisis, though. I was grouching off to bed, when I heard my phone going off, and almost didn't get it.

It was my sister, K, and she was crying. I couldn't understand her at first, but I finally got the story out of her. She said that Mom and R were in the garage, and he was pushing her. When K went out to the garage to defend Mom from R ("Leave my Mom alone!!"), he grabber her by the shoulders and pushed her up against the wall, yelling at her. Mom told J to call the police, and she did. (It resulted in R being arrested, though he bonded out last night, with a 5 day no-contact order.)

I made sure K and the baby were ok (they were), and told her that I was sorry and that I wish I could just scoop them all up and bring them here. Apparently, that stuck out to her, because she mentioned that to Mom when she told me that she had called me. I told her that I couldn't do anything for her but pray with her, and would she like me to do that? She sniffled yes. I said, "Okay, let's pray right now," and she sniffled the affirmative again. I had managed to keep the tears back until I started praying, but then I lost it and was crying and trying to pray at the same time. I don't really remember what I said, but it was something along the lines of praying for their safety, for God to just wrap them up and love on them and to bring about healing and health. It helped her calm down some, and I stayed on the phone with her until the cops showed up.

After we hung up, I pretty much lost it. (Cue step 1.) I combined steps one and two, and implemented step 3 after a few minutes of solitary grieving. Though there had been tension between C and I (my fault), he practically leapt to my side when I opened the bedroom door, still crying, and asked him to come with me. Poor S... in typical guy fashion, he saw me crying and thought, "Girl crying? I'm out." He finally came out of his room a good forty five minutes to an hour later.

So C came in and held me up while I cried, then helped me over to the bed and just plain held me while I cried some more... tried to calm me down, then held me while I wracked my way through another bout of convulsive tears. I calmed down eventually, and then I was able to talk to him about what was bothering me earlier, and it was good.

Mom called a while later, after everything was said and done, and she straightened out some of the story for me. R had taken away her credit cards a few days ago, and was in her face, yelling at the top of his lungs about money, so she pushed him to get away, and he pushed her back, and so they had this pushing battle, I guess. That's when K came in, and while R was distracted, Mom mouthed to J to call the cops, which she did. Mom and R began having a sane, civilized conversation, but then the cops came. After hearing all sides of the story, they said they needed to arrest someone, and though Mom volunteered, they took R. The cop who spoke to Mom was miffed, esp. about R taking away her credit cards. He also brought up his concerns with the fact that she is the one who volunteered to be arrested. (As did I-- too much of what she says sounds like the abused ladies that come through our agency..) He did say, however, that the arrest won't affect R's job negatively.

Mom told me that R can be very giving and generous at times (like Christmas, when he offered to pay for my schooling), but when he feels like he's losing control, he turns into this super selfish miser. He tries to control everyone and everything around him, and Mom gets the brunt of that. She doesn't feel like she's herself anymore, because there are things about her that R doesn't like, so she's tried to change that... like her spontaneity, her joking, etc. She feels like she's lost a part of herself, and she's trying to get that back.

I told her that if she came to Y, the HJ would be more than happy to utilize her. She says she won't leave until J graduates from the school she's at now, though, because it's such an amazing school and J is doing so well there. That's my mom. She puts us kids first no matter what.

The worst part is that R was yelling at Mom, saying he has no money to pay the credit card bill because he just paid for my classes and spent a couple of hundred on my dentist bill, etc. So I feel like it's partially my fault, all this crazy mess... and I still have some doctor's bills that have showed up, but I'm not going to ask him to pay for them. I'll do it myself.

While in the initial stages of shock all I could think about, all I could say, was that... I'm their protector. I'm K's big sister. I'm supposed to be there for them, to keep them safe, but I couldn't. I didn't. I'm not there, I'm here, and there's nothing I can do. I failed them, somehow. (Ah, but C reminds me that it's not my fault, I didn't do this, and I can't stay at home my whole life, trying to protect them from everything. It's not my responsibility.)

I failed them by not being there, by not keeping them safe... and I failed them by trusting R.

How many father figures must I lose?

I've been betrayed.

I trusted him, and worse than that, I loved him.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened... and I told him I disapproved, strongly, but I still loved him.

Oh, God... it feels like the past is playing itself all over again...

I don't know what to think about him anymore. He was my dad, my father, the best one I've ever had... but he's hurting my family... crushing my mom's spirit slowly... What do I do with that?

Because I want to trust him... but I just don't know what to do anymore. It feels like I let the enemy into the camp, and now I'm kicking myself.

People make mistakes, but where do you draw the line?

And if Mom leaves? Do I still consider him my dad? What do I do with that? When he comes back in 4 days? The next time he calls me? Do I just pretend that I don't know? Do I say something? Do I stand up to him, call him out? What do I do?!?!?!???

It sucks to feel so responsible, yet to be so far away... the only thing I can do is pray, and I don't even know if that'll do anything.

Once again, I take away the lesson that it really is better to just never trust, never love... you only get betrayed, disappointed... again and again...

C vehemently denies this, of course.

And I keep asking him, "Are you sure we can make this work? Are you sure this is worth it?" It's just another example of that scenario where I think a marriage is functional, I think it's going to work, and then I find out that it's a lie.

Who gets married intending to get divorced? But who gets married and does more than just grimly stick it out, anyway? I want more than tight-lipped endurance. I want happy, healthy, and functional. Is marriage even real?

C is not like R. He and I both intend to go the distance... but doesn't everyone?

So I finally fell asleep around 4 or 5 this morning... I don't recall what time it was. Today, I've been mostly sad and heavy, pretty numb all day.

It's just like... fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu..... what's the point? Really, what is the point?

They're all abusers, aren't they?

Even the ones you love.

(I know, intellectually, that it's not my fault... but I still feel the heavy weight of responsibility for my little brood.)

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