I am trying to sort out my experiences and thoughts to better understand how to move forward and not stay stuck in the past.

Monday, December 1, 2014


What I want to write about goes along with what I wrote in the Clay post but I have to give a little history.  I was married to an abuser.  Mostly emotional, but some physical.  It took me eighteen years to make the move to leave.  Why so long?  Because your brain freezes when something so foreign happens to you that you really don't know how to handle it.  A lot of thoughts get jumbled from 'he had a bad day', to 'I made a commitment' or 'what about the kids?' to 'screw this, I'm done.'  But it can take a long time to get there.  A lot happens and I have learned that you can't judge a woman in that situation because you are not familiar with her mindset and history.   I do believe his actions were a mutation of his childhood with an alcoholic father and enabler mother.  That need to control a situation as a child can morph into a severely controlling adult who will go to any length to make sure that their world is as they feel it should be--to heck with what you think it should be.

Move to the present.  I have been working with a woman (my classroom aide) for 11 years.  An opportunity arose for her to take another position in an office.  More pay, better hours, less stress.  She talked to me about it and I told her to go for it.  I think that she felt as though she were betraying me in some way.  Working together for that long, we have a routine that works, and although it doesn't always run smoothly, overall, I like what we had.  We were (are) a good team in a tough and fragile environment.  The position, so far, is temporary, but someone had to be hired to take her place.  In comes Cathy (not her real name).  On the surface very kind, quiet, efficient.  She takes direction well, is enthusiastic, and  has a good rapport with the students.

About our room.  I rarely yell.  That means raise my voice.  Depending on the situation, though, I will be firm in my voice.  We often have children acting out and being disruptive.  Most of the time, I handle it in house.  Let the child talk it out, rock in the rocking chair, there are several tools within the room that I use to help them get a handle on their emotions.  Here is what I started noticing.  When a child was acting out or I was talking with a child, Cathy would end up kneeling by them and whispering to them.  Most of the time it was after a situation had occurred.  I would look up from working with someone, and notice that she was not at her desk.  I would look around the room, and see her kneeling beside the student who had had the issue and whispering to them (What is happening here?).  During one outburst of a student, she ended up leaving the room and bringing back the social worker and counselor.  The situation had not escalated to that point, and I never sent her to get anyone, so I was kind of dumbfounded when they came into the room.  She was still new to the room, so I was also kind of annoyed that she would take that initiative.  Not a good thing.  So, I talked with her when the kids left and explained, again, how the room worked.  I explained that I loved the kids and sometimes things may get loud, but there is a process.  When I came in the next morning, there were six or seven helium balloons tied to my chair.  She had bought them as an apology.  All of a sudden I had flashbacks of living with my ex, only in reverse.  He would do something sweet after an outburst, she was trying to make amends so that I wouldn't be angry with her.  I later found out through discussions with her that she had been with an alcoholic/drug abuser for several years before she married him and then eventually divorced him.  Once I understood where her history had taken her, I could see the behaviors that I used to do (sometimes still fall back on) to control my environment.  Though I'm not an abuser, she sees the outbursts and conversations as unnerving and her whispering to the kids, I can see, is her trying to calm the situation.  Her views are skewed because of her history.  This is a safe environment with behaviors that remind her of her former unsafe environment.

It's all about control.  Ironically, I do think we are fooling ourselves and exhausting ourselves if we believe that our controlling a situation is helping anything.  I'm not saying to be a slug and do nothing.  Do what you need to do.  Go through the daily process of living and working, but understand that there is a lot that is out of our control, but heavily in God's control.  There are times when you have to let it go and as scary and weak as that may feel, it's the strongest act that you can do.  The wisdom comes in knowing when (that wonderful Serenity prayer at work). Once you know, though, let go.

Because of my experiences both with my ex and child, and I could probably add my dad to that list, I am better able to understand other people.  Another example of, "All things work together for good to them that love God."


  1. What a lovely post. It just felt good as I read that you understood this new aide. You weren't mad, you didn't complain, but you wrote about your insights into her broken spirit and that of your own too. I can only think....what a safe place for her and for the students, and how God brings together people who need to be together. Yes, we can't change one another, but we can love each other through the process, be an earthly presence of comfort. I loved reading this!

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  3. Thank you, Annette and Beach. I appreciate your wonderful comments. (Also, I see here that it says that Beach's comment were removed by the author? I'm not sure I understand, but it wasn't me! :)