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TeresaT

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Hello, all. I've been on the forum for over a year, but have never introduced myself properly. I didn't when I joined the forum because I wasn't sure if I would stay. You know how these things can be, catty, catty, catty. I've had enough of that in my life to last a lifetime. Then, when I realized y'all are the finest group of people around, I thought it was too late. It would be pretty lame to do an intro. I still think that. However, I tend to say stuff in my posts that are funny as heck, sometimes philosophical, sometimes cryptic and sometimes just plain annoying. Since you have no idea of my history or background, you have no idea why I "say" the stuff I say. So, I'll let you in on my history. I'm sure it's going to be way TMI, but that's just the way I roll.

First of all, I work for the United States Secret Service. I have for a long time (02/06/1989). More than half of my life, actually, and am really looking forward to retirement (02/28/2022, but who's counting?). I normally don't make my day-job a public event, but at this point in my life and career, I really don't give a fig because the agency has turned to crap.

However, it has also been a huge part of my life. It has enabled me to travel to places I would never have been able to go (London, England and Berlin, Germany for example) and has strengthened my convictions of right and wrong. I have made friends with a diverse group of people, many of whom I have never met face to face, or only run into every few years at a conference. It has taught me patience, tolerance, perseverance, and perspective. It has also brought me to this city.

I was born & raised in Philadelphia, PA. The younger of two daughters of a single mother. I was an abused child, physically, verbally and emotionally. However, I had no idea of that, because when you live like that, it is your normal. My home life sucked, but my work life was great.

I transferred to Dallas, TX, in 1992 and discovered what "normal" families were like. Hmmm. That was an eye opener. The office sucked, but my personal life was much improved. It's where I met missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yeah, I think y'all know I'm a "Mormon." I know I've mentioned it before. It's not important, but it's not un-important, either. It just is. (I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools, in case you are interested.)

I transferred to Nashville, TN, in 1997 and spent a year in that office. That was a messed up year. The most passive-agressive person I've ever met in my life was my new boss.

In 1998, I landed in Chattanooga, TN, where I have been ever since. This has been an interesting ride. I love this area. I finally found my niche in life. Everything was going well for me. I was in an emotionally and financially stable environment and was happy, truly happy for the first time in my life. Then in September, 2000, my mother came to live with me. She had lost her job in January of that year and was lying to both my sister and myself about her financial situation. Basically, telling me she was paying a set of bills and not a different set of bills. Then telling my sister the opposite, what she told me she was paying, she told her she wasn't. You get the picture.

Though I'm the youngest in years, I'm the oldest in common sense, maturity and independence. I realized what was happening when I was in Philly for a visit and gathered my mother's bills and finances together and did a complete overhaul. She was destitute at that point. Instead of allowing her to be homeless, I did what needed to be done, I let her move in with me. And assumed her bills.

My life took a downward spiral. My mental, physical and financial health went into the dumps. She had no source of income for more than three years. She finally received disability and that helped a little bit. We went from a tiny (perfect for me!) 790 sq ft townhouse to the house I presently own, approx 1600 sq ft. And she took over. Oh my gosh. I put the dishes in one cabinet and came home to find them moved to another. "Because that's where they go." I got to the point where I hated my house. And my life. And my mother. She refused to go anywhere without me. She sat around in the house all day eating junk food, because every diabetic needs to eat four bowls of Sugar Smacks cereal every day plus fudge covered graham crackers. Oh my gosh, the stories I could tell! But I won't.

I stopped going to church. I stopped going out with friends. I stopped having friends over my house. I stopped living. Life sucked. I was constantly angry and didn't know why. I was constantly sick, and didn't know why. This is about the time my Sjogren's Syndrome manifested itself. My IBS got severe. I had high blood pressure and needed medication. I had chronic migraines. I was a freaking mess. The people I worked with walked on eggshells around me because the slightest little thing would set me off.

I finally had enough in 2009 and told her she needed to move out of my house and into her own apartment. She went apartment hunting ONE day and couldn't find anything. So, what did she do? She called my sister and told her I kicked her out and she couldn't find anyplace to live. Of course, my sister told her to come back to Philadelphia. So, in September, 2009, that's what she did. And told everyone I kicked her out of my house because she ate a danish.

What actually happened is: she had a doctor's appointment. I had to take off from work to take her to the doctor because she was no longer allowed to drive. She had been in three auto accidents since she moved in with me, totaling two of those vehicles and breaking her back in the third. She was not allowed to drive as long as she lived in my house. So, I was inconvenienced to be her chauffeur. While I was showering, she ate a huge (soup) bowl of frosted shredded wheat cereal. Remember I said she's a diabetic? Yep. Insulin dependent, to boot. I decided to stop at Panera bread for breakfast to get a spinach and artichoke souffle. I figured she'd get coffee and sit with me. She got a danish. A danish the size of a plate that had cream cheese and raspberry on it. When she had placed her order, I said, "Mom, you just had a big bowl of cereal." She turned to me and said, "Don't you worry about it!" OK. I sat down. I'm sitting there eating my souffle when I started bawling. Just bawling like a baby. I'm watching her stuff this danish down her face and I couldn't do it anymore. She wanted to know what was wrong so I told her. "I cannot do this anymore. You are killing yourself and I can't watch you do it anymore. You ate that cereal this morning and now you're eating this? Your sugar levels are all over the place because you don't take care of yourself. If you don't care, why should I? You cannot live with me anymore. If you want to kill yourself, do it in your own home." Her response? "I won't eat junk anymore."

Needless to say, I was pretty much done being her caretaker. If she was not willing to expend the effort to take care of herself, then I was no longer willing to do it for her. She got pissed off and left the restaurant (and her beloved danish). I sat there and ate my souffle, crying the whole time. But you know what? The most incredible thing happened. This knot in my stomach, that I had no idea was there, suddenly went away. A huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I was suddenly free.

She refused to talk to me for days after that. I didn't care. I was free. I was making plans to get on with my life. I was looking for apartments in the area for her. I didn't want her gone, I just wanted her out of my house. I wanted to look after her and make sure she was safe and taking her medicines and going to the doctors that she needed to go to, but I wanted my own space.


To be continued...
 

TeresaT

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Part two, (because I did all of that typing...)

After she moved out of my house, my high blood pressure resolved itself, my anger issues resolved themselves; in fact, all of my health issues resolved themselves. The financial issues? Not so much. Because of her added burden on my finances, I spent way too much money. I paid all of my creditors every month before I paid myself. I had always done that and it never bothered me. However, after doing that for several years, and living on about $100 to $200 a month, it caught up to me. I got sick again.

I checked with a lawyer to see what my options were. Chapter 13 was the best option. Restructuring my debt to make it more manageable, and having some money for myself, sounded like a great idea. I'd pay everyone back and have more money in my pocket than before, what's not to like? Nobody tells you it's nearly impossible to reestablish yourself after that. One of my creditors decided not to pursue the debt. They did not send a representative to the hearing and therefore, they wrote off the debt. Lucky for me, yes? Not so much. They consistently mark my file as Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Every time I have the credit reporting company fix it, they do. And then the creditor changes it again. I finally contacted them last month and told them what is going on. The woman I spoke to said their records show they have it as Chapter 13 and she doesn't know why it's being reported wrong. She'd contact the department that does the reporting and call me back if everything is correct on their end. Guess who never called back? Maybe finally they'll get it correct. That will help my credit score go up.

The bankruptcy will clear off of my record in 2021. That's a long way away. But I'll retire in 2022. So at least I'll go into retirement with a clean slate. I'm hoping my house will be paid off by then, or close to it, and my soaping business will be fairly steady. At least steady enough to pay for itself with a little profit to pay the electric bill.

I've hit rock bottom. The only place left to go was up. Sh!t happens in life. We can let it destroy us or we can use it to make us stronger. I almost allowed my mother to destroy me because she's "my mother" and "she's family." And you're not supposed to give up on family. Well, that's bullsh!t. You have to eliminate toxic people from your life, even if that toxic person is the one that gave birth to you or shares genetic matter with you. I have discovered I am much happier in life without having anything to do with my mother or sister. They are toxic people and I don't need that negativity in my life. They cannot see anything good or positive or happy in life. They are not happy unless they are miserable and sharing that misery with everyone around them.

I'm generally a happy person. I try to see the humor in every situation. I try to find something good in everyone and everything. Sometimes I can't. And then I try to shut up. Sometimes I can't. But I'm real. What you see is what you get. Don't ask me something if you don't want the answer. I will opine even if you don't want me to. I have a (probably bad) tendency to make things about me. I don't mean to, but I can only give my opinion and perspective based on my own experiences. So, if I blather on on someone's thread about me, me, me, I'm not being vain or pretentious, I'm just relating to the topic in the only way I know how. If that makes you mad, I'm sorry. Please send me a PM and I'll gladly delete the offending message.

If I say something to you that seems trite, "silver lining in every cloud" is one of my favorites, it's not that I'm trying to be trite or dismissive, it is because I truly believe that there really is a silver lining in every cloud. We just have to look for it. It is all in your perspective. I choose the positive. I know I'm going to heaven, because I've already been to hell.

Sorry this is so long (and so late). Now you know more about me than you ever wanted to (and more than I ever thought I'd tell you). Heck, I can always hit the delete button...
 
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jules92207

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Wow girl. That is an impressive story. I'm happy to know you better now, and without highjacking your thread I will just say we have some things in common and I think our outlook on the world is quite similar so I'm happy to have your quirky self here.
 

Cindy2428

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It's a privilege to know you better Teresa, and welcome the trust you extended to us by sharing. - Even though it is delayed, Welcome aboard!

I've had the opportunity to take, participate in a bunch of soaping events and one of the things I've learned is give 15 soapers the same colors, ingredients, scent and you will come up with 15 different ideas. That being said, a new perspective is always welcomed.
 

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Howdy and welcome, newcomer. :)

Seriously though, I wish all kinds on hugs on ya. I've been through some similar things and know how hard it is to keep a good outlook when dealing with family craziness.
 

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Teresa, girl, you have my sympathy, and my empathy. But you have identified the problem, and taken steps to rectify it. And that is more than 95% of the population can/will do. And better yet, you have come out of it with a positive attitude! That is more rare yet. You are amazing, don't you forget it!
 

TeresaT

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Thanks for the encouragement. I was never going to post this. Because it was too late and TMI. However, today I posted a message to Carolyn Z (and DeeAnna) regarding Carolyn's thread "Feeling pretty down today" and I realized it sounded so unbelievably trite and blase. I didn't mean for it to. I really do believe when one door slams in your face, another door pops open because of the pressure. You just have to look for the open door instead of worrying about your bruised nose. My life is a testament to that philosophy. However, no one knows that. No one knows what I've been through. Y'all just see that I'm funny and quirky and really weird. Not the back story of how I got that way. This gives you a little insight of how I came to be the weird me that I am. Sh!t happens. You can wallow in it or you can scrape your shoe and move on. I choose to scrape my shoe and move on. I'm grateful for my life. It taught me how to be strong. It taught me how I did not want to live my life. It taught me how I did not want to treat people. It taught me a lot about how I don't want to be and forced me to make the choices to be the me that I am. Unfortunately, some realizations came far too late; but, for the most part, I'm in a good place and I wouldn't want to change a thing. My motto, my motivation:

Sometimes, I have to look at who I was, to see who I am, to realize who I can be.
 

Steve85569

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Welcome to the forum (ROFLMA off)!

Once you've hit bottom you learn to live life all over again! I feel privileged to share your new life with you.
I mean no disrespect with the laughter, it's just that most of my friends have at one time or another hit rock bottom and built a new life - one day at a time.

"Sometimes, I have to look at who I was, to see who I am, to realize who I can be. "
Amen to that!!
 

TeresaT

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No disrespect at all, Steve. I'd be hurt if I was the only one that saw the humor in my "introduction." You know what the greatest blessing about hitting rock bittom is? You have a solid foundation upon which to rebuild your life! My past built me; it does not define me. Oh, yeah. I'm full of all kinds of corny words of strength and wisdom. I'm glad I don't drink. I'd either be the most morbid "woe is me" drunk on earth, or the most PITA philosophical drunk on earth. I'm pleanty PITA without the booze, thank you very much. Actually, I aspire to great PITAness.
 

penelopejane

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Hi Teresa, congratulations on saving yourself from your toxic mother and getting back on top of your life.

I love the way you are still a silver cloud person! I am going to do my best to emulate you. Wishing you the very best for a fantastic soapy retirement. 2022 isn't far away!
 

LisaAnne

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Teresa! Wow, that was amazing. The whole time I was reading it i was thinking how wonderful for you to get that out! I'm an ex rock bottom feeder myself (alcohol/drugs).
And yes, I also realize that others take me as strange and I am just fine with that. I believe we as survivors see life a little differently than others and I might also say we are blessed in the fact that our joys might be a little bit sweeter. You brightened my day, another one made it out of the abyss. Thank you for sharing. As you probably know we have a responsibility to be open and honest in sharing our stories because you never know who might read it and benefit from it.
I thought you might like this:

avatar_1465493451117.jpg
 
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LisaAnne

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Welcome to the forum (ROFLMA off)!

Once you've hit bottom you learn to live life all over again! I feel privileged to share your new life with you.
I mean no disrespect with the laughter, it's just that most of my friends have at one time or another hit rock bottom and built a new life - one day at a time.

"Sometimes, I have to look at who I was, to see who I am, to realize who I can be. "
Amen to that!!
Boom Shakalaka
 

shunt2011

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Theresa, congratulations on your freedom and for being strong enough to move forward. You are a joy on the forum and. I personally love your quirkiness and find it delightful.

I too have had many trials in my life but i truly believe it makes us stronger and helps to discover who we really are and how strong we can be and still survive.

Kudos to you! Many hugs'
 

cmzaha

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Thanks for the encouragement. I was never going to post this. Because it was too late and TMI. However, today I posted a message to Carolyn Z (and DeeAnna) regarding Carolyn's thread "Feeling pretty down today" and I realized it sounded so unbelievably trite and blase. I didn't mean for it to. I really do believe when one door slams in your face, another door pops open because of the pressure. You just have to look for the open door instead of worrying about your bruised nose. My life is a testament to that philosophy. However, no one knows that. No one knows what I've been through. Y'all just see that I'm funny and quirky and really weird. Not the back story of how I got that way. This gives you a little insight of how I came to be the weird me that I am. Sh!t happens. You can wallow in it or you can scrape your shoe and move on. I choose to scrape my shoe and move on. I'm grateful for my life. It taught me how to be strong. It taught me how I did not want to live my life. It taught me how I did not want to treat people. It taught me a lot about how I don't want to be and forced me to make the choices to be the me that I am. Unfortunately, some realizations came far too late; but, for the most part, I'm in a good place and I wouldn't want to change a thing. My motto, my motivation:

Sometimes, I have to look at who I was, to see who I am, to realize who I can be.
No Theresa is does not sound trite. I have had my downs too, but not from abuse. I was raised quite spoiled and wanted to nothing. Spend 75% of my married life spoiled so I am now having a hard time struggling with retirement and over half of our retirement gone. Not meaning to hijack your thread, but did not want to start a new one. After selling out our manufacturing company, this came from a 2 yr legal battle, we should have had enough to comfortably retire. Big mistake was investing in another business, asphalt, to get our kids going and stable. Nice, the big crash comes along, daughter gets pregnant with a very high risk pregnancy. Everything went to ***l in a handbasket. Did have a beautiful granddaughter emerge from the mess. The loss of the company garnered me trashed credit and a couple of bills I am still being sued over. I choose not to go into bankruptcy for reasons I will not mention. Suffice to say my son-in-law was another bad partner. He was from a very abusive home and cannot let most of it go. Although he has pulled away from his toxic family he still has big issues. Son in law also was out of work for 2 yrs so I supported them on the bit of money left. My daughter cannot work because of health issues and no, she still has not been able to get her teeth.

We were supposed to spend our retirement on the Harley taking road trips. That is not happening. So in the other thread that is why I was so down to losing my market. I really need the extra money. Fortunately I can never be homeless even with my house not being paid for, because I have a rental house that has been paid for for at least 25 yrs. Hopefully I will never have to move back in it but it is there, 1.5 miles south of me. LOL, south is the operative word, I do not want to live south of my house. To clarify, 1.5 miles south of me is not in the hills :)
 

TeresaT

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Teresa! Wow, that was amazing. The whole time I was reading it i was thinking how wonderful for you to get that out! I'm an ex rock bottom feeder myself (alcohol/drugs).
And yes, I also realize that others take me as strange and I am just fine with that. I believe we as survivors see life a little differently than others and I might also say we are blessed in the fact that our joys might be a little bit sweeter. You brightened my day, another one made it out of the abyss. Thank you for sharing. As you probably know we have a responsibility to be open and honest in sharing our stories because you never know who might read it and benefit from it.
I thought you might like this:
Yes, to everything you've said (and you're welcome, the positive responses have been incredibly uplifting). Especially the sharing out stories part. Sometimes people think it's a ploy to get attention, but it isn't. Nobody wants to divulge their most humiliating and embarrassingly vulnerable history. However, it made me the weird person I am today; the person that says odd, and sometimes trite sounding things. I find joy and humor in the strangest of things, which many people find totally inappropriate and it sometimes angers them. Without knowing the backstory, they "drop me like a hot potato." If only they knew where that attitude comes from then maybe they'd understand. Maybe not. I'm quick to forgive, to apologize and to give others the benefit of the doubt because of my history. That has definitely backfired on me because people take advantage of my good nature. However, I choose to be good natured and tolerant rather than mean and spiteful. Although, cross me and look out. I'm human and can only tolerate so much.

That photo is a hoot!! I've got to save that to my computer. I need to get a t-shirt made with that on it. That is so me! Thanks for posting it. It cracks me up each time I look at it.
 

LisaAnne

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Yes, to everything you've said (and you're welcome, the positive responses have been incredibly uplifting). Especially the sharing out stories part. Sometimes people think it's a ploy to get attention, but it isn't. Nobody wants to divulge their most humiliating and embarrassingly vulnerable history. However, it made me the weird person I am today; the person that says odd, and sometimes trite sounding things. I find joy and humor in the strangest of things, which many people find totally inappropriate and it sometimes angers them. Without knowing the backstory, they "drop me like a hot potato." If only they knew where that attitude comes from then maybe they'd understand. Maybe not. I'm quick to forgive, to apologize and to give others the benefit of the doubt because of my history. That has definitely backfired on me because people take advantage of my good nature. However, I choose to be good natured and tolerant rather than mean and spiteful. Although, cross me and look out. I'm human and can only tolerate so much.

That photo is a hoot!! I've got to save that to my computer. I need to get a t-shirt made with that on it. That is so me! Thanks for posting it. It cracks me up each time I look at it.
We own it! Not a lot of people can Teresa, afraid to face their demons. Well done. It is especially sweet when we don't feel the need to apologize for who and what we are.

Yeah I love that picture! I enjoyed sharing it with you.
 

TeresaT

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No Theresa is does not sound trite. I have had my downs too, but not from abuse. I was raised quite spoiled and wanted to nothing. Spend 75% of my married life spoiled so I am now having a hard time struggling with retirement and over half of our retirement gone. Not meaning to hijack your thread, but did not want to start a new one. After selling out our manufacturing company, this came from a 2 yr legal battle, we should have had enough to comfortably retire. Big mistake was investing in another business, asphalt, to get our kids going and stable. Nice, the big crash comes along, daughter gets pregnant with a very high risk pregnancy. Everything went to ***l in a handbasket. Did have a beautiful granddaughter emerge from the mess. The loss of the company garnered me trashed credit and a couple of bills I am still being sued over. I choose not to go into bankruptcy for reasons I will not mention. Suffice to say my son-in-law was another bad partner. He was from a very abusive home and cannot let most of it go. Although he has pulled away from his toxic family he still has big issues. Son in law also was out of work for 2 yrs so I supported them on the bit of money left. My daughter cannot work because of health issues and no, she still has not been able to get her teeth.

We were supposed to spend our retirement on the Harley taking road trips. That is not happening. So in the other thread that is why I was so down to losing my market. I really need the extra money. Fortunately I can never be homeless even with my house not being paid for, because I have a rental house that has been paid for for at least 25 yrs. Hopefully I will never have to move back in it but it is there, 1.5 miles south of me. LOL, south is the operative word, I do not want to live south of my house. To clarify, 1.5 miles south of me is not in the hills :)
I am so sorry. Life really sucks sometimes, doesn't it? All we can do is take it one day at a time and try to make things happen. I'm so sorry your market is falling apart for you. I hope something better (or at least equal) comes up soon. I can empathize with parts of your struggle. Sometimes I'm tempted to start playing the lottery and hope I'm that lucky winner. But, I know I'll have better luck mining for gold in my backyard. I'm aiming for retirement because I'm tired of my job and the baloney it entails. However, reality is, I rely heavily on that pay check. I have no idea what I'll do when I actually leave my job. Probably get another one that doesn't pay as well (and has different aggravations).

You certainly did not hijack this thread. I welcome anyone who wants to share their story. I hope your son-in-law gets help for his problems soon. I was finally able to let go when I saw a therapist. (My boss misinterpreted something I said and called our psychologists because she was scared I'd do something to hurt myself. The psychologist spoke with me, got it all cleared up and let my boss know I was using humor to diffuse a situation. My boss was not happy with the outcome and insisted I seek therapy. The psychologist said it wasn't needed. I said it wasn't needed. The boss said yes it was. The boss won the argument. So, six months of counseling and I was able to come to terms with my issues. I needed to talk to someone that wasn't Mormon and that I could curse in front of without feeling like a horrible person. I finally had someone to unload all of my negative feelings onto without having to censure myself and apologize for feeling so bad toward someone that I "should" love. I care about my mother and sister and wish them well. But they are like strangers to me. I have nothing in common with them, other than genetics, and have no desire to see them.)
 

IrishLass

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I officially welcome you Theresa! :)

Thank you so much for sharing your back-story. I won't go into the many woeful and emotionally abusive experiences with my own mom (she's been gone for 10 years and it's water under the bridge of forgiveness for me now), but I just wanted to let you know that I can relate 100% to the kind of 'negative mom" issues you've dealt with, and I know only too well the excruciatingly painful, emotional torment and fallout that goes part and parcel with such stormy relationships. Although I'm not of the Mormon persuasion, if it wasn't for my faith in Christ... well..... let's just say "there but for the grace of God go I". Things definitely were not very pretty in my family for awhile, and that's no understatement.

On a much happier note, though, I can 100% relate to being the kind of person who deliberately chooses to see the silver lining in every cloud, and as much as I know it can irritate some people, I find no shame in counting myself among the cockeyed optimists/incorrigible encouragers of this world. :) To give you an idea of how incorrigibly positive I can tend to be, the ringtone that my sis has attached to my name on her phone is Monty Python's song called ''Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". :razz:

I think the reason that some of the people in my life find my 'silver lining' attitude so irritating is because they are under the false impression I never feel painfully down when handed lemons, or that maybe I find it effortless to choose to look on the bright side, but that's not the case at all. I struggle quite deeply in my emotions when handed lemons, but the older I get, the more practical and self-preserving I've become, I guess you could say. lol Lemons come to us all, but I've come to the realization that you know what? I really hate feeling like crap over them..... so I've learned to be ever more quick to reach for that bag of sugar to turn them into lemonade. It may take a little time until the sugar completely dissolves, but that's okay- I just keep on stirring. Most of my close friends are the same way (and thankfully my hubby and son are as well), but I have a few friends/family members that get a bit irritated at my positive outlook....but strangely they still choose to hang around me. Hmmm.... lol.

Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the honesty and humor of your posts. I've lost count of how many of them have given me a hearty and well-needed belly-laugh.


IrishLass :)
 

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