Tuesday, February 15, 2011


in my Hello Again post, I ended with a short list of some of the things happening in Cave land.  For a group of people living in a cave, we have certainly come to see the light in ways we never expected.  Being able to see the light has involved copious amounts of forgiveness, both asked for and received.

As a clan, we have a long history of "sucking it up" and moving on. Only "sucking it up" is really about as effective as "sucking the life out" and tends to produce approximately the same results~ mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.

There are some things in life that perhaps are best dealt with by "sucking it up" and moving on...you know things like spilled milk.  Other things however, need serious and extensive attention.  The kinds of things that disrupt your thinking patterns, your social patterns, the way you interact with yourself, your family, and your community, those are the kinds of things that need attention.  The problem is, your behavior feels normal to you, and everybody else seems like the problem, and its hard to recognize yourself as the common denominator in a series of failures.

Our little clan of cave hairs came to a crisis point last spring.  We found ourselves in a near constant literal and figurative combat mode, sparked by years of unrest (literally not sleeping due to crazy work schedules and frequent nightmares) and a new neighbor who thought it was way too awesome to set off large firework explosions in the middle of the night, we were a family ready for the fight.  Combat readiness, while valuable in certain organizations, you know, like the MILITARY, isn't really a positive component of family relationships.  It (combat readiness) tends to erode trust and tenderness, two of the most important aspects of successful, loving families.  With little tenderness remaining, and trust eroded to an all time low (let me explain here that we're talking emotional trust...the kind that dictates how strongly we fortify ourselves against emotional hurt.  Please do not infer acts of dishonesty, marital or otherwise, because that's not the case.) we found ourselves resentful of each other and in a constant battle of wills....and finally in marriage counseling and anger management classes.

The best thing that ever happened in our marriage was me being officially diagnosed with PTSD.  Why you ask?  Because it got Mr. Cave Hair to look in the mirror and ask "If my wife has PTSD, and she hasn't experienced (insert whatever he has experienced here....suffice it to say, he's been in real combat) then how could I NOT have PTSD?

I knew he had PTSD, but he was stuck in being bigger than the mission, believing not being able to handle what he's experienced in life to be a sign of weakness.  NOT SO! In fact, one Vietnam Vet put it best in an interview with Warrior SOS, "if you are a decent, caring person, you cannot help but be effected by what you have experienced".  So, in fact, having difficulty processing what you've experienced and putting it in its place relative to where your life is now, versus letting it dictate how you live your life now, isn't a sign of weakness, its a sign that you're not a freaking sociopath!  Nobody wants to be a sociopath, right?  So basically, unless you think sociopaths are awesome, its now ok to admit that taking a 6 year old with half his face blown off to a MASH unit haunts you and that the memory of such occassionally disturbs your ability to act "normally".

So what have these diagnosis meant to the Clan of the Cave Hair?  Its meant finally realizing that not everything in life can be controlled by just trying harder.  It has meant accepting that some stuff just can't be controlled.  It has meant bringing wonderful people into our lives who see in us something of value, a family of individuals worth rescuing.  It has meant finally being honest with ourselves about what we can and cannot handle.

It has meant FORGIVENESS.  Forgiveness asked for and recieved, from each other, to each other, from ourselves, to ourselves, and from our God, and yes, even too our God...because frankly, we were an angry lot, and while it may seem blasphemous, we needed to forgive God for letting us experience the things we have been most hurt by, so that we could understand that it has been by those things that we have also become the good parts of ourselves, cave hair and all ;)


Kristina P. said...

It's so refreshing to read about someone acknowledging issues and taking back control. I wish so many of the families I work with would do this, rather than the constant denial and blame game they play for so many years.

Marylois said...

This reminds me of a talk given at a relief society Christmas program years ago in our ward. I had ask one of the sister to write an essay on "Christmas is for giving." She wrote it about Christmas is forgiving. She talked about all the people and situations we need to forgive. Some were humorous and some more thoughtful. She even mentioned forgiving God for some of the bad things that happen in your life. I'll have to look through my papers and see if I still have a copy of it. It was very thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

Well done, family. And beautifully expressed, Lisa.

I love you.

Lara said...

All of us have issues to some extent, and we would do well to deal with it as beautifully as you have. I'm glad things are going better for you.

Octamom said...

What a gorgeous post and what wisdom! ~not all things can be solved by trying harder~ gorgeous. So proud of the things you are doing to better your world.