This Old Man

When I was growing up, my father worked a lot, was tired a lot and liked to drink a lot with my mom and other friends and family members that always gathered at the house. I lived in an alcoholic home and never gave much thought to it, as that is what families do. Right? It was all I knew and considered normal. The clanking of the brown, glass Blue Ribbon beer bottles in that neat, sturdy brown case was a common sound. I figured I, too, would do the same when I grew up and I did for a bit. It was just the life I knew and I was basically raised in bars, definitely on weekends. Thankfully, I realized I did not want any part of that lifestyle.

In my boredom as a young child of sitting and listening, I heard dirty jokes even though they thought I was not listening or understood. If you listen long enough, and I had time to do such, you learn and hear a lot. I did not need Google. The smell of beer, the cigarette smoke flowing and clouding up the room and hearing fake, drunken laughter all around, was a normal period of my life. If we were in a bar, I kept myself busy watching, thinking or if given some money, I’d go buy a Archie comic book at the drugstore, which was a treat. To get twenty-five cents was like begging but they could freely buy beer. In my other down times, I would help clean, especially salt and pepper shakers, perfect for my small hands. Still to this day, I feel the greasy shakers when at a restaurant and just cringe. Such a simple task but it is never done.

My dad was a big man and sounded gruff at times and others knew when he spoke, he meant business. He was a stubborn man. Still, we knew we were to respect him as our dad and when it came bedtime, we best be quiet. Waking up at 4:30 a.m. and out the door to drive an hour to work, it was a lot on him so I understood. Still, kids will be kids and siblings will fuss with one another or laugh. Only a few times, did I get in trouble with him. I still remember the last time when I did, along with my sister. Memories, good or bad, are etched into my brain, as I can still hear the tone of his voice and feel fear as I heard him snap his belt. I still remember where we were in the living room, like frozen in time within my mind. It was just a threat but enough to cause fear to freeze in a panic within me.

Strange how I married a man similar to my dad and knew how to deal with him because of my dad. I went from one to the other, like from one frying pan to another. Dysfunction to a dysfunctional relationship. The tone of the voice raises fear. There would be no belts or switches used in raising our children. The strike-three method worked with my boys, as I corrected them if needed and they knew that they had every opportunity to do whatever. For instance, if they did not clean their room, they did not go or do until. I did not need a spotless room but they needed to learn to pick up and help. If they did not put or keep the seatbelt on, we would sit right in the driveway until they did. I remember our youngest having a fit over the seatbelt. We sat in the driveway until it clicked, no matter if we were late or whatever. We never had that situation again. The rules, whether our rules as parents or legal, we all follow. Kids will be kids but they need to learn and know right from wrong and to understand. I was not always perfect as their mother, but I tried to be patient and discuss what we were dealing with at the time. It does not require a harsh voice, snap of a belt, a tree switch whipping in the air of torture to ensue or anything physical, all of which brings fear upon the child. Understanding the child, the situation and explaining or otherwise the parent(s) get overrun by their own children, which happens.

I still use the strike-three method in life today in situations, no matter who or what it is. I’ll allow that grace period and strike three, you are out and I am done. I had to deal with this in a business situation recently, which worked out fine but on the verge of strike three. If you don’t want my business, I can go elsewhere. We all need to be strict, stubborn and stick to our guns as they say somewhat or we will be taken advantage of, so boundaries are needed, but we don’t need to be mean and ugly.

All through these years of strict upbringing even in an alcoholic home, I knew to be good, but I was also a child and not perfect. The fear of that tone used or hear as he called my first and middle name, I knew I was in trouble. I had responsibilities and if not met, I was to do so immediately. This can expound into so much more but the gist of this is of my dad demeanor and expressed to those around him. Don’t cross the line.

Years later down the road, my parents aged and medical issues came about. I was the one to care for them and I knew that was the plan from my early years, even as a child. I am unsure how I was able to do it all, having two toddlers, my own home and family, church, outside work in sales but I also tended to their needs, all by the Grace of God.

I saw my father of being that man you would think would be a hateful man, he became a very calm, patient man as he aged. Perhaps knowing I would take charge and he was in good care or perhaps I could hurt him, which I would not do. I became his nurse, for years, with medical visits, insulin shots and a feeding tube all throughout the remaining days of his life. No daughter should have to change their dad’s diaper and clean his private parts, but I did. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect him to let me but he trusted me. I have no regrets. Mom had already passed by then so he had me tend to him while others would come to visit, if ever. Dad had a stroke, which caused the feeding tube and he could not speak anymore but grunt or try his best to sound out words. I understood him. He ended up being like a big ole teddy bear.

Now, I am dealing with my husband’s father and mother. My father-in-law wins by being the most stubborn man I know. Things are turning out to be quite difficult with them. I say them because I believe my mother-in-law is and has been in such a severe state of depression dealing with this man. I feel she is at a point now that she would like to just curl up and die. Shoot, I would and I only deal with him occasionally. Hateful. This task of dealing with him falls upon my husband, the middle son. The oldest is not well liked by the dad and the youngest only wants a handout of money and the mom gives it.

In fourteen months, throughout this pandemic, I have seen them both deteriorate. I put side by side pictures of each and it is shocking. Forget doctor appointments as he will not allow or want to go for a visit. If he doesn’t, she doesn’t. His hair looks like a wild man and it is just crazy in what is happening. Her hair is not much better, dirty and matted. Stubbornness on his part to not want help to make their life easier with handicapped items. No, he would rather have her call for us to come pick him up due to falling, now happening way too much. I have all the handicap items sitting at our house to help but he refuses them.

As their son, my husband discussed, I suggested that 911 be called, if need be, especially if he falls and a sight of blood. If this continues, they will need to be called and him taken to the hospital. It might be the best thing. We know nothing of their medical information or what is what, which will be a task when something does happen or even death. We are at a loss due to this old man’s stubborn, hateful ways. I believe she has just given up, total hopelessness as she awaits death. It’s a sad situation.

This year will hold a lot of ups and downs with both of them, I feel. It has already been eventful. This old man is something else. Of all my years in this family (1985), I have never seen any alcoholic beverages in the house, nor has his son. We wonder what caused this immediate desire to drink beer. My mother-in-law, raised in church, worked at the church, does not believe in alcoholic beverages, so we are unsure how the beer purchase comes about. Odds are, she does not care and it might give her some peace. After retirement about eight years ago, she has been under his thumb since, once telling me this is not what she expected. The depression was already taking hold of this sweet lady. I have told her that she is a hostage in her own home and she agreed. I am shocked that she would buy the beer. A mystery. What is funny but yet sad, he attempted to hide his Milwaukee’s Finest beer can in a coozie and drink from a straw to hide from his son.

This old man is acting like a teenager and has an attitude to go with one. While he shuffles in his walk anyway, the beer is not helping the situation and causing him to lose his balance and fall.

Lord help us all with him.

The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—”that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3).

No Calls, Please!

What It's Like to Be Afraid of Talking on the Phone | The Mighty

What is wrong with me? A typical phrase I have asked myself all my life. Not knowing until I went to counseling and she pinpointed this was shame. All my life, all this time I have lived with shame in one way or another. It makes me sick, more ways than one. As hard as it is to realize this was the cause of so many issues, I still struggle. I’m old.

I am just years from retirement although I do not plan to retire if I can help it. I like working and what I do. If I fall over dead out of my chair, I completed my job. As long as my mind and my body holds out and I can manage the office and keep it running in tip-top shape, I will do so.

Even though, I am near to filling out Medicare paperwork, it means that I have been at this type of position for a long, long time. I have always been in a position of secretary aka office administrator, office manager, legal assistant, etc. I know I can do this and do it well, with years of experience under my belt. I find it fun to organize, to do excel charts is my favorite or whatever else to make the office perform at its best and to make the boss look good. What I do not like are the telephone calls, either receiving or making them.

Phone Avoidance And Avoiding Answering The Door | Avoidant Personality

Now, how could I have managed to do this job for many years but fail in this area? I often wonder myself. I really have to be ready and organized to get the call made, feel confident. It does not come automatic. To answer the phone, I panic within.

Many will never know this of me but I know.

I have managed but I have noticed, too, the older I get, it is worse. Perhaps having an assistant for years to answer the phone and then to transfer to me, knowing who it is and why they are calling, does help. Through this pandemic, I don’t have my assistant. Plus, I had some dental work in January and had a flipper to fill in a missing tooth while healing and managing through the pandemic of my dental office closed. I really had some anxiety of a lisp or actually choking from panic. Even with my new crown, I still suffer from this ordeal. Once I get through the answering or calling, I am fine to talk but I am too old for this. No matter what age, we all have issues and perhaps panic attacks of different situations.

Knowing I dealt with this and knowing, although minor, years ago, I mentioned to my counselor. We did not go indepth of this but a time or two she requested that I call her, perhaps for a scheduling issue, etc. Once I told her no I will not call. I did not want to hear she was rescheduling, I could read it but not hear her, I would be emotional. I would have felt rejected and abandoned. In reading her text, I could feel the same but the silent tears would flow and she would not hear my voice crack from sadness. If I can put off answering or calling, I will.

We have a landline still in our home due to my husband’s work. We had a phone on the main floor and the lower level, his office. I removed the main floor telephone, it is in the cabinet. If you know me well enough, you have my cell phone number and can contact me with that, preferably by text.

It was yesterday, I gave no thought to calling my son, although I texted several times. We were to get together and for me to hang curtains in his new house. My texts were not being replied to and I just could not grasp why. I found myself frustrated with him. I love him to death but why can he not reply was in the back of my mind. Time was getting late and even if he was asleep, normally he would reply, as I know his cell phone is right next to him. Anyway, no curtains were hung.

We went on home, I was done. Stick a fork in me. This child of mine is a nightowl so I know his sleep pattern is all over the place. Once I got home, an hour away, he texted. Asking in a text, why I did not just call him. It was from that question, this blog was born even though I have always wondered why I had such a hate of telephones. I enjoy talking to him and I do not know why I did not think to just call. My husband, with me, did not even suggest or try, which is no surprise. What is wrong with me, again? I missed my son. I felt like such a failure of a mom.

My conclusion was of being rejected, being an annoyance and in the end feeling abandoned. Growing up, I felt that from many occasions so I gave up trying to call others. Not calling or putting forth an effort brought loneliness but I did not like the other feeling much more. I hate telephones.

Perhaps he needs to know about his mom and that she also has anxiety and it will help him understand me. My boys know that my cell phone is open for them to call 24/7 if they need me. When it does ring, I do gulp and wonder if anything is wrong. Fear. I hate that. Usually no issue, thankfully. A relief will come and we continue to talk and I enjoy, sometimes for an hour.

What is funny, while writing this, my sister calls me and she lives hours away, her husband and my brother-in-law has Cancer so I immediately answer and I could not tell if she was crying or laughing. My heart stopped, afraid of bad news. Thankfully, she was laughing as she hit the wrong button. Was it an accident or just to prove my point of fear and anxiety? I survived. They both are doing fine. Relief!

I would never survive in telephone sales. I do love to hear from others and I enjoy talking to our clients that call at the office and I will help them as much as possible and they know that of me. It is just an area in my life that I struggle with and have and probably always will. I found it interesting that there is such a thing of a telephone phobia so I am not the only one. With the information below, I can understand a little more of why I deal with such and perhaps another will also, as it is such a thing for some.

What causes phone phobia?

While performance anxiety is the most common reason for telephone phobia, some people may also develop an irrational fear of telephones because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD causes the suffer to avoid triggering situations and events, which bring back memories of a past trauma. These include: Full blown panic or anxiety attack. Feeling terror.  

What happened to you if you have Telephonophobia?

Telephonophobia can lead to a variety of physical and mental symptoms both at the thought of making a phone call or receiving one. These include: Full blown panic or anxiety attack. Feeling terror.

Why do I have social anxiety?

People who have an overactive amygdala may have a heightened fear response, causing increased anxiety in social situations. Environment. Social anxiety disorder may be a learned behavior — some people may develop the condition after an unpleasant or embarrassing social situation.

How do I get over my phobia of phone calls? Coping Strategies

  1. Smile. Before making and receiving calls, put a smile on your face. …
  2. Reward yourself. …
  3. Visualize success. …
  4. Ascertain availability. …
  5. Don’t overthink it. …
  6. Prepare. …
  7. Let it go to voicemail. …
  8. Try another communication method.
You will reject me, so I will not call.
I will annoy you, so I will not call.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

New Year, New Direction

Happy New Year!

May this new year, 2021, be a year that we begin to go forward with less worry and fear and believe there are better days ahead. We all know that 2020 caught us all off guard.

We still have a long way to go and have had many losses, in more ways than one, but we take one day at a time. That’s all we can do.

As we begin and wonder what is before us, we must keep going and not stop in fear. To be optimistic as much as possible. This past year brought pessimism as an overload and shock to our system and our daily living.

I know there are goals and things I want to move forward with in 2021. You also, I hope. We can keep working toward our goals and know if a hiccup happens, deal with it and just keep pushing ahead. Let’s do this!

Look Back On His Blessings
God is always faithful, and if we look at the past year, we’ll find that he has been with us, and has been working in our lives – even when we don’t realize it!
  • Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.  Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,… 1 Chronicles 16:11-12
  • Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
  • Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 1 Chronicles 16:8
  • A blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.  Deuteronomy 23:5
  • Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. Lamentations 3: 22-24
Focus On The Future, And God’s Plans For You
God has plans for our lives, and they’re plans to help us prosper!
  • Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
  • For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11
  • In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.  Proverbs 16:9
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17
Don’t Worry About What Is To Come
God is with us in the new year, and we don’t need to worry about anything when we focus on Him. He is our strength, he is with us and we have nothing to fear.
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6  
  • Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 
  • So we say with confidence,“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6
Plan Ahead For The Coming Year
While we’re reflecting on the year that has gone, and the year that is about to come, it’s important to plan ahead.
  • A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it! Proverbs 13:16
  • For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” Luke 14:28-30
  • Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds. Proverbs 27:23
  • May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4
Find Contentment In God This Year, And Give Thanks
As we ring in the new year it’s important to remember that we can only find contentment in God. We also need to give thanks for all that He has done for us in the past year, and what he will do in the year to come.
  • Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
  • A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
  • “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” …Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9-10
  • Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. Psalm 100:4
  • But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
  • And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
  • Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.  Declare his glory among the
  • nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  Psalm 96: 1-3
(Note: I like the layout of this website but it is filled with advertisements and jumps around, perhaps my computer. It was about to stress me out on the 2nd day of 2021.)