The shortest day and my father’s birthday

It’s been awhile since I have written a blog post or properly caught up on people’s posts, so I hope my regular readers are doing ok. Life has changed completely since our new puppy Daola became part of our family. Looking after a pup and getting through each working day with 2 shifts (morning and evening) has been very different to what it was before. A lot of adjustments have been made and I must admit the first 3 months have been tough. It’s been similar to looking after a baby, even though I don’t have kids. This is what most people have been telling me, anyway. Daola has needed constant entertaining, training and up to 8 trips outside for pee pees. Luckily now, things have started settling down a little. She doesn’t need as many toilet trips outside and her walks have been reduced to 4 a day, including her very brief toilet outing at 5:30 am before work.

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Daola 4 months old

 

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Daola 3 months old

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Daola 5 months old- Still enjoys lying on mine and hubby’s back

We have been very lucky to have chosen a pup that is affectionate, cuddly, playful, loyal and always extremely happy to see us, after brief times apart. As a previous cat person, I have completely fallen in love with being a dog mum for the first time. Its been lovely seeing her learn from us as quickly as she has and she seems to be quite intelligent as well. Stubborness and of course selective listening are quite common traits of Daschunds, so at times I have felt very frustrated.

In early December we had a brief holiday and we took Daola with us to Greece for 3 nights, as it had been 10 months since I had last flown home. The last time we were in Athens, we had to empty the flat that we had used for almost 5 years. This was an important decision as it still connected me to my father, which I was already estranged from.

Luckily, our trip to Greece in December wasn’t as challenging as we were worried it would be. We booked a quiet pet friendly hotel in a nice quiet area and Daola luckily slept a lot and was generally very good during the flights. Although the journey was around 7 hours in total, including trains, taxis etc..she did great for a 5 month old pup.

Staying in the hotel we chose, actually had a lot of pros if I were to compare it to the flat we had been staying in over the last years. We had breakfast made for us, we had very good WIFI (which we never had in the flat), there were no cockroaches or outdated toilet drainage systems and I didn’t need to clean anything, as I did upon arrival every previous time. The only cons of going to Greece now is that I no longer have a home there and I no longer have a father or half brother I am able to visit. Due to the toxicity of my father’s way of life, it is just impossible. This always makes me sad understandably and as it is my father’s birthday today, I am feeling even more vulnerable.

My brother unfortunately always tells me about the fact that he is sending my father his birthday gift. He also still talks about him in such an innocent manner. He just doesn’t have the capacity to understand the complexity of why it is too painful for me to talk about him. He also hasn’t seen my father act narcissistically or maybe is just not able to accept that both his parents are narcissistic. I have allowed my brother to continue living in his little bubble of my father being the non narcissist but once again I feel like I have to swallow my frustration and true feelings due my brother’s special needs.

As so many of you know, I always feel very lonely at this time of year, when I realise how much I have lost. I still miss my Dad and always seem to drift into imaginary fantasies of what it could have been like if he had made healthy choices. I imagine how it could have been if he had chosen a healthy wife and had a healthy lifestyle. How we would all spend Christmas together and I would teach my half brother all sorts of important things. There was once a time, where my brother, my half brother, my Dad, his wife and I would all spend Christmas together. Although it never felt comfortable, it still meant that we had our Dad in our life. Now that is no longer the case. He is too sick to think of us affectionately. He is too addicted to his wife and current life situation. We don’t matter anymore. We used to matter much more to him, when we were still a family and he was still married to our mum.

On a more positive note, I just wanted to write that despite the underlying sadness I feel on my Dad’s birthday today and generally this time of year, I am so incredibly grateful to have my hubby to cuddle up to and to have Daola in our life for our first Christmas together. We may not have our parents or other family but we do have a lot of love in our own home. I never want to take what I have for granted, as I know how tough life has been at other points in my life. I value each and every moment of relaxation, calmness and joy.

So for all of you out there who are also struggling with grief at this time of year just remember to notice the beauty that surrounds you. Remember to notice the little things that may otherwise go unnoticed. Remember to value those passing moments of love and joy and capture them in a blog, in a poem or in a photograph. Capturing these happy moments in my life is so important for my mental health. We all need something to hold onto when things get tough.

Today, I will hold onto to some of these happy memories.Photographs have always been my most treasured possession so I will always dig them out and remember.

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My father, brother and my father’s wife in 2006..Although I disliked her, spending Christmas together was important.

 

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All 3 of us siblings together- 2007

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Glyfada/Greece-Summer 2010 Dad and half brother

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Fishing with my half brother- summer 2010 Glyfada, Greece

 

Love Athina ♥♥

 

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Puppy girl & patience

I have been very occupied lately since we finally brought our new miniature wirehaired daschund girl home with us.

Her name is Daula (Pronounced D-a-o-l-a) .

She is clever, confident, relatively happy and this is all down to the breeder doing a good job with her so far. She came from a litter of 6 puppies so had plenty time to grow into a healthy and secure pup. On our car trip home when we finally picked her up, she just snuggled with me on my lap and didn’t cry at all..When we arrived home, she was very happy to start exploring immediately and started playing with all her new toys.

I think overall, I have been the one that has been more anxious about this brand new life change than she has.

The first weekend with her, was tough..

Both hubby and I were in hypervigilant mode. We were watching her every move and I immediately started training her to use newspapers as her indoor toilet. Hubby on the other hand wanted to also get her used to using the outdoors for her toileting.

So far, she has learnt to do both. Whenever we wake her up after she has had a long nap, we take her outside for a quick wee. During the night and when she is extremely excited she isn’t able to hold her wee. She is too sleepy to get to the newspaper in time to relieve herself. In general, if you consider she is only 9 weeks old, she has managed to understand where her indoor toilet is and she has also managed to stay alone in the living room when we are having a nap in our bedroom. After just 5 nights she was also able to sleep in the living room on her own, without crying for attention at all.

For the first 5 nights, I slept next to her on a mattress on the floor. She didn’t like being in her crate with the door locked over night, so I let her come and sleep next to my mattress for comfort. I think I must have told her over 100 times that she is not allowed on my mattress so I didn’t really get much sleep those first few nights.

Now I am able to sleep in a separate room and she is also able to sleep in the lounge alone, as long as I leave a small light on for her and she has access to something that smells of us. Our slippers or shoes seem to help her self-soothe.

I made a mistake from the beginning, by creating a puppy den for her out of a cardboard box but unfortunately she didn’t like it too much because she couldnt see us. Now she has a crate but we have also decided to invest in a metal puppy pen. This means that when she does have accidents over night, at least they will be confined to her puppy pen area, which we can fill with puppy pads. Over time, we can slowly reduce the amount of pads until she actually uses a litter box. She is a small dog with a small bladder, so in the long term, I think it is quite handy for her to have the option of going to the toilet if she is desperate.

Below I have attached as many photos as possible for you to see, as my facebook friends are probably already getting tired of the bombardment of puppy photos I have been uploading out of sheer excitement! 🙂

Love Athina ❤

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When self-doubt creeps in..

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The above reality, written by the amazing Tina Fuller, is something I feel often when things are stable and my life is drama free. Being the child of two narcissists, it is almost impossible to have long lasting peace when they are still alive. And even when they pass away, you still have to be prepared for even more stress in regards to property, money and their remaining family.

After already feeling miserable the last couple of days after waking up with an incredibly painful and stiff lower back, I got a text yesterday from my father which was extremely difficult to understand..

It was written in Greek with capital letters however more than half the letters were missing from each word. I ended up playing a guessing game trying to construct sentences..

Generally, since I asked him not to contact me again back, I should have completely ignored the message. However, because I could make out from the first sentence, something about tax and money, I knew he had done what I was afraid of.

Before I get to that, I have to explain a little about how certain things work in Greece in regards to putting property in a family member’s name.

In Greece, when a parent wants to put property in their child’s name, they usually follow a very odd but very commiting process. Both the adult child and parent sign a document which states that the adult child becomes the owner of the property, however the child isn’t able to make use of the property (live in it, rent it out etc) until the parent dies. Whilst the parent is still living, he/she is the one that can rent out the property and benefit from it. This can be felt as a little unfair for the adult child, as they aren’t able to do anything at all until the parent dies. Then again, they will still own a home in the end, so overall it is worth it.

In the last couple of years, Greece has introduced a new law which says that all property owners have to pay tax on the home that they own. This tax is based on the size of the property in square meters, the year it was built and the type of property. This tax has to be paid once a year and in the case of my property, which has been used and rented out by my father, he has been the one that has been responsible for paying this tax every year. This was only fair, as he has been earning 600euro every month from it and I haven’t benefited at all.

From my father’s text, it was clear that he no longer wants to pay my share of the tax and that I now have to be responsible for it. The only thing I could make out clearly from his text was that I have to pay 500 euro for the property. He then proceeded to guilt-trip me about how much I hurt him, even though he has never turned against me. Luckily, I was able to block this part out emotionally. I currently feel numb to it and I hope it stays this way.

At the moment, I am left wondering whether this will be the only contact I have from him. I am really hoping that it is and that despite delivering this not so nice message to me about the property tax, that he will continue to respect my wishes of ‘no contact’.

With both my parents as narcissists, I guess I will never fully be at peace until they are gone. As long as they are alive, I have to expect some drama.

If the worst thing that ever happens again with my father, is this tax I have to pay once a year, then it is only a small price to pay for owning a house he designed and built. Although my feelings about this home are very mixed at present, a small part of me will most likely cherish this home one day, when my father is no longer alive. Despite the fact that he turned out to be a very sick person, he was still a very giving & present father until I was 13-14 years old. Those memories will always be mine and I hope that one day, I will be able to look back on my relationship with my father and feel less hurt & less sorrow.

Puppy photos

Although our new puppy girl isn’t home with us just yet, our breeder has sent through the most beautiful photos of our little munchkin and I just had to share them with you. She is 1 month and 2 days old today.

Her name is Daula ♥

We already adore this little girl and we are fully prepared to give her the appropriate training, love and patience she will need ❤

Doodling & planning

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September is around the corner and there are so many exciting things happening, that I really wanted to share them with you.

The first and most exciting thing, will obviously be the arrival of our new wirehaired dachshund girl. I have been cleaning & re-organising the house all morning and been looking online for puppy beds, puppy bowls & dog leads. I am having to pinch myself whilst doing all these things, as I still can’t quite believe that from the crazy cat lady I once was, I will now be a doggy mama.

The second thing that is coming up is a mini weekend getaway to Amsterdam, which both hubby and I are looking forward to. It’s been 10 years since I last visited Amsterdam, so it will be nice to see what has changed and go exploring with my love.

Lastly, I have been notified by my boss that from next week there will be a new colleague working alongside me. As much as this is actually for the best, I am not looking forward to having to work alongside another person. Being the introvert that I am, I have enjoyed working on my own. Unfortunately though there will be a huge increase in seminar room set-ups from September (up to 12 rooms per day), so I will need all the help I can get. I really really hope that the new colleague at least speaks a little English or is at least easy to get along with.

The reality is that if I spoke fluent German, I probably wouldn’t mind having another colleague around but since my capacity to communicate is limited, this makes me even more self-conscious. Then there is the judgement which always follows (that I should be able to speak) and in all honesty I have really just had enough of it..People don’t know my personal background, so I wish they would just keep their thoughts to themselves. To make matters worse, my boss has arranged a leisure day for all the employees and this is something that I am absolutely dreading…Being in a room full of German speaking ladies with their judgemental looks, is something I am pretty sure I will be having nightmares about until October (the day of the leisure day). A little dramatic, I know 😉

With 2 positives to look forward to & 1 negative, I will obviously manage just fine 😉

Thanks for reading!

Love Athina ♥

The greatest day ever!

Yesterday, hubby and I drove to a beautiful part of the Rheinland countryside to visit the dachshund breeders we had made contact with. After many discussions about the positives and negatives of getting our first dog, the moral issues and the fact that we will be returning to the UK next year, we decided to go there with an open mind.

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Once we arrived, we were greeted by 3 super friendly dogs, who immediately warmed to us and wanted to play. They weren’t dachshunds but they were part of the breeders big dog family. Within minutes, there was a bombardment of loud barking and these 2 gorgeous little dachshunds ran towards us, with these big personalities and tiny little bodies. Needless to say they were absolutely adorable! Our hearts literally melted with love for these little creatures.

Hubby started chatting to the breeder who was a lovely, warm & cuddly retired gentleman, with a kind face, white hair and rosy red cheeks..His wife was the one I did most of the communication with previously but she had completely forgotten about our appointment. It seemed like she had been completely overwhelmed by all the emails she had received from various potential buyers.

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We reminded them which puppies we were interested in and they eventually brought out 3 girls from the latest litter. They were in a little washing basket, cuddling on a piece of fabric. They were just over 2 weeks old, so too tiny to really connect with. One of the girls was much bigger than the other two, although all 3 puppies were miniature wire-haired dachshunds. One of the wee girls, who was wiggling around and looking for her mum, was making skin contact with my hubby’s hand..

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Although I was very reserved, as I knew hubby had to talk to the breeder and ask as many questions as possible before making any decisions, it was obvious to see that he had instantly fallen in love with the pups and was certain he wanted to put a deposit down to reserve one of them. We have to wait until it is at least 9 weeks old to take it home, so it is fully vaccinated and has it’s pet passport. This works out to around the 20th of September.

Hubby had already arranged to drive back the next day to pay the deposit but with my crap German, I hadn’t even realised that it was a done deal. All that is needed is a confirmation that our flat owners are ok with it but we already know they are very lenient, as there are plenty of animals in the flats surrounding us.

Before we left the breeders, they placed a temporary collar round the puppy girl we had chosen and we discussed whether it was ok to come back and visit her when she is a little older.

We headed home with a feeling of excitement & anticipation.

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We continued discussing things further and concluded that now is definetely the best time to have a puppy. I only work part time, which means I have plenty of time to train the puppy through that crucial first year, and although it will be very tough finding a place to rent when we return to the UK next year, we agreed it is a risk we are willing to take. We agreed that I would be the primary carer of the puppy, (doing the sometimes unpleasant early morning walks) and that hubby would help out the rest of the time. We will share the costs as much as possible and most importantly, we will enjoy every minute of our new family member! ❤

Funnily enough, when I lay in bed last night, I actually had a very restless night’s sleep. It was like a delayed realisation that we are REALLY getting our puppy. Worries started swirling around in my head of not being a good doggy mum, having difficulties in training or feeling overwhelmed when the puppy is frightened or crying etc..What if I can’t do it?!

This morning, I went to my therapist to discuss my recent constant nightmares about my mother and for a general catch up, and I told her that I am nervous but very happy about getting our dog. She was extremely excited for me and told me to bring the puppy for a visit when we finally have her.

My therapist has been with me through my journey of recovery for the last 3 years and knows how much I love these little dogs.  We even used the visual image of a wire-haired dachshund in our EMDR therapy many times, which helped combat my fear of flying & eased other ptsd triggers. As I had already anticipated, she said it is completely normal to feel nervous about getting our puppy.

Any big commitment and big life change, brings with it a little anxiety & anticipation.

Thanks for reading!

Love (a very happy & excited) Athina ❤

Doodling after ages..Nightmares are making me feel exhausted

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I have been feeling a little unsettled recently..

PTSD Nightmares have creeped in again and have been rather frequent over the last couple of weeks..

Ever since the confrontation with my mother about my brother knowing she is a narcissist (through a little help from me), my subconscious has been trying to process the hypervigilance and tension I felt the day of that call…Although I don’t take my mother that seriously anymore and I am very good at distancing myself from her stern manner & ridiculous threats, my mind is nevertheless brainwashed into being affected…

As much as I am wanting to sustain a reasonable relationship with her, so I can still be part of my extended family on her side, I still have many things that I choose to keep hidden from her as a protective measure.

Dealing with her narcissistic disapproval or anger, is something best avoided as I don’t want to partake in the narcissistic dance of drama that she so desperately craves.

One of the things I was keeping hidden, was of course the fact that I told my brother about her narcissism. That is now out in the open and I managed to settle things right down with her. The second part of my life that is hidden from her is the fact that I have a Coaching certificate, 2 blogs and a youtube channel, which all focus on healing from narcissistic abuse.

These things have been part of my healing journey and are a big part of wanting to give back to others on a similar journey. Spreading awareness of narcissistic parental abuse is something I am obviously deeply passionate about.

I have many parts of my life that I choose to keep hidden from my abusers. This is the sensible thing to do. Now that I am no longer on speaking terms with my father, the only confrontation that may come up in the future, is if my mother finds out about my youtube channel..

Although it isn’t listed under my full name, I do use my husband’s surname instead of my own. This is something she could easily search online and would lead her to my youtube channel. This obviously makes me a little uneasy but when the time comes, I know I will able to deal with it constructively.

I started doodling again recently.When nightmares of punishing looks, abandonment, fear & anxiety start dominating most of my nights, I end up feeling a little disheartened. This is when art becomes my therapy once again…

I feel that my doodle seems a little chaotic, which I guess is a good indication of how I am feeling inside at the moment.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

 

 

Results of mole biopsy

As you might have read in my previous post, which you can find here , I had to get 3 moles removed by excision, as my dermatologist suspected that they were abnormal.

Just before I returned home after the operation, she said I could come in to remove the stitches after 2 weeks and we could then discuss the results of the biopsy about whether I had melanoma or not.

The results are back and I can happily say that there were no signs of melanoma, however there were signs of abnormalities in one of my moles and it’s good that it was removed, as in future it could have developed into melanoma. The biggest excision I had which was on my breast, was where there were 2 moles. One of them I had had since birth and it had just changed over the years as I got older and the 2nd one was a new smaller mole, that had appeared in the last year and had a very fuzzy edge. This smaller mole was the abnormal one.

The 3rd mole I had removed under my left armpit had 3 different colours in it and was also a newer mole.Although it looked suspicious on inspection, apparently it was just a harmless type of mole that resembles a suspicious mole.

I am extremely relieved and now that my stitches are removed I can finally go back to normal. I need to give the big excision another couple of weeks to heal before I can go swimming again but all in all this nerve-racking experience is finally over!

I have arranged to have a full body mole scan in October. I am in the high risk category due to the many moles I have, especially the high number of dysplastic nevi, which basically means moles that are atypical and look like they might be melanoma.

I am very grateful that I am melanoma free and will continue to keep a close eye on my health.

Love Athina ♥

25 Obvious & Non Obvious Self Care Issues – Complex Trauma Survivors Struggle With ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

Self care is so important! Had to reblog this amazing post!

Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

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Self care is something spoken about a lot, and seems so very easy. Well, not to complex trauma survivors and in particular childhood complex trauma survivors.

I asked my Facebook community, what were their biggest self care issues, the were some of their responses, which express the obvious self care needs and the not so obvious self care needs, complex trauma survivors struggle with..

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