Monday, November 24, 2014

I’m Almost There

I had a long weekend it seemed. I had no plans for Friday night and ended up spending some time downstairs at my new neighbor's place. She's also a single mom (of two girls), so we have that and a few other things in common. It was a nice casual time, just hanging out, not planned. 

I think we drank way too much red red wine tho, for the next day I was definitely out of commission. :) Saturday I spent the evening with some women friends at one gal's home; dinner and chatter. It wasn't a long evening out, but honestly, these are the things I do to keep myself busy, to not feel bad for myself.

Sunday I watched the game with a friend. She has been a mentor and friend to me for a while now. I know her through my church and we meet twice a week, once during our small group (Bible study) and now on Tuesday mornings for a prayer group. My prayer group is great. There are 6 of us who meet regularly. We chat for a bit, share for a bit and pray for as long as we can, sometimes 30 minutes or so. It's been really great.

My son came home on Sunday. It's always nice to reconnect with him.

We went to see my dad who ended up in the ER early Sunday morning (3:30 am). He has an upper respiratory infection. With that came a headache for which he took too much aspirin. He ended up with aspirin poisoning, and drove himself to the ER. He was dizzy and sick both from the URI and the overdose, and even was pulled over just as he was pulling into the VA parking lot. Luckily the officer told him to go take care of himself, and luckier still that he made it there OK even tho his driving was erratic. I'm glad he decided to head to the ER. Had he kept taking the aspirin he would have had some serious problems. He made it thru the day in the ER,  entered the safe zone and then was admitted to a room. No ICU. Thank God.



*  *  *  *

Almost there....

I am trying a new technique for my thoughts. I'm at the point where I'm willing to try anything to get over this hump. I'm practicing saying, “This is an involuntary thought,” every time I think of what’s-his-name.

I am almost ready to stop thinking about only the good stuff too. I am almost ready to face the bad and what a jerk he was. I’ve been avoiding it because it’s painful. Not just Ouch! painful but Holy Fucking Shit What the Fuck Damn Straight Ahhhh Fuck Fuck Fuck! kind of painful. Times 10.

I'm so close to saying, “Enough!” I'm almost there.

I almost titled this post “Enough!” But I'm not 100% there yet.

A friend sent me this reading this morning:

Your most defining reality is not who abandoned, betrayed, or deserted you, however painful and scarring those events were. Your identity is not defined by the fiancé who broke off the engagement, the company that canned you, the parent who left you, or the spouse who betrayed you. Your most defining moment is not determined by who threw you out but who took you in. God of creation adopted you. He picked you out, he picked you up, he brought you home.

Our understanding of God's adoption has the power to transform every facet of life. Specifically, there is a strong connection between our identity and the way we view our belongings. I have a strong suspicion that many of us attempt to heal the wounds of the past by overfilling our already-full homes.

... Your most defining reality is not who dumped you but who adopted you. Receive these words: The God of the universe pick you out, he picked you up, he brought you home. Identity... is the starting point starting point for thinking clearly about who we are, what we have and what we want. Identity is the starting point in calculating your abundance. 
Jeff Manion, Satisfied
I relate to the parts of that reading regarding being dumped, betrayed, or having a broken relationship. I know my heart and soul have to be filled by God. I have to love myself, 10 lbs too big, 10 lbs too small. Lines in my face. Imperfect. And mostly... alone.

Alone while the man I wanted to be with is with someone else. Alone after being torn down by a man I loved. Alone after being betrayed, not only sexually, but intimately; after having my self-esteem ravaged.

That is really hard stuff!

I'm getting there. I have the beginnings of faith. The beginnings of OK-ness. The ground work is being laid. The rest will come. I have to be patient. And patience, while HE is seeing someone else is not flippin easy. Rejection for another is tough! Give me a break. Not easy stuff!








Friday, November 21, 2014

Suffering Must in Time Bring Joy



Isn't he beautiful? This is my child. Last night he had a nightmare and called for me in a panic. I picked him up, laid him in my bed, and he turned to fall asleep...

*  *  *  *  *  

It seems each day I find myself standing at the edge of the cliff. The amount of anxiety surrounding taking that next step is often overwhelming. Jumping is the same as facing reality. That is the exact feeling I have when I face my reality. It is why I prefer to stay in denial. That truth – reality as it were – is not only filled with fear but copious amounts of pain.

It is difficult to share this with you. It is as if I am standing in your shoes, shouting at myself with intolerant compassion (I know, an oxymoron), “Knock it off! You’re great! You’re enough! No one is perfect! Give yourself a break!” And then there’s more, “He’s an ass! He fibbed! Lied! Used you! He’s EVIL! Downright EVIL! Don’t you remember? One of your friends actually left the room when she met him! She was so uncomfortable being in the same room as him! He is the scum of the earth! Don’t you see how ugly he is inside?”





(Ok, so I put a very unflattering photo of him here... Scary, huh?)


It’s so flipping hard to face reality; I don’t want to until I exhaust all avenues of hope. When I do, life is dim. I can tell you this for certain: never in my life have I faced this. Not when my dear mother passed away, not even when Matt left. There were many days when Matt left that were difficult. This loss is much different from those days. I still had hope when Matt left. And even on that day when Matt told me he had made up his mind, even that day which... let me stress... was NOT an easy day by far, and most likely one of the top five worst days of my life... this is worse. I can't tell you why, but it is.

What I experienced in August is unlike anything I have ever felt before. If there is hell on earth, that was it. If there is eternal hell, I pray for those who have been condemned to it for I have put my toes into the boiling froth of that fiery gruel and know what it means to burn. I came out of it, but the lingering effects wrap around me like a shawl. Each time I pull it off, I find another still there.


There are a few things that keep me going, that keep hope alive.

Of course the most obvious is my son. It's not that he brings hope into my life, it's that I have a sense of obligation to be here for him. If it wasn't for him, I don't know what I would have held on to when times were tough.



Second reason: Seems trite and shallow, but I feel so good about losing weight. I am so happy with my body now, despite how naked you can still see my age and that I bore a child.

Before:





After:




I'm not sure if you can really tell in these photos. I was up to 160 and I'm at 124 now. 



Third reason I have hope: The move, the new apartment. This is also tied closely with the fourth and fifth reasons, which are...

Fourth: Your voices. Your assurances. Your promises.

Fifth: God’s promises.



God has proven to me in all the other areas that my life is better after having gone thru difficult times and doing hard work.


I did not want to give up my old home.
I have a home as nice and in some ways nicer than before.

I did not want to give up my jet tub.
I have a fire place that keeps me warm and cozy.

I did not want to deal with getting rid of all the stuff in my home.
I have NO CLUTTER anymore!

I had to go to court and against all odds, ask for more time to move.
The judge ruled in my favor and I felt empowered! And my son had a great experience there as well!

I had a debilitating depression.
Every medical expense incurred as a result was paid for by insurance.
I read a great book, emailed the author and have someone helping me thru my depression that the author recommended.

I had to tell my tenants they had to move b/c I lost my home.
They gave me 60 day notice prior to my having to tell them! And... they stayed 90 days so I was able to collect yet another month of rent to help pay expenses.

I had a very VERY short timeline to find a place, pack and move.
I did just that with help. Lots of help. 

I had to get everything out quickly, not knowing the date I would move.
I had a LOT of help. Everyone came out to help. People offered 2 hours of their time. I had to have the humility to ask.

I had to find an apartment during a time when good ones are really hard to find.
I found one just ONE hour after it was listed online!

I had to find an apartment that would accept me as reliable, with a foreclosure and bankruptcy on my record.
My landlady never checked my credit because I had been upfront and honest about all aspects of my finances. Later she told me that she ALSO had a foreclosure, many years prior. Not only that but... the house she foreclosed on was ACROSS THE STREET from the one I was losing.

I had to let people know how sick my thinking was.
People supported me and I didn't have to fake how I was feeling.

I had to let my ex-husband know about my depression because it was affecting my son.
He was compassionate and concerned.

I had to ask him for help.
And he helped.

I had been dumped on my 50th birthday.
I can't think of anything to write here... 
My son was thee absolute best sweetest boy a little boy could possibly ever be. We had a delightful day.

I could not feel God anywhere.
I started to feel His presence again, and better yet, I heard Him give me hope when I listened to the sermons at church. Kelly (reader/commenter) I heard you say, "drag your ass to church" when I would be in bed, 15 minutes before church started. I went b/c I heard you say that so often on Sundays.

I had major anxiety.
I lost weight (yay), I had a woman pray over me and the anxiety went away and did not come back for weeks, and I am learning to practice mindfulness.

I had no Bill to help me with shelves, lighting, screwing things into walls, etc.
I learned to wield a drill and did all that for myself. 

Bill took me to court and I was told by everyone, including an attorney, that I had no chance.
The judge ruled in my favor, and I was free from Bill's accusations. 




Everything worked out for the best, more than I ever dreamt. I hang on to this because I think in time the same will happen for this awfulness I feel surrounding the rejection from Bill — his despising of me and giving everything I wanted from him to another woman. I don't see goodness in this yet; the progress is slow. But I review those 5 reasons often, just so that I can remind myself why I need to have my feet planted on this earth.

This is a challenge because I find myself in despair often. There are no signs that God will provide me with anything better than what I had with Bill (OK, I'm talking about the good stuff with Bill, not the bad).

Let me repeat:

THERE ARE NO SIGNS IN MY LIFE THAT I WILL BE LOVED AND FEEL LOVED AGAIN THE WAY I FELT WITH BILL.

NONE.

THERE. ARE. NONE.

I hear your voices. I hear everyone's voices. I read scripture. I get the message at church. I get the message on forums about narcissism. I get this message from YOU.

BUT THERE IS NO PROOF YET.

There is nothing happening just yet.

I DON'T FEEL IT YET.

THIS IS WHAT SCARES ME.

THIS IS WHY EVERYONE IS SO IMPORTANT TO ME RIGHT NOW.

This is why I hang on to friends’, family’s and strangers’ and God’s words. Since I have no proof I am learning to trust the words of others that I will get thru this some day. (Like someone said, just think about 1 year from now when I will be so very different. But I have to get thru tonight. And the weekend. And Mondays & Tuesdays (date nights). And Thanksgiving. And holy shit! Christmas! 


Suffering must in time bring joy.
- God Calling

I'm not one to quote scripture on RP but here goes. This is a verse which has recently been given to me and I do hold on to it...

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19


Now you can see why friends, family, strangers, RP readers, and church sermons are so important to me. Why scripture has a place in my life again. My head spins ugly thoughts. Your words bring light and hope.

Suffering must, in time, bring JOY. Right?


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To My Readers and To My Son

After writing yesterday's post, I felt extremely conflicted. There is a lot of embarrassment surrounding the love I had/have for a man who made it very clear he wants nothing to do with me. There is shame about writing this stuff online. Maybe I reveal too much of my life. I know there are friends who think I am too open.

Then I read blogs where women bare all, like Carrie Riemer's blog, Lady with a Truck. I don't compare; I'm trying to find a comfortable place.

Today a friend was direct with me and she was completely right. My focus has been my hurt (Bill) and my focus truly needs to be on my son. He is aware I'm sure of my ups and downs, altho I do try to protect him from that.

I'm close, so very very close to shutting the door on this part of my life (the Bill part). Healing has not been a upward journey. There are ups, downs and periods of no movement. There have been laughter, tears, pain, acting "as if" I'm doing OK, lots of seeking, journaling, reading, learning and praying. Even praising God for all He has brought into my life. I am an honest person and I share honestly with others, usually with little to no shame for that. I have been applauded for my honesty, my ability to look deep into things, for my self-awareness, for my faith and seeking of God.

One thing struck me about one of the articles I shared with you yesterday. In this one, there is a line that read: People with narcissistic traits are known for targeting intelligent, self-sufficient, empathic individuals as partners.

I am an intelligent, self-sufficient person! I posses high emotional intelligence, conflict-resolution skills and the ability to compromise.

I lack self esteem, especially after this 3 year relationship and even more so after being left by ex-husband. I don't think I'm pretty AT ALL. I don't think my body is good enough. I don't think I'm smart enough. I don't think I am mature enough. (Both Bill and Matt made that clear, altho Bill admitted he too had his "crazy" at times. Matt told me once that if he saw me in a bar he'd think I was pretty enough to hit on, but that despite my changes for the better, he knew me on the inside, and that is why he is leaving me. That one comment alone is not something I have gotten over yet.) This is what has happened to me in the past 10 years as I've gained weight, lost my job, lost my marriage, lost a relationship with a man I idealized at times. I disregard my beauty (if there is any). My age-appropriate body. My average to maybe above average intelligence which should be enough. My ability to save money for my future. My strength. My resilience — my therapist made clear that is the one word she uses to describe me! My generosity to others. My cooking skills. My hard work. My creativity (remember those cookies?) My design skills. My style. My work ethics. My ability to come out on the other side. My relationship with God. My desire to constantly seek to be a better person. My ability to tackle problems in their proper perspective. My desire and ability to help and guide others as a mentor. My love of children. My "good mothering" skills with Oliver. My ability to not judge, but rather accept those around me. My ability to be there for others. My honesty. My willingness. My strength. (Blah blah blah!) I forget all that. I don't focus on it.

And in this other article I shared yesterday: The target, who may possess high emotional intelligence, empathy, conflict-resolution skills, and the ability to compromise, may work diligently to respond to the deafening silence. He or she may frequently reach out to the narcissistic person via email, phone, or text to resolve the greatly inflated misunderstanding, and is typically met with continued disdain, contempt, and silence. Essentially, the narcissistic person’s message is one of extreme disapproval to the degree that the silence renders the target so insignificant...

I remember trying to prove my significance to Bill at times – near the end when he was pulling away (sometimes called Devaluing stage).

It becomes an obsession to prove my worth to someone who is rejecting me. While normal people will shudder when they watch a person "put their self-worth in a zip lock baggie and hand it over to another" as one reader, who I respect, wrote to me once, it's something that I have a need to prove. I don't understand why this is so important to me. Other people can walk away and say, WTF?! I deserve better. And that is something I truly want to be able to do. I am not sure why I cannot do it!

I surely hope you don't judge me when you read this. If you want to leave me a comment, please do. Sick of my struggles yet? Ready to stop reading? In a lot of ways it's OK if you are feeling that way. I will keep writing whatever feels comfortable because I need to get it out, because I need to have a voice, and maybe just maybe I can help someone else who has gone thru this to find their own voice some day. It's my journey and it is what it is. I can't change where I'm at, altho I am trying very hard to become a woman who can throw this shit fuck ass to the curb (he's already there because he left me) and gain my power back and hold my head high and let go and be that strong example of a woman with high self-esteem to my son. I want that! I'm working damn hard to be that woman. I've been told I am NOT doing all I can do. This was by a stranger on a forum. I say to her Bullshit. I am. To the best of my abilities, I frickin am.

To my son I say this:

Your mom loves you to the best of her abilities. Which is a lot. I love you dear boy. When you read this blog some day as a man or as a young adult, know that I am not self indulgent. I am not indulging in self pity. I put on a happy face for you. I sit with you and read, hug, cuddle and play (as much as I can). I cook great meals for you and try to serve you wonderful healthy things. I tell you often I love you. I hold you, kiss you and advocate for you at school. I buy you wonderful toys within (and sometime out of) my budget, not out of guilt, but because I think you deserve to have some fun things. I want you to keep up with the other boys but I also want you to learn to be happy with what you have been given. I give you my time, something that is NOT hard for me to do. I enjoy our time together. I say this not to pat myself on the back but to show you how important you are to me. I love you so much. My heart aches for you when you are in pain. You are so strong Oliver. I don't think I could do half of the things you do: living in two different homes. Facing your fears each day when you go to school because you feel intimidated by the structure and the teachers. Your dad and I fight for you there too. And I honor your father and your need for him — and his need — to be there for you. I'd love to have you all to myself. But I know how important your father is to you, how he needs to have a big role in your life. I give up that fight to get what I want because I know you need him. And I respect him. He is a good dad to you, and he loves you so much. When you come here and read this some day, and when you see me aching for Bill, or missing him, just know that I am human too and I have my struggles, some of which I am not proud of. I wish I could have spotted Bill earlier as a man who was not worthy of me, and especially not worthy of you. You deserve better Oliver, and I am working to give that to you. I wish I was better already. I'm broken in some areas. I read recently that God doesn't expect us to be perfect. We are flawed, we humans. We don't get what we want and we do crazy, silly, destructive things to try to fix our hurts. It's only when we fail that we realize sometimes our actions were not the best choices, something I know you learn about in school too. I know you're a smart, brilliant child, and maybe you do pick up on my flaws. Maybe you are the victim of my mistakes. But don't let mommy's mistakes keep you from feeling good about who you are. Because you are a sweet, loving, kind, genuine soul who God loves very very much. And I love you too. So very very much.





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