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I saw this meme on Facebook that said:  She was fragile, but not like a flower, she was fragile like a bomb.

At first I was all “Nah, that’s not me” and then Kyle’s hubby, who is a very sensitive/discerning person told Kyle that he saw “sadness and anger” around me.

What? Anger?  The sadness I understand and am not surprised by at all but anger?  Why anger?

I mention it to my best friend from high school and she says “Oh yes, you’re muuuuuch better but there’s a lot of anger in you, sorry honey.”

Well shit.  She calls it like she sees it and she’s known me way too long to be wrong about this…

So I start to think about it and there are some things, some circumstances, some people who I do have anger towards.

I thought I had eliminated anger from my life, I thought I had matured past it and become this much more enlightened person, full of grace, compassion and understanding for people who act out of their life woundings…

Guess not, ugh.

The  more I thought about it the more I realized that it’s another part of my survival method.  It was never safe to display any emotion other than “everything’s OK, I’m fine” around my mother or my ex-husband.  Around my ex I had to concentrate on suppressing the sadness, the depression, the worry, the weariness… but it was around my mother that I learned at a young age to hide my anger.  I was able to do it so well and so quickly that by the time I reached junior high I stopped even feeling any little wisp of anger before I shut it up in a bottle and hid it somewhere in the depths of my soul.

Good grief, no wonder I’m all messed up inside.

My younger daughter has a lot of anger bottled up inside her too and one night she came to me, crying because she could feel the bottle cracking and she was afraid it would explode and she would hurt people – not so much physically but with her words.  She was afraid she would drive all her friends away and she would be left shattered and completely alone.

If she has a lake of anger buried in her I have an entire ocean bottled up in my depths…

Thinking about it made it worse.  I started thinking about the people who I felt anger towards – my mother, my ex, one of my brothers…  I started dwelling on the situations in my life that were unfair and out of my control…  I began to feel the anger welling up inside of me and I became afraid that my jar was starting to crack as well.

Anger brings with it a great, dark power.  It tries to convince you that if you let it out you will feel better – but it lies.  Releasing such terrible, refined hatred, especially after all those years of distilling it to it’s purest essence in the pressure cooker of the soul’s forgotten cellar under the stairway can do nothing but destroy everyone it touches.

After quite a few tears and a couple of miserable days I reached a few conclusions:
1.  There is a volcano inside of me full of rage and fury.  I decided to accept that fact.  It’s there and it’s there legitimately.  I experienced bad things clear up until I was 40.  In order to survive I had to stuff the feelings away and not deal with them.  I stuffed so many bad feelings away that the jar might pop if I just breathe on it wrong.  I understand and accept that this is a part of my life currently.
2  I don’t know how to deal with it.  Angry people scare me, I tend to freeze up.  Another self-preservation method because if I didn’t freeze I might reflect their anger back to them, magnified with my own, and that might hurt them.  I don’t hurt people so I freeze.  I also don’t know how to release anger in a healthy manner.  I could try to paint it out, to exercise it out, to break things to get it out, to yell and scream to get the anger out… I’m not sure what to do or what would be the most helpful and so I don’t do anything.   I accept this truth as well – along with the knowledge that I’m going to need to learn how to deal with the anger at some point in my life, preferably sooner rather than later.  I realize I need a counselor, and I’ve known that since I moved to Montana.  I did ask my doctor’s office for a referral and they gave me a couple of names of counselors who were not accepting new patients, I called around and couldn’t find anyone with evening appointments after school, and then I moved to a smaller town,.. I need to find a local counselor and if I have to, take time off of school to go to the sessions.  Ugh.
3.  I need to love myself in spite of my anger.  Being angry does not make me evil.  Jesus was angry but he “sinned not”.  I need to remember that anger is a natural part of experiencing life and is sometimes necessary – it can spur us to take action against injustice.

Once I identified these three things and made the decision that yes, I will learn how to deal with the old anger and any new anger in a healthy way just as soon as I am able I was calm again.  Back to my normal self again – back to who my heart tells me I was created to be again.  I am not an angry person, I am a loving person who was wounded for a long time by people who were supposed to be safe.

I still have fragile moments, but they’re mostly fragile like a flower.  I’m

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Three days ago my best friend from high school’s mom died very unexpectedly. That was Friday and today, Monday, my BFF was scheduled to have a surgery that she could not postpone so I drove the 8 hours to come stay with her children while her husband was with her in the hospital for the surgery, which went great and she is recovering nicely.

It was outpatient so she came home and went straight to bed.  I decided to go visit one of my brothers who lived about an hour away because he was really wanting to get together since I was in the area – and that’s a bit unusual for him, honestly.

It was a good visit, it really was.  We talked about lots of stuff, work, kids, dogs, horses, the usual…  I asked them if they knew my ex was engaged and not only did they know but they had met her.  He brought her all the way up to have dinner with my two brothers and their wives on the same trip he took her home to introduce her to his parents.

Why in God’s name did that make me cry the entire hour I drove back to my friend’s house?

I had to really think about it.

Before I go any further I should explain my position on my ex-husband’s new relational status. I left him at the end of January, 2015, we were still trying to “work things out” up until April of 2015 and our divorce was finalized in mid-May 2015.  That means he has been legally single for fourteen and a half months and I was absolutely expecting him to be dating by now because he has never done well on his own and with his sexual addiction a celibate life just won’t work for him.  But to be engaged right now, that blew me away.  Huh.  Although it does tell me that he was over me a long time before I left him in order to meet, date and propose to someone else this quickly.  So I totally did the right thing in leaving because his heart hadn’t been in trying to make our marriage work for years but he was continuing to do so out of duty and obligation, as was I.  That’s a recipe for hell on earth right there in my humble opinion…

So aside from being a wee bit bitter that I had to be the one to leave in spite of his wanting to move on as much or more than I did I think it’s funny that physically she’s shaped a lot like me and looks similar enough to me that I’m sure people will mistake her as the natural mother of our firstborn daughter – or worse – her sister because she looks closer in age to our oldest daughter than to him, lol!

But honest-to-God, the primary feeling I have about his engagement is overwhelming relief.  Over. Whelming.  Relief.  Hopefully he will stop being mad at me now that he has someone else in his life.  And believe it or not, I’m happy for him.  I wish them well and I hope that she will stand up to him and make him a better man, that she won’t put up with the things that make him a bully and that she’ll improve his relationship with his children, especially our youngest, whom I keep telling to give her future step-mom an honest chance and try to be her friend because she could be the best thing that ever happened to him and hopefully she is exactly who he needs.  I know I wasn’t.

I said as much to my brothers (not the bitter or funny part, just the happy for him and told my daughter to give her a chance part) and I could tell they were startled by my words but why, dear God, why won’t they actually ask me the questions they want to know the answers to?  They just won’t ask any questions at all about how I’m feeling or what I think about situations.  Ugh, brothers!

But back to why I cried all the way home, I was trying to pinpoint the source of my soul-hurt and this is what I realized:

My brothers like him more than me.  Truth accepted.

My brothers are more on his side than mine in all things, the divorce, our beliefs in God, parenting, etc.  Truth accepted.

Introducing her to MY brothers and not just his relatives on their we-just-got-engaged trip makes me feel cut out of my own family.  Absolute truth although probably not done intentionally but still very hurtful.

It’s not enough that his family hates me but he wants mine to completely dislike me as well because he’s the righteous one and I’m the evil sinner so he’s trying to get my own brothers to replace me with her.  99.9% probability that this is not truth but I could definitely see him thinking that way.  Extremely hurtful.

My brothers value their friendship with him over their relationship with me and have a stronger sense of loyalty to him than to me because they participated in an event that could only make me feel excluded AND they made a big outing of it at a fancy and very expensive restaurant.  They didn’t tell him that meeting her would be like saying he was their brother more than I was their sister and so they must regretfully decline.  They didn’t say it was not a good idea because they are his ex-wife’s family, not  his family and it would be awkward, for them and for his fiancé, to spend a dinner together.  They didn’t stand up for me, even the tiniest bit.

Aaahhh… there it is, that is why I cried for an hour.  I feel betrayed by my brothers in favor of him.

Life is hard sometimes and then it gets better.  And then worse and then better again.  This is one of those worse days but soon life will be good more than it’s hard… I’m looking forward to that!

 

This is a little embarrassing…  OK, more than just a little…  Here I am, a fabulous shade of 41 and in the course of six weeks or so my heart has experienced the entirety of Junior High School.  I fell madly “in love” – with two different guys that I have occasional contact with –  complete with all the freaky, weepy and totally illogical thoughts and emotions that go along with it.  Crazy, crazy stuff like:

“Does he know how much I love him?”

“I just want to be near him, I don’t care that he doesn’t seem to notice my existence.”

“He is sooooo beautiful.”

“How can I get him to notice me?  I’ll just die if he doesn’t love me back.”

“I wish I could hold his hand… ooohhh, a dance would be better, where do grownups go to dance?”

“His eyes… his smile…  his laugh… <sigh>”

I tell you, it is a miracle that Junior Highers can grow up to become functioning adults at all!  I suspect I’m a little more stable than your average Junior Higher on the downs but the ups are an amazing high that I don’t want to let go of quite yet although I know that if my infatuation were actually to be reciprocated I would be terrified…

Fortunately being 41 and having survived the life I had is good for something!  I’m pretty handy at hiding all those emotions away where they can’t hurt anybody until I can sort them out later – and in my case it’s been decades later.  My counselor says “Maybe you need to experience these things because you didn’t get a chance to work through them as a child” and there might be something to that – the sensations of Being In Love are absolutely delicious, I’ve never had them before.

Seriously, never.

The grown up part of me knows that the insanity will come to an end and hopes it will be sooner rather than later but the newly discovered, child-like part of me wants to stay on this roller coaster for a long, long time and enjoy the ride.

At the very least I’ve spared myself some of that famous Junior High humiliation by refusing to pass notes that say “Check the box if you like me”, eh?

I feel like Pinnocchio after the Blue Fairy changes him “I’m a Real Girl!”  I am somewhat shocked to discover what it’s actually like to have feelings again after stuffing them into a box and putting them on a shelf for the better part of 20 years.  The emotional roller coaster is a little scary though – I experience highs and lows in a matter of seconds, swinging from:

Being so overwhelmed with gratitude that I literally want to weep and throw myself at people’s feet.
Crying real tears at emotional movies.
Being angry enough to swear actual curse words (NOT normal for me!).
Grinning like an idiot until my cheeks bubble up so high they affect my eyesight.
Occasional bouts of fear that I won’t make it on my own that tempt me to stay in bed all day.
Wanting to run around, hugging and kissing everyone like they’re an adorable 4-year-old.
And so on. 

I’m a little worried that I will scare people if I actually did all those things, lol. 

Most of my emotions are positive, less are negative but all are more powerful than I’ve probably ever experienced in my entire life.  Feelings are the most amazing high…  I count myself blessed to have them again.

More blessings – a friend has offered to give me a washer and dryer and another friend will give me a loveseat when I find my own place!  I get my housing certificate from the shelter in 4 days and then I can start looking for a place to live so hopefully I’ll be in my own Home, Sweet Home by the end of May. 

The housing certificate is another HUGE blessing – they will pay for the deposits necessary for me to get started renting AND the first six months of my rent.  The goal is to set me up so that all I have to do is maintain my monthly expenses after the first six months.  I am beyond words!

And what I consider to be the biggest blessing right now is my job.  I LOVE the owners of my new salon!  After only 23 days of working there I was given a key to the shop so when I get there before the they do I can let myself in and start getting things ready.  I worked at my last salon for over 7 months and when I left the owner wouldn’t even let me do acrylic nails on walk-ins, much less consider give me a key.  Not only can I do arylics and have a key but tonight I was invited to a company/family dinner at my very favorite seafood resturant.  It was so much fun – sitting at a table with the 5 of them and listening to the Vietnamese and English flowing all around me while we pulled apart our crab and lobster.  It occured to me, being the only white girl at a table of Vietnamese, that it probably looked like I was the girlfriend of one of the brothers and he was introducing me to the family… That made me giggle so hard!  I told the brother I was sitting next to and we laughed together.  I feel so accepted by their family in a way that I was never accepted, as-is, in my own family.  Heck, I’ve never even felt this accepted in any church “family” I’ve ever been a part of either.

I am so very blessed and I love my new life, it’s going to be amazing!

It’s been 2 weeks and 1 day since I left and in that time I have gone through an entire roller coaster of emotions.
The biggest thing I’ve realized is that I really am afraid of what my husband will say to make me feel bad and that I fall for his guilt trips more often than not, even now that I’m not living with him.  I am not quite as strong as I want to be but I’m getting there.

I’ve also realized I like talking to my husband now that he’s being so careful of my feelings.  We’ve had a couple of in-person conversations and a few phone conversations and for the most part I enjoy the interactions right up until the point where he gets frustrated and starts to guilt trip me into feeling sorry for him, moving back into the house and/or tell him the address where I’m at now.  It usually takes me at least 15 minutes to end the conversation after the guilt/manipulation starts but I’ve been consistently surprised at how much I like talking to him until that point.  It reinforces, to me, that what I’ve been telling people is true.  I don’t hate him and I’m not interested in making him look bad to anybody, I just want to be out of this abusive situation and develop a healthy way to communicate with him because regardless if we’re living together or not, or married or not, we still have two children together and will need to be communicating with each other on a regular basis for the rest of our lives.

Both of my brothers, my father, my step-mother and my father-in-law have responded to my letter that I posted earlier in “What I Told My Family”.  All of their responses were very gracious, they offered to help if they could and wanted me to know they loved me.  A week after I had sent it I realize I forgot to include my husband’s only brother in the group email so I forwarded it to him with an apology for inadvertently leaving them out.  He responded a few days later with a simple “we’re praying for you” and a very formal blessing of sorts, which was a little better than I had expected from him.

My body was in survival mode all these years and in the last week I have been exhausted.  My friends and sister who have medical backgrounds say this is normal and that I should expect to be tired and get sick for a while before it gets better so I’m calling it “crash mode”.  Today was my day off, the first of two days in a row.  Last week I only had one day off and the week before that, the week I left, I had split days off so this is my first proper “weekend” since I left and it was sooo nice to sleep in!  I actually spent the day in my jammies and worked on the taxes all day, which was oddly relaxing and my sister says I should become a tax person to make extra income during the nail salon’s slow season.  Hmmm…

Anyway, that’s basically where I’m at right now.  My older daughter has not responded to my offer to meet with her at a restaurant after she gets off work some evening and my husband says she is very angry with me and to not show up at the house when she’s home alone without “making an appointment”.  I will try emailing her again tonight.  My younger daughter seems to be hellbent on completely destroying her life and leaving no bridge unburned at the moment… but that’s going to be another post, I can’t deal with it right now and there’s really no way to help her.  All I can do is be here and continue to love her and hope she turns her life around soon.

In the meantime I have one more day off and I’m going to sleep in and enjoy it as much as possible!

“Write all of this down so you remember how you feel.”  Words of advice from my sister.  She doesn’t know about this blog and that I have been documenting my experiences for the last couple of years but it was a good reminder to get on the laptop and write another post.

My husband came to my work today and when I saw him in the door I panicked a little bit.  He had a Dr. Pepper and a white envelope in his hand.  When we spoke at McDonalds he had asked if he could leaving an occasional card and donut in my car.  Recognizing that his personality type has to “do something” I said yes and promised to eat the donut and not throw it away.  So when he came in the shop today my first thought was “This is not leaving things in my car” and I was a little upset but more scared.  “Why were you scared?” my sister asks.  “Because I was afraid of what he would say to make me feel bad.”  My heart was pounding and I couldn’t hardly talk.  What he actually gave me was not a card but tax-related mail along with the Dr. Pepper and reminded me that my car was locked and he doesn’t have a key.  He said “How are you?” and all I could get out was “Preegoo”.  Auto-pilot kicked in and I managed a polite, “How are you doing?” at which point his face went hard, he said “Have a nice day”, turned on his heel and left.  I felt anger from him.  It took a good half hour to get my heart and breathing back under control.  

I feel badly that he’s hurt and that I’m the one causing it, I really do.  And it’s not just an “Awww, that’s too bad I hurt you”, it’s a gut-wrenching grief that is nearly incapacitating.  That sorrow makes me wonder if I’m really doing the right thing and waters the little seed of doubt in my heart.  At the same time just seeing him outside of our agreed-upon parameters made me realize I am physically afraid of him.  I haven’t quite reached the point of peeing my pants but the rest of my body is doing it’s own equivalent.  This is not healthy, why did I accept living in such a fear-heavy atmosphere for so long?  I’ve made excuses for him all our married life by explaining his hurtful words and actions as “He’s just grumpy”, “He doesn’t deal with change very well” or my most common excuse “It’s my fault because I…”.  I am such a victim.

I have taken multiple tests online and they all say that I am an abused spouse.  Not physically abused, it would have been so much easier – and socially acceptable – to leave if he was physically abusing me and I would have left a long time ago for physical abuse.  My doctor offered to prescribe me a couple of weeks in the funny farm to have a break from him.  Strangely enough, I did not take her up on that, fearing they would never let me go.  My counselor very patiently walked me through the stages of identifying abuse until I could not help but agree that I am abused.  So why is it so hard for me to draw the line and stop feeling guilty about leaving?  Is it Stockholm syndrome where the abused person protects and defends the abuser?  I think I should look that up…

My immediate goals are to get on the state health insurance so that I can get back to my counselor and start taking my medication again.  And apparently I’m legally considered “homeless”, which made me laugh the first time I heard it because I’m staying with my sister, not under a bridge somewhere but I guess this experience is teaching me that all kinds of words have more than one definition.  There’s a local organization that helps homeless people get into housing so I’ll be calling them tomorrow as well.  I love my sister and we get along great but we’ve made different lifestyle choices – and this apartment is teeny tiny!  

So I am well on my way to becoming healthy, maybe for the first time in my entire life.  I know it will not be a quick or easy process but I’m looking forward to the end result.

 

I made it home safe but exhausted on Thursday and was greeted at the airport by my husband and younger daughter who immediately started talking smack about my younger daughter.  Too tired to argue with them I went to bed and stayed home from work on Friday to rest.

Back to work on Saturday and then church and work on Sunday.  Sunday evening, last night, I finally let my husband have it over his attitude regarding our younger daughter.  For the first time in our entire marriage I did not mince words about how I felt and he sat there and took it, apologizing left and right.  I let him know that I do forgive him but that does not mean the damage he did is magically undone and I am still going to have to work through my feelings and these circumstances and I need some space to do that.

Monday, today, I realized that if I was really going to leave him, that now is the time.  And so I left.  I wrote him a goodbye letter, packed up a couple of suitcases and moved in with my sister.

I feel so strange.  I “know” that he is not going to come and find me and drag me back by my hair but I’ve got major, almost paralyzing anxiety that that’s exactly what he’s going to do.  I am surprised at how deeply it grieves me to wound him by leaving and yet I know that if I stay he will continue to wound me and I’m already suicidal more often than I’m not.  I thought I didn’t care anymore what my family (aside from my sister) or his thought about me leaving him and have found that a little, tiny corner of my heart truly is bothered by the negative view I’m sure they’ll have of me now.  Furthermore, I don’t plan on airing our dirty laundry (except for here, because it’s anonymous) to make him look like the bad guy even though I know that will just cause it to look like it’s all my fault to the casual bystander.  There’s a feeling of great relief to be done with him and quite frankly, to be done with my older daughter as well but that feeling is conflicting with my feelings of guilt for destroying my marriage, except my marriage has been destroyed for a long, long time now (and not by me) and we have never, ever had a healthy relationship because neither of us knew how to communicate when we got married over 20 years ago.

I expect my emotions to be at war with each other for a while.  I really wish I could find some movie magic that worked in real life, just press a fast forward button and wake up a year from tomorrow instead of tomorrow morning.  But each journey begins with a single step and I have started a brand-new journey today.  We’re still going to have to find a way to communicate soon because both our names are on the mortgage and we have two children… and who knows, miracles can happen and maybe we’ll get back together someday.  Someday as in years and years down the road after lots and lots of (productive) counseling.

Getting out of an abusive relationship is always the right thing to do whether it’s at school or work, church or the home.  Believing that our marriage qualified as abusive because I was never physically beat up took a lot of convincing for me.  Believing that I’m worth an abuse-free life has required that I change the way I think of myself and has not been easy at all for me to see myself as having value – to me, much less anyone else.  I know a lot of people will paint me black and say I’m an ice queen but I just want to get away and find some healing for myself…

And so I shall.

My younger daughter has been gone for 4 days.  My in-laws have graciously given us the money for me to go see her get married.  I started texting her to talk about when we can get together when I go see her and was completely shocked by her response.

She thought I would only be there for the wedding and was surprised I had planned to be there for 72 hours so she isn’t sure how much time she’ll have to spend with me because she had made plans to spend time with his friends and family.  Our texting conversation went something like this:

I said I wanted to spend at least a little time with her and her fiance, maybe take them to lunch.  She said that his family hasn’t seen him for a year and a half and he will only be home for 11 days so they aren’t willing to share much time with me.  I said I was hoping to get to know him and his family and was wanted to spend some time with all of them.  She said I’m forcing her to chose between him and me.  I said that we’re going to be family now and I thought they would want to meet me just like I wanted to meet them.  She gave me her Future Mother-In-Law’s phone number so we could “hash it out”.

I called FMIL and it was clear from the start that she is not my biggest fan.  I introduced myself, said I was coming to town for the wedding and was hoping to get together with her.  She said she was sure we could find something to talk about.  I asked if there was a good time to get together and she said she was very busy and she’d have to let me know.  I thanked her for taking care of my daughter and she said that she loved my daughter and had nicknamed her “My F-n (name)”.  I said “What?” and she repeated it.  I managed some sort of polite goodbye and hung up the phone, absolutely dumbfounded.

After choking back some tears I called my daughter, who did not seem happy to hear from me.  I told her that I had just spoken with FMIL and she said “Oh, how’d that go?” in a tone that let me know she did not expect it had gone well.  I told her I didn’t think FMIL liked me very much and my daughter says “Well she speaks her mind” which makes me wonder exactly what has my daughter been telling her?  I’m trying not to cry and she asks me if I’m OK.  I decided to be honest and say no, I’m not OK because I don’t think she wants me there.  She gets upset and says of course she wants me there but I have to understand she’s been waiting to see him for 4 months now and I’ve had her for 18 years and just saw her last week.  I tell her I can’t do this and have to go, goodbye, click.  I then felt bad and texted her, apologizing for crying and said I loved her no matter what.

I get a text from FMIL saying my daughter told her I don’t think she likes me.  She “doesn’t judge” but has heard things she doesn’t agree with and is very protective of her son and feels his happiness is the most important thing in the world, being a mom myself, she’s sure I’ll agree.

I text back that my daughter doesn’t want me to be protective of her any more and I’m struggling with it and that she’s chosen to be happy with FMIL and her family.  Since we’re going to be family now I don’t want to steal the precious time they have with their son but I was hoping I could join them in some of their family times while I was there and get to know them.  Hopefully after meeting me they could decide for themselves what kind of person I am.

FMIL texts back that she hasn’t seen her son for a year and a half and only has 11 days with him and admits she is selfish but she has no desire to stop me from being at the wedding and that it’s “kewl” if I want to hang out with my daughter.

That particular spelling seems odd to me for a woman who has 8 kids and multiple grandchildren.  Something else in this text makes me realize that it’s her son who is calling the shots here.  He doesn’t want to spend time with me and has both my daughter and his mother on his side, refusing to allow me into his family.

I can’t believe that my daughter immediately ran to FMIL and told her that I didn’t think she liked me.  I’m realizing that I can’t tell my daughter anything that I don’t want her fiance or FMIL to know and that anything I tell her they’ll know in a matter of moments.  I’ve completely lost whatever relationship I thought I had with my daughter and I can’t believe that I’m going to spend most of a day flying clear across the country to sit miserably in a little hotel room about 2 miles from his house, staring desperately at my cell phone, hoping my daughter will call me and want to spend a little bit of time with me during the relatively few hours I will have where she is before I have to spend another day flying home.

I have never felt so alone or rejected and I’m not sure I’ve ever cried so much in my whole life, this parenting business is becoming more and more overrated by the minute.  I’m absolutely crushed.

And yet I know it’s time to practice what I preach.  I told my husband that all his rules and demands were only pushing her closer to her fiance and farther from us and that he needed to love her unconditionally and move his focus to building a future relationship with her.  Now it’s my turn.  If I make her feel guilty for the way she’s treating me it’s very likely that she will cut me out of her life like she has her father – or that her fiance will direct her to cut me out of her life and she’ll obey.

Somebody commented on my last post that they wanted to encourage me to stay in touch with her and I wanted to let you know, it’s not me you have to worry about staying in touch with her, I just hope she’ll stay in touch with me and that he’ll allow it.

Each post on this blog is a little snapshot of my thoughts, feelings, emotions, decisions… it’s glimpses into my life as raw and unfiltered as I can write them out.  I don’t always have the right words to properly express myself but I try.  I’ve spent most of my life stuffing my feelings and emotions in a bottle and putting them up on a shelf because “nobody got time for that” so now I’m not very good at identifying how I feel, much less knowing how to deal with those feelings, which is one of the big reasons that this blog is pretty much anonymous – I think I’ve only invited a couple of people who know me to read it and if you do know me please don’t tell anybody my secret identity, lol!  This is how I sort things out in my head and in my heart, by writing them down and mulling them over, and over, and over…

If you’re reading this and it doesn’t make sense normally I would say that you’re just going to have to wade through the last two years of posts although I suppose after this amount of time it’s worth summarizing – OK, here goes:

I’m in my 40’s, married for 20 years with two kids – one is barely a legal adult and the other 6 weeks away from being a legal adult.  Thanks to my upbringing and then marrying a man who treated me the same way I was treated while growing up I never believed I had any real value as a human being until about two years ago when something changed.

I can’t tell you exactly what it was that gave way inside of me  – I had gone to a few years of counseling but all the counselors I had didn’t give me any solutions, they just said that I was doing great and they didn’t know why I was going to see them so I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it.  I had been on anti-depressants for a couple of years by then but I was actually getting worse, more depressed and more suicidal so I don’t think that was it either.  About that same time I started to have concerns about the church that we were attending and I brought those concerns to both my husband and the pastor’s attentions – nothing happened and I sank further into my depression.  But somehow, something snapped almost 24 months ago and I started this journey of becoming bolder, stronger and brave.  I dared to believe that I just might even be beautiful.

The first thing I did was to give my husband an ultimatum to quit his pornography addiction “or else”.  In February that will have been two years ago.  I didn’t specifically state what the “or else” would be but it was going to start with separation and go from there.  I let him talk me out of separating that night because I honestly didn’t think that he would be able to quit but he surprised me.  Almost two years later he has not only kicked his addiction but he has been instrumental in starting a men’s purity group at his church and is co-leading it, helping other men in their fight against pornography. He has also worked very hard to become a nicer person, a better husband and a more involved father.  I have both noticed these things and told him, repeatedly, that I am proud of him for all the changes he’s made but we can both tell that it’s a “That’s nice” kind of proud of him.

I should be bursting with pride.  Why aren’t I?

I guess I feel like it’s a day late and a dollar short.

About nine months ago I started seeing a new counselor and she made a difference in my life.  The reason I went to her was because I didn’t like sex.  My husband fully endorsed my going to a counselor for this reason but I think he soon came to regret supporting me in that manner.  What she actually helped me with was opening my eyes to see that I was in an abusive relationship.  There was no physical abuse going on but nearly every other kind of abuse was present.  Had I been physically abused, i.e. beat up, I would have left a long time ago but mental and emotional abuse are “invisible” and “don’t really count” in the Christian church today and there seems to be no such thing as sexual abuse between a husband and a wife.  In America, and as far as I know in the world at large, sexual abuse within marriage is barely recognized and rarely addressed but in the church the subject is completely taboo.  My counselor told me that being manipulated, coerced or guilt-tripped into having sex when you don’t want to is sexual abuse.  Who knew?  I thought that the only thing “sexual abuse” meant was that you were raped or forced into giving oral sex against your will.  Being a good, submissive Christian wife I stayed married because it was “the right thing to do” and that kept me in a miserable relationship for 20 years believing that by doing so I was pleasing God.

It got to the point that I was considering changing my faith – or abandoning it completely – in order to leave the church we were and get him to divorce me.  I considered suicide many times because I thought it would be easier than divorce and I had become crazy enough that somehow I thought suicide might even be a spiritual solution because it would fulfill the “till death do us part” vow I made.  Yes, I’ve been messed up in the head for a long, long time now…

Ultimately, in an act of abnormal bravery, I left that particular church without him.  Aside from a couple months of extra stress immediately after that decision our life has returned to “normal” –  we just don’t talk about the fact that he is still attending that church and I have been trying out other local churches to see where I will fit the best.  Now the only real decision I have left is do I stay married or not?  I honestly don’t want to be anybody’s wife ever at this point but I’m not sure leaving is the right thing to do either, I’m in a quandary.  I have begged God to change my heart and make me fall in love with this man that I’ve never had any kind of passion for and yet he’s made so many changes to please me.  I have pleaded with God to make me enjoy sex.  And yet for 20 years nothing has changed in my heart – or my with hormones either for that matter.  It actually makes me understand homosexuals a little better – I can’t change it no matter how hard I try so maybe God made me this way.

And that’s where I’m at right now.  This is really real life – my life.  I have a big decision to make, do I stay or do I go?  I’m not going to rush this choice though, I want to be sure that if I leave I have done everything I could have possibly done to make it work.  If I leave I don’t want to have any regrets that I didn’t explore every option or try hard enough.  If I stay it will be because I chose to stay and not because I felt obligated to stay.  I’m going to  make this choice, probably within the next 6 months, and be comfortable with my final decision.

Stay tuned…

Oh the joys of being me!  Here’s the roller coaster ride of feelings I  had today:

Overwhelmed
A Failure
Anger
Weary to the bone
Incapable
Suicidal
Hopeless
Unworthy
Faith-less (as in having no faith, not as in being unfaithful)
Rejected
Doubt
Alone
Zero endurance
Panic

OK, so that’s not really a roller coaster ride, that’s a gravity drop ride…

Today was horrible.  The fourth ten-hour work day in a row is always hard on me but this particular Monday at the call center there was non-stop calls from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, just back-to-back-to-back, with a much higher than average ratio of mean customers than normal.  Seriously people, it’s not my fault you don’t open and/or read your statements and therefore “forget” to pay your bills on time or get interest charges from failing to pay off your promotional financing offers before they expire!

I started my day tired, cried off and on throughout the day because of my customers attitudes and comments and ended the day exhausted and yet, obviously, unable to sleep.  During my shift today I wrote several “Goodbye World” notes in my head – trying to decide what to put on Facebook to make the appropriate people feel guilty and how could I contact my youngest daughters only nice ex-boyfriend to ask him to look in on her when I’m gone.  At some point I realized my thinking was pretty messed up, which only made it worse because then the feelings of “I have no business being a parent” kicked in and only made the urge to off myself stronger.  I really began to feel like I would be doing the world – and especially my children – a favor by not being here.  Towards the end of my workday the calls slowed down and I became a little more rational.  Yes, stop freaking out, I am going to call my doctor tomorrow to get back on some form of anti-depressant because there really is something terribly wrong with me.  (I’m sure that someday this blog will wind up in a clinical textbook about depression and I’ll be reduced to nothing more than a case study, although that’s probably all I am to some of you anyway…)  I fantasize that my doctor will place me on disability because my jobs stress me out so much, but that is just one more fairy tale that will never come true.

I contemplated my faith, or current lack thereof, today.  As a child I loved God with all my heart.  As a teenager I was desperate for the peace my church promised I would have if only I followed God faithfully and did my very best to be a Good Girl.  After high school I began to see that reality was not the life I was told it would be as a Christian.  As a young married wife I slipped further and further away from believing the Christian ideal and now I’m wondering if God would even notice all that much if I cut that last thread and left Him altogether.  But if I don’t believe in God what’s left to believe in?

I have a jewelry open house this Saturday, trying to raise money to pay my school tuition and although I created a Facebook event and invited 50 of my Facebook “friends” to it I haven’t had a single response, yea or nay.  Which leads me to doubt that any of them will come because when everything shakes out I really don’t have “friends”, I have acquaintances.  Lots and lots of acquaintances.  I’ve chased most all the people who might have considered being my friend away by virtue of being mentally disturbed, distrustful and insecure.  I feel so alone, like there’s no one who will help me get out of this hole I’m in and I don’t think I can get out of it myself but I keep trying.  I really want to delete all my so-called friends and actually be as alone as I feel I am but I know I will regret it in the future.  I’m not sure why I’ll regret it but I just know that at some point I will…

My husband, who does woodworking, is all excited for my open house and has been making hand-crafted wooden pens this last week for me to take and try to sell at my fundraiser.  Not to help me get my tuition paid but to get him money to buy more wood because he wants to start a woodworking business from home.

A friend made sure to point out that her contribution to my efforts was limited to prayer.  Good grief, I’m not asking for charity – although standing on the side of the road with a sign asking for donations will probably make me more money than all my efforts to actually earn it will so I may do that soon too – but I wasn’t trying to guilt her into buying anything from me either.  It’s probably me just reading between lines that aren’t there again.  With her it seems like it’s always me reading between those damn invisible lines, I’m always wrong about something.

And that’s the core of what I always come back to.  It’s not you, it’s me.  It’s always something wrong with me.  I’m broken, I’m damaged, I’m wrong, wrong, wrong.  I can’t do anything right.  It’s true, that is my mother’s voice!  She has so much to answer for – although being dead she probably has answered for it by now…  Unfortunately I’m still sorting through all the crap she instilled in me growing up.  I’m 40 and finally realizing that most of it IS crap but I feel like the old dog you can’t teach new tricks to – how do I change the way I think?  The way I feel?  The way I respond to life?  The easier way out is death but honestly I’m a coward.  Too scared to die, not brave enough to live.  Clinging to the mushroom life because the evil that I know is easier than the good that I don’t know.

People in my church avoid me – and to be fair I avoid them now too.  The few that used to speak to me don’t any more and I feel like I’ve been given up as “lost”.  That I’m not worth their efforts anymore.  That I’m beyond “saving”.  That I could change if I would just decide to change.  My suicide would only cause them to “tsk, tsk, tsk” and think in their hearts that they were right.  My staying alive is the only way I would possibly dare to spit in their eye – and that’s pretty good motivation right now.

The next step is to get out of this job and start being a Nail Tech.  Right now I can’t deal with more than one goal.  Raise $1900 to pay my school bill, pass the state boards and start working as a Nail Tech.  After that, who knows?  Maybe reaching one goal will give me the courage to accomplish another goal, like leaving this church with or without my husband.