Category Archives: Relationships

A clear perspective

I make no secret that I have been in counseling for several years. There is no doubt in my mind that it has saved me in more ways than one.  It did not save my marriage, it did not save my relationship with my mother…it has saved me from thinking that there is something wrong with me.  Sometimes it’s all about validation…I am not wrong for feeling the way I do.  Other times it’s giving me a new perspective on the reasons I am the way I am, and why I feel the way I feel.

Love:

“Wait…are you in love with him?”

I was completely taken aback by that question, and to be completely honest, the thought had come up just a few days earlier.  The answer to that question is as complicated for me as almost anything in my life right now.  The bottom line, I don’t know.  What I do know is that I want to be in love….I feel like after nearly 3 years together we should be in love.  However, love has always been a volatile emotion for me.  My relationships have been wrapped in my taking the blame for all that is wrong, and teaching people that it doesn’t matter how bad you treat me…I will always love you, I will always forgive you.

So what it boils down to is that I do not know what true love is.  I do not know how to be loved in an honest healthy way.  Of course, I do know what it should look like, how it should feel…yet I can’t seem to wrap my little brain around how any of that relates to me.  The task I have been given is to allow myself the opportunity to have the kind of love I truly want.  Dare I say, the kind of love I deserve.

Change:

A couple of weeks ago I had a night where I couldn’t sleep.  First off, I was completely and totally grateful that it wasn’t one of those nights that I was hyper-focused on a conversation, a comment, or feeling.  What did that mean?  Why didn’t I say this or that?  If only I had done this… Ugh, I have had way to many nights like that in the past and it sucks.  This time, it was just calm reflection, but still, the mind would not quiet.  After an hour or so I decided to get out my journal, and write it out.

Each area turned into no less than 3-4 pages.  Apparently I had some things to get off my mind.  The job, the home, the man, the friends, the ex, the smoking, the goals, the weight….There was a lot of shit packed in there that night.  The common thread seemed to commitment (or lack there of) and follow through.  Why oh why can’t I take that great idea, thought or intention, and follow through, focus and commit to any of them.  Well, it seems that I may tend to overthink (I know I was shocked too) (not really) (I’m not fooling anyone) and as was recently suggested “hyper-focus” on emotions that have no real value to the situation.  That isn’t exactly the phrase he used, but the bottom line is I  spend too much time thinking about things, applying inaccurate emotional value to things, situations and people, and not giving myself enough credit or acknowledgement that sometimes and some things are just out of my control.

I have not quit smoking because I am a failure and weak in my commitment.

I have not found a better job because I am not good enough or qualified enough for anything better than this.

I have not sought a better relationship because I don’t really deserve anything better than just the crumbs someone is willing to offer.

I can’t followed though on my yoga, house projects, meal planning, etc etc etc…because you just aren’t good at taking care of shit.

As it has been explained to me…I have a little more in common with my son than I may have been willing to admit to.  None of these things are character flaws…they are more traits of someone with ADD.  I am too focused on having a mediocre life, because it is something familiar and predictable. It is just easier to blame myself for the mediocrity than to actually accept that I could do better and pursue it.  So, it’s time to admit that I might need a little help.

It was suggested, that if I got a little help with what’s going on with my brain, I might be able to stay focused enough to follow through on all those areas of my life that are lacking.

I am not a bad person for having a hard time quitting smoking…I have an addiction that needs to be addressed.

I am not a bad person for wanting to leave my current job…it has served its purpose and I deserve an opportunity to be in a position where my strengths can be appreciated and I can be allowed to grow.

I am not a bed person for wanting a more fulfilling relationship filled with love and commitment…I deserve to be with someone who wants and appreciates what I have and is eager to return the feelings.

I am not a bad person for not staying focused on the tasks that need to be taken care of…I can give myself permission to accept that I need some help.

It’s going to be an interesting journey.  Somehow I’m going to have to admit I am not the flawed person I have been telling myself I am…I am human, sometimes we need a little help, and a clearer perspective.

 

 

Liar Liar…stop trying to put my pants on fire!

My ex husband recently accused me of posting something on FB about him that wasn’t true. I didn’t.  Unfortunately that really doesn’t matter.  Someone told him I said something, and without proof assumed it was true.  The last thing I said to him was “Why do you assume I would be the one lying?”

A few years ago, when he was dropping off the kids, the neighbor came out to talk to him.  When he left, he said “the neighbors are concerned with what’s going on over here, you should watch yourself.” and he left.  WTF?? So I marched my ass over to the neighbor to ask what’s up.  Apparently, one of the neighbors had an issue with me leaving my garbage cans out a little too long.  I immediately texted my ex to tell inform him of the neighborhoods BIG concern.  All I can think is that he must have imagined endless strange cars parked in my driveway, orgies, parties….all things that may concern certain people.  What he didn’t do, was ask what the big concern was.  See, he isn’t interested in truth, he’s interested in seeing me as a bad person, and there are enough people who would  leave him with that impression, even if it was unintentional.

There are a few things about this most recent accusation that bothers me.  I certainly know I open myself up to critics by sharing my stories.  I also know that not everyone I’m “friends” with on FB is really a friend.  For the most part, I enjoy social media and have learned to block out all the drama.  So, you want to gossip, ok.  Think about this…someone told my ex husband something that wasn’t true, which hurt him.  Not only that, but it hurt our already strained relationship, adding lighter fluid to a fire that is never going to burn out completely no matter what.  What did this person think they were going to gain by “sharing” this information?  Did they want him to see me as an Ex bashing drama queen spreading lies bout him?  I don’t know…and honestly I don’t really care.  Thanks asshole.

The second thing that bothers me, is that because he felt the need to confront me the way he did, it has caused some issues with my kids.  I have tried very hard to let my kids know that no matter what, their father and I can and will unite for their benefit.  When he told the kids to ask me to come outside, it peaked their curiosity.  They heard the entire encounter.  Now, both of them feel like they need to keep the interactions between the two of us to a minimum, cause apparently we can’t get along.

One incident and that trust is broken.  One false accusation and I’m the bad guy.

Maybe I should share less.  I could say 10,000 wonderful things about my ex…then one day I’ll call him and asshole and all hell will break loose.

I’m saddened by this, but not really surprised by any of it.  Now, I’ll go back to just doing what I do and let Karma work out the rest.

What a beautiful world this can be

May is almost over…and so is (almost) all the shit that has been driving me crazy lately.  My son graduated high school last weekend.  Seriously, I still look at him and remember when he graduated preschool.  Oh my has he grown.  What was most beautiful about his graduation was his joy.  He had a smile that just lights me up…I want to see more of that.

His graduation party was a success….again, too see a young man who was happy and smiling.  I couldn’t ask for more.  However, I was grateful to have a house full of wonderful people.  Former coworkers, new coworker, old friends, new friends, family I haven’t seen in way to long.  The day was beautiful, and the house was filled with laughter and joy.  There is a long standing joke with my friends about how the weather always goes south when I plan out-door events.  Not this time.  I’m going to say that my shift in attitude may have played a huge role in that…for had I stayed in the darkness, the rain would undoubtedly come.

A few weeks ago I was reminded that I needed (desperately) to let go of doubt and worry.  So I did.  What happened was that the little twitch in my eye went away, and good things started falling into place.  Things were finally aligning in a good way….because I was able to embrace the good and let go of the bad thoughts.  What you think about, you bring about.  I was tired of waking up every morning filled with doubt and gloom.  That is a choice, just like choosing to wake up with a grateful heart.

It isn’t as though the next few months are not going to come with challenges.  In just a few short weeks we will be on the fast track to  getting my son ready to go away to college.  There is no way for me to truly express how excited I am for him…and how hard it is for me to grasp this new phase of his life, and mine.  No matter what, I will bring to this coming “adventure” (my son tells me I use that word incorrectly too much, ha!) with a positive and grateful attitude.  He has opportunities ahead of him I wish I had taken advantage of when I was 18, but then if I had, he may not have been one of my greatest blessings.  I’m not sure how I’m going to handle not being able to see his face everyday.  Knowing that he’s not just behind his bedroom door…annoyed at me for popping in.  I am blessed, elated and trying to manage the little bit of fear and loss that will surly stir once he is gone.

Even though I attribute May to having been a busy and highly emotional month for me….there is still a lot of work to be done over these next few months.  Time to buckle down and get my ass back in alignment with my plans.   I gave myself a break in order to deal with the self inflicted emotional rollercoaster I was on, and now it’s time to get back to the real work.  Cleaning up and clearing out.  That includes fear, doubt, worry as well as physical clutter.  It also means focusing more on moving to a better place for work and relationships.

The challenges are not over…and it is a blessing that they never will be.  What is over is allowing negative emotions and thoughts to overshadow those challenges.  I’m moving forward with a renewed sense of purpose and gratitude….and that is how I will face each new challenge.  Even if that challenge is simply to NOT give in to the pesky dark voices that whisper in my ear “You’re not going to make it.”

Yes I am, asshole.  Yes I am.

Ooops I did it again.

Recently I decided to get a lawyer to work out some financial stuff with my ex husband.  The letter was drafted to advise him that he has not been holding up his legal obligations to me.  It was also to address how he was going to assist in helping pay for our son’s upcoming college expenses.  The letter laid out how much he owed, how much I was willing to waive, and what I was requesting in regards to college.   It went on to say that we could easily keep things out of court and come to a mutual conclusion.

He responded by getting a lawyer.

That’s where I should have just left it, let the lawyers hash it out.  I didn’t. Since I know him very well,  I knew what he read and how he interpreted it.  I reached out and tired to explain myself and why I did what I did and how it would, in the end, be mutually beneficial and fair for all of us. My efforts were to ease his pain and see things clearly.  He did not respond.

I was telling my step dad about it.  “What are you doing?  You are taking on the anguish for both of you.”

That will be the last time I reach out to my ex on the matter, I said.  When I thought about what he had said, I realized how right he was.  I was doing what I’ve always done when it comes to him.  I try to come in and explain, make him see the whole picture, try to justify myself, do what I can to make HIM feel better.  That has rarely ever worked out in my favor.

I was justified in doing what I did.  There is no doubt. Has he done things for the kids…certainly.  There’s no argument there.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he can just do what he thinks is fair, and not what is right.

The real question is why did I feel the need to explain myself?  Why do I care how he feels?  What does it matter to me if he wants to pay a lawyer to do what the lawyer I paid would have done for him?  Why, after all this time, do I still feel like I have to explain myself to someone who has never bothered to try to understand me?  Obviously it’s cause I still have self deprecating habits that need to be broken.

During my therapy appointment I talked about what I had done.  He asked “If I had met you in the parking lot after seeing the lawyer, and asked you how you thought he would respond to the letter, what would you have said?”  The answer, he would have cried victim.  So…why are you surprised by his response?  That’s a good question…and one I’ve been asking myself for years.  Simply put, I always hold on to the hope these people in my life will suddenly become different.  I am reminded time and time again…they are not, and will not be different.

About 1/2 way through our appointment he stopped me.  “Do you have some kind of belief, that if you behave like the strong confident woman you know yourself to be, that no one will love you?”  As much as this question felt like it came out of left field, it was as direct and to the point as one could get.  The answer, yes.

I’m in a vulnerable place right now.  Completely by my own doing.  It’s time to get back to focusing on how good things are, how far I’ve come and how well I really am doing.  That’s not been the case lately….I’ve been focusing way to much on what I don’t have and I feel like I’m being reminded over and over that there is less good than not.  When I take a moment to clear the garbage out of my head, I can see so much good in my life.

Too much time has been spent lately in an attitude of lack.  Time to turn that shit around.

 

I found my Crazy swtich.

Why oh why oh why, do I keep telling myself I know this is wrong, I know this is not going anywhere, I know that this is not what I want, or dare I say, what I deserve.  Yet…somehow keep flipping the crazy switch on the hunky stallion. I feel like shit, apologize to him, beat myself us, then back off, until the next time.  Why?

I thought about what it was that was flipping the crazy switch on in the first place.  What I realized was that it’s the same pattern I’ve engaged in my whole life.  In my ever so naive state of mind, I keep thinking that if the other person doesn’t walk away, that means somethings going to change.  It doesn’t. Ever.  All of the sudden I realize “Hey, I’m still not getting what I want!!”  I’m still hanging on to something that isn’t going anywhere and I flip out when I realize that NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  Rinse and repeat. Over and over again.

I’m not going to blame him.  This isn’t about him.  This is all about me and my crazy shit.  I’m not following through, period.  It’s not fair to him…and it most assuredly is not fair to me.  So, now that I found the switch, I decided to disengage it.  Telling him was part of the problem, so that stopped.  Believing he would change, stopped.  Putting too much trust that he would do what he said, stopped.   Thinking things would ever be different…stopped.  Wanting to be important enough for him to want to change, stopped.

I made a decision that if he wasn’t going to make an effort, I wasn’t going to chase after him.  A commitment I made to myself.  I didn’t share it…just did it.  Now over the last couple of weeks things have picked up online.  Men have been requesting my company and I’ve had some really great conversations.  This commitment to myself had to go a step further.  If I am no longer willing to take the crumbs offered by the hunky stallion, I wasn’t going to take crumbs from anyone else either.

Date with the 30 year old tech, cancelled.  He’s been nothing but sweet and respectful.  He was the first one to put out an offer for a real date.  So why did I cancel? A part of me knows this isn’t going to be what I want.  I’m over dating younger men just for the fun and excitement, and the ego boost.   I feel like I would be setting myself up for more of the same disappointment.  So I cancelled.   My friend said I wasn’t giving myself enough credit, and I think that saying no to something that isn’t what I want IS giving myself credit.  I get way too comfortable accepting what is being given, instead of holding out for what I truly want.

Conversation with the 34 year old IT guy, done.  Again, very nice and respectful, but we’re on different paths and I don’t want to be on his.

Messages from anyone under the age of 35, who start off with “Wow your sexy” or “I think you’re absolutely gorgeous” deleted.  For that matter anyone who starts out with those type of comments have gotten deleted immediately, no matter what the age.

On the positive side.  I had a wonderful phone call from a 36 year old who lives a little far.  He’s moving closer over the summer…so for now it’s all about getting to know each other.

There is the 42 year old banker.  He’s not been overly engaging, but it’s been good.

Then, just to throw a monkey in the barrel…here comes the hunky stallion.  After all this time he decides to ask me out.  I don’t know what’s going on with him, and why NOW he feels he needs to take this step, but the invitation was sincere.  He also admitted I am special and he knows he doesn’t show it.

Now…of course I bet your first instinct was  that I probably dropped everything and jumped back on the “ooh the hunky stallion and I are going to live happily ever after” wagon.  I did not.  It was an offer.  He’s made them before and never followed through.  I’m not about to put anything into it, especially now.  If he wants to take me out, then he is going to have to take the lead, I’m not doing it for him.

Today, another offer to meet from someone I’ve chatted before, but never met.  He is 46 and offered coffee and good conversation.  I said yes.

Bottom line…I found my crazy switch and have flipped the bitch off.  I’ve stepped out of the role I put myself in and am trying to stand firm.  Keeping my focus on the end game and not allowing myself to fall “victim” to the same trap.  A trap I know I put myself in not the other way around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surviving vs Thriving

“You have been conditioned to survive.  You are very good at it.  If there is an apocalypse I want to be with you, because I know you will survive…you and the cockroaches.  What you do not know how to do is to thrive.”

That is what my therapist told me yesterday.  He couldn’t be more right.  I am a survivor.  Look at me still keeping the house going, paying my bills, getting food on the table, car’s still in one piece and running, I haven’t failed at my basic responsibilities.  I’m also anxious, unhappy and unsatisfied.  Yeah me I win at basic survival skills….but fail at a life worth living.

The job is dead end.  I know this. There is no where for me to go, no steps to climb, no room to grow or even fulfill my own potential. Where I am right now is where I will always be.  It will not take me anywhere…ever.  If I ever want to have more than just my basic needs met I’ve got to get out of there.  Homework assignment: Get back online and apply all over the place…stay away from small companies and look for larger corporations that will allow me to grow.

The man is a dead end.  As much as it breaks my heart I know that is true.  Much like the heartbreak of ending my marriage…no matter how much I wanted things to be better, I knew they never would be what I needed, with him.  The truth is that the hunky stallion gave me a peek into something I had never experienced with a relationship. It was beautiful and exactly what I always imagined I relationship should be.  However, it was just a peek.  Then it stopped.  “If you were acting like a mature confident strong woman would you have stayed this long?”  The answer is no.  I would have been done when he said he didn’t have time to give me anything.  What THAT woman would have said is, I like that feeling you gave me, I want more of that and will seek out someone who can give it to me. Instead, I begged for him to give me what he does not have.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Under the Tuscan Sun.  The movie starts with a woman who is confident her life is good.  She soon finds out her husband has been having an affair and want a divorce.  Her life was NOT what she thought it was and she received a very painful awakening.  She goes on a journey of self, following her gut and making what most people (even herself) would think were absolutely crazy choices.  In one scene she has a meltdown.  Screaming how she bought a house for a life she doesn’t have.  When asked what she wanted…she replied.  People to cook for, a family, a wedding in this house.  At that point she was thinking of one particular vision.

At the end of this movie the man who had originally asked her what she wanted came to her and pointed out that she had gotten everything she had asked for.  For the first time she was able to see that indeed she had.  She was cooking for the men working on her house, her friend and baby were living with her…and there had indeed been a wedding.  Everything she wanted…but not exactly how she had envisioned it.

What I love most about this movie is it takes you where most of have been at some point.  Painful realization that the life we are living is nothing like we imagine it to be.  We do the pity party, the break down, the cursing the Universe and everything in it because we have been given a shitty deal.  It isn’t until we pick ourselves up and break out of our little comfort zone that we see how much more life has to offer.  Instead of “I can’t”…give a little “what the hell”.

I could go on doing as I have been…on autopilot, making due with what I have.  Would anyone really fault me for that?  Probably not…although I think eventually people will get tired of hearing the same old sob story over and over again.  I don’t want to hear it myself.  So there is a choice to make, one that anyone of us can make at any point in our lives.  We can stay stuck, surviving…or we can shake things up a little and start thriving.  Let go of those things that are not working for you…the job, the friends, the house…the man (or woman), whatever is keeping you stuck.

Get busy living…or get busy dieing.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Things will never be the same.

I had a bit of a breakdown, completely lost my shit and had and epiphany all in a span of 5 days.

It’s been quite a week.

I’m not going to go into details of the breakdown (cause I’ve been there before), or the losing my shit (yeah, that too).  I am going to tell you how all of that got me to a clearer understanding of myself, in a way I haven’t before. (even though I totally know I should have by now)

I’m reading the book The Conscious Parent.  What I like most about it is that it isn’t telling you how to discipline your children or how to get them to behave the way you want…It is about understanding yourself, as a child and as a parent.  It is about finding truth behind what it is your children do and the things they trigger in you. It’s also about accepting them completely, as they are, who they are…right at this moment.

I am completely and immensely grateful for having read this book.

Anyway….after my breakdown(don’t all great stories of triumph start in the gutter?), and after losing my shit (the hell storm before the calm), I was in sort of a “what the fuck am I doing?? why do I keep doing this shit??” state of mind.  While I was reading the chapter about the roles we play as children, when I got it.  I am chasing love and acceptance.  It was absolutely clear that was my role as a child, my role as a sought our romantic relationships, and the same role as parent.  What was so eye opening was that I do it with my children too…every single trigger is about my feeling loved and accepted.

Ok, here it is, I’m chasing love AGAIN!! Instead of stepping back and making some room for it to come to me I’m trying to control a situation I know damn good and well is not going to change no matter what I do.  I was not accepting things as they really were.  Still trying to say the right thing, or do the right thing, or take the blame for anything and everything…just to make him love me.

I chase and chase until I’m exhausted.  With my mother, with my father, my ex-husband, friends, lovers…Every fucking person, every fucking time.  Chasing love and acceptance from anyone who has rejected me, but claims to care for me.  This shit has got to stop.

I told my counselor and he agrees.  I was nurtured for this role…and I have perfected it.  I’m exhausted.  Chasing love is a lot like running, and I really don’t like running.  Why do relationships have to be so hard??  Well, he says, good healthy relationships AREN’T hard.  The one’s I try so desperately to hold on to are.  Shit, I don’t want to do hard anymore.

HOW do I snap out of it??? How the hell do I stop myself from doing it with the next schmuck??  If I keep chasing every idiot who will not ever love me…I will never have room for someone who will.

The answer is to just stop and ask.  Am I chasing or am I allowing???  If the answer is chasing…get the fuck out, shut the damn door…turn your ass around and high tail it out of there.  You don’t have time for this crap anymore.

So all you handsome narcissistic assholes, charming emotionally unavailable and/or emotionally immature men….This chick is OFF the market.  For YOU that is…off the market for anyone who needs someone to chase them.  Off the market for anyone who triggers that part of me.  I’m not chasing anymore….Done.

Things are never going to be the same.  There are going to be a few Universal tests coming I just know it.  I laugh cause I know it’s not going to be easy, but maybe a little easier than it would have been a year ago.  I’m going to be unpredictable to those who know my type…and I’m sure that, again, I’ll piss a few people off in the process.  I’ve had some experience at how changing affects the people who desperately need you to remain the same.

Ok, I’m all fired up and ready let go of the role of Chaser.  Now I just need to have a little faith that no matter what my past has been like, there is someone for me out there.  Someone who does not need me to chase them, who will not withhold their affections as a weapon, who will love and accept me completely.

Here I go…