Tag Archives: lessons

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.

 

 

Lessons I clearly haven’t learned yet

It’s been clear to me and probably anyone who has read this blog that I have adhered to the “maybe this time will be different” rule in my relationships.
I’ve done it with my mother.
I’ve done it with my ex husband.
Clearly I’ve done it with the hunky stallion.

What I’ve come to realize is that it isn’t just with relationships that I hold steadfast to this rule. There are at least a few other areas where this has come to light. Let me explain.

Online dating: For the last 5 years I have gone on and off online dating. When I go on, I have good intentions and hopes for some type of real connection. I get frustrated after weeks or months of the same lame offers. Either I’m attracting creepy guys, overweight horny guys, young horny guys, good looking horny guys or older men who send me the strangest emails….I’ve connected with a very few decent guys, but there has not yet been any real connection. So I quit. Then I get lonely, tired of not ever meeting anyone anywhere and go back online again. Of course I change up my profile a bit, add different pictures, try to express that I’m really interested in a long term committed relationship. After getting the same type of responses I delete my account and the circle continues.

Summation: Online dating is not for me.

Diet: This year I decided to take a hold of my eating habits. After a year of working out and getting my body in better shape, I find myself frustrated with still having a jiggly belly. Trainers tell me that I need to work on my diet. I bought a book with some really healthy and easy recipes, all clean eating balanced meals. The result after just a few days I am bloated and unable to poop (keeping it real people). I talk it over with my trainers and they are perplexed and I’m recommended to either keep going with the hopes that eventually things will work themselves out or add in Probiotics. After 5 days of not getting any relief and the pain of it overwhelming, I toss in the towel and order a pizza. Everything is back on track. A few months later I decide to try again, maybe my body was just in shock. This time I’ll add the right dietary aids and some additional “tricks” I’ve researched. Same results. Bloat, constipation, pain, pizza…relief. Just this last week I thought I’d give it another try…Fuck, after 4 days its a bacon cheeseburger to the rescue.

Summation: Clean eating does not work for me.

Online shopping: I love a good deal. I hate shopping in general. So when I see a great deal online I want to jump on it like the 10 tank tops for $20. It’s taken me a long time to realize that I am no longer a size Large or X-Large…so I ordered adult medium. I couldn’t believe how small, really tiny they were, not a big investment so I gave them to my daughter. Next were a set of yoga pants, size medium…I couldn’t get over the camel toe they created, so I gave them to my daughter. Next was the oh so cute black and white sweater that was only $12. Turns out it was being shipped from China. Ugh…it’s a little snug in the armpits but I can work with that, so that’s a partial win. Recently I decided to order a couple of cold weather items. 6 tops, one to be a gift for the girl, the rest just for me. I ordered all my tops in large or X-large cause I think I’m finally getting that online and real life are very very different. I get 1/2 the order, one is too short in the arms and the other one looks more like and child large than an adult large. My daughter once again benefits. I desperately tried to go online and see if I could get the remaining order in the X-large only to be told they have already shipped. Keeping my fingers crossed but admit that my daughter may be the beneficiary of a couple of more tops. Dammit.

Summation: Don’t buy cheap shit online or at the very very least check the size chart and see what size you are online and not in your imagination.

There is much work to be done with me for sure. Forever a work in progress….

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.

 

Validation

One of the main reasons I go to counseling is because I’ve spent so much of my life being told I was wrong, being told I was the problem, that as an adult I often second guess myself.  I’ve learned that not everything is about me, and that when someone wants you to believe you are wrong, it has much more to do with them than you.  However…old patterns are hard to break.  So, like seeing Dr when you are sick, or an physical therapist when your body needs to get stronger, or a person trainer when you can’t get your sorry ass moving on your own, a counselor helps you sort out and rework the mental bullshit.

I spoke recently of a confrontation I had at work.  A confrontation that stirred up some very intense emotions. Standing there in that room with this person telling me not to speak, that he was the boss and how I was to remember that and do as I am told made me feel very uncomfortable, to say the least.  In the moment, I had an idea of what was happening, but I unfortunately got caught up in my own emotions. It was only well after that I could see it for what it really was.

He was bullying me.  By standing up and confronting me the way he did, he was trying to intimidate me.  It’s a horrible space to be in no matter who you are or what the circumstances.  The problem for me is that this has been such a common encounter for me that even now, I still wonder if I deserved it, if I was blowing it out of proportion…or if I was just being a big baby about the whole thing.  According to my counselor, no to all of it.  His actions towards me were disrespectful, unprofessional and he had no right to try to intimidate me.  I also have no reason to stay where anyone would make me feel this way.

I needed that validation.  Too often I beat myself up about the choices that I make. Believing that this is what I chose, so now I have to suck it up and take it.  Truth is, I don’t.  I need a job…most definitely.  I don’t need THIS job.  I don’t need to be anywhere I don’t feel comfortable.  As I wrap my head around that I begin to realize that I have options…I am by no means stuck where I am. Yes indeed it would be nice to have a better job offer in my hand, but I’m fortunate to have some money in the bank so I can pay my bills if need be…not indefinitely but until I that better job comes my way.

Don’t think this means I’m going to go in and give my notice tomorrow.  As much as I would like to. For the time being, I can bide my time, keep putting in those applications and collect a paycheck…all with the knowledge that I will no longer put up with the bullying.  For that matter, thank you Mr Bully boss for giving me an opportunity to grow just a little bit more. Thank you for showing me the kind of person you really are, and that you cannot beat me down.  You may think you have the upper hand here…but I know better.  Thank you also, to all the other paths I’ve taken that have allowed me to be in a position of, dare I say it, power…when there were times I felt completely powerless.

I needed validation.  Now that I’ve got that, I can pick myself up and push myself forward.  Stronger and with more confidence…one more step out of the box people have long since tried to keep me in.  Perhaps one day, I won’t have to step out of the box because I’ve learned not to be put in there in the first place.  Hmm….that a future this girl can really wrap her arms 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

 Different Wolf…Same Sheep’s clothing

Counselor “He is thinking only of himself and his needs, right?”
Me “Um…well.”
End scene

Daily I let things settle in with my situation with the Hunky Stallion. I have little Ah-ha moments that strengthen my resolve that this is and always will be a dead end relationship. Even though my intellectual brain KNOWS this…my emotional brain needs to understand and analyze it or I know I will continue to make the same mistakes.

One day I was thinking about our last (and not only) conversation about what I wanted from a relationship…then all of the sudden it hit me.  “Why does this sound so fucking familiar???”  I realized that it is the same exact conversation I have had with my ex husband year after year of our marriage.

It was always the same…Me doing my best to be ok with not getting what I need from the relationship until one of us explodes.  Sometimes it was him. Sometimes it was me.  However it started, it was always ALWAYS the same damn conversation.

Me: I need this!
Him: Yes I know. OR Yes you deserve that. OR I can’t do that.
End scene

Nothing changed. NOTHING.

You would think I would have learned. I guess there are some things you have to learn again and again and a-fucking-gain to get it through your head.

I’m seduced by sweet words of intention….I want so much to believe that the other person really wants to give me what I want, what I deserve.  Somewhere in my crazy fucked up brain I honestly believe that when someone says they understand that withholding their affection from you hurts you that they are going to stop withholding…stop hurting you.  Experience has taught me otherwise…and it seems I still need to repeat the lesson.

Now…I get, it is ME who needs to do the “changing”.  Why do I let myself get stuck thinking that if I just give him more time he’ll get on board?  That’s a great question, and I think if my counselor were to answer that, he would tell you that I was raised to be giving…and giving…and giving….Yes, folks, we can blame my fucked up relationship behaviors on my mother.  Come on! Give me a WHAT WHAT!!!  It’s not my fault…she fucked me up good.

Except for one little thing…I am an adult.  I’m now responsible for my own actions…even if those actions are breed into the very fibers of my existence.  I am responsible for whether or not I continue to play the part I was raised to play, or stand up for my own well being and say FUCK that shit.

Yes the wolf is different…but it’s the same dynamic every single time.  I am catching on.  Thankfully I’m becoming wiser faster…I was married to my ex husband way longer than I should have been.  I’m not going to say I regret it because in all those years I was blessed with two beautiful children and grew as a person in ways I probably wouldn’t have had I been in a different relationship.  The thing is that at my age…45 this year (fuck)…I don’t have another 20 years to wonder if he is going to love me enough to change.  Now I have to be the one to love me enough to say goodbye and move on.

Now…if some handsome, confident, strong yet sensitive, fun, passionate, adventurous and loving man would just ask me out on a damn date.

I guess I got time.