Friday, January 19, 2018

Should I stay or should I go

When you live long enough you have some perspective on life that is if you are paying attention.  First you know that everything changes from jobs to friends to partners. The choices are to grow together or move on. I have a tendency to stay too long no matter what.

I use to think staying was the right thing to do.  If you make a commitment then you stay until the bitter end and boy was that end always bitter. I also thought I was good person and good people do the right thing and be compassionate and understanding until again the bitter end. All of these decision were about me and how I viewed myself and how if I left I was inconsiderate and worse a quitter. I would be lumped into the same category as the ones who gave up in search of greener pastures.

If I stay I can be the martyr and be safe.  I can let time and the other person or company dictate my future.  I can be the victim of what life lays before me instead brave and taking a chance that there is something better out there for me. Someone or some job that better suites me. What if I am wrong and I leave the comfort and suffering of my current situation to jump into another worse situation.

This is the dilemma of change for every moment of everyday. This is how the mind keep us stuck where we are until someone or something from the outside forces us to make move. For me I found out I was the only one in my monogamous relationships that was being monogamous.

I am not sure where this is coming from today or why I am compelled to share it with you but there it is. I always wanted peace and to me peace meant trying to keep things the same or worse try to make things the way they use to be. A dreamier time a memory of something that no longer exist and truthfully wasn't that good when it was happening.

I have never made the break on my own except when I left home at 16 and when I left my own business to work for someone else. Both times I picked me and my happiness over what I thought was best for everyone. I will say both of those choices were the best choices I made in my life.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Being enough - healing - just someone's opinion

I got to work yesterday and walked in with co worker we were both a little early so I went to my office and started on my mountain of responsibilities.  Hoping if things were slow I would get caught up from my two days off.  After the rest of the crew arrived someone came into my office and said the coworker was crying hysterically in the bathroom.

I went in to find out what was going on and she couldn't talk.  She wouldn't open the door to the stall but after a little prodding finally came out. Evidently she lives with her dad and she was suppose have deep cleaned the house the day before and had to work late and didn't get it done.  She had left him a note that after work she would be home to finish. He called right when we opened and started yelling at her.

The back story to this is that he found out he was sick last week. He is lashing out and made the statement "you are trying to kill me" to her.  I hugged her until the crying stopped and said this isn't about you it is about him.  He is scared and you are the closest and safest person to lash out at. I know him and he is a perfectionist and his standards for himself and everyone else is really high. He takes care of everything and has the energy of 3 people. I feel a growth opportunity ahead.

I felt sad for her and it reminded me of my riff with my dad. It seems sometimes parents don't see their kids as separate adults with feelings. At least that is my experience with my family. They thought I was a tool to make their lives a little easier.  I owed it to them because they were paying my way. This was totally my dad. He was raised on a farm where you hoped for as many boys as possible to keep things going. He was the oldest and ended raising his three younger brothers and two sisters while his mother worked at a mill.

People that we love and that are suppose to love us we just can't see each other as fully formed. They are a version of our imagination a story we have about each other from the past instead of who we are now. He said to her "you have a terrible work ethic" after she spent time off work last week taking him to the doctor. This isn't the first time I have been a part one of the incidences. She wants so bad to to please a man that cannot be pleased.

I wanted to call him and say "you know your daughter can walk out of your life and never come back." This is what I did only after I could not take the emotional abuse from my stepmother. I was never enough for her and my dad never stood up for me. It didn't matter how carefully I cleaned the house to her specifications or the errands I ran or even when I gave her flowers. I was invisible unless I wasn't meeting her standards.

I was just a young girl who had lost her mother looking for someone to let me know that I mattered. When I left they didn't even try to stop me this re-in forced what I already knew. I was not loved or cherished.  At least this is what I took with me that day.

I do know now that this wasn't personal. My dad and my stepmother were not the adults in the room that day. They were stuck and not capable of giving more and would never be. My sister and I spoke about this during my visit. She was going on about how my dad had said he was sorry about not being there for her.  The girl in me said " did he say anything about me" still longing for evidence that I meant something to him.

I recently heard Joel's message called "The blessing" it was how important dads are in their daughter's lives.  How they are the first example of how men treat women. How girls can repeat that relationship over and  over.  I really get that I have repeated the relationship of indifference over and over my whole life. At work at home and even with my friends. These relationships feel familiar to me and I know how to play my part.  Joel's final word was the God can be the father you wanted.

I have been a little weepy today gathering my thoughts. I cried yesterday hugging my co-worker and hoping she can somehow understand she is enough no matter what her dad thinks. It is just his opinion and she has the power to decide whether to let it control her life.

 My father did love me in his limited way and I could have made more of an effort to bring us together but my own pain and immaturity kept me from doing that.  When he died we were on good terms and I have made peace with both our limitations. I guess today I am still healing.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Freedom - A Road Less Traveled - Emotional Abuse

Coming back from a short trip to celebrate the soon to be birth of my grand nephew I had a chance to listen to Scott Pecks "A Road Less Traveled" It is the first and most influential spiritual book I have read. It was before 12 steps for me but really started me to thinking that I could change myself.

I haven't been close to my family because I did take the road less traveled.  My sister the one that we share both parents decided it was better for her to stay connected to the family my dad created after our mother's death. She wanted her kids to have that extended family and I would have done the same if I had had children.

I made my own way and eventually my dad and I came to an understanding that he did not have the ability to love me the way I wanted him to love me. When he remarried after my mother died my stepmother was emotionally abusive. She regularly said the most hateful things to my adolescent self that has taken me a life time to get over. I decided to leave at 16 and in my eyes no one has ever made an attempt to bring me back into the family.

After being gone for five years I tried to come back by having my wedding there but she was even more abusive to me. It solidified my belief that I was not good enough for even my family. My dad was a good man but was very passive after having his own abusive father.  He wasn't able to stand up to her or really ever understand what it meant to me.  I eventually was able to accept his limitations and healed this part of me. 

My stepmother on the other hand is still living and since my nephews marriage and now baby I have had to interact with her. Until the wedding I hadn't seen her since my dad's funeral 15 years ago. The wedding weekend I felt numb. She sat next to me at every event. She hasn't changed much still criticizing her own grown daughters with their children and grandchildren.

This weekend it was less stressful for me and she sat next to me at the shower and at dinner. It made me laugh to think the person that has done the most damage my life besides my dad is sitting next me and I feel nothing. The girl in me is gone and she has no power over me anymore. She is old and really she has no idea her affect on me. It wasn't personal and she inflicted the same abuse on her own daughters. She was not enough so therefore she wants everyone that she comes across to feel they are not enough either especially those closest to her.

While listening to Scott Peck I realized just how far I have come and how I have worked hard to heal every part of my life. My stepmother was the last person from my past that had any power over me.  I am finally free.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Moving On - Control - Starting over

It seems about every ten years I experience a life transformation. Changing careers beginning new relationships  moving away from the familiar towards the unfamiliar. I wish I could say that all those transformations were by choice but being the person I am I really never saw any of them coming.

I spent my first 30 years trying to control every inch of my life and anyone in it.  Living with alcoholism taught me a real lesson that nothing and no one could be controlled not even myself. The next ten years I did the opposite and controlled nothing and took the path of least resistance. For the most part I stopped pushing other people and let life just unfold.

I can't say it worked out any better but it was definitely a lot less work for me.  I really didn't want to be responsible for the choices of others or myself for that matter.  I didn't want to take the blame for anything like I did when I lived with alcoholism. 

With failure of either method I have been stuck for the last ten years. My bout with menopause and depression and getting left behind again made me scared to move. Everything I thought I knew about myself and my life was gone. I didn't know how to move on. I have moved forward but in slow motion and in my mind heading towards nothing. The old me gone and no one to take her place.

With my friends sickness and heading into the next ten years I have decided I want to make choices intentionally.  I want to shape my life and I am finally ready to move on deliberately. Not pushing and not dragging anything or anyone with me.

To match my emotional transformation I have started a transformation of my physical space.  I have a beautiful home and the outside has been painted and yard has be planted. Putting on a good face for the public but inside I haven't invested much time or money. I have especially rejected the kitchen the place where I nourish myself and lately my friend. It is the original 1984 kitchen with butter colored counter tops. A sad state for sure and cooking for the past month has made me see just how sad it is.

I am doing kitchen and floors downstairs. I had the black tile removed from the foyer this week and I am replacing everything with light tile including my bedroom. I have been living on concrete in there since the flood when I moved in ten years ago.  I couldn't decide what flooring and I had an old dog so carpet wasn't an option. I feel like I am seeing everything for the first time.

Since this is my business, design that is, I am not too excited.  My house is already covered with dust from tile removal. But I am ready to invest in me and the future of me.  I am past coping with life and can make decisions from a place of investment in life instead of apathy.

I know the future is always uncertain and no amount of wishing, praying or money will secure a bright and happy one for anyone.  We can just accept that this is it and tomorrow will come and it may be bright and happy who knows. We have today and this time to do what we can to love and be loved starting with ourselves.

I am the best me I have ever been and I am excited about the day and I am ready for the next ten years. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Old Friends - Let go and let God

A man I haven't seen in over thirty years came into the store yesterday.  It is funny because I was third in line to take customers.  When I was in my 20's I went to school to get my realtor's license and met him and his wife during the crash course study program offered. The three of us ended up working for the same real estate company.

The two of them were a lot older than me and a very driven couple with identical cars and a business plan.  I became good friends with his wife and over time I realized there was something terribly wrong and she began to confide in me about the verbal and sometimes physical abuse she endured.

When he was around me he was syrupy sweet and so loving towards her to the point that it felt fake. She wanted out but with two small kids and everything tied up in the business together it would be hard.  She said he had eluded to the fact that she would never get out of the marriage alive. She certainly would never see her kids again.

She believed this because he had been in the military and had top secret clearance and worked under cover for years. He was a master of disguise so this seemed plausible to me. She said at one point before the kids were born someone had broken into there house and took nothing they could see and it was only investigated by the military. Is this true? I don't know.

Her fear and worry went on for years and I could see nothing was going to change. In my youthful ignorance I confronted him a few times telling him that I knew what was going on. The weight of this relationship took a toll on me and I had my own problems with my young drinking husband at home.

When I decided to quit pretending to be a realtor and get a real job I let our relationship drift. I knew I couldn't help her and if ask to testify I could only say that in my presence he showered her with affection. I felt helpless to do anything for her and I had to move on.

One night a few years right after my husband left I was home alone and I got this picture in my mind of her and overwhelming sadness came over me. I started crying and then I started praying like I hadn't done in a long time.  This went on for an hour until I felt a sort of peace.

A year later I heard from her out of the blue and she told me that he suddenly decided she could leave with the kids as long as she turned over her share of the business. She had gotten a divorce and permission to take the kid back to where her family lived in the north east. She was really happy.

She did move back here and we made plans about ten years ago to meet for lunch.  She was a no show and I tried calling her and she never answered. Probably God keeping me from going places I don't need to go.

When he recognized me yesterday he couldn't get away fast enough.  His business didn't really do well after they split he had some altercation at a bar that led to a lawsuit and bad publicity He looked older of course and a little shrunken. I ask about her and he said he hadn't seen her in a long time. 

I felt helpless back then not being able to see an end to what seemed like an impossible situation.  I left her and the friendship and it worked itself out.   Lately I have felt helpless again but I know now that I can't  fix someone else's problems but I can decided to do what I can and stick around.

We can turn the outcome over to a power greater than ourselves and see what happens.  If at some point it becomes too much we can still decide to move away and save ourselves.  The world won't come to an end and sometimes people are better off without you. Crushing to the ego but trues sometimes. Without support you have to really dig deep to solve you own stuff and grow.

At least that is my personal experience. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

He hated me - Drinking - Immaturity

I got up yesterday morning and ask God for an easy pleasant day. I think that is ironic because sometimes I don't know if I believe in the God of my childhood.  For this I regularly apologize to him for my lack of commitment but I am sure being God and all he is big enough to understand where I am coming from and not be too upset. 

I did have an easy day arriving at work early getting a few things done and heading to an appointment close to the ocean. It is a part of town where I had one of my first jobs at a country club. I was 18 and on my own with really no idea what my future would look like. It is also that same beach where just a few years later my then husband and I would have a huge fight that was the beginning of the end for us.  It was late at night and his drinking was in full swing and he hated me. 

He thought it was my fault our life was hard and I accepted that judgment.  I was the keeper of all things and I was sure there was a solution to the problems we were having.  Why couldn't I fix them?

Before I recognized alcoholism I blamed everything on myself. After I saw the light I blamed all my problems on alcoholism. I found out over time it was neither it is really my thinking that causes my problems.  Another persons behavior is just layer of confusion on top of the real problem in me..

I have wanted so bad all my life to feel safe.  Like I thought I was before my mother got sick.  I thought I had lost something that could be found.  When I met my husband whose mother had died when he was eleven he wanted the same thing.  I filled that for him and his obsession with me made me feel like I was the center of the universe. Who doesn't want that?

Because I didn't recognize the drinking as a problem I blamed myself for not being enough. He was right "I was not fun"  I became the parent, very sexy I might add and I didn't join in and party till dawn like the rest of the wives. By the time the night at the beach happened he hated me and I hated myself. I wanted to stop and look at the full moon and he wanted to get away from me as quickly as possible.

At some point I stopped blaming Alcoholism for my own suffering especially after the alcoholic was out of my life. Even now it is my own immaturity that causes most of my problems. I can admit when I met my husband it was the smothering kind of love that he offered that I became addicted to.. When the drinking got worse he withdrew that affection and I was devastated.  This was my fault.

The program and my own spiritual searching and the hardest knocks possible made me finally see how immature I have been most of my life.  I wanted what children want safety and love. Someone to shield me from pain and suffering. Someone to make me feel secure like I did before my mother got sick before I knew life was hard. I thought I could get that back.

I have tried everything to find the secret to security and happiness and sometimes I came real close but life is life and something happens to shattered that illusion. The 12 steps are simple because we are mostly children trying to find out way. For me they were just the beginning and at some point I needed more. I found that mostly writing and sorting things with my own higher power.

With writing about my friend's illness I have realized that I can still go back to the Steps they are just a part of me now. Wanting to be the keeper of all things and save someone is also part of me one that I have got to manage.  I have do what I can without control and resentment and leave the rest to God.

I find it harder to write these days because I have gotten everything out. I am bored with my own story and I am looking to fill my time with something else. In maturity I do not desire to be the center of the universe anymore and just want to relax and have an easy day. Thanking  God, if your out there,  for that. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Powerlessness - Focusing on ourselves

When I first got into the program what I heard most was "focus on yourself."  This wasn't what I wanted or expected to hear at that time in my life.  First I came to the program to fix the alcoholic in my life and second it seemed selfish to put myself before anyone else especially him.  But I was in a lot of pain and felt powerless and really didn't have any place else to go.

My friends sickness has taken me back to those feelings of powerlessness.  Watching someone else struggle and say they are going to do what it takes to get better and then watching them not do it. Having their own ideas about what will fix the problem when everyone can see that there is an obvious solution. For the alcoholic stop drinking in this case eat even if you don't want to even if you feel full.

I know from my illness and depression that you can get stuck emotionally and feel like you will be sick forever. I was stuck in my thoughts and couldn't even consider that it was physical and not emotional and I could be helped. I had been through grief before and thought I would eventually get over it but it had never lasted this long before.  I did eventually get over it but it has taken me almost a decade to feel like life is worth living.  If I had listened to anyone but myself it wouldn't have taken me as long.

We don't get good advice from ourselves all the time. When we are in a crisis we go back to being a child and we resist what is happening to us.  Our thoughts say "why me?" We look around for someone to save us or the very least feel sorry for us. Sometimes we get that but then people want to offer solutions and then this makes the child in us mad and more resistant.  Obviously no one understands what I am going through and there isn't any simple solution. We just want this to stop happening to us right now.

This make those around us "the adults" weary after awhile and eventually everyone moves on.  Leaving us with our childish thoughts and mostly alone.  It is a process that takes as long as it takes.

No one understands this more than I do. I made it easy on everyone and divorced all of my friends at the same time.  Mostly because I didn't want to be a burden and thought that at least I wouldn't have to worry about my obligations to other people. It gave me time to think my way out of it. Not!

I did have one person who stuck with me someone who started out as a casual friend whose soul purpose in life seems to be care taking.  She didn't try to fix me just be there for me making me eat.  She wasn't trying to change me back to the more likable person I had been before. She was just there for me until I got better and when I did she moved on to someone else.

With tragedy growth is inevitable. Grow or suffer..  We can decide to stay stuck or we can get sick and tired of being sick and tired and do something about it. Our child mind is trying to catch up and it is pissed off that once again it has to do the work. We imagine there is a point in life where things will be easy and sometimes it is but we don't appreciate it until we experience the opposite.

We can't save other people they have to save themselves. We can share our experience, strength and hope and just be there. He is a program person and just like me he has the foundation to find his way out of this.  He is also like I was he has a physical component that is skewing his thought process.

It will take longer for him to come back from this without more food.

When I first  came to the program I hated the idea that I was powerless over my husbands drinking and that I needed to focus on my own recovery.  Seriously there was nothing wrong with me if only he would do what he was suppose to do we would both be happy. I can say that about my friend and his fear of food but it isn't true. He will get through it and in the mean time  I have to focus on my own recovery.

We can't help the people closest to us we are perceived as parents and rejected.  I will do my part and offer food and know that it will all work out eventually. Hopefully it won't take a decade like it did for me.