Forgiveness

I posted a while ago about forgiving my ex husband for some of the things that he did during our marriage – one particular incident, which was brought back to me by a location on our recent holiday, I thought I would never ever forgive him for – but I found that nine years later, indeed I had forgiven, and was at peace with what had happened.

In general I don’t carry grudges, I believe that anger with past events ultimately only hurts yourself and I’m lucky that I am able to process and let go pretty much everything ‘bad’ that has been done to me.

The person I find hardest to forgive is myself. I would go as far as to say that I can’t forgive myself at the moment. I hold myself to the highest standards and (perhaps because I know  what my inner feelings were at the time I made decisions that I subsequently see as wrong or stupid) I so often find myself blaming myself for things that have ‘gone wrong’.

I am aware this is unhelpful.I know that if I were my ‘friend’ I would regard myself as entirely forgivable – I haven’t done anything really awful. In fact I would (externally observing) say that the balance of good things I have done v bad things is firmly tipped on the ‘good’ side. But still. I blame myself. In the wee small hours I turn over foolish things I have done, drunk and sober. I blame myself for decisions I made, knowing my motivations were sometimes selfish or ill advised.

I think my therapist knows this, and I think a big part of what she is trying to help me with right now is understanding / believing that I am forgivable, that I am (at least potentially) lovable and not bad or to ‘blame’ for every thing that has happened to me. Now I see why its important to have a connection / like your therapist – because validation from someone you don’t like or don’t connect to doesn’t have much power does it! I also wonder about one of the other building blocks of therapy – the (and forgive my rather inexact language here) – the ‘reenacting’ of some relationships that have not been healthy – and wonder if Angela is being the ‘mother’ to my ‘child’ at this stage (early) in our therapeutic relationship.

In reality I have a good ‘gut’ instinct and if I actually followed it, rather than my impulsive, romantic, optimistic heart, then I would not have gone so far wrong. (at least in my personal relationships) There are (must be) some powerful drivers that make me WANT to have a happy relationship – sometimes I think it must be any relationship with a man. Consciously, I SAY I’m happy alone – and honestly I FEEL happier now – yet my past behaviour shows clearly that when I meet someone I overlook obvious flaws in the relationship, or the individual, in pursuit of that elusive ‘happy partnership’. Of course those inherent flaws don’t go away ….

And where is my drinking in all of this ? I’m dry now for 230 consecutive days, and honestly I love it. I don’t WANT to drink. Apart from a very few occasions, less than once a week, I feel no urge at all to drink. When I started this blog, that was a goal, but a seemingly unobtainable one. Now. I actually do not want to drink. I know it would set me back, and my clarity of thought is far too precious to risk. I’m not complacent about this, I know how fast it can turn, but for now, its all good, and feels secure.

I’m still stuck in that ‘bargaining’ / denial phase of the Kubler Ross Change cycle – I think the diagram below expresses its quite well

Image result for loss theory kubler ross

Of course its not a straight line as depicted here, and I fall between nostalgia, rage, turmoil, loss, hope, excitement and 100 other emotions – but I don’t doubt my decision to end the relationship was the correct one. It was the ONLY possible choice I had.

So, we are moving on. I’m working on forgiving myself, which for me also means understanding the drivers that put me there and held me there. The kids are growing in confidence and security, and I’m spending time with close friends and family. And in three weeks time our new puppy arrives…

with love and hope to you all

Lily x

 

 

 

Empathy

Yesterday I had a series of email exchanges with my exP.

This was unwise really, as it reiterated my gut feeling that I am still very vulnerable to him, his words, his opinion, and to the bond we had.

it started innocently enough with a question about the location of some gadget or other, but soon developed in to an exchange of painful opinions about the demise of our relationship. Of course, it hit my empathy points. My caring side, the part that loves him. Of course I feel bad that he has no income, no home, no stability. Of course I care.

But then I come back to what my therapist, and my loved ones are trying to help me believe, that these things are not my fault. Not my responsibility. He is a fully able adult who made choices , including not listening when I said I was unhappy , including taking huge advantage of my financial generosity….

i look at my boys, and I see that they are happier. There is less tension, less shouting, they fight between themselves less. I have space and time to support them better, and to involve them in decisions that affect their futures.

last night, we all sat in one room, swathed in blankets, hot water bottles, and the dog for warmth (boiler not working) and watched a movie together. Simple. But so nice.

Our puppy will arrive in 3 weeks time – we are all very excited ! He represents a joint project between me and the boys – and we will all need to do our part. I have a puppy sitter for 4 hours a day when I am at work, so he will not be alone for any length of time for the first 2  months he’s home. After he’s immunised, he will he able to be taken out with Lola …

this is a hard path I’m travelling. I’m lonely sometimes, and afraid of the future. I feel like a failure at times, other times I know I just have to keep going and better things will come for all of us. I know I have love and support from friends and family, and that helps a lot !

Im sorry I’m not ‘giving’ a lot into the sober community at the moment – I’m struggling (tho not with sobriety) – but I do think of you all xxx

lily 🌷Xx

 

Today i had a productive day. I took the dog for a run this morning, made 4 fish pies ( and gave two away) cleaned up the kitchen, hovered the house, and went to see my mother and my brother.

I wanted to talk about my adolescence and in particular the role that my father played in our family. Not surprisingly we all remembered things differently, but one thing that did surprise me was the statement of my mother that she didn’t feel ‘resentful’ at the time when my father was not working, (she was) and she did everything for us children, and everything in the house, whilst he sat on his bottom. She explained that was the expectation for women of her generation – and that she didn’t resent the lack of support. I can’t argue with how she says she felt, and I can’t argue with her different recollections. I’m was just surprised.

I also made it both to yoga tonight, and through the yoga class without weeping, this is progress.! 

Sobriety suits me, I wish I’d done it before, it’s turned my life upside down, but it needed to happen.

Night all xx

 

Clearing out

its been nine weeks since my relationship ended. Lots of things have happened, in general I think I’m more ok that I expected to be (if that makes sense)  my home is certainly a lot less stressed, my children are happier, and I’m coping … do I miss him? Sometimes. When the boiler packed up again this week, and I realise I need a new one, I could have done with another adult to talk to – but day to day, life has less tension and frustration.

im still dry. That’s amazing actually ! 225 days of consecutive sobriety. I don’t feel like drinking, and I’m very clear that my sobriety has helped me move forward psychologically, to the space I’m in now.

Early on, I moved most of ExP’s things from the living room. I didn’t want to sit with them every evening, but I’ve done little else. I’m not quite sure why. He of course has collected only his essentials. Today I decided to reclaim my bedroom. I cleared out his drawers, put everything into a big suitcase and put it out of site. Now I can reclaim 4 drawers and sorted out my clothes from the too small spaces they have been stuffed in. Feels GOOD 😊

each move like this takes me further from the relationship, and closes one more door to any reconciliation. I still find that hard, but as my Ex P really doesn’t think he has done anything wrong, there is no room to compromise, and so no possibility of any reconciliation . I know this, I believe it’s right, but it still hurts. We have almost no contact now, and whilst this is for the best, a part of me is afraid he has moved on already and found a new girlfriend.  I know, however illogically, that this will really hurt me;  I also know, that it is inevitable as this is how he has operated for the last 10 years plus …

im still musing about women’s role in society , in relationships and in the world. I’m seeing inequality everywhere in how we treat ourselves, the expectations that society and the media have of us and the importance of strong positive female role models for our daughters and young women. I’m from the generation who were told we could “have it all” – but you can’t – and I think now, our job is to help young women find an acceptable work life balance that boosts their self esteem and harnesses their skills without making them feel like that have to do everything, and be perfect.

Rant over.

going to see our pup later – snuffly cuddles and fluffy snuggles … 😀

 

Needs

The most basic forms of life have ‘needs’ – water/ fuel, and humans are no exception. There is even a whole theory based on the ‘hierarchy of needs’ created by Abraham Maslow – a psychologist in the  1940s

 

Image result for maslow's hierarchy of needs

The most fundamental layer of the pyramid contain what we required to live food water, (one might argue about sex on an individual level – but as a species we certainly need it)   Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs. As our needs in the lower levels of the pyramid are met, we look to the next level. All of the first four levels of the pyramid are need to be realised before we can achieve our full potential. ( This is MY retelling of a complex and academic theory which forms the basis of a substantial body of academic psychological study)

This morning I was talking to a beautiful intelligent kind well educated young woman in her early 30’s . She has a boyfriend of 2 years plus. He wants her to relocate half way round the world away from her career, her family, her friends and her life – but he wot marry her, won’t give any assurances that he would like a family with her and wont even agree to buy a home with her. And shes asking is SHE is being unreasonable to not want to do that ?

FFS what about OUR needs; her needs MY needs. As women we bend over backwards to accommodate everyone else. we care, nurture and try and fix everyone else problems. We run round putting out own needs and wants and hopes at the bottom of a pile to be trampled on by other people who actually DON’T CARE what we want – and are just looking out for themselves. Their NEEDS are important, but not ours. And we make excuses, explain away the inexcusable, make ourselves miserable trying to accept what we CANNOT. Bollocks to that.Why do we do this ? Why as women are we taught the MENS needs matter more. that we should compromise what we want or need to keep a man happy ?

so , for the records ExP… you wanted the rights of a husband – shared money (read I share mine and you spend it), ability to discipline my kids how you wanted, take over the house and behave as you liked, but were prepared only to give the commitments of a boyfriend. Well that doesn’t work for me. Frankly I cant believe I let it go on for so long. Id rather be alone, or with a partner who respects me enough to WANT to make a commitment to me. Otherwise, be a pt boyfriend, sort yourself out and we’ll have dinner once in a while.

Its OK to have needs, Its ok for me, its ok for my young friend I spoke to and its ok for everyone. we should be less afraid about stating and sticking to those needs and expecting them to be respected.

 

 

Being kind to myself

today, despite a good sleep last night , I just felt exhausted.

i came home at lunchtime, and despite good intentions – to cycle, run, tidy ; I just fell asleep in the sofa. I slept for 3 hours.

Ive had a cold for almost 4 weeks now, stuffy nose, blocked up, just feeling tired and rough. After my epic sleep, I went to the gym and sat in first the steam room, and then in the sauna. I had a hot shower, decongested and then went to yoga.

for the first time in several weeks I can now breathe through my nose. I’m going to bed early again,

im going to be kind to myself because pushing myself too hard is not helping me …

Agitation

one of the subjects that came up in my therapy session today was my tendency to constant agitation. It’s true I find it hard to just “be” , that I find it hard to relax, that my concentration on things like reading is very poor. It’s true that I haven’t been to yoga because I can’t be in the class without tears pouring down my cheeks. I think at  least part of the reason I drank to excess was to manage that agitation.

Whilst my relationship was falling apart , I felt , not unnaturally , quite agitated – and it was easy to blame ExP / the situation for those feelings .

Now my life is much more peaceful, and yet I’m still agitated and struggling to relax. I can’t drink to calm down , so I’m left with my anxiety and overactive mind with no way to soothe it.

we talked, in therapy, about self soothing, as a technique that could help me-   That needs to be learned, and practiced. This ties in with my own thoughts about practicing  with the headspace app, and maybe doing some yoga practice myself. I believe, if I could get up an hour earlier each morning, I could set my day up better and this might have some long term benefits for my mental health.

So maybe I should try this, I will need to go to bed an hour earlier, but I think I should give it a go….

Trust

How do you learn to trust someone who is worth trusting ? how do you know, when you meet someone, when they are on ‘best behaviour’; when you fall in love – how do you know that person won’t let you down? How do you know you wont reach a point weeks months or years down the line when the inherent faults, that were there from the beginning prove themselves to have no solution and you end up with no option but to end the relationship. Ending not only the personal relationship but a whole host of others between families and friends. You lose more than just that ‘one person’; you lose the social circle you have built together, you lose the future you had planned and you lose the security of the past experiences you had as a couple.

As an adult of 51 now Im looking back at the wreckage of not only my marriage, but also my most recent, moderately long standing ,relationship (almost 6 years). On paper there relationships ended for very different reasons, my marriage because my ex was a  drug addict who loved drugs and alcohol much more than me or his children, and my relationship with ExP because he hated my eldest son, created a hostile and unpleasant atmosphere at home (and the small matter that he refused to earn a living and basically expected me to fund him in entirety ad infinitum)

Whilst superficially these re very different scenarios. there are  a number of things in common

  • i ended both relationships
  • Both men say they didn’t see it coming although to me it was as clear as the nose on my face that I was at the end of my teather with no where else to turn
  • i tried, fruitlessly pointlessly and repeatedly to get both to see ‘my point of view’ with no effect /result
  • the seeds of destruction were there at the beginning – but I chose to overlook them.
  • I think by the end both were a bit afraid of my frustration and found it as impossible to communicate with me as I did with them.
  • I waited for too long to call both relationships a day, at least two years in both cases

What does this say about me? about my choice of partners? about how ‘desperate’ i was to feel fulfilled by having a ‘man’ at my side. About how much I was willing to tolerate before saying ‘enough’? About how much self esteem I have ,that I allowed myself to be treated like this? about my expectations of a long standing relationship as a dreary, loveless, battleground with little pleasure in it (for the female partner anyway)

And yet I did get out, eventually something snapped inside me and the weight of disappointment and constant let down just pushed a button that said ‘No more’. I never missed my ex Husband when he left, and I don’t miss my ExP. On the contrary I’m rather enjoying the peace, the opportunity to spend quality time with my children and the lack of aggressive hostility in the house. Most of all Im enjoying the loss of GUILT and anxiety that I was carrying around constantly, knowing that I was allowing HIM to treat MY children in a way I didn’t like, but being powerless to effectively stop it.

when I shudder and think ‘never ever again’ , there is a big part of me that means it. I cant imagine ever allowing myself to be that vulnerable to another man again. Cant imagine trusting anyone again, trusting them to respect me and my values /opinions enough to take my needs into account. A very small part of me thinks that MAYBE if I could get my judgement AT THE BEGInning. Not ignore the “little nagging doubts” maybe I could do better …

Happy birthday

yesterday my eldest son, B, turned 18. In the U.K. This makes him legally an adult, with all the rights and responsibilities this brings. He is allowed to vote, to drink alcohol, to marry or join the armed forces without parental consent. My rights, as his mum, are diminished – he has complete rights to privacy with respect to his medical treatment; if he gets into trouble I will no longer be automatically informed, I’m not responsible for any debts or credit arrangements he might make, and he is counted as an adult in the census….

weird feeling.

we had a party for him yesterday. Something that would probably  not have been possible were ExP still here. We invited my ex husband and extended family too. I never fell out with my ex brother and sister in law  but haven’t seen a lot of them –  it was lovely to catch up. I wanted B to feel loved, valued and supported –  I think he did.

I ordered some champagne , and everyone drank a toast – I drank becks blue lemon in my glass – I’m so pleased I was sober the whole day. No one drank much, but in the old days I would have wired through the wine I had bought… I don’t think anyone even noticed I wasn’t drinking – certainly no one mentioned it, and I barely thought about it. I couldn’t help noticing how much son #2 enjoyed drinking, and he has been on at me all day about drinking the remaining beer and cider (the wine is on sale or return)

he has the genetic heritage, from his father and I , to have substance misuse problems, and he has anxiety which, of course the alcohol will partially alleviate .. one to watch I think.

There is a lot to think about at the moment.

Thank goodness for sobriety x

Why?

Why do we go on caring for people who hurt us? why do we go one expecting that somehow they will do something different in the future?

why when life is better for us all now do I feel so very low today?

why, when I have been sober for 217 days do my moods swing like this.?

why do I miss ExP?

why cannot I accept today that its over; that its right that its over?

why, when I am trying so very hard, do I feel overwhelmed with sadness, fatigue, loss and failure.

and why am I working an on call surgery this evening to cover yet another sick colleague ?

answers on a post card please