On integrity

 

The quality of being honest and having strong  moral principles

 

the state of being whole and undivided
I’m thinking a lot about integrity in its wider sense. About more than being honest and truthful, but about living life true to ones own beliefs, behaving in a way which accurately reflects how we really FEEL.
I have not always done this.
Apart form the above definitions, integrity has been described as Choosing your thoughts and actions based on whats right rather than personal gain; the choice between what’s convenient and what’s right.
I have a very strong moral code in many areas, I’m quite clear about right and wrong, and I have no real difficulties living my life true to those beliefs.
But wider integrity? Specifically sticking up for my kids when my ExP was unkind or unfair ? Did I think it was ok ? did I talk to him about it ? yes to both of those… but when he wouldn’t budge, I shut up and accepted it for far too long.
Why did I do that ? This is at the root of son2’s furious anger with me;
 I think there were lots of reasons.
  • because I was unsure myself about how much of Son1’s behaviour was ‘acceptable’  ie how much was a normal teenage thing, and how much was seriously aberrant  and indicative of much bigger, underlying problems;
  • I really really didn’t know WHAT to DO about his persistent theft and dishonesty.ExP had a plan.
  • Partly because I myself was very, very pissed off with Son1 (exactly WHY I was so pissed off probably needs some more thought) and resented how angry, powerless, frustrated and afraid it made me.
  • Partly because ExP bullied me when I voiced strong disapproval of his methods {withdrawal of communication, hostility, physical aggression- throwing things etc – (not AT me, but in the vicinity) } ,
  • partly because my lack of self confidence meant that I was easily persuaded I was wrong;
  • partly because deep in my soul I believed / was terrified that I was being punished for ‘having’ him in the first place and this was Karma coming to get me (in crude language)

I suffered terribly from cognitive dissonance over this. I knew what was going on was wrong, and not working… but I was unable to articulate WHY, or come up with any alternative ways to manage Son1’s problems. Was this because I was drinking ? Or was I drinking as a way of avoiding how awful it all made me feel?

I’m not seeking to excuse myself. I allowed that man to bully my eldest son, I knew what he was doing but I did not stop it sooner. I did not act with the integrity I should have done. I did not stand up for what I believed to be right; or perhaps against what I believed to be wrong. Or perhaps I did, once it reached an unequivocal point – because that of course is one of the problems with black and white thinking… at times ExP was very kind and supportive to Son1

One thing I do know, The critisism of my Ex Husband, who sees the kids for a max 8 hours a week and has NEVER stepped up to deal with ANY of these issues, is grossly unfair and by whispering all this in Son2’s ear, it is once again abusive- because it distresses son2 and forces him to look at complex situations he has no hope of understanding or of being about to manage emotionally .

 

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This above is how I will aim to behave in the future.

 

Difficult

I have not written anything for several weeks.

Not because I have fallen off the sober wagon( thank goodness) I’m still dry, and very close to one years continuous sobriety now ( March 12th)

The last two or three weeks have just been very difficult. I’m not sure I can write about all the painful and distressing emotions I have been experiencing; I’m too vulnerable to describe the extent of the verbal and emotional battering I’m getting from son no 2 right now; I’m not at all sure how I feel about it, beyond being upset that he is clearly so angry. He would say that ‘explaining’ things is just me trying to absolve myself of responsibility for a variety of unforgivable omissions and poor decisions. Maybe it would be. So I’ll leave it for now.

I have found myself weeping as I looked for the empathy I have missed from my mother all my life. In the end I think that’s what it boils down to, I have just wanted my mother to say ” Its ok, you are doing alright; this IS hard, it would be hard for anyone” … and I have struggled to accept that she cannot. Not because she is a bad person, but because she either can’t see that I have needed that, or she doesn’t feel it.

I’m feeling a small but significant upturn in mood this week. This maybe because I am on leave from work this week, but I can feel energy returning and I have been very proactive the last few days. Part of me is beginning to truly believe that I need to prioritise myself; that endless trying to provide what I think my children want / need is neither effective, appreciated, or productive. And running around after them all the time, doing everything just makes me cranky.

I’m ploughing on with my therapy – i fond it so helpful, although it sometimes feels like 3 steps forward and then two back.

and I’m gearing up to do what I know I must, blocking my ExP from all contact. I can’t bear to do this. I cant bear to accept that it IS really, finally, completely over.

But I must or I will never be able to move on.

 

 

 

 

Empowered

I’m trying to capture  a mood today.

As I guess has been evident from my postings I’ve been rather low since Christmas. Not awful low, but flat, apathetic , anxious and a bit disappointed in ‘life’ for want of a better description. Some part of that I have just accepted. Life IS up and own, life in the ‘raw’ IS a bit brutal; the last year has seen a great deal of change for me and been emotionally challenging for all sorts of reasons. In some ways this period of ‘flatness’ and introspection, at a cold miserable dark time of year has probably been necessary. I have visualised myself as a caterpillar – forming a chrysalis and hoping that I will emerge into the light (as a butterfly !!) once the internal chemistry is sorted… Rather fanciful but you get what I mean.

I have been, not exactly wallowing, but blaming myself a LOT for things that have not gone as I would have liked. Been very self critical and negative in the way I have thought about myself. My therapist has challenged this several time, but although I have been able to understand intellectually what she has been saying, it’s been hard to connect emotionally to the tenet that I have been ‘ good enough’ that I have done my best, and that on balance it’s been a reasonable effort.

I have raked over the mistakes I have made, poor decisions I have taken. Reflected on my shortcomings, agonized over the effect on my kids, blamed myself for not being wiser, stronger, having a crystal ball. … Nothing anyone has said has really made much impact on my fundamental belief that I am a bad, feckless, immature stupid person who fucks things up big time and everyone else has to live with the fall out…

Until this week.

All of a sudden, being attacked out of the blue by my ExH has brought a sense of self preservation, pride and a new perspective. The ridiculousness of HIM thinking he can criticise ME, the fury that he (with his convictions for domestic abuse and possession of illegal drugs) stands in judgement on ME . He who let me and the kids down absolutely , repeatedly and completely. He who has abdicated all his responsibilities to his children, financially practically and emotionally…

When HE tells me I’m rubbish.. I come out fighting… and that’s what’s happened. I now look at myself in a different way: instead of taking all the blame I look at how I (and the children) have been let down by an idiot who loved drugs far more than us. He is cross that I met another man after our marriage imploded – well in my current mood my response is ” if you hadn’t destroyed the marriage that would never have happened” …

I feel much stronger, much more robust. I feel more self assured and prepared  to stand up for myself.

I’ve done the best I could. I provided a home and love, practical and emotional care – not perfect, but who the hell is …. and my best is actually good enough.

I’d like to harness this feeling and carry it forward. I feel empowered, strong and confident. Sending my response to ExH’s lame apology, acknowledging how I feel, being clear and accepting no crap … feels GOOD !

Day 328 … getting close to a year, and wow how much has changed !

Lily 🌷🌷

I dont know what to do

My Ex H has apologised to me an an email.

He said ‘I am very sorry I sent you abusive texts. there is no justification for this’

I dont know what to do.

In ‘the old days’, even quite recently, I would have accepted his apology and not referred to it again. BUT not because I thought a) he meant it b) I really thought it was ok or c) I forgave it. No, I would have ‘accepted his apology’ because thats what I ‘should do‘. And I would have stuffed down my feelings about the whole episode, pretended they didn’t matter, downplayed my distress and carried on. This is what I did about countless ‘things’ that have upset me over the years. The feelings do not go away, but I allowed others to feel ‘forgiven’ that it was ‘all ok’ and carried around anger, resentment & hurt myself…This is not healthy. I actually have no idea where a ‘healthy boundary’ for this kind of stuff IS.

Now I realise this episode is , in the grand scheme of things, not that big a deal. BUT, I lost my whole Sunday to stressing over this, I was really very upset about it. I felt anxious, vulnerable and distressed. My children have been upset again. I start thinking wistfully about the barrier the ExP created for me between me and my bullying abusive exH. My friends, including my terminally ill friend, got dragged into it – (that bit is my responsibility – I didn’t HAVE to tell them)

So how DO I feel inside? I feel very, very upset indeed. I feel furiously resentful about ExH’s lack of parenting effort, angry that he thinks it’s ok to use language like that about me, angry that he abuses me when I’m vulnerable, angry that he is such an immature emotionally unsafe person that he’s carrying about this bitterness for YEARS.I’m angry with myself for marrying him, frustrated that in fact we seem no further forward than when we first separated, irritated that his opinion seems to matter (actually his opinion DOESN’T matter, but anyone thinking is ok calling me a c* word gets under my skin)

What is an appropriate response to his apology ? Nothing at all ? An email written and refined detailing exactly how unacceptable I found this?  I don’t know. I do know that I FEEL that he has behaved really badly and I have done nothing at all to provoke that. And I do NOT feel like accepting his apology at this point in time…Conversely I really don’t want to be someone who lugs around a shedload of resentments and anger from small things / the past …

But as I say, I realise I don’t know where a healthy line would be drawn…I seem to have missed that developmental stage …Everything feels very raw in the sober world, there’s no numbing effects of drinking, and equally no well of personal experience to draw on… it feels new and my response is not coming instinctively or naturally .. So what would you do ( and why)?