under the surface

Just as I have been assailed by my bad body thoughts lately, it seems I have also been firmly back in the grip of compulsive/emotional eating.

What I have learned in the past is that this “hunger” that is not felt in my body but despite it, is not something for which I need to punish myself, but rather is a signal that there are some feelings that I have not been willing to face, some feelings I am wanting to push down and away, some feelings that are so uncomfortable I would rather feel the physical and emotional discomfort that comes after a thorough binge.

And it works…to a point.  I have been so unhappily distracted by thoughts of how terrible my body is, how bad I am for continuing to eat this way (thoughts so old and familiar that they seem to bring a cruel comfort) that I have had little idea of what is really going on under the surface.

These subterranean feelings are not totally hidden; I get glimpses of them every now and again.  Today I had a glimpse and was somehow able not to cover it over with cookies and ice cream and ohmygodI’msofat.  Somehow.

These feelings that peek out are painful.  It is so much easier to get caught up in the cycle of overeating and self-recrimination than to feel them.

Quite possibly not unrelated, I have also been thinking of last Thanksgiving.  Last year at this time.

It was one of the last good memories I have of my relationship with Mr. X.  My parents came to visit us, and as was his tendency, he put away the crazy so the company wouldn’t see.  I remember the day they left, however.  They weren’t half an hour gone before his moodiness came back, before once again I became the figurative punching bag for his unhappiness.

But Thanksgiving was nice.

Today I had a strange feeling, and I realized that I miss the good times, and I miss him in those good times.  I miss what I had convinced myself was the true nature of our relationship—but really was the mask.

And that missing is a feeling that I am not “supposed” to have.  I don’t want to have it.  I don’t want to miss this person who has caused me so much pain.  I don’t want to associate him with anything good, with anything happy.

I was asked today if I had any children, and for a moment, found myself wishing that I had had a child with him.

And then I remembered how things turned out in the end, how I realized I wouldn’t want him to be the father of my child, how his true nature came to the surface with a vengeance when I had the audacity to tell him “no.”

I spent so long worried about not being “wrong”—I twisted myself up like a thousand knots to make him happy—that the one thing I was really “wrong” about—being in that relationship to begin with—was the one thing I couldn’t see.  And now, mixed up with all my other feelings of yearning and grief is also the feeling of being a failure.  Of wasting six years of my life caught in his haze.

And I know that I did the best I could.  And I know that it is not my fault.

But the feelings are still there.  And they must be felt.

Healing is so complicated.


12 responses to “under the surface

  1. Yes, healing is complicated. But you are getting there, one day at a time.

    Thinking of you today.


  2. Seriously, though, you’re going to have to reconcile that there were good times. Otherwise, you will be caught in an endless cycle of blaming yourself for bad decisions…because if he was completely evil, why did you marry him in the first place? And, how could you have had fun, enjoyed his company, laughed, etc, when he was such a dickhead? You’ll turn to blaming yourself and reinventing things. You’ll tell yourself that he was wholly bad, and what you thought were good times was just you being stupid.

    That’s not what happened. You met someone, you fell in love, there were good times. Over time, you realized that his character deficiencies outweighed the occasional pleasure of his company, and that his character deficiencies were making you feel uncomfortable about yourself. It’s not wrong to miss the good times, and to wish that things had been different. But you’re not wishing you would have stayed – you’re just wishing he had been the person you thought he was all the time, instead of just for guests.

    When someone is determined to fool you, why would you blame yourself for being taken in? It’s not like he was pretending to be a Nigerian prince wanting you to hold his money. He was making himself into the person you wanted to see until he had you hooked. OK, you got manipulated. That’s not failure.

  3. I had a similar experience and called this side of him, “Social” and then added his name. This was the side of him that seemed normal and fun. It was the side of him that I was originally attracted to…and it was the side of him that I missed after we were separated and later divorced…even now, eight years later.

    Since this was the side that most others saw, they wondered why on earth I wanted a divorce. How could I possibly leave this charming man?

    But I saw the other side as well…which was why I finally found the courage to leave.

    And…I still love him…AND would never go back even if I could. It wasn’t a healthy place for me.

    I am thinking of you as you go through the holidays. You can miss him and love him and STILL have made the right choice to leave. I know I did.

  4. Well, your last line kind of sums it up.

    Hey, who told you how you are supposed to feel? It is natural to be reminded of the good times you shared with him.

    Youu gave to him in marriage, and in your relationship, years from your life, your body, mind and soul. You gave him your time, your attention and your desires. And he gave the same to you.

    The proportions and nature may be different, but there must have been points where the chemistry must have been perfect. It is not wrong if you for once, thought of having yours and his child….you have to give yourself some leeway with it.

    But as determined as you are to get your life back in shape, remember that a past IS a part of your slife, and take it along with a pinch of salt and a drop of honey. Remember why you parted and remember what made you hold back.

    You know there is a Chinese Proverb that says that even a dead clock is correct twice a day. You have to let go and accept the entirety of that period.

    And hey, one warm hug.

  5. Sweetie, there is nothing wrong about those feelings. You aren’t missing the person. You are missing the companionship, the love, the joy. You are not missing him because that was not him. {{{Hugs}}}

  6. I am dealing with an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage as well. It took me a very long time to realize the truth about the situation. And now I’m trying to face the complete truth about the situation.

    He has filed for divorce and I’m hopeful that in the end it will help to bring some closure and some peace for myself and my 2 children.


  7. Yes, healing is so complicated. And a pain in the ass among other places. I would say however that feeling like you miss the good times isn’t bad. I understand that you don’t want to have those feelings and that they may be painful but it’s not bad to have those feelings. If you were rationalizing that there were good times and getting back together because of those good times then it would be a bad outcome from those feelings. Hugs to you and many gentle wishes coming your way.

  8. I guess this is where I say don’t be so hard on yourself, knowing full well I’d feel the same. But don’t be so hard on yourself. Of course there were good times, nothing wrong with missing the good times. We all have had that “omigod what was I thinking” relationships, and yes, sometimes we married them. I think that was is truly missed is those times when we felt secure, validated, at peace with our choices, even if only it was an illusion. To seek unshakeable happiness, one those doesn’t change upon circumstances, well, that’s a tough one.

  9. I really think that what your are going through is part of the grieving part. No matter how bad things with X were, there are bound to be moments that were happy.

    Perhaps someday you will be able to look back on those times with a sense of peace. But in the mean time, allow yourself time to feel the regret that things didn’t work as you had hoped they would, back in the beginning. Trying to cover over that regret will only make it harder and harder in the future.

    Sending prayers and hugs your way!

  10. ((BIG HUGS)) Remeber that you are getting stronger everyday!

  11. *Hugs* here from the comment chain. Sometimes it just sucks. Hope the day ended well.

  12. Healing is so very very complicated. {{HUGS}} Thinking about you.

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