(ICLW intro post is here)
One thing I’ve been working on in this whole “divorce recovery” and “emotional abuse recovery” process is being okay with my progress. This may be the most difficult task of all for me—being okay with myself.
Mr. X did not treat me well. We’ve been over that before. The thing is, by the time I met him, the messages I would hear from him about my unacceptability were already ingrained in my deepest beliefs; he just rode the train tracks that were already in place.
So this “recovery” is not just a recovery from our breakup, or from our relationship, but from the messages I’ve heard and believed about myself my whole life.
When I spoke to my therapist this week about learning of X’s impending marriage, and the fact that they were officially together so much earlier than I thought, she surprised me a bit with her response. She said, “As I heard you talking about this, it was obvious to me that these feelings you’re having are really about your family, not about him.” Huh. Well, yeah, okay.
For reasons that have to do partly with my parents, and partly with myself, I have always felt insecure, always felt that I had to mold myself a certain way in order to be found acceptable. So when X came along, the patterns I fell into with him felt very familiar in a very deep way.
The best thing that I take from my disastrous relationship with X is that this pain I’ve experienced has helped me to become more aware of the ways in which I need healing, and motivated me to do the necessary work for that healing. If things hadn’t turned out so spectacularly bad with X I may have just bumbled through life without ever deeply examining why I am so hard on myself, why I persistently feel inferior, and why I have exhibited such poor boundaries in some of my relationships, much less worked on doing anything about it.
So that’s kind of a lot. And I’m really working on cutting myself some slack for not just being “over it,” because this is about so much more than a six year mistake. It’s about my life.