Category Archives: angstiness

what it’s about

(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.

unexpected (updated)

I just found out that a former friend is pregnant.  I say “former” because she and her husband were friends of mine and X’s, and since the split, I’ve heard nary a word from him, and received one short message from her, which I replied to in great detail, and then didn’t hear a thing.

I had somewhat made peace with the fact that these two would no longer be in my orbit.  I even understood a bit, as X was friends with the guy for a while before I entered the picture, and I know that feelings of loyalty can be complex.  Anyway…

So I found out on the face place this morning that she is pregnant (not sure how far along, but she’s showing and shopping for maternity clothes).  I was punched in the gut by feelings of jealousy, and this reaction surprised me greatly.

I’m not sure why her pregnancy affects me more than others’…maybe because I have this couple so strongly connected in my mind with my time with X.  Maybe because X and I married three years before they did, and yet there were no babies (or pregnancies even) for me.

I think that this has clarified for me that there are so many things about my life that are not as I would choose them to be.  There are so many things about my life that I would change.  I am finding it far to easy to idealize this couple’s life, and see them as the symbol of what might have been with X and me (had he not turned out to be an abusive raving lunatic).

I find myself wondering what I can do to change those parts of my life that I find unsatisfactory.  Clearly, some things are out of my control.  Some are not.

Today I am reminded that, though the intensity of it is usually kept well below my awareness, my deep dream of becoming a mother is alive and well.

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P.S.  Please don’t tell me about all the ways that my dream may come true.  Today I just need to feel this, I don’t need anyone to “solve” my problem, or make it better for me.

Update: OK, upon further thought I realize that what is bothering me most, is not the actual jealousy, or sadness, or grief, or whatever you want to call it, it’s that I’m having those feelings at all.  Apparently a big part of me thinks that I should just be over this whole thing and that there is something wrong with me if I feel this way at all.  Which then snowballs and gets me feeling super crappy.  So I am working on telling myself that it’s OK to feel what I feel, that I’m OK, and more cheesy stuff like that.  Still not happy that I don’t have a baby and maybe never will (ahem, see: P.S., above), but am feeling better about myself.  Onward and upward.

just below the surface

The divorce group/class is a good thing.  Right now I’m thinking it’s a good thing like going to the dentist is good when you have a cavity, but maybe I’ll think it’s good in a more enjoyable way by the end of it.  First night was a bit more emotional than I had expected.  It was basically an overview of the seminar, and was conducted differently than the next nine weeks will go.  Former group members who are serving as volunteers in my group presented on some of the different topics that we’ll cover.  One guy got to me when he talked about his divorce as losing his best friend.  Well, it was either him or the woman sobbing in the row in front of me.  I teared up a bit and realized I was among my people.

The thing is, it kind of stirred up some stuff, I think.  I started thinking about things I hadn’t thought about in a while, and haven’t gotten much sleep the last two nights.

Last night the thought that was haunting me was the image of X holding hands with her.  For some reason that image bothers me so much more than the thought of them having sex.  The holding hands, the best friend…

This sucks.

I know I am just “looping” (a term used in the class to describe cycling through some feelings—there’s a chart to explain it but I’m not that talented with this here internet thing).  I’m not in the pits of despair.  I just get used to feeling really happy for a couple of days and it’s hard to find the willingness to touch the hot stove again.

I was worried that I would be the person in the group who had been out of their relationship the longest.  I’m not.  A little on the long side, but there are several people right about where I am, and at least one who’s been out significantly longer.  And then there’s the woman who was sobbing in the row in front of me.  Her husband told her last month that he had been having an affair and he wanted a divorce.  Nice.

Her emotions were so raw and in your face.  I remember being there, when I first left, before I left.  Now mine are mostly just below the surface, though they do come up for air every so often—often just after I’ve gone to bed and turned out the lights.

Today I was at a work thing, and for some long and complicated reasons, I was in a “less stress” session in which part of the time was used for guided breathing/relaxation.  Just the act of breathing slowly and imagining I was a tree…I didn’t cry or anything like that, but it was very achy in my chest.  Oh, hi, feelings.  That’s where you’ve been hiding.

I am trying to be more present, even to the hard stuff, even to the uncomfortable stuff, even to the ache that wants to cover up it’s head and hide somewhere.  Presence is not easy, especially when so much of my energy has been spent trying to be somewhere else, anywhere else, for the past few months years.

So for future classes we will met at members’ homes and share a meal.  We’re also supposed to call three other people in the class each week.  Um, no, I haven’t done that yet.  There’s some other homework, which I’ll talk about if it gets interesting.

In other news, I have just committed to (paid my money and everything) a few sessions with a personal trainer with two of my friends from work.  The group training is to help with the kick-start (accountability), and to make it cheaper.  We start on Saturday.  I’m sore already, in anticipation.

In other other news, it’s gorgeously spring here.  Just heart-breakingly beautiful.  It’s kind of hard not to feel hopeful in the face of such greenness against blue skies, with warm spring winds and blooming flowers for a bonus.

The other thing that makes me feel hopeful?  Knowing that, at least sometimes, I am able to hold both pain and hope at the same time.

feeling the feelings

This feeling your feelings stuff will keep you pretty busy.

The good news is that the shaking in my hands has lessened, mostly thanks to a magical Chinese herb formula prescribed by my Needle lady that I just started taking .  The magic pills that she said cause “almost everybody” to feel immediate relief didn’t do a thing for me (her theory is that my body has a hard time coming down from the anxiety), but this new stuff (it has melatonin—I take about ¼ of the nighttime-sleepy dose twice a day) seems to be doing the trick.

Which is not to say that everything is groovy, just that the wind roaring in my ears, getting hit by an emotional bus, hands shaking, oh G-d I think I’m going crazy feelings seem to have subsided.  In their wake is a lot of I would call “not fun,” but at least I know what to do with it.  Compared to the other stuff, it’s solid, it has a shape.  I recognize it when it happens, it isn’t just like getting hit by a train all day long.  Oh, this is grief.  Oh, this is pain because I know now that Mr. X and Dolores are sharing an address and a life.  Oh, this is sadness because I loved him with my whole heart (in the words of the song that is serving as the latest soundtrack to my life) and it seems I was grandly fooled.  Oh, this is what it feels like to go through a divorce.  Oh, this is lonely.

My Needle Lady and my therapist seem to agree on a number of points, one of which is that a lot of what I’m feeling is not really for things happening right now, but rather that a lot of those feelings that in the past years I gleefully stuffed away are coming up for air.  And I do see this as progress, but it’s no fun.  I do recognize that feeling all this shit is a lot better than eating my way into oblivion every chance I get, but the strength of it is helping me understand why the hell I’ve been eating so much in the first place.

And that’s finally, finally feeling like a poor substitute for giving myself what I really need.  Not to say that I only eat when I’m hungry and always stop when I’m full, but I’m stuffing myself senseless a whole lot less.  And feeling a whole lot more.  And it’s good, I know.  And it sucks, just so you know.

ETA:  P.S. My commenting has been and may continue to be a bit sparse.  I’ll get back on it as soon as I can.  See the first line of the post for the only explanation I’ve got at the moment.

be careful what you wish for

Last week my focus became wanting to feel these feelings that I have been numbing out to through eating, etc.  It became a new goal, of sorts.  I started trying out a new strategy for bringing consciousness to my eating, with the hope that I would become more aware of the feelings that were staying below the surface.

Well.  If I didn’t know it before, I know it now.  There’s a good reason that I’ve been eating/numbing for so long.  On Thursday the feelings started poking their little heads out, and it basically felt like panic.  I started back with the hands shaking, etc. (and I’m still having that).  I felt like I was going a bit crazy, or already there.  I realized that the anxiety felt really familiar, though it normally wasn’t at that level.  It’s been there a long time, and I’ve been doing anything I can to push it away.

Well, it’s not getting pushed away anymore, at least not totally.  I’ve had a few professionals (my doctor, my Needle Lady, and my therapist) tell me that I’m not going crazy and to be gentle with myself.  So that’s the plan for now.  Oh, yeah, and to try to feel some of this scary stuff that I’ve been pushing away for months years.

My commenting will likely be a wee bit light, but I’ll be back soon.  Just trying to catch up.

mental health days

I have been not doing so great.  I got my Jewish divorce (get) on Sunday.  Of course, I was planning a whole rambly post about that, but, as you know, it didn’t happen.  I’ve been pretty down in the dumps, I think about the whole divorce thing.  I saw my therapist on Monday, and I was talking about my general malaise, and she asked if I could take a couple of days off from work.  Huh.  Well, sure.  I guess I can do that.  It never even occurred to me on my own that I could do something so radical.  I’ve got the sick days (and personal days, too, for that matter), so I took today off (though I talked on the phone more than I liked to work people about work stuff).  I’m taking tomorrow off, too (and am planning to NOT talk on the phone about work stuff).  Maybe I’ll feel less blah on Thursday and more ready to take on the world.  Maybe.

At any rate, that’s why the posting’s been light.  It may continue to be light for a few days/couple of weeks/however long this funk lasts.

Blah.

ready for Monday

It hasn’t been one of my better weekends.

Between the repairs that my car needs being more costly and time-consuming than I had expected and what was supposed to be a quick trip to see my family turning into a much longer one (yes, the two are connected) and the uncomfortable feelings about my family that I always end up feeling when I’m around them for very much time at all…well, I’m ready for Monday.

I had Friday off from work, and I decided to go to my parents’ on Thursday night so that my dad’s mechanic could fix my car.  I hoped to be on my way back home by Friday afternoon.  Well, the best laid plans and all that, I guess.  And I still don’t have my car (I’m driving something borrowed).

I am left feeling tender with some old wounds uncovered.  I am left feeling uneasy about my own thoughts and feelings.  I am left wishing that I could have my three day weekend back.

I had some interesting realizations.  Not blog-worthy, necessarily, but I feel like I’m putting the pieces together to a puzzle called, “Why I ended up with an emotional abuser.”  So a couple more pieces slipped into place.

This is hard.