Shifting Behaviors

Reflecting on gratitude and what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving Day, there are new questions, ones which I don’t yet have specific answers to but determined to uncover. 

After a three-month hiatus, I’ve decided to commence once again in therapy.  My first session just this past week, turned out to be the toughest session of all. Hello, humility. I think we need more time together.

Feeling stronger doesn’t necessarily mean DONE. It’s these damn expectations; one gains some new insight and should then be able to carry on, practicing new behaviors. WRONG. Takes time and a LOT of mindfulness as well.

Here’s the epiphany I discovered: I still see myself as a victim. I still behave as a victim. Not in the way of recent past. Lots of growth which I recognize. Problem is, still deflecting too much on extenuating circumstances and not enough on myself. How does one take on more self-responsibility without clobbering who they are? What’s most remarkable is seeing myself as a victim happened long before my marriage. And when I met my husband, he was the type of partner I wanted; strong, loyal, honest, intelligent. I, on the other hand; compassionate, warm, loving, kind. Our relationship was based on all the right things. For most of our years together, we were a great team.

What shifts took place? Why did the blending of our individual characteristics, once so easily meshed, dissolve and change? While I’m just at the beginning to understand my role as a victim, something different is happening within me. I am sad about my girls, of course. Losing them has been the most devastating event I’ve experienced in my lifetime. The toughest part of therapy last week was admitting I still look to blame my ex for the estrangement. God, that sucks. I thought I was further along in my journey. I had a rough email exchange with my oldest daughter a week ago. I continue making the same mistakes. Reaching out right now, that’s the first mistake. Second, I am not at the point of compassion I wish to be, wish to feel for her. I am confusing compassion and feeling sorry for myself.  And because my ex is the only true gatekeeper to our girls, I hang on to every text, email and phone conversation I can muster. This must stop, not good for me because I’m still playing the same role with him and not moving along further.

This shift is significant. My second Thanksgiving and second Christmas coming up without seeing my girls. It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been in the same room with either of them.  How could this happen to a mother who clearly adores her children, devoted to motherhood despite unhappiness during the last few years of her marriage? Estrangement only happens to parents who are not loving, who are selfish. Certainly the parents must have done something terribly wrong to have their child cut them out of their lives?

There is always a kernel of truth to why a child decides estrangement. This is my truth. I’m realizing things about myself that were here long ago. As I unravel my past, it already makes sense why I am where I am and how I got here. Helps to breathe a bit easier, knowing I have more to learn and be willing to admit so. I ramble on, finding the words to blend with thoughts, knowing that in time, more will begin making sense.

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About Carin

Writing is for me, though sharing with others, is a gift.

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