Letting Go

Like a nightmare, I awaken, reminded my life is in fact, quit real, indeed.

Last week I received an email from my youngest daughter; her goodbye, her request to please let her go. Holding on, even the slightest shred, gave me hope. And though it may be a long time until I see my girls again, I am finally willing to do so – no more small, random texts, short notes, birthday gifts. I wanted to show them I would never give up on them. I wanted to make certain they wouldn’t come back someday and say I never reached out, that I made no effort. The real effort is in letting go.

Feelings of self-pity, once so prevalent and unshakable, are now eroded. Replaced is self-compassion which helps in the journey of healing. The pain of which I’ve felt for so long has now shifted: practicing self-compassion, the pain transfers to my girls, the hurt that is so deep, I am able to finally feel theirs. Like a new-awakening, this brings new hope. I’m dealing with my loss. It is a death of sorts. A death of my former life. But they too, are letting go of their former life. Letting go of a mother they were once so close to, their family unit, their refuge, their stability, their certainty.

In Their Shoes

October 12, 2012, I wrote a blog post about what my girls must be feeling. It’s weird to read it now for it sounds as if I could’ve written it today. Yet there’s no way I was able to be in their shoes at that time. I’ve just begun now. After the last correspondence from my older daughter a few months ago and now the email from my youngest – denial is no longer an option. Time to awaken, look at life differently. Letting go, the loss, it is grand, devastating, leaves me breathless. But it is necessary. It is the greatest kind of love I can give my girls right now.

More to come….

New Realities, New Growth

I am not certain which hurts more: no contact with my kids or my ex-husband’s disinterest in helping me. My own new realities are coming to light about the man I was married to. He, I’m sure, must feel the same. His trust, the entire core of who he is, destroyed by my actions. I continue surrendering this, though have come to a place where I can only take responsibility for my contribution to my marriage, the positive, the negative. There is a new kind of pain I feel, one which is separate from the estrangement with my children. It is more deep than I realized.

What has come to my attention most of all is his lack of compassion. Or perhaps, the kind of compassion I need. Then again, I find myself still justifying his character, diminishing my own feelings. Kids, do not try this at home. I’m still learning…

Having compassion does not require one to forget hurt, pain that is caused. It is putting oneself in the other’s shoes. I have done this many times. Still not enough. The more compassion I feel for him, especially my girls, I am better able to forgive myself. I had hoped he could do the same. He loved me as best as he could. He is hurt and angry. I am hurt by his lack of care or concern, his dismissal of me. And this is my truth. He has argued this point before and I’ve allowed myself to feel as if it is my problem, all in my head, though it is not. It is my heart that is filled with sorrow, as I did not realize this until recently.

Why am I continually stunned by this? It is not to say he was unloving our entire relationship. Nor was he always distant. All of what happens in a long-term marriage is gradual, an extension of previous behaviors and patterns. I see now that the last three or four years of my marriage were the beginning of what would then become our downfall.

This is not about us, this is about our them, our children.

Time moves forward. My love for my kids grows ever so deeply despite the distance between us. I strive to work together, a new-found partnership with the father of my kids. They are our children. We have raised them as the beautiful people they have become. If I felt I could not approach him for help when married, how am I to approach him now?  We are not able to work together for the benefit of them, working to heal a fragmented family left with deep emotional wounds. I can not force his help. He must want to work with me. If not, nothing I can do. I am, however, viewing my life from new perspectives, willing to continually look at myself, eyes, heart and mind wide open. Below is an excerpt of something I came upon that speaks directly to what I feel….an incredibly profound lesson. Grateful to find this:

“Some marriages do not recover from affairs.  There are scores of couples who realize that the reasons that led to the affair, or the affair itself is too much for the marriage to tolerate.  Divorce happens.  It is a harsh reality.  This by no means serves as an excuse to neglect the emotional well-being of the child(ren) involved.  Regardless if a marriage ends or not, the adult relationship should still be strengthened when children are involved.   Parenting is a partnership.  Even when parents divorce, they are not divorcing the children.   They both still have a commitment to their children that should be fulfilled regardless of the marital status.

The third and probably most important thing that parents can do after an affair is work together for the benefit of the child(ren).   Whether or not parents stay married they still have a relationship; a parenting relationship.  In these cases when divorce is imminent, the cheated on spouse may have difficulty getting beyond their own hurt and sometimes the spouse who cheated does not make this any easier.  If there was ever a time to becomes less self-absorbed it is when children are hurting.  That is not the time to focus on one’s ego.  This is possibly the hardest lesson that any couple healing from an affair has to face.  Their pain plays second to the pain of their children.”  Kirsten Person-Ramey 

 

How Much Should One Give of Themselves?

The concern of another’s feelings, reactions, the desire to make things better for everyone I care for…this is who I am. Most of my adult life, always one to put other’s feelings before myself, this part of me, now taking a new path as I learn that navigating my own life shall and MUST come first if I am to continue growing.

Thus, I beg the question: Does this make me a more selfish individual than before? If not putting others’ feelings before my own, the assumption of putting myself first, healthier than the former, why do I feel so sad inside? In my quest, journey for discovering what’s best for me, I remain conflicted.

One need not take care of the world as it’s entirely impossible. Nor should one feel it necessary to manage others either. There is only so much emotional energy to be had.  Even taking care of a few, while noble in its intent, this too, fosters an enormous amount of energy, leaving one feeling depleted of their own. It is only since the last few months, I am letting go of this past, yet deeply profound behavior.

How much should one give up of themselves in order to make another happy? 

I find myself asking this daily of late. Never, ever giving such a question a mere thought, not only asking more often, but wondering if I’ll ever be fully content with an answer of my choosing. 

If I had stayed in my marriage, unhappy as I was to the point of despair, my girls would still be in my life. How many times the thought crossed my mind, sometimes daily: “I should stay. I have nothing to complain about. My life consists of a loyal husband, beautiful children, great house, nice car, little financial worry as an individual….What the hell is wrong with me?” And today, I still wrestle with such issues, wondering if I gave enough of myself to my husband, my family.

More writings of the above question to post soon for it is the center of where I am, the essence of my relationships moving forward. Until I can understand more thoroughly, the complexities of taking care of another before taking care of me first, I remain in flux, a place I no longer care to be, its discomfort ever-growing.

Caring, compassion, a willingness to walk in someone else’s shoes…is this enough? Must there be proof one care by simply doing something just because better for the other yet may not be for oneself? The struggle continues….

 

Taking BIG Gulps

Glub, glub, glub….

Just when one thinks all their shit comes closer to fruition, bam! there goes another big gulp. Life is a formation of sorts, not easily put together. Not like some random color by numbers, experiences mold, mesh, fluidity the driving force. All the talk of humility, compassion, down the emotional drain, as one should not be complacent with such matters.

I reached out to their therapist. Like me, an adult woman, her own experiences, children, marriage, wondered what her response would be: how empathetic would she be to my story, my experience? I do not see her for therapy, yet she has been very kind to me and even greater to my girls. Notwithstanding the forces of Hippa compliance, my need to reach out, gather information, to grasp any new knowledge and understanding of estrangement, desperation overcomes rationality. That is, until I gain some composure, now in motion, the rippling of fluidity…

Thus, she wrote, sharing her concern for my plight, my journey deservedly painful. Again, about me. I tire of me, only realizing the importance of me, gaining insight, delving into my psyche – all in preparation of becoming the whole person I long for, thus in turn, a stronger, more solid mother to my children. She wrote with care, sharing the importance of what I need to do: the experience of me taking responsibility for the fallout for them. GULP. Needing to approach them in solid new ways. GULP.  Her words cut through me, more reality that I am not as prepared as I think. Though reality is not always gentle nor kind. It is through reality our true self emerges…as much as I feel prepared, a stronger individual, I must continue gulping for there is still so much to learn….

Words are spoken, meaningless until one’s formidable spirit awakens, follows a path with diligence, hope and tenacity. Let the gulps continue, each swallow, a bit more at ease. Mindfulness proves unworthy if not acted upon with care and consistency. I thanked the therapist, her words spoke to me as if I’ve never heard them before. The impact great, big gulps and all.