On life…and loneliness

I am officially divorced. We signed the papers Monday.

I feel lots of things but, mostly, a sense of overwhelming loss. Loss of my home, which he kept. Loss of my yard, and my dogs, and my status as an “adult” who owned nice things.

Ironically, he doesn’t necessarily feel like a loss. I feel sad for him. Hurt for him. Guilty that I have gutted him and left him and broken his heart.

At the same time…I’m feeling so…lonely.

I jumped into a relationship immediately after moving out of my house and into my rental. There was this guy who was interested in me…at first, I wasn’t so sure. He wasn’t like me at all. We lived very different lives. He was much more of a blue collar worker, a musician, a pot smoker, and someone who had clearly been in some very toxic relationships.

Yet…I was lonely and he was there. So I jumped straight in. Soon, there wasn’t a night that we didn’t see each other. Before long, he’d introduced me to his kids…his family.

My heart quickly attached…and he knew all the right ways to hold me, make love to me, hint that he was falling for me.

Yet, my insecurity was raging. If I didn’t hear from him, I convinced myself he was mad at me, or didn’t want to be with me anymore. I excused questionable behavior because I didn’t want to make waves. I let him yell and cuss at me because he was angry and small, inconsequential things…and, rather than standing up for myself and telling him not to speak to me that way I apologized for upsetting him (despite doing nothing wrong in the first place.).

Everyone around me told me to run. Leave the relationship. That I didn’t deserve to be talked to the way he talked to me. That he was taking up all of my time. That I would never be able to introduce him to my kids or live with him because of his lifestyle choices.

Yet…I struggled. I craved the intimacy he gave me. The way he held me. The deep way he kissed me. I liked that he wanted to be with me all the time. Did I like his temper? No…but I was struggling to let that–which had only reared its ugly head twice in three months–convince me to leave him when the rest of the time felt comfortable and nice.

So–I picked the chicken’s way out. I texted him. I told him I needed to pay attention to the kids. That he was so important to me but I needed to refocus and figure out my head. His response was hurt and brutal–he accused me of fucking my ex husband and told me “thanks for nothing.”

I dodged a bullet, right?

I have been at war with myself ever since my anxious/insecure attachment showed itself so very loudly in this relationship. Asking myself…why do I apologize for myself?

Why don’t I stand up for myself or speak up? Why am I afraid to upset someone even when I know they are not right for me?

Why am I willing to accept ANY love and attention that feels good, even when I know it is bad for me?

And…HOW do I get better? How do I become confident and less dependent on others to feel BETTER?

You guys…I don’t know the answer.

Tonight, I am sitting in my living room. Feeling sad and lonely. Desperately wanting to run back to this bad guy who didn’t treat me well. ALL because I am sad to be alone.

Does it get better? Will I get better?

…I hope so. I just don’t know.

What is love?

Therapy has taught me that those who grew up in traumatic households often gravitate to partners that resemble what they know…in other words, if, as I experienced, the adults in my life were emotionally unavailable, the partners I sought out as a teen and young adult also tended to be emotionally unavailable.

My husband and I have been married for 13 1/2 years. I met him, 33 at the time, when I was a young and idealistic 19 years old. Initially, the “idea” of him seemed appealing from a rebellious standpoint. I, the self-proclaimed good girl, thought it might be interesting to sow some wild oats and sleep with an old guy.

What I wasn’t smart enough to identify at the time was that I NEVER left people. I was never a one night stand (by choice) kind of girl. No…because I have anxious and insecure attachment issues, I tended to stay in all sorts of relationships because I could never bear the pain of hurting someone else.

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Another school year, over.

It has been with mounting excitement that I viewed the calendar over the last few weeks. Somehow, without really knowing HOW the year went so quickly, it was already April.

Teachers are quite tuned into the school calendar. Summer is usually met with relief, excitement, and exhaustion.

The last day of school, though? Ahhh. It is such a bittersweet day. A vulnerable day.

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Calm versus Chaos

When I first started this blog, my emotional health was at an all time low. I was a DISASTER (thus the blog name). But, bravely, I continued to pursue healing and therapy. Day after day, week after week, and month after month.

Progress occurred, but in my mind it was slow and hardTherapy is hard work, man. It is deep, soul-wrenching, earth shattering, WORK.

Luckily, I was graced with the most amazing therapist to guide me through the process. Oooohhh, the patience this amazing woman had/has for me will never cease to blow my mind. I challenged her, I clung to her, I pushed her away…always so sure she would abandon me, too.

Through her steadfast faith in me, I grew. I, slowly, began to heal. I began to need her less and less, and gained faith in myself and my other relationships.

Healing work will never be done. That is something I learned the hard way. There will never be a magic day where I wake up and realize, “I am healed!” 

No…life is a spectrum, and I will always have some struggles–but, I can say confidently that I am on the other side of the spectrum. Continue reading

When the walls go up

Trauma is a funny thing.

As I have worked my way through the many, many layers of my own story, I have learned many interesting facts about childhood trauma and discovered many of the reasons why I behave the way I do.

Yet, I still find myself feeling surprised when the sub-conscious takes over and I revert back to those past, safe coping mechanisms.

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“I HAVE to love you, but I don’t HAVE to like you.”

I teach little people every day. Seven and eight year olds, to be precise. This year, I have one friend who can be particularly challenging. He is a boy on the spectrum, not in control of his emotions and easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli and frustrations.

He feels best right next to me. Getting one on one attention. Holding my hand. Hugging me. Being up in my bubble. Each day, I do these things for him because he is also a child of poverty and neglect and it is my job to love and take care of him while I have him.

The other day, we were walking together. He had been having a rough day, and his signal is yelling, “I hate (whatever is bothering him).” Often, it is me, or a friend, or school, or his mother. My response is typical–“I’m so sorry you are feeling that way right now.”

After having numerous breakdowns that day, he held my hand and calmed down as I led him on a walk. He squeezed my hand hard and asked me, “Do you like me or do you hate me?”

I looked this sweet boy in the eyes. He held my gaze for a second, and looked elsewhere, uncomfortable with direct eye contact, as I said to him, “I don’t hate you at all. I love you.” He took a deep breath and relaxed, ready to go back into the classroom. Continue reading