Guide #2 Refuse to be a victim…

Guide #2  Refuse to be a victim…

As I sit here looking back on a conversation I had just moments ago I think I am still not over my marital situation.  I am not over the abuse.  I guess sometimes I don’t realize what really happened in that marriage even 2 years later.  As I discussed my situation with my old neighbor of thirteen years and friend of fifteen I realized that I am still a victim.

Honestly I thought I had broken the spell.  Thirteen years of a war with no complete casualties, just lashes thrown out three times a day every day. Then, once in a while a scud missile would fly in and attack my world.  I have controlled the war the last six months and scud missiles no longer exist in the separation.  We are 99.1 percent almost there.  The end .  The end of my marital chapter.  The end of our lives together.  I don’t feel any negative emotions.

I am purely positive at this point that anything would have been better than living that life any more.  There were so many good times.  I am not saying it was a terrible solid thirteen years.  That would be a lie.  There was just always this level of crazy happening.  Whether It be mean words circling around, yelling because things aren’t as they should be, limited positive reinforcement, barely any kind moments, extremely fearful moments, not being able to leave the house when a war started, trying so hard only  to fail at all points, common house hold chores not finished the way they “should be,” and a guilty-until- proven-innocent lifestyle.  There was no room to talk once you were found guilty of something. Fights would look something like this:

Him- Why isn’t the laundry put away?

Me- I haven’t had the time to get it into the drawers…

Him- What the f@#k did you do all day?

Me- I went to the store, food shopped, took care of the kids…

Him- Did you at least cook dinner?

Now by this moment I am welled up inside and my brain is ready to explode with anger.  Nothing kind has happened in the first moments he is home from work.  We have no road to come back from this treatment.  I feel sad inside, belittled, disturbed, stupid.  I am now a mess and explaining what I did today in a defensive manner. I am defending my day because he is insinuating I have been lazy by tone and mannerism.  Of course, he will deny that later on and act like I am crazy or dumb.  Neither of which I am.

It was this quickly that our life went from cute and happy to annoyed and miserable.  This occurred nine months into the marriage and remained there until the end.  We never bounced back in thirteen years.

I made up excuses for why he acted that way.  Anything from work made him tired, tired made him cranky and maybe I should be better at getting that laundry put away.  Maybe I am doing it wrong.  I started to accept that I did things wrong all the time and then tried to fix them.  Changing myself into what he needed and letting go of what I wanted.    It was pressure to be perfect for that marriage.

I often times wonder why I would keep fighting to make it all work but the truth is you don’t know that it is killing you.  Becoming a better person is everyone’s goal in life (or should be).  So I wanted to be better for my husband, after all he was the one I wanted to be with forever so I sure the hell wanted it to work come hell or high water.   I changed, altered, accepted and lived unconditionally.   Until one day I had enough.

Even though that one day had occurred, I still have moments where I believe I have ruined his life.  I am still holding myself accountable for a bad marriage.  He has me so trained that I still see him as the victim.

I realized today that I need to not feel responsible for the death of this marriage.

I didn’t ruin his life by leaving.  I didn’t make his life worse single-handedly.

I didn’t push things to go the ways they went.  I followed a leader and tried to stay on path.

I loved every way a person could love.

I searched for what would work for years and then one day I quit too.

I screwed up while trying to find the answers to a happier marriage.  I realize now that personality plays a gigantic part in relationships.  We marry people that we aren’t connected to 100% and we settle for that 75%.  We do it because society says to settle. Comments such as “He’s the best you’ll get.” “She’s not perfect but who is?” “The grass isn’t always greener.” “Everyone has rough patches in their marriage.”  Really?  Everyone?    There are rough patches and there are ROUGH patches.   Everyone may have arguments once in while however everyone sure the heck isn’t throwing dishes, plates, chairs in the middle of an argument.

Rough patches don’t include daily behavior.  A rough patch is a strange impactful moment, but just that–a moment.  When it becomes your new life then it is a lifestyle and I refuse to live a miserable lifestyle.   I have learned that the grass is way greener.  Sometimes it has a bit of yellow mixed in but with some more sun and water it grows back to its bright green.

 

 

 

 

Guide #1 Emotionally believe in yourself!

Guide #1  Emotionally believe in yourself!

 

I will forever trust and believe in myself on all emotional matters!

As I look back on my past 13 year relationship I realize that often times I wasn’t truly being real to myself.   I was lost in what to say, what not to say, how to act, how not to act, what was appropriate, what wasn’t appropriate,  what was mine to do and what was his to do.

I followed the rules that were set forth before me and I tried my best to not step off of the safest path.  I tried to not make waves if I was the only one feeling the water.  Often times something would bother me that my husband didn’t even notice.  In the beginning I would bring it up and try to reach clarity and close the issue I was feeling.  This was met with a closed door.  He didn’t want to discuss my feelings unless he was angry at me. After a while I just learned to deal with the emotion I was feeling all alone or complain to a friend who would often say “Shouldn’t you be telling your husband this?”

He didn’t want to be bothered. I certainly never want to be a bother and somehow those emotions I felt weren’t his to care about.  I pushed emotion after emotion deep inside and allowed it to grow.  I would ignore situations until they were too much to ignore and then unleash the dragon of issues into the universe in one fast swoop.   Everything I  ignored or placated bubbled to the surface and things had to change IMMEDIATELY. This would go less positive then one would predict.

My needs of clearing the air would often times be met with his needs of not given a crud about any of it.  Yesterday was yesterday and going back to talk about it wasn’t his idea of communication.  Yet I was festering in annoyance at my marriage whether it be about us directly, the kids and their issues, or any unresolved issue with finances all fell into a bullshit pile that he created.  I often felt alone in the emotional realm and that wasn’t gonna last long.

My lack of being real to myself created patterns in my marriage that were irrevocable after several years.  I built walls to stop allow myself to even feel emotions connected to him. I learned to ignore the facts as I knew them in order to maintain peace. I would still force love onto, what has now become, my enemy even though my emotional needs weren’t being met.

At one point I had believed every time I got upset that I was being too sensitive, I couldn’t deal with “Real” life, I’m ridiculous.  All of my feelings that had to do with my husband were pushed to the side and I stopped believing in myself.  Therapy has shown me that my issues were real and I should have been angry, sad, disappointed, annoyed and other emotions triggered and I should have been heard. The not listening or hearing is emotionally painful to the other person.  It created a barrier and a lack of trust between loved ones.

I  have learned that I wasn’t believing in myself emotionally. I was too afraid to express my truths as they were coming to me.  Emotions change once we have time to digest scenarios.  Sometimes we stop the fight, repair a situation, but a week later the realization that it wasn’t emotionally over comes up.   The necessity to reopen an emotional issue, revisit it and have closure is vital.   I was missing this step often and then my brain would only see the negative piece until I unleashed the dragon fiery again.

I am not protecting myself or anyone else by ignoring the truth about my feelings.  I am not a benefit to my family if I  shut down my deepest intuitions and thoughts in order to survive my life daily.

I now will never again allow negative emotions to fester deep inside of me towards the ones I love.  I won’t avoid the conversations that hurt.  It has taken some getting use to and  I still need to learn to not fear others  responses.  My feelings are mine to own.

I have learned that I am the most important person to me. I will no longer hold my tongue to spare the truth of how I feel to my loved ones. I will forever trust and believe in myself on all emotional matters!

Bankruptcy : Goodbye to the family home…..

Bankruptcy : Goodbye to the family home…..

I remember the first time I saw our new home 13 years ago.  It was the nicest house we had been shown up to date.  We walked in and I immediately felt that this was the right one.  I could clearly visualize moving into this home, making it our home.

I  walked through room by room  imagining moving  our children into their new  bedrooms.  I loved the layout of the house.  The bedrooms were all on the third and fourth floor with a shared bathroom.  It didn’t bother me that there was only 1.5 baths.  This seemed to be why this house hasn’t sold yet.  My amazement grew when we were first introduced to the backyard.   It was hard to envision but I tried hard to turn an empty dirt field leading up to a lake into a magnificent peaceful land.  We could build a dock and fish from our back yard.  I  envisioned its potential of beauty.   This was our home.

Prior to this moment we had searched home after home to no avail.  Every home had its own unique issues and they were all ones that I knew we didn’t want to deal with.  We needed to make sure our new home was suitable for our two young children that were now newly brothers.

We started the house journey at 24 years old and we  were being shown houses that were unfinished, walls still needed painting, septic fields needed to be cleaned out, wells with issues but they’ll sell the house cheaper and many other issues that we didn’t want as first time home buyers.  Some of the homes were far back into the pine barrens while others were placed in happy  country like developments.  Each house had its own unique feel and I considered them all until a better one came around.  This was the best house that ever came along.

I still can feel the happiness that flowed through my body when we moved into our home.  I loved hanging every photograph, creating every room, and watching my dream come to fruition.  We were a happy family with a happy new home.

My happy memories of my old home began to fade today as I spend the day in Bankruptcy court.  I can easily remember the happy moments however the disturbing household memories flood into my mindset.  I guess that is my defense mechanism to deal with the loss of a lifetime.

The pain of trying to get divorced and lasting two years into the process is overwhelming.  Fighting over the house, the kids, the money, the animals, and our futures is tiring.

I walked out of the court room today and I could breathe again.  I felt the weight of that home that I lived in for 13 years fall off of my shoulders.  I will forever miss my first home I purchased with my husband.  It was the perfect home the moment we chose it.  It now belongs solely to him.

I hold no animosity to the home that holds our story.  I wish the house a better story with the next family.  I hope it holds that family comfortably and peace stays inside the four walls.   Our story is over and the house can start again just as I will.

 

Relationship War, Court & Money

Relationship War, Court & Money

I wonder if I knew now, 2 years later, how this would all work out what I would do differently.

The answer I believe is NOTHING.  I couldn’t change this path.   I hired the attorney to protect my daughter from hearing my ex call me terrible names.  I warned him that “I will hire the best attorney I can afford if this child comes home with any more negative about me, her mom!”

He must not have heard me and Thanksgiving Day I heard the last negative from my child about her mommy and daddy separating.   He denied saying anything to her however I hired the attorney to give myself a sense of control for the first time in years.  I thought that hiring an attorney would protect me more and help me become less scared of the unknown future.  I hired one of the best attorneys in the area and paid the prices she asked without question.

She has given me a sense of protection momentarily.  Every once in a while I would cheer my attorney on because she has the power to scare my ex if even for a moment.  I never held that power.

Often however, I feel completely confused with the laws and I then spend too much time trying to understand what is going on in this divorce and then the lack of understanding costs me more money.

The lawyers are doing well and earning their money because we are the people who can’t agree.  Every time we send a paper back and forth, not agreeing, I can hear the sound of “ching ching $” going to our attorneys.

I have learned that lawyers seem to specialize in different lawyer areas.  My lawyer mainly focuses on family law.  This prevents me from using her in the bankruptcy.  I have to claim bankruptcy in order to cut lose a house that is $110,000 under water due to the housing crash years ago and a second and third mortgage that was merged together with our first mortgage.  None the less the equity in the house never came back.  13 years in a home and it is worth $0 to us.

This is heartbreaking also.   I am dealing as I send more money to another lawyer for the bankruptcy.   I later learned that I could claim my family law lawyer fees into the bankruptcy but I am not that person.  (It did pass my mind for a millisecond though.)  I mean the thought of it all just going away. Sigh- Just doesn’t seem right to not pay the attorney since I did hire her.

My ex believes that the equity in our marital home will come back and he can rent the house until that time. He bought a second house so he has no worries. The house however can’t move out of my hands, into his, without the bankruptcy so I did what made the most sense 2 years later.

I stopped the war of the house.  I wish I would have just claimed bankruptcy from the very first moment we decided to be done.  It would have saved me a ton of money and a lot less paper work.  However I just didn’t know how it would end up.  My crystal ball failed me there!

We went to financial counseling with another lawyer and I had to pay him too.  He helped us to come up with yet another agreement.  This one had to change also because things seem to change fast if you don’t sign fast enough.

I can’t wait to be untangled with this financial crisis of divorce and attorneys.   I now live in $18,000.00 worth of lawyer fees, a bankruptcy, and no chance to rebuild my credit for at least 3 years.   The end isn’t coming until I enter the court room and sign the bankruptcy paperwork then back again to sign the final divorce.

Every time I have to enter into the court room I can feel my anxiety rise deep in the pit of me.  I feel anxious and overwhelmed.  I often wish we could have settled this marriage without attorneys, judges, or court however being civil isn’t working and it certainly isn’t doable this far into the war.  I can’t help but hate sitting outside of a courtroom staring across from this person whom I once was married to and wondering what the hell I was thinking.

All of this fighting,the bankruptcy and the lawyer fees are nothing compared to the peace I have knowing that I am finally making the right choice.  In 3 more short months of battling till the bitter end, I will find my new beginning.

I have come to terms with the impact this has on my short term future however the long term is going to be peaceful!

what I now know: 2 years seperated

what I now know: 2 years seperated

Separation turning into divorce can be a long drawn out process. I envy the people who can walk away and agree amicably.  Unfortunately, I sit in an impossible to settle  divorce because the war has taken over. Once you engage in a war of a divorce you internally change.

I changed. I went back to the root being of who I am.  The inner child reemerged and I continue to grow internally as the last 13 years of thought disappear.

I entered counseling for a year at the beginning,  embraced the mindset of Buddhism and found my 20 year old self.  In this continued journey I corrected some of my warped beliefs due to 13 years of joint thought with my husband.

The first thing I fixed is my simple ability to be controlled. When I figured out that I can be easily manipulated and controlled and it isn’t very hard to do, I felt small.  I was trained to have dinner ready on time or I’d be in trouble, or not be a good spouse. Honestly,  it was easier to make sure there was a dinner on then table then having to deal with an annoying night. I learned that I  enabled the behavior.   In order to avoid a negative, I allowed his opinion and the need for that opinion to supersede mine and in return I  survived dinner daily.

I now know that laundry is truly not a big deal unless someone needs something.  Then you can figure it out!  Every night I would quickly do a final once over on the house, before he came home, yet “the house was never clean enough.” The laundry could never make it from the washer to the dryer to the couch and back to the drawers fast enough. I just wasn’t able to do everything the way he envisioned it. I tried hard though.

I have learned how  to not change the family routine in the house that works for the children and myself because it didn’t work for my husband. Four people shouldn’t have been forced to  accommodate one to maintain calm. We would all make sure daddy liked the movie before we picked it or else daddy wouldn’t sit with us on the couch. I now know that our routine can stay the same but bend if needed. We need to be us.

I know that if I have to work on weekends I am not failing.  The kids would beg me not to work and leave them with their father and my ex would complain that I wasn’t there or that he had other things he needed to be doing. I never felt good being needed when I couldn’t change the circumstances.

I achieved trusting myself and to stop second guessing myself. To no longer become afraid of my own intuitions and judgement. I would protest if I didn’t like what was happening, but I would back down and allow final decisions be in his hands.  I then learned that this made me have low self-worth.

I learned that I hold onto any good moments, when day to day moments matter much much more.  I would long for the good seconds, almost as if I were begging the universe for a perfect day. The moments where he would do something really sweet, absolutely happened.  There were moments of greatness! However I would hold onto the good moments so tight that they were blinding me from the day to day interactions.  The day to day loving interactions disappeared slowly, slowly, slowly…… until I just stopped having anymore to give…. And he had stopped years before that.

I figured out how to forgive the unforgivable and that forgiveness is a really hard thing.  I  decided in the marriage that I didn’t need to forgive every time.  I forgave over and over and over and over again and it truly didn’t do me any good. I became numb to forgiving and now I realize forgiveness is for me.

I learned that sometimes 2 people shouldn’t be placed together. Not everyone can be friends. Sometimes personalities aren’t compatible at all and never will be.  You can’t force things to stick together if they just aren’t supposed to.

I developed the sense that sometimes you never figure something out. I’ll never understand fully what happened in that marriage.  What made it go so horribly wrong?  It was a slow grueling process to get to hell in my relationship. I envy those who can pick the right person, stay strong, and continue to love each other when moments get really hard. I want to be the person that keeps the day to day interactions loving.

I’ve learned that war will create a loss in morals. Eventually you just crack inside of yourself.  Once hatred and anger is evoked no one is ever going to win. Living with someone who you have learned to despise through communication is painful.

I now know that love is a choice and I can give it away and take it back even if it hurts

and Ive learned it can hurt terribly….

Be a Mermaid : Survive Marriage

Be a Mermaid : Survive Marriage

Waking up at 7am when the rest of the world is sleeping is always a blessing. It becomes even more amazing when it is 80 degrees in the Dominican Republic and I have my own personal pool to swim in.

I climb outside of the main house up the steps to the concrete pad and gently slip my toes into the pool. I submerge myself under the water and watch as my long hair circles around my body.  I begin to swim laps. I am not swimming to exercise I am swimming to  disappear into my own thoughts. The most peaceful alone time is now.  I feel no guilt for embracing the early morning freedom.

No one is awake. No one is yelling.  There are no competitions to judge. No best jumper, best swimmer, longest holding their breath and no tea parties.  For this moment I am alone, swimming in the crystal clear water and I am a mermaid. The silence is broken quickly but I am happy to see her, the youngest mermaid.

My daughter heard a noise outside and knowingly rushed to put on her swimsuit. She jumps in the pool with me.  We try not to wake the Kraken.  7 am is much to early for him and we make sure we hide in the depths of the water and swim quietly.  When we are under the water we can’t hear anything from the outside world nor do we care to.  We pretend King Titan is coming. We must swim faster to the other side.

I swim with a tail of gold.  I can disappear in the water when I need to protect myself.  My daughter has a rainbow tail and she has the power to talk to dolphins.  We swim helping each other and each area of the pool is another scary cavern.  We defeat the mean sharks, Ursula tries to take our voices, we swim faster.  Dora the Explorer always finds her way into my mermaid tales.  She is a mermaid too!

We hear the faint sound of yelling in the distance.  A shark launches into the water and begins to splash us.  Its my oldest son. He settles into using the goggles and laughing at our mermaid tea party.  The yelling continues and begins to grow louder.  We continue to disappear into the depths of the pool.  We grab our snorkel gear and dont come up to make eye contact with the Kraken.

The yelling continues.  It is yelling at me.  Through the water you can hear the mumbled sound of ” I know you can hear me.  Come up NOW!”  I make eye contact with the others and realize I cant just ignore it and hope it goes away.  I will face the Kraken.  I wave them to go deeper and I ascend to face the creature.

My 11 year old step son and the Kraken have somehow managed to begin a war at 8 in the morning.  Our 11 year old is trying to figure out a way to return home and the Kraken is considering sending him there.  The fight becomes my issue,  the Kraken strikes me down with a few blows of verbal anger and then leaves the scene.  In a state of confusion all I can think is “I am rather happy being a mermaid” and I can’t understand how their is a problem on vacation.  I want to stay under the water .

Eventually all four of us swim in peace and await the return of the Kraken.  We hope he ate a few ships and isn’t still hungry.

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The grueling decision to seperate, 2014

The grueling decision to seperate, 2014

For years I knew that my marriage was toxic and that it had to be over.  It had now grown into a gaping wound and the bleeding wasn’t going to stop unless I made a different decision. For years I wasn’t able to make a move and commit to that journey.  I often reflect back at every time I almost walked away.  I  can see the moment that made me turn back around. My children and I had moved out 3 other times in this marriage.  Each time more horrific than the time before. Each time I went back.  In hind site I now know I should have stayed out.

I returned home for all of the wrong reasons. I  feared leaving my house on the lake, the neighbors that I actually liked, the bedrooms I had created, the children losing their lives, $, ridicule, moving in with my parents because I knew I wasn’t ready to support us all 100%. I feared the opinion of others although I knew that anyone who has been involved the last 5 years saw this coming.  That didn’t matter.  I needed to make sure I was 1,000 percent certain.

One of the main obstacles I am facing in making this decision is that I dont deal with or embrace change well.  I think and think and think in my head beating up on a decision for grueling months or in this case years.  I question the unknown. In some ways I believe I fear the unknown.  I don’t like being unaware of the future (even though we all are unaware of our futures) and making the wrong decision weighs on me heavily.  This is a MAJOR decision.  Probably the biggest I have ever made.  No one prepared me for this moment and unfortunately they never could.

Deep down in my most known truths about myself, I could hear the words “run run like the wind.”   Three times I ran. One of the times, I left my home and  rented a town house for 6 months. I returned home when he promised change and a better future for the children.  I wanted to believe this so bad and I did. I questioned my own instincts and followed my husband.  (My therapist calls that: lack of self worth.)

Moving back home only allowed him more control.  He knew I needed him now and that I was never going to leave him. This  led to terrible fights ending with the great moment where my husband informs me, “Just leave if you dont like it, we dont need you here, there’s the door.” and many other lovely husband comments.  He knew I wasn’t going to tear the kids out of the house again unless I was done and he knew I wasn’t going to be done because I wanted to keep my family together.  He controlled me and I had to listen to his wrath because I moved out.

We lasted many years after the last blowout.  I became more and more complacent and settled into the decision I had made.  I owned this choice and every time a world war 3 began I kicked myself internally.  Then I would make up excuses as to how I had my chance to get out and I blew it so: suck it up kid.

I listened to this voice for years causing me unimaginable grief. I finally cracked when my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  I had warned my husband that if we continued to fight while I was dealing with my mothers sickness that we would break.  I knew I was at the end of my mental rope.  Facing death changes you.  Watching a love one dying changes you too.

The rope finally broke. I finally broke. The marriage broke.

I endured  4 more months of fighting. Restless days driving back and forth to visit my mother in the hospital and then at home. I was failing at keeping  the marital home clean enough. I wasn’t serving the dinner  on the table fast enough. I started grabbing the kids and not going home till later  because my mother was getting worse and the doctors didn’t believe she had much longer to live.  I was trying to be a good daughter. I knew I was making the right choice to take care of my mother and I was hating my husband more than I was 7 months ago when he emptied out our bank accounts.

I had finally broke and had to get out. The war we found ourselves in had escalated and we weren’t sleeping in the same room anymore.  My mother was dying and I was sleeping on a trundle bed with my daughter sleeping on the other.  It was decided. I knew what I had to do despite feeling scared at the choice and he was ready for it too or at least  I thought.  It was agreed. He was going away for the weekend and I was moving out.

I moved in with my parents to help my dad with my mom and to save my soul.

My children and I are all temporarily sharing a king size bed because I am in denial about the separation leading to divorce.  I can’t get myself to admit that this is my new home.  This is where I will stay. This is my new life.