Bill of Rights

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Things I Cannot Feel and Planning a Divorce in My Heart

Last week at group I mentioned that I needed to work on finding a way to feel.  Maybe this sounds odd, because I know I feel.  I feel pain when I burn myself cooking.  I feel delight when I see little children or animals do cute things.  I laugh at funny things.  I can get mad when I feel mistreated.

So what's the big deal?

The big deal is when H says something to me, something that I should be able to respond to in kind -- I can't.

When H calls during the day and says, "I love you" at the end of the call.  I hurry and hang up.  When H tells me how important I am to him, I squirm and want to run and hide in some safe place.  Yesterday H came up behind me and whispered something into my ear, something most women would love to hear.  I hated it.  I told him not to say that to me again.

What the heck, right?

Finally, after years of pain and frustration with H I can see he is trying.  I can see him behave in ways that I wished he would all those years ago.  I hear him saying things I knew he said to other people and know now he is only saying to me.

And I am just...'so what' about the whole thing.

I can't figure out why.

I want it to stop.

I said in my share last week that I needed to work on this.  I needed to find a way to be open and to trust that it is ok to feel.  I just don't know how.

So this past weekend I was in a lot of pain.  I have a pinched nerve in my back that is bringing me to tears.  I don't usually have back trouble.  I have an old injury from being badly rear-ended many years ago, but typically I have a good strong back.  I needed H to help and all I got was a frozen, stuck, hands-in-his-pocket response.  I was mad, hurt, frustrated.  I wanted to boot him to the curb but he doesn't have that other home to go to now that I have my married kids living there. That made me feel more stuck. (See I do feel some level..just not what I think I should be feeling.)

This all got me thinking, as I was sitting on the couch this weekend alternating ice and heat to relieve the pain that I've have this go-to response with H.  I've developed this plan over the years to help cope with the life I've been given.  I could never really leave, physically.  So I left emotionally.  I planned in my mind this leaving point in the future, after the kids were grown.  After they were old enough to "see" what was going on in their lives and know the truth.

I know I haven't always been this closed off.  I also haven't always lived in my mental planning stage either.  There was a time, right after the acting out started again, right after my parents died and all I had was H, that I opened up fully to him.  I tried to live like I really loved him.  I tried to start over with him like it was in the beginning.  Mistakenly believing this would some how fix what was wrong.

It worked for a bit.

Until I found more acting out.

Until I felt more betrayal (and realized what I was really dealing with in my marriage).

And I am, living this pretend life.  Telling myself that I should love him. I should tell him more often.  I should show him more often.  I should.  I should.  I should.





I hate this.  I want to find answers.  I want to not be stuck. I want to know if the reason I can't is because this whole thing -- this marriage -- this relationship is wrong.

For years I believed I stayed because I didn't have a choice.  I home schooled.  I wanted the right to be the mom to the only two children I was ever allowed to have.  I refused to walk away from my things.  I refused to be the one to lose everything.

So I stayed.

I pretended.

I tried even -- sometimes.  Most of the time.

But now, now when I want to be real and authentic.  When I want to know after all I've been through if I'm doing the right thing.  I can't feel what I need to feel to validate what I see.

I feel stuck.

Is your organization stuck between a tight budget and the need for ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Reason I Work Recovery

I went back to school this past September (insert huge 'fiiiiiiinnnnnaly' here).

I loved it.  I'm working an online program through BYU-Idaho's Pathway.  I love being back about BYU.  I started my education at BYU-Provo.  Being back here is a lot like that 'coming home' feeling I've mentioned before.

As I was studying recently, I had a thought come to me as while reading this scripture:

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong…    Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–9
It also hit me, while reading through this scripture a few times, this is why I work recovery.  This is my reason.  So many, many times as my 25 year marriage progressed I would ask God why this was happening.  So many times I would pray for guidance and direction, for help in making decisions of should I stay or leave or even divorce.  I always wanted my Heavenly Father to be a part of my decision process. 
I did not understand.
I thought prayer and faith was the process.  It was, in part, but to understand what I was going through I also needed to ask and to study it out in my mind and to do my part.  

For me, it took a lot of time to figure out what 'doing my part' meant for me.
When it became apparent that I was dealing with addiction a path opened I purchased recovery books I could get my hands on.  I started reaching out to support groups and to therapists.  As I came to understand what I was dealing with and the effect it was having on me, I had a place for some of the answers that Heavenly Father had waiting for me from all those prayers I'd offered over the years.

My early marriage years were lonely, confusing, full of hopelessness and constant prayers of despair until H's issues played out enough to diagnose them.  I know that during those horrible years the Lord placed a protective bubble, so to speak,  around me to shield me from a lot of the pain I could have lived with.  As the disclosures have come forward now the past couple of years, I know that I am strong enough to handle them.  

I would not have been in the early days of my marriage.

I have been in a lot of trauma over the years.  They were hell years.  It was hell hearing each of the disclosures as well.  The trauma from this addiction has damaged me.  I am no where near free from the pain of H's betrayal.  

I just know that I am on a healing path.  A two-part path that has come to me from my recovery work and from my knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Atonement.  Together these two sources have helped me be able to pick myself up off the closet floor and stand upright again.   

The course is not an easy one, I have to tell you this.  I'm having to do some really hard work to get to a place of healing where I can stand on my feet each day and not cave at each wave of addiction or trauma. 

It feels good to not feel alone in this anymore.  

I spent so many years alone.  With no one to turn to and no where to go for help. Even my prayers and pleas to God felt ignored at times.  In my heart I knew they weren't, but in my despair and in my hurt the Adversary tried to convince me they were.  

If you are looking for a place of healing I know of several that are very good.  Here are a couple of my favorites to start with.  

Healing Through Christ

The Togetherness Project

Addo Recovery

Being able to connect with women who have walked this path has been one of the greatest sources of comfort for me.  The validation I have received from them that it is not me, that I'm not crazy, that this is addiction and it is ok to say that it hurts or it sucks.  Or even to say that you don't want to live with it any more.  This has empowered me.

This is how I found my strength again.

Now I can take all of this; the validation, my therapy, my recovery books, conferences I attend and even that scary video I did and decide who I am and who I want to be.

Before recovery -- I was doing good if I could just get up in the morning and breathe in and out all day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Going and Coming Home

I've been quiet here the past little bit while I took time to prepare for a trip home.  I just can't explain adequately how good it felt to finally get home, and not have to rush through a quick visit.  Little D and I took this trip by ourselves.  1400 miles (one way).  It was awesome.  The best part of the drive for us is when we find ourselves west enough that we begin to see the foothills of the Rocky Mountain range.  Excitement builds realizing that we are getting close to 'home'.  We love the mountains as much as the family and friends there.

I loved being on this trip by myself.  I know H was sad to have stayed behind, but oh how I loved the break.  Is that terrible?  This was all about self-care for me.  I didn't even allow myself to feel bad. Maybe I should have felt bad -- I just didn't.  That in and of itself is a huge switch for me.

Maybe I am healing -- somewhat.  At least in the sticking up for myself aspect.

I had a wonderful time.
I spent most of it with family.  People I love and miss dearly.
I attended the Togetherness Conference finally putting faces to some of the best women in the world.
I ate some awesome food.  I even got brave enough to try the Thai food my family is so fond of.
I did some massive shopping.  What can I say here -- it was awesome.

and then...

I cried when I left Utah.

I cried because I knew I had to go home.  I've lived in many places during my life time, but I am my most happy in Utah.  It wasn't always this way, but time has a way of calling hearts home.  My heart belongs in a valley in the middle of the Rocky Mountains where each day I looked out my window to the changing seasons revealing themselves on the mountainside.

I've spent the last 14 year wishing I could go home.

Maybe I should stop that.

New home being constructed to sell al Georgia, USA. - stock photo

Maybe I'm not seeing this the way I should.  I have a lovely home.  All my things are here.  All the pieces of 'me' that I have collected over the years, pieces of me that tell my story.  My kids are here.  And now grandchildren as well.

When I moved in to my current home, alone, I had the great advantage of being able to set it up without any of H's input, which makes this really, truly, my home.

In this home I am as much me as I can be.

As time goes on,  I know I'll settle back in to my routine and be fine.  I'll forget about the mountain view.  I'll put the people on the page they sit on the back burner of my life's mind.  Time will march on busy with family, church, school and life in general until the pull begins again.

Have you ever felt that pull?

For me, it is like I've been hiding from something the very core of me needs and I can no longer push it out of my mind.  Ignoring it means ignoring me.

Working my recovery has been a lot like this emotion.  As I work on the different elements of recovery I find the pull even stronger.  It is as if I need to acknowledge me.

The need to dig myself out, to un-bury me from the pain, the neglect, the betrayal is a crucial focus for me.  Much of this trip was for my recovery.

Here's some of what I gained:

1.  Bravery:  Realizing that I could drive those 1400 miles -- both ways, secure hotels, stop for gas, food or anything else -- on my own -- was big time brave.

2.  Self-care:  Taking this trip alone, knowing H had to stay here for work, was motivated by my need to for self-care.  Time away would be healing for me.  Allowing myself the privilege to not have to put myself second was huge for me.

3. Education:  This one belongs in bravery too, because heading to Togetherness alone was brave.  Attending Togetherness was a huge reason for making the trip when I did.  I both wanted and needed the education and training I would get from the awesome presenters speaking at this year's Togetherness Conference.

4. Faith:  Knowing I would be making the trip alone created a lot of anxiety initially.  The desire to follow through on my plans was large enough that instead of canceling my plans, I sought out priesthood blessings to help bring peace to my anxious soul.  As the trip progressed uneventfully, my faith increased, along with my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for helping me find the strength I had lost so long ago in the turmoil of life.

5. Connection:  Not only was it a blessing to be able to connect with family to renew those special relationships.  I was also able to make connections with women who share this life trial.  Women who know.  Women who have walked this journey and kept their beauty, their spirit, their love of life whole enough to share it with me.  I love these women dearly and am grateful to have been able to meet women I have long called friends, as well as make new ones that have already enriched my life.

Every time I make this trip I spend a lot of time pondering the possibility of returning there permanently.  I don't know if it will ever happen.  I would hate to make that life change and miss the sweet little grands I live so close to now.  I am pulled by both homes; the one I long for and the one I live in. Then some times, in my nostalgic moments, I long for the home that will tie all these emotions together, connecting all of the important people and memories in to one single place, and from that place -- never, ever, have to leave again.