High Energy and Wishes

April 1, 2008 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Whenever I write for others, I prefer to exude high energy and positivity: Everything will improve, just start now! Today is the best time to start over! Better late than never! But there is more to life than that.

Lately I’ve been down in the dumps. It has been getting to me that I spent so many years caught up in bulimia/anorexia, that it took so many more years to recover emotionally, and now that I finally know who I am and what I want – I’m 45 years old and feel stuck with decisions I made which were not in my best interest.

Once upon a time I fell in love with someone who didn’t always treat me as well as I deserve. Indeed, if he had, I would have considered him a jerk like all the rest and dumped him. Instead, he managed to string me along, giving me just the right dose of attention coupled with criticism and neglect. So I was able to work hard and tell myself: “If I just try a little harder, improve myself, stop being so sloppy, stop smoking, get rid of any other bad habits, then he’ll treat me better.” Sometimes he did.

Maybe I had to stay with this person for 25 years because I otherwise wouldn’t believe it could be possible if someone else told me such a story. Almost the day after I moved in with him, I knew it wouldn’t work. But I blamed myself, kept trying, managed to fly along on some positive phases of being “in love” and kept blaming myself. After two or three years, I figured we’d been together for such a long time, I just couldn’t leave now. Yet I thought I would someday magically be gone from him, and I was certain it wouldn’t last for 20 years. Ha ha ha!

Two children and ten years later, I couldn’t believe how much of my true self I had sacrificed to make him and them happy. Instead of leaving, I spent several years fighting to get myself back. I created a life within a life – began to write again, read more, go out with friends, play guitar and write songs, give concerts, buy CDs and go to concerts. If one can trust appearances, I could be happy with my parallel lives. But the parallel aspect is causing me trouble. Authenticity has been lacking. I want one authentic life.

Another ten years later finds me questioning the relationship once again. Now that I’m 45, I also realize that I’m not getting any younger and life is flying by. Life really is too short to deny one’s true self.

We had a long talk a couple of weeks ago, a talk like we’ve never had before. I had been afraid of him and didn’t want to hurt his feelings – to the extent that I hurt and denied mine constantly. Realizing that my fear was a childhood remnant and had nothing to do with him, I dared to address things and was floored by the ease with which I could speak. My fears had been irrational and only served to block my development.

Night and day remains the most accurate description of our relationship, and I don’t ever expect to be compatible, but I am learning some valuable things:

I do not have to be grateful for everything, even if I don’t like it.

We do not have to agree on everything.

If he doesn’t approve of my behavior, how I spend my time, how I run the house, that is okay. (I don’t always agree with his, either!)

I am not responsible for his happiness.

My family can get by without me at times.

Harmony at any cost makes life monotonous, is stressful, and will kill me (kind of like bulimia/anorexia!!!).

Discussing things and facing potential conflict makes life interesting, reduces stress and can have surprising results.

At times I would like to run away and find someone new, but I believe that these conflicts/fears etc. need to be faced now. I need to learn to communicate without fear. If I don’t do that now, then the next relationship will end there as well. So I might as well see what is possible within this one.

That is also because we have children. My parents’ divorce scarred me for life and I don’t want that to happen to my children. It has always been my priority that my children feel secure and have both parents. However, I regret that I haven’t been the role model I would like to be. Thus, I believe that by working things out now and learning to be more assertive, I can correct some of the unfortunate interaction patterns.

At this point, the future is open. Either we learn to interact in a healthy, constructive way and stay together. Or we learn to interact in a healthy, constructive way and separate. In either case, we learn to interact in a healthy, constructive way, and that is what I want for my children. And the bottom line is: I am authentic.

P.S. On the analytical level, I married the aspects of both of my parents which cause me the most grief/fear/insecurity. I sought and married an authority figure. Healing will come when I have worked through these issues. My dealings in life remind me of the vicious cycle of an eating disorder and first steps towards health: it happened when I began to let go of the old destructive but familiar patterns and had the courage to be open and try new things, without knowing ahead of time what the outcome would be. I guess control is still an issue!

P.P.S. Why am I sharing this? No, not just to unburden myself. I genuinely hope that someone might have an a-ha experience through reading this and find that string of hope which will give her the courage to let go of something destructive in her life – whether it be an eating disorder, a relationship, a job, or whatever. To thy own self be true, as William S. once wrote! By the way, I do not claim to have all the answers, this us just a reflection of what I’m thinking today!

And since this is also about wishes: I wish I’d listened to my heart and followed it! It hasn’t changed.  

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Entry filed under: Family/Relationships, life, Soul Food. Tags: , , , , , .

Gratitude Day Hephaestus

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