Early Morning Coffee

April 29, 2008 at 7:45 am 1 comment

Well, I was rather annoyed because – being the nice mother I am – I offered to drive my daughter to the bus stop in the pouring rain this morning. The annoying part was, she was so slow-moving, that she managed to miss the bus and I ended up driving her to school. But that’s okay. I made a point of getting out of bed on the right foot this morning (which in my case happens to be my left foot), so I came home, had breakfast, and am settled with a cup of coffee at the computer.

As I said, it’s raining and dreary outside, which makes it a wonderful day for keyboard rambling. I have hesitated to mention this in more detail, because in a sense I started this blog to tell people about my book. You know: “Look at me, I am healthy. Read my story and you can recover, too.” I am 100% convinced about the story, but the catch is: I didn’t live happily ever after. In fact, as I’ve already mentioned, things have been building up inside recently.

This is what happened. I wrote my book, and in that process a lot of stuff came up again. The book is comprised of nearly 50 journals, which I wrote between the ages of 10 and 31 years. Most of it I had completely forgotten. So that first round was quite heavy, including a depressive break of a few months. Rather, I took a few months off, otherwise I would have become seriously depressed. Still, I managed.

I live in a German-speaking country, so during the past year I translated the book. I don’t know why, but through the process of translating, it all hit me even harder. Perhaps because in my mother language, it was all rather automated and I read it more as an editor. Whereas translating it into a different language really made me think.

I know, I am meandering, but that is my style, and this is difficult besides. I finished this round of work on the book with a lot of sadness, because I realized a few things. First of all, my heart has always been elsewhere, but I never pursued it honestly, because I was convinced that I am not loveable. Ouch! Second, I never really had anything in common with my husband, except that he was willing to put up with me. Ouch again!

This past Christmas I went home to New York City for one week. (That trip was the subject of the first blog  in “Old Scars.”) What does one do with so little time? Of course – I went to Barnes & Noble. And there I was looking for 2 specific books. I didn’t find either one, but I ended up with three wonderful books: one on Arthur Rimbaud & Jim Morrison, one compiled collection of sample writings from the beat generation, and one on verbally abusive men (by Patricia Evans). It took me nearly half an hour of leafing through before I could convince myself that the third book might be applicable. I read that book on a train ride along the Hudson River and time and again felt tears of relief brimming. “Oh, it’s not all me! It’s not my fault! He really is not behaving appropriately!” I hate to admit it, but it took me 23 years in this relationship to accept the gut feeling that I am not happy with him nor will I ever be.

Don’t get me wrong! He’s wonderful – kind, reliable, faithful, generous, isn’t an alcoholic, doesn’t hit me, doesn’t smoke, gives me my freedom to do as I please. But from the beginning, I loved him most when we were separated, and always breathed a sigh of relief when he went away on business. And he knew enough not to be too nice to me. I’ve already mentioned that – because if he were too nice, I would have considered him a jerk like all the rest and left him early on. The bad part is, he’s neat and I’m sloppy – and that’s just the beginning. He makes me feel stupid, can be very condescending, looks at me like I am a jerk. Sometimes I have difficulty with the language, which doesn’t help. If I say “What?” three times, he often says, “Oh, forget it.” But after all these years, he hasn’t learned to speak loudly or clearly enough to avoid that, as some of my other friends do.

I am still not completely sure how much of the problems have to do with my acting out patterns that I learned as a child. I consider this situation an opportunity to grow. Perhaps I’m crazy, scared, or maybe just procrastinating, but at the moment, I am changing the interaction, and then I’ll see what happens. To leave now, I feel like I would be setting a bad example for my children, and probably pick up the same problems with the next relationship (after the honeymoon, of course). I want to work things through, so that we can separate as two mature adults. That may be wishful thinking. In fact, we might even change our relating to such an extent that we get along better, and according to the book I read, some men can change. Either way, I believe this relationship is an opportunity to learn, and perhaps it’s lasted so long because I’ve been too afraid to learn. Instead of speaking out, I hid in my room and cried alone.

At this point I am focussing on growth within the present situation. I am also focussing on getting my life together. I am not in a position (yet) to simply leave. Actually, I feel a certain elative thrill as I learn to stick up for myself. If he gives me a “stupid” look, I don’t accept it. I give it back and clearly explain what I did/said, etc. and why it makes sense. That also takes a lot of energy and awareness, but I feel better than I do expending the energy to suffer quietly, anticipate his every reaction, or try to keep harmony at all costs. While other people were “walking on sunshine” as Katrina sang, I was walking on eggshells. Now I’m trampling the eggshells, scooping them up and scattering them on the compost heap, convinced that something better will grow, and I’m ready to walk on sunshine!

So, I hope I’m not disappointing anybody by not sticking to the “I am recovered and holier than thou” routine, but that just wouldn’t be authentic. And right now, authenticity is what it’s all about. Just through blogging I have come across some wonderful people, and it warms my heart. In the long run, that’s really what it’s about – sharing and participating in a community. And from what I’ve heard, abusive relationships are no rarity! Especially among people who have/had eating disorders!

Today’s message in a nutshell: Let’s talk about this stuff! And like I said the other day: Recovery is life, so it’s an ongoing process. I thought my book would close one chapter of my life, but it turned around on me and opened a new one!

 

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Entry filed under: Family/Relationships, My book, Old Scars. Tags: , , , , , .

My Children and their Food Harmony and Coping Mechanisms

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. SanityFound  |  April 29, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    You go girl!!! Wow am so proud of this one, so much of your heart lays in these words and the honesty is inspiring! Ultimately we all go through things, we are all human it is just how we deal with them that differs 🙂 Again fabulous post my friend!

    Reply

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