To have or not to have (2)

July 20, 2008 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

My mother recently recalled how I once stood in the doorway of the living room, in tears, and said to her: “I never want to live like this again.” It wasn’t so much the doing without that posed the problem, but the constant fear and anxiety about what might happen — about imminent losses (the house) that never occurred.

Once I had “everything” — then lost it through my parents’ divorce. I didn’t ever want to go through that again. I didn’t want to lose everything ever again. Today I read an article about fear. It is learned behavior. We can deal with fear and change it through behavior modification, but apparently it remains in the body and is triggered off again when faced with the same stimulus.

One of our many abilities as humans is that of generalization. Because there is such a wealth of information to be processed, our brain helps us sort through things as to their relevance, and through generalization we learn to handle similar situations/objects/events etc. in similar ways. Imagine if we faced each day completely fresh with no previous information. Some people do advocate that — as opposed to acting on preconceived notions all the time. For me, the challenge is to find a balance. I don’t want to have to totally re-orient myself on a daily basis, but neither do I want to close my eyes to what is happening and just assume I know what the deal is.

Generalization can help us recognize and respond to dangerous situations. Living in a constant state of fear in a potentially dangerous situation is an immense stress. My fear was so strong and long-lasting, that I learned to avoid at all costs rather than attempt to find constructive solutions. That fear carried over into new life situations that had nothing at all to do with my history, but I acted as if it was all the same. Often I projected things on my husband and our relationship that had nothing to do with us. It was simply a resurrection of the past with new actors.

Through this long process and reviewing my history, I begin to see that I am strong and can indeed survive, as well as enjoy life. One of my strongest wishes in life was that my children would not have to suffer the same agony I went through. Today I realize that no matter what happens, they will not have that same misery. I am stronger than my mother was, have more experience than she did at the time, and I have learned a lot through her mistakes.

For myself, I am at a point where I cannot go on. I have hit the relationship bottom. Whatever our disorder happens to be, we have to hit bottom before we are willing to change. Often we have to hit bottom more than once before we finally get it. That I learned during my struggle with bulimia. A friend called me last week and suggested that I try a certain partner therapy which is known around the world. It could help us save the relationship, or it could help us separate on good terms. Funny enough, there is a center just 30 minutes’ drive from here. So I will see what happens with that.

As far as having or not having is concerned, I always thought I would be a bohemian when I grew up. That was my goal as a teenager. My path has taken amazing twists and turns since then, but now I’m on the path back. I have experienced the life of need, as well as the life of plenty. Now I will put the focus on meeting emotional and spiritual needs, regardless of the material cost, rather than the other way around. I finally feel like I am growing up, and now I’m going back to my roots and back to the person I am. Without fear.

How about you? Maybe some of this sounds familiar? Good luck! You’ll get there!

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Entry filed under: Levels of Recovery, Lifestyle. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

To have or not to have I’m on my way back home again

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