Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Leaving on a jet plane!

Image credit (here)

I can’t believe that in two days the girls and I will be on a plane to see our family!  I am so thankful that we’re able to bring our family together.  Hubby, being the workaholic that he is, is still considering if he can join us, at least for part of the trip (at least it’s not a hard no).  In the meantime, I’m concentrating on seeing my mom, my brother and sister-in-law, two nephews, my uncle and aunty, old friends from 20+ years ago, getting the kids together with my BFF from college at a national park—omg, it’ s just…my heart is so full.  I have yet to meet my BFF’s youngest, and she has yet to meet DD2.  It’s amazing!

And along comes my anxiety.  Exie is demanding every address of every place where we’re staying (providing the addresses is reasonable, the demanding and nastiness is not).  The irony to this is that I asked for similar information from him when he took the girls on a trip last summer, and when did he provide me the information?  After he returned.  Ha ha, hoppity ha.  (Of course I’m working on this and will provide it to him, before we leave.)

I wish there was a guidebook on how to deal with controlling exes after divorce.  Controlling exes who constantly shake the tree trunks for any morsel and crumb of control that can be regained.

Something that says, do A when B, don’t worry about X when Y, and if Z happens, well—THEN you do F, G, H. I wish!

Every time I take two steps forward, something happens with Exie that brings me one step back.  Because I can’t always react perfectly—the way I’m supposed to react—in every given situation.  Sometimes, his antics really piss me off.  Other times, I cry.  And like two weeks ago, I reacted with a full-fledged anxiety PTSD episode that lasted for a few days.  Waking up at 2am just filled with fear and worry for my daughters.

And then I get so frustrated with myself for letting him get to me.  Grrrrrrrrrr.

It’s been five years since he moved out of the house, and I need to celebrate how far I’ve come, and at the same time, keep working on how not to fall to pieces. 

I’ll be truthful, one of my triggers is when he pressures the girls not to talk to me on the phone.  I had been letting the calls go to my voicemail, and I’ve been texting back to avoid that, but it was the long week end, so I’ve been picking up.  They sound stressed, poor dears, and it makes me sad for them.  Note to self: will let the phone go to voicemail tonight.

And another trigger—it stings when I see him acting like the victim or when he’s doing his “hey, look! I’m super-dad!”  But, I also know that him acting well and on good behavior is actually what’s best for my daughters.  So I have to suck it up and be kind and grit my teeth and be okay.  It is okay, it WILL be okay.

This trigger, I think, has to do with being believed that I wrote about last week.  In my head I know I must fill up my heart with:  I know what happened, that’s what matters.  My closest friends and family who helped me leave a very bad situation—my attorney, therapists, and closest advisors—they believed me.  That’s what matters.  I have to figure out how to set aside the anxiety that comes when I think someone might be drinking his lemonade.  I have zero and zip control over any lemonade buyers out there.  The rest of me needs to catch up with my head on the logistics of all of that.  Baby steps.  Some days better than others.

So right now, I need to hold onto the sights of my lovely daughters, growing up so fast—meditating on their voices and laughter and giggles, breathing in every moment, even the exasperation when I have to assist in settling arguments or “it’s not fair,” or embracing the (awk!!) “mom, what’s pubic hair?”  type of questions.  (insert laughing with tears out of your eyes emoji here!)

I can’t wait to get on the plane and fly away for a little while.  To hug my mom and see my daughters hug her, too.  To laugh with my family, to be silly, to see new sights with the girls that they haven’t seen before.  Hurray for our new life!  I’m so lucky and thankful and grateful for this day.  Even if there are fingers of anxiety touching my heart, I hold onto the sun and the light and the love.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Healing Journey

Image credit [here]

Well, I guess I spilled all over emotionally during my last post.  I’ve since had the realization that should the Ex do that again--call me up to berate me about something I have no control over, just hold the phone away from my ear and remember it’s just noise.  He can’t hurt me like he used to.  That part of my life is over.  In our coparenting counselor’s words:  he may blur the boundaries, and you have to set them.  (and also) you always have to be the wrong one.

Gee, thanks.  I kind of knew that already.  But at least I have some validation.  I wonder why validation is so important?  I think it’s that part of ourselves—especially those of us who’ve journeyed the path of bullying and abuse--that wants to be believed.  Needs to be believed.

I recently joined a group of survivors online.  The focus is not so much concentrating on the pain that we’ve survived, but to embrace the new lives that we’re all building.  I happened to be on the page, and someone posted the unbelievable pain and heartbreak of abuse they experienced at the hands of their adoptive parents—horrible acts from the father, and the mother didn’t believe her and would beat her.  The hospital workers turned a blind eye.  As soon as she could get out at 18, she did.  She was angry—angry at her parents for enacting the abuse, angry at the hospital workers for believing the cock and bull stories her parents came up with, angry at the world that didn’t save her.  Didn’t believe her.  And this was the first time she’s ever told anyone about it. 

I immediately started writing—I believe you.

But the comment wouldn’t take…in just one minute, she took it down.  So I wrote a separate post—Dear J, I believe you.  What they did was horrible.  You did nothing wrong.  You did nothing to deserve their actions.  What your parents did, and everyone who colluded with them, are horrible.  I believe you. 

Later, she came back on—she said thank you—and that she’d had a panic attack and removed the post.  And I wrote back that I understood, healing is a journey, everyone takes their own time, and I thought she was brave to even contemplate sharing her story.  But no matter what, she was believed.

Those are really strong words to say to a survivor:  I believe you.

Yes, we are building new lives.  She is raising her kids, has traveled the world.  I have remarried to an honest, kind, loving, hard working hubby who loves and respects me, and loves and adores his stepdaughters as any parent would.  I’ve come a long way in trusting that peace and love are not some weird skin that needs to be peeled off.

Because people like her and people like me, we’ve learned that pain is normal.  Our houses have burned down and we’ve had to rebuild from the ashes countless times.  Because of being in situations that were untenable, the cost and pain of surviving pain—THAT was normal. 

Happiness and peace?  Alien concepts.  Something I believed in—lofty words that I reach for, because I know they matter, but never quite learned how to make them real.  How to make them stick.  So lately I’ve been working on letting happiness, peace, love win.  And not just theoretically, but holding it, embracing it, so it doesn’t feel like some alien has entered in my house.  Somehow, I have to figure out how to live in a place where normal is kindness, normal is patience, normal is forgiving.  It really is a new life I’m building.