People have expressed to me, their sense, that I do not care what others think. This is UNtrue. I make no efforts to control what others think or how they feel about me. That is not my job. If a person does not care for me, that is not a problem (until they decide to punish me), it just means we are not for each other. I would surely prefer if everyone applauded my decisions and methods, but that is unrealistic and counter to my striving to live authentically, with honest and transparent boundaries(for myself)– which support self care, personal growth and my own well-being.
This truth and freedom are offered to me by my program of recovery. Many people do not yet understand that recovery is not only for those with obvious and overt addictions to substances, sex, shopping, gambling, food…. Mine, is a program of recovery, for those struggling to recover from abusive relationships, typically with the mentally unwell or addicted person. For the sake of my blog and journey, abuse is: behavior of others which harms, betrays, diminishes, or disrespects another. Sustained entanglement in an abusive dynamic can result in trauma and depression(mental unwellness, sometimes temporarily relieved by addictive behaviors)- which require recovery OR denial (offloading or numbing pain instead of healing it). I choose recovery. For people who choose power, rightness, and denial, I am definitely not their cup of tea and they are not mine. It is not a war, just a fact…until attacks begin- typically underhanded–the silent kill shots are the worst, the highly visible ones, to which nobody objects, are equally deadly.
In my 40s, I filed for divorce once I realized my desire for a more loving existence was greater than any I might have inside my marriage, which mirrored the volatile hot/cold/cat/mouse dynamic of that with my sister. I now choose only relations in which it is mutually valued to prioritize the connection and dignity of everyone, above being right. Wanting to understand and enter into civil conversation where we are open and intentional to resist responses which invalidate one another. Love: saying I am listening, tell me more. Love: refuses to dismantle anther person’s experience– cares more bout a person’s soul than winning or being in charge–open to expansion and healing.
Even if we disagree, can we not hold a civil dialog where new ideas can be shared reasonably and with respect and honor, rather than outrage, offense and polarization? In my situationS, there have been no indications of interest by others, to do the work of healing. Civil and intentional dialog requires all parties to enter and engage as equals, asking hard questions and listening to hard answers. Love: holds no place here for a zero-sum mentality. For the sake of my journey and sharing, this is how I define love.
My family of origin and ex husband and even his family, all define love, honesty, and abuse very differently. We are not each others’ cups of tea. In my marriage and family of origin, there was never a healthy open dialog with a shared intent to heal the relationship. So, I left, after failed and repeated attempts–which were responded to as acts of audacious irreverence, and a wage for war. I left for peace because it was not there. I do not want to win or lose. I want to heal. I tried one million futile ways to enter into healing dialog. Always unwelcome–treated as troublemaking–ignored or attacked. To openly discuss and collectively resolve conflict and pain is not their cup of tea. Without healing, for someone like me, there is nothing but pain. To them, I have earned this. To that I object.
This week was my younger son’s birthday. We celebrated with a family dinner out together, my ex and our sons and then yesterday all day and night together with a bunch of boys swimming, bowling, nerfing, lunch, dinner, and fortniting. This is a miracle that we (my ex and I) can do this. My ex husband did and does many things, knowingly, which make life more difficult for me–and thus our sons, even when that is not his primary intent, damage is done which causes him no observable pause or grief. I say this because he has never acknowledged or stopped taking and giving, only as he likes but not always as needed. Even when he behaves with decency and friendliness toward me, it requires days to recover from time with him–to detox.
Sharing a table and a meal with someone who will freely harm me, for any reason at all makes me physically and mentally unwell. And, while he is pleased by his alliance with my family, which for obvious reasons causes angst for my boys and me, he had the nerve to ask me how much money my mother was leaving for our sons’ college funds…as if these are joint assets and we shall split the difference. That $hiz goes towards my part not OURS. Anyway, my response to his question was “I don’t know–why don’t you ask her?” and he was all: “Yeh, I probably will next time I see her”. Ugh. Oh..Okay.
Today, I am recovering from 12 hours together, this week. To spend time in close proximity with anyone actively disinterested in benevolence and healing, is not my cup of tea. The vile association between my ex and my female sibling–is unwholesome triangulation-so dirty. If my sister ever wanted to have healing, the triangulation could stop. And– my mother will have nothing to do with me until I GET OVER IT. In this way, they all get to “win”, as I cannot stop it. For them harming my sons is no problem, so long as they insist the harm to them is not real and present–cuz they are just doing what
sick families do. Right? Requiring our children to disassociate is technically not a problem since there is no solution from this end. Problems have solutions. Just an unpleasant fact for us to accept. The most agonizing factor is my awareness of the long lines of dis-ease and addiction in both families in all directions. The current arrangement, it seems, lays the ground work, for the dis-ease of my sons. They are literally being required and groomed to deny, numb, stuff feelings and to pretend as if everything is ok. Hate that shit!
I am ok with us not choosing each other…total acceptance. This hurts but can be done in peace and with respect. I am not Okay with casting this toxic shadow on my sweet boys. I will spend my life recovering and I will be glad when my boys are of the age that they may find their own programs of restoration and healing. The damage is inevitable and in progress. Thank gawd there are programs and meetings so readily available.
To the judging person’s eye/ perspective, there may be the question of “Who is the common variable/problem here?”. To the more evolved, it will make perfect sense why I would marry into a dynamic identical to the one in which I was raised. This is what as referred to as the legacy and cycle of abuse, mental or physical…it is intergenerational. The cycle stops here.Much Love,
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