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stop, drop and roll

I have emotions. Its a new deal for me. I don’t really know how to deal with them. Let me explain. As a kid, I was a very emotional child. I laughed and played. I was outgoing and charismatic. I also cried at the drop of a hat. I was seen as a bit of a cry baby. I remember very clearly my Dad telling me I had “a strange sentimentality.” I never understood that and he could never explain further. However, I took it as a judgment thing and set out to hide my emotions. I didn’t want to be seen as weak or emotionally loose. It really didn’t work out so well for me. I had a girlfriend in HS. She decided to break up with me so that she would be available if this guy wanted to go out with her when she was on vacation. I was crushed. I hurt. I cried. I called her often (probably more often then when we were dating). It took me a very long time to stop thinking about her. I was a love sick puppy for months. I did the same thing with a girlfriend in college. Both times I really crashed and burned. Each time, I decided that I would shut down my emotions. I would hide from them, rather than feel them. They leaked out over time and festered inside for a long time. They were caustic, humiliating, and damaging.

When I met my ex-wife, I had perfected the ability of hiding emotions. I had self righteous anger and indignation. I was humorous, but generally at the expense of someone else. I pretended nothing bothered me, but inside I was a bundle of confusion, slithering like maggots on a dead body. I tried to share emotions often, but it came out as a victim. There was so much hurt, pain, and despair that I had denied. When I opened up, it overwhelmed me. I had held on to it for so long, I didn’t know how to deal with it or how to let it go. Part of me didn’t want to. I had grown accustomed to feeling like that. It was awful, but comfortable. However, the maggot wiggled between my fingers and the emotions came out in spurts. She tried to comfort me and support me. It felt good and I liked the idea of partnership. However, subconsciously I figured that if she loved me because I was a victim, if I wasn’t, she couldn’t love me. I played the role. I resented it. I drank it away.

I decided to change. I decided to accept life on lifes terms. I wanted to stop being a victim of life and of myself. As I tried to feel again, to live again, it became clear that my wife would soon be my ex-wife. She liked being the hero. She liked being in charge. I imagine she thought, “If I didnt need her to take care of me, did I need her at all?” Either way, she and I became more and more distant. It freaked me out. I felt her pulling away. We became less and less emeshed and I bled. I hurt. I panicked. I felt the rejection from every relationship. I felt the rejection from HS, College, and beyond. I felt the rejection as my kids became estranged. I took on the shame.

I really worked on avoiding the shame and the fear of rejection. I thought I had learned new skills. When I broke up with the love of my life two years later, I felt the same rejection. I am so afraid of being unlovable. I romanticize the relationship. I slip back into the “need” to be with her, rahter than the “want.” I was afraid of being alone.

A friend talked to me about working through these emotions. Learning to understand them, accept them, feel them. I try. It is hard to learn how to do it after years of hiding all emotions, running from them in terror. I acknowledge them. I accept them. I even thank them. I diffuse the romantic picture and let it seep with the reality. I get to a point where I think I am doing well. I think I have resolved the hurt and pain. I get to the point that I have moved on. Then something happens, the full moon, a flock of birds, a gentle chill in the air. I hurt again. I brood and get lost. I feel the fear of rejection. I start to think about finding comfort in another person. I stop myself, realizing that fear is not a reason to get into a relationship. I am acutely lonely for a little while. I am in pain. I feel nauseated. I feel depleted. The victim mentality resurfaces and I want someone to take care of me. There is no one around and I feel the rejection again. It consumes me like a fire. I stop, drop, and roll. I start again. I accept myself and my emotions. I acknowledge. I thank. I forgive. Its another day. Maybe, someday, I will be able to do this. I have a strange sentimentality, apparently.

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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in life

 

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missing

I will miss you.

I am saying farewell to my daughters for awhile today. It was a few years ago that my older daughter spewed venom at me. She was victim to some very nasty parental alienation. She was very similar to me and her mother spoke of how much she hated me and how bad I was. It translated to my daughter that 1/2 of her was less than dirt. She rejected anything that was like me. Her anger increased as she couldn’t get away from herself. I listened to her read the letter that stated she would not see me again. It was filled with hate, venom, and barbed wire. I listened. I thanked her for her honesty. I stated I wished she didn’t have to feel this way, and that I love her. It was the last time I saw her for any length of time.

My youngest daughter is ready to live life without me. It has been very hard on her. The difficulty of trying to be in two places emotionally and in two different attitudes was ripping her apart. She has stopped contacting me at all or responding to my contacts.

I miss them. I tried everything I knew to do. Then I asked what else to do and tried that. I tried to hold on. I tried to fight.  But my holding and fighting seemed to only make it worse.

I thought of Solomon. Solomon stood before two women claiming a child as their own. The fight was brutal. He declared the child should be cut in half. The woman that couldn’t bare to see it was thought to be the mother. My fighting and holding has served to tear them apart. I have to let go. I cant hurt them anymore.

I thought of Hannah, mother of Samuel. She received a blessing from God and was totally willing to let it go. She released her son back to God.

I miss you. I love you. I release what I want more than anything.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2015 in children, divorce

 

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live, life, and love

At first, I was afraid. I was petrified.

I am not sure why this song keeps ringing in my head as of late. I have been on both sides of that song, I have been the survivor and the one who hurt with goodbye. I have even been both at the same time. I don’t like either role, however.  don’t get me wrong, I admire my perseverance and ability to survive for some nasty life circumstances. However, that isn’t really the crux of that song.

I have some odd intimacy issues that I am working through. I would even say that I was dangerously close to a relationship addict. I was certainly in a 20 year marriage that had a multitude of addictive characteristics.  After I got out of the marriage and started dating a wonderful woman, I slid right back into some of those destructive habits. It is all I knew and a coping mechanism for some very hurtful internal struggles. I am so thankful the experience revealed some pretty core issues I needed to work on. I am also pretty remorseful that it cost me a love relationship and my best friend in the process. My fear was of being alone. I “kept thinking I could never live life without (you) by my side.” I was petrified that I needed someone by my side to tell me I was ok or I wouldn’t be ok. I feared being alone and clung to people.  However, I also was smart enough to know that would eventually be annoying and smothering. I was afraid of attaching and I was always on alert for who I would date next if the person walked out the door. My fear and internal chains led me to feel sorry for myself and state false bravado. Id push women away, desperately wanting them to stay.

When they got sick of it and left, Id go the other way. Id be in a panic that I was alone. Id start to fear loneliness. What if I never loved again? What if I was never loved again? I’d see myself as unworthy, unlovable, undesirable. My chains would get tighter. Id choke.  If someone did come back, Id fear the hurt more than desire the connection. Id send them away, proving to myself that I wasn’t worthy. Laying down and dying would have been less painful. I had crumbled, and pieces have much more surface area to accumulate pain.

I used to think that survival was the goal. It sounds so strong in the song. Follow that up with I will stay alive and I heard power and hope. The truth for me is that neither one is all that worthy of a goal. Both imply existence, which is a good start for sure. However, they are not dynamic. Survive and live are akin to existing. You can exist and sit on the couch. You can exist and not grow. You can exist in a shame marriage. You can exist and wear a mask, cowering from interaction and your true self. You can exist in darkness, blotting out existence. You can exist and be afraid. You can exist and be petrified, solid and frozen forever.

The goal is living. Living into each moment. Embracing growth and change. The goal is living who you are and who you are becoming. The goal is perpetual journey into a better and better version of yourself. The goal is to know that when we are alone, we are the same person as when we are not. The goal is to not be afraid of true intimacy with ourselves. I needed to embrace me. I needed to know that when I sent me out the door, I had lost my best friend, my true companion. I needed to know that I could exist without my true self, but I could never live. If I was willing to be accepted or rejected by someone else and maintain my journey, I would grow. I would be able and available for a dynamic, truly intimate relationship.

I do have all my life to LIVE and all my love to give. It has to start inside.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in journey, life

 

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hmm

“I’m scared.”

“Of What?”

“Everything”

I was pondering this morning on how often I have had this conversation with God and with everyone I have gotten close to or paid to listen to me. I never really thought of myself as a coward, but each time I have that conversation, I flash on all the times I felt fear.  I was 11 or 12. There were a set of twine, boy and girl, that lived down the street. The girl, Carla, pushed my younger sister down and I stood up for her. I pushed Carla. Well, now Andy wanted to fight me. I was not much of a fighter. I was in shape, because round is a shape. I ran in my house and hid. My Dad came home and I explained my plight because he wanted to know why 10 kids were standing outside calling me a chicken and making clucking noises. He told me I don’t have to go out there, but if I did, he would never call me coward again. That sounded good at the time. Years later, I would realize he never called me that and I don’t think I ever heard him use that word before or after. I did fight Andy and both of us would claim victory.

My fears have varied over the years. I have always been afraid of physical confrontation. I quit karate because we were going to have to hit each other. I was 40. I am not weak and could probably do pretty well in a fight. I don’t run and hide, but am adept at defusing a situation now.

I fear rejection. I fear isolation. I fear fear. I fear being lonely. I fear being a failure. I fear not being liked. I fear not being loved or loveable. I fear loss. I fear pain.

Today was a fear laden morning. I feel rejected on many fronts, but most tangible in my consciousness is my ex girlfriend and my daughters. Two very different situations and yet very similar fears. I miss all of them so much. I think I set myself up to feel this pain. I say it that way to make myself feel better. I know I did. I don’t know why except that the fear list paralyzes me. With my kids, I hurt their mother and ended up leaving the home, destroying the dream life and family. They were very confused and angry and decided to stop all communication with me. I failed their expectations as a father. I felt rejected, isolated, unloved and unloveable. I hurt.  I am getting more able to cope with that pain.  The realization that instead of feeling the emotions, I slid into suffering them, helped me dramatically.  Somedays, I do very well. Today is not one of those days.

I am meeting my fear with perseverance. I am learning to trust myself in the face of adversity. I am letting myself be aware of the fears and stepping up to the plate. I am learning to love me first.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in journey, life

 

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