Coming Full Circle?
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My ex-husband and I decided to separate in mid-2017. The separation was initiated by my ex after an awful argument that broke the camel’s back. We had always had awful arguments, exchanges of words that could pierce the air and bring you down to your knees. It began when the unraveling of his lies was exposed, and I was left to “get over it.”
I was made to believe that I deserved the treatment and I fought back, and it got ugly. What I know now that I did not know then is that when people hurt my feelings, I fight nasty with my words. At that time, instead of addressing what hurt my feelings, I went for the jugular and sought to hurt my exes’ feelings as a twisted way to protect myself. If he was going to hurt me, I was going to hurt him more.
We were both in an abusive relationship. I can only take ownership for the damage and pain I inflicted. As uncomfortable as it is to remember the person that I was, I am also proud of the growth I have made since ending my marriage. I take pride of the work that I have put in to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The changes have allowed me to engage in healthy relationships that contribute to my overall happiness.
This entry was made after speaking with my attorney. My divorce lasted longer than my marriage and it was emotionally and psychologically exhausting. At first, I was able to compartmentalize my life. At work I was excelling and getting promotions, while at home I was a zombie. My apartment felt like a ghost town, and I tried to drown out my feelings by watching hours of mindless TV. My feelings and all the trauma that occurred during and after we called it quits was tucked away in a nicely wrapped box somewhere in my mind. After a few months of avoiding my feelings, I decided it was time to address things head on. I started writing down my goals and changing my lifestyle for the better.
Through the process of therapy, I have learned to be gentle with myself. I grew up in a household where you got made fun of if you expressed hurt feelings and were labeled a baby crier. We were raised to be “tough,” and being tough meant suppressing hurt feelings. Over the years, the suppressed feelings were coming up to the surface and I would have bursts of rage or cry uncontrollably at night. I did not know how to manage these emotions and I did not reach out to my family out of fear of being name called.
This entry reflects the beginning of the process of allowing myself to be honest about my emotions and feel them in an honest way. I was uncomfortable with accepting my hurt feelings. I felt like a fish out of water and resorted to masking my feelings with sarcasm and annoyance. Over time, and practice, I started to learn healthy communication skills to express my feelings effectively. The goal is not only to express your feelings but teach people how to treat you. The second part is more difficult because it requires people to be receptive and empathetic.
What I learned about myself is that I am a gentle person. I am not broken like my ex tried to convince me I was. I had to learn to detach myself from his judgment of me that I began to believe was true. I had to learn to be compassionate towards myself which has now allowed me to be compassionate to others and show them the empathy that we all want when we are down. The act of compassion has allowed me to create deeper bonds with others and maintain healthy relationships.
The practice of being compassionate is not always easy. I have had some setbacks in my new life, but I have had to be accepting of them and learn how to navigate the ups and downs with a new mindset. Through my journey of growth, I outgrew some of my older friendships which was difficult. I no longer want to engage in old practices and undo all the progress I have made. I made a commitment to myself to eradicate the behaviors and actions that initiated the unraveling of my former life. I want to be the security and stability for myself that I needed growing up, and that may mean not allowing people who are unstable in my inner circle. It is the act of being conscious and seeing the red flags that has really liberated me from my old life.
My commitment to my personal growth has not been perfect and there are moments I want to hide behind my sarcasm because it is my default setting but choosing to be honest with myself keeps me reaping the benefits of living a better life. As I continue to read through my journals, I see the fractured person I was. I pick up on the loneliness and the absence of love I had in my life at that time. It makes me sad, but I am glad that I came to a place in my life where I recognized that I had to change my approach to life.