You’re Getting Warmer

You’re Getting Warmer

Precisely the place I am in.
Loved this post.

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

Do you ever react defensively to someone’s words?

I know I do.

I’m the queen of, “Yeah, but” and “I can’t” and “You don’t understand.”

Someone says something that justifies my ex’s actions and I respond with anger and righteousness (actually, this is not so true anymore, but it was for a long time!).

Someone else tells me that I can make this whole elderly car thing work out for the best and I want to stomp my feet like a frustrated two-year-old and scream in indignation.

Even Brock is not immune. When giving advice on my new career in real estate based upon his years of successful sales experience, I felt myself shutting down and becoming defensive rather than receptive.

So why do I respond this way?

It’s certainly not adaptive.

Or rational.

But there is a reason.

In every one of these cases (and in countless…

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But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

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This week we lost a great woman. A woman who despite all circumstance rose to become an icon, a nobel laureate, writer, human rights activist, Christian and poet. An astonishingly great woman who despite all odds, became a beacon for healing, forgiveness and tolerance. A woman I very much looked up to and a woman who inspired me, in large part, to start writing. The great benefit of writers is that we live on, in the hearts and minds of people who were not even part of our lives during our lifetime.
Now, I am in no way saying I am anything remotely like Ms Angelou, but we all need heroes to look up to and to inspire us, to keep us searching for the greatness within, to inspire us to leave some sort of mark in the world. If I have helped even one person, in whatever small way with my writing, then I would have accomplished more than I set out to.

My most recent blog post was about me, as this entire blog is and for that I was labelled a narcissist. Ben Trovato (one of my ALL time favourite writers who writes a vast amount about himself) will tell you in his new book, that writers are indeed glory mongers who yearn for recognition and this is true in varying degrees. I write to understand myself, not anyone else. If this makes me narcissist, then so be it.

I am attempting to learn from my past mistakes and free myself from the bondage of my past. I have attempted to be unendingly honest and have achieved this in greater degrees than I ever thought I could. This is partly because I write under a pseudonym. There are some people that know who I am and it has backfired somewhat. I recently had some unwanted attention from people I have previously said goodbye to.

This particular person viewed my blog 75 times in one day and then took the time to create 2 email addresses and pen some hate mail from both.
I think we can all agree I made the right decision. Another decision, that of leaving my ex-husband (and certain members of his family) was also the right choice–not that it needed verification but it helps. I have discovered that the ex-family have been reading my blog and one particular member of the family has taken it upon herself to send diatribes about how I should stop writing, change my name back to my maiden name and ‘move on with some dignity’.

Why, if you care so little about me, are you in the least bit concerned with what I have to say especially in light of the fact that no real names were mentioned? More than three years after the fact, you are still harbouring resentment and bitterness that I kept my married surname? It honestly, never bothered me enough to change it back.

While trying to make sense of my past and myself I have tried to focus on what I am able to learn and how I can grow from my mistakes. When you have someone try to contact you through fake email addresses on your blog and level insults at you, you can react in one of two ways; you can get upset or you can deal with it properly. My process is writing about it and so this is how I deal with it. In times gone past I was borderline cruel when I felt hurt (it was a self defence mechanism) and have come to realise on this journey how utterly unnecessary that treatment of other people is. You cannot hurt someone back and expect to come out clean because when you sling mud, you always get some on yourself.

I need to make room for the proverbial light and the healing, something Ms Angelou showed us time and again. Such great capacity for love and healing comes from one place – Christ and this is where I choose to take my example from. I have not reacted in typical ‘me’ fashion. I have remained silent, choosing to analyse how it makes me feel and yes, writing about it and sorting through it. I can tell you that for a moment, it made me feel like the little girl at school all those years ago who was being called names but unlike her, I did not feel helpless.

In years gone past I would have risen to the bait and unleashed a vitriolic diatribe of my own, letting that person know exactly what I thought of their ill-concluded judgements. People who know me will not understand my silence and that in itself is empowering.
Not giving them what they so desperately crave: a reaction.

Today I choose to put aside those feelings of shame, embarrassment and anger and move forward, leaving them behind. I choose, like Ms Angelou to rise above it and finally realise that my self-worth and value is not founded in their approval in the least. I do not need to be vindicated in their eyes and this has been the most liberating and freeing part of this journey. I have spent too much time carrying hurt and bitterness with me and it stops here.

I am free. I am free from the resentment, the anger and the bitterness and I am walking away with vastly more dignity and self respect than I have been credited with.

To anyone reading this who has been bullied, I refer you to some more Maya Angelou wisdom: “One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, is forgiveness”

Forgive and move on, because living well is the greatest revenge there is.

Thank you for reading.

 

I Beg Your Pardon, “Friend”.

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It’s been a few years now since I sat down and gave myself a critical pep talk.
The time had come to take stock, admit my mistakes and grow because frankly, the alternative was beating my head up against the same wall indefinitely. Hardly attractive because I bruise easily and I have a low pain threshold.

I am the first person to admit I can come across as abrasive. I am often more concerned with truth and fact than I am with someone else’s emotions. It’s not that I don’t care, let’s separate those two issues because they are not the same thing. If I care about you and I call you friend I will endeavor to be honest with you and I expect the same in return.

The pure and simple fact however, is that there are many people who claim to want honesty but when they are presented with it and it doesn’t fit into their neat little box, they dismiss it faster than you can say “bullshit”.
They will also turn you into an emotional pirate who has no feelings and is unnecessarily mean.
If you believe that I am a mean person, you have absolutely no business calling yourself my friend. I have recently had to purge more people from my life because of their utter ignorance of who I am – partly because they are, if I am being frank, selfish. Which is not to say that they cannot be kind or have not been kind, because I have witnessed great acts of kindness from them both to me and others.
I say selfish because while they profess to be friend, they are infinitely more concerned with what they can get from me or how I can support them emotionally, than actually getting to know me and understand who I am and why I say and do the things I do. If you make little to no attempt to understand someone’s motivations they will never make sense to you. This is fine if you ignore what doesn’t make sense to you. If you are not the type to just let it slide over you and you choose to assume the worst and then call me on it, you will come up against the warrior in me and depending directly on how confrontational you are, I will be equally as brutal. The side of me who is concerned more with being clearly understood than not hurting your misdirected feelings will seem to you merciless.
Because I am factual first and sympathetic second, people will see my swift and logical dissemination of inaccuracies as hurtful. I am not responsible for this, you decide how you react to the external stimuli in the world and you need to take ownership of that. I am not trying to be bombastic and I am certainly not trying to be hurtful, perception is how you see things, it is not necessarily reality.

If you can look objectively at the facts and keep an honest dialogue open, you will see the massive expanse of my emotional and empathetic core. If you step into that arena and are comfortable with–yes, what can feel like brutal honesty sometimes–you will be rewarded with one of, if not the most faithful and true friend who will love and support you, unconditionally. One who will self sacrifice often in the right environment because my ultimate happiness rests in my relationships.
If however, you cannot step into that arena; it will seem like a harsh battlefield, you will be unable to sustain that level of emotional upheaval and you will one day lay down the gauntlet, whether consciously or not and set your feet on the path to ruin.
It will be painful and swift but more importantly, it will be final.

I say this because when I did not understand myself properly, I was the one who was in constant emotional upheaval and distress, trying desperately to please everyone around me with skant regard for how I was emptying out my entire self and getting very little back.
It got to the stage where I was of no good to anyone, least of all myself. When I realized that, I had to pull back from the emotional vampires around me who were shocked and horrified that I had seemingly ‘stopped caring and being supportive’. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard those words. It took me a lot of time (and therapy) to understand what was going on, why I was feeling the way I was and that I had to cut the emotional vampires out of my life completely. I liken it to the difference between being ‘dry’ and being ‘sober’. If you give some people an inch they will always take a mile because they are inherently selfish.

It is therefore, no small wonder that I have a very small group of exceptional women in my life who are caring, generous of heart and spirit, truth seeking warriors that I call friends. Women who love, support and truly understand me.

This is difficult for some people because they themselves are often in crisis and in need of support. From extra marital affairs to substance or alcohol abuse or eating disorders, those people are not honest with themselves and cannot bear the weight of my honesty as a result. They want my emotional support and buoyancy in rough seas without wanting to swim against the current of their own denial and resolve it. They want the empath in the ditch with them.

It is no small wonder that these relationships disintegrate. Despite the fact that I had to remove them from my life I carry them with me each day. I feel the presence of each of them and the loss weighs on me but I respect myself too much to allow people to take more than they are willing to give back.
It has taken me years, heart wrenching pain, oceans of tears, a failed marriage and the breakdown of a few friendships to reach this place and I will not allow anyone to unpick the work I have invested into becoming the best version of myself that I can be, endeavoring to learn how to be more gentle than I was yesterday.

Thank you for reading.