Self Worth

Maybe it is because I am exhausted from the move, sleep deprived from getting used to a old-new home, or because I have been more or less sick for two and a half weeks now, but I am having a hard time feeling like I deserve all the good things I have and the wonderful people in my life. In my head I ask myself, What the hell did I ever do to deserve so much love and support? I have had to lean on my partner and the help of AA friends and family so much lately that I feel like a leech. The move has been stressful, and I use humor to try and diffuse any tension arising from it. I hope my partner knows just how much I really am grateful for all his help.

I don’t feel like I deserve all this. Granted, I am living in a two bedroom condo with two adults, my son, and four cats, but I have a place to live. My mother has company for the first time in almost 7 years; good company in who knows how long. I get the chance to make up for being a shitty person in the past to her. My son gets to live with another person who loves him, in a great school district, and so far, all the cats are transitioning flawlessly. My partner has done so much; moving, running around, dropping this off, picking this up, being there for my son, my mother, and me in so many ways. I just don’t even know how to being to repay him. I hope this move turns out to be as beneficial for him as it does for everyone else. I hope we all grow and benefit mutually, but as I said, I feel lacking in my contribution.

I suppose all that I can do is try to get well and do my best to help everyone move forward. I’m no good to anyone in this state of mind and body. Feeling less than worthy and physically sick really takes it’s a lot out of me. I want to give, help, improve, love, shine, grow, but I feel like all I can manage to do is to survive each day. I need to restore my health and self love so that I can help and show my love as much as I want to. I am hoping that if I can just hang on until Friday (when we close on the condo), I will be able to do just that; rest, restore, and revive my best self so that I can contribute to life as I want to.

Moving On

This summer has flown by. This week is the last full week I will spend in my home of six and a half years. It was never really a home until a couple years ago. I have mixed feelings about leaving. It was a place of extreme misery, fighting, terror, and some of the most traumatic moments of my life. It is also the place I started to heal, where new, real love grew, and it is where our little unconventional family solidified. I learned to strum a chord on the guitar there, watched my child grow from a helpless infant to “Megatron!” stomping out of his bedroom this morning to wake me up to make breakfast. These new memories with the ones I love most make me sad to leave, but I remember the bad memories too.

I remember my heart racing from adrenaline every single time I heard the front door to the condo building open and shut. Terror struck and panicked, I wondered “was it him?” I remember feeling trapped, wishing I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, punching a hole in the wall, denting the dishwasher as I sobbed uncontrollably. I remember knives, police reports, hours and hours of fighting. I remember not knowing how to be loved, relapsing and pushing everyone away because that’s all I knew how to do anymore. I remember that windy summer night, teetering on the edge of the railing of the balcony, wishing I lived on the third floor, because falling from that height wouldn’t kill me. It would just hurt like hell, and I was in enough pain. I remember being physical trapped and chased around the tiny one bedroom condo. I remember staring deep into my eyes in the mirror above the sink and seeing nothing but a dark abyss. I lost myself completely in the depths of a living hell, and somehow found my way back to life.

Change is almost always painful, and I have been so focused on checking things of a long, long list and making sure my son’s transition is as painless as possible; I haven’t really thought about how it is or will impact me. Financially, it is absolutely necessary, positive, and beneficial for us all.

Socially, my mother, partner, son and I get along well, we are close to the little one’s other grandparents and we can walk to his daycare in the middle of a top school district, and both my partner and I are familiar with the area. We are close to stores, highways, and everything a person could need. There are a lot of great AA meetings in the area, and although most of my former friends live nowhere near there anymore, that is probably for the best. I am moving further away from my friend Katrina, but I barely see her anymore. It is further away from former AA friends, but we haven’t kept in touch at our current distance. A few more miles won’t change anything.

Mentally and emotionally for me, this move is a mishmash of weird. When I first moved into this condo with my mother, I didn’t like it at all. We moved from a three story, four bedroom townhouse that my Dad had completely renovated, to this tiny, dark two bedroom condo. I had no friends around and didn’t know the area. I was resentful my mother couldn’t pay for our old place.  She worked all day long after all, why couldn’t she afford it? I regret feeling this way now, of course, but as a young girl I didn’t know any better. I lived in that condo through high school, started my drinking career, fought with my mom, who I felt was overbearing. What teenager doesn’t? I was developing depression and anxiety and setting myself up for dropping out of high school. Somehow, I managed to graduate and vowed to get out of there as soon as physically possible. Which I did, at 19, when I move to Macomb, IL and attended WIU. I partied and got straight A’s. An Honors Scholar, graduating Magna Cum Laude; still I was miserable. I moved home after I graduated and found “house rules” unacceptable. I’m pretty sure I had one too many drunk break up talks with my mother about her being toxic to me, and moved in with my ex-husband parent’s place ten months later. I quickly tired of living in his parent’s mansion of mental dysfunction. I wanted a place of our own. We bought the condo I now live in for the next week back in December 2012.

I am not moving back home as the same person who left. I am sober, I have a child, a loving, beyond supportive partner, and a genuine desire to make a living amends to my mother. I want to work at a strong, healthy financial future for everyone, and utilize this fresh start as a launching pad into the best part or our lives. This may sound like lofty ideals (or just corny), but honestly, I have gone through so much and learn from so many mistakes that I think we really have something good here. Moving back home, improving the condo, helping each other grow, and looking forward to the future is really the point of view I have about this move. Still, change is painful. Some of the most painful changes in my life have turned out to be the best ones. This I know by now. So, moving on…

Making Peace with the Past

I have made many bad decisions in my life and hurt a lot of people I wish I hadn’t. I have had traumatic experiences that I have used as excuses for inexcusable behavior. I have spent money I didn’t have, lied, cheated, stole, wasted time, and jumped from one bad relationship to another. Asking the question, “if you could go back, would you change anything…” is pointless from the get. The past is unchangeable; no matter how much we may wish it to be different or not.

We can try and hide from our past. I certainly don’t like who I used to be; no matter how much I thought I was a “good” person at the time. My past actions make my current self feel sick at times. I used to wake up fearing whatever had happened the previous night, and spent my days running around with anxiety of bumping into someone who knew something I didn’t want someone else to know. The dread of being exposed as a fraud, a fake “good” person only out for my own self interest, was too much to bare, and I self medicated with alcohol to “fix” that feeling. Of course, it only made it worse.

So I don’t hide from my past anymore. I am a flawed, sick, fragile human being making an honest effort to be a better person little by little; day by day. The most, perhaps, obvious use for past mistakes is to learn from them. That seems like a no brainer. However; it is a little more complicated for one plagued with the disease of alcoholism to learn from the past. I am unable to will into my mind with sufficient force the miseries of my past; self knowledge is not enough to enable me to learn from my failures. A complete psychic change is necessary for me to do this and also to continually use my past to help others like me. Though this sounds like a tall order, it really is not. The AA program has it down unarguably, when it comes to helping even the slowest, most defiant learner. The only catch is, I have to want it bad enough.

I can sit and ruminate about all the mistakes I have made, focus on the negative aspects of my life, and wallow in self pity all I want. Nobody cares if I do, and I’m only hurting myself in doing so. But, inevitably, if I do that for too long; I will fall away from my spiritual program. I will stop doing the simple things required of me to maintain my sobriety, and I will wind up drunk. That would hurt people. So I have a duty, not only to myself, but to all the people I care about not to let that happen. I face my past with acceptance and gratitude. I am candid about my horrible decisions with people who may need to hear it or can relate. It was what it was. It is what it is. It is what I do with it now that matters.

Friday, I get to go to my favorite place (in Illinois), and take part in a Japanese lantern ceremony with my two favorite people in the world. I am not focused on the fact my car might get repossessed on Monday. I am not worried how I will pay the mortgage. I have enough money to buy food, gas, pay for insurance, and have lights, water, and AC. I have wonderful people in my life, and with a past like mine, there are very few mistakes I cannot currently avoid. Been there, done that. Let’s do this the right way now. How exciting is that?

Unwelcome

Today my soon to be ex-husband and former abuser gets to “survey” the condo to compile a list of what he believes to be his. My stomach is in knots, and all I can feel at this point is anxiety. I will not be there when he is, but just knowing he will be in my home leaves me feeling violated. There’s no other way of putting it. He is an unwelcome stranger in the place I, for now, call home.

It’s hard to wrap my head around how I used to live with his person. It was misery every single day. I feel like an idiot for being in such deep denial for so long. I don’t even know who that person was anymore. I value myself, my life, and the people I love today. That other person, the person I used to be, lived in fear and constant anxiety. I lived under the control of an abusive narcissist. Isolated by a sociopath, I was too afraid to leave and too miserable to stay. Every second around that person had me tearing myself apart inside. I hated it.

I fought harder than I ever had to get free of that. My home is now my haven. My place of safety and love. A place I share with my partner and my son. A place where we learn and love and cook and laugh. It is not a place for him to be.

Yet here we are. The day has come, and I suspect many more uncomfortable days will follow. I will have to focus on taking care of myself and the people I love. I will try my best not to let this intrusion bother me. He may be able to briefly step into my home, but he may no longer step into my heart. He was banned from there many years ago. Now, it is a fortified place, where only genuine love can dwell.

Honestly, as I am thinking about this, my condo is just a place. My home is elsewhere. I really shouldn’t worry about it, and so I think I won’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unconventional Family

I never saw myself as the motherly type. Kids always annoyed me, and they just seemed disgusting in every single way. Boogers, poop, runny noses, blood curdling crying; that’s all I thought of when I thought of kids. Never mind the fact that both my family and my husband’s family is riddled with mental health and addition issues. I had absolutely no intention of bringing another life in to this messed up world, and I never thought I would have to do it all by myself.

It is true; however, that everything changes when it is your child. I have had every bodily fluid a child can produce on me and my clothes. Not that I enjoyed being crapped on, but it’s more like it doesn’t matter when it’s your child. They are your flesh and blood, and you do anything to take care of them the best you can. Well, at least that was the effect it had on me. My husband, did not have the same transformation. He may have changed 8 diapers in my son’s entire life. He never got up in the middle of the night to help take care of him, and my son never slept through the night until he was almost 2.

Today, I have a partner who feels/felt much the same as I did before I had my son. Despite that, he has been more involved and helpful in my son’s life that his father ever was. He puts him to bed, helps enforce rules and time out, and today he took care of him all day long, and even came along to the pediatrician as my son has a fever. All just so I can go to work. He has NO obligation to this child, and yet he is a better parent than his own father. It blows my mind and makes me unbelievable grateful to have him in our lives.

Neither of us are perfect, and we both have our bad days. Hell, we each have had REALLY bad days, but we never lose each other. Love is always there in our hearts, and my son’s life is so much better for it.

Bottle of Worry

I wonder how much I could have accomplished in my life if I took all that time wasted, worrying, stressed, self medicating, and actually applied myself to doing something positive. I am pretty sure my life would look pretty different. As much as that might sound appealing, I do have an amazing son, I have learned a lot of life lessons, and I have some pretty special people in my life that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Where did all the wasted time and worry come from? I learned from an early age how to worry. My grandmother and my mother were chronic worries and they showed it. This is not to say they aren’t wonderful people. My grandmother practically raised me and I miss her every day. My mother and I haven’t always gotten along, but she is definitely a good person and always there for me when I need her. With that said, there was always a tone of worry in their voices. I used to hate it. I felt like if I ever hinted that something was wrong, I would get a full inquisition. This lead to me be the kind of person who keeps things to myself. I can bottle stress up like a pro, but I also eventually explode in a blaze of mind boggling self destruction. Not healthy…haha.

It is hard now, being in a loving and supportive relationship where I can be open with my partner. I am not used to it, and sometimes I fall back on my old habits of bottling things up. I’m trying to relearn how to live happily and love without fear. It is both extremely freeing and utterly terrifying all at once.

With my ex, the abuser, nothing was discussed on any deep level. We were both very closed off, and something as small as deciding what to eat for dinner usually turned into an all out brawl.  I lived in fear of those fights, so I almost never attempted to talk to him. I learned from the few times I did try, that anything I had to say was taken immediately as a personal attack on him; even if it had NOTHING to do with him.

So, I bottled up my emotions and had many disastrous self destruction events. This did not help the dynamic of our “relationship.” I would have my melt down and then he would forever have more ammo to throw in my face at any given time. He has a file folder in his mind of every little thing I had ever done wrong. It could have happened 6 years ago, but if we fought, it was today’s mud to sling.

It was ugly. Everything about being with that person was ugly. I ignored so many red flags. I blindly trudged down the path I thought I was supposed to follow. Engagement, buying a home, marriage, having a child, etc. I lost friends, I was isolated and miserable, but worst of all, I thought I was completely trapped in this ugly world. I thought I had no choice but to remain in it.

I have a wonderful, caring, insightful counselor these days, but the marriage counselors I saw with my ex seemed to be hell bent on “fixing” the marriage no matter what. As a very skilled sociopath, my ex always seemed to have the sympathies of our counselors. I was just open and honest and came off as “harsh” according to them. Of course I was harsh! I was like a trapped animal doing anything to stay alive. They didn’t see him for what he was. No one did. The only other person to recognize just how dangerous he was is his ex-girlfriend. She contacted me after it was over (for real) and apologized for the part she played in my misery and flat out said he was a master manipulator and hurt a lot of people.

No relationship is perfect, but I am very grateful to have a truly caring, loving, amazing person to share my life with right now. It’s easy to forget how good you’ve got it when you get caught up worrying about all the stressful things going on in your life. Life isn’t ugly, and with the right person, it can be beyond beautiful.