I have been thinking a lot about judgement.
Judgment of thoughts, feelings, and emotions, to be specific. Over the course of the past few months I have noticed that I have the tendency to judge my thoughts and emotions and this is an automatic thing – a learned response. I question everything that I think and feel (is this right? No, I shouldn’t be feeling this way) and I believe that this is because the man who I had lived with for the last 16 years was in charge of my emotions and, to some degree, my thoughts too.
Scary, isn’t it?
I know with certainty that neither of us realized that this was the case. It wasn’t our intention to leave me completely devoid of any ability to ascertain what the hell was going on in my mind or in my heart. But having trauma leaves you with this inability to access your emotions and your basic feelings because you become completely adept at ignoring them and packing them away. I remember sitting in bed with my ex and him asking me, “How are you feeling?” to which I replied, “Tired”. And he said, “Aim, that is not a feeling”. After he pointed that out to me, I honestly could not answer his question. I had no idea how I was feeling in that moment. Not feeling is a coping mechanism that gives you the false sense that life will be easier to manage if you ignore your emotions. Avoidance is paramount because no one who has dealt with trauma wants to stare those scary feelings in the ‘face’.
For me, it was vital that my husband help me to regulate my feelings when they felt out of control. When I would get triggered and become emotionally unstable, I would look to him for support. He was the one who would help me feel better, gain control, and feel safe and secure (all anyone with trauma really wants and needs).
But then things shifted. Last summer, he began to untangle his emotions from mine. He began to separate his being and his person from me. And I panicked. Though, at the time, I did not understand why.
Enter in his resentment coupled with my confusion, hurt, and longing for support, and we were faced with a huge and awful mess. He realized that there was a freedom and a life outside of the neediness that I continually displayed. What I have realized and accepted is that yes, I was needy. Yes, I was completely dependent. BUT the fact that he bailed on me when I was broken and at rock bottom is, in my opinion, unforgivable. Of course, there were ways we could have handled things better, differently.
But that takes two people. Not one.
And now, these past few months, as I learn to separate my emotional self from him, I am left with these confusing feelings and thoughts and my automatic judgement around them. Part of the confusion is the gaslighting that most definitely occurred last year. He would tell me that my perspective was WRONG. My feelings were WRONG. My story was WRONG. And the most hurtful part – he told me time and again what a ‘fuck up’ I was and how ‘crazy’ and ‘psycho’ I was.
Every single time the person who supposedly loves you most in this world says things meant to break you, you break. Little by little, piece by piece. Until you decide that you are done being broken and you realize you are sitting in a pile of your own rubble. I believed him when he would say those things to me. ‘Holy shit’, I would think; ‘I am crazy and psycho and a fuck up’. ‘I can’t do anything right’. ‘I am at fault’. ‘My blog (this blog!) is self-indulgent and absurd bullshit’.
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
I fell for the gaslighting every single damn time until one day I didn’t. I started to hang up the phone when he would scream at me; ‘Grow up! You are acting like you are entitled!’ (to his money when I couldn’t find a job). I have begun to delete his long texts when I know now that all they are going to do is hurt me. I delete them without even reading them now. I am creating a safe space for my heart and my feelings. Because my feelings ARE valid and they ARE real and if I am angry I have every right to be angry. If I am sad and lying on the kitchen floor sobbing, then that is exactly what I need to be doing in that moment.
People tend to be uncomfortable with emotions.
Put on your armor!
Pull on your big girl panties!
Well, I say NO. I am entitled to feel my shit no matter what my ex or anyone else may think or say about it. I am done questioning myself with the ‘why?’ or the ‘is this right?’. I am entering into a space of acceptance and acknowledgement. No one is in charge of my emotions but me. There is a freedom and a deep love of self that has accompanied this realization. I get to feel my feelings and I get to choose who I let into my life and into my heart.
Because I am absolutely worth it.
And this friends, is the best thing so far to come out of the hell that is this divorce.
I Have Come to the Conclusion
I have come to the conclusion
that when we fall in love
we really fall in love with ourselves–
that we choose particular people
because they provide
the particular mirrors
in which we wish to see.
And when did you discover
this surprising bit of knowledge?
After I had broken a few
very fine mirrors