Tag Archives: family

I am So Sorry

Sometimes I feel like you left because you were bored and restless.

I feel like you left because you were unsatisfied with our marriage, our family, and your place within the life you and I had created together. I don’t think you wanted the responsibility of having a family or a mortgage. I believe that you wanted your bachelorhood back, you wanted to be single again, because the life we had created together felt stifling. You felt trapped; and you wanted to get the fuck away from me and my addled brain. 

When I feel the devastation as I wake up on Thanksgiving this morning (or any holiday), my brain automatically goes straight to the happy memories. It goes to the space left in my heart where the man I used to love lives. Where the family that meant everything to me still resides, and always will. And it hurts. It wrecks me. At least it used to. I know now that a trip down memory lane is not a place that I want to visit. It is not a place I need to dwell on. It is a land of fairy tales and happiness; hope and longing. It isn’t real.

A part of me continues to question whether it ever was.

In this moment, I want you to know that I am sorry. I am so so sorry. For not choosing you or us. For only seeing my life with you as a part of something bigger; our kids and our family. But there we were, you and I, the most important part of that equation, and we stopped choosing each other. Instead, we chose resentment, complicity, boredom, stagnancy, denial (heaps and heaps of denial). We chose the kids; not each other. We ignored the not-so-invisible monster in the room. The huge beast that was sitting there screaming at us: “Watch out!!! This is getting closer and closer to dangerous territory! Neither of you are happy!! It is time to stop ignoring that!!”

But we didn’t stop. We kept trudging along. We kept marching to the beat of someone else’s drum; society’s drum. We were caught on the relationship escalator and we didn’t know how to get off until it was too late. The escalator broke down and chucked us the fuck off. And now, here we are. Living lives that are separate and apart; we are no longer a couple.

And sometimes that hurts. A lot.

But I know, deep in my heart, that we are both happier. More satisfied. More alive and awake and aware. And we have these new lives to navigate. New horizons and paths to choose. And perhaps one day I will meet someone and we will look at each other the way you and I used to look at each other. And when that happens (or doesn’t), I will make sure that I choose them Every. Single. Day. Because I don’t want to wake up a year from then, or five years from then, and realize I was making the same mistakes I made with you.

I am so so sorry.

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Birthday Thoughts

Today is my 43rd birthday.

One year ago today, I wrote my first blog post. I was so distraught and so completely rocked with grief and emotion, my head and heart felt like they were exploding. I was working through SO MUCH and I needed an outlet. So, I bought a laptop, and I started writing. Straight from my heart, straight from my gut. All of my hurt and my pain came pouring out of me. And, one year later, I have this amazing written history of my life and my struggles and my victories and most importantly, my progress.

This post was originally going to be about all of the things I have learned about myself this past year – a victory post. And yes, I have come a long way; from literally hitting rock bottom (at least a dozen times) to squaring off with my demons and winning. I have come to understand myself more than I ever thought possible. I am beginning to believe that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that light belongs to me and no one else.

I am the creator of that energy, that power, that resilience.

But in this moment, right now, I am so completely overwhelmed with gratitude. It feels like it is choking me; I am surrounded by LOVE. I am literally being flooded with it as my community, my tribe, my friends, my family, send me messages of “happy birthday”. A year ago, I did not know that I had a family of friends waiting for me. A group of people who would love me and lift me up and catch me when I fell. A literal tribe of friends who have my back completely.

I felt so alone.

So, here I am, sitting in my bed once again, crying on my birthday. But the tears are different this time. They are tears of disbelief, wonder, thankfulness, joy, and love. I can say with certainty that I love my life. I love my children, my family, and my friends. And most importantly, I am finding a love for myself that is deep and profound and never ending.

I have a new tattoo – it is a phoenix on fire. I had no idea that a year ago I had predicted that I would be okay; that I was a phoenix. But I am; I absolutely am. I am rising from these fucking ashes and reclaiming my power.

Accepting love, feeling love, and exploding with a disbelief and a certainty that I am okay.

My post from a year ago:

Today is my 42nd birthday.

I woke up all alone in my bed. All alone in my house. There should be laughter and chatter and people and love, but its empty, and my life feels empty as a result.

My husband moved out this past October – taking some space. My kids are with me half as much as they were just five short weeks ago. I did not choose this. I did not want to have a life without my family intact.

I opt out. I choose happiness over this shit storm of uncertainty and heartache. I want my goddamn family back. I want my husband back. Not the asshole who hurt me time and again. Not the one who betrayed my trust and my heart over and over. Not the man who lashed out and said damaging, hurtful things. Not the man who shamed and blamed me. Not the man who fell in love with a 30-year-old who lives in a fucking van. Not that man.

I want the man I spent the last 16 years building a life and a family with. The man who had my back at every turn. The father of my children. The man who laughed with me and looked at me with awe, care, and compassion. The man who adored me, who loved me, who would never have given up on me.

And now? I am invisible, unworthy, and forgotten. I am supposed to be someone I cannot be and I am stuck.

Or maybe, this is not the case at all. Maybe this is an opportunity. Maybe this is a beginning, a chance, a new hope, a new start. A new life. One where I learn to roar and soar and be the most amazing version of myself there is.

Perhaps I will grow, change, and step out of this shell that has bound me to others, to my husband, to my children. I have been leaking out the very essence of myself, for what feels like forever. I have been losing what I needed the most.

ME.

Maybe this is the new life I always needed (and possibly wanted) without ever consciously knowing it. I will find my path; it is infinite, open, and endless with possibility. I am strong, I am empowered, I am fierce. I am the Phoenix and I will rise from these ashes. I will cry out and soar above all of this shit. There will be no stopping the invincible self that lies within me; that has always been within me. My strength, my inner fire; they are there, alive within me, and on their way out.

Step out of my way. I am beginning to roar.

Relationship Addiction

Hi.

My name is Amy and I am a relationship addict.

Yes, it is a thing. A very real and very debilitating thing.

From Ann Smith via Psychology Today:

The relationship addict experiences intense “abandonment anxiety”. This anxiety triggers panic, low self worth, feelings of emptiness, isolation, and possibly depression. The addict may believe they are worthless without their partner. They almost always feel unbearable emptiness. Love addiction is a compulsive, chronic craving and/or pursuit of romantic love in an effort to get our sense of security and worth from another person. The causes of love addiction are fairly easy to identify: inadequate or inconsistent nurturing, low self esteem, absence of positive role models for committed relationships, and indoctrination with cultural images of perfect romantic love and happily ever after endings.

It dawned on me as I said goodbye to the last relationship I was in, just a week or so ago, that something wasn’t right with the way I was reacting to the loss. Something felt off, so I did what I do best, I did some investigative work on myself and my behavior. I took a look back at my actions with this person, within the relationship, and found myself kind of disgusted. I wasn’t necessarily shocked to discover that nothing about my behavior had been healthy or ‘normal’, just kind of disappointed. It was a realization that I didn’t want to make or admit.

But deep down, I knew that it was time to deal with it.

Finally.

I am addicted to love.

I was a rollercoaster of emotion and anxiety during my last relationship (something I thought was just me, in addition to my current grief over the divorce). I thought my explosive (head-over-heels love) and intense emotion was fueled by love and my big, huge heart. But, my anxiety would be more pronounced when I wouldn’t hear from him for longer than a few hours or, god forbid, an entire day. I would feel nothing short of despondent; panicky. And when his feelings didn’t seem to match my own in intensity or explosiveness, I got even more anxious and more emotional. It was exhausting. I have no idea why he put up with me.

Since we have said our respective goodbyes, I have been an anxious wreck. Mornings seem to be the hardest. I wake up, and without that good morning check-in fix, I feel anxious, undone, and completely alone.

To be perfectly honest, I feel terrified. But of what, I have no idea (a fact that is really pissing me off). I am home alone right now and literally just screamed to no one: “What the fuck are you so afraid of?!” And promptly burst into tears. Sigh.

I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, hard, uphill battle.

I have been this way for as long as I can remember. Ever since boys noticed me in the 8th grade (and I noticed them back). I suspect that the behavior took root because I grew up in a home without a father and had an emotionally distant mother who I didn’t easily connect with. I watched my father die and never had a male role model. After his death, my mother relied on me to be the other parent in the household. I was 9. Perhaps, as a result, I was left with a void, a hole, severely low self-esteem, and a debilitating fear of abandonment.

From http://www.loveaddictiontreatment.com:

Love (and relationship) addicts are terrified of abandonment. They rely on others to fulfill them, and to make them feel happy and whole. Without their love object, they feel worthless and incomplete. This is often due to a lack of love and nurturing from their primary caregivers while growing up. The abandonment they experienced may have been emotional (i.e. – their parents were physically present but emotionally detached), or physical – one or both of their parents left, died, was ill, or absent much of the time.

Perhaps my childhood ended at age 9? I am almost 43. That is 34 years of emptiness. Holy crap.

*shudder*

From what I have read, true love addiction is less about the search for love and more about finding a way to control tough emotions. Going from one relationship to another without any room for grieving, mourning, or processing through a previous loss means getting to avoid feeling those tough emotions. I thought I had a failsafe way to avoid dealing with my father’s death and subsequent abandonment shit when I married my first husband.

But that relationship didn’t satisfy me, so I found another more exciting guy and married him. We lasted 16 years. I thought I would be safe forever; we had 2 kids! That meant commitment – a guarantee, a promise, right?

Holy shit. NO.

When my second marriage failed, I had no choice but to deal with the grief from my father’s death (finally) which came back in one giant terrifying matzoh ball of horror. When that train wreck came, in addition to grieving my marriage and my family, it is no surprise that I ended up in the hospital.

But wait, I didn’t I really have to deal with any of it, did I? After I got out of the hospital, my subconscious knew just what to do. I did what I had always done when a relationship ended or seemed unsatisfying. I jumped right back into online dating and I hopped right into a new romance. Surely this new and exciting person would save me and help me feel better and I would be happy?!

Again, holy shit. NO.

Since the split a year ago, I have had 3 relatively serious, sexually intimate relationships. When each one ended, I broke all over again. They were unhealthy relationships (though I didn’t think so or realize it at the time) as they were a means of getting that love ‘fix’ and avoiding the big, huge, debilitating emotions that accompany being alone (for me). I was still hiding from my demons; my inability to feel whole, complete, or satisfied with who I am as a person without that constant need for external validation. Seeking internal validation from external sources for most of my life has done so much damage I really don’t know where to begin picking up the pieces.

For me, being alone feels like I am dying. And right now, in this moment, I feel like I am dying. The longest I have ever been single was a mere few weeks when I was 19 years old. It was during that time period that I had a suicide attempt. That is how scary it felt then. It feels just as scary now but thankfully, I am 42 and have 2 beautiful children that anchor me to this world.

I know that this realization/admission is huge. I know I am on the right path and acknowledging my underlying behaviors and motivations has felt very scary but also very empowering.

Life and love feel like this big ball of tangled up shit that I have to finally sit down with, examine, and sort through. On my own. My goal is to be single for 6 months.

That is not until April. Gulp.

Am I scared? Hell yes. I am completely terrified.

I have been leaking out my power and my essence and my very self all over the damn place. It stops now.

It is time for me to go and find all of my missing pieces. And put myself back together.

I am Rebuilding Amy.

 

 

Resources on love and relationship addiction for you:

http://www.loveaddictiontreatment.com/the-roots-of-love-addiction/

http://loveaddicts.org/40questions.html

The Seasons Change (but sometimes we get stuck)

I was in my yard the other day and there were leaves on the ground – not on the trees where they SHOULD be; all green and perky, glinting with dappled sunshine. The leaves I saw were brown and crunchy; shriveled and dead, pathetic. I internally shuddered.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love fall. The colors, the smells, the crisp, clear air, the cozy feeling of sweaters and jeans and boots. But fall means one thing:

WINTER IS COMING.

I can’t talk about winter without saying things like; I don’t like winter! I don’t like feeling cold! I don’t like the lack of sunshine and daylight! I don’t like the feeling of being trapped inside and feeling isolated! I do not like snow!

But this post really isn’t about any of those things.

It is about this: The seasons are changing and time keeps moving right along; life is passing by. Fall is this epic shift of letting go, and change, and new beginnings. Death makes way for new life.

And life is flowing all around me – it keeps marching on, but fuck! I feel so anchored to where I am. Days are turning into weeks, weeks into months, and months into seasons.

I am standing still.

It has been almost a year since my husband left. One trip around the sun. Time feels like it’s in some sort of warp. I feel like he left last week. A year?! It just doesn’t feel real.

But it is.

The world keeps turning and I am standing still, feeling completely and absolutely STUCK.

I am stuck inside of my grief, and my hurt, and my heartache. I cannot shake them. Yes, I’ve made lots of progress, but there are still some days where I am literally rocked to my core with pain.

And all around me, life goes on.

Winter is coming.

My kids are doing as well as they can with their new life; split between the 2 people they love most in this world. They spend half the week with their dad and half the week with me. Of course they want their family back, but they are really happy and they are thriving. I imagine that my ex must be happy too. He has everything he ever wanted. He told me once that he is happier than he ever has been in his life.

And me? I am still struggling. Still aching for that family I want back. I am sitting in an empty house filled with ghosts, memories, and lost dreams. A future that will never come to pass. It is a life that is no longer real. It was the future I was counting on.

There are no guarantees.

I think this is just the rollercoaster that is grief. I think, perhaps, that this is what I am supposed to be doing. Feeling my feelings and moving through the pain and the trauma. Perhaps I am not actually stuck but just slowed waaaaaaaay down.

If it were possible, I would curl up into an emotional chrysalis, and hibernate right through fall, straight on through winter, and wake up when it was spring. I would bypass the rest of this so-called ‘grieving process‘ and skip to the end where I emerge from my chrysalis as a beautiful fucking butterfly.

But winter is coming.

And I have no choice but to go along for the ride.

 

Fuck. Yes.

Some of you might have already read, or heard about, Marc Manson’s blog post entitled, Fuck Yes or No. In it, he talks about radical and enthusiastic consent (albeit in a frustratingly heteronormative way). His take home message is a good one though:

Don’t choose someone or something in your life if the answer isn’t a resounding, “FUCK YES!”.

I want to surround myself with “FUCK YES!” from this point forward. Somewhat ironically, I think the key to this lies in the ability to say “FUCK NO!” and mean it.

This concept makes so much sense to me after this last year of saying ‘yes’ when I most definitely should have said ‘no’. I allowed people into my heart and into my life who really did not deserve to be there. I continually put my needs in the proverbial backseat just to fill a deep void within myself. I was so paralyzed by my fear of abandonment and my complete lack of identity outside of my role as a wife and a mother, I chose to be invisible. It wasn’t an intentional choice. At the time it was the safest choice, and because of that, it became my only choice.

My heart breaks for the person I was last year. It hurts to think about all of the ways in which I leaked myself out to everyone else. Leaving nothing of any substance behind. I want to scoop that person up into my arms and snuggle the shit out of her. I was so lost and so confused and trying so hard to please everyone else that I lost myself completely.

I am not the same person I was last year. And this is a REALLY GOOD THING.

Let’s talk about Boundaries!

We all need boundaries. Saying ‘no’ is so vitally important. ‘No’ to relationships that do not meet our needs, saying ‘no’ to overextending ourselves at work, or at home, or with complicated matters of the heart. Setting boundaries as a means of separating your emotions from others, and recognizing that your feelings belong to you and no one else, and vice versa, is huge. This is big work, people!

When we set clear boundaries with ourselves and with others, we are further developing our sense of self. If I say ‘no’ to someone, to a relationship that doesn’t serve me, I am exercising that part of myself that leads to empowerment and a clearer sense of who I am and what I want. I am flexing those mental and psychological muscles that perpetuate a confidence within me that reinforce this fact: even when boundaries feel scary and difficult, they make me stronger in the long run. I am holding onto core truths within myself and acknowledging that my needs, my desires, and my path matter more than literally anyone else. It is not selfish, narcissistic, or cruel.

It is vital.

I am setting boundaries with people; with relationships. I am setting boundaries with my children! Society sends this really fucked up message that once you have children, your needs take a backseat to theirs (this is especially true of mothers). I call BULLSHIT! Separating yourself from your role as a mother or a father is paramount and deserves a blog post all to itself (next time).

I am not settling for anything less than what I want. I am doing my utmost to stay in integrity with myself. This is REALLY HARD WORK; to say goodbye to people and connections that feel so good. Admitting the hard truth, that ultimately, these relationships will not serve me. It hurts! Saying no, letting go, drawing lines in the imaginary sand, feeling like I am letting people down if I don’t say ‘yes’, all the time, to everyone and everything.

I am an empath, a mother, a nurturer, an INFJ, and it goes against every fiber of my being to say ‘no’ to anyone. My tendency to leak myself out into the ether is so strong I am constantly checking in with myself. I want to help people be their best selves and discover who they have the potential to become. And this is so incredibly dangerous for me, my heart, and my relationships with people.

At some point, someone will say a resounding FUCK YES! to me. Until then,

I am only responsible for myself.

And I cannot save the damn world.

 

The Guilt of Divorce.

Two days ago I told my ex that I wished our children had never been born.

And in that moment, I meant it.

Let me be very clear – I LOVE MY CHILDREN. They are amazing; kind, smart, loving, and a pain in the ass when they want to be. I grew them for fuck’s sake! I adore them. I really do. But sometimes, there is a resentment and a confusion around parenting that creeps in, and the guilt that goes along with this is nothing short of horrific.

So, in that awful moment, as I sobbed my way to work, I was thinking that maybe my life would be somehow easier without them.

Erase the children, erase the guilt.

Wishing my children would disappear is a selfish thought born of denial and insecurity. It’s me, projecting my sense of self-worth onto 2 people who didn’t do a damn thing to deserve this. This divorce, this hurt, this major shit-show of a broken childhood. Any of it.

(It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault).

I know that I feel this way at times because the single hardest thing for me to deal with as far as this divorce and my ‘new trajectory‘ goes, is the bone deep guilt I feel over breaking my kids’ hearts. I do not know how to settle this within myself. Sure, I see them, and they are happy and thriving. They are still their silly selves and the acute trauma from last fall after their dad left has eased.

But my guilt remains; steadfast, not budging, in my heart and in my gut. It makes me feel physically ill. All I EVER WANTED was an intact family. I never had that as a child. And now my kids won’t have that either.

My inner 9-year-old is hurting badly. Again. It’s grief. I am grieving as a wife, as a mother, and as a little girl who thought she had the life she always wanted. Jesus. That is a lot. No wonder this is lingering.

When they are with me, there is a constant unspoken reminder of a missing piece. I feel off-balance, off kilter, and longing for the family unit that we once were. I struggle to be present with them because they are a constant reminder of my own shit. My hurt, my loss, my guilt, my confusion. When they aren’t with me, I can ignore that. Do my own very, single thing.

I am redefining my life. I am rediscovering who I am. I am trying to rebuild my self outside of my role as a mother. I got swallowed alive by that role. And I harbor resentment toward my kids because of that. Again, not their fault.

When I feel as though I wish that they had never been born, I am also struggling with this fear that no one will love me if I have 2 nearly grown kids. We are a package deal and that is not for everyone. I am responsible for 2 human beings aside from myself. Who wants to take that on?

Sometimes I can barely take care of myself.

If they didn’t exist, I could feel my feelings and my hurt and my upset whenever I wanted to; whenever I needed to. When I have them, if I am struggling emotionally, I have to push my feelings down as I don’t want them to worry about their mom. I have a ‘game face’ – everything is sunshine and happiness when they are with me and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to sustain that. Do I show my emotions to them? Of course I do! I just can’t share the depth of those emotions during the times when the hurt and the fear and the ache is so primal it brings me to my knees.

No one sees that. That is mine and mine alone.

Okay, enough of this shit.

I want to tell you about my kids.

Sam is 9. He struggles with anxiety and his own sense of self-worth. He is an amazingly smart kid and loves with a sensible caution. He is a an introvert and a highly sensitive person. He loves bugs, Pokemon, reading, and his family. His laugh is infectious and when he gets going, we are usually laughing at him laughing than whatever made us laugh in the first place. He doesn’t like to cry and he has a hard time feeling his feelings. I worry about him. A lot. He looks just like his dad.

Ellie is 7 (soon to be 8). She is an empath and has a huge heart. I am constantly amazed at the depth and clarity with which she is able to express herself. She is a smart, kind, quiet, child. She loves with a reckless abandon and has a dry wit and silly sense of humor. She is a fierce friend and hero-worships her older brother but also stands up to him with a newfound confidence I am thrilled to see. She looks a lot like me.

I cannot imagine my life without them. Their love, their hugs, their laughter and their tears.

I own this resentment and this guilt, hurt, heartache, and confusion. It is mine and mine alone. And I will beat it just as I have beat the other shit that comes up.

One day at a time.

Age. Apparently, It’s a Thing.

I am finally acknowledging something that hurts to admit.

My age is starting to bug me. It is becoming a ‘thing’ my mind keeps coming back to. And per usual, I need to pay some attention to these thoughts; to process through them and make sense of the acute physical distress they are currently causing me.

I didn’t mind growing older until now. Age made no difference! I had a husband and a family. I had my partner in life and in love; we were growing old together! That was the plan, god damnit! Now that I seem to be growing old alone, I feel sick to my stomach about what this means. I constantly feel the pressure of time; and I feel as though it is running out.

I can’t explain why, but I feel terrified and alone and scared. This is causing me distress and the fact that it is causing me distress is pissing me off. Royally.

Get it together Amy!

I don’t want to feel old. I don’t want age to be a ‘thing’ but fuck, it is and I cannot ignore it any longer.

I have no idea why it is that I seem to keep connecting with people who are 10-15 years younger than I am. I am one of the older people in many of these new social circles I seem to gravitate toward. I am starting to feel self-conscious, a new feeling for me. Is it because I am in this new ‘adolescent’ stage in my life? I am literally rediscovering who I am and where I fit into the world, and this has me out and about, meeting new people all the damn time. But why should it matter what age these new friends are?

I suppose that most people my age have families and marriages and lives that involve family stuff. I don’t have that any more (that fact still hurts like a mother fucker). But at the same time, I don’t want that. I don’t want that life of complacency or stagnation. I don’t ever want to stop learning, growing, or playing. That doesn’t seem like really living to me.

At all.

I want adventure and laughter and new experiences. I want a partner in life and love. Explosive love! Unhinged, unabashed, unfiltered LOVE. Bring it.

(And yet, don’t. Because I am scared shitless of getting hurt again).

I seem to like younger men and society dictates that I am a ‘cougar’ because of this. I do not like that label. Actually, I fucking hate it. It is disgusting and rampantly sexist. Being called a so-called ‘cougar’ takes away from who I am as a fucking HUMAN BEING. I am a woman, and my age or my status in life should not be what define me. Sure, those things make up an integral part of who I am, but I am much more than that ridiculous label would imply.

I don’t like being called a MILF either. Aside from the gazillion reasons this label is offensive, I know exactly why it irks me. Being referred to as a so-called ‘mother-I’d-like-to-fuck’ defines me in terms of my physical self and also in regard to my kids. I am literally in the process of clawing my way back to myself outside of that role. It has taken a momentous amount of energy to untangle those cords that bind me to my children.

Labels such as these make me feel ashamed and embarrassed – like there is something wrong with me. Age doesn’t matter! (That is what I tell myself, constantly). A connection is a connection regardless of how old I am or how old someone else is. But I can feel myself silently snickering – laughing behind my back so to speak. This older woman hanging out with much younger people. It turns my stomach and makes me feel like some hopeless loser chasing something that doesn’t exist. A life that isn’t for me. I feel separate; like an outside observer.

I am also endlessly running in circles trying to figure out my path as far as all of this romantic/love shit goes. I am drawn to real, genuine, honest people who are doing the hard work of knowing themselves and working on themselves. It doesn’t matter if they are 27 or 37. At this point in my life, I can recognize a meaningful connection within the first 5 minutes of being near someone. I have come to understand that I am a highly intuitive person with a gift for connecting with people. My heart is huge and I am still trying to be ok with this – to celebrate it instead of curse it as I get hurt again and again.

This post isn’t going to end with something uplifting or happy.

I can’t bring that to you today and for that, I am sorry.

When I sit, and give all of these nagging thoughts about age and time a voice, I feel like an old lady. I feel used up, beat up, like a weirdo with kids and a life of responsibility. I feel like I’ve lost an entire decade of my life. My marriage feels like it was a joke. Resentment toward my children rears its ugly head and I feel a loss so deep I feel scared I will never be able to move past it.

Big, deep sigh.