Tag Archives: Change

Speak.

I love my new therapist. For those of you who are in therapy, I highly suggest switching therapists at least every 3 years. A lot of growth and discovery can happen in three years when you’re committed but after that time, it is necessary to have someone else’s strategies, if for no other reason than to shake you out of your comfort zone. I have reluctantly changed therapists three times (and by therapists, I mean the 3 good ones I’ve had). This time, I took a year off and then finally realized that it was time to bite the bullet and “start over.” That is why it took me so long to see someone else – I just could not bear the thought of rehashing my entire life for someone new. I even thought it may be unhealthy for me to do so. Not so! She has an entirely new approach and expertise in areas I didn’t even realize would be relevant for me, such as post traumatic stress. I’ve learned extremely valuable lessons from each of my therapists – but there’s something different about the one I have now. She questions me, which means she’s really listening. She challenges my thinking, which means she’s not afraid to call me on my shit – who doesn’t need to be called on their shit!? NO ONE. The most important thing she has done so far, though, is to validate me in very specific and important ways.

I have come to a place where I tell “my story” as if I’m reading from a script to anyone who will listen. I almost don’t even thing about the events of my life, I just explain them and then ask, “Why am I not over it?” I didn’t have my records transferred to my new therapist because I wanted to start anew, and this was a wise choice. As I am explaining matter-of-factly the huge decision my parents made when I was 15 that I’ve always said forever changed my life, she stopped me and reminded me, “You realize that a decision means they had a choice, don’t you?” My immediate response was “Well, they didn’t really have a choice… my dad would have lost his job if…” She stopped me. “What may or may not have happened with your dad’s job is part of what they had to weigh when making the decision. But regardless of the factors that played into their decision, it was still a choice.” I was somewhat speechless and shocked that I’d never actually believed it was, which had allowed me to pity them and feel guilty for being angry at their decision for so many years. I had to think about it for a few weeks before I could make sense of it. And it seems so simple, doesn’t it?

I started to realize how often my parents, and my entire family for that matter, present scenarios to me as if another choice other than the one they are choosing is just not possible. In fact, every one of these circumstances absolutely do involve the option of a more respectful, less hurtful choice. So, I started to ponder the concept of choice in general. This realization has freed me in a way 200 more therapy sessions of hearing myself talk never ever could have. I’ve told that particular story my therapist heard at least 20 times to various people in my life, therapists and friends alike. Every time I have presented it as a tough situation for my parents in which they had no other choice. Just changing the beginning of the story will now change the way I tell the rest of it. This particular epiphany is quite monumental.

Since I have decided that this new therapy journey I’ve just embarked upon will be the one that heals me apart from my family as well, I have been pushing myself to challenge my self-talk. And, what do you know? I do it too. I make decisions and remain in circumstances as if another choice is simply not an option. “I hate my job but I can’t do anything about it because I have to stay here so my husband has the freedom to change jobs as he wishes because he’s hated his job longer than I have and our benefits are with my job.” Now, it may seem noble of me to make that decision. But I’ve been making that decision A LOT, practically for our entire marriage. I just figured out part of the reason I have such resentment for my husband – because of CHOICES that I have made. It is a choice for me to stay in my job. I have potential that far outreach my day-to-day “duties” and yet I accept that doing anything but collecting that paycheck and those benefits is “impossible.” It’s not impossible. The resentment plays in when I don’t see my husband actively applying himself to looking for a new job as I feel he should. So, he doesn’t spend every waking hour looking for a new job – the longer he spends procrastinating the longer I have to stay in my job, and you see how the tension in my house remains fairly high. What I really need to do is to make a different choice.

A wise friend once told me that taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do, because if you don’t do that, you can’t take care of anyone else. I used to think that was selfish way of thinking – and the reason I felt that was a selfish way to think is in part because I have been surrounded by people who did not take care of themselves my entire life. I was also taught that any attempt to take care of self was, in fact, selfish. I am still being taught that looking out for myself is selfish.

And, here we arrive at the title of this post. This weekend, my parents were to come to town – for their usual 24 hour visit. The details of what occurred aren’t really relevant. My parents made another hurtful and extremely selfish decision. Considering many recent events in my and my sister’s lives, we were both extra bothered by this decision. My sister has always been the peace maker and regardless of how upset she is, she will never stand up and say why. I usually don’t either, but I’ve been closer and closer to the end of my rope in the last two years and I finally couldn’t take it any more. I refuse to enable their behavior, and that is a choice that I’ve been making for my entire life now – mostly subconsciously but now that I realize there are other choices, I’m going to start making them. I called my mother and explained to her that her decision had caused unnecessary confusion, energy, and hurt. I was respectful, calm, and very direct. I am not normally direct. 10 minutes after I got of the phone with my mom, my dad called. I let it go to voicemail because I knew exactly what had happened in the last 10 minutes. My mom called my dad and told him that I was mean. My dad called me to “punish” me. His voicemail essentially said that he didn’t like my “attitude” and that I could call him if I wanted to discuss the situation. Let’s be clear… by “discuss” he meant lecture. I was not interested in being lectured, so I made a choice to save myself the pain that would have come from taking his verbal abuse in that moment. The voicemail was enough.

So, blogger friends, this is a giant step in the right direction for me. I like this study on the power of choice. I like the perspective it’s given me. The realization that my parents have had a choice in how they treated me and still treat me gives me the freedom to take back the power of my own choices. And I choose not to sit by and let their choices affect my daily life any longer. It will be and has been a long journey, but I am getting there. The first step was today, when I made the choice to SPEAK. And I think I’ll be doing that much more often.

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Reformation

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and there are far too many reasons to explain why.  Ultimately, I am finding that blogging is getting harder instead of easier.  I realized that while I started this blog as an attempt to try and explore myself and write my own story, that instead I ended up writing the story of my marriage.  Which, I will never understand, has been easier.  The story of my bipolar marriage is not a fun one to tell, I struggle every day with what my love for my husband means and what his love for me means.  I struggle with the concept of a soul mate… whether mine really does exist out there.  I struggle with the lack of solid support in my life, I struggle with strength of self.  I struggle with the idea that I have settled for a life less than what I imagined it should be.  A very good friend remarked that having an oppressive marriage feels at times like your life is being stolen away from you, day by day, hour by hour.  I’ve felt that way.

But.

In the beginning of my blog journey, I wanted to to explore myself.  I wanted to tell my stories.  I didn’t want to harp and hound my marital circumstances.  I don’t think they will change, regardless of what drastic measures do or do not happen.  I don’t think my marriage is ever going to change.  I think this is the life I chose for myself and am still choosing to live in for the moment and so that I need to make the most of it.  I don’t mean this quite as cliche as it sounds.  It just is.  I’ve not accepted inexcusable behavior, nor will I fight for myself any less.  I am a different, stronger person than I was when I met my husband and that is irreversible.

For now, I need to stop focusing on what I can’t change.  I need to focus on what I can change.  The blog was titled “the colors of me” because I wanted to tell my stories.  I have so many stories to tell.  Telling them will no doubt bring me closer to myself.  I need to be there, I need to understand what makes my heart beat before I go blaming someone else for not making it beat stronger.  My strength needs to come from within.

I have come a long way in my search for understanding.  I’m still young and I have a long life ahead of me.  I also have a past that is filled with family secrets, denial, shame, fear, hypocrisy, tragedy, and abuse.  I need to write these stories down.  I’ve told them… many times… to many friends and therapists.  I don’t think I’ve ever told them to myself… so I’m going to make a promise to myself to start telling myself these stories in an effort to get to know myself through them.  They are ugly stories, but they are necessary truths that I must embrace.


Index Schmindex

Who created the BMI Index?  I’d love to know.  There’s nothing like a good sit down with your doc… except for the moment when she slides the BMI index across her desk and starts highlighting shit.  I’ve tried to keep it together pretty well this last week… etc.  I’ve been doing amazingly well.  Despite being paranoid that someone is mad at me allll the time (more on that neurosis later), I’ve been at the top of my game.  Willing to accept that my  marriage isn’t what I thought it would be, what I dreamed it would be… but that it is what it is.  I have to exist in it as it is, for now anyway.  There are lots of reasons I “have to” and they’re pretty obvious.  Financially it would be impossible to “create a new life” for myself.  And even if I could… I’m still not convinced I’d be better off in that imaginary life.  Of course now it seems simpler and less of a struggle.  I could just feel whatever I feel and not have to explain every intricate detail of why I feel that way when I feel that way.  I wouldn’t have to present mini-dissertations on every thought I have and where it came from.  I could just exist.  Happily.  I wouldn’t be told by someone who claims he loves me that I’m getting too comfortable in the job that I love.  I wouldn’t be told by my husband, while explaining the previous statement, that he “just meant” that “I’d rather tell people that my wife is a lawyer, or a psychiatrist.”  Sometimes I’m amazed at the shit I swallow.  It makes me angry and frustrated… and those words are miniature compared to how I really feel.  I digress.

The BMI Index.  I’d just love to meet the bastard who came up with those numbers.  I won’t go into the details of where I fall – but I can tell you that my “ideal weight” will never be reached.  And saying to me, “Now I know it seems like an impossible goal… BUT…”  isn’t comforting.  I know you’re a doctor and you’re supposed to tell me to watch my weight – but pointing out just where I fall on the ole’ index and reminding me, verbatim, that I’m in the “overweight” category is taking to a little too far, don’tchya think?  Plus, I just got done telling you that there is literally no time, and literally no money for a gym membership and radical health diet – so excuse me if I ask for a B-R-E-A-K break.  I’d be happy if I lost about 15 pounds – and most people I know feel the same way.  But this chic wants me to lose 35 pounds so I can look like I did in high school.  Nice as that would be – it’s actually not humanly possible for me right now b/c I don’t SLEEP at a gym.  And I happen to have the kind of metabolism and body structure that will gain weight if I am not CONSTANTLY exercising and eating lettuce.  Screw that – who does that?  Not me.  And not anyone I know.

So I have to thank the BMI for this most recent mental disturbance… because it has brought pretty much every insecurity that I have been having over the last year, right to the surface!  I just went in for a yearly pap – and I came out with a nervous breakdown.  Who knew the lady doc had so much power.  First, she asked me why I wasn’t on birth control.  “Because… (hahaha??) my husband and I pretty much don’t have sex anymore.”  Yeah… okay so you’re sorry to hear that.  Thanks?  “Is it because of your libido?  Or because of everything you’ve told me about how things are going…??”  Can’t you answer that yourself?  So, the thing is I really do like this doctor who was asking me all these questions.  And I was great at my answers… stating the obvious at times and other times sincerely stating things like, “Well, I’ve just come so far emotionally over the last few years and my husband doesn’t seem to be as comfortable as I am with the newer, stronger me.”  Ha!  It’s true… right?  I’m newer, and stronger.  I have worked amazingly hard to get to where I am today.  And where am I?  Sitting across from my lady doc coming apart just a little bit with every question she asks.  Yes, there are some major life changes that have contributed to the difficulties that my husband and I have had.  Yes, it’s a libido issue – I don’t want to have sex.  Ever.  And yes, I guess those lubricants can help… on the rare occasion that I do feel sorry enough for my husband to give into him.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it once it’s started… but the desire and the interest to get it started is non-existent.

He thinks I don’t love him anymore.   So sometimes I wonder if I do.  Sometimes I ask myself, what the hell there is to love.  I don’t feel emotionally supported.  I don’t feel strengthened… nurtured… admired.  I don’t feel anything I think I’m supposed to feel in a marriage.  I just feel trapped – in many ways, for many reasons.  I trapped myself – emotionally – years ago.  And I’m just trying to think myself into acceptance and lower expectations.  It’s not really working.  He says I can’t let anything go.  But how do I let it go when it’s in my face all the time?  He ALWAYS wants to have sex.  “Doesn’t it make you feel good that I want you all the time?”  My response?  “You are a man.  Seriously?  I breathe… that pretty much is all you need to be horny.”  He thinks that’s harsh – and maybe it is.  But he’s not exactly interested in doing what I’ve asked him to do to help me be more interested.  I know that men connect physically rather than emotionally – or so the story goes.  I don’t entirely buy it.  Women connect physically as well – but not without some freakin’ effort.  I’m always supposed to meet him halfway – have sex with him.  But he never has to meet me halfway – take me on a date every blue moon – dress up!!!  Tell me to dress up!  Surprise me!  Get me a card for no reason.  Tell me I’m beautiful!  Ask me for advice!  Aren’t these normal things that couples do?

No wonder I have such good “other man” dreams.  I’m pretty much as low as I get now – tears are stock piled and I can’t breathe out of my nose.  It’s okay.  I’m used to his place.  I feel somewhat comfortable here – and I’m okay with letting myself cry it out.  It’s necessary.  Especially when the hope for change is nearly nonexistent.  He’ll never change.  He’s firm in who he is and he’s always been that way.  It’s me that’s changed.  I don’t want what he has to offer anymore and he isn’t willing to give me what I need.  It just doesn’t add up anymore.  But here we are existing and trying to make the best of it.  I wonder how long and how much harder we will try.  I wonder if it’s the effort that matters, and not the end result.  Of course there’s no such thing as a happy marriage — err…. a perfect marriage.  I just want some basic needs met.  That’s all.  Just for him to say the right thing at least some of the time.   And when he doesn’t?  I just want him to be able to say, “I said the wrong thing.  I’m sorry.”  Show some vulnerability for god’s sake.

I think it’s time for bed.  Man, I could use a good escape dream tonight!  Summoning the other man dreams lol.  🙂