It’s Not Your Job

If I believed myself as whole what need would I have to seek completion outside myself?

The infamous Jerry Maguire line, “You complete me.”, that had women melting with lust for Tom Cruise, is fraught with error and unavoidable failure.

Once you fail to complete me, and you will fail, your usefulness to me will be gone. I will be angry that you failed me and you will suffer the wrath of guilt.

You will have failed to fulfill a role that was never yours to complete.

That’s not Love.

I want nothing more than to recognize my wholeness and release you from your guilt.

I believed myself as incomplete and in so doing made you see that in yourself.

In my wholeness you simply cannot fail since you cannot make complete what was never incomplete.

What’s Your Flavor?

My husband’s favorite ice cream is vanilla.

As luck would have it, that’s the very flavor that I have. I willingly serve it and it makes me happy to give it away. It brings me joy to see my husband experience such pleasure.

It’s no wonder he thinks there is nothing wrong with our marriage. He’s got a belly full of creamy vanilla ice cream.

On the flip side, my favorite is strawberry. The problem is that my husband only has chocolate and not only is that the only flavor he stocks, he is unwilling to stock anything else. It doesn’t matter that I want strawberry; he either can’t, or won’t, stock it. Either way, I’m left craving strawberry ice cream.

Don’t get me wrong, he serves a beautiful chocolate ice cream and sometimes it really hits the spot and I am satisfied. But, at the core of my being, I crave strawberry ice cream. The desire always returns and often with a fierce intensity.

I am sad.

It seems a little more understandable that he feels bad. He continues to offer the best he’s got but I keep asking for something different.

I’m starting to get a sense that in continuing to ask for something that someone can’t provide, I’m hurting us both.

He can never please me. And I can never be fully pleased.

I wish I could be happy with chocolate ice cream. I really do. I wish I didn’t want something different. But, the truth is I do and I can no longer ignore it.

I can no longer ignore the true essence that flows through me.

It’s neither right nor wrong. It just is.

Continuously returning to the chocolate ice cream vendor is never going to net me strawberry ice cream. This I now know.

 

A Simple Question

“May I make a suggestion?” my psychologist asks after reviewing my food records from the past week.

“Please,” I prompted.

“Just don’t purge,” she says.

For a split second I think she’s making a joke but I realize very quickly that this is no laughing matter. She’s dead serious. I just stare at her while I process the question. She’s okay with the silence and lets me stare, patiently waiting.

I’m thinking, “Oh sure, if it were that easy I wouldn’t be sitting here having this discussion with you.” But all of a sudden, in a flash, I’m realizing that it really is that easy. Well, maybe not that easy, but it’s surely that simple.

I’m still staring at her, incredulously now, but I start to understand exactly what she’s suggesting.

All of a sudden I feel like a tantrum-y three year old, only my tantrums are binge and purge episodes, my way of dealing when things don’t go the way I want them to.

My psychologist’s suggestion is not meant to belittle the struggles I am facing. I know this. But the simplicity of how to resolve the problem seems so blatantly obvious and I am filled with shame. I cry.

The ways in which I keep myself separated from Source are presenting themselves to me each and every day.

As my awareness expands so too does my understanding that my pain is not an excuse for self-punishment, rather it’s an opportunity to correct the errors of my thinking and bring myself back into alignment with who I truly am.

I am not an entity that needs to be overcome. I am already whole.

I am ready to let go of this “I” that needs to control. This “I” hasn’t done a very a good job at controlling anything anyway. This I know!

As Albert Einstein so wisely stated, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”

Truly. Let go and let God. Have Your way with me.

 

 

 

A Different Kind of Love

I’ve been reading.

Sometimes I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I like to read and explore new ideas. My mind’s view is quite liberal and I’m not the most objective person. I can also be very black-and-white in my thinking so I can often take what I read to be literal truth.

Regardless, I came across a book called How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny. It’s based on the premise that love is not about communication, it’s about connection. It intrigued me since I’m trying to talk my way past the necessity of divorce and it isn’t working, not even in the slightest.

Now, I know there are other issues in my marriage besides a lack of communication and  a mutual misunderstanding of each other but this book is quite interesting, providing insights I hadn’t considered before. One, in particular, being that men have a heightened sensitivity to feeling inadequacy and shame.

I kept this idea in my head as I read, trying to make connections.

It really is a vicious cycle. I talk, he listens, he responds with stuff that makes no sense to me at all, I get angry, he shuts down. Stalemate!

I began to ponder the idea that perhaps he truly isn’t capable of having deep, emotional conversation. If that’s the case and I respond with anger and frustration, could it be that his shutdown is his protective response of pain avoidance, to not feel the pain and shame associated with having not met the needs of his wife? Hmmm…

So, I was at the house last night dog-sitting. I was under the impression that my husband would not be coming home and that I would get to spend the night with the dog. I was eager for this alone-time with my little four-legged love so when my husband arrived home at about 9:30 p.m. I was disappointed and frustrated.

He could sense my emotional disturbance and when I said I’d just leave and go home, he sat down and sort of just stared despondently into space.

Sigh.

I asked him what was wrong. He shrugged and just said quietly, “I thought you’d be happy I was home.”

Sigh.

So, I have the internal dialogue.

Why am I angry that he’s home? What’s the big deal? I can still stay and hang out with the dog. How is my anger at him hurting? Why would he think I’d be happy he was home? I hate that he makes plans and then changes things last minute.

And then it hit me! If he’s home, he drove himself home and that means he didn’t drink tonight. He just couldn’t say it point-blank.

I silently swallowed my pride and walked over to him. I bent down, kissed him and said, “Yes. I am happy you’re home.”

“You don’t have to say that now,” he said. His eyes were a little teary.

“I’m saying it because I mean it,” I said. “I’m going to put my pj’s back on and I’ll spend the night.”

All I can say is that it’s super hard to act compassionately when I still don’t feel like I’ve been heard or that my own needs aren’t being met. However, had I rejected his efforts due to my own discomfort, I would have perpetuated his feelings of shame and inadequacy and his frustration at never being able to meet my expectations. Instead, in a small way, I feel more love for having shared my love than I believe I would have had I kept it hidden for my own personal pride and protection.

Humbled.

RE – A Mighty Prefix, Another Chance

A recent interaction with my husband has me sitting in a spot that is painful and uncomfortable, and also unknown.

I’m in uncharted territory. I’m not clamoring to get out. There’s something happening here and I just need to sit and watch.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not in a peaceful, pensive, in-control spot.

I’m panicked on the inside; in a state of complete confusion and bewilderment. I think this has been the catalyst of a very steep spiraling down of my mood.

I’ve landed right back at square one in terms of mood, eating disorder and overall emotional well-being.

But, I’m still here. And while the circumstances of the past may all be playing out again, I am not the same person going through them. I think I’m getting another chance.

The things I’m still holding, still resisting, will keep touching the nerves until the thorn has been eradicated.

Round two, here we go!

Even though I still feel like I’m in a very vulnerable place, my view point has definitely changed. The reactions still come, aggressively and shockingly angrily at times, but the time from spike back to plateau is not lasting as long. That’s how I know there has been change.

I saw my husband last week. I had given him an April 30th deadline for letting me know if he was going to go into treatment.

He responded on May 1st, via text, telling me that he would see the counselor one more time but that it had been almost a year since I left him and though a bit upset he felt encouraged that he’d made it a year on his own. He likes who he is, he just needs some fine-tuning.

I didn’t respond. I cried. It just sounded to me like he was okay with things and was moving on.

I felt rejected and dismissed.

I felt sad that his takeaway from the past year has been that, in some way, I just don’t like who he is. That there’s something ‘wrong’ with him. Not true.

I pondered this. There doesn’t seem to be any objective truth in either of our ‘sides’, only our own personal interpretation which drives our behaviors and actions.

I went over to the house later that day. I’m not sure it was a good idea or not but I was sad and wanted to see my dog.

I arrived and my husband was standing at the back door. He just looked at me, threw up his hands, said that he’d been drinking, and walked away.

I replied that it didn’t matter, I’d just come to see my dog.

Several minutes later we were in a heated discussion and he dropped a bombshell.

He told me that I am the reason he drinks.

I became irate. I screamed. I yelled. I threw things. I stomped. I slammed. I wanted to hit him. I didn’t.

I ran downstairs, ready to make a swift exit. My mind was rolling and I could see it – I wanted to run, drive, call all my friends and family, tell them all how he has betrayed me, tell them what he said to me. I wanted to tell everyone what a horrible monster he was.

But why?

I wanted to be right. But, I looked further down the road and knew that no consolation would make the pain more bearable. It would still be inside me, stirring the cauldron of self-pity, rejection, guilt, shame, betrayal, unworthiness.

I stood in the basement, alone and shaking, knowing that other than being right in the pain, any other action would only be a mask.

The pain was indescribable but I was still alive. It wasn’t killing me.

I took deep breaths. I could hear my husband upstairs, sobbing.

I know I am not the reason for his drinking. I may be a thorn in his side that hits his nerves, but I am only one of many.

I went upstairs. He thought I had left and, still sobbing, asked what I was still doing there. I shrugged. He hugged me.

I lightly returned the hug, feeling completely empty. I wasn’t filled with love but I didn’t have hate in my heart either. I just felt like we were two people who were hurt, doing the best we could, trying to protect ourselves from further pain.

After that episode, we lay in bed talking. I asked probing questions to which he was responding openly.

He dropped another bombshell which, for me, was worse than the first.

He told me that shortly before we were married he thought about leaving me. He wasn’t sure if this was really the life he wanted.

I was non-reactive and accepted his words as his truth. The tears were unstoppable though and they rolled, in streams, down my cheeks. He didn’t seem to be concerned about my tears.

I left shortly thereafter. My life, to this point, now felt like a complete untruth, a total charade. It was never real.

I don’t even know if he meant any of what he said that day or if it was his way of protecting himself from further pain and rejection. I think the latter is the case but I will never know.

My whole identity, though I question ever having one to begin with, has been shattered.

I know not what I was. I know not who I am. I know nothing beyond this breath.

A me I thought I was was never really real.

I think I have spent the past week in mourning.

And I don’t even feel a need to rebuild.

I am feeling overwhelmed by all the things sitting in my apartment right now. I don’t want anything. I want to throw it all away.

I’ve started packing.

My lease is up soon.

I don’t know where I will move. I may even move back home.

You see, the marriage isn’t even a thing to me right now. It was a game.

Nothing was real.

We’re just two people. We went looking for happiness in each other and blamed and pointed fingers when the other fell short.

It still hurts. I’m still letting go.

This dying to self thing, no wonder the gate is narrow.

What’s My Role?

I meet my husband. We have dinner. Parts are good and parts are not so good.

We’re still at a stalemate. I want him to go to treatment. He refuses.

We do the dance, back and forth, I get angry and leave.

Is it possible for me to engage with him and leave anger out of it? Can I do this?

I think my anger as the final act of the evening performance sets the tone and provides an excellent opportunity for the addict to focus less on their behavior and more on my behavior.

What if I could just engage without judgement or anger and leave expectation out of it?

F*@k! Because my whole marriage is riding on this!

But I can’t shake him, wake him, make him see.

Do I stay? I wish I could but I’m not strong enough to endure this situation as-is.

I feel weak for not being able to just accept him as he is. Why can’t I just stay open and just love?

What is it that I really want from him? Is it wrong to want something from anyone? If I didn’t want would I feel this anger and rejection and resentment? Can anyone else really provide me with what I need?

If I walk away from this do I end up in another relationship wanting more of what someone else can’t provide?