Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lies, Lies, Lies

My last post was pretty brutal-- deep hidden feelings, fears, things I have hidden away for years.  Some days I want to blame Edmond for those insecurities.  You did this to me.  But the truth of the matter is that I saw in Edmond's actions the confirmation of the lies I already believed in myself.

Yup.  LIES I ALREADY BELIEVED ABOUT MYSELF!  I don't matter; I don't count; I don't have any right to have needs; I am not loveable; I can only rely on me; I am not safe; I can not trust;  LIES! LIES! LIES!  Lies that, if I am honest, exited in my heart long before I even knew Edmond.

There are lots of ways to destroy a soul.  Sin, selfishness, vice.  Yup they will eat away at you.  Lies about your worth, value and importance can destroy you from within--  Lies that seem so appealing because they explain away another's poor behavior.   Lies that comfort and seem to empower you when you feel helpless.  Lies that I carried around like a warm blanket in the frigid hours of despair-- Only the blanket was really tattered, ratty and full of holes.  Oh, how I believed that they would keep me warm.

Basing my life on those lies I became a control freak; I could only feel safe if I accounted for all the details of my life and the lives of my family; I knew and planned ahead for all eventualities, including preparing myself for the negativity I was sure to receive.  If you are prepared for people not liking you, complaining about something, and generally behaving poorly, it doesn't hurt as much when that happens, right?

I became extremely competent-- I am a talented person by nature, but I became exceptional.  Perfection or don't even try.  Exceed expectations daily, moment by moment.  Any minor critique reinforced that even though I gave my all, I was not enough.  Must try harder and do more next time.  And live second by second seeing all the things that were not done perfectly.  Accommodate everyone's demands, wishes and requests.  Do all that I can do to make others happy so they won't see my failings- or at least pray they won't comment about them today.

And when I was too exhausted from running at 90mph to please and beg acceptance from those around me, I would numb out-- distract, avoid, disengage.  Facebook, food, business, pinterest, tv. Anything to avoid feelings and the confirmation that I really am a horrible person.

You see, Edmond didn't do this to me.  I chose to believe and live a lie.  Satan is so smart.  He knows my weakness; he knows Edmond's.  Satan exploited Edmond's weaknesses and turned him to addiction.  Me?  He turned me from the truth.

I found this scripture yesterday that was exactly what happened to me:

Satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded and understand not he things which are prepared for them. (D&C 78:11)

Brutally honest moment:  I have always known and believed that God loves his children-- yep, you, and you over there and Edmond and my kids, and EVERYONE BUT ME.  I have felt His enormous, awe inspiring love for his children.  But love me, no.  How could I ever believe and trust in a God that I didn't really think loved me like he loves everyone else.  I can honestly say I don't understand the purposes of the Lord.  I don't get what marvelous blessings he has for me.  These verses gave me some comfort.

...ye are as little children and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. (D&C 78 17-18)
 It is ok that I don't get it.  It is ok that I feel like I am not there yet.  It is ok that I don't feel God's love fully.  I can't bear it now, but the Lord will lead me to his Love.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Effects of Abuse

I finally had the balls to say it.  That word. The A word.  Abuse. That is what I am dealing with.  The after effects of abuse.  Edmond's behavior during addiction was at times abusive.  There I said it. 

Edmond's addiction created trauma in my life, and the healing process just keeps going on.  Being honest about what our relationship was like during Edmond's addiction cycles has opened me up to a whole new, fun adventure.  New because I have never experienced anything like being honest about my feelings.  Fun because I am finally clearing out some of the trash that keeps spewing in my face, without me understanding why.  This is why:  I experienced trauma and the trauma was, well, traumatizing.  And while Edmond is in a healthy great place, that doesn't mean the abuse never happened.

I knew it hurt me.  Duh, but what did the addiction cycles do to me?  What could it do, I didn't even know what was going on.  I used to feel lucky I didn't know about the addiction until Edmond was really serious about coming clean.  You know, fewer disappointments, fewer broken boundaries, fewer lies.  No, no and no.  Fifteen years of lies; years of tearing myself inside out and back right again trying to make things ok when they weren't and not having a clue why- just wishing that if only I (fill in the blank) things will get better.  Years of being at odds with a monster in the room I never could see.

It took me a while to be willing to admit that I was traumatized.  But I see the same behaviors in the kids I work with-- kids who have endured trauma as infants/children and are trying to figure out how to survive in regular families.  I think some of these effects are par for the course.  Doesn't make it any easier though.

I learned:
1. I don't matter.  I don't count; my needs, my wishes, my opinions aren't important.  I am a tool used to care for and meet the needs of other people.  Never my needs/wants.  What do I want?  I have no clue what my preferences are; I am a reflection of what you want.  I am the ultimate object.  (Interesting that with a sex addiction, the objectification goes so much further than just sexual objectification, although that is/can be part of it)

2. I am not enough/ok/lovable. No matter what I do, there is always something I missed, something to improve upon, something I need to be better at.  I must always work harder/do more/be more to receive positive attention.  All this trying and doing more reinforces the concept that I am just an object- a tool.

3. I can only rely on me.  The mental and emotional withdrawals during Edmond's addiction cycles meant that I carried everything.  I owned it all- home, yard, finances, worries, relationships, parenting.  I learned that I could not trust anyone to be there to help me when I needed it most.  Even faith promoting phrases enforced that feeling: pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you.  YUP it does all depend on me. Nobody is there to help me.

4. I am not safe-- I am not safe enough to say what I think, do what I want, parent as I see fit or even feel what I feel.  The consequences of being at odds with Edmond by saying/doing/being/thinking/feeling something that didn't fall into his narrative of the situation was emotional withdrawal, mean looks and criticism.  I only felt safe with my emotions/thoughts/preferences hidden, stuffed down deep where the real me was safe.  Emotions became something to fear, something to avoid, something to hide.  Besides I didn't really matter; I'm just an object, a tool.

Hard. painful feelings:  I am not safe; I can only rely on me; I am not lovable; but all those don't really matter because, I don't matter anyway.

And none of that is really true in the grand scheme of things.  But trauma, abuse, neglect, disregard SHOUT those messages loud and clear.  They scream and chant relentlessly until you give in to their siren song.  You hide, you change, you fear, you cope.  You survive.  Do what it takes to get through each day unscathed.  Pray for strength to do it again, because this is your life, and aren't you supposed to be happy and bloom where you are planted?  Of course.  Pretend to be happy or at least learn to be content.  This is your life.

*I hate ending posts on a sad note, hopeless-- but the trauma part of my life was like this and I want it to be an accurate reflection of that part of me.