Friday, 30 October 2015

Denial and Other Things That Start with D.

To all those who were once victimized, did you ever feel re-victimized when trying to seek help for the original victimization? Perhaps others aren't actually victimizing me, having to talk about the trauma is like opening the wound. When the words leave my mouth the tears start to form in the corner of my eyes. This is an unconscious response to having to remember what I endured even if I don't have to speak to the specifics. 

My mind so desperately wants to forget all he did to me; to pretend that it never happened and that I was never married. This is not a possibility, I get that but this waiting to get divorced time sucks. I realize that it is actually a good thing though, if things happened too quickly it would make the situation too hard to handle. I just want to get back to my normal self and to feel happiness again (and not just for a moment or a few hours). 

I've had this depression cloud hanging above my head now for a few weeks. I find some happiness periodically but it never lasts more than a day. Currently, I feel sad and lonely more than I feel happy. I thought the idea of leaving him was to find a way to be happy more often than not? Lately, I've been lonely, very lonely. I had that difference of opinion with one friend, the other lives in an hour and a half by transit and my family is in the midst of dealing with issues regarding my younger sister. 

I had a thought of finding a pen pal, someone to talk to. I have since realized that this will not actually fill the hole in my heart. I can romanticize the idea of writing some soldier overseas fighting and that over time we fall in love and meet. This is reality and not a Nicholas Sparks movie.  Realistically, I need to avoid relationships with men, even platonic ones for now. I have an unhealthy view of men these days and I think I need therapy before even thinking about heading down that path. 

Ideally, I'd like to find people out in my community that have gone through similar circumstance. Gals I can talk openly about what I feel and think and might even be around my age. I live in a large city and you would think that some group would exist but I have yet to find it.

I finally found a page of resources for counseling. Next week I have to go to  a walk in counseling season. Sounds weird right? Apparently only the first one is drop in style and the others will be scheduled. I imagine it was set up this way in case women are still living with there abusers and can't commit to an actual appointment. If it doesn't work out than on to the next on the list.

I actually have this weekend off. Totally free to do anything. Problem is, I'm depressed and have lost interest in the activities I once enjoyed. I really wanted to go for a hike but its supposed to rain. I thought about a movie but frankly all I do this days is stare at a screen. Shopping? Lunch? Mani-pedi? Not sure what I'll do yet.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Shabby Chic

I'm not one to make corny comparison normally but I had a thought last night as I fell asleep. I love shabby chic, my apartment is decorated with that in mind. I love items that are weathered and imperfect. Why is this I thought? The distress and uniqueness makes them beautiful. The damage is beautiful. I am shabby chic. I've been damaged, weathered so to speak. I've been hurt, I'm imperfect and yet it makes me unique. 

I'm not like most people I know. I didn't come from a "perfect" home but then who has? Everyone endures hardships and is hurt in one way or another. I haven't had an easy life and I think that makes me sort of special. I've had experiences that very few people have. Then again, I haven't traveled as much as some people I know. I didn't steward what finances I had very well thus preventing me from seeing the world. This is not something I seek to perpetuate. 

I'm not trying to be braggadocios by any means. I have come from humble beginnings and am still living paycheck to paycheck but I've learned a few things along the way. I've educated myself in areas that interest me. I know more random facts than most people I know. This uniqueness may be perceived as strange and frankly sometimes I am strange. I'm socially awkward sometimes, I say things I wish I wouldn't have. I beat myself up about that when I get home. Recently I've tried to stop myself from doing that by asking for forgiveness from God. I've also tried to stop worrying so much about things but repeating "I'm trusting God" to myself a few times a day. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Crisis of Faith

My Mum feared I would have a crisis of faith leaving him. I had held on the vast majority of my marriage. I held on because I was told that divorce shouldn't be an option, it shouldn't even be in my vocabulary. That I needed to be the one who changed the family's pattern of generational divorce. That if I kept praying for him to be saved that he would. That if I kept praying that my marriage would get better that it would. It didn't.

Does this mean that God doesn't love me? Does this mean that my faith is all for nothing? No. The reason I found my faith is because of my marriage. It made me hit the bottom of myself. The first instance of physical abuse was the point I cried out to my Christian friends and they suggested I read the gospel. I know now that they had been praying I find Jesus but didn't know then. I bought a bible and began to read it. A month or so later I found a Christmas activity that sounded interesting, a walking nativity. I attended it a few weeks later and heard one of the pastors of that church speak about his upcoming sermon and decided to attend. I kept going every Sunday (much to his dislike) and in April gave my life to the Lord. I was baptized at that church the following November.

Over the year from buying my bible to being baptized the attacks on my faith by him intensified. He hated Christians, frankly we both did when we met. I had grown up in the Mormon church and it left a fowl taste in my mouth. I disliked Christianity because of this. I thought all churches were like the Mormon church but have since learned that each denomination and each church is different and you need to keep trying to find the one that fits, that you feel spiritually fed. The church I found (or I think found me) was an Alliance church, the music wasn't old style hymns like I was used to and the bible version used was not KJV like I was used to. I had no idea the volume of different translations in existence. I actually understood as I read the bible and could get excited about singing praise. I'm not bashing the Mormon church, for some it makes sense to them and feeds them spiritually.

The crisis of faith is actually for the Christians around me. Will they judge me and my decision? Will they love their neighbor as Jesus taught? How do I explain myself without going into graphic detail to leave and divorce my husband? Will they pray for my healing instead of reconciliation? I don't want to make people uncomfortable to be around me but I also don't want to lie anymore or omit that I'm divorcing him.

Will I be a sinner when I divorce him? Yes and no. I am a sinner, a sinner saved by grace. All of us fall short of the glory of God. I will not be committing a sin by divorcing him. He attacked my faith and he broke his marital vows. He clothed himself in violence (Malachi 2:16). He was sexually immoral (Hebrews 13:4).

The bible speaks of only a few instances where divorce is acceptable and permitted. Adultery (Matthew 19:9), if the spouse cast the other out for their faith (1 Corinthians 7:13) and if a husband gives his wife a certificate of divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1).

Technically speaking the bible doesn't cover spousal abuse. God didn't design marriage to be filled with violence. Marriage is designed to be like sand paper; to soften your rough edges. It's supposed to challenge you and make you a better person. To draw closer to God and be more Christ like. I don't have this vision of it being all sunshine and rainbows but I also don't have a vision of it being as mine was.

If you dig far enough and long enough you can find the answer you want. I could google to my hearts content finding reassurance that divorce is an acceptable solution to any marital issue. The thing is, my issue isn't a small nor a simple one. I was abuse, continuously and maliciously but a man who stood up in front of friends and family and promised to love me. Perhaps in his disturbed mind, he did love me.

He never physically cheated on me but he did emotionally. He had been talking to a gal he new from a neighboring town of his hometown. I found out when she sent him a text message while he was in the bathroom and I noticed it. I questioned him on it and he deflected. He said he was just giving her advice on her boyfriend but I didn't believe him. He then admitted that he liked the female attention since he wasn't getting it from me. It wasn't true of course; he got attention from me. Living with a narcissist you learn to be co-dependent as a survival mechanism, You're day is organized by making sure you make him happy. Whatever time is left over, if any, you can spend on making yourself happy. I demanded he stop talking to her immediately and delete her from his phone and Facebook. He then accused me of having inappropriate conversations with some of my male friends on Facebook. I wasn't but he kept after me, to deflect the negative attention away from himself. I finally caved and deleted all non-family male Facebook friends.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Setting Roots

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. Frankly the last few days have been difficult. As I mentioned in my previous post I thought I saw him. Then last night I saw my his (formerly our) neighbour who to be perfectly honest I despised and he reciprocated the sentiments. I know he knew who I was and I was across the street from my apartment. I panicked but at least I was on the phone with my older sister who suggested walking into a store instead of going home. I walked past my building before looking back to see if he was still in eye sight. Thankfully he was not and I walked into my building via the back alley just in case. Now to be fair, the former neighbour and my soon-to-be-ex husband are not BFF's but my fear is the neighbour will mention it to him should they meet in the hall. 

I was already on edge before that even happened. I received a text from a friend of mine, just checking up on me. She wanted to talk to me that evening and I was dreading the call. I've missed the last 4 weeks of my church's community group (which her and her husband lead) and she wanted to know how I was doing. I had mentioned my reservations about returning to the group. It's a younger group, very few are dating let alone married and I feel like my divorce will make them uncomfortable or that I will be judged for "giving up" on my marriage.

I called her a few minutes after hanging up with my sister and was already feeling a bit teary. She in a round about way told me she felt I had used her or had lied to her about my reasoning behind moving. That she helped my move because she wanted me to be safe and ultimately reconcile with him, I had not decided what I wanted to do when I left him, I just knew I needed to get out while I still could. I explained this to her and she encouraged me to keep an open heart towards reconciliation. I explained that I have prayed about it and I have not felt God leading me back to him. I feel like God wants me to move on with my life, that he has something wonderful planned for me, something I can't even imagine. I cried on the phone and didn't say too much after that, which is a trademark move for me. I didn't want to fight with her but I am sick of being a push over and not speaking my mind and heart for fear of offending or hurting someone. 

I agreed to return to community group. She offered to pick me up for tomorrow's group. I declined but knew this was her polite way of making sure I attended. She prayed with me and we hung up. I was bawling by this point. All I could think of was I wanted my Mum. 

I called my Mum a few minutes later and she talked me away from the proverbial ledge. She consoled me and asked if I might consider joining a new church during my healing time. I can't leave my church, I love it too much. I also explained that I'm sick of running from my problems and from uncomfortable situations. Heck, I've lived in 3 different major cities since leaving my home province. When life got uncomfortable, I moved. I'm not running anymore, I'm setting up roots.

Conclusion, I will continue with my community group and not hide the fact I'm getting divorced. I will not make a big deal about it and explain that this decision was not taken lightly and took a long time to come to. I will not show up too early to cut down on socializing time thus cutting down the stressful times for me. 

The cherry to this sundae, I have yet another bladder infection and was up half the night in pain. This is a semi-frequent occurrence brought on my stress and too much sugar. 

To end on a more positive note I have been a bit more consistent with exercising in the mornings. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Paying Bills

I love bill paying day! Does that sound odd? I love paying the full amount of the bill that come in the mail. I love that I can pay the bill on time and not worry about a his anger. I feel like an adult more and more each day. I have a grown up apartment, decorated and all. I admit that it's tiny, a whopping 348 sq. feet but I love it. Maybe it's because it's old, unique and well laid out.  It could also be because it's a vast improvement from my previous place.

Since the days are getting shorted and the sun goes down around supper time I've had to start walking my dog in the dark. Normally I chose a time I feel he won't be out and  feel safe but today was different. I thought I saw him this evening while walking my dog. I thought my fear reaction was to run but I froze. This concerns me, I don't want to freeze and have a confrontation. I want to flee, even if it makes him feel like he's won. I don't care who "wins" I just want him out of my life.

I almost miss how I felt a month ago, sad, lonely but productive. Now, I get home, eat, walk my dog and do nothing. Granted I was sick the last week but I haven't been consistent at my usual activities. Well this is a sign of depression, I know I have depression  so does it mean that it's worsened? My counselor told me not to worry about being sad unless I can't get out of bed and go to work for a month.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Freedom of Speech

I live in Canada where The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section 2) give me the freedom of expression (speech). This means I can say and believe whatever I want (provided it's not a threat of physical harm). This is something I took for granted. During my marriage their were two topics that could not be brought up unless I was willing to have a fight, religion and politics. These are my two favorite topics. I love to talk, to debate and to learn more especially when it comes to these two. He however believed that these should never be discussed as they are the reason for war. I remember him telling me this a few weeks in and I so naively thought I could change this about him.

I've enjoyed these last few weeks so much. I've worked a lot and it was tiring but I've had many opportunities to talk politics with new friends. I've had the opportunity to be myself and it's so freeing. I've been so busy I've snapped out of my fear mentality. I'm not suggesting that I'm not fearful of running into him but I have managed to get out and go for long walks. 

In saying all this, Thanksgiving was this past weekend and it wasn't an easy day. I skipped church; I couldn't managed to muster the desire to leave the house. My Mum said she would Facetime with me once people arrived. I waited hours by my phone. I didn't want to call in case they were in the middle of their meal. Finally at 8:00 pm their time I call the house and then Facetimed me. I was so lonely and sad. In the past this would bring on full panic mode. What if I went into a downward spiral from which I couldn't recover? What if my thoughts of suicide came back? My counselor taught me to stop having catastrophic thoughts. The world will not fall apart just because I'm sad and it's ok to feel one's feelings. I felt them and you know what? I felt a little better the next day. By Tuesday, I felt happier, like my normal(ish) self.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Seeking approval

Did you know that I'm a people pleaser? This stems from my childhood, do whatever it takes not to rock the boat and set off my step-fathers rage. This also stems from moving every few years. I would have to make a new set of friends and blend into already established friendships. This is also the reason I never really set down roots but that's post in itself. 

I've searched for men to fill a hole in my heart. My father's lack of emotionally availability made me seek validation and approval from other men. How does one get men's attention? Flirting, sexy attire and oh yes, people pleasing. I was like a chameleon, always changing my likes and clothing style to blend in with whatever boyfriend I had. At one point I was into heavy metal and custom low-rider trucks and wore west coast choppers clothing and before that I was also into techno and rap and dressed preppy. So who the heck was and and who the heck am I now?

I am a country music loving gal with a prairie heart. I love both city and country living each for their own reasons, reasons I can actually articulate now. I enjoy hiking, running, watching chick flicks, crocheting, baking and spending time with family and friends that have shown me they accept me, flaws and all.  I do not like low rider trucks, I do not like techno music and I do not like heavy metal. 

I used to have this tough persona because I was going to be a cop. I went to college and studied law enforcement. I surrounded myself with like minded people. I no longer had a feminine heart. I was like this for a few years before I realized that I couldn't be a police officer. I couldn't stay sober long enough to stay out of trouble. I was a binge drinker who drank and drove home more times then I care to count. No one was ever injured and I never got into a crash but I'm not proud of my actions during those years. 

After my last boyfriend dumped me I started to frequently drink wine at home in the evenings but soon realized I couldn't afford to drink anymore. My sobriety didn't start because I saw the light, but I started somewhere. I had a glass of wine here or there for a year or two after that but can say with pride I have been sober for over three years now. Once I had one drink, I would want another and another after that. I used to drink until the money ran out or I blacked out. I don't miss alcohol and I don't miss how I acted while I drank. I'm embarrassed but I'm not that person anymore. I realized that alcohol was my numbing agent to help me have the confidence to talk to people. It would quiet the voice in my head telling me I wasn't good enough. Alcohol gave me a false sense of security about myself and made me feel more accepted by others.

I still catch myself seeking the approval of single men. Thinking about what they think of me. Am I pretty enough? Thin enough? Do I talk to much? Am I too opinionated? But when I get home I realize that it doesn't really matter what they think of me because I am completely loved and accepted by God. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Getting back at 'er

I haven't posted anything in a week. I've been so busy that I haven't had the time to reflect on anything let alone write. I house/cat sat for a friend last weekend and have worked every day and evening except last night. Next week's schedule is considerably less hectic. 

I must say that working another job has wonderful even though I don't have as much free time. My co-workers never knew married me, they only know single me. I've never mentioned I was once married and don't plan on it. I wish I had applied under my maiden name but I'll figure that one out later. I can be myself around them and not worry they're judging me for my decision to divorce. I even feel pretty great working my other part time job (yes I have three jobs and yes I miss sleeping). I work casually as an usher for my church when they rent out the space. Since my church is so large, the people I work with didn't know me before I started working there.

I received an email from him yesterday afternoon. It had been exactly a month since his previous email. He wanted to know what was going on. (Side note, I never told him I wanted a divorce because I wanted to wait until I spoke with a legal advocate.)I didn't respond to his email until this afternoon. I wanted time to relax and to weigh the outcome if I told him versus not answering the email at all. My email was one sentence, I will be seeking a divorce. 

Last note, I'm still emotionally eating and it's caused me to gain 7 lbs in the last two months. This may be a small number in the scheme of things but I now have a constant food baby and I certainly didn't before. My solution is now that my schedule has stabilized I've scheduled time to exercise more regularly and start running again. Fingers crossed I can lose this weight by Christmas. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Two Months

It's been two months since I left him. Two months can seem like a short amount of time yet it feels like it was years ago. I barely think about him and when I do its remembering something that happened then moving on.

In saying this, I still live with the aftermath every day. I still look over my shoulder with caution. I still lock my door immediately after walking into my apartment and  I still have anxiety living my house aside from going to work. I still have nightmare that leave me paralyzed by fear. 

I'm still ready "The Emotionally Abuse Woman" and today's chapter talked about acknowledging and dealing with original abuse. As I read through the questions to help you recognize the remaining anger I answered no to all. I'm not angry, I'm not constantly thinking what I could have said or done differently. I realize that it is very possible that I'm in denial or that this might be happening because it's my mind's why of protecting me until I have set up long term counseling.