Seeing The Forest For The Trees

True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience”-Oprah Winfrey 

I walked out of Spring’s home and never returned to live with her again. However, I did continue on having a relationship with her and Amber. I know, I know ya’ll, stop yelling why. Like I said in ‘’Humming Birds in Spring”, I had already carved out a place in my heart for Spring and Amber is still my sister. So, they were both present at my High School graduation, wedding and made hospital visits to see both of my children when they were born.

It wasn’t until shortly after the birth of my youngest child, that Spring and Amber cut off all communication with me, Margert and our Father. Basically, I loaned Amber money for college books and she agreed to pay me back when her grant money come in. Spring took Amber’s money when it came in and would not let her pay me back. At the time Christmas was near, I was in school full time and Mr. Ex was the only one working. 

Of course ,I called Margert to literally cry to her about what happened. Margert called Spring to confront her about the situation and an argument broke out. Spring called me and told me she is never speaking to Margert again and she would pay me my money in payments. Needless to say, I never received one red cent and I never heard from Spring or Amber again.

Amber even went as far as to have her last name changed to Spring’s maiden name. Margert, our father and I have all tried to reach out to Amber and we all got either no response or  nasty, rude and untrue assumptions about our lives. Although our Father has not physically talked to Amber, Spring still manages to contact him to pass along Amber’s nasty messages along with a request for money. Even our Eric (whom has only met Amber once in person when they were teens) tried to reach out to Amber but, Spring turned him down and wouldn’t even put Amber on the phone.

Now with all of that said,  I sit before you here today and tell you that I have truly forgiven them both. 

Forgiveness is most defiantly not an easy task especially when there us some form of abuse. Abuse at the hands of a parental figure at that. However, it is necessary for not only personal growth but, also for the people that are connected to that will receive the influence of your emotional state of mind. 

Now no one has the magic formula to forgiveness. There is no universal step-by-step guide to pass along to you. However, there are 3 basic step I took to complete this journey.

Step 1: Find The Lesson

As being a new mother with very little guidance, I often reflected back on my time living in different homes. I had to look back for anything thing that proved to be helpful in parenting. When reflecting on my time living with Spring, I had to sift through a lot of hurt to pull out the good. However, when I did reach the good there were a lot of great things there. 

The importance of education, diversity and respect were the obvious lessons. Some of the other lessons such as; disciple, were a little hard to see the forest for the trees with. I literally had to use reverse physiology on myself. When I did, I was able to learn that children remember the hurt and pain well into their adult years whether they admit it or not. I learned that words are as hurtful as physical pain. Most importantly, I learned the difference between abuse and discipline 

A child’s mind is a field of soil waiting for the parents to plant the seeds of knowledge, guidance and love. Yeah, once I dug deep, I was able to find that lesson. I applied all of that to my parenting. 

I actually took the time to listen to my children when they speak and consider their feelings. I allowed them to respectfully express themselves. I was always cautious of the seeds I planted in them and the seeds others attempted to plant. Always giving my children the raw truth as to weed out the negative limiting seeds and nurture the good and positive.  Always expressing the importance of their relationship with each other. 

Finding the lesson in the hurt and pain was the catalyst for my forgiveness. It softens my heart because in the end I was glad that I went through it so my children would not have to. My pain was my ultimate parenting lesson. 

Step 2: Confront Your Past

What’s the point in confronting someone who you know will never acknowledge their wrong doing? Well, If acknowledgement was what I was looking for, then nothing. However, I wasn’t seeking acknowledgement or an apology. Actually, I wasn’t seeking anything from Spring when I confronted her with the past. 

What I wanted was completely selfish. I wanted to confront my past to unload all the hurt that was following me. The best was for me to do that was to go right to the pain. 

Once, I reached the point where I felt confidantent enough to confront Spring, I did so with Mr. Ex by myside for emotional support. My approach was to be as non-confrontational as possible. I started the conversation by casually reminiscing on the past which lead to the poem that she wrote for Margert and I. I simply asked her if she mean what she said in the poem. She answered, “Of course!”, like she was genuinely taken back by the question.

So, I asked “If you did then why did you beat me so bad all the time?”. I proceeded to go over some of my most memorable beatings and hurtful events. No lie, she had the most blank expression still to this day  that I have ever seen. She insisted that not only did she never beat me, she never even spanked me. 

After that, I was the one left giving the blank expression. All the while, Spring went into this whole spill about how she treated us like her own and gave us her all. She said we should be grateful that she ever agreed to take us in. 

Mind-games

Nope, not this time. I started going over the many emotional events and beatings that she put me through. For a while everyone was talking, and nobody was listening but, then she suddenly stopped. I had the floor and she seemed to be actually listening. I said everything my heart had ever desired to say to her. That did include me saying thank you for all the great she did show me. Thank you for pushing me beyond the limits I had set for myself and the lessons it taught me.

After all was said and done, Spring looked me in my eyes and said “Manosha, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Nothing I did was to hurt you. I loved ya’ll”….

Step 3: Let Go and Let God

I never brought the subject up to Spring again but, we were able to continue on speaking to one another. I truly forgave her for all of the hurt from the past. Why? Because, as soon as she made her final statement to me on the subject, I knew something mentally was wrong with her. She still needed to forgive the hurt in her past.

See, during that confrontation, when Spring was rambling on about how good she was to us, she also talked about how she had worst whooping’s. She felt that what she did was nothing compared to what she got. Nobody was there to rescue her. She survived, and in her mind, she was a better person for it. She didn’t break the cycle, she repeated it. If she did apologize it wouldn’t have been worth anything because it wouldn’t be sincere.

I let go of my hurt and pain and left it there that day. I let go and prayed that God would give Spring and Amber what they needed to let go of their own hurt and pain. For God to allow them to be chain breakers as he has allowed me to be. 

Shortly after, we all had the fall out that caused Spring and Amber to stop speaking to everyone on my father’s side. I do respect myself and worth so, I stopped reaching out but, remain open to future contact. I have not spoken to either one in 15 years. When the time is right, God will bring us back together. In the meantime, I can look forward and capture the beauty of life while walking along my journey. I can see the forest and the trees.

Looking Like An Enemy

Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got-Robert Brault

I never understood the necessity to use the word “half” when describing my connection to my siblings. The fact that we have different mothers means what? That we have different DNA? No two people have the same DNA unless they are identical twins. Or is it the fact that we only have 1 parent in common? Even your own child doesn’t have 100% your DNA. When establishing paternity, the results never go higher than 99.9 % yet you never hear anyone saying this is my “half” child. You only need a drop of blood to make you related. Just one. 

As long as I can remember, this has always been my view on so called “half” siblings. I have never referred to any of my siblings in this manner because I don’t have “half” siblings. I simply have sisters and a brother. With this long-standing belief, this journey of acceptance was not about accepting my brother. It was about accepting the difference of opinion regarding our parent’s dark past. 

I can honestly say that I never blamed Eric for anything that had to do with my mother’s death. He never asked to be born or to be put in that situation. None of us did. No child should be punished for the sins of their parent.  Accepting a sibling from a different parent into your life does not mean that you accept the actions of the adults.  You are accepting a different part of you that you did not know before. Yes, a part of YOU. That same DNA flowing through your veins is the same DNA flowing through their veins. Now you can deny that all you want but, the truth is the truth, 1 drop. 

Lies, cheating and suicide was the bases for my brother and my connection. I resented the fact that my Dad and Glenn were able to tell their version of the truth. What bothered me most is that I knew one day Glenn would tell her “truth” to my brother and he would believe her. Why not? She is his mother.  The fact that he still had his mother to tell him her version of the events made me feel like he had an unfair advantage. I had to dig, investigate and connect the dots to get my mother’s side. 

So, the day I decided to get to know my brother better was the day I decided that I would never listen to his mother’s version of the events. I also decided that If necessary, I would defend my mother against ANYBODY, even though at that time I was still mad at my mother. I was not sure how my brother felt or when that impending conversation would happen. In a sense I was ready for war if I had to be.

By God’s grace, I was given time. Time for us to get to know each other outside of our parent’s past.  Time for the sibling bonds to strengthen.  Time for both of us to grow and mature before we actually had the conversation.  All of this is what helped me and my brother to be able to put that dark past aside and continue on with our relationship. 

This was the first conversation but, it was not our last. As, we grew, matured and experienced more of life, the conversation got less intense and more open on both parts. He was always willing to listen to me express my mother’s side, but I believe with age and maturity, he was able to understand my pain. I finally listened to him tell me his mother’s story. While I do not believe everything she said, I can say that I do believe that she did not know that my Dad was married. According to my brother, she found out from one of my Dad’s sisters. I also believe that my Dad was wish-washy with both women and did not know what he truly wanted. Unfortunately, our mothers ended up paying the ultimate price for it.  

I have fully accepted what happened and the role that all 3 played. I have seen Glenn in my adult life, and she has met my children. We are not “buddy, buddy” but, we are civil, respectful and able to exchange pleasantries without snide remarks. At this point in my life, I am open to having a frank woman to woman discussion with Glenn about what happened. This would not change anything but, there is nothing better hearing it firsthand.  I do not believe we would ever be considered friends but, Glenn is not my enemy. 

Your Turn to Reflect

  1. Have you ever considered someone your enemy not because of what they did to you but, because of what they did to your loved one?
  2. If so, how were you able to get past it (if you did) or What would  you need to help you move past it. 
  3. Have you personally ever been considered the “enemy” or “bad guy”? If so, how did you deal with that? 

Through Their Eyes I See

There is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own-unknownn

The journey of understanding can be a long intense journey. The main reason it is a lengthy journey is because of the lack of being able to relate to someone else’s situation. It’s hard to understand something that you are not standing in. For this reason, more often than not, you must have some level of empathy and sympathy to reach understanding.

Now, the old saying goes, walk a mile in my shoes. This is sympathy at its finest but, this is not an action that I would suggest. As life is all about balance, you need some level of empathy to go along with that sympathy. It’s one thing to experience something similar on your own journey but, purposefully putting yourself in someone’s situation is not always the answer. Putting on someone else’s shoes may be easy but, walking their journey can be dangerous especially if that journey leads to self-destructive behavior such as suicide.  The act of suicide is very hard to understand but, with patience, understanding and/or empathy with sympathy, you can find understanding. 

Lack of empathy and sympathy for my mother caused my journey to understanding to be one long journey. Initially, I was too young to have the mental capacity to evoke the necessary empathy to understand her mindset or the act of suicide. It wasn’t until I became an adult and heard her story, that I was able to feel some empathy for her. Then, I found myself staring down the same gloomy tunnel of heartbreak, disappointment, and despair. It was then that I was able to feel sympathy along with that empathy to gain my understanding. 

With suicide, each person has different reasons for wanting to or going through with that act of suicide. According to Clinical Psychologist Edwin Sheridman (the leading authority on suicide), there are 10 basic reasons why someone may seek suicide: 

  1. Solution: answer to an insoluble or unbearable dilemma that they fear more than death
  2. Cessation of consciousness: to end the conscious experience
  3. Intolerable psychological pain: excruciating negative emotions that serve as a foundation for self-destructive behavior. 
  4. Frustrated psychological needs: attribute failure or disappointment to their own shortcomings
  5. Feelings of hopelessness/helplessness: pessimistic expectations about the future
  6. Ambivalence: sincere in their desire to die but, simultaneously wish they could find another way out. 
  7. The cognitive state is construction: tunnel vision unable or willing to engage in effective problem-solving behaviors
  8. Escape: a definitive way to escape
  9. Communication on intention: 80% who completed the act of suicide provide verbal or behavioral clues that clearly indicate their lethal intentions. 
  10. Life-long coping patterns: people who refuse to ask for help in the past are likely to increase their sense of isolation.

In reflecting on my mother’s journey, I definitely see Dr. Shredman’s described reasonings in my mother’s actions. I also saw some of them in myself. What made a difference and how I was able to overcome is being able to know her journey and how it left those around her feeling. Also, that fact that what she did had no real effect on the situation. My brother was still born, and My Dad, Glenn, and Jim continued to live their lives. As a matter of fact, they all went on to marry new partners and have more children.  It is my understanding that helps me to know that what she did was not to affect their lives but, to stop the excruciating pain inside her life. 

I have to be honest with you, although I now have the understanding I so desperately needed, this has and will be the hardest journey I will ever share with you. Understanding does not take away the hurt of loss nor does it mean you accept it. I cried all the way through this but, I feel that it is important for me to share because somewhere there is someone out there contemplating suicide. There is also someone out there trying to understand a loved one’s decision or situation. And then, there is someone out there trying to understand themselves. 

-Unless you really understand others, you can hardly attain your own self-understanding-Miyamoto Musashi 

Your Turn To Reflect 

  1. Have you ever experienced a difficult relationship due to a lack of understanding
  2. Have you or someone you know ever contemplated suicide? If so, do you understand how you/they reached that point? 
  3. Have you ever had a hard time understanding your own decisions?

Source: Thomas F. Oltmanns, Robert E. Emery University Of Virginia, and Survivors Of Suicide 

Shadows In The Looking Glass

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear-C.S Lewis

Death and loss of a loved one is painful no doubt. The family and friends are left the difficult task of grieving the loss. Suicide is a death like no other and so is the grieving process. One often feels as though they are left standing in the shadow of their loved one’s actions. They have to fight against the emotional roller-coaster and socially driven stigmas that this shadow cast.  Therefore, they are called survivors. This dark space brings about several feelings and emotions that can last for years or sometimes the bad feelings never fully resolves. For these survivors, the beginning of the healing process is to first acknowledge these feelings and the second is to accept that it is okay to have those feelings.

Confusion & Guilt

Confusion or guilt is usually one of the first feelings that are felt. Confusion was the first feeling that I felt about my mother’s death. I describe these feelings in Painful Truth. This feeling stayed with me for a very long time. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I started to gain some clarity. Others may experience confusion as they did not pick up on any signs of the impending suicide.

Trying to make sense of your loved one’s actions when you didn’t suspect that anything was amidst, can lead to a lot of unanswered questions. Memories of what seemed to be happy moments, now come into question.  Questions with no answers often lead to misplaced responsibility, a.k.a guilt.  The mind becomes filled with the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. A flawed thought process that makes one feel as though their actions or lack thereof caused the suicide.

Anger

In the midst of the feelings of confusion and guilt lies anger. Anger with themselves or their loved one. Not everyone will feel angry but, some may experience this. Like many others, I felt anger towards my mother because of her actions. In Painful Truth, I talked about how I was angry because I could not understand how I was not important enough to stick around for. My anger was also combined with feelings of abandonment and rejection. Her actions made me feel unwanted and in return angry.

Shame & Embarrassment

I grew up in the 80-90’s era. During this time, there was a huge stigma surrounding suicide. Generally, anyone that committed suicide was considered crazy. In the black community, suicide was unheard of. I can’t count how many times I was told: “With all the things already killing the black community, no one would kill themselves”. In the church community, anyone that committed suicide was going straight to hell.  So, it was always easier for me to just say she was murdered as this kept the dirty and shocked looks to a minimum.

I used to be so ashamed and embarrassed to admit that my mother killed herself. The stigmas of the world only pushed belief in the need to keep it as my “secret shame”.  When I was in eighth grade, I attended Catholic school. Since my teacher was a nun, I thought it only appropriate to ask her if my mother was in hell. She told me no one knows what her final words were and if she asked for forgiveness before she died, then she went to heaven. I held on to that kind word for a long time. For some reason, it gave me peace. When I became an adult and was looking to get closer to God, the question popped into my mind again. This time, I asked someone who was helping to guide me along on my spiritual journey. They told me that no matter what she said she went to hell because the act alone was sinful. After that day, that person didn’t help guide me along anywhere, least of all on my spiritual journey.

Society has gotten better about attempting to understand suicide and its effect on the survivors. However, the stigma never fully went away. Judgment and flawed perceptions are still out there. As for me, I still hear whispers when I say how she died but, I feel no shame.

Depression

We can’t talk about the grieving of suicide survivors without talking about sadness. Sadness that goes so deep it can take you into the darkest pit of a well of emotions. Sadness so strong that it can leave you wishing for the fate of your loved one.   It’s funny how the very thing that played a role in the loss of a loved one, can cause you to feel that same hurt and pain. When I could truly understand my mother’s death, it sent me into a depression. It was like I could feel her hurt and pain. As a wife, mother and woman, I could finally understand what she felt. I described her pain in He Said, She Said. I also felt this longing to be with her, to beg for her forgiveness for my shame and anger. For many, these feelings can last for a lifetime. It can even manifest in post-traumatic stress disorder. That is why it is important to express yourself and seek help during this grieving process when necessary. It is also important to know that it’s okay to feel this way.

Your Turn To Reflect

  1. What are some stigmas you have heard in regards to suicide?
  2. Are you a suicide survivor or know someone who is?

 

Source: Serani Psy. D, D.(2013, November 25). Understanding Survivors Of Suicide Loss. Retrieved from http://www.psychologtoday

Grandeur Views

The final steps of the g.l.o.w are the fun, grandeur moments. In these moments, everyone around you can see there is something quite different about you. Your aura gives off a beautiful enigma wrapped in a welcoming glow. This is usually the part when one makes a physical change to symbolize the shedding of the old them. So, go ahead and have some fun with it. Cut your hair, dye it, get a tattoo. Just don’t act too impulsively and do something you will regret.

O: Owning Who You Are

Self -confidence. This word embodies everything there is to own who you are. Removing all stigmas and expectations that others have for you. Going for yours without asking anyone’s permission or apologizing for who you are. Embrace the beautiful you that your journey has transformed you into. It’s time to shed your cyclist and spread your wings.

In Final Say, I had to put on my blinders and have tunnel vision to meet my goals. So many people had plans for my life. None of which adhered to the plans I had. None represented whom I had become. I had to embrace my new-found self-confidence and own who I was and am. When you don’t own who you are, you leave yourself open to others interpretation of who they see you as and how you should live your life. You are not your past or what others have called you to be. Shed your shell of a past and own who you are!

W: Willfully Moving Forward

To willfully move forward you must be deliberate in your actions. You have gained financial control, learned to strive, own who you are, so now it’s time to move forward. Your past is just that, the past. Now it’s time to make decisions and move like the new glowing you that you are. There is no time to act as you did in the past because you have grown beyond that.

In D-Day, I walked into court that day determined to finally end it.  That is just what I did that day. I didn’t give Mr. Ex my energy, attention or emotions like I used to do in the past.  After the hearing, I took a moment to have a final reflection on my past. There was so much hurt, pain and confusion that I allowed into my life. I made so many bad decisions I can’t even begin to count them. No regrets though, just growth.

The g.l.o.w works from the inside out. A pure transformation of your thought process and your views on life. In a sense, the fog over your heart and mind has lifted. You make room for the best form of love there is and that is self-love.

Your Turn To Reflect

    1. Who are you as you subscribe to be?
    2. What new discoveries have you learned about yourself?
    3. How has your way of thinking changed?

GLOW

Looking Ahead

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead-J.R.R. Tolkien

 

So, you’ve successfully made it through the grieving process, now what? Now it’s time to G.L.O.W up and gets excited about your future. You get your g.l.o.w on by gaining financial control, learning to strive, owning who you are and willfully moving forward. Let’s walk through the first two steps to the glow up.

G: Gain Financial Control

Going from two incomes to one is rough. One can’t depend on support or assets from the marriage to carry the financial burden for long. It’s also foolish to look to a new partner to help with your finances. It’s up to you to gain control over your finances!

This may require you to re-prioritize your expenses and develop a budget. It can also involve changing jobs, increasing work hours or seeking additional training through school and other programs. In Back To Business, the alarm clock was the catalyst for my g.l.o.w.

I looked around and found myself in a financial rut. So, I looked to my long-term goals of getting my business back up and going. It was a commitment and challenge well worth tackling in order to gain financial control.

L: Learn To Strive

 Life is full of sticks and stones. More often than not, as soon as you catch your stride something is going to come flying in your path to try and knock you down. This is when you will have to learn to strive to survive. By learning to strive you become the victor over your situation.

In Construction Zone, I was faced with one of life’s many sticks and stones. I just started to catch my stride in gaining financial control and then bam! My job pulled the rug from under me. I did not have time to fold and you don’t either. If you can change it then do so, if you can’t, make it work in your favor.

Once you gain financial control and learn to strive you are well on your way to a full g.l.o.w up. Now don’t be fooled. Each step takes some time. I started my journey of gaining financial control in Back To Business but, that was just the start. It was a while before I fully had my finances under control but, starting is sometimes harder than finishing so, tackle the hardest part first and make a commitment to gaining that control. Learning to strive means that you have to go through somethings in order to know how to strive through it so, don’t get discouraged on your journey to the g.l.o.w up.

Your Turn To Reflect

  1. Are you ready to commit to making lifestyle changes to start your g.l.o.w up?
  2. What changes can you make to help you gain financial control?
  3. After your break up/divorce what situation did you have to strive through?

Visions Of Hope

Pain is real but, so is hope-unknown

 A little push in the right direction can take you a long way. As a matter of fact, it can get you going just where you need to be headed and that is to hope. Hope is that feeling and belief that rekindles the fire for life within you. It’s also the seventh and final stage of grieving.

Stage 7: Redirected Hope

 At some point, you have to let yourself know that it is okay to move on. By moving on I don’t mean to jump in the next available relationship. Moving on can be as simple as to stop grieving the last relationship. Redirect the hope of reigniting an old flame. Use that hope to light the flame to a new set of goals and endeavors or refocus on some other things of importance to you.

The social worker at my children’s school helped my children with this stage. Whether we know it or not, children also grieve the end of their parent’s relationship. In The Innocent Ones, I spoke of the hurt and pain that my children carried with them after my separation from Mr. Ex. Their regular meetings with the social worker helped to redirect their hopes of their parents reuniting. Instead, they slowly began to refocus on the things that were important to them. School, basketball, band, and friends began to regain their place as a priority in their lives. They became kids again with kid problems.

I knew I was approaching the stage of redirected hope when I began to entertain the idea of having Friendly Options. If you redirect your hope into pursuing a new relationship, do so with caution. Allow yourself to explore new options other than your “type”. Take your time and don’t let anyone (including yourself) rush you into anything serious. Remember, just because you’re exploring doesn’t mean you have completely moved on.

In Guilty Pleasure, I had to deal with one final task. The guilt. I had to let myself off the hook. I had to give myself permission to enjoy life and pleasant company again.  How could I say I moved on and still feel guilty about conversations? It was like I was holding my hope hostage to the bonds of a marriage that no longer existed. Once I allowed myself the pleasure of conversation I began to refocus on other things of importance to me like my career. I  redirected my hope back to my first love, law,  and discovered new talents along the way. I finally began to see the hope of another day.

Your turn to reflect

  1. Is there anyone other than you or your ex that has displaced hopes of you reuniting?
  2. What are some things that you have not focused on in a while that you now have time to refocus on?
  3. If you have not reached stage 7 yet, what could be that little push that could help you redirect your hope?

 

Source: Lachmann Psy. D, S. (2014, June 10). The 7 Stages Of Grieving A Break Up. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday. 

Second Look

People are sent into our lives to teach us things that we need to learn about ourselves-Mandy Hale

It gets worse before it gets better. Sorry, that’s just how it goes but, it does get better. It really gets hard when your ex-starts tag teaming with others to give you the ultimate emotional beat down. The key is to remember to hold your head high and just keep moving.  I don’t know how many times I had to tell myself to just keep swimming, just keep swimming. I knew if I didn’t I would drown in all my pain and sorrow.

5. Anger

I call this the Wednesday of stages because once you reach this stage then you’re halfway done.  However, this is one of the toughest yet most delicate stages. How you handle yourself during this stage will determine how you will begin again. You can’t stay in this stage too long because it will cause you to become vindictive. Being vindictive does not help anyone especially not you.  As much as you want to lash out you can’t. Trust me, karma’s got your back.

In Past Time, I spoke about being in stage 4. Relapse. The ugly reminders of what I left helped me to resist a relapse. It went all downhill from there.  In My Blood or Yours, I described Mr. Ex’s character attack and my “family’s” so-called support. I was more angry than hurt. Angry that an outsider was able to come in and divide lifelong bonds. Angry that I did not get the same level of support that I gave others so many times before.

I sure wanted to serve some ice cold revenge. Man, it was so hard to resist the temptation especially while feeling under attack. My human natural reaction was to fight back, but my soul said no. It took a lot of self-control, deep reflection and prayer to get me through this stage. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not them so I can’t react like them. My kids were watching me and I refused to give them more grief through any vindictive actions on my part.

6. Initial Acceptance

This stage is the exhale stage. You can stop holding your breath because you have finally realized that it is really over. You are no longer trying to give life to the dead. You are now ready to put precautions in place to seal the deal.  Reaching The Edge was all about me entering this stage.

After all the drama Mr.  Ex caused, I was completely over “us” and my “forever love”.   At that point, whatever it took to put that broken marriage behind me, I was willing to do.  This was not the smartest move for me. Mr.  Ex quickly took my kindness for a weakness.  Things got out of control so, with my kids looking on I had to take control of the situation and put an end to the foolishness. The only way to do that was to sign the papers. So, In Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I did just that.

Always remember that some people in our lives are temporary. They come to teach us lessons about who we are.  When you try to make these temporary people permit, they become a distraction. Starve your distractions and never stop moving forward.  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Your Turn To Reflect

  1. Who other than your ex is fueling the fire behind your pain and why?
  2. What alternative methods do you have to release your anger? What can your anger cost you to lose?
  3. If you have not reached stage 6 yet, what would help you get there? What is your boundary line?

 

Source: Lachmann Psy. D, S. (2014, June 10). The 7 Stages Of Grieving A Break Up. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday. 

At First Glance

Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous-Confucius

It took me five years to walk away from my 15-year marriage. Why so long? If you remember in “Beginning of The End”,  I spoke about finding my soul mate. I wasn’t just talking, I really believed that I had found that in Mr. Ex. I was willing to go through hell and back with him. The problem was that once that seven-year itch kicked in, we went straight to hell and stayed there.

I said seven-year itch but, for us and many other couples, it was really a 10-year itch. After much arguing and finger pointing, our marriage had become unrecognizable.  For a while, I felt like Chante’ Moore and Mr. Ex was a stranger in my house.  Then one day he said he got his own place and was moving out the next morning. Yep, just like that. It was at this point that I began to go through the Seven Stages of Grieving a Break-Up.

In “Past time”, I had mentioned that I had blown through the first three stages. There is no time limit on how long you may stay in one stage or how you will go through it. I just so happened to start grieving the inevitable during the break-up and makeup of our 10-year itch.

Stage 1: Desperate for answers

Although our marriage was falling apart, I just couldn’t understand why he wanted to leave. He was my soul mate and he was supposed to stay and fight for us. What was I doing so wrong as a wife? Did I expect too much, did I want too much of his time, and how can I fix this? I just kept asking myself these questions over and over again. Never mind that when he decided to leave I had been feeling unloved, undesirable and weak. I was married but, I felt so lonely and sad. The break up lasted only a month. When he came back with his “I will change”, “I want my family back”,  I just welcomed him back with open arms.

Stage 2: Denial

After a few weeks of being back together, I realized things would never be the same.  Reflecting back on things now, I can admit that I was a bit bitter. I was upset about the way he left. He signed a new lease behind my back. He had been planning this for a while. All the utilities were behind and as far as he knew I was unemployed.  By the grace of God, I landed a paralegal position for a state agency the same day he left.

Once together again, my feelings and the way I looked at him began to change. The more I thought about the split, the less I cared for him. I would say I was over it but, in reality, I never quite got past it. I just denied, denied, denied.

Stage 3:  Bargaining

Now this stage lasted 4 years for me. As I denied the change in my heart, I began to bargain with myself. If I don’t push him to spend time home maybe he would be around more. If I stopped working on my business and work on his maybe he would value me more. Despite his wavering word, if I trusted him more maybe he would love me more. Nothing I did made a difference, it only made me complacent. It created this nasty comfort zone that I mentioned in “Courage to leave”.

My reflections taught me a lot about what to allow in my relationships. First and foremost, you have to love yourself enough to know when you’re not being loved right. One does not have to just accept whatever kind of love that another gives. Love should not be rationed but, instead limitless. It also taught me that if things don’t feel right, then don’t just push your feelings to the side. If all else fails, then sometimes you have to do what you have to do…..

Your turn to reflect

  1.  What kind of questions have you been desperate to have answers to during a break-up? Did you ever get the answer?
  2. What are some things that you denied that kept you in a failing relationship?
  3. What part of yourself or happiness were you willing to give up to keep an unhealthy relationship?

 

Source: Lachmann Psy. D, S. (2014, June 10). The 7 Stages Of Grieving A Break Up. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday. 

Past Time

– A journey of Letting Go

The hardest part about moving forward is not looking back -Felicity

There’s an old saying that goes, you never miss what you have until it’s gone.  That is certainly what Mr. Ex was feeling after I left. After about two weeks we were able to communicate for the sake of the kids. That quickly lead to a lot of I’m sorry, come home and I will change. While that may have worked in the past, this time it had no power over me.

While his empty apologies meant nothing, I secretly battled the fonder memories of our past. All the love and memories of the happier times kept trying to pull me back in. Many nights I laid quietly staring at the ceiling with tears running down my face.  Our 15 years of marriage played over and over in my mind like a broken record. When I would go out to face the world I would put on this strong, confident, happy facade. I was really mourning the death of my “forever love”.

Psychologist says there are seven stages of grieving a breakup. These are much like the seven stages of grieving death. I blew through the first three during the last four years of our relationship. I was right in the middle of the 4th stage, relapse when I got an unfriendly reminder of why I left.

Like I mentioned earlier, Mr. Ex seemed to be full of regret. While I continued to turn down his request to come home, I must admit I did entertain the idea. Then one night we agreed to meet up at our son’s school to watch his basketball game. Mr. Ex was to bring me $50 toward’s our other son’s $100 program fees. True to his form, Mr. Ex showed up 20 minutes late and only had $30 to give me.

After the game, Mr. Ex offered to give me and the boys a ride home. On the way there, he made a pit stop at the liquor store where he spent $20 that he so called didn’t have to give in contribution to our son. Now usually I would have raised all kinds of hell but, I didn’t. I just sat back and watched it all play out. When we arrived at my home, Mr. Ex requested that I stay in the car and talk for a while.

He proceeded to tell me how we should make a  new start in a new city and about how much he “changed”. For a moment I was dumbfounded. I just stared at him trying to find this so-called “change”. The only change I saw was the part in the side of his hair.  So, of course, I refused his advances. The next thing I knew,  I was being accused of cheating on him. According to him, that was the real reason I wanted a divorce and not his childish, selfish behavior.

I just simply told him thank you and got out of the car.  He was now the one looking dumbfounded. What he didn’t know is that, at that moment, he gave me the confirmation I needed to keep moving forward. There was nothing left for me in our past and no us in my future as our time together has passed. I was done looking back.