Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Divorce Blues

In this process called divorce, I must admit I had many preconceived notions before it all came to pass.

I thought it would be over with by now...silly me.

For the first year, it was I who had to start each new stage, and I who procrastinated with each one. Not because I did not want the divorce, not that at all. It was because I feel my pain, his pain, and my children's pain with each additional nudge toward the legal ending of this marriage. Each step toward that final decree is another nail in the coffin which holds 30 years of our lives.

I have spent many hours remembering the years of my marriage.

Many hours weighing it out in my mind.

Many hours wondering about the...if onlys...and the whys.

Many hours searching and sifting memories.

Many hours reminding myself of why I had to say ENOUGH.

Many nights, so many nights, tossing and turning, nights when I awake at two, three, four in the morning with remnant feelings left over from unremembered dreams. Dreams which leave me full of fears and tears. But, there have also been nights when those remnant feelings were...of a peaceful sort...then I must've dreamed of the special moments of our lives, those filled with joy, love, and sharing.

A friend told me last night she has heard it takes approximately 12 years for some to lose their anger and bitterness after divorce. What a long time that is. Will I care then if he is still bitter? As I care now?

There are times when I feel out of sorts, when I feel as if something is missing. These times have me wondering. Is having that intimate knowledge of another what I miss? Even though I do not miss him, nor his daily presence in my life, (truth be told, I sometimes revel that he is not a daily presence), there is something magical about having the ability...of looking into and feeling as if one knows another's soul...a something I lived my entire adult life thinking we had...when we tried hard enough...and now...it is gone.

In the living and sharing of our lives together, there were times, even toward the end, when that special intimacy would suddenly be there. We meshed, we knew, we would forget our pain, and share our joys and frustrations, accomplishments and disappointments, lost loved ones, mutual fears and tears. After a while it became automatic, this intimacy formed over our years of living, working, and playing together.

Until quite recently, it was still there on occasion, not even noticed at first, except afterward. Only when the good feelings would begin to dissipate, would we remember that this kind of intimacy will never be again, it is gone now, dead. As dead as the marriage. Eventually the feeling of that moment would ebb away, and an awkwardness would develop between us, we would each look away from the other, and then I would take my leave of him. Funny, it was/is always me doing the actual leaving. Knowing we will never have that specialness between us again...is painful.

He is very angry with me now. I understand that, I truly do. I don't like it, but I do understand. There are times when I too, have to goad myself into feeling angry, when I have to direct that anger outward toward him, or I forget my why of leaving, and once again face my own self-blame.

So there are days, when I have to remind myself that I wasn't crazy, that I didn't make it all up, that he truly did want me to be a different me. It wasn't just a minor thing I did that annoyed, or a little change here and there, or a tweaking of my personality, it was a major overhaul, a surgical removal of all that is me. This I must remind myself of. Because if I don't, I fall into my old patterns of behavior, my old patterns of self-blame and loathing. It was easy, is easy, to blame myself. So I remind myself, I was not, and am not alone in this. This death of a marriage is mutual.

I remember thinking...several years ago...that when my marriage ended, I would be grievously saddened, but also feel as if the ending portended a new beginning...silly me.

It isn't the ending of the marriage that will bring me a new beginning. It is me, finding the truth. The truth of who I really am, and accepting her. I spent so many years feeling unacceptable, I don't know how to accept me. I can't blame him, I lived it, I allowed it all to continue for so many years. Whatever my weaknesses were and are, it is I who must overcome them. Only I.

Thus I find myself losing my newly won faith in myself, losing my reborn self-confidence. My emotions of late have been in turmoil. So many holding sway within me, I find myself unable to differentiate them at times. There is still fear of the unknown. Along with grief, sadness, anger, guilt, shame, love, confusion, plus some I have not yet named. I know not what direction to take with my life, I am still standing on that precipice of old...only this time it is not quite as frightening. When I am able to look past all of the emotional pain...I see something new...I don't hate myself anymore, not as often anyway. There are days when I can let it all go, and just be.

But as we move closer to the finality of it all, and I know I will have to sit across a table from him, and listen to him tell me why I am so undeserving. Then I begin to wrestle my monster again. The monster isn't him anymore, maybe it never was. The monster of the abyss is me.

I am fighting myself now. Questioning my every thought when it comes to the future. Wondering if I will fail myself.

I told someone recently, I need to find a new passion. Something that consumes me, something that is my reason for being. I allowed my youthful passions to be smothered out. Later, as I became a wife and mother, those were my passions...to be the best I could be...to be better than my best. That is gone now. I must find something new to fit my need to care deeply.

I don't know how to live without passion, I feel only half alive without it.

I know a portion of this lack of passion has to do with all of these endings that are filling my life right now. I feel it as I sit in meetings covering topics that once fascinated me, topics I now ask myself why they are important.

There are days when I don't think about it, I just try to live, move on, be the best person I can be...and then some silly little thing will happen...and I falter...if I falter too long I become mired in self-defeating thoughts. Thoughts that generate a miasma that seems to permeate my heart and soul.

I spent several years of my life teaching others how devastatingly damaging words can be. Yet, until recently I didn't really understand how deeply embedded negative messages can become. Words cause harm when used enough. Words become weapons, when repeated and repeated for years and years, they cut deep. The resulting wounds are not healing as I thought they would. There are days when I still believe the words, when I still believe the message. There are days when I don't know how not to.

I am wearying of this battle.

There are days when I ask myself if it is all worth it. Life as I once knew it is over with, and I know not where to go from here. I have dreams, but they are not the strengthening answers I need right now, this minute.

People tell me talking helps. It doesn't feel so, because as I talk, all the wounds are reopened, bleed and I hear the words again. I hear them as truth. Even as I know they are not, they were in control for so long, it takes all I have to fight past them.

I have often said I distrust words, but I also distrust actions. I lived a life for so long in which actions and words held different meanings, both caused so much harm. I distrust all now. Even when the actions and the words match, I distrust. I don't know who or what to believe anymore.

Writing helps...as I see my thoughts and fears take shape on the page I can view them without so much emotion...eventually.

The worst thing about all of this, is the energy it takes to continue the battle. I don't, and won't accept defeat, yet, by days end I often feel defeated.

I want to believe the good things about me...but damn it all...I failed...how can that be good?

Why wasn't it enough? Why wasn't it ever enough?

I wish for the day when I can put this all behind me...when I can say and believe, "I did the best I could...it wasn't good enough...but I tried...I tried so hard."

But, maybe I won't be able to honestly tell myself that, maybe I didn't try hard enough, or maybe I gave up too soon. Maybe I didn't give my best, or maybe it just didn't matter, and no matter what I did it would never be enough. Maybe, I have to find my own enough.

Where did my strength go? It has seeped away...leaving me with tears falling...more signs of weakness and self-defeat.

Each day I start out fresh...less fearful, more sure...ready to do battle again. I can go for several weeks feeling strong and sure.

But there always, always, comes a time when I once again feel as if I am desperately swimming against the current....unsure. Flailing and floundering, strength ebbing away, leaving only weakness.

I really, really, really, really hate it when I feel this way.

I wrote the following to someone going through a situation similar to my own, I meant them, still do, I guess I just need to listen more closely to myself.

"I think we all deserve a chance to be who we are, as we are, while
trying to be the best person we can be. It's not too much to ask to be
loved for who/what we are."

Tomorrow is another day. Perhaps my strength will return with the rising of the sun.


Fiona said...

People tell me talking helps. It doesn't feel so, because as I talk, all the wounds are reopened, bleed and I hear the words again.

I often feel that it's more like lancing a boil, releasing the pus, draining the poison. Taking steps to heal through release.

But there always, always, comes a time when I once again feel as if I am desperately swimming against the current....unsure. Flailing and floundering, strength ebbing away, leaving only weakness

Don't always swim against the current, hon, use it instead. Let it carry you sometimes. And when you do need to swim against it, choose the moments that offer you the shortest route. Garner your energy beforehand.

And always know that you have your path now, Sunny and it's more a chosen path than ever before. You will choose with whom to share it and own the journey as well as the destination.


S'mee said...

Oh Sunny. Both carrying a cross for different reasons. Change a few words and a few reasons, still left with similar feelings. Another thought provoking post.
IanS X

Anonymous said...

"Why wasn't it enough? Why wasn't it ever enough?"

It was never enough for your husband because of his own issues. Even if you had been able to do every little thing that he asked of you, it still wouldn't be enough because although he thinks that's what the problem is, it's not. I don't know what his problem is, but it's his problem, not yours.

As for loving yourself, accepting yourself, it can happen and it will. But it's hard work. You can change how and what you think, you can change your beliefs about yourself and when you do, you will change how you feel. Thoughts come first and then the feeling.

I'm a great one for books. I don't know if you like to read but if you do, try "Feeling Good" but David Burns and "Learned Optimism" by Martin Seligman.

Sending you a hug and yeah, I feel like a complete fuck up at times as well. I am trying to quiet that voice inside my head because it's not true and it's not helpful. It drains away my energy and leaves me feeling like shit.

So take care, I'm think of you.

Sunny Delight said...

Thank you my lovely and loving blogfriends...for your support and caring...it helps.

Dear Fi, choosing my own path...once seemed as if it would be pure pleasure...maybe it will be as I begin to regain my faith in myself.

S'mee, ah darling man, you bear yours so beautifully, so honorably...I ache for you, and wish with all my heart you were not going through what you are going through.

Deb, reading is a great pleasure for me, and I will look for those titles. I do try to avoid the negative self talk...sadly, there are days when I just can't seem to. But I already feel my strength returning...I rarely allow the negativity to remain for long...writing it out is one way for me to jettison it.

Jac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jac said...

I always loved the motto: No Boy is Worth Crying Over and the One Who is Wont Make you Cry Amen. You know how you return to your adolescent self whenever you are in the presence of your family of origin? I just think proximity (even mental proximity)catapults you back into a past self. Soon enough this will be over and you'll be able to march fully forward!!!

Hey, guess what? I'm gonna come see ya soon. We can throw darts at pictures or something like the mature women we are!!!

Sunny Delight said...

Jac, dear one you, just gave me the BIGGEST smile!
I forgot you were coming up my way...I am SO EXCITED! Tell me the date again!

Adding *buy darts* to my shopping list!

Jonas said...

"I want to believe the good things about me...but damn it all...I failed...how can that be good?"

A marriage, particularly a marriage of long duration, is NOT the creation of one, but the expression of what TWO have wrought.

There is SO much good inside of you. So much good that fell on hard stone rather than fertile ground.

Whether you believe anything else that I may ever say, believe this: You are an exceptional and extraordinary person. You are. Take the time to get to know yourself...fall in love with yourself...