Anniversary Struggles

I have been doing really good.  I have started to have ritual at my house again.  I have renewed friendships that I had not been putting enough energy into.  I hosted a one year anniversary housewarming with my housemate.  We had all the kids and grand kids over for a thanksgiving dinner.   After almost 6 years my divorce is about to be final.  I have the most wonderful housemate in the world.  I have a great dog.  I have wonderful friends who have helped me through a very dark time in my life.  I have a companion and consort that makes me extremely happy.  I am helping to lead a women’s group based on empowerment.   My job is better at the moment and I have some great vacations coming up in the next few months.  In the midst of all this wonderful stuff I have been fighting off that black cloud that whispers “you are not good enough” “those people hurt your purposely”  “they just used you”.  I see it out of the corner of my eye sometimes.  Other times it sneaks up on me in the shower and I end up having all kinds of thoughts about what I did wrong and how I was wronged.  It gets so bad sometimes that I start having terrible revenge fantasies.  I am told this is normal.  I hate normal.  I don’t want to think about lighting candles and screaming curses.  I don’t want to imagine someone crying and being hurt as badly as I was.  Deep down I only want happiness for others.  So why….why am I struggling so? 

How far does this go back?  I think part of my growth is to figure out where this deep self loathing and anger that is trying to come out really comes from.  I truly feel like I have an infected wound that is constantly oozing awful smelly green stuff that I keep trying to cover with a band aid.  The thought of cleaning it out scares the shit out of me.  My fear of rejection certainly goes way back.  It seems that as soon as I trust someone that is when the other shoe drops.  I have a huge fear of that other shoe.   As long as I can remember I have been standing watching the back of someone I care about who is walking away and I am wondering…what I did wrong?..   But did I really do anything wrong?  In some cases, yes.  In other cases, no.  I cannot lump them all together.  I was a troubled teenager.  It started when I was around 11 actually before I even became a teenager.  I am not sure exactly why.  I can say some of it came from being part of a religion that taught me that women were not as important and you should submit to the men in your life.  That teaching caused me a lot of pain and hurt for many years.  I never thought I could say no to men.  I was manipulated to do things I didn’t want to and then shamed for being sexual.  I was called a whore, slut, bitch by the men who used me and the women who hated me.   I thought I was doing what was expected of me instead I was being used and then judged by both men and women.  Several times I completely trusted and felt comfortable with men who should have protected and mentored me only to have them put their hands on me the first time we were alone.  Instead of protecting me my parents shamed me.  My mother called me names and my father turned a blind eye.  My first boyfriend was physically abusing me.  My father found out about it and called me into the living room and said “You tell that boy if I ever hear of him doing something like that again I will take his head off”.  Me, tell the boy who was torturing me at school and at public events in front of people, who spit on me and raped me several times…tell him what my dad had just said.  I felt like I had done something wrong.  I never told that boy and he kept abusing me into high school.  This scarred me greatly.  I still have a great fear of being alone with men unless I know them well.  Men I really love I cannot be sexual with.  I can only be completely sexual with men who are emotionally unavailable.  To be completely honest I could care less about sex at this point in my life.  I spent way too many years being used for sex and then tossed aside.  Then it became that I was being used for what I could give …a place to live, a car to drive, food…I could go on and on.  I was always open, loving, understanding and willing to share everything I had and I rarely got anything in return.  I only wanted one thing though…to feel safe and I wanted someone to like me.   I feel safe with very few people.  At this moment I can tell you of the men in my life I feel safe with my housemate, my consort, my son and a couple of men that have proved over time that they are truly my friends.  I have some very close women friends that I trust as well.  I feel lucky to have them.  Some of them were with me last year when I was so wounded I just wanted to end it.   Others live far away and have kept in contact with me over the years. 

So now I find myself in a place that is confusing and I can barely see.  I know this is the part when I am struggling to finally throw off the cocoon or the skin I have been trying to shed for the past year.  I don’t remember much of anything from December 15 until almost the end of the summer this past year.  I felt like someone reached in and put their fingers in my heart like a bowling ball and just kept twisting it.  In some ways I should count this as a blessing.  If I would have had the energy to act on the anger of all these years I would probably be in jail right now.  I stay away from certain places not because I will hurt …it is because I have overwhelming feelings of rage.  I know for a fact this is not about the persons it is directed at right now.  It is all the rage that has been building since that first slap, rape, rejection, or betrayal by not only men but women.  I want to be rid of this anger I have been carrying for so many years.  I want to lance my heart and clean it out completely.  What is stopping me?  That is what I am working on now.  I need to let go completely.  I have said for years I want to write a book and I have put it off because it hurts to write about all the betrayal and pain I have experienced.  It is important for me to say that I also caused others pain.  In my own pain I lashed out, I hurt people, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a great parent.  I regret all of that.  Today I am lucky that I have children who have grown up to be wonderful people who still love me despite what they had to live through.  I hope that it helps them to be better parents and I see them being way better parents than I ever was. 

I need to stop right here and say something important.

I take responsibility for every single thing I have done.  I am not standing here pointing fingers and saying that every wrong thing I have done is the fault of others.  I made my choices and I know in many instances I did the wrong thing.  I own that.  I still have days where I think about ending things.  Luckily I have a safety plan and people to talk to.  I still have days I just want to lock myself away and give up…go live in the woods and forget everything…but we all know that is not reality.  I have a calling and I want to dedicate myself to that calling.  I just have to keep reminding myself  I am worthy of the friendship and love of the people who have stuck by me. 

So here I am facing some anniversaries and fighting the feelings I am having.  I can’t fight anymore.  I have to just let the feelings flow over me and embrace my shadow.  It hurts but I believe that with time it will only get better.  I am grateful for the lessons I have learned this past year and most of all I am grateful that I can see who my true friends are at this moment and one of them…is me.