Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Light Bulb Moments

It's a strange thing when the light bulb above your head flicks into the 'on' position. It seems I had been leaving clues for myself for a little while now. Like placing dots on the page to connect later, or even breadcrumbs to help find my way through the forrest....if I looked hard enough. It had all been there.

I've just looked back at this blog, and it's almost a year ago (November 25th 2008 posting) that I hit on the idea. This notion of shyness and insecurity that has loomed large in my life for as long as I can remember. I knew this and for some reason the penny didn't drop.

In dealing with the break up with my Ex I'm having to do things that just aren't in my nature. And this is more distressing than I had imagined. When I was explaining this to someone recently, they replied 'don't you deserve to be happy?'. I found this statement confronting. Not because they were being rude, but because of everything it so simply summed up for me. Don't I deserve to be happy...

I had been making concessions for my Ex's behaviour throughout the break up, and perhaps it was partly driven by guilt, as I'm the one who wanted out and is changing everything. But I realised the other day that I don't afford myself those same considerations. Do I cop the abuse on the chin because I think it's only fair? Do I avoid confrontation because it's easier to punish myself than to stand up against something difficult. Do I find it hard to believe that I deserve to be happy because, to quote myself 'I still have my moments when I don't honestly, deep down, think that I'm good enough'.

Flick. There goes that light bulb.

I was talking about this with a friend last night, and I don't know whether figuring out where the insecurity stems from would help. Is being aware of it enough to break the behaviour habits of so many years? Is the fact that the dynamics within my new relationship are different, enough to have me not fall into old ways? I suppose one thing for sure is, I have a lot of people watching out for me. Some friends have felt that I was hiding things from them, and not telling them how my old relationship truly was. Well - in reality - there were a lot of moments when it was great. And if I'm honest, perhaps I made concessions for him, because I thought that's what you do for someone you love. But those concessions were made at times at my own expense, and that's where the wheels fell off. I wasn't actually hiding anything from anyone, it was just a question of how much of myself I was willing to sacrifice. And to love and be loved, it seemed like I was willing to make a large number of concessions.

But this year has been a time of feeling like the concessions I was making were restricting me. Fencing me in. They were becoming uncomfortable and I just couldn't do it any more. And even though the Ex wanted to work through things, sometimes you feel like the dynamics are too defined over so many years. Like an old stone staircase that has been walked on for years, the foot prints were so well worn into each step, that it just seems ingrained as part of the structure.

I'm hoping that people realise that I wasn't hiding any of this. And I also hope that I can change my old behaviour. Another friend, who has been through an awful divorce said that by facing this and having to deal with going against my natural instinct, will ultimately make me stronger. And from this I will be amazed at what I can deal with. I have such wonderful friends and I am challenged and supported by them all in so many ways. But perhaps what this year is also about, is learning to finally listen to myself. To have my voice heard, most importantly by ME. And as confronting as it is, I am learning that I DO deserve to be happy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where for art thou mediation?

It's been a month since I last wrote something. Time is flying by. In the last couple of weeks I've had to confront my past. Yep - I've been ensconced in this delightful bubble of new flat, and new relationship. The only reminder of the past was my pinching bank account (as I pay for rent and mortgage). But the reality is that if that was the price of freedom and happiness, I have been happy to pay it.

But I can't keep blindly looking forward, without dealing with the reality of what I've chosen. In a sense I have to clean up the mess I've left behind. There have been three encounters with my Ex. First at a party for a friends birthday. It would be the first time in 5 weeks we had been in the same room. We both had the security of friends around us, and for the few seconds we made contact, everything was civil. But then came the phone call I had to make. To sort out the house we'd bought over six years ago. And it was back to the hostility of when I still lived there. I was met with similar rage when we met at the bank. It has been hard for me going back to face the anger. In fact, after the restful, happy bliss I've been living, being around such hatred has been like a punch in the face.

But from this I have learnt many things - firstly, that it doesn't matter what I do or say, there is no way I can NOT look like the bad guy to my Ex. No amount of sympathy, accommodation or consideration will erase the fact that he hates me for what I'm doing. And secondly - I have to be OK with that. As mentioned previously, I don't do being the bad guy, so this is hard. And facing his anger is hard. And having the realisation yesterday that I can't get a mediator or conciliator involved just yet, is also hard. I have to get the ball rolling again, and try to push to get the house sold, while he's still living there. ALL so very hard. It seems daunting and I am at times overwhelmed by the feeling of not really knowing what I'm doing. But I have to start. I had hoped and tried for a win/win outcome, but life isn't always like that.

I also realised that the stress of dealing with this is causing a physical reaction in me. After the bank meeting, I was relieved at the thought of a mediator running interference between me and the ball of hate. I felt lighter. Weightless. But as I sit here knowing that I have to still try to get things done first myself, before I can call in back up, I have a huge knot inside me. In fact I've had a big old sob sitting here at the computer. I wish someone else could do this for me. But they can't. I wish things could be different. But they aren't. I wish so much that I could just walk away from it all. But I know how foolish that is.

So, to borrow a quote:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage...

OK - well, I'm not planning to disguise my fair nature, but I have to steal myself for battle. No matter how much this pushes all my buttons and insecurities. I have to forge ahead. There's nothing else for it.