Wrapped up in a new lifestyle

I decided I had to end my marriage. That was a decision that took heartache, tears, and years to come to.

Prior posts on this blog share many of the reasons. Simply put, it boiled down to being married to an isolated alcoholic who had been emotionally neglectful and abusive. Our relationship had completely deteriorated. I emotionally detached, and I felt the need to make a better life for myself and my daughter.

She and I have been on our own for 16 months. What does our new lifestyle look like?

We have less stress and anxiety, which increases happiness. We have more chores to split, which is tiring. We have made new friends, ones that love us as we are. We have less contact with his family, which is sad. We have turned some good friends into “family.”

I have had the time to explore more of myself and my shortcomings and find ways to heal. Healing is good for the soul.

I’ve been able to start dating. It’s nice to be complimented….that was foreign. It’s nice to have stimulating conversation…that had disappeared. It’s refreshing to have someone put my needs ahead of his….wow. And it’s nice to hear “I’m sorry” if something goes wrong….another thing I’m not used to. It’s refreshing to date someone who inspires me.

I do less with some groups and clubs than I used to. I can’t really explain why, other than that I spent a lot of time doing things simply to be outside of the house when I was married. Now I enjoy being home. Also, I don’t want to be asked questions. It’s easier to avoid some of the curious, nosy, gossipy people.

The people who understand my decision and support me have been a blessing. They may not know it, but their hugs, smiles, or texts sometimes turn an awful day into a good one.

Some people don’t understand my decision. While I certainly don’t need approval, it hurts my core that some of my closest family members are unintentionally obvious about their lack of approval. One particular person recently said about me that “I am so wrapped up in my new lifestyle that I don’t have time for anything that isn’t a part of it.” I have no idea what that means, but it certainly sounds like it comes from anger, resent, or hurt. I don’t know why.

My new lifestyle allows me more freedom. I’m able to open my doors to friends and family to visit anytime they want, or even use my house as a retreat. I’m able to slow down my pace and appreciate my blessings. God’s artwork is appreciated and his presence in my life is invigorated. And, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to support other people who have been in similar circumstances.

I like my new “lifestyle.” Not sure what’s bad about it.

When you need to complain, who do you complain to?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times…….”only vent up.”  In the business world, I taught many leadership courses and mentored developing managers.  This is one of the rules for professionalism that I learned early and did my best to follow personally, as well as to teach it to others.  After all, nobody likes to overhear those water cooler bitching sessions about new policies, other employees, or even management.  If you do like to hear them or get involved in them, reassess your situation.  You might be a negative ninja.

This week, I started to think about “venting” in the personal environment and if similar rules apply.

When I was married to the isolated alcoholic, his venting came only to me, and most of mine (if it was personal) went to him.  Wow….does that help or hurt a relationship?  I can certainly understand that the last thing anyone wants to hear is a bunch of bitching all the time.  My alcoholic didn’t share frequently, but I know I certainly pointed out his negativity to him on more than one occasion.  Should I have?  Or did he need to get it out, and I was the only person who could hear it?

Without realizing, it seems that I have transferred my “vents” to my mother.  I wonder if instinctually, I’m following that rule about venting up?  Is a parent in a personal life like a boss in a professional life?  I’m not sure I have an answer, but I have come to understand that nobody, whether it be your boss or your mom, wants to hear it.  The exception in my mind is that already negative/bitter people may enjoy someone commiserating with them.  Hmmm….  Either way, it really doesn’t do any good.  Rather, just a waste of time and negative energy.

Honestly, I thought I was doing well at being positive despite the craziness of my life the last 12 months.  I have vowed not to ever speak poorly about my ex husband to my daughter, or even in a place where she can hear it.  So far, I think I’ve achieved that goal, which is really important to me.  As a child of divorced parents, it hurt me deeply if I heard anything like this (even if warranted),  I don’t want to inflict that on my child.

What I have witnessed in Al-Anon, is that the majority of members are willing to hear the vents of other members without judgement and also while trying to support them.  The organization and it’s members are important in the healing process for anyone who loves or loved an alcoholic.  The twelve steps, if coached and followed, should help a person to find their own shortcomings and also have less to vent about.  Luckily, Al-Anon meetings are inclusive of people who need to vent as well as others who can listen and help redirect.

If there is somebody negative in your life, do you tend to be more negative when you are around them? Do they bring you down or do you challenge them to find positive alternative solutions?  I think it’s possible to do both, depending on the person or situation.

I can’t say I am offering solutions in this blog, but I hope through my own reflection sharing,  I have encouraged any of you to reflect on the same.  For myself, I’ve decided I might need to give more to God instead of others in my life.  I’ll be more cautious about what I vocalize.  God is willing to listen and take it all.  Our family members, who are close to us, don’t deserve the worst of us.

 

 

Don’t stay for the kids, from the kid

My daughter and I were both in her room one day, doing nothing in particular.  We were chatting about her friends at school.  One particular friend, Dee, had parents who had gotten divorced in the prior six months.

My daughter , “didn’t you say that Dee’s mom only stayed as long as she did for the kids?”

I responded, “yes, she told me that.”

My daughter, “I would never want you and daddy to stay together just because of me.”

Words from a twelve year old that certainly caught me by surprise.  Prior to this, it had never been mentioned as a possibility in our house.  Her dad and I never fought, and I don’t think she knew I had begun to wonder if it was the only answer.

She seemed so wise, and then two minutes later, went ahead and expressed a typical twelve year old reason…….”I mean…..I would get two sets of birthday presents and two sets of Christmas presents….,”  as she smirked.

In hindsight, I still think she was very wise, and she may have seen me start spinning in my mind.  Her emotional intelligence is quite high.  She probably wanted to pull me back off of the road my mind started down.

No kids wants to hear their parents are getting a divorce, but at least mine was able to discuss it in a way that gave me peace.