I was watching Oprah today and a therapist on her show said that "feelings are time travelers." I loved that phrase. It doesn't matter if what you experienced happened last week, last year or during your first week of life -- the feelings can still FEEL the same. And sometimes, when you don't deal with those experiences, you continue to re-experience those feelings from the past; so you can hit that nerve over and over again to provide your consciousness the opportunity to work it out.
I lived with feelings of abandonment, sadness and victimization. Unfortunately, my marriage offered many opportunities to experience those feelings.
After years of suffering and seeing no change or end in sight, I decided the only person I could change was myself.
Slowly I learned to experience those feelings OUTSIDE of my marriage. As the pain washed over me, I would say to myself, okay, this is MY feeling. I'm feeling un-loveable. My dh is not MAKING me feel this way. There is a situation here that is providing a lot of opportuntiy to feel this way, but it is not MAKING me feel this way.
But still I did have these feelings.
Where did they come from? Why are they so real? As I began to just let the feelings come over me, un-attached and un-judged, I was able to find their true origins. And so I gave them a VALID place to live.
A place to live inside me that was big and roomy.
I'd view them for what they were: a part of me. Not the whole me.
I learned to observe.
And eventually, I gave them the space they needed to heal. Those feelings now have a context and when they come up I recognize them for what they are. They are not the result of my relationship with my dh. And I don't need that relationship to validate my pain or to fix this damage in me anymore.
I can do that. And I have done that.
And he can no longer plug in to that outlet. It's just not there anymore.
I had hoped and prayed and hoped that there was more to our relationship than this painful dance. And there was at times. But not enough.
I had hoped too that we could grow together. But the past is hard to let go of.
Kind of like hope.
An acquaintance heard about my situation and I was shocked when she said to me, "God, I wish I could divorce my abusive husband. How did you do that?"
I told her, "Work on yourself. Improve yourself. Grow as much as you can on your own. And eventually, anything that is not growing with you or that does not make room for your growth, will become intolerable to you. And I think that's the first step."
My goal was never to end my marriage.
But growth was an inevitable part of my journey and I'm grateful beyond belief for that.