Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Pain in my pASSt

I went through something I refer to as my "dark years." This was the period of time I was married to my first husband, and the following couple of years I suffered immensely after our divorce. I try not to get too negative or detailed about that experience, but I also want to help people who have been through something similar. It is not my intention to make my ex husband look like a villain, (even though I feel quite strongly that he is...he he he...) but I want to genuinely help other women who have been in tough, abusive, traumatic relationships and felt the heartache of failure after trying everything to fix it.
 Clearly, my relationship failed.

Yes, I was a temple worthy member during the course of my marriage, therefore I incorporated much prayer and spiritual guidance in the choices I made, including my ultimate decision to leave and file for divorce.

However, there were times I was not a good person. I may not have been evil, but I was unhappy, mean, and a little bit crazy. I was consumed with jealousy for the women my husband had been involved with, anger towards him and his family, and loathe for anyone around me who wasn't equally suffering.

The years after my divorce were just as difficult as my years married, just in different ways.

I won’t pretend I was a joy to be around.  There was a good two-three years I was the most sour, bitter, miserable troll you could have ever met.  I'll be the first to admit that; and the first to be sorry about it.  In fact, after I finally found my inner peace and had healed from the hurt, I realized the only thing I truly regretted during a time when my life (and marriage) was the way I treated other people.  If there was a way I could go back in time—and there isn’t—I’d change my behavior towards others.

It was one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned…the whole “treat others the way you want to be treated” concept…For what it’s worth, I hurt more from the loss of relationships, and shame of the anger that so totally rotted me during those years of my life, than the abuse I actually tolerated within the private walls of my home.

I was so lost, so desperate and in need of someone to understand, that I did what your average young child would do.  I acted out.  I lashed out.  I made myself seem like the “crazy” woman I was rumored to be.  Even after my marriage came to an end, I felt like an alien on a planet I didn’t belong to.  A woman in pain acts so different than a man in pain.  For some reason, I thought it necessary to prove how awful the last several years of my life had been.  I wanted pity.  I felt entitled to others’ compassion.  It was all ridiculous, yes, but I was too young and immature to know any better.  The result: I’d made myself an expert at pushing people away.

Somewhere along the way, somewhere amidst the  fury, the bursts of outrage, finally letting my emotions out of hibernation and then numbing them all away with substance abuse, I ended up on a super rocky, uneven road to self-discovery.  There was a lot of tripping and falling.  A lot of scraping my knees.  With no one to blame but myself, (I finally got passed blaming others for my woes—it was everyone else’s fault, my parents, my ex-husband) I sunk into a complex seclusion of darkly gratifying self-destruction.  Demolition. And I didn’t care.  I really think I was slowly killing myself. I really think not many people cared.

I eventually decided to do something about it. 

There came a time, of course, as the pain lessened and I forgave all the people who’d ever hurt me, that I decided it was time I forgave myself.  I hadn’t totally abandoned my spirituality.  In fact, during some of my darkest hours I would reach out to the higher power.  That is probably the only reason I am still alive today. I think, I should say I know, that when I turned my heart towards the heavens and as Carrie Underwood would say, let “Jesus take the wheel…” my world did a total 360 degree turn around.  Cheesy, right?  

You don’t have to agree or even believe me.  That’s just how it worked for me.

The truth is, today my soul is more at peace than it has been my entire life.  I’ve uncovered the simple solution to finding happiness.  I’ve forgiven anyone who had offended me, I’ve forgiven myself, and I’ve felt the weighty remorse for my actions against those whom I have wronged—the latter causing me more self-inflicted pain than any others.  This journey of recovery, reprisal, revision, led me to a man~ the man~ of my dreams.  Our relationship, me and my fiancé’s, has taught me SO much about honesty, loyalty, communication, independence, all those good things you hear about, and I know that no matter what our time together has made me a better person.  I’ll always love him for that.

Today, I can spot them…abused women…cheating husbands…people in dark, dark thorn covered, demon infested forests of despair.  It hurts.  I feel sorry for them.  All of them.  I wish there was something I could do, some way I could talk to people and tell them there is hope—there is light at the end of the tunnel—there IS a God who not only can but WANTS to help you, because he loves you, and if you would just spare a thought to ask him for help during your most trying times, he will not fail to come to your aid.  Just as that little voice tempts you to sin, to succumb to that vice of yours that temporarily keeps your pain dulled or at bay, there is another little voice telling you, “I am here.”  If you offered so much as a plea, just one little “please” there is no way He wouldn’t help.  I don’t care what religion you are, what “higher power” you believe in, if you prayed to it—legitimately put into action all those beliefs you supposedly uphold—you’ll receive support.  You’ll see progress.  Burdens will lighten.  Light will sparkle in a heart that was once ill-illuminated. 

There are still trials.  I don’t go very far before something tries to pull me back, ensnaring me with mood-shattering tentacles, whether it is a physical shove or just a battering memory.  The memories are the worst.  I still have nightmares.  However, I may go weeks, sometimes even months, without a storm cloud hovering over my shoulder.  If it does rain, I choose not to "get wet".  It is an amazing feeling, having overcome some crazy, life-altering predicaments.  I have a confidence and a pride in my self-worth that I never had before.  Because I am a survivor.

Have you ever heard that phrase, “Wherever you go, there you are.”?  Yep…I totally, one hundred percent believe that.

And nobody took you there but you.

 I don’t want to spend another day hating myself, hating others, hating the world.  Nobody is perfect—especially not me—and because of the troubles I’ve undergone, I have a lot more sympathy and ease with which I can forgive.  I know a gloomy heart when I see one.  I know nothing I say or do will help, because nothing anyone said or did helped me when I wasn’t willing to listen, but I know that if I listen to quiet promptings, or act as a good example, (and occaisionally blog about stuff) I might be able to reach SOMEONE.

 I am so eternally thankful for my experiences.  For the second chance to find happiness.  For the miracle of life that will soon bless my family. 

To wake up every day healthy, without illness, with a roof over my head and food in my cupboards, with more shoes than I can count, a nice car that runs, a job to provide me money, and a man to protect and provide for me, is more than I could have ever hoped to imagine.  I truly, genuinely, have so much I probably don’t deserve.  I hope I never forget what I went through, what lessons I’ve learned, so that I can live my life as an understanding woman, wife, and mother.  All of my days.

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