Self-admittedly, it has taken me longer than I want to admit to bounce back from my divorce. And it’s not the fact that it took me a long time to get over my ex-husband, but it’s the fact that there was more damage done than I had expected. My brain started to believe that a lot of what was said, was in fact, true and that I deserved everything that came my way. I can’t change the past and I honestly don’t see any point in blaming someone else for my changes in behaviour.
The thing is, all my choices have led me to where I am now so I ultimately hold myself responsible for all my pain and anguish. I chose to stay for longer than I should have, I chose to continue building a family and I chose to not seek help for a number of years. And ps. I highly recommend getting help as soon as you can as this whole “brushing it under the carpet” notion isn’t exactly the healthiest. But, here I am; 4 years later trying to make sense of my new way of thinking and figuring out how to navigate through the mental roadblocks I’ve now put up.
I struggle daily with insecurity. I’m still looking for validation and take offence to a lot of things that people usually look past. I still see the glass as half-empty more often than I don’t and I feel like things are too good to be true and just wait for the ultimate downfall, as I know it’s coming. I still struggle with enjoying the moment because I sometimes feel like it’s all a lie and things can’t actually be as it seems. I know… it seems like a pretty gloomy life, doesn’t it? And it’s not as gloomy as I make it sound because I know life is good, I know there is a lot to be happy about and I know I need to continue to LEARN how to relax again and take life a little less seriously. There was a point when I used to know how to have fun and I’m doing everything I can to re-wire my brain processes, but it’s taking time. And I’m allowing it to take time because of what I’ve been through. I don’t even know what was real during the time I was married, as it was a constant cycle of being blind sighted and not having the strength to think I deserved better.
When you lose self confidence, you lose an entire part of yourself. You change in ways you didn’t even see as possible and your reactions can often come as a surprise. Which is where I’m currently at. I’ve been putting the work into unbecoming the crap I became and I’m realizing how things are affecting me in ways they didn’t use to. I didn’t have full control of my life up until the beginning of 2020 and like every New Years Resolutioner, I deemed this year to be MY year. And the thing is, I think it still is my year and I’m taking these social restrictions and time at home to really zone in on developing myself and coming out of this stronger and better.
I’m obsessed with the idea of doing better. I want to be better than I was yesterday, daily. I’ve taken a number of steps to put this plan into action and am doing my best to make every day a productive one. But, I still get caught. I become angry that I need to become this SuperParent during this time that no parent is built for. No one is expected to do the things we’re doing right now and there’s not enough self-care in the world to recover from the burnout. But, we’re pushing through. Parts of my brain are still hearing the toxic things I’ve been told in the past, such as how I deserve to feel alone and how I’ll never amount to anything. It still makes me feel super crappy that I was fully left with 5 kids to raise entirely on my own. It doesn’t feel good to be told you’re worthless and good for nothing. I KNOW that isn’t true and I know I’m not a super terrible person but it’s caused me to struggle with insecurity. There were so many things done in my marriage that has caused me to be super wary of even who should be the most trusted people. I can fully say that I’ve been gaslighted and mentally, physically and psychologically abused and even though I can wake up every morning with a fresh start, I doubt almost everything.
I started to date a couple years ago and there’s this one guy I guess I “fell” for. He had his own brood of kids and he made me feel like the most beautiful and capable woman in the world. I’m pretty sure I was smiling the entire few months we dated and it felt so good to know that there was life after divorce. And then, literally out of nowhere, he ghosted me. Which made my brain revisit every single negative quality I had and made me wonder what was so wrong with me that another man was able to just abandon me without any sort of explanation. He eventually did resurface and my insecurities took him back about 3 times until I realized the issue was with him after a certain event. I feel confident that most women would have known after the first “ghosting” that the problem didn’t lay within her, but I wasn’t able to recognize that and fought internally with what was so wrong with me. It’s a hard cycle to break.
During my marriage, there were many nights when my husband didn’t answer his phone and those nights always ended in jail or something along those lines. He was able to manipulate me on way too many occasions and convince me that he didn’t spend the night in jail (even though I had physically received the phone call from to police) but rather passed out at a buddy’s place. I made the decision to choose to believe the lies and that definitely becomes a hard brain process to change. My marriage caused me to feel neglected because drugs and alcohol were constantly put ahead of me and I’m telling you, that messes with your sense of worth. And when your sense of worth is compromised, some really ugly traits will prevail.
And this is where the story changes. It took me right up until January 2020 that I needed to be careful with who I let into my life. I needed to surround myself with people who brought out the good in me. The people who reminded me that I have a lot of good to offer the world and that my failures didn’t define me. My negative attitude was attracting the wrong sort of people and I got tired of this crapy mindset I was lugging around. It’s taken some major changes but I am starting to see myself as someone who is beyond capable of what life throws her way. I do seek a bit too much validation but as a single Mother, I don’t have anyone beside me to encourage me. I post accomplishments online and I really do use the comments as motivation, because sometimes? You just need a little extrinsic push.
I am 100% not the average woman. I have huge faults and I’m very aware of them. I know when my defence mechanisms go into overdrive and I know my mouth can go. (Or my fingers, if I’m typing.) I’m really passionate about a number of things and when I feel like I’m not being heard, I make myself heard and it’s not ever necessary. I’m in the process of learning that I’m not always right and learning to not let my overthinking, insecure mind take the driver’s seat. At the end of the day, I’ve guarded my heart for a long time because I don’t ever want to be wronged again but I’m also learning how to take risks again. I’m starting to do things that challenge me and scare me to see everything I’m capable of. I’m a huge work in progress and I’m starting to learn from my faults, rather than obsess over them and let them own me.
I’m human. I’m constantly learning and constantly striving to be better than yesterday. I’m learning to be patient with myself and learning how to introduce healthy coping mechanisms into my life and most importantly, surround myself with people who bring out the light in me. Life after abuse is tough, but it’s doable. I’m a walking example that trauma can be learned from and how self-awareness is key. Until next time, XO.