OMG....what is this that's moving me?
We were all sitting at the restaurant table, all 8 of us. We had already eaten dinner at the flat we were renting, but decided to venture out to soothe our sweet tooth. As we ate our oven baked chocolate chip cookies topped with ice cream, we chatted about random things like life and becoming an adult.
The conversation then took an interesting turn. My niece and my stepdaughter began to get extremely emotional as they asked if they could share stuff that was bothering them. My stepdaughter began to share how her mom's disposition and attitude really affects her. She explained that she felt like the punching bag for her mom's anger. She talked about how her mom comes home day after day taking her anger out on her. My niece chimed in to add that her grandmother does the same. She added that her grandmother often called her stupid and dumb as well.
I simply listened in a non-judgmental way. I watched their tears shed and encouraged both to sit down with their loved ones and have a heart-to-heart conversation.
Though, I may have presented myself as astute, their words stung. I watched my husband listen while cringing (for various reasons). One of those reasons being that he could relate to their experience in a way that he never discussed publicly. He and I had been working on this very topic in marriage counseling---my verbal abuse. Ouch, I shutter to even type that. I had finally acknowledged and accepted that I had a nasty attitude toward my husband. The difference had become that I was willing to change it. The girls sharing their experience was a catalyst for swift and major change. I watched these 19-year-old young women who had been broken by the words of their loved ones. I made a decision I would never be the cause of that type of damage.
I left the family vacation and stepped up the game on my internal work. I researched, journaled, and became solution focused. I learned more about myself in 30 days than I had in 30 years. You see, I thought life was just unstable. To me, it was the norm. I didn’t know any different; I thought the emotions inside of me and in those around me were just that intense. I tried my hardest to overcome my internal instability by excelling in school, by being good at something. I tried to channel all those impossible emotions. It worked, for about ~20 years. I was incredibly intelligent and driven and successful, but I was also tormented by my mind. I tried many different antidepressants throughout my rip-roaring twenties. All five of them failed me. Then, for the first time, someone sat down with me and took a detailed history of my family, my moods, and my behaviors.
Any, finally, after much agony, my hormones and mental health were under control (hiking, yoga, swimming and eating right saved my life!!!) and now it was time to work through my childhood trauma. I had years of intense therapy with different therapists. Once all of that came to completion, it was time to put what I had learned into practice.
At first, it looked a lot like emotional detachment and kind of just going through the motions. I was naive. My whole life up until this point had been a whirlwind of emotion, of ups and downs and downs and ups. I hadn't been 'stable' my entire life so I wasn't comfortable with the idea of living without emotional chaos. I had to learn all about the land of stability. That took some time and some major unlearning. Slowly, my rat race of a life turned into peace and calm. And that became comfortable. My life was no longer full of endless pain and struggle, living in extremes and never finding a center.
I realized everyone experiences moments of joy, of pain, of hope, and hopelessness. The only thing that makes me different is that I experience them a little bit more fully, a little bit more intensely. I am just a person with emotions, albeit strong ones. The most significant difference now is that I wake up everyday and surrender. Wake up, Surrender. Shower, Surrender. Go to work, Surrender. I surrender to Jehovah God. I surrender to nature. I surrender to peace and my life has become relatively sane.
If you ask my husband today, he'll tell you that this year has been the very best year of our 12 year marriage simply because: 1) I accepted that I wasn't happy in my own life and it was because the person I had become, not because of my spouse, 2) I stopped attacking the people that I love for my unhappiness, 3) I figured out exactly what I needed to do to make myself grow, and 4) as I healed and transformed, I became a teacher and not a judge. I've expanded what's possible in so many ways! I'm damn proud of myself.
I pray for those that are continuing to project their unhappiness on their loved ones. The truth is, we should be reserving the best for these people. I pray you heal from the things you project onto others.