Saturday, September 30, 2017

Is It Possible to Overcome all of My Childhood Trauma?

I read an article posted by a friend on Facebook, and it sent me into a bit of a tailspin today.

My friend who posted it is a wonderful and sweet grown woman. But I know she suffered through some pretty traumatic childhood experiences, as have so many of us. Her message with her post was "The thing is, you can heal from it. I am."

I can answer yes or identify with #'s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20. That seems like a lot!

1."Apologizing for other people’s behavior, making excuses for them or trying to build a logical reason for why they behave the way they do."

2. "Overthinking. I overthink everything, and analyze your every word, every movement." (I literally drive myself to exhaustion overthinking things! But I cannot find a way to stop or make my mind relax about it.)

3. "I put tons of pressure on myself then fall to pieces when I cannot handle the unbearable load. I think I am supposed to be perfect even though I can’t be. I cannot deal with people verbally fighting."

4."Downplaying my own problems/struggles because I feel the need to help and ‘fix’ everyone else, and convincing myself my problems aren’t as bad/important."

5. "Bottling up everything and never really asking for help because I feel like a liability."

6. "Apologizing all the time. Being scared to do things because I feel like no matter how hard I try, I’ll get it wrong or disappoint someone."

10. "[I] make fun of my own emotions, call myself names when I’m acting emotional, blame myself, constantly apologize, panic when being yelled at, get upset and cry when confronted about confrontation, keep things like emotions to myself [and] have panic attacks when I hear people arguing in screaming matches."

11. "I push new people away before they have the opportunity to leave. I care about my close family so much that I put them all before myself. It’s mentally and physically exhausting."

12. "Always saying ‘yes,’ because if I say ‘no,’ I will feel like a bad girl."

14."When people raise their voice at me, I automatically shut down." (For me, this doesn't have to be physically yelling, but it can be quiet disappointment or disapproval that also causes shut down.)

15. "Being way too active when meeting new people, so they won’t realize I’m anxious."

16. "I immediately cave in any confrontation. As soon as a voice is raised, I lose all sense of confidence or backbone — like I’m being backed into a corner."

17. "Over-explain myself and talk really fast ..... and lose my cool when yelled at by men." (Again, this doesn't have to be actual yelling, but it can be any confrontation or disapproval by or from men that sends me into an immediate shut down mode.)

18. "Living my life being nearly unbearably lonely because I’ve found acceptance from so few and ridicule and betrayal from so many. I continue to work on accepting being lonely gracefully, but am in fact most of the time just trying to hide how lonely and hurt I am."

20. "I’m terrified of authority figures. I’m always worried I’m ‘in trouble’ for just existing. I’m an adult, and a tertiary-educated professional. I don’t get ‘in trouble.’ But the minute I have to talk to a manager at work, I feel like a naughty little kid trying to avoid getting grounded."

I recently posted a quote on Facebook by C.S. Lewis: "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can change the ending."

I know so much of what happened to me as a child was out of my control, but sometimes I am crippled inside by my own demons and my own broken parts left over from those experiences, I wonder if I will ever truly be able to overcome those things.

The past year has been hard emotionally. A 6 year relationship ended. I've been trying to navigate the online dating world, which is an adventure in hope over experience. I had an issue at the end of last school year with a parent that left me questioning a lot about what I want to do with the rest of my life and if I really am a good person and teacher. I had an experience at karate that has left me feeling sad, and wondering what do I need to learn about myself to stop the pattern in my life where I feel like I am unappreciated and in trouble for just trying to help.

And last week, we were given a training at a team meeting on childhood trauma that brought so much of my own experiences to the surface again. We were given a 10 question survey that asked us to score childhood experiences that might have been traumatic. We were supposed to give ourselves a point for each one that we experienced. Some I just gave myself a half point because the question asked about frequency. Yet so many of those things only have to happen to you once in order for them to be one time too many. My total score was a 7 out of 10. The only thing I didn't answer anything to was whether I had a family member go to jail or not. Another team mate also scored fairly high. She contacted me afterwards feeling raw and questioning herself. I assured her that she was an amazing person who had overcome so much to become the successful adult she is. I said I wasn't ashamed of what had happened to me to warrant that high of a score, but after reading the article today, I was left questioning my own self evaluation and if I really have overcome some of those ghosts as well as I'd like to think.

I am not ashamed of my past. Like I said, as a child a lot of those things just happen to you and you really have no control over them. It's what I need to do with my present and my future that has me feeling a bit on the overly emotional side today. Reading this article really brought it to the surface where there were times during the day when I found myself inconsolably sobbing. It was irrational; I know.

I just don't know if I can get out of my own way sometimes and ever find happiness in the sense of sharing my life with someone else. I am fine with not being in a relationship. I know that I am a complete person all by myself. I would like, however, to have a friend and a confidant to share the next chapter with, but sometimes I wonder if I can do it. What if I have an actual nice guy in front of me and all these demons and broken just seem too much, too weird, too neurotic? What if I can't stop second-guessing myself? What if I can't get out of my own way? What if I can't relax into the situation enough to just let things happen and progress naturally? I know "what if's" are all rhetorical, and I am supposed to play them out to the end, which I can do. But the answer to all of these things is that in the end, I end up alone. Which again, is fine, but not desirable.

I am left today feeling raw and overly vulnerable and wondering if I will ever be able to have what I see others have in a healthy adult relationship. I would like to figure this out, but am not sure if I can. Yet, I will continue onward.

As usual writing my blog posts are really a form of therapy. It's my way of putting my thoughts out in front of me so that they stop eating me up from the inside out. Thanks, as always, for reading and providing feedback.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Trying to Move Forward in the New Year

It's been over 4 months since the break up, and I still struggle with the sad. I don't go around crying all the time, just sometimes when I'm alone because I miss the relationship. I know that it's over, and I have done the letting go thing. I haven't contacted him, and I haven't wanted to. After my last post, I did email him all the things that I needed to say in order to have closure for me. I didn't expect that he would respond, but he did. However, there was no apology or accountability for any of his actions. He only told me all the things that I shouldn't do the next time around and then said that I had now said pages and pages of things and although I was welcome to continue to send him messages, he would no longer be replying because he had no more time for such things. Somehow I had become a total inconvenience in his life. After that it was easy not to contact him or want to fix things, but it hasn't stopped me from missing what I thought we had.

But therein lies the problem, right? What I thought we had and what was most likely the reality ended up being two very different things. I like to think of myself as a realist and yet, I wanted things to be one way so badly, that I was blinded to what was the truth. I really loved that guy. I loved what we had and the things that we did together. I loved him so much that I projected what I thought could be as the truth. I'm not sure I was ever really his priority. It was all when it was convenient for him and what he wanted instead of the true partnership I hoped for.

I'm trying to move on and stop crying in the alone times of my life. I've joined some dating sites, but so far they are more of an anxiety-producing activity than anything else. I went out on one date super quickly after I joined, but it was a disaster. The guy turned out to be for everything I'm against fundamentally as a person. I tried to quit the site, but it was past the 3 day cancellation time. A friend suggested I be super strict with my parameters, so I've buckled down a bit.

I have been communicating with a couple of guys. It's either really slow going or they want to exchange numbers right away, which I'm not wholly comfortable with. I'm trying to be chill about the whole thing, but I have had to ask others for advice. And sometimes the anxiety about it all gets to me. I went to my acupuncturist the other day and she couldn't believe how bad my shoulders, neck, and upper back were. As she was putting about 100 needles into my back making me a human pin cushion she asked if I could not work out as much. I said it wasn't working out, but the anxiety about the break up and being able to move forward that had me all bunched up. Of course, then I just started to cry one of those horrible ugly cries. Then she left me all snotty and sans a tissue. I'm supposed to have been relaxing when I couldn't move without sending my needles into stabs of pain while my snot pooled onto the floor below the head doughnut.It was not a pretty site!

I wish I could say that I am able to relax into the whole dating situation, but I just feel so messed up from the break up still. If I was the best relationship he ever had and yet he still wouldn't choose me even though I wasn't really asking for that much, how can I ever be what someone would want or need? Obviously I've been broken up with before, but the thing that makes this one so different is that the things that I cannot change about myself is what he said were wrong with me. My anxiety is so off-putting; my questions were overwhelming. Not saying this is what I deserved or that it's a good thing, but I can get that you leave me for someone else and you are moving on much better than in the end someone attacking the things that are my greatest weaknesses. I get that my anxiety can be hard to take at times, but if I could control it, believe me I would. When it gets to the point it was when I felt like I had nothing else that would help but to write about it was because the one person who had always claimed to be on my side was, as it turned out, not really ever on my side, I am sure that the anxiety was off-putting. But I still don't understand why he couldn't talk to me.

My friends tell me, and sometimes I tell myself the same thing, that it was all just an excuse to leave. He was just looking for a way out and I provided a big open door by blogging and going into a manic anxiety attack. I know I'll never know the real answers, and I have to go with what my gut says, which is usually always right. I worry when I write these blogs that it sounds like I am just full of self-loathing. I'm not. I certainly doubt my ability to have a successful relationship, but I still love myself. If you've met me, you know that I am a super perfectionist. I always tend to see the things that need improvement rather than celebrating all the good things about myself. I am a nice and good decent person. I love fiercely and am incredibly loyal. But at the same time I know that these things can be too much at times. I know that anxiety can take over, and I can become easily overwhelmed and seem manic. These are things I can't really change about myself. I can do things to make them less and believe me I have mellowed with age, but there will more than likely be times when they will surface again.Will there ever be someone that can see past these small events that seem large at the time? Or in the end will I end up exhausting anyone who sticks around for a longer period of time?

Today, I am just struggling with the grief of it all. I made it through the holidays, but it doesn't mean that there weren't tears shed in the bathroom or alone in my bedroom every day. There are most definitely times when I would still go back to him. I know that isn't the right answer and I shouldn't want it, but I loved him. A year ago we were skiing together and I just remember feeling so in love and happy. Of course, it was on that ride home that he asked me what I really wanted out of the relationship and I answered about the ring and having our family and friends more connected and it all went downhill from there.

So I will try to end on a positive note by saying that there are some nicer possibilities in the online dating world, and I will try to be open and chill about the experience. I will try to put myself out there, but sometimes I hate every second of it and just want to go back to a year ago and kept my mouth shut!

Here's to trying again in the New Year!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Letting Go

Forgive yourself so you can move on - this seems to be my life's lesson: As I am working on moving forward alone, I am struggling with the concept of letting things go. I have to admit that I really still would like to fix things, but am continuously assured that my desire is one-sided. Therefore, I need to work on what to do next, which seems to be tackling this issue of letting go. Being a fan of the movie, Frozen, it's all fine and good to sing  Let it Go, but how does one actually make this happen? Elsa thought she would be fine up on that mountain not being bothered by anyone or accidentally turning others into popsicles, but she had to change her mindset in order to function with other people. I am going to have to change my mindset of still wanting to fix things to letting all of that go in order to move forward. I think saying or singing, "Let it go," is one of those things that's easier said than done.

Exactly what I'm doing: As a student of my own life, I am trying to learn as much as I can about this topic because I feel like I don't know. I know that Elsa had to change her mindset after realizing that isolating herself on a mountaintop really wasn't going to serve anyone, not even herself. It can be nice to retreat away, but in the end we all have to figure out how to function with others. She had to change her mindset of thinking her power to turn things to ice and snow was a curse to something that could be beneficial for herself and others. The true love of her sister was the catalyst that helped her to see the good in her powers. So I am working on no longer wallowing around in my own grief and pain and taking this opportunity to do a couple of things: celebrate what we had, celebrate who I am, and figure out what the next steps are.

Then again....they might not miss it. Probably because you've been replaced. Never lied, always true and yet didn't matter. Feels like you've never been wanted. Thought they were different...guess not! Someone else will appreciate me and then it will be too late for you.: Newcastle in New South Wales: I still think that there was more good than bad, but in the end it was the bad that won out even if it was in the minority of the issues. (That stupid 70% rule again!) I suppose that's how it goes a lot of the time. Sometimes we get so caught up in the paper cut on our one finger that we forget that the rest of our hand is perfectly fine and functional because even though it's small, that paper cut really hurts! I do really miss him, but am wondering if I am once again the victim of hoping for more than he was ever willing to give. I am really good at projecting what I hope someone could be more than who they want to be. So let's start with all the things that were great about that relationship. Until the past couple of months, I thought we were really connected. We are both educators in some way, and it was always nice to be able to speak education-ese together. We had a favorite band, Switchfoot, that we followed. I enjoyed going to those concerts together; it was always a special bonding time. We did karate, church, and many outdoors activities together like skiing and hiking. He was kind and complimentary. There were many times when I needed to just talk about something, and he was good at listening without interruption. I always liked after one of these times when he would ask if I wanted him to do anything to help fix the situation or had I just needed a listening ear. We shared many great experiences and went to some incredibly fun events together. I really am going to miss all of those things. The beauty of our relationship was that it was not a traditional relationship, which I am not very good at maintaining. We didn't live together; we weren't planning to get married. We saw each other when we could, and we seemed to be able to make up our own rules for the relationship, at least until recently. I honestly thought we would be able to go the distance since it was such a free-formed relationship.

Get more Tiny Buddha: I know some of you have been worried about me and my ability to like and accept myself. While I do admit to feeling sad and lonely right now, I do know how to be alone, and it really isn't a problem for me. I don't need a man to make me feel complete. I do like having someone with whom I can spend some time, but that's just a perk to
Don't feel sad over someone who gave up on you feel sorry for them because they gave up on someone who would have never given up on them: Quotes Of The Day - 11 Pics: life. I've been divorced for 10 years now, and it's really been 11 since I have been on my own. Before that, I was on my own for many years. I like my space. I have no desire to have someone come move in with me. I really don't think I ever want to be married again, and that certainly was not something I was asking for in the last relationship. I just wanted someone who would include me in all aspects of his life and that maybe someday might consider giving me a ring as a symbol that we were committed to each other. It didn't have to be expensive or even a diamond. It could have cost $10 for all I cared. I just wanted that small material token. In the end, I don't think the ring was the deal breaker. Aside from the blogging, which I think has become the convenient excuse and reason to vilify me, I think I know what the deal breaker was for him, but he won't confirm that, and it really is something too private to share here. My head knows that this relationship has run its course, and quite honestly if someone else was telling me this story, I would tell them it's time to let go. However, my heart is still not there yet. I am getting better each day, but the thought that I won't have that closeness I once shared with this person has really broken my heart. I think I may have hoped for too much that he wasn't willing to give.The hardest part for me is not wanting to ever give up, but knowing that he gave up on me, on us, is what hurts the most. I don't ever want to give up on someone that I truly love, but there comes a time when you realize that nothing you can say or do is going to make one damn bit of a difference. In fact, the more I have tried to make things better or work them out, the more he has retreated away until now he won't even communicate with me by any means, which in itself becomes a form of communication.
A relationship is like a house. When a lightbulb turns out, you don't go and buy a new house, you fix the

live happy: So, where do I go from here? If he came back tomorrow and said he would like to fix things, I think I would still do it. I think there are things like my mindset that I would be willing to change. I think there are things that I can still work on to be better at within a relationship. I have offered to change things about myself that are worth changing because we all have areas that need work; I have offered forgiveness; I have offered apologies; I have offered to look at things and approach them in a new way; I have given space; I have tried to communicate; I have asked questions; I have offered solutions; I have asked what he wanted; and none of those has been the right thing. At one time, it was possible to work on whatever needed to be worked on with this person, but now it is a total shut out. There will be no fixing of any more light bulbs; we are apparently going house shopping! (See quote to the right if you are confused.) The likelihood that he would ever even want to speak to me again is pretty slim, and his responses to things like I miss you or you are losing me have not been anything close to reciprocal;even I love you is met with nothing. So it is time to forge a new path. I am not wishing this person ill-will. I wish he would have been more open-minded and truthful about what he really did or did not want or what he was willing to give or not give emotionally within a relationship, but there is no point in dwelling on what we wish for rather than what is. What was it Richard from Texas said to Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love? Oh yes, "You have to stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be."

 : So here I am ready to tackle the unknown and let this one go. It's funny as word has gotten out that I may be available how people like to help out! The other night at karate, I was talking to a dad of one of our younger students. This guy is a big, burly soldier who has admitted that he doesn't talk to civilians much, but he likes to talk to me. He can't ever imagine anyone not liking me or ever being mean to me. This was all said without knowing what is going on. I said something like well funny you would say that right now because I'm pretty sure there is at least one person out there who is not so enamored with me. I filled him in that the guy I've been dating had broken up with me. He then asked if I would like it if he fixed me up with one of his soldiers. I was a little non-committal as I am not really ready to start dating again, but I said he could keep an eye out. He said he would and then added that if I did start dating one of his soldier friends, he would kick his ass if I was ever mistreated by one of his people. It was cute and somewhat scary all at the same time! We'll see what happens. You know that other thing Richard from Texas said as he was leaving the ashram and reminding Elizabeth Gilbert to find someone else to love someday, "Sometimes the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else." Oh dear! I'm not ready for that yet, but it does make bring a smile to my face, which is a step in the right direction towards letting it go!
click this pic for more quotes about life.:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Moving Forward

I get it. I broke his rule and am now suffering the consequences. His decision was unilateral, and it was obvious from our brief conversation on the 19th that he had made up his mind before we even spoke, and there would be no changing it. I really didn't say much once I could hear his quiet anger. He didn't yell, but his disapproval is still weighing heavily on me; it's a constant pit in my stomach, choke in my throat, and pressure upon my entire body. He said he understood my need to process, but that he has a right to privacy and that is very important to him, so our relationship is over. He's not wrong. He does have a right to keep his own issues private. I have to tell you that the fact that I hurt him by writing is killing my soul today. I honestly feel horrible.

In the 6 years of previous dating, I never wrote much about him. I wrote about concerts or activities we went to, but didn't say anything if things were down. There have been other down times, so why not write about them? Because he was always willing to talk and communicate. I had been so completely cut off from his life recently, and my one or two friends with whom I was allowed to speak to had no answers for me. I was tearing myself apart. I knew I was overwhelming him. I knew I was freaking out. I had to get out what was haunting my very existence. I felt better after each previous blog. I felt like I had released a bit of the anxiety that had been plaguing me. I really was trying to solve the problem. I wanted to work it out. I told my one friend just hours before talking to him that I just wanted peace. I wanted to go back, hit reset, and figure out a way to move forward together. I still figured it was a long shot, but I wasn't expecting absolutely no negotiation during our discussion. It is just over, and his request when we spoke was that I be kind and respectful. I feel that I had tried very hard to be both of those things. The previous posts weren't hateful nor were they full of blame towards him. I think I haven't been as kind or respectful to myself, and I certainly don't have kind or respectful thoughts towards myself now either. He said he knows he has non-fans amongst my friends, but no one has commented either publicly or privately about him negatively. The comments I have received have been for me to try to recognize my own value and that relationships are just all hard no matter their length.  I tried to write my own story. Any examples I gave were generalistic, and there were many things left unsaid. My intent was not to hurt or harm, but to figure things out as best as I could alone.

Strive for progress, not perfection: He started by saying he had read my blogs and 2 things really struck him. He said that I couldn't retract all those things I said I wanted even though I personally really had let them go. But, what struck him most was the 70%. He thought I deserved 100%, but with him in the picture I would never be able to have more than 70%. I did say that I still don't believe that 100% is possible. It's a fairy tale, a myth. No one gets everything they want in a relationship and to set up the expectation that that's all any of us deserve is unrealistic. There has to be give and take, and there are always going to be things that each person isn't going to care for in the other. But I certainly am not going to force someone to be with me if he truly doesn't want to be. Begging in desperation doesn't do anybody any good. He didn't want to say anything else for fear it will end up here. Again, I get it. I didn't honor what he had asked, but the reason I started writing here is because I didn't know what else to do. I know I could have written in a private journal, but that doesn't work for me. I had to share my story for me, not to blame him or hate on him. I don't hate him. I still really love him and honestly still want to work it out, but I also clearly hear that is never going to happen.

There is no such thing as closure. Accept it for what it is and then square your shoulders and lift that chin girl - its time to move on and live the life YOU deserve! :-* ♥: He did ask me what I wanted at the start of the conversation. I said that I missed my friend. I didn't want to fight anymore, and I just wanted to work things out. I am not really sure why he bothered to put me through all of this when he had already clearly made up his mind. From his perspective, I think it was his way of letting me have my say, even though it wasn't going to make a difference. At the end of the conversation, he said he still really loved and cared for me. But those words feel empty to me. My definition of loving someone doesn't mean I give up on them when times get tough or when someone does something I don't like. That is bound to happen in any relationship. Love for me is unconditional. It means working together and not giving up on each other or shutting each other out. He said he still wanted to be friends, but I'm not sure how that is going to work out when he is now constantly worried about the privacy issue, which is something I only violated when I felt I could no longer turn to him. If we could have worked out, my only reporting back to you all would have been that we are going to work together to make things better.

Today, I'm just overwhelmed with my own grief. I know that in the end if he doesn't want to be with me, then I shouldn't want to be with him. But right now, I feel broken and torn apart and like there really must be something inherently wrong with me. I feel like a total failure. I think there is something wrong with me and my ability to carry on a quality relationship. I'm pretty sure I'm the worst person, and I am wondering how anyone is going to ever want all the things that are me. If I was the best relationship he ever had, why am I not worth fighting for? Why can't I ever get past this certain point in any relationship? What is it that I'm doing incorrectly? What do I still need to learn?

  I feel like right now I am kind of just whining. I am sorry if it comes across that way. I am trying to hold myself together. Going to work on the 20th was hard. I spent much of the day trying not to cry. I was ok as long as I had students in the room, or if I was around other people. Any time I was alone with my thoughts, I was just a pile of mush. I almost didn't write this blog because of the fear of hurting him more. But the brutality of again not being able to discuss anything was physically crushing me.  I have had comments that what I have done in writing my story shows great courage. While I certainly don't feel courageous, I appreciate that others feel like they can learn something from all of this. It was never my intention for it to come at the expense of someone else. As a teacher, it is what I strive for. I have never been that person always perfectly poised and graceful. I'm a dork. I feel like I bumble through life always Taking the Long Way But sometimes, I think that bumbling dorkiness is what makes it so I can't be part of a relationship. I become an embarrassment and a liability, which is what I believe has happened here. Again, I get in the grand scheme of things I broke his rule by being public; my embarrassing revelations have threatened his credibility. And for that I will always be apologetic. However, in that same grand scheme of the world, what I did or anything leading up to writing publicly by asking questions doesn't feel like it should be a deal breaker.

When I am not sure what to do with myself, I look towards mentors and other teachers to help me. I think of the famous WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? saying. I think Jesus would have offered forgiveness. I know he would have offered forgiveness to the other person, which is what I tried to do by changing my mindset, but that was never going to be received or acted upon by the other person. I have learned from my past that if only one person wants to work on a relationship, there is no relationship on which to work. I think I now need to work on the forgiveness of myself. Of course, if you know me at all, I have thought about what would Elizabeth Gilbert do? You know, ironically right now, she is going through a tough time and separation from her guy. She hasn't said much publicly, but I am sure she is writing privately. I suppose that's where I went wrong with my struggle is that I made it public. Even though my intentions were good, I still ended up hurting someone I didn't want to hurt. For that I will always be extremely apologetic. I have recently also turned to studying Dr. Brene Brown. I have watched her TEDx talk: The Power of Vulnerability a handful of times now. I definitely need to watch many more times. I am apparently fine with showing my vulnerability to others; my struggle here lies in not thinking that I am enough.I have to learn to love myself. Today is not that day, but I'll work on it. A good friend just this morning talked about a friend of hers who never felt like she could keep herself in a relationship, so she started dating herself. She would take herself out to do the things that she really wanted to do regardless of having anyone accompany her. In doing so, she found herself and then found someone who loved and appreciated her as well. Not a bad idea. Maybe I will give it a try.

I don't feel like I have to run out and find my next dating victim any time soon. I don't have a fear of being alone or doing things by myself. I have always been overly independent. I think dating a firefighter would be a good plan for me. I have never been good at having someone who is always around or constantly at my side; I could be completely accepting of a schedule that had someone unavailable for longer shifts of time.; ) He mentioned that now I could have you all start setting me up a little too facetiously. I really don't feel ready for that at all.The thought of setting up a dating profile or even going on a date right now makes me feel physically sick. I think for now, I'm going to continue to teach, do karate, hang out with my kids, and maybe pick up another job to help pay for that new furnace and air conditioning and maybe a trip to Italy with a student group next summer! Maybe I'll actually keep writing about all those things that I have been meaning to write about but haven't the last couple of years. Things that don't involve whining about my dating misfortunes! I have already been formulating my next posts: more about vulnerability and that darn 70% consensus rule.

Again thanks to all of you for your love and support. I really haven't had one person say bad things about my (former) guy; it has all been support towards me and helping to build me up. It has meant more to me than I could possibly say. If I have hurt anyone by my words, I am truly sorry. That was never my intent. I'm just trying to keep some semblance of sanity in my life. And now, I suppose we are all on this journey together because I seem to have found my writing voice again, and you have become my audience. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Changing my Mindset

I really missed him badly on Thursday. I had to take the day off from work to have a new furnace installed in my house, so I'm wasn't distracted by the busy-ness of teaching students all day. He's actually out of town, so the desire to ask him to lunch wouldn't have worked anyway. But I do miss my friend these days. I would love to call him up and invite him to a movie or just some down time together. There's a movie out now that I know we would both like to see. I just don't think these things are possible anymore. He says he wants to be friends no matter what happens, but being handed the friend card is a different kind of friendship than what we shared before.

What do I not yet know about myself or what have I not yet learned? I think I'm just going through the grief process, which would be normal, right? I still feel so undecided about what I would like to have happen.

On one hand, I totally get that if someone doesn't want to be with me, then I shouldn't want to be with that person either. I am sure in time, I could find someone with whom I might want to spend some time. I'm not sure that I feel willing at this point to ever put myself totally out there again, but maybe that part of me will heal eventually. I know he's busy with work and travel and taking care of his own children, but in the past we have always been able to come to some sort of a balance with all of these things. I shouldn't want to be with someone who really doesn't have the time or desire to make the time for me. I think it really comes down to I exhausted him to the point of overwhelming-ness. The writing has been on the wall. He has said, "I'm not that guy," and "You should find someone else." Clearly I should really move on, but I feel so stuck at wanting to at least try to make things be better.

But what if we tried to make things better? Would we eventually just fall into our same old behavior patterns? Are our personalities so unchangeable that change really cannot ever be possible? What if both people worked really hard to try to pave a new path? What if 70% happy is the best we can hope for? I still think it's not that horrible. I could live with the 70% I used to have: the familiarity, the comfortableness of knowing what he would most likely do or say. Even if I didn't always like everything, at least it was only 30% undesirable. I think knowing what I know now, I could do that. I might be willing to go back to our relationship before he asked me what I wanted, and I replied, and then it seemed to all fall apart.

But should I want someone who can't even commit to the small things I asked for? I didn't feel like it was that much, but there are times now when I wish I would have kept my thoughts to myself. Right now I miss my friend so much that I really would be willing to just go back to where we were in January and hit the reset button. I know I don't need a man to be complete or whole or anything like Jerry Maguire told us, but it's nice to have a person to turn to and share things with. It's nice to have a standing date to some things or to get to go to special places with the same person each time so that you are building that memory bank.

Again, we're not talking about the worst person in the world here. He's overall a very nice and decent human being. He's not a beater, a cheater, or a substance abuser. He tries to compliment me all the time. I'm the one who doesn't receive them well. What if it really is me? What if by saying what I wanted, I set some stupidly high expectation that he had no chance of ever meeting because it just wasn't in his realm of possibilities. At the end of the day, I can live with going back to a happier time and relaxing into what I know and enjoy. I don't have to be more connected to him or more a part of his life, and I certainly don't need a ring to enjoy his company or to enjoy spending time with him. I just want peace and to not feel so sad all the time.

My teaching teammate recently put up a bulletin board about changing your mindset. He had the first 9 up there on the window, but said he needed one more to fill the last spot because it looked empty. I thought of the "I'm Stuck" one. What I had in mind was a student who had emailed me about an assignment and said she was stuck on completing a map. My response to her was "What did you do to try to solve your own problem?" I mean, these kids have unlimited access to information all the time. It's not like when I was a kid, and we all shared the one set of encyclopedias that one neighbor had. Then I started thinking of my own situation of feeling stuck. When I went back into work on Friday, he had put up the last one and his version of the new mindset, "I can problem solve to overcome my challenges," was perfect. So what else can I try to overcome this challenge of not knowing what to do or to fix what has gone wrong, if that's even a possibility. In other words, is there something different I can do?

You know, so much of life is perception. I certainly have my perception of how things have gone, but he has his own perception, which I think is very different from mine. One friend said, "Maybe he will get his head out of his ass," and things will get back to where they used to be. But what if it's me who could get my head out of where it doesn't belong? Maybe to him this has just looked like a 3 to 5 month long panic attack where the harder I have tried to fix things, the more I have become obsessed with it. What if that obsessive anxiety-driven need to make it better has really made it worse? You know how when your children have a temper tantrum, the best thing to do is let them just have the tantrum while you ignore it because then it will just run its course, and you can talk later when you're both calmer? Maybe that's what I need to do. I've had my time to get out the crazy and now that we have both have had time to let things be calm and apart, we can try to figure out a new way to move forward??

All of this is just hypothetical at this point. I still really haven't spoken to him in a week or more. We had a brief email exchange about something business/teaching related, but I didn't mention anything personal. I am just trying to honor that space he has asked for. I know many of you are still going to say I shouldn't settle, and I completely love you for saying and thinking so. I am not thinking of it as settling though. I am thinking of working the problem. If after trying a new mindset, things are irretrievably broken, then we could move on. I get that the risk here is that there could be more pain later on, but maybe I would feel like there was some effort on my part. Again, he might have already completely kicked me to the curb, especially because I have made this public, so then you can all start setting me up with whomever you would think might be willing to put up with my brand of crazy because there is no way I trust me to choose for myself!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Follow-Up to Questions

I have been wanting to get back to blogging for a long time now, but I wasn't expecting it to be several posts within a couple of days. I have had such an outpouring of support and love from all of you; I felt like I needed to write a follow up post.

First, I want to thank those of you who have commented on the blog, on Facebook, sent me texts, and Messengers. I have seen some of you in person and have received nothing but love. I can't even tell you how much all of that means to me. You are all so important and special to me in so many ways. I have heard from people I haven't seen in years to people I just saw today. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing plethora of love and encouragement.

I love that you have all turned into cheerleaders for my self worth. I have always struggled with feeling anything more than adequate, so this is nothing new. I will continue to work on this, but my questioning if I am really worthy of something better is not a recent occurrence. Given my track record, especially in the realm of relationships with the opposite sex, it is something I come by honestly. I had a dad who has never said he was proud of me and a stepdad who was verbally abusive, both alcoholics. My track record with men has been less than stellar. I have experienced a string of alcoholics, cheaters, liars, and those who had less than good intentions. I once saw the actress, Ellen Burstyn, on Oprah. She said she was a magnet for the wrong guy. She could stand in a room of 100 men. Ninety nine of those men could have been saints, and she was going to attract the one alcoholic beater in the room. I feel the same way about myself. If left to my own devices, I'm going to keep choosing the same unsavory character as if I'm still trying to work out that part of my childhood, even though I've gone to counseling twice (once in college and once during my divorce). Remember that my sister pointed me in the direction of my guy. They had worked together and she knew he was different than the string of my own choices.

This relationship has been the healthiest one I've ever had. Have there been problems? Yes, of course. I think that happens anytime you put two people together. There are things about this guy that infuriate me, as I am sure there are things about me that infuriate him. However, in general there have been more good times than bad. He has treated me well for the most part. Are there areas for improvement? Again the answer is yes, but I could improve in ways as well.

Many of you have said to listen to my heart and I will know what to do. The problem is that I don't know. I still really miss my guy. I do actually love him and enjoy being around him. I pointed out some of the commonalities in the past post, and I think generally that we made a good pair. And again, I think this is probably as good as it's going to get for me. I don't think settling for the best relationship I've been in is selling myself as short as it may seem. I don't believe in Prince Charming for me. My sister was able to break free of our dad past and found the most amazing man, but I have yet to get there and where I look out from life, I just don't foresee that happening for me. My guy and I have a relationship that for the most part works for us, at least 70% of the time, so why can't we reach consensus? At the end of the day, the things that seem to have driven us apart are not deal breakers. Why can't we make this work?

The answers to these questions are still elusive, which is why I have so many questions. I still feel that getting answers is probably unlikely. I have been shut out of my guy's life lately. I am trying to stay out of it as he has said he needs some space. I have become overwhelming with my amount of questions, and his work has gotten to be a burden. I totally get that if you really want to be in someone's life, you will be. There are things lately that have lead me to believe, this really won't last or work out. I also totally get that I'm allowed to want things for myself in a relationship, and I shouldn't apologize for wanting these things. I get that I don't have to be part of a couple to be whole, although it is nice when it is working well. It's one of those niceties in life versus a necessary. I did actually try to end things with my guy back in July when it seemed that he really didn't want the things that I wanted. I felt at peace about it and was ready to move on all by myself. However, we had a meeting, and he said he wanted the things that I wanted. He even brought up the possibility of a ring recently, which had previously been completely unthinkable for him. So why all the sudden changes? That's where most of the questions have stemmed from, but now he won't communicate and says he's not the guy for me. Again, I totally get that I shouldn't and don't want to be in someone's life who doesn't want me there or who doesn't want to be there for me. I do get all of these things.

But what if....

What if we could hit the reset button and create a different future together? Wouldn't that be ideal? I would do that. I would be willing to compromise or collaborate or work towards that 70% consensus rule. Couldn't we work towards finding peace together? If we could both give and take, wouldn't that be the ideal ending or new beginning? I would really like that. I really hate the thought of giving up without even trying. I thought we were trying to work things out, but then it ended abruptly. I didn't want to keep doing what we were doing, but I was trying to work the problem, not just have it be over.

Just so you all know, the answer to all of these questions is most likely moot at this point. In going public and sharing with more than one person, I have broken one of his cardinal rules. I have no idea if he has read any of this. I am sure that he will eventually, and when he does, he is not going to be pleased. He doesn't want struggles to be public, and he fears embarrassment and loss of credibility. He will see all of this as a breach of those things. I am sure that I have already sealed my own fate. Again, I totally get that I shouldn't want to be with someone who tries to control what I say or do.

I do know all of these things, and yet remain undecided. I guess I would just like a chance to try to make things better. Then if after we've tried a new plan and feel like we've exhausted all possibilities, things are still not going to work, then we can say at least we tried. Again, I don't know. I think he would say he did try things, and I asked too many questions. I really am at a loss, thus the blogging! : )

I love all of you for lovingly reminding me of all the things I have had questions about. I do so appreciate all of you. Maybe I will continue to make the time to write about things that are not as heavy-hearted!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Questions That Might be Better Left Unanswered

The guy I've been dating for the past 6 years recently broke up with me. I know the tendency in a break up is to look at the other person and assign blame. While I don't think he's blameless, I can't say that I am either. Yes, he was the one that ended it, but I wasn't happy either. I wanted to be, but the problem is that I wanted things that he didn't seem to want as well. He had said he did, especially recently, and then it seemed like maybe those things were just never going to happen and eventually drove us apart. Now he says he doesn't want those things and can't be that person for me. They weren't horrible things; they weren't highly demanding things. I just wanted to be more connected and to maybe someday receive a material symbol of our commitment to each other. I didn't want to be married or move in together. I just wanted a ring as a symbol of our togetherness. It didn't even have to be expensive. At first the connectedness seemed to be possible, although the ring was not something he felt like he could do. For a time, I felt like we were moving towards being more connected. Especially from the end of last year until about early June, I felt crazy in love with him, more than in the previous years of dating. There seemed to be hope that we could at least build a life together more than him being just a person I dated. That life didn't have to be the traditional plan a wedding, get married, move in together, etc. I realized a long time ago that I am not really cut out for the traditional relationship plan. The whole old white men telling the woman what to do, doesn't sit well with me. That was the beauty of this relationship is that he didn't want the traditional path either. I had hope that we could build our own future together outside the constraints of what others said was the path we were supposed to take. However, hope can be as destructive an item as much as a constructive item.

I'm not writing this article to assign blame to the other person. I don't think he's a malicious person or a bad person; things just went terribly wrong in a relatively short period of time. I don't think there was cheating. He didn't tell me I was stupid or worthless. It actually seems like the more I tried to fix things or figure things out, the worse it became. I feel as if I was almost in self-destruction mode.The more questions I had and the more I tried to seek the answers to those questions, the more of a nuisance I became until he basically had enough. I would have liked answers to these questions, but it is unlikely that I will ever receive them. This is the place where I get to ask them and just know that they have been asked and then I can move on.

Honestly at this point, I am really questioning my ability to ever have any type of successful relationship. Am I not the common denominator in all these relationships that haven't worked out? I understand that relationships take work and that there is no perfect relationship. I have been looking at friends lately and asking questions and examining what might make a relationship work. I am supposed to meet with my guy after the 19th to either bring closure to our relationship and/or decide how we want to move forward. I don't think reconciliation is possible. Should I even want reconciliation? I know many of my friends would say, "No." They say I deserve better. I can find someone who would be willing to give me the things that I want. But what if I already had better? What if I won't ever be able to find a guy who would be willing to give me the things that I want? What if I need to let go of the things that I wanted? What if this is as good as it gets for me? Is settling really the worst thing in the world? Don't I teach my students about collaboration, conflict resolution, and consensus? Those things take compromise and each team member does not get everything they want. It's about learning to live with what can be acceptable for each person at least at the 70% level. So if each person can feel satisfied with the decisions being made 70% of the time, then the group should agree and move forward. One hundred percent is not the goal, nor should it be.

I know what I just wrote is going to cause an uproar amongst many of my friends. One friend would point out that she has thought for a long time that I should not be with my guy. But she is also cute and young and has no children.She has a sweet guy. I love her dearly, but life looks very different at 28 than at 46 with 2 children and a failed marriage and pretty much every other relationship that ends up having a shelf life after a certain point. Other friends say that he could treat me better. What if I could treat him better as well? Does he have shortcomings, yes. He can be fairly oblivious with both time and how what he says and does affects me. He is not a planner and I am. I do feel like sometimes he says one thing but his actions don't say the same things. But I am not perfect either. I can be very rigid; I'm a perfectionist. When I feel wronged or hurt, I can sometimes hold on to that for far too long. I think I come off as neurotic quite often. I have fairly severe OCD and struggle with massive amounts of anxiety. He has said that anxiety can be off-putting. I think a lot of what the problem is for right now, past the inability to give me the things that I want, that I cannot let go of the questions in my mind about some things that have occurred lately. Then he feels put on the defensive because I am constantly questioning what is happening. Yet, are any of these things deal breakers? Are any of these reasons for us to move on to other people? Do I want to even date someone else again? Won't I just choose the same person as my dad or ex-husband, who were most definitely not good? I'm pretty sure that if left to my own devices I'm going to choose someone who going to be a guy like that. I don't trust myself to choose the right person. My sister choose my guy this time around. I think that's why it lasted so long and was probably the healthiest relationship I've ever had. I don't think I have what it takes to choose a guy who would want to commit to me the way I might ever want. I don't know how people choose those right people. It is not something within my skill set.

As I've looked at other relationships and asked people questions, what I've discovered is that even the relationships that look rock solid have ups and downs. Two different couples I know who have been married at least 20 years have said, it really is just about both not giving up at the same time. I have heard that they have seen each other through some dark times and worked through the problems enough and that they made it through together. I have really struggled with the just giving up part of this whole thing. I have always been the person that wants to continue to fix it. But I also know that if only one person wants to make it work, that not enough in a relationship. If my guy and I were married, would we keep working to stay together? Would we be able to reach some kind of compromise or consensus? Should we work for these things? Is there really someone out there who would choose me? Is there someone who would still love me and want to be around me through my anxiety-ridden episodes where I question the whole world? Will I ever be worth the risk for someone? What if my story isn't a fully committed relationship? What if this is as good as it gets for me? Can I accept this person at least 70% of the time? I don't know. I seriously doubt that these things are for me. I think they are for other people, but not for me.

We have had some really good times together. We both love hiking and recently climbed a 14,000' mountain together, which was a monumental day. We used to do karate together and are both black belts, although he has said he is no longer interested in continuing with karate. We are both educators, so we speak a lot of the same language. We have a common band that we love and have attended many concerts to see them that have always been a highlight. We have traveled well together. There are more good memories than bad.

What if I took all of my wants off the table? What if we could forge a new future together? Would he even want to? I kind of don't think so, but I wish that he would be willing to at least entertain some of these ideas. I would love to have a conversation after the 19th that was calm and reasonable and could set a tone of where we maybe could go from here. I do really miss him, but when I recently sent him a text to tell him so, his answer wasn't reciprocal. I think I have exhausted him with my me-ness. I love him, but is it at the point where love and hope are just at the destructive stage?

I'm always nervous releasing these posts into the world, but they seem to be a way for me to reach resolution for myself. I obviously don't write that often. The last couple of posts are more from when I have hit a bottom, and I have no other outlet but to write it out. I know I could just not publish these posts, but that doesn't give me resolution. I'm nervous about what will happen in the release of this post. My guy is not a fan of social media and will not be pleased that I have disclosed any of these things, but I figure he's already gone and hasn't been willing to work these things out with me. I have resorted to what works for me. There is also the fear of vulnerability in releasing these most private of thoughts. I like to appear strong and put together, but I'm human like anyone else and writing and releasing these thoughts into the world is what gives me peace. Finally, I fear all the comments that people will be making. I'm such a people pleaser that I worry about who I may have offended by writing these words. I'm sorry if I have somehow offended you by writing what I have written. I'm not writing to be malicious or hurtful. It's my way of processing my world. Please be gentle with any comments you may have. Thank you for reading.