Finding Ourselves

This is a wonderful article from a new blogger that I just discovered. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

Out of the Mire

I recently spoke with a beloved friend experiencing emotional pain due to a family interaction.  Her sentiments were familiar.  This interaction was similar to an older one, and it brought forth latent feelings of ontological insignificance.

“I don’t matter.”

Isn’t this something we can all understand? People treat us badly.  They brush us aside.  They lash out, ignore us, make us the problem, blame us, gaslight us, talk about us behind our backs, and the like, and we get hurt.  Sometimes profoundly.  And, we’re left wondering why.  Don’t they know that we matter, too? Don’t we? We matter, right? Right? Right…?

I thought about it.  Is it possible to explain that we are indeed significant and valuable even in the context of mistreatment, neglect, and abuse? What might drive that point home?

This might…

This painting sat in a Norwegian industrialist’s attic for six decades after he was told…

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14 Responses to Finding Ourselves

  1. Zombiewife says:

    Thank you for bringing us this wonderful and enlightening blog post! It really does get to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it? I’ve been struggling with this issue in my own life quite a bit lately, and have finally found some peace and understanding with it. My PA husband has a personality disorder, and I am the target of his dysfunctional behaviors. There is nothing wrong or defective about me; the disorder and the dysfunction are his. I will not bear the responsibility for his behavior or the shame of being his target.

    Now the question is whether he can truly change, or is the marriage over. I’ll know soon.

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      zombiewife (I have to smile at your name, not only understanding the meaning here, but it’s almost hipster in this day and age), literally minutes before you posted, I was debating a post called ‘When he changes…’

      I will do that soon.

      And yes, whatever our faults, weaknesses, mistakes, and sins, being neglected, diminished, trivialized, ignored, and neglected was never about us or what we deserved. Like you, I wrongly bore shame for his behavior. Hopefully we all drop that and stand tall.

      Like

      • Zombiewife says:

        Hindsight being 20/20, or at least not as myopic, I find myself looking back over the last 12 years of marriage, and the time leading up to that, and saying “What the hell was I thinking?” It’s as if I just shut off my brain at some point and shuffled forward like a zombie on a quest for brains. Hence, the name.

        Besides, WritesInYogaPants seemed unoriginal.

        Looking forward to your post “When he changes…”. I’ve been searching for stories of successful change to convince myself that a PA man is capable of giving up his destructive behaviors permanently. I have an addiction to hope.

        Like

        • lonelywife07 says:

          Zombie wife….you’re addicted to “Hopeium” 🙂 We all are, that’s why we’re still married to our PA husbands…we just cannot accept that they can’t change…and I think maybe it’s because we DO see them change…at work, at church, when we have the Pastor and his wife over ;), while out with friends….they become these different people….loving, kind, considerate, etc…at least mine does!

          If you ever come across a PA that has successfully changed….let me know. I’ve been searching for 2 yrs now…it’s like looking for unicorns!

          Like

          • Zombiewife says:

            My PA husband has acknowledged to me and to mental health professionals that he is PA, and has sought help to change. This is the only reason for my hope. I’m still looking for evidence that anyone has ever been successful in “recovering” from PA when they have been accountable for their behavior and diligent about doing the work required.

            I’ll let you know how my situation works out…and if I ever hear of a PA story with a happy ending.

            Like

          • Exodus says:

            I’m a recovering Hopeium addict. Realistically, it would take many many years of seeing Norman function with consistent well-adjusted non-PA behavior before I would be convinced that there was reason to hope. I don’t think that will happen and I don’t think I would live long enough to witness such a miracle. I once told my brother ( in re: to his PA wife) that when dealing with PA there is a barely visible line between taking the high road ( being hopeful and compassionate) and quickly becoming road pavement I became road pavement.

            Like

  2. newshoes123 says:

    Perhaps it’s not about us but after a while, you start believing it. That’s a struggle for me that I’ve had to deal with, not taking it personally, it does start to wear you down after a while. It also stays with you for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Exodus says:

    I just returned from a road trip to visit my home town and I had a very life-altering revelation in regard to finding and connecting with my spirit.

    I decided to visit one of my childhood homes where I last lived with my bio father and mother and brother. A lot of unhappy things and difficult transitions occurred while living in that house. We lived in one of the tenant houses on a large historical estate. I didn’t know what I would find since it’s been so many years. I turned into the gravel orchard lane and continued toward the house just as we always did 40+ years ago. As I drove toward the house, I saw a young man sitting in a pickup truck in front of the house and I called to him to ask if I could just take a look around. I parked my car and got out and explained to the man, who happened to be the caretaker, that I once lived there. The house looked the same. In fact, everything looked the same- even the branch from the locust tree was still there hanging over the driveway. It was truly bizarre how this place seemed to have been frozen in time. I even wondered if I had lost my mind and was just imagining it!

    The young man was very friendly and seemed interested in hearing about my youth and so I shared a lot of history with him about the original owner, the property, the trees and my ‘fort’ that was located in a very large rock formation that resembled a huge crater or what I called a ” volcano” with one side missing. I went to the house with the specific goal to retrieve a note that I had written as a very young girl and stuffed behind the closet door frame. After talking to the young man, I asked him if I could take a brief tour of the inside and he explained that I would not be able to since it was used as a guest house. He offered to call the owner but I told him that was not necessary and I tried to convince myself that it was no big deal if I never found the note. I continued to walk the grounds and my mind was filled with all sorts of memories. I finally worked up the courage to tell the man about my note and he told me that it’s probably not there because he gutted the house and remodeled. He asked where I hid the note and I gave him very specific details of its location. His eyes enlarged and his face seemed to light up. He said, ‘ Come on, let’s go look’ and he opened up the front door. The house didn’t appear gutted to me. Everything was still there including the original stairs ( obviously built at a time when people were much thinner). I climbed the narrow staircase and the man followed behind. One of the stairs had the same creak that it always did! I was trying to stay focused and not allow any painful memories to overwhelm me with emotion. We walked into my old bedroom at the top of the stairs and I slowly opened the far right closet door. It was the same closet only it seemed much smaller than I remembered. We were both trembling with excitement. I had to back into the closet as I carefully felt around the door frame. Just as I was about to give up, I felt something, and I wasn’t sure if it was a plaster chip or something else. I carefully tugged on it and ….drum roll please :D……..VOILA! There it was-.a stained and perfectly folded piece of notebook paper with my penciled note inside:
    ” My name is _______________ I live here with my mom and dad and brother. I am 8 years old and my teacher is Mrs McKay and I go to ___________school. I probably won’t live here for very long so if you find this note please take care of my apple tree at the big rock on the driveway and I won’t care if you eat some apples and take care of my fort in the volcano and my flowers there that need water every day with the can next to them. Also keep Sugar’s (my dog) play pen very clean because she does not like to get dirty. Thank you. ( signed) September 26 1969″

    The caretaker and I sat on the foot of the bed and read the note and I could tell from the look on his face that he was extremely moved and so glad that he broke the rules and allowed me to go inside. I hugged him and thanked him for being so kind and told him that it was truly a miracle that he was there when I came by. He walked with me to visit the apple tree on the driveway, he took my picture next to it and he promised me that he will take extra special care of it now and then we walked to my fort in the ‘ volcano’ and he showed me how someone had carved a big pizza oven into one wall of it. My flowers were gone but my dog’s ‘ play pen’ which was actually a very large outdoor building was still there and looked exactly how I left it. Even the old tomato cages were stacked in the same place on one side of the building. I even looked under another building where Sugar had a litter of puppies as if I would actually find her under there.

    The entire experience was like watching a movie of myself as a child and I was amazed at how keenly aware I was, at such a young age, of the precious things in my life that needed to be loved and cared for and that I felt the need to ensure that they were cared for after I was gone.

    I looked at my hands at one point and realized they were the same hands that climbed the rocks around the property. I looked at my feet and realized that they were the same feet that stood in that very spot so many years ago. I bit into one of the apples and it tasted just like the apples that I ate from that tree as a child. I’ve never tasted an apple like those particular apples. It was truly like nothing had changed in this one small part of the world. I walked up the hill to the large chestnut tree where I used to sit and talk to G-d after my father left. I remembered the first time I sat under that tree because I had run into the woods after my father drove down the driveway the day he left for good. I didn’t want to go back into my house because I didn’t think my mom would understand why I was so sad. I felt so alone and so afraid. While I sat there leaning on the tree trunk, I heard G-d tell me that I was not alone and not to worry because he would be my father. After that, I always believed that whenever I needed a dad that I could go into the woods and find Him. I touched the tree trunk and sat down and closed my eyes and thanked G-d for always being there for me and not giving up on me.

    This experience was very life-affirming. All through this experience I could see that little girl and her pure and innocent spirit running with her dog through the yard and playing in her fort, watering her flowers, picking apples and I kept feeling a desperate need to grab her, take her with me and protect her from the harsh life she was about to endure. Then it suddenly occurred to me that she’s not separate from me at all!! She IS me and she has been right with me and protected all along. No one has ever been able to break her spirit and no one ever will. I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt whole again.

    I left that house with an entirely different outlook and decided to visit a local history museum that was closed but just as I was about to leave, one of the Directors pulled up to open the museum for a meeting and kindly let me in anyway. While I was in there looking around, I met three of the other officers that knew some of my friends. After that I sat on a porch with a man and his son and talked about jobs and houses to rent. The B&B where I stayed was like staying in heaven. I had the entire place to myself and the hostess treated me like a queen. Could life get any better than that? I hope so ;D

    Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks everyone. You’re much too kind. No, I don’t have a blog and probably never will. I’m not a writer- that part of me has never recovered. I was once a writer but due to chronic stress and taking a medication years ago, I literally lost my ability to compose- similar to having a stroke I think. BTW, as I was writing yesterday, Norman interrupted me about 50 times with his petty nonsense. I’m not allowed to write, not allowed to play music, not allowed to do anything that requires a creative mind and spirit.

    I’m still trying to absorb that experience at the house. I realize that had the caretaker not been there when I pulled up, none of that would have happened. The timing was perfect. When these moments happen in my life, I know that I’m not alone. Sometimes I imagine all my loved ones that have passed sitting in heaven like orchestrating everything for me. I can hear them shouting, ‘ Go on, do it! You can do it!’ and then when I mess up I hear them shouting, ‘ Oh shucks, turn around, go back..hurry, hurry. You can catch up.’

    The word , resolve, keeps playing over and over in my head. I believe that some part of my consciousness is awakening. Isn’t it strange how specific words or song lyrics will play over and over in our minds relative to what we are subconsciously feeling? The morning that I left for my trip, I woke up with an old Randy Newman song that kept playing over and over in my head and it was driving me bonkers! I didn’t know the lyrics to the song but only the one phrase, ‘ Heaven is my home’ kept playing over and over again. I just now looked up the lyrics and I’m stunned:

    I have traveled down this road before
    On a journey for a friend
    Been away but now I’m back for more
    Goin’ down this road again

    You know he answers every prayer
    But you better do your part
    Spirits all around you everywhere
    But you gotta open up your heart
    You gotta open up your heart

    You’re alone when you come in this world
    You’re alone when you go
    And it doesn’ t matter who you are
    It doesn’t matter who you know

    Keep on listening for that quiet voice
    That’s the way to start
    The door is open but you have a choice
    You’ve got to open up your heart
    You’ve gotta open up your heart

    Oh this world is dear to me
    But Heaven is my home
    This is where I long to be
    But Heaven is my home

    When your life seems gloomy
    Teardrops start to fall
    Send the word back to me
    And I’ll be there when you call

    I’ve been down this road before
    But Heaven is my home
    And I’m comin’ back (yeah) (in the morn?)
    Heaven is my home

    I’m convinced now that I’m definitely not alone 😀

    Like

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