happiness

Facing fears by asking for help

Those of you who know me know that I have a tendency to be a little stubborn. I come by it honestly as there is a long and strong stubborn streak that runs in my family. It’s like a superpower and when it’s used for good it is unbeatable and creates some amazing results, but when it’s used for evil it can be pretty destructive (almost always destructive for myself as opposed to other people).

I’ve been having issues with my horse as many of you know. But in truth I’ve been having issues with myself not my horse. It’s been a year since I fell off and although I’ve been on him a few times, I’ve not really enjoyed it and basically been scared shitless. It has come to the point where I need to face my fear or get rid of my horse.

I don’t like giving up on things. That’s part of my stubborn streak. However, in the last few years I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not just better but essential that I walk away from certain things.

I have a friend who has stepped up and is helping me with my Drishti issue. He likes my horse and he’s known me my whole life, and he’s kindly jumped in and given me a hand starting to get my confidence back. He came out today and rode my horse so I could see that Drishti isn’t some crazed beast, but rather a horse with energy who has had a year off. 98.654% of the issues I’m having are because I spent too much time in my head getting freaked out.

But horses are my passion and I’ve waited years to have one back in my life. I got to the point where I had to ask myself what I wanted more – to not be afraid or to ride.

I want to ride.

So today after my friend rode my horse, I rode my horse. Not elegantly or well. In fact it took me about 10 minutes to force myself to get on, and then he had to lunge me – so I felt like I was safely on a leash – before he let us go free in the ring. But we did it. And I made myself ride until I no longer felt like I was going to crap my pants or throw up (I’m so elegant).

Everything I know about being brave I’ve learned on the back of a horse. The back of a horse then can’t be the one place I fear to be. It just can’t. Asking for help was the only way I could begin to face this fear. The problem with being stubborn is often I don’t ask for help when I need it. I’m slowly learning that we need each other to get through this life, and if we don’t ask for help people usually don’t know that we need it.

And so the journey begins. Being brave enough to ride will make me brave enough to continue to face whatever life throws at me. It’s my passion, but it’s also my greatest learning tool. That is a huge step on my happiness journey.

Here he is going cowboy style while I watch

The next stage is allowing him to help me.

And finally trying on my own while he watches.

None of this could have happened if I’d stubbornly plowed ahead myself and not asked for and allowed for help.

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happiness

The little innocent part

I had an interesting conversation with a new friend this weekend. She had a similar marriage/divorce/being left alone to raise kids situation (we married the same kind of man) so we shared some of our stories with each other.

I really enjoy getting to know her, bad man choices aside she’s a really great person and we have a lot of fun laughing when we are together.

She said a couple of things that made me stop and think. The first was when she asked me why I’d started this happiness blog. I told her how unhappy and unsafe my life was and I had decided that for my 44th birthday I needed to do 44 days of happiness where I found something that made me happy/to be grateful for every single day. Some of those days were hard – some days it was oh, I saw Henry the Heron or I had someone smile at me at the grocery store. My life was pretty small and pretty sad back then.

I explained how it had made me so much more aware of how I wanted to be and that I needed to pray for major changes in my life. She said she totally understood, that she also had been in that black hole of fear and sadness, and that clinging onto any moment of happiness gave her hope that things would get better.

It made me realize that I need to get back to blogging again. I needed this break. We had some bad real life stuff come up and I just couldn’t deal. Given that I’ve blogged through the deaths of my parents and my divorce, just know it has been some really bad stuff that came up. But, I must keep looking for moments of joy, of laughter, of peace.

The other thing she said resonated with me so strongly it almost took my breath away. She asked if I was scared to allow myself to get really close to a man again. Then she said that she felt like that small, innocent, gentle part of her that was so precious had been killed in her marriage and divorce, and that she was afraid it wouldn’t come back.

That is exactly how I feel. I don’t know that the best part of me is available anymore. But it also made me determined that Mr X will not be successful in making that part of me die. I need to keep healing, I need to learn to be strong, I need to not be afraid that every man I meet will be Mr X, I need to stop allowing narcissists into my life.

Mostly I need to keep working towards a place of peace. This past month has made me aware how delicate a process this is. I have to be gentle with myself and with my kids. They have been through a lot, and they’re learning now what a normal family life without fear is like.

My moment of happiness over the weekend was 4H on parade with the kids and with our club. We have an awesome group of people, some are cousins, some are new people I’m getting to know. The kids are thriving in the club, they’re gaining self confidence, and we are all really enjoying the experience.

It’s so easy to get bogged down in fear. I just did. Granted, I had real life stuff happening to be scared of – scary stuff is still happening. But, I refuse to live my life in total fear anymore. Then Mr X wins. I want love to win.

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happiness

Trust in me

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading the last few days about trust. It’s been a big one for me over the last few years – probably over most of my adult life. I don’t think that I went into my marriage having massive trust issues, but I certainly came out of it with more than my fair share.

What I realized as I was beginning to heal was that I no longer trusted myself. That crushed me – I felt like I had proven to myself over and over I was untrustworthy. After all, I had convinced myself to stay for years in a situation that wasn’t safe by telling my soul lie after lie about how things would change, or trying to convince myself that what he said was true and the reason he was so angry, deceitful, and absent was because of me. I have been working on changing that relationship with myself. Interestingly, it’s been at least as difficult a process as it would be to learn to trust and forgive someone else who had betrayed me. The good thing is I’ve been reading the perfect book Trust by Iyanla Vanzant – it’s giving me exactly what I need right now.

My exercise this morning in A Course In Miracles was to find the light inside of a person who had betrayed me. The only part of the exercise that was easy was deciding which person to pick. But you know what? He has a light inside too  – he may have covered it up with clouds of hate, anger, fear, rage, and whatever else – but there is a light in there, I’ve seen it before.

Here’s the thing. While I would like to think that he wouldn’t purposely leave his children without a way to have their needs met, that’s not true. No amount of wishing he is a different man than the one he shows me will change that – I know, I’ve spent years hoping he will change. And while I no longer go to bed at night scared he will make good on his threats to harm us, I still seem to hold out hope that he will turn into a decent person for the sake of my kids.

You know what that does? It messes with my ability to trust myself. I know he is trying to destroy me, I know he doesn’t care about the damage he does to the kids in the process. And yet I have spent sooooooo much energy trying to convince myself otherwise.

Here’s what I know for sure:

I have been depending on a man who has proven for years he’s not dependable

I have been trusting a man who has proven for years he’s not trustworthy

I have been wishing for him to change even though he’s proven he has no interest in being kind.

I know who he is and what he’s capable of and still I expect him to behave differntly

I expect him to do what I know he will not do and be who I know he is not

It is impossible for him to become trustworthy just because I want him to be

He has shown me who he really is and I have to believe him.

You know what telling myself all those lies has done? It has messed with my ability to trust myself. It’s affected the most important human relationship I have – the one with my own soul. It makes me betray my heart and my intuition to convince myself that I can trust him.

And he has very, very clearly shown that he has no limits to the pain he is willing to inflict not only on me but on the kids. My poor kids are devastated right now and it hurts me to the core of my soul.

So, I keep working on forgiveness, now for myself. I need to forgive myself for not trusting my inner voice, for not valuing the power of my intuition. Part of me knew as soon as mom died he was going to come after me again – and I was right, but I forced myself to ignore it. And now here we are.

With that, I feel like he’s had enough airtime in my life and on my blog. I am working on forgiveness, but I’m also standing up and saying that what he’s doing isn’t right. I’m doing it here, but I’m also working with the authorities to get them moving on forcing him to deal with the consequences of his actions. Part of me trusting myself means knowing that I’m not afraid to stand up for myself and for my kids. I’m not the same woman he used to beat down.

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happiness

Bad to the Bone

I had an extreme case of the feels today – just too many emotions running around inside of me. It ended up being a day that I had to do a lot of driving, and Spotify led me to good old George Thorogood – Mr. BadToTheBone himself.

In my early 20s I listened to his music over and over and over, and today it did me good to blast it as loud as I could as I drove all over hells half acre.

Sometimes loud music alone in the car is needed. It brought me back to a really happy time in my life, and grabbing a hold of those memories and those feelings helped put my current state of emotions in a better balance. And knowing how to do that? That’s happiness.

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happiness

Pain brings change

There is no reason for someone to change their experience if it’s not painful.

These days before Thanksgiving are difficult ones in our house, Thanksgiving 2011 was effectively the moment our family ended, or as my then 10 year old son called it the night that ended my childhood. It’s brought up to the surface a little more this year as that same source of pain is making life very difficult for us.  What he seems to forget is in his haste to hurt me, he’s hurting the kids. This too is a pain large enough that it will bring about some kind of change. Enough is enough.

The event 6 years ago left me in enough pain both emotionally and physically that I knew something had to change. There were to be so, so many more betrayals and rages to come in the next few years, but this was the moment I knew that if I didn’t find a way out I would die. That’s a motivating factor for change let me tell you.

The pain was strong enough for change again when the kids and I had our finances cut off with a “good luck with the rest of your life” text last year and I finally filed for divorce and had to get a court order for support. That again changed everything about our lives, it also destroyed many memories as more and more lies came out.

Added to the time of the year is the fact that support is so far in arrears that we are having to gear up for another court appearance, or have some other consequence sought out. It kind of sits there like a dull pain. A pain that is calling for change -because things can’t go on as they are.

But here’s the other thing…

I’ve discovered that no matter how badly I want a person who has hurt me to know they’ve hurt me, and while I can maybe get them to acknowledge they hurt me, I can’t make someone care that they hurt me. Decent people with compassionate hearts will care if they hurt someone, but you can’t force someone who has no empathy to care that they hurt you.

But you can change things so that they can’t continue to hurt you.

And why am I talking about this? Especially on a happiness blog?

Because people don’t talk enough about this stuff. They don’t talk about abuse that goes on behind closed doors – and that those doors can be in any neighbourhood, they don’t talk about how difficult and scary it is to get out of, and they certainly don’t talk about the fact that the aftershocks of the trauma last for years.

Am I happier now than I was 6 years ago? You better believe it. I’m happier all the time – I mean there are the occasional bumps on the road, but in general I love this road I’m on. The best part of this road is there’s hope on it. There was no hope before, that was something I started building when the pain got bad enough that I started changing.

So where’s the happiness moment in all of this? There is always a moment of happiness in every situation if you look hard enough. I had to take my son to his therapy appointment today, and as I watched him I realized how far this young man has come, how much he has grown, and how incredibly strong he is.

Because through all the pain, all the change, there has been a constant source of love. The three of us have made a strong triangle based on unconditional love, and at the source, the centre, the creation of that we have connected to the Divine, to God’s love. And that is a gift we found as we changed through the pain. And that is happiness.

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The boy and his bag

I played a little bit with my boy this evening. It’s the first thing we’ve done in over a month that didn’t involve him getting treats. We started playing the friendly game with a dreaded plastic bag. Considering he started out faking a heart attack to get away from the monster I think we did really well. He sniffed it by the end of the evening. 

It felt so good to get to do something with him again – it was good for both of us. And if I can get him so he’s better on the ground that will make things better in the saddle. 

Happiness


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Change the way I tell the story 

I did a lab today with my health coaching course that went completely differently than planned. 

We were supposed to be talking about eating slowly, breathing, and relaxing during meals. Part of that involves doing an emotional check in before eating. 

I said the one time I did the exercise before my meal I had some really unpleasant emotions come up that left me really upset. 

She asked me what they were and I described a little of our family history,  and said that now that we are out of having to live in the abuse that I still have guilt, sadness, and anger. I feel guilty for the kids having the kind of childhood they did, sad that it took so long to get out of that life, and angry that he treated us that way and that I allowed it. 

But I also feel like I carry the feelings he should carry. He doesn’t feel guilty so I feel it for him. I carry his burden when it’s not mine to carry. 

I was reminded today that I can change how I tell my story. I am not his victim anymore – even though he does everything he can to put me back in that position. I don’t have to carry his guilt, that shit is  on him. I find the more months that go by whee he’s not making his payments or only making partial payments the more frustrated and angry I get. It’s the only thing he has to do for his children and he refuses. But I am not feeling guilty for that anymore. It’s a reflection of him not of me. 

Being able to see that from a different perspective and let some of that go – that’s happiness. 

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