Another Dead Box?

7A0A61F6-70A2-4336-B5CD-7C83579C9A26While I am not a hoarder, I do keep things; each matter in their own box, somewhat organized and stored in the eaves of my attic.

Through the years of dealing with the estates of my parents and brother, they each have their own box of what I wanted and needed to keep after their passing.  Sadly, this is all that is left of their life, a dead box of memories, keepsakes and possessions.  There is guilt that comes of that but you cannot keep everything, you have to let go.  I had to.

I tend to keep my notes, journals, calendars, etc., and have since a child, never knowing why I held onto them. They have proved to come in handy and really do not take up much room, just a few storage boxes, of my own life.

With mine, I had to dig deep within them this last bout with my counselor, back to my childhood.  With that, I learned a lot of what I had lacked as a child and how it has and is affecting me today.  Sometimes, I thought it would be easier to keep my head in the sand just knowing something was not right than poking at it, which we did, but deep down I wanted to understand me.

Putting names with areas of emotional distress (attachment, abandonment, trauma, shame, childhood emotional neglect, just to name a few) opens up areas I never knew before.  They are all real and felt.

As my counseling ended recently, there is an overwhelming feeling of many of those emotions being triggered.  To the point of wanting to run and put my head in the sand.  Perhaps like a test.

B2A81AF4-884E-42BC-AC09-C84360FA0F85Realizing before, I felt this way or that way but to now understand, have a name for what I am experiencing or feeling, I am thinking it has been harder.  I am aware and the intensity of the pain has been quite disturbing at times.  As I was exhibiting this or that and to my dismay, I recognized what was happening.  It’s a new way for me, to recognize, express, name and grasp to hopefully heal in these areas.

So through the pain, just the feeling of the abandonment being more intense, I could grasp that is what it was.  It was safe for me to cry and to give myself time to grieve and I will for awhile.  I can say, too, that I am angry with the way it ended, as I feel it could have been handled differently, basically more respectful, especially her knowing me.  That’s rough to say but truth.  Now leaving me with several questions that may never have answers.  Feeling all of these emotions, naming them is good but not easy.  It’s normal to grieve a relationship lost.

As much as this situation hurt, I feel I am coming through it easier just knowing and realizing what is happening, how it is affecting me and what I am doing.  Being mindful.  Tears come and they are also normal.

536CF7B6-D31E-4899-8895-5AAB8B9390F1While I have a storage box full from our years of counseling of notes, etc., it sits untouched right now but still in my sight, not stored.  There was too much invested in my life through her.  Some but not all healing in me is complete to put this box aside and ignore.  I know in time, I will and can still go through the many notes, copies of research done, open up and remember our sessions and still grasp many golden nuggets to continue for growth and healing.

F5B28577-7295-4887-B8A9-1575BBD83E09Maybe I need to name this box a Treasure Chest instead of another dead box because of the time spent in the many hours of counseling over four years. Even through the pain now, I’m thankful and feel blessed to have had her in my life. Everything within that box has brought me to where I am today and I believe it was orchestrated by God.

Change on a Dime

Funny how things can change on a dime, as they say.  This day was going so well.  The sun was shining, my list of things to do being crossed off and everything was lining up and running like clockwork.  I was happy and ready to have some fun with a few days off work.

In a few short hours, it was the day I dreaded.  Driving over the back roads with my sister to go to dinner and a movie, I pass my counselor’s office who has been on medical leave.  Her signage has been removed and my heart just drops.

63B8434B-7309-49F6-913D-9DEEB59C1111I knew one day that this was a possibility but never hoping it would.  I had to pick up a prescription on our way and in just that short distance, the emotions within me could not be contained. Basically, a death has occurred in my life.  Flip flop from sadness to anger and back again.

Grief is such a pain, whether for the dead or the living, it sucks.  No movie, no dinner, no interest anymore. Done.

So many questions, so many loose ends but…177F9360-1487-40FC-A06B-EC6F46CC93A8

Are You a Lifeline?

 

A690CD34-394F-46E1-98C2-9B10834C049FIf you are reading this and in a position of helping others, THANK YOU.4BB561D0-8720-4E56-BE64-44501EBB811F

I cannot imagine the whole education timetable and training involved that goes behind your degrees but what I have researched, out of curiosity, I am totally amazed.

Knowing from my own personal experience with my counselor the past four years, I am and have been so thankful with what light she has shed upon my life and to help me understand the confusion, pain and chaos within that I did not understand.   Adult problems are childhood issues, a quote I have heard many times.  True.

I cannot imagine where I would be if it had not been for her.  I will never be able to thank her enough, or God for leading me to her at a time when I had no hope.

Being under her care, I have been taught, I have learned, I have done my own research and healing has taken place in my life. I am not the same person as I was when I walked through her door the very first time, thankfully.  While I still have much to learn, grow and heal, I know it is a process.  I give myself grace.

So, perhaps you feel overwhelmed and exhausted at times from listening to your clients, session after session of their visible and hidden pain, calming their fears, giving them ways to work through areas at hand and the list can go on and on and understandably so, but your own self-care is warranted and not to be overlooked.  Through each session with each client, know that you just might be their only lifeline.

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Once Was

Happy Anniversary LetteringThe day after!

I woke up earlier than need be after a restless night of sleep.  This time with the thought of my wedding anniversary, my 29th one that bypassed without a word the day before.  I’m okay with that although I found the day held a gloom over it. Sadness in my body of knowing what was, that has not been, that is not now or will ever be.

He is always good at giving me a card that is usually set out by my coffee pot, knowing I will see it there and sure enough there it was.  He’s very routine. The card acknowledged by me but dismissed.   I doesn’t matter anymore, it just brings sadness. I looked at the card, read it and placed gently back in the envelope and placed on my wire rack where an place cards received and mementos to show off, for just a period of time.  

Thankfully, as I read, he is broke from writing ‘I Love You‘ after all these years.  Those words written and read produced anger within me for years wondering how he just does not get it.   It was fourteen years ago that his words spoken to me in our counselor’s office, not my Counselor of present, and neither one of them thought anything or replied of my WOW comeback of shock, which was, “I don’t love her and I don’t think I ever did.” I was done, with both of them.

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How in the world was I to take those words and go on with being a wife, have sex and act as though we were happy.   My heart was crushed.  Plus ignored that night in counseling by both him and the counselor and then blamed that those words were taken out of context by him.  An apology never received but that I misconstrued his words.

Numb.  I was so numb which later turned to anger and hatred as the days, months and years numbered.  These words just added to the chaos I felt.  All these years with him and finding porn much earlier, which prompted the marriage counseling after much prodding on my part to bring him. How could all of this happen? To discuss issues was out of the question because he would turn away and avoid any confrontation so I was left to reel in this life of unhappiness of existence alone. The elephant in the room Syndrome and sweep it all under the rug.   

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Years passed after leaving this marriage counselor and just an existence of an empty shell remained of me. Trying with everything inside of me to raise two boys and maintain sanity. Not easy but I did that for them. I became a real good actress to those around me and in church. I was dying inside.

Yes, many will say the boys would have been better off if we had divorced, but I knew that each of them had my care and watch upon them. I truly do not think he would do that and he would let them run astray. I feel proud today knowing I stuck it out and they are both successful young men.

While I am not ignorant of the fact that they have had some emotional turmoil and issues growing up and will have to face some as an adult because of this, but I will pat myself on the back for sticking it out through some hell but also kicking myself of some of the hell that they experienced. I had to trust the Lord then and I do now.

This past year though along with the years of counseling with my personal counselor that I write about, I began to get a grip of myself, my life and of this so-called business partnership, marriage that I am a part of and that is of boundaries. What a difference.   

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While we are still legally married and under the same roof, it is not a marriage and no intention of it being any different, til death do us part (or divorce do we part). Today, I can be in the same room and carry on a conversation with him but it is all a general, life discussion. Typical with Aspergers, which makes sense why I felt like I was going crazy with this man. Years ago, I walked into my counselor’s office feeling almost dead in all areas of my life. 

Holding onto a thread of hope, which she gave me and I truly feel the Lord led me to her. Otherwise, I do not know where I would be right now. Somebody heard me, understood me and I did not feel so alone in life. Research, reading and getting grounded in knowledge of what I was going through opened my eyes and my life restored to a point of existence and wanting to exist.  The counselor does their part but it takes the client to do their part, too.

Thankfully today, the tension and much hatred is gone and that has been nice.  I am hoping and going on that the Lord has changed and healed me in many areas.  I am not responsible for him.  Forgiveness goes without saying, a must.  This did not come overnight, but today I am happier, allowing myself boundaries in this so-called business-marriage relationship.  For now, it works.

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Grip of Fear

Fear is no stranger to me or me of it.  Always lurking around ready to attach and bring me down.  

I have done so well lately, well a few days, but at one point while at work this afternoon, it hit.  The panic starts and questions roll within my mind of the what if’s.   At the time, I was thinking about counseling, my counselor.  Today is a Monday, my usual day to meet with my counselor as we have for years so it seemed appropriate that it happen today. My routine has been disrupted and I still feel lost by not going.

While she is on a leave of absence, perhaps six months or maybe longer, my mind zips to when she will return.  Will she call me?  Will I be invited back?  Am I anybody to her now?  The questions continue and bombard my mind and my body is reacting in panic of what if she doesn’t, you are nobody, it’s over, and so on.  

While all of this seems to last forever, it did not.  I was able to recognize what was happening, remembering her advice and direction, realizing I was feeling tired and overwhelmed with my work and how my body was frozen and feeling a sense of doom. All of this just added further chaos to my busy day, but I was happy I did not stay there.  


The hopelessness and tightness in my body was evident.  What am I going to do?  How am I going to make it?  I miss her.  I need her.  Oh my God, help me.  Panic!

Fear is torment no matter how it comes or what about.

Understanding and control finally took over and I continued with my work.  Considering the grip it had at the time, I decided to write.

Again, I have done so well the past few days and adjusting of our sessions no longer happening, knowing I still have attachment issues and feel the abandonment in this relationship, but I know I must go forward and I will. Hopefully, in a more healthier way than with past relationships. I’m still learning, growing and healing.

Whether I am called back if or when she starts counseling again, I don’t know, time will tell. It would hurt me deeply if not and I don’t know how I will respond, if so, but silently cry many tears and write more.

While it would be nice to know and hear from her, I realize boundaries are in tact in our counselor/client relationship, so I patiently wait. I care for her and I pray for her.

When the fear comes, and it will, no matter what form, all you can do is try to get a grip.

 

Will It Be The Same?

7AAFC4E5-79AB-41ED-BBA6-1AFE3F659166As I get through some days and adjust to how it is and will be for awhile without my counselor, that has been a part of my life the last four years, I wonder and I ponder if and when we would start back up if it will be the same.

Odds are, no.  While that saddens me, perhaps I realize that I have grown more than I thought with our counseling sessions.  Four years on a weekly and sometimes twice a week, that is a lot.  Or is it that I am fearful that she will abandon me yet again.  I don’t know.   Time will tell and perhaps a counseling session or two, if it happens, I will know.  I really miss her though.  Today, I know I must go forward with or without her.  While I don’t like that, I know some people cross our paths for just a time.

I am adjusting and understand that the attachment I have toward her and the feelings of abandonment is from my childhood totally.   Something happened or perhaps over and over again to where I did not cling to my mother or my family but escaped in my own little world of independence.  I did not depend upon them for physical love.  Sadly, I do not remember a hug from anybody while growing up.  Unless you consider the half hug, stating this is my baby, while drunk.  No thank you, I’d rather do without.  My thought then, is if this is the only time that you can show me love, I’m not interested.  Sad.

Our family was large and with me being the youngest of seven siblings, seven years apart from my sister, that is a case for chaos in a child’s mind and emotional state.  Everyone was too busy with their lives, only to recognize and remind me that I am the baby.

93E817D3-0B87-40E3-9883-753E9C6C9734How many times have I heard, she’s the baby, she gets everything, blah, blah, blah.  Perhaps so because I was left while they all went about their lives, but I also got the short end of the stick.  I lived through some things they did not, such as the fighting, drunkenness, wreckless driving, to name just a few.   They will never know of all that and those situations because for one, they won’t believe me and another they still will not take to care.

Fear all around at a young age and nobody to share that with is tormenting and causes one to close in on themselves.  Never would I speak of things to a school counselor or a teacher, for that matter.  Nobody knew.

So for me to be drawn to my fifth grade teacher at a time of  growing and heading into puberty, I needed a role model and it was her as she was dressed well, jewelry, shoes, clothing matched.  I watched her every move in order to learn proper etiquette.  A beautiful woman she was and still is today.

With her, I became obsessed.  Living on the opposite side of town, I could see her house when driving down the highway.  Just to see a light on, it calmed me.  I was able to escape my lonely world as a child and going into hers wondering what she was doing, imagining a conversation between us, thrilled that a light was on because I knew she was home and near, etc.  There would be no connection between us then, except at school, but just the fact she was there, a light was on, I felt peace.  I never could understand why.

The little 1 x 1 school picture that I carried of her and looked at often gave me a sense somebody cared for me.  This teacher never knew any of this, probably just knowing I liked her, as students do, but truthfully she helped me grow up and understand what I wanted to portray in life.

Others have come and gone in my journey and to see a pattern, they are all teachers, nurses or hold a position in a company.  Each one I did about the same but usually became more friends with them as I become older and that was even better because I could talk and ask questions and learn from them.  Some of these special women have moved, our 0E8E6586-CCB7-4F5E-9E2E-6CFDF560210E close, crossed paths ended but still we still remain friends, and sadly a couple have passed.  I will always be thankful for their place in my life  because each one, I grew from and they showed me care, concern and love.

Then there are a hand full of others that were like mother figures to me and a few overlapped in role model.  I needed each of these to grow and receive love I never had in life growing up.

It was not that I wasn’t loved but I was never shown love or did they take time to know me.  I was just there.   While I remember asking my Mom if I was an oops baby when I was seven or eight and the question dismissed, I now truly believe I was.  That’s rough, even as a adult to accept.  B2FEE073-85E2-41D9-81A5-4041D85C0695

With all those that held a role-model and mother-figure, place in my life and heart, it boils down to that they took time to know me, to care and show me love in hugs.   Those hugs were like blood that flows through our bodies, they brought life and hope to me.  I felt special to them.  I needed those hugs.

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As with time and separation of each, it causes a void but I understand that they were in my life at that time for a purpose then.   Unless they have passed, I am still in contact with them but not as often.  The fond memories remain and hugs come when we meet.

Where would I be without them?  I don’t know but I am so thankful they were and are a part of my life.

Still, the ones that held and hold this place in my heart and I feel an attachment to, I still look for the light on.

My counselor, knowing she is on a leave of absence, her sign is still on the window at her office.  That brings me peace as I drive by,  as she is still present to me by seeing this while having no contact.  Attachment, my survival mode, yet again.  If and when that sign comes down, I may fall to pieces for a bit, as my world will feel chaotic and abandonment hits once again.  I dread that day.

99D74B0C-30FB-4A3C-9FD8-BC683664F4BFIt is interesting how a young child can go into a survival mode to help with abandonment, attachment issues and childhood emotional neglect… and continues but understanding nowadays why.

Thankfully, I had a counselor to help me understand all this and make sense of the chaos from childhood to adulthood.  Even between us, she understood me and the attachment issues, I felt.  To be heard and understood brings healing.

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Words to Grasp

“I care for you and I love you.”

973f1f23-b95e-4a35-95a9-469e189acb7e-15524-0000034ece28389cWill you even be able to grasp that? The comment made to me from my counselor of four years in our apparent exit telephone conversation.  We had a nice relationship as counselor and client. How could we not? The trust in her and care and a love felt was present from one another, along with the boundaries required in this equation.

There had been times I wish we had a friendship rather than being counselor/client but knowing I needed her in that role, I was able to adapt and respect it.

Our last conversation and toward the end, those words were said to me.   While I knew I loved her as my counselor, a sister-like friend, I never expected to hear that from her.  It definitely took me by surprise, and I froze.  Did I hear that correctly as I gasped and rehearsed in my mind?  Minutes later, to hear her say lightly, “will you even grasp what I just said?”  Still in shock, I did not know.   I heard her say that, questioning me because she knows me so well.  I did not respond because of my shock and questioning myself if I heard her correctly or did I just hope and imagine that comment.  While I know she did, the surprise was shocking.  I do know, and I have repeated those words almost daily if not more, I still do.

You see, I never heard those words, ‘I love you’ growing up and still in a dead marriage of almost thirty years, nothing.  Always, just to expect they loved me, leaving a big void in my life.  So for me to gasp and wonder if I heard her correctly, it is understandable.   Sometimes my heart aches from a lack of love.  That, too, would be normal to feel, a definite loss.

Deep within, I do grasp those words as I repeat them as I mentioned; but also at times I question the validity just because it is not a usual comment made to me.  Love, I always have to wonder or in my case, ponder.

So many throw around the words of ‘love you’ and ‘love ya’ and while they are true, I desire sincerity.  Love means more to me than a word spoken freely.  With her words, I felt them and I wanted to hold onto them. I need to, in order to get through the loss.

So as I grasp the words from her or others that are sincere, I do hold onto them and it seems like I put them in a treasure chest within my heart to keep.

To hear them, to feel them is to grasp and hold onto them forever.

Be sincere with your love spoken.