My 2 year vacation, part 7

…or perseverance or courage…

They say when you can tell your story without crying that you’ve healed.  I wonder about that.  When I think about how I broke my two sons hearts, I honestly don’t know how I’ll ever share that with anyone without tears flowing.  You know, the kind that you can feel from the pit of your stomach.  So I have to wonder if that means healing will never happen (?).

~~~

As I stumbled through the next year of life, zombie like, I had no epiphanies, no ideas, no insight, no living.  I did what was expected and didn’t cause waves.  That is until the day I told my “husband” I was moving back to my sons.  Ahh the stories I could tell, but I suppose since it involves him, I could get my seat in a sling so I’ll let this one word suffice “Drama”.  Drama for another year while we tried a long distance relationship which was never going to work.  Why we both took turns “clinging” to something that was already gone makes no sense.  (Well, that is unless you understand about codependency.  If you do, umm, I’m sorry(?) and the good news is no one has to stay that way.  Insert wink emoji!)

~~~

By the way, did anyone notice already gone?  If you did, do you know why that’s a big deal?  If I had any idea how, I’d have a contest and see who knows the reason.  Insert fun emoji here.  hahaha

~~~

“Drama”.  There you have it, one word, but it says volumes.  Truth be told, I didn’t really love him, he didn’t really love me.  He was a place to go when the rest of the world turned their back on me.  I was a additional source of income for the never ending bike “ride”.  Since I’m writing this and it’s my story, I’ll take the burden of guilt on me.  Then lay it at the foot of Jesus cross where He took every last rotten thing I’ve ever done or will do and died for me.  Grace.  Amazing Grace.

 

As this 2 year vacation winds down, it’s fairly important to point some things out or maybe set them straight.

First, moving back to a place where I was the subject of tabloid fodder and gossip was not easy.  I wish I could say I stood tall and walked straight.  Not really.  I had to see people regularly who knew me, knew my history and had on many occasions added wonderful speculative details to the story.  That’s always fun right?  I stood up enough to get a place to live and enough furniture so my sons could live with me if they chose to and be relatively comfortable.

Second, while religion was NOT a part of my life, I did believe in God, His Son, and the Spirit.  So I tried going to church intermittently at several different churches.  The denomination didn’t matter to me then, and it still doesn’t now.  In doing this, it built something, I don’t know if it was character, or perseverance or courage to walk into places where there were always people who knew me, I knew them and to see the “looks”… in church.  Gives you one heck of a warm fuzzy eh?  After a couple of years of this, I settled on house church.  Meaning, I got up Sunday mornings and worshipped with Lakewood Church via the internet to help me remember God did love me, and He wasn’t waiting to pounce on me with a lightening bolt.

Third, my moving back after 2 years did not mean everything was all peachy and perfect with my sons.  Not by any stretch.  My youngest moved in with me within a month of my return, and my oldest came over and ate with me once per week.  The journey with them since has not been a straight line of everyone sharing, healing, and now all is better.

No.  Not at all.

The healing with my sons continues: at their pace.

Current day, as in today:  my oldest spent the weekend here and this a.m. before he went out the door to work, he stopped, let me hug him, hugged me back and we both said I love you.  My youngest stopped by a couple of hours ago, and we visited about various topics for about 30 – 45 minutes.  Before he went out the door, he stopped, let me hug him, hugged me back and we both said I love you.  For those hugs and the words I love you shared with my sons, I praise my Heavenly Father and to Him be the glory!!  Hallelujah!!

~~~

I’ve been back home now for 10 1/2 years.  I wondered as I came to the close of this 2 year vacation which direction in this twisting turning journey of becoming authentic I would go next.  It turns out, I had quite a spiritual awakening in that directly affects authenticity just last week.  As a matter of fact, it may be one of the most significant in my life to date.

So I believe I’ll believe.  I’ll believe God can do anything and His timing, is always perfect.

My 2 year vacation, part 6

…my rapid descent…

The only person you can’t lie to is yourself.  It’s way too easy to lie to everyone else.

~~~

I found myself living in my home town “happily” married to a man whose primary purpose in life was to plan the next “ride”.  That’s it.  That’s all.  Every week, along about Wednesday, he would start talking about the ride this weekend and where did I want to go.  At first this was fun, and gave me a much needed vacation.

(Side note right here:  moms need a vacation by themselves period.  They’ll say, oh no, I’m fine, blah blah blah.  Bullshit.  They need time to remember who they are.  Not a wife, a mom, a PTA president, etc., but who they are at their core. I could go on and on here, but I’ll let those who can hear me embrace this knowledge.)

I say at first this was fun, because 6 weeks later, reality started setting in and the weight of missing my sons hit.  I missed them every day but this night, after a phone call with them, I crumpled to the floor.  I was literally on the floor sobbing, with the weight of the grief crushing me.  My husbands response….crickets.  Yup, you read it right, he sat on the couch watching television.  He wasn’t mean.  He was apathetic: as if nothing was wrong.

My youngest came for Thanksgiving, and to say I was happy is a huge understatement.  I was so grateful to see him and have time with him.  My oldest was used to Thanksgiving at his paternal grandmothers but he did come with their dad for the exchange (we both drove a few hours both ways) so I at least got to hug him and see his face.   It wrenched my heart.

A couple of weeks later, on a Monday, I went to pick up my husband from work (he lived for the ride, it was winter and I had a vehicle).  On the way home, I was telling him about the day and that it was my youngest sons 5th grade Christmas program and how important that was.  As I was telling him, the tears began to flow, as my heart continued breaking, and the words stopped.  (Enduring pain like this does not lend itself to speaking, it’s pain that only the unseen realm understands.)  He drove us to our Monday night restaurant, a favorite so we had something to look forward to on Mondays.

At the restaurant, I started with a Tequila Sunrise, and 3 liters of Margaritas later, drank mostly by me, I stumbled out the door with him helping me walk.  I went to bed and the next a.m., the pain was not gone, and I didn’t feel good but off to work I went.  I felt stuck.  I had made this choice, and now here I am away from my sons and there’s nothing I could do about it.  So began my rapid descent into a bottle of tequila.

In the Spring, my youngest came for his break and we had a great time!  We enjoyed a couple of days out of town to go skiing and snowboarding.  I loved spending time with him…. his loyalty in the face of his own heart break is beyond words.  My oldest was busy with baseball practice and couldn’t come for his break.  His heart was broken, and seeing me only intensified his pain, his survival meant all but shutting me out.  He did make the exchange trip and I was so very grateful to see his precious face and hug him.

My God, when I think about how many times we did the exchange and how I would just sob on the way back, I wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Oh yeah, I was stuck.

~~~

Summer, I’ve been away 8 months and it’s a family birthday party.  It was a great party, and my friend tequila was there, and this night it was tequila shots.  1, 2, (felt nothing), 3, 4… nothing, a double for 5 & 6, another double for 7 & 8, still nothing.  I’m going to stop right here and tell you that scared the hell out of me!  8 shots of tequila, and I did not have the slightest buzz.  Others were drunk off their butts: me, nothing.  My husband was really drunk and on hard liquor he was different.  He stuck to beer most of the time, but that night the tequila was flowing.

At about 3 a.m. the party was over, the people were gone, he got upset at me for something.  So I got out of bed and went outside with my mom who was still up.  He followed me yelling and cussing at me, and came at me like he was going to hit me.  He was also yelling and cussing at my mom.  I called the police, who came and tried to calm him and told him to go to bed.  He finally agreed and went in the house.  They told me to call them back if I needed to.  Right after they left, he was back out yelling and cussing and coming at me again.  I had my phone and out of his sight, called them but didn’t say anything.  Within minutes they were there and hauled him off to sleep it off in the drunk tank.

While he never hit me, it sent me reeling back to my childhood.  I had vowed I would never be in a marriage like my parents and I had not seen this coming, at all.  He had never come across as someone who would hit anyone.  I got to experience first hand what it feels like when someone takes anger at themselves out on someone else.  I had not done or said anything.  (I think you know by now if I had, I’d tell you.)

That was the day my 2nd marriage ended.  The divorce wouldn’t happen for another 17 months, I was stuck remember?

While I knew the marriage was over, I was an academy award winning actress, so he didn’t know a thing.  I was stuck and I didn’t know what to do but act ok and “happy”.  After all hadn’t I got plenty of practice at that from birth to 18?

Of all this experience, the most bizarre was the mornings.  Often, I would wake up and not know where I was for the first few seconds.  It was surreal.

The pain in my wrenched heart was increasing daily, to the point of a crescendo.  (Or, is it rock bottom?)  On a weekend in August, sitting on the back of his bike on this weekends ride, I began to pray.  I prayed one line over and over and over (did I say over and over?) and over again:  “God, thank you that I live in the same town with my 2 sons.”

I had written God off a few years prior mainly because I figured He wrote me off.  You know, I was divorced among a myriad of other “bad” things.

I was in the depth of the pit of hell and had lost everything.  My life was utterly and completely worthless, I was desperate and had nothing to lose.  So in spite of my writing God off, I clung to my one line prayer like a drowning person would cling to a life preserver.  It was the only thing I had left and I held on for dear life.

~~~

I realized later that God had not once left me, and He only waited for me to turn to Him.  God is good, and He is good all the time.

 

Truth

 

My 2 year vacation, part 5

So right here is where my brilliant decision making powers took over as you’ll soon see.  Oops, did the sarcasm drip off the page?

~~~

I don’t remember sleeping at all that night I was kicked out of my moms house.  I went to the house of the only one who seemed to understand, my childhood friend.  We sat and talked for hours trying to piece together what had happened.  We talked through the day several times, and the facts stood:  my mom knew I would not be home at any certain time.   (She laughed and smiled while she was standing there watering the edges of the lawn.  It’s etched in my mind…on my soul.)  No one had said a word about the plan to meet at the grave site in the early afternoon, I had no idea.  Through all the yelling, screaming, cussing and name calling I pieced it together and tried to tell someone, anyone I didn’t know anything about it.  I got called a liar.  Again, when mob mentality takes over chaos ensues.  No one listens.

If this same scenario took place today, I’d stand in the middle of my mothers living room and hold my ground calmly and peacefully.  BUT I WOULD NOT LEAVE, PERIOD.  The chaos and entire situation was ridiculous and absurd on so many levels.  It took me a while to understand, but, I cooperated with the madness like I had done so many times before.  A dysfunctional abusive childhood has that effect.  Just sayin.

~~~

I’m divorced a bit more than a year, exiled from my “friends” and entire social network, my dad recently passed away, my mother has kicked me out of her house, and my entire family is angry at me for abandoning them…..

~~~

Well, except for my youngest son, even at 10 he could see the nonsense for what it was.  I’ll never be able to express to him the depth of gratitude I have for him.

All the decisions I made following this debacle hurt him (and my oldest son) deeply, I’d imagine to their very souls.

(God help me for the pain I inflicted on my precious innocent sons.  I’m trying to heal from it, but wounds of hurting someone you love so deeply take years if they in fact ever heal.  I know the blood of Christ washes me clean, but it’s difficult to accept.)

~~~

Also, let’s throw this in: one of the many contributing factors to my being divorced is single parenting for the last 5 years we were married.  My then husband made a career change from writer/ad exec to teacher and football coach, and basketball coach and track coach and worked at a school a couple of small towns away.  In a small city or town, coaches are expected to coach a sport for every season.  Yes they’re paid to teach and to coach, however when you divide the hours by their pay, it’s such a pittance it makes your stomach hurt.  It did mine.  So before you bitch and moan about your children’s teachers and coaches, they’re doing their job more from a ministry/heart/love standpoint than you realize.  Appreciate them and support and encourage them.

Bottom line, the last 5 years we were married, I was a single parent and everything for our 2 sons fell to me.  By the time my dad got sick and passed away, I was weary and exhausted mentally and physically.

When I think about my mental state at that point I understand why I made the decisions I made, but it doesn’t make any of them ok.  I felt completely alone, abandoned, and this one childhood friend seemed to completely understand.

So here’s what I did:

I stayed the rest of the summer with childhood friend because at least someone understood.  Plus, me being gone meant my now ex-husband had to step up to the plate and finally be a dad, right?!

I went back home late August, and a day or two later was bombarded with the news that I had been the subject of conversation at a church picnic.  (A large church of about 2,000) Evidently, I was staying with a childhood friend and “shacking up with him”.  This was shared by a coach, who just happened to work with my ex-husband.  Coincidence?

I was horrified, and I was humiliated.  First, it wasn’t true, or was it?  The first few nights I slept with my clothes on.  He was so understanding and listened so intently, how could I not fall in love with him and say yes to marrying him?  I mean it just makes sense, right?!  (I know the sarcasm’s dripping again huh?)  But the fact was, we hadn’t got married yet, and now my sons would have the mom with The Scarlet Letter pinned to her chest.  When you live in a small town / city, the latest juicy gossip travels fast.

I travelled back to my childhood town, and promptly got married.  I felt my sons would be better off without Their Scarlet Letter mom.  Plus like I said, this would force their dad to step up to the plate and be a dad!!  I travelled back home, packed my belongings and left.

~~~

My oldest son all but shut me out emotionally.  He still talked to me on occasion and visited once.  The one time he visited, the song “Stand by Me” came on, and he sang it to me.  It’s one of my fondest memories.  We’ve come a long way, and by the grace of God we’ve made much progress.

My youngest son tells me that he always believed I’d be back.  That he always told himself she’ll be back.  I know his belief in me was the one navigational tool that worked.  Whatever he does, wherever he goes, I am forever grateful to and for my youngest son and his unwavering belief in me.

~~~

Right now today, my youngest son pushes me away as well.  I think the full force of my leaving finally hit and it’s not easy to navigate, and that’s putting it mildly.

My deepest truth is every moment, every season they live with me, every trip to the beach, every moment watching Netflix, every second I have with either of my sons for the last 10 years is a serendipitous gift from God. I’ve watched Him heal things that had no way of healing and I’ve prayed and prayed for some things for which I’m still waiting.  God is good and He is good all the time.

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When you go through hell in life, you learn that Jesus never walks away.

He was relentless in the pursuit of my heart and His light showed me the way out of the pit of hell.

~~~

There’s more, but this is enough for now.

It gets worse before it gets better.  Isn’t that encouraging?

 

Things I Didn’t Know About Being Married to a Sex Addict

One woman’s courageous journey to healing and wholeness for herself, and her marriage. Thank you Tears in a Bottle, may Grace abound.

Tears in a Bottle

Being married to a sex addict, there were a lot of things I did not know.

I did not know the destructive nature of pornography and its far reaching, devastating effects on the lives, families, homes, churches, places it touches.

I did not know that the presence of pornography in my home had invaded my husband’s soul, and was a root cause of our damaged marriage and my utter brokenness.

I did not know that my husband had chosen pornography, masturbation and fantasy over intimacy with me.

I did not know that pornography was a form of betrayal.

I did not know that my husband was able to blatantly lie to me.

I did not know that the rejection of my heart, soul and body was not my fault.

I did not know that my body was fine just the way it was.

I did not know that I was…

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Mothers and Daughters… in law

each secure

My first thought here is wouldn’t this sound better if it were simply Mothers & Daughters?  sigh

(Note to self:  I must remember to find out how to put the emoji that’s laughing and crying at the same time!)

Recently, some thoughts have come together to form a theory.  A theory that’s proved true time and  time again, but since I haven’t started documenting until now we’ll stay in theory land. (thumbs up)

The mother of a son and the wife/life girlfriend of that same son should really be almost best friends.  Other than age and experience, when you think about their common denominator it’s a logical rational conclusion.  There are NO 2 females on the planet that are going to love this man more than these two. 

It starts with mom.  She gives birth/adopts this beautiful baby boy who immediately has her entire heart, and she his.  She raises him and loves him and he looks to her for nurturing and navigating childhood into young adulthood.  He knows she cares for his heart and loves him as no other person, it’s pure and it’s a comforting place.

Then he meets a young woman with whom he falls head over heels in love.

If a healthy relationship ensues then all goes well.  This young girl has another woman who loves her as her mom does and this young man has a young woman who will now receive the care for his heart for hopefully the rest of his life.

She looks to his mom sometimes because she wants to take care of this man’s heart and knows this woman is the best resource she has.  They develop a deep, honest, caring relationship and trust each other knowing that no one can ever take either of their places.  They’re each secure in knowing that their unique place in this man’s heart is sacred and just that.  A mom and a wife in a man’s heart are sacredly unique and should be celebrated as such!

However…. if either if them is insecure regarding their place in the mans heart, then life can become one dramatic scene after another.  Who is the one hurt the most?  The young man.

If the young woman is not secure in her place, she’s going to view his mom as a threat, as a woman who doesn’t want her son to have a life of his own.  Then she’ll take steps to prove to the man how wrong his mother is, and how he’s better off without her.  This is ultimately painful for the mother and her feelings are understandably hurt.

If the mom is not secure in her place, she’ll hover and intrude and expect to be included with everything they do.  She’ll guilt her son into doing things and leave the young woman wondering what she’s done wrong and her feelings are understandably hurt.

~~~

But….this is all so easily resolved.  If either party gets a clear moment in their mind and realizes, “my place is unique.  NO one can take it from me” then hopefully they can get past their issues.

Young women, chill!  She’s had the care of her sons heart his entire life, she just wants to know she can trust you’ll care for it.  She’d like some time with her son, when you have children you’ll understand.

Women, chill!  She’s loved by your son and wants to care for his heart.  Give her a chance and let them build their relationship on their own.  Remember, you too were once young and in love and wanted a chance.

There is so much more I could add to this and probably will in another post for now, simply remember your place in his heart is yours.  You’re irreplaceable, rest and take comfort in that fact.