Paying Attention to My Gut

13 Aug

Since the last major discovery that fateful day in March of 2011 I have vowed to trust my instincts.  I have done well, for the most part, by using common sense and reason.  Judge Judy taught me a few lessons that served me well.  Still, I ended up in this most recent situation because I didn’t trust my gut.  My head has gotten so muddled with trying not to be codependent that I’m not sure whether to trust my initial reaction to situations for fear that it is coming from an unhealthy place.  I don’t want to be controlling, I want to let go, and I don’t want to live my life being emotionally tied to his decisions.  At the same time, I need to protect myself from further hurt.  I am living with a sex addict.  So where is the balance?

I’m obviously still trying to find it.  Where I am now is a perfect example.  Mr. Mess said he was going to take control of his recovery.  He had already been making his own therapy appointments and coordinating with me on our marriage counseling sessions.  In May things were progressing, slowly but surely.  We had one major fight, but were able to work through it in counseling and each learn a few things.  So when he said he was going to leave his medication in his car to take every morning on the way to work and keep up with the refills, I stepped back completely.  I decided that was his thing to take care of.  I felt a tad bit more healthy, and reassured that he wanted to handled one more part of his recovery on his own.

In mid-June and through July when I started noticing little changes in his behavior I attributed it to work or stress or minor annoyances… you know pretty day-to-day stuff.  He had also increased his prescription dose because he noticed it wasn’t having the same effect as before.  I figured some natural fluctuations in mood and temperament were fairly normal with changing medication dosage.  I wanted to ask if he was still taking his medication, if he had refilled it like he said he would.  But I stopped myself.  I told myself that was codependent thinking.  That he said he was going to take care of it, and I needed to let it go.  Refilling a prescription, picking it up, and taking the medication once per day is not difficult.  I have been doing it for years and years.  He is 47 years old.  He can do it.  He doesn’t need me to do it, he doesn’t need me to remind him.  Treat him like the adult he is.

So I did.  And every time I got that nagging feelings, I pushed it away.  On the weekend when I didn’t see him take anything, I told myself I wasn’t watching him every minute so how could I know?  When he had those “backward thinking” moments that were so common-place before his medication, I told myself not to worry about it.  I pointed my finger at the fact that he had finally started regularly attending SA meetings to reassure myself.  We went to Retrouvaille (which I know I never finished writing about – bad me), and were communicating pretty well in marriage counseling.  There was a big lying incident around money and he definitely didn’t handle his emotions well there, but for some reason the medication thing never popped into my head.  When he would react badly or blow up or have mood swings, the nagging feeling would pop back into my head.  But I kept telling myself not to be codependent.  Not to nag him.  To try to trust… that’s what I have been working on in this marriage, after all.

Of course, that all crashed and burned around me.  He stopped taking his medication right around the time he told me he was going to take care of it (within about 3 weeks).  So I dismissed my gut instincts as fear and trouble letting go of codependent behavior.  When they were really red flags that I should have paid attention to.  Lesson learned – trust yourself.  Don’t dismiss true gut insticts.

Telling the difference between the codependent thoughts and those flashes of concern over real issues is something I am still tweaking.  I think I will have to go with Judge Judy and Buddha on this one…  If it makes sense and agrees with reason and past history, then I will trust it.  If, instead, it is based on irrational fear or isn’t in line with common sense I will wait it out.  If it’s still there in a few days, I will take action and try to confirm or disprove it.  One way or another, I will determine what to believe.  I will not let anything cling to my mind unresolved for months ever again.

10 Responses to “Paying Attention to My Gut”

  1. StrongerMe at 6:16 pm #

    This is truly one of the biggest struggles that I have and you wrote about it so well. If I’ve told my therapist once, I’ve said it a thousand times…I’m a smart girl. I make big decisions all of the time at work. I am able to use objectivity and base decisions on fact. At work. At home? Not so much? A smart girl becomes a bumbling idiot in the face of life decisions in a codependent marriage. I couldn’t trust my emotions and I felt like I couldn’t tell if I was being led by my heart or my head.I was always accused of having trust issues or not letting things go, and to a point, I actually agree with that. BUT my codependent side made the pendulum swing too far in the other direction. I no longer trusted my gut. I berated myself for having those feelings of doubt. It SEEMED logical that the things I suspected were really happening, but he was saying the opposite and telling me that I was crazy, and well, I certainly felt crazy. But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

    • beautifulmess7 at 6:29 pm #

      Everything you said is so true for me, too. I am smart. Really…. I’m not just saying that. I also tend to hold onto things too long and have trust issues, but I overcompensated for those with my husband. I wanted so badly to believe him that I did, even when I shouldn’t have. Balance is so hard to achieve.

  2. emotionaltornado at 10:27 pm #

    I think every time I ignored those nagging feelings, I was right and I got hurt. I’ve read back through a journal and through notes in a book I read after the 1st dday. All my discomfort that lingered was about a different woman. The one he was having affair with then but it hadn’t come out yet. I nagging thoughts (and some dreams) are often the truth working itself out in my head. I had nightmares about him having another child for months before I found out. I completely discounted them as stress and lack of sleep.

    When we don’t believe in ourselves, it hurts us.

  3. Elsie at 9:25 pm #

    Finding that balance is key to your own recovery. Once I was able to find that delicate balance between what was irrational and what was truly my gut, I knew without fail and have always followed my gut instinct. Glad you do too.

  4. Sessica at 7:33 pm #

    Another favorite quote of mine by Maya Angelou via Oprah is “when people show you who they are, believe them.” I think this speaks to the heart of your piece on trusting your gut feelings. I can say from personal experience that I have ignored signs and not trusted my gut instincts, especially in situations when I would have had to make radical changes. It is scary to change your life. But the earlier on in a situation that you trust that voice, the easier it is to extricate yourself from a situation.

    • beautifulmess7 at 7:45 pm #

      The funny thing is, I read that quote today, too. It is very appropriate. Just like I said in my “Accepting the Truth” post, I need to look at what reality is right now, not “what could be.” Thanks for the reminder.

  5. atlcoaxoch at 6:43 pm #

    Thank you so much for linking me to this post. It gives me courage to trust myself a little more and push myself to resolve the nagging thoughts I always let poison me for months.

    • beautifulmess7 at 7:15 pm #

      It’s a difficult place to be. Those nagging thoughts are usually there for a reason. Sometimes we think ignoring them will make them not real or go away. Other times we don’t want to face what comes next… If we acknowledge them, then we have to do something. Sometimes we are confused or prepared to believe someone else instead ourselves because of self-doubt or fear. There are millions of reasons.

      Those gut feelings don’t go away, though. Ignoring them, pushing them back, doing the opposite of what they are screaming – almost always comes back to bite you in the ass worse than if they we’re dealt with swiftly and with purpose. I’m still learning that…


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