Tag Archives: emotions

I Told My Dad

20 Oct

Today my husband came over to pick up the majority of his clothes.  It didn’t really go well.  It wasn’t a disaster, but he is an emotional wreck.  I tried to be calm and talk to him.  He really wasn’t ready.  He is so angry.

I wasn’t prepared for it.  The more I tried to connect to him, calm him down, and be rational and kind about this the more he lashed out.  He called me condescending, even though that was not my intention at all, in the least.  He really started to lose it, and I suggested he get some puppy love in the back yard.  Shortly thereafter, he said it was all too much for him to handle, and he left.

He contacted me a bit after, and he may be coming by tomorrow to finish dividing up some kitchen stuff and food that I can’t use all by myself.  I tried to let him know that I’m not trying to make this process any more difficult than it already is.  I know he doesn’t believe me (because he said as much while he was here), but I’m not angry.  I just know that this is a necessary step if we are ever going to be able to make this marriage work.

After he left I heard the lawn mower going outside of the window in my den.  My Dad is my neighbor, which I think I’ve mentioned before.  The sound was coming from the direction of his house, but I knew that his grass was already cut.  Mine, however, was in need.

Let me back up for just a second.  As of this afternoon I still hadn’t called or sat down with my Dad to explain the situation yet.  My sister lives with him, though, and you all know that my Mom has been helping me through this process for over a year.  After Mr. Mess moved out last week my Mom asked if it would be okay for her to mention to my sister that we are separated and trying to work through a few things so that she doesn’t get overly concerned.  I told her that was fine because I am still processing how much I want to tell her – she is sensitive, kind and loving, but also very emotional.

When my sister texted me a few days ago to invite me along to the Celtic Festival tomorrow with her and her boyfriend, I knew that my Mom had told her.  That gesture touched me quite a bit.  I also knew that meant I needed to have the conversation with my Dad.  He is very observant, so I figured he would notice that my husband’s car was missing from the driveway.  I just didn’t know what to say.  I was going to talk to him last night, but then I got invited for dinner and a movie with the girls.  I had decided that today after my S-Anon meeting and after Mr. Mess left I would go over and speak to him.

So, when I heard the lawn mower going I knew that the time had come.  I walked outside to tell him thank you.  He turned off the lawn mower and gave me a hug.  Then something happened that hasn’t happened since this entire ordeal started last week.  I began crying.  There I was, standing in my front yard, hugging my Dad with tears streaming down my face.  Even now just remembering and typing the story I am sobbing again.

I told him the cliff notes version of things, including my struggle with how to tell him, how to explain, where to start, how many details to go into, etc.  I know that it hurt his feelings that he had to hear second-hand.  I wish I had had the courage to rely on him sooner.  I know that he loves me.  I know that he is supportive of me.  I know that he understands.  I talked to him a lot when he and my Mom were going through their divorce.  I also know he isn’t one to judge.  He told me today that he really likes my husband and he hopes we can work this out.  It was a mistake to wait as long as I did to reach out.

As much as I love my Mom, as much as I value and respect her opinions, as much as I love her, and as much as I know she supports and cares for me – my Dad was the one I finally felt safe enough with to break down.  My Mom is so together.  She is so perceptive.  She is very contemplative and insightful.  I want to be as composed and  introspective and amazing as she is.  I feel the need to “keep it together” with her, even though I know she wouldn’t look down on me if I broke down.  My Dad is amazing, too.  It’s not like I’m saying he is a mess or something.  In that moment, I just felt like his little girl again.  It was nice to have his arms wrapped around me.  The last time that happened was on my wedding day.

Here’s a picture of that moment – the first and only time I have ever danced with my Dad.

My Pity Party: The Importance of Taking My Antidepressants

26 Sep

Last night I was in quite an emotional state.  My husband and I lay in bed talking about a few things from the day, and I got triggered big time from the feeling that he was keeping something from me.  He kinda was.  We ended up resolving the issue, but that feeling wouldn’t quite go away.  I was incredibly overwhelmed.

The last few days were both wonderful and a blur.  My entire morning routine got messed up last week when, on a rushed morning, I forgot to take all of my pills (vitamins, antidepressant, and allergy medication).  I started taking them at lunch, instead, since I need to take them every 24 hours.  Then one day I didn’t make it home for lunch, so I began taking them at dinner.  Then we went away to the mountains for the weekend, and I left all of my medicine at home.  Last night I realized that I hadn’t taken my antidepressants for 3 days.  At least I don’t think so.  I actually can’t remember.  Did I take them when I got home on Sunday or didn’t I?  How about Monday?  Even last night I couldn’t remember if I had taken them that morning.  It’s like my brain was in a fog.

After we had our talk and connected really well, my husband was all talked out and ready to go to bed.  I didn’t really have anything else pressing to talk about, but I just couldn’t go to sleep.  We turned off the lights and I gave it a try, but my brain was swirling with everything and nothing all at once.  I didn’t want to get on the computer because I knew I would end up awake half the night, so I got up and grabbed my journal.

As an aside:  I’m pretty awful at keeping a written journal because I hate hand-writing…  It is mostly because I prefer typing and I’m faster and more efficient that way.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  I realized, though, that what’s behind that preference is the fact that I don’t like the messiness of it.  I don’t have bad handwriting, it’s just that I can’t edit, tweak, and polish what I have written.  I don’t like the rough, unfinished quality of my words right out of my head.  I don’t like the fact that I can’t rearrange paragraphs, insert new sentences, and change words without leaving a mess.  I don’t like having something that incomplete and raw sitting around, even if it is just for me.  It drives me crazy.  So, I’m going to address that irrational perfectionism head on, and share what I wrote last night.  Unedited.  Here goes:

I’m a mess.  I want to write about our fantastic honeymoon weekend.  Instead I’m feeling emotional and hormonal, sitting up at night not able to go to sleep.  I don’t think I’ve taken my ADs for 3 days.  My dog just walked in and peed on the floor out of nowhere.  Wow…  Just my day.  No ADs (my schedule got messed up), I’m starting my period, my neck and shoulders are tweaked, I’ve got a cold, and my emotions are running wild.  Now I’m cleaning up dog urine at 11:30, too.  Oh, and my husband has gout…  Yeah, gout.  Last year I was convinced that was some medieval disease that no longer existed.  Now I know better, although I’m not really all that thrilled to be enlightened.  So, I guess this is just one big bitch session.  I’m obviously feeling sorry for myself and needed to throw a little pity party.  Tomorrow I will get back on my ADs, load the beautiful pictures from Shenandoah, and get on with enjoying life.  Right now I’m just going to let this extra strength Tylenol work on my cramps & muscles, hope this cold medicine makes breathing easier, and try to get some sleep…

English: The Gout by James Gillray. Published ...

English: The Gout by James Gillray. Published May 14th 1799. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Proof that I was feeling completely out of it is the fact that I wrote “honeymoon weekend” instead of “anniversary weekend.”  I almost edited that here before I posted it because it is just so ridiculous and embarrassing that I got it wrong.  No one will probably care at all about that mistake, but I still have the urge to go fix it before I hit Publish.  How crazy is that?  I just have to breathe and accept that sometimes I really am a complete mess, and not even a beautiful one (although my husband argued otherwise last night).

Today really is better already.  I am in an amazing, feminine skirt suit set that is polished, luxurious, and was on sale at over 80% off.  I have a deep purple top on that looks amazing with my skin tone.  I’m wearing the pearls that my husband gave me at our rehearsal dinner for our wedding day.  I have on adorable Tahari heels with a bow detail and decorative stitching.  I took all of my medicine this morning.  I have my annual review this afternoon with my boss, who is taking me out to lunch where I already know I’m receiving a nice raise.  I feel like a million bucks.  Even though this head cold is being stubborn, I have a few twinges of cramps, and my neck is still incredibly tight, this is going to be a good day.

Yesterday wasn’t even a bad day.  My outlook just wasn’t right.  I let the little things overwhelm me because I wasn’t in the right head space.  I’m getting back there, and trying to focus on all of the great things that I have going for me.  Tonight we are continuing our anniversary celebration by going to a great local restaurant that I’ve wanted to go to for ages.  We were supposed to go on Friday, but I didn’t want to miss karate and my husband had a flare-up of his gout (which he wasn’t aware he had until yesterday).  Tomorrow I’m going to try to write about how our anniversary went, complete with stunning pictures of the mountains.

Today, though, I’m going to focus on noticing all the little things that I’m thankful for.  Starting with you guys.  Thanks for listening.  Thanks for helping me see my mess and giving me insight to address it head-on.  Knowing that I’m going to post my thoughts for you to comment and “like” (or not), somehow allows me to see the truth behind my words, the real reasons behind my excuses and justifications, and put my thoughts and feelings into perspective.

It also gives me the opportunity to face my demons head-on, like admitting that I make mistakes sometimes and I have off days.  It helps me to realize that it’s okay.  I will be fine.  No one is going to stop following me (hopefully) because I wrote “honeymoon” accidentally instead of “anniversary.”  Even if they do, who cares?  That doesn’t define me.  I’m more than the total of my faults and mistakes – I’m also a complicated, beautiful mess with an interesting perspective and a zeal for life who is improving every day by growing and changing and becoming a better version of myself.  Instead I could be stuck, afraid of admitting that I’m not perfect, and slowly languishing into mediocrity.  I’m glad that I’m able to recognize when I’m throwing a pity party, pick myself up, and move on.  I’m also happy that I have people along the way who can help motivate me to keep moving forward.  So, thanks!

Thank You

Thank You (Photo credit: purplekiss024)

Retrouvaille Weekend – Friday Night, Part 2

17 Jul

As promised, I will now continue with the experience on Friday night.  I already told you how we got there, what our first experience was like, the initial notes I made on the program, and the initial three questions that they asked us to write about.  Here they are again with my answer following each question.

1.    Why did I come here this weekend, and what do I hope to gain?
2.    How can I make this weekend a disappointment for us?
3.    What can I do to make this weekend a positive experience?


My answers (completely unedited except for names):

1.    I came here this weekend because I really want this marriage to work.  I am willing to put in the work, and I like the idea of having a program that can help.  I am hoping that we will both learn tools for communicating that will make that goal easier to reach.

I am also sincerely hoping that something we learn here will make it easier for Mr. Mess to talk to me.  I want to find a way that helps him be more comfortable sharing.  I feel like if that can be achieved out battle is more than half-way over.

I heard that this weekend involved a lot of writing, and that is the best way that I communicate (at least I think so).  Mr. Mess has also said he was going to start journaling but he never did.  I know that my blog helps me to process my thoughts and feelings so I can make sense of what is going on.  I want that clarity and release for Mr. Mess as well.

2.    First, I have to say that I really dislike the negative phrasing of this questions.  Maybe analyzing things like that is something I do that could impede progress here.  Complaining is not really productive and could take away from this experience.  I can’t help thinking that I really, really, really wish I had a computer and keyboard right now, though, because my hand is already killing me.

But I digress.  If I want to make this weekend a disappointment I suppose I could mock, whine, moan and refuse to participate.  I don’t see the point in wasting our time and money by doing that, though.

3.    Participate!  Not be sarcastic or mocking.  Try to be open.  Stop judging.

If you can’t tell already, I ran out of time for the last question.  I jotted down a few quick thoughts as Mr. Mess was coming through the hotel room door.  It turns out they only gave us like 10 minutes to write down our thoughts.  The time varied throughout the rest of the weekend, but we discovered that writing for 10 minutes, then dialoguing for 10 minutes is the goal.  20 minutes total.  At first we felt incredibly rushed and like this definitely couldn’t accomplish anything with such strict time limits.

The process isn’t about “accomplishing something” in the traditional sense of things, thought.  It is designed so that we can each understand the other’s feelings.  Dialoguing is NOT about solving a problem.  It isn’t supposed to be the last word on an issue or topic.  It can be the foundation for truly resolving conflict, though, because it allows each person to be open and unreserved with their emotions so that the other person can really try to understand what those feelings are.  In this way, when we actually do try to solve the problem our defensiveness will hopefully be disarmed since we will know the other person’s heart – their feelings, fears, desires, hopes, and all of the other emotions surrounding the topic.

Photo Credit – I have to say that I love, love, love this picture!

But we weren’t there yet.  We still didn’t really understand the process.  Now that I do know the process, my answer above shows that.  Still, that first discussion (because that’s what it was at that time) went well.  We were able to read and accept each other’s answers.  I also discovered that the second question was helpful to him, even though it seemed like an entirely pointless, negative and rhetorical question to me.  That helped me to actually let go of my judgments and go for the rest of the ride.

As I mentioned earlier, we certainly weren’t done there for the night.  I think the most productive thing for me to do is recount and describe each presentation we received and the dialog that followed.  I do this NOT so that you can try to follow the program from my directions.  I wouldn’t recommend that at all.  It really works much better as an experience and process that the couple shares as intended.

However, I do think it will help me to really absorb the information by re-telling the events as I remember and using the extensive notes that I wrote down.  I will also be glad to share my part of the dialoguing as well as additional thoughts, feelings, and experiences I had during this process.  My hope is that it could influence someone to give the program a shot if they feel this format and process could work in their marriage.  Remember, I am still early on in this program, so I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  I simply intend to share my insight and how the weekend (and later the post-sessions) affected me and my marriage.

Being Positive

22 May

This is something that I am really struggling with right now.  It’s not because I can’t be positive.  It’s not because I don’t have hope.  It’s mostly because of the crazy ups and downs that I briefly posted about late last night (Rollercoaster).

I think out of everything it’s the inconsistency that is the most difficult thing for me.  We really have so many positive things going on.  If you don’t believe me, read back through Being Thankful.  I only listed a few things in that post… there are so many more.

For example, we have been working through some exercises from The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.  We are doing at least one every Saturday, and sometimes more.  We have been discovering that our marriage has a much stronger foundation than we thought.  We do well at connecting, romance, affection, and a ton of other stuff.  The things that we need to work on we were already aware of for the most part – like flooding and avoiding harsh start-ups.

I could keep going with my list of positive things, big steps forward, and continued progress.  There are tons of comparisons I could make between where we came from and where we are today.  I generally don’t have a problem looking on the bright side of things.

But when we have a bad day, boy do we have a bad day!  I am the first to admit that my triggers can take control of my emotions and leave me a much different person than the rational, compassionate, positive woman who I normally am.  I can become a downright nightmare.  I have gotten better at recognizing my triggers and handling them in a calm way, but some things really send me over the edge.  Lying is a huge one.

That is why I was surprised last week when my immediate response to finding out lies wasn’t outright anger.  As I admitted, that did come later.  Even the fact that I have a delayed anger reaction I think of as a positive thing.  It means that I am working through those triggers and emotions a little better, even if it is just at the very beginning or the very end.

Last night was not one of those days.  I uncovered a few more lies about his school which I took in stride (for the most part).  But then he really ticked me off about something that is relatively small, especially in the grand scheme of things.  Long story short – we had a huge blow up fight over dinner.  I mean that exactly.  It was over dinner and it was about dinner.  It had more to do with my triggers, his forgetfulness, and my primary love language (Quality Time) than with the actual dinner, but that’s what set it off.

Here’s where the runaway rollercoaster takes over.  Mr. Mess really doesn’t do well handling his anger.  It takes over and turns him into this raging, sarcastic, yelling ball of spite.  He says everything he can think of to make me angry and hurt my feelings, and then he yells over top of anything I try to say in response.  It doesn’t always happen.  In fact, it really hasn’t happened like that in a while.  For the most part our disagreements have been more in the way of conversations.  When I trigger he has been willing to talk to me about it and not get defensive.

Again, that was not last night.  Things got so carried away and out of control that he was threatening divorce.  Well, not really threatening – just saying that he was done, it was over, and he had no desire to keep trying.  It wasn’t a threat, it was reality and it was happening now.  He packed his things and left.  That’s where the whole, “He says everything he can think of to hurt my feelings…” part comes in.  I said some pretty bad stuff, too.  I called him names.  I said he was a liar and a coward who runs away when things get tough.  I’m not going to recount everything, but it was a dirty fight.  He ended up coming home a few hours later and we were able to talk a little bit more sensibly.

I’m not thrilled that things got out of control.  I’m not proud of those moments.  But it doesn’t change everything for me.  The positive things are still positive things.  That was just a really bad night, a really unfortunate fight, and big dip in the rollercoaster.  On the other hand, we can learn from that.  We can figure out what set us off.  How we can react better.  We can renew our promise not to throw divorce around in an argument.  We can take the opportunity to talk about those things that led to all that anger boiling over – unfulfilled promises, realizing each other’s love languages, figuring out how to deal with triggers better, not keeping secrets, and improving communication.

I see this as just another tool to improve our marriage.  Albeit, it’s a crummy, unpleasant tool that could have been avoided.  The only way to know how to do that, though, is to learn from it.  I can be realistic in saying that arguments will happen.  We will have more fights.  It’s just a fact of life, especially the part of life that we are going through.

My husband, though, has such a black-and-white, all-or-nothing mentality that it throws me off.  It is a struggle to be positive for me AND positive for him.  He honestly would have told you things were going great on Saturday.  We had worked through the lying issue, he had a plan of attack, we connected really well over the exercises, and we worked together to clean up the house a bit.  He was on top of the world.

Then after our argument last night he was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  An argument meant we couldn’t understand each other well, which in turn meant that everything was falling apart, which in turn meant that we may as well divorce.  Saturday the world was sunny and wonderful.  Last night it was dark, gloomy, and despondent.  Saturday the marriage was strong.  Last night it was crumbling.  There is no in between.

I don’t know how to combat that.  Even my positive doesn’t seem to be positive enough for him.  I talk about hope.  He says that means I don’t have faith in him, that I may as well have ended in a big “BUT…”  I tell him I see faith as something religious and irrational.  In fact, the very definition of faith according to the Encarta Dictionary is “belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.”

I can’t have that anymore.  Hope is what I have.  I’m proud that I have gotten to this point because several months ago even the sight of the “HOPE” sign above our therapist’s door made me want to scream, tear it off the wall, and stomp on it.  Hope for me means that I can see a brighter future.  The Encarta Dictionary’s definition of hope is “to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.”  That is much more positive in my eyes!  I would much rather be looking hopefully towards something that is possible than having faith in something without logical proof.

So I’m going to keep the dialog open.  I’m going to keep sharing my thoughts, feelings, and yes – my hope.  I’m going to keep seeing shades of gray instead of just black and white because that’s what allows me to keep going on the bad days.  I’m going to hold on tight and do my best to slow down this rollercoaster and get us back on solid ground.  That’s how I’m going to stay positive.

Music – A Soundtrack for Life

17 Apr

Music has always been a huge part of my life and who I am.  I was raised in a household full of music – singing, instruments, and hours devoted to practicing, performing, and enjoying it.  My mother is a pianist, led the church choir, and was a long-term music teacher substitute at the local middle school when the choral director was out on maternity leave (twice).  My uncle plays the guitar, my aunt led worship, my cousins play a variety of instruments (trumpet, sax, drums, guitar, bass, and more), my brother plays the drums and learned to manage a sound board, and my sister even tried violin once (it didn’t stick).

I was in chorus all the way through school, and in my senior year of high school I was part of the show choir and chamber ensemble.  I decided to skip “early release” and add an extra music class – even though I already attended choir every day.  I dropped out of the International Baccalaureate Program when the extra class requirements would mean I couldn’t focus on music the way I wanted to.  I went to county and state vocal competitions, traveled all over the country and once internationally with my show choir, and even formed a band of my own for a short while.  I never learned to play the piano the way my mother does, but I did pick up the acoustic guitar and teach myself a few things.

More than those collections of facts, though, music is a part of my soul.  I remember singing in the car to the radio as one of my earliest memories – yes, I was that young.  Music has this amazing power.  It can transform my mood, bring me back to the past or into my future in an instant, and express all of the emotions and thoughts in my head in a way I haven’t even considered yet.  Songs are intimate.  They are expressions of our deepest desires and most shallow thoughts.  They can lift you up, tear you down, make you laugh, cry, and sing along at the top of your lungs even if you don’t get a single note right (like my Dad).

I am constantly amazed by all the new ways that song writers can express age-old themes in fresh and exciting terms.  Just when I think every word has been said or every song has been sung on a particular subject I hear something else that blows me away.  The best song writers are the ones that bare everything – all of their fears, hurt, guilt, shame, joy, triumph, loss, love, and the list goes on.  There are songs and song writers that are so raw and real they touch a place inside of me that I thought only I had access to.  There are songs that speak to me and seem to speak for me.  Truly, songs are a backdrop for everything, a soundtrack for life, because they incorporate every part of life.

In this blog I have already shared some of the songs that are capturing my life, or at least some of my feelings, right now.  I think that will be a continuing theme here because sometimes words alone aren’t enough to express everything inside of me.  Here is the latest song I am really connecting to – “Let it Rain” by David Nail.  It has been rolling around in my head for hours.  I really like this version better than the official music video because it is a very clean, honest performance.

The words of this song are really powerful for me.  It helps me understand some of the emotions that my husband feels, especially the chorus.  There is guilt, shame, acceptance, pain, regret, and so much more wrapped up into the song.  It’s not just the lyrics, either.  He puts such emotion in his voice that it just shoots straight through me.  I’m going to sit here for a little while with this song on repeat just listening and feeling and enjoying another great song that is beautifully written and poignantly performed.

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