Heart break and healing

This blog originally started as a dating blog. It morphed into a relationship blog and is now mostly a blog on my personal life and my adventures in sports psychology.

I haven’t spoken of the relationship I was in, in some shape or form, for eight years in a long time. I’ve kept that part of my life private after exposing some of it here with not so great results.

I’m choosing to talk about it today because it’s been affecting me and has caused my silence here. We are no longer together, nor do we have any contact anymore, however, the night before Valentine’s Day a call from him sent me into a tail spin that lasted for two weeks.

I made the decision back in November that we couldn’t be friends anymore because I wasn’t strong enough not to be affected by him or to slide right back into a relationship and lose myself again as I’ve done time and again over the years.

I grew up in alcoholism and one of the side effects resulted in me being a very good codependent. I’m in recovery now and am learning to be my own person through program.

It’s easy for me to turn myself inside out to please a man. I’m a great chameleon, I’ll be whatever you want or need me to be. I’ll throw myself under the bus to make you happy. Whatever activities I enjoy will slowly disappear and I’ll stop seeing my friends. It’ll be all about you and I to the exclusion of everything else. I’ll look to you to make me happy. Not very healthy is it? Well that was me.

I’m happy to say I’ve changed but it’s still very easy for me to slip into old ways of thinking and behaving. I’ll be in program for the rest of my life as a result. It’s the only way for me to be the best version of myself.

Eight years. Eight. Years.

It’s a long time to be with someone as a partner or friend. We raised his daughter together. Being her step mom is the single best thing I’ve ever done with my life and I’m so very grateful for the opportunity.

I tell a brief version of our story in the rooms of my program when I am asked to speak. It goes something like this. We were both adult children of alcoholics and neither one of us were in program at the time. We both had trust and commitment issues and it was drama all the time. We tried so hard to make it work. I grew up with a mom who stood by my dad no matter what so that’s what I did.

So many people tried to reason with us, including our families, to try and make us see the light but we were stubbornly trying to make something work that just couldn’t.

I was watching a series on Netflix last night. One of the characters said something about a love so intense yet bringing out the worse in each other. I teared up because that was us. Love was never the issue between us, we were.

I thought I had grieved when things ended between us in November. I went around in an unconscious miserable coma for weeks. I’d go to work. Come home, cry, go to bed and start all over the next day. Then all of a sudden the fog lifted and I started feeling moments of happiness and peace.

Then after three months of silence, I got a three minute phone call from him inviting me on a ski trip. As soon as I hung up, I burst into tears and called my sponsor. I cried for three days. The depth of my emotion scared me. I had no idea where all this sadness was coming from. Turns out I wasn’t done grieving.

I turned to old coping mechanisms and became a little hermit. I hid in bed and did what I needed to get by. I did make it out to program meetings but I was a shell of my former self. It took time but I’m happy to say I’m back.

I’ve come to realize an eight year relationship isn’t something I’m going to get over quickly. It’s going to take time to heal and that’s alright. Program has taught me I am right where I need to be. Dating other men in the interim isn’t the solution either. It’s a good codependent idea but not a very viable one. Besides which, until I’ve sorted myself out, what good am I to anyone else?

So I sit here with a smile on my face, knowing I’m doing better emotionally and that lightness always comes after darkness.

 

 

Recovery

Where to begin?

This is the most honest, soul bearing post I have yet to write.

My parents have come and gone on their annual visit. For most, this is likely a happy event. Not so much for me.

You see I grew up in alcoholism.

In a high functioning family, very driven and accomplished. From the outside everything looked good. On the inside, not so much.

I knew from a very young age that something was very wrong.

I won’t go into details here but suffice it to say that it’s a miracle I’m still here. What I have been through and then later in life, done to myself is horrific, painful and sad.

I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon. It’s a 12 step program for families and friends of alcoholics. I’ll be in recovery for the rest of my life because I know how dangerous it is to stray away from the fold, my program and my sponsor.

I had a slip this winter. I went back to old coping mechanisms and come spring realized the power of my self-destruction. I rarely do things in half measures. It’s a hallmark of this dis-ease.

I’m picking up the pieces now yet again.

I thought when I had walked through the doors of Al-Anon three years ago that I had hit rock bottom. Little did I know that I would be hitting several more rock bottoms. The fellowship and my program saw me through all these moments.

I’m there once again. I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m heading off to a treatment program for codependency and family of origin issues. I’ve been in therapy in some shape or form for a large part of my life and from a very young age.

I believe in the healing power of therapy and especially group therapy. There’s something magical that happens when strangers come together and listen to each other’s stories and pain. There’s validation that I’m not crazy. That I’m simply a spiritual being living a human existence. As we all are.

There’s a letting go. A normalization happens. Secrets come out. Monsters fade away. Light is shed on the most painful topics of this very human existence we all share.

There is laughter and tears. Joy and pain. Exhilaration and suffering.

This is a great big gift and a reminder to place the focus on me and my healing.

I’d like to say that the visit I had with my parents was a good one. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There were a lot of good parts, however, there were some truly awful pieces that have left me gutted and gasping for air.

The level of denial, manipulation, control and abuse in my family is staggering.

I feel like a martian because I’m the only one in recovery.

I have yet to find the gratitude that others in the fellowship have for the disease of alcoholism because all I can see is what it’s taken from my family and my life.

I hate the disease. I’ve been ripped open again by it and I despise it. I hate the toll it’s taken on my parents, my brother and our estranged family.

My friends see courage and strength when they look at me. Right now I’m a mess as I type these words. All I can do is breathe.

All I can do is go back to basics and practice self-care. Sleep has been elusive again and I know that doesn’t help whatsoever. It makes things so much worse.

I’m trying really hard not to isolate and hide. I’m bumping up my meetings, making sure I get exercise, eat well and get out. I connect with my sponsors and touch stones and I am working the snot out of my program right now.

It’s all I can do until this heaviness lifts and lightness comes back.

I was reminded in readings today to act as if, to stick to a routine until it becomes more comfortable and normal again. Whatever normal is.

It’s huge to share this piece of me so publicly. This dis-ease has impacted every facet of my life and my business.

It is my greatest hope that as I progress through the step work that things somehow become easier. That there are less roller coaster rides, huge highs and devastating lows. Less darkness and much, much more light.

In sharing this story, I hope to impact others’ lives in some small way.

I hesitate to push the publish button.

Please be kind.

Thank you.

 

 

Pain

Pain.

How does it manifest in your body?

A long time client had a bad fall ski racing. Here is her list of injuries: dislocated shoulder, fractured humerus, pulled ligament off the bone. Sprained medial collateral ligament and a bad bone contusion.

Thankfully there will be no surgery. In two weeks, once the swelling diminishes, she’ll start physiotherapy.

I’ll be with her every step of the way.

We are working on healing imagery together, visualizing herself healthy and whole.

Your body speaks your mind. It’ll make you pay attention if you’re not. The good news is you can also heal your life.

Pay attention to what your body is saying to you. There are reasons behind everything. Louise Hay has done ground breaking work in this area. I highly recommend checking her out.

No one is immune to imbalances. Take care of yourselves. Listen to your bodies. Pay attention. Love yourself into the parts that need compassion. Your body will shift and so will you.

 

 

Injury

Injury.

It’s heart shattering for athletes isn’t it?

Having been through a severed achilles that sidelined me for the better part of a year, I know exactly how it feels.

I was speaking to one of my clients the other day who was playing through injury. He’s a tennis player and has a rotator cuff injury from overuse.

He’s had to cut back on playing significantly, however, he is playing in a tournament this weekend.

My question was: “Why are you still playing?”

He had done a camp the week before and played 35 hours of tennis. 35 HOURS with an injured rotator cuff. Um hello?

This is a kid who pushes himself to the extremes.

He told me a story where he had sprained not just one but both ankles on the court and refused to get off even though he was injured. An official begged him to get off, saying he’d happily refund him his money.

I was laughing so hard as he told me this story because I could just picture it.

We had a conversation around managing himself. About strategies to deal with the pain when it does come when he’s on the court in a match. To stop. To listen to his body. To give it the time it needs to heal.

I taught him how to do healing imagery to help his shoulder.

I reminded him of his breath, his court rituals and that he’s got this.

Sometimes that’s all you need isn’t it?

Someone to hear you, give you some strategies if needed and to believe in you.

How do you handle injury?

Remembering

I lost a best friend 2 years ago, this post is in his honor.

James I want you to know I spent the day you died doing what I love.  I worked in the morning on my burgeoning business and had a great afternoon running in the woods.  I also went back to painting in studio that night after a year long hiatus.

My partner gave me an idea to remember you by.  I think I’m going to plant a tree.  I know you’d like that, we spent lots of time together surrounded by them and the peace they brought.  We now have a home and I can do this to honor your memory.

I miss you.  I talk to you on my walks sometimes.  I cry, share and inevitably smile. You had that effect on me and still do.  I know you’d want me to be happy and to remember to play. 

I try and remember to play.  It’s easy with an eight year old.  My partner and I are doing a better job of playing too.  Date nights, laughing and playing with his daughter.  Life is good.

I want you to know I carry your spirit wherever I go. I know you’re looking out for me and laughing at me up there.  I need to do a better job of laughing at myself.

Thank you my friend for your love, the lessons you taught me and the impact you still have on my life.

You may be gone but most definitely not forgotten.

I love you.

 

Healing

Healing.  It happens day by day, moment to moment.  One moment I’m angry and raging or crying as though my heart is breaking, the next the storm has passed and a calm comes. It gets better every day if I let it.

I’ve been looking after myself, reaching out when I need to, withdrawing when I need that too.  Clearing the emotion and energy as it comes.  With each day I feel lighter, less burdened, less hurt.  More healed, more me.

If you had told me I’d be spending Thanksgiving weekend with the man who broke my heart and whom I cursed in my previous post I wouldn’t have believed you.  But here I am.  We both love each other and care for one another, we’re just stuck in these terrible patterns that seem to destroy us every time we go down them.  I don’t know what the answer is, really I don’t.  I’m at a complete and utter loss.

For a few days this week I thought I might be pregnant.  This morning I awoke to find I wasn’t.  I can’t begin to describe the crushing sadness that took over.  I felt like I had lost my last tie to the man I still love despite everything. I would have gladly had the baby.  That’s huge for me, I swore off children years ago for fear of passing my stuff on to them.  But it was the prospect of maybe having them one day that drove me to therapy and to do the work I did on myself.  So for the first time of my life I was ready.  I know the circumstances were less than ideal but the feeling was real.

I do believe things happen for a reason and so at this time it wasn’t meant to be but I remain hopeful that one day it will happen for me and more importantly, I will be ready.

Insights, time and actions…

Today’s post is a reflection on the events of the past week since my split with the man I love.  I have been grieving, big time.  The emotions come in waves but there seems to be a pattern.  An ebbing of sorts over the past week.  Time is evidently the great healer. 

I’ve come to realize I am healing myself and processing past pain.  I have to be grateful even though it hurts like hell.  I know once the pain clears, room will be made for bigger and better to enter.  I miss him but I’m no longer certain whether it’s him or the idea of him.  I know I touched something profound.  A glimpse at a mirage that dissipated in the light of day.  You see, I engaged fully in this relationship with no regrets and thus felt fully by allowing another in.  Huge.  That he was such a mirror for me is no accident.  That we came together when we did is no accident.  That things went the way they did is also no accident.  It is simply what it is. 

I am sifting through the good and the bad.  Becoming clearer day by day on what it is I do want and what it is I need to do to make sure the signal I send out the next time around attracts exactly what I want.  In the meantime insights are great but I remain with the question of what it is I am going to do with them in order to heal myself, move on and find the relationship to end all relationships.

If I come back to my learnings from my group work, I need to parent my inner kid.  She was a huge marker in the relationship and ultimately my putting her and myself first are what caused the dissolution of the whole affair.  Bravo!  A very different me has emerged.  One that will not go back to the way things were before this relationship and who continues to not put up with status quos.  I deserve better.

Watch out world because as time heals I will re emerge brighter.