An impediment to moving forward. Why do I feel it’s not possible to be happy and relaxed? Is it because I believe I don’t deserve to be happy? Am I not worthy of happiness? Is it I don’t know what happiness is so I don’t recognize it? I know I’ve felt and experienced happiness before but now, for the past several years beginning in 2009, my ability to be happy has eluded me.
I see other people. I can feel their joy. I can sense their satisfaction with life. They are relaxed and have fun. I feel wound up so tightly that it’s impossible to move for fear I’ll break or snap.
Is there a secret? A secret to letting go of the worry, always worried what people think of me? A secret to just enjoy the moment? I know I’ve missed so much since 2009. Time we can never reclaim. I don’t want to waste anymore moments which could possible hold joy and happiness.
I finished writing. I am not certain 67,439 words qualifies as a book but it is certainly the most I’ve ever written. Now I need to take the steps to get e-published. It isn’t as simple as it sounds. An editor must be found and paid to do the work. A professional book cover artist must be hired to make the book look appealing. I must research and determine which e-publisher is the best fit for me. This is followed by making certain the book is formatted to meet the qualifications for whichever e-publisher I select. Then the prayers that someone will want to buy my book. I may never become a famous writer, but I can now honestly say I have written a book. Below is a sample from the beginning of the story. I hope you enjoy it. And if any of you have been down the e-publishing road, I would love any and all advice you have to share. The words below are my creation and not to be republished without permission.
First comes Shame, second comes Fear and then comes Murder
Spring was on the horizon. It was one of her favorite times of year here in Bowie Hills. Central Texas prairies produced some of the most beautiful wildflowers. It wouldn’t be long before the roads were lined with Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, purple foxgloves, honey daisies, orange milkweed and more. It was a veritable artist’s palette covering the fields. This year was set to be a good one. There had been enough rain and no late freezes. Charlotte was lost in her thoughts when she used her electronic swipe card. Opening the side door, she entered and headed to her classroom. The lights were motion sensitive and turned on as she made her way down the long corridor. Charlotte marveled at how much the school had grown. Just over 900 students in two grades when it first opened, Bowie Hills High was now home to four grades and over 4,000 which did not include teachers, staff and administration. Bowie HHS was almost as large as the town had been when she first arrived here as a young wife and mother. She had been set to create a perfect life for her, Dan and Hannah. Kaitlyn came along two years later. Her dreams were big then. How dreams can change she thought to herself.
Charlotte had forgotten the latest essays her students had turned in. She had been deep in a conversation with her two favorite students over their most recently read novel. Her attention had been on Andrew and Brandon and not the essays. She had walked off and left them in her classroom. Charlotte decided after dinner to return and pick them up. She would have plenty of free time to read and grade them since it was a three-day weekend. The lights to her hallway would not turn on until she actually had walked a few strides down the corridor, so looking ahead it was dark. When she reached the corner of the English classroom hallway and turned, Charlotte took a few steps and then she tripped. Managing to stay upright and not falling completely to the floor, she turned to see what had caused her to trip. She froze. Unable to scream due to the horrific scene before her, Charlotte just stood there. Staring. Staring at the body lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Coming to her senses, she dialed 911 and requested emergency help. Then doing what seemed obvious, she checked for a pulse. None was to be found. The face was covered with long blond hair and Charlotte carefully moved it away to see if she recognized the girl. There had been an unspeakable crime in her school, in this safe haven for children.
Over these past few months, my counselor and I have discussed the choices I made in the past. He assures me I made the best choices for survival at the time. While that may be true, I have wondered what was behind the choices I made beside just surviving. And I had a personal revelation. Most, if not all, of my poor choices were driven out of a fear of rejection.
My life, prior to now, was not a journey driven by a confident woman. The driving force of my life was the fear of rejection and humiliation. My life was in a constant state of unbalance. Every time the person I was trying to please changed his/her mind, I had to rush to make sure my decision still made them happy. If it didn’t, then I needed to quickly make a change. By allowing my fear to drive my choices, I never built a strong sense of who I am and what makes me happy. I didn’t speak up. I kept my hurt feelings to myself out of fear of upsetting the other person. I pretended their words didn’t hurt my feelings. I raced around like mad when relatives were coming to visit and the stayed in a state of apprehension and fear. Why? Because I was eaten up with worry, I would be a disappointment. The ironic thing is I always felt as though I was a disappointment. Even if everything went smoothly and everyone was happy, I still felt like a failure because I always believed I could have done better or it was just a matter of time people would see the “real” me, the failure.
It is not always easy to be honest. It is not always easy to make a decision which goes against the tide (or family or friends or children). A person needs inner strength not to waver when a decision is questioned. So much of my life would be different if I had not been driven by the fear of rejection. I battle the fear of rejection and being alone every day. I take on the role of scapegoat. Pointing the finger of blame at myself calms my fear of someone else doing it and humiliating me. It gives me a sense of control when I assume everything is my fault. Sadly it doesn’t provide much opportunity for joy and peace in my life.
Change isn’t easy but it is worth the effort. Change has been a bumpy road. Change has challenged in ways I never anticipated. Change is scary. It is the scariest thing I’ve ever faced. There is a reason “misery loves company” is universally understood. While I might be miserable, it is what I know and having you join me in what I know is less frightening than me leaving my miserable comfort zone.
I must be out of my apartment in 53 days and the above signs express things which have been running through my head. I can’t say I agree with the sign on the left. I agree we can choose where we make our home, but I don’t think it only exists in your mind. So many things go into making a place a home. It is not about the location, the size or the cost, it is about the memories. When I was a young mother, I had so many great ideas and plans. Then so easily was distracted by the day-to-day responsibilities I forgot all the plans I had. My daughters and I did make many happy memories and we are in the process of adding more memories all the time. But right now, not having any place to “call home” has caused me distress.
For me personally, I need a secure, solid home base and I don’t have it. In fact I am not certain I will ever have it again. Much was lost when I divorced and leaving the area I called home for thirty years was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever made. It was if I was a mighty oak tree with deeply planted roots which was ripped out of the ground. But rather than being directly transplanted into a rich soil, the beautiful tree (me) was sat to the side and forgotten. And since that time in January 2013, I haven’t found the place where I belong.
If money was unlimited then I’d have a long list of places I would like to go because I would have the ability to travel and see my children as often as I like. But with no job, very limited funds, and no job in my foreseeable future, my choices are very limited. I failed to make the right choice years ago when I learned my ex-husband, Doug Erickson, an AA pilot, was a sexual deviant wanted by the police. I stayed married because I was afraid to leave and now ultimately I am paying a heavy price for not leaving in 1999.
So the sign on the right shows how I feel. Do I go right? Do I go left? Do I move near my oldest daughter for the next three years and when she and her husband move hope I can afford to follow them? Or do I run the risk of being left in the middle of Texas with the closest airport over two hours away? Living near my younger daughter is not an option because she is still in pursuit of her career and not settled on one place. My fear has me paralyzed. I have a very real fear of being homeless of belonging nowhere. I know my readers know this. I am thankful for all the prayers they have said for me. I am praying I will hear God’s voice and know his will, so I make the right choice, the right move for my life this time.
I know for anyone who reads my blog this is a redundant post. However as the days go by I am left with fewer and fewer choices. Supposedly we live in a society that values contribution unless it is that of a mother and wife. After over 25 years of running a household, volunteering in my community and helping my friends and neighbors, I am turned away time and time again for employment.
Every day I receive another rejection in my inbox. Never do they state why I am being passed over. Is there no one willing to take a chance on me? My ex-husband has left me without the financial means to care for myself without a job. I had enough for these three years. I never anticipated being unable to find a job. I don’t need to make a lot of money. My ex-husband makes $300,000 a year now. In the past three years his income has almost doubled. Funny how that happened post divorce. I only need to make $40,000 a year. That is just 6 weeks equivalent to my ex-husband’s income.
I have given up any feeling that I am not having the life I deserve or the life I earned and worked for. I should be traveling, anticipating grand-kids, volunteering in my community and pursuing my interests after all those years of caring for Doug and our daughters, but that is not my life. My life is now one of loneliness, struggle and fear. My prayers have gone unanswered. God isn’t giving me any guidance of what my next step should be. I keep listening but I hear nothing, not even the slightest hint.
I am at a complete loss as what I should do. It is a sad statement on our society that women like me are so easily discarded.
By AvalancheOfTheSoul Do you think you can’t leave your abusive partner? Do you feel hopeless when you return to a relationship filled with pain? Or, do you dwell on your toxic ex and struggle to stay away? Then you may be caught in a carefully crafted trauma bond—but you don’t need to be Houdini to […]
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”Psalm 23:4Why would a shepherd lead his sheep through “the valley of the shadow of death?” The answer is quite simple. He is taking his flock…
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”Psalm 23:2-3a He first noticed that he was getting tired easily. Then it seemed like he was worn out all day long. Then, as he tells the story, he started to be able to hear his heart beat. That…
We read stories everyday of women that have been abused by a man. And sadly these women tend to repeat bad choices and go from one bad relationship to another. For anyone with a solid self-esteem and self-worth, it is incredulous that any woman would stay in such a damaging relationship. Here is something that so many people fail to understand; the abuser rarely walks in and begins the abuse immediately. There is physical abuse and emotional abuse. They go hand in hand but emotional abuse can happen without physical abuse. That is my story.
Why didn’t I share? I was embarrassed and ashamed. Slowly over time my sense of independence was destroyed. Over time the belief I was lovable was destroyed. Day by day comments, looks, turning things around so I would begin to question myself believing somehow I caused him to cheat and having my concerns being dismissed and ignored regularly created a complete sense of instability. If my ex-husband was home I was always tied up in knots because I was worried I wasn’t making him happy. When he was out-of-town I was tied up in knots because I worried about what he was doing. Should I have left years ago? Of course, but he didn’t reveal his true-self all at once. He did itslowly over time. Think of a bucket being filled by one drop of water at a time. It takes a long time before the bucket overflows. So don’t judge your friend who finds herself in my position. Listen to her. Don’t rebuke her for not leaving sooner. Hug her. Offer support anyway you can. Don’t exclude her because she is no longer a couple. And certainly do NOT remain friends with her abusive ex-husband.
If I could give advice to any woman who is living with a narcissist, it would be to read as much as you can about narcissism and how narcissists manipulate their victims. I would encourage her to find someone to share any secrets i.e. his cheating, his addictions, his crimes. Had I come forward the first time I found out what he was doing, I might have received support from my friends. However the shame he created in me, kept me silent. Silence is a killer. It kills your spirit. So speak up. Leaving is scary. I am facing homelessness at 56 because I was a stay-at-home mom and with no full-time work experience since 1984, I can’t get any business to take a chance on me.
Why do I write about this again? I write about this again because I can’t just dump the over-flowing bucket of abuse. It leaves as slowly as it came. Now I have a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and daily a little more of it drains out. It is just going to take time, a lot of time. Sadly I don’t have time when it comes to a job. While my ex enjoys a life in the lap of luxury, ignores his children and pretends he never destroyed lives, I work to survive and they learn to accept life as fatherless children.
I was hit by a crashing wave yesterday. It was totally unexpected. I had actually gotten up and went to church. It was small but definitely the friendliest one I’ve visited. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home.
I finished reading the latest book on my list and posted a review. I cleaned up my apartment. I made plans to go see my daughter this week. It was a good day and then out of the blue I was hit by a wave of depression.
It was unexpected and it hit hard. I was knocked for a loop. I began sending increasingly depressing texts to my younger daughter until she finally called her sister. Who in turn called me very upset.
Her tears were flowing and so were mine. I was sobbing. I was having trouble breathing. I had no explanation initially for why I had gone over the edge of sadness.
My therapist says I shouldn’t worry about a job right mow. Maybe he’s right but I need employment and not a $7.25/hr job cleaning toilets. I believe it’s my overwhelming sense of fear that I will end up homeless because I can’t find a decent job is what drives my depression. I would have fought for more when I divorced had I known AGE discrimination and discrimination against FULL-TIME STAY at HOME MOMS and WIVES was so prevalent. I’m smart. I learn quickly. I’m good with people. I have the skills required for the jobs I apply so why do I have an inbox full of Rejections?
I am going to try an experiment. I am going to reapply for a job that recently sent me a basic rejection letter. I’m going to apply with my legal first name and maiden name then change all my dates by 30 years so I will be 26 rather than 56 and see what happens. My gut says I will be offered an interview. If so, it will be a clear case of age discrimination. If this happens I will contact an attorney.
It is sad I am having to go to such lengths to find a job. I will let know what happens.