CHANGE YOUR FOCUS - CHANGE YOUR LIFE
The Unbearable Hug
Today, June 22nd 2015, I’m in my car on my way to see my therapist, and I’m sitting there thinking about all that has happened.
It’s my last visit at the therapist’s – for now anyway.
The cash box is empty.
So I’ll have to do without therapy when I’m done with the session today.
I’m thinking about how everything was right after “P” told me – on March 13th – that he didn’t want to be with me anymore…
It was horrible.
I couldn’t believe it.
I refused to believe that he meant it.
The first week after March 13th I was still staying at our joint home.
I thought he probably just needed “some air” so if I gave him space he would change his mind, so I made appointments and came home late every night during the week right after the breakup.
But we still slept in the same bed.
It was absolutely awful. I wanted to touch him, cuddle up to him, hug him and just hold him close and whisper to him how much I loved him…
It was excruciatingly painful lying there next to him. Not being able to sleep. Being unhappy and desperate.
In the morning, he always got up before me because he had to be at work early. Before he left he came in and gave me a hug.
And it wasn’t an awkward hug or because he felt like he had to hug me.
It was a long, hard, squeezing hug.
He didn’t say anything.
I hugged him back even harder and I just cried and cried and cried and cried and didn’t want to let go…In the end he let go and disappeared out the door.
It was horrible…
And that’s how the rest of my day went. I cried and cried and couldn’t keep myself together at all.
I couldn’t believe that I had lost my best friend, my big love, my one and only. My rock. The one I trusted 100 percent…
Those hugs were repeated every morning during the entire week.
It was completely unbearable hugs.
I didn’t understand them.
For what good where they if he didn’t love me anymore?
Those hugs gave me hope.
Hope that he wouldn’t leave me after all.
Hope that he would discover how much he really loved me.
That didn’t happen.
Some days I would call him from work and be inconsolable on the phone, and ask him how he could be so composed and determined.
What had I done?
I just didn’t understand.
The only thing I could think of was that I must have been a monster to live with since he could leave me so suddenly. In the middle of baby plans and buying a house. Only three weeks after the miscarriage.
It was an awful time.
Now, 4 months later, on my way to one of an endless count of therapy sessions I still become affected when I think about it.
I sit in the car crying, before I even get to the therapist.
That’s some accomplishment.
I’m just gonna have to face that I’m still severely affected. Even if I have gotten up pretty fast, considering how “far out” I was.
In this blog I’m gonna give you MY formula as to how pick yourself up after even the most devastating life crisis.
In several of the upcoming posts I’m gonna throw around some pearls of wisdom and it’s not gonna be boring, I can promise you that. But I can also reveal that it won’t be an easy miracle cure.
But it’ll work.
At least it works for me and so I’m sure it’ll work for others too and that’s why I’m sharing it here.
But first I’m gonna get you acquainted with some of my story…
I promised in my last post that I might print a letter I sent to my in-laws in connection to the end of “P” and mine’s relationship. I will, but first I have to tell you a little about myself for printing the letter to make sense.
Which is why the letter is gonna have to be kind of a cliffhanger for a little while yet. 😉
As with the best of all clichés, I’ve had a really tough childhood.
You probably already saw that coming, right?
A dad who wasn’t really there and a mom who hit my two brothers and me.
Before I continue my story I want to point out that I don’t want to put neither my mom or my dad in an unfavorable light and I don’t want you to think badly about my parents when you’re done reading this post.
So I ask you to please not judge.
One of the things I’ve learned in these past few months is that we all do the very best we can with the resources we have in the moment and that it’s impossible for us to do something we haven’t even learned yet.
It’s really pretty simple.
My point is that both my parents did the very best they could.
They did what they were taught.
It was impossible for them to do anything else.
I’ve assumed the role of a victim. I’ve gotten damn good at it. Jeeez, I’ve had it for 41 years, so it’s pretty much routine for me by now.
But I’m not the only victim...
My parents are victims too...
My mom was beaten. I know this for a fact.
And unfortunately, she passed it on.
Because it was, what she was taught.
She didn’t know what else to do.
I’m in the middle of the process of learning to forgive which is why the last thing I want is to create a picture of my parents as two horrible people who didn’t do their job as well as they should have.
I need for you as a reader to look at what I’m telling you with kind eyes and understand that they did their best.
To the core of it, forgiveness is about letting go.
That’s what you have to do when you need to forgive.
The past is over and I can’t change it, but I can make a choice – right now as an almost 42 year old – that it’s not going to define me anymore.
It’s not going to have power over me any longer.
It’s not something you change as if by magic.
You can make the decision from day to day, but the effect of the decision doesn’t come fast.
It’s a long journey...
And I’m gonna tell you about that too on this blog. What I have done – and still do – to move on and let go of the past.
And it’s not about sitting in a therapist’s office stomping around in childhood traumas, on the contrary. So you can really look forward to these pearls of wisdom in future posts too. 😀
Anyway, my mom and dad split up when I was one and a half years old and my contact to my dad was meagre. I stayed with him every other weekend, but I never really felt at home with him. He had a new wife and she had a son – “C” – who was my age, from another marriage. Together they had another son, “A”.
When I was at my dad’s I felt left out.
When I was there, I stayed in a room in the other end of the house.
When we had candy on Saturday, “C” was the one who decided what kind of candy we were having.
My dad always praised “C” and told me all the time how good he was and that he was going to become a pilot for sure when he grew up.
Implied that apparently I wasn’t good and didn’t have any ambitions. At least that’s how I felt it was “served” to me.
I felt that he loved “A” more too than he had ever loved me.
He prioritized “A” so much more than me. I clearly felt that.
I could sit for hours and stare into my dad’s encyclopedias or books about space, and afterwards tell him about Yuri Gagarin’s accomplishments as the first man in space, about Apollo 11 and the moon landing. I could quote Neil Armstrong: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” in the hope that he would think I was smart and good.
I never got that recognition...
He promised me multiple times that he would take me to Legoland and that we were going over there on a plane and everything and I was euphoric from joy…
…To this day I have still never been to Legoland…
He made me sad. He did. And he made me feel inferior, unintelligent and unimportant.
Of course, that was never his intention.
I know that.
But it was the feeling I was left with.
My dad has probably felt overlooked or worthless as child himself. I don’t know for certain, not as I know my mom was beaten, but that’s what I’m guessing.
Because I know, the fact is: Monkey see, monkey do.
Our personalities, lines of action, thoughts about ourselves and others, faith, convictions, values, morals, and even political positions are founded in the early childhood.
We learn by copying what our parents and the people who surrounds us – including siblings, other family members and teachers – do.
What they do, you do too.
That’s how you learn.
So what you learn in early childhood becomes your truth…
And that doesn’t just go for me.
It goes for my parents too.
And for you.
And for your children.
My mom had twins by a new man when I was five years old. That relationship already ended during my mom’s pregnancy.
So when my brothers came into the world my mom was a proud single mom of three kids.
She was a student.
And a single mom of three.
She could barely make ends meet.
She didn’t have the energy mentally either.
On the contrary.
She herself had had, as I’ve mentioned before, a childhood that offered her beatings.
Beatings with coat hangers and other “festive” items.
So it was what she was taught and unfortunately, something she passed on when she became a mother.
The first time I remember her hitting me really hard was when I was about five or six years old. I had just gotten a new bag for school. It was amazing with a lot of colors and I was so damn proud of it.
We were in the kitchen.
I can’t really remember if I was mad at my mom for something – kids tend to become mad if they don’t get their way.
I called her a “bitch” mostly because it was a word I had just learned in daycare.
I got a beating like you wouldn’t believe.
With clenched fists.
On my head and body.
I was sobbing and I was in complete shock and scared to death.
Scared of my own mother.
Situations like this went on until I moved away from home and I already did so when I was 16 years old, because by then I couldn’t take it anymore…
It wasn’t just the beatings. There was always shouting and yelling in our house.
She always yelled. Told us off constantly.
It was stressful.
And terrifying. We were always terrified of her fits of rage.
They were heated and were basically on the daily “menu”.
I rarely had any friends over other than my best friend Britt, because it was just so embarrassing that my mom was always screaming, yelling and telling us off, and she didn’t hold back on hitting me when I had friends visiting.
It was pretty awful…
It was humiliating…
Just really sad.
She couldn’t tell me she loved me either.
I didn’t hear those words coming from her mouth until I had passed 30.
But that she hated me, she had no problem screaming those words at me.
My mom must have been completely broken inside.
We are all the victims of victims.
If she, in her childhood, had gotten nothing but unconditional love, she most certainly wouldn’t have ended up hitting my brothers or me.
It would have been wonderful if she had managed to do things differently, but she was never taught, so it was impossible for her to do so.
Today she wishes she had.
She is heartbroken about it and deeply regrets it.
She would do anything for us.
Anything to take our pain away, remove our scars and make up for it all.
But she can’t, no matter how much she wants to…
We have to do it ourselves.
And that’s what I’m – amongst other things – are doing right now.
It’s somewhat of a mouthful on top of the loss of my unborn child, the loss of my love, my home and my dreams.
So one step at a time…
It’s no use continuing to live as the eternal victim and put all my problems on that peg.
It doesn’t make my issues smaller and it doesn’t solve any of my problems that I just lay down sobbing and say that it’s all because I’m so fucked up in my head and I’ve had a crappy childhood.
It’s true enough and I have sobbed about how fucked up I am, but if I don’t let it go, forgive and stop being the victim, then I can probably never make a relationship work.
Is that what I want?
No, of course not!
Well, as if that wasn’t enough I was – of course – bullied at school.
I was left out by the girls in my class. There were two “cliques” and the only thing those two cliques had in common on a daily basis was that I wasn’t allowed in.
I was called “Professor” and “Ugly”. I was locked inside closets and in bathrooms.
I was mocked and taunted.
It was so bad that I had chronic stomach pains and headaches every day.
I had tonsillitis constantly.
I was just an unhappy child.
But in 5th grade, I – finally – changed school. My mom could see that I couldn’t stay there anymore.
In my new class thing went really well.
I had a lot of good friends.
It was wonderful.
But when I started high school, it all began again.
I was a “pop girl” and well….I don’t know what…
Thank God, it wasn’t the others from my own class who were mean, but mostly some of the boys from the other classes.
I don’t really feel up to talking about it.
But once an incident ended up in a report to the police.
This guy smacked me in the face with his fist.
He got 14 days in jail.
He has regretted it bitterly ever since.
Not just because of the stain on his criminal record, but also because he knew it wasn’t okay.
I remember right after the incident it was written about in the paper that was published in our high school by some of the students.
It said something like “Why just an eye when you can beat up the entire body?”
Really nice, huh?
And the “author” was of course anonymous.
So yeah, it was a blast…
Okay, uhm, so that was a little about my childhood, sparkling fireworks and all.
But I thought it was necessary to sketch out before I print the letter for my in-laws, which is about some of these things.
So you’ll be prepared.
I’ve become wiser since I wrote that letter. I need to point that out.
But I’ll tell you more about it later.