Working to let go and live in peace, Part I (sorry so long)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    (Part I)
    Even before there was addiction in my life, that I was aware of, I wasn't a peaceful person. I was a fast mover, get it done, be strong, see-how-much-I-can-accomplish person. I was always moving fast and I thought that was the way it was supposed to be done. Get it done, get it done well, take care of business, check! On to the next thing.

    Inside, I was afraid. I was afraid that I wasn't good enough, that I would be "found out" for the fraud that I was, that I had to be perfect, that I wasn't secure financially...on and on. Lots of fear. Fear kept me motivated and moving.

    I was going to have the right kind of family, the right kind of life. My husband wasn't going to be mad all the time, like my father was, I as the mom wasn't going to be too tired and too focused on housework, like my mother was, and I wasn't going to have four kids! That was way too many! I was going to have my career and also my family and I had no doubt I could work hard enough---no matter what---to make it all work.

    I remember the first times I felt all of that wasn't working, and it had to do with my marriage. No matter how hard I tried, I could not make him happy. And then I would get frustrated, and we would fight, and then the distance began, and the resentment, and the deep anger, and I just kept on. I just lived with it all and stuffed it all down and sometimes it would come roaring out and then I would stuff it down again.

    Marriage counseling, individual counseling, antidepressants, exercise, church/faith, just keeping on. My two sons had every possible experience in sports, outside activities, good schools, nice clothes, the latest electronics (I grew to HATE video games), rules, good meals, time for homework, to bed early, chores, the RIGHT toys (no guns), play dates, sleepovers, birthday parties, responsiblities, lots of love, hugs, affirmations, time, you name it. I was a good mom. A really good mom.

    I progressed in my career, had good jobs with lots of responsibility, a good salary, did a lot of volunteer work in the community and at church, lots of good girlfriends, a nice vacation every year, weekend trips, dinners with family, nice Christmases with all the trimmings.

    I danced as fast as I could. I was going to live the American dream.

    I remember when I started really recognizing that something was not right in my marriage, and I started letting it surface and really feeling it and looking at it. It scared me to death. That went on for 10 years, letting it surface, trying to air it out with him, reach some kind of better place with him, getting disappointed in nothing getting better, and just pushing it all back down. The times of it staying down were fewer and fewer as the years went on---this, way before his problems with alcohol were apparent. I thought being able to hold a lot of Scotch without obvious effects was a GOOD thing...what did I know about alcoholism? I knew this: he was a lot happier and nicer to be around when he was drinking so I was all for it. Have a few, honey! : (.

    Through it all I started losing respect for him, then trust, then I started feeling disgust and anger and deep disappointment in myself---that I obviously had chosen so wrongly---and in him, who just could not get it all together at one time---he was successful professionally but that was about all he could do (that I recognized).

    The years went by. One day it all started to unravel and the drinking was front and center, and I discovered he was an alcoholic and of course, I wasn't going to be married to an alcoholic, and so he had to stop, NOW, and get straightened up and out. I was in his face, screaming, yelling, cursing, wow, I was as nutty as he was, but I couldn't see it at all. I was right, he was wrong, I was good, he was bad, and that's all there was to it. Black and white thinking on my part. I was as sick as he was, but believe me, when I first heard THAT in Al-Anon, I was incensed. What? Long-suffering ME????? I was the one who was holding it all together, I should be congratulated, not told I needed help.

    The first time I was in Al-Anon for 18 months I didn't really get it. I got SOME relief, and I worked the program, but I was still so angry, to self-righteous, so arrogant about the way things were SUPPOSED to be done, and HOW DO I JUST GET HIM TO FLY RIGHT? Just tell me that, and I'm out of here.

    You can imagine our divorce. It was bitter and terrible. And I stopped going to Al-Anon because, hey, he wasn't here, the problem was solved, I'm okay, right? so why go to this? I'm done.

    Then a few years later, my precious youngest son starts the downhill slide, and you know that story, and if you don't, there are many posts here since late last year from me, when I found this site, that tells his story and my story.


    Franciscan priest Richard Rohr is talking this week, in his daily devotionals, about Letting Go. I put this in capital letters, the L and the G, because I think this is where the rubber meets the road. At least, this is what I have learned so far.

    Just Let Go of it all. The need to be perfect, to fix, to manage, to control, to build this perfect life, perfect kids, the way it should be, the way we see it in books, movies, fairy tales, commercials, TV shows---all media---the good old days, the magical thinking, the I'll-just-work-even-harder-until-I-make-it-happen, the my-kids-are-just-as-good-as-your-kids, the perfect job, salary, house, car, clothes, social standing, church, yard, shelves/drawers/closets...whatever IT is, just let go of it all.

    And just be with ourselves, and sit in the silence and just be quiet and do nothing and say nothing and just be.

    Wow, that is really scary to do at first. Terrifying, actually. If we stop, and we really, truly start to look inside ourselves, and see who we are and what is there, what if we don't like what we see? Then what?

    Well, we will not like much of what we see when we really start this process. In fact, the Wonderful Me has character defects. I have many wrong behaviors and wrong thinking that I need to work on. I start to see that I'm not so all-wonderful after all. Me, the good one. I need to work on myself, and you know what, as I do that, it takes up a lot of energy and time and commitment, and guess what?

    I don't have time or energy and commitment to manage/fix/control/make better other people.

    What a blessing that becomes. For them and for me.

    That is the pathway to starting to let go.

    (part II on another thread...sorry so long...)
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  2. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I don't know how to quote something and put it in a different post, so I'll make a short comment here before moving on to part II...yes, yes, yes. We are on the same journey. Letting go. Stop grasping, craving, insisting, demanding. Let it all go. It is the only path to happiness. The work of it is interesting, challenging, and endless. Let it go. Lets help each other let it go.
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    my ex wasn't an alcoholic, but his life revolved totally around his work...he wouldn't come home till 8 or 9 or 10 and couldn't be bothered to let me know. I had the same responsibilities as he did, but some how the house and kids and childcare devolved to me. It was like we were adjuncts to the Busy and Important Life that was Joey.
    We DID have 4 kids (you are right, that is too many!!) and over time I so resented his selfishness...he would come home at the kids bedtime and play with them, get them all excited and riled up, or he would come home and go work out for an hour while they missed him. No joke we went to meet him at a restaurant once when the older two were small, and they mistook every guy who came through the door as daddy...he was home that little.
    I hated him for that. Judged him for that. Believed myself to be better than, holier than. I too was MORE THAN A LITTLE AGGRAVATED when people started suggesting I was part of the problem.

    I should have been congratulated, applauded, thanked!!! I so get that feeling.

    This was a longwinded way of saying...I get it, Child.

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  4. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    My first marriage was a survival course about how life isn't meant to be. I have no idea why I stayed for so long. The only way I can justify or make sense of so many unhappy years is that they make me appreciate what I have now, so maybe it was worth it. My most disturbed moments now are when I see flashes of my first husband in my son. I've let go of all the anger and hatred that was left after my divorce, let go of the person I used to be when I was married to him, but it's hard when he suddenly appears in the anger or stare of my son.
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    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    before moving on to part two wanted to say you should change "was" to "AM" because YOU ARE A GOOD MOM and a wonderful person too.

    I'm also trying to let go of it all; first step is dumping that cable service that is costing over $200 a month... hopefully in dumping that email address I will also dump every rescue group on the planet who keeps sending me horror stories of what's being done to feral & stray cats then trying to solicite money... like I have any to spare, I'm doing my part by feeding 10 of the little fur butts.

    On to part two and thank you COM for sharing your journey, you've helped me more then I could ever describe.