Friday, May 22, 2015

Accidental Abuse

Earlier this week I read this article that is making its way around social media.  In a moment of complete and utter honesty and vulnerability, I'm gonna share with you why the title of the article interested me and what has been going through my mind the last 36 hours.

For those who haven't seen the article and didn't click the link I so generously provided you, the title of the article is "Woman Realizes That She's Been Accidentally Abusing Her Husband This Whole Time...Wow.".  For many, this article has been extremely eye opening, but for me it just caused more mental and emotional anguish to deal with, and that's because to a certain extent, I am that woman, and I realized that two years ago while I was still married and things were going south.

I have a very strong Type A personality, and to many it (understandably) comes across as if I think I am always right and can do no wrong.  But here is the thing - I KNOW very well I do things wrong. I don't know everything there is to know and I don't do everything right.  There are plenty of people out there that do plenty of things better than me.  The thing is I have high expectations of myself and my life and am incredibly hard on myself. Although I know those previous statements to be the truth and I accept them, I still do everything in my power to be the best I can be at whatever task is put in front of me and that includes keeping things clean and in order so that there are less "messes" to deal with. By that, I'm not specifically referring to physically cleaning things and having things clean, I'm referring to the overall concept. For instance, the better I stay on top of my email, the less likelihood of a task being missed and becoming an "emergency".

Just as I expect things of myself, I expect things of others in my professional and personal life.  I will admit that those expectations are not always fair (but neither is life), and for that reason I do my best to keep calm when those expectations aren't met.  

From a professional standpoint, these expectations don't become problematic for a number of reasons, but the biggest is that I was hired by someone with a personality similar to mine and we have hired individuals with similar personalities, so within our work group, we all are organized, work hard and have high expectations of ourselves.  Those that don't have that personality just haven't worked out or stuck around for very long. Outside of our department, the same can not be said about personality types, but we have systems and processes in place to keep things moving and get the job done successfully, as we all have different strengths and weaknesses that we put together and work through.

From a personal standpoint, it is a whole different story. I come up with a thousand reasons why letting my personality come out so strongly was okay, but in the end I feel like all I am doing is making excuses for myself and excuses don't make progress or instigate positive changes. But then I take a step back and remember I did make a bunch of changes during the marriage, but the issues continued to exist.  And when the marriage officially failed, I made a ton more changes, but no matter how much I try to just let small things drop, the battling continues.

So where does that leave me?  Well, I'm not totally sure.  Do I think that I accidentally abused Adam? Yes, I do think that existed to a certain extent. Do I think that if I found a way to "control" that, the marriage could have continued? Maybe, but that's a BIG MAYBE that requires more details.  I think it would have only continued because Adam wouldn't have been depressed enough to leave, and I would have been so scared of failure I would have stayed and been depressed and MISERABLE and stuck in an extremely unhappy and loveless marriage. But maybe that miseray would have led me to get enough strength and courage to leave - whichever way you think about it, the marriage in the true sense of the work would not have continued.

Do I think my marriage failed because of the existence of this "accidental abuse"? Absolutely not! My marriage failed because of lies that can be traced back to the very first conversation(s) we had. Lies that I didn't start to pick up on until about 6-9 months into our relationship, when I was so deeply in love (or so I thought) that I couldn't see that my love was for the person he was pretending to be and not the person he was. At that time, I also had very low self-esteem that I thought that the faults that I knew existed were things that I just needed to learn to accept because "he loves me and no one else will" and so I put my doubts and concerns in the back of my head and never spoke of them until recently. 

Did I have a part in the marriage failing?  No doubt about it!  At the very least, I instigated his behaviors by allowing it to continue for 3 years or so. No matter what - the marriage involved two people, and therefore the failure did too.

Where does that leave me moving forward?  Well, I'm a helluva lot more confident and stronger, have higher self-esteem, emotionally healthier and much more aware of things than I was when I was dating Adam and even when our marriage ended.  In the future, I will not allow myself to get into a relationship with someone if I have a single serious doubt or concern as to whether trouble lies ahead. Additionally, I have learned a lot of lessons as to what I can and can't actually deal with.  

  • Someone makes a mistake and buys the wrong meat - no big deal. That person continuously does the same things over and over again - that's a problem.  
  • Someone cleans up without being asked, just doesn't do it the way I would - yes that would definitely bother me, but hey - they are helping.  That person doesn't do anything without constant nagging, and even then, barely does anything - no way they are sticking around. 
Yes, these may seem like small, stupid issues that you can deal with, but I know my personality, and those are not things I can deal with.  I knew what I wanted in a partner before, and I let myself ignore those things because there is no such thing as the perfect man.  This time around, I know there is no such thing as the perfect man, but I truly believe that there is a such thing as the "perfect-for-me (and my kids) man", and someday I will find that person who enjoys being physically fit, eating well, keeping a clean and organized house, home-cooked meals and is financially stable with a strong work ethic.  My "expectations" are not out of this world - he does not need to be wealthy, have a strong buff body or anything of the sort, just needs to have a similar lifestyle.

Where does that leave you in regards to this article?  Whether you are a man or a woman, you could be "accidentally abusing" your spouse/significant other.  I think it has much, much less to do with male versus female, and much more to do with personality type.  So definitely read this article and if you think this may be you, even a little bit, then evaluate how you are acting and do your best to actively change without letting it change who you are. That might just mean becoming more aware or that might mean going to therapy - as your issues may go deeper.  If everything else in your relationship is good and happy and this is your biggest issue - I think that making small changes will make a big difference.  If there are issues in your relationship that go deeper, then don't expect that making these changes will miraculously turn things around, because a relationship is a two-way street and you need both partners in the relationship to treat it and their partner with love and honesty and communicate openly. If  you are the only one willing to work on yourself and make changes, you may not find what you are looking for, but maybe for you that is still acceptable.  As long as you can find a way to be happy, that is what matters most!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Year Later




My timehop yesterday showed me that a year ago I wrote/shared My "coming out" story, and although I knew what I wrote, I chose to read it when it appeared in my feed, because I knew that was the best writing I had ever done.

As I predicted in the original post, I did still have many tough times ahead of me (and I predict that will be the case for a little while longer) and I did power through.  But being true to who I am - someone who only accepts the very best from herself - when I look back over the course of the year, I am not very happy with the way I have handled it all.

Approximately 5 weeks after writing this post (on Mothers Day weekend), I was rocked hard when the separation became less amicable and my ex chose to hire a lawyer, file the divorce, child support and custody paperwork with the courts and no longer honor any part of the signed and notarized separation agreement we had in place.

Even though that took place almost a year ago, none of that has been resolved and just gets uglier as the days go on - and I'm not proud of where I have let that ugliness take me.

A year ago, I remained incredibly positive throughout it all and always found the path of happiness with each situation. Instead of sharing all the ugly details, I found uplifting quotes and stories and shared those.  

A glimpse back on the last 6 months shows a slightly different picture. Although I still listen to personal development everyday and try to exercise "as much as possible", I have gotten out of the habit of being in a great and happy routine consisting of my 21 Day Fix, personal development, and focusing on my personal and professional goals.  I might not post to facebook all the ugly details, but I am constantly sharing the details over the phone and in person with my friends and family, and instead of posting uplifting quotes, I share my aggravations.

When I re-read my "coming out" story, all of this hit me square in the face.  The woman who wrote that post was so strong, honest, positive and happy. To the outside world, I may still hold all those characteristics, but to me, I feel I've lost a step or two. 

Although this post is what truly made me realize it, I have noticed it for the last few weeks and have been listening to tons of TED talks to try and influence me to be more positive and stop letting the drama tear me down. One of the ones I came across last week is a talk by Matt Cutts titled "Try Something New for 30 Days" (its 3 and a half minutes - take the time to listen). 

After re-reading the post and thinking about how I move forward to become a positive person (again), that talk came to my mind. So today, I promise to myself - and all of my friends and family - to continue to strive forward to regaining all that positivity and happiness, and to help me do so, I will share (at least) one positive, uplifting, motivating or happy quote, picture or story every day. And every time something or someone frustrates me and makes me want to complain, I instead will come to facebook and share another positive, uplifting, motivating or happy quote, picture or story.

And if you see or hear me get negative or share my drama, instead of endulging the both of us with the details of the drama, I ask you to please do the opposite.  I give you permission to slap me in the face or yell at me and remind me of this post. Remind me that I'm better than all of that, that I can and will be the bigger person. 

Remind me that I can't protect my children from everything, but that I can show them through my own personal actions how a happy and positive person lives and let them see the full picture when they become adults and chose the best path for them.

Anyone else want to join me for this "be happy and be positive" 30 day challenge that I am going to take?






Monday, January 19, 2015

Want vs. Should

There is so much we all want, and feel we should have. Many people want to be married, have children and own a home - the perfect life - right?

I remember when I was in my early 20's that is what I wanted - in addition to a solid career. I had low self-esteem from previous weight issues and childhood taunting, so when a man was willing to date me, I was infatuated. My first serious relationship was after I graduated college and I remember just wanting to dive right in. I started to see his faults, but I was naive and figured I just needed to accept all those things because this guy liked me.  After 15 months or so, I finally realized he had no strong feelings for me and there was no reason I needed to accept all his faults, and so I moved on.

My next serious relationship started in my mid 20's. I thought I learned a lot from the previous failed relationship, but looking back, I know I didn't really accept the lessons "learned". Looking in the past, I can see that this guys self-esteem and desire to be in a relationship was even stronger than mine. I accepted MAJOR flaws because of my low self esteem and the fact that he loved me.  For those that haven't figured it out - or don't know me - this is the relationship that turned into an engagement, marriage, children and ultimately divorce all within 6 years - well the divorce itself may take 6 years at this pace, but filing for divorce occurred within 6 years.

I want certain benefits of being in a committed relationship - someone to talk to day in and day out, someone who will push me to attain my goals, someone who will go on adventures with me, someone who will treat me the way I deserve to be treated and loved, and of course the obvious benefit of being in a relationship - although you don't need to be in a relationship to have that benefit - wink wink ;).  But I know in my heart that I'm not ready for any relationship and I shouldn't do it. I am so much in love with my life right now - spending so much special time with just my kids and I without anyone else having their attention, being able to do what I want to do with my alone time and being able to spend time with my friends.  There is plenty of time in my future to date and get into a good relationship.

I want to have more children, so desperately do I want to have more children! I think I'm a great mommy and have so much love to offer, and I personally loved being pregnant. Heck - I don't just want more children, I'm crazy and I want another set of multiples because that's what I know, and I just love the twin bond.  But I know that I'm not in a spot in my life where I can afford to care for more children.  Just because I want doesn't mean I should have.

I want to own my own home. But due to my current situation I am in the middle of short-selling my house to avoid foreclosure, so I know that I can't own one right now. Going through this process and trying to afford everything that comes with home ownership and young children - especially on my own - the biggest lesson I have learned is that what I want is not what I should do.

I have accepted these hard life lessons and once my house goes to closing (or the bank repossesses it - whichever comes first) I will be moving in with my kids for a decent amount of time. I will be working to pay off ALL debts in my name and save lots of money so that I can easily afford to own my own home and all the expenses that come along with it all on my own. I will continue to give myself time to enjoy life as a single mother and won't dive into the dating scene until I feel I'm fully ready to share myself and my life. If its meant to be, Ill have more children later, and if its not meant to be, I am already extremely blessed and filled with love with the two wonderful children I do have.

What about you?  What is it that you want, but in your heart of hearts you know you shouldn't pursue? Its okay to accept just having 1 child even though your friends have 2 or 3 (or more). It's okay to rent an apartment or a house so that you can save money to buy a house and/or afford to send your kids to extra-curriculars. It's okay to leave an unhappy relationship and it's okay to be single.  As long as you are happy, you shouldn't worry about what others perceive.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The "secret" to happiness

"Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see we are worth
so much more than we're settling for."
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman:Life, Love and a Dash of Sass

Life isn't easy, and it likes to throw lots of curveballs, but it's all how you handle and smash those curveballs that counts. It's okay to miss and strikeout, as long as you keep putting yourself out there until you smash one out of the park.

Of course I just put everything I'm going through into a simple metaphor using baseball, but that's just how I roll :)

I'm not going to lie and pretend like everything in my life is fine and dandy. I'm currently in the middle of a "rut" right now: my exercise, eating habits and motivation have been lacking, and I've lost focus of my "why", but I'm reminded on a daily basis that I am surrounded by amazing people who love/like me for me.

Throughout this rut, I have remained positive the majority of the time, I have continued to be thankful for what I do have and I continue to stand strong and fight through the madness. I also continue to be incredibly hard on myself, having expectations high above what most people think is "realistic".  But looking back, I guess Im just 10X-ing everything in my life, not just my goals, because I know that I will never have the life and dreams I aspire of unless I push myself further than most people are willing.

All of this is what will make the end result that much sweeter and happier.

With all of that, I have been more realistic than many realize and I have opened my heart and world to everyone in the hopes that my story and situation can help even just one more person find happiness and peace within their lives.

My story will have me hold the titles of divorcee and single mom.  My story will have my not just lose my marriage, but will have me and my children lose our home. My story will have me losing my excellent credit standing. And finally, my story will have me being one of the MANY grown children moving back in with their parents. I could dwell on all of these "negatives" and let it bring me down or I could focus on the positives.

My story will have me be a happier, more aware individual. My story will have me described with the adjectives of strong, healthy and eventually successful. Eventually my story will have me hold the title of entrepreneur. My story will have my children growing up with 3 great adult role models under one roof, including a hard-working male role model.

Throughout this past year, I have found a happier me inside, focusing on myself more than I ever have before.  Mentally, I could not be stronger, and because of that, I have been able to put some focus into the physical me. I have gotten back into working out and eating healthy, and it's just this amazing circle of how my physical health continues to strengthen my mental health and how that strengthens my physical health and so on and so on.

This physically and mentally stronger me has also made me this more positive person you now see/read about.  Look back on my blog posts from the last few months versus 2-3 years ago, and the tone is so different, its like two different authors.

All of this has made me see the world from a clearer perspective and continues to remind myself on a daily basis (if not more often) just how lucky I am to be surrounded by amazing friends, family, co-workers, and even facebook acquaintances.

I know that when the time is ready, the perfect person will come into my and my kids life. For all the tough times I have seen in the past - and for the ones that will be in the future - the bigger picture will have 10x more brightness.

So what's the secret? Think happy and positive thoughts. It sounds easy - or maybe you think it sounds stupid - whatever it is - it works. I listen to personal development podcasts on a daily basis. I cut out the negativity of the news and instead watch personal development videos. I limit my television watching and instead put that time into developing my businesses and my future.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Failing Forward

The only way to succeed in life is to fail along the road and learn from those failures. I've had my handful the last few years and I'm doing my best to learn and move forward.

But for the last few months, I've been in a rut.. During this rut, I have allowed myself to ignore my schedule and my to do list, I've stopped moving forward on my business plans and let them sit, I stopped doing my morning routine (aka the miracle morning), I stopped exercising consistently and worst of all, I stopped eating consistently well.  In reality all the things I stopped doing tie together very easily. When I'm eating well, waking up early to do my miracle morning and exercise is like a walk in a park. When I do those, my day is kicked off on the right foot and I'm living a much more productive life and can check off my to do lists, follow a schedule and get the businesses working for me.

The thing is I KNOW all of this, yet I just can't figure out how to get back into my good spot, and I know part of the answer is figuring out what caused me to get out of it. I've tried to think about this a lot today - as i ate my way through the morning and early afternoon, as I rested and as I soaked in a hot and refreshing detox bath - yet it wasn't until typing this specific entence that (I think) I figured out the "culprit". It traces back to right around the time that I finally realized/"accepted" that I could no longer afford to pay my mortgage. My ex was not providing the support agreed to in our agreement and I was taking money out of savings like a kid asks for candy in a candy store, and the pot was starting to run dry. In order to try and get the financial terms of the separation agreement in place, it would cost me more money than I would see come back in the long term (if I even won) - and would take way too much time and cause way too much stress - so I had to come to terms with the fact that I would be getting a fraction of the agreement and there was just no way I could keep the house.

I talked to some people and had accepted this fact and worked through the months long battle of getting the house listed. Or I guess I thought I accepted it all. From day one, I felt like I've failed, but I know that my "failure" was mostly out of my control. I was in this situation due to a financial hardship that was (more or less) out of my control. I would have learned no lessons from my past if I just continue down the road of believing I have accepted this, so instead, I will accept that I am still working to accept this failure and that I know I have to take some of the responsibility - both mentally and financially - for this failure.

It will not be easy to come to terms with, but knowing what is causing me to not give 100% of myself to make the life I dream of will allow me to acknowledge the issue each time I struggle to stick to my routine. So although I decalred yesterday Day 1, tomorrow is a me day - and a new day 1. Upon passing publish on this post (and sharing is), I will go to bed and set my alarm for 4am. I will wake up at 4am and head downstairs to do my miracle morning (and I encourage you all to go to miraclemorning.com and/or search for Hal Elrod's podcast to find out more about this life-changing routine!). I will do a 21 day fix exercise as part of my miracle morning and I will eat my healthy balance meals. As Hal says, th first 10 days will be unbearable, the next 10 days will be uncomfortable and then the last 10 days will be unstoppable and a new routine will have formed.

With that commitment, tonight - although it took me a couple months to get here - I go to bed thankful for the lessons Ive learned through my failures and the abilites I've learned from my therapist to see this on my own and work through it all with the help and loving support I receive from my family and friends. And I of course am incredibly thankful for amazing parents who have opened their home to my children and I, so that one day I can afford to support the three of us on my own.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Forgiveness


The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur started tonight, and for those unfamiliar with the holiday, it is the holiest day of the year. The holiday is meant to bring about reconciliation - both amongst people and between individuals and G-d - and is the day that G-d decides the fate of our next year and whether we shall be written into the book of life.

Note: Im a believer in G-d, Judaism and what they stand for, but I personally don't actually feel that our fate is decided directly by G-d and only once a year, I think that we all have a say in our own destiny on a daily basis.

With that, the topic of forgiveness has been at the forefront of my mind so much recently, and not just because of the holiday.

What is forgiveness? Google defines forgiveness as "the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven". Okay, easy enough, but that doesn't really tell us too much.

If you look deeper into the meaning/process, it is generally defined as a "conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness"

And that is where forgiveness is hard! I can easily say I forgive someone, but that won't release the feelings, so how do I truly get to that point where I can forgive someone especially when they don't deserve to be forgiven.

I grew up with the understanding that forgiveness was a two-way street. The person who has done the wrong should understand what they did wrong, apologize and take steps towards not doing it again, and the person who was wrong forgives. For instance, in this scenario you don't tell a kid to say I'm sorry for hitting someone when that's the 10th time they've done it - they aren't actually sorry and aren't learning to stop hitting from stating those words.

So when the first part isn't there - especially all 3 aspects of them understanding they did something wrong, apologizing and taking steps to not do it again - and more so they continue to do the same "wrong" over and over and over again, as in the above scenario, how do you "let it go" and provide forgiveness?

I truly understand that forgiveness is less about them and more about the individual offering forgiveness (me), but no matter how much I want to be able to, I can't. I still feel that the act of forgiveness is about more than just me. If I forgive someone and just let their antics fall to the wayside, what lesson is this person learning other than that they can continue to act that way and get what they want?

Again, I know that's not what it's about, but when you have continuously forgiven someone only to have to forgive them for the same behavior, they aren't actually sorry or going to make changes. If I offer my forgiveness, all I'm doing is closing one door just for it to continuously reopen.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result - so if I'm providing forgiveness over and over again - even if I never express that forgiveness outwardly to the person - I'm just setting myself up for a different type of internal struggle.

What has worked best for me in the past is to just drop that person from my life and let distance and space provide the opportunity for everything to just clear the air, and if it's meant to be for that person to be in my life, eventually an opportunity will arise that brings them back in.

But what about when you can't just completely cut someone out of your life and you have no choice but to let them continue to hurt you? Maybe one day in the distant future I can find that place in my mind and body to forgive someone who truly doesn't deserve it for my sake. In the meantime, I will allow G-d to offer that person his forgiveness and I'll just continue to work towards becoming the best me I can be! Hopefully that will be enough to get me inscribed in the book of life for another year :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Very thankful

Tonight, as I prepare to go to bed, I'm reminded of just how lucky I am and how much I have to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that my mom is now able to help out with the kids and is helping me save a little bit by watching the kids for the 2 weeks between camp and school.

I'm thankful for the precious few years I had with Zayde. I wish I had seen him mor and gotten to know him better, but I'm thankful for the time I did have with him and thankful he got to meet my children.

I'm thankful for all the extended family I have - even (and especially) the ones that no longer have any blood/marriage ties to me.  I thoroughly enjoy every minute I get to hang and/or chat with them and I'm glad I can introduce Sara and Nathaniel to all of their family.

I'm thankful for Charger and his (annoying) habit of barking at anyone who comes close to the home. Thanks to Chargers barking, the person who attempted to break into my house was unsuccessful!  Now charger will always be allowed to stay out of his crate at night :)

I'm thankful for all of my friends and family and the great support system I have built around me!