If relationships had a UFC competition, I would win every time. The premise could make for a great reality show, except for the fact that after the first couple of episodes viewers would stop tuning in… why? Because I’d lose too and the same thing would happen every single week.
This is going to come across so much more pity party than it is. The fact is, I’ve had so much alone time lately to process through things, and this is all what I’ve realized as it continues to unfold in my actual life: I fight for the people I love. I pour love and effort into those relationships. I am easy to toss away. Roll credits…
My mom was quite possibly one of THE WORST mothers on the planet. She psychologically tortured me, sold me to a man sexually for money, successful made it so that as a small girl not only did she throw me away but she put such a wedge of distance between my family and I so that I lost everything… And even though, for the longest time I saw her true colors, I still loved her and wanted to be with her. When I was an adult and I had more power, I poured love and forgiveness and effort into my mother. I honestly believed if she would just open her eyes, her quality of life would change and we could both finally be happy. This of course never happened. The majority of our relationship was thousands of miles apart and up until near the end that made it easier… It reached a point though where her mission was to emotionally break me and turn everyone I loved against me.
My father left when my mom was pregnant. I grew up with his family telling me I was a bastard, deliberately making my childhood difficult and reminding me on a regular basis that he denied I was his because he was simply so disgusted to be my father. At nearly an adult I met my father and learned he has 4 other kids who he was an amazing father to, but if a relationship were to be maintained there all of the effort would have to be mine.
Two sets of people, after I was sent to live in a group home at twelve, “wanted me”. They asked my mom and my mother responded with “I don’t want her, but I don’t want anyone else to have her either.” And that was that, on they went with their lives.
In the middle of that there were a few deeply personal friendships, some more than others, that ended when they left and I was left scarred.
I married my husband younger than I should have and we were both pretty loaded down with personal baggage. After 5 years of marriage, 7 miscarriages, a grueling illness related to them, and one crushingly failed adoption- my husband had an affair with a woman who he delightfully pointed out “can have kids so I love her”, and then tried desperately (in a near psychotic episode of trying to “give me” to another man) to end our marriage. I forgave, I fought him to save our marriage but I was disposable to him.
A couple of years later, having gone through counseling and feeling the most emotionally healthy I’d ever been, I once again resumed the fight for our marriage and we reconciled, on his terms. Fourteen years, almost to the day, later, I was out. He was done and no longer wanted me, again. It didn’t matter if it hurt our family, it didn’t matter if I’d done nothing with my life but support him in his career and raise our family, often alone. None of that mattered because he was done. I’m sure you have noticed the theme there. And it’s not that he’s a bad guy. My husband is the best man I’ve ever known. I love redemption stories and he is my favorite of them.
I have never fought for anything like I fought for motherhood and my marriage. Having my family together is seriously the happiest times in my life and the only times I’ve ever felt like everything would be ok and it was worth it. And now, just with the snap of a finger, it’s done. I had been in therapy due to my mother and the end of her issues before I severed the relationship. Through that process I was encouraged to make an exit strategy, from my marriage. I was severely depressed and a heavy emphasis was put on my marriage because I was so depressed and my husband wasn’t really present or being supportive. It was constantly stressed that my environment was not healthy, which it wasn’t. It was an environment where I was responsible for everyone’s happiness and needs being met and I was left drained and dying, empty. My exit strategy was a long time away and I was such a mess emotionally, I believed my marriage would somehow work out but I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Life as it was then was one I would have died in. That entire way of life could have changed though, if he’d felt I was worth his time or physical effort. He didn’t and in the end, he decided me leaving was best for them.
Since I’ve been gone I have realized that several key relationships in my life rely on my effort in their lives or their need for me to do something for them. Without those things, there is virtually no relationship. I’ve distanced myself from those people, which is healthy and obviously they don’t care anyway. There is no consideration for me, no follow through and no effort for our relationship outside of mine. It’s a healthy distancing and considering how gapingly wounded I am from the loss of my life, (husband and family) they don’t really feel like much of anything.
My husband has stolen the motherhood I fought so hard to have, after such years of loss and agony. The relationship I went to hell and back for, with my 16-year-old is now that of a surface level pen-pal as I’m thousands of miles away and completely broke to try to fix it. He believes this is best for her, while he lives the life I designed and I’m completely alone with nothing I gave everything for. Aside from the fact that man has no idea what it means to sacrifice something or fight for anything if it isn’t career focussed, I am the great big loser…
My hindsight advice would be that if you are stuck in a dark depression, guard your heart and find someone to talk to who isn’t focussed on an agenda. When you are sick like that, and no one does anything for you while everyone depends on you- don’t make ANY major decisions until you feel better. Try and feel better. Take a break, get away for a while. No one is more impressionable than when they are desperate.
My advice to myself is that I am worth fighting for, even if no one else has ever thought so.
My heart screams and aches to fight to mend my beyond broken family and put it back together again, but it’s been made clear to me that I’m not worth the effort. And also IF he were interested in trying, which he isn’t, it would still be on HIS terms. History is a bitch, plain and simple. It repeats itself and cycles the hell out of you, until you just give up. I give up. I’m a pen-pal, not a mother. I’m soon to be an ex-wife, again. I am disposable to anyone and everyone and I’ll live with that. People love to say “you are so strong, stronger than you think.” I think it’s often said to bring them comfort, because I can honestly say it’s pretty hurtful for me to hear. Obviously those people don’t really pay attention to my life or live in my head. I am not. I am weak and the ironies are: that I fight for people I love and am not worth fighting for; and that I am the sort of person who grows stronger and more alive by my connections with people, but I don’t really get to have those. My loyalty is both a character strength and obviously larger weakness…
If my life became a reality show about someone fighting for people, it would be an example because no one has fought harder or sacrificed more for the people in their lives than I have. It would also tank with ratings because the episodes would always end with me in the ring and the other person looking me in the eye and saying “eh. I give up…” and walking away.