My therapist asked me to write about my “healing journey.”
The whole ‘journey’ metaphor still feels a little cheesy to me, but there really isn’t a better word to describe what I’m going through. It’s not a quick fix. There is no known destination. I don’t even know if I’ll get through all this shit. I’m just going one step at a time.
My whole life was spent avoiding issues, and running from the pain I felt inside. From the outside, it looked cool. I got to travel around the world and do amazing things. On the inside, I was hurting and my life was based around running from that pain. No matter how far one goes the pain from childhood trauma just can’t be out run. It can be avoided for a little while, but eventually that shit comes up to catch you.
The catalyst for the change that’s occurring now was definitely getting divorced. I knew the day I got married, that I’d probably get divorced. It was just a subtle feeling somewhere deep inside. Unlike most of my feelings up to that point, that idea didn’t register, but after thirty plus years of repressing negative thoughts and feelings, I got pretty good at ignoring bodily sensations. Everything from negative feelings and shame to physical sensations like feeling too cold or being hungry.
My marriage was based on dysfunctional patterns that my wife and I both shared. I wasn’t raised in a loving household. Growing up, I was the scapegoat and I was treated bad because others in the household couldn’t deal with their own negative emotions so they dumped all of that negativity on me. I thought it was my job to give and give and give. It didn’t work in childhood and it didn’t work in marriage. I ended up feeling used. I gave emotionally, physically and financially and didn’t get anything in return. Unfortunately I still feel a bit bitter about that, but I’m working on it. And in the end, I know it was because of my actions.
That feeling of being used was brought on partially because I didn’t know how to ask for things and partially because I was taught and raised to see relationships to be one sided affairs – with me on the losing end. As my therapist mentioned ever so bluntly, you can only be used once, after the first time, the other person just sees the patterns as the way things are. And really why would she want to change that?