The headache has begun, the stomach is upset/churning, it feels like there’s a blockage happening in the lower abdomen, my face is feeling heated, my mouth is dry, and I just feel shaky inside. Some of these “symptoms” were present, but not being noticed or observed, subconscious. However, within just a short while after receiving an abrupt text from an estranged loved one, clearly putting me and the person I’m in relationship with in our places: mine in the middle between the two of them and the other party to have no contact with my estranged loved one.
The family dynamics are a complete mess and I’m in the middle because I’ve always placed myself in the middle and now that I want out of the middle, there’s not place else for me to go or be. At least that’s how it feels.
In order to satisfy, please, and gain acceptance or understanding from my estranged loved ones, I must abandon the almost 17 year relationship with the father of my three year old child. I have attempted to do this several times before. I can say, without denial, that it is not a relationship with patterns of abuse – physical or emotional, although there have been incidents of each at different times. It is and has been a relationship based on false ideas and concepts of love and the emotional immaturity and codependence of each of us. The damage from our past and to my children in their past has been done and cannot be undone.
Now, in order to attempt to minimize harm to the toddler, as much as possible, I am trying to face my own issues. I have made a decision that she has the right to grow up in relationship with her father. He has a lot of faults, foibles, issues, and dysfunctions. He contributes financially, though he is unemployed right now and subject to the depression and our relationship with each other is strained and difficult. However, he absolutely loves and cherishes his daughter. Despite the difficulties and inequities in our relationship, it takes both of us to parent her and meet her needs, and we are working together to do that to the best of our combined ability.
All I can see right now, is that in order to make the change and the choice that everyone except my toddler believes to be the healthiest choice and change for me, I would wind up essentially destroying her world, and that is not something I’m willing to do. To some, it seems like I’m using her as a cop out from doing the hard thing. Maybe, to a degree it is, but I really don’t think so. The hard thing, for me, is to wake up every morning and go to bed every night, seeing how precious and beautiful and relatively well adjusted she seems to be right now, knowing that in order for me to to have a relationship with her older siblings, I would have to sacrifice her sense of security and safety.
So, instead, I try to communicate with her father about what I’m thinking and feeling – sometimes successfully, frequently not. I take lots of deep breathes. I’m praying more. I spend 10-20 minutes several days a week talking things out with a prayer group. I’m writing in this journal. I’m working on being more focused, present, and productive at work. I’m reading other people’s stories about recovery, change & resiliency, and everyday life.
After writing all of this out, in between doing work activities, the headache is gone, as is the churning in my stomach. Some of the other physical discomforts remain, but can be monitored from an internal distance. So, the mind-body-spirit connection manifests.