I started this blog a little over 10 months ago, with the intention to focus on healing and recovering from 40+ years of dysfunction and make internal changes toward rebuilding a more functional me and changing the future direction of my little family so that my youngest child will have a more stable and happier life than I was able to provide for my adult children or than what was given to me.
In this time I and my little family have gone through a lot of transitions: Death of a loved one, unemployment, new job, intermittent separation, changes in educational services for Luna, transitioning from working parent to stay at home parent, unemployment, and another new job.
Throughout it all have been the strained and transitioning relational dynamics of my adult children navigating their lives and figuring out their thoughts and feelings about me and how, if, and when I interact and engage with them. Our empty nest transition has been quite the roller coaster. I love them and they love me, but because of our history and what they’ve grown up through, I’m not their safe and trusted person. I understand it and there is a basis for that. It doesn’t change the fact the love for each other is there, it just means there’s a lot of baggage it filters through.
I’ve spent a lot of this time in darkness and isolation, licking my wounds, feeling overwhelmed, helpless and hopeless. Sometimes actively fighting the darkness and other times passively accepting it and secretly welcoming the numbness of mind and heart.
Slowly though, as I’ve been writing, I have been going through an awakening. I’ve been awakening to the truth that, despite what I feel or how things seem, I’m not in this alone. I’ve been awakening to the truth that love and acceptance of me, all of me – who I have been, who I will be, and who I am – exists, is present and available. I have to accept it and I have to let it soak into my deepest sense of who I am.
As I have been awakening to this love, I’ve been receiving support, acceptance and encouragement from participating in and being included in this online community. That has comforted and soothed me. It has also strengthened me and helped reactivate courage and determination to continue forging ahead through what frequently feels like a never ending and losing battle.
I’m starting to be more aware of the underlying currents of my unresolved and neglected emotions and the past events and thought patterns driving them. It’s overwhelming at times because now that I’m moving away from focusing all my thoughts and energies into those I’ve been co-dependent with or completely numbing out with food or escaping into books and television, I’m being confronted with the things inside of me I have masked and avoided so long.
I feel raw, exposed, and more vulnerable than I ever have. Hyper-sensitivity and hyper-vigilance focused on others and what their feelings, thoughts, and opinions are of me are both diminishing and becoming more acute.
Instead of being that way with anyone and everyone I come into contact with, as I have done in the past, I’m feeling more relaxed and it’s easier to believe I’m accepted and I am able to be more accepting of others. This is happening with new people, as well as with some of those who are reconnecting with me from my past.
Alternatively, there are a few key people whose very name or presence cause all my defenses to kick into gear without hesitation or thought. People who I know love and care about me, but who trigger my sense of being judged and found guilty, less than, and unworthy. It’s very difficult to figure out the best way to interact with them in healthy and constructive ways. I am working on it though.
I have been hurt from being written off and cast out of the lives of others and I do not want to cut people out and cast them aside, because I am having difficulty creating and enforcing healthy boundaries. My new boundaries are proving to be as challenging for others as they have been for me, however I am not giving up on either my relationships or my boundaries.
Boundary setting is a new and difficult thing for me, but I am finding an internal freedom as I make progress. I am regaining my sense of humor; things that would normally send my thoughts down a path of doom and gloom are now things I can see and appreciate the absurdity of. I can laugh a genuine laugh, I smile spontaneously more often, and I catch myself being more responsive and engaging with my loved ones and others. I’m able to have conversations that don’t turn into me blurting out everything that’s gone wrong and drowning in tears.
In my awakening I am becoming more aware and my appreciation for my life is growing.