Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


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The Bane of Reason

elephant-room

The Elephant in the Room

I feel like I’m normally a voice of reason, level-headed and on an even keel.  Most of the time, these days anyway, I don’t get triggered. So when I was totally out of the blue it sent me into a spiral of sorts. I haven’t experienced that in quite some time.

Being triggered, for me, sets into motion a whole chain of negative self-talk and along with it self-doubt. In a sort of PTSD-like fashion it sends me right back to that place where I was before I escaped the situation that led to the PTSD to begin with.

Usually, not always, when it’s words that trigger, there’s what’s actually said, and what I understand the words to mean.

Someone might say, “How could such an intelligent person believe (insert whatever nonsense you like)?”  I hear, “Damn, you sure are stupid.”

When I hear, “Damn, you sure are stupid,”  I start to reevaluate every negative thing that’s happened in my life and come to the astounding realization that, “Damn, I sure am stupid.  And if I weren’t so stupid most of that wouldn’t have even happened.”

Belief in talking snakes and global floods?  Stupidity on my part.

Sexually assaulted?  Stupidity on my part.

Involved in an abusive relationship?  Utter stupidity on my part.

For two fucking decades?  Unimaginably, astonishingly stupid!

No one has to say it.   I already know it.  When someone even implies it, it only confirms what I believe about myself even when it flies in the face of logic and reason.  Belief doesn’t have to be reasonable.

The reality is(nothing like a dose of reality to kick you in the head), it doesn’t really even matter the words that are said.  Another person’s opinion of me or my situation doesn’t make it reality and it doesn’t change who I really am.  No, the triggering part is the words I say to myself.  What the fuck difference does someone else’s opinion of me make? It doesn’t make me less of a person.  It is my beliefs about myself that make me feel less off a person.

Therein lies the rub:  I know that logically.  It’s my feelz that get me into trouble.  Emotions –  fear, anger, sadness, joy, and yes, even love are the bane to the existence of logic and reason.  Yet none of us ever are always logical or reasonable.  I am not Dr. Spock of Star Trek fame.  I am fully human.  And as much as I value reason and intellect I have to admit I’m not always reasonable.  And I can surely do some stupid things.

We all can.  If that were not so there wouldn’t be so many normally intelligent people who are divorced twelve times, or who lose their fortunes betting on a long-shot, or who fall for some of the most far-fetched scams imaginable. It happens.  And you wonder how such smart people can do such stupid things.

luggage

I have a big pile of baggage. No, it’s not a matching set.  I forget about it until it falls out of the closet like an avalanche on my head.

All of us come each day and to each post with our own sets of baggage; with whatever is bothering us that day, or whatever is happening at home that day, or whatever exciting things are happening for us that day.  We each come to every post, no matter how hard we try not to, with our preconceived notions of how the world works; the oughts and ideals which we value and hold dear – not necessarily reality or how things really are.

Life is hard and it’s messy.  Each of has in our own minds our various issues and insecurities.  We have our own niggles, things that eat at us and erode our sense of self-worth and security.  We all have our own perspectives even if they’re flawed.  We can only see from our own lenses no matter how hard we try to put on the goggles of another.  We can’t ever truly know what another has experienced or the stuff they’ve been through.  It would serve us all well, especially me, to remember that.


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Broken and Spilled Out

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Often when reading blog posts I’m triggered.  Not into a downward spiral of despair.  More of a remembrance.  A remembrance of who I used to be.  A remembrance that causes me to take note of who I am today in relation to that person.

As I read this post at VictoriaNeuronotes and the subsequent comments I was brought to just such a remembrance. I remembered when I thought so little of myself that wanted nothing more than to be broken and spilled out because of what my supposed savior had done for me.  I was, in my mind, such a wicked person; so evil and vile that only a perfect blood sacrifice could atone for my shame, my depravity, my iniquity.  Unworthy of such a sacrifice I would be willing to sell my soul to the one who had made such a sacrifice.

I was reminded of this song by Steve Green which used to be a sort of personal anthem:

Broken and Spilled Out

One day a plain village woman
Driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
Disregarding the scorn

And once it was broken and spilled out
A fragrance filled all the room
Like a prisoner released from his shackles
Like a spirit set free from the tomb

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of You, Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on thee

Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee

Lord, You were God’s precious treasure
His loved and His own perfect Son
Sent here to show me the love of the Father
Just for love it was done

And though You were perfect and holy
You gave up Yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon
You were used up and wasted for me

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of me, Jesus
God’s most precious treasure
Lavished on me

Broken and spilled out
And poured at my feet, in sweet abandon
Lord, You were spilled out
And used up for me

I so identified with the very first verse of Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

I even took to heart that John Newton had originally written, “…that saved a worm like me.”

A worm.  I was nothing more without Jesus than a wriggling worm in the dung heap of life. As a result of being told over and over that I was born as an affront to God, his enemy, I needed Jesus to mediate on my behalf. Made in God’s image, of course.  But I marred that image from the start by my own unrighteousness.  Anything good, and noble, and beautiful were the remnants of God’s perfect image.  The blackness, the ugliness, the humanness, that was all me. And that part of me deserved eternal damnation in a lake of fire. I needed a savior. And like anyone who has ever been saved from a sure fate of hell I was enamored with the savior.

This, folks, is the prescription company defining the disease and selling the cure.

I wanted to be broken and spilled out and used up in sweet abandon for any cause to which my savior called me.   And I was.  I was broken.  Every bit of my essence spilled out.  Shattered into a million little pieces.

You see, just as Victoria states in her excellent post, this all comes at a price.  Any notion of self-worth is hijacked and jack-knifed. Why would any loving parent want their child to be so broken?  How can this be called love?  In any other setting, if you removed the super-natural being from all of this, we would see it as twisted and abusive.  How can we just excuse this and say that because this is God there is some sort of caveat that makes this all different?somethingnew

So I’ve taken my million little pieces of broken and spilled out mess and I’m putting them back together.  I’m making something new.  I am reborn.


80 Comments

Missing the Point

70mb film, uppercut select

Is that a whole forest over there?  Or is it just trees?  I can hardly tell the difference.

I, myself, have been guilty of saying that political correctness can go too far. It can be taken to extremes.  But is it political correctness that is taken to extremes or is it that we are trying to tip toe around delicate issues to the extent that we don’t want to hurt anyone’s wee wittle feelings at the expense of honesty?

My last post shone a spotlight on what it means to miss the point.  It is easy to spot sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc….etc…etc…

…in everyone else.  We tend to have a gargantuan blind spot when it comes to ourselves.  I am no exception to that. Oh, how I wish I were.

We often try to justify it when we say or do something inappropriate, hurtful, or uncouth.  When we’re called out on it we get defensive and immediately begin the damage control. Human nature rules the day.  When we say it or do it we want everyone else to know how “not racist” or “not sexist” or “not homophobic” we are.  We’d never!

But we just did.  How to reconcile momentary lapses of judgement with personal character…well, that is the rub, isn’t it?

Are we missing the big picture?  The broader concept of what’s being said is completely lost the minute we begin rationalizing our own behavior.  We can’t see the forest for the trees.

These posts are not meant to either endorse nor condemn any particular lifestyles or life choices.  These posts are meant to highlight both the blatant and subtle sexist and misogynist undercurrent that permeates society.

Let me make this clear if I haven’t already.  I think men are as much a product of society as women are.  The way they were raised, the messages we receive from the media and advertisements, the systematic undermining of minority groups and those perceived as weaker – all of that plays into the dynamics of society.  The top dog wants to stay the top dog all the while protesting that they endorse equality.

Oh, yes, we endorse equality.  As long as it doesn’t diminish our own privileged place.  But wait, equality might just mean that privilege isn’t so much a privilege anymore.  It might mean…we are all of equal value as individuals.

This is an easy concept to say one is in favor of.  Yes, on paper that looks like it should, in fact, be so.  But what about individually?  Do we, with our own sense of entitlement, push anyone who dares gain an equal footing back down? Are we, individually, missing the point?

 


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“No” is a Complete Sentence

NOI’ve written before about my relationship with a narcissist.  But I wanted to expand a bit more on my role in that – the doormat.  Doormats are magnets for narcissists.  Being walked all over is no fun and it can suck the life right out of you.

Do you have trouble saying “no” to people?  Even after you’ve said no, if pushed, do you have trouble sticking to your simple “no”?  Do you understand that “no” is a complete sentence?  Or do you feel compelled to offer an explanation of why you’ve said “no”?  Do you accept unacceptable behavior from others?  Do you get in a huff about “having” to do this or that but feel you must still perform the task?  Do you take on others’ problems only to become overwhelmed by them?

You don’t have healthy boundaries.  How do I know this?  Because I’ve gone most of my life without healthy boundaries myself and still have a bit of trouble setting them.  At least I’m aware of the problem now.  When I become angry, or feel guilty, or get my feelings hurt I’m painfully aware that it is usually my own fault.  Am I excusing the behavior of others?  No.  They are still responsible for their own behavior. But guess what?  So am I.

When we walk around with this martyr’s complex, feeling like we do all the work in relationships, and feeling exhausted by the weight of these relationships we are not exercising the power we have over the one thing we can control: ourselves.

I had a very hard time learning this simple lesson.  Yes, it is much harder to practice it than it is to preach it.  For me, anyway.  Especially when it involves those closest to me.  The fact of the matter is the word no is a complete sentence.  No explanation necessary.   I’ve begun putting this into to practice and little by little, each time I do it, it gets a little easier.

I’ve always been afraid that people wouldn’t like me anymore or that they wouldn’t ask me to do things in the future if I said no to them.  That’s actually a pretty irrational way of thinking.  If the only reason a person likes me is because I can do crap for them they don’t really like me anyway.  If I always so no then, yes, they might stop asking me to do things because most normal people get tired of one-sided relationships – not because I say no once or twice.   If I don’t reciprocate and ask others to do things they’d also get tired of a one-sided relationship.  But that doesn’t happen either.


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Why I Left

October is domestic violence awareness month

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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Photo Credit – Ruth There’s a critter playing peek-a-boo!

A NEW LOVE interest

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

I still believed these verses and I still wanted to live these out even if he did not.  But after a long time of trying I came to the realization that I couldn’t love enough for two. I could live these verses out for myself alone.

I found a new love and began a love affair that continues to this day.  Shocking, I know.  I didn’t plan it; it just…happened.  I started going out with my girlfriends and I took up jogging.  I got in shape physically and emotionally. In the process I found my self-respect and discovered that I had a lot to offer.  Yes, I fell in love with another.  Me.

I learned to love myself and began to take care of me.  Instead of always putting him or my marriage above all else I began to put myself, my safety, and my needs first.  I learned that unless I loved myself I wasn’t really worthy of love and couldn’t properly love another.

forget religion

Divorce was still a dirty word.  But I decided it was better than the alternative.  Though I still viewed it as sin I decided that the options of suicide or murder were more sinful.  These thoughts, fleeting as they were, were a wake-up call.  It terrified me that I could even ponder these things.

I daydreamed about driving my car into a ravine.  I envisioned picking up a knife the next time he had his hands around my throat.  This shit is hazardous to your health in more ways than one!  These are not normal thoughts.

It’s really bad when you either wish you were dead or, you know, there might be some unfortunate accident on your partner’s way home.  This may be a startling admission on my part.  But it’s honest. So I entertained the previously unthinkable and initiated a separation.

I discovered it was against my religion to enable my abuser’s behavior to continue. Eff martyrdom!  Where’s the glory in that? God would surely forgive me for breaking my vows. They had long since been broken anyway.  Honor, cherish, protect, love…all gone the first time he hurt me.

honor

I could no longer live in shame.  It was overwhelming and debilitating.  The only way for me to continue to live was to honor myself.

I figured out that his problems were his and they didn’t have to cause me shame.  I figured out that it didn’t matter what other people thought.  It only mattered that I could hold my head high because I knew the truth.

I figured out that I was worth saving.

recognizing my weakness

I recognized my propensity to be insecure and self-deprecating. I recognized that I found esteem in being the perfect wife.  Not from my abuser, but from my God and from those in the church.  Being a help-meet was not all I was created for.  It was not noble and prized by the one person who should have appreciated it.

I still had my weaknesses, no doubt, but knowing what they were my abuser could no longer exploit them at every turn.  I grew weary of the mind games and emotional blackmail.

Having been emotionally tied into knots I saw the belittling for what it truly was.  There was no way to be better enough.  Better would never be good enough.

i was stronger

I still have that same tenacity.  I’ve just employed the old slogan, ‘Work smarter, not harder’. Still, if I am a failure it won’t be said that it was because I didn’t try.  I just came to the realization that I can’t fix everything.  Anything can be fixed.  Everything…not so much.

I could fix me and only me.  He would have to do his own repair work if he thought it necessary.  But I could not.  In order for me to repair what had been broken inside of me I had to make different choices. I had to set up boundaries; something that before I never thought I had a right to.

I found strength in knowing I did have a choice.  So I exercised my right to live in a safe, stable, sane environment.

acceptance

I had to acknowledge that it was that bad no matter how often it happened.  It could be worse but so what?  Why should I settle for bad simply because it could be worse?

Fists are not the only way to physically abuse.  I had to acknowledge that strangling, hair-pulling, pinching, and having my head bounced off of inanimate objects is physical abuse. It should have frightened me to know that he could have killed me.

People may say that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.  But that’s a lie.  Words hurt and leave scars that will never completely heal.  That’s what pushed me over the edge.  I could have taken the punishment, but the near-constant verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse was more than I could bear.

I stopped minimizing the danger and pain I was in.  Once I was out of denial, once I saw the abuse for what it really was, there simply was no way to stay.

__________________________________________________________________________

You can find the reasons why I stayed here:  Why I Stayed


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Let Me Tell You a Secret

I’m fairly introverted.  Most people don’t hear a lot about my personal life.  I can easily connect with people on a superficial level, talk about the weather, and I love to hear their stories.  I want to know what makes a person who they are. On the other hand, I don’t give that information out so readily in person.  I’ve written a fair amount about the personal, intimate details of my life here somewhat anonymously.  Things that are difficult for me to say out loud I’m far more comfortable putting down on paper.

My best friend knows I’m quirky, all my deep, dark secrets, that I’m a morning person and he’s not, that I’m grouchy and stupid when I’m tired, that I’m stubborn as a mule, that I can be annoying when he’s tired. I want to talk when he wants to be quiet.  I want to be quiet when he wants to talk. I really can be kind of a pain in the ass.  He knows what I look like with morning hair and no make-up and that I dress like a hobo when I’m bumming around on Saturday.

He works hard, long hours but he also knows how to let his hair down and have a good time.  He’s genuine and real.  He has flaws and quirks of his own and doesn’t mind saying so.  He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s handsome, and he’s sexy as hell.  He’s strong and he’s weak. He’s gentle and rough. He teaches me things about myself and challenges my thinking.  He’s changed me in ways he can’t possibly know without even trying to.  He has no idea that when he took that tiny spider outside instead of squashing it, like I would have, it made me love him more. I watch him when he’s concentrating really hard and he purses his lips and has to hold his mouth just right.  It’s unconscious  to him and adorable to me.  He lifts me up and supports me in everything I do, always encouraging along the way.

There’s a saying that the only three things a man should want to change about a woman is her last name, address, and her viewpoint on men.  Two out of three ain’t bad.  You see, I get to be married to my best friend.  He knows all my faults and foibles and loves me anyway.  To be fully known and loved anyway is to be fully loved.  I’m not one who believes people are born to be together.  For me it’s better to be wanted than needed.  I’ll take that any day of the week.  I choose him and he chooses me.

Ruth&TheBrit


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Where Did it All Go?

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“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”   – Henry David Thoreau

The time, I mean.  I seriously have no idea where it went.  I came here on November 3 of 2012 to dish on my marriage to my Englishman thinking I’d get back a few days later with some serious topics and now it’s…well…now!

I’ve been rather busy with family, friends, and work.  Right after The Tour Guide got here I picked up a new client that provided a lot of work on top of my full time job and then I picked up another.  So that’s all going really well and I’ve gotten their books all caught up and I’m on top of that.

Oh, and friends!  TTG and I have met some really cool people through my sister and her fiance.  They don’t care about religious affiliations.  We just get together, have a few drinks, throw darts, play cornhole and frisbee and have a really great time.  Sometimes religion or politics comes up and there’s pretty diverse viewpoints on it.  But we can talk about it, live and let live, and walk away with nobody upset, angry or with their feelings hurt.  And the best part is I’ve gotten to hang out with my sister as my friend.  She’s pretty darned cool and so is her fiance.

Then Christmas rolled around and I decided that I’d make Christmas stockings and fill them with homemade goodies.  So I got busy making homemade hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, peppermint bark. I also made homemade breads, biscotti,pork and poultry rubs, and anything else I could find on Pinterest to give as gifts.

Whew!  There!  The holidays are over and things are finally getting back to normal around here, whatever that is.

Anyway I’ve got ideas and starts to several posts that I’ll be getting up in the next few days or weeks or whatever. I have gotten around to reading quite a few of your posts, though, so I’ve been keeping up with you guys.  I’ve missed blogging but I’ve been so busy having a life and enjoying it I haven’t had time to stop long enough to finish a post.

Here’s to living! Cheers!