February 17

Woke up this morning with so much anger!

I had to punch my pillow and grit my teeth and clench my fists. I didn’t let myself breathe through it. I felt it, and I thrashed for a while. Oh. My. Gosh!

I am angry that G took away my freedom of choice – on how I wanted to move forward with this new scenario. He took my power (but only because I gave it up by not setting ANY boundaries and by continually, over and over and OVER keeping silent when I felt the emotional wall he was throwing up to corral me)! He took my control of deciding what was in my best interest and decided for himself how things should go (which turns out, is NOT how I would choose)!

I am sitting with the BIG feelin’s today! I am angry with myself too; for not being brave enough to SPEAK as soon as I felt the wall go up upon his return from Costa Rica (late December 2018). Time and time again, I could have addressed it, but I allowed him to be the shot-caller and in doing so, gave up the power to protect my self-interest. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but he’s not the only one to blame.

Digging deeper than the current anger, I remember the first time I felt this kind of betrayal when someone else took control of my best interest and failed. When I was 16 and my mom told me she asked R to leave. Only in hindsight do I see that for two years before that, my mom treated me horribly, which was a shock when it first started happening. She didn’t tell me anything about what was really going on and didn’t manage her own emotions enough to keep from taking her stress out on me. She had all these emotional walls and barriers with me and expected me to navigate them without ever saying a word about it. So when I tripped a line (or triggered her pain), she let loose on me and fought me like I was her enemy. I see now that she felt powerless and out of control so she came down hard on me, but it devastated my trust in her. She became unpredictable and dishonest about her own feelings and therefore, her feelings towards me became tricky and confusing.

I was too young then to know how to set any sort of boundaries, so I continued the patterns throughout dating. I gave the man all the power to take care of my heart/soul as he saw fit. The only power I had left was my virginity. So sad. I never set boundaries because I didn’t want to be rejected. So then I had to use my deep hurt and pain to try to convince them not to do anything to hurt me.

With G, I pleaded with him to be brutally honest with me even when it was difficult and then I passed off all responsibility to him by trusting that he would. Well, he wasn’t honest (most recently, and really over the whole two years regarding his lingering feelings for S). And that means more wounding for me. 

Last February when he confirmed that he’d been in contact with S the whole time they were broken up, I could have said, “Ok. I think it would be best for me if you went ahead and cleared all that up with her once and for all so that there doesn’t have to be an open line there. Let me know when that happens and we can decide where we stand after that.” I could have said it again in August when I asked how long he was going to keep texting with her and he said, “As long as I want. I don’t see me stopping anytime soon.” But I didn’t. I held my tongue and trusted that he operated with the same level of conviction and honesty as I do… and that was naive and codependent of me to do. I shifted my power to his hands and sat helplessly, waiting for the other shoe to drop; all because I didn’t want to be out-right rejected or to end the relationship (apparently a slow death appealed more to my codependent heart). I wasn’t willing to walk away to preserve my own well-being and heart.

Now G’s struggle over the last two years makes sense – he was trying to troubleshoot hurting my kids or getting in over his head. Well, any way you try to figure that out, it’s going to require him to grow up a little, let go of his ego, and come in humble. Otherwise, it just won’t work. He seems to feel unsafe relinquishing any percentage of control to me, but that’s the only way to move towards a healthy, sustainable friendship with him in the kids’ lives.

Just talked with W on the phone about G, the kids, boundaries, all of it. Here’s what I know:

I need to see how things play out (kids’ feelings, G’s interest in them, my own emotional well-being), and take action accordingly. I do not need to make any decisions now. 

I need to create distance between G and the kids. I am not interested in pursuing a friendship with him at this point. I have zero interest in knowing S or her knowing my kids. He will not come to my house anymore. I need to find other arrangements for my storage (that he’s still keeping in his house for me). When the kids ask, I will engage in convos about “how friendships change over time” and correlate G as a chapter in our Family Book, pointing out that “few people stay for the length of the book no matter how much we wish they could. The important thing is to appreciate the love and life they brought to us.” 

W posed a wonderful question I will keep considering throughout this: “What do I want to teach the kids in this?”

I am OK. I am hurt, but I will heal. I am creating space for myself and my future. I am guarding my heart and my children’s – guiding them through life with the lessons I teach them and my actions in how I follow through. 

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane and Peter

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: Kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

D: Dear friend since 8th grade

C: Married to D, hired me to as a freelance writer/editor for awhile

B: Dear friend of 20 years who I shaved my head with when she got breast cancer in 2018 and lost her hair

O: A guy I “talked” to in another state and went and visited after G and I broke up in summer 2018

In 2019, I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I painstakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
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