I wish the friend I wished for, would turn out to be my husband…
This song I composed for myself this summer has been playing in my head recently. It pretty much sums up the funk I’m in.
I wish I had a friend who I can share my life with
I wish I had a friend who I can share my love with
I wish I had a friend who I can share my soul with
I wish I had a friend
I wish I had a friend
I could sit in therapists’ offices
I can sit behind the rabbi’s desk
I can pout and blame and then I’ll tell everyone
That I’m sad and mad and really depressed
And after that I would just run away
I’ve been running away for so many years
But only talking the talk, and not walking the walk
Should I run away?
Should I run away?
And if I run away, with whom shall I play?
I want a friend now.
I shared the following over the email recently with a friend. Positive changes… Yeah!
December 2 2016
I want to give you a good report as opposed to my usual complaining. Over the past week there is a noticeable difference within me in relation to my husband and vice versa. I am much less scared of him and it seems he of me. We have done light shopping together last Thursday night and tonight and it was enjoyable and not in the least bit stressful. My husband usually doesn’t have-or give me- any time.
This is a brand new phenomenon.
December 12 2016
My life is changing quickly now. On a swiftly tilting planet. I just want to share with you what’s happening – there is something surreal about it. But it’s working for me and I am beginning to accept this new way of life.
I have been doing a lot of letting go recently. I have been giving up my intellect and personal feelings for a conscience that lives inside. The change is drastic. I am not sure who I am anymore. It is wonderful and very overwhelming at the same time. Many times I want to respond to someone or some situation in a way that either my heart or mind dictates and when I check in with my conscience- I am directed in the completely opposite direction. When I say conscience I mean that still small voice inside which I always thought was a figure of speech.
I don’t know what is ahead. I want to be fully functional and I have a way to go. I think the worst is over.
Next week is the fundraiser of my husband’s organization – This organization that I have resented for years. This organization that turned my husband into a saint and do-gooder. This organization that was the addiction my husband used (workaholic/goodism) for many years to avoid his other problems. I always went to the events begrudgingly -an unhappy party to this idiocy that wears the cloak of community service.
Now, for some reason, thinking about the upcoming event does not evoke the same assortment of negative emotions and resentments. I just realized that this may be the first event in years that I am not rejecting. This is not something I worked on in sessions – it just is. I wonder if it is connected to my overall acceptance of my husband for who he is and my attempts not to stand in judgment.
I had two voices speaking within the other day. (I will not admit to talking to myself here.) One of them, which I can identify as “me” said that she doesn’t know what to do about the marriage. Part of the problem is that being straightforward about feelings and attitudes can blow up into a huge fight with a Borderline Personality. It’s not that my husband does not want to please. It’s that he wants to please so badly that he can’t handle the fact that maybe I want him to make a small adjustment somewhere. (This post on Borderline Babbler’s blog really woke me up to the depth of the problem.) The other thing the voice was saying is that she really wants to feel love for her husband but it’s very, very hard – now after all she’s been through.
The second voice had a great idea. Time for a new marriage experiment. I had very much enjoyed the first experiment I did called Praise and Pleasure. It did so much for me and I am happy to admit that praising my husband comes naturally now. In addition, being able to tolerate pleasure and finding new instances of giving myself pleasure has also become more natural and I am really beginning to enjoy life. I signed up for a monthly writing class, a bi-weekly voice class and a weekly yoga class. What fun!
I am ready for a new experiment, said the second voice. And here it is.
The love part in this marriage does not feel natural. I am not overflowing with love. When I do my husband a favor it is either done out of DUTY or out of RESENTMENT. And for sure not out of LOVE. This is the part I want to change. Switch out Duty to Love and the chemistry will change.
My task is to choose ONE thing a day that I will do for my husband OUT OF LOVE. I need to set the intention before I do it and let the love flow. Whether or not it’s “natural” or 100% true, is not important. I am training myself to feel love. I need to say very clearly “I am doing this for love.” Opportunities to do something for my husband out of love need not be an errand or a difficult favor. It can be calling him or answering his call, setting the table for dinner, or looking at him directly when speaking to him as opposed to fiddling around with my phone.
That night, I went to pick up his pants from the tailors. All the way there I said out loud “I am doing this because I love my husband. I am so happy to do this.” Then when he thanked me for it, I said with genuine feeling, “I am so happy that I can do this for you.” Yeah! It felt very good. I hope to find more opportunities to do this.
Aha!!! So it happened!! You were aware of change! And you were aware of the resistance to change. Because the change was for the better. And God Forbid if your life gets better. God Forbid if you become more independent, more HAPPY. OK, I’m being sarcastic. Sorry.
Let’s back up.
I am happy. Do you know why? Because you have discovered a pattern and now that you see it, YOU CAN BLOCK IT! You see that there is actually a choice: to take the easy path of the known or to try a new approach. Until now, there was no choice. You kept on falling into the same ruts each time because you didn’t know what was pushing you in there.
And here you have it very clearly defined: The Fear of Success pushing you, driving you, getting you down. YOU NOTICED IT! I am soooooooooo proud of you!
You know, I have heard so much about the Fear of Success and self-sabotage but honestly I didn’t know that it had anything to do with us. That was for entrepreneurs who need to work on believing that they are real and that their business idea can make it. But for little old Sarah? Really?!
And here you have it. You were feeling so high, so ready and so grounded. You had a thought about what time management meant to you and how you can utilize time for your own advantage. You became unafraid of time. In that moment of relief and clarity, you had the meaning of time in your back pocket. Life would be great. No more shriveling up in the face of others’ demands or others’ schedules. No more unidentified flying objects coming at you from nowhere due to lack of time management. It all made sense. Boundaries and structure work hand in hand with time-keeping.
And then you were up all night. Couldn’t sleep. The next day was not a productive day. You felt blah and down. You easily could have fallen into the trap that your little fear devil was trying to lay. However, instead you didn’t get too bogged down either way. So today was not a great accomplishing day. Tomorrow will be better. The freedom you acquired from that great epiphany you had about time was not going anywhere. It is here to stay. You are not letting this back you up or put you to bed.
New opportunities have been presented to you in the past 24 hours – a yoga class at a friend’s house, a voice class…. Life is sending you messages. You can choose to move on and not get lost in the morass of self-sabotage. The negative feelings think they are serving a purpose but in reality they are not helping you. They are just keeping things status quo.
It’s time for change. We are ready!
So excited!! Loving you so much,
Your Inner Loving Guide
If I wanted to visualize a better future with my BP husband, what would I choose to start with? A scenario? Dialogue? An image? What would I see that is more aligned with what I want?
Maybe a lingering feeling of love. As if love is not a dirty word.
If love were not a dirty word, how would it manifest itself in my life?
In therapy, I discovered that my mother’s aversion to the word “love” was very deep. She felt it was too American and not a nice word. My father could not bring himself to say “I love you”. Instead, he would say “I like you”. Imagine that.
My friend keeps reminding me to read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Perhaps reading the book would get me started towards my journey to find out what true love is.
My love roots are very weak. Feeling deserving of love, feeling God’s love, and opening myself up to true love may be the first step towards this goal of visualizing a better future with my spouse. If I don’t know what true love means, how can I expect to find it in my life?
My counselor told me the other day that the main thing I have to work on now is to use visualization to imagine a better life with my husband. I really have to decide -If I want a future with him, I need to visualize a future with him. Otherwise, I need to start visualizing a future without him.
For me, keeping my family intact is a very high value. I believe that divorce will terribly impact the children. I know that in a marriage of 20 years, what is one or two more years of transition time as we both learn who we are, what we need and how we differ? Differentiation is an important and integral part of marriage. The tangles of codependency need to unravel. I need to learn that I am a great human being by virtue of being a human being. And my Borderline Personality husband needs to learn that he can manage full well without using me as his personal secretary, bookkeeper, accountant, and mistress. From a safe place, we can recover our true personalities and feelings and reconnect in a more mature and positive way.
I can write some blog posts called Note to Future Self. There are many parts of my life that I can visualize into a better future. It will be a challenge. It might be fun. I will try.
I see you. I just wanted to say. I see you.
Sometimes it seems like I am so busy and disinterested, as if I am this all important executive who does not have time to notice you. Maybe I am very important. But the first person I am important to is YOU. I exist because of you, for your sake and within you. There is no separate reality that I contain or maintain. We are one.
Therefore, even though I often forget to look at you and I often forget to see your sweet features and daily activities – I want you to know that I am committed to noticing you more. You are my purpose here and you are my celebrity and my fantasy. I only have eyes for you.
When you wake up, I’m excited. When you get dressed in the morning, I’m delighted. When you put one foot in front of the other and step into the lion’s den every day to see how hungry he is (is that a terrible analogy?!?! One day I’ll stop this negativity!!) I am right there with you, rooting for you and painting a picture of wholeness and beauty. I want your day to go swell. I want your life to be peaceful. I am there with you all day long and each time I stop to see you and notice you, I will set the intention to make it a peaceful day.
I love you and I am with you always.
Love, Inner Sarah