Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Flowing As Water

I was in the middle of a contract negotiation and was being less than flexible.  My son emailed me this quote by Bruce Lee. “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend."   As I read it I realized I had become as rigid as ice. When ice falls, it breaks apart in pieces. He was right, I needed this contract to go through and not fall apart. I became as water. However the more I thought about the quote,the more I realized that I had become the ice form of water.  Tired of evaporating into nothingness. Some have abused my flexibility and ability to flow. My flow was redirected, damned up, forms changed continuously, and spread out too thin on hot surfaces until I evaporated into the air.  Seizing to exist as water. I disappeared as me. Having become air floating invisibly, I was left alone. Floating in the atmosphere long enough gave me the chance to reassess who I am and recycle back into me. As I fell from the sky once again as shapeless and formless water, I knew that I will never become nonexistent  but will take on new form of water and will continue to flow. Sometimes you need to evaporate on hot slabs granite of the earth to regroup and fall somewhere different and flow strongly once again. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

When Being Strong Breaks Us

I don’t know when it happened.  When did I begin to think I needed to always be the strong one?  When did I begin to think that I needed to take care of everyone?  Maybe it was my parents always telling me that I was responsible for taking care of my younger sister.  Maybe it was listening to my dad tell me how he worried that something would happen to him knowing  my mom couldn’t take care of herself.  I remember promising him that I would take care of her.  Right after my eighteenth birthday, as I drove home the day my dad passed away, I remember holding the tears back because it would scare my mom and sister to see me cry.  Who would take care of them.  Each year that passed made me stronger but also hardened me to see people try to take advantage of three women alone.  Thirty-five years I have been strong taking care of my mother, sister, my father’s estate, my children, my career, lived through the ending of my twenty five year marriage and a ten yearly      relationship which shattered my heart.
Suddenly I found myself in mid-life feeling so tired and exhausted of being strong.  Putting on a poker face and being a pillar for everyone else to lean on was becoming ever more difficult when I didn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning.  Then one day every emotion and every tear that I had back to give others strength came gushing out.  There was no stopping or controlling it.  For the first time in my life I felt so weak and vulnerable.
I had been under immense stress from every direction. Business became demanding, relationships complained of the time the business were demanding, etc.  My emotions continue to spin out of control.  It was scary because I always considered myself to be so strong and in control all the time.  I did something that was very difficult for me, I asked my    mother and sister for help.  This must have scared them too. It wasn’t a couple of weeks    later that my mother asked me to turn over my father’s entire estate to my sister with the excuse that she wanted her to learn to become responsible (at 50?).  Once I put everything in her name she sold the properties, took the cash and they moved out of state without telling me.  My sister’s words still echo in my head “I always thought of you as being so  strong”.  I felt so horrible for letting her down.  I desperately needed someone to be strong for me now.  To put their arms around me and make me feel that I was going to be okay.  I needed to know that someone would have my back.  The second hardest thing I did was let my kids see this weak side of me as I could no longer control my emotions.  My son said, “You’re the strongest person that I know, you’ll get through this.”  I wanted to say “I didn’t  choose to be strong, I didn’t have a choice.”  He made me promise that I would seek council.  The third hardest thing I’ve done; ask a total stranger for help.  They say everything happens for a reason.  I have always been a believer of this saying but I couldn’t see any reasoning behind the amount of pain and rejection I was feeling.  This pain and rejection led me to understand Who I Am & Why I Am Who I Am.  My therapy sessions began about the abrupt ending of my relationship by a text message and why I couldn’t seem to get past it.  I  have always been strong enough to walk away from anyone who showed signed of not being interested in having me in their lives.  It turns out I was involved with a narcissist.  This explains the difficulty of moving on.  After doing much research and reading, my relationship was textbook.  I found it interesting that it turns out that most of the woman are usually well educated, strong women who were raised by narcissist mothers making them feel the need   to be strong and take care of their parent always seeking a little of affection here and there, safety, approval, security, and hopefully love.  All the stories I read about women picking up the pieces either after a narcissist relationship or a narcissist mother were pretty much the same.  It’s amazing how all narcissist share the same characteristics. 
I grew up making excuses for the way my mother was or what she did.  Then the therapist  asked me one question that put it all into perspective. She asked me to step into my mother's shoes and asked, “Would you have done this to your child?” My immediate answer was an inequitable “NEVER!”, “Why not?” “Because it’s just wrong!” and I cried.  For the first time, it all became clear to me.  She went through the same questioning in regards to my last relationship.  She asked, “What do you miss the most about him?”  “His arms around me.”  

"Would they make you feel protected?"  "No."  "Would they make you feel loved unconditionally?"  "No, he doesn't know how."  After hearing the words come out of my very own mouth, I couldn’t understand why I ever longed for his hug at all.  She explained, since I never received that hug of  real love, security, acceptance, and protection from my parents,  I learned to settled for a hug that I hoped someday would Become more.

I am still getting to know myself.  I am still strong.  I am still a survivor.  I still cry at times.  I learned to stay away from negative people. I learned to say no.  Most importantly, I learned to love myself first!