Some mornings, I wake up “scared to death.” I experienced this same fear when I was 20 years old and engaged to be married. For months, there was wedding planning and excitement. One week before the wedding, I woke up crying my eyes out (like I had done for a month or more). I felt almost “repulsed” by my fiance. I felt “stuck.” I talked with my trusted aunt, more like a mother to me, and she told me to do what I felt I had to do. I broke my engagement one week before the wedding (and it was to be a big wedding).
I went on to be engaged two more times, each time feeling “stuck” and waking up the following mornings “scared to death.” I broke the engagements both times and along the way lost many friends. I understand now that I was looking for a father/protector figure, but once I found that person, I became uninterested- even repulsed by the person. Then, the relationship would be off and on for months- enamored- repulsed, enamored-repulsed and on and on until finally I or the guy would make a permanent break in the relationship. Having learned the skills of DBT, I see where this was clearly an extreme example of all or none thinking.
I always wanted a close relationship with my father but at the same time, I felt squeamish around him. He would look away if I walked by in a bathing suit and never allowed me to wear a two-piece bathing suit. There are still many unresolved feelings/emotions with my father, and I am still working to gain insight into how my relationship with him has affected my relationships with men. I’m still trying to “put the pieces together.”
Many years later, I did marry and was in this chaotic marriage for 15 years. I was reliving my childhood in this marriage. For one full year, I prayed and I begged my husband to communicate with me. When I realized I was losing myself, I finally let go, took a giant leap of faith, filed for divorce (something I thought I would *never* do), and again, lost many friends.
Feeling confident maybe for the first time in my life, I then purchased a home of my own and became self-employed. I enjoyed many years of happiness. Several years later, I began to feel the depression pressing me down again, and I *knew* I had to sever ties (except for an occasional visit and phone call) with my parents. I lost my “blood” family due to this decision and have found that “blood isn’t always thicker than water.” I felt ashamed and abandoned for years, and my life went through a giant upheaval.
I read a quote recently: “you can not heal in the same environment that made you sick.” This so applies to me. Even though I have lost much (family and many friends), I am gaining self-confidence and self-compassion which allows me to share this compassion with others. I am *finally* learning to set appropriate boundaries in my relationships. My primary focus of compassion is on the many animals who are abandoned and mistreated every year. I pour my heart and soul into advocating for these animals who are unable to speak for themselves. I’m certain that my passion is due to my having felt abandoned for so many years as well as the unconditional love that animals give.
I still wake up “scared to death” some days (although they are less frequent). I tremble as tears fall down my face. I am facing the fears head-on. Some days, I feel alone yet I am finding myself for the first time in a long time. I am realizing that I haven’t abandoned myself, and that is life changing. I no longer feel helpless or self-pity. I never knew Ruth, and I am getting to know her now. She is an amazing soul with a lot of compassion and determination to keep facing life and whatever comes her way.
I am finally finding a life worth living, and for the first time in 16+ years, I have a strong desire to have a life partner; still, I know that it isn’t time for this yet. I still have healing to do. Facing these fears is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is also the most rewarding!! Joining DBT Path (emotionallysensitive.com) and sticking with it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. AND, I WILL keep pressing forward.
Life is to be celebrated- not feared!!
Ruth, Texas USA