When Healing Takes Longer Than Expected

Waking up on a Sunday morning, my mind is full of EVERYTHING including the weird but persistent dreams I had last night.  One of the subjects of my dream was a former love interest … perhaps the phrase ‘love interest’ is not completely accurate.  He was a former potential love interest… there, that’s better.  I had to qualify it. Though I have moved on with life as normal, and time has passed, this particular person has been particularly hard to just ‘get over’.

To be fair, I rarely just ‘get over’ anything. I’m a person of process. It takes me time to work/think things through.  I am also a person who feels deeply, cares deeply and loves deeply.  However, due to prior life situations, disappointments and hurts,  I have learned over the years to temper my feelings.  I try not to allow myself to invest so quickly in anyone because, unfortunately, there are a fair amount of people in this world who will take advantage of (abuse/misuse) a loving heart.  So, I have learned to hold back.  I’ve learned to be watchful, wise and careful.  I’ve learned to see signs of those who would try to use me for their own selfish desires instead of caring for my heart.  There have been one or two who have slipped through the cracks of the security filters I have put in place, but, for the most part my system has served me well and protected me from harm.

However, this one person was not like that.  He was unlike most I had encountered in that we ‘vibed’ intellectually, culturally and conversationally.  He was/is a gentleman. (Why is that so freaking rare these days? I digress). We had similar senses of humor.  We seemed to understand one another well.  And he was/is a very kind and genuine individual.  However, we were at two different places in life and therefore reaching for two distinctly different outcomes.  It ended amicably.  However, I hadn’t realized how much I had allowed myself to hope in this situation.  I hadn’t realized that my heart had begun to become attached, to feel, to care….until it was over.  No one knew of my pain and disappointment, save a few close and trusted friends.  And at a certain point, I even stopped talking to my friends about it because I felt like I was grieving over it for too long.

Being single at this stage in life is particularly challenging.  I’m divorced and a single mom of teens and young adults.  Put on top of that being a Christian woman of deep faith and high standards.  Finding a quality man is not easy anyway, but, it’s especially not easy when you want to find a good, godly, stand-up individual who you actually gel well with.  This particular person met some of those key characteristics and thus, made him appealing.  A cut above the rest.  This was new for me.  The majority of prior prospects… hmm… okay ‘prospects’ is too strong a word.  The majority of prior ‘suitors’?  Nah, let’s just say the majority of prior dudes who’ve tried to talk to me have been only interested in something very shallow, which was always met by me with a polite “no thanks” in some form or another.

So, when you actually find someone that is fitting some of those key things you seek, your inner hope alarm goes off, “Ding, ding ding! We have encountered a potential candidate here!”  Problem is, I got ahead of myself in a major way.  I thought I was being careful and cautious (and I was, outwardly), but internally, I was riding the wave of excitement at having met someone who seemed pretty compatible.  I was leading with emotions instead of wisdom and patience.  However, soon enough, the differences in other key areas began to surface and it became evident to both of us that it was best to part ways as friends. Still, it wasn’t easy.  However, it was done respectfully and peaceably, for which I am thankful.

So what have I learned through this healing process?  I always say if you learn something then you haven’t truly lost.  As I look back on this particular situation with this person, I see places where I should have been more careful with managing my feelings.  I should have paid closer attention to particular conversations where clear messages were being expressed.  I also see places where I compromised within myself where I should not have. I also was gifted with the following gems: I learned that there are good men in this world who are kind, supportive, funny and who will like you just as you are.  I learned that two good people may not be ideal for each other (for whatever reason) and that that is completely okay.  So, you see I’ve learned plenty.  I am thankful that even though the healing process has been slow, at least it has been actually progressing / moving forward and I can really see how far I have come.

For those of you who are secretly trying to figure out who this was and when it happened…that is not important.  Suffice it to say it was in the past.  But, I wanted to share my experience in hopes of being a blessing to someone else.  Much love, much peace.

Kay Dee

The Art of Letting Go

I’ve never mastered the art of letting go. I’d like to say I’ve gotten better at it over the years, and in some aspects I have, but it’s still hard. I am one who likes to hold on until the bitter end, even when things CLEARLY are over. I could say that I don’t know where that comes from, but that would be a lie. I believe it stems from my childhood.

Now, I am not going to go into some blaming session toward my parents. They are good and decent people. Did they make mistakes? Yes, but we all do. Did they purposely cause lasting trauma in our lives? Absolutely not. Did their decisions have a lasting effect regardless? Yes, some of them did. I have a good relationship with both parents today. That took work and lots of forgiveness (and still takes work and forgiveness) but I am thankful for what we do have.

My parents divorced when I was almost a teenager. To say it was traumatizing would be an understatement. It has caused some issues. All of the talk in recent years about having “daddy issues” has become a joke of sorts, but, it does not lessen the truth of it. I think lots of people have “parental issues” that still affect them today.

Back to my story. I won’t go into explicit detail, but, I will say that I was daddy’s girl. When my parents divorced and my dad immediately married another woman, I was left crushed, devastated, confused and very, very hurt. In my mind, he abandoned us. He abandoned me. I was left feeling (as most kids do) that somehow part of this was my fault and if daddy really loved me then how could he leave? Fast forward to my teen years and seeking love in boys who didn’t know the meaning of the word. Fast forward to college years and picking guys who were slime balls (not all were, but most were). Fast forward to trying to get my life right with God and marrying a guy who used to be a huge player, but, told me he was changing his life around and getting right with God. He wasn’t. He didn’t. The marriage was a long-lasting fiasco and complete “hot mess”. The best thing to come out of that union were my kids. Fast forward to my divorce. It caused within me such devastation that took me years to get over. Fast forward to me dabbling in relationships post-divorce. The incidences were few and far between but I will say that I did experience deep, deep heartbreak again. I also experienced going out with men who would consistently disappoint or hurt me. Ultimately, nothing has worked out so far. But, I still have hope in spite of it all.

How does this all relate to daddy issues? Answer: the abandonment. I felt my father had abandoned me and I spent an entire marriage trying to “fix” that abandonment by marrying someone similar to my dad in some major ways, but, that someone also treated me badly. You see, I was trying to stay married to someone who was unavailable to me. Someone who would leave. Someone who was not a good person. Why? 3 Reasons: (1) By staying in the marriage I was subconsciously trying to fix my parents’ marriage. If I could stay married, I’d somehow “win” by avoiding divorce. (2) I didn’t want to somehow disappoint God by getting a divorce. (3) Because subconsciously I felt a I didn’t deserve any better.  Deep down, I felt like something was wrong with me because the person I had loved with all my heart in my early years, (my dad) had left me. If I wasn’t somehow “good enough” for my dad to stick around for our family, then, I must not be worthy of love or good treatment. I couldn’t have rationalized that at the time. I was in the thick of it and often when you’re in the middle of an unhealthy situation, you’re not able to see how bad it was until AFTER you’re free from it.  And because I’d been unconsciously operating this way for so long, I didn’t know any better. Therefore the unhealthy pattern was strung through my post-divorce relationships (or attempts at relationships) as well. It took some counseling to realize it. I began to see that I always chose someone (whether a good person or not) who was not fully available to me (whether physically or emotionally or both) and of course the relationships or dating situations ultimately never worked out.

What can be done to change the cycle? First, be AWARE of the cycle. Second, when you realize you are going down the same path, catch yourself earlier and earlier so that you can “let go” and proceed in a different direction. It is actually going to take work. You will not be perfect at it. But, you will begin to see that harmful pattern sooner and sooner, so that you can stop yourself from going down that old road. The other part is realizing that you deserve GOOD. You deserve a healthy relationship with someone who IS emotionally and physically available. Someone who will treat you well. Someone, who, although not perfect, is balanced and emotionally healthy and will invest in the relationship WITH you.

What if you feel that you cannot navigate this on your own? You may want to go to a licensed professional counselor who can help walk through this process to find healing and make healthier choices. There is no shame in it. I realize there is still a stigma around going to counseling or therapy, but, think of it this way… If you are injured physically in some way, you go to see a physical therapist. If you are injured emotionally, you should see an emotional therapist. We are multidimensional human beings and therefore must care for ALL parts of ourselves. You’re worth it.

Hope this has helped someone.

~ Kay Dee © 2018 “The Art of Letting Go”

When Buried Things Resurface

dig shovel

When buried things suddenly resurface —
On the way into work today I was listening to the radio. A song came on by a particular artist, and something inside twinged. I said to myself, ‘I don’t like this group’ and I turned the station. Then, I thought to myself, ‘why don’t I like them?’. As I reflected, it came to me that I didn’t like them because they’re associated with a negative memory from years ago. Several years ago, I was staying with a friend because I was in a tight spot and needed somewhere for myself and my family to stay temporarily. That time was a mixture of blessings and of negative memories as well.

It was a blessing because my friend opened her home to us in a time of need. Not everyone will do that for you. But, it was negative because sometimes whether the friend & her family meant to or not, they could be condescending, a bit superior in attitude, and offended by just about everything. Without realizing it, I began to hold a grudge. Well it was THIS family who liked that certain musical artist and they’d play certain songs all of the time. Somewhere along the way, associated that particular musical artist they loved, with those negative experiences/feelings. It’s funny how some things we do are subconscious. So what do we do about it?

Well….You can choose to do nothing. Just ‘ignore’ it, continue to repress it and let the feeling fester under the surface and permanently reside in your heart. But, it doesn’t do you any good to keep negativity in your heart. It eats you up slowly.

You can forgive. Yeah, but that’s probably not what you feel like doing. After all, the person who wronged you doesn’t deserve forgiveness, right? That may be true. But none of us necessarily ‘deserve’ forgiveness when we do something wrong or offensive. I’m learning that forgiveness is more about us than the other person. The other person may not deserve it. But, our hearts won’t be free until we let it go. Forgiveness is not saying that what the person did was alright. Not at all. It’s not saying that you now have to be “best buddies”, because proper and healthy boundaries may still be necessary. But, it is saying, “I’m letting go of your offense. I’m not giving it power to make me angry or negative anymore. I’m letting it go.” In essence, you’re wiping them off of your vendetta list, or removing the black dot next to their name. You’re forgiving them their offenses against you…for your own peace. Sometimes this may involve going to the person and telling them you forgive them. But, most times, it’s something we need to do within our own hearts and minds, for us alone.

God offered us his forgiveness through Christ’s death on the cross.  With his help, we can also forgive.

©KD / KDCorner 2014 “When Buried Things Resurface”

Photo Credit: morguefile.com (jpkwitter)