Tag: Gratitude

Coping Mechanisms: Little boxes, Little boxes, Little boxes made of ticky tacky

The title to this post belongs to Malvina Reynolds who composed this song about social housing, but it is so apt for my post! 

broken open box

I thought that given that I have now shared with you how three months on from starting my Mad Journal journal I had decided view to it as tool I could use for ‘A New Beginning’, that I would tell you about the discussion I had with my then teenage son; and how from it I learnt about one of the main things  that I would need to use to get us to where we are today: Acceptance. 

One day when Rich was at work Tom found me crying; he was still so worried about me, and in exaspiration he asked me why I just couldn’t let it go and be happy that Rich was back.

I told him that I just could not just move on from what Rich had done; how all my life I had always had the coping mechanism of visualising a box and putting whatever was bothering me into that box, putting the lid on it and filing it away.  But this time it was not working; I had even tried to put the fucking thing in a lead lined box and weld the lid on and still it came back out and bit me on the arse every day! I just could not stand the thought of having this thing in my mind  for the rest of my life. The things in that box broke my heart every time I thought of them: Rich laughing at me with her; Rich kissing her at Tankerton; Rich setting up house with her; the dressing gowns hung his and her style on the back of the door; how long it had been going on and on and on and on… https://makingthisbetter.com/2018/10/20/may-the-detritus-of-betrayal-fighting-for-my-dignity-in-so-many-ways/

Tom looked at me incredulously and said ‘well that’s not going to work mum, you have to face it and deal with it! How stupid that you thought you could put it in a box; that is not dealing with it!’ He was right! But I was lost! I didn’t know what else I could do to help myself because this had always been my coping mechanism and I couldn’t think of another one. I could not bear the thoughts and images in my head; and more than that I could not bear the thought of what Rich had done to me. 

So I went to my ‘thinking’ place, the Downs, and sat looking out at the expanse of sea and sky and I just let all  of the contents of that box wash over me. Rich had laughed at me, Rich had set up with someone else, Rich had sex with someone else, Rich had lied to me, everything… I cried and cried, but eventually I said to myself ‘This is where you are Moisy, like it or not! You have to get up and get on with it. Stay or go, just make sure you are sure before you make that decision. Don’t be afraid of which one you make.”

I had to accept that it was what it was; that to stay was going to be really painful and that we may not survive in the end. Accept that I was on my own. Accept that although Rich was with me I could not look to him to give me emotional support, not after all he had done. What we had was gone, what I was left with now I didn’t know if I wanted it; and for my own sanity I had to look after me and make decisions based solely on how I felt. 

I had to accept the fact that these fucking things in my head were in my head, they controlled it right now; and by accepting that I actually took some of their power away; because part of their power was the element of surprise – just when you thought you were okay there they were again! 

So I learned over time to say out loud ‘Oh! There you are!’ or ‘ I wondered when you were going to rear your ugly head!’ Another saying was ‘I knew that was coming!’ Or ‘Tell me something I don’t know!’ It worked, accepting it worked; it took a long time but it got easier every day. 

In addition to this, were the small things that Rich did during this time, Lots of small things: showed me affection, cried, showed gratitude, reflected; and over time, as you will see, this started to make new pictures in my mind. More importantly when I thought about giving up, when the thoughts overwhelmed me the small things made me realise that the man I would be leaving would be the man stood in front of me;  not the man who left me he was just a memory. I still see that today: The man Rich is today, he is not the man who left me. 

It is small things, like pieces of a jigsaw they all fit together to make a bigger thing to make something new; but the timeframe is a long one, and you have to be in it for the long haul if you want to stay; and you you have to accept that ultimately you may walk away. 

So the things in your mind: accept them, embrace them, tell them that  your not afraid of them, take their power away. 

Moisy 

 

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