Day 29: Navigating pain with grace.

From my hike last Sunday.

EDIT: I really hesitated to post this, because it feels like all I am doing is wallowing in self-pity and rambling on/complaining. But writing it helped me feel better and worst case scenario I can take this down. NO SHAME.

It feels so weird to be both ok and not ok at the same time. 

It’s been a very painful last few days. A lot of my feeling ‘not ok’ has to do with being broken up with.

My relationship ended on Monday, which came as a semi-surprise. It had been going badly for a while, but really started to spin out of (my) control during the last two weeks. For months now, my partner had been feeling overwhelmed with his own issues, then went back to therapy, then started to drift away emotionally, wanting to “put himself first”, until he became indecisive about the relationship in itself, and ended up claiming he was “unable” to be in a relationship at this time, mentioning breaking up a couple of times, then changing his mind, until on Monday I asked him to stop torturing me and just make a decision, and he went from “i love you, I don’t know” to,  “yes I think we should break up. I don’t know what the future holds but right now it is too much”. All this via text message.

I’m trying really hard to respect his decision, and not blame myself for “pressuring him” into making it.

I am unsure of whether it was a good thing to block him straight away, as opposed to having an adult, mature conversation in person. But at this point, I feel that asking to meet in person would be me giving into my cravings and have nothing to do with any kind of adult, mature decision.

Also, he has my key and email address and lives 2 minutes away. If he needs to talk he knows where to find me.

[MUST STOP HOPING THAT HE WILL SHOW UP!!!!]

I am currently honoring the customary zero contact policy of newly broken up people, but MAN, not knowing how he is, what he is up to, if he regrets his choice or is having the time of his life etc. is driving me nuts.  I feel like a junkie in withdrawal.

Right now, grief and loss are completely clouding my judgment, turning my inner waters (eeeeew weird metaphor) murky with cognitive dissonance and distorted memories. Intellectually, I know that I am wasting my time whenever I catch myself ruminating or trying to “wrap my mind around” -i.e., accept- his decision. HE DOES NOT WANT TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH ME, end of story. And there is nothing I can do about that. I need to stop trying to undo it and “understand” in my mind.

Also -and i hate this- I know that am completely idealizing this person right now, forgetting the NUMEROUS shitty aspects of our relationship, which very often outweighed the positive ones. But emotionally I haven’t caught up with these “intellectual truths” yet.

And then I remember it’s only been 3 days and I am already being hard on myself, expecting myself to be fully healed, when these things take time. 

[BUT HOW MUCH TIME?????]

Strangest of all, I am forgetting that for MONTHS now, I was the unhappy one, toying with the idea of breaking up… andHE was the one to argue that we should keep trying to make it work. How can it be so easy to forget that not so long ago, I really wanted (but didn’t have the insight or the courage) to get out of an unfulfilling, frustrating – but addictive- relationship? And here is the keyword: addictive. 

I really should go over my journal of the last few months and remind myself of what it was actually like. How I kept (secretly) wanting him to change, or wanting to help him change (“THEN, we would be happy”). BEEP BEEP… Co-dependent red flag alert!!!!  

Is this why things feels so painful this time around? (My last two break ups were fine but 1) I was not in love, 2) I was doing the breaking up myself 3) I was the adult making a mature decision, not the baby begging to maintain the status quo )

The fact that we started out as friends (friends who met five years ago and were in respective badly-ending relationships at the time, and decided not to be together because we both declared ourselves co-dependent and not ready for healthy relationships) is making it harder for me to remember how shitty it was to have this (beautiful) person as a romantic partner. It’s ironic that he wouldn’t be with me back then (because he “wasn’t ready) and that five years later, here we are again, he is dumping me (because he is still not ready).

We spent SO MUCH TIME analyzing our relationship, our patterns, our growth. Sometimes it feels like we were meta-commentators of our relationship, and not actually really living it. Overthinkers, for sure.

Towards the end of the relationship, I had turned into his mother/therapist. I realize now that I was addicted to that role, and no amount of “analysis” would preserve us from that dynamic. He would cry, I would comfort him. And those were the good times. Most of the time he would be too self-absorbed in his misery to give me the affection i needed.

When he finally decided to grow up and work on himself without me, taking a step back and requesting some space/solitude, I suddenly freaked out (oh nooooo this person doesn’t need me!!) and I BECAME THE BABY who started clinging (“let’s make this work”, “I want to work on this”).

Now I am the drug addict in withdrawal. 

It would have been much easier to break up with him when I wanted to. But I didn’t. I chose the path of un-adulthood. Of addiction. Of fear.

Now i have no choice.

Now I get to work through this abandonment wound that reaches far deeper/beyond my current situation, unearthing past betrayals and infantile helplessness from growing up with an alcoholic mother and passive father . THANKS UNIVERSE AND YOUR LIFE LESSONS 🙂  In rare glimpses of lucidity I can see how this is a precious opportunity. And I am grateful. And I do the work.

I have been doing a lot of guided meditations involving letting go, forgiving and self-forgiveness, inner child work. I feel like this is true progress, that would be inconceivable if I was drinking.

I am learning to master my fear of solitude.

Then the grief hits again and it’s back to muddy, murky waters of self-pity. Whyyyyyyyyyyy ? Why won’t anyone looooove meeeee ? 

Then I snap out of it again and remember to love myself. 

Urgh. This is tiring.

What I am suffering from is less a breakup than deeper fears of being unworthy, unloved, rejected, etc. Healing is something that can only happen between me and myself. Not me and this person, whom I am projecting all my shit on, hoping that they can make me happy. 

I know all of this. 

Intellectually.

Come on emotions, let’s goooooo, catch up!!!!

Oh, yeah – gotta slow down and allow myself to feeeeeel.

Urgh.

Although sobriety is making it harder, I am trying not to isolate too much and see friends whenever I can (this is a small town and being a grad student here is a lonely, lonely isolated kind of life, but I’m doing my best). I am talking to them about my pain but trying not drown them in my misery and complaints (including you guys). Most of all, I AM NOT RUNNING AWAY FROM GRIEF. I feel it when it comes, I let it be there, holding the feelings, then let it pass. Over and over again. I don’t listen to the panicky thoughts. Hopefully, this shit gets easier as days go by. Kind of like alcohol and nicotine cravings.

[At this rate I will soon turn into a buddhist monk, I will need no food or water and live all by myself in my cave with no cravings and no desires ^^]

The day after the breakup, I was feeling very vulnerable, and for the first time EVER, I went to this meditation center close to my house where they hold weekly “recovery” meetings (a kind of secular AA). It was my first “meeting” of any kind, ever. And I was the only one there, with the organizer. Since the content of the meetings and the identity of the participants are confidential, I will not say much. But, man, this person was inspiring in their sobriety journey involving raising a 3 year old in between jail time, dealing with childhood trauma, and organ donation ! My little breakup seemed like a small affair in comparison. 

SO here I am.

  • I am single
  • I am sad
  • I am still sober, it’s been 29 days
  • I am still nicotine free. It’s been 4 months

I also reached out to some therapists in my area – I feel like I need the support right now. 

I’m trying really hard to do everything I can to heal. 

But it’s been 3 days. And it feels like 3 months.

Every day, I wake up and go to sleep crying. 

MUST REMEMBER: though I basically quit alcohol and cigarettes WITH my partner, it doesn’t mean that I quit FOR him. I quit for myself. Now that I am no longer with him, I still want to maintain my sobriety. Sometimes I get confused (“fuck this pain, let’s get hammered”), but I know that in the long run, I want to take care of myself. 

Now I have one more thing to wean myself from: him. Or rather: my unhealthy relationship patterns.

I need to stop being a giant baby. Or start parenting the giant baby inside me, with compassion and firm resolve.

I can’t wait for this inner lake to settle a bit so I can see through things properly and remember that I am enough, and I need to – and can- love myself. And end this withdrawal.

From my last hike, again. It was beautiful.

Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

6 thoughts on “Day 29: Navigating pain with grace.

  1. I’m glad you are getting out hiking!
    Yes, give yourself the gift of time.
    Going to a meeting, and finding a therapist is really a good idea.
    Support is vital, in my opinion.
    Hugs!
    xo
    Wendy

    Like

  2. your’e doing amazing for 3 days! Allowing the grief is so what you need to do now and it will get easier, and you are so on what you need to be doing You’ve got this! 💞💞💞big hugs and take care xx

    Like

    1. thank you ❤ A few years ago, I never would have guessed that there was a healthy vs. unhealthy way to navigate a breakup (or painful experience in general). Now all I want is to "do this breakup thing right", for the first time ever 🙂 It's weird but despite the pain, I am happy!

      Liked by 1 person

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