Yesterday was a bad day. Today is a new one. This is what I tell myself.
My CoDA friend did get back to me.
You are pulling away from the window by contacting another CoDA friend, she encouraged.
She went on: what you learned as a kid with your dad is still stuck in your heart, like with spines! And your boyfriend keeps bumping it and making it stick all over again.
That critical voice in your head, the one with all the spines, the one saying there must be something wrong with you and that’s why they leave you out, that’s a lie. The voice saying that if I could just figure out what to do I could get him to understand then he wouldn’t be so hurtful. That’s a lie, too.
There. Is. Nothing. Wrong. With. You!
People do things for their own reasons. They are not doing it “to you,” they are just doing it. And you are getting caught in the fallout.
She’s right. These people–my boyfriend, included–are not doing these things “to me.” He’s doing these things for his own reasons. Everyone has issues, including him. Guilt, shame, and fear are the most powerful motivators in existence. And I need to remember that just as I am often crippled by them, so is he. But he may not be entirely self-aware that these are his driving forces in his decision-making.
I need to let him operate on the plane he’s on. And realize that his limitations affect every decision he makes, just as mine do. He’s not doing things “to me,” he’s doing things because he has his own guilt, shame, and fear that guide him from under the surface of his conscious thought.
Yesterday went from bad to worse at work. I told one colleague I was ready to quit. I got snarky with my boss, and, luckily, we have that type of relationship where I was given the freedom to do so without consequence.
At the end of the day, my boss insisted on making me smile before I left, and said everyone has days like this, not to worry. He hugged me twice.
Then a colleague, who was sharp all day texted me later to tell me she loved me, she wasn’t meaning to yell, she was just in work mode.
Anyways, she wrote, it’s ok to feel your feelings, remember? I’m sorry you had a shitty day, but tomorrow is a new one. And, Friday. Just survive one more day.
Today is a new day. And more to the point, I have work to do.
I’m recognizing more that this is the life I’ve chosen. I’ve intentionally stayed at my job though I know I could get something higher paying–with benefits–elsewhere. I’ve neglected the emails from the resume writer I hired. A study guide will arrive today to help me prepare for that certification exam. A guide I finally ordered after nearly two months of procrastinating.
In my planner, each weekly layout has a “Space of Infinite Possibilities,” as well as a two-page spread for mapping out goals. Save for writing down the name and author of a book I’d like to read, I haven’t touched these spaces.
And I think it’s largely because I’m afraid of setting goals. I’ve set numerous weight loss goals in my life and failed most. I’ve announced countless career changes that I’ve then abandoned shortly thereafter.
If I am feeling stuck, it is because I stuck myself.
In my response to my CoDA friend’s message, I admitted to as much.
About those spines, I wrote: …I’m tired of sticking to them, and perhaps, driving myself further onto it.
And that’s what all of this about, really. In some psychologically perverse effort of self-sabotage, I’m martyring my life, my happiness, and my finances, by making choices that ‘stick’ me.
Whether I do this because of the childhood trauma of being abandoned by my father (who is now making daily efforts to connect and support me), or because I have not let go of the guilt and shame of walking away from my marriage and giving custody of my kids to my ex, or because I feel like a bad person for enjoying my life here that is only possible in many ways because I do not have the kids here with me, well…there are numerous and seemingly endless ways, reasons, and excuses for throwing myself on those spines.
I need to set goals. Goals for the day, goals for my life. What is it that I want? How will I get there? And who will I give power to to decide what methods are right or wrong?
He and I sat at a table last night and the topic of money came up. For over a year now, we’ve maintained separate finances. We divide household expenses. We split property tax and house repair payments. We often divide grocery expenses, too.
He’s often referred to me as “deep pockets.” Last night, I told him that I don’t have deep pockets. I once did, but those deep pockets got nearly emptied in buying the two houses we own.
What about the $5,000 for that truck you want to buy?
I don’t have it.
You don’t? But you pretend like you’re going to go look at it.
Yeah, I think it would be fun to look at, but no, I don’t have the cash to buy it.
How were you planning to buy it then?
I thought I may save up for it. But, no, I couldn’t buy it now without taking out a loan.
Nope, I don’t have deep pockets.
But, just as he psychologically operates by different guiding principles and does not do things “to me,” we’re also guided by different financial principles as well. We share many ideals, but I’m also coming to discern that we have different concepts of a “financial safety net,” too.
In brief, I feel safer with more than he does.
If he knew the state of my finances, he might again start using the moniker “deep pockets.” I don’t feel particularly comfortable right now, but again, it’s all about perception.
And again, I’m stuck not because of the false beliefs I’ve guarded that my being stuck is a consequence of others’ actions or failures to recognize my value, worth, etc.
That’s a false perception.
I’m stuck because I’ve made choices (or not) that have not moved from this point I’m at today. I’m stuck because I’ve stuck myself.
It’s time to do some unsticking.