Honesty is the only way forward.
Accepting the mistakes, owning the hurts and releasing the negativity that goes with secrets.
I am 43, I grew up in a normal family, I am the oldest of 3 children and I was a bossy, controlling, manipulative child.
We all were raised to be respectful and to think about the image we projected to the world, to really think about how we looked to others with our behavior. This is no different to most families I am sure.
I would say we were not poor but we were far from wealthy, we got by but there was no lavish holidays, fancy cars or name brand clothing in our lives unless they were handed down or from an op-shop.
We had a roof over our heads, meals on the table and clothes to wear. Our father was the bread winner, our mum worked as well, more so as we got older.
Normal, that is the word I used throughout my life, normal family.
We were the epitome of a normal family, normal life, nothing that made us stand out or stick out.
So how does someone that grew up in such a normal life become ME?
How is it that the girl that was the carer of her siblings, the oldest, the normal everyday girl becomes the women that leaves her husband on more than one occasion, loses a child, has an affair and now lives day to day constantly second guessing her decisions and pulling herself out of depression and fits of anxiety. What happened to the normal girl?
Where in the guide book for life did the story change?
I got married at 20 and I was pregnant on my 21st birthday.
I met my husband at a Polocrosse Carnival not long after breaking up with a lovely guy that was a bit to much older than me. I met Lynden and from that Saturday afternoon in August 1992 we have been in each other’s lives.
I put it that way because there is a long road in the ensuing 25 years.
We had a 6 week old son when my husband was involved in a drink driving accident and our lives became a nightmare for over a year with surgery and recovery.
My husband is a drinker, this impacted our relationship because I thought he drank to escape me. He would go to the pub or over to mates and I would be at home with the kids. I could never understand why .. I still struggle with it today but I have to work on the knowledge that it isn’t about me.
There are reasons and hereditary elements to alcohol addiction and there is also an element of denial for those that drink too much.
It is no different to spending too much money, eating too much food or doing drugs. I think it gives the same endorphin rush and therefore becomes a ritual need or desire.
We have 2 more children over the next 7 years and all is a normal routine of working, drinking and apologies. I leave after the second child because I cant imagine letting my children become the same as their father.
There is an affair on his behalf and my world slowly falls apart.
Let me say at this point I have been working full-time, I have worked through my children, I have also spent the money on my children and my friends and my garden and house. I filled what I felt was a real gaping wound with spending.
In the earlier years there was no money, we lived on $150 a week at some points, but as we built on business and my positions become higher the spending increased.
They say the 2 killers of marriage are money and alcohol…geez what hope did we have?
I leave, Lynden follows and I move back.
I tell him I am leaving again some maybe 2 years later and he goes on the ultimate bender. It was so bad that friends warned me he had left a party very intoxicated and was on his way home to me in a bad state..It was a catalyst for the end of our relationship, There was abuse and phones ripped from walls and there was irrational behavior and I ended up putting my boys in their room and sitting against their door eye balling Lynden for what felt like hours until the sun started to rise and his mother and brother turned up to take him aside. By that stage my mother turned up as well to pack us up and move us away for what I thought would be the final time.
This all sounds like Lynden was a devil. The reality is I was not perfect, I was lonely and felt betrayed and I was angry and bitter, so trust me the anger and rage did come out of me whenever we fought, it took me forever to work out you cant argue with a drunk, you cannot rationalise with them, you cannot seek honesty from them, they are not the person you know and love, they do not exist in that drunken state. If only I had realized he acted out because he loved me, loved us and didn’t want us to go.
So I became as bad in a different way. I sought attention from other men, I wanted to feel important and loved because I felt I wasn’t getting that at home.
I had relations with other men and I am far from proud of it, I am now looking back and while I know I rationalized this behavior against Lynden’s it did not help, it did not fix anything, it created lies and hidden truths and it also caused family Venom and spite.
I learned that once words have left your mouth they cannot be forgotten, they will continue to hurt long into the future.
Not only those I dished out but the ones that were railed at me.
Ok so leaving twice and packing more than a dozen times only to talk our way back to civil and where are we…. Stints with AA for Lynden and counseling for me.
My manic behavior displayed was a worry to Lynden as he couldn’t understand why I made it about me all the time.
Once we had gotten back together and left behind some of the negative driving forces for both our behavior there was a period of calm, a period where there seemed to be a true happiness for us. We both had jobs in town, dependent only on each other and there was no alcohol in the mix to make me crazy and angry and ever threatening to leave.
You see I couldn’t understand that Lynden loved me, I didn’t see his behaviour as anything but a slight on me. I couldn’t keep being the responsible adult, the one that had to be good and behave and be available Incase something were to happen that I needed to go the hospital with the kids, or pick Lynden up from places when he was too intoxicated to drive, or if there was another accident like the one when my son was 6 weeks old.
And there in lies the first instance, the first real moment when I thought I could never rely on my husband, I could never think he would always be there or able to manage an emergency because to me he was always drinking. The devil is in the details. I now know that I left last year because the responsibility was far too great. I looked around at my life and the near empty nest that I had and I knew that I had had enough. If I had to be responsible, I was only going to be responsible for me, then there was no one to blame if I was unhappy except myself, there was no one I could feel let down by. That in itself as I learnt was a huge error on my part. I am a victim of my own issues.
I ended up in another relationship with the man I had broken up with before I met my husband. I thought it would work out so well, I thought it would be new and fresh and it would be the perfect relationship, after all we knew each other, we had both lived though adversity and now we both just wanted to be loved and not alone.
When you are in that situation the fairytale can never be the reality because the lives we had lived prior had scarred us on different levels and our expectations are shaped on our pasts. We take into the relationship our own problems. For me I wanted this lovely kind man to be my savior and let me be the controlling, ranting, bossy, authoritative mess that I had become in my marriage. For all the things I felt I had never had in my marriage I thought I could have in this relationship. Crikey I am a bitch in real terms.. I do not give and take, it is my way or the highway.
You see when you live for 25 years adapting to your life that you feel is not what you expected it is very hard to then pick up in a new relationship and be different. You are a product of your life experience.
As a side note I did learn one thing in this process after extensive psychology sessions. My character trait is servitude. I feel that I have to be the carer and the responsible party, that comes from my upbringing, oldest child and sibling minder. As a part of this character trait I do, to gain attention and acknowledgement. I am a cleaner, I at times was borderline OCD because I equated cleanliness to control, acceptance and appreciation. I thought a spotless house, tidy yard, clean car and nice meals would give me love, attention and acknowledgement that I craved. I would do anything that would get me positive feedback. I usually had to prompt for it though, I usually had to ask if the work had been noticed, if the cleaning had an effect, if the meal was OK?
That led to asking insistently whether I was loved.. You do love me don’t you ? Do you love me ? .. In the end it wouldn’t have mattered what the response was because I didn’t believe it.
My marriage fell apart from the beginning, we attract what we know will give us the result we expect. I took on a project, I took on a man that I felt I could fix, I took on a man that had never stood on his own two feet, he had not yet left his mother, to me he wanted a mother, someone to cook and clean and that was what I did. Among that I thought I could change him for the better ofcourse, 25 years later I can tell you that is a battle I cannot win. Please know, my husband is a great father, friend and an even better farmer. He is an amazing businessman and well liked. I can honestly say he is incredible, he has gone from the depths of despair and he has lived through a hell no one ever wants to live through when we lost our son, he is a hero. Mostly he is human. We all have struggles and we all have our own demons, regardless of the affliction.
This is just my story, this is just my take on my life, this is my opinion.
I am far far far from perfect, I am very sorry for the hurts I have inflicted on my husband, children and family. I am sorry also to the people I dragged through the turmoil. I am stronger now that I am starting to understand and embrace the journey, I am trying to help my daughter navigate the teen years with honesty and understanding and she is helping me understand the nature of human beings.
Such imperfect creatures.
Till the next time
Smile, Breath Deep and embrace your truth …there in lies freedom …