I’ve been in an okay place lately. Most days I am no longer emotional, though the anger and resentment still rear their ugly heads on occasion. I am navigating the separation and start of a life on my own after so many years of marriage as best I can. While this is not what I wanted in a million years I have moved towards acceptance. I read on one of the threads yesterday a question about what constitutes emotional abuse. This touched a nerve with me because in therapy yesterday the word “guilt” came up. I’ve had a lot of stress lately. The separation, navigating the impending divorce with a teenage son at home, work stress, and all that comes with essentially being a single parent.
I didn’t realize it but with all of this stress the one thing that runs like a vein throughout me are my feelings of guilt. Guilt that I couldn’t save my marriage and I was less than the wife he needed (in his eyes). Guilt that I can’t seem to get it all done at work because there is the work of 10 people, and I’m so much less focused than I used to be. I go over things, and then go over them again because no matter what I do my mind is trapped in the fog of my existence right now, and guilt over somehow failing my son in the failure of my marriage. Having even less time to spend with him now that I am doing all of this on my own – guilt - guilt - guilt.
Where Did The Guilt Come From?
Because all of this guilt is taking up an inordinate amount of time and energy to feed and it is truly wearing me to the core. My therapist said it’s going to take time and work to get away from these feelings of guilt and a conscious effort on my part to find my sense of self-worth. Where did it go? Because drilled into my head over and over and in insidious ways over the course of my marriage was the belief that I “was not good enough”. No, it was never said in those blunt terms but in many various ways; then internalized by me until it became the script that ran over and over in my head until I believed it. Don’t expect too much, you are not worthy. Don’t ask for too much, you are not worthy. Do what I feel you should do, or you are not worthy.
Be a certain way, look a certain way. It all boiled down to “you are not good enough”. So you do more, take on more – all trying to prove your worth to someone you shouldn’t have to prove it to. Really how sick is that? How do we as strong independent women allow this to happen? How do they take our love and commitment to our family and turn it around on us? Was our sense of self worth so low to begin with that it was easy for them to steal even that? These are questions I have been asking myself lately and the answers really sadden me because somehow in all the love I thought I was giving I was enabling the situation to get worse.
Regaining The Self Worth My Ex Destroyed
When I first came to this site someone made the observation that my STBX was emotionally abusive and I balked at the time hearing that. But about a year later I am closer to understanding that many of the signs of it were indeed there. I was just so focused on trying to be everything to keep his love that I failed to realize that it was an unattainable goal – and that while I’ve been beating myself up for the failure of my marriage it really has so much more to do with him than it ever had to do with me. For those of you who have gone down that road, how do you regain that sense of self worth? I have mistakenly put it in “doing” I think, rather than “being” so this is uncharted territory for me. But I want to get there – need to get there, because somehow I believe that healing lies on the other side of that. And if I have to go through this, as much as I detest it - I want there to at least be a lesson learned and somehow come out better for it.