Saturday, September 19, 2009

Self

My life feels so different. I still feel absolutely unchained. I have had the revelation that my circumstances over the last two or three years have really brought me to my knees in the self-esteem department. In fact, my self esteem has been in the toilet.

I have spent a good portion of my life trying to convince myself that I am "good enough." I'm not sure where this started, although I do remember spending a lot of time as a child praying for forgiveness over every little thing I did "wrong." The extreme religious shunning I suffered at age 18 which resulted in me losing every friend I ever had did *nothing* for my sense of worth, but I had the strength and commitment to start over from scratch. I moved to a new city in a new state across the country. I build new friendships. I worked and saved and paid for my college with no help from my parents, and I made a good life for myself. I felt pretty great about that.

Somewhere along the lines, I got tripped up and started feeling bad about myself again. I think it had to do with the treatment of a spouse in my first, nine year marriage. I started getting fat then. I didn't like it. I dieted. I got made fun of by my father in law for being a "fatass" when I weighed all of 165 pounds. I battled the weight up and down from 165 to 200 pounds. I felt great when I'd lost the weight. But the way I was treated left me wondering what was wrong with me.

When my marriage ended, I fell apart. I really did. I was an emotional wreck, trying to raise my little kids all by myself and wondering if I would ever have the life I wanted again. What did I want? Well, I wanted to be a Mom. I wanted to stay home and raise a bunch of children. Having been an only child, and having been shunned by my mother and left fatherless because of my Dad's too-early death, I was desperate to create a family for myself. I wanted a decent husband and some kids and just to enjoy life. I wanted to clean the house and do crafts and teach my kids to read. I wanted to wait for my husband to come home from work and give him a nice meal to welcome him home. I wanted to go camping together as a family, or fly kites, or rent a movie. I wanted to be a wife and mother, that's all. That was all I longed for in the world: to have a best friend and raise our children.

The divorce shattered that dream and gave birth to another. I had to provide for my kids alone, so I worked, I went to school, I bent over backwards to try and give my kids all the love and happiness I could. But when you have a bunch of little kids and their father leaves, you can expect their behavior to deteriorate for awhile. And it did.

One of the worst moments of my life came one day not long after my husband had left. I was struggling and stressed and just trying to cope. I was home with the baby, probably looking for jobs in the paper, when my oldest son came bolting in the front door and running downstairs. He was about 7 years old and walked home from school because it was very close. Before I could call down to him to see what was wrong, a very vigorous knock came at the door. Worried, I cautiously opened it. Immediately, I was blasted with rage from a screaming woman standing on my doorstep. "YOUR SON threw a rock at MY SON!!!!!!" she screamed. My jaw dropped. "I'm sorry.... I..." but I couldn't even get any words out of ask if her son was okay before she was raging at me further. She called me a bad mother. She screamed that my son was terrible and needs to be punished. Children who were walking home on our street were all coming up to my door to see the drama and watch her scream. There must have been a dozen little kids there, staring at me. This woman did not stop. She continued to rage. Tears began to roll down my face. My baby started to cry. When that woman took a breath, I said, "I am so sorry, my husband left and I am alone with four kids and I can't do this... " and I shut and locked the door. I sat on the stairs and sobbed while the woman banged on my front door, screaming, "Hey, I'm sorry, I didn't know you were having a rough time. My kid is okay, let's talk." But I didn't open the door. I was, at that point in time, reduced to a nothing, a nobody. I had absolutely no worth in my eyes. She stayed there banging on the door, going around to my windows and shouting in at me for fifteen minutes. I sat in the house and cried.

I think that had to be the real low point in my life. If I was not a good mother, if I was not a good wife, what was I? My child's misbehavior and my husband's absence left me wondering.

I had to really grab hold of some kind of inner strength around that time. I had to look at my life and say, THIS is not what I want. I had to form a new plan. I had to MAKE the life I wanted. And I did.

For five years I went to college. I worked. I created a brand new identity for myself in a field that I loved. I had the skills and the determination and when I graduated, the opportunities were just laid right out for me. I would have a job in a respected field doing what I loved. I'd make enough money to take care of US. I was going to be okay.

Then my husband happened. And it was a good thing! I was thrilled to have a chance at the wife role again, and we were both excited when our wonderful daughter was born. She was quite sick though. We decided that I would stay home and care for her, and I reverted back to the role of Mommy and Wife. The working me was put on the back burner for awhile.

What happens when the person who is supposed to be your best friend and #1 supporter starts telling you how awful you are? What do you do when the person you called your soul mate decides that you are not even worth bothering to talk to anymore except for an occasional berating? And when he said I was not a good mother, my mind flashed back to that younger me sitting on the stairs crying while that woman banged and screamed at the door. Not a good mother... not a good wife... what AM I anymore?

I'm fat. I'm unemployed. I'm married to someone who has been very clear that they do not love me, respect me, or have any compassion for me. What to do with that? I've been wondering for a long time. Who am I?

The moments of clarity after the funeral have drawn me to the conclusion that once again it is time to reform my life. I need to redefine my goals and set my sights on something better. I have to believe that I am, in fact, not a nobody. I have to believe that I matter.

So I grab onto the facts that *I* know are true. I *am* a good mother. I adore my children and they always, always come first. I *am* an intelligent person who can have a promising career in my chosen field when I am ready. I *am* a writer. I am someone who cares about others, who believes that generosity always blesses the giver, and that kindness matters. I am strong enough to defend myself and gentle enough to forgive myself.

Deep inside there is still a little kid wondering if she is ever going to be good enough. But I believe in me, and brick by brick I am going to build the life I want for myself and my children. My new vision, my love for MYSELF, will carry me through.

56 comments:

Debbie said...

Hi

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I really am. I'm sorry that you got knocked back just when it seemed as though you were going to get the one dream in the world that you loved.

The behavior you are describing sounds a lot like a personality disorder. (Love Devalue Discard) and I just thought that I'd include this link as it might provide some useful information.
http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/

Also, I just wanted you to know that I'm trying to lose weight too. Had 80lbs and I'm down 10 so far. I drank for a number of years, been sober for 4 months.

I think that you are amazing, I really do. To work, take care of the kids and be able to succeed at such a massive challenge.....WOW!

You are capable, compassionate, determined, intelligent, resourceful, insightful and thoughtful.

I have no doubt that you will achieve your goal. Don't be so hard on yourself that the weight loss is going slow. Do your friends have five children and bad knees to contend with? Like you said, its not a sprint its a marathon and having stuck with it so far and working through the set backs is a heck of a lot easier than dropping it quick.

My brother did Atkins, and lost a huge amount of weight in like 2 months. (Chocoholic BTW) but he's an emotional eater, so after the initial run was done he gained it all back and then some. He never could get back on it again so making this a lifestyle and allowing yourself time to work through the emotional issues that got you here is absolutely the right thing in my humble opinion.

Hubby picking on your weight is a cheap shot. Its like punching a man in the happy sack area. Not a fair fight. Like you said in your previous post, your 'problem' is visible, other people's are not. If you had passed me on the street you'd never have known I had trouble with alcohol. I've never been arrested, never been drunk in public etc etc but my life was sucking just the same.

Anyhoo, hugs, big big hugs.

Dalilah said...

I relate so much with your post...sounds like you and I could be good friends IRL. I have been fortunate that my husband changed a lot...once in a blue moon when he's mad at me he'll berate me and I sock it right back to him. :) All the years of verbal and mental damage took its toll..still trying to dig myself out of the ditch. You will dig yourself out...I know it. At least you've begun the change...I'm still looking at it and trying to figure out what to do with it. Know what I mean?

Zombie Mom said...

I am a longtime lurker - sorry you had so much pain!! And I love your resiliency. I am also a former heavy weight- lost 65-70 pounds- now my husband has gone from calling me fat to dried up. Whatev! I am over it.

Anyway, we all deserve love and respect and kindness. Glad to see you are on the road to embracing that for yourself and your kids.

Nice to meet another "great mom".

Hang in there

screwdestiny said...

Wow, that's really brave of you to open yourself up like that and share all of that with us. I'm sure it doesn't mean much, but I'm sorry you've had to go through so much pain. You don't sound like a bad person at all, don't sound like someone who deserved any of that. But I also believe everything happens for a reason, and maybe you do too, so you can go forward and live the life you want, once and for all.

wendy said...

I have been reading your blog for around 12 months now and rarely, if ever comment, but I feel moved to do so today.

Of all the blogs that I read, you come across as caring, sensitive, hard-working (for your family), a wonderful mother.

You deserve better. Hang on in there.

damjanalikesitwholesome said...

And you're smart, intelligent, I can see that! I'd give you a hug of comfort if I was there..as I'm not, I'm sending you a virtual one. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

I am right behind you. You are going to power ahead now. Down the track you are going to visit Australia and my door is open to you and your children for a long term stay. With love. Carol

Dinah Soar said...

Lyn..the religous people who shunned you are not God. I imagine they twisted the Bible for their own benefit. Forget them, and what they taught you. Read the Bible, see what it says for yourself. I can tell you one thing it says--God loves you, you are created in His image and you are not junk...never have been, never will be.

Amy H. said...

Lyn, I am so sorry that the person that is supposed to support and encourage you, your husband, treats you so poorly. It sounds toxic to me. While the alternative, being on your own, sounds challenging, you've proven you can do it. I love your writing and your vibrancy shines in every post. I know you're going to be OK with all you've got going for you.

Hallie said...

Your husband is taking his dissatisfaction with his own life out on you. I saw my Dad do it to my Mom. I know it's hard not to let it affect your self-esteem, but it really has less to do with you than it does with him. If you want to stay married, you'll probably both need outside counseling. In the meantime, you can definitely refuse, *REFUSE*, to accept his put-downs.

spunkysuzi said...

My ex used to berate me for my weight and at that time i weighed 150 lbs!! He was an idiot. It took me a long time but i finally found the courage to leave him!!
You are smart, sassy, and honest. And a wonderful mother. You are also definitely a great writer :)

Deb said...

Three words for you, Lyn:


You deserve better.

Dana (www.eatsleepgetfit.com) said...

Deep post Lyn. Thanks for sharing with us. Just remember you ARE somebody, and you ARE worth it. It's time to get rid of the negative in your life and stop letting him bring you down. You picked yourself up once before and you can do it again. Keep your head up, stay strong!! You deserve better!

F. McButter Pants said...

Lyn,

My heart is breaking after reading your post. I hope that you really believe all those things about yourself.

You're brave. You can do this.

Melissa Venable said...

WOW. Your post meant a lot to me. Especially the story about that woman screaming at you. Broke my heart. And it breaks my heart that your husband berates you. My verbal beatings were from my mother growing up- our relationship has since been restored, but man. She caused me much pain in my high school years & that is when the pounds came on. I continued to gain even being healed of those things. Here i am 31, newly married & thankful for a husband who loves me for who i am. But i berate my own self for not getting this weight off. Anyway, i am so amazed & all of your posts help me in such a strong way. Thank you.

Megan said...

Oh Lyn, haven't commented in ages but always read, but so sad to hear you are having a rough time. Of all the blogs I read I often think about how kind you seem, how generous and what a good mother. I'm sorry you live with someone who thinks otherwise. I think you should write a book. I hope that all the good things we think about you out here make it in there just a little. Good luck friend.
Megan

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

I am so sad that you have had such struggles in your life. You have been through more in your life than many people will ever experience.

You are compassionate, caring, a good mother, and WORTH every good thing that comes your way.

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Lyn. It sounds like you have big changes coming up in your life again. That it's time to reformulate your self again and have a new dream that you can follow to give you the happiness you deserve. Bringing up children is only one part of a woman's life, and although obviously very important, there is a lot of life still to be lived after that.

I'm sure you have a wonderful career ahead of you - you have all the tenacity and intelligence you need for success. And you will also have your independence. You will truly be the person you want to be.

Many challenges lie ahead, but we all know you can do it!

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

jinxxxygirl said...

This is like the second time i've read your blog and ....wow! All i can say is i'm so sorry. My self esteem has been rock bottom for as long as i can remember. Don't really know the root cause, probably somehow stems from my child hood as i have a wonderful husband of 20 years. Loves me no matter what i look like. How precious is that?

I identify with you because we wanted alot of the same things in life. Husband,family, stay home mom take care of the home kids, do crafts, cook , clean , camp.......being able to stay home never came to pass for me. Always needed the money, always had to work too. Now kids are raised and i'm still working.....:) Time waits for no one. Time marches on. But now kids are doing well out on their own. Time to concentrate on me. Lost 80 pounds in the last year and a half. Creating a new lifestyle. Has its ups and downs. Don't get discouraged. Life is a rollercoaster.

I'm very sorry for all your pain and suffering. Don't you just wish men would fall off the face of the earth for a while??? Jinx!

Sarabei said...

Thanks for sharing, Lyn. It amazes me when I read some of the things you've been through and you're still hammering on. And you never are after pity, just putting it out there so that you can be honest.

I've found in my life, and I've read studies that point to this, that many women feel that they "aren't good enough" or that they're a fraud, even (especially?) when they're really successful. It seems like you've got that ON TOP of everything that has gone on in your life, just compounding those feelings further. One thing that I always take away from your blog is how you always keep your eye on your goal - sometimes you stray, but you always get back on track and I always think about that when I screw up, or at least when I perceive that I've screwed up. I remember that no one is perfect and as long as I'm in it for the long haul,ready to get back to it (whatever "it" is), I will be successful. You are already successful.

Steelers6 said...

Your kids see a Mom who is strong, pulls herself back up after some prettttttty rough things in life, and continues to love them with all her heart.

You are valuable and precious, Lyn.

I believe in you too.
ChrissyS

Salted with Shadows said...

Lyn, I think you are wonderful. You have done the best you could with what you had, and you will continue to. You do deserve better. Stay strong. {{{hugs}}}

Anonymous said...

Lyn ,
You are amazing, you were always amazing, and you will continue to be, no matter what.

Shelley said...

What a terrible time you've had, and yes, you do deserve much, much better. Glad you are realizing it...hang in there and hugs to you, Lyn.

Lori said...

Lyn, I am really sorry you are going through all this. It sounds like there is some toxicity that you would maybe be better off without in your life, no matter how hard it may seem to do so - the ultimate benefit for you and your children is so much more worth it. *You* are worth it and so much more as a person.

moonduster said...

Bravo!

You are a wonderful person, and you deserve to have people in your life who will build you up instead of tear you down.

I've also been through divorce with small children to care for AND a husband who was always putting me down.

Fortunately, that was all in the past and things are much better now. They will be for you too!

(((hug)))

Leslie said...

Thank you, Lyn, for your heartfelt and honest post. I always relate to you...lost dad when I was 11, only child, lost mom at 23. Mom may have wanted a child, but I always felt she didn't want the one she got. So when your own parents don't seem to like you, self esteem never develops.

No doubt you are extremely intelligent, an excellent writer, and a wonderful real mom. Your success at rebuilding self and life seem inevitable to me. I'll be along for the ride, as will all of your readers. We love you and believe in you. Leslie

NewMe said...

Lyn,

You are a smart, resilient, worthwhile person. A husband who really cares and loves you is an amazing source of support. One who berates you weakens you as an individual and as a mother. Let's be honest: it's time to give him the boot--out of your house and out of your life.

Your dream of being a stay-at-home mom might be just that: a dream. You can be a great mom and work outside the home. It also helps greatly with self-esteem to be out there accomplishing things. Think about going back to work--for yourself, for your family budget and ultimately, for your kids.

jane said...

please print this out and read it every time you lose your motivation and forget what's important..

you ARE a good mother and a caring person and you deserve a happy life (and so does everyone)..

it's time to make some changes.. life's too short! and we'll be here to hear you and support you as much as we can..

jane said...

just to clarify, when i said "print this out," i meant your post..

theantijared said...

" I "am" a writer"

Wow, that might be the understatement of the year!

Amazing, amazing post!

Katie said...

Lyn, I needed inspiration today, and you provided it. Thank you.

rmslil said...

I read this and am giving u a virtual hug.

Keep thinking about the positive and moving forward.

LD said...

Sunshine, please hang in there. You are worth it. Your goals are worth it. You deserve to be happy. Sometimes you have to give up trying to repair the childhood that has passed, the things and people that won't ever change...and work on the now to have the joy in the future that you truly deserve. I speak from experience. Hang in there mama! You have a ton of people who are cheering for you...go make it happen!

Tammy said...

Wow...what a raw post...you've had it rough Lyn, and I'm sorry about that. I love your resilience, though. I love that you realize that yes, you DO matter. Your life, your desires, your dreams, they all matter. It's good to hear you're going to go after your happiness...I'm with you all the way! :)

Ness said...

You are also an excellent writer, and an articulate, intelligent woman. Just so you know. I always enjoy your posts. :)

cindyay said...

Just wanted to say I made the butternut mac n cheese from your recipe TWICE already, delish! Thanks Lyn. I haven't read your more recent posts yet but stay strong Lyn. You are at least a good cook. :)

lynna said...

I am Director of Compassion Ministries at a Methodist Church, and I want to second what Dinah Soar wrote. Churches can sometimes be the worst places to reveal the grace of God. You haven't written much about your faith, as I recall, but I pray that you have found a relationship with the true God who longs to show you who you are... his favorite.


I left an emotionally/verbally abusive marriage of 20years. I was under-employed, had 2 teenagers, and a progressive neuromuscular disease that necessitad crutches and a wheelchair. The marital assets were unavailable to me for 2 years. Yet, I made it. Those two years were incredibly difficult, but also incredibly grace-soaked. I never once wanted to go back. The peace, self-esteem, and empowerment I gained were worth it.

You are going to be fine because you exhibit wisdom, strength, and compassion. Just believe...

The Lassie said...

Oh, my heart is breaking for you. I am sorry you have to go through this kind of thing yet again. Sending warm hugs your way and wishing you all the strength you need!

Lynne said...

I am crying as I read this. I am also overweight, shunned and ignored because of it. Struggling. Always. The love of my life abandoned me when I gained weight. When we got married he should have made sure that "not gaining weight" was in the contract. I have currently been dealing with some health issues. Tests have been taken and I don't know how sick I am. One thing I do know...life is too short to be so unhappy. I hope you can get back there. You deserve it. If there is a chance for me, I will do it too.

Hanlie said...

I related to this post on so many levels. I allowed others to determine my worth for a long time in my life and it led to a downward spiral of poor self-esteem. Good for you for starting the reconstruction process. You are awesome and you inspire many, many people.

Anonymous said...

Lyn - just wanted to say wow - powerful post - but you are stronger than you know. You've got a lot on your plate for sure - but you've been thru the worst already - it can only get better. Please know that you've got a ton of people here rooting for you - we all love you so much and want you to be happy - get rid of him!!
xo
Patty

VeeGettingHealthy said...

I completely understand. I don't know you but I have to say that if your husband doesn't respect you, support you or show he cares for you, is it really a marriage you want to be in? You are smart, a great writer, funny, fun, wonderful, and have picked yourself up before. You can make changes in your life, planning it in advance and forging ahead, secure in the knowledge that you are your first concern, after that come your children.

Take some time to think about what you really want. Then go for it.

And remember, out in here blog-land... we're listening and caring.

Vee at http://www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Paula said...

I'm sorry you have to go through all this pain. But I believe you can rebuild you life. You've done it before. My mom had this saying (but it was in Spanish)... I prefer my own company to bad company. Sometimes we are scared to be alone. Sometimes we are scared of the unknown. I believe you and I are similar. Once we make a decsion. We push forward. You will come out of this on the other side and oh, how good you will feel. Thank you for sharing so much of your heart and soul here on this blog.

happyfunpants said...

Lyn,

Your past two posts really have me amazed at the strength and honestly in them.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this. I struggle with feeling "not good enough" a lot of the time and I hate that someone else is feeling that too.

You (as of now) have 44 other people who may or may not know all of you...but think that you should be congratulated for doing the best that you can.

((hugs))

dkaz said...

Lyn,
Sounds like you are ready to make some real changes. Don't be afraid to do it - I know fear is crippling sometimes - but use your momentum and start doing things for yourself that will benefit you and your kids. You can do it. Good luck!

Lisa eats too much pizza said...

You are a wonderful woman and thank you so much for sharing your feelings.

Once Upon A Dieter said...

I've been offline for a while, but I saw your post today and had to comment. It amazes me how the people who once claimed to love a person suddenly become these...monsters. How does this happen? Where does the mountain of love just erode to?

From reading your blog, I have always gotten the sense that you're a pretty damn terrific person, a very loving mom, and someone who wants to be helpful to others. It boggles my mind that such cruelty comes to you via those who promised to love and honor.

Screw them and the mangy horses they rode off on.

I like your new attitude. I hope you find a deep and wonderful well of self-love to keep you refreshed.

Men who dump on their women aren't men. I am not sure what the hell they are, but they are NOT men. And i have no respect for their species.

For the pain you've gone through, I am deeply sorry. But I hope the vision of your brighter future becomes an ever-blossoming reality soon.

The Princess

Karen said...

Dear Lyn,

Reading this post brought tears to my eyes for you because you are such an amazing, kind, thoughtful person and you deserve so much better than what you've had in life. You deserve a husband who truly loves and respects you, you deserve friends and your deserve to feel like you will be okay. You deserve to feel like you are worth something. I'm sitting here right now actually feeling angry at how people have treated you -- I wish there were something I could do besides tell you that you are so special and that I wish you all the best things in life. You deserve them.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder, while reading this, if you have read it over and wondered why this woman is staying in a loveless marriage?

What would you tell yourself to do if you were on the outside looking in, reading this?

No one deserves to live like you're living. Love yourself enough to make a change.

Lyn said...

Hallie~

I don't want to stay married. I have invested enough of myself into this pit of dissatisfaction. I will not allow him to insult me anymore. We are now living apart.

Vee~

I already know what I want. I just have to figure out how to get it, sans husband.

Anonymous~

That was the whole point of this post.

{ALL} for a Better Life said...

I will believe in you, even if you can't right now! Thanks for being so honest.

Karyn said...

Hooray for you, friend!

I'm praying for you.

love you!

Shh said...

Love you.

Anonymous said...

I have visited your blog a few times in the past year (found it after looking for a recipe for butternut macaroni and cheese, which I have made several times since then - delicious!). I have always admired your writing and your honesty. I never leave comments but your post moved me to do so. I was in an abusive relationship for several years when I was younger. It is amazing how we can begin to think something is true after hearing it repeatedly from someone we love. It is like poison seeping in and eroding our sense of self. I was finally able to gather the strength to leave and was astounded to discover just how much he had affected my self-esteem - it took a long time to gain back my self-worth and self-respect but I did, and I know you will too. You have already proven to yourself that you can survive and take care of your children on your own. I know that things will improve for you and you will be okay. Take care.

Rina said...

Hey, I know I'm kind of late getting to this post, but I want to say - I think you can get to know someone through their writing, and you are very honest with whatever parts of your life you want to share. You sound like a totally wonderful person, and I just wish I lived next door to you. I would want my kids hanging out at your place, I would want your influence in their life. I'm sorry you are put down, but please know that what he's saying is just not true. I'm so terribly sorry, but please know that there are dozens more people who love you and think the world of you than those who put you down.

You are stronger than another person's words. You will create this new identity for yourself and will slowly begin to love yourself again. You totally rock, and I can't wait until you begin to think so too.

Yours faithfully.