Am I Pushing Away Joy? Seriously, though, I think I am! All of these things I thought I had healed and thought I had looked at with a microscope are rearing their ugly heads again here in India, whether it's my daddy issues or my self-worth or issues around my failed marriage, they're all still there in one way or another. 

A couple nights ago was when the marriage issues came to visit. I thought I had healed it. I thought that I had forgiven all that needed to be forgiven, but when asked what rocked my boat and sent me into a spiral 3-4 years ago, the thing that came to mind was when I found out my ex was looking outside our marriage for a relationship. As I sat talking with my friend, I felt very clearly that I didn't divorce him because of the cheating or lying. It's almost like I released him from the anger I was feeling over the cheating and lying. I was doing him a favor. The anger was consuming me and I didn't know what to do with it. It was coming out of me in ways I didn't recognize. I hit a refrigerator first to keep from hitting him. I managed to split the bone in my poor little pinky finger side of my hand but didn't feel any better. As my hand healed, my heart still hurt. We continued fighting, and the fights were escalating. One night, I started hitting him and couldn't stop. Another night, he pulled the shotgun out of the closet and asked me to put us both out of our misery and shoot him. I knew that wouldn't help either of us, nor was I excited to have the gun in the house in the first place, much less for it to come out during one of our many arguments where we had both been drinking. The final argument was the last time I drank alcohol. We were out with friends and got into an argument where he left me downtown Nashville and went home. A friend of ours ended up driving me home, where I found that he had not only locked the door, but put a chair against it to keep me out of my own home. When I finally got into the house, I was livid. I ran into the bedroom and swung my purse at him. It escalated to the point that he had me in a choke hold in the living room floor. I couldn't breathe or move as he was nearly a foot taller than me and had about a hundred pounds on me. It was shear will and determination that got me across the floor to my purse as I saw my life flash before my eyes. I finally got to my phone and dialed 911 before he let me go. I ran out of the house with my phone and sat in the street across from my house as I talked to the dispatcher. I learned that night that no matter who is the weaker opponent, the person who starts a domestic dispute - meaning the person who takes the first swing - is the person who can go to jail. Even though I could have died that night, my ex husband could have pressed charges on me. I'm ever grateful that he didn't. I also learned that night that the police are not allowed to leave you both at the scene of a domestic dispute. My ex said he didn't have anywhere to go, so I loaded up in the back of the police car and rode to my parents' house where they were awakened in the middle of the night to their crying shocked daughter. They knew nothing about the problems between me and my ex before that night. They learned more than they probably wanted to that night.

I learned later that the reason he was holding me so tightly that night was that he was scared of me. When I had hit him before, I hurt him. He didn't want me to hurt him again. I don't know whether that's true, and quite frankly, I don't care. I should never have used violence against him. The anger that came out of me at the end of our relationship scared the holy hell out of me. I didn't like that part of myself. I was scared of it. I never wanted to hurt anyone again. 

I realize now that the anger wasn't just at him, though. I've done work around forgiving him, and feel happy for him and his new wife and their happiness. That's actually one thing I told him when I set him free was that I couldn't love him the way he wanted and deserved to be loved. I couldn't find it in myself to love him again because of the flaws that I had discovered.

The anger I felt was actually toward myself, though. I couldn't even make my husband happy. I couldn't keep him happy enough to keep him from looking outside of "us" for a relationship. I didn't pay enough attention to him or our relationship to realize how much we had fallen apart. I couldn't trust myself to see the warning signs and red flags that we were in trouble. I couldn't trust myself to not resort to violence.

The forgiveness I need now is for myself. It's time to let go of it so that I can allow the joy back in that my life has been missing. I need to forgive myself and love even these parts of myself so that I can begin to trust again, so that I can open up to letting new people into my life again.

I find myself scared to let anyone in. Not just not letting them in, but I'm pushing them away. I'm not actually doing it on purpose, though. I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time. I just see that in a room full of people who are all connecting in some way, I am not. I feel like there's something wrong with me, that I'm not looking or doing or saying the right thing to get people to like me, and I don't even realize that it's because I'm energetically and stubbornly refusing to let anyone into my space. There's not actually anything wrong with me. There's nothing that needs to be fixed. There are just parts of me that need to be loved and accepted.

The things that I grieved from my failed marriage are all of the things that I still want now. I want stability in a partner. I want a family. I want a person to walk through this life with. Before I can do that, though, I need to learn to forgive myself. I need to learn to love myself again so that I can attract in the right match for me and love a partner the way they deserve to be loved and see that love reflected back to me.  I need to make it stick. I need to practice it every day. That is one thing that India has shown me and given me the freedom to do is to practice and have the time, space and awareness to notice how I feel when I do.

Maybe at some point, there will come a day when I won't have to do the work. Maybe someday it will come naturally and without thought and effort. For now, though, I'm not going to chance it. This is my practice. This is my work.  I'm going to hold myself accountable. I'm willing to forgive in hopes that the fog will lift. That's the first step.

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