Monday, August 9, 2010

the lies that bind us {part 3.}



i promised i would finish this and i need to do it before we move because i know it will take me a while to jump back onto the blogging train.

in case you have missed the beginning of this story, here are the links:




continuing on...


ben began his overnight weekend job, and i'm not over-dramatizing this.  it was difficult.  between school, work and sleeping in the broad daylight we literally had one day together as a family during the week.  and it wasn't a normal day that others had free, it was tuesday.  

a month after he started his job, i was called to serve in the primary presidency, and my weekly meetings were tuesday nights.  so we were left with only tuesday during the day to be together as a family.  that was it.

so not only did we not have time together as a family, but we didn't have time as a couple and i rarely got any time away from the kids.  i was on single mom duty almost 24/7, which made me grow such a deep respect and admiration for single moms who do it all on their own.

the time that i did take away from the kids was during those rare hours that ben was home with our one car, and was awake so i could go grocery shopping by myself. 

but looking back, i realize just how much more difficult i made this situation by filling my heart and mind with thoughts of resentment and entitlement.

entitlement:

"i deserve better than this."  

"i didn't sign up to be a single mom, and now look where i am." 

"i have HAD IT.  i am DONE.  i am SICK of this."

"other husbands who get their doctorate degree don't accept full-time jobs because they love their wives and want to actually spend time with them."



resentment:

"ben might be worn out, but he chose this job.  if he wants things to be easier on himself, he could just quit."

"at least he gets to sleep for 7 consecutive hours.  i'm the one who's up all night with a baby and then up all day long with both kids.  wouldn't it be nice if i could get 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep?"



the lies continued to seep through into any hard night where i was on my own with the kids, any moment of loneliness, any party or invitation to do something fun with other families that we had to miss.

during part 1, i referred to a blog called "the extraordinary ordinary" that i love to read, and a post that was written by heather that i unknowingly related to so much during this time.


"A person can think a certain way until that thinking is real and true, even if it didn't start out that way. We can tell ourselves lies until we believe them with nearly our whole hearts. That's what I did, anyway. I thought and thought defeating thoughts until I didn't even know I was thinking them, and then they took root in my head and heart and that's a very dangerous thing to do. A person can waste their entire life trapped like that, thinking they aren't good enough or their marriage isn't good enough or their mothering isn't good enough...and then doing things to stay in the rubble of thoughts. "

4 months after i was climbing my way out of my own entrapping negative thoughts, i read those words and knew that it was exactly what i had done to myself.

i lied to myself, believed the lies, and those lies took me down.

so what happened to me?  

well.  i became depressed, not caring what i looked like every day.  why should i?  the only people i saw 95% of the time were my two kids, and they didn't care.  i didn't care much about prioritizing housework.  why should i?  no one was coming over, and i knew i had all day the next day to do it.  it didn't get out of control but i just no longer took pride in what i was doing, or what i looked like. 

i became lonely.  partly due to the situation i was in, without a car and without any family close by.  but partly due to my choices.  if i was extended an invitation to go somewhere that i had the possibility of going, most of the time i wouldn't.  

i detached myself from others, including ben.  

believing the lie that he chose to accept the job because he didn't care about what i needed caused a chasm between us.  i stopped investing my feelings because the resentment in my heart had taken over too much of it and i couldn't stand being hurt over and over when he would leave me again to go to work.  so we co-existed, like good friends who were roommates.  but not like it had been for the first 7 years of our marriage.  there was no fighting or anything, but the connection was gone, or barely hanging by a thread.

most importantly, i detached my connection with my heavenly father.  i was lazy about praying and reading scriptures, didn't pay much attention in church and only did the bare minimum when it came to my calling.  those small, daily things that keep me connected to my spiritual side were gone.  so i left myself open and vulnerable to anything else that wanted to influence me.

i was lost, but didn't even realize it because i was caught up in the fake-reality that i had created.  i felt like i was just so hard done by, that i deserved better, that i didn't sign up for this sucky situation.  i was stuck in my stubbornness and selfishness and was barely treading water in my life, and treated my loved ones in ways that i'm not proud of.

6 months went by living like this.

there were times in these 6 months that i tried to talk to ben.  there were several conversations that we had about how i was overwhelmed and asked if he could cut back on his hours.  we talked about applying for grad plus loans to make up the difference in salary. i knew that he was stretched even thinner than i was and we would talk about how we could feel ourselves slipping away from ourselves and each other.  and he would try to change his hours, but his job didn't ever address his complaints until he would threaten to quit.  and since he wasn't ready to quit, he didn't push too hard, so his schedule stayed the same.

so.

how did i wake up out of this non-reality and come back to real-reality?

well, this is hard to write about.  i cry every time i think of it, and i have thought long and hard about whether i want to share something that for me, is very personal.  but i feel that the most important thing about my story, is that someone might be able to relate it to their story.  and it might bring them out of where they are, and see things differently.

{i received ben's permission to share it, just so you know.}

it was around thanksgiving time, and it was one of the rare times we had invited friends over for dinner.  after they had left, i was cleaning up and had thought that ben had gone into the bedroom to get ready for bed.  i finished doing the dishes and walked past our family room where the lights had been turned out.  as i reached up to turn off the hall light, i realized that ben had been sitting on our couch the whole time in the dark, not saying anything.

"woah!  you scared me, i didn't know you were there!"  i said to him.

he was silent.

"hey, you okay?"  i asked.  this wasn't like ben at all.

"i don't think you love me anymore," he said quietly.

"what?  what are you talking about?"  i was shocked.

"well, i know that you love me, but i think that maybe your feelings for me have changed.  you love me differently now.  i can feel it,"  he said sadly.  i realized in that moment that i had broken his heart.


and that was it for me.
those walls that i had put up, building thicker and taller as i believed one false thought after another, began crashing down when he spoke these words to me.

now writing about it i realize how small and insignificant it might sound to an outsider.

but for me, it was everything.

because in my head i was thinking, 

"of course i love you!  i never stopped loving you, it is you who doesn't love me!"

and it was at that moment, for the first time in a long time, that i realized the truth.

if he can believe that you don't love him when that's not true, maybe what you have been believing all of this time hasn't been true either.

and i knew.

i began to cry.  

i walked across the room to my husband who was sitting there alone in the dark.  i sat down on his lap, wrapped my arms around his neck, and through my tears i said,

"ben, i love you.  i have never stopped loving you.  and i'm so so sorry that i made you ever doubt my love for you and that i hurt you."

we sat there for several minutes just holding each other while i cried over the realization that i had hurt the one i love most walking around on this earth.  then we talked for a long time.  about how we were both feeling, and how we had gotten there, and most importantly....how we were going to get out.





and that will be the final part of this story.  the part about facing reality even though it's hard, and understanding how to not allow guilt to swallow you up, and how to forgive yourself and others.  

and most importantly, how to overcome a difficult situation.

and how to do better, and how to make sure that you never allow yourself to be in that situation ever again, no matter what the circumstances may be.



to be continued:

the lies that bind us, part 4.

6 comments:

Rachel Chick said...

Oh, Lynsey. I love you. I know this is so hard for you to write. You're wonderful. I've done similar things before. Different, but similar. Thank you for sharing you sweet, humble feelings. You're awesome.

Joy Boaz said...

Thank you for sharing that. You are a wonderful writer and I feel so blessed to have been able to read that. Thank you for putting things into perspective. Love you friend!

ohmylanta said...

Lyns,

I haven't been keeping up with any of my online friends this last couple months. I was scrolling through your blog today trying to catch up on all that I have missed. I so enjoy your posts and your pictures. (Leah is still the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I think you could make some good money off of her adorable face)! I have to admit that I have spent many hours over the last year enjoying your words, your humor, your life experiences. There aren't many people that have the ability to put their thoughts and feelings into meaningful text like you do.

I have often reflected on my own life and how interesting it is that we all go through a refining process. This process occurs differently for everyone but it occurs none the less. The glorious thing about it that when we allow ourselves to learn from our mistakes, we blossom into a much better person. Just like the peach trees I fiercely pruned this last year, that blossomed beautifully this spring. A beautiful rebirth.

It's painful when we go through those pruning times - but that's what it takes for us to prioritize our thoughts, actions and our lives in the way that is best.

You are an inspiring, beautiful woman. It is through your refining experiences that you will have the capacity to lift the burdens of others and inspire greatly!

Heather said...

Oh lady, what a beautiful post.

In the midst of my erratic emotional behavior, while I believed the lies and continued to numb my feelings with wine, my husband told me he was scared of me. (not of me physically hurting him...but of trusting me with his heart, of talking to me about anything that bothered him because I would shrug it off as less than my pain or get upset).

I immediately cried. I felt like I'd been socked in the gut with my own ugliness. I knew he was right, that I was living in a way that made me unapproachable and unfair, unkind a lot of the time.

So yeah, I get it. I'm so glad you came to see that the lies were lies. We are all so easily tricked...we just HAVE to trust our heart-guts and focus on the good.

Thank you.

Heather (of the EO) (google doesn't like me to switch accounts. lame.) :)

Lauren @ SuperMom Central said...

Lynsey,

We are not perfect beings. If we were, we wouldn't be here. Therefore, the truly amazing thing about your experience is not that you let yourself be deceived - it is that you saw the lies for what they were, and you brought yourself back to a path of truth. Most people go through life never having the courage to do that. Instead, they do irreparable damage to themselves and those who love them by swimming in their own deceptions, and demanding that others do the same.

You have chosen the difficult path - the one that breaks the cycle. And even though it's painful, what you do is not just for you. It is for your children, your husband, your friends, your parents, and yes - even your sister. Because in sharing your journey from lies to truth, you inspire us to do the same. You inspire ME to do the same. You inspire me to be courageous, to be humble, to be honest, and to be who I really am - a child of God.

I hope these are the thoughts that fill your head the next time you lie awake at night, dear sis.

Love,

Lauren

Andrea said...

Well I have said it so many times, but I want to say it again. I am very very proud of you. I think you are about as good and honest and beautiful as women can come and I really respect your willingness to share your story with us. I am absolutely certain your story will touch someone the way the blog you read touched you!