Heaven holds a sense of wonder….

{February 21, 2010}   Push and Pull and Hold on Tight

I have done so much. And I can do so much more.

My words are pretty, and nothing I can put down on paper or type out on a computer will even begin to describe the way I feel about her. The words others have written barely scratch the surface.

Things haven’t gotten any easier since I last wrote in November. They’ve gotten better, but not easier. I’ve found my spine, I’ve found my limits. I’ve found the capacity to give myself unconditionally. I’ve found the silver lining in everything, from threats of eviction to clingy, insecure children, to the uncertainty of everyday challenges.

I’m making it one day at a time, one moment as it goes by. I’m liberated by my choices. Even when I feel powerless, I have choices. In making them, I reclaim my power – and in letting go of the choices I made in the past, I reclaim my power.

I push myself to grow because I want to be a better person. I find a reason to smile because it’s good for me. I do it for her, for the kids. I do it for Us. Because if I’m not good enough for myself, there can be no Us. I can’t be a good mother to my children if I’m not good to myself. I can’t be a partner to my love if I’m not fair to myself.

Today was a hard day for Us. My children came home from their Dad’s a mess. Tears and tantrums and crying out for boundaries they can trust. Pushing her boundaries, pushing my boundaries. She was tired, she couldn’t handle it. She blew up – at me, not them. She knows they’re young, they can’t help it. She blamed my past choices, mistakes I made, for the reason she couldn’t sleep, for the children’s cries for help. In a sense, she was right. She asked me to leave, to give her space. I intended to, on the condition she heard the one thing I had to say. She freaked, and I insisted on staying. “Just listen, please.” Angrier and angrier. “Nothing I could have done in the last 24 hours could have changed what is happening right now. Please consider how you’re helping or hurting this situation.” I needed her support. I needed her not to make it hard for me to be a good mother to my children. I needed her to take care of herself and bring herself down. I said those words and stood up to leave the room, give her the space she asked for.

She jumped out of bed. Kicked the door so it was jammed shut. Swung at me. Even if I hadn’t ducked, she wouldn’t have hit me. She’s a boxer, she would have hit me if she’d really wanted to, even if I do have excellent reflexes. I grabbed her by the shoulders and sat her down on the bed. “You need to relax. I’m going to go now. No more words.”

She calmed down eventually. She’d never done anything like that before. But the threat was there, and it unnerved me. I sat down to write. Poured out a four-page letter. “I love you. This can’t happen again. Here’s what I will do to help, though it scares me.”

I struggle with giving space and walking away from a conflict unresolved. Panic rises up from deep within. It’s not natural to me to leave things broken. I’m a fixer, a mender. I focus on the task at hand until I’m done, to the neglect of everything around me. I’m a pusher. She’s a puller. She withdraws into herself until she can breathe again. When I touch her when she’s angry, she panics. When I can’t touch her, I panic.

A fundamental difference in the way we process the world. Two extremes, opposite sides. We must compromise, find a way to meet in the middle.

She didn’t like my letter. She called from work, and I could hear the wall being built in her “Hello.” Since the things that happened weren’t my fault, they must be her. I don’t blame her for the events of the day, I don’t even really blame her for losing control. It’s not my fault, and I don’t deserve it, and it’s not something that can happen again, but I understand what happened and how it happened. I trust her to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and I will help her figure out how to keep it from happening again. It’s not just about me giving her space when she asks for it – though that may help tremendously, it’s not on me to manage her emotions. She needs an outlet. A way to productively express herself.

I wrote her the letter because she once said she feels like an asshole when she’s angry at me. She hates herself for the things she says. I heard, “Please don’t let me treat you this way.” She holds me to a very high standard, she wants to spend the rest of her life with me, and she believes in me as a partner, a mother, a woman, an individual. If I didn’t return the same love and honor, if I kept my mouth shut and let it slide and just counted on it never happening again, I wouldn’t be holding her to the same standard she holds me to. I wouldn’t be showing the same dedication and love she shows to me, I wouldn’t be showing the same belief in and regard for Us as an entity.

I wrote her the letter because I trust her, I believe in her, I believe in us. She wanted to run away. She said, “I’ll just remove myself from the situation so I can’t hurt you anymore.” “I’m insulted,” I said. “That’s a cop-out. After all the work I’ve put into this, you can’t do the same?”

“I have BEEN working!” she exclaimed. “When do I get to stop?!”

“When I do. You want this to last the rest of our lives? We don’t get to stop working. That’s what a relationship is. A relationship means nothing without work. Don’t run away just because it got hard.”

She gets it.

I found a quote today. Wish I knew who to attribute it to. “Sometimes you have to run away, just to see who will chase after you.”

Every time, baby. Every single time. Because even though I’m a pusher, I’m a holder, too.


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