Blowing away the clouds in my mind

There are days when the clouds all assemble
When I wonder what all this is for
When I need to constantly remember
Just to love me that little bit more.
To stick to the Values I hold closest
To the Rules that make them hold fast
To live by them and look to my future
Not to turn and look at my past.

There are days when the clouds all assemble
When the future looks barren and bleak
When being strong seems almost impossible
When it’s easier just to sink and be weak!
But when days like this come and strike me
And “Enjoy the journey” seems a life time away
I remember that my Dad always did it
He stuck to his rule every day.

So on the days when the clouds all assemble
And the struggle seems hard to endure
Remember to fight for what you believe in
To protect yourself that little bit more.
To allow yourself to be vulnerable –
For that’s part of  you  too –  so allowed
So bring in that part where Nothing’s a Problem
Smile – and go stand out in the Crowd!

(inspired  – in part – by today’s life coaching session!)

As usual – two hours of Stephen’s guidance has had a very beneficial effect on my state of mindthough I was marginally surprised by my wish to put a poetic take on it!

I did it to myself

For the first 10 months I ranted and raged at the injustices of life and what I saw as the raw deal I’d been dealt!  I literally screamed and yelled at the walls in the middle of the night when my whole body felt as if it was tearing itself to pieces.  The only reason I ‘kept going’ was for my father – who was then approaching his 100th birthday and his reliance on seeing me every morning before I went to work and every evening before he went to bed.  (Alex and I owned part of his house – so I was close at hand).  I had given up eating and sleeping  but I still had a reason for being around! My Dad needed me.  It was enough.

After his birthday he ran out of steam very quickly.  He was so worried about me, bless him, but he really had had enough.  One day, a couple of weeks after his birthday, he asked my permission to die.  I gave it (one of the hardest moments of my life I might add). He got his wish  7 weeks after reaching the milestone he had set his sights on! (10 months after Alex had left).  It was then I  really imploded.   It happened after I got back from my Tiger Watching Holiday cheer-up break!  It was then I decided I had no need to be on the planet anymore!  I’d done all the things I wanted to do and so what was the point of keeping going.  After all Alex and I had got no children. No one was going to miss me.  It was then I really dug in.  Already in my Chilean Mine – I set up house in it!

I gave myself the most miserable future I could conjure up and settled in to live it.  A close psychologist friend kept urging me to get help, but like so many people in a truly bad place I didn’t believe anyone could! Or that I actually needed any help.  I was very ‘happy’ being miserable thank you very much!

I really went about destroying myself with a determination which was impressive!  I created the most horrific destructive version of me and  by and large closed the others down.

Did I actually try and take my own life?  No. But I was within a hair’s breadth of doing so.  I remember thinking I needed to be sure it wasn’t going to hurt!!!  Brilliant Caroline!  Would it have mattered!!  (a lot of humour here now!)

I limited my life horizon so low it didn’t even clear the rim of the hole I was in!

I convinced myself it had to be the way it was – there was no other option.  I had to just ‘live through it’ – even if it took the rest of my life.  Which I was sure it was going to!

What astounds me now is how I didn’t understand that I was doing all this to myself.  No one else was. I created all my horrific scenarios.  My stubborn determination that I was unlovable and that no-one really cared,  controlled me and ruled my life.  Which was totally at odds with what was going on around me.  Work was stupendously understanding, my friends stalwart in their determination to care for me.  I just refused to believe anyone actually meant it!  The version of me which I thought was caring for me – the one I had put my trust in –  was actually going all out to destroy.  And very, very nearly did.  So:-

I did it to myself

Understanding this has been fundamental to my change in outlook.  Learning to trust myself to give myself the best future I can has taken time.   Probably because I felt ‘safe’ with my insecurities – after all the future may have looked dreadful but at least I knew what it was going to be!!

But as I discovered through the Eureka Moment (I know I keep going on about it but no one was more surprised than I was)  I could change everything in the space of one 2 hr coaching session!.  Had Alex not then dithered once more about coming back I think I would have got to where I am now a great deal quicker. The trouble is I went back into the thousand and one “Why” and “What If” Questions.  None of which are ever productive. They may be addictive –  but addictions are rarely good news!!  They are also a pig to break!

The things that’ve made the biggest difference and has been the hardest to understand are how Values and the Rules I apply to them can change everything so drastically – and for the better.  I still don’t ‘get it’ every day and the good old moments of confusion march in and I’m left bewildered by it all – but they are happening less often!!  Sometimes it feels like trying to pick up unset jelly – the ideas and concepts just slip through my fingers and are lost.  Sometimes the jelly sets and I understand!.  But I now do see that every time I short-change myself by not sticking to those values I go backwards or have a ‘blip’.  You’ve all read what my top Values are (and I appear to have 13!):

Growth
Love
Courage
Communication
Intelligence
Trust
Respect
Strength
Security
Adventure
Significance
Making a difference
Happiness

When I stick to them like glue I get good days, I have fun, I’m happy, I laugh, and my future feels and looks rosy to me.  Scary yes.  But not in the horrific way it did before.

Don’t get me wrong I still get moments of incredible loneliness – but rather than hide I now tell people –  with a new found confidence – how it is.  Those same people who years ago (before I was married)  slightly jeered at my then single status now seem to be treating me better. They are also  kinder and more understanding.  My say-it-as-it-is  – with a smile on my face and laughter in my voice –  is getting me treated with masses of respect!

Don’t ask me how Stephen guided me into changing me – I have absolutely no idea!!  But I do know that this time – in a very good way:-

I did it to myself – that’s what we all have to do!  No one else can!

The stubborn streak of the weak

Everyone has a stubborn streak.  I suppose it’s that streak which gives us the ability to succeed against all the odds.

But in the emotionally weak ( the Alex’s and B’s of this world, even the outwardly confident cheats) I think it distorts.  Their stubborn streak seems to act like a switch in their brains. Switched on the power is so great everything else gets switched off.  Everything else distorts. 

They see someone new and it is that they must have and with a stubbornness which has hitherto been dormant they trample over everything and everyone in their quest to get what they now perceive to be their right to have.

No matter how many of their friends, their counsellors, whoever, tries to encourage them to face and sort out the issues they have in their current relationship, to re-ignite that relationship,  they refuse with a determination which is breath-taking.  They may decide to deal with their pasts, and to a certain extent face their demons but this new found stubbornness stops them going that final mile. They can’t because they’ve ‘turned off’ their moral compass.  So, actually they can only pay lip service to whatever they are being taught.  Deep inside the stubbornness is still winning.  It must take a very strong and determined Counsellor/Life Coach to break through the barrier they erect.  And so often at this point most weak men run.

So, having run, they role out all the famous clichés as if they were the first person ever to say them:

  • “No one understands me”
  • “No one knows how I feel”
  • “I haven’t loved you for the last 10 years”
  • “You don’t listen”
  • “I’ve never felt this way before”
  • “We should never have got married”
  • “She only wants me to be happy”
  • “I have such empathy with her”
  • “I know I’m right – everyone else is wrong”
  • “I know I’ve now met the ‘right one'”

 And with this newly switched on distorted stubborn streak everything else goes ‘out of the window’. Their values and the rules they apply to those values distort.  Distorted Rules make the situation even more dangerous as everything is now justified:

  • Love – of course I’m giving myself love – I feel empowered
  • Respect – I respect me for seeing I need to move on
  • Growth – Wow this new releationship is giving me the growth I desire.  My old relationship was going nowhere
  • Strength – Finally I’ve found the strength to do something for me and my life.  I’ve made a decision for me and making a decision and taking action feels fantastic.

Add into this corrosive brew a determined OW (other woman)  who is out to get what she wants and the result is as predictable as night following day.

So, now left with having to sort out the previous relationship the only route is to duck, dive, lie and hide.  Because  – probably – deep inside something is telling them all is not as good as they’d like to think it is.  After all  let’s face it  – THEY’VE FAILED

But hey there is an easy solution at hand.  They hide from their friends, don’t look anyone in the eye who challenges them, lie as this is easier and justify the whole charade as feeling guilty. Guilt can be distorted into being a noble feeling:

  • “I feel so bad for doing this to you…..”
  • “I’ve found it so difficult to tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you”
  • “I do still care”
  • “I do hope we can still be friends”  (good one this as it keeps the door open should they need an escape route)

How often they run this loop depends on them.  Some will run this for their entire lives going from one relationship to another – always justifying their actions, never totally happy.  Some will do it only once and then stick with the OW either too scared to face the whole process again or too ashamed to admit they were wrong.  Some will finally take action.

Why?  Because there’s a cure.

And the cure?

I think the cure is pain.  Unrelenting day-in, day-out pain.  When the pain gets too great and can’t be avoided they will finally turn off the distorted stubborn streak button (probably they will need help but may manage it without) and switch everything else back on. They will find out how to deal with the distortions.  They will become strong – stronger than they ever imagined they could be.  They will decide to become Real Men.  And then they will get the happiness they seek.

So anyway – dear reader (if you’re still with me at this point and haven’t given up!) this is how I see it.

I’d love to read what you think so please comment away.  As you know I love comments!

Naming the positives

I’ve had a blip this morning – one of those moments when wishful thinking took over and dominated my mind and dragged me down for a while!

So  – in a sort of Life Coaching/Best Friend moment I decided to list all the positive things I’ve done which I wouldn’t have done had Alex and I still been poodling along in our marriage!

  • I would never have gone to India and seen tigers
  • I would never have got to know Alex’s best friend and partner as well as I have and found how truly splendid they are as a couple, as support and what fun they and their family can be
  • I would not have found what fantastic friends I have around me and what fun they are.  How great it is just to go out for the odd meal or trip to the pub and just laugh!
  • I would not have gone to Life Coaching and learned all the things I have.
  • I wouldn’t have learnt how to use my camera and to ‘enhance’ my photos! (work in progress!)
  • I wouldn’t have got involved in the campaign to save our airfield
  • I would never have written this blog and so I would have missed out on all the friends I’ve made here, and discovered the rich and diverse world of blogging, of people’s thoughts and views.  The richness of their lives and their brilliant ability to put down, with such clarity, what they’re thinking.
  • I wouldn’t have discovered I can do things in the evening and not wear myself out
  • I wouldn’t have laughed as much as I have.  I would have missed those moments of weeping giggles on Facebook chats.

I could go on!!!

So actually, in many ways, my life has been ‘richer’ than it might have been.  Perhaps I just failed to notice as my focus was on all the negatives.

I was even amused yesterday by a rather vitriolic and personal letter in our local newspaper attacking me after I wrote a few weeks ago in support of the gliding club and what it gave me as a teenager.  I am rather surprised the editor published it but hey – he’s trying to keep the subject alive I suppose!  I won’t reply.  None of us are going to. It says more about the author of the letter (who doesn’t know me!) than it does about me!!

Have a lovely day everyone.  And to those who I know are battling through the same horror as I am may your list of positives – however short or long – dominate your mind and block out all the negatives trying to take over!

Why living by my values matters

My values matter because when I don’t live by them I spiral downhill. 

The fury abated in the end last night and  – with nothing better to do – I set off down the hurt route!!!   Blimey!   That was clever and so energising and enlivening I was exhausted by 9.00pm!!

I allowed myself to really ‘enjoy’ (more heavy sarcasm here) the evening.  I ‘ran’ my ‘figure of eight’ – several times last night, and again this morning.  At least this morning I chose the positive exit rather than the negative one I went down yesterday! 

So where do my Values come into all this. Well last night I didn’t live by them.  Let me explain.

My Default list is:

Growth – what I was doing last night was in no way growth orientated
Love – I didn’t love myself
Courage – I wimped out
Communication – I didn’t listen to either ‘my best friend me’ or ‘my coach me’
Intelligence – What I did last night could in no way be described as intelligent!
Trust – I failed to trust me
Respect – I showed no respect to me and what I’ve achieved so far
Strength – Hardly!
Security – OK I felt secure in my bad place
Adventure – need I say more
Significance – yes I gave myself significance but in a ‘sorry for me’ way not in a postive way.
Making a difference – No I wasn’t doing that at all.  In fact the opposite
Happiness – I failed spectacularly to be happy or to give myself Permission to be Happy.

So, dear reader, I hope this helps to explain why living by your values is so important. Because when you do the opposite life is grim!

Finally I think I’m beginning to Get It!  (*Can almost hear Stephen breathing sigh of relief!!!*)

The Values re-ordering continues

I’ve become fascinated and almost obsessed by this!

I have my green plastic Values cards laid out on the table.  I have the yellow ones on which I’ve written a version name of me on one side and the applicable values list on the other.

I now have 28 that really matter.  Which is 2 more than yesterday and probably more than the other day!

At this rate I’ll reach the 50 I was asked for originally!

I suddenly realised this evening – after talking myself out of yet another stupid sobbing session – that the one Value I was missing was the one that’s my Goal:

Happiness

This one is clearly VITAL.

So is – wait for it Stephen(!)

Gratitude (or Thankfulness)

Which has finally taken on a calmer resonance – one that now means something to me.  Maybe I had to come through the horror first before I could admit to needing this value.  In the depths of the horror Gratitude took on a distorted meaning which I couldn’t handle and can now no longer explain.

So  – Currently – the Values which matter to me – for each of the versions of me –  are:

Default List:
Growth – Love – Courage – Communication – Intelligence – Trust – Respect – Strength – Security – Adventure – Significance – Making a difference

The Caring Me:
Love – Compassion – Forgiveness – Caring – Giving

The Fun  Me:
Outrageous – Spontaneity – Passion – Trust – Freedom  – Flexibility – Adventure – Giving

The Feminine Me:
Love – Freedom  – Trust – Femininity – Spontaneity – Significance – Safety – Security – Intimacy

The “Every Day”  Me:
The Default List + Happiness – Gratitude – Health – Fun – Pleasure

Now I need to be sure I have good Rules applied to each of them. For that I may need help.  I’ll see how I get on in the next 4 weeks.