Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘insecurity’

– Five children
– Four sons
– Two questioning their sexual orientation

How does this happen? . . . Can someone please explain this to me? . . .

How. Does. This. Happen?

***

My husband didn’t believe me. He compared our son to himself. Our son had mostly female friends, which my husband found completely normal. Especially since he often said he couldn’t relate to men himself and used that to justify his own many female friendships. I then sent my husband a copy of the e-mail.

I had to.

There was no denying the facts when he read our son’s own words saying he considered himself a gay atheist.

My husband agreed that we had to confront. We sat down with our son and told him “we knew”.
Our son began to cry.
I did too.
The phone rang.
My husband answered it.
He took the phone to the bedroom and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

So much damage. My son could barely speak through his tears as he sobbed of how hurt my husband’s actions were to him. How he wanted to be nothing like his father when he was grown.

My son and I spoke of the faith he had been raised to believe, but now discarded, because “God wasn’t real. For if He was, He wouldn’t create a boy who liked other boys, and then call it sin.” He confessed that he now calls himself an atheist, but feels like a sinner everyday.

We spoke of the fear that fueled the lies. He knew that he was loved, but was sure I “loved God more” and that my faith would force me to choose my God over my son.

So much heartbreak.

So much need for healing.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I recently spent 4 days alone. In virtual silence. Amidst the beauty of the mountains, I walked the trails, in awe as nature lived and breathed all around me, but mostly, I listened for answers.

And I received none.

God spoke, but not in the way I expected. I was both drained and refreshed. I cherished the isolation, yet yearned for company. I grieved, and I was comforted.

But I came home still having no idea what to do about my marriage.

While I was gone, my husband sent me this e-mail:

“You deserve a vacation. You are a devoted mother of five, who works extremely hard. I recognize it and so do the kids.”

“I know that when we communicate, I feel constantly accused, which is very difficult on me since I am not someone who has any desire to be close to anyone on any level – (emotionally or physically) other than you, my wife.”

“As I’ve said before, I take my marriage vows very seriously and feel that is not something that will ever change. Our marriage is not going to end because of me walking away.”

“I understand that it is disrespect you feel by my behavior. I am aware of your feelings, however, I am not seeking anyone’s friendship, nor have I ever been in a compromising situation seeking companionship.”

***

I had to read and re-read the e-mail in order to process all the emotions that his message incited.

The first read brought feelings of guilt. My husband’s words sounded sincere and, for a moment, the memory of all that had transpired between us was forgotten history. The weight of responsibility slowly began to creep upon me as I questioned why I couldn’t be a better wife. A wife deserving of my husband’s kindness.

With the second read, I couldn’t help but notice the presence of denying any unfaithful intentions or behavior, and the absence of acknowledging my issues with his trip to Arizona. Why was that? My feelings had been hurt by his lack of communication and from excluding me in his vacation plans. Yet, he chose to address an issue that had nothing to do with either one of those.

By the third time thru, I was angry. I began reading what was not written and raged over the fact that my feelings regarding the present issue were ignored and invalidated. Was it really that unreasonable for a wife to want to know that her husband is planning to take their children on vacation and have her feelings hurt when she finds out about it after its been planned? – Only to realize she has not been included in those plans.

And as I sat with the peace of God’s nature surrounding me, so opposite of the resentment churning within me, I had to question the spiritual aspect of my situation. Was the devil trying to destroy my marriage . . . Or was God allowing me to view it from a different perspective?

Read Full Post »

As a little girl, I longed for a daddy to pick me up, swing me around, and tell me that I was special. That I was beautiful. That I was treasured. And most of all, that I was loved. But my daddy never swung me around with great delight, and he never said the words my heart desperately longed to hear. This rejection became adult emptiness and brokenness that made me doubt I was lovable.”

“Insecurities cut deep. Shame ran rampant. Desperation for acceptance drove me to seek out all kinds of misguided remedies . . . My primary remedy was finding someone or something that would make me feel secure and significant . . . I struggled with self-doubt and insecurity paralyzed me with thoughts such as:

‘I can’t do this’
‘Things will never change’
‘My life isn’t going to get better’

In my never-ending quest to find solutions for this difficult season, I’ve started reading a new book. A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.

I shared last week with my therapist that my current goals are to deal with the insecurities I feel about:

1) my appearance
2) my worth
3) my identity

None of which are new issues, but all are at the root of the areas of weakness that the devil tries to use (and often succeeds) in pre-occupying my thoughts and paralyzing me from positive action in my relationship with my husband.

I often hear the life stories of others and the difficulties they are enduring. That is when I realize just how busy the devil is in propagating lies and twisting the truth to cause us pain. But I also consider how although I am actively pursuing God, I am still so FAR from a life of victory and blessing. Instead, I am hanging on to my faith for dear life, grasping the hem of His garment with all my might, and hoping, He is holding on to me just as tightly.

The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be . . . And fears it.” – John Eldridge

Read Full Post »

On this journey, there is nothing quite like meeting someone on the road whose experiences have resembled my own. Whether we cross paths in person, through a computer or a book, the result is the same when their words resonate with my own feelings.

The affirmation that I am not alone in my situation, that my story is understood by another and to be able to relate to someone else’s story, is like balm to my hurting and confused soul.

The following statements came from a couple as they shared how their marriage has been (and continues to be) affected by ADD.

He Said:

“I felt that no matter how hard I tried I could never do well enough for my spouse, even when I was successful elsewhere, such as at work. It didn’t matter – I still felt like a failure at home.”

“I often responded with anger and defensiveness, when it was shame that I was really feeling.”

“I had to anticipate my wife’s response to every single thing I did. I lived my life trying to second guess her because I really did want to please her, but most of the time she was still mad.”

“I sometimes felt that the easiest way to deal with my spouse was to simply leave her alone.”

“Our marital issues left me feeling unloved.”

“Even if my ADD made me see or remember something ‘not right’, it still was my reality, and that was not respected.”

“I learned to lie to cover for mistakes. I learned to deflect criticism, to shift the blame to anything or anyone other than myself to protect my ego. I avoided being decisive, because in deferring the decisions to someone else, I could also defer the blame.”

“I have trouble planning ahead. I am notoriously late because I easily lose track of time and I’m often terrible at judging how long it will take to complete a task. I know this bothers my wife, but I don’t understand why it bothers her so much.”

“I felt the only reason my wife was insisting on treatment was so she could change me. I didn’t realize that what she wanted was the real me – without so much of the ADD baggage.”

“I don’t understand why we still have problems, even though I am now receiving treatment for my ADD . . “

“I don’t believe all of our problems are my fault . . . or the result of my ADD.”

She Said:

“There has been so much inconsistency living with my husband. I have usually been the one left to “clean up” from what was forgotten or not finished by my spouse.”

“I get so frustrated that my husband never seems to follow through on what he has agreed to do. He focuses intently on things that interest him, but never on me. I feel lonely and ignored in our relationship.”

“I am scared for myself . . .that my life will continue along it’s current path. I think about leaving my husband because the current path feels unsustainable.”

“The effects that my husband’s behavior have had on our marriage and family are much more than can be imagined.”

“At times, I become overwhelmed by sadness. And I mourn for the relationship I could have with my spouse, if not for ADD.”

“Life often seems depressingly up and down and out of control. I can not believe how many years we have dealt with the same issues over and over again.”

“I don’t understand my husband’s anger, stonewalling and defensiveness. If he is not responding angrily towards me or the kids, then he is ignoring us. I am constantly seeking any scraps of attention, respect, help and support I can get from him”

“He can be convinced that he is upset because of something I have just said, but he doesn’t recall that he was upset long before.”

“Understanding my husband’s quite different reality can be so challenging. I am exhausted and depleted. No amount of effort seems to fix the relationship.”

“I want to be able to love my husband unreservedly, without having to make as many of the horrific trade offs in my own life that responding to his symptoms has required.”

“He doesn’t see that deciding to get treatment is not the same as pursuing effective treatment that gives both of us relief from his
symptoms.”


“By the time we finally find solutions for our issues, I feel my life will be shredded beyond recognition – I have already been scarred forever.”

They Said:

Our marriage has been a progression from happy to confused to angry to hopeless.

There is more sadness than hope in their story, but it was good for me to hear the husband’s perspective. You see, although ADD is a topic I now know much about, this is probably the closest I will ever come to knowing what life is like for my own husband . . .

Read Full Post »

Dumb” ~ “Slow” ~ “Gay” ~ “Unpopular” ~ “Broken Paw”

These were the labels which my son had been branded by his classmates at school.

Having cerebral palsy affected him physically, but not cognitively, making him well aware that these classmate’s comments were taunting and unkind. His right-sided weakness, did make his movements slower than others, and the tightness in his muscles caused him to hold his arm in a contracted position (earning him the name, “Broken Paw“)

I knew my son was having a hard time at school socially. It was heart-breaking for me to see this once happy and outgoing child turn into a lonely and withdrawn adolescent. I recruited all who I thought could help – his teachers, school principal, guidance counselor, and pediatrician. I was accustom to being his advocate, but in this situation, no one seemed to be able to intervene.

No matter how hard I pushed, the attempt to placate me was made with comments like, “unless we catch someone in the act of bullying, there’s nothing we can do” (teachers and principal) and “maybe you should try spending more one on one time with him he is probably feeling lost amongst all those siblings (guidance counselor) and “he’s doing just fine, I see no signs of depression“. (pediatrician)

It was up to me. I began a campaign of prayer for and conversations with my son.

My theme“Just because someone sees you as being a certain way, doesn’t make it true – and even if it is true at the time, doesn’t mean it will always be true. Sometimes we fail to see changes in ourselves and in our lives and continue to believe what is no longer accurate. We believe lies.”

Every time I had the opportunity, I found a way to reinforce this concept. When he came home from school with an “A” on his math test, he was excited and completely surprised at himself. My response – “Of course you got an “A”. You studied hard and understood the material. Just because you used to have a hard time with math doesn’t mean that you are dumb or that you will always have a hard time with math.”

His physical limitations were a common source of frustration for him but once we vocalized this to his physical and occupational therapists, they were amazing at implementing exercises that would loosen the muscles in his arm to diminish the “broken paw” effect. It took work and a conscious effort on his part, but the progress was motivating.

I have the protective nature of a lion when it comes to my children and it still makes me angry to remember the difficulties surrounding my son’s CP that we have had to endure because of the ignorance of others. But at some point, I knew I had to acknowledge that my son’s own behavior could be contributing to his social issues at school. I knew he wanted to fit in, be well liked and “popular”, but I also could see how life had required him to develop emotional self-protection and his way of coping had made him prickly.

Changing the opinion of his classmates would be no easy task, but in the meantime, I encouraged him to focus on the friendships he had at church. It was there that I saw glimpses of the boy I once knew. Witty, smiling, confident . . . Accepted.

It was in the car one day, just me and him, that I brought up the subject of the letter he wrote to me many months ago. The letter where he confessed, “I am gay.” (https://mygossamerlife.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/a-letter-from-my-son/) I wanted to check in with him, as I did occasionally, to see what his feelings / thoughts were. His reply was short but thoughtful: “That’s not how I see myself anymore. I’m not even sure why I ever did . . .”

I’m told that the challenges of being a parent never end, and as my kids get older, I am a witness to the fact that the challenges definitely DO NOT get easier. I know that I have and will continue to make mistakes along the way, but I pray God will give me the grace and wisdom required to always point them to Him.

Read Full Post »

Spending time with an adult ADD “expert” gave me more insight to my husband’s behavior than weeks spent reading books on marriage & ADD, months on the couch of my therapist, and years of unproductive conversations with my husband. Here is the advice she gave me over lunch:

ANGER

“Even though you may feel justified in being angry at your husband for the suffering he has caused you, the inevitable result is that both of you are hurt deeply and your indignation does nothing to help you deal with your anger.”

“You can address the root causes of anger in your relationship by giving back the responsibility for fixing ADD to the partner who has it. While at the same time, taking charge of your own happiness again.”

FORGIVENESS

“The cure for anger? – Forgiveness”

“Blame diminishes each partners ability to be empathetic – it impairs the ability to forgive – it sets up two people as adversaries rather than partners – it provides an excuse to not keep trying.”

“Forgiveness can only occur after anger and sadness have been exposed, expressed and validated.”

MOVING FORWARD

“You should allow yourself to experience sadness, because grieving for what you have not had in your marriage, up to this point, is one of the first steps toward building a new life together.”

“Both partners should grieve over what could have been, but wasn’t because of the unrecognized effects of ADD on your lives. You can’t resolve someone’s grief. Just acknowledge and empathize; don’t dismiss. Over time, grief that is acknowledged and validated will heal.”

“Seek help! A good counselor will help you focus on today’s issues rather than the past.”

HOPE

“When couples learn about ADD and work together to address problematic symptoms, life can improve dramatically.”

TREATMENT

“Deciding whether to treat ADD is the sole responsibility of the person who has it. How to respond to your husband’s decision about treatment is up to you.”

“If the your husband decides against treatment, you will be left with only unpleasant choices:”

1) force treatment
2) force change without treatment
3) give up on change but stay in the relationship                                                (which often results in depression and anger)
4) leave the relationship

MOVING ON

“Your husband might refuse treatment for ADD symptoms, essentially forcing you to “take it or leave it”

“At some point, the situation may become untenable for you and if your husband remains uninterested in treatment, expressing your own needs very clearly in the form of an ultimatum is all that will be left.”

. . . There may be an ultimatum in my future.

Read Full Post »

Sitting in the pew during another Sunday morning service. The sun is shining through the glass windows, the music ushering in an environment of worship, the pastor beginning his sermon in a voice that commands attention . . . but I am distracted. Looking around and wondering, “What would they think if they KNEW?”

Looking at myself and my family all in our “Sunday best”, and feeling shame as I admit, “I am so fake.”

Lost in my own thoughts, God begins whispering to my heart. Thoughts that I know are not my own, gently challenge me.

Telling me its OK to be authentic and to let go of my exhausting fascade.

Pointing out it is not only “on the other side of my trial” that I can be a testimony. .

And in my usual ME manner . . . I question Him.

Asking, “How do I be authentic to what I am feeling, but not be controlled by those feelings?”

I am scared . . . of so many things.

He answers my question with His own question and in that “still, small voice” asks me, “How can you be a testimony if you are not authentic?

“How can your life and experiences ‘count’ if you can’t be honest with what is going on?”

There is healing and humility in authenticity.”

Trust Me.”

“I will bring you through.”

“Let. Me. Be. Your. God.”

Antonym of Authenticity ~ Hypocrite. One who bases their actions on external pressures – the pressure to be a certain kind of person, the pressure to adopt a certain mode of living, the pressure to ignore one’s true self. One who ignores crucial facts about their own life in order to avoid uncomfortable truths. (Wikipedia)

Lord, help me
Live without pretending
Love without depending
Listen without defending
Speak without offending

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »