Thursday, February 25, 2010

How I Slipped Into This (Familiar) Pit

My husband suggested I retrace my mental steps to, hopefully, figure out when it was I descended down into this "pit" I've been in.

At first, I thought it had to do with Valentine's weekend.  When I was out of town (at my best friend's house), I found out my ex-husband (remember the one who texted me on Valentine's Day to say he was moving out) had contacted my friend.  (It's a long story...but to give context I'll try to make it short.  Basically at the end of our marriage, my friend's son was very sick.  He sent her a message asking how her son was doing.  Keep in mind, it's been four years since the divorce....and she was, and still is, my best friend, someone he rarely spoke to.)  Anyway...his message to her dredged up a slew of emotions for me. 

He was in my life for TEN YEARS.  My children were 2 1/2 and 4 when we started dating.  They still saw their dad regularly, but he was their every day father figure for EIGHT YEARS.  ((And, he's had no contact with them since he filed for divorce, and as far as I know doesn't even know if they are still alive.))  And he wanted to know how my best friend's son was doing??  (Oh, and, his best friend is related to my best friend's husband....he could have certainly found out how her son was without contacting her directly.)

What's worse is that he actually sent the message to her in September, but she didn't get it until that weekend--when I was there.  AND, even worse than that....I had found some of my ex-step-son's baby pictures, and other things, as I was going through old boxes back in November.  I sent my ex an email asking where I could send them to.  He replied (after a WEEK) giving the address.  He didn't say thank you, he didn't ask how the kids were, he didn't ask how my friend's son was doing...just gave me the address.

You can most likely hear the emotions welling up.  (And, I am aware I sound much like a petulant child.)....As I was digging up those "weeds" last night...talking about how abandoned I felt by this man who had promised to "never leave" me, a thought kept popping into my mind........

To understand the thought I had, I have to give another bit of back story....My parents got divorced when I was about 5.  My mother moved to another state.  I saw my real dad a couple of summers before my mom got remarried.  I only saw him once more, for about a week, (until I became an adult).  He never wrote letters or sent cards, or even paid child support for that matter.  As an adult, I reconnected with him.  I've been to see him a couple of times.  We talk about once a year, if that.  About a month ago, I got a call from him.  I thought it would be the yearly check-in, but there was more.  He told me he started a new business and he wanted my help with some computer stuff. 

I felt betrayed.  This man was supposed to be my FATHER.  Now, I shouldn't have expected fatherly behavior, because I'd never gotten it in the past...but this felt like a new low.

Let me assure you, there's a lot more in that "closet"...but that's the general (surface) information.

So the thought that kept popping into my mind as I bemoaned being abaondoned (and betrayed) by my ex....was "just like (I felt I had been abandoned and betrayed by) my father".  I didn't connect the dots as I was talking last night--I kept thinking about the abandonment I felt as a child.  As I was thinking about it last night, it felt almost like trying to put on old clothes that no longer fit.  This "excuse" for why I am currently feeling the way I do couldn't possibly be a by-product of those old emotions.

Then, at 2:30 this morning, it hit me.  The way I'm feeling right now started the day my father called....these feelings aren't directly connected to childhood wounds--they are a "result" of (perceived) fresh wounds.

Interestingly enough, the encounter with my father didn't push me over the edge.  I had been able to keep from sliding down that "slippery slope" of negative emotion, but I hadn't actually delt with the situation....when I got the news from my friend about my ex.   THAT pushed me completely over the edge into a pit of quicksand.

The more I fought to get out, the faster it sucked me in.

It's very interesting.  Just before the "phone call", I had started going to a women's Bible study.  I remember thinking the first time how good I STRONG.  My relationship with the Lord has grown and deepened and it felt more solid than it had ever been.  I started thinking about the kind of writing I want to do (Christian non-fiction) and went to the Christian book store that day to pick up some things to read.  I bought Beth Moore's "Get Out of that Pit".  NOT as a reference for my own life, mind you, but as more of a reference for the kind of writing I hope to (eventually) aspire to.

That phone call came on my second Bible study day.  When I left that day I remember having some very strong, all too familiar feelings of unworthiness....unlovablness.  I won't go into it here and now, but suffice it to say the feeling of being unworthy of love, even incapable of being loved by anyone, is like a second skin to me.  It's one I have moulted off time and time again.  It's what keeps me from flying.  And, every time I believe I've shed the last bit of skin that no longer suits my body...I find there's yet another layer.

Yes, I'm completely aware of the mixed metaphors...and I apologize for that.  I obviously don't feel too bad, or I'd change it, but I think anyone reading gets what I'm saying!!

And, yes, I'm reading the book (I got about 2/3 the way through yesterday!).

Thank you for joining me on this journey!!!


  1. Yes, we re-enact the wounds of our childhood with our husbands/partners and your father added a fresh wound to it with this call. Surely the contact with the Ex activated some of it. I had the same I re-enacted my childhood pain with my partner till I sorted the pain out and the wounds turned into scars. And if I remember right it is an American saying" turn the scars into stars" I wish you all the best, getting out of the pit hole. It was the first I learned when inside the hole: stop digging! Safe hug

  2. Hope everything turns out well for you. Some men probably are just never meant to be a father. Or maybe just doesn't know how to really act like one. Try to let go of your past hurts, and maybe talk to your Dad about how you really feel. Sometimes open communication is the key.

  3. I have to say what stuck out to me in reading this is when you mentioned being in the Bible study and how it was the first time you'd felt good and STRONG. This isn't how Satan wants you to feel. He wants you in this pit. When we are depressed and feeling helpless, we also feel useless to our Lord. The Devil will use all our insecurities and play on that to make us feel as badly as he can. But take heart, if he is pounding on you, he must feel you a threat! He sees that God can use you and that scares him! You are a beautiful and fearfully made creature in God's eyes! Read Psalms 139 - if that doesn't convince us how much God loves us, nothing will! (Pay special attention to verses 13 and 14). God knew you before you were born. He loves you Dana. I love your heart. Thank you for being so open and honest.

  4. The Lord is helping you to connect the dots and leading you on this journey of healing. It's been almost 6 years since my divorce and those pangs still come up now and then for me too. But God is so gracious to remind me that He is there for me and that I don't have to give place to those feelings.

    Dana, He is someone that will NEVER leave you or abandon you. You can rest in that assurance.


  5. I can totally relate to these emotions. Being divorced once, despite desperately wanting to make the marriage work. Feelings to this date of not having my parents unconditional love and blessings. It's hard to say the least, so I can relate, REALLY relate. We may be able to heal the wounds...but the fact is, the scar will remain. Sometimes those scars get irritated and we need to sooth them over with the wonder of God's Word and His love for us. You know you're loved by Him and this blogger! ((hugs))

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I can't offer any life experiences that even come close to comparing to what you have been through, but I love what Jaime said above. You have let allow God to pull you out of that Pit. We as humans can't possibly drive up that pit on our own. Thanks again for being so open, you are in my prayers.

  7. Had to come back to give you some more (((hugs)))

  8. I have to admit I still have some remaining layers to my "shedding skin" as well. I have had little to no contact at all with my ex since he left, and now I see his comments pop up all the time on mutual friends' facebook statuses. I was alarmed at how badly it stung to see his name and written words in front of me. On top of that, I have a tremendous feeling of betrayal that my friends still have a relationship with this man who hurt me so deeply. I have to admit, I'm still working my way through it!

    Once again, my only words, Dana, are to tell you how much I admire you for taking on this quest, for your determination to make it to "the other side," no matter how many "skin layers" must be peeled. See this? I'm shaking my pom poms in your general direction! Gooooo, YOU!!!

    Also, (((((hugs))))!!

  9. Wow. Thank you for sharing this personal journey. It's really beautiful to see this process and know that I (a lil 'ol stranger) am learning things from your journey.

    I'm sending positive vibes your way!

  10. Wow! Thanks for sharing!

    And, thanks for the sweet comments on my blog...

    It's interesting how we can be sucked back into a pit. I've learned through the years that Satan has really come to recognize my weaknesses and he capitalizes on a chance to reopen old wounds. Good for you for delving in and seeking God in all of this.

  11. First off, kudos to you for being so interspective (or is it introspective)? Either way, you are dealing with your issues - both old, new and in between. It's hard, but you are doing it. Every "aha" you have is growth. You are opening yourself up for healing from God. How awesome!

    I have some of my own baggage, both related to I am surprised still pops up. I thought I had done a good job "dealing" with mine but apparently my issues are so much a part of me, when I grow or change, they morph with me. They don't go away completely. Does that even make sense?

    Anyway, I also wanted to say thanks for your comments on my blog today. It was exactly what I needed to hear and it brightened my day! I'm going to post that long one next Wednesday. :) Have a great day!!!