Author Topic: Transformation and growth  (Read 1225 times)

arneal

  • Member
  • Posts: 647
    • The Starving Activist
Transformation and growth
« on: October 16, 2016, 10:12:41 PM »
I wasn't sure where to share this, so please hang in there with me :)

For those who don't know my story, my second husband died after a number of illnesses, during which I was his caregiver. After he died, my stepdaughter came to my house to ultimately attend the local memorial and carry her father's ashes back to where they would be interred. In those moments, I felt very much alone and talked with her about coming to stay for a while as she established a new life for herself.

Fast forward to the now. I am involved with someone who I hope will be my Ch3 (have been widowed twice). I've had time to be alone and gather my wits again. In that time, I realize that it's been about 27 years since I was able to take care of just myself -- in that time, I went through an abusive marriage, raised a special needs child, and a second marriage that was very good but had its challenges because of the health things. I have been able to focus on myself for a bit and know I need to do more in that area. I need to make a comfortable and happy place for me.

My stepdaughter is 30 and as I took the time to reflect, I realized that she wasn't moving toward something by coming here, she was running away from something. I began to also realize that I didn't want her in my house. I couldn't imagine how she would be with NG. We spend time here together and it's a small house. I am also trying to handle all the bills by myself on still a part-time salary, so having another person here (she would probably be coming without a job in place) using the utilities and such would be a strain.

I tend to be better in writing so I wrote her a heartfelt letter. I think she received it. She evidently rang my phone this morning (didn't leave a message) and instead of calling me back, made a comment on social media asking didn't I see that she had called. I replied that I had gone to church early, had been home all day, but didn't have any voicemail messages. There has been no response to that reply but I can tell you my anxiety went through the roof. I just want to move forward with my life with as little hassle as possible.

How has your transformation and growth into new relationships and life gone? How did you handle the people connected to your former spouse? How do you deal with the results of the emotions that you expressed in those early days that may no longer align with the person you have become?

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your responses. Just feeling a bit stressed by the whole thing.
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b

imissdow

  • Member
  • Posts: 234
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2016, 05:35:13 AM »
If you read some of my post you relize pretty quickly my path is full of turns, twists, potholes and most of the time it feels up hill.  My life is not for the faint of heart. What I relize over and over is attuide matters. More then one would think. How I choose to view things and the attuide I pick drives lots. I've dated, Reyes stuff and failed, yelled at my girls, spent money foolishly. I could dwell on what I don't have. When that happens life is really hard. It's a rather viscous circle and hard to fight my way out of.  If I choose to be positive I do oh so much better.  I run, dance, kickbox, go to the gym , not because I'm a fitness junky but rather because it keeps me from getting depressed, keeps me sane.  Dating has taught me lots. One could argue that I've done it wrong, introduced my kids to early, am to fussy about trivially things. They right be right however last I checked they aren't living my life so their vote really doesn't count.
Most of my dh friends have either become my friends or I don't see them now. His parents I go see every few months we talk but aren't really involved in each other's life's.  I really don't consern myself with what they think.
As far as the stuff I expressed early on. That was then this is now.  I felt, thought it, expressed myself. If it doesn't work now, people change.  Most people don't hold me to what I said, felt early out. If they do that is their problem now.  Most offers of help have a expiration date, to a point.
Don't know if any of that helps. Or if you feel like I've answered anything. Life is hard, growth takes time as long as your headed forward it really doesn't matter how long it takes to get there.

arneal

  • Member
  • Posts: 647
    • The Starving Activist
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2016, 11:28:00 AM »
Thanks, imiss -- that helps a ton. I too go to the gym now as part of my sanity-making/keeping, I do what I feel I need to do to move forward, to care for myself.

I haven't heard anything from my stepdaughter since the call-out on social media. I am still anxious about what my next encounter with her will be like but am praying that she talks to somebody about the situation and they give her wisdom about allowing me space to heal.
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b

MrsDan

  • Member
  • Posts: 470
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2016, 12:44:27 PM »
I am going to put this as gently as possible and I hope you do not take offense. I am not a huge fan of the write a letter strategy. I think a lot of people say they communicate more effectively with the written word, when what they mean is that it's easier to say everything that you want to say without being interrupted, or it being impacted by the other person's reactions. And that they ultimately want to avoid confrontation. But that is not how good communication works. Good communication is a back and forth exchange where you take in the other person's [point of view and modify your delivery (or not) as appropriate. I understand completely your position. However, it's the sort of message that really warranted a conversation. A difficult one, no doubt, but a conversation.

Two and a half years ago my sister sent me an email telling me how my grief was damaging the whole family, including my daughter. It felt like a barrage, no chance for a rebuttal from me. It knocked me to my knees, but what made it worse was the method of delivery. She basically got to hit send and retreat, did not have to face the consequences of what she was putting out there. It was so damaging to me emotionally that I ended the relationship. Earlier this year she reached out to apologize to me, but again via email. She has also tried to have her husband reach out to me. The fact that once again, she chose a route that was so impersonal made me more confidant in my decision to never have anything to do with her again. Resuming a relationship with her estranged sister was not worth the prospect of an unpleasant conversation.

I am not saying this is the same thing. Here, you are the wounded one, the one who needs extra care. You may not be up for the confrontation in your state. But I'm not sure there's any way your step daughter would know that. If you want to mend this fence I think you will need to reach out in person or via a phone call. Have a conversation.

Again, I am not saying there is anything wrong with your decision. As widows, we often don't know what we want or need, and we require some room to change our minds and figure stuff out. But I see people advocating the method of writing advocated so often and I really don't think it's sound advice.
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.

arneal

  • Member
  • Posts: 647
    • The Starving Activist
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2016, 01:33:23 PM »
Thanks, MrsDan. I agree with you 1000% about the confrontation issue. This is a rather incendiary young woman and frankly, I'm not up for it. I've been hung up on, yelled at, and so on over the years. Much of it I chalked up to immaturity, but now that she's 30 and I see many of the same responses toward things not so serious, I am not in the emotional frame of mind to deal with all that. You are also right -- I needed to do this in a way that I wouldn't be interrupted and in a way that my words can't be changed if repeated to anyone else. They are in ink. Yes, it would be difficult should the relationship end, but her dad and I had numerous conversations about her attitudes and I can't envision that he would want me to put myself through it either. My hope is that she will take some time to allow herself to heal. She posted today that 'she misses her daddy'. Ironically, I had posted about my dad as today would have been his birthday.
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b

MrsDan

  • Member
  • Posts: 470
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2016, 03:25:49 PM »
Okay, well documentation might be a factor, I can see that.

To get closer to the question you were actually asking, I think the biggest part of my transformation has been letting go of relationships that were hurtful. I don't feel the need to stay tied to people who hurt me, especially those who did something offensive in relation to Dan. So in addition to my sister, I've severed ties with others (or rather, made the decision not to resume contact after they disappeared then tried to come back after they thought enough time had passed, or that I was "fixed"). I just don't have the energy to forgive in the way that I used to. My relationship with my mother has dwindled to little more than me serving as liason between her and my daughter. That I do feel somewhat bad about, but the issues we have, I can't be the only one to fix it, and she doesn't even realize they are there.

When I moved to a new state for a new job, where people didn't really know my history, I had to put on a show of being a normal, functional human being. That sort of made me recall what it was like to actually be a normal, functional human being. I remember when I had just started seeing my boyfriend. He has a lot of stress in his life, but works hard to be positive and deal with things in a healthy way. He would send these texts asking about my day, and I would say it was great. Then I'd think, "No, it's not, today sucked!" But I realized that his attitude was wearing off on me.  On Thanksgiving, I sent him a text wishing him a happy Thanksgiving. Only afterwards did I realize that was the first time I'd genuinely wished someone a happy holiday in the three years since Dan's death.

My feeling is that the feelings I expressed in the wake of a tremendous shock and trauma were valid. I don't feel the need to justify my feelings and reactions to anybody. I'm guarded with sharing that period of my life with new people, but mainly because I don't really see the point. So far, the people connected to Dan recognize that I still love him and always will, and I also have someone new in my life whom I love very much. We'll see how others feel this weekend, because I'll be seeing many of them and N is supposed to come with me. Anyone who has issues with it, I say fuck it, because the people closest to Dan understand. Not that I need their approval, but having it makes it easier for me to say fuck all the others.
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.

arneal

  • Member
  • Posts: 647
    • The Starving Activist
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 03:34:07 PM »
Thank you for sharing, MrsDan ... your post helps tons! I pray that you and NG have a great time, regardless of what anyone else is feeling. I have thought about what it might be like to go back 'home' with NG but think it would be great because he has a sister who lives not far from my mom, who thinks it's great that I've met someone. I am still communicating with members of LH's family (a couple of cousins and an aunt specifically) -- the one cousin is very supportive as she has been widowed multiple times herself. I am grateful for all who get what this journey is about.

Appreciate you very much {{{hugs}}}
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b

twin_mom

  • Member
  • Posts: 85
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 08:59:12 AM »
I have finally stepped back from my adult stepdaughters. They have been horrid to me since I started dating their dad- they were teenagers. Over the years I went from "my dad's wife", to "the twins mom", to finally "my stepmom". About a year after his death I was back to "the twins mom", but oddly my ng is "my stepmother's boyfriend"?
Anyways, older sd got married on the 4th anniversary of her father's death. I couldn't emotionally deal with that and told her upfront before she was even engaged that I wouldn't be able to go if it was that day....6 months of harassment from both girls, most hurtfully that I was being selfish and what was my problem because their mom's love of her life died and she was okay with the date... Um, she's not the widow, they were separated/divorced for 15+ years... Anyways, ng took my twins to the wedding for me,  the next day I finally started taking the steps to protect my emotional well-being and moving forward- I unfriended both girls on Facebook, their primary way to know what was going on in my children's lives. It's been so freeing to not be caught up in their drama, or the drama i would create in my head in reaction to the things they would say/do (for example, younger SD goes on and on to my kids how much she misses them, but never calls/texts them and comes to town and doesn't stop by to see them).
I promised DH that I would watch out for his girls, and I will do that. But that doesn't mean sacrificing my happiness for them, and I finally feel empowered to implement that.


ETA: I did tell both girls I was done, that they had crossed the line and i wasn't interested in continuing in the same relationship with them before the wedding, so while I'm sure it caught them off guard when I unfriended them, it wasn't completely passive/aggressive. It's been 7 weeks and neither has said anything to me other than sending me friend requests. When I take my twins to meet older sd for dinner, I say hello and goodbye to her and that's it.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 09:03:48 AM by twin_mom »

arneal

  • Member
  • Posts: 647
    • The Starving Activist
Re: Transformation and growth
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2016, 11:04:44 AM »
Thanks for sharing, Twin Mom. I did a 'clean break' from my first husband's oldest daughter when he died. Long story short, he had three daughters, three different moms, hadn't married any of them. He was abusive to me and I did not want to taint their image of their dad. The oldest was closest to us and really loved my son as her little brother. She had sent us gift cards one Christmas (at that time, we had moved a distance away and so never called or saw each other) and I mailed them back with a letter, explaining that there were things she didn't know and didn't need to know and that I was needing to go on with life. I think about her still. This situation was different because I've been in SD's life for more than half of it, even though it has been difficult. Her relationship with her mom is more like sister-friends. They talk about everything -- I mean relationship details, they cuss at each other, it's so different from anything I've ever experienced. So far, I haven't heard from her. She will 'like' my posts on Facebook but hasn't reached out to me and I haven't reached out to her. Like you said, I will do what I can for her from a distance. She just can't live here.
Andree'

Seek peace, and pursue it - Psalm 34:14b