"I do not have the choice or the power to remove myself from the disharmony that is my marriage."
I am writing because I am in a desperate spiritual place and have been here for years. I am still here I think, because I am somehow of the mindset that I do not have the choice or the power to remove myself from the disharmony that is my marriage. However, I have a nagging feeling that I should have moved on years ago. I am struggling for spiritual growth, and my husband is stagnated. I feel that our paths are naturally due to divide now. He is hanging on for dear life and I feel guilty for wanting (needing) to move on. We have a sixteen year old son that is doing well in school and whom I do not want to uproot at this time. But I fear that I make things harder on all of us by not making my move to separate. I know that my husband will not make that move.
I am now 47 years of age. I have been with my husband for 27 years, but we have been married only ten years. Since our marriage, I have begun to notice actions from my husband that are clearly more disrespectful to this union than I could have imagined that he was capable of. He misrepresents who he is, and I have always been the type to take people as they seem until proven otherwise. During the past ten years, I have received my proof of otherwise. I have been repeatedly shocked, lied to, deceived, and disrespected by him. He has withheld intimate relations, refused to communicate with me, spoken terrible, damaging words to our son, and been emotionally absent. As I look back upon the entirety of this relationship, I see clearly that his behavior is not new, but that I overlooked it because of my unconscious belief that I did not deserve more respect than that. I did not have a healthy sense of self-respect. In fact, I had none. Now, I fear that my growing self-respect will result in a sad displacement of my son during his third year of high school. I can't imagine which situation could be more damaging for him; remaining in this, or being uprooted.
My upbringing was not so good. My parents were both alcoholics, my father was never around except to beat us, scare us, or make my mother pregnant again. The he would leave. My mother was emotionally absent, alcoholic, unsupportive and generally impaired. I spent most of my life alone and lonely, hoping for some sort of bonding with her that never came. I was overweight, developmentally delayed, and emotionally immature. The only constants in my life were violence, shame, abuse and disappointment.
I had unknowingly allowed myself, during the course of my marriage, to be used, lied to, disrespected and deceived. I was not in love with my husband when we began dating. He was attracted to me and pursued me with more diligence than I have seen him apply toward anything since. For some reason, I felt that I did not have the power to say no to his advances and keep to that commitment. He threatened to join the military and sever our friendship if I did not agree to become his wife. In fear of losing the friendship, I agreed, but not in my heart. It took me many months to develop love for him, but I did. What I did not know was that he was attracted to my looks at that time, and has since shown me in various ways, how important my looks are to him. This makes me sick to my stomach. He does not value anything that is not outwardly beautiful, nor does he value people for the beauty in their soul. My husband is emotionally immature and unavailable. He mirrors my emotional immaturity, but the unavailable part I cannot own. I do not fear that nobody else will love me. I know others will and I want the chance to find out what reciprocal love and intimacy really are.
I have recently been working with a holistic psychologist, I have been following your website for years, and I have devoured every type of spiritual and self-help media that I can find, looking for the power to move myself through the actions of leaving this relationship, or for the strength to remain in this house until my son graduates without flying into a rage because of something my husband did. I finally understand that he is at his place on his journey here, and I am at mine. But he will not let go of me, yet will not make progress with his life or even try to understand that our values are different and we do not gel. My son's age requires me to be strong and supportive to help him through the trials of his life at this time, but I feel so depleted from the fighting and the hatred I feel toward my husband. I desperately want to be free of this man, but feel deeply that I cannot make a move that will not be in my son's best interest, so I should stay at least another year. This is victimhood, no? How can I turn a blind eye to my husband's antics while in the same house? Why do I allow him to push my buttons instead of focusing on my goal to leave, one step at a time? What am I not seeing about myself?
As a young girl, I chose to end several relationships with men due to their behavior, without reservation, and did not look back on any of them with any kind of sorrow. I don't know where or when I lost my power. This man lies to me all the time, and I cannot bear to even listen to him speak anymore. When I see him, I fill with anger and distaste. I am angry with myself for allowing these things to continue without respecting myself more fully and making a change when I first noticed the deceit and secrecy. At that time, I was insecure and afraid. I was still under the impression that I was ungood, and lucky to have him. I no longer feel that way, but still have difficulty moving forward with my plan to separate from him. I am miserable, my son is miserable, and my husband will not leave or grow. Do I still believe I am ungood? I cannot accept his place as 'perfect' because my son needs his father to be a better role model and at least supportive in a healthy way.
Can you help me understand why I know that I must be free of this relationship, yet I remain here miserable and angry? What part of myself am I denying or not owning? I understand that this man is mirroring for me all of the things I must learn to deal with; lies, emotional vacancy, deceit, secrecy, disappointment, lack of intimacy. These issues are not my own. It is a repeat of life with my mother. I am emotionally available, loving, giving, open, and yearning to experience reciprocal intimacy. But I repeatedly come to the conclusion that leaving him to live in his world is how I will help myself. I know he cannot be changed and that this behavior is unhealthy and unacceptable to me. I will not tolerate it in the future. This is what I feel. But if I am still here, then how can that be so? What is my block? Have I misinterpreted the meaning of all of this? Why did I attract this kind of person into my life as such a young girl? And since I look back and clearly see that he was always this way and I wasn't taking it seriously, what was keeping me from standing up for myself and leaving this kind of treatment? And what is still keeping me?
Also, I have had a vision since I was a very small child. This vision, or dream, or nagging recurring image, is of me, with horses on a farm, living somewhere in the southwestern United States. I have been drawing pictures of this and yearning for this type of life since I was literally old enough to form thoughts. Could there be a meaning behind this? I see open blue sky, sandstone bluffs, horses are prominent and I own them, and my ranch house or farm is there. It's all so clear in my head, yet I remain here where that type of life cannot occur for me. My anger about not having achieved that life is currently displaced. I denied my yearning to move from the Midwest and begin that path because my husband did not want to leave his blood family. Initially, and still a little, I blamed him for my disappointment, but I now realize I made the choice not to go and created my own disappointment. Still, this vision happens to me several times per week. I feel that I may be so blocked that I cannot understand the meaning of it and do not know whether I should pursue it or if it's just a fantasy. I fully understand that my current condition is of my own doing. But if anything appears evident to you that you feel I need to understand, I would certainly appreciate your insight. I have nothing but respect for your insight, and I thank you for your time and gifts. Be well.
Hi - thanks so much for sharing, and for the good insights that you already have. Let's see what else shows up to help you with this...
What is showing up first are issues related to Survival. This is a 3rd chakra issue, and this is the areas to focus on:
Facing experiences that reveal to us our strengths and weaknesses as separate from the influence of our elders. Our survival intuition, our sense that protects us when we are in physical danger and alerts us to the negative energy and actions of other people - gut instinct. Taking responsibility and casting the victim label aside is the empowering course. The magic begins when we take responsibility. Sometimes it is frightening, but it is the only way we make essential changes. We can only change ourselves. Each person is responsible for himself or herself - it can be no other way.
As a child of alcoholics - the issue of a profound Lack of love is present. So here comes this strong, military guy who thinks you are beautiful, and who puts out a lot of energy to woo you and have you. This can feel like the most love and attention you have ever had, at the time, and feeling that, needing that, overcame anything and everything else. He may have seemed like a salvation - the answer, finally, to this deep lack of being loved or appreciated, or alone, the issue of basically surviving on your own, that you felt. Now, however, as you have grown in maturity and wisdom, you are seeing it differently. This is what you understand now, and the following would be a great mantra to say to yourself and commit to:
You lacked a sense of Bonding, which can feel, to a child, like standing on quicksand - nothing to stand on or support you - disconnected to others, and therefore believing perhaps, that you did not deserve to be connected to others, and hoped/thought that you had it with this guy.
However, in this lifetime, you are here to work on coming from poor judgment and/or the rash or restless tendencies (jumping into a toxic relationship, as an example, and not giving yourself time to think it through) that keep you from your own real happiness and accomplishments. You have to learn to concentrate and focus your forces and not go dashing off - to really know what it is that you want and to make sure that you have researched and seen what you need to do and understand about a situation, and then make a clear decision - a good decision - from that place.
If a fear of survival is keeping you from making a good decision regarding your marriage, then that has to be looked at and explored and healed so you can make a good choice for yourself.
Also, something is showing up about subconsciously feeling guilty about leaving - I am getting that you need to find out what this is. Sometimes it can be beliefs such as:
I invite you to ask about this in meditation, and see what reveals itself.
When we stay in an unhealthy relationship or situation, what can happen is that, in fighting it again and again, with nothing changing, we go into a state of Chronic fatigue - however, what is showing up for you, which is interesting is that something about being in this relationship has enlivened you....what comes to mind for you about this? Sometimes it's that we are working through old issues that need to be healed, and this person gives us that opportunity to do so. Perhaps you felt protected? And that goes back to the survival, child place. If, however, you have worked through these old wounds, and he still has not changed, then yes, it is often very true, and appropriate, that the contract ends between people - and it is time to move on and allow people and situations that match who you are now to come into your life - to create the life you want, because you now are able to do so - from who you are now.
However, you have to believe in yourself, and BE GROUNDED in your own ability to take care of yourself ( the survival issue). BEING GROUNDED kept showing up for you, so it is important for you to use some techniques to help you with this. Twice a day. You can probably look this up online and see what resonates with you.
As far as your dream of the horse ranch goes - you are 'wistful" about it - and being wistful means that you think it's out of reach - you yearn for it, but you don't try to go after it - you think it's an impossible dream - which means, also, that you aren't grounded in your own power enough yet, to create it for yourself. If you get grounded and create powerfully - which also involves making decisions - then you let wistfulness go and you go for it with wonderful strength and power. This is using your own innate masculine energy - not your husband's - you have to have that strong and vital inside of yourself, and put it into play. Call upon it - strengthen it. Create a healthy relationship with it, (read the book Why We Do What We Do - about creating your own, internal, healthy inner family - very rich stuff) to forge ahead with this.
Wistful is mushy, dreamy, sad, longing. That doesn't create. Since the masculine energy in your life right now does not and has not honored, valued, or respected you - or supported you in this way - then your own matching inner masculine energy may not be strong or even know how to do this for you in a Higher Consciousness, noble way. That needs to be explored and healed and transformed. Making good decisions comes from this place as well. Like a general putting forth a clear strategy and marshalling his troops (energy) to get the job done.
To help you with this, I want you to look up, online, the 15 Minute Miracle information/format - print it out - and go through it once a day, really feeling and believing it - for 4 weeks.
There are 2 more things I want to offer you. The first is this: My belief is that you are not doing your son any favors by having him grow up in a toxic and unhappy and dishonoring household where the role model he is getting from his parents is an abusive husband and a wife who does not take care of herself or value and manifest her own dreams. That is presenting him with a pattern of victim/dominator, and abuse, and if it isn't addressed, he will then also take on that pattern and be caught in the ugliness of victim/dominator in his relationships. He needs to see something better than that.
If you do decide to leave, I think it would be very important to, ahead of time, prepare him> Sit down with your son and explain to him why you are choosing this course of action: how you feel, what has changed, what is going on. That because you came from an unloving abusive situation as a child, you didn't know it could be different, and that you unconsciously then, created the same sort of things in your marriage that you experienced as a child. But, people, hopefully, grow and change and learn to take better care of themselves, and to create differently.
A woman who stays in such an abusive relationship is not honoring or valuing herself. How you know and understand that he has seen these patterns operating, and that you hope he will take a look at what kind of man he wants to be, that he has choices and doesn't have to continue toxic ways of relating, and he can then hopefully wisely choose what kind of woman he would want to be with. You can tell him that you know he has seen these patterns operating, but you have gained strength and wisdom, and you know and choose for it to be differently now. That you know what enables a relationship, now, to work out, and you are valuing yourself enough not to create or allow or accept any more unhappiness or abuse in your life.
You can tell him that it troubles you very much to uproot him, but you think it's much worse to continue for all of you continuing to live in a toxic, negative model of relationship - that you hope that he'll be able also, by you making this choice, to choose better for himself then if this was all he saw. That you love him, and will always be there for him, etc. that you understand a lot will come up for him about this, and that's natural and inevitable - and that it is important to talk about it and not hold it in - to process it. He may even benefit from counseling for a while.
You'll have to be alert to what his needs are, and what he is going through. Again - masculine energy - taking action - mixed appropriately with feminine intuitive - using both of these innate qualities within yourself to be on top of a situation, and handle it well. You are needing to grow a healthy interaction, a healthy team, of the masculine and feminine within yourself - and then you will manifest that healthy balance of energy back to you in the form of outer events, situations, and relationships.
At any rate, then it's up to your son to grow and change as well - or not. You can only be loving and clear and show him a positive role model for taking good care of oneself - for evolving. Giving him that, is, in itself, a great and crucial gift. (No guilt - check out the subconscious need to feel guilty again here. If that stops you from changing a toxic situation.)
The last thing I want to offer you is the following information. Read it through, and see what you get out of it.
Reichian growth informationn
Jaw segment block: issues of feeding and support
The primary infant experience connected with our mouths is breast or bottle feeding. At its best this is an experience of profound contentment and pleasure, the nearest thing to getting back inside the womb, reuniting with the mother's body. That floating, drifting, relaxed dreaminess is often maintained long into childhood with thumb sucking, comfort blankets and so on. It is also a crucial component of our adult well-being. If all goes well we grow up with the secure conviction that the universe can nourish and support us, that there will be good times, that life is fundamentally possible. This conviction enables us to move out effectively into the world. We can mobilise our energies because at other times we are able to let go and be supported.
For very many people, though, the weaning process and infant feeding will have been disturbed and damaged in some way. This is not really anyone's fault - there is so much guilt in this area. It is very hard - though not totally impossible - for us as parents to give our children more than we had ourselves; the mother or father with distress around feeding issues will have difficulties in making their own child feel secure.
Of course, the parents may have real problems in their own life, or simply too much to do, distracting them from giving full attention to the baby. Their own instincts may have been distorted by bizarre 'expert' theories of when and how to feed. The birth of more children may speed up the weaning process together with the closely related process of 'standing on your own feet', which is often beyond what the child can handle.
The 'oral yearning' character position, then, seeks to be fed. The whole message emanating from the person is 'feed me, hold me up'. There is often a sense of physical weakness; a thin, stringy, weedy body like a plant deprived of light, which has bolted and stretched itself out - the child eternally reaching to be picked up and cuddled. Less commonly, there is the fat oral character, with a jolly grin concealing their resentful, sadistic determination to chew up and devour the whole world.
With the oral position there is almost always an aggressive edge, a profound bitterness. Why won't people look after me? How can they expect me to fend for myself in this cold, cruel world? Can't they see how important and special I am? In the oral position, we tend to be 'on strike', withdrawing our labour from life in the hope that people will see how unfairly we are being treated, Sulking, in other words!
The infantile nature of these attitudes is very obvious, and often very irritating, Part of the irritation, though, is that we are uncomfortably reminded of feelings we have ourselves, Rare is the person who, as a child. felt fully satisfied and nurtured; who spontaneously initiated their own weaning and every other stage of their independence; who truly feels they have had enough. When we refer to feelings as 'infantile', we must remember that they are fully appropriate for infants to have: we did need looking after, we were special and important.
Many of us, in order to survive, have developed a 'denying oral' block, contradicting our needs. We present clenched teeth, stiff lips - the Clint Eastwood, 'strong silent type'. Here is a fundamental stance of 'I won't' - eat, cry, ask, speak, get angry - give myself away as needy and yearning.
Alongside oral blocks we often notice an irritability that is both emotional and physical - a peculiar hot prickliness to the skin, and a general difficulty in becoming comfortable. It is as if the person's teeth are being set on edge, and teething can be a very serious factor in developing an oral position. Suppressed anger commonly comes out in 'biting', 'sharp-tongued' speech. There is a big overlap between weaning, teething, standing and learning to talk, often with a lot of tension around trying to ask for or demand the feeding we need, trying to articulate the unfairness we are experiencing.
The child may grow up to be a smooth, glib talker, with many rationalisations for their dependence on others - a 'sponger' or a con artist. Or - and sometimes at the same time - she may be caught in a trap, since expressing the rage she feels just makes adults withdraw even more, so that she feels forced to 'bite it back', 'swallow it down'. Stammering is one possible result of this contradiction - 'I can't (mustn't) say what I want to say' - so is tight-lipped silence. The discomfort already referred to may mean 'It isn't right!'
You may have already noticed how people often react against their real character so as to conceal it; what we can call a 'flip' into a polar opposite position. With the oral position, there is often a tendency to become a 'compulsive carer', someone who looks after everyone in sight - whether they like it or not. We can recognise this attitude by the absence of openhearted love. People in this position are often the social workers and official carers from whom everyone runs a mile! What such people need to recognise is that in caring for others they are secretly acting out what they want for themselves, yet their caring is undermined by the concealed aggression and resentment of the oral position.
Oral blocking, as we have said, makes it difficult to feel fundamentally secure in the world. While the boundary character often feels unreal, in danger of annihilation, the oral character is here and real, but often terribly lonely, empty and cold. 'Empty' is the key word: an inner gulf, an absence of energy for self-starting or carrying through projects. No petrol in the tank; no milk in the tummy! Most of us have at least occasional experiences of this state.
An oral block will interfere with creative enjoyment of activities like eating, drinking, talking, kissing, singing. We will either dislike them, or compulsively over-indulge them - always the two fundamental tactics for dealing with any kind of stuckness. The yearning oral character can try to fill herself up with almost anything - food, drink, TV, music, drugs, sex, ideas, or looking after other people!
When oral energy is freed, it expresses itself creatively in an appetite for life, a capacity for gusto and enjoyment including, but not restricted to, the sorts of oral activities described above. Often there is a genuine eloquence, which can serve other functions than wheedling. In particular there is a genuine concern with justice, that no one be left out or rejected, and a true capacity to nurture others, based on a sense of security in yourself.Exercise
To experience your oral position, work with person B standing on a chair, and person A reaching up to them with their arms and their whole body - again, tending towards tiptoe. Breathe fairly deeply, one breath at a time, with pauses at the end of the inhale and the exhale. Person A says things like 'Please', 'Play with me', 'Feed me', while person B experiments with 'No', 'Not now', 'Leave me alone'. After a while stop, make contact, and reverse roles.