Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wife Leaves = Downward Spiral

Mostly, I don't even want to share this, because the self critical voice that keeps this whole story in place tells me that it's pathetic and lame that I would feel this way.
Since, somewhere in me, I know that that voice is not true, I'm going to share anyway.  And, my hope is that it helps you understand a little more about yourself.

I am married to an amazing woman. Her name is Tasha and she is the safest space in my life. She is the one person, I've really allowed myself to relax with and be loved by and supported by.  Believe me, I'm still a work in progress with the allowing myself to be loved part, but the point is that her presence has a healing effect on my heart. I can experience myself as loved and supported and free to be me.  Its kind of a like guard dog who doesn't need to guard any longer.

Anyway, my wife is a destination wedding planner and travels for occasional contract work where she is gone weeks at a time.  She has been traveling like this most of the time that we have been together.  Today, I'm into day 4 or so of her being gone and I find myself going into a familiar downward spiral where I stop taking care of myself, I feel isolated and alone and I perpetuate that by staying isolated and alone.

This has happened enough times now that I fully expect this downward spiral every time she leaves.  Its hard to admit for a man who crafted his life around not being dependent on anyone.  Of course, us men who grow up fatherless tend to craft non-dependent lives.

If we remain completely independent from all others, it protects us from the possibility of being disappointed or let down by someone we count on.

When she leaves, I believe it triggers emotional wounds that go back to being a very small child when I  realized that my father was not there and that fundamentally I was alone and had to fend for myself.  It has to be that because the numbness and bad feelings wash over me uncontrollably.

If you're in this place with me, here are some tips that I promise to follow if you do.
1. Have compassion for the part of you that needs your special person to be with you.
2. Get ahead of the downward spiral by putting in structures to connect with your significant other, as well as friends and family while they are away.
3. Make a list of 10 things that are loving that you can do for yourself while they are away. For example, healthy meals, drink water, go to the movies, exercise, drink less alcohol, etc.
4. Book a session with a therapist or highly trained coach.

Thanks for listening and I hope you can find your way out of the downward spiral as I find my way out of mine.  Or, maybe I'll just be with it and forgive myself.

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