Thirteen Plus Years and They're Still Calling It the Elephant in the Room... (approx. 9½ - 10½min. read)

I had a huge breakthrough and I want to share it with you. It didn’t come easy, in fact, it’s been years in the working, but it was definitely worth the wait!

As you know I’m a people pleaser and I’ve always put other people’s feelings, as well as their needs before my own. I didn’t do it regrettably, I just did it because I thought it was what I was the right thing to do.

For the most part, I didn’t even realize I was doing it, even though there were people that pointed it out, but what did they know? I’m an empath and I do things for other people, that’s just who I am, or should I say was? Because I’m not that way anymore.

I wasn’t actively working on changing anything about myself or working on recovery of any kind. I figured moving away from all that I knew was enough stress to deal with, and I was concentrating on making it through the move, but who would have known what was in the wings – so to speak.

Two days after we got to our property, my husband and I were sitting having a drink and he received a text from our kids. It was national wine day and it was a picture of the three of them holding up their glasses and toasting him. I waited for my phone to go off because it was the kind of text that usually came to me, but nothing. I thought maybe I was sitting in a dead zone, so I got up and walked around the trailer looking for a signal.

When I found a signal, I stood there in anticipation …minutes went by and still nothing. I turned to Gary and told him that something was wrong, but he shook his head and said no. Then he gently put his hand on my arm and reassuringly said that everything was okay and that I was probably reading into it.

His reaction was the gentle reminder we had agreed on when he thought that I was catastrophizing. I’ve asked him to help me to be more aware of when I’m not thinking straight, and this seemed to be working. I smiled at him, reminded him that they hardly ever text him and when they do, they send me one too, but he continued to reassure me that it wasn’t intentional.

An hour went by, and then another, but still nothing and I couldn’t help but start stressing about what I’d done to upset them this time. I just couldn’t concentrate, and I sat in complete silence as some movie (I can’t even remember which one) played on the T.V. screen.

After what seemed like an interminable amount of time Gary announced that he was going to bed and came over to where I was sitting. He got down on his knees, put his head on my lap and asked me if he’d told me that he loved me today, and I told him yes. I stroked his hair before I told him that I loved him back and then he got up, kissed me on my lips and he went to bed. We do this every night; it’s become part of our nightly ritual and I cherish it, but that night I just wanted it to be over, so I could have some time alone with my thoughts.

I waited about ten minutes to make sure Gary had gone to sleep and then picked up my phone for what seemed like the hundredth time. I knew it was on and had a full battery, but I still checked it to see if somehow, I had missed a call or a text, and that’s when the tears started. As they spilled down my face, I wracked my brains trying to figure out what I had done this time because it wasn’t the first time they had given me the silent treatment.

I thought long and hard into the wee hours of the morning about what I might have done to upset them, but I couldn’t come up with anything. Except for the fact that they might be mad we moved away, but that didn’t make sense because they were the first ones to move away; one of them forty-five minutes away, and the other just over an hour.

I felt so hurt and confused and the hopelessness of the situation made me cry even harder and the next thing I knew Gary was walking towards me. I’m not sure I’d ever cried so hard in front of him, and it was a long time before I was able to stop, but he just held me close to him.

The next morning, I tried to call my kids, but there was no answer. I left messages, and I’m pretty sure I followed them up with a text or two, but by the end of the day I still hadn’t heard anything, and I knew something had to be wrong. In the past, they had always called me back …well except when they were ignoring me.

I started questioning myself as I always did when someone didn’t return my calls. I asked myself what I might have said or done to upset them, but I couldn’t think of anything.

Over the next week or so, I continued to reach out to them, but still nothing and I just didn’t get it. What had I done? Every waking thought during that week, was about them and trying to figure out what I’d done to upset them. Trouble was they wouldn’t call me back, so I was left completely alone with my thoughts to try and work through it.

More time went by and each morning when I rolled out of bed, my first thought was about them. I would think to myself - is this going to be the day they’re going to forgive me and let me know what I had done to upset them? Would this be the day they decide to accept me back into their lives?

It was dreadful, and I cried every day for just over a month.

Then one night while Gary and I were sitting talking about the situation between the kids and me, he said he didn’t understand why the kids felt the way they did? He said that I was a really good mother; that I had given my kids my life, but now it was time for me to take it back.

What Gary said to me really hit home and it got me thinking about myself and what I needed. Throughout my life I have always done for others because I never thought I was worth it - why would I? The only real family that’s supported me throughout my life is Gary and his family and I question their love for me and whether I’m worthy. Why do they love me when nobody in my family does? Are they blind with love because they haven’t seen the real me yet or is it because they have seen the real me and they know how good a person I am.

Honestly? These are some of the things that keep me awake at night because I never thought I was worthy of anything, especially living. At social gatherings, I would be questioned, interrogated and then accused of lying and doing things like self-diagnosing my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and, no matter how many times I answered certain questions, they would be thrown at me again and again; almost like someone was hoping I’d slip up and give a different answer.

…but as usual, I digress.

This past weekend after months of being ignored by my kids, I received an email asking me if I was willing to talk about the “elephant” in the room with a mediator. I’m not sure what the “elephant” is, or why they’re calling it that, but I’m pretty sure they’re talking about my PTSD. The email basically told me it was my last chance to “prove” my side of the story.

My first thought was that I’d better comply with their wishes, because I didn’t want to lose them, but then I felt this unfamiliar feeling towards them, and that was anger.  I’d been miles and miles away from everything I’ve ever known for months, being completely ignored and the first contact I have is an email telling me I need to set up a date for a mediation. It said that I would have to back up my claims even though it also said they would be mostly anecdotal based on the fact that most of my evidence spanned over multiple decades. It also said that the conversation was going to be recorded and “fishiness” wouldn’t be tolerated.

I’d had a lot of time over the previous two months to be alone with my thoughts and I know the old me would have complied, but the new me? Not a chance. For the first time in a very long time I’d been able to spend time focusing on myself and what I needed and I knew that being interrogated by a bunch of nay-sayers wasn’t going to be part of my future.

For goodness sake - it’s been THIRTEEN years since I was diagnosed with PTSD and my future needs to be about moving forward and I can’t move forward if certain people want me to keep talking about the elephant in the room.

Especially when most of the talking will be about trying to prove that the elephant exists!!

Honestly, it’s ludicrous and as I write this blog, I’m reminded just how much I’ve changed. The old me would be back peddling and begging for forgiveness, but not this time, or ever again. I’m not afraid of what people will think anymore because I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

Let me say that again because it feels so darn good – I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS!!!!!!!!! I’m suddenly aware; completely aware of how I’ve been allowing other people to treat me, and it’s almost like a switch flipped inside my head.

The best thing about all of this, was that dying by suicide never entered my mind once, and what transpired was one of the biggest triggers I’ve had in a long time. I’ve never been clearer and more present about what I want or how I see myself moving forward. I am so done with the nay-sayers and I hope they know that the time for trying to decide whether they’re with me, or not has passed …and if that means cutting ties with certain people, then that’s what it means.

Today marks the beginning of the next leg of my journey and the one thing I’m sure of is that I will never let anyone make me feel unworthy or inadequate again, because I deserve so much better than that. Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.