SURVIVAL & HEALING

Healing the Past and The Beginning of Number Two

Mending a Broken Heart

I mended my broken heart and my children survived divorce (See the 1st part of my journey). It was a long, painful process, but I threw myself into my job and my children and focused on making a new home and new memories. Life was good but I was lonely. I was making new friends but I wasn’t happy. Something was missing.

Pottery Class

Then I signed up for a pottery class. Remember – art had been part of my young adult passion. I started out majoring in art before quitting school to get married. So to be in a studio again, with the smells, sounds and feel of the clay in my hands was like stepping into heaven.

I fell in ‘awe’ of my instructor. He was everything I had always wanted to be. He was a successful artist, he was single and free to travel, selling his art. And he was flirtatious. I thought it was only me he flirted with, so I created this amazing scenario in my head of spending my life with a potter and becoming an artist myself. We would travel the world together!

Becoming Blind to the Past

One important fact before I continue with my story, I had not continued with my therapy after divorcing. I thought I was cured! After all, I had gained the courage to walk away from an abusive marriage. So my damaged, abused self grabbed at the flirts and attention and I became blind to everything else around me. I took his class for a year before we dated, with him treating me as his prize student.

I hung on his every word and glance and I tried very hard to please him. WHAT? That was the first sign that timing was not right. I should NOT have been trying to please him. Looking back on this, I now realize that this was the beginning of a very unhealthy next 13 years of trying to PLEASE.

The Dating Began

When I was no longer officially his student we dated. I thought life was finally perfect for me! Other than the fact that my kids were very upset about it (a story for another time) I wanted so badly to believe this was my perfect relationship. On the weekends my kids were with their Dad, I traveled with my perfect man to his art shows.

I was living the life I always wanted, except for the fact that it was HIS life I was living, not mine. But, I was still damaged. I was not seeing through healthy, clear eyes. The veil was still blinding me. And because I was blinded, I missed the signs of MORE ABUSE.
It was different though. This wasn’t the shouting, angry, shoving, verbal abuse I was so accustomed to. It was completely different.

History Repeats Itself

It was subtle at first. Small silent treatments started. I would be talking and all of a sudden there was no reaction from him, there was no life in his eyes. Almost as though he had left his body. But then later, it would be as though it never happened.

When it was good, it was very good. We laughed, we traveled, he introduced me to the world of exotic food and Asian friends since he was from Singapore.  

We eventually married. It was a small fairy tale wedding on the farm of a good friend. I am still told that it was one of the most beautiful weddings anyone has ever been to. And then on to Singapore for the tea ceremony in front of his parents and family. I’ll never forget his Mom taking the tea cup from him and slapping him on the head saying – in Cantonese I think – “You better take care of this woman!”

Pretending

It’s easy to pretend when things are going good. But I look back at the two years before our wedding and they were not perfect. My children were teenagers. They were angry. He wasn’t used to that lifestyle. He had been on his own for over 40 years. 

This time it wasn’t verbal abuse. It was worse! There were silent treatments.  We would be laughing, driving to a dinner party and just for no reason at all he would stop talking and a blank look would come over him.

Fear

This look would eventually scare me. It was as if his soul just exited his body and all that was there were two black holes where his eyes had been. That is the best way to describe it. And it started happening very often! I wanted to be loved, at all cost. And I was chasing that dream of being in the art world. So I ignored the signs.

After awhile the silence would start lasting for weeks instead of days. Eventually it would become MONTHS instead of weeks.

Don’t Cry

And if I tried to ask what was wrong, it became worse. I would beg, I would cry, I would plead with him to tell me what I had done wrong. WHAT?

I would actually cry as I asked him WHAT I DID WRONG. Now, in my healthy state I cringe when I think of how I just assumed it was ME that was to blame.

Healing the Past

I hadn’t healed from my first marriage, so the self loathing and self blame was natural for me.   I allowed this to go on for 10 years. TEN years of me trying to make things right, trying to make myself worthy of this man’s love.  Ten years of changing who I was in order to please someone else.

There was a moment somewhere in that time period where I knew things had to change. I knew I had suffered enough and I was no longer a door mat for others.

So…. the second phase of my healing process was about to begin!  I searched for help. Help with my marriage and help for soul. 

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