My Quest In To The Light – Part 5

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I did a lot more thinking than I did praying about whether or not to go out with the baptist.  I think I might have asked God to help me discern what to do and I told Him that I would just go out on one date with him to see if I liked him or not and if I didn’t that would be the end of it.  I was waiting for God to send me my “soul mate”, that one guy God had been preparing just for me.  We would meet and be perfect for each other.  We would fall in love and get married and live happily ever after.  I was hoping the baptist was the answer to my prayers, then I wouldn’t have to keep searching for this perfect man that would take away my pain, give me value and worth, and finally make me happy.

One of the main problems with my theory, however, was the fact that I had serious issues.  And I know now that people that have unresolved issues attract other people with unresolved issues.  When two people get together that have issues, there is not much “happily ever after.”  There is usually a lot of unrealistic expectations, disappointment, and more pain.

I accepted the offer to go out on a date and we started getting to know one another. But I was only showing him who he wanted to see.  I figured out what he liked and I became that.  I could not risk being abandoned again.  Come to find out later he was only showing me who he thought I wanted to see also. We spent a tremendous amount of time together after we went out on that first date. Seven short months later we were married. We moved out of our apartments and into a rental house to start our new life together. We adopted a dog together and talked about having children in the future.

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During our entire relationship we attended the same baptist church where we met.  We were very involved in our Sunday school class and I met a lot of really wonderful friends that I still have today through that class. We went to church and Sunday school faithfully every weekend.  Sometimes we would even go to Wednesday night services. I felt like I had to believe the same things and worship the same way he did.  It was my “duty” as his wife and if I didn’t I would be rejected. He was a literalist and believed that the entire Bible was literally true and all of it happened just as it was written.  He believed that you had to accept the entire bible as the ordained word of God and accept all of it – or none of it.  He was a very black-and-white thinker. He had a lot of other rules too, one being that only men were qualified to be ministers and preach the word of God.  Women were inferior and were here to serve men.  Because I was still trapped in my shame and fear I did not question him or any of the church doctrine and in the beginning of our marriage I did not even bother to ponder what I truly believed.  I had not done that in any of my relationships.  I just accepted what everyone told me.  I prayed because I was supposed to.  I worshiped because I was supposed to.  I accompanied my husband to worship services, meetings, and church gatherings because I was supposed to.  It was my duty as his wife.  I was so afraid of being abandoned again.  I was so afraid of my marriage failing again. I just wanted him to love and accept me so badly that I did not question anything.  If I had different thoughts, beliefs, or wishes I would be rejected by him. I knew that I would never be able to be myself and be accepted in this relationship.  So I did what I thought I was supposed to do.

We both had a lot of issues we brought in to the marriage.  And he showed me who he really was after we got married.  He was rather narcissistic, controlling, and very judgmental.  He had a bad temper and liked to yell. He also loved to spend money we did not have, which put a lot of stress on us financially.  And I was afraid of him. He reminded me alot of my abusive step-father.  To say the least this was not a very fulfilling, enriching, life-giving relationship. I was trying to get my need met, my neurotic need to be loved by someone outside of myself to have worth, and the relationship was crushing me. At first I didn’t care, but God has a way of waking us up out of our darkness and reminding us of who we really are, reminding us that there is more to life than this; that He will never leave us or let us go, He will not let us settle or stay here in our pain.  He has more, and bigger, and better for us.

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At the end of the first year of our marriage I got very seriously physically ill and had to be hospitalized.  During that time I was having a tremendous amout of anxiety over the loss of control of my body and the fact that is wasn’t working properly and the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me.  I began having panic attacks.  I think a panic attack is the scariest thing I have ever experienced.  It is like being anxious or nervous about something and then multiplying that feeling by a thousand. My husband was not very supportive during my time of illness so I had to ask my mom to come to my house to take care of me. I was quite a mess physically, emotionally, and mentally back then.  I was spiritually numb during this time. It was a very dark time for me. There was a lot of darkness and separation. I didn’t really have much of a relationship, my own relationship, with God during this time. I think I was afraid that if I really worshiped God instead of the man that I was with, the man would get jealous and abandon me.  I didn’t know how to do both – worship God and have a healthy relationship with a man. I worshiped the man and pretended to worship God because that is what I was supposed to do.  I didn’t know who I really was and I certainly did not know God during this time. I was living a lie and doing a lot of pretending. I had no healthy boundaries.  I was also very co-dependent.  I began to caretake my husband in order to earn my worth.  If he was upset about anything I believed it was my job to fix it and get him in a better mood.  I tried to do everything for him, to earn his love and acceptance.  I jumped through hoops to make sure he was always happy and well taken care of, but there was nobody taking care of me.  It would be an understatement to say that I was burning my candle at both ends. I was married to a man that was not very nice to me, attending a church I did not like or agree with, I was caretaking him night and day and completely neglecting myself, I had no boundaries and allowed everyone to take advantage of me, I was working a stressful full-time job, and I was still filled with so much fear, shame, and pain from my past.  Eventually it was all just too much for me and I ended up having a breakdown.   I hated my life, I hated myself and who I had let myself become. I hated how I felt every morning when I woke up and every night when I went to bed – there was always this dull feeling of fear and anxiety hanging around in the background and I carried that feeling with me everywhere I went.  I finally had enough of all of this.  One day while I was sitting at my desk at work I realized that I needed to reach out for help.  I could feel God speaking to me about not giving up, not settling for where I was, and that life didn’t have to be this hard, that He had more for me.  My journey was about to take me to a place way beyond my limited thoughts from the past.  My journey was headed toward a road to recovery and healing – a road toward the light.

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