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Finding peace — 9 Comments

  1. Joyce, this article is “ON-TIME” and truly phenomenal. It’s literally what I needed to read, today.

    First, I want to convey my brightest and most comforting blessings on the anniversary of Morgan’s tragic passing. Hugs and positive energies to you, my dear.

    I want to respond to the wisdom of this article by saying that I also believed that my life had settled into a sort of comfortable rhythm before I discovered what the second exspath was. I mean………I wasn’t deliriously happy in my marriage, at that time, and I had been feeling “unsettled” about it for quite some time – it FELT as if something was amiss, but I had no idea what it was, and I took the responsibility for those “feelings” upon myself as overreacting or blowing things out of proportion.

    When I made my discovery, my “inner” world literally collapsed. I lost all trust, faith, and belief in everything that I had once known inside my mind and heart to be “true.” Then, the tangible losses came – losing a home, a studio, a vehicle, my income, etc…….Then, more emotional losses came – friends, family, etc.

    It was vital for my recovery to recognize and accept these losses and to grieve over them. “It’s just four walls and a roof,” someone once responded when I was talking about losing my little farmhouse and the studio that I had built for myself. Well, godammit, it was MY four walls and MY roof, and I paid for a great portion of that property with my own money, in cash. And, after all was said and done, I literally was expected to PAY out more money to give this property away for 1/2 of the purchase value.

    And, I’ve noticed that I have also been surrounded by “toxic” people, and some of them are monsters, in their own right. Aaaaaaaaaaaand, I’m slowly, slowly weeding them out of my Life’s Garden.

    One of the most valuable “tools” that I was given by my first counselor was the mantra, “Feelings are not facts.” How I might feel about any given situation or thing is to be recognized, acknowledged, and processed, absolutely. But, my feelings have never been based upon “facts,” particularly as a result of the childhood traumas of dysfunction.

    The “fact” is that person A is toxic. The “fact” is that person A has taken advantage of my personal vulnerabilities for whatever purpose they had in mind. The “fact” is that, regardless of this person’s “kind” ear to listen to me talk about my troubles, person A has capitalized on my troubles for their own purposes. The “fact” is that, a long as person A is in my life, I will always be made to feel inadequate, unworthy, undeserving, incapable, and useless. I DON’T NEED THIS INFLUENCE. Nobody – not one empathetic person – NEEDS the influence of this kind of toxicity, and my Life’s Garden has been overrun with these very TOXIC people that take hold like weeds.

    So, Joyce, this article has come up at the most opportune time for me, and I so appreciate the suggestion that there cannot – CAN NOT – be room for peace and contentment as long as anxiety and fear are taking up space. Thank you, so much, for this.

    • And, to clarify about “weeding” out the toxic people………it’s OKAY to grieve over what I had believed to be true. Perhaps, I believed that the person truly cared about me, and it turned out that they really didn’t – that I was simply someone that would listen to their inane babble about shopping, European trips, work-related stress, and their pets. This is okay.

      When I pull a weed, I don’t grieve over getting that thing out of the way of my lovely lavender that’s trying to take hold. I’m taking something OUT to make room for my lavender to take hold and thrive.

      Indeed……..these toxic people take up a whole lot of space, and a whole lot of personal resources to continue thriving in my world. I love this article, Joyce. It’s so danged true that it’s a RELIEF to know that I’m “allowed” to pull those weeds, cull the herd, or add whatever metaphor that will make sense to me to GET THESE PEOPLE OUT OF MY LIFE, for good, and for all.

      Again, thank you so much for this article.

  2. You’re entirely welcome, Truthy.

    Before morgan’s death, I felt that I was the luckiest and happiest person in the world, having everything I wanted in the way of “firiends” and “family” (except Patrick being in prison, but I kept thinking (a delusion of course) that Patrick would get out and go straight and then my world would be completely wonderful! I had PEACE and CONTENTMENT ( I THOUGHT) but it was a “fool’s paradise” because I ignored the people around me who were sucking off of my teat of joy. But I also realize now that what I thought was “Peace and contentment” really wasn’t totally that, but depended on not my INNER PEACE and contentment but too much on my “material” blessings. And on OTHERS, and when I lost those THINGS then the peace and contentment went with them.

    Sure, it’s normal to grieve over the loss of people we love or of things we care about…but in a healthy person even that grief doesn’t destroy them, they work through the grief and then reach acceptance, but their peace is intact.

    Surrounding ourselves with dysfunctional and toxic people may make us feel popular to have so many “friends” but the price we pay emotionally to “keep the peace” with these people actually DESTROYS our peace. Add in a few passive aggressive folks and bingo! No matter what we may “think” about how happy we are, we are just FOOLING ourselves.

    Weeding our garden of life is just exactly like weeding our garden of flowers or vegetables, if we do not do it, the WEEDS will CHOKE the LIFE out of, crowd out, and suck all the nutrients from the things we want to grow and soon nothing BUT the weeds will be there.

  3. Joyce, the important message of this particular article is that peace CAN come, in due time. My personal response to the discovery of what the second exspath was that my entire world and life had come to a sudden and unforeseen end. I believe that most of us who experience that kind of loss feel the same way – the loss is so devastating that we cannot process it. Particularly when we’re talking about a family member of loved one who has offended, I believe that we – the non-offenders – take on the sins of the offender as our own.

    Taking on that kind of burden is too much for anyone to bear. It’s too painful, shameful, and anxiety-inducing. But, if we process all of the experiences and the trauma, peace comes in tiny, tiny bits. And, it’s not the sort of “peace” that I had imagined – it’s not that tremendous “peace” that I used to feel when I was outdoors painting at 5 am. It’s not an exuberant peace. What it is (for me) feels more tempered with wisdom and lessons learned. It’s much more calm and within.

    And, ridding ourselves of the many forms of human toxicity is vital to recovery, healing, and peace. So………..yeah………..VERY good message, here.

  4. Truthy, you are totally correct when we are totally devastated and lose EVERYTHING that we thought was “important to us”—our homes, our social status, our jobs, income, one or more people that we loved and trusted as a result of someone else’s actions and betrayals or offenses against the laws of God and mankind. It sends us in to a spin cycle of pain, emotional devastation and grief. The “underpinning” and foundations of our world seem to be gone. Life wasn’t like we wanted it to be fore sure.

    I got to thinking about what “life” I had envisioned for myself….I saw my biological kids who were both very smart as successful young men, marrying and giving me grandchildren that I would be very close to and do all kinds of fun things with. I had these fantasies built up to the point that in my mind they were REAL…and when these fantasies started to “fall apart” I grieved for them….I let it destroy what I DID have in the way of peace. Just as if I had bought a lotto ticket and was SURE I WOULD WIN, SO SURE that I actually BELIEVED it was going to happen…and when my numbers didn’t come up on the lotto ticket I was so SURE would win, I was crushed. I know that sounds “crazy” that I had this SURE picture of what the FUTURE was going to be that I was so crushed when it didn’t come true.

    When I was a kid I would say something like “Oh, I’ll be sooooo happy when ___________ happens” and my grandmother would say “don’t wish your life away” and there was a lot of wisdom in her words. If we live in FANTASY LAND in the future, in effect, trying to project our wishes into truths, we are very likely to be disappointed.

    So part of my peace I think is the attitude I have about what I am NOW and contentment with that. It may not be what I IMAGINED in the past for my life to be, but it IS the one I have and I have so many blessings that I can count each day that I am very content in what is NOW REAL.

    • Joyce, for me, finding “peace” has been an exercise in “acceptance,” gratitude, altruism, and self-discovery. I have to type that “acceptance” had to come before anything else followed, and this place wasn’t easy to get to.

      What I would have liked, and what turned out to be true are two entirely different outcomes, and I cannot “wish” or bargain a better outcome, no matter how hard I try to. It is what it is. And, I don’t have to “like” this, either. I just have to “accept” it, and then I’m able to move forward.

      The “peace” is kind of interesting to “allow,” when I’m being mindful and paying attention. It’s a strange and alien place for me simply because I have never known what true and genuine “peace” is throughout my lifetime.

      What a long, strange trip it’s been, to be sure. But, I’m okay, right now. And, “right now” is all that I have. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to get my bills paid or plan for the future, but I have learned not to count on anything until I see it, in person. LOL!!!

      So, I’m okay with being single. I’m okay with my poverty. I’m okay with a LOT of things that, previously, I didn’t know that I would be able to survive. Golly, how wonderful Life is, today, and I’m grateful, TODAY, that I’m okay. 😀

  5. Truthy, you are right that we MUST accept what IS (versus grieving forever what is NOT) and to have gratitude for what we DO have, and all in all even poverty in our cases is not like in MUCH of the world. We have water to drink, food to eat, general safety in our homes and community, an education, books to read, health care and many many MANY other blessings that the majority of the world doesn’t have.

    There was a time when I thought that financial wealth and stability would make me happy, would give me what I wanted. Well I never was a millionaire by any means but I was “comfortable” and had a good job that I loved and paid well, then BAM! My world collapsed. My son became a monster, I hurt myself and was out of work for 2 years, but then things seemed to get better for a while and I was “at peace” but then Patrick killed Jessica and my home and my savings didn’t mean doodly squat any more.

    I’m living on below poverty level income, but don’t owe anyone so at least I can’t lose my house and I eat (too) well…and I’m free of toxic people in my environment, though of course I do recognize that if he can arrange it, Patrick will send someone to attack me, so I am CAUTIOUS but I am not going to allow myself to live in TERROR where I die a bit each day from the stress of it.

    Stress causes all kinds of health problems and thinking problems and I know this from first hand experience as well as from the perspective of a health care provider. So I am going to work HARD to maintain my peace and I’m so glad that you are coming to grips with the offenders in your life and the “frin- enemies” in your circle and rooting these people and their drama and toxcicity out of your life.

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