I wrote this note to my counselor this week. It will give you an idea of what I’ve been going through lately.
I would like to talk to you about this when we next meet but I thought I would write now so if you have any insights then I can think about them before we meet.
I feel like I am having a harder time right now thinking about moving on than (my wife) is. She wants to keep things on track and have a plan. She is ready to talk to the kids. She’s excited about the future. For some reason, I am feeling apprehension about everything. Beginning to talk to the kids feels so final to me. For some reason, taking steps towards finality is really hard for me. As I think about it, the only answer that I can come up with is fear. I think I am afraid of devastating my kids. I am afraid of the unknown in the future. I am afraid of leaving behind everything that I know in my life. I am afraid of what it will mean in my future relationship with my kids. I am afraid of missing all of what I have right now in my family. As I reflect on all of this, I have to remind myself that the good I am experiencing with my family and with (my wife) right now is not a true marriage. My self-talk reminds me that I desire something more. It just feels like I have to give up so much in the process.
As I am writing this, I am realizing that NOT facing these things head-on is actually avoiding grieving. Am I just trying to avoid the grieving process that has to come in the months ahead?
One of the things that (my wife) and I have talked about is dealing with some of the debt that we have. In the process of talking about it, (my wife) mentioned that we should appraise her wedding ring and see if we can sell it to get money to pay off some debt. I know that (my wife) meant the best in that conversation and is truly looking at helping our future. But that was one of several situations where I had to step back and flip the switch in my head so that I didn’t feel hurt. For some reason, while I realize that at some point, she won’t be wearing that ring, it hurts to talk about selling it. Again, it is the finality of it all that I’m struggling with.
Do I just need courage? I am somebody who has always been fairly courageous. But for some reason, I’m not feeling that same courage right now.
Anyway, I just needed to process some of that as I wrote and I would love to get any insight you have for me.
My counselor sent me a short reply from her blackberry…but I think she is right on:
As I have pondered your feelings I kept having the sense of your brain lodging in “all or nothing” thinking. You will have everything in the future that you have now…and more. Ask yourself what you are questioning? Your first step has served both you and (your wife) well. This next step is actually the public step. The more people involved, the less control you will have in being able to work everything through with each individual. Much like with your in-laws, it is just showing up in the moment and standing in what you know. Your kids will find their way as you encourage them to wrestle and stay connected. Continue to email me and process if you need to.
Feeling stuck. That is what is going on. My brain is stuck in “either-or” thinking. I am afraid to make the next move because I’m afraid of losing things that are very important to me. But can things be “both-and” rather than “either-or”? There will be change. There will be more pain to process. But I am not going to lose everything. I will be able to to have much of what I have now and MORE.
I need to remember that. BOTH-AND. It is with that knowledge that I am praying that my brain will get “unstuck”.