One of my favorite sayings:
They tried to bury us, but they did not know that we were seeds. I suppose this is a fancier way of saying bloom where you are planted…yet the visual is much richer. It’s a phrase I’ve always identified with. I went from a child who quickly realized she could do nothing to get love and approval from my parents to using it as fuel. This was partially because my aunt (my father’s half-sister) and my grandmother (in her own way) made sure that I knew that I was worthy. In particular, my aunt made sure that I understood that I was not limited by my background. We talked about all kinds of things…but I also learned about the virtues of just doing what I needed to do now so that I could move on in life.
During my childhood, I didn’t know that my aunt was largely unhappy in her own marriage. It wasn’t until my mid-teens that she told me she took anti-depressants so that she could cope. She became a role model for me. She did what she needed to do during whatever season she found herself in. She even took care of my grandmother (her mother) and ultimately her husband when he experienced serious health issues that almost killed him. Now she’s out doing what she wants to do. I see her every so often because her son (my cousin) is one of my best friends. We are six months apart in age and as children we were nearly inseparable.
Making the Best of a Bad Situation
This was the most important thing my aunt taught me. Of course, there are times when you should just get the fuck out of the situation. What I am about to say is not a reflection on my aunt…because I am sure that had I ever actually told her what was happening in the former marriage, she would have told me to take the kids and get out. Yet, religion can be a strong influence…even if that religion isn’t yours. I felt the need to try and stick it out until my children were legal adults.
Much like dealing with my parents when I was a child and teen, I resorted to disassociation. Disassociation gets a bad reputation. This is, in my educated and personal opinions because people do not understand that they can (except those with disassociative disorders) use this at will. You can pick and choose when to respond and when to allow yourself to get involved. Yes, really. By nature, the process is easy…but by practice it is hard.
I was married to a malignant narcissist. From 2010 until he left the following year for someone else, I simply stopped giving him a reaction. I worked to be polite (because I did not want the kids seeing me miserable). He would blow up my phone with hateful text after hateful text. If I was going into the office on a Saturday (I was a Bankruptcy Analyst at the time), even if the children went with me, he accused me of cheating. He told me on my birthday he hated me. He tried to get me to kill myself. He gaslighted me. You name it, and I went through it with this character. I just let him carry on and say whatever and I just went on and did what I wanted to do. Because I had realized that there was no pleasing him.
Even after he left, I had no freedom. He broke into my home. I had to get a PO and also had to issue a trespassing order. He tried to use the PO to stop me from seeing my children. He continued to stalk and harass me.
He Did Not Know That I Was a Seed
He tried to bury me. He told me once, screaming at the top of his lungs, that he would ruin me emotionally and financially…he would see me homeless. I went through a tough few years. I found a good counselor for C-PTSD due to abuse. I held tight to the PO. I fought in court. I cried. I rebuilt my life. Rock bottom is the solid foundation from which I built my life. All the bullshit he heaped? It was fertilizer. I used his irrational hatred of me to bloom…not just into a single flower, but an entire tropical forest.
I used that hatred as my fuel. I had developed a habit over time of saying something positive every time my brain tried to tell me something awful. And at first, it was awkward. My childhood was spent listening to my parents tell me how worthless I was. I exchanged them for an asshole who started doing the same thing. When I was finally on my own around 33 years old, the peace was almost overwhelming. I had to learn to live with it.
This year, I turn 39. I own a business. I’ve taught. I am traditionally and self-published. I have a fantastic relationship with my children (believe it or not, children are smart enough to figure out the truth). I am re-married to a great man and have a bonus son. I am happy. He’s had another failed marriage and the gods know how many mistresses and “girlfriends” (or women he led on). I bloomed. He did not. The problem was not me. It was him. I bloomed.
So can you. You make the best out of a bad situation until you can get out. That doesn’t mean you make excuses. It means you make plans and you find coping mechanisms. Then you get help and get on with your life. You deserve nothing less than to bloom.