“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” ~Maureen Dowd
Did you see that Ethel? This applies to both of us Love.
Doctor Feelgood - a.k.a. my therapist says that I have a case of self loathing going on. Its all wrapped up in my guilt over the way X found out about BLT, about the kids pain and all the drama and trauma they've gone through, and my own type A need for perfection.
Whew, that's a lot to deal with - drama, guilt, pain, and the need for perfection.... I'll be in therapy for years at this rate. I have a long history of accepting less than what I deserve, because I struggle with the idea that I actually DO deserve good things. I've never felt smart enough, or pretty enough, or talented enough. I settled for a marriage to someone I didn't really love because a part of me thought it was better to have someone, than to be alone... that it was the best I could ask for because I didn't deserve better.
I let him disrespect me. I let him call me bitch in front of my children. I let him get out of being a full time father so that I didn't make waves. I didn't leave when I knew I was never going to be happy with him - because a part of me didn't think I was able, or worthy of better.
So, I'm writing it down so that it's out there. I deserve happiness. I deserve love. I deserve to be trusted and to have someone I can put my trust in. I deserve better this time around, and I won't settle for less.
At some point I have to start letting go of the guilt especially. It's the one thing that holds me back the most, the one thing that makes me doubt myself. I made mistakes, but those mistakes do not have to define me. I don't have to punish myself, or expect less for myself because of them. What I struggle with the most is that I fell in love with another man at the end of difficult and self destructive marriage and I had an affair. It was not the reason for my divorce, but it was a symptom of the cancer in our marriage. And while I don't regret being with BLT, it is not a choice I would ever make again. At heart I'm a one man woman.
I'm honest about the affair. Once it was out in the open I didn't make excuses because I believe in taking responsibility for your choices. I've been drug through the mud, humiliated, belittled, gossipped about, and questioned more times than I can say. I lost respect, and I lost friendships. My X made it a point to tell his version of the facts to every friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, and random stranger who would listen. He exaggerated, embellished, and manipulated. It was humiliating to have all my personal business out there for everyone's entertainment. For the love of God he even told our Schwan's delivery guy, the real estate agent who sold us our house, and people he met online.... and all of those are the consequences for my choices. I can live with that.
But I'm not going to keep letting him punish me forever, and I'm not going to keep punishing myself. If former friends no longer want to be in my life, then so be it. I personally do not judge my friends by their mistakes - but by how they respond and deal with them after the fact.
I'm going to keep working on accepting myself and letting go of the guilt. I'm going to start asking for what I want, and expecting good things to come into my life, and I'm going to work on believing that I deserve to be happy.