Friday, April 4, 2014
My Journey: How Do You Hug a Porcupine?...
I need to share a side-story for a moment. I cannot count those I have since been blessed to work with in similar situations as what we have passed through (see bottom of this post for a link to the previous post) who sheepishly admit that they have hard feelings towards their spouse.
I remember a time when I hated my husband. I did! I felt horrible and guilty about it, but I did. THIS is what I was going through at that point (but didn't know how to explain it). It has been similar for some of my friends who get divorced. They explain that at the time of the actual divorce, they don't feel upset or hurt anymore because they already grieved that loss.
All of the things that had attracted me to him were lies, illusions, or gone.
As I tried to reach out in tenderness, he was short tempered or rough.
It felt like trying to love a porcupine.
My reachings were returned with pain or hurt.
My love had been snuffed out.
In my journey over the past few years I have come to realize that it is okay, yet it isn't okay.
I have learned that I was feeling that way for a reason. There is great harm in ignoring, "sweeping under the rug," or "stuffing" feelings. I had been deeply hurt by my husband's addiction and the symptoms and dysfunction surrounding it.
If we ignore feelings, they don't go away. They may come out side-ways at someone else. They may resurface as physical health problems. It is in our stewardship to acknowledge how we feel and to figure out what we need in order to find a positive and healthy release of those negative emotions. That is our responsibility and our feelings are alerting us to that need. That is ok. More on this in another post.
It isn't ok, however, to harbor negative feelings towards other people. It may seem like it's "their fault" because they "made" us feel that way. I have learned that is actually a lie. I found that one in my belief boxes too. :) It hurts us and eats us alive to carry negativity and bitterness towards others. Yes, others' exercising of agency often effects us. We have no control over that, but we can work with what is in our stewardship, which includes how we choose to react.
We do need to forgive...in the right time and way. Sometimes forgiveness comes quickly or easily. Other times it is a longer process. That is ok. Heavenly Father not only expects us to forgive, but He gives us the ability to do so along with it. More on forgiveness in a post of itself.
I did want to though share my hard feelings towards my husband at the time in hopes of offering validation for others in a similar situation.
But don't worry...I don't hate him anymore! I have new appreciation and love for him. More as to how that changed as I continue to write about our journey.
This may be another one of those out of orders steps. I can write this being farther out, but at the time I just did the best I could. Being able to forgive and begin to heal have come in layers for me. The important part for me was to be willing to take the first steps. In the 12-step, forgiveness isn't until step 8, so please keep that in mind. It was a relief to realize just like every other step I had taken to that point, God wasn't asking me (nor expecting me) to muster up the ability to forgive or heal from my husband's damaging choices. If it feels better to keep working where you are, then do that. If it feels right to consider this challenge, then take it. I challenge you to write the names of 3 people (if that is too hard, go with just 1 or 2) who when you look at it honestly, you recognize that harbor feelings that need to be addressed. Remember forgiveness is separate from healing. Pray about these people. Take the time to write down the following: what feelings do I feel towards that person? WHY do I feel that way? What is the first step in working through these feelings and being able to work towards forgiveness? (Or whatever else comes to your mind).
Three talks I love (and challenge you to study) along these lines:
1. Sister Stephens, "The Master Healer"
2. Elder Duncan, "The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness"
3. Elder Dyches "Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?"
Want more on forgiveness? Check out this listing of conference talk about forgiveness.
My journey. Previous post HERE
My journey. Next post HERE