Hello Friends! I hope this post finds you all well. As I haven’t written anything in quite some time; so much has happened. Life has happened. Shit has happened, good and bad, and I’m here today to share ALL of these moments with you. Let’s get straight to it!
This is BY FAR going to be the most dramatic portion of this post. Why? Because these are the relationships that affect (affect? effect? I’ll never understand that one) me the most. The one that weighs on my heart the most right now is my deeply wounded relationship with my Brother in-law and his new wife. They got married a few weeks back, and made a super harsh, and rash, decision to not invite me to this once in a life time event. Why? Because I would not give them the verbal apology they were seeking. I am deeply hurt by this for a few reasons.
Forgiveness is not about saying “I’m sorry”. If you’ve been following my blog and have read some of my earlier posts (particularly the one on forgiveness) than you know my view on forgiveness; and that is: that forgiveness is not a word or a series of words, it is a feeling in your heart, followed by an action. Repentance if you will.
I did something terribly wrong to them (I will share more below) and I felt absolutely awful afterwards. I admitted my wrong doings, and acknowledged the hurt I had caused them. I spent many days deep in prayer asking my Father for forgiveness, and guidance, and the knowledge and ability to move forward without repeating these mistakes. I prayed good things for THEM every day. My Father is a good Father, and so he came through. I felt deep in my heart that my actions were wrong, and He knows that. He knows that I love and care for these people and that I wanted to have good, healthy relationships with them; and so, he cleansed my heart. He forgave me. My Father knows the deepest depths of my heart, and he knows my true intentions and who Nikole really is as a person. I have been able to forgive myself, and since then, not act out in those poor ways.
Time went by and I believed that these good Christian family members of mine would have pursued the same healing through Christ, and be able to find the same forgiveness in their hearts that Christ did for me. They did not. In fact, they actually put stipulations and conditions in place for me to obtain their forgiveness. If I wanted to be included as a part of this tremendous (again, ONCE IN A LIFE TIME) celebration of their love for each other I had to meet them in person and say the words “I am sorry”. And then magically everything would be better and I would be able to attend their nuptials…….
Well, problem is, that is not how forgiveness works. To me, these stipulations felt more like a selfish need rather than something Christ required for me to be forgiven. I prayed more about this, and spoke to other people I trusted and my feelings were only further confirmed. These family members of mine asked me kindly not to contact them and so I did not. I left the ball in their court; hoping and praying that they would find it in their hearts to pursue healing in this relationship because it was worth it to them. Because I was worth it to them. It was not. I was not. They never contacted me in the many weeks building up to their wedding, they never reached out, never attempted to pursue me in any way at all. The wedding came and went and the relationship has only been further damaged since.
What is this heinous way I behaved in you ask? Well, once day, with a bottle of vodka in one hand and a mess of bottled up in emotions in the other hand, I sent an extremely rude text to my in-laws airing this new couples dirty laundry. Again, why you ask? Because I am broken, and I was deeply hurting. That’s the thing about emotions, they demand to be felt, to be heard. This new family of mine lacks in communication and so over the years, months, weeks, days and hours – I was unable to find my voice. I was unable to share my thoughts or feelings without receiving judgements or unfavorable feedback. All of this emotion bottled up and eventually the cork blew off and alllllllllllllll that junk came spewing out. Unfortunately, the consequences of this breakdown and my actions afterwards, deeply effected (affected? again, ill never get it) the family I married into. It always seems that we hurt the ones closest to us for some reason. Maybe because inside we feel that there is unconditional love from the ones close to us, like our family? In this case, there is no unconditional love. In fact, their is only conditional love, and its really quite sad.
What emotions were bottled up you ask? Let me share a few stories with you. My husband and I moved in together a few months prior to our marriage because that’s how life worked out at the time. Both of our leases were up, and it didn’t make sense to sign new ones for 1.5 months. Sure, we could have made other arrangements, but the honest truth is that we loved each other and just wanted to be together; and so without hiding it, or trying to be sneaky about it, we moved in together. Everyone knew, it was no big secret. Yes, I’m sure there are things that we missed out on in not waiting, but we chose to accept those consequences. We were reprimanded and made to feel bad for what we had done. We had to walk that out for months. His parents were not impressed with this and actually disowned us for a few months leading up to our wedding because in Christian tradition, you wait until marriage to live together. That was their beliefs and so we let them have that. We stepped back and let them feel that emotion, and kept praying. Prior to our wedding we worked things out and all was well. Thank you Jesus! The important thing, and what we were proud of in all of this, is that we were HONEST and TRUE about our intentions, and about what we wanted and needed. Not gonna lie, it felt right, and it felt good.
Now…. a month or so prior to the brother in-law’s wedding his fiance moved in with him. They wanted to hide it from people. They asked me not to tell anyone where they were living. They were being dishonest and seemingly trying to avoid the consequences of their actions. I was not okay with this. I felt that His parents were okay with them making that choice, but it was not okay for us to make the same. (note: this perception of mine was wrong, but it is how I felt at the time). They (bro & fiance) even went as far as to make the assumption that I would seek out her father and give him their new address so he would know where she was staying and potentially show up there. They were hiding it from him as well. They actually sneakily moved her out one day while her dad was away. I thought that these people, my family, knew who I was and what kind of heart I had; turns out they thought I was a crazy person who would actually go seek out her father and try and cause all this drama, just for shits and giggles. Ummmm…. no. You clearly don’t know me.
So… back to the heinous behavior. In this drunken rant of a text message, I outed them. I told my in-laws all that they had been doing prior to marriage and how unfairly I felt we, I, was being treated. Their response only furthered my anger. They couldn’t or wouldn’t hear my voice, my heart, or my feelings. Their response was a bunch of bible scriptures. Which I can appreciate, but that was not what I needed at the time. I needed a real person to hear me, not a recital of scripture. I know where to find that.
What I did was wrong, absolutely wrong, there is no denying that; and I haven’t tried too. The fact of the matter is, that at some point we must find forgiveness for one another, no matter how horrible the crime. Not just for others, but for ourselves. For our hearts. What would Jesus do? He would forgive. It hurts me to know that they are content with our relationship in shambles as it is. Turns out, I can’t have a relationship with these people anyways because it is extremely unhealthy for my mental health. I know that I am worthy of love and forgiveness, and I know where that comes from. And I know where that does not come from.
Since all of this, I have also been accused of other crazy, absurd acts such as tampering with their Netflix to try and start arguments between the new couple. Essentially, I am the scapegoat in all situations because I am open about my brokenness and my flaws. It’s always easy to blame the f**k up. They are perceived as perfect, and can do no wrong. They are not perfect, they just hide their brokenness. They put on all sorts of different masks to hide who they really are. I view this as extremely unhealthy. We all do it, but do we recognize that we do it? Ask yourself that. What masks do you wear? I know that I love to wear the “perfectionist” mask. But it’s just what it is, a mask. I am no where even in the vicinity of perfect, but I sure like to present like I am. My husband has shared with me that he likes to wear the “fixer” mask, it’s not who he is or who he wants to be, but he consistently puts the mask on. He’s used to it, it’s comfortable. We feel vulnerable when we take off our masks, and so we rarely do.
There were a lot of other things I felt were unfair leading up to this wedding. Prior to our wedding we were lectured about the fact that they felt we needed to push the wedding back to take more time for marriage counseling. On our own, we chose to do two separate rounds of counseling from two separate Pastors. This was our choice, and we felt that everything we needed to cover was discussed. Everything from the practical stuff, finances, sex, housing, etc. to the deeper things like communication, goals and dreams. This “issue” if you will, was a huge source is stress for us during this time as we were confident in what we were pursuing and how we were going about it, but we felt we were being made to feel like we were doing something wrong, or bad. We were not.
Fast forward to their wedding, it was so rushed (engaged, planned and married within 2 months) that they at first weren’t going to do any premarital stuff (because they “didn’t have time”), but ended up partaking in 2 sessions. This seemed to be just fine with the parents. Again, I felt we were treated unfairly. (note: I feel that this was a wrong perception of mine, I don’t think that parents were okay with this, but due to our lack of communication, I wasn’t aware of that). These are just a few examples of the chaos and dysfunction that has been going on over the last few months.
Enough about the brother and sister. On to the parents. Ever since I first met my in-laws I felt that they were such kind and loving people. They were going to be the family I always wanted and never had. Functional, consistent, reliable. I definitely put them up on a pedestal and had expectations of them. That was my bad and in time I learned that is not what they are to me. As you know I have many passions: creating dream catchers, DIY projects, painting, etc. I am a very free person, I express my true self and my likes and dislikes. Since the first time I shared my passions with my in-laws, they have cut me down. Dream Catchers: They sent me scriptures and links to YouTube videos about how this can welcome evil spirits into my my life. My home decor: sculls or anything of that nature is bad, and should not be in my house. Since I do have a few pieces of decor like this, it is hindering my freedom and ability to bear good fruit. (See my previous posts, I talk about this). I can honestly tell you that they do not come visit us at our home, and have never mentioned why. I am only left the assume. Tattoos: I should have them prayed over because whomever the artist was could have had bad intentions and that could still be attached to me. Yoga: When I am practicing such, I am connecting with other powers in the universe and can invite them into my life, again sent scriptures. In the past I have received homophobic messages, links and scriptures from them which make me increasingly more uncomfortable. If these are their opinions that is fine, but it is not something I agree with, and I feel I should be able to freely share that with them. If I am unable to ask them to stop, I feel that it becomes bullying. Again, unfair. When I did mention that I no longer wanted to receive this from them anymore, I was again sent scriptures in reply. I have realized that I need people who I can comfortably and openly communicate with in assertive ways. I need open dialogue, and a safe place to do so. Bottom line, I NEED support in my life. I need people who lift me up and encourage me creativity and people who enjoy Nikole in her truest form. Not Nikole wearing the mask you chose for me today. The real Nikole, take it or leave it.
I feel the choice from all has been clear, and the choice is to leave it. My current journey is accepting that. Accepting that I am a good woman, I am a beautiful and creative person. I am perfect just the way I am. I don’t need to pick up the mask they are comfortable viewing me in, in order to have a relationship with them. I am me, and I will always be me. I deserve to be loved for my true self. Not whatever mask I feel the need to wear today.
My blood family? Well, we’re all a little mad, but the best ones are 🙂 and we know that, and we accept each other for it. I have behaved in poor ways towards them as well, and every time I feel ashamed and deeply regretful. Any every time I come crawling back with my tail between my legs they welcome me back with open arms, and unconditional love. They don’t ask for apologies, or place conditions. They tell me clearly what it is they need moving forward, and we move forward. Staying stagnant in a place that further damages our relationships is not where we chose to dwell, and so whether we receive the words “I’m sorry” or not, we know each others hearts. We know that our intentions are good, and so that is where we find our love for each other. Not in the words, but in the heart. This type of true unconditional love is also what I receive from my husband. He knows my heart, he knows my intentions. He knows my struggles, my brokenness and my flaws. He knows the state of my mental health and he joins me on the path towards recovery. There are no conditions or stipulations, just love.
Speaking of mental health and recovery……. 🙂
The last six months have been a roller coaster for my husband and I. We have been awaiting an appointment with a Psychiatrist (in MEDICINE HAT! so far away) so that we can get me a diagnosis. Once we get a diagnosis then my MD can get a treatment plan in place for me. We realized that we could not wait any longer to get in to see this doctor, as my mental health was deteriorating quite quickly. I had several very bad breakdowns and manic episodes, drinking, not drinking, smoking weed, not smoking weed, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. etc.
You see, the thing is, people who don’t understand mental health (which is pretty much everyone) just think I’m crazy. Remember the stories I told you above about me being a crazy lady trying to give her dad their new address, or tampering with their Netflix? Crazy. People perceive me as crazy because I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. Another thing I feel is unfair. I want the benefit of the doubt, but I’m generally not given that. These people who think these things don’t know me. The people who do know the true me understand why I misbehave at times, or why I isolate, or why I self medicate. It’s not healthy, but there is a reason for it all.
Alas…..we found a local Psychiatrist who was willing to take me on as a new patient, AND he was able to give us a diagnosis, thus starting a treatment plan. What is the diagnosis you ask? BPD: Borderline Personality Disorder. On top of that, I have a severe anxiety disorder, particularly in social situations, hence my isolation at times. I still don’t know a tonne about this disorder, and we are learning new information every day. My doctor has been able to put me on some new medications, along with a strict CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) regime. We have seen fantastic amounts of progress since and are overjoyed at the results we are seeing. I have since quit smoking weed, and drinking. Thoughts of using no longer consume my mind. I am walking the path the freedom and it feels damn good.
Along the journey to this place of freedom I have hurt a lot of people, I have done a lot of shady things. I have behaved in manners that I am disgusted with. I have done obscene things. I acknowledge this, and I acknowledge that it was not right, or good. Not that I need to say it because it is expected of me, but I will say it because it is how I truly feel. I am sorry. My disorder and its side effects have left a rocky road of rubble, and the road behind me cannot be put back together, but the road moving forward can be paved with a clear, precise and beautiful path, and we choose to keep building that path each and every day. To those of you, especially my husband, who have supported me through this, good and bad, thank you. There were many times when I wanted to give up, when I wanted to take my own life because I just could not deal with the state I was in any longer, but some of you lifted me up, encouraged me, understood me and gave me that unconditional love I have been seeking my whole life. Bless you.
To my family who left me to deal with this because they either didn’t know how to bear my burden, couldn’t take it, or felt I wasn’t worth working for. You are wrong. I am worth it, and I will keep praying every day that you will come to realize who I truly am, and how much I am worth it.
For the Readers: PLEASE PLEASE share your stories with me, successes, failures, treatments, diagnosis, your dramatic family life. Please share with me, because of all the things that have helped me most, it is YOU and your communicating with me.
There is just one last thing I would also like to mention in regards to words. “Best Friend” or “Bestie”, etc. etc. are also a very powerful words and I feel like they are thrown around like candy these days. The same as saying “I love you” If it’s not true, don’t say it. Throughout my journey I have deeply desired to have a “Bestie” and to be one too. I have been called that by many people. Was is true? No. How do I know this? Because the ones who called me “Bestie” weren’t there are the darkest times when I needed them. I learned that I can’t rely on another to make me feel like I am at my BEST. I have to feel that in my heart, that I am doing the best I can, and that has to come from me. Hearing it from another person is usually just words, and words don’t mean much these days. If you’re going to state things such as “I want to be here for you”, or “I’m walking with you” then do what you say your going to do. I have learned this from my own experiences of stating these things to others, and not following through. Don’t take on more than you can handle, even if it would be ideal that you could. We are only human.
I hope this post has helped fill a lot of you in on where I am at, where I have been at, and where I am going. I encourage you to communicate, open up with me, ask questions. Don’t assume you know what is going on, because we all know that to assume makes an ASS out of U and ME.
🙂 much love. xo.