Feel I’m thrashing about in the water, not swimming to shore

This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by delilah delilah 6 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #71770

    Sheri’s piece, The Boat, I have read a few times.
    I think before Christmas, just under a year into full estrangement, I still had hope and underneath a belief it would be sorted, no way could it not be sorted. Since the combo of Christmas alone, and contact from ED, then withdrawal again, I think I hit the reality wall, and a shed load of grief and pain. I know in my heart this is all grief, and probably good as it is a stage in acceptance. But its really really hard to cope with.

    I have swum away from the boat I was trying to climb back into, the one with ED throwing toxic poison overboard, and ES not letting the life boats down.

    But I feel stuck between the boat and the shore, treading water, with my head going under the waves repeatedly. It’s exhausting, frustrating, and a feeling I am never going to get to shore.
    I can see the shore, but I can’t seem to reach any firm ground under my feet or get out of the ocean.

    My health is so much better, still resolving though, so I have a lot more time. I’m not stuck in the bathroom like I was for 8 months. So, yes, I go out everyday, I talk to people in this town. I’ve been well enough to join a weekly yoga group, have just started having shiatsu, am joining pilates end of the month, am moving to a new and permanent home ?end march, I joined a monthly poetry group.
    I found an art group, a walking group, a cycling group, a singing group all of which I intend to join.

    I know a lot of people here and have a few new friends. I’m not trying to fill my life up with activity, and will still have time for gardening and walking etc. So, I know all the above are really positive, but nobody here knows the depth of the pain I’m in a lot of the time and I just feel I’m never ever going to reach that shore, that it isn’t possible, that I don’t know how to go on without my family in my life. I live alone. It feels like it’s always going to be this huge daily mountain to climb.

    I just emailed a third counsellor too. Tried two recently. They didn’t “get it”. Similar to the post from Needothers about the article…one was coming from the place of “lets think about your daughter, why don’t you think about her” etc etc blah di blah.

    It’s 18 months now of estrangement stuff with ED, and just over a year of full and sudden estrangement from ED and ES over the whistle blowing I did re the abuser in our family.

    What my main concern is, is am I ever ever going to make it to shore with this, as there seem to be endless waves that shove me back in the water, even if I’m not wanting to get back in that boat, unless they send a different damn boat with decent people on it. Unlikely. I know that.

    This was my whole family, me ECS X 2, their partners and the four grandchildren. It feels over dramatic, but sometimes I feel like a holocaust survivor, and that I must try to find whatever strength it was that holcaust survivors who lost their whole family, found to go on with, to keep on living with.

  • #71775

    Dear Delilah,

    If you can just lie back and float a bit, I think you will find your way. It may sound impossible, but enjoy the moment you are in. You’re doing all of those things, and you say nobody knows the depth of pain you’re in. It’s good to be aware of that, and maybe accept that you cannot control it all just now. That doesn’t mean you start thrashing about (sharks may come!). Don’t struggle. Just be in this space, recognizing, observing, and accepting of yourself.

    You see the shore. You know it’s there. It’s within reach. It seems to me there is a pull to swim there, but also the pull the other direction. When our ES reach out and then pull away, we can get confused. We see the shore, but maybe we see the relationship as a possibility too. There may be a fear that if you swim to shore, you will give up that hope. Or maybe the fear is that you will give up to soon, send a message that hurts her… or something else.

    Don’t stir up a tidal wave. Just float a bit, and try to be fully present as you do. Can you feel the sunlight on your face? The gentle rocking of the waves? Can you smell the salt air and hear a sea gull? Don’t forget to listen to your inner voice. When you get quiet, it can come in more clearly.

    (Just be sure you don’t get so lulled by it all that you don’t hear the roar of the boat coming to mow you down.)

    Sheri McGregor

  • #71781

    Dear Delilah
    I feel your struggle . I have been on this journey for almost 8 years now and although I would say I have taken a few tentative steps onto the shore I still get pulled back in!!
    This is a very long difficult path we are forced to follow one we did not choose and one which is full of huge obstacles.
    I am lucky as at least I don’t live alone I have a husband who is supportive but is not ED’s biological father and at times the whole situation has caused great strain on our relationship. I have felt so alone even within the relationship if you understand what I mean.
    I took a course on Minfullness which has helped greatly and if you could find a local group I could wholly recommend. As Sheri says try to just stay in the present and enjoy the little things. I guess I’ve decided that although I will stand on the shore the nature of my grief is that I will fall back in the lake every now and then.
    Hugs and peace
    Pepper 💖

  • #71788

    Delilah, give yourself time. It will come. I can think of the years and years I wallowed around in personal inner grief while living my life on the outside, running a B&B, doing my studio work, my volunteer work, living my life, which is not in the least exciting but still lived in the peaceful and beautiful countryside and I appeared to be coping. And I was but then, one day, it happened. I can’t tell you when I turned the corner but it does happen. All of a sudden the pain will not be as intense and you will find yourself enjoying life once again. But there will be a difference.

    You have your life’s props all set up now around you, a more permanent place to live, groups to keep your mind busy, there will be the underlying grief still there but with each passing moment, allow yourself your moments of sadness, you are in recovery from something most people don’t understand and therapists who are there to help, most don’t get it. And you’re smart enough and experience enough to recognize this and not expose yourself to some book-learning these therapists apply to their jobs and not the compassion they are trained to give. Just listening and hearing a client without judging, without suggesting a way forward, is better than putting a client into the position of what they should be doing when it’s not the right thing to be doing.

    The difference for me is that there is an empty place in my heart now, a place where a mother’s compassion and love and caring used to be. It shouldn’t be there, I feel, according to a mother’s creed and my own. Instead, there is concern and there always will be. But when you have no more energy to put to something, something inside you dies and something else takes its place. It is the realization that you can either live your life in grief or you can choose to live your life as someone who is not beaten down by what another person has brought into your life. No judgements either way, just that whatever another has done to you, you have no more energy to give to it and you leave it like a pile of leaves to mulch back into the earth. Believe it will happen.

    You are still pretty new to this estrangement business. Give yourself time. After all, none of us is perfect. We don’t always have to meet the honour roll in life.

  • #71801

    AussieMom, yes, yes and yes. Yes to every single word, and how vital that you’ve shared this so clearly in response to Delihah and every other parent wondering the same.

    I know what you’ve written. I know it is True. “It” happens when “it” happens to any of us after this devastation. No amount of will power, no amount of determination, nothing we can decide, nothing will hurry whatever degree of healing comes, nothing will cause that inner space to be filled with resolution.

    I wrote this somewhere else on the Forum: One day you will know. You simply will.

    In the meantime, we go about our lives putting the best face forward, our insides in turmoil, those who observe us would never guess our competence hides our pain and we survive. Then, one day we do more than survive. We prevail.

    A perfect ending? An all-tied-up-in-a-bow event? Of course not. But a place from which to view our lives that’s so much better from where we once stood….I think so,
    i know so.

    The hardest part is that there isn’t a timeline. We live in a world of clicks and instantaneous happenings. We’re assaulted with assurances that this will be faster, whatever ‘this’ is.

    A hollow, hurting, savaged heart’s emptiness is slowly, slowly filled, as you wrote, with something else.

    Maybe the something-else is beyond words. Whatever it is, we KNOW “it” is there.

    Your post will be kept with others that reflect my Truth, and thank you.


  • #71809
    Yellow Rose
    Yellow Rose

    I am going to echo all the other advice to give it more time, Delilah, and to celebrate the advancements you have made. I think sometimes we want what we want and we want it now. I am so impressed with all you have done, all the moving forward you have done. Yes, you are going to make it to shore but maybe not ever be “okay” with the trauma and the pain. You might get to a more detached feeling about all of it but I am not sure we ever get to not caring on some small level. To not care about our children is not natural to us as parents. Or we’d be sociopaths to not care about someone else we gave birth to. And maybe consider just letting it be, giving in, and taking an emotional vacation from pushing for closure or total healing. Maybe just enjoy life for 6 months, unless you absolutely feel the need for counseling – I will say follow your instincts. But maybe some time “off” from the pushing and just relax and float would be helpful.

    And as time goes by, we get opportunities to practice our new skills. This is when we know we have made progress because we recognize the X in someone else and we control or stop our our reaction and can see it more clinical rather than getting sucked into the vortex of emotional reaction, lashing out, taking it personally, being upset, being angry, whatever. We may find this opportunities with strangers, with other relatives, and on and on. I personally see a huge moving forward in you and frankly, you inspire me.

    Conversely, if you feel like you must keep pushing to gain new what I will call emotional coping skills, then consider taking one small skill and practicing it on your own. If you can’t identify any, this is perhaps where counseling could help. But let’s say you decide you would like to work on detaching or giving in and letting go. We can often do this on our own once we identify our needs. What I have done is write those sticky notes all over the house and read them all day long. Then life gives me the opportunity to practice these skills and something will click in my brain during the situation. So maybe some cranky or mean person pisses me off and instead of engaging and arguing in defense of myself, maybe I realize immediately or shortly afterward that I can let it go and detach and I can tell myself this isn’t about my lack or fault or whatever.

    Life is giving me the opportunity to practice detaching skills right now in a situation not related to estrangement but with the aunt who helped the ES estrange 10 years ago.

  • #71822

    Aussiemom and Emily 38
    Thank you for the wonderful inspiring and comforting posts! This is why I grab my phone and turn to this site every morning when I wake up ! It gives me such a feeling of strength and hope for the future. As you say Aussiemom there is a hole in my heart now that is a part of who I am who I have become. I have days when I touch the edges of the place of such weariness that I don’t even have the energy to think about my ED.
    Peace and hugs

  • #71858

    There is some great advice here…right from the heart of mothers who have felt the same. I know reading it all today has helped me too! I still struggle and going on my fourth year. I might not be to the shore yet, but it’s getting closer to me every day…I float along when I get tired like Sheri suggested ….then I start to swim again. We can make it Delilah, with the help of our friends here on the forum…they make us stronger! Thank you to everyone here, for always lifting each other up! Hugs Lostinadream

  • #71876

    Oh Delilah, I’m so sorry you’re struggling with so much hurt, pain and frustration. I struggle with hoping for reconciliation and the shore as well. Keep swimming. It sounds like you are doing many things right and that you are doing better than you were. You’re making progress. Don’t give up. Keep going. Think of things that are still good in your life and appreciate that you have them. I know it’s hard . . . but there are things that are good; a warm blanket, sun glistening on the snow, a blue sky, a comfortable chair, a fresh breeze, music, a good book or an inspiring movie.
    Hugs to you, Swoosh

  • #71910

    Delialah, you have been given some great advice and I echo all of the posts. Aussiemom, you always manage to put into words what I feel in my heart. Delilah, I’ve been on this merry-go-round ride for many years and although I have reached the shore sometimes a big wave seems to scoop me up and draw me back into the waters, but through the years I have become a better swimmer. I manage to get back to that shore eventually. Estrangement is a struggle and we all have our setbacks. Keep threading my friend. You see the shore, you will get there. Hugs Rainbow

  • #71912

    Thank you all so much, it is very reassuring. I realise there was so much panic and fear in me, a sense I would “go under”, have a breakdown etc, so hence the thrashing and the trying too hard, putting expectations on myself to make a full life fast as a sort of life line to stop me going under completely.

    Sheri is right too I realise, re the fear that if I do move on, it jeopardises everything somehow.

    Something made me click on Imovinon avatar for some reason, and I saw her line in her profile of the phrase she goes by, “I’m moving on and anyone who is meant to be with me, with either catch up or not”…something like that anyway.

    It struck a chord, and I did go to sleep last night calmer and visualising floating on an ingoing tide, rather than thrashing about trying to stay in some middle place, almost giving myself permission to move on.
    Thank you all, everything you have all said is reassuring, kind and helpful. Bless you.

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