Hi Beautiful ladies! Today I’d like to introduce our newest expert contributor, Andrea Amador, aka The Juicy Woman. She is a self-esteem specialist who helps women overcome body image issues, enabling them to step into a life of freedom and joy. I believe we all need a little help in that area. Please welcome her to the Women’s LifeLink team with some comment love! Also, visit Andrea over at her place The Juicy Woman!
Change Your Story, Change Your Life By Andrea Amador
Back in December my family and I sold our home and we rented a big, beautiful house in upstate New York. But rather than being overjoyed and grateful for the opportunity to enjoy a fresh start, I went into one of the deepest depressions ever.
The move and the months of preparation and packing preceding the closing, were incredibly traumatic and painful for the whole family. None of us wanted to leave our precious home, but it was time to start over. It felt like my heart was breaking.
It was such a painful time for us with so many arguments, finger pointing, blaming and tons of resentment flying everywhere.
Somehow the move exposed all my vulnerabilities and I felt so edgy and afraid all the time. I was caught up in a loop of asking myself questions like:
- What’s wrong with me?
- Why can’t I get out of this mess?
- Why is my marriage falling apart?
- Why am I so unhappy?
- Why am I stuck in this situation?
- What’s wrong with me?
- Why am I so angry?
- Why can’t I stop being afraid?
My fear and anxiety was fueled by my husband’s constant anger. His usual soft and loving tone had recently become angry and critical and he seemed to find every reason to complain. One day I told him that his anger was triggering fear in me and his sarcastic tone reminded me of my father’s.
He continued to rant and complain. During that time, nothing I said or did felt or seemed right. I realized I couldn’t change him and I was sure he was so angry because he just didn’t love me anymore. I convinced myself that my marriage was over as I imagined the possibility of being separated. I started to voice my thoughts one day when talking to my daughter, Cara.
But the thought of giving up on my 24 year marriage to a really good man made my blood boil. I just couldn’t stand his negativity. I felt so angry and uncomfortable with his anger, I could have jumped out of my skin.
Day-by-day I could feel myself slipping back into my old habits of eating and shopping out of control, trying desperately to numb the emotional tsunami exploding inside of me. During that time the world seemed smaller, colder and meaner.
One day I checked the online banking and came to the shocking realization that in less than two weeks, I had spent over $15,000 and had no memory of it. I had never done anything like that before and was terrified that I had lost control. I knew I needed help to deal with this problem. When I finally gathered up the guts to confront Angel, I had no doubt that this would hammer the final nail in the coffin and kill our marriage. I was ready to accept whatever came next.
Shaking with fear, I approached Angel and told him what had happened and to my shock and amazement, he didn’t react in anger. He was kind and understanding and loving. For the first time in months we were able to talk again.
That experience taught me a very valuable lesson about the power of our stories and what we tell ourselves every day. I’ve since been telling myself some new stories that have helped to create a lot more joy and connection with my husband and best of all, myself.
But my real healing began when I decided to forgive myself for all the things I did to contribute to my own hurting, overspending, breaking promises, avoiding my responsibilities, being hateful, resenting my weakness, blaming, using food to stuff my anger and building walls to keep people out. Looking back on the past several months, I see that my over-sensitivity toward Angel’s anger and my self-abusive behavior was really just a numbing distraction protecting me from feeling my feelings.
The truth is: I was and still am deeply grieving the loss of my house and anticipating the fearful prospect of being separated from my daughter when she leaves for the Culinary Institute in September. I also realize that rather than pointing a finger of blame at Angel and telling him not to be so angry is a waste of my precious time. He has every right to be angry and so do I. And now I am willing to embrace my anger and give it room to breathe so that I can finally feel safe in letting it go. I notice that as I release my anger, his complaining and upset doesn’t feel so intimidating.
The past few months have been a really tough time for me as I’ve struggled with a lot of negative and fearful thoughts attempting to resolve my past. Here’s what I learned from the experience:
If you’re not actively working to change your story, your past will claim your future.
Since I’ve taken steps to be more proactive in creating more intentional ways to express and receive the love of my family and friends again, I’ve been a lot more at peace with letting go of things that are beyond my control.
What kinds of stories are you telling yourself?