Over the ten years that X and I were together, I slowly learned to muffle my emotions. Emotions made my X extremely uncomfortable. My biological mother was bi-polar and that was my X’s favorite thing to use against me. If I cried about something then he was “concerned” that I was going to ‘end up just like her’. Over time, I became so good at stuffing my emotions deep inside that I refused to cry in his presence. I did not want to give him any opportunities to throw my mother’s issue into my face.
I lost my Grandfather over the weekend and I opened the floodgates. In the past, I would have held it in until I was in the safety of a running shower or alone in my car. Even in the event of something so tragic, I would have contained myself. I realize now how unhealthy and inhuman this is. My counselor pulled out a coffee cup and a box of tissues to demonstrate what I was doing. She began shoving tissues into a cup. As the cup filled, the tissues began to overflow and were hanging out despite her best attempts to push them down. It was a good analogy of what I was doing– the plan worked in the beginning but with time I would overflow.
When I got the news of my Grandfather’s passing, I cried uncontrollably and “My Rock” was there to comfort me. I didn’t feel judged and I didn’t feel the need to hide my emotions in an attempt to protect someone else from feeling uncomfortable about something so human. It was another reminder of how thankful I am to be in a healthy, loving environment where I can be myself– happy, sad, joyful or angry. I am loved for who I am and I don’t need to pretend to be something different. Despite the ups and downs of this roller coaster, I am thankful that my children will see what love is all about.