Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Escaping the Black Hole

 


The one thing I try to be in my writing is transparent.

I have a few cheerleaders out there that read this blog religiously, and I am thankful for them.

They tell me when to stop and when to keep going.  They are wonderful encouragers to me - both in my writing here and in my personal life.

I couldn't make it through this dark period without them.  They make me laugh, they hold my hand, and they love well.  In reality, we do this for each other, and I love them for it.

In the interest of transparency, I want to write about the infamous black hole.  I have several friends that have either been in it or are teetering dangerously close to the edge at the moment.  It is a scary place where your emotions, mind, and body all meet together to crash and burn.

It paralyzes you.  It smothers you.  It throws your mind into conflicting places, your body into physical pangs, and your emotions into high gear.  I have found the best way to escape it is to just sleep through it, praying as the hours slip quietly by, and asking God to send His peace and help heal the hurt. 

This weekend, I had to do all of those things.

Sometimes grief - no matter how big or how small - envelops you when you least expect it.  It sneaks in like a thief in the night, stealing your joy and peace.

It has been 13 weeks since I sent "that" short text to my ex. A passive-aggressive cry for help in dealing with the continual hurt and eventual fallouts from his journey through enmeshment.

It was a silent plea to be rescued.  To be the most important person in his life.  To be the one he valued most.  To stop being second to a family embroiled in co-dependency and the disease of addiction.

I was tired of wrestling.  I was tired of being "the other woman."

My ex was struggling through mental and emotional battles over loving me and making a full-time commitment versus still serving his family and parents, as well as not betraying them by "leaving."

I asked for a short break - a minute - to gather and study my emotions...

This battle had been waging for at least the last three years of our relationship.  I craved a permanent future with the person I loved.  A chance to create new life together, blend families, and serve our communities.  But it seemed like my ex was always at ease with the balancing act of going between the home we were creating and his parents home.  Never fully committing to a permanent future with me, creating a new life together, or blending our families.  Every time he left the home we were creating to head back to his parents, I would close the front door to turn around and face an empty home again.  A home so full of promise but yet, so utterly void of presence.

Over the years, the constant abandonment of our dreams to a chain of enmeshment started to overshadow most other things.  The pain grew deeper with each departure.  Couple my growing disappointment in any future, concrete plans with my newly-discovered medical condition, and on September 27, 2023, I finally snapped.  It was one departure too many, and the one that finally crossed a proverbial line in the sand.

We had just arrived back at my house (our "home") from a week in Gatlinburg, TN, and glamping at Greenbrier Campground.

It was a beautiful week.  Perfect weather, perfect company, and a wonderful destination.

Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have slowly, over time, become my favorite place to visit, on earth.  I absolutely love it there.

Our getaway had been slower-paced; full of beautiful, idyllic scenery; and included an opportunity to stay at one of the brand new cabins at Greenbrier Campground.  We had a wonderful trip full of adventure, trail walks, and new places to eat.




I loved being there, and I especially loved being alone with David.  David and I were normally always in sync, enjoying many of the same things and the company of each other.  I couldn't imagine taking this trip with anyone else.  We even discussed renting two of these new cabins for Thanksgiving with David's family.  I had no idea what was actually waiting in the future for us...

This trip was the first in a while we'd traveled anywhere alone. I kept thinking, "This would be a perfect place to finally propose."  It seemed to be Heaven on earth for both of us.



But let's first backtrack for a quick second.  I met David five years ago.  I knew when we met in person for the first time at the little Dunkin' Donuts in Dahlonega that God had created him for me.

They say love at first sight doesn't exist, but when I left Dahlonega that day, I was sure my future had arrived.




But I digress, and now, let's head back to reality.

As our time in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains ended, we arrived back to my house. David unloaded the suitcases and plastic bins from the car and then went to lie down on the sofa to rest.

Once the suitcases and bins were in the house, I started unpacking everything, began a load of laundry, and put away anything else we had taken with us on vacation.

As soon as everything was put away, I went to lie down as well.  We were both tired, and lying down seemed a good idea before contemplating dinner in a few hours.  (A dinner that was never coming.)

Within 15 minutes of arriving back at my house, David came to me and said he was going "home." 

The words shot through me like a bullet to my heart.  Home?  I thought we were home.

I immediately thought to myself, "Here we go again."  My soul was downcast, and the all-too-familiar pang of loneliness set in.  Not even a perfect week away together could break the enmeshment of a family trapped within the evils of addiction.




I couldn't bring myself to make eye contact with David.  I couldn't break the gaze off my cell phone.  I kept scrolling through social media feeds with no actual idea what I was even looking at.

I tried to hold back the tears.  I knew the routine and the pecking order.  It was Wednesday - the West family's traditional "family night," and David had apparently arranged for getting his son that evening and didn't tell me.  In the meantime, his real family was waiting for him to arrive for dinner.

Heartbreak one more time.  Second in David's eyes and heart one more time.

Family night could have been rescheduled for Thursday night (the next evening), but instead, we were rushed home so that David could have his traditional night at home with both his Mom and son.

I wasn't told beforehand about the plan, nor was I invited to be a part of their family evening together.

In one sentence and in one fell swoop, David had fallen from leading a household to reverting back to a son being taken care of.  He had returned to his childhood home and to a Mother's arms.  Dinner was waiting as well as his teenage son.

It was crushing.

Maybe it wasn't the intention, but it felt like David could not wait to leave me and get back to his parents and son, again.

When do the scales tip to the point of a grown man leaving his parents and being a "son" to him maturing and becoming a leader and head of his own household?  The answer seemed like never.

I started to think, "Where exactly is home for David?  Was it here - in a house I've lived in for 23 years and offered to David to also live in as well?  Was it a house that my family and I offered to refinance and put David's name on the mortgage so he could have a part in owning a piece of the property he had invested so much time and effort into?  Was it a home where we have completed so many upgrades and projects or where we were in the middle of a few new projects to complete for future enjoyment together?  Was it a home we had future plans to eventually sell and use the funds to build our own home in Dahlonega? Was it a house that had become a home and meant so much to me because it contained the people I loved and a future so promising?"





"Or was his home in Dahlonega?  A place where he still lived in a family, basement apartment, that was offered as a landing spot after getting divorced so many years ago?  A place where Mom and Dad lived only a few miles away?  A town where one foot seemed to be kept in at all times?  A place that had to be gotten back to so quickly so that everyone could be 'kept happy?'"

I have since discovered through Christian Counseling the word home had become a trigger word for me.  It's no wonder...With no advancement toward a permanent future and a constant running back to his hometown, home had come to trigger loneliness, sadness, and abandonment to me.

It no longer held the hope and joy it once did with David.  I had to finally realize, after five years, that I was not enough for David.  I was not enough to break the chains of enmeshment his family held.  I was not enough to spark David to leave his hometown or to begin a chapter in life.

It felt like I had become the other woman in an adulterous relationship with David.  Life was good when David was at my house, but it was hard when he closed the door and left for the other woman in our relationship - his Mother.

David had grown comfortable with running between and maintaining the two "homes."  He was a great boyfriend, but my family and I had come to realize that a boyfriend was all we could ever hope to see from him.  David was mentally, emotionally, and physically unable to break the chains of enmeshment formed from his family's addiction issues.

And on top of all these things, the enmeshment produced side effects as well.

David had begun to grow disappointed in my attending events with him in Dahlonega.  He began to question my commitment to him, and his hurt toward me began to grow.  The people pleaser in him played well into the chains of enmeshment and alcohol addiction.  

He never (or rarely) shared his feelings with me or allowed us to work through them; thus, his isolation from me grew in one direction, as the closeness to his family grew in the opposite direction.  

To be honest, it had been getting harder and harder for me to attend things with David. I knew he wanted me to be in Dahlonega more often and to attend more events and family events with him. I wanted to be with there too, enjoying all the things he was doing and wanted to do.  I missed going to those things with him.  I missed spending time with him.  He was my best friend.  

But working a full-time job plus two part-time jobs coupled with the responsibility of taking care of a home requires a lot of time and attention. I have a three-story home and a one-acre yard that need taking care of.  I don't always have the liberty to spend my free time playing.  Most weekends, during the warm seasons, are spent trying to play catch up at home.

And on top of life responsibilities, it was also during this time I found out all three of my major hormones had become depleted.  If you are familiar at all with hormone depletion, you know it changes who you are as a person - mentally, emotionally, and of course - physically.

Hormone depletion causes you to become more withdrawn and more unfriendly (to put it kindly).  It changes your personality, as the chemistry in you changes.  It is no joke, and sadly, most women don't understand they don't have to live with it.  (Side note:  Check out this amazing reference on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy - Suzanne Somer's book, Ageless.)

I didn't know it at the time, but my tight schedule coupled with my complete hormone depletion meant I was drowning.  I needed David to throw me a life preserver, but neither one of us knew that at the time.

So when David told me he was going "home" that evening, my heart deflated and then collapsed. A line had been crossed, and I wasn't sure how to return back over it.




This brings us back full circle to the black hole...A place I found myself after this life event and where you might be finding yourself right now.

One thing I have learned through my journey of loving someone as deeply and as long as I loved David, combined with the eventual fact of then losing them, is that you must always be mindful of the devil and the traps he lays out for us.

If you're not careful and don't keep your eyes on the Lord, Satan will silently lead you into the black hole.  He has it sitting out there, waiting for you to fall into.  Waiting to destroy you.  He lives for moments like this in our lives.

Satan is not a fan of happiness, joy, positivity, or happy endings.  He is always on the prowl to devour those of us focused on God, our faith, and walking in Jesus' light.

Scripture tells us he waits for us, roaming the earth as a lion looking for his next prey.  He wants you to take your eyes off Jesus and and focus them onto yourself, your pain, and your loss.  This is where he excels and where he hopes to lead you into your self-destruction.

The deviations began in the Garden of Eden, the beginning of time - with the first two humans God created.  He finds our weak spots and then he pounces.

Hurting?  Feeling lonely?  Feeling used and unimportant? He uses the same tricks and schemes today that he used with Adam and Eve to keep us in his - and our own - personal pit of hell.  A pit of crying, heartbreak, and pain.  If he can't take us to hell with him, he will do his very best to make our life here on earth miserable.

I fell captive to the devil's plan this weekend.  My heart was still hurting from David's decision to end and walk out of our five-year relationship.  Satan used my emotions of hurting, feeling second best, rejection, and abandonment to capture and torture me.  I blindly walked right into my own black hole.

And sadly, I believe David also fell prey to the devil's lies and whispers, "Come over here.  Your happiness counts.  Your happiness matters.  Look at her.  She is selfish and uses you.  She doesn't care about you.  Stop trying to make everyone happy.  Focus on yourself.  Walk away from the struggle between her and your family.  You matter.  I can give you peace.  Come over here where it is calm and there is no fight for your time.  Where you can do the things you want and you can find yourself again."

The devil will always use his best tricks to trap you and pull you away from the gifts of God.

I believe he succeeded and won another battle when he lured David away.

It may seem you can't get out of your black hole at the time of your entrapment.  I think I either laid in my bed or on the couch all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday.  I barely ate, had no appetite, and certainly had no motivation to do anything.  

But God.  Don't ever discredit God.  Remember, HE is the winner, not Satan.  Always and forever.

God showed up and gave me the rescue I so desperately needed at my lowest point.

I am so thankful for friends and family members, as I said at the beginning of this post, who stepped in on Sunday evening and rescued me out of Satan's trap of personal pain.  They wouldn't take no as an answer and showed up, spent the night, and listened while gently guiding me back to reality and out of the black hole.

Friends, relationships are hard.  As I walk through the pain of losing my best friend, I know there are a host of other friends suffering similar fates.

It is sometimes hard to comprehend, when we are so deeply invested and secure in a relationship of many years, maybe even one we think is our permanent future, that Satan can come in and destroy what two people have created - and seemingly so easy.

Sometimes, the vows we take and the words we say just don't stick.  People are human.  God has given each of us free will, and sometimes, people will choose themselves or an easy way out to escape hurt.

Sometimes, it seems putting in the hard work, communicating, or even praying together is just too much of an effort.  Satan is very good at what he does.  Never forget that.

He can take loving people and change them overnight.  He can take your period of sickness and turn it around, making you appear selfish or self-centered.  He can take feelings of loneliness and hurt and create mental blocks that appear too great to overcome.  He can create chains of enmeshment from family addictions and taint your view on reality and devotions.

He is the expert at taking your eyes off Jesus and putting them on yourself.

This weekend, the black hole was waiting for me.  I fell prey to it.  And, I will tell you - once you are in this hole of depression and entrapment, it is a tough one to climb back out of.  But it is something you must walk through.  Do what you have to do to survive it and climb back out.  Because when you come out the other side, Jesus is waiting for you!  

Reach your hand up and out.  Jesus is reaching down to pull you out.  He is always there to rescue you.  Never forget that.

I was blessed this weekend to have my second Mother's intuition kick in and have her come visit me, spending the night.  She wouldn't take no for an answer and showed up ready to listen, eat, watch tv, and dispense wisdom.  Her visit pulled me out of the grave this weekend.

Need some "out of the grave" motivation?  Click the video below to life your spirit high and give God the glory for His great love for you:


The black hole was not fun; it was painful. A place I do not wish to visit again.

Yes, I miss David.  Yes, I still love him, but until God, the divine Potter, can sculpt His clay, I will have to step back and wait. 

I believe God has work to do with David.  Chains of enmeshment to break, lessons on granting and accepting forgiveness, and the instillment of a growing and strong maturity to enable him to leave home and his parents and to walk into a new role of leadership and of creating new life.

Relationships only survive because two people can fluidly move apart and still remain together.

There must be room for hurt and anger, always returning to a common, middle ground and to each other with love and support.  There is no running away, blaming, or excuses.  We must be open to the people in our lives - offering forgiveness, admitting our wrongs when necessary, and accepting others forgiveness as well!

Don't hide in a corner, believe the devil's lies, or run away to eliminate your hurt so you can "be happy."  Follow Jesus' teachings and dig in deep, seek help, and pray and work through things together.  Don't give the enemy a seat at your table!




One last thing to wrap up this long post...

This weekend, I heard Neil Patrick Harris say something that struck a chord with me.  He said - when asked how he believes relationships can last so long - "Relationships ebb and flow.  If you go in thinking a relationship is going to be static and flow in one direction, that it will always stay in that form, you will fail.  Relationships go in an out; they expand and go different ways, but you always come back to each other with humor and love.  That's how relationships survive."

*My prayer this morning, friends, is that those around me who are hurting will stay out of their own, personal black hole hells.  That they will not turn to alcohol or drugs, but will - instead - turn to Jesus, even when He is silent and it feels like He is not there.  Sleep through it; eat through it; drink coffee through it.  Do whatever you need to do to come out on the other side alive and healthy.  Jesus is waiting!

*My prayer is that God will continue to keep David's heart pliable, both toward Him and now toward me and our relationship with each other as well.  I pray that one day David will join me in counseling and work through the very serious issue of enmeshment his family is entangled in.

*My prayer is for anyone reading this today that is struggling with grief, loss, separation, or divorce.  That you will avoid the black hole or if you are in it now, you will make it out to the other side in one piece - healthy and alive.  The black hole is no joke!

As always, if you need help or prayer, please reach out to me personally or leave a comment below.  I am transparent with my life because I know there are so many other people out there suffering alone, on the inside - no matter what you may say or do on the outside.  (I had to learn that lesson from my 24-year old son this week, who was proved right on Christmas Eve!)

"Dear Jesus, those of us that are broken on the inside are reaching out to you today, this morning.  We love you God.  We acknowledge you as the one true God.  There are no others beside you, above, or below you.  You are the triune God.  Three in one, and we worship you.

We ask for forgiveness of all our sins.  Those we are aware of and those we are not.  We ask forgiveness for hurting those we love and for doing things that do not bring You glory and honor.  May we learn from our past mistakes and use them to craft better experiences in the future.

Lord, I pray that my actions in the past might be forgiven and that others may learn through my mistakes.  I pray that no matter what I say on the outside to others or what advice others may give (family members, friends, etc.), I always look to You as the final word.  No matter what I say on the outside, I pray you know me on the inside and that those thoughts, feelings, and words triumph and prevail.  Help me to be a good example of You and your Word, although I admittedly fail daily.

Help those that may be hurt or angry with me from my past words or actions reach out to me to express forgiveness or maybe even do that privately in their own thoughts and prayers to you Lord.  May I do better in the future Lord.

Lord, thank you for all the many, many blessings you have bestowed upon me.  My children, my brother, my sister-in-law, my friends, my family, and everything else surrounding me.  Thank you for a home to rest and recuperate in; hot and cold water; utilities; clothing; food; and a job I absolutely love with the very best coworkers.  I am truly blessed despite anything the devil might throw my way.

I love you Lord.  Please continue to heal and show me how best to serve those around me crossing my paths. Amen."

 

 


2 comments:

  1. I had no idea what happened with the two of you, but I do know God was protecting you from something or He has something planned for your future whether it involves David or someone else! The Bible says to “leave & cleave” plainly. If that couldn’t be done, you do not want it. Trust me…first marriage!! You should be a writer. ♥️

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  2. Thank you for this!!

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