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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bad Habits

Recently my four-year-old son Max has been telling me that men are strong and women are weak. Each time he said it, I asked him why he thought this, and he said "something on Daddy's computer says that". So of course I called his dad and asked what he was talking about. He said he had no idea, but that he watches youtube videos of bodybuilders sometimes. 

This morning Ex called me again and said, "Max just told me 'Daddy is strong because he works out, but Mommy doesn't work out and lift heavy things, so she's not strong like Daddy.' So I talked to him about how there are different kinds of strength and all that, but thought you might like to know that's why he's been saying that."

My automatic reaction to this was one of my bad habits. I immediately went into defensive mode, and blamed Ex for this "attack" on me. Now, logically I know this was no attack. My four year old has no concept of this being insulting. He simply knows that his dad lifts heavy weights and is strong, and he has never seen his mom do this. I also tell him occasionally that he's too heavy for me to carry, so he will walk somewhere by himself. But my brain isn't very quick to logic. I go straight to offended, then hurt, then angry, in a matter of seconds. I blame Ex for telling him that working out will make him strong. I blame Ex's girlfriend for being skinny and obviously working out more than me. What does this have to do with the statement my son made? Almost nothing. 

I have so many bad habits, sometimes I just chalk it up to being a bad person altogether (another bad habit I have). I have a nasty habit of eating late at night, when I'm all alone and watching Netflix. I have a bad habit of picking the dry skin off my lips until they bleed. I have a bad habit of staying in my pajamas all day until I realize the entire day is gone. 

But most of my bad habits happen inside my head, where people can't see them. My ex husband knows these habits of mine, these ugly little processes my brain goes through before landing in a healthy zone of logical thinking. He knows them so well he couldn't live with me any longer. I can't blame him one bit for becoming intolerant over time. I couldn't put up with as much as I threw at him. 

(He has habits that made me crazy, too. It was, as always, two-sided, the destruction of Us. I'm not taking all the blame on myself.)

The fact that he knows me better than anyone else makes me uncomfortable. I have a bad habit of assuming that he is constantly comparing me to his new girlfriend. In my head he worships her and hates me, and everything he says about me means he thinks the opposite of her. She is on the pedestal I once occupied in his mind, and I'm down here on ground level waiting for her to fall. I don't even know why I want her to fall. Because if she does, that means it's only human to fall off that pedestal, therefore I am not a failure? She seems like a wonderful person. I haven't heard a single complaint from my kids about her. I haven't had any experience that turned me against her. She's just a person, in a relationship with a man, who happens to be my ex. This is not a reason to hate her, and he doesn't vocally compare the two of us. As far as I know, he rarely thinks of me at all. So why do I let my mind run wild like this? Why is the first thing I think "She probably works out all the time, whereas I'm a lazy slob"? 

I am not, in fact, a lazy slob. I work hard. I am a very strong individual. I have overcome things that many people have only seen in their nightmares. 

But my worst habits lie in my thought processes, where my mind runs wild into ugly, mean territory, tearing me down. I am only recently learning to tell my brain to shut up and come back to reality, to take those moments of hate and fear, and replace them with something that can do some good. 

It's not a fight I'll ever stop fighting. I will always combat insecurity, jealousy, and inadequacy. But I can say this for sure: I am happier than I have ever been. I am stronger and more sound of mind than I have ever been in my entire life. Strength in body will follow, eventually.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you for writing this. I often feel insulted by things that my child says but really she has no idea that she's insulting me. And I harbour hurt feelings over it. I need to let go and focus on me and where that feeling comes from.

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