Two years ago the trajectory of my life did a 180-degree turn, quite literally. Life as I knew it was spiraling out of control, and I was scared, hurt, and had no idea what to do.
However, what I did know was that I could not handle it alone. I needed the love and support of my family and friends. I needed my tribe.
So, I got on a plane to head home….literally changing directions.
The dynamics of my marriage and the events that would unfold as a result of leaving broke me down as a person. I had no sense of self.
I didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror any more.
Frankly, I cared about everyone’s well being but my own, which created the perfect environment for the breakdown of my person.
By all definitions, before marriage I was confident and independent. I felt good about myself, had a great job and even had bought my own condo.
Then after getting married, I chose to be a stay at home mom. This choice was a combination of wanting to raise my children myself, and my ex being a work-a-holic. If I did not stay home with my kids, they would not have had a present parent (something I was not ok with).
Needless to say, being a high achiever & people pleaser, I threw myself into the mothering and wife duties. I forgot about myself, and put everyone else’s needs first. When they said jump, I said, “how high.” I barely had any time to think about myself, yet alone take care of me.
I wanted everyone to be happy, and in this I created a dependency to my ex. I would question my choices, and defer to him. And in most cases, I didn’t think I really had a say, because he was the financial provider and I deemed him the ultimate decision maker.
Despite mothering being the most important job, I ended up feeling less than because I did not financially contribute to the family.
This all played nicely into my ex’s need to control, and inadvertently lowered my confidence disconnecting me from my true self.
About 6 months after leaving my marriage I started working with a transformational coach.
In order to facilitate the transformation she first started asking me questions. Questions about my intentions around my marriage, my passion, my purpose, and where I saw myself in 3 years. She opened me up to possibilities, asking “What if? And Why not?”
I also learned that the painful words and actions that brought down my marriage, were not about me because “hurt people, hurt people.” This enabled me to develop the emotional skill of empathy.
We dove into emotional intelligence and I began to process my emotions and heal the trauma and drama.
This allowed my mindset started to shift. I could process what was going on in my life. I started to gain clarity in my steps forward.
However, your old self feels comfortable and can hold you back. There is this fight between the old you and the new. Having your new self be “seen” can be scary. Some days you feel confident, other days you want to hide under the covers. This shadow can be hard to shed.
Part of it is because we hide to protect ourselves. There is this fear of what others might think of the new you.
We put value on the opinions of others, but the truth is the only opinion that matters is our own.
Fortunately, this breakdown of my old self allowed me to rebuild into a stronger and more authentic version of Christina. About a year out, the new and improved Christina started to emerge. This emergence has been gradual. Sometimes she is lived more fully, other days she doesn’t show herself much.
For the past year, I have been vacillating in my truth of the old Christina and the new Christina, but now I can say that the new Christina has finally taken the reins.
Divorce dramatically changes us, but it is our choice to turn it into an opportunity for growth and transformation.
How are you growing today?