I completely burned out and I disappeared from life for a little while after I lost myself.
Leaving a toxic relationship was hard but having to keep him in my life because of our son and co parent is harder than I could ever have imagined, my health is a mess and I needed to check out for a while.
I kept pushing myself, at work, at home and socially and while I’ve been able to keep the wheels turning for a little while my health came crashing down and I fell into a heap!
Being a single parent is tough and people expect you to have your life “anchored” securely, anchors such as health, family, friends, romantic relationship, career, home etc. It’s not easy and I don’t know exactly how many are meant to be secured at one time or if is it possible to have it all? I honestly don’t think so..
We are often thrown curve balls and one of our “anchors” can break free, but we end up so focused on fixing that broken anchor because the secured one’s don’t need maintenance…wrong!
Here’s an insight into what “anchors” are broken at the moment:
- Romantic Relationship
- Co Parenting
Sitting back and looking at whats happening has made me realise how important it is to take the time to look after myself so I’ve been working really hard this year on picking up the pieces of my life and starting fresh.
I wanted to share my story so I decided to start this blog, I’m hoping I can reach others in similar situations so they know they’re not alone. I wear my heart on my sleeve, i’m vulnerable, I crave routine and organisation and I want people to know it’s ok to not be ok sometimes! Be sad, be angry, cry, do what you need to do to weather this storm called life..
Falling into a heap puts a lot into perspective, I had to dig deep and put the pieces back together one by one…especially when it’s only lunchtime and you’re absolutely buggered but you still have a whole half a day of being mum to an adventurous 2-year-old left!
It’s been coming for about 6 months now and I really should have seen the signs a lot earlier. At the beginning of the year I went on a journey of self love….and I found it! I was doing well, I had all of my anchors secured (except romantic relationship of course) and I was kind of winning at life, then my ex showed up and took our son without consent one weekend.
My whole life changed at that moment.
I wasn’t prepared for it and there was nothing I could do either, but I didn’t realise how much it actually took its toll on me till now.
Since then it’s been a rollercoaster, my ex has called me more names than I can count, he’s publicly slandered me on social media (as has his family/friends), he is doing everything he possibly can to make raising our son on my own difficult, he doesn’t accept any financial responsibility for his son, he doesn’t ask how he is/what he’s been doing, and ignores me at handover. When I told him our son wasn’t coping of course it was my fault and told me I was a failure/i’d ruined my life and my families/I needed babysitting and couldn’t raise our son on my own…all via text of course because he is incapable of actually speaking to me.
As much as it shouldn’t hurt me because it’s not true, it still does! I stopped practicing self-love, I stopped meeting my friends at the park for play dates, I stopped going out of the house full stop and buried myself in work and helping my son cope after each access visit.
Eventually I got sick and fell in a heap in the form of pneumonia and middle ear infections!
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Sometimes we have to let go of people we love:
Realising our relationship was toxic was devastating, he ticked so many of the right boxes for me but at the same time there were a lot that he didn’t and they outweighed the good in the end. I tried to keep everything amicable for co parenting but understand he is hurting and lashing out at me now, he has even said he has a lot of hatred for me and that is going to take some time to move past.
It’s very painful to know someone so intimately and connect with someone so deeply only to have them take advantage of that vulnerability. They have the ability to detour your whole life on a new path yet at the end of our path I was left asking myself some difficult questions;
- Who am I?
- Is what I see and he see’s really that different?
- Maybe he’s right, maybe I am useless, maybe Max and I are a burden on his life.
- Can I stay for the sake of our son? Who’s happiness is more important, mine or Max’s?
We created the most gorgeous little guy from our relationship and whilst it was a great love, I think by the time I made the decision to leave the walls had been up for a while and I’d already started the grieving process so we are at the opposite ends of the scale now. I accept he is hurting and he needs time. I’m not angry, and I’m not hurt, I just feel sad that his bad behaviour is affecting our son so much and he can’t/chooses not to see that.
Time is definitely the only thing to heal this.
Keep Your Expectations In Reality:
I placed super high expectations on myself post breakup and chose to just power through life, people noticed this and then expected this from me.
I looked at those surrounding me and their expectations of themselves and me and found that they were very different.
I realised I’m actually surrounded by some pretty amazing people, they are very supportive and my gal pals are some very wise women that I’m very proud to call my friends. We are all experiencing different storms at some stage or another and we all weather them differently too.
I then decided I needed a new focus on how I choose to live my life, and whilst I still have some high expectations my wise women keep them a little more real so when I do meet those expectations I am grateful for being so bloody lucky!
Take time out!
I cannot stress this enough. Take the day off, get a massage, meditate, call a friend, catchup with friends, go out for lunch, walk into a store and actually buy something new for yourself instead of for your child (who isn’t guilty of this?), see a movie by yourself, spent some time on your own. My self-love routine is:
- Monthly massages,
- Self guided meditation at least 3 times a week,
- Gym sessions at least 3 times a week,
- Fortnightly park dates with my wise women and their children
This routine works really well for me. It’s a good balance of stress release, exercise, laughs and socialisation. It’s simple but totally works for me. I don’t want my tough experience to build up my wall, I like wearing my heat on my sleeve and there isn’t anything wrong with that and that takes courage to realise that. But I choose to be the person who chooses courage over comfort!
I had a significant “friend” purge post breakup and omg it felt amazing!
My friendship circle is certainly smaller now but I don’t mind, the people who are here now have actually always been here for me. They’re loyal and supportive and they are the traits of people I choose to be in my life as they help build me up!
I’m not here to please everyone as when you try to you end up feeling under appreciated and undervalued. Those who get me get me and those who don’t and that’s ok as people appreciate you so much more for being honest.
Don’t EVER let people invalidate your emotions, period.
It’s not up to someone else to tell you how you should feel, your feelings are totally valid and so is feeling the need to communicate them, don’t ever forget that.
You Can’t Change Your Life Overnight:
We are faced with so many decisions every single day of our life but when you start choosing to look for positives, practicing gratitude, and celebrating the small wins you’ll be surprised just how quickly your situation changes and that it actually feels real instead of overwhelming!
Make little decisions first, mine are:
- Routine – I’ve made some small mindful changes to my routine.
– Lighting scented candles
– Self guided meditation nightly
– Focusing on eating clean again as I feel amazing when I’m eating the right food
- Time out – I’ve been forced to take some time off work to recover from pneumonia and normally I would be feeling very guilty as it’s not productive but I’m actually enjoying it and realising that I need to recharge!
– I’m organising my home
– I’ve gotten a massage
– I’ve had lunch dates
- Investing in family/friends
– Until we need them you usually don’t realise how important they really are! I’ve realised I have a bloody amazing support network of family and friends, but I’ve also realised I’ve actually been a bad mum/daughter/sister/aunt/friend at times over the last 6 months too. I’ve neglected them a little and came to this realisation when I felt guilty for calling on them to talk to when I needed support, but they hugged my while I cried and helped wipe away the tears. For this I am so grateful that I have such amazing and beautiful people who I call my family and friends!
Choose To Be Happy:
While this sounds easy it isn’t always and can be overwhelming at first, but it’s actually a state of mind achieved with the guidance of small goals and decisions.
Make your head space choose to be happy, and if you can’t choose happy choose love <3