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Life and Spark intersect

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yesterday afternoon, I stayed at work a little longer, about 45 minutes, to get things wrapped up before I left. I had made the decision with the family uncertainty about travel arrangements and my role, I would be better off just planning to not come in today as well as the day of the service itself.

I got home to an e-mail from my ex that he's NOT making the trip. So, no 4 a.m. train meeting. It dawned on me this morning that I am both disappointed that he's not coming and angry that he's not making the effort. So many emotions from the past.

I know, intellectually, that I can't live someone else's life, or make their decisions for them. Yet for 22 years of marriage (and some time before that) I believe I may have been (heck with the "may have been" - WAS) trying to "fix" his life and make him happy.

You can "wish" all you want for someone else to "do something"... but it's NOT your job to manipulate them into doing it. Yet it would be foolish to allow them through their inaction / unhappiness to manipulate YOU into paralysis, waiting for them to settle on and start pursuing a dream so you can share it. In my case, I would have been waiting forever. I am sad that he is not taking control and making things happen in his life any more now than he was back before we wed or while we were married.

I thought over the mistakes of our relationship. I could not seem to stop short of getting out of the marriage. I grieve over that, too.

===== the Spark intersection ========

In Spark this morning, I found the featured article about whether we should SHAME the obese into losing weight, the way the social stigma related to smoking reduced the rate of smoking. While this may work for some people, for others I honestly believe that the social stigma attached to something they don't believe they can change can make things worse. Statistically it might work well, but for certain individuals (including myself back in the day)? No way. Is it worth the sacrifice of those individuals to get a statistical result? Obviously some folks in public policy / health must believe so.

I pondered over the differences in how people are motivated. Some of us need to be given slack / give ourselves slack, permission to not be perfect, therefore freeing us to action. Others need to be told to "man up". It's all so very internal. One might find inspiration in others, but in the end, the action step has to be taken by oneself. As sad and angry as I might become over the choices of someone I care about, they are his to make. And I must let go all thoughts of control, and make my own.

So today, I shall LIVE this day, jumbled emotions and all. The choice is for LIFE. Which is good, even when it is sad. Spark on! emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Our fellow Sparkers have said it all.

    1911 days ago
    Sure related to the ex and less-than-desirable choices. I remember when I clearly 'interferred' with one of his choices. It involved one of the children. Would do it again - a mother will do what it takes!
    1911 days ago
    You have done the best you could. His choice, his life.
    1911 days ago
    I have also been there with the ex's (yes 2), and am very thankful that I got out when I did in both marriages. Hang in there Barb, he will regret not coming in his own time. All you can do is worry about yourself and your niece today and tomorrow. Hugs and prayers to all of you.
    1911 days ago
    Just like being a parent of a teen!! We have to let our kids make their own choices. Sometimes we don't like what they choose, but that's how they learn.

    Your ex needs to go down his own path. Don't worry - do what you need to do and take care of yourself!
    1911 days ago
    Thanks for so clearly flagging that intersection, Barb . . . many of us have loitered on the corner!!

    All best to you over the next couple of days . . . it's tough, but you can only do what is right for you (and you do, you do).
    1911 days ago
    I disagree with the 'experts' who are saying we need to 'shame' fat people into loosing weight. WOULD NOT work with me. I need positive reinforcement, not negative reinforcement.
    Don't stress too much about the 'what might have beens'.
    1911 days ago
  • DALID414
    Life is good.
    1911 days ago
  • ANDI571
    "make him happy", boy did that statement hit me. There are several in my family that I have tried so many times in the past to do just that. My dad was one of them. Nobody can make us happy except ourself. I have learned that in the past few years, and since letting go of trying to make others happy, I have became more happy myself.

    You are so good at saying what a lot of us feel. Thanks for sharing and take care of yourself during this difficult time. emoticon
    1911 days ago
    emoticon Sending Hugs and Prayers as you get through this part of your Life.
    emoticon I have not read the Spark Article yet, but if it is saying that Shaming Someone to influence them to Change a Behaviour seems Wrong, not to mention Ludicrous to me.
    1911 days ago
  • LADYJ6942
    Sounds like a roller coaster. Hugs, hang tight.
    1911 days ago
    Blessings as you send off your loved one and PRAISE for your epiphany and the clarity of mind and spirit it has brought you!
    1911 days ago
    I watched my sister in a marriage that fell apart because she tried to mold her husband into someone he was not. She is 8 years older and I was able to take from her valuable lessons from her mistake and found my best friend who I would not even think of changing for the world...we have been together 45 years, married for almost 42 and yes, there have been ups and downs but we respect each other for who we are and what we bring to the marriage. You are so lucky to have realized that you couldn't "fix" your sister wasted about 10 years of her life but later found a wonderful man who was everything she deserved, and better! emoticon
    1911 days ago
  • _LINDA
    So very sorry you had to meet and live with someone who turned out to be so bad in so many ways for you. You can be very proud you overcame your struggles, produced an amazing son and know you have the strength of character not to react badly to any more disappointments from this person who was such a major part of your life. You are strong and found your own way to fight your emotional battles that is not destructive to your health and mind. Well done!!
    We are all individuals and this article suggesting shaming is just ludicrous, especially when they are trying to stop bullying in schools where it all starts!! Where on Earth do they come up with these gems??? Nope. If you ask me, they should make Sparkpeople a mandatory class in school!! Learning to pay attention to what you eat, learning to love exercise, learning to control emotional eating, all kinds of articles to improve your life, whats not to like? Better then some of the stuff they are teaching these days!
    You are an inspiration in all ways!
    Hang in and be the Spark Warrior you are!
    1911 days ago
    everyone is different for sure and reacts differently. What motivates some certainly won't work for others.

    Getting out of a marriage that isn't working is one of the bravest things one can do. We can't be responsible for someone's happiness. I have learned that with counseling regarding my Mother. She just isn't a happy person.

    Take care of yourself during these tough times.
    1911 days ago
    Would that we could "make" someone else decide on better choices, but you're right. That is never going to happen. The only one we can change is ourselves and our reactions to those situations where we perceive (and rightfully so!) that a not-so-wise choice is being made.

    As for the shaming . . . definitely generally has the opposite affect. I always felt "judged" when I was fat, that made me angry, led to more self-loathing and just a vicious circle. Lesson learned on the way: no matter what -- there is ALWAYS going to be someone out there who judges us, but it's our job to put it in perspective. While they are entitled to whatever their feelings are (doesn't make it right, but it is their right) we do not have to accept it and can move on. As long as we love ourselves, we can make any changes that we need to in order to make US happy and healthy and feel loved by ourselves.

    What a great blog. I am sorry that things didn't go as you thought they would, but so proud of you for coming up with your plan B and working it! You're awesome, Barb.

    1911 days ago
    I completely disagree with shaming people into losing weight. Isn't there enough negative already in the world? Don't people realize that most of the people who are overweight already bear the conflicting emotions of being unimportant and invisible while thinking everyone is focusing on everything you put in your mouth and judging you for it??? Oh yeah, we live in a society where unhealthy is worshiped as normal ... I almost forgot ... sigh ...
    1911 days ago
    1911 days ago
    I don't think shame will work, most of us have shame and that is part of the problem, theyw ouldnt ever learn to love themselves. I equate that with jillian and being a bully in my opinion on Biggest loser to her now this past 2 weeks.
    What works for some wont work for others.
    Sorry your ex cant figure to come, sad but it is what it is, as you say you can't live it for him
    HUGS to you as you go through the next few days.

    1911 days ago
    Barb, you are so right! Shaming would not have worked for me -- I felt extremely intense shame over my obesity for years. It made me strive for impossible - at least for me -- perfection, and every time I failed, (and I failed many times a year, sometimes daily for months,) I felt more shame and disgust. When I figured out that I didn't have to be perfect to succeed, I could!!

    So good to go back and get in touch with old decisions, and in your case, figure out you did the best thing possible, even if it was sad. There were some decisions in my life just like that. There were others I would change if I could, but my best option now is to let it go and go forward. It is really hard not to blame my mom for raising me as an obese infant and child and teen. And then she refused to admit that the obesity was a limitation in my life and she expected me to date the doctor's son and have straight A's as well as numerous extracurricular areas where I excelled. I find myself repeatedly needing to forgive and look forward. I wish I could once and for all let it go, but I'm not there yet. It still is releasing it little by little. And a way it helps and in a way it doesn't help that mom is now not the same person, now old and forgetful, but still demanding and with unrealistic expectations. Oh, well. See what your blog brought up in me?? Thanks. You have great wisdom and great ways of expressing it.

    Wishing you the best during this trying time. Can't wait for those mommy hugs!!
    1911 days ago
    Such an intersection - oh my!

    I am sorry he's not coming, particularly since you prepared yourself for the possibility, but would like to share a story that may ease your grief.

    I spelled my sis as my mom was dying from cancer - We spent 4 days together and Mom was not happy with me as I asked her not to take her pain meds unless she was in pain (she said she wasn't - I'll never know) because they knocked her out. She made me play hundreds of hands of cards (beat me every time), but was awake and alert when her grandson came.

    We said goodbye (I knew it was the last after arranging for hospice) on a Wednesday and she was gone that Saturday. She waited for her sisters to visit and my favorite aunt derided me for not coming. I told her we said our goodbyes and I wanted to remember my Mom 'alive'.

    I'm a chicken (big time) and part of me regrets not seeing my mom leave this world, but I think I made the right decision for me. I know Mom thinks so, because she didn't wait for me, she took her last breath after her sisters left.

    Whatever your ex is feeling, he's facing his loss in his own way and more importantly he knows you are there to represent his love for his family.

    Namaste my friend.
    1911 days ago
    Thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Thank you for everything that you so openly share with all of us here on SparkPeople.
    1912 days ago
  • GABY1948
    Barb, you hit the nail right on the head in this blog. The first part of your blog, I could have written myself years ago...but for me the marriage was 27 miserable years!

    But I agree with you 110% about the second part...I believe no one should EVER use belittling or shame on others...think of the HUGE epidemic of "bullying"...there is enough SHAME in the world...and I also believed at one time that "I just CAN'T do it".

    GREAT blog, dear friend! Wish everyone could read it...
    1912 days ago
    Your blogs are so insightful and are of such value to me. How often do I feel the need to "help" (aka control) loved ones when ultimately, it's not my choice. Whether one takes action or not is up to each individual...and it is when they are ready. Bless you as you work through your feelings and thanks for sharing. emoticon
    1912 days ago
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