Today is August 14th and it’s a good day because I survived yesterday! Yesterday was my birthday, and honestly, it was not great. I don’t know why I find my birthday day so hard lately but the one memory that comes to mind and I just cant seem tot stop reliving it even though it happened 4 years ago. I was on holidays with my blended family on a road trip across the North West states. I awoke in the family motorhome wrapped up in the arms of my new husband, the love of my life. I laid there a while in his arms, enjoying the time and wondering what he had planned for my birthday. Did he make me something as a gift? He was so good at making things! Were we gonna go somewhere exciting and do something really fun that he had planned? Did he have the kids planning a surprise to make my day special? I was so excited, albeit a little confused that he didn’t acknowledge my birthday when he woke first thing. But i stuffed that thought away because it was early morning still so I got up and made coffee and breakfast for all. As the teenagers rolled out of bed, I greeted them with their “Happy Birthday Breakfast”. They each replied “Whose birthday?” I said “Mine”. They replied with “Happy Birthday!” It was a great start to the day and it could only get better. Once again, I tried not to notice s that my newlywed hubby still did not wish my a Happy Birthday… I didn’t want to acknowledge it because there was no way he would ignore my day, so he must be planning something and is just being a little aloof to throw me off. So we finished breakfast and packed up the motorhome and got on the highway for the next leg of our journey. This was gonna be an awesome day! I love being on holidays for my birthday because I get to spend the whole day with my favorite people doing fun stuff. We motored along and then stopped for lunch and still not a word from my hubby… No one mentioned my birthday since breakfast. So I started to hint a little “What’s the plan for today?”, “Anything special planned?”, “What you got in mind for tonight?”… the answers were empty and non-descriptive… was he being elusive to throw me off still? or was he actually ignoring my birthday?
The one thing I had on my agenda while on this holiday was for us to go do some back to school shopping in Oregon. We crossed the state line into Oregon mid-afternoon. I was sitting in the back of the motor home most of the day and still now – my hubby was driving, with his youngest boy riding shotgun and his other son right behind him. As we got close to the outlet mall, I reminded him of my desire to go shopping, but he kept driving and just seemed to be ignoring me. He drove right past it without saying a word. He didn’t seem to care what I wanted and he still didn’t acknowledge my birthday. We drove for another while as I thought well maybe he has something else in mind. I felt my resentment rise and I was starting to get very angry and hurt. I was the only one working at this time and I was paying for the entire family vacation – because we were married and I wanted us to be a family. The afternoon rolled on just as the miles did on the odometer and now it was past 5:00 when he finally stopped for gas. He then looked back at me and asked if I wanted to stop at a grocery store to pick up something for supper. Now I was convinced there was no birthday plans! I lost it! I go so mad!!! I exploded and told him exactly what I thought. I told him he was selfish and insensitive and I couldn’t believe how hurt I was. I asked him to take me and my kids to the airport so we could fly home, because this vacation was over!
He seemed baffled that I would react so intensely and honestly so was I. I couldn’t believe how much was built up inside of me and I just blew my lid. I felt so hurt and sad that I married this man, who could not even find it in his heart to wish me a Happy Birthday!
That day wasn’t the beginning of our troubles, but it was a turning point. We were divorced 4 months later.
I keep reliving that day and asking myself if I over-reacted? Maybe, but that was also the first day I stood up for myself and my children and started to reclaim my identity that had been slowly slipping away since the day I met Mr. Prince Charming!
Every year I relive that day’s events and I am hurt all over again. The week leading up to my birthday this year was very emotional as it seems to be every year since that day.
So last night I took some time to live there in that day again to try and sort through my emotions. What about that whole experience was causing me so much pain? Why was I still so hurt? I know that in order to truly get over that hurt, I need to recognize the real cause of the hurt. As I challenged my thoughts and the story I made up about that day, I started to realize that it was a confabulation I had told myself of his narcissism that prevented him from loving me and my hurt was just part of the process. But that was him – we have been broke up for 4 years now and this was still haunting me. What part did I play in all of this? Why couldn’t I let it go?
After a lot of soul searching and questioning my own beliefs of the events of that day, I realized that I had been telling myself that I was not worthy of his birthday blessings and every year since then have told myself I am not worthy of any birthday wishes including my own!
Well isn’t that just crazy? So because that man was incapable of wishing me a happy birthday, my own ego has built up a whole conspiracy theory that I am not worthy of anyone’s well wishes! Wow! This actually blows my mind because if anyone of my friends or loved ones told me this, I would immediately tell them to “Stop being so freaking crazy!”
That was it! I was crazy making on myself!
We tell ourselves some crazy stories to justify our hurt. And then we believe that story so much, we apply it to all other similar situations. This is a sort of self-sabotage and verbal abuse that is common when trying to avoid hurt but in reality, the hurt never goes away, and all I did was make the hurt fester and grow… no more!
This morning when I woke, I felt a big relief and decided I need to write this story, so I don’t forget next year that I am enough and I am worthy!
Happy Belated Birthday to me!
Hurt manifests in many ways and festers when we try to suppress it. According to Brene Brown in her book, “Rising Strong”, there are 5 common strategies for avoiding hurt: 1. Chandeliering; 2. Bouncing; 3. Numbing; 4. StockPiling; and 5. Getting High Centred. If you are hurting and avoiding it, then you will feel stuck and unable to rise above to find peace and happiness.