Today is for the newborn babies, the 75-year anniversaries for Grandma and Grandpa, the graduations, the weddings, and the honeymoons. Today is for the unexplainable loss, the failures and shortcomings, and the broken relationships. Today is for you, to meet you wherever you are; regardless of if it is the beginning or end of a season in your life.
Some dear friends of mine, Gary and Julie, have had 72 hours of what seems is all of the above. The one-year date of when they had lost their 1 year old, Sammy, to SIDS was three days ago. Their beautiful new baby girl, Emma, was born two days ago. The emotions behind these two life-changing events are ones that I could merely sympathize with. There is nothing I have experienced that could come close to such loss and such a wonderful gain. What a wave of emotions: all at once. I had the privilege of reading Gary's words as to what the journey was like. He shared:
“You see, it’s hard to imagine – what do you do when the emotion of loss in contentedness begets desire? I’ll tell you from experience, you fill it, consciously or otherwise. “Anger! Alcohol! Pain! Instability! Hatred!” … This is what I had felt destined for in life. Despite the blessings, I had an inconceivable curse. When Sammy died, he took from me only one thing. He took the part of my heart that belonged to him, and only to him. It wasn’t his fault that I filled it with illegitimate junk, nor was it God’s fault.”
In a season of pain, we fill. We fill ourselves with what we think we deserve. The next paragraph contained insight that left me in tears…
“This brought me to my next battle, since I had most of that figured out. I always feared that Emma may come riding in on Sammy's shadow, but it isn’t the case. I have been blessed with an attitude that is irrefutably not of myself, but one born of the blessings of fatherhood. This is all I had to ask myself… 'Gary, how dare you ever think that Sammy’s life was incomplete; that he may be replaced? And how dare you ever treat Emma as his replacement?' It’s sobering in every way. I felt almost foolish after I realized where my subconscious had taken me weeks ago.”
We are met with these tidal waves of contradicting emotions. How can there be so many beautiful things when there are also so many ugly, painful, and seemingly unforgivable things? I stand in a place of unknowing. How can you forgive and grow from such a place where the depth of the loss is so grand that you cannot see the end?
Gary and Julie are heroes. They are courageous. They have walked through the darkness to come out in the light. And they have done all of this in a place of recognizing the pain. Of course, we fill. Fill fill fill. Fill up with anger, alcohol, pain, instability, and hatred. We stuff ourselves full, thinking we can justify it and coddle it. But at the end of the day, what we bury becomes us.
There are many things that I do not know. There are many things that leave me speechless and confused. Loss is one of them. However, what we bury becomes us. This mantra led me to the only possible outcome: walk through the storm. Now, to be very clear, there are many storms I have turned my back to. But I am closer to facing them than I have ever been in my entire life.
The tragic and beautiful story of Gary and Julie has shown me that in all seasons there is a way to come out in the light. In fact, it has proven it to me.
It’s okay to feel rage, pain, heartbreak, confusion, hate, and any other feeling society deems as unacceptable. It’s where it goes and what you do with it that really counts. My only question for you is this: Are you letting these become you?
Whatever season you are in, whether it is the beginning or the end or both, I urge you to choose to walk through the storms. It may not be today, next week, or next year, but do not bury them away. Do not allow them to become you.
*Thank you, Gary and Julie, for allowing me to share your story! You two inspire me, fill me with joy, and leave me in awe.
I was working and this song came on the radio. Luckily it was slow, so I let myself cry a couple tears. Why was this so raw? Why did this particular song, with these particular lyrics, strike me at my core? This was in moments. In the first 2 minutes of the song I went from normal work-mode to post-breakup fountain. A break up is never an easy thing. But this song brought it all back.
Now, there are many kinds of break-ups we have to face. Unfortunately, we live in a world where passive-aggressive comments via text, Facebook, or straight to your face, reign. Women are usually the first thought when people think “passive aggressive” but, let me tell you, men don’t get off the hook that easily. They are equally as crafty with the art of being passive aggressive (gaslighting much?). It’s easy to be “friends” with people who, at the end of the day, aren’t really friends and aren’t really very nice.
I have recently decided that that the people in your life are either for you or against you. There is no in-between. Either someone loves you and supports you and would fight for you, or they wouldn’t.
In many friendships there are often two roles people play: the co-dependent and the narcissist. They are a dynamic duo set up for destruction. According to Love Addicts Anonymous, a codependent is described as: [persons who] try desperately to hold on to the people they are addicted to using codependent behavior. This includes enabling, rescuing, care-taking, passive-aggressive controlling, and accepting neglect or abuse. In general, they will do anything to “take care” of their partners in the hope that they will be happy and will choose not leave—or that someday they will reciprocate.
Now a narcissist is explained as: [persons who] use dominance, seduction, manipulation, gaslighting, and withholding to control their partners. Unlike codependents, which accept a lot of discomfort, narcissists won’t put up with anything that interferes with their happiness. They are self-absorbed and their low self-esteem is masked by their grandiosity. Furthermore, rather than seeming to obsess about the relationship, they appear aloof and unconcerned.
That seems extremely pessimistic. We all contain traits of both. It is simply how far down the rabbit hole of either characteristic we choose to go into. You can choose to set boundaries and create a healthy relationship. Or you can break up.
The hope is in this: The healthier you become the healthier people you will attract into your life. I have found that, in doing the Passion Provokers Forgiveness Process, I am beginning to subtly set boundaries naturally. The beauty in boundaries is that they make it apparent who is for you and who isn’t. Suddenly, people decide they either want to walk with you in your growth or they resist the change.
There is a grieving period in these realizations. You have to make peace that there are going to be people, maybe people you have known forever and at one time considered one of your dearest friends, which you will have to break-up with. That is heartbreaking.
I do not recommend a full-blown war announced between you and these people who may become those you “used to know”. Peace is always possible. Explain where you’re headed to them (if it is safe and/or they deserve an explanation). Explain how and why you are changing. Usually, just by having this conversation, it becomes apparent if they want to grow with you or not. That is apparent in their reaction. And then simply meet them half way. If they cannot come the other 50%, then they will quickly fade from your life. And that is a choice on their end of things.
People constantly change. Change brings a lot of controversy, but luckily the only people in your life that won’t support your change are the ones who like having your codependent a** at their disposal, in which case they don’t really deserve your attention nor time.
Take a moment and cry. Feel the loss. But then feel the freedom. Having a team of people around you that you know would fight for you is truly invaluable. Your confidants, your lover, your best friends, your mentors...hold them close, and be the friend that you want in return.
For more information on co-dependency and narcissism click HERE (links throughout updated 11.20.2020).
Marla and Jami
Cofounders of JamiAndMarla.LOVE (fka Passion Provokers and Keller Coaching) Jami and Marla are proud to bring a new level of success to coupleships worldwide with their unique coaching, mentoring, and consulting process. Their blogs are not only informative for coupleships they are personal. For over 25 years they have been helping people create emotionally and physically intimate coupleships.
Ariel is a freelance blogger, web designer, and SEO consultant. She is 23 years young, married to her soulmate, and a proud “mother” to boxer Bruce and Yorkie Dexter. She focuses on writing content that is raw and relatable. (Info relevant at the time of writing, circa 2013-2015)