Oh, I know I am, a control freak. I am also obsessive compulsive. I won’t go into the details, because they are not all that pretty, but I am.
Although I think control freak has a pretty negative connotation in our world, I also think my personality has served me well in the healing process. Blue Eyes’ recovery from sex addiction (still very much ongoing) and my recovery from betrayal trauma (also still ongoing, of course, because healing from betrayal takes time) has required a whole lot of patience and understanding, but also a level of endurance and stamina that seems to be propelled by my control freak nature. Once his truth was revealed and I started believing all the shit he pulled off was not about me but was indeed about him, we both realized he was the one that needed to make changes. If he was able to do that, I was going to be able to stick with him. At times I feel I have been a gauge of his progress, the only gauge. His therapist seems happy to slowly meander along a path of theoretical healing. His 12 step sponsor does not push Blue Eyes to complete his steps in any timeframe. There is no timeline, but, in order to live with Blue Eyes and feel safe, I feel like I have a sort of internal time clock. It’s an awareness inside me and it seems to have two settings… he’s moving forward, or he has stalled out. Lately there has been no indication that he has moved backwards or relapsed. That’s a good thing. I am learning patience while still listening to my instincts.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like I can control Blue Eyes’ recovery, and I wouldn’t want to. The message, loud and clear, coming from all sides is that we each must want to be a certain type of person and do the work necessary to be that person in order to be successful. In other words, no one can do it for us, or bribe us, or coerce us. My mother in law used to try to bribe me to lose weight. This was years ago. Her tactics were not enlisted because she was worried about my health. At the time, I was perfectly healthy. No, she was embarrassed that she had a daughter in law that by her standards was overweight, even 20 pounds overweight was an abomination to her. She offered to take me on shopping sprees to New York City, buy me a whole new wardrobe, if I just lost weight. Hmm, nope. It didn’t work because I didn’t really care that much whether I lost the weight and I didn’t care whether she was judging me or trying to make me conform to some box she and her friends had concocted for what was normal, or good, or attractive. I was (was being the operative word here) pretty happy carrying around that extra weight. I could find plenty of stylish clothes that fit and I could participate in as many activities as I liked without aches, pains or injuries. At one point I was playing tennis three times a week and had a personal trainer two days per week. The personal trainer had me on a special “diet.” I didn’t lose a pound. As a matter of fact, I weighed about 10 pounds more than I do right now. All that changed when I hit my forties. Signs of the extra weight coupled with genetics started appearing and could not be ignored. It was going to happen all along, I was just too stubborn to acknowledge it. I am in control, remember? The question really should have been, what was I in control of and why did I feel like I needed to hold onto that control so tight?
So, I know I can’t change Blue Eyes or force him to recover more quickly, especially not for me. BUT, I do, for me, need to feel safe around him. My senses are heightened now. I see everything, but more importantly, I know what it means. I really believe that I can live my life happily with Blue Eyes as long as I have a voice and my voice is being heard. I need my voice to be strong and loud. I will not be pushed aside. I strongly believe that although I cannot change him, I can help him see when he is checking out, or when he is slipping. With addicts it’s all about the rationalizations and denial. In most aspects of my life, I deny nothing. I rationalize little. But with my weight and subsequent issues related to it, I seem to have subconsciously decided that somehow that weight is protection instead of the death knell that it is becoming, and I need to get to the bottom of it.
I had my regular six month doctor appointment check in this morning. All my numbers are moving in the right direction, but still far from my goals. My doc is very enthusiastic about my trip out of town. She wants me to be successful and be able to manage my health. The resources that will be afforded me in the area of weight loss, proper healthy exercise for my age and body, cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapies to help me get to the bottom of the why I struggle with getting to a healthy weight, and the luxury of being able to focus solely on me, will hopefully propel me to my goals. I leave in five days and will be gone for a minimum of four weeks. I have so much to do before Saturday.
The parting words given to me by my doctor… “Kat, slow down. Take deep breaths. Let yourself off the hook for feeling like a failure. You are not a failure, you are a fighter. You worry so much about what you have done to fail yourself. Instead, be kind to yourself.” And she’s right. It’s true. I obsess over what I need to do to be healthy, and then when I can’t be perfect, I beat myself up over it. This journey is not a race. I think I have shown grace and mostly patience to Blue Eyes as he slowly traverses his new path, and I need to do the same for myself.