Hi FMA and thank you for this workshop, Elphaba
Although the pain is really bad, I came to realise that this pain is not only caused by him but that part of it was coming from the little girl inside of me who wanted so much to hear from her parents that they were proud of here.
This resonates quite a bit, FMA. I think one of the things that I was drawn to was that in the adoration I absorbed and allowed, I set it up (yes, with help from her) to base my validation on "making her proud of me." As best as I can figure it now, this took the place of the approval I never got as a child. In recognizing this, I'm now able to be much more in tune that it's really me, that is telling me that I'm proud of what a good job I do, etc. and in turn, I was able to reject her voice in my head and replace it with my own. I had to be very mindful at first but it shortly became first nature to make the switch. In addition I have been building a much more healthy sense of self esteem as I am in control of being reality based in self praise rather than the illusion/agenda based praise I received from her at times.
I like the ritual of writing and burning too. I've done so with more recent journals and am planning another one in the presence of my counselor. I'm saving some older journals/transcripts for legal reasons and on the advice of an attorney who was also married to a BP but eventually those will go too. I think it helps to have someone present in some of these times but not just anyone...someone who really understands what we have gone through if at all possible.
Something else that has brought me allot of peace is to work on real forgiveness. Man it can be so difficult to reach for that in a direct way toward my former even by taking an honest self evaluation in order to see my part in things. Something that has been helping me allot in forgiveness is that I flashed upon a very loving expression from someone else in my history other than the BP. The relationship was one of the best I have ever had and one of my biggest regrets yet I have so much gratitude to have both loved and to have been loved by her. I carry that with me always now because she was such a stark contrast to the BP I married and now sets the standard for what I would look for in another relationship...were I looking...which I am becoming open to. I have about 6 months to go but I'm not as rigid about the time frame anymore...more with my own growth.
The way this has been working in me is that, this love was given to me so freely with all my flaws and attributes and as I loved (and still do) her with all of hers, the way for me to receive it within myself is to connect with that expression...at that time. At the end of our relationship we talked and forgave each other for our mistakes.
I can still receive this forgiveness but there is a price. The price is that I also must pay it forward to my former. Whether or not my BP former forgives me for my infractions means nothing to me at this time and the way I feel this working is that as I do forgive my former, should she ever seek forgiveness from me within herself (without contact) she will need to forgive someone that hurts her and I have no doubt that it'll happen...and pay it forward.
Of course I have no control over what she does or thinks nor do I want any. I don't care about what she chooses for her life now or at any time and the forgiveness is not about her...it's about me. It's about understanding that I so highly value the loving forgiveness from the good human being before her that lives inside of me as a gift of experience...so I pay the price and forgive the BP-ex...Gladly.
The gift of peace, when I reach for it (and I have to reach for it which makes it that much more valuable) is something I can't describe so the trade is well worth it and the space in my head is given over to what truly matters...now.