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2016, my theme was to be Authentic

My two best friends and I choose a theme word every new year. I tend to pick up a second theme word in addition to my original at some point during the year in question. For 2016 I chose Authentic. Midway through the year, I added on Deliberate.

In the beginning of 2016 I was in my 19th year of marriage. I'd married young, at 17. We'd started dating when I was 15 and he was 22, so we married when I was 17 and he was 24. Looking back now, I can see how horribly codependant I was - I was far too young and messed up to make such a huge life decision and my method of proceeding was to make myself into exactly what he wanted in a partner. I'm perceptive and intuitive, this was a misapplied application of those gifts. It worked wonderfully....until the kids came. By then we were married and he emotionally dumped me, having secured me as his wife, I was told, "I'm just a loner, I'm not affectionate." I didn't work and he did, so I had to handle ALL the kid stuff. And they came only a year and a half apart so I functionally had two babies and I was still a baby myself in so many ways. It didn't go well. I grew up in a household of rage, I raged at him. Looking back now I can see that his coldness was valid reason to be angry, but I did go over the top with it.

Rewind, I come from a family with two alcoholics parents, both prone to rages, my father to violence. My father and one of my brothers died when I was young, violently, and I spent a year and a half in a foster care situation before landing solidly with my newly then sober mother at the age of 10. Good coping skills? Honest communication? Appropriate boundaries? Self-esteem? No, I knew and had none of that.

Fast forward again. By 2016 I'd gained a lot of confidence through successes with work and my husband was increasingly insecure as I gained my own self-worth. There were power struggles, he was controlling. It wasn't (always) explicably said, but the basic point was as long as he was unhappy with something, I couldn't do it. Most of what I want in life made him unhappy.

By March 2016 I wasn't sleeping, wasn't eating and was beginning to have panic attacks - my mind, despite never wanting to do this to the kids, was telling me I had to end this, I had to leave. And I did. During that time my mom found a counselor for me and pretty much dropped me, a panicky wreck, into the counselor's lap. "Kids are resilient," the counselor reassured me. My kids would be ok, it's ok.

That was six months ago. Around what would have been my 20 year wedding annivesary I roundabout found myself in ACoA. I've been to about 10 meetings so far and am thinking this is what I need. My 37 years of life so far has been full of trama and drama and codepedence coupled with a controlling husband at a very young age when I should have been coming into myself - I'm a vulnerable unsure hestitant boundary mess...who's just beginning to feel happy (it feels out of control!).

I'm beginning to be Authentic, as I wanted. Based on a session with my counselor, I added on Deliberate. To me, Deliberate is an exploration of boundaries. I understand enough of the program to get our need for control, but I don't mean that when I say Deliberate. What I mean is I'm learning what I can accept and reject in my life, how not to be a victim. How to honor and love myself and make choices that are good for me.

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