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Monday, February 7, 2011

Disappointment Does Not Define Me

For as long as I can remember, I have defined myself by other relationships.  I was devastated when my marriage ended, I didn't like the new roles given to me: Single Mother, Breadwinner, Spiritual Leader.  Yes, those are aspects of my life and person, but those titles do not define me.  I choose to look at myself first as a mother, who happens to be single and working to provide for our little family.  It's all a matter of perspective...

In my therapy, I learned it is quite normal, but not healthy to view yourself through the lens of others' approval.  It worked for me for a while because my parents thought I was a great daughter, I generally had good friendships, teachers seemed to be positive and encouraging,  All this fed my people-pleasing tendencies and I wrongly assumed that when people were pleased with me, I somehow earned value.  This reasoning meant the converse was true, when a person was displeased with me, my value and worth could be diminished.

My husband was my closest relationship and I allowed his mood, his view to completely define me.  Without realizing it, I took my cues from him and lost myself.  He battled his own issues and so my self concept took a beating, my world became so small. 

When the secrets came into the light, my world felt like it went dark.  Lies whispered in my psyche:
  • If you had been a better wife .... more attractive, more verbal praise, more sex...
  • You must accept the way things are because you aren't strong enough to insist on change.
  • People will blame you, they will wonder what is wrong with you?
  • You're trapped, you really have no choices.
With the help of my therapist, I learned that I did have choices.  One of my first choices was to decide that I would go back to the young, naive girl I was before I met my husband and remember who she was, what she wanted.  I chose to add to that the things I learned and move forward to be the best me possible. 

I'm still determining exactly who I want to be, but there were some things that I knew right away:
1) I want to be a faithful woman, trust God even when I don't understand and strive to be honest in all things.
2) I want to be an engaged, consistent, fun and loving mother.  The fact that I'm single, doesn't matter!
3) I want to be a true friend, available and sensitive to others.

Even this blog has been an exercise in refining my own self.  For instance, although I am a single mother, I don't want the "single" to be what defines me, but the "mother." Another way I have learned to express myself is in my home.  I am free to decorate and purge however I feel will best suit me, and serve our family needs.  It's been fun and stretching to make changes within a tight budget.  I'd love to share more about that!

Most of all, I am learning that I get to choose what I represent to others by the choices that I make.  Yes, I am a divorce, single mother.  There are tough things that have happened in my life - we all have them, but that is not what defines us.  The way we respond to those difficulties creates the persona by which we are known.  I hope that when others think of me, they think of a hard-working, bright, upbeat mother and friend to call for help or a fun time.  My attitude and my priorities represent the "me" I want to become.


  1. WOW! This blog has been a blessing for me. You has described me in so many ways. Thank God for you and many blessings for you and your kiddos.

  2. Missy,
    I very much enjoy reading both of your blogs! I love your raw emotion and the way you have allowed and still allow Jesus to come in and heal these wounds. I'm grateful that you speak with such openness so that others can surround you and love on you! When I think of you I definitely think of an upbeat attitude, a woman of God who fears Him, trusts in Him, and relies on Him. You are a woman who I think of when I read Proverbs 31 and I think God is using you in a big way!!! Thank you for being one of my friends and your encouragement to me whenever I see you! I think you're precious, Missy!

  3. Hi Missy!
    I stumbled upon your blog through moneysavingmom.
    Words cannot begin to express what an inspiration your blog is! I am also newly almost divorced mother of three! Wonderful friends encouraged me to drop the single and realize I'm still 'just Mom'! What a weight that lifted off me! Ya know we never labeled ourselves by saying "hello I'm Stacey married mother of three!". I'm with you on that! Keep writing! And I love the title of this blog! Speaks volumes off the bat that I am reading what's 'real'!! Love this blog!! =)