Compulsion--What Was I Thinking?
I am a product of compulsion. A compulsion is an irresistible impulse, something that you just can't seem not to do no matter how dysfunctional, unhealthy, or even unsafe it may be for you. I have come to believe that these compulsions come from within ourselves and are a reflection of our past trying to come out and be noticed, maybe even fixed. I have found that these compulsions almost always, if not always, end up being a problem in my life.
While my book of compulsions looks more like an encyclopedia of crap happens, there is one compulsion I need to get out with the hope of it not being a problem in my life any longer.
Back in the mid-seventies I met my now ex-wife, Rene', at a party. Of course one might say that meeting a prospective mate at a party might be a red flag by itself, but that is where I met her. I was only nineteen years old, in the military, stationed in Tucson Arizona, standing outside on a beautiful desert night, when Don, my boss, came outside and said "lets take a ride". Don and I both rode motorcycles. He with his hard tale Harley and me with my rice burner Kawasaki were just getting on our bikes when one of the party girls came out of the home. She asked if she could come along with us. Don speaks up and says that he had a bad shock on his bike and probably couldn't take a passenger and this left me the last man out to let her ride with me.
Now this was a moment where my entire future could have turned out different. I could have found some similar reason for not letting Rene' get on my bike but that urge to "do something even though it feels bad" reared its ugly head. I let her on my bike. This led to me actually going out with her and sleeping with her.
More occasions where compulsion was the deciding factor in my life's direction: One day while I was at her home, she mentioned that her father was angry at her for screwing up her college time by partying too much and that he wasn't going to pay for her place to stay in Tucson any longer--again, a crucial point where my entire future could have been different. Instead of saying anything but "Hey, you can live with me until you find a place to stay," I said exactly that. Of course, my entire being was screaming at me, leaving me with that feeling of "What was I thinking?" I had actually only thought that I could deal with this for a few days and it would all work out.
The next day I was arriving home after a long day on the flight line fixing jets and noticed Rene's car in front of my trailer. Holy crap! She had actually completely moved in! I mean her toothbrush was in the bathroom. She had moved in lock, stock and barrel. I was stunned. I had no idea of what to say. I felt powerless to fix this. This was another key point in time. I could have said something to the point of "What in God's name are you doing, moving in like this?" but instead, I just let it happen. I felt this horrible division within myself. One part of me was going along with it, without any mind of what was happening. The other part of me was in panic. Guess what part won out? I didn't really want to be with her. I didn't really like her. I just felt like I had no choice in what was happening.
Of course with this wonderful long line of key moments in life came another moment. Remember all of those classes about safe sex? Well, they went completely out the window one night. There we were...she said that she was out of the pill and asked, "What do we do?" I say, "If you get pregnant we will just get married and raise a child." Sure enough, she got pregnant. Funny thing though, I had a dream about my soon-to-come daughter. There was some kind of familiarity about her.
Her birth came to pass and she started to grow up, and then, one day, I saw the future and knew the outcome.
I came home from work. My little three-month-old daughter was lying on the floor, in front of the fish tank that I put on the floor for her to see. I picked her up to play with her and out of Rene's mouth came these words, "Why do you always talk to her first?" and then she said, "I think you love her and not me." I knew right then that I was dealing with two children and not a wife and daughter. Rene' could not see the difference between loving a mate and loving a daughter. To her it was the same kind of love. My future looked bleak.
I don't wish to imply that I wasn't full of my own issues but even through all of the haze that was running around in my own mind, I knew that this was the beginning of a horrible ending. Of course it would come to an end.
That marriage would last some eight years with me, my daughter and probably my now ex-wife not getting what would be considered a healthy choice in life. Rene' would go about the task of using our daughter to get back at me. My daughter would probably pay the greatest price for the relationship.
Now, my daughter tells me that my ex-wife, Rene', obsesses over me. Here it has been over twenty-five years and she still won't let go. Sometimes I feel as if she is wrapped around me like some sort of nasty, wet blanket and has the desire to destroy any goodness in my life.
I am now remarried to a woman who I wish to live my life with. We both work on our past issues together and know that marriage takes some work considering our pasts. We hit bumps and know how to go back and find the real reason why we are having the problem. Unfortunately, my ex-wife seems to be determined to undermine my present marriage.
My present wife and I know that even this scenario is probably in our past as well but for the moment, my ex-wife is like a poison, dark, energy with only the desire to consume all that it touches and with that it greatly interferes with our marriage and our interaction with my daughter.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hi Wayne. Thanks for this important story. A lot of people will be able to relate to your experience. I will tell you what I've done in similar situations in my life, in case it might be of use to you or anyone else reading this.
Here are some ideas:
1) Wish her the best. See her waking up and learning what she needs to learn at this point in her life. See her getting better in your mind's eye. This will ease your stress, and it will also send positive messages to her that she will hear in your voice if you talk and see in your face if you are face to face. There is some research on prayer that says she may even feel the benefit at the moment you have these thoughts.
2) Practice the "Art Of Allowing." In your mind and heart, say, "She's got her own thing going on. And it's her thing, not mine. I allow her to be who she is."
3) See yourself as separate from her, because you are. Imagine a beautiful field of light and love emanating from the core of your being, expanding into a protective shield that keeps any harmful thoughts or energy away from you.
Do this every time you think of her or have anything to do with her at all. Eventually you will be free. Give her your blessing, and let her go, knowing she is on her own journey and will one way or another find her own way home.
My best to you, Wayne,