Tag Archives: relationship

Dance with Me

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Well, here we are! It’s hard to fathom that we’ve reached our 23rd year. It’s been an amazing ride!

From the beginning, I knew I could rely on him. For the first time, I didn’t have to face my struggles alone. When he vowed in becoming my soul-mate, he stood up to the plate in becoming a loving daddy to my four children. Although the roads have been bumpy, the ride has been exhilarating.

The route may not always be smooth, but the pathway is attainable because of his steadfastness. With every twist and turn, I find strength while learning to lean on his shoulders. In his arms, there is shelter in the midst of the rainstorms and warmth from the frigid winds.

He may not be perfect, but he’s the perfect one for me

Babe, thank you for choosing me. You believed in me before I believed in myself.  I want to thank you, for all the years by my side. Your laughter is music to my ears. When I look at you, I see the love in your eyes still twinkling … for me.

You are my safe place. I am not afraid to be me when I am with you.

Thank you for your sincere compliments, and for making me laugh (yes, I still laugh at his jokes). Thank you for putting a spring in my step, even when I throw my back out on occasion. Thank you for caring deeply whenever I’m sad, discouraged, or unsure.

I still want to curl up with you, with your hairy legs wrapped around my legs. I enjoy your gentle hugs, warm embraces and sweet kisses — even the ones on my head.

I thank God for making us one, knowing that together we will weather the storms.

I pray that God will grant us many more years in making more memories. I appreciate you, admire you, and love you more today than I did yesterday.

May I have this dance for the rest of our lives?

 

 

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Filed under Wedding Anniversary

What Does Co-dependent Look Like?

Such a complex word.

Here’s what it looks like to me …

My former husband was in love with himself. His needs, desires and wants came before all else. I thought if I did everything he wanted, I’d make him happy. I believed if I agreed with his every comment and wishes, only then would I have some measure of peace. I figured if I made the peace in letting him have his way with me, then surely he’d show me tenderness and love, preferring me over his need for others – hobbies, friends or conquests. But I was merely fooling myself. I received no respect and he continued his ill-treatment toward me. Silently, I resented what he was doing to me, but not enough to do anything different. By me allowing the offenses, I was giving him permission to continue to do me wrong, as if I signed all my rights and life away. I was slowly dying inside. I felt undone, unloved, with a low-self esteem and zero self-worth. I felt lonelier with him than without him. Yet I still wanted him around. As I yearned for his approval and acceptance, I lived in constant fear with him and lived with the fear of losing him.

We think if we can control our environment, we will find peace and tranquility. But in reality, serenity is usually miles away. You might have a false sense of peace and trust me when I say it isn’t lasting. And oh, the price it comes with!

I’m no psychologist, nor am I a psychiatrist. But I also think there’s another side to this spectrum. Sometimes a person may love so much and love so deeply that they tend to do everything for another, thereby potentially stagnating and handicapping that loved one from doing anything for themselves. That person then becomes dependent on you for their needs and outlook in life. They are hindered from growth and maturity in making wise decisions or choices.  They are emotionally immature and can remain psychologically traumatized.

Such as in the situation with my mom. From her childhood early on, Mama was an introvert and extremely shy. Grandma loved her so much that she felt sorry for her. She tended to overcompensate in trying to help Mama by doing everything for her. Mama naturally grew dependent on others to do things for her all of her life. Then in my early years, I tried looking out for Mama and did everything I could in trying to protect her. Most of the time my help was unwarranted, as she sought and relied on her significant others to fulfill that need.

So, co-dependency can be a vicious circle and left untreated can fester like a sore that won’t go away.

Here here are some examples of what it means being co-dependent:

• The need to be needed
• People pleasing
• Trying to control others (aggressively or passively)
• Focusing on helping others before working on your own issues
• Being consumed with other people’s problems
• Rescuing
• Self-doubt
• Unclear boundaries in friendships and relationships
• The tendency to date (or marry) alcoholics or addicts
• Perfectionism
• Workaholism (or always being busy)
• Exhaustion

Your turn. What does co-dependency mean to you?

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Filed under Behavior, Co-dependent, relationships

Forever Mama

As I mentioned in a previous post, Mama’s and my relationship and communication skills are a work in progress. This is good, because we are so much better than once before. You see, I missed out in doing the normal mother and daughter things with her when I was a child. But as an adult, I am blessed because I get to do some things for her she never could for me. That’s not necessarily a bad deal. I feel fortunate enough knowing that there is enough stability in my life, although it hasn’t always been this way.

I enjoy being able to take Mama out to a dinner and a movie on occasion, because these simple outings mean a great deal to her. I remember taking her to her first musical about a couple of years ago to see “Annie.” I knew there would be a lot of walking; therefore I insisted that we bring a wheelchair (instead of her walker). In more ways than one, that turned out to be a smart move. We were given great seats, close to the stage. As I watched those talented girls performing in the musical along with Annie, I commented on which were my favorites to Mama. But Mama’s interest centered on one thing. And one thing only. On Sandy the dog. “What a smart dog!” she’d say. “Isn’t that dog smart?” she’d ask. “Well, yes, but look at the little girl, the youngest one there,” I pointed out. “Isn’t she something?” “Yeah, but can’t you see how animals are so smart?” she squealed. “Oooh, I want to take him home with me!”

Okay, so Mama and I don’t always see eye to eye or agree on everything. What may mean a big deal to me won’t necessarily be to her, and what may seem mundane to me isn’t to her, but we are working on that communication thing, along with some understanding. We really are!

Just a few days ago, we celebrated Mama’s 80th birthday. Family and friends surrounded her with their presence, delicious food (at a Cuban restaurant), birthday cake, and showered her with several cards and gifts. She seemed more comfortable in having pictures taken. I am glad she is still a part of my life. I am glad she will forever be my mama!

Please visit She’s My Mama – posted last year.

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© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under communication, Memoir

“Tout de Suite!”

Through half-drawn curtains, I watched the other children at play, chasing one another in a circle, chanting, “Duck. Duck. Goose!”

Humpty-Dumpty, the daycare where Daddy dropped us off that morning operated on a strict schedule. I knew I didn’t belong there. At lunch time, they made me sit in the dimly lit kitchen to finish the tough, chewy meat on my plate while the others went out for recess. Just when I cleaned my plate, they announced, “lights out.” I hated nap times too.

By age three, my parents were separated. My brother Ruben lived with Daddy while I stayed with Mama. Daddy had started coming for me, but on one visit he said I could stay and didn’t need to go back. I was perfectly happy. I didn’t know that Mama never agreed to him keeping me. Early one morning, determined to know where he took Ruben and me before he headed for work, Mama hunkered down inside a taxi and followed him to the daycare.

Later, parents came to collect their children. While my brother and I waited for Daddy, we played on the swings. That’s when the clunking sound of an engine caught our attention. We were not expecting them, but Mama and her boyfriend Jimmy—my new step-dad—drove up in a gray jalopy. Mama stuck her head out the window and waved us on.

“Tout de suite!” My mama shouted in the single French phrase that she knew, her arm pumping for us to hurry.

Trained to move fast whenever we heard the phrase, we bolted in their direction.

Jimmy yelled at Mama, “Stay in the car, Ruthie. I’ll get ‘em.”

Jimmy hoisted Ruben over the massive stonewall, and dropped him down the other side. Then he grabbed me by the arm and lifted me before sprinting toward that old heap. We clambered in and sped off. I glanced back to see the daycare worker running after us, screaming. Mama and Jimmy, cackling with glee, celebrated their successful kidnapping scheme. A strong odor of beer permeated the air inside the car.

I looked over at my brother pretending to be brave, but wide-eyed. I glanced down and noticed my scraped knees. A lump lodged in my throat; a tear escaped my eyes as I thought: What will Daddy think when he comes for us?

(Intro to Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

14 Comments

January 9, 2014 · 10:22 PM

This Language On Love

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So, in reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, he describes in great detail how the word love can be very confusing. We love activities, objects, animals, nature and people. We even fall in love with love. He points out that we use love to explain behavior. “‘I did it because I love her’ says a man who is involved in an adulterous relationship. God calls it sin, but he calls it love. The wife of an alcoholic picks up the pieces after her husband’s latest episode. The psychologist calls it co-dependency, but she calls it love. The parent indulges all the child’s wishes. The family therapist calls it irresponsible parenthood, but the parent calls it love.”

Now I’m not by any means of the imagination a psychologist, a professor, a clergywomen, or a counselor. I am just an ordinary woman. I’m a girlfriend, a daughter, a cousin, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, and a grandmother. But like many, I think all too often we speak the wrong love language. I definitely have.

In my youth, I did some stupid things out of “love” for a guy. And because I loved him I thought, surely he will come to my way of thinking. He would love me in return, enough to change his behavior and better himself. After all, hadn’t I bent over backwards for him? Worshipped the ground he walked on? Became his doormat? In order to gain his undivided attention, I forgot who I was.

In my teens, I covered my husband’s transgressions. I hid his secret, sin and shame. My way of thinking was: This is why I exist, right? That’s my job, isn’t it? His wish was my command. Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen – if only I knew how to cook then. My smile hid the pain in my heart, as well as makeup did the bruises on my face. I hid the grocery money, emptied the liquor bottles, refilling half with water hoping he’d never noticed. I’d called his boss to say he was sick in bed after another blackout episode. I told myself: I protect my interest. I do it all in the name of “love.”

I was tired. But because I loved my children, I eventually allowed my kids the freedom of choice. They started listening to the “hip” music their friends were listening to, and watched certain movies because I knew they were old enough and smart enough not to repeat negative behaviors. Yes, I was inconsistent, worn-out, and haggard. I practiced tough-love, church activities, rules and schedules, but then lost the victory in my own personal life that I toss responsibility to the wind. I got lazy. It became every person for himself. I started doing my own thing. I felt defeated. Cold-hearted. Bitter. Since I had lost the battle as a wife, for a moment, I had also forgotten that there was still a war to fight for called Motherhood.

That was many moons ago. And I’m happy to say, although far from perfect, I continue to strive to communicate this language in a healthy way.

Just some rambling thoughts today, as I reflect over Gary Chapman’s point of view about the language of love.

What are your thoughts?

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Gary Chapman, Love Language