“I feel like such a failure”. How many times have I said that phrase? No matter the good things that I succeeded in doing, I still feel my life before today has been one big flop.
Some great things are happening right now. I have a little 15 month old child, my 4th, and my only girl. I’m married again to a beautiful woman and she makes me smile. I have a chance to do it all over again and do it right this time. Despite this, if we get in a fight, I start to feel hopeless and think I am a failure again. She is 18 years younger than I, and she has her own dreams she wants to fulfill, and if she feels like I’m not doing anything to make her dreams come true, she gets angry and irritated. She is very passionate and sensitive. The fights are usually very one-sided, as I don’t like to argue so I keep quiet and let her do the yelling. I’m a doormat.
If I reflect back on my life, and dig through my fading memories, I often come across times when I feel like I have failed.
As I said before, I was molested as a child. It took me many years to remember it, but when I did, I blamed myself. I should have done something to ensure it didn’t happen. I should have done something after the first time to make it stop. When I think back to that time, as a man, I feel ashamed. I know deep down that it wasn’t my fault, but my sick mind always blames itself for that failure.
I grew up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s a hard religion to be a part of, so many rules: No holidays, no birthdays, no college. So many expectations: preaching door-to-door, meeting 3 times a week, books and magazines to read and study. I had a hard time keeping up with everything I had to do, and I never felt like I was good enough. There is no room to be an individual, no wiggle room so to speak. I chafed at the regimen of brainwashing that happened every day. So when I turned 17, I moved out on my own and left my religion. I had failed at something I had been working at all those years. I let my family and friends down. I didn’t know how to act as a “wordly” person, so I flip-flopped and became a sinner, and I worked to be a successful one. 25 years later, the mind control was still there and in a difficult time, I returned to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, only to fail again two years later and slowly ease myself out of the fold again.
My first marriage was the big “fail” in my life. Sure, I have 3 great kids to be proud of, but I never really worked to make my marriage last. It was 18 years of hell from start to finish. First of all, the only reason we got married was she said she was pregnant. A few months later, I found out she lied. Lying was the basis of my marriage on both sides. My first wife was a pathological liar, and was very good at it. From the beginning, I sought solace in the arms of other women, work and self-medication. I was never home. My kids grew up without a father. Sure I could blame what happened to my marriage on my mental condition, and I will admit it was a part of why I was who I was, but I have to lay the blame squarely on myself. The sum total of my marriage was an unhappy woman who cheated and lied, and kids who grew up without my attention and thus felt like they didn’t know me. To this day, it’s up to me to initiate a conversation with them. We are 8500 miles apart, and all there is to feel on both sides is abandonment.
In spite of these failures, I feel renewed to make my second chance successful. I am working hard on my recovery plan. This process of writing it all down is just part of it. I can’t let this feeling of failure ruin everything I am striving for. I am going to make my marriage happy despite the hurdles. I am going to be a father to my child in every sense of the word.
Do I let my life thus far ruin any chance I have to do something right in the present?
“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else” – John Burroughs
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