That Horrible Awful Feeling

Single Mom Handbook

I came across a great book this weekend called Stop Being Lonely by Kira Asatryan. As a single mom, I am so busy with work, preparing meals, helping with homework, making arrangements and doing house work that my sanity is a non-issue. It all just has to be done. And then, come Saturday night, whether the boys are with their coparent or me, CRASH!, that horrible feeling of loneliness creeps in and takes over. I’ve tried everything to make it go away: diet, exercise, no alcohol, meditating. It’s not working.

A quick solution would be to have plans with friends. That would be great but I don’t seem to have any. Well, I have friends, and they’re great, but they’re not nearby. And then there’s the dating option. I’ve been on and tried for a Saturday night date, but don’t seem to get past the getting acquainted part to merit the Saturday night. And on several occasions have come close but weren’t able to “match” schedules. (Really, as a single parent, it’s become clear that finding the right person may be more about scheduling than compatability.)

What can I do to make that horrible aching screaming feeling go away? I don’t want to dread weekends anymore. First, I need to answer, why am I feeling so lonely? I’ll back up a little and add that it’s not just since the divorce. It’s been, well, from as far back as I can remember. I was lonely with both my ex-husbands (yeah, two.) I have repeatedly been unable to connect with my significant others. And I take all responsibility for diving in and giving it a try anyway. There’s such a pattern of settling and hoping for the best and not listening to my gut. It’s my own doing! Okay, done with the blame, let’s move on. Something I’ve known for a while that I need to address is when the feeling originally came up.

Here’s that story:

When I was in high school my parents moved the three of us to a different state in the first quarter of my junior year. I put on my best face and stayed as positive as I could but it was without a doubt the worst time of my life. What I didn’t understand then that I can see clearly now is they had severe problems of their own and essentially checked out on their parenting role as they fell deeper into their hole. I had problems academically at school due to the mid-term transition and tried to get help to no avail. It was simply bad timing on my arrival and I would either have to repeat the year or trudge ahead and hope to catch up. I chose to hang in there. The last thing I wanted was another year living at home. From my parents I received only criticism for not trying harder. To add to the chaos, we moved again at the beginning of my senior year and ended up thirty miles out of town which was totally isolating for me. Because it was out of the question that I would change schools again, I had to stay quiet about the move so that the school district wouldn’t find out. As I sunk deeper into depression my parents were also dealing with their own demons. Through alcohol. Which I turned to as well. How I didn’t kill myself driving home on the highway after a few beers at age 17 is beyond me. Thank you to whomever was watching over me. One day I asked my mom if I could see a shrink because I was so miserable. She actually said no, that shrinks were for crazy people. I was speechless. I remember feeling so helpless and hopeless. So alone. It was awful. How I pulled myself out of that is beyond me. I crossed off the days on my calendar until the school year was over when I could go live with my sister. It must have been having something to look forward to that saved me. I moved out the day I graduated.

So many lessons to learn from that experience. My poor parents. They must have been miserable. There was no joy in that house. And then of course, how could they have been so neglectful to me? They were unsupportive, unavailable, mean, pathetic. I honestly don’t know how we had a roof over our heads given their struggles. At least I know now it wasn’t anything I did other than being born at the wrong time. My three older siblings have their own issues with our parents but got out of the house a few years before I did when things were more tolerable. As a young women trying to navigate her way in a new town and then taking on the problems of my parents, it was too much. It left a deep scar which has essentially taken my whole life to heal. I’ve been able to forgive them and feel sorry for them but don’t want to spend any time with them. On the plus side it certainly acts as a very clear and present reminder that under no circumstance will I ever put my two boys in that position. And that I have to dig deeper and correct the dysfunction I was exposed to so it doesn’t happen again.

I realize now that for years I’d put up a protective wall by always being in charge, not asking for help, making assumptions (I’m highly intuitive but that’s not always a good thing) and thinking I know everything. I need instead to be a better listener (don’t we all?!), ask questions, accept that I don’t know everything and that I’m not always right, embrace my mistakes and imperfections, ask for help, and most importantly, know that I’m not alone. Wait, isn’t that my original problem? Could the solution be that simple? Yes and no. I have a little work to do before I get there.

So now I know the root of the problem. And I have a good grasp of the triggers. Bring on the solution! I’m so ready. I’m excited to make better connections, get to a deeper level with the right people, trust my gut, and be a better example for my boys.


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