New Castle News

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February 18, 2013

Lisa Madras: Resolving relationship issues isn’t only in my dreams

NEW CASTLE — What has life taught you recently?

It seems at times that life is a never-ending learning experience. For me, it's been the school of hard knocks for quite some time now. I struggled to get through the things I had to get through, while trying desperately to glean some sort of lesson from each right hook.

Mainly, it was a coping mechanism, but I knew in my heart that it was also the right thing to do to at least try. That's why I'm here writing this blog every week.

I've found that there are just some things that happen for no reason, no lesson to be learned, no small nugget of wisdom or consolation that can be taken away at the end. Those were the easier things to deal with. Bad stuff happens, and that's the end. Deal with it and move on.

The unresolved conflicts, though, those are the toughies, the ones that feed the evil hissing of the monkeys and make you feel as if you'd trade your very soul for just one soothing moment of peace. Those are the ones that keep you awake long after your body and your spirit have worn out, and still manage to manifest themselves into monsters in your precious few moments of sleep.

For three years, I had no one. The people that I had loved and lost came only to me under the cover of darkness, appearing almost nightly in the nightmares that would yank me cruelly back to wakefulness. I wanted sleep more than anything, but even there I had no rest.

I hated the people in those dreams. They were all the ones that I had loved and trusted, and I needed that hatred to numb the hurt.

My family was gone. The love of my life was gone. But they were still THERE, reminding me every day and night that I didn't deserve their love and their presence in my life.

Except, in reality, it wasn't them. It was me. My own mind was the monster tormenting me. And I had no idea how to go about destroying something that was a part of my very being.

As chance would have it (as chance sometimes does!), I accidentally (long story) reconnected with my mother and brother, and shortly thereafter, my ex-boyfriend, who had also been my best friend. The paths we're taking to try a set aside our differences are by no means easy, and there's a lot to overcome. But the truly amazing thing is that those obstacles are a heck of a lot less tormenting than the anger and grief I was holding onto to try to protect myself.

I feel whole again, and even though it's a fragile and still somewhat uncertain wholeness, it's a wholeness nonetheless. It's peace, and it turns out that it was completely in my power to slay those monsters all along ... if only I'd taken the initiative.

I'm not going to spend another three years regretting the time lost with my loved ones. That's time that had to pass to bring us all to a place where we could peacefully co-exist anyhow. But I have learned that hatred and hurt are not good bed-mates, and if it is within your power to fix things, do so. Life is way, way too short to keep company with monsters.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm sleeping like a baby now.


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