Bitter or Better

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There’s a saying I see often that says “you either get bitter or you get better.”  It refers to anything that goes wrong really in your life.  But I think it mostly refers to relationships.  At least, that’s how I relate to it because I have really had to work hard at not being bitter and angry quite a few times in my life.  Two major relationships have challenged this for me.  And I struggled with it for many years with the sexual assault as well, but more internally.

With the first relationship, I really struggled with that feeling of bitterness.  And anger too.  A complete lack of forgiveness because I was young and I thought of forgiveness as excusing his behavior.  Behavior that made it ok for him to abuse me and then walk away from me and a child. I held onto the bitterness for a LONG time. I’ll come back to that.  Maybe.

With my marriage and divorce, I’m still struggling.  Mostly because I have kids with a man who chose to mostly check out.  He won’t help me coparent because it’s too difficult for him.  He won’t really talk to me at all.  He will allow email.  Wow, thanks.  That’s super helpful when one of the kids is going through something and I’d like his support and opinion on how to handle it.

I do not get that at all.  I won’t apologize that my kids are closer to me than to him and so they come to me with things.  That’s because throughout their lives I was there for them and tried to help them learn how to solve problems knowing that mistakes are ok.  I let them know their feelings are never wrong, they have the right to their feelings.  And so they came to me and then I shared with their father how they were feeling.  But now that we aren’t together, I’m not allowed to share their feelings and discuss things with their dad.  I’m suddenly a liar who obviously changes what my kids tell me to make their dad feel badly.  Um, hello?  The people who would be hurt if I did that are my kids, and I would never do that to my children.  Never.  I would never decide for them how they feel.  I could not hurt them by making up things and passing them off as their feelings.

Deep breath.

The first four months after moving away from their dad, I felt like that almost every day.  Just angry and bitter.  And I really had to work on it.  I had to decide it doesn’t matter.  I can be a great parent to them without him.  And I can support them through hurt, and choices, and happiness.  And they will absolutely be ok.  I still have plenty of time to show them how to take care of themselves and be proud of who they are and the feelings they have in going about their lives.  And the best way I can do that is by showing them how I will live a life being true to myself and how I really feel.  I will not be with someone who tells me I shouldn’t or can’t feel what I feel.  I will never, not ever, accept someone telling me my feelings are wrong.

Listen, I AM wrong many times. If I present something as a fact and I can be shown the correct information, I accept that. If I go East from Wisconsin to find Wyoming, I’m not going to try and say I’m correct. I fully accept responsibility at work when I do something wrong, or say something I shouldn’t, or forget to complete something due.  But when I feel something, I own that feeling, and that is never wrong.

I knew when I thought about dating that I would never date someone who doesn’t have what I consider successful, honest family relationships and at least one friend who knows everything about them. I would say now that the lack of that is a giant red flag for relationship success.  You can disagree if you want to, but I can tell you that based on these two challenging relationships in my life–if someone doesn’t have a close friend(s) and doesn’t seem that honest with their family about who they are, it is likely because they aren’t capable of the empathy and emotional openness that is required in a forever relationship.  And that is just not ok.  At least, not for me.

The last hurdle for me in releasing the bitter from my divorce and being truly and completely better, is accepting that his truth is fine because it is his to live with as he chooses and I don’t have to worry about if he never accepts his part of the responsibility for why we are divorced.  This is very difficult for me.  Because I believe that he is of the opinion that I just gave up and walked out on him without trying.  He has actually said that I am the reason he doesn’t see our child.  AND THE WORST is that he truly believes and said to me several times that the problems, the reasons it ended, were ALL ME.  And that is so hurtful it makes me furious.  I own my problems.  I have said them to him and I have worked my ass off to change in the ways necessary to be a better partner.

Here’s the deal with change:  everyone does it, and if you get pissed off and say things like why should I have to change anything, you should just accept exactly who I am…that’s because you are unwilling to see that something can be improved and should be improved so that you are capable of relationship compromise.  Just like you learned as you grew up from being a child, and then a teen, and then a young adult.  If you act like all change is bad, and you function at 40 just as you did at 20, then you are probably a ridiculous person I don’t even want to be around so, whatever, stay exactly the same then.  I never asked him to change what makes him who he is for real, way down deep where his morals, values, and desires are found.  I merely asked for us to consider, together, how we can both have our needs met for love and safety, and how we can do better to respect and love each other.  To change…together.  To grow…together, instead of apart.

Deep breath.  Clearly this is my work.  Accepting that he wasn’t willing to do the work and that even if it appears that he is trying harder in his new relationship than he did with me, it is not the truth.  At first we did really well, with the help of a counselor.  But he just decided it was too hard to remember that “stuff.”  Which to me said, accept when I don’t care about you or your feelings of safety, or don’t.

I don’t.  Deeper breath.

That’s ok.  But really sad, because it meant we had to never be together again.  And that is not what I wanted.  You see?  I’m still bitter.

But I marched myself right back into a therapist office last week to get it all the way right.  To get all the way better and lose the bitter for good.  Because ultimately, I love the memories I have of my family with him and our kids, but I am much happier now.  I am with a man who I have always dreamed about because not only does he completely “get” me, he is very tuned into communication and love instead of just having a giant ego that only wants to be right.  We aren’t perfect, but we are absolutely perfect for each other.  And when there is conflict, we work it out and respect each other without trying to prove each other wrong and hurting each other with words that can never be taken back after being said.  And I will love him forever.

Loving him makes me want to be the best me.  The best me, and even better.

KK

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I was freed

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When someone says “back off” or “leave me alone,” they likely mean it.  Because for most people, it means they have put up with something or someone for some time before they reached the point of asking that person to back off.

In 2012, I made a wrong decision to speak to the biological father of my child.  The first time he contacted me, I was glad that he did and I remain glad that he did.  He contacted me to ask for my help in contacting my son because he felt quite sure my son would want to meet him.  Would want to know about him.  A valid request, or so it would seem.

During this first conversation I got a bit upset because he really started off implying that he knew better than I did what my son would want.  He called with a chip on his shoulder that he had allowed to be there for 18 years.  I can tell you with 100% confidence that he was crazy to think that.  My son and I are very close.  And on top of the fact that we are close, my son has known his entire life about his biological father.  My son doesn’t remember him at all because the guy chose a life of chaos over fighting for the right to be a father.  My son was barely over a year old the last time he saw this guy.  And when my son was only 14 months old, I met the man I would marry.  Later, when we married, that guy gave up his rights to my child, my husband adopted my son, we celebrated the adoption, and he became his loving and legal father.  The best part of being with the guy I married is that he 100% became a father to my son.  Because he wanted to do that.  Because he chose to love him as his own.   I’ll never stop being grateful for that.  And each year, up to and including this year, my son and his father celebrated Adoption Day.  And I love that.

So, in 2012, when the biological father contacted me I said I would talk to my son and ask him if he was interested in contact with the guy.  I also told him that I found it offensive that he would make the assumption that I would have spent all these years filling my son with hatred or not telling him he was adopted at all.  All these years, I have done an AWARD-WINNING job of biting my tongue and telling my son that this guy did a brave and loving thing.  That, because he was not able to be a father, he gave my son a great gift by letting someone else be his father.  I even told him some of the good things about the guy.  I never sat him down and bad-mouthed the guy.  AT ALL.

In any case, the short story on that is that my son wasn’t interested.  He sat down with me and we talked at length about the guy and the relationship I had with him.  I reiterated how, even though my son was not planned, he was the best thing to come out of the relationship with that guy and because of that, I would never say I wished I had never dated him.  But this time I did answer all questions honestly and include information about why the relationship didn’t last.  And why I was glad that the guy hadn’t stuck around at that time.  Ultimately, my son said he never felt he missed out on having a father, that my husband had been the father he felt close to, and that there wasn’t anything he needed or wanted from that guy.

And the guy accepted that.  Which I thought was weird, but he explained that he didn’t know my son and hadn’t seen him since he was a baby.  So he wasn’t losing out on a relationship because there had never been one.  Whatever.  Not my decision or concern.  I don’t agree, but I don’t have to agree.  I didn’t miss out on that great kid, he did.

So, he called to request the contact and I called him back a few days later to say that my son had decided against any contact.  The guy agreed to honor my son’s decision and said he would not ever bother him again, but that he would be more than happy if my son ever wanted to contact him.

And then life went on as it had been before the calls.  I put it behind me and felt good about how I had handled the contact.

Not long after, I got a text from the guy saying it was good to talk to me and he would like to talk further.  I froze when I got the text because I worried first about my child and my family.  He had left us alone since the adoption years prior and I was happy about that.  I can honestly say I didn’t think about him much while raising my child because I was able to raise him with my husband.  And when I got the text, things were in chaos in my house.  I had filed for divorce the year before that and my husband and I went to counseling and had the divorce dismissed after working a lot on things between us.  We were moving and our son had turned 18, and our daughter was just going to enter her high school years in the fall.

In any case, I didn’t respond right away and then I finally responded that I thought us talking further was a bad idea, but that I’d think about it.

And then we did start texting a bit.  Just general information about how life was going, where we lived, and things like that.

And then just like that, I was talking to him a lot.  Telling him things he never deserved to know about me.  Excusing things he did and making it ok that he lied and manipulated and abused me.  At times, when we first started talking, I would shut down because I would start to feel that nagging in my gut saying I was walking a path that was dangerous for me. But I also felt a strange sense that the forgiveness I was expressing was more for me than him and I began to feel a release of emotions that had been stuck so deep for many years. 

I began to recognize…myself.  The girl in the corner and the current me all in one package.  I was empowered by how I started to feel. 

That guy was around when I was raped in college.  And he was strangely supportive.  By that, I mean he supported me the best ways that he knew how, while also having been a large part of the first sexual abuse I ever experienced.  And as he talked with me about my college assault, I began to realize that connection.  I began to realize that I didn’t need to reconnect with him because I wanted us to share some fond memories of the love we once shared.  I was glad he came back into my life because it shook me to my core.  It forced me to see what I had never wanted to face before that time…that he assaulted me on a regular basis for years before I fell in love with him.  

The day this became clear to me was a day I will never ever forget.  A day one of my friends had to rescue me from myself on the side of the road as every bit of confusion and self-hatred sunk into me like the weight of the world.  I punished myself that day for every single thing I ever said or did that was related to him in my life.  I called him the same day and let every bit of emotion come out the way he should have had to hear it when I was 20 years old.  

That day I became a victim all over again.  A victim who all at once believed that I was not good enough.  And because I wasn’t good enough, I deserved the abuse from him for all the years I suffered.  

And the strangest, most traumatic, most horrifying, but also the greatest part of it all, is that in the midst of the realization that he was not ever anything to me but an abuser…

I was freed.  

I remember thanking him one day when I was with him because in that moment I knew, as I flooded back into myself, that I was going to be ok.  That I was as far away from me as I would ever have to be and that I could now turn around and start back on the path to the Girl in the Corner.  Back to myself.  And I’m so thankful for the day I fell apart because it was my beginning. 

I saw and talked with him after that only a few times.  He didn’t know it, but I was so clear in those moments and I got exactly what I needed from our conversations so that I could truly heal from all of the abuse.  

I took back me and I began to heal and then I left him behind, where he belongs.  Where he always deserved to be–in the past.  With the other people who abused me and tried to make me to blame. 

And then I healed.  

As I did, he tried to contact me and I was thrilled to find out that I didn’t care.  At all.  I told him to leave me alone.  To back off.  He didn’t get it at first, even tried to be my FRIEND, but I had the support of a great friend and a great therapist to end all contact.  

I was free. 

I am free.  And I AM good enough.  

I am strong.  Strong enough to know that all of his ridiculous attempts to get my attention after that time don’t matter.  I’ve blocked him out and I am done. 

Forever. 

KK

Trusting myself

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It was beautiful and sunny afternoon, so I decided to take a walk with my dog.  We got ready and walked for a bit without passing anyone else.  There are walking trails that go all over my new town so we took one of those.  I have safety issues on the trails, but I’m getting a lot more comfortable.

As we were getting near the end of our trip, we got to a place where we would pass a few more buildings, some railroad tracks, and then a golf course would be along the road the rest of the way.  I looked down at my phone to read something and heard a car approach and stop across the road.  As I glanced over, a guy got out and started walking toward me.  Pretty quickly.

As this guy started toward me he said “hey, I noticed you have a cell phone and I am having car trouble, can I use your phone?”  All my safety bells instantly went off and thankfully, I replied without even having to think about it.  I said “nope, sorry, it is a work phone so I can’t let you use it.”  He scowled at me and kept coming, so I said “please don’t come any closer, you can’t use my phone, sorry.”  I had continued walking the entire time, but looked right at him.  He was definitely surprised by my lack of willingness to help.

Now, I’d like to take a moment to explain that I am well aware I have more safety issues than many people.  But I am also 100% sure that as I walked toward the area that guy was not out of his car flagging down people to help him.  In fact, I am positive that he pulled into the driveway and got out and then started coming right toward me.  There is plenty of traffic on the road, it was not horribly hot or horribly cold, and there was definitely no emergency.

In any case, he was surprised that I wouldn’t help him, but when I would not stop looking at him and said loudly not to come any closer, he stopped and started walking away.  I picked up my pace, but I kept my eye on that guy and then when I was too far to be safe looking behind me, I glanced back a few times to make sure he was back at his car.  I couldn’t see where he went.  But what I know for sure is that he didn’t stay at the side of the road to flag anyone down for help.  He was not within my view.

As I walked away, I started to feel guilt and shame!  It took me a little by surprise.  I totally shamed myself for not helping this guy and felt guilty and rather stupid for being so unwilling to help and assuming the worst.  After all, I told myself, this is a small town for gosh sakes, most people would think I was really rude for not helping him and a bit crazy for feeling so nervous.  I felt those things, but I can say happily now that I didn’t feel them for very long at all.

It was like a switch was flipped.  All of a sudden I realized that I can protect myself however I want to and it wasn’t about being nice to some stranger.  It wasn’t about him, my life and safety have to be about me.  And that’s ok!  I trusted my gut, instantly and without question.  Hooray for me!  That doesn’t happen very often to me.  I try to ignore my gut a lot.  This time I went with it.  And I’m really glad I did.

I know that he could have really needed help, but I also know that it doesn’t matter because he could get help many other places from many other people.  What is important is that I felt extremely uncomfortable with the way he was approaching me and I protected myself without thinking about it.  I felt something was off and I didn’t worry about hurting his feelings before protecting myself, and my dog for that matter.

If there is one thing I could do over as a teen and young adult, it would be to stand up for myself more and not worry so much about creating conflict.  If there is one thing I could do over as a mother, it would be to demand that my kids be allowed to voice their own opinions and be heard more by their father.  I don’t think they ever felt their feelings validated by him and because of that, they doubt themselves, they don’t trust their guts, and they don’t feel able to stand up for what they actually think and feel with him.  And with other people sometimes too.

I have worked hard to explain to my kids that no parent is perfect and I made lots of mistakes.  But I also will never go back to how I was, and I feel closer to them now than ever because of that.  They know that I value their opinions and choices.  They know I will always support and listen to them.  And I’ll continue to teach them to trust their guts.

Walking that day and taking control of me without worrying about what that guy thought felt great.  I’ve worked hard to learn that it’s ok to trust myself.  To protect myself.  And that’s what I did that day on my walk.

Trust your gut.

KK

technology follow up

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Wow wow wow!  That was so cool!!

I just finished my first session with my therapist using VSee and it was a perfectly great experience.  The connections were good, the sound was good, and it was nearly as comforting as being in her office.  Especially because I was able to be in my pjs on my couch with my dog next to me for extra comfort.

I’m so thankful for technology in going through my healing process.  There is this video conferencing which is new to me, so many sites for resources, and great forums.  One other thing I have been reading a lot about lately, but haven’t had a need to use personally is the Crisis Text Line.  According to a recent Facebook post on their page, the Crisis Text Line has just passed 8 MILLION messages exchanged since August of 2013.  That is simply AWESOME.

I love technology.  And it was so great to see my therapist again.  Thank goodness for VSee.

KK

technology rocks

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I love technology so much and this week I’m about to love it more…I hope.

I get to have a session with my most recent therapist tomorrow using an app.  That’s right, an app.  Not something that is ideal for therapy, but since I am a long-term client of hers and going through a transition, she is willing to see me (and other clients in similar situations) through this app.

I am starting a new job next week and even though I have insurance right now through the Affordable Care Act, I am reluctant to begin with a new therapist and then find out whatever insurance I get through my job won’t cover the same therapist.  I’m trying to just go without getting a new therapist until November when I’ll be eligible for my work insurance. So far that has been working ok and I have been emailing a bit with my former therapist, but it is time for a more thorough check-in and so I am thankful for technology.

The app is VSee if you want to check it out.  I’m hoping the connection and app work well for a session in case I want to have a few more before I am set up with someone new.  I really geek out about stuff like this, I just love that I have this option!

I’ll post how it goes after the session.

KK

starting over…again

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I moved.  So I had to schedule my final appointment with my therapist.  She said she had an opening on a Tuesday and an opening on Wednesday, so I emailed back right away to say I’d take them both!  And I did. 

Leaving friends when you move is hard.  But even after a move you can stay in contact with friends.  Not so with a therapist, once you move, it’s over.  And that’s scary.  Especially after several years together. 

I’m lucky to have one or two connections where I’ve been able to get some names for possible therapists in my new area.  I like to at least get a name from someone instead of just searching and not knowing anyone who has even a small connection.  I ended up with my current therapist on a referral from a friend to that office.  I like that. 

So…fast forward to the first of the last two appointments and boy am I glad I took two!  What a mess I had been that week in some ways and I was glad to have lots of time to get input on how to move forward.  

In many areas, I’ve come really, really far.  And that feels just awesome.  And I’ve had plenty of opportunity lately to fully understand how terrific it is to know that as long as I am genuinely sharing only my own feelings, I am not responsible for a person’s negative reaction to those feelings.  My ex would argue that my feelings are an automatic attack on him as a person, but that’s because he hasn’t taken any responsibility for our divorce and sees no reason to work on himself or heal from the loss of our lives as we knew them.  And that’s his decision.  But I gotta be honest, I don’t get it.  At all.  He has changed so much and in many ways that is good.  I don’t think he should be the same guy I met in our early 20s.  Change is a very normal part of life.  I never asked him to change who he is at his core, because I loved that guy.  I didn’t need him to change that person at all.  But in the ways we needed to change together to be a healthy couple, he came right out and said it was only me who needed “fixed” and he wasn’t planning on changing anything.  Cuz he didn’t have any problems.  Once I “fixed” myself we’d be fine, he said that many times.  I said I was frustrated at marriage counseling because I felt he was just sitting there waiting for her to say it’s all just me, to which he quickly yelled, “What if it IS all you???”  And that’s just ridiculously sad.  

In any case, his lack of ability to grow and to support me where I most needed support was the deciding factor.  I remember the day clearly…after months of therapy, I finally knew some exact, actual things I needed in order to cope with my being a sexual assault survivor in our relationship.  And I’ll tell you two things.  

The first was that I wanted him to set an alarm on March 25, the date of the college assault.  A reminder alarm so that he could remember right away that morning each year that maybe I could use an extra hug and just a short “do you need anything from me today?”  This request was absolutely crazy to him.  He told me the same thing that day as he had told me before…he wouldn’t do it.  He would not set an alarm for a “bad” thing because nobody wants to remember bad things.  And besides, I could remind him.  After all, it didn’t happen to him, it happened to me, so why should he have to remember it?  Wow. 

Just let that sink in for a minute.  The person I chose to be with in marriage, through good and bad, said he was unwilling to remember something on his own, even if remembering that would help me feel supported and comforted.  Even if I asked him to remember it, for me. Wow…that’s all I could think while I sat there on the arm of his blue couch staring at him.  Wow. 

The second thing I said is that I need my husband to be one of my biggest supporters. To be able to stand next to me at survivor gatherings or events to support sexual assault.  To be proud of my progress.  To not laugh at rape jokes or tell me I have no sense of humor because I don’t find rape funny.  To understand why rape scenes in shows sometimes bother me and sometimes don’t and why some movies will never be on the list of movies I can watch.  I didn’t need him to march down the street yelling anti-rape statements.  I didn’t need him to stop watching shows he likes.  But understand–this is a guy who will argue with you ALL day about gay rights and has worked phones for Planned Parenthood.  He’s not gay.  I’m not gay.  He’s never used services at PP and I only did once, a million years ago when I needed birth control and wouldn’t ask my mom.  Please believe me when I state that I am not saying those things don’t matter, and we absolutely have reasons to support those things too.   

But I was his wife.  I felt many times that his feelings of obligation to others came before his comittment to me and the fact that he could so clearly and regularly support those things, but not be willing to stand by my side to support something that actually happened to me and absolutely affected me, and, therefore, our marriage…dang…I will NEVER understand that.  Never. 

My point here, and I’ve taken long to get here, is that I have come really far in many areas with therapy.  And one of those big areas is that I truly forgave my ex for the fact that he is not the kind of person who is willing and/or able to support me as a survivor of sexual assault.  He’s not the guy he was and now that I have started over in completely healing from my past traumas, I can’t accept not having exactly what I need from a person I’m going to spend my life with from now forward.  I simply won’t accept the lack of support.  Ever again. 

Starting over again with a therapist means returning to the beginning of most of my story.  That’s difficult to face, but I’m hoping that this time it won’t be as challenging because of the success I found in attending the groups I completed. 

Starting over means facing things again, like all those feelings I just touched on that brought me to divorce.  I guess it will be a test of how far I really have come, because in talking about the past I will find out if the triggers still start up a bunch of physical yuck.  I sure hope not. 

Starting over isn’t always difficult.  Starting over in a new place has been awesome.  I get to see my family often, and being able to spend so much more time with my boyfriend and my bonus boys is unbelievably perfect.  Plus, my daughter said to me just last night, “this feels like home more than any place we have lived.”  I felt really proud hearing that.  Proud of myself for making tough decisions and honoring my gut.  Proud that I haven’t let fear get in the way of getting back to who I really am inside and out. 

I’m proud of me.  I have learned to like me in ways I haven’t for so long.  

And starting over this time, I’ve decided, is going to be great.  Because now I can talk about my history as not just awful experiences, but experiences that I fought hard to get through and to move forward from to become who I am today. 

I’m proud of who I am today.  I am me. 

KK

tequila and heartbreak

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I have written several posts in the past few months and then not published them or deleted them all together.  Because…shame.  It’s been present off and on in heavy doses because I’m making some major life changes and I have extra stress right now.  I’m also fighting feelings of failure. 

Maybe I’ll publish some of the posts that I kept, or maybe I’ll just keep them for myself.  But this one I am writing today because I don’t like keeping this secret inside that reduces me to feelings of shame and failure.  And I really do believe that speaking my experiences has been an enormous help to me in getting through the negative and feeling free to heal. 

I have been called a crazy dog lady many times.  I have an enormous, deep, and unconditional love for all the dogs I have ever had in my life.  I have an immediate love for most dogs I meet.  I would do anything to ensure my dogs feel safe and loved.  And I spare no expense on their health. 

I have been uncharacteristically quiet for the last several months about my dogs.  And that is because I was feeling like a complete failure.  Unworthy of having them.  Full of shame that I was going to have to face a decision I have judged people for many times. 

I am heartbroken still as I write this because I had to return my Tequila to her foster home last week.  

I’m taking a very deep breath as I feel the weight of what some of you will think as you read that.  And because I still cry every single time I think of her and what had to happen.  I don’t have any idea how to stop hurting over the loss I’m feeling not having Tequila in my home where I felt she belonged. 

My dogs were together 4 months before they fought for the first time.  It was terrifying and I didn’t know what to do or if it was an immediate reason they couldn’t be together.  But thankfully, I have great dog-loving people in my life and many great connections from volunteering for the rescue both Fiesta and Tequila came from when I adopted each of them.

I was quickly connected with a great trainer who worked with us in my home in order to bring harmony back to all of us.  And I had my dogs examined by their fabulous vet to ensure there were no medical issues going on that could be causing the aggression.  Their vet is someone I have relied on for many years now and I am so thankful for his expertise, advice, and support. 

I was so relieved that my home quickly became a house of beagle love again.  For awhile. 

Unfortunately, the fighting kept coming back and in the last few months it escalated to the point where I had to face the fact that they may not be able to both be safe in my home.

Then, one day a few weeks ago I put both dogs in the car to go to the park.  And just as I parked the car, a fight broke out in the backseat.  Before I could even understand what was happening, there was blood and I no longer remained calm as I yelled and tried other things that in the past had worked to prevent or stop fights.  In a split second of panicking and not thinking, I reached to grab a collar and got in the middle of them fighting in the way a person never should. 

With my hand.  

I felt the pain immediately and froze in hopes that my dog would let go, which she did.  And then they went right back to fighting with each other as my wrist started bleeding everywhere and I continued to struggle to stop them. 

Eventually, I was able to stop the fight and keep them separate in the car to get home.  They went into their crates and I headed to urgent care.  I was confused and hurt, both emotionally and physically. 

I still have pain and bruising, and it’s been a few weeks. But I was lucky I wasn’t bitten in a way that caused permanent damage.  

The damage to my heart is not healing as quickly. 

I tried to reunite them several times with no luck before I admitted to myself that this recent fight was the moment I knew that I couldn’t keep them together.  Everything I tried to make a safe home for them both has failed. 

I failed.  At least that’s how I felt at that time. 

I know I made the right decision to separate them, but it has been really awful. 

I will say again, I have great dog-loving people in my life.  I reached out to a few and received so much understanding, support, and love.  And I am so, SO thankful to each of you who were there for me in the last few weeks.  You know who you are and I just can’t thank you enough. 

Facing the fact that I couldn’t give both of my dogs the home they deserve is one of the worst things I have ever had to face.  

I know in my heart and my gut I did what was best for both of them.  Tequila is doing great in a place where she feels safe and loved.  She will be cared for by a rescue I respect that will protect her best interests and make sure she finds a great new home.  And Fiesta is relaxed, playful, and happy in a way she hasn’t been in a very long time.  That is good.  That is what they both deserve.

I helped my Tequila girl get through illness and reach her healthy weight.  And that’s success, not failure.  

I’ll have to hold onto that since I can no longer hold her little paws or rub her soft ears.  She won’t be with me, but she will always be in my heart as my dog. 

Miss you, Teq.  Soooooooo much. 

KK