Shadow Work Session 3: 10 Of Pentacles

Continuing my work with 10 of pentacles, today I will be exploring my understanding of stability, security, and long-term planning as an adult.

After getting pregnant with my son, I decided to move in with Ross and his parents. At the time, I thought that this was a good decision because his family seemed to be much more stable and secure than my own. His parents were still together and they lived in a comfortable sized home. Though Ross’s family wasn’t rich by any means, they could at least be considered middle class which was definitely a step up for me. I also thought that moving in with Ross would help to keep us together. Honestly, I think that I saw this as my chance to escape poverty and to see how the other half lived for a change. I felt that I had no way to take action to improve my own situation, so merging my life with someone else and inviting into my life whatever resources that they had to work with was the next best thing. However, looking back on things now I credit this move for altering some of my beliefs surrounding security and stability.

Up to this point, I thought that money, fancy things, peer admiration, and a traditional family dynamic indicated that one was stable and successful. However, moving in with a family that seemed to have all of these things yet I still continued to feel unstable and insecure taught me that there is much more to building a happy future than what I had originally thought.

  1. The first reality to smack me in the face was that, just because two people are together and have a family together does not necessarily mean that their relationship together is happy, stable, secure or safe. When I first moved in with Ross, I had this grand idea that he and I would spend time together, strengthen our relationship, and start making plans for our little family and our shared future. I really didn’t know anything about him at the time. If I had taken the time to get to know him instead of pushing all of my future hopes and dreams onto him, I would have been able to see that he was an addict who was still into his ex and clearly not ready to commit to me. What I had hoped would be a happy relationship was anything but. Ross spent all of his time at work or out with his friends. He never invited me to come along. At the time, I didn’t have a car and was essentially trapped in the house with his parents whom I had only just met in a town where I had no friends or family. Most days I wouldn’t even see Ross until he stumbled into the house drunk around 3am-5am. His struggles with drugs and alcohol caused him to be very emotionally abusive towards me at times. I was miserable. Looking back on those days is really hard for me. I wanted so much for us to work out and for us to build our family together that I ignored red flag after red flag. We weren’t really all that compatible and we didn’t share any similar interests but I tried to always be agreeable so that he would stick around. I found out that while I was pregnant, he had been cheating on me with his ex girlfriend. Of course this news killed me but I swallowed the pain and stuck it out. This is how bad I wanted to keep my family together. If I’m being honest, my sticking things out with him had just as much to do with me not wanting to move back into my old situation as it did with wanting to keep my family together. After I had our son, I found out that Ross had cheated on me again with two sisters (threesome). I left him this time but I didn’t stick. I just came back two days later. There were rumors that he had cheated on me a lot more that this with other women but none of these rumors were ever substantiated. I was so fucking miserable. I don’t even know how to express how unhappy I was. After Ross cheated on me the second time, I started cheating on him too and didn’t stop until after we had gotten married. I honestly think I did this as a coping mechanism to keep me from having to deal with the unhappiness in my relationship. I was trying to escape into someone else instead of dealing with my shit. It also didn’t hurt that I felt that I was some how getting back at Ross by doing this. It took Ross 5 years to marry me, yet we still never had the type of relationship that I had always wanted….we still don’t. I always wanted an actual wedding, but we didn’t have the money for that. I had to settle for the court house. It has always been hard with him. It has always been an uphill battle. We have never really fit together just right. Even today, I am still here putting up with things that make me miserable…for what? Is it because I love him or am I still trying to maintain this illusion of security that I developed for myself so log ago?
  2. Because I was only 18 when I had my son and Ross was in no state to help me build a home of our own, Ross’s mom stepped into the picture pretty aggressively. I had originally wanted Ross and I to move into an apartment after the baby arrived but my mother-in-law talked us into staying with her. At the time, I thought that she was doing this to help us. However, I quickly learned that it was because she simply didn’t trust us to parent our child alone. She overstepped constantly when it came to my son, often taking him out of my arms when he cried and criticizing my choices. When I would make comments about how unhappy I was in my life, she would instantly discourage me from doing anything to get out of my situation. She would always tell me that if I left I would not be able to support my child alone and would be forced to live on welfare. She made me believe that I could not survive without her help and if I wanted a comfortable life for my child, I would have to deal with her son’s bullshit and her constant interference. I started to feel that she liked keeping me there because it kept her grandchild close to her while giving her something to complain about to the people around her. It made her look like some kind of saint when in reality she was hindering my growth and happiness and I was allowing her to. I often look back on this now and feel that she stole my motherhood from me with my first child. After having my daughter, I realized what it was like to be the only mother to a child. However, after my husband, son, and I moved into the rental house that we are in now, I have spent a large amount of time trying to repair the damaged bond between my son and I. I didn’t realize exactly how much had been taken from me until I had my second child.
  3. From the time I moved in with Ross’s family, it was clear that in doing so, I had relinquished all power and control of my own life. Nothing belonged to me and I was frequently reminded of that in subtle ways. Nothing was my choice from that point on. Though I know that we always have a choice…it does not and did not always feel that way. Ross has always worn the pants in our marriage. He does what he wants to do and for the most part isn’t open to change. I feel like more often than not throughout our life together Ross has checked out of all of the hard stuff, leaving me alone to contend with his mother. After I got pregnant with my daughter, it was clear that we could no longer live in my in-law’s home. There just wasn’t enough room. At this time, I started to talk about and make plans to get an apartment. This likely scared my mother-in-law. After all, me getting an apartment would mean that she would no longer have influence or control of our lives. To remedy this, she told me that she would buy a house and allow us to rent it from her so we would have more space and would be in a good neighborhood. The catch was, she picked the house. During this time, I kept sending her links to houses that I liked…but she would only consider houses that were super close to hers. In the end, we ended up moving into a house on the next street over. Though Ross’s parents help us out a lot, they have made us totally dependent on them. I don’t deny that we all played a part in this, but every time I tried to show any degree of independence she found a way to take it from me. Ross can’t/won’t take care of our family and I have been trapped here without a working car, unable to get out and do anything for myself. I am totally dependent. I have no options and it feels like I have no power. If my mother-in-law wanted to sell my home out from under me (which she has talked about doing), she could and I would have no say in the matter. In truth, I have no real security.
  4. I have also learned that even though it looks like I have a lot from the outside, it doesn’t really matter because none of it really belongs to me. It is less about what one has and more about how one has come to have it if that makes sense. Sometimes I feel like I would be much happier living in a run down trailer as long as it was mine and I didn’t have to worry about it getting torn away from me.

So what does stability, security, and long-term planning mean to me now? I no longer want others to envy what I have. I just want to be happy. However, I still feel that I need my own home, space, and belongings to be happy in the future. I don’t like change and I want to be in control of my situation. Stability means not having to worry that my livelihood isn’t going to be changed or shaken at any given moment. I want financial stability but I have never been financially stable. I want to be able to stand on my own. I don’t think that I’m bitter, but I really don’t care any more if I am married in the future or not. I just want me and my kids to be safe, happy, and healthy. If I am married in the future…I don’t want it to be anything like the marriage I have right now. I want to be married to a best friend and partner. Someone who works with me not against me. Someone who shares similar values and interests. Someone who actually enjoys my company and wants to be around me. Someone who puts family first. A provider. Some one to share the load. The future still seems like an unattainable dream, as I am still caught up in living day-to-day rather than planning for what I want in the future.

Some questions that came to me today:

Why don’t I trust myself to make life changing decisions? Why do I need so much reassurance? Why do I let others make the decisions for MY life? Did this start with my mother-in-law or did it start earlier?

Why don’t I feel like I have the power to change my life? When/where did this attitude come from?

Why do I put up with things that make me miserable just to avoid change? Why don’t I like change? Do I not realize that I will always feel this way and be stuck on this path if I don’t make changes? When/where did this start?

How can I learn to effectively plan for the future and actually follow through with my plans? Why do I always get lost in the follow through? When/where did this start?

What is true stability, security, and success? How much of my understanding of these concepts is based on truth and how much is based on misconceptions and personal experience?

How can I stop being jealous of others? Is my jealous nature rooted in my poverty mindset or is it something else?

These shadow work posts are truly for my own self discovery and development, but I appreciate those of you who took the time to read this. I plan to continue to work with the 10 of pentacles for the rest of the week or until I feel that it is time to move on to another card/shadow aspect.

Love Always, AnxiouslyM

2 thoughts on “Shadow Work Session 3: 10 Of Pentacles

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