Lately I’ve been doing really well and I’m moving forward. Sure, I still look backward from time to time. It’s too soon to fool myself into believing I’m past it all. With it being fresh in my heart, it’s easy to recall where I’ve been and how it felt to face his cheating and lies. Naturally, I still feel that pain. But there are also times when remembering those first few weeks feels more like something I read or watched in a movie. I’ve mostly become numb to it. I know it happened to me, but it also feels like it happened to someone else.
I think that’s because part of my coping mechanism was to disassociate from the events and the emotions as much as possible and assume the vantage point of an observer looking out over the scenes unfolding in front of me. It isn’t the healthiest thing to do, I know that, but it was something I had to do in order to keep from being consumed by the anger and the urge to destroy everything around me. Probably nothing more so than Mr Player himself. That kind of vengeful rage can be a scary thing. While I never worried that I’d physically injure him in my anger, I did worry about the things I might say or do. I fantasized about the ways I’d destroy his life and finally teach him that after a life time of selfish narcissistic compulsive behavior he was about to pay his dues. How he would learn to never, ever, make those same mistakes with anyone again. Had I given into my fantasies and my rage, the damage I might have done could have been vast and irreparable. Then, I reasoned, I would spit on him and wash my hands of him completely, though not before first retaliating with a string of incredible, hot sex affairs of my own.
These were just a few of my more “tame” fantasies. Ones that popped to mind between visions of smashing out house windows, driving through his office windows, throwing his belongings over a bridge and into the Mississippi river on the 6 o’clock news, or maybe just setting fire to his truck. It’s safe to say that there were days I literally hated him and hated myself even more for ever having loved him. Obviously I didn’t do those things and none of them are within my nature. Once again, a walking contradiction. I can experience rage that is off the charts but yet I have never acted on an impulse to destroy even my worst enemy. In fact, I’ve never considered myself as having enemies. Challenging people I might never wish to see again but not enemies. I’ve never burnt a bridge and I’ve always been thankful that I haven’t.
I survived those waves of rage and yes, even while looking forward I find that I can still be a little overwhelmed by the past and the fallout from his betrayal. But, I dwell on it much less these days. I don’t want to waste my time dwelling in what I’ve now come to think of as the “badlands”. All those years that I either closed my eyes in denial of what he was doing or battled him while he gas lighted or tried to direct my attention somewhere else. Those were my days spent lost in the wastelands. The low he managed to pulled me down to.
Each day I remember a little more about who I was becoming, and I think about who I am inside today and how I want to live my life from here on out. Now I can count more good days than bad days. Even on the days I have triggers or he’s failed to follow through or when he acts contrary to the person he’s trying to become. Those things still affect me, but so much less than they did a few months ago. It’s a pretty clear line for me. I don’t NEED him for my happiness and I refuse to return to the badlands. I want him in my life if and only if, he continues to grow and do the repair work needed. But wanting and needing are different things. As I’ve made reference to in past postings, I’m remembering at last that what I really need is to be enough for myself. If he’s not strong enough for that, then he’s not the right person for me, and he’s free to walk away. I should respect his efforts enough to mention here that he is working hard and though he doesn’t always “get it” most times he does and most times he responds correctly. For a while he just could not comprehend that his guilt and apologies would not fix this mess but I believe he is finally starting to grasp that the work is hard and will take a long time and that has made it easier (most days) for us to walk in the same direction even if we are not always in perfect step.
One concept that keeps me focused is gratitude. Yes, infidelity is a huge blow and it hurts. Unbelievably painful emotional hurting. To me it felt like the final brick in a load that would finally crush me considering the amount of stress already in my life. But life is short and I don’t want to be victim and I don’t want to waste precious days on earth fighting battles within myself. When things feel unbearable I’ve always stopped to remind myself that they could be so much worse. The thing that strikes me is that I’m but a speck in the world. In the scope of world suffering….my world is so damned easy! And so damned good! So what, I’m the single mom of a disabled child and while filled with tender moments and thankfulness its also filled with exhaustion and a lot of secret tears cried in private. Our family has struggles, sadness, death, illness, abandoned dreams, fatique. Just like many other families. I’m still thankful to have a family and people I love. Friends. A good job. A solid roof and food. Comforts of home that would be luxuries beyond imagination for some. I’ve been born into freedom, into a modern age of medicine and technology. I have for example, never spent a day in a war camp, been tortured, or watched helplessly as my children die of starvation or were ripped from my arms and sold into slavery. Never had to choose between one family member or another when it came to life or death.
I am blessed, regardless of the stress or the heartaches in my life. Infidelity is really no different. It sucks. It shouldn’t have happened. He had other options. It’s one of the worst pains, if not the worst, I’ve ever dealt with. But it’s not so bad that life should cease to go on. The more the pain or the anger engulfed me the more pitiful I felt. I just couldn’t live my life like that. I’m too much of a fighter. It took making the decision that I’m important. That loving him should not mean losing myself. It took making the promise to myself that I will rise and grow and LIVE fully with or without him, for me to begin feeling alive again or to begin comprehending loving him enough to draw the line and force him to choose one life or the other. But that doesn’t mean there are not difficult moments or that anger or sadness don’t come around anymore.
For me, this song resonates because it echoes the words I’ve spoke so often in my head, over and over again when trying to understand his actions and motivations. Who do you think you are?!!!!
And this one… because I refuse to let someone take the best of me and ruin it. I had lost the best of me and the time has come to fight for getting it back.
The point of this post? Really nothing profound. Just a reality check. A reminder of where I am and how far I have to go. And perhaps my way of sharing with anyone else in this position that even if you have committed to working toward forgiveness, it’s OK to experience anger from time to time, or sadness, but it’s important to search for perspective and above all else to make a commitment to yourself. To as I’ve come to think of it, learn how to be enough for yourself and reclaim your life, your spirit, and your own dreams. A man worth having will find a way to get in step with you. And one worth losing, well……. it probably goes without saying that a man worth losing will NEVER BE worth losing yourself. Take care of yourself and through all the ups and downs, anger and tears, don’t be afraid to feel some joy, to be grateful and to focus on rebuilding not just your relationship but yourself.