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Haunted


I’ve been told that I am suffering with a variant of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Given the flashbacks, the physical reactions that I feel to the memories, or the images that run through my head, I believe it.

Learning that your spouse has been unfaithful and that you have been purposefully deceived by the person you trusted most in this world is traumatic, to say the least.  It shakes you to your core, and causes you to reevaluate all of your beliefs, and to question your own judgements.  Your confidence in your relationship, your family, and yourself are all questioned.

Learning the details of what happened serve the immediate “need to know”, and prevents you from imagining scenarios and circumstances that simply never took place, and replacing those self-created “fantasies” with factual data.  While useful in one sense, it is also excrutiatingly painful to hear your spouse described what he did with his mistress, when, and how.  It allows you to create a mental movie in your mind of the events, and gives your mind ammunition with which to flash back to these movies at seemingly random moments throughout your day.

Seemingly innocent things can act as a trigger, reminding you in a split second of your suffering, the affair, the loss.  Looking at the couch that I sat on when he told me.  Where I sat.  Where he sat.  That does it for me.  I can’t sit on that sofa now without thinking of it.  As such, I’ve tucked it into the living room that we rarely use.

Pulling out the journal that I kept for the first few months brings me right back just by looking at the cover.  I will reread the entries now and again, not to remind myself of the pain, but to see how far I’ve come.

One of my greatest triggers is music.  It is sad for me, because music is something that I love.  I consider myself quite musical, having studied music as a child and adolescent, it has a very emotional connection for me.  Music can lift my mood, make me sad, etc.  It has a powerful force for me.  I listen to music for a great part of my day.  Whether I am in the car (I never drive without music playing), or at my computer doing work (also have iTunes playing in the background), music is always with me in some way.  My musical memory for songs is also vast.  I can remember lyrics and elements to songs from my childhood and adolescence like they were yesterday, even if I haven’t heard the song for a decade or more.  It brings me right back to the days when it was a hit on the radio, and in a flash I am that teenage girl sitting on the steps of her highschool watching the boy she pined over throw a football with his friends, wondering what she could do to be noticed.  The feelings flood back immediately, and I am transported right back there.

In the wake of the affair, I spent a great deal of time in profound sadness.  I would drive to and from work, songs playing on the radio, so desperately sad.  I now connect those songs on the radio to the way I was feeling, and hearing them now puts me right back in that place.   Songs I used to enjoy, not carry with them a deep feeling of sadness and despair. I remember vividly the feelings I had, the thoughts running through my mind, or even which intersection I was at the last time I heard it.  Hit songs that dominate the airwaves wax and wane, and soon enough, a hit song goes into a remission.  It disappears for a while.  And then it resurfaces.  When songs from that time come back on the radio, it is immensely painful.

It isn’t only the songs that were current after the affair was disclosed, but also songs that I enjoyed that were popular while he was having his affair.  I can remember sitting in my car, singing along to a song, doing my infamous seat-dancing that I am prone to do when a good song comes on.  I now look back at those moments, and realize that at the time that this particular song was popular, and I was sitting in my car bopping to the tune, my husband was lying to me, deceiving me, and sleeping with another woman.   I can no longer listen to songs from that YEAR without saying to myself “He was having an affair when I used to enjoy this song”, and it strips the shine off of the enjoyment of the song.  I will still sing along to it, and enjoy it, but it will always be there, imprinted and attached forever to it, like a tag.

The worst part about songs, I find, is the lyrics.  I am a romantic at heart, and often relate the lyrics in a song to my own life.  Love songs with their professions of deep caring or turmoil when there is a fight strike a chord with me.  I often find myself thinking: “I know how that feels!”.  I think this happens to a lot of people, and songwriters want their listeners to relate to, and appreciate what they are writing about.  It is kind of like this blog, and how I want my readers to connect with what I am writing, and if a betrayed woman finds this blog, I want her to be able to relate to it, and find comfort in it.   Songs of a broken heart now have a whole new meaning.  Songs of loss and despair ring true in a way I’d never been familiar with before.

Songs about infidelity almost kill me.  3 months into the affair discovery, the song “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri  was released onto iTunes, following its debut as a song on “So you think you can dance”.  It used to take the breath out of me. Now that it is being played many months later on the radio, puts it right in my face.   But, the good thing is that I no longer relate  the lyrics in the same way….I don’t want my husband out of my life.  I now attach these lyrics to her.  She is the one with the heart of stone

Jar of Hearts Video

I know i can’t take one more step towards you
cause all thats waiting is regret
don’t you know i’m not your ghost anymore
you lost the love i loved the most

i learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

i hear you’re asking all around
if i am anywhere to be found
but i have grown too strong
to ever fall back in your arms

ive learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

it took so long just to feel alright
remember how to put back the light in my eyes
i wish i had missed the first time that we kissed
cause you broke all your promises
and now you’re back
you don’t get to get me back

who do you think you are?
running around leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
so don’t come back for me
dont come back at all

x2

who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?

As I struggled with the decision with whether to stay in my marriage, I was torn in a way that I’d never experienced.  Staying felt like I was weak. Like I would allow myself to be humiliated, deceived, taken for a ride, and would come back for more.  It seemed like a reward allowing him to stay, allowing him to have his children, his wife, and his life.  I wanted him to hurt.  I wanted him to lose like I had.  I wanted him to be desperate for me.  Asking him to leave meant losing the best friend I’ve ever had.  It meant my children losing access to their father.  It meant losing my partner. I wasn’t prepared for more loss.  I worried that my friends would consider me weak for staying, or judge me.  But I knew where my heart belonged, and made a commitment to do my best to make it work, regardless of what others would say.

I’ve always loved the song “Heaven helps the man (I’m Free)” by Kenny Loggins.  It is the song that plays while the credits roll in Footloose.  Not only do I still love the song, but the lyrics to the song have special meaning for me now.

Heaven Helps the Man (I’m Free) Video

Looking into your eyes I know I’m right
If there’s anything worth my love it’s worth a fight

We only get one chance
But nothing ties our hands
You’re what I want
Listen to me
Nothing I want
Is out of my reach

Chorus
(I’M FREE)
HEAVEN HELPS THE MAN who fights his fear
Love’s the only thing that keeps me here
You’re the reason that I’m hanging on
My heart’s staying where my heart belongs
(I’M FREE)

Running away will never make me free
And nothing we sign is any kind of guarantee
But I wanna hold you now
And I won’t hold you down

I’m shaking the past
Making my breaks
Taking control
If that’s what it takes

Chorus

I long for a time when a simple ride in the car, a hug with my husband, a show on TV won’t transport me into emotional hell.  For now, it is my reality.  I know in time it will let up.   I just can’t wish any more than I do that it comes soon.

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Comments

  1. I read your post. I’ve been thinking of you but couldn’t remember what blog you were until I saw the name again. Tried searching my old mail and didn’t find it. I pondered something that I wanted to share with you, that’s why I was trying to find your site. I have a lot of subscriptions.
    We had talked once about men loving their spouse while also loving their mistress. A classic case came to mind in the life of John Lennon. If you look at his solo albums there are many pictures of him and Yoko Kissing, hugging, etc. From what I remember reading though John was still a philanderer with Yoko also, which drove her mad. John wrote all these songs about love and Yoko and jealous guy and yet he still did exactly what he wanted to do. I do believe that he loved Yoko more than anything in the whole world. His love for her was a very public statement. Yet, he was a playboy, go figure. It doesn’t make sense. Why couldn’t her treat her right? This isn’t an answer, just more words and more stories. One of my favorite songs of his devotion to Yoko was “Oh, Yoko” from the imagine album. God bless you. Keep Bogging, Keep Writing. I’ll end with quote of one of John’s songs that he should have heard for himself.

    “Half if what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you.”
    -John Lennon

  2. Foolish Woman says:

    Just wanted to say that I am reading and empathising, even if I’m not leaving comments.

  3. dotcablogger says:

    Music does the same for me too.

  4. dotcablogger says:

    Your own blog is much more deeper in insights and meaning than the cheating that LylaD (on Urbanmoms.ca) blogs. You have my belief in yourself as you blog it. So your experience, your efforts on yourself, your relationship with your husband, and your value in him and your family is impressive to me and not mislead. LylaD is confused and committing a hurtful wrong on her own family while you much better know yourself and also your husband.

  5. dotcablogger says:

    You’re not weak for staying.

    • Thank you for saying so. It seemed, early on, that any infidelity stories I was hearing were ending in the couple splitting. The woman, infuriated would kick him out and never look back. I think that takes a strength. I never wanted to leave. I love him deeply. After a year, it’s been a lot of work but the reward has been incredible. We are closer than ever. We share more openly. We communicate at a deeper level. We are no longer naive to what can happen in a marriage. We’ve Born grown from this, and we’ve grown together. I now see that it can take more strength to stay than to just walk away and abandon us.

      • dotcablogger says:

        You and your husband being closer is what happens whenever the couple never gives up nor splits. All the couples I know who stay together and not split over a problem become closer and stronger as a couple. So the two of you are doing awesome.

  6. dotcablogger says:

    My relationship/marriage is younger than yours and we have 1 daughter as of now who’s near a year and a half. Your clear eyed belief in your husband gives me a positive thing to think about.

    When a good person errors and that bad decision hurts you, what do you do? Do you put perspective on his character and believe in you as a couple and family, and not quit on him? Does he believe in you and not quit on himself and on you two as a couple and family?

    What you’ve shown me is that when you really understand that you know your mate and he’s a good person worth to stick with, and the two of you know that it’s to be a couple or lose more by parting, these things give me hope.

    Knowing your mate is not interchangeable with another man, and other things that make you value him. Seeing what he gives over what he took away. These things that make you value him is what gives me hope that not all infidelities are meant to kill marriages.

  7. Music does the same to me, I am trying to associate songs with the new and improved us!! Try it maybe it will work and you can turn the radio up nice and loud and dance in your car again!!

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