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I was not built to break


The title of this post sums up my recent feelings perfectly.

I am a fighter and a survivor.  I am not taken down easily, and I will not fall and crumble.  I will give every ounce that I have to protect what is dear from me, and will be damned if someone insignificant is going to take away my Joy.

I had the opportunity to attend the “Take your life back” seminar this past weekend with Anne and Brian Bercht.  I’ve referenced them in other posts, but for those who don’t know, Anne is the author of “My husbands affair became the best thing that ever happened to me”.  Since her husband’s affair 12 years ago, Anne has written her book, an auto-biographical account of her journey through healing from the pain of her husband’s affair.  She also started offering seminars to couples and individuals, certifying her skills and abilities through various programs, courses and certificate programs herself and her husband take.  Together, they formed “Passionate Life Seminars”, and offer three different and distinct weekend workshops aimed at helping those whose lives have been touched by infidelity.

This past weekend wasn’t as much about the affair, as it was about me.  It was a weekend designed for those who feel stuck in their healing, and for those who are healing alone to find ways to heal themselves so that they can move on.  It was about finding and tapping into your own unique gifts and using those gifts to break through the pain of what has happened, and start to put it behind, in the past, where it belongs.

I think it is easy to carry the baggage of an event like this forward.  It can become so defining of who we think we are.  It touches us to the core, and fractures the very things that we believe to be true about our selves, our marriage, and the world around us.  Our sense of justice is forever changed. Our feelings of deservedness and worth are questioned. We move forward with the baggage of being a betrayed spouse.  We carry that new identity around, and it colours everything we see from the moment of discovery onward.  It’s as if we put on betrayed-spouse glasses, and see the world through the hue and shade that they cast upon our eyes, allowing us to see the world slightly differently.  We carry these glasses, or the baggage of the affair around our necks, with us wherever we go.

Can you imagine spending a day with a heavy bag around your neck?  Each day that you wake up, you put it on.  You carry it around.  It needs to be pushed aside when it gets in the immediate way of a task you are undertaking.  It causes you to sometimes be a little off-balance, as you fumble to avoid its bothersome presence around your neck, whilst you reach for other things.  You bend forward, and the bag smacks against your knees.  You curl up to sleep, and you have to wrestle the bag out of the way, carefully tucking it into your abdomen to give your legs room to curl up.   When you turn quickly, the strap tangles slightly, putting pressure around your neck, and reminding you of its presence.  When you greet others for an embrace, you have to move the bag to the side, so that your bag doesn’t impact them, and for a moment, you each pretend that it really isn’t there.  But, it is there, isn’t it?   Moving it out of the way just temporarily shifts it, but you are nonetheless still aware that it exists, and you still perceive it.  It doesn’t leave.  This baggage that we carry from the affair is no different.  We push it aside when we need to, and hope others don’t notice it, but in the end, we feel it every day.  It gets in the way of us truly enjoying ourselves and the joys that our lives do have in them.  Instead of seeing the beauty and the blessings that surround us, we are forever reminded of the bag that hangs around our neck.  Sure, we may look beyond it to see the beauty of a particular moment, like our child’s graduation, or the wedding of a friend, or the birth of another child, but before we were able to look past it, we had to knowingly move it aside, and in that action of moving it, we were made aware of it.  See, it never really leaves us, until we choose to take it off entirely.

I invite you all to consider taking off your bag.  I did.

This weekend invited me to participate in a series of exercises designed to rid me of the baggage that hangs around my neck.

Having done extensive work with my husband on the trauma of his affair, the outstanding troubles I had concerned the OW and her forever presence on the outskirts of our life.  She lives in the shadows on the boundaries of our lives, and while she is not with us every day, we know that she is there, like the bag around our necks.  She was the missing piece I needed to let go of.  She was the thing that remained with me, day in and day out.  I found myself obsessing about how she would attack me next (when I say “me” here, I mean “we” because in truth, she is directed at my husband and his money, but WE both feel the attack), trying to read  her mind and understand her motives.  I would try and stay one step ahead so that perhaps I could anticipate her next move, and not be shaken off of my feet the way I have been when things come out of the blue, as they last did on Halloween day.  I am a planner.  I like to anticipate things.  For me, not being caught off guard is what helps me feel grounded when she comes around.  But, the consequence of all of this ‘preparedness’ is that I found myself worried, anxious, & obsessive.  I plotted schemes in my head about how I could harm her first and not get caught.  I thought of ways I could bring suffering to her life and not be implicated.  I dreamt up ideas, I considered and reconsidered the ideas from every angle, and every time I had the opportunity….I’d chicken out.  I found myself spending so much time in thought about this, that it took away from other things.  It took up so much space in my head that there simply wasn’t room for anything else.  She was taking up precious real estate, and essentially was taking more away from me.  I already feel robbed by this woman, so why am I allowing her to take up MORE time, MORE space, MORE THOUGHT??   It had to stop, and so I registered for the weekend at http://www.beyondaffairs.com .  During the weekend, I focused my energies on two things: 1. Increasing my self worth, my self confidence, my focus on ME.  2. Moving towards a place of compassion for the OW, towards forgiveness.

Now, some of you are reeling in your seats, wondering how on earth I could consider FORGIVING a woman who is so evil, who is so hell-bent on ruining my family.  Well, forgiveness is not condoning or supporting, remember.  Forgiveness is making the choice to no longer dwell and focus angrily on the actions of another.   It is not allowing her binges to throw me.  It  is trying to compassionately see her actions as pitiful reflections of where she sits, and contrast that with mine and see once and for all that I have won.  It isn’t being a doormat, and laying down.  Instead, it is standing up, and seeing more clearly the situation without being bogged down with anger.

In summary of this weekend and its’ realizations:

She is a child of God, and despite how dispicable and mean-spirited she is, and how horrid her actions are, she is a fallible human being who will walk her journey on this earth, and face the consequences of those actions.  It is not for me to judge her, or to condemn her, for that is not up to me.  I need to trust in a higher power that someone, at some time, higher than me, will have her in front of them and she will one day reap what she has sown.  It is not for me to punish her, or to cause her distress, for that will be taken care of by the universe.  All I can do is hope that she will turn her life around, that she will make good choices, and that she will save herself from damnation that will follow if she surely doesn’t.  I don’t need to be the one pointing the finger.  I am not so powerful as to be worthy of judging her.  I can not like what she does, but it doesn’t have to OWN me.  I can look at her compassionately, try my best to understand that she does what she does out of selfishness, and understand that each of us wishes the best for ourselves, and that I too have at some time or another put myself before others, wanting to personally prosper, knowing that others would not as a result.  The situations are, of course, very different, but I try and see her actions as a mother doing what she can for herself and her child, and a human being, being very fallible.  I can see her actions as horrid, but not feel that I need to be the one to exact the revenge, and simply trust that it will be taken care of for me, by someone or something more capable than me.  I can wish the best for her even though she intends the worst for me.  Why?  Because I don’t need her to do anything positive for me to know that I have something worthwhile in my life.  Regardless of what she says and does, it doesn’t change my feelings of being blessed with what I DO have, and she can’t take THAT away from me.  It is an internal feeling of peace and wisdom that is untouchable, and something she cannot have.  I feel sorry for her.  I feel pity.  And, while I may feel anger from time to time, I will try my best to remember that she simply needs compassion, and that she isn’t taking from me….she is just trying to do well for herself, and they can be mutually exclusive.

I am feeling very good these days.  I know I will have days when this perspective is hard to keep, and that these thoughts WILL be tested.  I will slip, I will sometimes fall, but I will remind myself of this place, and do what I can to get there.  I’ve taken off the bag.  I don’t want it back.

This weekend, I wrote down what I am holding onto….and on a little index card, I wrote the words ” I need to release her”, meaning that she takes up too much space.  I flipped the card over, and wrote the words “I RELEASE HER”.  Moments later, I stood and watched as that card curled at the edges, burned, and disappeared into ash blowing in the wind.  The wind had carried my grudge away.  It diminished and then floated away, no traces left.  It was very freeing.  I foresee myself having to repeat that from time to time, but I know it will always be worth it.

So, with that, I start a new chapter.  I no longer wish to vent about her on this blog.  I no longer wish to sully this place of healing with words of anger and resentment.  I want it to be a place of healing and comfort, and as much as reading about the trashy behaviours of another woman feels good to readers, it also just adds to the bag that hangs around YOUR necks, reminding you and triggering your own situations that keep you stuck in a place of pain.  I want to move forward, and I hope you will join me on this continued journey.

And with that, I leave you with my new battle cry.  It is a song I heard this past weekend, and when I heard it, I knew it fit me perfectly.  The words convey EXACTLY how I feel.

“…I was not built to break”

This weekend, Anne Bercht gave me a gift. She too is one who finds meaning in lyrics, as I do. Knowing all that I have faced, and survived, she gave me a song that she relates to my situation and wanted to convey. She wanted to remind me that despite all that I have faced, that I need to focus on what is GOOD now, not on what ONCE was bad. I am alive and well, and I can carry around the bad, and count up all the pain, or I can focus on the beauty of life that surrounds me, and that is what these lyrics mean, and why she chose that for me. Thank you Anne 🙂

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Comments

  1. What an incredible post! Your words will help many of us who have suffered the horror of adultery.

  2. Good for you Rescuingmymarriage!

    >>I am feeling very good these days.
    >> I no longer wish to vent about her on this blog. I no longer wish to sully this place of healing with words of anger and resentment.

    Your decision is exactly what you needed. So good for you!

    To continue posting about that person is a waste of your time and your emotions. You do not deserve to be sucked dry. So go and write inspirations here, and from now on live indifferently and no longer stressed by her.

    🙂

  3. That Kenny Chesney/Dave Matthews duet is one of my favorite songs.

  4. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    This is a spectacular post! I’ve loved your blog ever since I first began reading it this past July. Way to go, rescuingmymarriage!

  5. I feel like cheering after reading this, truly inspiring. Thank you.

  6. I listened to this song daily when I knew I was being lied to about my husbands affair. Your post is extremely accurate in reference to the bag. I keep praying to have these continuing thoughts of the betrayal stop playing in my head. I still listen to this song almost daily to help center myself and give myself that little boost it can give you.

    • I assume he came out and told you eventually? Are you having obsessive thoughts?

      • No. He never came out and told me. I had to become a self taught private detective. I found a text message on his phone during a time that I thought we were working on just fixing our relationship from the normal hustle and bustle that life hands us. We were moving closer to one another, happier.
        Then one afternoon he left his phone on the bed while running an errand. I struggled with myself not to snoop, but I did.
        Sure enough I opened it to find a text that he initiated that very morning to his coworker (I already had suspicions of but he always said “no I’m not having an affair” when I would ask. )
        It said. “good morning baby. I love you”
        I was crushed. I took the phone and left to a store parking lot and went through it. I found pictures and copied anything I could to my phone.
        I then called her. I asked her if she knew she was sleeping with a married man. All she could do was deny any involvement. I explained that I’ve seen her explicit pictures and proceeded to ask her what it was that he could tell her to make it okay for her to carry on an affair. Her only response was “I don’t know what’s going on with you guys. I have to go. ”
        I returned home to Confront him. I was visibly shaking and distraught. I asked him do you love anyone else?
        He asked me “are you all right? Your shaking” I repeated my question. He said no. I asked are you having an affair. He said no. I told him I had seen his text message and spoke to Jamey (OW) his response was you weren’t suppose to see that.
        He had said he was trying to pull away from her since we were doing better and the only reason he hadn’t cut it off was because her dad had just passed away.
        He finally said he would go to counseling with me. It took nearly a month to get in to see one that got into his schedule. Needless to say it didn’t go well. When he had explained his sense of duty to Jamey and not to leave her in her time of pain over her dad passing to the therapist, she asked what about your sense of duty to your wife and family. I could tell by his body language he didn’t like being called out. The therapist asked if he had severed the relationship with Jamey. He said yes.
        All the while during the past month Aaron acquired all these secret apps for his phone to store pictures and text messages. I confronted him and more lies.
        That night after us arguing. He said he was willing to try for the kids and do what’s best for the kids. I said that’s not good enough. I felt like I was begging him to stay in our marriage.
        We went to sleep. I woke to him rustling up at 2 in the morning for a snack but not before he pulled something out of his pant pocket and stuffing it between the mattress and box spring. He thought I was still asleep.
        He left the room and I popped into action. It was a secret phone. I took it to the bathroom and locked myself in.
        Needless to say it was a phone for him to communicate with Jamey. More sexually charged texts. I called her ( by this time Aaron knew I had it and was trying to talk me down, push his way in and anything to get the phone away from me)
        I woke Jamey and proceeded to ask her the same questions I had before. Still she wanted to cover for him. It wasn’t until she said you have to do what’s best for the kids and me telling her she wasn’t the only dirty pics on his phone that she asked me “are you trying to make me not like him” that I got any confirmation from her.
        My last words to her was she could have him and they could sit in their karma.
        All the while he stood outside the door listening. We went outside and the bomb went off.
        He yelled at me that’s it we’re done. I don’t love you anymore. Everything in me went to a halt emotionally my switch turned off for him.
        I yelled back “if you didn’t hear me clearly I told Jamey she could have you. I’M DONE with YOU!
        We talked briefly about who got what.
        All I wanted was my kids and my car. I would be moving out. I didn’t want the mortgage and all the payments for his toys. It suited him fine. He always was in love with the idea of looking like he had it all. It fed his ego. So I gave it to him.

        I’ll post more when I have more time.

      • You are simply amazing. The strength you showed is simply inspiring. So many would have frozen, or crumbled, or fought for the love of their husband….but you knew…you felt it, it was the right time. I am so sorry. I am also incredibly proud of you.

      • dotcablogger says:

        Theresa, you are perfectly right and that ex husband was really deluded while being so wrong in his infidelty to you. He never clued in that he should do to you what he would do to himself. By that I mean he likely would not want a woman to cheat on him, and always lie to him so as to conceal it. But he’s selfish and had chosen to not feel your experience of betrayal as hurt.

        Any human can be empathetic and regretful and role play what another person would feel when they do a hurtful thing to them. But that ex husband chose to be pathological to you. He chose to be selfish and a pathological liar and cheater. You made the best choices according to being married to him and to what he finally did as infidelty and pathological lies to you. You are better than him. He will probably cheat on that Jamey later on. He did it to you and is now experienced to do it again. He will cheat again when the challenges in his relationship with Jamey come up. In response to stress, or to problems, he will evade his intimate partner and turn to what he taught himself. He will cheat as his tool to cope and destress.

      • There is more to tell. It does not end there.
        So the “bomb” dropped in the beginning of Oct. the very night of our first therapy appointment. I distanced myself and made him sleep in our (well his toy hauler parked at his parents)
        Over the next few days I went to a divorce attorney, applied for an apartment, and started putting my money away.
        He would text me to ask superficial questions and I responded simply and blunt. Then one night after getting done with work (he’s a paramedic) at 12:30am he decided to come to the house where the kids and I slept until my apartment came through. He wanted to talk. I said there’s not much to talk about. He pushed on telling me he’s afraid, he’s making another bad choice, and he doesn’t want to divorce! WTH!!!!!!
        Finally everything that was coming out of his mouth, his admissions sounded like the truth. It felt like the truth. I wasn’t trying to pull it out of him. But, what do I do with that switch that turned off in me only nights previous? I had finally put my armor on after months of being lied to and hurt. Now he wanted me to take it off and work on us! After all my pleading and graveling weeks prior.
        I decided to look at him as an addict. One who gets high on feeding his ego by whatever means, the expensive boy toys, admiration of others, including affairs (this by the way is his second.) The first was retaliation for me staying out all night after drinking to much the first and only time during our 10 years. Which was 2 1/2 years ago. I think I gave him cheap forgiveness then and all he did was hold onto the anger which he says manifested into this transgression.
        So here we are him crying to me he doesn’t want a divorce and he still loves me. Im finally getting conformation for what i knew was and had been going on. I wasnt CRAZY! I decided to try. I still moved the kids and I to an apartment, a place of clarity for me, a place to feel safe. We both got separate therapists.
        One week after I moved out he brings me more news. Jamey is pregnant!
        He had spoke to his therapist and had played out all possible scenarios on what to do. He explained to his therapist, Jamey, and I (all in that succession but separate times) his priorities are to his family and getting back to his values that he strayed from these past few years. He told me that he finally told Jamey he was never in a position to love her after she had asked him if he ever did. She responded she would have never had let him touch her if she thought we were going to get back together(hello!?!? Dumb bitch I spoke to you. You think that would have been grounds enough to bow out! If she had any morals. Oh by the way these our our upstanding paramedics that most people look at as heroes.) He told her he did not want anything to do with the pregnancy and asked why she told him she couldn’t get pregnant? Her response was it was 99.7% she wasn’t suppose to (idiots! abstinence is the only prevention) He encouraged her to terminate but then she deck ides to grow some moral fibers and says its against her religious beliefs! What about participating in adultery? (Again dumb bitch!)

        There’s more to tell. We’re almost up to speed on current events. I’m tired. I hope letting it out here helps me. I do need to find a place to let this rest so my days aren’t filled thinking about it. I’m tired of obsessing. Thank you for listening.

      • So he is blaming you for both affairs? The first one was because of something you did, and this one was because he still hasn’t let go of that something you did? That isn’t taking responsibility. It’s passing the buck.

        You are allowed to make mistakes. So is he. You’re human. Staying out too late and getting drunk may be annoying to him and had him worried. Maybe he felt it was irresponsible. Regardless it doesn’t give him carte Blanche to have an affair. That sounds like a justification and a weak one at that.

        Thank you for sharing your story. It’s hard to share sometimes. You are welcome to vent here at any time.

      • dotcablogger says:

        Theresa, he cannot blame you for drinking and then not coming home for one night. Even if you were an alcoholic and did binges he still cannot excuse himself and award himself an affair to cope with stress from you. Respectful adults don’t cheat. They instead leave the relationship (either through breaking up or through divorce). Or they state their need and require you to go to therapy for your drug problem, and if you don’t then they leave. But a grown man doesn’t cheat to make his point that he’s mad at you. And neither should a grown woman. So do not let yourself get blamed by this husband of yours. Still divorce him. Because this is the 2nd Affair that your husband had committed as infidelty to your marriage. Rescuingmymarriage’s situation is different than what you face because her husband only cheated once and she has made it very clear that she’s divorcing him if he ever has one more affair. Your husband had been Twice Unfaithful to you. He will certainly cheat on you again. Divorce him and prevent being harmed by his immaturity again.

      • dotcablogger says:

        RM is right. Your husband is evading his responsibility for him choosing and then doing Two Affairs during your marriage. He has to get mature and own his mistake. He can only blame himself. He can do therapy as a single man and grow maturity to cope with stress from a relationship. He obviously will cheat again when he’s upset with a problem in your marriage. He will have a 3rd Affair IF he doesn’t do regular therapy AND also IF you detract his accountability by sharing blame for his affairs.

    • Natalie Ross says:

      I too was being lied to constantly by my husband about his affair. It is finished but what makes it even harder is that he was never going to tell me. I heard it from her along with “oh by the way, I am just letting you know that I am going to fight you for him”…..charming hey! makes it even harder I think to even consider trust again. he didn’t have the balls to fess up……………!

  7. exercisegrace says:

    Raising my glass! You have long been an inspiration to me, and your positivity has, to me, always shone through even the worst of times. I am so happy for your new outlook and continued progress! I am taking notes!

  8. Foolish Woman says:

    I am so pleased that you’ve been able to shed the baggage. All the energy spent on dealing with reactions to that woman, and her machinations, can now be used for yourself.

    You’re in good company:

    “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B Smedes
    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Ghandi

    Wishing you and your family all good things at Christmas. May 2013 be a very good year for you all.

  9. Dear Rescuing:
    It is Saturday morning…the house is quiet…the kids are asleep…..I can hear the soft (hmm) snoring of my husband in our room…..and I stand, applauding you….I have been reading your blog for quite some time. I have watched (read) as you have poured out your guts to us. Your pain was so real that what was poured on to these pages seemed to bleed……I am so glad you went to the weekend,,,that you knocked down that wall that was holding you back. Anne is one of the most gifted women and what she has done for so many is amazing…given you (us) a gift. We can Take Our Life Back ( My husband and I went to a Healing From Affair weekend with Anne and Brian about 3 years ago , although we still went back and forth with the affair after we went…it is a time I will never forget and I am positive Brian’s words to my husband stuck in his head).
    I had responded some time ago to one of your posts regarding the child and a couple other things. I am so glad you are going to try to release her…to release the nastiness. I have a feeling once you surrender this (you will know when you do….i had responded with this advice before) you will feel a freedom you have never known. There is no need for ugliness, it does not serve a purpose other than to keep you in chains.
    Keep writing Rescuing……this road you are on is a difficult one and you are paving the way for many people. You may have some set-backs but they are all part of it…in the end you will be just fine. Who knows, maybe one day you will even get to a place to ask forgiveness of this woman….do not scoff, I did it…I , church -going, PTA mom, business owner lost it one day and pulled the mistress’s hair when I found her with my husband. I should not have done that , and honestly I felt a tremendous sense of relief when I said I was sorry (cause I was , that was and is not me).
    Rescuing…..I also hold up my glass and toast you…..I cannot wait to hear more!!

  10. Reblogged this on Healing After My Husband's Affair and commented:
    As I read this post I kept nodding my head in agreement. I hope I get to the place where she is at soon.

  11. The song and it message is amazing! I hope to one day attend one of Anne an Brian’s seminars. Her’s was the first book I read upon discovery of my husbands…..whatever! I truly look forward tithe day that we achieve th point where this isn’t primary in our lives. You are an inspiration!

  12. Natalie Ross says:

    Thankyou!!!!!! 🙂 You have helped me to find a way to get rid of my bag around my neck. I was stuck. I did not know where to begin to change my thought patterns to rid the shit from my head. I too will have days where I will have to go through the ritual but I wanted so much to be at this part of the journey and you have inspired me. Tired of the pain and her ugly face in my head!! Time to put it where it needs to be…..in the garbage.
    I wish you strength on your journey!!
    Natalie x

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