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How could he do this to me, and claim to love me?


Often times,  I hear betrayed spouses say “How could my spouse have done this to me?”, and “S/he must have known this would devastate me, how could s/he do this on purpose?”, or ” S/he says s/he never stopped loving me, despite having had an affair.  How do you love someone and simultaneously hurt them so deeply?  How is that loving??”

Those statements are familiar, not only because I have heard them time and time again from wounded spouses, betrayed by their partners, but also because I too have asked EACH ONE OF THOSE QUESTIONS at one time or another.

The pain of infidelity brought on by a spouse’s affair has been described as one of the worst emotional traumas that a person can experience.  If you just caught yourself debating that statement in your mind, and posing death as a more painful trauma, you’d be close, but wrong.  In death, those left behind, except in the case of suicide, know that the person who left them did not do so on purpose.  In an affair, the person who suffers the loss is caused to suffer due to the purposeful actions of another, worse still by the person who vowed to protect their hearts forever.  It is a truly indescribable loss and betrayal that you simply can’t fathom or appreciate unless it happens to you.  When someone causes you to suffer such pain on purpose, and with intent, the damage is really immense.

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Of course, upon discovery of the affair, the first thing we wrestle with is the dissonance that arises when we consider that this pain was caused intentionally through the purposeful behaviour of someone we love, and who purports to love us.  “How can someone love me, and do something so ugly to me?”.   The simple fact is, affairs are completely selfish acts, where the person embroiled in the affair is NOT thinking of you, the pain their actions will cause you, the consequences of their actions, or whether they should reconsider in light of your feelings.  They are motivated completely selfishly by the benefits that the affair brings THEM.  For the time being, the world is revolving around them, and for a brief time, you do not exist.  Hurtful to think, but completely true based on the many reports from wayward spouses who report their experience. Affairs satisfy an emotional gap left open by vulnerabilities in the wayward spouse’s world.  Passed up for a promotion, the loss of a parent, a recent move, addition of a new baby into the home, these experienced, not dealt with and perhaps even minimized in the mind of the wayward spouse, grow and are soon tenderly placated and soothed by the adoring and admiring words of another, who reflects back to him/her the reflection of themselves they wish to project.  The affair partner, then, becomes a mirror to the wayward spouse, reflecting back only those positive qualities in themselves, and none of the stressors and reality that come with real life.  It is a fantasy and it feels really good.  It feels so good in fact, the wayward spouse starts to seek it out, the thrill like a drug, the  fringe benefits well worth the effort to cover it up and hide it.  Who the affair partner is, what s/he looks like, how they perform in bed, what they say and do don’t really matter – it’s how those things made your partner FEEL that made the difference, and I can guarantee that while they were deep in the throes of self-esteem-seeking, they were not thinking about you, your pain, the possible outcome.  They were selfishly only thinking of themselves.  It is akin to a drug addict, who just needs a hit – the tunnel vision showing them only the drug, the finish line, the goal.  Everything else falls outside the line of focus, at least for now.  So, when a spouse says, “I wasn’t trying to hurt you”, s/he probably wasn’t.  What s/he WAS trying to do was unhurt themselves, and you were collateral damage.

One of the things that used to drive me INSANE in the wake of my husband’s affair was that he used to say “I never stopped loving you”.  Knowing that my husband had been intimate with another woman made me feel as unloved as a human could possibly feel.  I had no value, no worth.  I wasn’t worth loving if he chose to do that to me.  I was unworthy.  Claiming that he never stopped loving me felt like a slap in the face each time he said it.  He’d say it with a expectant tone, as if I would hear it and magically understand that he was right, and I shouldn’t hurt over it.  PARDON ME???!!  How do you claim to love someone so deeply while thrusting your penis into another woman?  How do you love me while creating false email addresses to hide your tracks and telling the other woman that you love her?  “How is that loving me?”, I’d thought.  He would explain it as “compartmentalization”….that he had an ability to put me and our family out of his mind completely when he was with the other woman.   When he’d start to feel guilty, he would justify why he deserved this, why it was OK, and even why he thought I would be ok with it (yes, he rationalized that one).  He wasn’t thinking of me while he was with her. He had his phone turned off, and he was disconnected from us.  It was weird to consider that notion, because part of me wanted him to be thinking of me, and the other part didn’t.  If he was thinking of me, then I held at least an equal share of the OW’s power, I’d think.  However, if he was thinking of me, it also meant he was doing this to me with willful knowledge of me, consciously.  It was a lose-lose, and I hated it.  It was only once I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Brian Bercht of Passionate Life Seminars, and his description of what was going through his mind, that I realized that it was possible and that my husband “may” be accurately describing his experience, and not lying about it.  That was a big step forward for me.

It is hard to imagine, but our husbands don’t think of us during every moment of every day. I like to think that he does, and often play the playful “Did you think about me today?” game when we finally connect after work over the phone or in person.  Of course, then I want to know how often, what he thought…he just can’t report that because he doesn’t remember and just doesn’t think of me as often as I would like to think that he does.  He certainly wasn’t thinking of me when he was seeking her out, and if I popped to mind, I was rationalized away pretty fast.  It is amazing what the mind can do, and what you can allow yourself to do, and focus on, at the expense of all else.

We would like to think the pain the affair would cause US would have been a deterrent to the affair.  It simply isn’t.  The pull towards filling whatever that gap is, is so strong, that it trumps all things.  It is pure selfishness, unbridled.  They seek only to satisfy themselves, without thought or consideration of other people.   It’s the same reason why knowing that sex can lead to STD’s and unwanted pregnancy doesn’t stop horny teenagers from engaging in unprotected sex – the urge to fulfill their own immediate need blinds them, and their tunnel vision shows only the reward, not the sacrifices along the path.  It is the same situation that arises when one, addicted to food and what the food represents for them, gorges themselves with it, knowing full well that it is making them sick.  They do it anyway, because for the time being, it feels good.  The guilt will come later, but it will be rationalized away…”that’s the LAST time…”, or “I just needed it this one time because…”

Nothing set me off more than when my husband would say to me “I never stopped loving you”.  It was such a slap in the face, in the aftermath of the affair.  How dare he put a tender word like “LOVE” into his affair?  How dare he equate loving me with betraying me?!!?  It made no sense and would anger me incessantly.  He just didn’t understand why I would become so enraged when he’d say that.  He really believed it to be true and was trying to make me feel better.  So why wasn’t it working?  My next post will highlight how I showed him through a simple exercise why, and why he never said those words to me again.  Loving me was no longer part of that equation, and showing me how he loved me from that day forward was going to make the difference.

Stay tuned.

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A fate worse than death


I lost my mother last year. Her death was the most significant death I have experienced thus far. Sure, I’d lost my grandparents, but your grandparents are two generations removed from you, and let’s face it, we expect them to die at some point. Our parents’ death presents a new challenge for us as children. For the first time, we start to see our own mortality, and we are ‘next in line’. My mother’s death was hard. It is still hard. I miss her often, and sometimes find myself talking to her as I work through something. I’ll be making a recipe, for example, and find myself saying out loud to myself: “Ok mom, if I don’t have any eggs…I would substitute it with…..?”, or ” Mom, I wonder whether you would like this?”. She never answers, of course, and so far there have been no signs that she is ‘around’, but I keep waiting for one.

My mother’s death, has been one of the most difficult emotional challenges I’ve had to face. Trying to rectify all of the feelings pent up over 30+ years, trying to sort out all of your feelings, make amends, make apologies, live with the apologies you will never be able to receive. Not to mention the fallout that comes from a family shattered by the absence of the one person who held it all together. My mother was the cook, the holiday planner, the birthday rememberer, the gift-buyer for my children, the one who would watch TV, hear about a new toy, game or gadget for kids, and write it in her little journal to remind herself at the next gift-giving opportunity that she wanted to do that for her grandkids (if she didn’t lose the journal, or forget where she’d written it down, or that she’d written it at all). My dad relied on my mother to be his appointment-maker, his personal secretary, his gauge of social correctness, his social convenor, his organizer, his….everything. When family members were on the “outs” she would place herself in the middle, trying to make peace, and then creating social situations to bring them together. I swear, before my brother had children of his own, the only relationship I had with him, was through my mother and the events she would create for us. Without her, I am left to create them, and maintain a relationship with those who remain. She was, without a doubt, the glue that held us together. Without her, I face losing everyone else unless I step into her place and be the glue that once again holds the pieces together.

I think the loss of anyone is significant. But, the loss of a parent ranks as one of the most stressful and painful milestones an adult child will face. Inasmuch as I love my mother, and miss her, and her death has affected me, I can say, without hesitation that my husband’s affair was more painful. In fact, I would do my mother’s death over and over again before I would EVER want to face the pain and devastation my husband’s affair has brought into my life. My father is now aging also, and I honestly believe that he could have died along with my mother — in fact my entire family could have been wiped out, and it wouldn’t have held a candle to the loss that came from the discovery of his affair. Many times I wished I had died. Losing my life, ending my existence was often considered as a less painful state than living through the pain, the humiliation and the trauma of that experience. I contemplated death a lot during that first year. At one point, I took a handful of pills, intended for pain conditions, and hoped that I’d fall asleep, or get sick, or never be the same. I wanted something to erase me, or at least the memory of the event. In those times, even the thought that I would be leaving my children didn’t matter. I reasoned that they would be “better off” with no mother, than with a depressed shell of a woman, always angry, always on edge, permanently stressed out, tired, exhausted from the emotional gymnastics dealing with the affair required. I wound up with what resulted in a horrendous hangover. Flu-like feelings, nausea, severe fatigue from the pain meds…but no death, no hospital, no do-over. I don’t even recall my husband being upset with me about it. In fact we never really talked about my “failed” attempt. I guess in his mind, it wasn’t anything that would have successfully killed me, but it doesn’t change my intent at the time. It is a pain I can’t describe. I never contemplated ending my life when my mother’s ended, and I won’t when my father’s will end. It just, isn’t. the. same.

Fellow blogger Samantha Baker recently commented on a blog post, indicating that she’d written a blog on this very topic, so I wanted to link to it here.

Her point is a very valid one. You expect people you love to die. You don’t expect them to deceive and betray you. The very people you count on to love you, look after you, and care for you, you don’t expect to turn on you, actively seek out ways to indulge in activities that cause you harm, or sneak around behind your back, humiliating you for their own pleasure and benefit. When we lose a loved one, it is final. They aren’t coming back. We grieve it, we move forward, we put it behind us. With an affair, the process doesn’t have an end-point. We are always left wondering if it will happen again, we attend therapy sessions where we pick apart, analyze and re-hash the details of the affair, the pain, the marriage, the trust and the loss. When someone dies, although it is painful, you are never left wondering if they will die again, and you will experience this again. With an affair, that simply isn’t so. It is not embedded as a constant fear in your mind, akin to now have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The triggers and fears remain, long after disclosure. When my husband used to be late coming home, my first thought was that he was in an accident, and I feared for his safety. Now, I wonder if he is sleeping with someone else. My husband purchased a device to track his whereabouts, and sometimes it is inaccurate. This morning, for example, it emailed me to tell me he had left the zone around our home that I had demarcated as “home”. I should have received an email within 30 minutes telling me he had entered the zone called “work”. I didn’t get that email until 11:30, four hours after he’d left. My first thought: he was in a hotel with someone, made up the meeting he was supposedly in, and has just now arrived at work. It plagues you forever, and never goes away. The trust, as you knew it, is now gone. Perhaps it should be. That blind trust was naive. It was fantasy. I now live in reality.

Give me the choice, and I choose death. I would much rather experience the death of a loved one. At least they didn’t intend to die. At least they didn’t die with the selfish intention to cause me harm and suffering. Death isn’t selfish, it isn’t gratifying. Their death is anticipated, and we spend our time with them knowing that one day…it will be around the corner. I never, when signing my marriage certificate ever considered that I was signing up for this. It wasn’t on my radar. I was unprepared. It has caused an unimaginable pain and void in my life.

The other difference worth mentioning is that when one mentions that someone has died, people rally for support. People ask how they can help. People feel sympathy. No one turns around and blames you for the death. No one tells you that they died because you weren’t enough. No one asks you to look at how you contributed. Someone’s death isn’t an embarrassment to you personally and doesn’t bring you shame. Unlike a death, we suffer in silence. We try to keep it quiet. We feel shame for our husband’s affair because of society’s unfair assumption that it happened as a result of a shortcoming in US when really it was a shortcoming in him. We weather the storm, telling few, crying quietly when we can steal a private moment, or screaming uncontrollably when we feel safe to express how we feel. Its just easier to grieve a death.

Since my husband subscribes to this blog, and will read this entry, he should probably know:

You do this to me again, and you will be staring at the back of my head as I walk away with our children. There will be no hesitation, and there will be no tears. Having gone through the pain that I have suffered from your actions, if you were to put me through this again, you wouldn’t be worth shedding a tear for, and I would be gone. Im not doing this again. There are no second chances. Case closed. Just so we are clear. I’m just sayin’.

A wife’s double standard


Comments left recently on the blog, in response to some blog posts that I have made, have shown me that a double standard exists between wives and a husband’s other woman.

Many comments made recently have alluded to the fact that me, as a betrayed spouse, have no reason to be angry with the other woman. I am told that my anger is displaced and misdirected. I am told that instead of being angry with the other woman, I should be directing my anger towards my husband, as if I have not already done so.

So, what I want to understand is why is it okay, in so many situations, for the other woman to be so angry at the betrayed wife? Why, for example, is the other woman in my situation so bitter and angry towards me? Most of her anger throughout this 2 1/2 year ordeal has been directed at me. She has written things in emails, designed especially for me to read. She has hidden false details of their relationship in legal documents, designed for me to find, intended to cause me harm. For example, my husband never told his affair partner that he loved her. However, in court documents, she would find ways of cloaking these comments between existing lines of text, saying things like, “and when he told me that he loved me so often,…” She knows they are false, and she also knows that my husband will see them as false. What she is banking on, however, is that I will read them and feel hurt, question myself, question my self-worth, and ultimately do more damage to me. That is her plan. She isn’t trying to persuade my husband to see a reality that never was, Because she knows that he too was present, and he will remember the details as they were also. What she’s banking on is that I, someone he wasn’t there, will not know the real truth, and will start to question my husband’s integrity further, creating more uneasiness in our marriage.

When the other woman decided to call the police, to claim harassment and stalking, she didn’t do so against my husband, she did so against me. When the other woman had to disclose the location of her daughter’s daycare, in court documents, so that my husband could pay 95% of the costs to the appropriate location, she made sure to add in bold letters, that she did not want the location of the daycare revealed to me, as she feared for her personal safety, alluding to the fact that I mentally unstable, a stalker, and threat. Further actions to cause other people, including lawyers, to believe that I, the betrayed spouse, am the crazy one. Another attack, not against my husband, but against me.

When the other woman was asked to provide proof of school attendance for herself, in order to justify the day care expenses that my husband was required to incur, She sent copies of her school schedule, purposely blackening out her student number, indicating that she didn’t feel comfortable with me having access to this information, because she felt I was psychotic, and would cause her harm or distress through use of her student number. Funny, never once expressed concern about my has been having this information, nor the address of the daycare where his child is looked after, only me.

Prior to ever wanting a restraining order against my husband, she first want a restraining order placed against me. Prior to entering the hospital to give birth to her child, she mentioned feeling uncomfortable with me, afraid for her child’s safety, and her own.

All of this causes me to ask the question “why is she so angry with me, instead of my husband?”

The answer to that, I think, would be quite simple. She didn’t get what she wanted. She wanted my husband. She lost. In her mind, the only thing standing between her and my husband having a lifetime together, with me. In her mind, it’s as if I walked into their union, and tore them apart, when in reality, that’s exactly what she attempted to do to me. Nice double standard.

I try very hard to see everyone’s perspective in this mess. Inasmuch as I do not want to enter the mind of the other woman, sometimes I feel it is necessary in order to gain perspective. As I mentioned in my last post a couple of days ago, I recently went through some of the communications between my husband and his affair partner, having the opportunity to see the way they spoke, the things they said, the way they felt. In reading this material, I discovered that my husband’s affair was not merely sexual, but it was an emotional affair as well. He mentioned to her several times how she was his vacation, his calamity, his source of peace during a chaotic time in his life. Funny, that should have been me. Apparently it wasn’t. He worried when she was upset, he claims, in his emails, to have gotten tears in his eyes, when she expressed sadness or worry, he was excited and elated for her when she had successes. He came to bat for her at work, when her job was in trouble. He expressed deep gratitude when she supported him, and it reads like he wasn’t getting that support anywhere else. When he complemented her sexually, it sounded like all that they had done was novel, him never having experienced it like that before. He made it sound like he was deprived emotionally and sexually. Is it any wonder she later called me “emotionally unavailable and frigid”?This is not simply someone who is having sex with another person, this is someone who cares about the other person. Perhaps a few weeks into their sexual relationship, when the novelty was gone, my husband no longer wished to be in the relationship, and started to feel the stranglehold. However, as his emails and text messages indicate, there was a time when he was very interested, was seeking her out, was complementing her, and was making her feel loved, approved, attractive, valued, and comforted. It is really no wonder she felt they had a future together. I don’t think she concocted this in her own mind, out of psychotic stupidity, but rather, she felt this way because it reflected what she was told. It’s right there on paper.

So, once the relationship was revealed, and my husband decided to stay with me, she saw me as the reason they were no longer together. She didn’t see my husband as having had a change of heart, nor as a liar, or a cheater, or a man who would’ve said anything to have his cake and eat it too. Instead, she saw a man who had professed to care about her deeply, and his actions show the same, until I was in the loop. To be fair, my husband’s email communications did change, prior to my finding out about the affair. He told her he wasn’t interested anymore, he told her he wanted out, he told her that if she chose to have his child, she needed to make her decisions knowing that he would not be involved. It isn’t as though my husband’s intentions, actions, and words were suddenly changed, but that is how she will see it.

So, the double standard that I see here is, “why is it not okay for me to be angry with the other woman, and asked to direct my anger towards my husband, but the same isn’t being asked of the other woman?” Shouldn’t her anger be directed at my husband? Shouldn’t she be angry for having been misled? Shouldn’t she be hurt and furious that the man who professed to care about her, love her, comfort her, value her, has suddenly run back to his wife and children, when it appeared as though he was, at times, prepared to leave them? Wouldn’t anyone in that situation feel confused, betrayed, letdown, angry? So then, once her world came crashing down around her, why not direct her anger at the appropriate source? Why not direct her vitriol towards the person who has truly caused this for her? After all, I didn’t promise her my husband, I didn’t promise to share, I didn’t go back on my word. As I am so often told by these other women, “I owed you nothing”, but in my case, that includes my husband. I didn’t owe her anything. I didn’t come in the middle of her relationship. I didn’t enter on to sacred territory and try to tear them apart. I didn’t do anything. I was completely in the dark. Exactly how I responsible for her unhappiness?

If we ask the betrayed wives to redirect their anger towards their husbands, why don’t we ask the same of these other women who are spending so much time, energy, and resources, trying to tear down the innocent women whose lives they’ve already destroyed?

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Perspective


Sometimes it takes me a day or so to mull things over.  Some time to massage the details, and then come up with how I really feel. With the events of the other day having sunk in,  I think I have it.

I feel great.  Really, I do.  This has been a nightmare 2 years, and for those who have never experienced this, I really hope that you never do.

I am sure there are readers who’ve read through this blog, the details of the hurt and the struggle, and whose first thoughts were “Why the hell are you choosing to stay with a scumbag who cheated on you?”, and you wouldn’t be wrong in having those thoughts.  Those thoughts echo the very thoughts that I would ask myself when I woke up in the morning and stumbled to the mirror.  I can understand the confusion my decision brings to others.  I can also understand the anger it likely brought to those close to me who didn’t want to see me hurt, again.  I know that my mother held a great deal of anger towards my husband – he betrayed her little girl.  He betrayed our family.  He disrespected the vows that he took when we married.  Sadly, my mother passed away before she would ever rectify those feelings with him.  My mother was also reacting out of transference because she too was betrayed by my father – several times.  To her, it was something that was destined to repeat, so to watch me stay caused her angst.   Until you experience this firsthand, you have absolutely no way of knowing the decision you will make in the aftermath of an affair.  6 months before my husband revealed his affair, a friend of mine told me of hers. She had slept with another man behind her husband’s back.  I was sick.  I was disgusted.  I thought to myself that if that ever happened to me, I would walk.  And then it did happen to me, and I stayed.  Some may view my decision as ‘weak’.  Others will view it as “strong”.  It depends on how you see things – the perspective you have, informed by the experiences you’ve had.   Relationships are complex. They can’t simply be dissected into even little pieces, each of them a small reflection of the bigger picture.  No, instead they are messy, the edges are jagged, and the components that make up the whole are very complicated.  It is never as easy or as straightforward on the inside as it appears on the outside.  It goes to show that you really can’t judge a situation until you have been in it.

Looking back over the last couple of days, since the legal matters were all tied up, I feel a tremendous sense of relief.   Yes, I was initially quite angry at the thought that this whore would be receiving additional money from me, money she doesn’t deserve, money that comes out of the mouths of MY CHILDREN, and straight into her pockets so that she can continue to remain unemployed, living off the hard work of others, feeling entitled to it because she pushed out a baby…oh wait, no she didn’t – she had a c-section to preserve the integrity of her vagina. Shallow much?   It’s right up there with her fake breasts which I’ve heard really aren’t anything to write home about, which look awkward, and which don’t fit her body at all.  I guess her physical fucked-upedness has just met her mental fucked-upedness. I think it’s always a good idea to be consisent, don’t you? 🙂

After receiving countless emails from those who read this blog from all over the world, I’ve been given such support and a positive outlook, and I can’t thank you enough.  I loved Pippi’s comment on the last thread that mentioned that yes she has our money, but so what?  We will make more.  She is right.  It is only money.  It isn’t something that can’t be replaced.  It is meaningless.  She can’t have our love for one another.  She can’t have our bond.  She can’t have our family.  She can’t have our happiness.  We are immune to her.  The financial impact will be minimal in the end, and will simply stop the legal bleeding that has been going on for months.  The payout for her is massive.  $27,000.00 is more money than she makes in a year in her job.  She, as seems to be the case with many of these low-life mistresses who see $$$ and decide to put out, she is a low income earner.  Hell, I earned more money in my part time job in university than she does in her professional job.  My salary today is well over 20x what she is capable of earning.  Why is that important?  I mention this only because the financial impact of what she has received (and I don’t say the word “won” because she hasn’t won here), is not that severe.  We will manage just fine, and in the end, would have paid far more for the same end result: having her OUT of our lives.  She is now just a yearly set of cheques made out in advance, and a yearly tax review.  On a day to day basis, she will no longer grace our dinner table conversation, although I am certain we will still enjoy the jokes at her expense.  They are too funny to pass up.

I am glad I have come to this place.  It feels new.  It feels like I’ve arrived.  It feels like I’ve survived.  I feel like I’ve won.  So…..”Yay me mother-fucker!”*

*Yay me is an expression the OW used quite often in her written tormenting emails to describe how she would prevail over me, and how I would be suffering in the days to come, but she would be unscathed.  Yay me was her way of inflicting pain and torment.  Today, I offer it back.  Eat it bitch. 🙂

Stronger than ever in the wake of his affair

Stronger than ever

 

 

A breakthrough towards happiness


I have just had a breakthrough….and it has NOTHING to do with my husband’s affair.  Well, that is not completely true. this discovery has provided me with answers to so much in my life, that it will have tremendous impact on my marriage moving forward, my relationships, my self-image, the way I see the world.

I posted a few weeks ago about some huge fallout that happened while my family and I were away on vacation.  Within a one week period, I lost my lawyer, was angrily dismissed by a long time family friend, and estranged from my aunt’s life completely.  It was as if a bunch of people close to me were all killed in a plane crash at the same time.  POOF, they were gone.   I also learned that my mother was capable of a deceit I didn’t believe could be possible – from a mother.

I’ve been to therapy 4 times since the last post.  Twice with my individual therapist, and twice with my marital therapist.  Before I’d even set food in their offices, I had started researching the internet for mother-daughter relationships.  I wanted to know more about the deceit that can happen, the betrayal, the pain, the complexities.  What I came across was something absolutely amazing   I came across a site that talks about emotional invalidation , a form of psychological abuse whereby someone continuously invalidates the feelings and experiences of another person, denies that events happened, recreates history for them, minimizes their pains, their hurts, and makes them feel faulty for having felt them in the first place.  It is one of the most vicious forms of emotional abuse, and I’d never heard of it, and yet I have lived it my whole life.

When I say that stumbling upon that site was amazing, it is an understatement. It was completely transformational for me.  In reading all of the ways that people can be invalidated, so many of them were familiar to me.  My parents were both that way, my mother most of all.  Throughout my life and childhood, I’d heard about 85% of the things on the list, things like: “you are so overly dramatic”, “why can’t you just be like _______”, “why do you always have to be so hard to deal with?”, “that never happened”, “you have a very vivid imagination”.    All my life, I’ve had this tense relationship with my mother, and I didn’t know why.  I knew there was something odd, and I knew she was never wrong, but now I have a term for what has been happening.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been invalidated emotionally my entire life.   There, I said it, and it felt great.

Well that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Knowing that this has been happening, I started to feel angry.  I started to feel sad.   “Why would she do that to me?”.  I started to feel sorry for myself, “Why can’t my mother love me for who I am, and accept my feelings?”.  I’ve always lived with a hope that maybe someday, she would see.  Maybe someday, I would be able to find a way to talk to her that would turn things around.  I just needed to find the magic method of making her hear me.

Sitting in my therapist’s office yesterday, with my husband at my side, I told him about what I had learned about ’emotional invalidation’, and how I really felt as though I understood better why I do the things that I do.  For example, as a result of all of the years of not being heard, my feelings not being accepted, my reality being rejected and replaced with her version of events, I find that I do not ask for what I need from people.  I take care of things myself, and don’t ask anyone for help – ever.  In my world, asking for things, and sticking your neck out claiming that you NEED something means that you are going to have your neck cut off.  You will be ridiculed for being ‘needy’, and then you will be told that your feelings don’t matter.  There will be put-downs, cloaked in claims of being ‘concerned’, and insidious comments that injure but that can all be denied under the guise of “we are just trying to help you”.

Sitting across from my therapist, I told him that with my mother dying, I really felt the need to make this right.  I wanted to talk to her, to show her how she has impacted me.  I want the apology.  I NEED the apology.  I wanted to know why she would allow others (my aunt) to send me such hurtful things, and not protect me as a mother should.  How can she watch people dismiss me, walk away from me, not support me, and not feel the need to jump in and defend me?   Why does she choose not to care about me?   His response was shocking and eye-opening, and would give me the key to my childhood in one sentence.  He said ” your mother isn’t choosing to not give you the love you need.   You crave this as if you think it is possible.  She doesn’t do it not because it is a choice.   She is incapable of doing it”.  He then told me to look up mother daughter relationships online with a specific focus on narcissism in the mother.  “My mother is a narcissist?” I thought.  My first instinct was to defend her…until I read the previous link, and it was like reading the script of my life.   The description was uncanny.  It reduced me to tears.  The dissonance it created within me was immensely powerful.  I was simultaneously relieved and horrified at the same time.  At times, the pain of reading through it was unbearable. I had to take breaks, and yet I couldn’t pull myself away from it.  It was like a drug – I had to read more, to know more, to understand more.  I spent the next 9 hours combing through the website, and its related links, except for a short break taken for dinner.   I went to bed last night with the most complete picture of my childhood I had ever had.  What I knew was amyss, and broken, without an understanding of why now made complete sense.

If you took the time to read the previous link, my mother does triangulate my brother and I.  She selected her favourite, what they refer to as “The Golden Child”, and that was my brother.  She cast me as the scapegoat in the family, paints me as flawed and difficult and then smears me to others to provide herself with support.  She cloaks her comments as “concern”, and martyrs herself impeccably.  She is never wrong, I am always wrong, and I have never in my life ever heard my mother apologize….to anyone.   I mentioned in a previous post how my mother had taken the furniture that was willed to me by my grandmother as her own, claiming that it was “too nice for someone so young to have”.  This is a classic example of how a narcissist violates boundaries and takes the scapegoat’s things without their consent.  She tries to make me look crazy to others, something she has done just this week in numerous emails to friends and family claming that “my daughter has lost it and needs professional help”.  Because the narcissist is so careful in how they injure and so careful to paint themselves as caring, compassionate, and loving, people on the outside won’t ever believe it.  They’ve been told numerous times how flawed the child is, how needy, how irrational, how hysterical, how difficult….and when the child (me) protests the treatment and screams out “Look at ME for who I am, talk to ME, help ME, love ME”, it feeds into everyone else’s fixed false beliefs that “There she goes again.  Her mother was right about her, it is always about HER, she is so selfish, so needy.  How dare she do this to her own mother???  And now, with my mother on her deathbed, and my distancing myself from her and the pain she causes feeds, my distance feeds the beliefs further. I must be insensitive. I must be uncaring.  I must be all of the things she has claimed me to be.  How dare I…. It is the perfect lose-lose situation, and I’ve been carefully trained for this role my entire life, without even knowing it.  Until now.

With this knowledge, I feel like I am now armed with the tools to heal my past.  Even though I want to sit down and make it right, I now understand that this would be futile.  A narcissist will never see fault in their actions.  A narcissist can’t open up to see another’s viewpoint.  It would simply end up with me presenting myself for the slaughter.  I simply have to do two things:

  1. Grieve for the loss that I never had the mother that I wanted – that I deserved.
  2. Prepare myself for the upcoming grief of losing my parent and the resulting emotions that will arise in others close to us
I struggle with whether to talk with my father about this.  He isn’t a narcissist….but he has been married to one, and in being so closely involved with one, he has had to adapt and take on a role that he is likely unaware of.   Part of me wants him to see this from the outside so that he can have a better view of me…he’s been tainted by her for many years, and has come to believe much of what she says about me.  I want him to know me.  When my mother dies. I want one of my parents to finally know me, accept me, care about me.   But, in reading about narcissistic mothers, I’ve also learned that alongside each narcissistic mother is an enabling father.  He has to take that role in order for their marriage to survive, and sadly, it makes him incapable of seeing the problem because he is living inside the bubble.  I also don’t want my father’s final memories of my mother to be sullied.  I don’t wish for her to die with judgment form others.  Maybe, in a few years….maybe we will talk about it.  Until then, it is my issue to heal within me .
If you’ve stayed with me this long, thank you.  I know this post wasn’t about my marriage, the affair, the mistress, or the infidelity….it was about me, my life, my family and the person that it has created.  The person who is recovering from the affair with scars from her childhood which inform how I cope…and how sometimes I don’t.  All I can do is make sure every day that I love my children completely, and be the mother to them that I never had.  It stops here.
Thank you for reading.

 

 

It’s raining betrayal folks, part two


In the aftermath of the lawyer situation, I’d been feeling pretty beaten up.  The last week had been spent with my husband as the middle man between two people who can’t get along.  He tried to play Switzerland as much as possible, fearing that losing his lawyer now, without another in our back pocket, would be messy.  To say that I was tired and emotionally drained was an understatement.   What follows is part two of the betrayal, except this time the lawyer has been removed from the story.  This time, it was an inside job.

My mother talks about me behind my back. She always has, although she will feign innocence if accused, and then quickly call me out as paranoid and tell me “life isn’t always about you”.  She always finds some way of putting it back on me.  I became aware of an email that my aunt sent to my mother in the days following a family visit that we had all had at my mother’s bedside.  My aunt, I should mention, lives in another country, and has seen me less than 10 times since she moved away in the 70’s.  To say that she knows very little of me would be accurate indeed.  In the email that my aunt sent to my mother, she expressed concern for me.  She had read on Facebook something I’d written about it being “Martini Monday”, and is worried that I might have a drinking problem.  I think that is a bit of a stretch!  She also expressed concern that I’d mentioned on Facebook that I’d been hit on by a Garbageman last week while wearing a new skirt. I joked that it must have been the skirt, and joked that this all transpired by 9:30am and I felt like I’d accomplished so much.  My comments were obviously facetious, and I was poking fun at the situation.  My aunt expressed concern that I am an insecure woman who needs male attention in order to feel complete.  Finally, I guess she wasn’t satisfied with my degree of sadness over my mother’s impending death.  She said that she was worried that my husband must have me on prescription drugs to dull my emotions in light of the affair.  Yes, my aunt had the information about the affair leaked to her from that family friend I mentioned in my previous post.  So now, armed with this ‘knowledge’, she is worried about me, thinks I am a closet drunk who craves male attention and is on prescription meds. It is laughable!  I decided that it made me uncomfortable that I was being talked about, and that her reasons for being concerned were false.   I felt I ought to reassure her that this was not the case, and set her poor mind at ease.

I sent my aunt an email, reassuring her that since I’d become privy to the email that she sent my mother, that I wanted to reassure her that my Facebook comments are jokes with my friends, not to be taken seriously, I do not have a drinking problem, I am not on prescription meds (although something tells me I should be after this week), and that she has no cause for concern.  At the end of that email, I also added that I was aware that my personal circumstances (the affair) were now known to her and asked her to keep those details confidential for me.

The email I received back was scathing.  Guilty people lash out when they are caught in their behaviour.   She estranged me in her email, telling me that I am killing my mother faster than her disease, that she feels sorry for me that I am so selfish, and stated that she does not like the person that I am.  She then said goodbye and wished me good luck in my life.  That was it.  I should also mention that she CC’d my brother on it, so he is now aware of my circumstances to.  So much for her keeping it quiet, she now outed it to my brother.

Now, I know where this all comes from.  I’ve mentioned it before that my mother and I have a less than stellar relationship.  She has never understood me or supported me emotionally.  She has always favoured my older brother, and when I’ve expressed concern about it, she pulled the “you are paranoid” card, and “it is not always about you” card.  She carries those at the top of her deck so that they are handy.  She has carefully maligned me to everyone she knows and orchestrated disfavour for me among her friends and close family members.  My mother doesn’t know who I am, or what I am about, but if you asked her, she’d claim to be the expert.  She believes that I am: selfish, rigid, inflexible, self-centered, egotistical, bitchy….you get the idea.  Her comments to friends over the years have slowly penetrated, and her martyr seeds of “woe is me, you won’t believe what my selfish daughter has done to me this time” have started to take root in people’s minds.  If asked, her friends would, even though many of them have never met me, say “oh her daugher is selfish and absorbed only with herself…that poor woman, she tried to hard to raise her right and look what this witch of a daughter does to her”.  I do detect cold chills from people at times who are friends of my mothers and are meeting me for the first time. I now understand why – they have preconceived ideas about who I am long before they ever meet me. She has made it her mission, in her need to see herself as a martyr and surround herself with support, even if it means maligning her daughter to do it.

So after sending this scathing email to me in which my aunt disowns me, she emailed my mother to let her know about what had happened and what she had sent to me.  My mother’s response to her sister in the wake of sending a hurtful email to her daughter?   Praise.

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