The road out is not straight and smooth. I felt bad for Blue Eyes last week. He attended a meeting with one of his favorite 12 step guys and during sharing he found out the guy had lost his sobriety a couple weeks prior. He was four years in and now he’s starting over at zero. It happens and from my outsider’s position, it knocks the breath out of the guys in the room. Of course I am not in that room, but if Blue Eyes is any indicator, when one guy loses it, it’s like a big neon sign constantly flashing in their periphery that says… IT COULD BE YOU. YOU ARE THAT VULNERABLE. STOP FOOLING YOURSELF, and it’s scary. I know it seems so simple for those of us who are not addicts to just say “are you fucking kidding me???” “Do you not remember the havoc you wreaked on your life by lying and keeping a shameful secret???” “Do you not love me enough to not hurt me anymore???” “How could you even think about acting out sexually after everything you have learned about yourself and all the work you have done???”
As I have said before, I get it. The empath in me can feel what it must be like to have a fairly easily accessible drug that I know for sure works to help calm me, to help ground me, to–if just for the most fleeting of moments–make me feel whole. Some days I feel like I am a food addict. I have actually looked into it, especially after being away at a facility where a good majority of the participants were, in fact, food addicts. You don’t have to be 300 pounds to be a food addict. I feed my emotions with food sometimes and if I felt like I was not in touch with my feelings and what drives me to overeat or eat things I know are not good for me, I would certainly haul my ass off to meetings. Some days I use sex to soothe, to help me feel closer to my life partner, but I am not a sex addict either. I don’t hide inside my own head lying to myself and others. I don’t deny my reality and I don’t hurt others with my behavior.
A really difficult aspect of this healing process is separating ourselves from someone else’s recovery. I need what I need to continue, and he has his own shit. If it wasn’t for the fact that both of us want to be together, who knows where our paths would lead…
I have been in a nesting mood lately. After three years of not caring what my house looks like, or whether the laundry was piled up, or how old the pasta was sitting in a box in the pantry, suddenly I woke up and realized I wanted my house back. Part of my desire to purge may have to do with how wonderfully clean and uncluttered the beach house is, I don’t want to leave it. But I do have to come home. One Saturday I cleaned the pantry from top to bottom, then I tackled the laundry and have decided I want a laundry room makeover so I scheduled a meeting with our designer and a contractor. I am also in the process of cleaning up my desktop computer and my desk drawers. Whenever I do this I run across something I wrote since discovery. This email was written to Blue Eyes approximately six months post d-day.
Please read the attached elephant journal entry. For the most part, I think I was this girl when you met me. Even though I was only 20 years old, I had lived sufficiently by myself without ever letting anyone in. I consciously and purposely did not let anyone in. I fell in love with you and then gave you the most important thing I had to give, myself—wholly and unconditionally.
I love you very much, but things went terribly wrong in our marriage. I resent the fact that in your Japan journal you said that I wasn’t independent enough. Sort of ironic, don’t you think. You took the most independent person you had ever met and you sucked the life out of her. I do not even recognize myself anymore. I want to be whole again. I want to live and laugh again. I know you have a long journey ahead of you… please remember to honestly and wholly respect me for who I am. I don’t ever want to be compartmentalized out again. I don’t ever want to be treated like a member of your staff again. I do not ever want to be disrespected again. I cannot live that way.”
How to Love a Girl Who Doesn’t Know How to be Loved
I was especially taken with point #4 of the article:
4. Don’t be two halves of a whole, be two wholes that make an even greater whole.
Remember that this “Miss Independent” is just that—an independent chick with an ability to fend for herself. She might even be afraid of relying on others, no matter how much she trusts them.
Therefore, don’t think of a relationship with her as one that joins two halves together to make a whole; she won’t treat it as such, and she definitely won’t feel comfortable if you do. Rather, see it as two wholes becoming an even greater whole—two individuals who love each other enough to respect the other’s independence and uniqueness.
This includes honoring her need for alone time. She realizes that you are a person with or without her and asks that you see her in the same way. Being able to spend time apart is important to her; she doesn’t want to rely on your presence, nor does she want you to rely on hers.
Don’t try to spend every hour of every day with her unless you want her to feel so bombarded that she tailspins into a mess of tears, word vomit and utter confusion, ending with her breaking it off and swearing to never interact with another human ever again.
But when you are together, be together. Completely. Let her know she is loved until she begins to understand what that feels like, and then keep doing it. If it’s right, she’ll come around. And because she’s loyal by nature, she’ll stick around, too (so don’t give her any reason to think that you won’t).
Then, in the email to Blue Eyes, I included some inspirational quotes for the both of us, mostly Dalai Lama:
A PRECIOUS HUMAN LIFE
“Every day, think as you wake up
today I am fortunate to have woken up.
I am alive. I have a precious human life.
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use
all my energies to develop myself,
to expand my heart out to others,
to achieve enlightenment for
the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have
kind thoughts towards others.
I am not going to get angry,
or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others
as much as I can.”
“When you are discontent,
you always want more, more, more.
Your desire can never be satisfied. But
when you practice contentment, you
can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes—I already
have everything I really need.’”
“The true hero is one who conquers his own anger
-Dalai Lama XIV
Five Simple Rules for Happiness
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
“ I am me,
I’m who I’m meant to be.
I am my past, my present and
who I want to be.
I’m not any one, I am all three.
I am a work in progress, a destiny.
I am who I choose to be,
I am me.
The quotes were truly as much for me as for Blue Eyes. Somewhere along the way, I forgot how independent I really am. Somewhere in my trauma I had become but half of a whole person. I forgot who I was. Thankfully I am back, and Blue Eyes is working his way towards being that whole person he never was.
10 thoughts on “The long and winding road”
I just found this blog and it’s crazy but my timeline is almost exactly the same as yours. I haven’t read all of your posts, so I apologize if I’m going into territory that you’ve already covered, but I can’t stop the intrusive thoughts and “ruminating” as my therapist likes to call it. My husband is sober for more than 2 1/2 years. I think he is honest and he hasn’t cheated since DOD. Am I 100% sure? It’s >75%. The “problem” is I cant stop thinking about what he did, thinking my entire life has been a joke (10 years+ marriage and he cheated the entire time) and asking him for more information. It’s like I’m not getting better and he’s getting impatient. Do you have any ideas about what steps I can take to end looking at the past and start looking at the present? You seem so much more advanced! Hugs, HR
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Welcome HR. Sorry you have to be here, under these circumstances, but glad you found this spot. We are all so different, our personalities, how we got to be who we are, etc… that it is difficult to give “one size fits all” advice. However, I can say that in my opinion I do think our healing path has a lot to do with numerous criteria and for me I have found the following two things to be really critical… 1) what my husband is doing in his recovery, which in turn helps me to feel safer in our partnership and also helps me feel like all the effort I am putting in on a daily basis to be compassionate and loving to someone who has betrayed me, is worthwhile (and it sounds like your husband is making a lot of progress, but sometimes our little fears and trust issues will still creep in), and 2) how much I truly believe in myself and that I have worked individually on myself and my self esteem in order to differentiate my value and my worth from the actions my husband partook in to feed his addiction. From what I have read and learned from other betrayeds, we all go through certain steps in our healing process, but not everyone comes through it the same. It is devastating to think that everything we did during our partnership was a lie. I felt that way for a very long time, but in fact, I have come to realize that everything I lived was real. My husband wishes he was the man I thought he was, and he tried. But like you say… “he cheated the entire time,” that makes sense. He was an addict before he met you. They do not and cannot just heal merely because they found a wonderful woman. The addiction is in there and has nothing to do with us. I think after a couple years of some very serious ruminating and feeling miserable (trauma), I realized that I do have control over how I feel about myself and my life and that if I was going to stay, I had to separate myself from what my husband did (and does). Sure I still require him to be a viable partner and I write about this all the time because he is indeed a work in progress and I have fairly high expectations, but he is doing the work for himself and that is working for me. Now, as far as myself, I am a caretaker and an empath, so it was difficult for me to focus on myself. Finally I gave myself permission to care enough about myself to understand why I was hurting myself, why I wasn’t coming out of the trauma. I think I did an okay job, but I expected perfection from myself. What I didn’t realize was that taking time to heal and process everything IS NORMAL. I had to do it in my own way, but as of now, I have given myself permission to do whatever I need to do to feel whole. I need to be a whole person whether I stay with my husband or not. I believe the answer lies inside you, but it might be a very scary place right now. And please don’t think because one person seems to be “healed” at three years that that is any reflection on you. Fear was a huge driver for me. I was afraid to lose what I thought was “everything.” Eventually I realized I am everything. I will never lose me and I don’t need to do anything any certain way for anyone else in order to be that whole person. We are all a work in progress and the one we need to be kindest to, the one we need to have patience with, is ourselves. I hope you and your therapist are working on your ruminating thoughts in order to determine what the real triggers are. What your husband did is in the past, and even if it isn’t, you are going to be okay. Big big big hugs back to you, HR. Be gentle with yourself. ❤
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Not a helpful comment at all, but now you have me worried if you have cleaned your house up! Mine is chaotic. Son heads back to uni in the morning and younger daughter the following weekend. Will I have time to clean my ramshackle old farmhouse enough to welcome an obviously far more fastidious housekeeper than myself??? The pressure ….😂😲
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Oh Paula, all you need to be worried about right now is getting rid of that migraine!!! Do NOT clean anything for us. Take care of yourself. We expect absolutely nothing except I do want to see some sheep and other animals, and Maple of course. 🙂 We are easy house guests… maybe you can even put us to work! We can’t wait to see you! Honestly, no pressure!!! ❤
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Jokes! You get me as I am, Kat xxx. Dirt and all 😉
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Absolutely… remember that! Dirt and all is what we want! 🙂
Yes, I can see where that would be scary for BE. But remind BE that he is not that guy. He is his own man. If anything, from what you wrote, I feel that BE absolutely does not want to be that man. Maybe it will strengthen his resolve even more.
I feel like I’m a food addict too, I’ve just learned how to control myself really well — but you have seen the damage I can do LOL (by the way are you ready for Paris?!?!?)! When it comes to food, I always say what I once heard Dr Phil say: the difference between a success and a failure is that even the successes fail, but then they pick themselves up and go right back to successful habits… and that is exactly what i do.
Of course food and sex addictions are not the same (food addicts still need to eat, but sex addicts don’t need to cheat). This is a journey that you can definitely support BE and give him lots of encouragement, but ultimately its his journey. And really, I think he is doing pretty fab! Yes, falling off the wagon is a possibility, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to him. I think BE wants what he has with you more than anything else.
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I don’t honestly know about the food addict thing, TC. I mean I also like to go to Tiffany’s and purchase a lovely and extravagant bobble every once in a while too, but I wouldn’t consider myself a shopaholic. Some people would consider spending money that way a total extravagant waste. Not me! We all make choices in our lives and hopefully we seek balance and are in tune with why we do what we do and in the process, we know how to be kind and gentle with ourselves.
Your comment regarding food addicts still need to eat, but sex addicts don’t need to cheat is true, but a little off the mark, I think. It all depends on whether we are using something as a drug, to fill our empty spaces without ever getting to the bottom of why we have those empty places that need filling. I think you and I both know why we eat what we eat… we fricking love to eat! Some sex addicts don’t cheat. Some aren’t even with an intimate partner, but they still feel bad about themselves. There are a lot of single porn addicts and it is very easy to rationalize that just like there is nothing wrong with eating a Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie (or two or three) there is nothing wrong with masturbating to porn every once in a while (or more). BUT, if afterwards, regardless of what we are doing, we feel shame, then something is definitely wrong. Addiction is a sneaky bitch.
EEK. I AM SO READY FOR PARIS!!! Apparently I am a travelaholic (not really because I do not feel bad about it, not one single bit!) since I am about to leave on a six week vacation and I am still thinking about croissants in Paris! We will have so much fun. And since we have both been there before, no need to run around all touristy. We can totally stop and enjoy the finer things.
Lastly, BE totally appreciates your support of him. He is a good guy deep down in there and he hates that he is an addict and he feels horribly about how he hurt me. That goes a long way to healing. I think Blue Eyes is going to be okay. ❤
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Of course he will be ok, look who he has in his corner! ❤️ of course there is a little piggy in Florida that is on his cheerleading team too.
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Such a thin little piggy you are! We love having you on our team! 😘