Memories

I used to call them triggers and they inevitably caused me tremendous suffering. Triggers were everywhere, literal memories of “the phone call” or buried feelings of being emotionally abandoned by my husband, or conjured visions derived from the fallout of Blue Eyes’ sex addicted behavior. Now, the triggers have slowly morphed into memories that no longer carry trauma responses. I don’t feel the pain. My heart doesn’t seize up, I don’t feel like I need to run, I don’t look for a place to hide.

A couple weeks ago Blue Eyes was entertaining his friend, Smiley, at our beach house. I told him to take my car because it is the more comfortable (and by far cleaner) ride. We still have the old Volvo SUV (my old car) that I offered up to Blue Eyes all those summers ago on his last trip with the other woman. The car she drove up to Seattle. That car is now considered “the dog car.” It’s messy and furry and stinky. I don’t drive it often. Why would I? I have a beautiful clean car of my own, but again, I like to share and be kind and didn’t want Smiley to have to spend hours in the dog car. I needed to run some errands while they were away, so I jumped in the dog car and about half way out to the farm to pick up our veggies my mind was consumed with the vision of the other woman driving this car. Sitting in the very seat I was sitting in while my husband worked on his laptop in the passenger seat. It’s strange how the mind works. I was not in that frame of mind at all. I was listening to music on a beautiful Monday morning, no traffic and BAM. There it was, that memory. Not a trigger anymore though, just a memory. I wasn’t overwhelmed with pain or grief. It was just sitting there, in my head, not really doing any damage. That’s how far I’ve come. There’s no more pulling over to the side of the road. No more tears of agony. But the memories are there. Memories of things, people, places, times, that I don’t really want in there… so maybe since they aren’t causing me pain anymore, eventually they’ll fade away to nothing? I’m hoping for that.

I’m currently sitting in a beautiful hotel room in Los Angeles while Blue Eyes is at a business meeting. I’m so behind on blogs, reading them, finishing posts that have been sitting in the queue for weeks, I’m taking this little bit of time away from working to do what I love, blog. I’ve recently been acquainted with a new wife of sex addict blogger and she wrote a post that spoke to me. Hindsight wrote this post about “I’ll never be who I knew was me again.” She writes about her husband being on a business trip and how she used to love when he went away because she could eat brownies and watch bad TV. I was the same. When my husband was away, everything fell into place. The kids and I ate when we wanted without waiting and waiting for Blue Eyes to grace us with his presence. When the kids were off doing homework or in bed, I would watch whatever I wanted on TV, no judgment. I also remember feeling so unencumbered, and getting so much done around the house. The best was when my entire family was gone and I would thoroughly clean the boys’ bedrooms, and the pantry, clean out the kitchen cabinets, catch up on all the laundry meanwhile blasting whatever music I liked throughout the house, TV’s all set to whatever tennis match was on… it’s not that I didn’t love my family to pieces, Blue Eyes obviously included, but it was MY TIME. I knew they were coming home. I knew my little family was happy and healthy and that them being off doing what they needed to do was important to them, and me having this alone time, was important to me. What none of us knew though was that Blue Eyes had a secret life. He was lying to us. He wasn’t always working and he was almost never alone. He filled the void with someone else. None of the rest of us ever attempted to replace him. I loved my alone time and made great use of it. He, on the other hand, was feeding the demon. The thought of it still leaves me reeling in disbelief. I don’t have the pain anymore, but I do have the memories. The trauma has all but disappeared, and maybe the memories will too.

Today we embark on new memories. We leave this evening on a red-eye from LAX to Papeete, Tahiti. We’ll be in Tahiti for two weeks celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. That means 35 years we have been together as a couple. Five summers ago I honestly could not have imagined this day would arrive. A day on which Blue Eyes has more than five years of sobriety and recovery and we both have five+ years of healing together, and separately. I can honestly say things are very good. We’re in the process of moving into our new offices… an endeavor I have been managing for over a year. We are also building Blue Eyes a meditation/tea house in our back garden. I can’t wait to see the progress when we return home in August. In the meantime, I am dreaming of palm trees, and sunshine, and staring at turquoise waters from our overwater bungalow in Bora Bora.

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For now, Nana (see you later in Tahitian). Next posts will surely include lots of pictures of tropical paradise, and food, because hey, I live for the stuff.

14 thoughts on “Memories

  1. I love the title of this post and I agree that over the past four decades when we were busy raising kids and he traveled out of town regularly I really looked forward to those weeks or weekends when it was just the kids and I. We ate different and played a lot more. Life was flexible and it sure seemed like the kids and I didn’t really miss his presence a whole lot but that is likely because when he did return life became more balanced with the dad influence. Now I know what he was doing all those years and why he never called me. For years it really bothered me that he would not call and I told him that but he said he was busy and I let it go. Yesterday we went for a walk along the waterfront in the late afternoon sunshine. It was glorious and we entered into a discussion about making a purchase for one of our kids that he thinks our adult child should be able to afford and pay for himself. I agree that in a perfect world our child should be able to buy what he needs but the fact is he cannot and I wanted my husband to take our child to the store to make the purchase. It did not go well and my mind IMMEDIATELY activated my Memories of my spouse paying thousands of dollars over the years for his escorts, whores and MP whores. I got very quiet and went into my head for damage control. It tool close to an hour to get this worked through because although it has been a little over four years since D-day and he has remained stable on his recovery, it just made me so angry and I wanted desperately to throw his prior “purchases” in his face and make him feel hurt and shame. He spent more on whores than this particular purchase will cost but of course he “wanted” what he wanted for his own selfishness and this is an act of generosity toward out child. In the end, I decided that I will take the child (who is an adult) to the store and make the purchase myself. I really wanted my spouse to use this as a bonding experience with our child but he is just a selfish, self centered asshole, still. He was raised by a narcissist and those traits are hard to break. I love your term, Memories (vs Triggers). It sounds more healing and opens the door to alternative reactions in my head and body, even if I have to do some internal damage control. Happy Anniversary to you and enjoy your time away. The blue water looks divine. I’m still not at the point where I can even consider celebrating our anniversary but we will be married 41 years in January and I have time to think about it to see if there is any possible way I can “celebrate” that milestone with someone who chose other ways to celebrate our anniversary on our celebratory trips. So did not want or expect this to be where I am at this point in my life even when it is mostly pretty darn good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand, Marie. They are still the same men in the end. I would become so sad when BE would chastise and judge our younger son for smoking marijuana, something he does for anxiety, exacerbated by his father’s behaviors. BE has never used “those” kinds of drugs and comes from a VERY judgmental family. In the first couple years I would cry when he judged so harshly after so many years of him using his own drug… one that desperately hurt me and our boys. And his judgment reminded me so much of how his parents parented. Not with love and compassion and understanding, but with judgment and abuse. How dare he judge anyone else!!! He’s much better now at understanding how hurtful it is for him to pass judgment on others. Addiction is a selfish disease. Our son does what he does in public, no secrets, no shame. His drug is legal and not immoral. He’s not hurting anyone.

      We are having a fabulous anniversary trip. I will always celebrate what I have contributed to our partnership and not let his failures and challenges hinder my happiness, and my love for travel and adventure! French Polynesia is mesmerizingly gorgeous. More beautiful than I could have imagined! 🤗❤️

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  2. I remember that “me time” around the house before discovery too. I was so productive. Blasted music, too! I worked in education, had my own private practice, part-time volunteered 20-30 hours a week in dog rescue and was on their Board, and took care of our home, cared for 3 Golden Retrievers and 2 acres with extensive perennial gardens. I loved doing everything I was doing. It was probably too much and I’m still healing and trying to get my energy back.

    Your trip to Bora Bora sounds refreshing, and just what you both deserve – paradise. Wishing you both joy in your hearts. Happy Anniversary!

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    • I don’t have the same energy I had before. I was younger for sure, but I also think I just did so much for everyone without thinking of the toll it took on me. I enjoyed doing things for people and making sure they were happy. Discovery coincided with empty nest and prompted health problems. I’m learning how to take better care of myself. Probably would have happened anyway, but under these circumstances I was propelled into self care. Thinking of you! So far Tahiti is perfection. We board our Paul Gauguin cruise this afternoon. 🤗❤️

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  3. I am so proud of you and BE for making it through this. It’s huge, nothing short of that. I can’t wait to see your anniversary vacation on Instagram. I know it’s going to be nothing short of epic.
    Lots of love to you both!
    ♥️♥️♥️
    C

    Liked by 4 people

    • It’s truly amazing we’ve made it to this momentous occasion. We’re very excited to get on that plane tonight and arrive in paradise tomorrow morning. First, BE has to have his In-n-Out burger of course. We have a couple days before our cruise and they upgraded us to another overwater bungalow. Also upgraded to business class on the plane. I love when that happens. I’ll take lots of photos!!! Love you, xoxo.

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