After an affair, your life doesn't belong to you anymore. For over a year, I couldn't control my own thoughts.
The turmoil in my head was viciously repetitive but savagely random. With this blog, I began to exorcise the demons holding my head hostage.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Greatest Fear


We survived Christmas.  We even managed to enjoy some of it.  Mom, Dad and Grandpa were here with us.  Mom still didn't know, but I'm fairly sure she knew something was up.  Of course, thanks to Richard, Dad knew, but Dad didn't know I knew he knew (That part of the ride was very twisted!), and anytime with my grandpa is time well spent.  It seemed like the kids were good, too.  Richard and I had done an admirable job of keeping up appearances.

We still went to our marriage counselor every week and to our individual therapists, too.  If you asked me today what we got out of all those hours of therapy, I'd be hard pressed to articulate it.  In most of the sessions, I was too angry to hear anything the professionals had to say.  I was never really honest with my emotions because I was much too afraid to face them.  Anger was my emotion of choice for such a long time.  If I wasn't angry, then I became vulnerable.  If those were my two choices, anger was the big winner.  Anger made me feel like I had power.  I had control.

Here's a tip for those of you fresh into the mess...You can't control the coaster.  At some point, you're gonna have to admit that to yourself.  It might help if you can swallow that jagged little pill sooner rather than later.  I fought that reality for over a year.  I couldn't face the fact that when your spouse cheats and you decide to try and work through it so you can stay married to the bastard, you can't avoid becoming vulnerable.  You can act all Toughie Pants, but right under that facade lies Vulnerable Vicki. She is scared shitless 24/7 and you shouldn't ignore her.

My Vicki wasn't a big wuss or anything, but she was no match for Toughie Pants.  She was actually the smartest of all my persona's.  She knew, and in turn that obviously means I knew, this marriage might already be beyond repair. We could just be spinning our wheels.  Our efforts might come to nothing.  Vicki knew all that, but she was willing to risk additional sorrow.

Underneath Toughie Pants,  under all my angry bravado, I was so scared.  I've never been so scared. How would my life look without Richard?  Toughie Pants was ready to find out.  At some point, during every hour of counseling, Toughie Pants announced that it was time for Richard to go.  Vicki kept silent.  Toughie Pants needed space.  Vicki needed a Xanax, a martini and a hug.

Vicki understood the ramifications of separation.  We call them "Trial" separations.  In this particular type of "Trial" the judge and jury are also the accused and the accuser.  That's messy.  Most "Trial" separations result in a divorce soon after.  That's a fact.  Look it up.  Vicki knew it and she kept it to herself.  She deferred to Toughie Pants who wanted Richard out.

Toughie Pants thought sending Richard away would make him understand how much he had damaged me, the true depth of my wounds.  He had to suffer the same egregious pain that he had wrought to be able to comprehend the consequences of his choice to love another.  Toughie Pants made the demands for Richard's departure to lash out, not to help me heal.  Vicki wanted me to heal, but I wasn't ready to let her yet.

I wish I had been smarter.  Hell, my brain function back then didn't set the bar very high, so I can say with great confidence now, I'm a freakin' Einstein compared to back then!  I'm smart enough to know this...I let Toughie Pants run the show even though I was terrified of being alone, because I was even more afraid to let myself be vulnerable.
You can't love without vulnerability, People.  It just ain't possible.

So, I guess I don't mean smarter.  I mean braver.  If I had been braver, I would have let Vicki have her moment.  Vicki should have been given her due.  She could have prevented what happened next.
Vicki never would have let me ask for a divorce.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go along with with you one this subject. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

emotional tornado said...

I have been to one individual counseling session. It made me feel like total shit. It just made it more clear that others could see what I saw and how incredibly stupid and trusting I was.

I could not control the ride I was on, all I could do was hold on, tight and hope someday I could get off.

When it happened a second time, it was the same but worse. I felt like more of an idiot, more crushed, more defeated. I'm just holding on until it gets better or I decide to jump.

Anonymous said...

Shawn,
I still love reading your blogs, I get insight and humor and you do both so well. You put a lot of thought into what you write, but it's all from your heart and you can tell. I too feel the way that you did, I wanted my H out the door, as he didn't deserve to be with me and most of all because he knew my feelings on A's and I had always told him that if it ever happened, he was out the door. But he wouldn't leave, I could have called the law or threatend and then I he would have left. I feel now and did then that if I kicked him out the front door it would knock some sense in him and he might come clean instead of lying. A big regret on my part. Keep up the good stories, they help me a lot and they do give me pleasure to read how you describe things.
Linda

shawn thewife said...

Emotional T: Sounds like you're struggling. I'm so sorry. If I ever have a DDay #2, (God forbid!) I can not imagine how I'll survive...but, I will.
So will you. While you're on the recovery road please don't get sidetracked with self blame!! Here's my mantra:
Hold your head up! Be Strong! I did Nothing wrong!
We can't blame ourselves for the heinous behavior of our wayward spouses. We can't be with them 24/7. If they wanna cheat...they will find a way.
Please do not give up on IC. Find a new therapist. One size does not fit all. If the first one made you feel like shit...then that person was a really shitty therapist! I guess you know IC is essential for your WH, too. He has got to learn and understand why he continues to make the same heinous choices. If he is truly remorseful, he'll go...A LOT!
Please be gentle with yourself.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Jonathan said...

I appreciate your comments. The actions of my ex are still hard for me to understand.

shawn thewife said...

Welcome, Jonathan:
Obviously, I don't know your story. I don't even know if you were the betrayed or the betrayer. Regardless, this is a very safe place to ask questions. All are welcome.
Also, on my homepage, at the bottom, there are two links to wonderful forums that can provide loads of support & compassion.
You don't have to try to heal alone.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Susan Rubinsky said...

Anger sometime has it place. For example, in my case, the affair wasn't over and he kept oscillating between the "mistress" and me for over a year. He felt he justified because the OW was pregnant and he "needed to be there for her." So, in some cases, the anger is justified. Not that it's healthy. But complacency or acceptance isn't healthy is such a situation either....

But I know what you mean about anger/vulnerability. (In my case it was the opposite, I gave the vulnerability until it was abused multiple times and then I got very angry. Very, very angry.)

Russell Dill said...

How are you doing now? Well, having open communication can really help in times of trouble. Listening to what the other is saying is not making yourself vulnerable – it would help give you a wider perspective on things, on the problem, and the view of your partner. It’s a give and take process where you have your time to talk and listen to each other.

Both sides of the fence said...

Love you entire blog, but this particular post is the best so far. You have just helped me figure out what I need to do to help salvage my marriage. Even if it doesn't work, I will know that it wasn't due in full to my pride, my Tough Pants persona.

Thank you
Sara

shawn thewife said...

Sara/both sides of the fence: I wanna ask you to consider something....If your marriage doesn't work out...it was not due to your full anything! It wasn't due to you at all! Please remember, you did nothing wrong.
Your WH is the FULL reason for your struggle. If your marriage doesn't survive, it's on him.

However...if you want your marriage to heal, you have to do some of the work Actually....I think betrayed spouses do most of the heavy lifting after DDay. We have to focus on what our cheating bastard husbands are doing for us NOW instead of dwelling in the pain of the past.
It takes a huge amount of effort, but if you wanna start walking your Road to Happy, try looking ahead.
Thanks for commenting. I love to hear my blog helps others once in a while.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Winona said...

Yes! I have the same angry/vulnerable switch. Wonderful post. It is good to read your ability to go deeper, thinking for healing purposes.

Anger keeps me from getting so depressed I can't function, it gets things done. I've done SO much heavy work for myself these last 18 months, the wayward husband? Next to nothing. I am learning not to balance my happiness on his actions any longer. My happiness is my path to find, without or without him. If he chooses to join me on this road, great...I'm tired of being the only one who is trying to make it work while he just wants to forget and move on, go back to the way things used to be. Really? You mean the way that lead to your poor decision making and ego stroking - you not communication, you not making an effort, you ignoring me unless you wanted sex or food or to keep you company, you never ever once stretching yourself for the sake of the marriage?

Your blog has been helpful in finding the mistakes I've made and how to fix them, and the humor reminds meto laugh more!