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.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Manic Meltdown Part 2

The train to Crazy Town had pulled away from the station, chugged hard to make it up a wickedly steep hill and was now about to barrel down the reverse side of the incline with the brakes completely disengaged.  In was about to get ugly. be accurate...uglier.  Of all the times I lost it over the first year after DDay and as many of you are well aware, there is a plethora, a multitude, a vast quantity of incidents that involved me taking leave of my common sense, this is the meltdown that I regret the most.  You'd think I would care more about the meltdowns that impacted my loved ones, my family, my friends.  I do have remorse about most of those, too, but this day, in Richard's office, holds the gold medal for meltdowns and still causes me extreme discomfort as I describe it.

Eventually I'll share an additional meltdown moment in Jaymie's parents' church and you might wonder why this visit to Crazy Town penetrated my psyche deeper than that.  Here's why, in the church, I experienced the deepest of debilitating emotions, sorrow, heartbreak and anguish.  The pain was mine to bear.  This day, in Richard's office, I became a real threat to him, much more so than any other day.  I wanted to hurt him.  I wanted to leave permanent wounds, scars he would see everyday for the rest of his miserable, lying, cheating, adulterous life.  Not physical injury, psychological damage and public humiliation that would haunt him forever.
Come know you've imagined ways you could 'out' your cheating spouse!  Billboards declaring him to be an adulterous pig or fliers with his scum-bag mug and a thorough description of the revolting details of his philandering escapades on every car windshield at the local mall on Black Friday!
Not to worry...those fantasies are good!  Acting out on them...not so much.

As loud as I had been in Richard's office, I was able to amp it up a notch.  He had closed the door, so I felt the need to bring my "A" game in the vocal decibels department.  He asked me to please keep my voice down.  Yeah, that wasn't gonna happen.
"Why? Everyone here already knows about Jaymie, right?  They witnessed your disgusting behavior first hand!  Who cares if they know I'm pissed?  How could they NOT know?"
"They don't know.  Only Michelle knows.  These are my employees.  Please."
"Are you really that stupid?  You think they didn't know?  Jaymie spent more time in this office than all of your staff combined!  You really think they don't know?  You're still lying!  Of course you know they know!  How could they miss you chasing after Jaymie?  They know alright.  But, just to be sure...I'll go ask."

Before Richard could even begin to process what I was about to do, I dashed out the door, all the way back down the hall, past Michelle's office, with the door still closed, past the front desk and the wide-eyed receptionist, straight into Sharon's office.  Sharon is the attorney that leases office space from Richard. and Jaymie's former employer.  She hired Jaymie on Richard's recommendation.  Why else would she hire a coffee shop waitress as her legal assistant?
Sharon was sitting behind her desk.  She looked up with a deer in the headlights expression and I blurted out my inquiry.  "Did you know Richard was fucking Jaymie?"  Her mouth dropped open so wide a bird could have flown in and set up house, and all she was capable of was a shake of her head and a barely audible, breathy no.

I didn't buy it.   I spun on my heels and marched toward the front desk.  The receptionist had been joined by one of the firm's attorneys, Lori.  Safety in numbers, I guess.  I barely paused but I looked right at Lori and in a voice that probably sounded to her like evil personified, I hissed, "It's on.  I'm gonna find out who knew what!"  Then, back past Michelle's office and into Richard's.  I slammed the door behind me and announced my intention.  "As soon as that client leaves, we're gonna have a little staff meeting.  We need to clarify who knew you were fucking Jaymie.  I want answers! They better not lie to me just to cover your ass!"

To Richard's credit, he didn't say we couldn't call such a meeting to order.  He merely suggested we sit for a minute and decide how it should be handled.  I was in no mood for sitting.  Pacing, stomping and flailing, that was working for me.  On the credenza, behind his desk, was the digital frame I gave him for Christmas, flashing photos of our family in 2010.  I gave him that to remind him of what he nearly lost, could still lose, forever.  I lunged for it, tried to yank it from it's cord. "Please don't take that!  I love it. I need it."
He was begging, almost crying.  It wouldn't pull out of the wall so I dropped it and grabbed an 8x10 photo of us and the kids skiing in Mammoth.  I shook the picture at him. "You don't deserve us!  We are too good for you!"
With the picture in my hand, I dashed back into the hall and to my astonishment...the place was empty.
All the staff had gone.  Sharon was missing, too.

"Where are they?  Where'd they go?  Did you tell them to leave?"
"I didn't have to tell them to go.  They couldn't get out fast enough.  They emailed me to say they were leaving and I was to let them know when you were gone."
"You get them back here!  Just lie to them like you lied to me!  Tell them I'm gone.  Do it, damn it!"

We went back and forth for nearly an hour.  It was obvious they weren't coming back. My throat was raw from yelling.  As my frustration mounted, the pounding in my head became excruciating!  Finally, I couldn't take anymore.  I was spent.  Anger of that magnitude is crippling.  I gabbed the car keys and made for the elevator.  I'd like to think I had a brief flash of sanity, but really, it had more to do with the level of anger I was able to maintain.  My rage tank was running on fumes.  I was close to collapse.  Time to go.

Down to the parking level with Richard right behind.  I burst into tears, wailing, "How could you do this?  You ruined everything!  You killed us!  You killed us!"  And, with that declaration, I hurled the framed photo to the ground.  The glass shattered on impact and flew into the air.
As I threw myself into the driver's seat, I heard Richard pleading with me to be careful while repeating his mantra of "I'm so sorry."
He began to pick up glass but he understood I wasn't waiting for him to move and I was leaving NOW.  He got the hell out of my way and watched as I did my best imitation of an Indy car driver burning rubber around the corner and out of the garage.
Whew.  It wasn't even noon yet.  This would be a very long day.


Anonymous said...

After I had my MMMs (manic major meltdown) and the dust would clear, I had such remorse. At the time, nothing would bring me around, but the next morning...such guilt. Guilt that I was letting his affair turn me into someone I was not, even for a moment. Ashamed that I wasn't "bigger than it". I would wake just knowing that he was going to leave me for sure after the way I acted. But he didn't. I think he was GLAD I acted the way I did so the balance of sins would be more equal in his eyes (never!). He had an affair, I gave him a black eye. He had an affair, I went after him with a knife. He had an affair, I threw a full wine glass at his face which cut him. He had an affair, I punched him in the face.

Anonymous said...

Although you may regret it now, I still say GOOD FOR YOU. I would have done exactly the same thing. You're better than me, though...I would have hit him with the car.

Eat My Scabs said...

yikes!! Your stories always have me cringing and laughing at the same time. The pain we feel is so tremendous that I think we're temporarily insane, right?

shawn thewife said...

As I look back on the many insane things I did, how I behaved, choices I made the first year after DDay, the main thing I feel is astounded. I'm astounded that I wasn't able to maintain a bit more self-control. I'm astounded Richard didn't just bail and leave. I'm astounded that men in little white coats didn't show up and cart my crazy ass away. AND..I'm astounded that I wasn't better at getting the payback I so desperately, albeit stupidly, craved.
Scabs: I do think the pain is beyond comprehension, so we can't be held accountable for what happens the first year after DDay...except through our own remorse. As we process the affair, if we act out and give life to the pain it causes, most of us with a conscience may regret some of the insane behavior. But, I still say a little nuts is inevitable, as long as no one is dead when the dust settles, we did OK.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

" But, I still say a little nuts is inevitable, as long as no one is dead when the dust settles, we did OK."

Huge amounts of Amening and head nodding from the choir in response to that line! My WS did the guilt thing really well too. So my theory (and I haven't thought it all the way through yet) is me, sometimes it felt like all that guilt...was well, sort of selfish. Like, "Woe is me, I know I've screwed up so badly, you can't really tell me how badly I hurt you, because I am obviously distraught and I can't deal with knowing what you feel about all of this." Which felt to me, like, (and keep in mind none of this is on a conscious level) "Well fine can't talk about get all hang dog when I try to process it...alrighty then, step back and watch. I'll SHOW you how much it hurts." And the train to crazy town would just roar out of the station. I can't tell from what you've written about whether or not Richrard's handling of the situation and his reactions made you feel was just that so many of the circumstances and the emotions you describe feeling, felt so familiar.

Anyhoo- another great passage. So glad you're so far beyond all of that crazy pain...and so glad every day crazy town gets left a little further behind in your rear view mirror.


shawn thewife said...

MCG: Richard went way past guilt to self-loathing. His self-esteem was already in the shitter. That's the main reason he had the affair. He needed an ego boost with a girl that would make him feel young and virile.
He cried all the damn time! Made me wanna puke! He was NOT even close to the man I married.
I never saw it as selfish. I saw it as weak. Just another new lousy character trait my husband had developed.

The reality is he was grieving. He hated himself for hurting me. It killed him to see me so distraught. He needed over a year of IC to forgive himself. Well..I don't think he FORGAVE himself, he just learned to live in the now. Work to make it up to me.

Attitude is everything. Focusing on NOW and letting go of THEN is crucial. THEN...I hated him for any moment that ALMOST made me feel sorry for him. NOW I am grateful he came to his senses so quickly and that he felt such deep remorse.
Time gives us perspective, but THEN...well, you know what I did back then. ;-)
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! I'm feeling sorrier and sorrier for Richard. You are so narcissistic. Which may explain why Richard had to turn to someone else for attention.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: Is this a "hit & run" or are you interested in a discussion? I'm happy to address your opinion of me but it would help if I knew which side of the adultery triangle you're on.
If you're a betrayed spouse, I'd love to hear how you dealt with your pain. If you're a betrayer, I'd love to know how your spouse handled the despair of your adulterous behavior.

If you're an affair partner...I can't imagine how you could even begin to form an opinion of how I dealt with the pain of Richard's affair. You have not experienced the aftermath of infidelity. If you're gonna judge me, give me the opportunity to judge your morally corrupt ass right back. a chicken shit. Post and hide. Whatever.
All are welcome here. I just prefer two way conversations.

Another betrayed spouse said...

Shawn, I read this particular post with immense interest. My wayward husband is also a lawyer. I also threw the hissy fit from hell in his office post D-day and the staff evacuated. However, rather than cringe over the embarrassment at the memory of that situation, I look back in sadness at the utter despair and devastation I was feeling. I know I felt entitled to it but the insanity of some of my actions weren't premeditated at all. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Hurt makes you do things you would never contemplate doing when you are your normal, sane self. It is now 18 months post D-day and I am still limping along. There are good days and not so good days where I wake up crying with the knowledge that someone I loved so dearly would betray me in such a diabolical way. My husband says "what can I do to help you?" and my response is "build me a time machine". I wish.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! I'm feeling sorrier and sorrier for Richard. You are so narcissistic. Which may explain why Richard had to turn to someone else for attention.

Shawn, if I had to guess, the above poster is a betrayer. I have been a part of blogs like yours and other "outlets" in my quest to deal with and find sisterhood in this affair mess. These "justifiers" just can't help themselves sticking their f'ed up noses where it doesn't belong. Hummm, Why do you think they seek to find "us"?

shawn thewife said...

Another betrayed spouse: Wow! Seems we visited the same neighborhood in Crazy Town! Probably close to the same damn address!
Don't give up. 18 months is still early on. I had many lousy days around the 18 month marker. Sometimes I handled the pain better than others. As long as your WH is doing all he can to help you find a safe place in your marriage again, you'll get there. The road to happy does not have a fast lane.
Hope & Hugs Shawn

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this blog and the comments. Sometimes I feel so alone in dealing with my husbands betrayal with our neighbor(we've since moved). I am nearly 8 months out since DDay, I was 5 months pregnant with our 3rd child at the time. I feel broken, betrayed, disrespected, sad, and hurt all the time. Some days I do a better job of hiding it than others. Somedays the melt downs come and there is no stopping it. Somedays it seems so discouraging that things feel like they will never get better and I will always be this hurt. I try to look at the positive and be thankful I have a husband who came forward broken and guilty for the choice he made and he does what he needs to everyday to make things right but its hard to be thankful when Ive been so hurt by him. Somedays I feel like I need to just cut my losses and move on. Why would I stay with someone capable and willing to cause me this much pain? We moved away from her but our kids still attend the same school and we only live a couple miles from each other. Were looking to move farther away so maybe that will offer some help. My biggest regret is not making a bigger scene when we left the neighborhood, I wish everyone knew what a piece of trash this neighbor was. Instead I kept my mouth shut(I did yell at her when I found out but thats it) and we just left the situation. Maybe someday Ill be grateful I handled it the way I did but right now I think about the things I wish I would have done or would have said to her.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: You took the high road! Well done! The road to happy is much easier when you choose that path. 8 months is not very long. You will feel the sting years from now but that doesn't mean your marriage isn't worth saving. It doesn't mean your marriage can't be stronger than ever.
Many of us always thought if our spouses cheated they'd be out the door so fast we'd have to mail 'em their undies! Now we know better. We had to learn to adapt. NO...we didn't HAVE to...we CHOSE to.
If your wayward hubby is giving you all you need to help you heal, then time is your friend. It will get easier. When you need extra support, come back by and we'll be here. You don't have to go through this alone.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I totally get the Meltdown. This is my 2nd time around and I also had my own meltdown at his place of work the 1st time around. This time, I understood that it while it may feel better at the time, public meltdowns tend to be regretted later on.

I wish I could have a "controlled" meltdown. Unless you've done it, you don't understand how therapeutic they can be. But then a "controlled" one wouldn't be a true meltdown :)


shawn thewife said...

PH: "Controlled" theory, it sounds great!
Wish I had considered the possibilty before my infamous office outburst. You are right...I regret it!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

What worries me about this is, if as much of it triggers you, I wonder how much of it triggers Richard. Because you only know what he tells you. I'm sure he drives past those same places he took. Jaymie to & I hate saying this, but probably wonders how she's doing & feels like an idiot for hurting her too. I know is betrayed wives & gf's like to think it's all about us because when they are in front of us, it is. But you have to be real about it. He does think about Jaymie, he hates what he did to her, he hates what he did to you. And boy I hated typing that, lol. You can't live in your husbands/boyfriend's brain. And because of that fact alone is why I chose to walk.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: I get your point, but here's what I know....Richard has triggers, no doubt.
Example: He told me when he saw a commercial for Barona Casino while sitting next to me on the couch watching Jeopardy (Our life is not quite as boring as it sounds! LOL!) his heart breaks for me. He knows those commercials are triggers and he hates that I still go back to those awful days when I see them.

Richard might think about the afternoons he spent with her in those hotel rooms. Maybe I'll ask him. BUT...I do know, he worries about me all the damn time! And...He let Jaymie go WAY before I did. He tells me her feelings don't really come into the mix now. Not anymore.
He sometimes still feels badly about what he did to her, how he used her. It was a truly shitty thing to do to any woman...even one stupid enough to sleep with a married man. If he didn't feel like shit about it, I'd still be very concerned about his moral compass!
So, not to worry, Dear! I am VERY real about all of this. Real enough to know, I can't control his thoughts, I can't be sure he'll never cheat again, but I'm very sure he is truly remorseful...all the way around about the entire mess he perpetuated.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

About a year after my husband's affair, I did ask my husband if he thinks of his affair partner when he passes by restaurants or other places they met.

He said: [he does but with a feeling of disgust for the way they (both married people ) behaved with so little regard for the pain the affair would cause theire families.

He then said the feeling is the same as when you know you are hungry for something, but you're not sure exactly what it is.

Then you see a chocolate cake and you start eating it and at first it taste really good, and you greedily gobble up too much of it.

But then after you're satiated you feel really really really sick. ]

I think those words helped me understand his attraction to an affair, and also helped me heal more.

I really do understand the meltdowns in reaction to triggers. They are almost impossible to control completely.

The reaction is a neuronal hijacking of the emotional centers of our brain caused by trauma and the related the hyper-vigilance.

Unless someone has been a betrayed spouse, I don't think they can ever relate.

I have even talked to disloyal spouses who later remarry and find themselves being betrayed by their new spouse.

It's only at that point that they understand that the loyal spouse is not narcissistic or histrionic, they are simply traumatized and in pain.

I am the poster who is four years out past DDay, now in a good reconciliation with my disloyal husband.

I posted two other posts on your blog under different topics.

shawn thewife said...

Hi, Anonymous: Chocolate cake, huh? I get that. Richard said it was like an addiction. When his phone would vibrate with a text from Jaymie he got a huge rush. SO LAME!! So SELFISH!
He sees that now...Thank God!
Richard says he only thinks of places he was with Jaymie when he is worried they might be triggers for me. That happened this week. We went back to La Costa for the first time since I had one of my many meltdowns there. I wasn't dwelling on the past. I was looking forward to our day. As soon as we got out of the car, Richard grabbed me, hugged me tight, and whispered in my ear, "I know the last time we were here was bad, but I'm so glad we have a chance to be here together again. I love you."
He kicked the potential triggers ass for me!!

Thanks for commenting. I wish you'd give me a name or initials or something so I can recognize you when you share your thoughts. You're 4 years out...that could be a HUGE help to many readers!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

BS said...

Hi Shawn:

I will use the initials BS from now on, so you will know I am the same anonymous person, who is in a good reconciliation with a disloyal spouse four years after discovery day.

The initials will be a triple entendre to be interpreted as: Betrayed spouse, Blind sided and Bull Shite. ;) That's an inside joke for all the betrayed spouses.

The last one (Bullshite) is admittedly crass, but I ate so much of that after discovery day and those humiliations are why I hide behind the screen name anonymous.

I have not gotten over the humiliations of his affair, and I am not sure I ever will. I was truly the last to know. How stereotypically cliche.

I don't think as some claim that I was in denial, either. I have searched my soul, and I saw my marriage as a good one. Far from perfect, but still better than average.

I am the middle child of four brothers....a born and bred people pleaser personality. Sigh!

Some of my brothers suspected my husband might be cheating because he was spending too many nights out with the boys.

Not having any real proof, only intuition, they never said they thought he was cheating but they were starting to warn me to cut off the boy's nights out, telling me that I was always too easygoing and nurturing and too accommodating of men's needs.

I ignored their warnings because I trusted my husband 150 percent and I wanted him to have some freedom to be with his friends. I thought alone time was healthy for a marriage.

I have since learned there is now a growing belief that boy's or girl's night out is considered a death knell for a marriage.

The people who want to engage in it start feeling and acting single, even when not out with the boys or girls.

I am glad to read that Richard is being so tender with you when he recognizes triggers. That is such a good sign, in my opinion.

My spouse does similar things when he knows I am about to be triggered. That is in part why we are still together, IMO. That plus lots of transparency and no more boy's night out.

The rush you spoke of Richard saying he felt when Jaymie called is lame and selfish, but apparently normal with a new relationship.

That is why we make vows to forsake all others when we marry and we need to stick to them.

We can't have new relationships on the side without feeling that incredible first blush relationship high, at least early in the affair, and too easily getting hooked on it.

New relationships are as addictive as any other addiction, chocolate cake included.

And, since an affair is not lived in the real world, definitely not the real world of a marriage, and not even in the real world of a dating situation, it takes so much longer for the people in the affair to see each others faults. ...If ever.

Soon the real relationship, the marriage, starts to look glaringly flawed because it can never compare to a fantasy dating relationship.

A situation where people dress up and anticipated the brief meeting for days and work themselves into a frenzy with flirty foreplay by text, email and phone for days prior to their date and subsequent fantasy sex.

None of what I wrote is an excuse for cheating, just a reason.

It's so sad that people forget their boundaries sometimes when married, and allow a new person in to their lives.

There's reason why such third parties are called home wreckers.

It always ends up wrecking and hurting so many people, in the end.

Everyone gets hurt, IMO, including the affair partner and their family.

I know you know all this and have written about.

I appreciate reading your thoughts, so just thought I would reinforce your own by sharing mine.

Even though we are doing well in our reconciliation. The marriage has forever been changed. I am sure you know what I mean by that.

Some changes are good, others are just so sad.

shawn thewife said...

Hey, BS: You have an excellent grasp of the dynamics of infidelity. It's amazing how many of us become so well versed in something we never thought would be a part of our lives.
We are forever changed...for sure..but maybe for the better. Our marriage is different, but stronger. The wound that Richard caused is healing. There will always be a scar, but as time goes by, I notice it less and less.
Glad you're on your Road to Happy, too!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

BS said...

Hi Shawn:

I agree. The marriage post affair can be stronger and better.

The 150 percent trust will never be given back, on my end. But, IMO, that is a good thing. My brothers agree, too.

Being so trusting of anyone is somewhat naive and gullible.

Still, my husband now is a better husband than he has ever been.

So, except for the trust part, there have been many many things that have improved for me within the marriage

I was always the giver and he the taker, in our marriage. That has changed. My husband now gives a lot more than he used to.

I still miss being able to feel so trusting toward him, but it's a fair trade off for the improvements in the relationship dynamic.

As mentioned, too, no one should ever trust another human being as blindly as I trusted my husband.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I was so hard on you. Maybe Shawn, do I see me in you??? I did not do what you did. I couldn't, so do I despise what you did also because I couldn't?

So please accept my apology. I'm in crazy town too. It just upset me that you didn't do everything only to your husband. To me to involve the poor father, he seemed like possibly a really good man, but what the fuck do I know?, was wrong beyond limits.

But it's not my life, dammit. It's yours.

Please forgive me. I have a very strong personality also. I give it all to my husband. No matter how much he tells me and I have all the horrible details. No matter how much therapy he gets - so what, he did what he did nothing can change that. I stopped therapy - it was punishment, I felt, also.

I congratulate you and your great blog. I hate to read any more though, it hurts too much. I don't want the father to suffer anymore.


Anonymous said...

F them! Leaving the business??? My God what a bunch of shit heads! Yes! They are shit heads! I don't know them and I hate them! Your husband doing this in his business and making you feel worse of a fool. I hate him. Can't get over hurting the father though, but the employees running as if their asses were on fire! F them! I never ran from the yelling that happened in one office I worked in! But I'm not an f'ing wimp. I wonder who really got them out of the office? Michelle?

shawn thewife said...

To my new anonymous, very prolific commenter: I think you called yourself "G" earlier? Here's the deal.....
You seem to be in a very desperate place. I get it. I lived there for over a year. You don't have to! Even if your WH is still hitting the hookers, you can find a better life. Go back to IC! Find your self worth.
You called it. This is all about the betrayer. The fault is on them! We did nothing wrong so why do we punish ourselves? Please be kind to yourself. Holding on the hatred is no way to live, Babe. You can only control your actions, never his. Focus on today and find your Road Back to Happy! You read most of my blog. If I can find my way out of Crazy Town, so can you!
If we can help, you know where to find us.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Michelle Thewife said...

OMG! Thank you for this, I have been so embarrassed by my meltdowns, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to blog them without fear of judgment.

Brokenhearted said...

I am new at this shown but would like to talk to you about your journey....

shawn thewife said...

Brokenhearted: I'd be happy to talk to you. Please email me:
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

TC said...

Well... alcohol plus meltdown and i behave like a rabid hyiena. I end up really feeling badly for him after my manic episodes..esp when I see the hurt in his eyes and realise its the same hurtful things I said before. I wonder if im bipolar tbh. But reading these posts make me feel better. All of my friends feel so bad for him......and I feel like shit. Sometimes when I think of what great person he is, I feel worst. We could be literally perfect.. if not for that one thing that turned out to be the most devatating thing.

Like text book, Time, kids and our jobs stretched us apart emotinally and he felt under appreciated. AND yes he could have told me... but I would have negated his feelings any way...never knew men needed so much attention.I would ask him if he was a child. Objectively, Its the best and the worst thing that has happened to us... passion, accountability, communication is now there and im including him more in activities. Im happy about thesenew things. But what a way to get to this point...sometimes i just dont have the energy to fight and i feel this energy building up. I know a meltdown is coming. His self esteem is sooooo low at the moment and he is paranoid that i will leave him. I cant tell him i wont because of my ups and downs. When will they get better? Its only been 4 months... but I get overwhelmed when i hear spouses struggle for so long and wonder if i being stupid.