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.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Little Wisdom from Buddha

A Quote from Buddhist Boot Camp:

When someone is suffering deeply within themselves, their suffering spills over and they start making others suffer as well. What they truly need is our help, not punishment —Thich Nhat Hanh

There you have it, my fellow betrayed spouses!  Buddha gets it!  
That's my story in two sentences!

Damn.  If only Jaymie had been a Buddhist instead of a Baptist.  I'd have gotten the emails for sure!
Hee Hee  ;-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Battle of Conscience

Have you ever felt like you had an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other speaking to you at the same time?  One ruled by the innate knowledge of the difference between right and wrong.  The other, purely self serving, greedy and many times, insatiable. That's the one that always resides in Crazy Town and is loathe to leave it.
I know that both sides of Richard's conscience waged war during his time with Jaymie.  I would guess most cheating spouses have at least a twinge of a guilty conscience in the midst of all the lies and deceit. I actually hope to hell most betrayers are racked with guilt!
During my ride home that day, both entities, the angelic and the demonic, were jockeying for my consideration.  Having just been at church, I tried to place a big bet on the angel to come in first.  Even though I knew her to be a long shot, I was rooting for her!
It's was battle of conscience, a battle of the soul.  In such conflicts, there is rarely a draw.
By the next day, one side was more than able to out pace the other.

Richard was quite the nervous Nellie by the time I got home.  He had been anticipating a possible call from local law enforcement alerting him to my arrest for creating a public disturbance...or worse.  I imagine he had girded his loins for a call like that for the entire first year after DDay.  When I walked in the house he looked at me, wide eyed, hoping I would tell him I had changed my mind and gone out for a Sunday breakfast instead of Sunday service.

Please don't ask me what I told him or what transpired when I got home because I can't tell you.  Maybe I told him nothing happened because the good and pure side of my conscience enveloped me in guilt.  Maybe I told him about the warm welcome I received from the parishioners of the First Baptist church and their gracious invite to attend group counseling.  Maybe I said something like, "Get the fuck away from me.  I can't stand the sight of you right now."  Any of those scenarios seem feasible.  Feel free to pick the synopsis of my return that suits you or make up one of your own.

It's easier to confirm what I did the next day, August 15th, 2011 due to the email trail.  In a past email exchange in January, Daddy James had suggested (actually he demanded which you all know makes me do the EXACT opposite!) that I take my "anger, bitterness and attention elsewhere." 

I lost my bet.  The winner of yesterday's race was not the long shot.  I was currently being inspired by the malevolent side of my inner psyche, so I felt like Daddy James would love knowing I took his suggestion.  (Can you sense the heavy sarcasm and ill intent??  I was fully clothed in both.)
I sent him this:

Jim:  I took your advice.  I took my anger, my bitterness and my deep sadness and regret somewhere else.  You told me about how you used to counsel people at your church in Lemon Grove.  So, I went last Sunday.  They are wonderful.  I met Pastor Jeff and his wife, Crystal, a lovely woman named Madeline and another gentleman, Bill S****.  What a dear old guy.  
Anyway, they said I should come to something called "Tag" team and share what troubles me.  I intend to do just that.
I've tried to find other outlets and some bring temporary relief, but nothing gets the images and words out of my head.  Jaymie didn't help me.  Richard can't.  But, you told me the first day I called you about Jaymie & Richard.  You told me about the church.  Should have listened closer back then, but better late than never.  I'm going to print all the emails, take them to a meeting and be DONE with them!  It already feels better knowing I will never have to look at them again.  Maybe in time the images in my head will fade, but I'm realistic.  Tiny steps and all that.

So, thank you.  Maybe I'll see you there sometime.

Sent it to Jaymie and Richard, too.  Wouldn't want them to be unaware of my intentions to seek salvation.  Then, motivated to toss out a wider net by that same evil muse whispering in my ear, I decided not to leave out poor Geek Boy Kevin.  When I forwarded him the above email, I prefaced the words with this:
Kevin:  Thought I'd keep you in the loop.  
Talk about perfect.  I might actually get some support from people that KNOW Jim, Karen & Jaymie.   (BTW...Karen is Jaymie's Mom)
The world is a strange place.  Didn't you tell me that?

My angel guide had taken a hiatus.  She was totally AWOL. Only the day before I had passionately prayed for anger and vengeful thoughts to be taken from me.  I begged God to soften my heart, to help me find constructive ways to stop the torment.  In 24 hours I stopped listening to my God fearing conscience and turned my ear to the Vengeful Devil loudly advising me to, "Make Jaymie pay.  Make her hurt like you do.  She wouldn't help you.  She won't even talk to you!  Tell the world what she did to you.  Make her pay."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunday Services in Crazy Town

As I drove toward Lemon Grove, the absurdity of what I was doing did not escape me.  Did I really hope and expect Jaymie's parents would be attending services that morning?  Even now, I can't begin to explain what I thought I'd do if I saw them standing in a front row pew, holding a Bible, making a joyful noise to the Lord.

Armed with Map Quest directions, I was able to find the First Baptist Church without making a single wrong turn.  Instead of pulling directly into the parking lot that was across the street from the side of the church, I parked on the street where I was afforded a clear view of the main entrance.  The trip had taken less time than I anticipated so I was one of very few cars nearby.

I turned off the car, rolled down my window and sat quietly, watching each car arrive.  Every new arrival made my stomach clench, my heart skip a beat.  Is that Daddy James??  Will Jaymie come to try and prevent me from creating even more trouble for her family?  It was quite warm in the car, but that isn't why I was having difficulty breathing.

I ached!  It felt as though an evil elephant had planted his humongous ass on my chest!  My insides churned.  My brain and my gut were spinning.  I worried that I might hurl during the Pastor's sermon.  I had a brief humorous thought about the urgent need for barf bags to be placed on the back of each pew just like the airlines do.
It's really no wonder I was so sick to my stomach.  You would be too if you had reached the epicenter of Crazy Town.  It's a brutal vortex.  Low oxygen and extreme gravitational pull...straight down into hell.

After watching the gathering of church goers file through the front doors for nearly an hour, I knew it was time to, as my mom used to say...Shit or get off the Pot.  I don't why I went in. I didn't know what I'd do, what to expect.  Daddy James was no where to be seen.  I've never been a fan of idle threats.  I guess I just couldn't see going home without following through.
Usually being a person that always does what she sets out to do is admirable.
In this case, it was nothing but lunacy with quite a bit of masochism thrown in.

Right before I assumed services were to begin, I got out of the car, headed to the steps in front. There I met an elderly gentleman.  He walked right up to me and offered his hand.  "Hello, young lady."  (Already liked him.  He called me young!)
He introduced himself and welcomed me to services.  He was so happy I was joining their little congregation for services that morning.
I managed a smile and as I shook his hand I said, "I'm Shawn.  Thank you so much."

I walked into the foyer.  Such a simple church.  Nothing fancy here.  Remember, this was a neighborhood of limited means.  I found a seat on the far left, in the last row, right on the edge by the aisle.  Escape route appropriate.

I sat quietly, barely looking around for Daddy James.  Mostly staring at my lap or the front of the church.  Looking for salvation in all the holy symbols hanging there.
Cue the water works.....Not just whimpering, not merely crying.  Bawling.  Sobbing into my hands, dripping snot on my pants while straining to suck in breath while making no noise.
Yeah...that won't attract attention or anything.

Within a minute, a woman that I later learned was the Pastor's wife came over to me.  She didn't ask me what was wrong.  She was in no way intrusive, just concerned and armed with Kleenex.  She said she was glad I was there and she hoped I enjoyed the service.  I nodded and accepted the snot rags with great gratitude.

All the members here seemed older.  I think they liked the idea of a newbie, a soul to save that might bring something fresh to their beloved place of worship.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think that's why they were so unbelievably kind to me.  It's just a bit of an off topic observation.

The church had a Welcome Wagon Tag Team.  Next, I met Madeline.  She offered comfort.  Asked if I needed help.  I said, "No thank you.  I just hoped to find some peace here."
Cue the lightening!  Hard to believe God didn't fry my butt right there in that hard, wooden pew!
I hadn't come for peace.  I had come to perpetuate my war, my vendetta.  That was not to be.  (Thank God!)  Daddy James was no where to be seen.

Madeline gave me a pamphlet that described weekly meetings and group counseling for those in crisis. She shared that these meeting helped her when her husband had passed recently.  I was extremely grateful, but I could not wait for her to leave me alone!  The more kindness that was wasted on me, the heavier my soul became.  The guilt was almost unbearable.  I thanked her and told her that, for now, I just wanted to sit in the back and pray for guidance.  She graciously left me alone, after offering a gentle hug.

The sermon began.  In an opening prayer the Pastor thanked the Good Lord for bringing new faces to services that day.  The poor man had no idea how unwelcome I should have been.  Only I knew my intentions for joining them on this Sunday and that knowledge nearly suffocated me as he spoke.

For nearly an hour, through his sermon (Can't remember a word of it) I sobbed silently and I begged God to help me find a way to rid my broken heart of this intense pain but, I wasn't granted a revelation that day.
I rose quietly during the closing prayer and crept out.  I couldn't take anybody else being nice to me.  The shame I carried right then was immeasurable.  The only saving grace was that I had not talked about Jaymie to anyone.  I managed to refrain from dragging any of these lovely folks into my version of hell fire and damnation.  I walked quickly to my car.

Caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror.  Puffy, blood shot eyes, blotchy red skin.  I was a sight!  I remember shaking my head at my own reflection thinking...Who in the fuck are you anyway?? I don't even know you!  You're pathetic!

You all know, I don't wear weak well.  I needed to get back some control.  On the drive home, I began to shake off the guilt and contemplate how I could use what I'd learned from Madeline.
I wondered if Daddy James would go with me to the counseling meeting at his church?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

I am well aware that you want to hear about my day in church and I promise you will before I head off on vacation next week.  I'm sorry for the delay in sharing the pathetic details of that day but  I think you'll forgive me after you read this.

A wonderful member of the Healing Heart message boards posted this today on the Open board, which contains messages intended for both wayward spouses and the betrayed.  The entire forum is about recovery, not always reconciliation, but healing for all.

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
I have been ALL of the above!!
Right after DDay I was a carrot.  Demolished, diminished and demoralized.
For most of the first year after DDay I was such an egg!  Being an egg is no way to live!
Then, as if my prayers were finally being answered through cyberspace, I started this blog, found the Healing Heart and like a caterpillar coming out of a cocoon, I began to morph into a coffee bean!  I want to live the rest of my life as a coffee bean!

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The granddaughter then asked, "What does it mean, Grandmother?"

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them?

Personally, I choose to be coffee! 

Thanks to Laurie at RVCajun Cooking for the photo above.
Check out her blog: Cajunville

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Transference Target

I guess I should give you a little timeline clarification.  My story has reached the point of summer, 2011, around 10 months past DDay.  To refresh my memory and to be as accurate as possible, I've gone back through my sent email folder from that summer.  The day I went to church was Sunday, August 14th.  A month or so before that, I was getting myself worked up for the visit.

I had not heard a peep from Jaymie since I went to fetch all the swag from her house months ago despite the extraordinarily valiant efforts I have already shared with you.   Some might call my attempts to contact her excessive or maybe even obsessive.   I would argue that I was merely tenacious.
At home, Richard and I had days of glorious calm interspersed with days that found me in a cocoon of my own making to avoid any contact with the man I hoped to be married to forever lest I become a female preying mantis and devour him after a session of Hysterical Bonding.

All these months later, I understand exactly what molded my mode of conduct.  We've talked about the mental phenomenon before.  Transference.  The true creator at the root of my residence in Crazy Town lived under my roof, slept in my California King bed and frequently recited his repetitive anthem of apology.  He did not reside in a lower middle class neighborhood in Spring Valley.
My overwrought brain outwardly shut down when I was around Richard.  I had to stand watch over my conscience mind.  My anger was lying in wait just under the surface for a small crack in my facade to escape into the world, my world, with my kids, my job, my friends and my husband.  I feared if I allowed that much anger to contaminate my world many people I loved would be permanently scarred.

So much easier to toss the toxins at Jaymie's clan!  I gave no consideration to anyone in her world.  I used her friends and family like pawns in my game of payback chess that had no rules unless I found them to be useful.

The problem with transference (well, there are MANY problems but this one is major) is you gotta pick a reliable place to transfer the emotions or you're dealing with possible ricochet issues!  Lash out at the transfer target, but if you miss that person the shot of hatred and venom fired is bound to hit a close bystander.  In my case, the emotion of choice was anger, (Duh.) but transference also occurs when a person needs a place to put a heavy load of love. I had previously had transference training. When Richard and I couldn't have kids right away, I was the best cat and dog Mommy in San Diego County.

I was running out of targets.  I feel no need to bore you with the list again.  (You're welcome)  I was out of targets, but still loaded for bear with ammo.  I aimed at my primary transference target via text throughout the month of July.   The shots never hit their intended mark and since I could not allow them to become impaled in anyone near me, I adjusted my sights and found an ambitious bull's eye that would surely earn me a conversation with my primary target, Jaymie.

Daddy James has been an active member of the First Baptist Church of Lemon Grove for many years.  He told me all about the place the day I told him his daughter wasn't the angel he had hoped he spawned.  That place would be a veritable Transference Target range!
I really didn't want to go.  I never thought I'd go.  The idea was too outrageous to comprehend.  Sent many texts asking for Jaymie to contact me or else.  Sent them to her, sent them to Geek Boy Kevin.  They had grown very good at ignoring me.

Saturday night, August 13th, I told Richard where I was going the next day even though, at the time, I still didn't think I'd waste the gas on the 30 minute drive.  After DDay, he never told me what to do...or at least he never told me what NOT to do.  He was so afraid of my wrath or even worse, my periods of cocooning.  He was as needy as a new born.  To anger me meant emotional starvation to him.
Richard was an enabler for me during my stay in Crazy Town.  He wanted me to have what I said I needed to move forward, a face off with Jaymie.  He would have strapped her ass to a target the size of Mt. Rushmore to keep me from aiming at him.

Sunday morning, August 14th, I woke up, showered, dressed and drove south.  It was almost like an out of body experience.  I didn't wanna go.  I had no idea what I'd do when I got there.  I drove down the 67 South trying to find the spark of anger in my heart that I had been tending for 10 months, but I couldn't.  It had been smothered by a tidal wave of despair.