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 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!

9 comments:

trishinreallife said...

I can definitely relate to being all 3...

Anonymous said...

Coffee beans for me! The more important question though is what are our wayward spouse's post-affair? I often worry, even get angry when I feel that my husband is being a limp carrot. I feel that his affair happened in the context of our lives when I wasn't the strong one....broken by a series of difficult years coming to terms with our son's illness. Rather than be the rock I needed him to be, he escaped reality with a nerdy home wrecker during the darkest most challenging hours of our family. I own the fact that I was depressed and neglected him while I withdrew into myself the year prior to the affair. I became obsessed with medical research and talking to our son's doctor's, then took a leave from my job to engage my pre-occupation full time (a paid one so it wasn't a major source of additional stress, but having another baby was). By the way, I was also pregnant with our second when this happened. Our baby was almost a year old when I discovered it. I can relate to the additional boat loads of hurt betrayal can cause at that time. My heart goes out to the other poster that discovered her husband's lying and cheating just days before giving birth. :(

I also can't look at pictures from what should have been a very happy time in our lives and know what I know now....it's all tainted and somedays I feel so sad about it that I wonder if I will ever be the same. BTW, coffee can be bitter too when overcooked.

As for how they are post-affair and how we are, I'm left feeling like I need to heal, but I need to keep it together. I can't afford to crumble or go to Crazy Town. I have to be the coffee bean! That's alot of pressure and uneasiness. Also a lot of anger, because when I see his moments of weakness I am left wondering what's next in our lives and how will he handle it? Will he ever be strong enough to support me through a difficult time? Sometimes the relationship feels lopsided...in terms of the strength we bring to it and what we get out of it in return.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: You must be so strong. I can't imagine dealing with a sick child and infidelity at the same time. I hope you and your family are a happy, healthy bunch of coffee beans now.

I don't know if 'what are our WHs' is a MORE important question than what we want to be, but it's a major factor. I try very hard to remember that I can not allow Richard's choices to set the tone for my life. I can only control what I do, how I react.

But your question made me think...what was Richard after DDay? He was most definitely a soggy, limp carrot! He was soooo beat up! He was never the egg. Never angry at me, never hardened no matter how far I drug him through Crazy Town.
I think he strived to be a coffee bean before I did. He learned through IC that he could not let my emotions rule his life. He knew he was sorry for what he did. He had worked his ass of for a year to prove his remorse. When he chose to find a way to be happy again, that's when I hit bottom. That's when I started this blog. He was healing. I wasn't. He was becoming a coffee bean and I was still an egg on good days and a pitiful carrot on others.
It's nice to finally be on the same page!!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Erica said...

I'm the gal who found out 5 days before our twins were born. I'll forever feel robbed of what should have been a glorious (albeit exhausting) time in life. Instead I was a limp carrot barely able to keep its color. Life was sooooooo rough back then (2.5 years ago now).

I'm definitely an egg now though, which probably came from craving egg salad each & every day when pregnant. (YUK!) Seriously, though, now I'm hardened. My H & I had a huge fight last night & this morning & don't know how we'll continue and I'm sad but mostly numb. Hard. Like an egg. I *want* to be coffee (though I hate the taste of coffee, but whatever) but I still harbor so much resentment & hatred inside that I won't allow myself to be truly kind of my H. We have many, many happy times and he's a ridiculously devoted dad to our now 2.5 year olds. For me it's mostly about s-x. Although we *attempt* s-x 3 or so times a week I tend to shut down, get hard, think horrible murderous thoughts about him & the OW (not that I would ever do anything) and then when s-x stops then it's like a light switch that turns back off. We've done intense individual & couples therapy for 2.5 years now and have great doctors helping us, but I can't seem to get over this hurdle. Any input? (Sorry for the ramble!!!)

BS said...

Anonymous:

You must have read my mind. I was thinking exactly what you were thinking all weekend.

When things got tough because I was admittedly emotionally distant after a series of family deaths close together....my father, my favorite aunt, a favorite uncle, he sought comfort in another women.

The therapists claim that the majority of the time, a man cheats for sex and attention and ego strokes and a women cheats to upgrade to a better husband, because they feel neglected in some way and have already decided to check out of the marriage.

Many times, during our marriage we hit financial snags, due directly to my husband's poor choices that caused us financial difficulty on the verge of ruin.

At those times, I often met men who would come on to me, in a powerful way, yet, I CHOSE to remain faithful.

This is the part that upsets me greatly about infidelity. It's the future.....just like you I wonder what if we run into rough emotional times again....will he cheat again?

That nagging, albeit very normal concern does sour things almost permanently.

I read somewhere that a man said his wife's affair, even though they had reconciled, felt like a life sentence of doubt and suspicion about her behavior when out alone or at work.

He said he hated being that way, because he prior trusted her fully.

I do so understand that concern.

Yes, my husband is working hard to be a better husband.

Still, he already showed the way he cracks under pressure.

It is really sad because even my husband now admits that we had good relationship, prior to the affair, even when I was a bit withdrawn.

I wish I could let go of that fear, but I also know that will never happen, nor should it.

Anonymous said...

Recent development for me (the earlier anonymous poster that talked about the burden of feeling like I can't let my emotions run amuck...husband suffered what may have been a heart attack, or as doctor mentioned, maybe a severe panic attack (we're still doing tests to get to the bottom of it). Of course I am concerned foremost about his health. I love him dearly. But I also feel terrified now to "talk" to him about the feelings that I still have about the affair, for fear that I will contribute to his anxiety. Funny thing is that when the doctor said, "well your bloodwork has come back normal", do you have any stress in your life?" I had to bite my tongue...he responded with all this situational stress about his job, the commute, etc., then mentioned that we seperated for a while and almost divorced, but have reconciled and he considers that a good thing. Yeah, I thought, it is good. But I couldn't help but wonder if guilt, shame, remorse was eating at him now, and in any way contributing to his health issue. I tried to talk to him about that concern, and he denies that this is a factor, and constantly says he doesn't feel stressed about us. What's weird is that I don't know how that makes me feel. I don't even know if I buy it, if he is just really that capable of compartmentalizing (in which case that makes me feel uneasy), is that out-of-touch with his feelings (also an uncomfortable proposition for his personal growth), or is truly that optimistic and confident about us (in which case he's a super-hero that moves forward and doesn't dwell on past mistakes far better than I do). I'm feeling really empy today....keep swallowing back my own impending anxiety. Don't know how to get through the week with all of it bottled up and just feel like it's starting to make me feel awkward with my husband. I hate the way I feel right now.

Mel said...

I just read an above post about sex after affair. It has been over a year for me now and sex just feels like sex. It used to be special, ours alone, and now it simply feels like a great medication when feeling down. It has no meaning except to get abit of a release. I can't help but feel like what ever we do he did with her so nothing is special. I am saddened to feel this way, but now feel harded like the egg inside. I have the attitude, "it is what it is!". Would love to hear if I am alone. Shaun you are so amazing with your honesty on this post. Thank you.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous with the WH's health concerns:
I still have a twinge (sometimes much more than a twinge) of weirdness everyday. I question my emotions, my words and my actions from time to time wondering if I really have a grip on my intentions. I think Richard does, too.

I try very hard to NOT continue to dwell on the affair or punish Richard every time the affair pops into my head. (which is still numerous times a day, but getting easier to block) My intention is to focus on the future!! But, you can't always do that. Sometimes you gotta handle today first. There's an old saying, "The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions." I think that's only true if we lie to ourselves about what we need and what we want. I find that when I hold back my emotions from Richard, I begin to get cold and nasty. Who needs that shit? Might as well get it out there, talk through it and move on!
Richard hated himself for a long time. He still has deep regret but I think the self-loathing is over. Sometimes I remind him that talking it out might lighten his load because now we both have the same intentions....a better, happier, long life together.

Did any of that make sense? My long winded point is...if you hate how you feel, if your WH is holding in stress and anxiety, you could do each other a favor and share your burdens. You carry some for him and I bet he will be happy to carry a lot for you.
Communication is key. If you can't tell your WH how you're feeling, try writing it in a letter or email. Suggest that to him, too. Sometimes just getting it all out there moves you forward.
It'll get easier. We wanna help, so please let us know how you're doing on your Road to Happy. OK?
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Mel: A year ain't that long. Most betrayed spouses are just finding the starting line on the Road to Happy around a year out. For me, I found the starting line around 14 months post DDay, but I tripped all over my sorry self for a year trying to get a solid pace going! I was an egg! After I stopped directing my bitterness and anger at Jaymie, Richard caught the left-overs! That was rough! Some really good days, but many down right shitty ones.
I get the "it is what it is" attitude, but you deserve better. It's gonna take time but if you really wanna get to a better place, you can. Just like I said to the anonymous commenter above, you gotta communicate exactly what you want/need/feel to your WH. Richard always wants to know what I'm thinking or feeling these days! He still needs reassurance that we're on the same page. I need to know what he feels, too. Talk it out!
Let me know how it goes.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn