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, November 21, 2013

Facing my Real Enemy

The last scathing email from Daddy James was the proverbial straw that demolished my broken heart into dust.  Just a short time before, I would have considered the email chastising my trip to the church a challenge.  I would have been thrilled to know I was making Jaymie's family squirm.
Not this time. After receiving the most recent email tongue lashing, I crumbled.  I had no more fight left in me. It was almost time to raise the white flag of surrender.

My first reaction after reading the email from Daddy James was to seek atonement from the Pastor.  I remember I completely lost it.  I was sobbing so hard I had to strain to catch my breath as I wrote to Pastor Jeff.  I shared that email with you here: Rock Bottom
I may have dared to hope the Pastor might offer me some guidance.  That didn't happen.  Never heard a single pastoral peep from the man after I sent him the email of contrition.  Daddy James must have been right on.  That Pastor was pissed.....pissed and wise enough to steer clear of my marital mayhem.

My story timeline is now nearing the end of August, 2011, not quite a year after DDay.  I wasn't close to finding my Road to Happy.  I thought that Road might be permanently shut down for me.  No passage allowed!  Not surprising that I couldn't see my way to the Road.  My real enemy had set up blockades so high and deep there was no way I could get a visual.
The real enemy threatened to smother me by fighting any attempts I may have made at moving forward.

I so wanted to kick my enemy's ass but I had no clue how I could accomplish that.  At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel.  For nearly a year, I had managed to distract myself from my real enemy.  Bad form.  If only I had been smart enough, strong enough and brave enough to face my real enemy, I am certain I would have spared myself a massive amount of suffering.

But....the real enemy scared the ever loving crap out of me on a daily basis.  No wonder I avoided facing the person that was making my life hell.  Truly, not a day went by that my real enemy didn't do something to strike fear in my dilapidated heart.  

Here's where I had trouble.....I really didn't understand who my real enemy was.  I didn't get it at all.  Jaymie wasn't my real enemy.  Daddy James considered me an enemy, but he was never mine.  Certainly Geek Boy Kevin was not enemy material.

My mind began to shift inward.  I'm not saying I gave up on getting answers from Jaymie just yet, but in my rational moments, I knew the answers for all my questions about Richard's infidelity would never come from her.  You may think I felt Richard was my real enemy.  Logical conclusion, but no.  The grand title of My Real Enemy belonged exclusively to me.

24 comments:

BS said...

Hi Shawn:

Well I hope this blog eventually ends up with you forgiving yourself for whatever "Crazytown" stuff you engaged in.

Whatever you did is so beyond understandable. I am truly surprised that the Pastor never responded to your letter.

What Kind of man of God is he, to leave you fearing he was angry at you? There was no reason for him to be angry at you.

He should have been kind and understanding of your very normal behaviors given your emotional plight.

Reading your blog has helped me process the affair in my own marriage more objectively.

I can now see both the good and the bad of the affair.

In the end, my painfully honest in-depth analysis shows that the good outweighs the bad, at least for me.

From my outside perspective, albeit a limited one, the good outweighs the bad in your marriage too, based on the way you now describe your marriage, in this blog.

The good for me was:

- Better communication

- A husband that is more generous than ever and far more loving and attentive.

- The changes in me, too were good. I now ask for what I need from him, in a clear, calm logical way. I also listen to what he says he needs from me.

- I also have examined any factors inherent in my own behavior that may have caused him to seek an affair.

I know, I know, most people say the loyal spouse is never ever to blame for the affair.

But, my analysis, when honest, shows me that is not true.

I definitely played a part in my husband seeking an affair, in many ways.

Whether that meant being to mothering of him, or somewhat neglectful of tending to the relationship and allowing weeds to grow in its garden, unabated, or simply giving him too much freedom.

In retrospect, when bluntly honest, I see that we had slipped into a pattern of living like two disgruntled roommates rather than lovers.

We were living separate lives, filled with separate interests, like married singles.

We both were neglectful of each other and allowed things to become too routine, and we had both eventually started to fail to communicate properly.

As all the experienced counselors say, the affair was a wake up call. It can improve a marriage

It was and it did improve my marriage.

It absolutely improved my marriage. There is no way to dispute that.

The one factor that was lost was my naive trust. Something that should have been discarded long ago, anyway.

That's not to say that I never trigger anymore. I do, and likely always will.

At those times I am consumed with anger and self righteousness. It now subsides quickly. I have learned to sooth myself at those times, so as not to rail uncontrollably at my husband.

Learning to self-sooth took time, though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn,
It really baffles me...yeah, you were in Crazytown, but I bet before the affair you were perfectly sane. Do you think Jaymie saw herself as the victim, both from Richard's obvious using her and your calling her out afterwards? Did she not realize (and her dad, and her boyfriend, and her pastor) that she played a HUGE role in sending you off the rails?

shawn thewife said...

BS: I don't abide by the blame game for betrayed spouses. My feeling is even if you were the wicked wife of the west, your WH should have left you or tried to talk to you about what he needed instead of cheating.
That said...I totally agree that after an affair, we MUST analyze what we can change to make our marriages stronger and happier. After DDay, I began to see there were some problems in my marriage, although, there were pretty damn minuscule! Like...Richard tried to tell me ONCE that he was struggling with aging. I kind of blew him off with a Toughie Pants line about sucking it up. Not too compassionate.
Richard would be the first to tell you we had a great marriage...not OK, not just good, GREAT. He even told Jaymie that! He did tell her our marriage lacked passion. So there's another thing I wanna improve as we move forward.
I learned some things about myself, too. For one...I am NOT as tough as I thought.
Another is I need to be a better listener and be there for my husband when he needs me. AND...do my part to bring a little spice and romance back into our lives.
I am grateful for the chance to make my marriage even better after 30 years. I'm glad my experience has helped you a bit, too.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: I'm fairly certain Jaymie totally feels like a victim, but I also think she gets what a colossal mistake it was to have an affair with my husband. She might not get the magnitude of the damage caused by infidelity, but she MUST know she screwed up. I mean, she'd have to comatose to not get Richard was a very poor choice after all the havoc I brought down on her life, Right??
You'd win your bet about me being sane before Crazy Town, but I have always had the tendency to fight not flee from confrontation. I'm seriously trying to mellow with age!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Lisa S. said...

It never was Jaymie's responsibility to give you the answers you needed...IT WAS RICHARDS!!! If my husand didn't answer every single little f*cking detail I questioned, guess what...I was gone. And so he did, as he should. I don't understand why some women seek out the truth from the OW. Your hubby was there, he's the one who did this to you, he's the one who made a commitment to you ~>ASK HIM!

BS said...

Lisa:

I think the main gist of Shawn's blog is that she agrees with you.

Her message from my perspective, is to tell other wives not to waste their energy on the OW.

She did, and her blog repeatedly states that it Shawn think it was a mistake.

But I agree, IMO, the OW is like the bird poop a stray pigeon drops on your shoulder when sitting on an awning in the City, that you have randomly stepped under.

Bird poop, ugh. Just wipe it off and move on.

shawn thewife said...

Lisa S.: Wow! Why don't you tell me what you really think?? LOL!
I love a woman that has an opinion and ain't afraid to shout about it....even if it may be misplaced.

One of two things happened here....either you have not read all of my blog or I haven't been clear enough about the fact that I got it all wrong the first year after DDay. Let me try to clarify.

All answers after DDay need to come from the wayward spouse. The affair partner should be disposed of quickly, like gum on the bottom of your shoe. If you like the shoe, scrape off the gum, throw it away and then do your best to clean up the shoe. There are so many obvious reasons for realizing right away that the OW is not just irrelevant to recovery but detrimental if she remains anywhere in the vicinity!
Here's my top two: You can ask her all the questions you want, but WHY would you believe anything she says?? She has absolutely no reason to want to help you heal.
This next reason pertains to desire for payback: You can never hurt her the way she hurt you. NEVER. So why waste precious energy??

So, Lisa S....I thank you for your gentle suggestion that I focus on my wayward hubby and I am happy to say...already did that. It's working for me.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

BS:
I just referred to OWs as gum on the bottom of your shoe, but I think I like Bird Poop Better!!
LOL!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

flaca said...

I, too, am bothered by the pastor who did not respond to you. I think that's not very appropriate for someone in his role. Who cares how 'crazy' you were? His job is to minister to those in pain.

Thanks again so much for sharing your story! Its so engaging and I see so much of myself in it.

Right now I am working toward facing myself as well. Not blaming myself for the affair, that's never gonna happen, but I want to face and repair IN myself just how I reacted to it. Just why and how did I let this affect me in such a way and why did I let it take so much from me?

It has taken me a year to pivot and recover to focus on ME. I never really focused on the OW. Like BS I kind of always knew she was trash. I cyber stalked her for a bit but I didn't rage at her. I knew she had NO interest in every 'fessing up or admitting what she did was wrong. She never will. Why waste my time? She really needs to have come to Jesus moment because when Karma comes for her... well no... I won't lie, I will not feel bad for her!

Emma Smith said...

Hey,I just discovered your blog so forgive me that I have read very little so far. I tried but some of the posts were to painful. Our experiences, although from the same source, seem very different. I stayed out of shock but realised I could never trust my hubby and left. It would have been a heck of a lot easier if it wasn't for my son. There's not a day goes by when I drive myself crazy wondering if I have let my little boy down by leaving. I feel I failed him before he was even a year old.

I live in hope that one day this horrendous pain will dull, and perhaps I will be happy again.

All the best for the course you have chosen.

Faith said...

Shawn
I haven't posted anywhere in awhile. It's been a little over a year since dd. some days are great and some days not so great. Regardless -I continue to obsess and look up the tramp everyday. I CAN'T LET GO! How did you finally get to the point that you had enough self abuse? The whore just posted somewhere that she is smiling because "the choices she made in her life have only made it better in every way." She is able to let go and be happy! She regrets nothing. I hate her. I hate me. Please help me let the bitch go. I don't like being this person!

Faith ( you may remember me from my posts on BWC and HH)

Anonymous said...

--Lost---

Hi Shawn

I am compelled to write as I have read this blog for sometime and posted may be once before. The Pastor could have simply indicated he has forgiven and move on.

Secondly, I'm my experience this has been the part that is very difficult for me. "Don't ask cause I'm not going to tell "
We have decided to forgive our WH and yet there is a condition because it is too painful for them to relive. Well what about us? Painful to know or not we are going to carry this regardless so lay it on us better than letting us go crazy in our own imagination and drawing our own conclusions.
Men are ridiculous about wanting to hide as much as possible well the worst part is revealed and everything else is gravy but we need the gravy to process and analyze it to death so that we can flipped it over and over again. That's all ! It's not going to change anything for us but it's important to hurt partner.

For me it's about still having a secret or tiny piece of that relationship that keeps it still special and sacred but if they just reveal it the relationship means nothing.

My analogy and 3 yrs since DDay and still nothing ....

Keep writing Shawn love it !

shawn thewife said...

Flaca: Somehow the fact that Pastor Jeff never responded to me didn't matter. I was so ashamed. I probably would have broken down completely if he was nice to me!
Glad you're able to focus on healing YOU.
Fixing yourself is what healing is all about! I always thought I could handle anything thrown at me. Boy, did I learn a thing a two! One of the things I hope I can share with readers is you can't heal your marriage before you heal yourself. You can't walk the Road to Happy if you can't even see the damn thing!
You and I were both over-flowing with molten lava hot anger. The only difference between you and me...I raged at the OW, you put the anger squarely where it belonged...on your WH. It's hard to pull yourself away from that much rage when you know the emotion that will fill the void is heartbreak, but you gotta face it. You can't go around it if you wanna get over it.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Emma Smith: You did not make a wrong choice if the choice you made was what was best for you. Ultimately, that is also the best choice for your son.
You didn't fail him. You made a very tough decision for yourself that will benefit him.
The pain will fade. I promise. Time is your friend. The best you can do is focus on NOW and let THEN take a backseat. Fight off the urge to second guess yourself and find the positive in choices made today.
If you need a friend to walk with you on your Road to Happy, we'll be here!
Hope & hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Faith: It's has been a while, my friend!
Letting go of the OW...you know the saying, "Nothing worthwhile is ever easy?" That is what it boils down to.

You have to retrain your brain. Shift your focus. Every minute you waste on her is a little bit more that she takes from you. Don't let that happen. When I began to understand that focusing on Jaymie meant she was taking more of me, sucking the life out of me....I began to let her go. It didn't matter if she was happy. It didn't matter if she was miserable. It didn't matter if she was in a freakin' coma. She would no longer have any influence in my life. I would not tolerate it. Not a chance in hell she was gonna mess with me anymore! I fought back by letting her go.

To rid myself of my obsession with Jaymie, I retrained my brain. I began to use a mantra each time she popped into my head. Repeat this over & over: I do not need to think about that now. It will not help me to think about that now. I will not think about that now."

Then, I shifted my thinking to what Richard was doing for me NOW. What had he done today that showed me he wanted our marriage to work? What did he do yesterday to show me how much he loved me? What could I do today to show him I appreciated his efforts?
Do you get the shift?

It takes practice but if you learn to fill your head with constructive thinking, you won't have time to dwell on useless thoughts like the OW.

Hope some of that helps you. If you allow the OW to remain in your life in any way, you're gonna be stuck. You can't move forward on your Road to Happy with her dragging you down.
Please don't disappear again!
We care and wanna help.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Susan WG said...

I think letting go is probably the most difficult part of all this but then again, when there are so many painful things how do you rank them?

I'm about 2.5 years out from the first D-Day and I lived with the boiling rage of anger for most of that time. I thought constantly about all the OW (there were lots), on-line stalked a couple, and allowed them to march into our bed every time I lay down next to my WH.

We had 3 D-Days (trickle truth) and with each one I thought "The next one won't be as painful. I've learned so much about what he did how can anything else possibly hurt more?"

WRONG!!!

With each discovery my heart broke harder and pulling myself off the floor took longer. I hit bottom with the last one. I have no idea why but the light bulb finally came on in my brain and I realized with each new detail I was only hurting myself. Yes, it was painful for my WH to answer my questions and yes, he did owe it to me to answer anything I asked, BUT...really, how was it helping me to heal with all these details? What did it matter what they looked like and how many ways they could twist their legs around his middle?

I was the one inviting them into my life and making myself miserable and they are still fucking whoever they want and living their lives. I'm not so much as a dust speck to them and they'll never understand or care about the damage they did.

I finally understood I had to let go of the constant search for names, pictures, and evidence that I am so much better than they are. Sure, I still have lots of questions and for the rest of our lives together my WH will give me the answers if I decide to ask. The difference now is, I can see that most likely the answers won't help me but they will destroy another piece of me.

It's not easy, letting go. I practice a lot of the "It'll do me no good to think about this now" thinking when a trigger happens or one of the skanks pops into my thoughts. I also concentrate on how hard my WH is working to be a better person and how many things he has done to prove to me he understands what he did to me and our family. I think about how much better our communication is and how we are really trying to make our relationship stronger and better for both of us.

Again, it's not easy and some days are really difficult to get through and the positive thinking doesn't always work but when it does, it feels so good.

Last Sunday we had a day of laying on the couch in our pajamas watching TV. I looked at my WH and was able to tell him that I loved him and really mean it for the first time since the first D-Day. I was able to tell him I thought maybe I had finally found those first steps on my way back to happy. It took more courage for me to say those words to him than I thought I had.

Again, so not easy to find your way. I'm holding my breath to get through all the holiday stress but have promised myself I will do the best I can for me.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving to you all. I'm so glad I found this blog!

shawn thewife said...

Lost: I thought I had to know ever detail of Richard;s affair. I made him recreate some of the dates he had with Jaymie for me! Nutso!!
Here's what I think NOW about knowing details of the affair....at first, it seemed imperative to know it all. NOW...I get that the details don't really matter and can actually be detrimental. Once you know it, you can't UNknow it. Those details can cause serious brain worms. NOW I wish I knew a whole lot less about the affair. I wish I had focused on how Richard was treating me after DDay instead of what he did with Jaymie before DDay.
That said...only you know what you need to help you heal. All our Roads to Happy are unique. I hope you WH finds a way to give you what you need.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

SusanWG: WOW! I am thrilled to hear you feel your walking the Road to Happy!! Yea for you!! It is such a difficult journey to get to a place where you can open your heart to love your WH again.

Holidays are always crazy, even for the most sane of us! Take good care of you and remember to slow down and appreciate the good of NOW.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Kate M. said...

Keep checking to see if you've posted again... feels like it's been longer than it really has been... yikes, does that make me a needy reader? Lol. 1st anniversary of DDay coming up in less than 3 weeks here. We're both struggling with all of the reminders surrounding us this time of year.

Somehow I've not been able to find what you wrote about J finding your blog way back when. I'd like to read that entry if you can direct me to it.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was a good one. Looking forward to your next post. You've been vital to my recovery process and I appreciate your willingness to share your story so openly more than I can express.

notsoanonymous said...

I second the last comment from Kate. You've been missed, though I'm sure you are enjoying the holiday with family. This time of year is hard for me too. I am also nearing the 2nd anniversary of my dday on dec. 28th. Any family photo or memorabilia from the year and a half period of the affair is a trigger for me. We decorated our tree yesterday and the 2010 home-made christmas ornament from my husband with all of the family's names on it, and a big heart really brings me to tears. I noticed that he quickly grabbed it and pulled it out of the box to avoid upsetting me. It was not hung on the tree but thrown in the trash....sigh. He's trying so hard now...has been for two years. Here's a question for Shawn though...if you suddenly got all of those emails you so desperately wanted back then, would you sit and read them all now? I ask because I only read one poem when I discovered the affair, which was hard enough. But I just came across another poem my husband wrote for his horse-faced ow, the first one (poem that is). He thought he had dumped all of that stuff long ago, but we have an external hard drive that does occassional backups and I found one while organizing our study. Of course, I ask in hindsight.....I read it already, and we just spent all night talking about it. I don't think it was very helpful though, and much to his dissapointment, I feel that I have taken a big step back even though its not new information, nor is it relevent to where we are now. I am trying to get a grip today and he so desperately wants me to let it go. He told me last night, in response to the direct questions raised by the poem, that he now perceives her as a desperate/pathetic person for wanting to be with the person he was, which he said was a selfish liar, and that he was "in a low/bad place." He also said that his poetry was mushy hyperbole meant to get in her pants, for an ego stroke and escape from the heaviness of our life with a sick child and a new baby. Part of me wants him to hate the OW now and have her evoke the same nauseating response in him that she does in me. But, if I accept that he did use somebody that way, then I have to accept that the man I love is capable of being the worst kind of guy there is. I never experienced that from him and it's hard to reconcile this knowledge with the person that I believe he is, and that he has always been for me before he went off the rails. I was also upset that he seemed to care so little about being thorough when he deleted it all from our lives, that he left this trace behind for me to stumble on. Are guys really this clueless? His answer was that the poetry was so insignificant that he didn't even remember writing it or where all it might have been, and he thought he removed it all long ago and hasn't thought about it since. I'd like to believe that but what does that say about the value of his words to me...his poems to me? Is his insistence that "he loves me, is in-love with me, always has been...yadda-yadda...to be believed? Sadly, I do. Somedays I wonder if I'm a fool.

shawn thewife said...

Kate M.: Jaymie found my blog fairly early on. After she found it, I almost stopped writing. I didn't want there to be any reason for her to end up back in our lives. I put the blog on private mode while I debated with myself over the pros and cons of writing. The pros won out.
This blog had become my therapist. I finally felt like I found a way to begin to heal. I wasn't gonna let that go. I had been searching for a way to move away from the pain for a year. Each of us is responsible for finding our Road to Happy. It is a very selfish endeavor. It's all about you and all ON you to find a way to move away from the pain.
So, basically, I decided Jaymie could kiss my selfish ass. I needed to write. I did pull down our last names. That was my only concession and I did that for Richard, not Jaymie.
Here's the link to "This Blog is for Me"
http://ayearaftertheaffair.blogspot.com/2012/03/this-blog-is-for-me.html
Hope your Thanksgiving found you being present and looking forward. The holidays can be brutal, but only if we let them.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

notsoanonymous: To you and Kate...I'm sorry I'm not writing more. Life has been a happy kind of hectic, but I try to be here for my readers everyday in the comments and from my email.

Now....Please believe this...You are NOT a fool. Not even close. Each of us has a different timeline to healing. The Road to Happy is traveled with many steps backward, but we have the power to continue to move forward after a mis-step.

Next... I am so sorry you found the poem, but it's good that you remember...it's from the PAST. It's not NOW. It's THEN. You will certainly need to lick your wounds for a bit, but don't let the affair take anymore of you.
AND>>>YES!! Cheaters are this clueless!! The pressures of life can make them stupid beyond comprehension! Your wayward husband sounds so much like Richard! The emails filled with sappy words of love fed the fantasy. That's all.
Very good men can sometimes do extremely bad things.

I can only suggest to you what has worked for me. I took back my life because I chose not to let the affair own me anymore. I refuse to allow what THEY did to define who I AM. I focus on my marriage NOW. Richard's actions, not his words, make me stronger. I pay great attention to the good in my life NOW. When the pain of THEN creeps in, I use my mantra to fight it off.
"I do not need to think about that now. It will not help me to think about that now. I will NOT think about that now."
Sounds dumb, right? What can I say? It works for me.

I hate that the trust is gone. It ain't an easy way to live. Still, life with him now is better than before the affair. Weird, but true. Will he cheat again? Can never be sure, but I strongly believe he won't. I do have faith that he won't. He certainly acts like he won't because Richard is the sorriest man in America and he shows me everyday how happy he is that we survived his mistakes.
Try to give yourself a break. 1 step forward, 2 steps back will change. Soon you might take 3 or 4 steps forward before you take 1 back. Then, it'll be 5 or 6 forward! You will get stronger.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Kate M. said...

Glad to hear life is a happy kind of hectic for you. It's a mixed bag here, but we're trudging through. Still haven't put up our tree but that will happen this week. We're going with a new tree and at least some new ornaments... we figure that will help a bit with the trigger/reminders.

Thank you for sharing the link to that blog entry. I know I'm one of many who are ever so grateful that you decided to continue to write. I have to say that after reading back over a lot of your old posts, including the stuff she said to you, her (gag) words to Richard, etc... well, she may have been young and certainly stupid in some ways... but 24 isn't really that young, and she comes off as pretty damned calculating and manipulative to me. I'm glad she's out of your lives. If she isn't yet wreaking havoc in someone else's, she will eventually.

shawn thewife said...

Kate M.: Jaymie, calculating?? Nah...that gives her too much credit. Richard was the calculating one! He was a master manipulator! He worked both me and Jaymie so he could have it all. Selfish prick.

I hope you can find a way to claim back some of the joy of this holiday. Try to choose happiness so you aren't ruled by the mistakes made by others.
It's hard as hell, but possible to just CHOOSE to focus on the good. Changing up the decorations sounds like a very festive start!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn