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, November 5, 2013

Rock Bottom

I guess what THEY say (who in the hell THEY are escapes me!) about Rock Bottom is true.  At least it was for me.  I had to hit Rock Bottom to begin my walk up on the Road to Happy.  The email from Daddy James threw me down hard onto the floor of the dark corner of Crazy Town known as Rock Bottom.

How about this for a lead in understatement?  Daddy James was pissed.  I had no idea what he might do about it.  My best guess was after he sent his email to Richard, Pastor Jeff and I, he wouldn't do a damn thing.  For so long I had hoped for a confrontation with Jaymie.  I didn't care where, court would have suited me just fine.

When I look back now, I can't even remember WHY I wanted to confront Jaymie.  Did I have an exhaustive list of questions that begged for answers?  Was I boldly determined to unleash Royal Bitch on her?  Rake her over the coals, squash her under my heal and make her cower?  Or was it more about continual punishment, making her suffer as I was by causing turmoil in her life?
Probably all of the above to some degree.

The threat of a restraining order or a harassment lawsuit did nothing to mitigate my intense focus on Jaymie.  BUT....the email from Daddy James did throw a switch on my guilt-o-meter.  If his email was accurate, I had managed to piss off a Pastor!  I mean, I'm not a church going girl, but I understood that you had to commit a fairly heinous crime for a pastor to be infuriated with you!  They are supposed to be forgiving, right?  Compassionate, right?  If Pastor Jeff was incensed with me, I must be undeserving of those sympathetic emotions!  I had clawed and battled for months to purchase my own personal piece of real estate in Rock Bottom.  I had finally arrived, moved in and set up house.

I decided to write to Pastor Jeff to sooth my guilty soul.  I needed to convince him I was not a demon in Betrayed Wife's clothing.  My conscience required I repent for my sins against his church.  I emailed him with this:

I need to write and tell you how sorry I am for bringing you and your church into my messy life.  Jim was only partially right about my intentions.  My only goal has been to get Jaymie to talk to me.  I have so many questions about her relationship with my husband, Richard, that only she can answer.  I keep hoping that if I can fill in the gaps about what happened, then I'll know if I can ever forgive Richard and get past this.

So, in that regard, I was using your church for my own purposes.  BUT...when I got there, I knew I could never do anything like that no matter how desperately I want answers.  Even sitting in the parking lot, I was horrified at myself.  I almost drove away, but then I thought maybe I could find some hope inside.  I couldn't believe how kind and welcoming you all were to me.  I felt so guilty, undeserving of your kindness.  That's why, I didn't say a thing.  I didn't go up to anyone.  I sat in the back hoping there would be a message for me in your sermon.  Praying that God might speak to me and help me heal my broken life.

I'm bawling like a baby as I type this.  My heart is so broken.  I am so lost.
And, I am so sorry.  I will never bother you or anyone at your church ever again.

I realize that my feeble attempts to manipulate Jaymie into helping me were not well thought out.  I know now that she'll never help me.  She begged my husband to leave me.  Why would she want to help me?
Guess I need a plan B.
Again, I can't apologize enough.  I am not able to find forgiveness in my heart, but I pray you can.

Never heard from Pastor Jeff.  Not a word.  He didn't respond to forgive me or chastise me.  He may not be a saintly forgiving type of church leader, but he was smart.  I think he was right to ignore me.  He couldn't help me.  Even a quick email of forgiveness would have been wasted on me then.
The one part of my note to him that rings completely true is:  I AM SO LOST.  He surely didn't have a map that would lead me out of Rock Bottom.

That was August 20th, 2011.  For a few weeks after this, I rarely left Rock Bottom.  Without the energy or even the will to be angry, I wallowed in the lowermost region of Crazy Town.  I drank too much and slept too little.  I hated Rock Bottom.  Or, to be more accurate...I hated ME at Rock Bottom because it felt like surrender.  I was giving up on my marriage.  I had been defeated.
It would take numerous weeks for me to realize that this quote from JK Rowling could work for me. It can work for you too.  Focus on this...Once you hit Rock Bottom, you got no where to go but up!


PinkStellar said...

Hello Shawn, I just want to tell you that you help me a lot with your blog. Keeps me sane. Thank you. Please keep on inspiring us. and oh, I like that JK Rowling quote. God bless you. :)

Anonymous said...

I am a few years behind you, but I can so feel the pain of that time in your life..We have dates in common... total coincidence. The day you started this blog, my D Day; the day you hit rock bottom-a trigger for me: the anniversary of this awful thing going on for year, the turd's birthday, and the end of a week-long international holiday I thought was work-related, taken on limited household resources, and while I cared for our new baby at home. It took another 5 months before I discovered it. And another 4 before all the lies had finally come out and my husband was beyond the self delusion created by excessive guilt.I ramble though, I really just had a question for you. Where was Richard at this stage in your process of healing? What did he do for you at this time? Was he quiet, afraid to bring it up because of his own discomfort? Or did he jump in and try to save you and the marriage? Now 2 years out, I don't know if I have hit rock bottom yet or if I ever will. My husband is incredibly supportive, and loving but not always quick to acknowledge my pain when he knows it's on my mind. Somedays I wish he would jump in and save me from my thoughts and feelings more, not be a coward; but he often tiptoes around instead. just wondering what others experience from their ws this far along in healing the wounds.

shawn thewife said...

(((PinkStellar))) You don't have to thank me. I should be thanking you. My readers keep me focused on healing. That's what telling my story does for me. It is my method of healing. My readers are my support system. They comfort me, they challenge me and they advise me.
I, too, love that quote. It empowers me.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: 2 years out is enough time to begin walking a solid path on the Road to Happy...For SOME betrayed spouses. There are no rules to healing, no timelines that work for everyone. Only you know what you need to start focusing on NOW and tomorrow instead of THEN and yesterday. It's a battle with yourself.
I'm glad your WH is trying to be supportive. if you need more, if you require something specific, you gotta tell him. Open, totally honest communication was key for Richard and I. You asked what Richard was doing while I was laying on Rock Bottom....he suffered silently, consumed by guilt. He hated himself for causing me such agony. He craved the moments that I showed him affection. He prayed everyday that our marriage would survive. He never told me what to do. Never said leave Jaymie and her family alone. He did always ask me to please tell him if he could help me. He did NOT like to talk about the details of the affair, but he would if I asked. He said he hated subjecting me to the torment over and over.
It sounds like your WH is a lot like that. He doesn't want to hurt you anymore, but he does not know how to help you. MC can help with that. It was a HUGE help for us.
You have found a safe place here. I hope we can help you find your Road to Happy. Walking with friends makes the journey much easier. Not easy...but easier.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

I just want to say I look forward to your blogs so much that I check back for them often. What I don't understand about this particular blog is, why were you depending on Jaymie so much at this point, even months past DDay? I don't understand why you wanted her to give you answers that your husband should've been giving you. Luckily when I was cheated on, I got all the answers I needed out of my wayward, even the brutally honest ones. A timeline, emails, dates...anything I needed. He did that for me so I could move on. Why didn't your husband do the same for you? It wasn't jaymie's responsibility to give you any truth. IT IS, WAS, AND WILL ALWAYS BE RICHARD'S RESPONSIBILTY TO GIVE YOU THE COLD HARD TRUTH OF HIS BETRAYAL.

shawn thewife said...

Anonymous: The answer to your question is...I was a Crazy Town resident! Hell, I could've run for Mayor!
I had never felt pain of that magnitude. I didn't know how to deal with it all so in my confusion and agony, I convinced myself Jaymie could tell me what was going on in Richard's head. If I could piece together WHY he cheated, I could decide if our marriage was worth the work to repair the damage he caused. Why didn't I just listen to all Richard told me? Please refer to the reason above.
Looking back I also think I had an ulterior motive. Making Jaymie's life suck was not unpleasant.
Do you get it now? Sometimes I wonder if I even get it. It's hard for me to face the fact that I was so out of control. I am KNOWN for being the rational one, the fixer, the one with all the answers. Under duress...maybe not so much.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

bs said...


IMO, it's not in your best interest to expect your husband to read your mind.

If you are being triggered or feel low and need comfort, why not tell your spouse you are being triggered?

At first, I would just let myself be triggered and then rant and rage like a wild women or a wounded bear.

But now I tell my husband I am being triggered, and he comforts me, and the feelings pass much more quickly and without the need for me to unload a round of emotional buckshot into his chest.

The good news with us is that there are a lot of things that have improved for me, when I actually bother to stop to think about this.

One of my counselors told me he has seen many marriages plagued by infidelity where the self indulgent cheating spouse finally woke up, after realizing how much pain he caused, and becomes the spouse he should have always been.

For me, I was always a saver. I was always saving money and depriving myself luxuries so that my husband could take risky career paths and not feel pressured.

I always put HIS needs first.

The counselors told us I was a giver and he was all too glad to take, although he is not necessarily only the taker type. He can be a giver, too, and is one now.

Me being just a giver stopped after the affair because I realized he was spending the money I was saving on a pampered whore, who already had a husband who pampered the heck out of her. He pampered her because she demanded to be pampered.

And, you know what, my cheating husband pampered her, too. Because, she DEMANDED to be pampered.

Now, I buy whatever I need or whatever I want that we can afford.

I never deprive myself to make my husband's life easier.

Also when things needed to be done around the house, I always wasted my time to get three estimates so I could get the best price.

Now, I just get an estimate and if I like the contractor I give him the job. No more wasting my time to get a lower-priced estimate.

I am not the princess the OW is and was, but I am no longer a giver, who needs nothing in return. I demand to be given things I need, too.

My husband now also values my contributions more and admits that he was trying to maintain his single man's independence, even while married.

He now realizes how wrong and problematic that was.

Anyway, I am rambling, but things can be better for the loyal spouse. It's sad that an affair has to sometimes taint a marriage for that to happen.

Still, I was way too trusting, too giving, and gave him waaaaaaay too much personal freedom for a married man because I did not want to be one of those suspicious, nagging, controlling wives.

In the end though, we loyal spouses at some point need to make a conscience decision to stop punishing our spouses. We do need to let go without forgetting, if our husband's are remorseful and have changed.

If we don't make a clear decision to stop wanting revenge or justice, or whatever vague thing we think we need to heal, it will be more difficult to heal and without healing as much as we can, the reconciliation will not be a good one.

BS said...


I just want to add this caveat to my last post.

I am not saying that an affair is good for a marriage and can make it better.

It's a bomb. It's the worst thing that can happen. It's a risky way to try to improve a marriage because many times it simply backfires and destroys the marriage.

All I am saying is that we can learn a few things from it because it brings out all the issues in a marriage that may have never been discussed prior, particularly for the loyal spouse.

The issues finally get discussed and with that discussion change is now possible.

michele said...

Oh Gosh,
I am still reeling a year after H's affair with a much younger woman. It is at the point where I pray to God that I don't wake up each morning!
The anger, love, hatred, self loathing I feel are irrelevant feelings to H who feels I should have 'moved on'.
If anyone could offer me any advice that would be great as I feel like I am trying to carry fog and getting absolutely nowhere
Thank you

shawn thewife said...

Michele: My Road to Happy didn't start until over a year after the affair. Hence, the name of my blog. I could not get out of my own way and begin to focus on tomorrow instead of yesterday. That's why I started to write. I used the blog to purge poison.
You gotta try to find something to help you shake it up. Something that will get you out of the deep rut an affair can create in your life.
I highly recommend The Healing Heart online message boards. The link is at the bottom of my blog under Support & Compassion Found Here. Having others that truly understood my struggle share their experiences and offer me comfort and advice was the key to my survival. I hope you'll visit the site.
If I can help you as you heal, please consider me a friend. We are stronger when we walk together.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn