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.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Layers

I've been writing since 12/11.  If you've been a loyal reader, you are well aware of my post trauma transformation from strong, trusting, independent wife and mother into Royal Bitch, Lovelorn Lucy, Toughie Pants and Debbie Downer, to name a few of my new persona's.  Actually, if you've only read one or two posts you're probably well versed in the aftermath of my DDay, which really wasn't unlike most DDays...just the worst fucking day ever.

My story is nearly at an end, at least as far as my time in Crazy Town is concerned.  Before I type "The End", I wanna do my level best to dig deep into my crooked thinking.  I need to be done with it.  There's been substantial self analyzing to date on these virtual pages, but I feel there's more.  I may not have the writing skills or even the insight needed to break through the many layers that held my sanity hostage over those 365 days, but I'm gonna wing it anyway.

It might be a bit late for being overtly self indulgent with the details.  Some of the Haters out there may have me pegged.  I like to talk about me!  Yep, maybe I'm just as narcissistic as Richard.  You shouldn't continue reading now if you feel I'm kicking a very dead, smelly horse.  If you aren't interested in a post that could turn out to be more of the same shit, different day, at this point you should just be off like a prom dress.
I'll be finishing the story of my time in Crazy Town soon.  Please come back to enjoy the nightmare of the Retraining Order.
Now, with that warning proclaimed....

A whole miserable year had passed.  In the beginning I thought I'd be over it in a month.  Always believed there was nothing I couldn't fix.  I was the strong one.  The smart one.  If it was God that had chosen infidelity to teach me I wasn't as strong or smart as I thought....He has a real mean streak.  If it was Karma that drove the cheating husband bus over me...What in the hell did I do to deserve that??  Damn.  I must have really been nasty in a past life, maybe I was a puppy drowning pedophile.
After an entire year of thinking about the affair and very little else, why couldn't I wrap my brain around it and move on??

I think I get it now.
Here's where the layers of crazy come in.

On the surface Denial. Probably not fair to label this layer as crazy.  It was more like a layer of protection, my personal mental armor.  My sub-conscience didn't think I was capable of handling wretched reality.  I had yet to face the hard fact that there was no one to blame for my torment but Richard.  I loved him completely.   Never doubted his love for me, not for a minute.  My mind could not/would not open the door to the fact that he could injure me so deeply, so permanently, so deliberately.

Just below that layer was Transference.  Very convenient.  A real necessity when you are navigating Crazy Town.  I spread my lunacy all over the place but concentrated my efforts on Jaymie, usually under the guise of needing the emails to help me heal or declaring my absolute certainty that getting her to talk to me would be the only way I would ever be able to move past the anguish.  Jaymie never knew it, but in the altered reality of transference, she was the guardian of my heart for the first year after DDay.  She was like a decoy attracting my attention so I wouldn't notice who really broke me.

I hid Anger under my Transference.  I didn't always hide it well, but I thought I did a rather admirable job of camouflaging it most of the time.  I hailed the emails as the Holy Grail of my recovery.  It is hard to describe how I could be so sure I needed those emails, yet also know they were merely a ruse I utilized to lash out at Jaymie, the Bitch Whore.  My hate for her had unlimited bounds.  Imagine what could have happened had I unleashed that much animosity at Richard?!  There was a very thin, precarious line between my rage and the possibility of a blackness filled breakdown from which I believed I may never recover.  This layer, the one where Royal Bitch ruled, granted Richard a temporary pass. The mass majority of my scorn was directed or maybe the accurate word is deflected, toward Jaymie.
Maybe I'll thank her one day.
Yea, right!!  I'll be able to skate right on over to Spring Valley to thank her because then all hell will have frozen over!!

In the depths of my soul, was the layer I couldn't reach.  Every now and again it would attempt to surface, try to burst through a crack or two between transference and anger.  Almost daily a tiny bit seeped through my layer of Denial protection but only when I was at my most vulnerable, usually after I'd been shot down in another attempt to contact Jaymie.   This layer had to dwell at the bottom because there would have been no real life functioning for this girl if it floated to the top.  Buried so far down inside was Sorrow and total Despair.

I just had to take a very deep cleansing breath after I typed that sentence.  Whoa.  Sorrow still fills me with dread.
I think I had another layer.  Abject terror.  Terror was the thin coating around Sorrow and Despair.  Why in the hell was I so afraid to feel the heartache, to allow myself to grieve?
Unfamiliar emotions are scary as shit, that's why!!

All those layers served a valuable purpose.  The layers bought me time.  Time to find the support I really needed all along, the members of The Healing Heart.  Time to let the initial wound heal a bit.   Time to find my inner strength, not just my Toughie Pants, my personal courage, so I could begin to accept what Richard did to me, to us.

Explaining the layers to you as I clarify them for myself may help some one out there reading to understand this:
There is no set time for healing after DDay.  It's a long haul, but healing does happen.  Recovery comes in many forms.  Eventually, you're gonna peel back all the layers and find a resilient new you.


Gill said...

"Eventually, you're gonna peel back all the layers and find a resilient new you.".... I hope so, I really hope so... It's been 19 loooong months and that resilient new me is still hiding in there somewhere! Thanks for sharing your story, it helps to know there are others who have been through the crazies and survived!

Eat My Scabs said...

That is exactly what i found too. Going through all the hell brought me to a new resilient, strong, self-aware me. I love the new me more than i loved the old me. now what does the new me want to do...

shawn thewife said...

Gill: You'll get there.
We can't depend on others to fix us, that includes the cheaters. It helps if the wayward spouse shows true remorse, but it is still up to us to choose whatever form that comes in!

I needed the support of others that had walked the Road to Happy before me. They were my guides, but they couldn't walk the path for me. They tried to show me the way but I had to take the steps myself. We all do.
Keep looking inside for your inner strength, your courage. We are all stronger than we think we are.
Challenge yourself to start walking your Road to Happy. It will happen.
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

shawn thewife said...

Scabs: Self-aware is such a good term! I am so much more self-aware! That comes with a price. I'm not sure I like the new me so much just yet.

There's a lot of good...I see how I have persevered. I am proud of leaving Crazy Town behind and that I found a way to love Richard just as much as before, but without trust. That was tricky!

Then, there's the not so good...I miss the confidence I used to have. I also see how manipulative I can be. I know I wear anger so much easier than sorrow. Sometimes I truly am disappointed (I almost said HATE) in my emotional shortcomings. When I struggle with a situation or I'm dealing with strong emotions, I write. That is how I become self-aware.
I have a long way to go to be the person I really want to be. That's just part of my Road to Happy. I gotta keep walking.
I'm very happy for you, my friend. I believe the new you is going to do amazing things!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled accross your blog after searching for some kind of comfort in dealing with my husbands betrayl about 9 months ago. My decision to stay with my husband after his remorse and sorrow is proving to be a struggle in finding true happiness again (which i want so much) and the struggle in my mind of the hurt and pain he has caused.
Reading parts of your blog helps me believe Im doing the right thing and that time will help me through.

Anonymous said...

Why not thank jaymie? She saved you lots of money in private investigator fees. Some wives hire decoys just to entrap their hubbies just to see if they'd cheat. I can't speak because my ex's OW did speak to me & I did thank her. And then I came to my senses 3 years later & dumped him. I do believe your painful layers have a lot to do with your past traumas, maybe even some abandonment issues & Richard's cheating was just the trigger to set those traumas off again. I hope you find the courage to be on your own again before you die. Life iswaitiing for you. IS THERE FORGIVENESS IF YOU CANNOT FORGET?

BS said...

Excellent blog Post, Shawn.

I agree with "eat my Scabs." After my husband's affair, I found a new me, a more self aware, eventually more confident, very resilient, and also REALISTIC me.

I see your confidence, even if you don't.

I also think I should thank the other women.

I am also glad I stuck around to work things our with my husband. It hasn't been easy, but in the end, things have improved for me in my marriage.

My husband, too, is a changed man. He realized he doesn't want to be that guy that cheats on his wife.

He has stated over and over that he didn't appreciate what he had in me, an honest faithful wife, and doesn't know how he could have been attracted to someone like the OW.

To that end, he has put boundaries in place that he never had before, and that I did not demand.

Those lack of demands allowed him to open himself to one of the many loose women out there, who seem to have no qualms dating a married man.

Since my husband's affair, I have been conducting my own personal pole among attractive and/or high status men.

It seems that these men are exposed to offers form women on a regular basis.

It seems the consensus is that it is a rare man that will turn down easy seemingly no-strings sex. Particularly if they have never felt the stinging ramifications of being caught by the spouse they love.

My consensus reveals too that all the OWs, married or single, initially promise easy no-string sex, but they almost ALWAYs pull the old switcheroo later and soon demand more from the men.

High status, attractive men, are unfortunately targets of women who have no qualms about dating a married man. That's not an excuse, just a factual observation.

It's easy for all men to compartmentalize and to believe they can keep the two lives separate so they will never get caught.

The better compartmentalization skills of men is documented in psychology books. They can have sex with very limited emotional attachment. Most normal women can not.

But, eventually, everyone who cheats eventually gets caught.

It's what the man or women who cheats does afterward that matters most.

My husband is now a better husband than he's ever been.

If it took the prospect of losing me that changed him. Well, than I still came out ahead in the end, and so did the rest of the women here who salvaged their marriage and grew and changed and have husband who grew and changed and learned valuable lessons form the misbehavior.

Like scabs, I love the new me more than the old. I love my new marriage more than the old.

Shawn, when read your writing. I see an introspective, reflective, well adjusted, resilient, strong, and...., yes, happy women.

Keep writing, you inspire us all.

I find your posts and the posts of others who have endeavored to save their marriage after an affair, comforting and rewarding to read.

carlie L. said...

I don’t believe in home wreckers. No one can take you unless you want to be gone, temporarily or permanently. Men have the capability to make decisions for themselves, so they are the only ones who can wreck their homes. I am a married woman and I know damn well if some woman came sniffing around my husband, he is the one with ties to me, not her.

Anonymous said...

Applejacks here. Wait wait wait... You talk about yourself too much while telling your personal story about what happened in YOUR life? LOL. Well, if it really bugs people you could always tell your story in third person. I hear easily annoyed people LOVE it when you refer yourself that way. Shawn was crazy today. She drove her banana-mobile right through the rainbow caves of Crazy Town, flipping the bird to the haters while mightily yodeling Metallica songs...

Anonymous said...


It is certainly the spouse having the affair that shoulders the responsibility for betraying the spouse. However, it takes two mentally incomplete, unstable, and/or emotionally damaged people to involve themselves in an affair knowing that their actions will cause pain to another. Regardless of issues of loyalty, of which the affair partner has none, the affair partner is still affecting the life and dehumanizing another person, for the sake of their own desires. The cheating spouse must show remorse and heal themselves and the marriage and do all the work to heal their mental and emotional baggage.

But, the affair partner should also own their part and seek the help they need to be whole within themselves. There is something mentally and/or emotionally wrong with someone who would involve themselves with a married person at the expense of another's heart and soul. They too must figure out why they are capable of this and how to deal with their mental and emotional baggage so they can be whole within themselves without needing to hurt others to do so.

TL xx

Anonymous said...

Carlie L I beg to differ with you on your comment about if a woman came sniffing around your husband, he's tied to you. Be cautious. I don't know of one faithful wife who married a man expecting him to ever cheat. I would venture to say nearly every woman cheated on, never saw it coming. Although faithful, every man can and does face temptation of some sort. His indulgence can be something impulsive or habitual. Doesn't matter. You ask my husband if he ever thought he'd cheat on me, and he'll scream it from the rooftops that he NEVER thought he would've done that.
Fact is shit happens and we live in a world in sexual overdrive. But its how we learn from ourselves and others and what we choose to do going forward.

To the original writer of this blog, thank you. You put into words what I've felt on every level, but could never explain it to anyone. Two years later I still deal with issues from it. But it gets better and less frequent. I know I can never forget, but for now, I've chosen to forgive.

BS said...

Anonymous wrote:

"There is something mentally and/or emotionally wrong with someone who would involve themselves with a married person ....They too must figure out why they are capable of this ... "

Anonymous: Excellent point.

In my personal situation, unlike many betrayed spouses I was able to see and read all the emails and texts between my husband and his married affairee.

In them, I clearly saw that she was the aggressor in all aspects of the affair.

At first my husband was content to only meet for coffee and the silly, surreal, exaggerated, obviously insincere and manipulative ego strokes, she handed out like cheap candy corn on Halloween, and was resisting her blatant sexual advances.

Nevertheless, the OW, who is now still stalking us, pushed and pushed for sex, relentlessly, anyway.

To that end, she sent texts and emails that were pornographic in content and language, and videos of her private parts that were even worse. I mean seriously the woman had no shame and no pride.

Thankfully, in my situation, my husband never reciprocated in kind.

It's a psychological fact that men are more visual and more easily effected by porn.

It's not an excuse for my husband, but the OW's relentless porn fest does show the mind set of the OW.

In the emails and texts, at the point where things finally turned sexual, I could clearly see, based on his responses,that my husband repeatedly made it clear that he only wanted sex, not a relationship.

When she switched gears and begged him to leave me and marry her, at that point she did become a homewrecker.

When I found out about her, my husband dropped her like a steaming pile of poop. Yes, he contacted her a few additional times to try to let her down easy, but so what.

My husband recently described her as a sexual fantasy almost like an animated blow-up doll. His attraction to her was that she was not the kind of person he would ever marry. It was always the easy, no commitment sex she initially claimed to offer.

My husband has also said that he believed her when she said she only wanted sex, not a relationship.

Most Men can compartmentalize sex, easily. Most women can't.

It still doesn't make it right and my husband has received counseling to understand that fully.

IMO, it is a rare man with a functioning appendage that will turn down easy sex with a sexually aggressive woman.

When I am honest with myself, I know that I have occasionally been infatuated with another man besides my husband.

I, however, have never yet been subjected to a man who aggressively offered me something let's say romance, that might tempt me to go over the line into an affair. I personally don't believe that I would ever go over the line.

Still, I can understand how it might happen in the right circumstance.

The fact that I can ocassionally be infatuated with another man, has helped me understand how a man could cross the line, with a women who was so sexually aggressive.

When I was single, too, I occasionally had sex with a single boyfriend I did not love. It was just a sexual release with a male I was physically attracted to. I didn't want to have a real relationship with that person.

So, I believe my husband when he says it was just about sex and ego strokes.

Was it right for him to indulge himself. No. We don't have an open marriage.

Is the breach worth ending our marriage over. No.

Psychologists have written that in situations were the betrayed spouse is able to develop some empathy for the cheating spouse, those are the marriages that survive and thrive.

Over the years I have been able to empathize with my husband's situation.

It doesn't mean I approve of what he did, it only means I can empathized with him enough to help me move beyond it so that it is not the only thing that defines him or our marriage.

IMO, that is why I still post here. I want other women to know that a marriage can survive an affair, if the cheating spouse is willing to engage in self examination and to change.

Nellie H said...

Two years since discovery and it will never be the same. This blog has helped me more than you will ever know. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nellie I'm i really get a lot from this blog thank-you ....I think your amazing dealing with the affair with such dignity and strength.I will miss it when you feel it's time too stop, it's helped me a lot and although I don't know if I'm staying or leaving it's given me perspective x

longtime wife said...

I have read up until this point, and I have felt the pain you felt. At some points I cringed for you, but the absolute lunacy that an affair brings does make you crazy. So glad that there are those of us that say , no, you are not taking my life away, I will fight for it.

shawn thewife said...

longtime wife:
Keep reading. Comment, ask questions or just rant away! DDay can (probably will) make you crazy, at least for a while, but with the support of others that know the pitfalls on the Road to Happy, you don't have to reside in Crazy Town as long as I did!
You sound like a strong woman, a real tough cookie, a fighter. We could use some of that strength around here!
Hope & Hugs, Shawn

Anonymous said...

It's been a year since I found out about an affair my husband had ten years earlier. I have been to crazy town and back again a few times. Seems to come in waves.Sometimes i am happy, love my husband because he really is trying to make me happy and sometimes , especially lately , I think about what he did and I hate him.Today I was remembering when I went to a party and his bitch whore was there and being the kind person I used to be I complimented her dress and told her I liked her hair up. The smug bitch thanked me and looked so pleased with herself. Now I know that at the time she was screwing my husband and had been for more than a year. At first I felt stupid remembering this but then I thought I'm not stupid, just trusting and kind. I may never be so trusting again but I hope I don't lose the kind considerate me in all this hate and vitriol.LB

Gill said...

@anonymous. I found out 22 months ago about an affair my husband had in 2004. It's a special kind of crazy finding out so long after the "event". Sending you hugs.

Anonymous said...

Gill, thanks for the comment. Does your husband expect you to be over it quickly because it was so long ago. My husband doesn't want to talk about it and can't remember when it was exactly. So frustrating. I want to write to the skank and ask her.LB

Gill said...

@Anonymous: Initially my husband had the attitude that I should get over it really quick because it happened long ago and he was very much over it.... that was SO not going to happen! Eventually his IC explained that it was like a book that he had finished reading, but I was only on Chapter 1, I think that helped him to see that it was going to take a while, but even then, I don't think he realised just how very long it was going to take. He now "gets it".

I lost my best friend of more than 20 years over this though. She felt I was "being a bitch, the affair was long ago and my husband had been a wonderful husband to me, so what was my problem?" I think unless you have been through this you will never really understand...