Healing… slowly.

Posted on | May 12, 2011 | 50 Comments

Driving back from Columbia, I had an epiphany…. I was letting someone else run my life.

It shouldn’t have been surprising; I’d been doing it for awhile.  When I was a kid, I just wanted to be everything my parents expected me to be.  I wanted to be things they never even knew I thought they wanted me to be, like on student council, on the newspaper staff, in the top 10% of the class, and on the basketball team.  I did things for so many other people that its a wonder I did anything at all for myself.  And that continued well into my marriage.

I tried so hard.

I worked double and triple time to be the best wife I could be.  I washed and folded the clothes.  I cooked fancy dinners.  I scrubbed the toilets and vaccummed the floors.  I decorated for every holiday. I bought extravagant gifts for and tried to spoil my husband.  I gave him everything I thought he ever wanted. If there was something about me he didn’t like, I changed it.  If there was something about me he liked, I did it more, talked about it more, and in general made it a bigger part of me.  I lost myself trying so hard to be what he wanted.

I tried so hard.

I thought, as a wife, my job was to support my husband constantly.  If he made foolish decisions, I was still supposed to support him.  If he did hurtful things, I was supposed to internalize those things and then release them,  all fresh and new like butterflies of happiness, changed into something beautiful.

I tried so hard.

But here’s the thing… trying to make a marriage work only works if both people are interested in making it work and I think, from day one, my husband was not interested in making our marriage work.

I let my husband make me feel bad.  I let him make me believe that there was something wrong with me.  I let him make me believe that it was good and right and normal for a husband to stay up on the computer for hours after his wife went to bed, playing a game or surfing the internet.  I believed him when he said he was a night owl; I didn’t think twice about the time he spent immersed in a world I wasn’t a part of.   I believed him when he said he wasn’t talking to or flirting with other women.  I believed him when he said I was the problem in our marriage.  I believed him when he said that I needed to get help for my problems; I got help for my problems.

But my husband never recognized his own shortcomings.

There are reasons I should not be sad that our marriage is ending.  There are the thoughts I hold onto and rub like prayer beads when the hurt is too big and the pain is too much.  There are reasons that this is where we are; not because I am unworthy of him and not because he will find someone better than me. We are here because he could not see the forest for the trees.  He could not see the light through his own overpowering darkness.  He could not see what he had in me and his son because he was so busy trying to decide if there was something better out there.

There are things about our marriage that scarred my heart in ways that can not be expressed.  I loved my husband from before the day I said “I Do” until the day he told me there was no hope for saving our life together.  I would have rolled over and let him continue to beat me into submission, even in light of all I’ve learned about our lives together because I believed in the sanctity of marriage.

And for all of these reasons and so very many more, I need to remember that I am the person who can walk away from this with my head held high.  I have made mistakes; this is not solely and 100% someone else’s fault.  I am not a perfect wife, mother, or woman just as my husband was not a terrible, awful person.  But the difference between us is that I never, ever, EVER went outside my marriage for anything.  I loved my husband; I am not ashamed of that because that was my job… the job I happily took on as my own on October 13, 2007.  I would have done anything in the world to make my husband happy up to and even past the day he told me that I was not what he wanted in his life.

The fact that he was unhappy in our marriage was the product of his own wrong doing.  It is not my fault, no matter what the voices on my shoulder may whisper.  The loss of me and the loss of his son are things that I fear (and hope) will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Because I know me.  I know who I am deep down inside.

And I believe that I am awesome and worthy of someone who believes I am awesome, too.  I believe that I am loving and worthy of being loved.  I believe that I am a good wife and worthy of someone who believes that he can be a good husband.

I believe that I am better than this.  I believe that I deserve better than this.

I believe that this is what they call healing. Slowly. Surely.  Mending the pieces I tried to let him steal, tucking away the hurt and pain and putting on a fresh face to step back out into the sun.

I can do this.

I am strong enough.

I am good enough.

I deserve more and amazing and wonderful and so much better.

I know this will be a slow process.  I know that it is going to take a lot of time before I can listen to Sara Evans “A Little Bit Stronger” without falling apart.  I know that it is going to be a while before I can look at any man in the eye and not wonder if he’s staring at the empty finger on my left hand and wondering why I’m so damaged.  I know it’s going to be a matter of just getting out of bed every day… for a really long time.

But I think I’m up for the challenge. I am tired of letting him take the best of me.  He is not worth the best of me.

God’s honest truth?

He is not worthy of me, at all.

Comments

50 Responses to “Healing… slowly.”

  1. Verna
    May 12th, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    Amen!!

  2. aim
    May 12th, 2011 @ 10:53 am

    Theres my doodah. You go girl. You are better, you are awesome, and you will have happiness.

  3. Petunia
    May 12th, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    Oh man, you’ve done it again. I know. I could have written at least 80% of this…

    The sacrifices, the need to please, making myself look like this, dress like that, style my hair the other way.

    My therapist says I am so damaged by this behaviour that it will take a lot of work before I can consider another relationship, because I may damage the new person in turn without meaning to.

    And this I read earlier today: The best revenge is happiness. Nothing freaks that person out more than to see you loving your life.

  4. Headmistress Yca
    May 12th, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    For the first time in weeks, I am proud to say that my heart is finally bursting with JOY for you!! I know these realizations were difficult, and I know the pain that accompanies these realizations. But I also know the healing that you will now find. And to know that you can see that light edging into the tunnel – the light that you never ever thought you’d see? That’s huge and awesome!! I knew you could do it!! YAY!!!!!

  5. Katie
    May 12th, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    You do deserve more…you are awesome…and when you are ready, you will find someone who wants to be the amazing husband you deserve!

  6. pinkflipflops44
    May 12th, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    Go You! You are so much stronger than you even realize now and I’m glad you are feeling better and know that you are an awesome person.

  7. Tracy
    May 12th, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    Damn right – you go girl!!!

  8. Laura
    May 12th, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

    You are amazing and wonderful and deserve amazing and wonderful things!! I only wish I could’ve come to the same conclusions 18 years ago before I got married. Now, after learning of my husbands affair, I still feel damaged and as though no one could ever love me now. Therapy here I come…

  9. KristinaYellow
    May 12th, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    You hit the nail on the head! So often I think people get lost in relationships-trying so hard to be who they think the other person wants them to be when instead they should just be themselves. The best people, the worthy people, will love them without changes or “acting.” I’m so glad you’ve taken this step-good for you 🙂 HUGS

  10. Amanda
    May 12th, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    Wow. I knew this post was going to happen at some point, but I didn’t think it would be so soon. First of all, print this out and post it everywhere. On your bathroom mirror, the shower, the Oreo package and your tampon box!!! This is such an amazing post and this feeling will come and go like waves of contractions. Don’t be discouraged when this empowering feeling leaves you, just go to the Oreo box and remember how you feel today! The truth is, the pain associated with the betrayal of your husband never gets lighter, you just get stronger and it seems less hurtful. Read my friend’s blog nowisgoodblog.wordpress.com. Her hubby cheated on her with a chick from his work and is still with her, she has 3 kids, and she is amazing!! We are a few steps ahead of you in the process you are about to embark on, but I hope it gives you hope, like it did me to see strong women come out of a similar divorce more beautiful and stronger then when they went in. From what I can tell, your husband’s own insecurities to find something better have NO reflection on you as a mother, woman or wife. HIS insecurities do NOT define you. I hate the situation you are in, but I love where I know you are headed!

  11. Frelle
    May 12th, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    this ALLLLLL resonates with me. Love you!

  12. Nellie
    May 12th, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    What a lovely affirmation of you and your own worth. I’m proud of you. This is wonderful to read and every bit of it is true.

    I know it’s cliche, but that thing about never closing a door without opening another may well be true. The best version I’ve ever heard is, “God never closes one door without opening another, but the walk down the hall can be hell.”

  13. Law Momma
    May 12th, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    HAHAHAHA!!! Nellie, that’s the best take on that saying I’ve ever read. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. Erica
    May 12th, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

    Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm….yep! You may not fully and absolutely believe every word you’ve written here 100%, but you’ve written it nonetheless. That means that at least some percentage of you believes it. The gal who advised you to post this up everywhere was right on the money. So was the gal that wrote that the best revenge is happiness. Sure you’ve been knocked down here, hell yes it hurts and you feel crappy. But eventually you won’t feel that way…as Sara Evans says something like “before you know it a month’s gone by, and you look back and you haven’t cried.” I’m sure that’ll be what it’s like. You’ll look back, shake your head in disappointment that it didn’t work out and that you were hurt, but then you’ll shake it off and go about the business of raising your son and doing your job. Maybe there’s someone out there that will be your perfect match and will come charging in on his version of a white horse, and sweep you off of your feet. If you want that. And maybe there isn’t. But at the end of the day, you wrote this post, and you are strong. That stands on its own and that’s the person your son will be proud and privileged to call Mom. Big hugs.

  15. christa
    May 12th, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    you are awsome you are deserving of happiness you are deserving of a man and husband who adore you. keep that gorgeous smile on your face and let the light shine in your eyes! you are right he doesnt see what he lost and we all know what an amazing wife mother and woman he lost. love you and sending love and hugs your way for you and j!

  16. Jessica
    May 12th, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    I have SO been there, and survived. And come out whole.

    I’m now married to a wonderful man who thinks I’m the best thing since sliced bread – even with the extra baby pounds – and have two adorable kids. A life I cherish.

    I wish the same for you.

  17. Maureen
    May 12th, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    You are are wonderful, and you do deserve better! I was so happy after reading your words…you find a way to perfectly say what I feel. You are an amazing woman and a great mom, and you deserve to be who are, not who you think someone wants you to be. Keep up the positive thinking!

    I just started reading your blog a few days ago, and already I look forward every day to reading it.

  18. Emily
    May 12th, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

    I am so happy to see you stepping into the sun! You are on your way! You deserve to be loved and appreciated for exactly who you are, without any contigencies. J already does love you for the awesome momma you are. And someday someone will come along and make you realize how wrong this situation really was and will show you what it really means to be loved as you should.

  19. KLZ
    May 12th, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

    Healing is a process – glad you’re working it. And looking SO GOOD while doing it.

  20. Tiffany @MomNom
    May 12th, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

    This is such an amazing post. I’m so happy to hear that you are starting the healing process…and starting to recognize the truth in all of this. It is a slow process, but you’re on the road to recovery…and I, for one, couldn’t be happier for you!

  21. Michele
    May 12th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    It appears you have caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. It will continue to get closer as time goes by.

  22. Erin
    May 12th, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

    I think many women go through a form of this at some point. I did with my ex. I pretended not to like boxing or anything remotely violent because he was “turned off” by girls who were okay with watching it.
    I let him control my thoughts, even though i’m sure he didn’t completely realize that’s what he was doing.
    I’m happy i figured it out before marriage, but i’m happy you didn’t figure it out until you got your beautiful son! I have nothing to show for my lessons learned, you have the most amazing gift in the world!
    I wish I could hug you and tell you how proud I am of you and how much my heart hurts for you.
    But I also want to thank you. You’re story is helping me to wake up and revalue my marriage and stop taking it for granted. Thank you for telling us your story and keeping us up to date.

  23. Roxanne
    May 12th, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    I just want to tell you that I think you are an inspiration.

    That’s all I have to say without sounding like a Hallmark card or a Lifetime movie. Or repeating the encouraging words of your friends above.

    You’re incredible.

  24. Andrea @paralegalmom.com
    May 12th, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    “And I believe that I am awesome and worthy of someone who believes I am awesome, too. I believe that I am loving and worthy of being loved. I believe that I am a good wife and worthy of someone who believes that he can be a good husband.
    I believe that I am better than this. I believe that I deserve better than this.”

    Remember this. Print it out and keep it wheree you can see it.

  25. Carrie
    May 12th, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    God I love reading your blog! You should print out this post and stick it on the wall or the fridge or some place in your house where you’ll see it on those days when everything just not so clear. You’re such a strong, inspirational woman (and a great writer!) Everything you said is so true. In order to have anything in life worth having, you have to go out on a limb. It’s scary and you’re putting yourself out there, but you do it because you want to experience life and love. You’re brave. Any person who commits to a marriage is brave, because they vow to put their trust in the other person….it’s the only way to do it and do it right. Kuddos to you for doing it right and I’m truly sorry they way it ended, but at least you can sleep at night knowing you gave it your best shot. I hope you’ll continue to be brave because you do deserve happiness and I’m confident you’ll find it.

  26. Fancy
    May 12th, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    Love it!

    One of my favorite parts of the separation process was getting to know myself again and realizing that there was a lot of me that I surpressed in my marriage.

    It’s pretty kick-ass getting to be me. Cause you know what? I’m AWESOME!

    I love that you’re starting the journey back to you. It just gets better and better… Even throughout the hell-ish walk down the hallway. You’ll find a breath of fresh air from that open door ahead of you every time you introduce yourself to another part of you.

  27. R's Mom
    May 12th, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    I am so, so glad that you are coming to this realization! There will still be emotional ups and downs, but savor this post, and reread it often!

    No matter what else happens, at least you know you gave it your all. So from that perspective, you can look back and know that you tried, so there can be no regrets that you didn’t do enough. Your ex I don’t think can say that in hindsight.

    I’m sorry to say (and I’m not saying this to bash your ex) that I’ve seen hints of your ex being able to “run your life” (as you put it) for a long time now. I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now, and just little things that you would comment on in passing really made me wonder if you were okay. Like how insurmountable it seemed to have your ex give you a break every now and then. Or comments about his computer time. And even underlying your move & new job was a sense of jumping just to try to make him happy. I’m not saying this to be critical AT ALL (because like you, I’d rather know I gave it my all), but I guess to try to reinforce the positive sentiment of today’s post…there, for me, always existed a sense of unbalance in your relationship. I am glad that you are seeing this, and recognizing it, and realizing that you deserve more. You deserve someone willing to put everything on the line for you…just like you did.

  28. Momalegal
    May 12th, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

    Yay you! You are truly inspiring! I just know there are tons of great things on the horizon for you & J. He doesn’t deserve you just as much as you didn’t deserve to go through all of this. Happiness truly is the best revenge. HUGS

  29. Shelley
    May 12th, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

    I love this post.

  30. Geana
    May 12th, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    sobbing…

  31. TarynE
    May 12th, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    I totally printed out this post and have it folded up in my purse to read whenever I’m feeling down on myself. WE know who we really are, even if our exes have no clue!! You are awesome!

  32. Jennifer
    May 12th, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

    YES! Finally! Amen! You are starting to see what we’ve all be telling you. You are worth so much more than he deserves. So, so much more. I’m breaking out the pom-poms for you right now!

  33. Becca
    May 12th, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    Print this out and carry it in your wallet, cause it is correct

  34. Lisa
    May 12th, 2011 @ 10:52 pm

    Hi, new reader here. I’ve been kind of where you are–not divorced, but ended a 9 year relationship where I was never good enough, never pretty enough, never smart enough, never enough in any way shape or form. It took me over a year to get to a point where I thought that I was remotely lovable. That was ten years ago. I still dream about that guy, although now in my dreams I generally yell at the top of my lungs about how he was such a jerk and I deserved so much better.

    You’ll get there; it sounds like you have started in the right direction. It just takes time. (Cliche city, I know. I guess I just wanted to say I’m rooting for you.)

  35. Anne
    May 12th, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

    Sing it sister!!!!

    I have said it before and you I will say it again:

    My marriage brought me my son.
    My divorce brought me my myself back.

    You have seen the light!!!!! You got it!

  36. Lesley
    May 13th, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    I could’ve written this post 11 years ago. The only difference is I had 2 kids & went to law school post divorce. I’m now very happily remarried with 2 more kids. I can promise you it gets easier & eventually you’ll be ok. Don’t rush things. greive this loss & adjust to single motherhood. Oh & please don’t marry the 1st guy you date. I’m sure that’s the farthest thing from your mind right now! 🙂 it will be lonely but you’ll bond with your son in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. The thing I finally realized was that as much as I hated being alone it was better than being with someone that didn’t truly love me & I definitely did not want that as an example of how marriage works. Sorry I know this is very long & rambling but I truly wish you the best. You’ll get there!

  37. Jessica @ Raising an Owlet
    May 13th, 2011 @ 2:41 am

    Yes, Law Momma, Yes. You ARE AMAZING!!! Whenever you start to feel down on yourself, or question things. Reread this post, because it is all true.

  38. Anastasia
    May 13th, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    I’ve been through this before. It is so f*ing hard. I look back now and see that it helped me find and define who I am and realize how strong I was. I hope this happens for you. Sending good vibes your way.

  39. Mary
    May 13th, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    Yea, I’m clapping for you and if I could I’d give you a hug. Been there done that. Just take it one day at a time, you will still think of him and be sad that it’s over, but I’m better off today then when I was with someone very close to what you just described. I’m a better, wife, mother and friend. You will be too. Mary

  40. Susan
    May 13th, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

    <3

  41. Jessica
    May 13th, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    First I LOVE that Sara Evans song, and second…
    you are exactly right, you have to put yourself first. That is how you find the right person for you in the end. I have slowly come to learn this as I have tried to make everyone else happy first. It only ends up destroying you (the amazing you!). If someone isn’t truly compatible with the real you they should not have the pleasure to be with you. You are such a strong woman and you will make it thru this difficult time. Do things for you, small things, big things, anything will help. You will become stronger and more confident the more you listen to yourself. The real you, the beautiful, strong woman that I know you are inside. Be you and don’t apologize for it!!!

  42. Katie
    May 14th, 2011 @ 12:13 am

    I heard this song by Sara Evans in the car today and I thought of you. Hope it maybe helps you a little bit in some way.

    http://youtu.be/22zB6Soc2Gk

  43. Amanda
    May 14th, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    I could have written this. I have lost myself in being what my husband wants me to be. Not brave enough to leave. Thank you for this, you have given me much to think about.

  44. LawMHCgirl
    May 14th, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Rooting for you law-momma! Been following your blog for sometime now. I just know you have many amazing days ahead. You have an amazing way with words. Don’t stop writing.

  45. Jen
    May 16th, 2011 @ 1:12 am

    This poem helped me when my first marriage ended.
    Comes the Dawn
    After a while you learn the subtle difference
    Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
    And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
    And company doesn’t mean security,
    And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts
    And presents aren’t promises.
    And you begin to accept your defeats
    With your head held high and your eyes open,
    With the grace of a woman,
    Not the grief of a child.
    You learn to build your roads on today
    Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
    And futures have a way of falling down in midflight.
    After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
    So you plant your own garden
    And decorate your own soul,
    Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
    And you learn that you can really endure,
    That you really are strong
    And you really do have worth
    And you learn and learn … and you learn
    With every goodbye you learn.

  46. Mae
    May 16th, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    WOOP!

  47. Elizabeth
    May 17th, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    So proud of you. Own your own issues, not his–They’re a reflection of his character (or lack thereof), not yours. Besides, everyone needs a little Stuart Smalley time.

  48. Erin Margolin
    May 17th, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    no indeed. he is most certainly NOT worthy of you. and i’m THRILLED you realized & said it yourself.

    BIG BEAR HUGS to you, sweets. i know i haven’t been around much, but i’m still “here.”

    xoxo

  49. Erin
    May 31st, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

    Been there… I’ve SO been there.

    Just know that it IS a long process, this thing they call “healing”. You’ll have steps forward and many steps back. But you’ve already hit upon the fundamental truth that you need to know. Some days it will be easier to believe than others; on those days when you just can’t believe it, you have to remind yourself and keep putting one foot in front of the other. And don’t forget to cut yourself some slack when you’re feeling hopeless; it won’t make things any better to beat yourself up for not feeling a certain way.

    I can tell you from experience that it DOES get better. Eventually, you’ll feel whole again, and it IS possible to love someone else again. And when it happens with the right person, you’ll realize that you never really knew what it was SUPPOSED to feel like, and you’ll feel grateful for everything you learned to get you to that point.

    That other person definitely wasn’t worthy of you. Whoever it is, he’s out there, and you’ll find him when you’re whole and ready. I know it. Please have hope – it’s OK not to feel it every day, but I promise there’s light at the end of the (long, really dark) tunnel. 🙂

  50. Priti Premani
    June 18th, 2011 @ 6:40 am

    Bravo. I know my post is late but i had to congratulate you.

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