Merging Then and Now

As I prepare to head back to work, my anxiety continues to rise.  You know how you are going along ok, and then the reality of things kind of sneaks up behind you and whacks you in the head?  Yeah.  That happens to me.  I’m fighting off the panic attacks and the overwhelming feeling of dread.  This morning, I woke up from a series of dreams where I was interviewing, and they told me I did not have ANY of the skills they needed.  After going to a few interviews like that in my dream, I woke up feeling like I had something sitting on my chest.  I certainly cannot wait to find a position that enables me to use all of my skills and to feel valued.  I feel like I’m selling my soul to stay in my current one.

About the feeling of selling our soul…do you ever feel like you have to do that to stay?  I find it really hard to make sense of the person he was with the person he is.  I see the changes, but I still have some fear that things are not as they seem because let’s be honest.  Isn’t that how we were living for years?  We believed our marriage and our husbands were one thing and the reality was something completely different.  As much as I would like to say I’m jumping in and risking again, the truth is, I’m still tentatively tiptoeing around it.  I see many good changes and in that way, our “new” marriage is better.  He is still slowly growing in emotional intelligence, and I would venture to guess that for most of us, that is the case.  Most of those who cheat have a lot to learn that they somehow missed out on in their childhood.  Yet even if our marriage has changed for the better because he is working on his issues, I mourn for the person I was, and to be honest, I am angry that I had no choice in this.  I am not so sure I like how I see the world now.  I am hoping that this changes with time and the pain softens and allows me to believe that people in some relationships have a semi-healthy marriage.  They share and love and support freely with no resentment or keeping score.  They see the flaws in their spouse and accept it, and they openly share their own flaws, seeking to be known fully by someone.  The beauty in it is that they are authentic and understand that they must risk being fully known to have what they seek.  Tell me…do you know anyone who has this?  I certainly would love to hear about them.  I would love to gain back some of my faith that there can be that kind of love and that maybe, even with these painful, deep scars, I could still get there someday.

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EQ, self-esteem, and exhaustion

I feel like this will not be my most coherent post, and yet, I need to share in the hopes that either getting it out will help or someone will respond in some way that makes me feel less alone.

What I’ve noticed is that those who cheat have little to no self-esteem.  Even if it comes off as arrogance or being the life of the party, they are doing it all to feel that others like them.  They feed off of the external ego kibbles and keep going back for more.  So in reconciliation, it is so very frustrating to live with a man who has suddenly realized who he was during those years and to see that he has so little self-esteem, when I always thought he had more than enough.  It is exhausting to wish I were married to someone who had the emotional intelligence of a 45 year old, when…I guess to be honest, it is more likely that of a teenager, and that is after a lot of therapy and work.  I am in a ball on my couch sobbing into the pillow, wishing and praying that I could wave a magic wand and just make him grow the fuck up.  The thing is that I can say it.  I can YELL it, but he can’t just make it so.  And friends I’m tired.  I’m so tired of carrying the load.  I’m tired of always doing the right thing and being the self-aware one and telling him what he might want to address in therapy because I cannot take another minute of it, and I certainly cannot do the work.  I know he is in there trying, but my God…how many years do I need to give up to this?  Will he ever be an adult emotionally?  Am I going to wake up one day and realize that this is as good as it gets because let me tell you, it is not enough!

I hope he never finds this blog because I know it would hurt him, and it is not my intention.  I do believe he is trying.  Yet he bounces back to his old coping mechanisms , and it triggers the hell out of me.  Lying about stupid things is still lying!  It still says something about you and your character.  What the heck?  Why bother lying?  I’m just wondering if there is anyone who stays and feels whole again.  Does anyone feel like they have seen such growth in their wayward spouse?  It’s been over two years and still (STILL!) there are lies and slips.  Still he is childish in his behavior and responses.  Still he cannot see when a comment I may make is out pain or my jealousy of those families that do not have to live with the pain of this scar.  I feel like this will be forever.  I feel like I may get moments of calm, but that I will never quite feel like I am living again.  I feel so sad for what I thought I had, for that fantasy world I apparently created in my head, where my husband loves me enough to tell another woman no.

Cheers to all of you still following this.  I’m having some Chardonnay tonight and trying to calm the pain and the deepest grief imaginable.  May you all feel some much-deserved peace.

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When the other life stuff comes

I think I am heading into depression. I have three master’s degrees. I cannot find a job I want. I likely won’t get hired because I cost too much. All I want is a chance…but I’m starting to really get the impression I won’t get one. I get interviewed but no call backs. Or I make it down to the final two–and they hire the one with fewer years and degrees. I’m tired. I feel so much sadness and as if I don’t have value.

The blows of the rejection are so painful now. It’s like a reminder of how my own husband chose something else over me. To be chosen once…to be believed in…to have one chance. That’s all I want. I need one person to show me they believe I can do it and I would rock it. The idea of staying in my current toxic environment is terrible. I feel stifled, claustrophobic. I am not sure what to do next.

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Just MEH

This is the first time I don’t have a major idea or theme for my blog.  Maybe it’s that I’m feeling sad.  I honestly have no major reason to be depressed.  The work drama continues, and I think that mostly, I am hating the feeling that I have no control over anything.  I am waiting to hear news after a job interview for a job I really want, and the weird thing is that I feel this feeling of fight or flight increasing.  I have typed up my letter of resignation, and I live in fear that I will have to return to this toxic environment next year.  I cry every day as I leave work from the built up stress and anxiety that I have held in all day.  Not really the way I want to live.

Things at home are…good.  I hesitate to say that because it feels like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  You know the feeling?  He has been kind and attentive and frankly, understanding.  It is rather refreshing.

I did have a rather frustrating few days when I had a dream that it was before we were married and that as long as he used a condom, it wasn’t cheating.  In my dream, he was having sex with two other women.  I remember telling him he had to pick, and he did not choose me.  Then I woke up.  Fantastic.  Then, I had a moment when I got angry about the injustice of it.  I have been helping his parents because his mom is sick.  I love them, and I do not resent helping; however, these weird, deep hurts bubble up in the midst of helping.  I think about how I am good enough to cook, clean, and take care of our kids and his parents but not good enough to be faithful to.  I swear the anger surges back.  I can be in the middle of helping his parents do the simplest thing, and I just feel so angry.  It’s awful because I don’t think it has a thing to do with them–just with him and how he took advantage of the person I am.  It is a hard thing to accept some days.

So I am in a funk that mostly has nothing to do with the affair.  I guess I can say that is a good change, right?  Maybe this is the week when I get a fresh start at work and a chance to grow and change in new ways.  I certainly have to have some hope or I’m not sure what deep hole I will land in.  How have you turned around a difficult work situation?  I could certainly use some positive ideas.

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Work drama and…

After Dday, I started really noticing wayward qualities in others.  No boundaries.  Flirting.  Gaslighting.  Not owning their actions or being self-aware.  I see it constantly and wonder if those people have cheated or if they are on the slippery slope, headed in that direction.

At work, I’ve noticed some things that have really bothered me.  One thing is how sexual harassment is laughed off.  The good ol’ boys can make a comment and think we should be ok with it.  Sadly, someone I considered a friend actually made a comment about me sitting on his lap.  I still can’t believe it.  He even knew about my husband’s affair.  It definitely shifted my thoughts on our friendship.

In the higher ups, I see things such as using power to control or manipulate.  My current boss yesterday got defensive simply because I asked for clarification on my evaluation.  I wanted to know more and how to get better.  Apparently any question is a bad question.  I suddenly became “difficult to work with” and “standoffish.”  Well, if I wasn’t before, I certainly can’t imagine a working relationship with him now.  He shoved all of the blame for his lack of knowledge about my job onto me.  It certainly reeked of wayward tendencies and left me feeling deeply hurt and angry.  Work was my safe place for a long time.  Now it most definitely is not.  When someone gets angry and defensive because their employee is asking for information on how to improve, that certainly makes a person wonder what is going on underneath.  There is definitely a control issue and likely, he has a lack of confidence in his current position.  What I find crazy is that these people dig themselves in deeper and deeper, instead of simply addressing the issue.  We can talk all around the issue, but if he’s stuck in the idea that he is right, just like my husband during the affair, well, I will get no where.

So I guess that is where I am.  Nowhere.  I do not have a completed evaluation.  I do not have goals that pertain to my job description.  I do not know why I did not get a better rating or how to improve it next time.  I simply know he’s angry I asked.  He’s going to punish me for doing so.  And friends, I am SO tired of this kind of thing in my life.  I ache to kick butt on the job and have someone see how hard I am working.  To feel supported and confident.  To have ideas that are heard.  Instead, I am living in this crazy alternative world where I do not get to ask?  Where he “feels” my performance is a certain rating but has no evidence and won’t take any of mine?  Gah.  I’m on the precipice of something…I simply need to walk over.

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Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  I feel a bit torn about it all.  Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate moms.  It is a day to reflect on the relationships we have with our own moms and with our children–at least that is what I tend to do.

When my son was born, I loved Mother’s Day and that after losing a baby, I was able to finally be a mom; I had the privilege of parenting this crazy, little boy.  Each Mother’s Day after was full of macaroni necklaces, handprints, and plants.  When I had two more losses, I felt he would be an only child.  As many of you probably know, there is a deep grief and loss in that.  I finally had some fertility help, and we were blessed with twin girls.  Now, to be completely honest, being told there were twins was one of the scariest moments in my life.  My husband did not handle it well, and mainly that was because of money.  We had a lot of fear about how to make it all work.  So after that, motherhood had a bit of fear attached to it.

After they were born, my girls were crazy and beautiful and challenging.  I felt we were given such a gift and that even if things were very difficult, we would make it through it together, as a team.

Then D-day happened.  Suddenly, being a mom was more than I felt I could handle.  I did not know how to pretend to be ok as my world was swirling out of control.  I did not know how to keep creating these memories for holidays and really, just for the normal days.  I felt like I was barely surviving and that there was no way I could be a good mom. Even now I know I missed at least a year of their beautiful lives that I cannot get back.  I know that it is not my fault and that I did the best I could, but there still is a sadness in it. They were so young and I have no memory of a lot of things.  I guess trauma will do that to a person.

So being a mom is kind of a mixture of amazing feelings and grief.  It’s the weirdest thing.

Tomorrow, I am going to spend every minute thinking about how lucky I am to have these precious children in my life.  I am going to be as present in the moment as I can, and I sure as hell am not going to spend a minute thinking about the affair.  Tomorrow is about being a mom and about being a damn good one.  It is about joy and love and silly faces and giggles.  I don’t want to miss another moment.  Not one.

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When the Good is Bad

I was just sitting here today wondering when good will simply feel good again.  I think you probably know what I mean.  It happens in an instant.  You are doing something with family, friends, as a couple, and you are finally, truly enjoying yourself, and then…WHAM!  It is like a protective thing.  You suddenly feel like “oh no.  I can’t feel good or have fun or joy because that is how it was before and look how I was treated!  I was duped.”  Yeah.  It certainly ruins the best of times–the times when we most want to forget all of the pain that we are processing.

It happens to me in the smallest of moments–from when my girls are telling us the best stories to my son’s baseball games.  I’ll be in the moment, and then I’ll look at my husband, and it will smack me in the face.  I’ll think, “How could he not see the beauty in all of this?  How could he risk our kids and our wonderful life?”  I certainly have no answers to it because even he says it is not logical and makes no sense to him now.  I still struggle with it all and try to get him to tell me how he thought back then.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t help much either because my gosh, it is ridiculous the things he told himself and the way he thought just is not logical.  I keep trying to accept that I will never really understand how people can hurt others in this way.

Moving forward, my goal is to really try to be more present.  I have good days and bad at this, I suppose.  I really want to enjoy more of my life because darn it, it is the only one I get.  My kids are growing up too fast, and honestly, I missed quite a bit of it while I was struggling through the trauma of the very early days.  I’ve been waking up early to practice mindfulness, and I feel a bit more at peace when I am done.  I’m hoping it is helping and it just sort of merges into my healing process.  I keep reminding myself that this is the only chance I get at this, and I don’t want to waste a moment I don’t have to waste.

What have you been doing that has helped you when you are pulled out of your joy?  Are you able to pull yourself back to the present?  Find good things your husband is doing? Please share!  I’m looking for new coping mechanisms and perhaps others are too.

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