Before D-day, I rarely paid attention to the judgments of others. Sure, things stung, but over time, I realized their judgments were based on their issues, and it was easier to move through the world. Now, I feel every judgment so intensely. I take every silence from friends as a commentary on my life or my choices. I feel abandoned, like they think I’m contagious. If they ignore my situation and my pain, they do not need to worry about it rubbing off onto them. Surely THEY will never have a spouse cheat on them.

I would like to believe that I would not abandon someone in their pain. I reach out weekly to those I know are hurting, even if it is just to say, “I’m thinking of you.” I really do wonder why this is such a lost art. I know that we are all scrambling to meet the demands of this modern life, but certainly in all of the time spent on a smartphone, we can find a minute to let each other know we are not alone.

It wasn’t until this past weekend that I really understood the type of judgment that is so destructive to my healing. My mom was here visiting, and she needed to stay with me. No problem. My kids love her, and I was happy to see her. However, my life is anything but perfect right now. I’m still living with my husband, and we both know the end is near. He does not want to move out, and I am in no position to force it. It is the worst kind of trapped. I know that my decision to trust ultimately led to this situation, and I beat myself up for it multiple times a day. It is something I am working on forgiving myself for. When my husband is home, I normally avoid the room he is in. It is ok…easier to navigate than when there is a guest. While here, my mom would get to hear the comments he would make under his breath. I have tried to ignore them. I can usually quickly leave the room, but for some reason, it has gotten harder, and it feels like I need to jab back in order to prove I do not just sit there and take it. I feel like I need to have a voice in some way in my life. Apparently, this happened one day. I do not remember the jab exactly or how it all occurred, but I can be sure it was less than two minutes in length. I am particularly annoyed that he dared to jab while she was here, but it is what it is. I own that I jabbed back.

My mom shared this scenario with my sister. It seems she just cannot help but share my slip-up and sit in judgment over me when I most need support. I feel betrayed all over again…by my mom and most definitely by my sister, who deemed it necessary to judge me as immature and as a mom who did not do what is best for her kids.

For anyone reading this who has not been cheated on, there really is no way to explain the pain and devastation of betrayal. We all say we will leave immediately if this ever happens. We all act like it is simple to cut and run. This may be true in some instances. Surely it was easier for me to do in high school, when I had no children. I had NO idea the trauma finding out would rain down on me. I did not have a clue that I would shake for weeks and be unable to sleep, eat, or think clearly. I could not feel safe. The fact that I am now able to even be in the same house as he is, knowing he did this to me again? Well, that feels like quite the victory to me. So why is it that in this pain, my family feels as if it is a grand idea to judge whether or not every decision I make or action I take is healthy? Of course it isn’t! I’m living in an unhealthy situation with no immediate way to escape. It’s living in a cage with your abuser. It’s knowing you still love that person who did all of these horrible things to you. It’s knowing that you are playing house with someone who has already chosen someone or something else over and over, leaving you no good choices.

I feel more alone than ever, knowing that I am being judged by those who should have my back. I am tired of the excuses of others. Certainly a person can only hear, “It’s because I care about the kids” enough to know that the other side of that is “you need to suck it up.”

Today, I was feeling very down and wanted to get out of this loop I have in my head. I reached out to someone and was given the gift of kindness, support, and guidance. It felt wonderful. May I soon have the opportunity to be there for someone in that way, as I look forward to moving ahead in my head and my heart.

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