Lost in “If Only Land”


This last week or so has been difficult and I have isolated terribly. Getting out of bed has been a major feat. The depression has been heavy and so oppressive. Definitely NOT in a good place. I saw my therapist today and we discussed why. I knew why, I just couldn’t seem to get out of it. I was stuck in “If Only.” This is the worst possible place for me.

If Only always, and I mean ALWAYS, leads to what my Meadows group called “The ShittyPityCommittee” and that is what has happened in true character this time. I have been engulfed in the woe-is-me’s and the sucks-to-be-Leigh’s all week. And the hard truth is that I have done it to myself.  I ALLOWED others’ behavior to impact my recovery process. I ALLOWED others’ words to hurt me and CHOSE to be offended by what their feelings were towards me.  Knowing that I could not, cannot,and never will control what other people say and do should be a no brainer when these things happen. But, alas, I am human. I am now giving myself permission to BE human.

The truth is that sometimes I do feel sorry for myself…and that’s OK. I’ve been through and am still going through a lot of shit that I did not cause and could not have prevented. The truth is that I will sometimes find  myself in “If Only” land.  I just can’t allow myself to acquire a visa for a long-term stay.  What I have trouble with is when I dip into these doldrums for just a moment and then life pulls a fast one by dumping extra garbage on me before I have a chance to bounce out of it. I get sucker punched and it is tempting to allow myself just one more “if only” or a couple more minutes of sucks-to-be-me. That is when it gets dangerous. And that is what happened this past week.

It began with the still inexplicable shunning I received from my daughter. It was so hurtful and her words were so accusatory and they hit their mark, as I am sure she intended. I knew, intellectually, that they were HER words and didn’t reflect my own truth or reality. They still hurt. Then, I heard through my family grapevine that Will had finally realized that the divorce was for real and that it was to go through as filed. I was told that he was OK with it and willing to just move on. Now, this is how screwed up I am…That should have been a relief for me. I mean, I am the one who filed, I have been the one trying to get him to work with me to get the house on the market etc…but, no. It hurt…physically. My heart felt like someone was squeezing it. What did I expect? I don’t know!! Maybe for him to come to the house and BEG me for forgiveness! To cry and plead with me to not go through with it! To profess his undying love and pledge his fidelity and lifelong commitment to me! To tell me that he couldn’t stand the distance between us and needed to work together on our marriage! TO FIGHT FOR ME AND FOR US!!!! But, no. He just said basically, “Yeah, sure, Ok.” It felt like:  Just another betrayal.   Just another way that I have let myself down.   Just one more fantasy that was never true and can never be true.

Just a confirmation that Will is not the man I thought he was, and worse, he is never going to be the man I need him to be. I think that is what is the most devastating. I wonder where I ever got the idea that he was or would be? Why did I think that he could think for himself and do the hard things life requires? He has never followed that path. He has always either done what others wanted him to do, what he believed others wanted from him or what he wanted others to believe about him. He has never been able to manage his own reality and be truthful about his own wants and needs other than his own selfishness. Again….this is pain that was brought on by my own wishes, desires and plain ‘ole delusion. If only Will would stop being so self-centered in his recovery. If only Will would try to make our marriage work. If only Will would, just once, make me a priority instead of himself. If only……well….you see how this goes.

“If Only”doesn’t get me anywhere except a one way ticket to the place where depression is a lifestyle and pity-parties are the main form of leisure activity.  I am trying to leave If Only land forever and I just don’t know why it is so hard. It is really a horrible, terrible, very bad place.



19 thoughts on “Lost in “If Only Land”

  1. If only is a bad journey, and one that is so easy…so very easy…to take for me too. Your response, your deep heart desire to have Will be shocked, to be hurt, to fight for you, to fight for us – of COURSE you feel that way. That is HEALTHY…you are dissolving your marriage and, even if it is the right thing to do, it is a grieving process. Allow yourself the grief…we are here weeping with you. xo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! What a validating statement. I sometimes forget that my emotions are not something to run from or hide. It is still a process for me to acknowledge them as valid and healthy. So many, many years of gaslighting and being told that I should or shouldn’t feel a certain way has really done a number on me in that respect. Thank you for that clarification! ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Leigh- I’m so sorry you’ve been having such a hard time. I get it though- it’s very tempting to want to set up residence in the town of ‘If only’but I think we have to get to a point where we accept that place, the what ifs, isn’t real. It never existed. All the things that should have happened that could have given us a different story, didn’t happen and this is the story we’re living now. And yes it sucks and yes, we deserved so much better than what we got but this life, my sweet friend, isn’t meant to be easy and right now it feels damn right excruiating, wrong and unjust- I know.

    The only thing is that now, we get to see our life for what it really is. It will take some time to get used to a new reality when we’ve been so used to a different one for so long- or at least an illusion of what we believed it was.

    We may not like our reality now, but we at least see it for what it is and we can change it. When we’re strong enough and ready to. That is our power now- we put it in the hands of others before but now we have it!

    As for your husband- I’ve just been learning, from my own experiences with my husband, that the way we think they may be thinking can be very wrong.

    I don’t think anyone can be okay with a marriage ending, especially if they were hoping to reconcile. I do think men do a better job of emotionally accepting things and hiding their emotions but Leigh- what is true about you is that you’re strong, brave, and still standing! You’re life is going to move forward every day- sometimes by leaps and some times by just a tiny step but because the power is in your hands now I know you will make it a good life.

    So you and I, and all of us who have been so hurt, we’re going to say adios to the “if onlys” and say a big HELLO to “what will be” That place is real, and we get to create it for ourselves! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “What will be”…I need to grab that with both hands as I let go of “if only.” Thank you so much for that idea. I will be using that as my new mantra to avoid slipping into this horrible chasm of depression. Thank you my sweet friend! Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I say it as myself too. I struggle- kicking and fighting, with this new reality and forget that I have the say over my life now. We’ll get there- slow going, but we will get there!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It is very tough opening yourself up. The problem with the depression for a mother, a parent, a daughter is that not one wants to see and hear a depressed person, because people cannot handle it. This is not right, and it makes no sense as most people go through depression during a life time. Many hide it is the most silly ways. Crying and feeling and looking the way you feel is the most honest.

    People can hide depression by being busy and not giving themselves time to think or to allow themselves to just be sad and down..it is healing and you cannot take a short cut. This time you will give yourself permission and after that, you get up and say “Ok I did that, now I am going to do something else”. ” I needed this and I did it for myself”.

    When people hurt you with a mean comment a nice way is to reply with a statement of empathy. Something like “I hear you and also the hurt and I understand that there is a good reason for the hurt”.

    Yep. I got some nice wisdom…but it is not that I can imply it when I need it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dr. E. I am getting better at setting those boundaries and most of the time I can be ok with the judgement and hurtful words/actions of others. What is difficult is when the onslaught seems to be so constant…it becomes so overwhelming! I just find myself hiding away in some sort of pathetic attempt to escape it all. Unreasonable and unhealthy! Thank you for your perspective…it is so helpful for me to have this forum for such valuable support and feedback. *hugs*

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Leigh, I am so very sorry you are going through this. It’s been such a tough week for you with all that’s been going on. My heart tightened as I was reading your post. I so get how you expected him to fight, to want another chance, to beg, to become vulnerable – to be a healthy human being articulating and working for what he wants! This is so angering, so very frustrating. But be kind to yourself. Yeah, don’t get a one way ticket to Pityland, but it is okay, it is just human to feel sorrow, a bit (a lot!) of self-pity, devastation. It sucks! He put you here! It is your right to grieve this! But then stay grounded. You are strong. You’ve come to a good place of acceptance already, and once this anger and grief lightens, you’ll be just fine. Keep up the amazing work you have been doing for your own healing and you’ll get out of this, I know. I just know. *MASSIVE HUGS*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shattered…I know I will rebound…I always do. Sometimes it just so damn hard! It helps to get it all out there and face it head on. It also helps to have good people like you who truly understand, who have been there, to be able to “get it” and have the same hope that things will work out as they are meant to. Thanks so much! *hugs*


  5. Leigh, you are working so diligently to become stronger. You will have set backs and it is natural to just want what you want… and especially want things to be different, and people to behave differently. Reality sucks sometimes. Hang in there. Day by day. You are strong and wise and you have received tools, which you are learning to use. It doesn’t happen overnight. Will’s response seems so predictable. My opinion (living with an insecure broken person myself) is that he has resolved himself to whatever comes his way instead of standing up and acting like a man and fighting for what he wants. He is still acting like a child. Until he learns how to be a functional adult, he is not good for anyone. I say this to my husband all the time… if you can’t do right by me, stand up and fight for me, do the right thing for me–the person who has loved you and stood by your side unconditionally for more than 30 years–then good luck being able to have a functional relationship with anyone. Sometimes my words fall on deaf ears. They have their own journey. We must be strong independent of what they do. Your boundaries seem so clear to me now, when they didn’t necessarily in the past. Big hugs. I hope you are having a better day today! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Exactly this Kat! I sometimes feel like I am so selfish for just wanting someone that loves me enough to fight for me…for us! Then I remember that I am not being selfish..I am being reasonable. I am being NORMAL! I have to remind myself that what is dysfunctional is to think you are in a relationship whilst thinking ONLY of yourself, your needs, your wants, and your pain. That is what Will does and I have finally realized that I am worth more than that. Still painful? Yes. But rational and healthy. Thank you for understanding my sweet friend! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband and I had a friend who was a compulsive gambler. He told my husband that the high he got from losing was just as intense as the high he got from winning. That is a difficult addiction to get rid of. Alcoholism, or any drug addiction, hijacks the brain. The part of the brain that keeps you fed, clothed, and safe is completely ignored or overtaken or squelched by the addiction. That is why people on meth can go outside and freeze to death. It really does rule the brain. Not only that but you have a man who has lived one way all of his life trying to change everything in a few months. That is very unrealistic. He is going to have to completely retrain his brain. Also, he is going to have to grow up. One of the signs of maturity is the ability to postpone pleasure. If you look at young children they have not learned that, or absorbed it enough, to make long-range planning. They want what they want when they want it. Your husband never got past that. What ever felt good is what he did. Add to that an addictive personality and you have the makings of your husband. Because your pain is so intense you want it fixed now. You cannot quickly fix something that has been present all of your marriage. That is not realistic. If you want to be away from him permanently that is your decision. If you want some sort of relationship with him you’re going to have to give it time. Right now all of us who read your blog just want to unbreak your heart. Reading crazycat and savingshards should tell you that even when men have fewer addictions than yours they are still works in progress. I certainly do not mean to belittle what pain they both go through but their husbands addictions appeared to be mostly around sex. Your husband picked up nearly every addiction out there. I am not a psychologist but if he has had really deep evaluations he probably has some pretty serious diagnoses. At one point you mentioned his therapist might not be able to help him. If he is totally and completely dedicated to changing his life it is going to consume him not just for a week or months but possibly years. That means if you are in his life this is going to be somewhat like another addiction. It IS going to consume him. On his blog he writes about being completely immersed into the faith-based recovery program. He also mentioned some business he did. So he is able to compartmentalize enough to take care of business. From his history he has been able to put you in one box, his business in another, and his addictions in another.
    No one can tell you what to do. This is your life, this is your future. All any of us can do is just hope and pray for you every day that your grief is shortened.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh C…you may not be a therapist but this was written with such wisdom and knowledge. Thank you for this perspective. I guess my dilemma has been the uncertainty. Even after the intense therapy that Will is receiving, far more than the typical SA, he is still unable to “get it” and his prognosis for ever reaching the level of functional adult is grim. I’m 55 years old and have already spent my entire adult life centered around him. I am pulled between the idea of “may as well stick with him cause it can’t get worse” and “get out now cause enough is enough” It is an untenable state of living and I feel like I need to make a decision, one way or the other to be able to move on and make progress. Thank you for your prayers..they are needed and felt! ❤️


  7. I have thought about this blog all day. With the amount of pain you are in this may be premature to write but….his behavior was not about you. If he had married Christy Brinkley, Halle Berry, Jessica whoever he would still be an addict. Imagine being him. The idea that every day you would wake up knowing your cravings were going to drive you all day long. You had not been free of them for a minute in many years. Imagine trying to keep up with all the lies. I cannot think there has been a day that he wasn’t controlled by urges so powerful that he could never let down his guard. He must have a giant hole in him that no amount of sex, alcohol, gambling can fill. What a miserable way to live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…I understand that and I know he was in a lot of pain. I also know that he has done a lot of work in his recovery. What is so painful now is knowing that he has done so much work for HIM while I am still on the the fringes of his life. Still not the priority, still not what he is fighting for. His recovery is like everything else he has done…all about him. I know that he needs to focus on himself to stay sober,but it seems that somewhere, sometime, SOMETHING, should be about us, or me or our marriage. He is too busy worrying about himself to consider me or fight for me…I just don’t think I am willing to wait to see if he ever will. I am very sad and disheartened. I never wanted to be divorced. Ever.


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