No News is….No News

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Wow…time flies. And life moves on. It’s been many, many months since I have felt like writing anything. And honestly, I am only writing now because, well, like everyone else, I’m stuck at home during this shutdown and I have plenty of time. The truth is, Will and I are in a good place and have been for some time. While I would never say “healed” or “recovered” I can say that we are finally healing and recovering and and that the ugly is in the past.
Don’t get me wrong here…just because it’s in the past, I have a very clear rear view mirror and sometimes looking back is still painful and still triggering. The key is to stop checking that mirror. And I am getting really good at that.

Presently, we are finding a different, but related, challenge. Our son-in-law has decided that he no longer wants to be married to my daughter…because he began having an affair and now thinks he’s in “love” with this much older woman who is rebounding from her recent divorce.
Why are men so consistently, predictably, stupid? How do they never, NEVER learn from the mistakes of others?? Why do they believe that they are different? This situation is different? That they are not being total asshats by cheating on their lawfully wedded spouse? Truth bomb here, boys…You are a selfish, low-life, deceitful, cheating, untrustworthy, bastard. You have hurt your wife, your kids, your parents, your in-laws who accepted you as family, your sisters and brothers-in-law, your nieces and nephews who loved you…all because you were too selfish to think of anyone else but your own perceived needs. While totally disregarding your vows, your responsibilities, your promises, your family…who has done nothing but love you and support you. Ughhhhh…stupid, selfish, cowards. I can’t deal with them.

And actually I guess that’s why I decided to write. When my grandchildren found out that their dad was cheating on my daughter and was leaving, they were angry with him. They yelled at him and are so mad they don’t want to talk to him for awhile. I still remember my grown children’s reaction when they found out that their dad had been serial cheating will multiple women for decades. They were not mad at him. They were mad at me. Will made himself look so pathetic, and was of course in denial, that he made everything look like my fault. They felt sorry for him. I was so very alone. 

Well, my daughter is not alone. She calls and updates me. She rants and screams and knows that I am her safe place to rage. And I listen. And I am calm. And supportive and understanding.
And then I get off the phone and I am a hyperventilating, sobbing , triggered mess.
I am still hurt and resentful that neither of my girls were there for me after d-day. It is still one of the most hurtful things I have ever experienced and added so much more trauma to my whole betrayal…so it will always be so incredibly painful. But, I would never do to any woman in agony what my daughters did to me. So, despite my own triggers and pain, I am here for her.
It is not good time, but amazingly, Will is incredibly supportive and cognizant of my needs. He gets it! He understands the triggers and has been compassionate and available.

So, for that I am incredibly grateful. I am also grateful that so far, we are all healthy and safe and doing the best we can under isolation from the virus. So really, as far as our recovery and our marriage is concerned…no real news. And that’s good.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Hugs your loved ones.
Oh, and wash your hands!

Leigh ❤️

 

 

 

Toxicity

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For the last couple of years, a Facebook “friend” has been quite passive/aggressive with snide comments whenever I post an opinion. We differ politically and she simply can’t let those differences alone. Here’s the thing…she was one of the first people who knew about Will’s deception. She’s an attorney who had gone through a divorce and recommended a good divorce lawyer to me. Unlike others, she was quite  stoic about what had happened…no tears, only advice. Of course, she had never gone through this type of betrayal. Her divorce was due to her husband leaving her for another woman whom he had known since childhood…his first love. I get that it hurt her, but to be honest, I always got the feeling that it was her pride that was damaged, not her heart.  Anyway, she had re-married and was very vocal about sharing how amazing her life was.  We were never close…she knew about Will as a bystander as I was confiding with a friend. In the year following disclosure, we never spoke of it again and as far as I know, she never gossiped or spread rumors etc. She did pointedly ignore Will whenever they happened to run into one another where they both worked downtown. She was, however, one of those who avoided me when I made the decision to reconcile rather than divorce. She avoided me at church, at social events and stopped posting or responding on Facebook. Meh. No loss, really.

Well, things changed when her second husband got cancer. She publicly disclosed every aspect of his battle but mostly her feelings about how it affected her. When her husband passed away, her FB feed was an open, mournful, grieving, dialogue of her pain.  Pictures of them and their combined family over the years, memories that popped up and the inevitable sadness that they brought. It was understandable. She had suffered a loss. She was devastated. I was consistently supportive. When I first heard of the diagnosis and prognosis, I texted her and offered support. I continually offered a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. And then an odd thing happened. About a year after her husband died, her posts began to change…dramatically. All of the sudden, she was positive and began posting pics of herself in the gym. Pics of before and after when she started to lose weight and get fit. Her doom and gloom grieving posts about her deceased husband all but stopped. I wondered what had changed but, was positive and again supportive. Then, it all became clear. She announced that she had met someone and would soon be remarried. Ah….I see.  As one part of me was happy that she had found a new man in her life, another part was incredibly sad that her life seemed to change based on whether or not she had a man in her life. It all seemed so superficial.

I got it. I had been there. I had been that person who had lost myself in a relationship. And I grieved the loss of myself once Will’s betrayal was discovered. I lost a lot of respect for her at that moment. I felt sorry for her. Despite all of her pain and her public grieving and her TMI about her sadness…followed by her TMI about her new fiancée, then husband…I remained FB friends with her and was congratulatory and supportive. Because that is who I am.

Over the next year or so, however, she became more and more passive/aggressive in her responses to comments I made…usually on someone else’s posts. She attacked my opinions on social issues, she was verbally derisive regarding people I supported politically, she ridiculed my posts on depression, addiction, recovery etc.  In short, she was clearly not a fan of me or anything I found important.  Even though I had publicly and privately supported her through her struggles, her grief, her questionable motives regarding fitness, her newfound love and happiness, her own political stance and her family circumstances. Through the years, I was supportive and happy and simply there for her…regardless of how I felt about her decisions and choices.  After a comment I posted on one of my daughter’s posts (yes, she is friends with one of my daughters) she posted a particularly nasty comment about selling one’s soul and being a traitor because of a political opinion. This was directed at me. I was hurt. I tried not to be. I tried to shrug it off as I had so many times before. I mean…it was only FB…right? No. This was a wake-up for me. This was another betrayal. I had stood behind this woman through her own trials, her bereavement, her challenges, her grief, her recovery, her pain and her joy. And in return, she had shown her disapproval of my own choices. Her anger at my political opinions. Her dismissal of my own journey through grief and pain and loss. Her ridicule of my newfound joy and happiness in marriage.  I realized that she was a person who could only find joy through her own selfishness. She found her fulfillment only in being tied to a man who completed what she perceived as a FB perfect life. She was definitely an image seeker who needed the attention which social media fed. She was, indeed, incredibly shallow.

So, despite the many ties that we have together (church, friendship circles, children, history) I unfriended her on FB. This may seem trivial to some, but for me, this is not something I did lightly. I actually prayed over it and meditated through it. This is normally just not who I am. I am not a bridge-burner. I am not a friendship-ender. But, I (again!) realized something very important. I am not willing to be abused any longer. This is a lesson I keep teaching myself. I learned it early on in my trauma with my mother and sister. I learned it with my daughters. I learned it with Will. I am continually becoming stronger about who and what I will allow in my life. I haves freed myself of yet one more toxic person in my life and it is very liberating.

I am sometimes a slow learner and it sometimes takes my awhile to identify the toxicity a relationship is bringing to my life. But, I can say that I am not afraid to rid myself of the bad and welcome the good anymore.  I am so willing to embrace the happy and leave behind the harmful.

Leigh ❤️

Before and After

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Today is the last day of April. Which means that tomorrow begins the month of May. In seventeen days, it will be four years since d-day. How I wish I could erase that day from my memory! EMDR has not done it’s job where that memory lives in my brain. It is still as painful and vivid as it was when it happened. There are few things in my life that are sharp and clear as my memory of that day. Every word, every action, every feeling is embedded within me. The clarity with which discovery of Will’s profound betrayal provided me was no less than earth-shattering. I felt it in every. single. fiber. of my body. I still feel it as acutely now as I did then.

So, has anything changed? It has been nearly four years. Why does that day, that moment, those emotions still feel raw and fresh? Will I ever be able to erase them completely? No. Not ever.

The difference is that I can now experience them and absorb it all as part of me. That day changed me. It changed who I thought I was. It changed who I thought Will was. It changed everything. How I thought, how I felt, how I reacted to events, how I approached relationships, how I expressed myself, how I saw the world. Everything.

And sometimes, I miss the old me. That girl was perpetually optimistic (on the surface.) She felt loved by Will, her kids, her friends (at least, what she thought was love.) She was content with life, even though it was really hard at times (although she didn’t understand WHY things were SO hard.) She was fulfilled with a life of family and church and home (Will was not foremost because he was so distant…she accepted his excuses that he was busy with work and was grateful he worked so hard.) She was happy (but, given what she knew about happiness, this was SO misguided.)

I am clearly not that person anymore. I am optimistic still…but it is measured and not the blind unrealistic hope that I used to have. It is more rational and less…desperate. I am beginning to feel love again..from Will and my children and a few very carefully vetted friends. I have a few old friends that I know love me. They know about Will and love and support me the same as they always have. Contentment is nowhere to be seen at this point. I don’t know that I will find a level of contentment for a very long time. I am still less trusting of people in general and of Will in particular. I cannot be content without trust. That will take way more time than just four years. I am not completely fulfilled yet, but I am getting there. My family is still my everything even if they don’t love me as fully as they once did. That does not diminish my love for them. Will has become more present and more a part of my everyday so that has definitely been more fulfilling.

But, happy? That is a difficult one. The old me was not truly happy. I was happy with what I *thought* was my life. It was mostly a delusion. It was so full of gaslighting and lies that it was no life at all. At least, not a real life. Now, life is real and difficult and exciting and boring and joyful and frustrating and funny and absurd and maddening and fun! It’s become such a mix of experience and emotion that there is no one word that can describe it. It is still hard and sometimes overwhelmingly sad. There is still regret and anger and grief over the past. But there is also a lot of hope. And clarity of what truly is and is not “Life.”

I think that possibly the best way to describe myself before d-day was that I was existing. I was existing in a life that I had convinced myself was optimistic, content, happy. Now, even with all the trauma, the loss, the betrayals, the illness, the ups and downs…all of it…I feel like I am living. I am living my life with a full awareness of who I am, who I am becoming, and who I want to be. I am no longer who I was (or who I thought I was) and I am okay with that even if I miss that naive girl sometimes. I am much wiser and stronger now and able to withstand the things that come my way. I am clear-eyed and compassionate. I am tougher than I ever thought I could be and my heart is healing.

I am a walking, living, breathing  “before and after” ad for betrayed spouses. 😂

I can live with that.

Leigh ❤️

Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year…or something…

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I have been remiss in blogging for a few months and I think it is because nothing of great impact or import has occurred lately. I tend to be quiet when I have nothing thoughtful or helpful to say. I’m not good at small talk or superficial chatter. You can imagine my awkwardness at social functions. 😏

The New Year came in with Will falling asleep in the sofa watching Netflix and me falling asleep in bed reading.  Yeah…we’re definitely not the “It” couple. We did celebrate on New Year’s Day as we have for many years. We had family over and grilled steaks despite the 7 degree weather and played games. It was really lovely. Lots of love and laughter. And connection. Will has continued to be present and connects now in a way that he (and I) have never experienced. This is true with our kids and grandkids as well. It is comforting and feels like true conversion from “addict Will” to “real Will.”

But, I continue to be on my guard and trust is still an issue. I think it may always be something that will be there…this lack of complete trust. I can never go back to my pre-D-day unconditional love and trust. I honestly don’t remember what that was like. I am no longer that vulnerable or malleable. And the honest truth is that I no longer want to be. I have been told that this is not the goal of full recovery…but that doesn’t make sense to me. Why would I open my heart and mind completely to the possibility of such devastating betrayal again? I may be recovering but I’m not stupid. I prefer to protect myself now, which is something I never even considered previously. This is not to say that I don’t love and trust…just not unconditionally and enthusiastically. I am more cautious, more aware, more reserved in how I approach relationships now. With Will, my family, friends…everyone. This is what profound betrayal does to a person’s psyche. This is what it does to a person’s core being, personality, and perspective. It is unfair and I am trying to let go of the resentment towards Will because of this forced change from who I was and who I am now. It is a hard row to hoe.

There are many good things, however, and I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the blessings that recovery has revealed. One of the many things that I have realized is that I genuinely like Will. He is truly my best friend. He still makes me laugh and cry happy tears. We enjoy spending time together and doing things together. He is still attractive to me and I appreciate his intellect and tenderness. Desire is slow in returning, but I am hopeful that too will make its presence known when we are both ready. I am trying to be patient.

So…nothing too earth shattering in my life these days. I’m just learning and growing and getting through this life and it’s challenges as best I can. Doing what I can to be better at it. It is, at times,  more difficult than other times…and sometimes relatively easy. But it is a constant effort to emerge and change and evolve. To discover who I am while holding on to the essence of who I was. Anyway, as I was writing this post, I kept thinking of the old The Who song, “We Won’t Be Fooled Again.” The lyrics are fitting for me right now.

“The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again, no, no”
This is how I am feeling. I have been liberated from the old life of secrets and infidelity, but history ain’t changed. I smile and grin at the change all around me in my life…because there is so much good! But then, I get on my knees and I pray (fervently!) that I don’t get fooled again.
Happy New Year’s 🥳
Leigh ❤️

 

 

Fall (ing)

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I love this time of year. The cooler weather, the leaves changing, the anticipation of upcoming holidays. It’s a season of coziness. Soft warm sweaters, crackling fireplaces, hot cocoa…all those things of comfort.

I just got home from visiting my newest granddaughter in the Midwest. I went to help out with the new baby and her two older siblings. It was a lovely time and I so love spending time with my son and daughter in law.  They have been the one part of my family who, when the revelations of D-day were new, were willing to accept my grief and pain. Unlike my daughters, who felt that Will’s issues were somehow my fault, my sweet daughter in law embraced me and my pain and loved me all the more for how it affected me.  She is an amazing young woman who is fun, smart, accomplished and blessed with a joyful spirit. I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like because she is a two-hour plane trip away, but when I spend time with her I am always struck by how blessed I am, as a mother in law, to have this wonderful person in my family. I fall in love with her a little more every time I see her.  How fortunate that she and my son fell in love and have chosen to spend their lives together. She calls me “mom” and her 5-year-old asked her why she called me that since his other grandma is “really” her mom. She replied simply that “Daddy’s mom became my mom too when daddy and I got married. She’s not only my mom but she’s also my friend…how cool is that?!” What a lovely explanation and such a simple statement of love and family.

What an amazing world it would be if we were all so accepting and loving! I think back to those early days in my trauma when I was so judged and my family was so cruel to me. I understand that they, too, had issues and betrayal and hurt. But I also understand that, on a basic human level of compassion and empathy, they lacked both and in some ways still do. I am still unable to speak with my girls about anything regarding my feelings of betrayal and healing. They prefer to discuss their feelings with each other and still blame me. If “the past” comes up in any way, they quickly change the subject as if nothing ever happened. It is denial in the worst way. It still hurts, but there is little I can do about that if they choose to ignore it. I think this is part of the reason I love being with my son and daughter in law. They are open about what happened and want updates on how both Will and I are doing in recovery. It is not the big, ugly elephant in the room that no one acknowledges. It is comfortable and normal and loving. I don’t know how to achieve that with my girls and it is still so hurtful and I fall into a depression over it so easily. It is definitely something that, through all our family has been through, I struggle with the most.

However, there is something about this time of year that sparks in me a tremendous gratitude and appreciation for all the blessings in my life. There is something quite beautiful about the idea that the trees, so recently in full leaf and at their prime, have so quickly changed color and are now losing their leafy protection to the elements. I know that the coming months will bring bitter cold temps and frosty winds which will batter these vulnerable bare trees. I know that they will be exposed to whatever Mother Nature throws at them and that they will withstand frigid cold nights and overcast, sunless days. BUT… In the spring, they will begin to warm from their roots up. They will be re-invigorated into growth and beauty. The brutal months of cold and exposure will have made them stronger than the previous year. They will produce even more full branches of even deeper and more prolific leaves and buds. Their trunks will have strengthened from withstanding the winds which bent them and built their inner core…but never broke them. They will leaf out fully and provide beauty and shade in the spring and summer. They will provide shelter for squirrels and birds and insects of all types. They will provide comfort and privacy and depth to our landscape. What a metaphor for betrayal and healing! As my family has been through such a cold, bitter, cruel “winter” because of Will’s addictions, I have faith that, with time, we too will come through it and have a glorious “spring.” I believe that as I have withstood all the rawness and bare vulnerability that betrayal brings, I will be stronger for it…I already am. I think that my family will regain its roots and it’s core will be strengthened. I know that our leaves have all fallen off and we still struggle with the chill and frost but, I think our empathy and compassion will grow deeper and that our family will again return to its full canopy of shade and comfort from the storms of life.

It is ironic that I love this season where everything is dying…yet it is so beautiful. It seems to me that this sums up my life so well right now. I see my kids as being in different seasons at different times. I see the same for myself. But, I have faith that we will all go through our different seasons at our own pace and in our own time. I believe that, although this winter season seems to be eternal, it will refine us and strengthen us and that we will be healthy and happy and will enjoy an amazing spring and glorious summer.  There will be more falls…and winters. Some will be not  quite so beautiful and maybe some will be harsh and unforgiving. But there will always be a spring and a summer. Always.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I  have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”  ~ Ecc 3:1-12

 

 

Healing

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I am healing. Not just physically from my recent surgery, but from the trauma of betrayal. I am struck, though, by the speed (or lack thereof) of healing emotionally and healing physically. And I have always thought that unfair. Healing faster is better right?

As I heal from major surgery, I can feel myself get stronger. I can see results on the scale. I can walk farther and longer. I have regained some of my energy. I just simply  feel better.  I have not had any instances where I have felt worse or even the same as before the surgery. The progress is all forward with no relapsing. And I am only about six weeks post-op. To me, this is amazing.  But regarding the devastating betrayal, I am over three years post-D-day and it has only been recently that I feel I have made noteworthy progress. Have I seen and felt myself change? Absolutely! But it is agonizingly slow and painful. And I feel like there are relapses way too often.

Today, I was in a grumpy mood and didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. I didn’t want to take a walk or even get dressed. When Will got home from work, he cheerfully asked if I wanted to go for a walk. And so we did. Partly because I knew I needed to walk for my continued recuperation, but largely because in the past, Will would never take a walk with me and I’m not about to pass up that opportunity. We walked, held hands, picked up the mail and talked about everyday stuff. It raised my spirits somewhat but I still had a dark cloud that I couldn’t quite describe hanging over me.

We sat outside under our new pergola and watched the sunset and shared silly videos with each other on our iPads. It was a nice quiet evening. As we said our prayers together, I prayed for the Lord to protect us in our sleep and in our dreams. It was at that moment that I remembered my dream from right before I woke up this morning and realized what it had done to my mood all day long. It was horribly vivid and seemed so real and it put me right back to the rage, the disgust, the sick feeling of betrayal, the absolute feeling of broken-ness of D-day.  And the hangover from it stayed with me all day. It made me so angry that my brain and my sub-conscious would torture me this way. Why?!?! Why can’t my mind and my emotions heal like my body is doing?

Then, I began analyzing it all, like I do 🙄, and have come to this conclusion:

A body is really just a vessel. A relatively temporary thing for our use here on Earth. It is easily bruised or broken and, for the most part, there is generally a medical remedy, like stitches or casts or surgery to put one back together again. It takes some effort to heal, but the body does most of it on it’s own. We can not control how the bones knit together or tissue regenerates. It just does.

The mind, however, is far more complex. It is part of our spirit, our personality, our intellect. It is WHO we are. We cannot rely on the miracle of healing in quite the same way. When one is mentally or emotionally damaged, there is no chance that the brain is going to “fix itself” and heal on it’s own. There is no third-party like a doctor or nurse that can stitch up the gaping holes caused by years of false memory. No one can put a cast on the broken heart or broken trust and allow those things to knit back together. Healing from trauma is s-l-o-w. It is painful. It is So. Much. Hard. Work!

Healing is not for the impatient. And that is what I keep reminding myself. I keep telling myself that I am worthy of grace. I am allowed to take my time. I have earned the absolute right to feel the pain and anger at times, but also revel in newfound joy and, dare I say it, happiness. I am learning to accept the relapses and then put them behind me. I am learning that a relapse does not impede forward progress or even slow it down like it does with a physical injury. It is actually a PART of the progress and makes one stronger. Every thought and emotion and even dream is something to process, to digest and to learn from. It is all part of healing.

So yes, I am healing physically faster than emotionally. That is a given. But I am healing well on both counts…and that is what is important.

Leigh ❤️

 

 

Still Skanky After All These Years

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Today Will went to work as usual. But, mid-morning he showed up at home. I was a bit alarmed. I thought maybe someone died or he got fired or…worst of all…he had some relapse or was about to disclose something new.  He came and sat beside me and said simply, “Skank is in town.”  If you remember, Skank is the slut that Will worked with at a branch of his company in another state. She was one of three whores at work with which he had affairs. She was, by far, the longest at about four months. At that time, Will traveled “for work” a lot. 🙄 She is also the one who had several posts in the online shaming site, Homewreckers dot com. One was from me. She is the one who attacked me and blamed me for her own slutty behavior and cyber bullied me when she found out I knew about her.

So, when Will says she is in town, well, that’s a pretty big trigger. He was unaware that she was coming here for work and only caught sight of her in the office out of the corner of his eye. He did not take a second look, he did not engage.  What he did do, was go to his office, get his keys, duck out of the building and drive home. To tell me. In person. And to sit with me as I absorbed the information and begin to process. We discussed what he would do if she approached him. We discussed what he would do if she was in any meetings he was required to attend. We discussed what he felt when he caught that sight of her.  I asked him to go back to work and let me process. This post is part of my processing.

Of the many women Will has been with, this particular person disgusts me more than I have words for. I generally don’t hate anyone, but Skank is the one person I feel rage for whenever the thought of her or discussion about her comes up. Maybe it is because she was the one who dared to come into my home and into my bed and screw my husband. Maybe because she demanded that Will tell her he had feelings for her…which he did because he didn’t want to lose his free and easy access to sex. Maybe it’s the very fact that he is forced to refer any work related emails or phone calls from her to his tech to handle because she is too stupid to realize he can’t stand even the sight of her name coming across his computer screen.  Maybe it is simply the fact that she stole what is mine. My husbands time, his body, his interest, his attention.  Particularly at a time when I was in need of his support and help in our lives.

Will no longer visits prostitutes or massage parlors. He does not have any contact whatsoever with any former affair partners. But, Skank? She just keeps intruding in our lives. She will have a problem that she can’t resolve and will try to call Will directly. She shows up from out of town on Will’s floor where she has no need to be. I don’t want her to be a part of our lives and I have such anger at Will for bringing her into our marriage. I just want her to disappear from our memories. I don’t want her to have the power to trigger me. I am tired of letting her have that power.

Turning the page, the positives are obvious. Will did not engage and came home because he wanted to be with me when I got the information that she was here. He was concerned for me and knew it was a trigger so stepped up to tell me himself…in person. He said his initial reaction to seeing her was disgust. And shame. He now questions himself like I questioned him years ago… How could he lower himself to have sex with someone like that? He posted on Facebook this afternoon about gratitude. He had a paragraph about me:

“ I’m grateful for Leigh. Words can’t properly express my feelings towards her. She is loving, persistent, caring, protective, kind, humble, beautiful, witty, resourceful, intelligent, authentic, passionate, and courageous. I am learning that marriage and love are action words, and I’m grateful she is also patient as I continue to learn how to effectively and lovingly provide, protect, and pursue her heart.”

I am choosing to put this day behind me, where it belongs. I am choosing to see Skank for what she is…a sad, pathetic, needy person who is “less than” in every way. I am refusing to give her any more power in my thoughts, in my life or in my marriage.  I am choosing to be grateful that I am not the type of person she is. I am grateful that Will has progressed enough to see her for what she is and to appreciate all that I am. I am grateful that, after all this time, Will and I are different people…better people. And Skank? She’s still Skanky after all these years and that’s her problem.

Leigh ❤️

On Being Lonely

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Will and I used to have such a “great” social life…back in the day. Lots of friends, lots of parties, fun times out, friends over for dinners and holidays. We really were a go to couple for social gatherings and good times. What I didn’t know was that Will was more than social with more than a few of those so-called friends at the time. In 1995, I had had enough of Will’s drinking and abuse. He had ruined us financially with his gambling and finally disclosed his serial cheating. (I thought completely at the time..he was still lying) I was leaving. I went back to my faith and began making plans for divorce. Will seemed resigned at first but then had a change of heart. He, too, began to attend church and we reconciled. He seemed to be a new man. I never saw him drink, he cleaned up his language and never laid a hand on me in anger again. Because he dutifully served in the church, I believed his sexual acting out and gambling had stopped too. Our social life changed. We had a few close couple friends who knew our story and were with us through our life changing conversion from party people to a solid family committed to our marriage and to God. Then we got orders and moved.

It is always difficult in a new place in the military lifestyle. It takes a little while to find one’s niche…one’s posse…one’s crew. But this move was a little harder. At church we felt at odds telling anyone about Will’s past…at least Will did. he didn’t want me to give anyone details…so I didn’t. He didn’t go out drinking with anyone at work and didn’t really like anyone he now worked with. I had friends at my job and tried to go on double date nights with Will and my friends and their hubby’s.Nothing ever clicked. We had several good friends thru church and had an active enough social life in that respect…just no one we felt really close to. I felt like we were hiding the big secret that was Will’s “former” life.

Will retired from the military and got a great job. I thought maybe this would lead to some new social opportunities. But, no. A couple of great company trips and hanging out at resorts with his co-workers…but that’s it. He moved within the company to a new division and, well, he didn’t really seem interested in making good friends or introducing me to anyone. I retreated into myself. I began to find it harder and harder to make friends. I dreaded questions about Will and I. How long we had been married. Where we had lived. Why had we fallen from our faith and what had brought us back. It became easier to just rely on my family, my kids, who knew our history.  I would find a group of girlfriends at work, but when talk of the past or of personal stuff came up, the friendships became scary for me and I would just sort of let them go. I know now that I was suffering from unresolved trauma but did not know what it was. All I knew was I felt much like I always had…there was something shameful and embarrassing in our past and I shouldn’t talk about it. So I didn’t.

I felt myself slowly diminish into a shadow of myself for 20 years. 20 long years. I was so alone. I had my children…and then my grandchildren. I took care of my home, my husband, my family, my job, was a dutiful daughter and sister. A faithful church member and friendly neighbor. But I was so very lonely. My oldest daughter had never been able to stand me. I think she loved me, but it was somewhere very deep within her. She admits to hating me for a very long time. My son was away on a mission for two years and my younger daughter lived out-of-state.  I had my two dogs…which Will did NOT want to get but allowed and did love eventually. Still, I was alone. Will began to travel a lot. I was lonelier still.

In 2013, an amazing thing happened. My younger daughter moved home! Her husband had been stationed at our nearby base and they bought a home less than 5 mins from me. I was ecstatic! My four grandkids and my best-friend-daughter-that-never-hated-me was home! I wasn’t lonely for the first time in decades! They would go to the zoo and invite me. I wanted to go out to lunch and would call them. They needed someone to help with Halloween costumes…I was there! It was glorious! I was happy! Will would go out-of-town and it was ok…I would go over for movie night.

Then D-day. My daughters were the first people I called. They came over. My oldest preferred to call Will before getting to the house. In the meantime, my sweet daughter who shared everything with me and me with her, did not take the news that I had asked Will to leave the house because I caught him having an affair. She screamed. And then said simply, “I can’t be here.” And left. My older daughter came in and told me that Will was staying at her house and she already knew what had happened…she had just gotten off the phone with him. She offered to stay with me for a few minutes. My son called and all he could say was, “Oh my Gosh.” He just kept repeating that. His sweet wife texted me 30 minutes later saying she loved me, came stay with them out-of-state for awhile if I needed to.

And then. . .nothing. I was left to myself. My oldest called to make sure I was “okay.” My younger daughter did not call. My son texted, “I love you, mom.” None of the kids could or would talk to me. I foolishly thought that after protecting them and nurturing them their whole lives, they would be there for me when I was so very alone. I was wrong.

Later when I found out the full extent of the betrayal from Will, I called and told my mother. I told her about Will and my sister. She took my sister’s side. My sister attacked me via text with such vile and disgusting language I had to block her.  I no longer have a mom or a sister. My older sister died just after this incident two years ago and I was threatened if I came home for the funeral. Tomorrow, my older sister would have been 58. Again, I was a fool to think that after supporting my mother, bailing her out financially, protecting my sister and being there for here time and time again…there would be comfort or support for me. Again, I was wrong. Neither of them are part of my life anymore.

Now, over two years after D-day, I am again alone. We have moved again. Our new church does not know our history or the trauma. They do not know us. I am afraid of the questions. Why did you move? (Because my husband screwed a nasty herpes infested whore in every room of my old house and it reeked of skank and deceit.) Yeah…not the best way to gain new friends.

My younger daughter and her family have moved again too…out of state. But, that relationship has never been the same. I no longer have a best friend. My older daughter is still here and she no longer hates me, so that is good. But we are not best friends. I don’t have friends. I am so very, very alone.

Will works farther away from home now, twice the drive to and from, so is home with me less. I am physically alone most of my day…every day. I talk to my dog…and the robot vacuum. I don’t like who I am becoming. And I haven’t got the first clue how to change it. It is exhausting even thinking about trying to make friends. I am terrified that somehow, someone will *gasp* find out! That we will be looked at as “those” people. The pressure of living an isolated, hidden, shameful life is slowly killing me. How? How do I get past this, blogger friends? What do I do? Please help!

Leigh ❤️

 

Two

 

IMG_0492Two years. TWO YEARS. That is how long it’s been since I trusted Will. That’s how long it’s been since I felt secure. That’s how long it’s been since I felt innocent and clean. Two years ago, on May 17, 2015, I saw Will’s phone with a texted picture of Danielle posing for him in the Victoria Secret lingerie he bought her. I saw Will looking at me with a terrified face and saying, “It’s only texting! Nothing more!” Still trying to deny it as I read about how he liked the way her ass felt in his hands. . .

We met today with our counselor and discussed why I have been on edge this past week since returning home from a visit with my son and his family. Well, it turns out that there are a lot of triggers this time of year that I have been stuffing down and they all came up today, my 2 year mark from D-day. We leave for Florida in a week. Two years ago, in Florida, Will was distant, even mean, and unable to perform sexually. I asked him what was wrong…was it me? Was there someone else? He gaslighted me to the point that I apologized and cried. How DARE I even ask him that after he brought me to Florida?!

Last night we went to my grandsons sixth birthday party. Two years ago, we had his fourth birthday party at a pizza place. Will was distant, and disconnected from me and the grandkids. He kept disappearing. . .to the restroom, to go get more napkins, to find a waiter for more sodas. And he would be gone for quite a while.

He was on his phone. With Danielle. Like he was in Florida. Talking. And texting. And sexting. About what they did and what they were going to do next time they were together.

So, this has been in my vault. Locked away behind my every day stuff. Behind the mom and grandma stuff that I have been handling. Behind the new home and the fledgling renewed marriage stuff. Behind the trying to find my way in a different place and different type of life stuff. Buried far beneath the happy face and “I’m OKs” and the caretaker and nestbuilder and fun grandma, caring mom, content wife facade that covers so much, and that I thought I had given up for my newer, bolder, more genuine ME.

So, I begin, again, to re-emerge from the darker recesses of myself which I allow the people I love to place me. They don’t do it purposely. They are used to a certain me. One they love, but maybe more important, one they really like.  I am not always that likeable me anymore…because that takes so much effort. Effort that I don’t always have. I allowed it today as my oldest daughter called to unload about the difficulties she was having with my oldest granddaughter. I listened, I offered my shoulder to cry on, I offered the advice she was seeking. Then I got off the phone and fell apart. Because it was too much. Too much for today. Too much other ugly, sad, hurt on a day when ugly, sad and hurt were already overwhelming me. It was hurtful that no one knew that today was d-day for me, except Will. And he tried. And, I guess, looking back, that is saying quite a lot. He tried, he IS trying. WE are trying.

I will be glad when I wake up tomorrow and it won’t be today anymore.

 

All In The Family

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I haven’t blogged in awhile. Not because everything is great, not because everything is terrible. But just because of everything. The everydayness, the everythoughtness, the everymemoryness, the every-everythingness of what is my life now. Now that I know. Now that my children, my oldest grandchildren, some other family members and close friends, all know.  I am in a sort of a limbo state wondering what is next.

In the meantime, it has become glaringly apparent that Will’s addictions and past behaviors have had deep and profound repercussions within our family. The thing with addiction and recovery is that it is never, ever just about one person or one behavior or even one addiction really. There are so many minute little pieces that fit, sometimes grudgingly, into the puzzle of one’s dysfunctional life. What happened to someone, or to someone they love, or perhaps something they witnessed, or a multitude of other scenarios can cause trauma. Trauma that is not dealt with is so often stuffed down, or medicated, or manifested thru more dysfunctional behavior–like addiction. Causing more trauma. It is a difficult and sometimes a lifelong project to break the cycle.

My oldest daughter had a very, VERY, drama-filled adolescence. Much of it of her own making, but some of which, looking back, was spurred on by her wanting the attention of a distant sex obsessed narcissistic father and an insecure preoccupied fearful mother. Both of whom drank to excess, Will as an alcoholic and me as an enabler, and had NO idea how to deal with a strong-willed, smart, independent teenager. After “Ann’s” many rebellions thru running away, drug use, boys, and utter hatred spewed toward both Will and I, she managed to graduate from High School and land a full ride scholarship to the State University. A full 3 hour drive from home, I admit, it was somewhat of a relief to have her out of the house and away from influencing our younger two kids. Will and I quit drinking ( I did, he said he did and lied…shocker), He confessed his “minor” and infrequent infidelities (not all of them it turned out…shocker) and recommitted to our marriage during this time. We moved again and tried to look forward and start fresh.

Ann lasted one year at school. She announced she was bringing someone home to meet us. She showed up with a tall, skinny, kinda goofy-looking guy with big ears. She had been dating him for a little over a month, I think, at the time. And she was pregnant. She was 19. She moved in with Mickey (the ears, sorry 😏) and he got a job as a waiter in their college town. Our first grand baby was born and it was love at first site. As time passed, we learned that Mickey was an alcoholic and drug addict…and he was abusive. We drove the now six hours more than once to save Ann and the baby and bring them home to safety while Mickey sobered up. Ann continued to play this game…for eight long years. When we discovered that Ann, too, was an active drug abuser and suicidal, we sued for custody of our then eight year old granddaughter and her little one year old brother. I remember arguing with Will, only convincing him to take the kids because if not for us, they would have gone into foster care. No grandchild of Will’s was going to be a ward of the state! After two years of rehab and then, blessedly, a divorce from now incarcerated felon Mickey, Ann began to make a new life for her and our two sweet grandchildren. She then married a great guy who adopted these kids and loves them so very much. They together have a third. Ann is now a licensed therapist. And an alcoholic. In perpetual relapse. And continually trying to deal with her now difficult teenage daughter. Who has come home drunk, has run away, has boy issues. . .and is currently, for the last week, in a behavior mental health facility for an attempted suicide after being beaten up by her current boyfriend. The same one I was in. She is 17.

Her confidante and the person she feels comfortable talking to the most? Will. She knows some of what his addictions were and what he has done. She also knows and has seen how he has changed over the last almost 2 years (D-day is May 17, 2015).  Ann’s go-to person in crisis? Me. She does not comprehend how I was able to cope with all the crapweasle things she did as a teenager. She is having such a difficult time trying to cope with the same crapweasle behavior from her teenager now. And she is desperately trying to stay sober while doing so. All I can tell her is to rely on God and surrender it. There is no magic pass. There is no passing go and collecting money. These is no going around or over or under…only going through.

I have two other grown children. They have no addictions. . .that I know of. I have eight other grandchildren. I pray hard for all of them that thy NEVER have to experience this brutal, unrelenting trial of addiction and abuse. I want the cycle to end. I hate that addiction is such a prevalent problem and that it festers and grows in silence and fear. I hate that families, everywhere, everyday, are torn apart by its effects and fallout. I hate that my family has been so devasted by it…because of Will…and his parents. And who knows beyond that. All I know is that it needs to stop. All of it. For our own health, for the good of marriages and relationships and families everywhere.