When you've reached a bad end, choose to make it a middle instead.
How often do we despair because of where we've "ended up." As in, "I never thought I'd end up divorced." Or "I never believed I'd end up the wife of a philanderer."
The thing is, we haven't "ended up." We're here...sure. That's the bad news. The good news is we don't have to stay here. "Here," isn't where it ends.
It's an important thing to recognize. It's what keeps us moving forward – this notion that we're in a hellish place but this isn't the end. And it's something that's all too easy to forget. We get stuck in thinking that life will never get better. He'll never stop cheating. You'll never be able to trust him. Pretty soon you've gone down the well-worn psychological path that leads only to a life lived alone, homeless, with nothing but feral cats for company and plastic bags for shoes.
So much of healing isn't about what's actually happening...but rather what we tell ourselves. And telling ourselves that it will never get better is disempowering ourselves in the worst possible way.
If there's one thing I've learned through all this, it's that the only thing I can control is myself...and that includes my thoughts.
Yeah, I know it's hard to stomach that when your husband seems to be the one pulling the strings. Our healing seems dependent on his behaviour. And there's no question that someone else's crazy can seep into our own lives...especially when we share a roof, bank account and possibly offspring with that person. But the way to survive – and certainly the only way to thrive – is to control your own story.
I recently read about a woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Well, she thought, this is the end. She fought the disease but only to buy herself a little more time. The thing is she beat the cancer. Completely gone. Her end...wasn't. The story she'd told herself turned out to be wrong and she felt discombobulated with this new reality.
None of know what our ending will be. We only know the chapter we're on right now. And we're the ones controlling the letters on the keyboard. Keep creating your own story, with you as the triumphant hero who overcame tragedy to create a life rich with meaning and moments worth savoring. If someone else is trying to write your own, push his aside. Relegate him to the second-man status. See his behaviour as what it is – his own story full of failings and missteps. He controls his story...and you control yours.
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