Friday, September 18, 2015

What Fear Has Betrayal Awakened in You?

I'm a highly capable person. At twelve, I was hosting my own birthday party, routinely cooking myself dinner, doing my own laundry and checking my own homework. By 15, I was cleaning up after my alcoholic parents, discussing my mother's treatment with the psychiatric doctors at the hospital where she was held, working a job, and still maintaining an honors average at school. At 23, I was living in Europe and travelling alone to many countries.
At 25, however, in love with an emotionally undependable guy, I became the slightest bit aware that I had issues about being left. That being left, even under quite average circumstances, made me feel abandoned on a much deeper level.
The morning after my boyfriend would stay at my apartment, I would get a knot in my stomach. I would wonder if he'd stay for breakfast, would we spend the morning together, perhaps the whole day? Inevitably, he would leave: He had a squash game. He had work. He had plans with other friends. This went on for close to seven years and I developed my own coping strategies. I would leave at the same time he did to go for a run. I would mentally prep myself for his departure. I would stay at his place instead so that I was the one leaving, not him.
Therapy helped me pay attention to this deep fear of being left. Therapy helped me leave him.
Fast forward 15 years and I'm married to someone else, someone who felt far safer than this one-foot-out-the-door ex-boyfriend.
And then D-Day hit with the full impact of a meteor into my world.
And that long-dormant terror of abandonment was awakened.
Despite my tough talk, demanding that my husband get his ass home "right now if you even think you want to save this marriage!" Despite my list of non-negotiables – counselling, a 12-step group, access to his phone/computer, no contact with OW – I was shaking inside. I was nine years old again and the person upon whom my survival depended was drowning in vodka.
That's the thing with a deep emotional wound like betrayal. It awakens old fears, it underscores old messages, it says "see, I told you you weren't _______ enough." Not young enough. Not pretty enough. Not nice enough. Not sexy enough. Not a good enough daughter/wife/mother/friend.
You're too demanding. You're too bitchy. You're too busy with the kids. You're too old.
You're. Not. Loveable.
That's the biggest fear of all, isn't it? That we are not loveable. That the reason he cheated boils down to that one thing: Not loveable.
Despite evidence to the contrary, we begin obsessing on anything that supports that lie. Our college boyfriend dumped us. We've been fired from a job. A close friend stopped including us. We have crow's feet. Stretch marks. It all adds up to a mountain of evidence that WE'RE NOT LOVABLE.
And if we're not lovable, well, then what did we expect?
Most of us don't realize, at least right away, that behind the fear of telling others about our husband's affair, behind our humiliation at his cheating, behind our shame, behind our fear of drawing clear non-negotiable boundaries to keep ourselves safe is that horrible, dangerous lie. After all, if we believed ourselves lovable, we'd have absolutely no choice but to accept unequivocally that his cheating is about his failings, not ours. 
Even now, years out from D-Day and with a whole lot of therapy under my belt, I can quickly be reduced to that one fear: the terror of abandonment. The realization that I cannot control what others around me do.
Even with my Escape Plan and my understanding of boundaries. Even with my intellectual understanding that, without my husband, I will be fine. Physically, emotionally, financially fine. Even with all that, how quickly I become that nine-year-old.
These days, though, I'm able to far more quickly reach to wherever that nine-year-old sits, paralyzed, and wrap my arms around her. I'm able to assure her that she is not alone. Because I, a fully capable and sane adult, am now the one in charge.


  1. Wow! Your words come out at just the right time and are worded so that I-we can see ourselves in the pain you have lived with!
    Thank you for that! I so feel your pain! I'm taking care of my 78 year old mother and she always thought she was the best mother in the world because she rescued her girls from an alcoholic father. Oldest sister was 10 I was 6 and baby sister was barely 2.
    She ran away to a different state with man she barely knew because he could drive her and her girls to be with her brother and his wife to 'start over '. On the drive this man fell in love with my mother and her girls! They married and he really did become our hero as our mother didn't drink but had a very short temper and a heavy hand with discipline! Her beatings left us bruised both physically and mentally. When she was angry with me her favorite thing to scream at me was 'you're just like your damn daddy'. Only thing was I didn't even get to know my daddy until I was 16. My husband was my boyfriend at the time and helped me find him. Turns out he had always lived in the next country. What also turned out to be true was I am a lot like my daddy! Thank God! By the time I met him he was remarried helping raise my step sister and brothers and he was a wonderful man! Turned out my parents were poison together but each was better in their next relationship! The feelings of abandonment you speak of are feelings I had for my daddy! I did have those same feelings for my marriage! I'm working through them. My h is doing the best he can to help me wade my way through the hard days! Knowing others have the same feelings makes me feel less alone! Thank you for blog! Oh and I have had tons of counseling for the abuse and neglect from childhood. I have had to bring those memories of how to cope back to the front of my brain. I think that's what is keeping me sane. Hugs to you for helping all of us!

  2. I'm 7 months from D-Day and I can relate with what you are saying, except, I felt I was worth more and loveable, but I was crushed that my husband didn't think I was. He didn't value me enough to tell me what he was feeling before cheating on me. I'm not sure he would have even told me - I figured it out and approached him about it. He told me he wanted to tell me though, to unburden himself and work at a better marriage. However, he cannot articulate why he would ask to work for a better marriage BEFORE betraying me and ruining our marriage. I told him I need honesty and monogamy from that day forward. However, he continued to communicate with the woman for weeks after telling me he wanted our marriage. That messes with your head worse than finding out in the first place. He has never told me the entire truth of what has happened. I hate that he continues to share this secret with his whore. He made promises to continue going to therapy and to go to confession and he never went. When I approached him he said he never planned to and he wanted to avoid an argument. I can't trust him, but he continues to say he wants our marriage and loves me. I just don't know how to function in this. His integrity and character are gone. And... I just found out I'm pregnant. He promises to be a better husband and father, but how can I trust him? But, how I can leave either? I wanted my family intact. I knew we were having problems, and I realized we were having a lot of the same feelings about our relationship, but I DID NOT cheat. He's had prior indiscretions that just make me label him as a serial cheater, too. How can a person look at this mess and say it's a catalyst for positive change? If you can't trust someone, how can that be positive?

  3. I think my original post got lost so here is a new one. I want to share this amazing Brene Brown podcast :

    She identifies the keys and barriers to whole hearted living/happiness. Namely perfectionism, judgement, and the deeply ingrained sense that I am not good enough. I am not worthy enough. I had plenty of opportunity to learn this before his affair. The affair of course, exploded my sense of unworthiness tenfold. But it isn't his fault. Now I have to unlearn this message in my head that I don't deserve good things. That I should just stop trying because I am just going to fail. Or that I am not worthy of love, attention, consideration, kindness.
    I can't keep living like that with or without my husband. I can't wait to read her new book Rising Strong.

    1. Elle,

      Welcome back from your travels you were missed! and you are LOVED.

      When I read your last two posts my heart dropped. And all the comments leading for me to the crescendo.... "We are only as happy as our least happy child."

      I recently dropped my youngest daughter off at college. Within a week, she was heart broken and in the emotional shredder over meeting a boy that "She'd never felt this way before.....about" ugh

      I die a hundred deaths....actually there is a Stephen Sondheim song from? A little Night Music? with the lyrics "Everyday a little death, In the parlor, in the bed....."

      That sweet girl of mine wrote her first song at 13 and the title was "Infidelity."
      My middle daughter wrote also song called "Sticks and Stones." about her fathers Long Term affair. (Two of my daughters are in a band together).

      There is no hiding, not for us....... and never will be.

      And all of us here on this website because of you Elle...we share the burden of our grief....we hold each others hearts- frankly, in a way no partner ever can. We witness, and we pull ourselves up, and keep walking. We pray for all of the children.

      It's messy.

      And we muster the smallest seeds of hope, and sew them into the fabric of our days, nurtured by our own voices and the truth.

      with great love and respect to all

    2. MBS, I bought Rising a Strong last weekend. I had not started to read it yet, but I listened to the podcast yesterday. Wow. So much of it hit home. Hearing her describe someone who is not living wholeheartedly was like hearing a description of me. My husband's affair seems to have brought to the surface a lot of shame, lack of self worth, etc... I'm now painfully aware of these issues I have had despite the fact that I outwardly seemed to have it all together. I'm anxious to start the book.

    3. I'm reading Rising Strong right now too. I love Brené Brown. She has such a great way of making our motivations so clear to we can then change course.
      And Val, I've been having a helluva time watching my daughter navigate her own heartbreak. But I'm aware that I'm experiencing it (admittedly by association) through the lens of my own trauma. My daughter is disappointed...but she's not crippled by it. She's sad, which is perfectly normal. And each day, she seems a little less sad. It's teaching her important things -- the value of friends, the importance of exercise, the beauty of nature to help us heal. It's quite amazing, actually, to watch her instinctively reach for healthy ways to cope whereas my own coping mechanisms, thanks to a crazy family, were less healthy: I pushed down my feelings, I drank too much, I threw myself immediately into another relationship...ANY relationship.
      I hope your daughter, knowing she has your support and love, will respond similarly. And I hope you can work through some more of your own pain, recognizing it as yours alone.
      And..."muster the smallest seeds of hope and sew them into the fabric of our days, nurtured by our own voices and the truth". Beautiful.

  4. I fear that I failed. I fear that for 38 years I lived a lie. I fear that the ones that know talk behind my back. I also fear that the good years of my life are over and we're wasted on someone that had so little respect for me he told the OW ( that should be women...more than one) true details of my life!
    I am still with my husband.....not sure why. Financial little respect for myself.

    1. Pamela,
      Ask those tough questions. Why are you still there. You can do nothing about what's happened. But until you're taking your last breath, you can absolutely do something about where you go from here.
      Give yourself the credit you deserve. Respect your loyalty. Respect your own integrity. And then respect your choice, whatever that choice is, about what's next for you.

  5. This sooooo hits home!! You struck a nerve way deep inside me. It seems I have been fighting to prove that I am worthy all my life. My own father was emotionally unavailable. On top of not being interested in any of us, nothing that we did was good enough and he validated that to us in a million different ways--most of which were sarcastic, passive aggressive remarks to bring us down. So very sad.

    As a result of all this, I grew up with that awful, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was not good enough no matter how hard I tried. There was nothing I could do that would ever be as good as anyone else. My father compared me to others and let me know where my shortcomings were at all times. It was excrutiatingly painful and I lived an exhaustive life bettering myself to no avail.

    Even though I no longer accept those lies as truth, there is no doubt that this devastating event in my life has conjured up those old feelings inside me. I thought I had long come to terms with these things--and I had. But it seems everything in life has a certain fluidity. What I thought was concrete is not. What I thought had healed never really does. Those things I learned from my father, although I have done the work to "unlearn" them many times throughout the years, still reappear as I navigate through this life. They are a part of me; a part of my past, just like everything else. I can't undo them, just like I can't undo my husband's affair.

    So what do you do when you can't undo something? I address it as quickly as I realize it. I readdress it and go back to those tools I learned to heal so long ago. I have realized that I can't put that toolbox away--I have to carry it with me from now on and use those tools as old hurt returns to haunt me. It doesn't have to take over my life like it did once. I can look fear in the eye and acknowledge that things will trigger its return from time to time. Then I can gently tell myself that I am going to be okay. I am enough. I am worthy. I am loved.

    1. Merilee Lane
      Yes to what you have said! The pain we feel takes us back to the first pain we learned how to heal from! I am still bringing my tools to the front of my brain in my attempts to build a better marriage and help me cope with my mother!! Ladies like you give me hope!

    2. Merilee,
      That's exactly what we do. We go back and quickly address those old wounds before they start running the show. I sometimes think it's like someone with an old injury who can predict the weather because they get that old ache. We can become aware of that ache...and know exactly what it is.
      So glad this post struck home.

  6. Ladies you have no idea how good I finally feel about myself after finding this site!! You all inspire me and make me realize it's not him. I first started commenting under anonymous.married 38 year, 60 years old, husband long term affairs, tells them he is leaving me for them...never does ).
    I may be getting the strength I need to say bye bye even if it means he gets some of my hard earned money...thank you ladies.

    1. Maybe that hard-earned money will buy you the freedom to live the rest of your life from beneath this dark cloud. That's money well-spent, if you ask me!

  7. Humiliation. When i was somewhere between 4-6 i was incredibly excited about something, possibly a dog or a kitten or something, and i was so excited i ran out of our house in just some sort of t-shirt and my underpants. When i realized it, and ran back into the house my mom was laughing. I am sure if my mom and i had a better relationship I would have laughed too, but I was just MORTIFIED. That was my first taste of humiliation. I can't watch movies where people are being humiliated and can name four right off the top of my head that few people would identify as humiliation --things that don't register as humiliation with others scream at me. I was HUMILIATED that I had been lied to, that someone might have seen him, that someone else might know--even though I knew in my brain +I+ had nothing to be humiliated about, you couldn't tell me that. The heart and the brain have done a lot of battles over here.

    1. Steam,

      Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry you carry this pain in your heart. Sending love and prayers that you can someday let it all go and be free. xoxo

    2. Yeah, hearts and brains don't always view the world from the same vantage point.
      And humiliation is about shame. And shame runs so incredibly deep. It's about our sense of worth.

  8. I didnt feel as unloved as given up on even used at a point and extermelly hurt ... struck to core. I moved alot in my childhood and didnt have the stability or structure a child deserves my young mother i learned over time had alot of growing to do and in my adult years ive accepted some peoples good is their best. My grandparents were my rock when they passed i struggled with anxiety. .. to the devils advocate. .. i am because of this a go getter ver self motivated and also have trouble asking for help ... take on to much. Inside a girl who just wants xmas at the same house to mean something to my child, pleasure in simple things and above all a sense of secuirty. My H was that finally someone i could depend on ... reach out to and who wouldnt leave me or let me down. His pedestal so high in my eyes. that true he didnt leave me but had a long term affair that was occasional for years and hot/heavy for 9mo+ before i found out. Ill admit new mom new job grandparents dying i was self consumed and overly engaged w my child striving for a bond and better closness then i have w my own mother. I felt used as we have had in our marriage many financial changes and health issues so i tended to pick up slack or became very lenient w my H going out thinking he does so much for us he needs a break ... i though his break was bars sports and boytime not an affair. Ive told him all this ... he says it wasnt me but him he felt unloved and thought better to handke his needs and let me be wrapped up in baby. Understandably maybe but not justifiable. He agrees. We spoke of trust that bothers him the most i stated ive lost that blind eye ... i trust him w children to dos etc but if he were to go here there causal or for work my trust in him actually being there. Hummmm i wonder but i also know he is responsible for himself i cant lock him away forever and i do see he is trying. Crazy cause for most part hes been a wonderful husband ... his fuck up sucks and i hope we get through this. Im very blk white he fears i wont be able to forgive him.... wounded but not broken. Im hopeful. My anxiety returned some trying to keep that at bay and i try to keep grace and cup half full this is bad but could b e worse? No grass is greener all grass has issues guarantees sure ... but thats what life is ups and downs. Xo i could write book try to keep short .. noone knows ... i also find it just embarrassing in general though i know its his shame not my fault.

  9. Hurt me with the truth dont protect me with a lie. .. hurts like hell but well prefer it ... the lies, deceit ... maybe worse then sharing intimate times and money on someone other then me or perhaps it would be a flash photo finish as they both cut deep.

  10. I fear I gave up my youth for nothing. I married young (I was 20). I gave up living on my own, just hanging out with friends, maybe going out dancing and just being young and carefree. I gave up dating around. My husband was my first serious boyfriend. He was the only man I ever even kissed, and my only sexual partner. He was 25 when we married, he'd already got to experience all that--the partying, the dating, the independence. He was ready to settle down, or so he said.

    I never regretted any of that until he betrayed me. I thought I'd gotten a good bargain. I thought I got one of the good men. My abusive parents stole my childhood, and I gave up my young adulthood to get married. It was my fresh start in life, or so I thought. I thought it was what I wanted. I didn't have any big career dreams, I just wanted to make a happy home.

    Now I worry that I made the wrong choice. It sounds cliché, but I thought we had a great marriage right up until he told me what he'd done. Sure, we weren't quite as intimate as I might have liked, and we rarely had sex, but sex isn't everything in life, right? After all, the sex we did have was good. Plus my husband is a great father to our son, helps out around the house, is always grateful for all that I do (like making dinner), and we rarely fought, so what more could I ask for? Plus I figured since he wasn't that interested in sex (I always had to initiate, and most of the time he turned me down), I'd never have to worry he'd cheat on me. Ha!!! I was so naïve.

    Every time I was unhappy or felt unfulfilled, I consoled myself that the price I'd paid was worth it. Now I can't do that anymore. They say all we can to is to learn from our mistakes. But what can I learn from this? It's not like I can go back and change things, it's not like I'm going to get another life to live. All I can do is to try to make the best of where I am now. I'm trying not to get torn up with regrets, but it's so hard. I love my husband, but so many days I regret that I ever met him.

    He says he doesn't want to hold me back. That if I want to leave and try to recapture my lost young adulthood, I am free to do so. Except I'm not. We have an eight-year-old. I can't just take off to party. Our son doesn't deserve to pay that price. I may only be 33 years old, but I don't want to start all over. Not only would I doubt I'd want to ever be vulnerable with anyone else, but I still love my husband and think there's something worth saving. Well, most days, anyways.

    I'm working hard to let this go, because I know I can't go back, only forward. I want to make my marriage work, I just don't know how to stop regretting that I tied myself down so young. That scares me.

    1. Gee,
      It can be so hard to let go of the "what ifs". What if you'd stayed home the night you met him. What if you'd said 'no' to a date. We can make ourselves crazy. I tend to do that sort of thing when I see a horrible car accident at an area I often drive. What if I hadn't run back into the house to get my keys? What if.... what if...what if...
      You made the choices you did. There's no turning back the clock. But you do get to determine where you go now. An eight-year-old can survive divorce. Lots do. A bigger predictor of how he survives is how respectful his parents remain with each other. A kid in a toxic marriage is harmed more than a kid in an amicable divorce.
      However, I completely understand your resistance to that. But please don't think it's not a possibility. I think sometimes, because our options all seem to stink, we think we have none. There's no easy way out of this...but that doesn't mean there isn't a way that's better for us than another.
      However, sometimes it really does come down to making peace with the choice we've made. Every person in the world could be living a completely different life depending on so many decisions of so many people. That we're here at all is a total confluence of an infinite number of things.
      Start here now.

    2. You are right, there is no turning back the clock. And on good days, I'm glad I've chosen to stay. Your site has helped me to see that I'm not a wimp or an idiot for staying. The thoughts of running away have lessened a lot as time has gone by. And you're right, starting over is a possibility. I do know that. I think just knowing that has made it easier to live with staying, because I feel like it is a choice, not a trap. I think deciding to stay is like forgiveness, it's a choice I keep making over and over, not one I've made once and it's done.

      Thanks for giving me a place to vent my thoughts. They feel like they have less power over me once I get them out. I cried while I wrote my previous comment, but I felt so much better after I did. The "what ifs" are slowly lessening, along with the mind movies and triggers.

  11. I dont feel as unloved as given up on even used to an extent. I havent been a perfect wife but a damn good one. Weve had struggles in marriage with finance and health, who doesn't, my H always taken really good care of us and all combined allowed me to become very lenient with him going out relaxing with the boys sports events etc who knew he was actually having an affair. .. blind trust ... how i miss that some days. I had new baby. New job. Daily stress. We talked doesnt excuse it but he was feeling unattended too and felt better for me to have full focus on baby then bother me. Sighhh. I moved alot as a child never had the stability and structure one esp a child deserves. Devil advocate im very go get and self doing bcuz of this. Too blk and white and have trouble asking for help too. My H was the one person besides myself i could finally depend on ... who wouldnt let me down. I created a pedestal so high for him youd need the tallest ladder to sit down. Dday struck me to the core.. u gave up on me! My happiest times w my baby were his downest so it seems. Some had to do w my over doing w baby me and my mom dont have a close relationship im so fearful of that being me and her. My H struggles greatly w the lost in trust but tells me it wasnt me he was wrong weak and selfish his words. I trust him with kids daily to dos but when he says ill be here there etc for personal or work my inner voice. .. is ge there? I know i cant control him and i do see his efforts in trying to be open and heal us. I hope im just wounded and not broken we r almost 5 mo. I do see marginal improvement it still hurts though and i do think about it daily but not as obsessivly most days.

  12. Ps i struggled w anxiety for some time once i got married it subsided mostly ... its resurfacing im trying keep at bay practice old ways etc. Maintain

  13. Ps struggling a bit too ... we had always wanted to have another child i put it off a bit then we were discussing again a few months before dday. ... NOW ... he still wants one ... i just dont know being so wrapped up in baby # 1 and all this happening makes me fearful plus with all the work from healing trying too from this seems like alot of stress or could be ... im also sad a bit as i feel the option was pulled out from under me. Dont get ne wrong there were other concerns the norm though ... money ... care ... etc. My clocks ticking and being im so conflicted not bcuz of him but becuz i have to consider me
    .. im not gonna say no never but right now not deciding ... sad some .. overthinking .... is what it is ... just venting seem to fit the question.

    1. Wounded,
      Five months out is still so raw. Give yourself some time to keep healing. Stay focussed on you. It sounds as if you need to learn some self-care and how to ask for help instead of waiting for someone to notice.
      A child can be a wonderful thing but under circumstances in which nobody feels pressured.
      Keep sharing here and you'll slowly work through the pain. Are you in counselling?

    2. Previously i did years of therapy for my anxiety. ... for the affair no ... not that my H would be opposed for me solo or together. I did reach out to my old therapist who is now 1.5hr away and not feasible to see really. .. she offered phone counseling which ive done b4 just nit same as going. I called some refferals but i havent pulled trigge . I called a wkend retreat even ouch 5k! I do realize i need to take care of me ... honestly $ childcare just time in general is hard to come by ... so far ive tried to revist past coping skills from therapy. Self help books this awesome blog and sunshine on my face. Walking helps. My H now being open talking has done wonders .... i do fear a bit when winter sets in and more confinded to inside if it will be harder to cope? Nothings like the first 4 weeks pure hell and thats an understatment. I did buy some new nail polish with sparkles. .. ahhh the little things. Thx for the response. Its hard when noone knows.....

    3. Walking can be a HUGE help. Self-help books can be great -- have you read any Brené Brown? And yes, sparkly nail polish can remind us, each time we look at our fingers, that we are sparkly and lovely too.
      And yes, it can be so hard when no-one knows. We need each other.

    4. I am not familar with brown readings ... i should check into that. Thx you

  14. Melissa chiming in ... I had individual counseling prior to D day to deal with some of my own anxieties and with this great counselor I came to learn a few things. One I was a perfectionist or should I say am a perfectionist in order to get the attention from my parents ... As there were so damned many kids LOL. Even with being a perfectionist… I felt unloved, and perhaps unlovable. (There are many reasons behind this which I will not go into all of them here.). Prior to D day I had learned, again through IC, that in fact I am lovable, even if I am not perfect. So, I was very fortunate to have gotten to that place. I had also unfortunately, developed a fear of abandonment in my childhood… I believe because my brothers and sisters, who were, or should I say felt like they were absolutely, my parents… Left me one by one by one by one as I was a small child when they left home. So, what childhood fears were awoken? Well, all of them, of course. Again, with the counseling I had off and on for years, fortunately, even though I felt unloved and perhaps unlovable by my husband upon learning of his affair… I recognize that there are and will always be many people who love me - and perhaps most importantly, I love me. I am exceedingly lovable! And for that reason… I did not need to be perfect. Of course, there is no such thing as perfection. The fear of abandonment? As many of you know I was in the depths of that from the moment I found out about the affair but then again especially when we separated. Where do we stand now? I actually feel that this affair, our subsequent separation and my husband's vacillation with whether not he wants to stay in the marriage has actually strengthened my resolve and my trust in myself… And has therefore weakened my fear of abandonment. Is it still there? Absolutely. Yet, I know now, deep in my heart and soul, that I will be absolutely fine, alone. In fact, I recognize that not only will I be fine, I know that I will thrive.
    Love and light to my beautiful friends :-)

  15. Interestingly, I was just thinking about my post. I believe the affair also strengthened my new phone belief in my lovability, if you will. And that came about when I shared with my friends and family the great pain I was going through… And I witnessed their tremendous support. The support and love I received from them on a daily basis, and still do, says to me loud and clear you are lovable you are worth it and we will always be here for you. Who are these people, in particular? My mother… Two of my sisters… A dear friend of mine from fifth grade, whose husband had an affair on her about five years ago… For lady friends who live in my area, who talk to me or are with me on a moments notice as need be. And there are a few others throughout the country, members of his own family included, who have given me telephone support and have sent me cards. How can I not feel loved? And in my moments of greatest strength… I can turn to myself for the support and love that I need ... that, my friends, is something I am still working on. Have a lovely day and know that you are loved :-)

    1. I recently reached out to two friends who had, for reasons I don't understand, blown me off. I ran into one of them and she suggested coffee so I followed up. I reached out to another when I heard, through mutual friends, that she was having trouble with her daughter, who's the same age as mine. The days passed and I heard nothing.
      And this is where I realized just how far I've come: It doesn't bother me in the least. I completely let go of the outcome. If they want to call me, great. If they don't, IT'S NOT ABOUT ME, IT'S ABOUT THEM. It's their choice and says nothing about my own lovability. That's huge for me.
      And, of course, when I realized that I have no investment in the outcome, my phone rings.

  16. The fear that we're not loveable.... 4 years ago was d day for me and 2 years for our daughter, I managed that long to keep it from her. I wish I could issue this warning to all the betrayers, I wish I had a globe to show you the destruction. After therapy myself and managing to get past hysterical bonding, PTSD, low self esteem, anger, and all the other torture it brings up, we are now suffering with our daughter. After the evening she found out about her wonderful daddy, she became pale and listless, we had decided to stay together and she had found out by default, we sat her down together and gave her the talk that adults make mistakes; it was over years ago; we were staying together not just for her but as a couple. She needed counselling straight away which was arranged but pretty hopeless. To say we had a bright daughter with a wonderful future ahead of her sounds smug, but she did have. ( she was 16 at the time) it's now 2 years and her destruction is devastating. Dropped out of High School, took drugs, gets drunk, slept around, lied, changed her whole appearance, and is a shadow of her former self. She says that her life is ruined, she feels betrayed, she wants to act and be like the woman he went with, she said she wants to hurt him so bad and become the vermin that she was. To say I haven't had a full 24hrs peace without something kicking off is an understatement. My husband has become a shadow of the man he was, he cries for what he has done to both of us, but it is killing him slowly seeing the destruction of his daughter. We have now found out she has contracted an STD, she is not bothered, telling me its only what her father could have done to me having unprotected sex. She had never had a boyfriend until after she found out about his affair. We have tried to get her to see a psychiatrist but she refuses. I'm at a loss, but this post resonated with me especially after our daughter asked, " were we not good enough!

    1. I'm so so sorry for the pain that you're in watching your daughter self-destruct. And I hope she will get help. Sending you strength and prayers and hope that you can be strong for yourselves and her. Teenagers are a handful no matter what the circumstances. But this is certainly more serious than most.
      Please keep us posted. And perhaps she would benefit from some of these posts? Or any of Brené Brown's work? She's internalized some misguided belief that her father's affair was about anything other than his own failing. And that is has anything to do with his love for her. He's human. Humans screw up. Just as she's no less loved behaving as she's behaving, she doesn't need to love her father less for messing up. Hurt people hurt people.



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