Monday, July 4, 2016

Healing from Betrayal: It's the situation that's crazy, not you

How often, in the days following discovery or disclosure of a partner's affair, do we feel like we're going crazy. Literally crazy. As in we question what's real. We feel conspired against. We're hyper-vigilant. Terrified one minute, giddy with hysterical bonding the next.
The crazy thing is...your response, under the circumstances, is perfectly normal. Sane. It's not you that's crazy, it's the situation.
It's a situation in which you're often being asked to trust someone who has proven himself untrustworthy. You're sometimes being asked to present a fake front to the world when inside your world has collapsed. You're frequently responding physically to trauma, which is exactly what betrayal is: trouble sleeping, easily triggered, racing heart, chronic anxiety.
We find ourselves badgering our partners with questions even though we dread the answers. One minute we're terrified they'll walk out the door, the next we're ready to literally kick them out the door ourselves.
And far far too often, we accept that we're the crazy ones. Far too often we're told we're the crazy ones. But we're not. We're often the only sane ones in a crazy situation.
It can be hard to believe that. After all, we're the ones shrieking until we grow hoarse. We're the ones throwing things. We're the ones accusing our partners of all sorts of apparently crazy things: hiding phones, faking trips, double lives.
But, like Shakespeare's fools, we're so often the ones who speak the truth, who point out the lies and the hypocrisy, who call out the crazy, even as we're the ones considered foolish.
If you're feeling crazy, by all means find a counsellor who can help you find your way back to solid ground. Especially if your behaviour is crossing a line into abuse or stalking or self-harm, then please seek help immediately. A partner's betrayal is excruciating but it isn't a licence to harm others or yourself.
What feeling crazy can remind us is that we are deeply wounded and we need gentle care. Ever tried to approach an injured animal? They hiss and spit. Their fear comes out as aggression. Betrayal takes us back to that primal state. The best thing we can do is focus on what we can control, which is ourselves. We can find support. We can nurture ourselves. We can tend to our broken heart.
And within that space where we're focussed on our sane, normal response to a crazy situation, we can recognize how toxic our partner (or our parent, or our friend, or our boss....) is. We can finally acknowledge that we are not crazy. We can place the blame squarely where it belongs: on a partner (or parent or friend or boss...) who has lied to us, manipulated us, betrayed us.
We can fight for ourselves. We can love ourselves. We'd be crazy not to.

59 comments:

  1. Elle!! Preach!!! This should somehow always be on the homepage. This is brilliant. As someone who thought she was truly losing her marbles the last few months and then lost my MIND when I found out I wasn't, this is just a brilliant reminder. What I did not know was the sheer volume of crazy that was around me and yup a whole lot of it in me too. It quickly gave way to some peace and sanity. Only to rise up again with little warning. But it's disappearing now that I can clearly see the crazy it came from, the where. The way. The how. Crazy is a part of me But I am so much more. We are all so much more. Love to my crazy-brave sisters in the madness. We are all somehow and one fine day be fine. And so much better than just fine, thank you. In fact were perfectly normal. Right at this moment in time. How crazy is that?

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    1. Betrayal is crazy making. It turns our world inside out and upside down. It takes time for us to stabilize ourselves. But it really really helps to recognize that our response to betrayal, even when it feels crazy, is a normal response to shock. Sometimes we minimize that in a desperate attempt to make our world feel less frightening. But acknowledging it can strip it of some of its power and we can accept that we're responding to trauma. I sound like a broken record, but be gentle with yourself. Nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself.

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  2. Ahhh, crazy. I explained my view of the world to my counselor as if I were looking into a broken mirror. There were many fractured reflections looking back at me and it was impossible to know if anything in my life was real. I felt completely out of sorts, did not trust myself, my thoughts, my decisions, my body for a long time. I lost my mind, my train of thought, my confidence in myself and humanity for several months. I did not know if I were actually capable of murder but the vacillation between grief, sadness, and rage made me so glad I did not own a gun as in those frequent moments of uncontrollable rage I understood the "guilty by reason of insanity" defense. I understood how a perfectly rational woman might snap and change the course of her life and everyone's lives with one irrational decision to kill her spouse. Then the hysterical bonding and moments of clarity show up and you just "know", "yes, I've finally lost my flipping mind and they will lock me up as soon as it becomes clear to others". I'm one year out and after much work on myself I can see how crazy the situation really is but dear God, those first 10 months were killers of everything I thought was me. Peace and Love my sacred sisters. Hang in there, Beach Girl

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  3. Beach Girl here again with another link for our Bill of Rights as a Betrayed Spouse. Although my situation is clearly one of the traumatic aftermath of my husbands sex/porn addiction and not everyone has that to hang their heart on, this counselor in Texas writes a nice blog with good info too. She is no Elle, but she is often helpful.

    http://vickitidwellpalmer.com/a-partners-bill-of-rights/

    Her post yesterday for Independence Day is spot on too. I do not embrace the "co-addict" label when a spouse is suffering from sex addiction and that actually triggers my crazy rage-filled thoughts and behaviors but oh my traumatized sisters, do we fit the trauma model of intimate partner betrayal. Trauma and PTSD sucks. Seek help where you can find it and embrace crazy for the short time it visits. If you can't find the money or time to see a counselor in person, please seek out professional counselor blogs for wisdom and grounding. Run fast and furious away from anyone that implies that you are complicit in your spouses choices. We are not "co-addicts" Bleh Beach Girl

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  4. I remember in some of my worst moments thinking, "Of course my husband was addicted to porn. Of course he went looking for someone else. Who wouldn't, married to a crazy person like me?!" But the thing is, I wasn't crazy. I only acted like that after all this happened--and it wasn't crazy, it was a normal reaction to an abnormal and horrible situation.

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    1. I'm in the same boat right now feeling like the crazy one and paranoid and insecure and looking to find a way to let it go and just breathe

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    2. Shannon smith
      I tried a response in gmail but I don't think it posted as it thought I was a robot. I'm so sorry you are having these feelings. I too became a crazy woman in the first year and a half. It's a hard wobbly path to find yourself in. It does get better with time. I'm finding myself again and I resemble the person I was but I feel so changed by my experience and sometimes it doesn't feel like the changes are good. However, I found I couldn't stand being in the sad depressed state that I was in and just started working on me and getting me back to a better place both physically and mentally. I'm still a work in progress and I take life one day at a time. Hugs!

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  5. This is so exactly right, Elle. I wish I had realized it sooner.

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  6. The interesting thing is I felt like the crazy one during "the cheating years". Once dday hit all of a sudden I was like I am sane. It was a major ah ha moment for me. Of course still hard working through it but I think it was the day after dday when I told my husband that what he did was horrible but I finally had a reason and clarity as to why he treated me the way he did and I felt the way I did. For some reason this gave me a lot of calm. Through this recovery process though there were times I started to have that feeling creep back in and it was when my gut was telling me one thing and he was denying, deflecting or unwilling to talk about what I was asking about. It was when he reverted back into the same behavior of why are you questioning me or asking me that what is your point. It took a lot to work through this since it was what I called his "go to move" for 10+ years. I might get upset or firm with him but I will not be led to believe I am acting crazy.

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  7. I once walked into my physicians office and told him I was going crazy! He was very thoughtful and did a complete blood work and he gently explained to me that as a general rule truly crazy people had no clue that they are crazy. Turned out my thyroid gland had stopped functioning and with proper medicine I returned to normal, what ever that means. So the crazy I became as a result of the PTSD, became my new normal for a few months may be a couple of years. Now that the true crazy has been cut completely out of our lives, a new normal is returning. Crazy is just a word that describes irrational behavior from a betrayal that shakes all the normal right out of a body! I'm glad I finally found my normal again! Thanks to Elle and everyone I meet here!

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  8. Beach Girl, you have a beautiful way with words. I often say betrayal is indescribable- hmmmm, between you and Elle, perhaps I'm wrong.

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  9. Anytime I hear the word "crazy", especially associated with betrayal, I think of Beyoncé's song, "Hold Up."
    Here's just one verse and the refrain:

    Something don't feel right
    Because it ain't right
    Especially comin' up after midnight
    I smell your secret, and I'm not too perfect
    To ever feel this worthless
    How did it come down to this?
    Scrolling through your call list
    I don't wanna lose my pride, but I'm a fuck me up a bitch
    Know that I kept it sexy, and know I kept it fun
    There's something that I'm missing, maybe my head for one

    What's worse, lookin' jealous or crazy?
    Jealous or crazy?
    Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately
    I'd rather be crazy!

    It's a great video too. The music is actually upbeat and happy - she looks gorgeous in a flowing dress, as she gleefully smiles, strolls down the street - and smashes cars and windows with a baseball bat - until she brings in the big machinery and really goes crazy! How I can relate 😊🙃

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    1. Melissa,

      Yeeeesssss!!! I love this song! The album is great!

      This has by far been the most crazy making experience of my life!!! I can honestly say. I do know crazy!!!

      Becky.

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    2. Beyoncé hits on such a key piece of this. It doesn't feel right because it's not right. Even if we're wrong about the actual details (ie. we worry he's still cheating even when he isn't) that doesn't change that we're dealing with someone we never should have had to deal with. Betrayal is crazy-making!

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    3. OMG I JUST watched the VIDEO Oh yeah, it's real it happened and she KNOW. Hot Damn. That's the kinda bad ass I wanna be. i LOVE YOU Beyonce!!!

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  10. The day I found out, 10 months ago I threw all of his clothes out into the front yard of our house and then sold all of his tools. The next day he came home crying and asking for forgiveness, wanting me to help him get rid of her. When he tried to end things with her she went out and bought him a phone to hid in his truck. Her friends gave her sympathy cards because she couldn't destroy our marriage. One of the card she had slipped into a box of his things. It was addressed to him and her and he ended up burning it. They had only been together a few days sneaking around txting each other late at night and she was already telling him that she was falling in love with him and that she had planned the whole thing. A week later he tried to commit suicide because of the pain he caused me, our girls and that he couldn't get rid of her. He had severe sleep deprivation from working 2 jobs and maybe sleeping a total of 20 hours in 2 weeks because she needed him, know one would listen to her and she couldn't do her job without him. The other manager would't show up for work and pushed her job off onto him. We had friends, family and the State Troopers out looking for him that day. Do you think that she left him alone after his suicide attempt? Nope. I had to block her number and the other manager's number at the restaurant where we all worked at together, I forgot about the restaurant phone. She used her friends phones, the restaurant phone, some private number and emails to still contact him and the other manager had restraining order put on me so that she could continue to go after him and I could do nothing about it. These women were compensating his pay and bought him a futon to sleep on in the office at the restaurant and only she could get him coffee. If any one else brought him coffee she would take it away and give him one she made. I truly wonder what she was putting in it. He was on medicine for months to help him sleep normally. After he got home from the hospital he kept taking shower after shower telling me how he felt so dirty after being with her and that he couldn't get clean. This little affair lasted less then 10 days. To get rid of her he resigned from that job and had to threaten her with a restraining order while he was at his uncle's funeral. But I am the one who got called crazy by my husband, when he lost his mind from lack of sleep and her and her friends I was supposed to step aside and let her have him. I truly felt that I was crazy until I read this blog. I still have a lot of anger towards her. I have forgiven my husband things are very good between us. We are even closer now. We have always been best friends.
    The remorse that my husband feels is very deep. I've watched him cry more in the last 10 months then in the last 25 years of being married, especially when we put our 13 year old daughter in the hospital for cutting herself because of this situation. I honestly don't know how I have been so strong on the outside when I am such mess on the inside. This blog has helped me a great deal. Like reading about wanting revenge and the obsessive thoughts I still deal with regarding her. She has since gone back to the fiance that she left to go after my husband and her little happy life is all back to normal. We have since moved to another state across the country so that this woman and her friends have no way of finding out about us and we can start over. I hope this makes sense because typing it out is therapy but also very hard to do.

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    1. Fragments of HopeJuly 8, 2016 at 12:56 AM

      Anonymous, your story DOES make sense and thanks for sharing it. Of course you are angry, your story makes me angry reading it. You are the one who cares for the welfare of your husband (flawed though he was) and someone else invades your life and causes massive harm. And what has happened to your daughter, oh my God, that is just so awful, and your shock and anger are core, innate, the love of a mother for a daughter. My children (the elder two especially, 13 and 11 at D-day1) were very much affected by the stress here (without ever being told, but they must have heard the arguing). One had suicidal thoughts (though its complicated because he has Aspergers so it was not the only factor.) another suffered depression. The rage I have felt over the fact that the OW (a nurse for special needs children!) would cause such damage alongside my husband! There were no obvious consequences for her. (though there have been good posts on this blog saying how we don't know what are the true consequences.) I really feel for you, as you say, being so strong, holding everyone else together, when you have been so damaged. I said to my son one time, "You are like a strong bridge, you might not feel strong but that's only because a tremendous weight has been put on you." There is so much healing left to do in your family, as there is in mine, things are beginning to turn round for us 1 year after D-day two but things still need nurturing. I'm glad you've moved, I think that will help clear many of the triggers and trauma away. If you're like me you will still feel very fragile and burned out after it all, I vowed to be nice to myself, some little lift or gift to myself every day, to treat myself as if I'd just come out of a convalescent home, with great care. Also sometimes its after the big storm, when things go quieter that the adrenaline leaves and we just crash. Sleep, eat, do gentle things you enjoy, keep thinking of the good. Overall what I see in you is a very compassionate lady who watched in horror as a great damage was done to her family by someone superficial and thoughtless, the remorse is in your husband, he needs to heal from his sleep issues and depression, your daughter will flourish again within the love and safety that your family now create. Well done on getting this far, and best wishes.

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    2. Anonymous,
      Your story, sadly, sounds like so many stories on this site. And you might feel like a mess on the inside but you're just feeling a normal response to a crazy situation. You've been through hell, including having to see your daughter hurt herself because she needed her own pain to be visible too.
      You're shown superhero strength is supporting your husband who created this shitshow, your daughter and yourself. Give yourself credit for that. As I so often say on this site, be gentle with yourself. Put down your burden long enough to feel all the sadness. Trust that you will get through this. I'm sorry you needed to be here...but glad you found us.

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  11. I read something this morning that spoke of a "crazy time" on the threshold of transformation and I thought of this post and thought YES, I know crazy! But do I know how to use it???? Do I know how to embrace its uncertainty, feel it, live with it, die with it, grow with it, learn from it, be guided by it, stay with it, trust it?

    I don't know.... But I know I very much want to try, that I am trying. The path does slowly reveal itself. I am doing my best to ride this crazy train.

    Love and support sisters
    Becky

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    1. Becky,
      I agree. If we let it, I think the "crazy train" can take us somewhere transformational. But we need to recognize that our "crazy" is a sane response to insane circumstances. Of course we feel threatened and frightened and angry. Of course we feel unsafe and unsure. We'd be crazy not to feel those things. Learning to trust our own assessment of the situation can give us back to ourselves.

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  12. So many times, I have felt crazy. And in the early days, I acted in a way that may have been described as crazy... if you didn't know my story. I screamed, raged, threw things. I cried until I felt like I couldn't breathe. I told my husband I felt like I was losing my mind, like I was crazy. He would always say, "You're not crazy. You're hurt. I hurt you." Ironic. The person who caused my pain was the one there trying to help me through it. I have some regrets for things I said and did, but I don't regret going through the emotions. For once in my life, I've allowed myself to truly grieve, in my own way and with no time constraints. For once, I haven't just "sucked it up", been a "good girl" and not "rocked the boat".
    I'm still wading through my own issues. The hardest parts for me are letting go of the anger and hatred I have for the OW and forgiving my H for the way he ended the affair. The rational part of me knows the OW is not worth my energy. The emotional part still hurts knowing the things she did. I want to know her "why", but I know it won't make sense or justify it. So why do I need to know why? Because I expected basic human decency from someone who is a wife and mother herself? Because I lived my life treating others the way I wanted them to treat me only to find out that it doesn't always work lot that way? It's got to be something deeper than that, right?
    I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that he's there beside me and I know he has remorse but I'm holding onto anger for the way he handled the end of the affair. After the final d-day, he ended it and never looked back. His actions showed that he was committed to rebuilding our marriage, but he never verbalized it in a way where I felt like he was standing up for me. I have listened to his explanation of why he handled it the way he did. Our therapist agrees that he took the path of least resistance, ended things in a way that created the least conflict in his mind. I believe he is fully committed to me and our marriage and I see the changes in him. He stands up for me and our marriage every day in his actions. But in the end, I wanted him to break her in the same way he broke me. It's petty, but it's true.
    So I continue to look deeper into myself to figure out why I hold onto this. And s part of me that realizes that I've never had a healthy love relationship. That every man I've ever been involved with seriously has made me feel replaceable or been emotionally abusive. And then came my husband... the first person I believed loved me just as I was. I felt like I was beautiful because in his eyes I was. For once I was with someone who loved me as much as, if not more than, I loved him. His infidelity stripped me of that. And what it revealed was the person who outwardly appeared strong, but inwardly never felt good enough. I'm still struggling with it.
    I've rambled, but this has been weighing on me. I needed to put it into words. I knew you all would understand.

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    1. Dandelion,
      That's been a longtime issue for me too. I wanted my husband to take a stand, to declare me the victor, to vanquish (and preferably humiliate) the enemy. But, if I'm honest, this is something I've wanted my whole life. And it took me awhile (and therapy) to see that my mother's alcoholism (in which I felt she picked the bottle over me) is a big part of my need to be "picked", to feel special enough to win over something or someone else.
      That's MY stuff. It sounds like it might be your stuff too, that need to finally feel chosen.
      He did choose you. But I think it's far more important for you to get to a point where YOU choose you. Where your worth isn't dependent on someone else seeing it. I'm a work in progress.

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    2. Dandilion
      I totally understand the need or want for her to be as broken as you feel! My h sent the ow to jail for harrassment and I thought that should hurt her feelings just as she had stabbed my heart with all her truths! The truth is that she was broken before he met her and probably will always be broken. I was also caught up in the karma for her but then she lost her teenage son and I just had to let my hard feelings for her change to an understanding that I just don't want her taking more of my happiness away and the longer I thought about the affair and the things she said was important the longer I stayed in the bad place of emotions. I'm a work in progress as Elle said! I have to work very hard each day to keep my mind and my heart in the right place! Hugs!

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    3. Dandelion, I get you. I too wish that after round one 2013 my husband would have done the same sort of showboating and hurt his APs, (for me, better yet, if I could have)
      I also used look back and wish we would have separated and I would have taken a harsher stand and had some alone time, even though I could HARDLY stand, I was SO hurt, i was SO lost, i was SO devastated. Now in the recent round 2 I am sadly and at my own choice, getting what I need. Time to my self as, per our agreement and my enforcing of boundaries he is out of the house. I have his fuck phone and shockingly have not abused it. two prostitutes think he's killed himself now. but it's just two out of about 49 so i give myself credit for NOT doing the damage i thought i wanted to do, given the chance. I will say there is something satisfying about "getting your own way" out of this, even if it FEELS a teeny bit shallow and petty. In the overall scheme, I don't know a ONE of us here who is shallow and petty.

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    4. Theresa, you are so right. I sometimes still lose sight of the fact that she was broken long before she met my husband. It takes a broken person to do the things she has done. I admire your ability to let go of the hatred and anger. I see that sometimes it is what holds me back Initially I thought it was all about retaliation, but it's so much deeper than just that for me. It's the need to feel better than her. I have to work on my own self esteem. My h and I have worked to rebuild our marriage, but I need to put some more work into me. When you said you have to work hard every day to keep your heart and mind in the right place, it was a reminder that for me it's so much easier to revert to anger or sadness. I'm a work in progress too. Hugs!

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    5. Steam,
      I often wonder if I had just gone crazy and done the things I felt compelled to do with regard to the OW, if all my negative emotions would have been spent, if maybe I would have been less angry at this point. My husband got the majority of it. I screamed at him, threw things, lashed out at him until he was either in tears or in the bathroom throwing up.
      But with her, I held back. So many reasons why... minimizing the damage to my husband as they were co-workers, fear of my own anger, fear of her husband's reaction if he found out, protecting her kids from the potential fallout (ironic...she never cared about mine). And surprisingly, I even thought about what she might do if the affair became public.
      What you said is absolutely correct, we may have a moment where we are petty or shallow, but I've seen more compassion and kindness among this group than I would ever have expected. We hear a lot about how hurt people hurt people, but here the opposite is true. Here, hurt people help people.

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    6. Dandilion
      I so love your last sentence! That's what I've found from the very first post I placed here! Hugs to all of us for staying strong!

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  13. Fragments of HopeJuly 8, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    Dandelion, I really get it. So many months (years!) later and there is a part of me that hates myself. Since my husband was a conflict avoider and I was the emotional verbaliser, I end up looking like a crazy lady down through the years, even before the affair. My shyness, tendency towards depressive thoughts, I berate myself all the time. Some of the things I hate most about myself (getting over emotional and panicked) were revealed to the OW and gave her ammunition. The way my husband ended it too. I wanted to be part of the conversation (or in the room for the phone call) and he went ahead without me. He never called her up on spying on me and on contacting me (with lies) around D-Day2. On D-day 1 he'd sent a lovely email standing up for me but then that was blown out of the water because he went against it and renewed contact. I felt, the same as you, he NEVER stood for us. Now he knows it was a missed opportunity. D-day 2 was a missed opportunity as she contacted him, he could have said, no and come and told me about it, how that would have made me feel he was choosing me. Now, 2.5 years on from D-day 1, I have started to let that go, it doesn't bother me so much but I still have a long way to go to start loving myself, the hatred goes way back and because of negativity from my son with Aspergers (he aims to verbally hurt when he is struggling). Some of his comments really take me apart. It's like two people in my family couldn't stand me. It's hard to stand tall after that. I'm rambling too but I really understand about not feeling good enough. How can we build ourselves up, forgive ourselves for the ways we are not and celebrate what we are. Steve Stosny's book Living and Loving After Betrayal has exercises to get us to substitute thoughts of our core values and positive attributes over the story of the betrayal. The exercises are meant to be repeated and repeated (I probably should have kept going.) For me its about calling to mind the night I decided I didn't want to be 'married to a man who lies' (I said that to him as he floundered in the fog.) I danced with my children, watched programmes on science and engineering that we both enjoyed, played favourite music, went out to my writing group. Enjoyed the best of myself. Thanks for sharing your struggles Dandelion because it's so clear we need somehow to really celebrate ourselves and untangle ourselves from the tethers that the actions and words of others have put us in. Watching a show on the brain yesterday, we are neurologically set up to interact, to make meaning out of our interactions with others, we are social beings, not 'islands.' So of course we are affected. On this site we can feel that our reality is valuable, coherent, right. I was just saying last night that both my son and husband have made me feel as if I was living in a madhouse and I was the crazy lady. No, it's time to realise that we are compassionate and fabulous and full of wonderful qualities and strong. Keep going Dandelion, I've found your gentleness and clarity very heartwarming xx

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    1. Fragments,
      You are so not crazy. You are strong and wise. And you are supporting your son, who isn't able to give back to you in the way that you might need. Is there a support group of other parents where you might find solace and a place to share your difficulty? Do you have friends who can remind you of all the ways in which you make the world richer and better? Parents who can assure you what a blessing you are?
      Let me tell you that your presence on this site, and your support of others here, is absolutely a blessing for the rest of us. There's such power in the words "me too."

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    2. Fragments of HopeJuly 9, 2016 at 12:29 PM

      Thanks Elle, that means a lot. I find that depression gets boring for other people after a while, my husband doesn't know how to react or family members just don't get the pain of the long haul with a special needs child (they hardly mentioned the state exams he missed this summer, a disappointment I was trying to be philosophical about but which was a 'loss' to get over or the fact he's out of school for 1.5 years. Like with affairs, people think you're fine after a specified time or just don't think to ask. My mum is good and I've a couple of good friends, one in particular with whom I can share and a forum for 'out of schooler' mums, but I bore myself with my own troubles too. I'd rather have a different identity. As a SAHM and an author who hasn't quite got there yet, I'm pretty invisible. Burnout and depression have made me withdraw from the world as well (not that I'm the most social being anyway.) I know I'll have to turn this around and it's happening slowly but I'm existing 'getting through' rather than living right now.

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  14. Dandelion.. I totally understand why you are holding onto the anger as to how your h ended the affair... did you have a say about how your h ended the affair?

    I know for me the first d day I left it up to my h to finish the affair I didn't know what he said or did but trusted him, looking back nearly 4 years ago it would appear that he wasn't clear with her, wasn't firm enough, he didn't close, bolt the door on the affair. He can't have because in May this year I find out he is back in touch with the same ow.. .. I think in my case this comes back to boundaries I should have laid down what I wanted back then and not let him decide how he was going to deal with her.. Sometimes a change of number is not enough for these ow.. They need cutting out like a tumour with hope they never rear their ugly heads again.. The ending of the affair can be an indicator of whether it will/won't reignite in the future.. My h obviously thought he could end it on good terms, there is no such thing with ow like these

    .. I'm following a story on the news at present where the ow murdered the betrayed wife so she could be with her husband ... I know sickening, it's unbelievable what some of these women will do .. The plan she plotted was like something out of a horror movie.. Hopefully she will spend her every living minute behind bars but my point is these women are toxic sometimes dangerous individuals... It's quite scary when you think what lengths these women will go to..

    I'm currently now considering a divorce as I'm not sure I have a future with my h... Sad but true... I've lived and I've learnt from this horrible experience , had my fingers burnt again but I refuse to sit here and play 'poor me' instead I want to find my strength to get through each day as best as I can...

    Dandelion I hope you can work through this issue, it's great your speaking to your h and your counsellor about this and if your still not satisfied.. Ask yourself what it is your still feeling unsure about.. What do you need from your h to feel safe in your marriage... Let us know how you get on .. Big hugs dandelion

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    1. Hi ladies.

      I have so much the same experience! My H ended the affair in a really painful prolonged period of minimizing conflict and hurt with the OW , but cause me enormous pain and did a lot more damage to our marriage. This is totally his MO to try and avoid conflict
      And pain for others at his own expense and this case mine as well.

      You all know how painful this is! I am still really angry about and very very angry at the OW was never told the truth (no he's not in love you and never was!!!). I was recently surprised to find how much anger is still lurking. Anger is a hard emotion for me, honestly I don't know what to do with it. I can very much feel the hurt beneath and have found ways to process that that seem effective. But the anger hangs around and sneaks up on me..... And then what??? If I sit with it, it seems to grow and tries to take over me and if I push it away it just waits to come out again.... Does this make sense??? What have you all done with anger?

      Love Becky.

      Delete
    2. Sam A,
      Egads. The OW in my situation is looking better all the time. I can't believe the lengths that some of these women go to for...what? Crazy.
      And I'm glad you're focussed on you and what you need to move forward. You can't rebuild a marriage alone.
      Becky...there are a few things you can try. Write her an uncensored letter in which you wish the most vile things on her. Just let it all out. Write another one the next day. And the next. Don't mail them. Either put them somewhere safe or burn them. But just let everything out. Beat the crap out of a pillow or a punching bag. Punch until you're exhausted, imagining it's her smug stupid face.
      Imagine her in the most humiliating situation. I used to imagine catching the OW in my house and then chasing her down the street, naked. I imagined my car lights behind her as her ass jiggled and her eyes revealed the terror that I would run her over. Always made me giggle.
      Or...go the Dalai Lama route and extend compassion to her. Send her the wish that she would feel whole and healed and vow to never hurt people again. Wish her the peace of forgiveness so that she could acknowledge the hurt she'd caused and not repeat it.

      Delete
  15. Well I hope my rant posted but the point I was trying to get to was how I'm dealing with the anger! I dig weeds in my garden and I tear up cardboard for the recycling bin! I walk a mile! I still have a long way to go but each day it gets easier! Hugs to you all!

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  16. Ladies, I completely understand. The first time, my h ended the affair, he did it with a text on his own. It was on the day that he told me about the affair. Apparently she had texted him a sad face, as they had been going through a two month break up of sorts. And he texted her back that he had told me. Beyond that I do not know what he said. There was then no contact for 2 1/2 months from him to her. She reached out to him on two separate occasions, yet he did not respond. At that time I was looking at the phone records. Then, when he went to move out for our separation, he told me that he had called her. As devastated as I was, I was glad that he told me - he did not have to, as he had called from work. During our separation, whereby we had an agreement that he would not see or talk to her, he saw and talked to her. Later, when I expressed my upset over the fact that he saw her he was remorseful, yet had no, as he put it, no good explanation for it. I recognize from everything that I read, and I do read sites for the betrayed as well as sites for cheaters as well as sites for the other woman and as well as sites of psychologists and therapists and it is well known that it is very difficult for some, more likely most, to end affairs especially if the affair was emotional. So you know what, I understand what happened in his attempts to end the affair. What I believe angers me the most, is his apparent lack of "getting it." As I told our therapist the last time I saw her, which was about three or four weeks ago… "I wish my h would verbalize how grateful he is that I am giving him a second chance." Unfortunately, I believe that he does not, and perhaps never will, recognize that. Because for so long he questioned whether or not he wanted to be in the marriage… I don't think he sees that in fact I am giving him a second chance, in some regards… And you are all going to hate him for this… In some regards, I think he thinks he is giving the marriage a second chance. Not me, per se, but marriage in general. Of course, I do not want to tell him what to say ... I have though told him recently - I am a treasure and should be valued as such. (My h is a treasure too - I believe we all are, just some more blemished than others.)
    I intend to go back to a therapist I had known previously for individual counseling as I question various factors about me and specifically, me in my marriage ... to be continued ... ❌⭕️

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  17. Becky ... I try snd journal, That can help it's a new technique ...I cry... I text my husband the worst names possible ( not always helpful or productive) .. Exercise Especially boxing and running.. Talking it through with a friend or counsellor.. .

    It's really hard to not let the anger swallow me in and shake it off.. I spent the last two days non stop texting my husband the worst names ever.. I'm not proud but how else can I hurt him the way he has hurt me... I really hate him and it's getting worse day by day ...

    Becky do whatever makes you feel better at the time .. That's all we can do xxx

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    1. Thank you Sam,

      I have been journaling, but is mostly about hurt and not anger. I think I need to let the anger out on the page. Excercise - yes!! Before dday (1 year ago) I did exercise regularly 5k runs ect.... But post dday I was so devastated, exhausted, and could barely get out of bed that all my excercise completely stopped. I think my mind and body have been missing it way more than I realized. I need to make space for excercise again! Also, I am so out of it, I did not even think of excercise as an outlet for anger. Thank you.

      Love and support sisters
      Becky.

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    2. Yes, I would run and run, pounding that pavement as if it was her face. Until I was physically spent. Not only did my anger dissipate, my body was fabulous!

      Delete
    3. Sam i did that for 9 or 10 days straight until I was out of awful words. I have never spoken like this to anyone. I was and endless pit of vile or BILE that is how ugly i was. but eh, ugly cry, ugly words, some of us are cursed. I got it out of my system. he may not have changed, but i got my say. wow did i get my say. Best i can do is the treadmill and packing my house up for a paint job. I do want to go back to boxing though. thanks for that reminder.

      Delete
    4. Steam, I'm glad I'm not on my own with the cursing.... Doubt my therapist going to be happy with me when I tell her.. She'll no doubt ask why I didn't journal : ) .. Text is far better : ) maybe not to the h.. He probably stopped reading them after the 100th one... Yeah I felt better too steam..

      Thinking of you steam xx

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  18. Six months on and there are still moments when I feel dead inside. Post DDay my problems were made worse by the fact that there was downsizing at my sixty hour job. I was scared of losing the job i loved. My loved mentor was wrongly fired. Now I have a great new job. My H cut off all contact with the OW the day I found out and is trying hard to rebuild trust. I have renegotiated the boundaries of the relationship and he doesn't take me for granted the way he used to. After a phase of overeating, I stopped and look great now. Then why do I feel so empty? I feel bleak. The rare moments I feel angry and crazy at least I feel alive. I don't a lot of the time. Austen.

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    1. Austen,
      We call it "the plain of lethal flatness" and it hits a lot of us. After so many months of intense emotion, we feel depleted. Empty.
      Part of it is that when we try and bottle up the negative emotions (sometimes just so that we can function day by day), we also lose positive emotions too. It might help to journal and see what comes out. Just keep writing and see if you can unclog. Even with the good that's come your way recently, there's undoubtedly still a lot of hurt and fear. Feel it. Express it. Trust that the angry and crazy won't consume you.

      Delete
  19. Austen
    Six months is still too soon to be able to see clearly much less understand the feelings you are going through. Depending upon how your husband is treating you it can take longer for healing to begin! Have you seen a therapist? I'm almost two years since my h stopped his physical affair but our crazy ow reached out to my h in March so I've been having to deal with the anger/pain over again. It's not easy no matter how much your h does to try to help you through it, it still takes time to process the whole mess! I'm sure we've all had that dead feeling. I know I did! I wavered between staying and running away for months! I'm so sorry you are going through this most painful journey! Keep posting and reading this blog! I'm sure I wouldn't have made it this far without these strong women I've met here!

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  20. Fragments, Sam A. , Becky, Elle and Melissa, thanks for your words. I value what each of you say and I appreciate hearing others' perspectives.
    Our stories are quite similar, Fragments. My husband ended the affair when I found phone records. He led me to believe at that time that it was an emotional affair. She contacted him about two months later which I found out, but I was unaware that the affair resumed about a week after that contact. I discovered the full truth about two months further down the road. I asked him to call her and end it with me there. He chose to do it via FB message. There was also an incident in which the OW's sister e-mailed him and threatened us. He sent a weak response aimed at diffusing the situation but did not tell me on his own. I felt like he made a fool of me yet again.
    The betrayal hurts, but it seems an added insult when you don't feel like they stood up for you. In hindsight, I can see that my husband was likely in shock after being fully found out and scrambling to just make it go away. We've talked about it numerous times with our therapist and on our own. He recognizes that the way he handled it made it more painful for me. I recognize that he was continuing an established pattern of conflict avoidance. He can't go back and change his actions. But what do I need to put it to rest? Over a year out, would it be healthy to ask him to contact the OW or her sister and tell them the truth? Do I want her brought back into our life? No, he didn't verbalize it, but can I accept the fact that he stands up for me and for our marriage every day in his actions?
    Sam A., I think you're right. It's getting to the root of the feelings. I think my husband's actions should make me feel safe, but inside I'm still not confident that I'm enough. It's past experience and issues. I tell myself it was never about me, but I don't know that in my bones. And, since I'm trying to be as honest with myself as I can, there is a part of me that wants to feel superior to the OW. It drove the need to contact her and the nagging feeling that not confronting her and humiliating her somehow made me the weak one. So is it insecurity? Is it fear? Both?
    I started writing this comment yesterday but have struggled with putting things into words. And now I've seen what you wrote, Elle. I think it's very close to what I've been working to figure out. I don't know with certainty what it stems from but I know I need to love myself more. I wish I could see myself through my kids' eyes because they think I'm pretty amazing.
    While I've never met any of you, coming here is like a conversation with a good friend. I often feel isolated by my h's infidelity because I've only told two people aside from our therapist. I love you all for your kindness and your openness.
    Hugs!

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    1. Dandelion,
      I have teenagers so I'm not sure I want to see myself through their eyes. At least not at this moment in time. ;)
      But yes, I think your intuition that this is more about your own feelings of worth and less about your husband's actions right now is bang on.
      My husband's affair essentially confirmed for me what I believed about myself. That I wasn't worth being faithful to, that I wasn't worth giving something up for, that I wasn't...worthy. If you'd known me, you wouldn't have seen that in me. You would have seen a confident woman who seemed to have it all. But beneath that veneer (carefully polished to hide deep feelings of unworthiness, even from myself) was fear. And hurt.
      By being forced to pull all that from the shadows, thanks to my husband ripping my beating heart out of my chest and leaving it bleeding on the floor, I could finally address it...and heal it.
      I recently heard Liz Gilbert speak about "self-love", which she says is a tough concept for a lot of us. Better, she suggests, to be a friend to yourself. To be kind. To be gentle. To treat yourself, and see yourself, the way you would a good friend. Maybe start with that, Dandelion. Maybe try just giving yourself a break. Patting yourself on the back for how hard you've fought, for how huge your heart is.
      And, it mightn't hurt, to try and see yourself as your kids see you. Kids are pretty astute at telling the difference between a good heart...and a not-so-good one.

      Delete
  21. Dandelion... You are amazing.., do not compare yourself to the ow... You would never want to be anything she is.. Desperate, damaged, needy, ready and willing for the sloppy seconds she will have got from your h.. Trust me there is nothing you want that she has.... I totally get it though I find myself comparing to the ow ... But I always get back to the fact that she will never have what I have my 2 beautiful boys who, make my life worth living every single second.. To be honest she can have my husband and all his fuking issues, she'd soon send him packing : )

    Dandelion I agree with Elle, lets love ourselves starting from right now, have a night out with some girlfriends a good giggle is just what you need. Let your hair down, we sometimes forget in and amongst being a mom that we are entitled to some social time too... Your husband is the luckiest man alive let me tell you... Big hugs dandelion xxx

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    1. Thank you, Sam! So much truth to what you've said. This has taken a lot from me, but I've still got a lot to be grateful for.
      Loving myself... Starting today!
      Hugs back to you!

      Delete
  22. Dandelion, if there is only ONE Thing I KNOW, it is this. HIS ACTIONS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. If I could know it for you I would. But you have to get to that place, and guess what? you ARE superior to the OW, you ARE. YOu have integrity and so much more!! and your kids ADORE YOU. We adore you. Check out the "books for the betrayed" section and my guess is that every single one of those books will remind you that this is NOT because of you. It's just not. HE made the horrible choice to cheat. Not you. Hugs to you.

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    1. I appreciate that, Steam! It's easy for me to fall back into self-doubt. Just need to keep reminding myself that I may be a little beat up inside, but I've stayed true to my values and that is something I can always be proud of. I'm a work in progress but I will get there.
      Hugs!

      Delete
  23. Dandelion,
    Your July 7 comment really hit a nerve for me. Esp. the part about wanting him to break her the way he broke me. I've been thinking about what you wrote for days.

    I've actually never doubted my superiority to the OWs. I mean, seriously. They are OW. Losers. And OW are always less attractive than wives, inside and out. Fact.

    But it really bugs me that they don't seem to understand this. When I google their names, I see recent self-congratulatory postings, "seductive" pics, etc. I know on-line is not reality, but how could they do this if they had any self-awareness? Some days I want to hide under a rock, and I've never even been a skanky whore. How can they still put themselves out there like that? They are both married. WTF. I would not be able to bear my H behaving that way -- and one of the only reasons I can stay with him now is because I am confident he couldn't bear it anymore either. How do they do it? How do their H's do it? Why have they not changed their ways? Why is no one calling them out for their skankiness?

    And I'm extra frustrated because the way it ended with my H, they could think he is mooning over them, and just stuck with me out of obligation. I want them to understand that my H is an alcoholic dealing with childhood abuse issues -- and he stupidly thought he could/should "protect" the good part of his life -- me -- from those issues. When he dove headfirst into the sewer they were already there, willing, eager, and free. He preferred all contact with them via text not because he was afraid of being caught (he was so low he didn't really care anymore), but because the reality of them -- their looks, their smells, their voices -- skeeved him out. He had to be drunk to be with them. They didn't have it going on -- they were just whores of last resort. They are what he thought he deserved when he thought he was shit. I so want them to know this!!!! I can’t have that happen tho, because (1) it would put my kids’ security in jeopardy and (2) despite my fantasies, the reality is I don’t actually want to diminish myself by sinking to their level.

    And so I'm trying so hard to move on. To be the better person. To have humility. To have compassion. To focus on my little circle and the people who deserve to be in it. Some days I feel like I'm almost there. And then ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I hate them I hate them I hate them.

    Dandelion, we loved and we trusted like we were supposed to. We should be proud of that. We do have it going on. So I'm trying not to beat myself up on the occasions when I'm feeling petty and pissy even tho I wish I were over it. We're dealing with a lot of shit. We are NOT the crazy ones. I think we just need to have more patience with ourselves. Hugs.

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    1. Sal, you ask "how could they do this if they had any self-awareness?" Well...they couldn't. They're so busy polishing the outside, the inside is rotting from neglect. What you're seeing is a curated image. It's not reality. It's designed to distract everyone (including themselves) from the fact that there is nothing behind that curtain but a scared woman wondering if she has anything to offer but sex. The only currency she trades in is attention.
      Unfortunately life doesn't give us the distinct pleasure of seeing that emptiness when the camera isn't trained on them. We don't know their 3 a.m moments of existential angst. Maybe they don't have them. Maybe they rely on alcohol, or shopping, or affairs to avoid those thoughts. No matter. It will become enough to know that you are not them...and that's a wonderful thing.

      Delete
  24. Sal you explain the situation so well.. You've made me feel good about myself... : ) thank you

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  25. Sal,
    Yes, yes, and yes! Thank you for putting those feelings into words.

    Some of them may get it someday and change their ways. Others may never change and if they see nothing wrong with their behavior nothing we could say would sink in.

    When it ends without your husband telling the truth, you wonder if they are still holding onto that fantasy that the affair was more than it was. In my case, a husband with a porn addiction who found someone low enough to act it out with him.

    I try to find compassion but there is still anger. I struggle with hatred which is a tough emotion for me to acknowledge. I'm not sure I have ever really hated anyone until this, but I do believe that is what I've felt for her. I have wanted to forgive her, more for my own well being than for hers, but as my therapist reminded me forgiveness is the "gold standard" and maybe I should just shoot for her not mattering to me.

    Healing will take time. I have faith that I will come out of this stronger.

    Hugs to you, Sal!

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  26. Fragments of HopeJuly 14, 2016 at 1:26 AM

    Gosh, I just wrote a massive post to you Dandelion, and lost it. I will try to recap. While it depends on your definition of forgive, for me, I think that you can only 'forgive' someone who acknowledges that they have hurt you and reaches out to you for acceptance. The OW hardly ever does that, they continue in their fantasy land of self-justification and sometimes they have learned so little that they come back! If the OW was a drunk driver who injured you, they would have to make reparation and/or do time. Being drunk would not be an excuse. The OW (along with the CS) causes real harm to the BS and to children (if there are any) even if it doesn't come out in the open or lead to divorce, it still causes tension, depression and other issues in the family. It causes real harm. In this context your anger is an authentic reaction to real hurt and damage. We've all seen in the media where a mild sentence in reaction to a crime leaves the family in turmoil and makes it harder for them to move on. In our cases the OW never suffer and sentence or even show remorse. In my definition we cannot 'forgive'. We end up feeling the rage and indignation that we feel at many injustices in the world, racism, sexism, rape culture, lack of support for the poor, people with disabilities etc. We can convert that anger into a set of values that makes consideration of the people affected by injustices core, that makes honesty, thoughtfullness, kindness and equality non-negotiable standards that we stand for. Marriage becomes a place of compassionate and thoughtful respect for each other. We take time to see each situation we face in the context of those values, we expect our husbands to do the same, to treat others with the highest level of consideration, respect and self-lessness, if we have children we want them to do the same. We plough our anger into making good. I am right to be angered and outraged at the harm that has been caused to me and my family by a selfish, self-centred, entitled woman who came back after being told how her actions had hurt others. What I don't want to do is turn that anger back on myself, I will use it as a light saber to help others, to consider others, to speak up for what is right, to create boundaries in my marriage and to call my husband and children to the higher standards. I will understand where the OW was coming from, I will have enough compassion (as I've always had) to see how she came to this stupid decision but I won't 'forgive' her for the harm she caused unless I know (which I won't) that she is sorry and regretful, no longer thoughtless and entitled.

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    1. Fragments, what you've said regarding forgiveness makes sense to me. My ability to forgive my husband is based upon his true remorse and efforts to, for lack of better terms, deal with his stuff. Conversely, the anger I hold on to toward the OW stems from a lack of either. It's not to say that she doesn't have remorse or that she's not dealing with her stuff. While what I've seen doesn't indicate it, I will never know with certainty. I think at some point, I have to acknowledge that she did the things she did and that I will likely never know whether or not she has remorse or has changed her ways. I've got to get to the point where what she is or isn't doing no longer matters to me. Clearly, I'm not there yet. I'm fortunate (seems ironic to say that) that there has been no direct contact since last April. She's also moved several hours away. We have mutual friends on social media though, so while my H and I both have her blocked, there's that icky feeling that she's still around.
      I loved what you said about taking that anger and channeling it into things that are good. I am grateful that I haven't let the anger change me or my core values. And while I may still struggle to change my perception on things that have been ingrained in me for a long time, I am optimistic that I will come out of this stronger.
      Thank you for your insight. I appreciate you taking the time to type ( and re-type) your post! :-)

      Delete
    2. FOH and Dandelion,
      FOH, that is such a perfect description of the dynamics following an affair. I don't know if I've "forgiven" the OW...or my husband, for that matter. I do know I've worked through the pain and chosen to move on from that, which I suppose is a sort of forgiveness. It's a matter of no longer tethering myself to that person, hoping that she's learned something of value through all this, but not really thinking about it a whole lot.
      Forgiveness is a slippery thing, it seems. There are quite a few posts about it on this site. You might search for them...and see what comes up.

      Delete
    3. Ugh forgiveness. This remains such a huge issue for me. In both a big-picture existential sort of way, and also in the daily details of how I speak to my H and how I think about the OW (don't think? please God, someday...)

      Discovering what "forgiveness" means in my life has been one of the most significant impacts of my H's affairs on me, for better or worse. Reading experiences of others in same boat here has been an incredible help in sorting it out -- thank you.

      Lately, I've been hung up on not being able to forgive without a guarantee of safety. I think I could forgive a drunk driver -- he'd be in jail. Or a murder-suicide -- he'd be dead. People in my community make an example of Pope JPII forgiving the man who tried to assassinate him -- I get it, that's wonderful grace -- but that man was put in jail, and the Pope got a 24/7 security detail and bulletproof car. That man couldn't hurt the Pope anymore. My husband could hurt me again.

      So hard. Trying to be patient with myself. In meantime, I just read this in a Readers Digest -- old issue, but I found on-line: http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/how-to-forgive/
      The article has 14 facts about forgiveness. One of the facts is that although "no offense is unforgivable," (in theory) betrayal is the most common type of offense to actually NOT be forgiven.

      And it lists these five steps to forgiveness:
      1. Admit you’ve been treated unjustly. (check)
      2. Respond with anger. (triple check!)
      3. Work on seeing the person who harmed you as not solely defined by this offense. (eh... half check)
      4. Come to understand that the pain may not ever dissipate completely. (pissy check)
      5. Find meaning in your suffering, perhaps by helping others. (ooof.)

      Delete
    4. Wow, Sal. That's great info. And it's so interesting to me (in an anthropological way) that betrayal remains such an unforgivable offence by so many. I think that cultural piece is a big part of what keeps many of us silent.

      Delete
  27. I need some rationally thoughts because I am going crazy. I feel like I'm loosing my mind.
    For the first time since I found out I'm admitting (be it anonymously) that my boyfriends of 10yrs cheated on me with one girl for 6mths and texted other girls over two years.
    I found out 6mths ago, after my instinct told me to check his phone - she (T) was still messaging my bc. I decided to stay and work through it - rather then through away everything I had worked for...
    I was doing reasonably well (in part thanks to this blog and numerous posts) in the last two weeks I have become hyper paranoid, I broke tonight and checked on the T's Facebook (I hadn't looked since April) I just found out she got engaged, to the boyfriend she cheated on... When I first found out (6mths ago) I wanted to message him but wanted to be the bigger person - now I'm fighting every urge in my body because while I'm still having nightmares and fighting paranoia to function in my relationship, and in life, she has walked away with no repercussions for her actions (I am aware that it takes two to tango but she pursued a taken man with full knowledge we were in a rough patch, she also continued to pursue after he broke it off- I don't think I need to explain to anyone here hoe much hatred I feel for her) more then just getting to walk away I feel like she stole my future - she is getting everything I should've had by now if not for the damage she and he caused.

    I know messaging the now fiancé will not make me feel better but right now I just want her to feel as horrible and depressed as I do....
    Please someone talk me down...

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