Monday, January 8, 2018

What's Being Born in the Darkness?

"The womb is as dark as the tomb."
~Rebecca Solnit, in an interview with Krista Tippett for On Being

Though the winter solstice is behind us and our days are slowly, incrementally, getting longer again (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere), we nonetheless spend much of our time in darkness during the winter months. Historically, as the days grew darker and the nights became longer – as the field work was buried beneath snow and the collected provisions were long gathered to get us through the winter – it was a season of looking inward. A time of reflection.
And yet, for most of us, darkness has become synonymous with fear, with a lack of hope, with stagnation.
But writer and historian Rebecca Solnit sees it differently, saying, "the womb is as dark as the tomb." Darkness, she implies, can be an incubator for growth. Hope, the promise of a different tomorrow, can take root in darkness.
It comes down, as we often talk about here, to the stories we tell ourselves.
If you're here, you know suffering. And it's so tempting to turn away from it, to try to outrun it. One of the most common questions I get asked here is "when will this be over? When will the pain stop?". I can't answer that. It will be different for each woman. But I do know this: The faster you run, the more you try to bury or ignore your pain, the longer it will take. Which is why it's crucial to slow down and take some time to reflect. To look at the darkness you're in right now. To ask yourself what could possibly take root in it, where the hope is to be found within it.
It's hard work. It's incredibly uncomfortable to sit with our pain. Far more preferable to reach for the phone and log onto Facebook where we stalk the OW's profile, looking for...what exactly? More pleasant, at least in the short run, to go shopping. To bingewatch Netflix.
That's okay. Your pain will still be there when you're done. The problem is, the more you ignore it, the deeper it gets buried and the more it tries to get your attention. In aches or illness. In poor choices. In misplaced anger. In depression.
I cannot promise you easy answers in the dark. But I can promise to sit with you there. I can promise that you are strong enough to face your pain. I can promise you that, no matter what he does, you can give birth to something incredible in the dark: you can be the hero you need for this journey.
"The womb is as dark as the tomb," Solnit tells us. And what she means, of course, is that darkness can be a birthplace as much as a final resting place. Figure out what needs to die – old habits, perhaps? A harsh inner critic? And take notice of what is being born. If you can be patient and gentle with it, you'll discover it's something incredible.


  1. I love alone time I actually crave it. Sometimes during this time I get triggered by something I see on TV or read on the internet. What I do is I tend to immerse myself into the pain. Let if wash all over me. It hurts and it takes a few hours to get past. Later I will listen or read something with a positive message like Brene Brown, Oprah or even Joel Osteen. I think about all that happened and how far I have come. Sometimes I will look at the OW's Social Media page and realize that she is still stuck in a life that seems to go around in circles, the same mistakes over and over and I feel pity for her. I then tend to feel better about myself and how I've grown, how much my husband has grown and how much our marriage has grown. My method of healing may not work for someone else but it works for me and I'm grateful for the peace it gives me.

  2. My natural tendencies from my earliest memories were to be alone. I have always been happiest that way and enjoyed it. I am not going to blame myself but I tend to get absorbed in that time and myself. I do not seek out my husband. Even yesterday he was like I went looking for you and could not find you. Well he did not look hard enough but I was just caught up in my world and 8-10 hours slipped by. Some of it I was busy but other parts I was thinking and relaxing too. I was totally happy. I need to find a balance and maybe think about checking in with him. part of it revolves around when we are together it tends to be his interests and what he wants to watch on tv etc.. And sometimes I just want to be on my own. The book about introverts is so great and I think it explains well how introverts recharge with alone time vs being with others and that is me. That book helped me feel more confident about being me and what works best for me.

  3. I am guilty of doing lots of things to pacify myself from the pain of this. Some are bad (social media stalking, extra glasses of wine, Amazon, generally making myself super busy with tasks or social events...), and some are a little better (exercise, self help books/podcasts, guided meditation) . The way I can tell them apart is that I continue to feel bad after I choose a "bad" pacifier, but I feel stronger after the better choices. There's nothing "bad" or "wrong" with any of these things in isolation, it's just in the context of running away from pain that I have to assess their value. There are times when I just have to sit and face some horrible truth to get past it. Times when I can't really exercise it away or think it through with a fabulous book or podcast on the subject. I usually find it helpful to put my hand on my heart in those moments and just breathe and feel it. I'm a Year and a half out, and I'm still doing this (although less frequently). These dark truths are hard to sit with, but I do feel somewhat renewed when I've sat with them. Some examples of painful things I found it hard to sit with: the realization that my H didn't value me as a person when he did what he did, the feeling of 'not mattering' to someone, the feeling of not feeling loved... while all of these things had more to do with my H's twisted mind at the time than me doesn't change the fact that these things hurt me deeply. It's like asking yourself what in particular hurts if you've been in a horrible car accident. At first it all hurts and you can't feel the specifics. Healing for me has been about pinpointing, communicating, and loving myself through the very specific injuries to my soul. It's natural to want to run, but stopping and letting it catch me has saved me just as much as finding healthy ways to run.

    1. That sounds like what I need to do too, Ann. Thank you for sharing. I really find it hard not to keep filling up every spare moment. I'm afraid of falling apart if I stop. Or sinking into a swamp of depression. But I know I will have to find a way to face it.

  4. ..."when will this be over, when will the pain stop"...

    As I'm in a not too good a place at the moment and I feel overcome at times with darkness surrounding me, it feels like a never ending battle to maintain my self on so many levels. I find it easy to busy myself with my kids....but they are not here with me at the moment. I hope one day I can bury all this shit for good.

    I have just listened to Oprah's Golden Globe acceptance speech. WOW!!!! I wish I was as eloquent as Oprah. (I knew there was a reason I always liked Oprah).
    Oprah, along with all these wonderful women here and in the world, are so inspirational - (except for the OW in the world who bring themselves down - I'm excluding them. They don't count here or anywhere), all us women are on the same mission. To live safely, honestly, with integrity and bring up our children to be good people of the world. Too many bad people and influences in the world - we have to keep them on the right path!!
    Oprah's speech resonated so much with me and I'm sure most of you ladies. Here we all have experiences through each others stories of "me too". We here, the BW's, are our own group of press. No one really wants to report on the destruction that betrayal brings to the wife, the children the families and the communities at large through the breakdown of the family, and as no one is immune, our husbands cheating is causing destruction that is lasting for years. Enough of all the movies, tv series showing the glamorous sex scenes of betrayal. This is not showing the truth. The wives stories, our truths, are not being told. The trauma and darkness we all face - for years. From our husbands, we want the truth, we want the lies and the bullying to stop, and together, our strength in our stories hopefully will elicit a change. No. Change does not happen overnight, but we must keep speaking our truth, our stories, or else there will never be an end to the cheating, the lies, and the destruction to the family.

    I just hope the press starts to pick up on these men who intimidate and have such a sense of entitlement to start to call them out - theses cheating husbands. There's been trickle reports over the years.
    Also, because my STBX husband whore had multiple cheating episodes with work whores - there needs to be a big change in the work culture. No more "bonding times" at work - they should be encouraging more family time. Work already takes up enough time and if they can't do things and form WORK relationships during work time - change the culture, change the people BUT LEAVE OUR FAMILY TIME ALONE.
    I too live in hope that my children never have to go through what we have had to endure, and "mankind" does actually become kind.
    Gabby xo

    1. Great post Gabby. Couldn't agree more on every point. I just can't believe how much I agree with everyone on here... how is it possible that my thoughts are repeated by every poster?

      I had some really bad self harm thoughts jump out at me again by surprise... I think its a PMS thing because shortly after I discovered that my period had started. It didn't help that my hubby was stomping around pre d day like and throwing his negative fits about everything I do wrong, moved the garbage can two feet, didn't put the salt away(guilty), eating cereal in the morning (yup sinful that cereal... full of sugar my shearded wheat with dried canberries and nuts). What am I still doing here. Why is this my life. How can I keep going on like this. Because I am better with then without him. Because my babies need their family. Because I can't jump off the deep end every time he makes a mistake. Because seconds after I told him enough and i do not deserve this he left the room in a fit and then returned after some alone time to apogize, tearfully for his behaviour.

      Mankind will never become 100% kind...we are flawed in everyway. But maybe we can forgive one another and love, and thats the next best thing. Not that its easy... my blood boiled a few times thinking the last couple days. But peace is so much better then the hate bag I carried around. And that comes from forgiveness. I want to have peace. So so despartly. I'm striving.


  5. I just don’t have words...I feel so defeated and yet somehow energized. All of a sudden the choices my h chose ate shelved as he has no choice left but to help me through this real life crisis of my mother and her reality at the end of her life. I have helped my h from the beginning of our marriage live and help his parents to their respective burial. He couldn’t do real care taking responsibility so he paid his share that said, he’s doing his best to keep his salary for the next year and he is also trying in his way to help me know what is next. His bad choices are haunting him but suddenly I feel a freedom from that! Not sure if this makes sense or if I’m rambling from exhaustion...

    1. Thankfully your husband is helping you during this very trying time. My Dad passed last year and not only did I get no help, but was treated so poorly that even my therapist questioned how I kept from stabbing him. He didn't send my mother flowers, help me or go to the funeral. (He was afraid someone would mention his affair....selfish and self centered) I finally got a sincere apology from him. Your husband seems so sincere in wanting to do what is right. You are fortunate. Just focus on your mother right now. Prayers your way.

  6. It's been two months and some days it feels like it is all still unfolding and other days I feel so disconnected and detached from it that it's like I'm watching voyeuristically at the window of someone elses sad and tormented life. Thank you all for being here.

    1. Take it day by day. Keep doing what you need to to heal and don't look too far into the future. Now is your time to grow something from this like Elle wrote. A more realistic view on my life is what I got. And the ability to stand up for myself in my relationship instead of taking on the blame for his bad behaviour. Im 8 months in... I remember 2 months in.... I know that pain. Worst feeling ever and you are trapped in it. The only thing I could think of that would be worse is the death of one of my babies... nothing rlse trumps this devistation. I never expected the torment my heart and mind went theough. I'm sorry you are hurting. But i can tell you that i would never go back to pre discovery now. I've learned and changed so much. I'm in a better place accepting me even with the hurt and anger. He is in a better place ... i think anyways. His humble and "i suck" nature is a huge improvement to his "I'm the shit" attitude. I hope there is guilt in ypur husband and remorse. Otherwise run like hell out of there. You will survive. Even if it doesn't feel like it. You keep breathing. You will get through. You are not alone!

    2. Marette, welcome to the club we didnt want to join at all :o(

      Two months is so early that it's still just unbelievable isn't it? It took me 5 months to stop crying or lashing out daily. I'm so sorry you are going through this torture. At this point please remember, if NOTHING else that you did NOTHING to bring this on, nothing.

      If you can also remember not to kill him that too is a good start.

      Hang with us, we're here to listen, bolster you up and somewhere along the line, that will help.

    3. Marette,
      I'm so sorry. At 2 months I remember feeling so shakey. So unsure from one moment to the next. Exactly as you say: that it must not be happening. Please know that it does get better. That you do have support. That you can do this. One step at a time, you will be ok. You are injured, but not crazy. In Elle's wise words, "if you're breathing, you're doing it right." Keep reading here and keep breathing. Hugs to you tonight!

  7. Marette, at two months it is still unfolding to you. You are still gathering incomplete information. Looking in at your life is a coping mechanism because you can only handle so much. I'm so sorry you find yourself here but it is the best place to be right now. Just think of yourself right now, such a long way to go. Tell us your story, we understand and won't leave you. This site saved my life and it can help you. You do have a tormented life that wasn't your choice. This is not your fault.



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