One Year and Two Days Later

Wow. I see it’s been a year and two days since I last posted here. Soooo many words to share, so few blogs in which to say. After the process of putting myself in an angst mode for too long, asking questions such as, should I start a new blog on divorce, should I add posts to my public blog (Though I do take a more philosophic view on real estate, I think not) I finally came to the conclusion – begin here, again. This is where my story began, here’s where it shall continue. The angst is not so much what to write, it’s where to share.

When I began this writing journey, going public was never on the horizon. No way. Like I would be THAT brave, honest or stupid? Yet, here I am, years later post-divorce, healing quite well and it comes to this: I want to share myself, as I may help others. One goes through the pain, feels is like nothing else, finally allowing its dissipation, leaving space for joy to reenter, allowing a healthy spirit willing and able to touch others and let others touch them. The shame of divorce and estrangement is lifting and I’m ready to carry forth what I’ve learned.

About going public? I’m closer. I may save several of my earlier posts for later. They are raw, honest and an important part of my journey. They are also extremely intimate and personal. I care about my children and do not wish to harm them further. Estrangement is a huge part of the story and still is. It is a complex and complicated subject. Though it is also one of the least talked about issues in our culture, if not others.

Thanks for re-joining me. I’m glad to be back. 

Acceptance

The evolution continues, changes move within; slowly, at times with caution, that fine line between safety and protection, the other, new courage I feel to speak the truth about my current life.

Several short months from now it will be two years since I’ve been in the same room with either one of my adult daughters. Texting here and there on occasion, emails sporadic, the reaching out to connect… an email from my oldest last fall- her deeply anguished angry plea that I stay away, no more contact – to this past January, my younger daughter, her own separate anguished plea to please let her go, no more gifts, offerings or any sort of contact.

I am clueless. Both have told me so. I am a psychopath. Both have told me so. I am not well, I am a sick individual. I am a mom by blood only. They no longer know me or wish to know me as I am today. They have said their respective goodbyes.

Time for Acceptance

It is important to remember – to acknowledge their feelings. It is important to accept those feelings and move on. Closer now to acceptance, grieving feels different from before though its outcome very much still unknown. I can not change how my daughters feel. They see and feel what they see and feel. I have set them free to feel safe.

I am no longer clueless. Perhaps I say this a lot more than I realize but it’s important I continue recognizing this.  I am well on my way – a strong woman who has come to full-on grips of who she was, is now and who she is becoming. As I learn I share. No two experiences are exactly alike though there are similar threads of humanity. Falling into the dark hole, once as prevalent as each breath taken, now subside as I better understand the triggers I must watch out for.  A trigger can be as simple as a popular song on the radio or more complex like observing my friends’ beautiful relationship with their adult children. What I hope to do more than ever is to never see anyone go through the pain and anguish I have endured, as has my entire family.  Sacrificing my children due to the way my divorce played out is the last thing I would’ve ever expected. There are consequences to actions. Each decision breeds an outcome, some desired, some not so much. No longer do I feel the need to explain my actions for I’m at the point of forgiving myself and have learned the true nature of what self-compassion contains. Only for my girls do I need to express my remorse. If and when that day comes, I will be ready.

I will say this: unhappy marriages begin with unhappy selves. Contemplate deep within yourself before looking at the imperfections of your life-partner. Gaze into your own first. It will hurt like hell, pain you probably never quite felt before. Yet by doing so, you will have saved yourself  – your personhood – before completely drowning.  There is so much goodness in you. Look to that as well. You will begin to embrace and celebrate new-found insight and self-growth. You will begin to give back more openly, without shame or trepidation. Fear is real. You will combat it. It’s not easy but you can face it. Please don’t look to others first for validation. It’s useless energy and easily distracts from knowing the core of who you are. 

Wishing you peace as life’s journey moves onward….thanks for your continued reading, dear viewer.

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Impassioned By Divorce

Please be kind to yourself: don’t wish away your divorce. Don’t wish away the ugliness, uncertainty or pretend it’s a dream. Once the process begins, so does the time-clock of you: the person you are today is unlikely the person you’ll see tomorrow.

I remember the beginning of my divorce like it was an hour ago. Shortly after making the decision, my girlfriend sat down with me, her very first question posed: “Are you absolutely, assuredly positive you want to divorce? Is there a shred of hope for reconciliation? If there’s even a minute shred of possibility, concentrate on that one shred. Make sure this is what you truly want.”

Unless one abruptly leaves a marriage with no warning for the left spouse, it usually take two to decide. And sometimes, one wants the divorce while the other does not. Sometimes both are equal in their decision. Most all of the time, no one can be 100% certain they’re making the right decision no matter how certain it feels at that moment. You will waiver. You will question yourself and the decision a zillion times.

A year since my divorce, my friend’s question holds new clarity. The questions did not seem particularly meaningful at the time. How meaningful could they resonate when I had barely begun this incredible life-changing phenomenon called “dissolution”? I now understand exactly why she asked as she did: once the journey into uncharted territory of divorce begins, life will never be the same as one’s known before.

Impassioned by divorce, so many lessons learned, more to come. Helps to write. Makes it more tangible, real. Allow yourself the time necessary to let go of what you thought your life would be. Embrace the fear and use its motivational pull as a guide to take you to the next step.

Eventually the fear will dissipate. Anger will rise and so shall you. Anger breeds inner strength, the beginning of self-forgiveness. All encompasses the desire to come out the other side a better person than today. You are on your way. Keep going. Breathe. Love. Live.

Two Separate Types of Pain

It is unbearable. The pain in which I feel today hard to describe. Important I do.

There is still a long way to go.
There is still so much to learn.
There is still much to accept.
There is still so much pain.

For those in an affair, I ask you to please think about why you have made the decision to seek solace outside your marriage. The question is not to pass judgement, it is to make one stop and think about why one chooses particular behaviors and decisions in the first place.

Next to think about are your children. For those in an affair, have you thought of how your children would react if they found out? Had I known the true, deeply entrenched pain caused by my decisions and actions, no way in hell would I had made the decisions I made in the past. Why did I NOT think of my kids? I always thought of my kids. Like it or not, truth is, affairs are ALL about thy self. Tough to face. Honesty is a bitch.

There are two separate kinds of pain:

The pain I have caused my children.
The pain in which I felt when married – reasons I sought an affair to begin with.

Again, there is still a long way to go.

Yes, I have grown, learned, gained insight. The pain though, it’s devastating. I now realize that I still feel much of the pain from my marriage, not able to let go of that pain as I need to. I do not place blame on my ex for my infidelity; rather, I haven’t completely let go of the hurt felt by his uncaring nature. And though he did care (I truly believe he did) I needed more compassion than he was able to give.

This, in conjunction with the pain I have caused my children, destroying my entire family is far more devastating than I initially felt. It is no wonder why my kids feel as they do.

Another painful awakening once again, yet necessary to feel….completely genuinely feel and deal with – head-on.

Grieve Divorce, It’s Real

Is it the family times I miss, all of us together or do I miss my former marriage? I’ve thought a lot about this and have come to a semi-conclusion.

I miss the hell outta my family.

My kids are older, young adults now. The great memories of my family, kids growing up, far supersede the negative. While that’s a beautiful thing, thereby the grieving so deeply entrenched as I continue moving forward.

Does estrangement make a difference?

If I were to talk, connect with my kids now, how much of a difference would it make in terms of my grieving process? I think a lot about this as well. Interestingly enough, ex (I really dislike that term – perhaps former…) and I still communicate, mostly about our children. At the same time, there was a time, he truly was my best friend. Which begs the question:

What the hell happened?

After almost thirty years together the reasons are endless. Well, the small ones anyway. More pertinent reasons involve love, acceptance, tolerance and respect. Pretty heavy shit. And somewhere along the road of my marriage, I began feeling very little of this from my former. This is not to say I held no responsibility on my part. Our demise is much greater than behavior alone.

A side note…

I have purposely decided to not write about the man I now love. He is his own man, has his own life and I am not quite ready to share. I’m discovering the further along my own journey continues, so are our lives intersected. That is its own story I will share soon. His story is a familiar one very much like mine. Grieving is a process that must come at its own time on its own terms.

Let the grieving continue. I don’t know where exactly I am in my own process yet I know I’m still grieving. Fighting it is moot. The sad feelings will never dissipate until/unless I allow myself to feel.

How does one know if they are wallowing or merely grieving after divorce?

My answer lies in healing. Awareness is part of healing. And I am acutely aware of who I am now, what my family means to me and where I want to go. And so I carry on, write here, share myself, listen to others. An open mind leaves room for more healing. As painful as this process continues, so am I able to help others. I think that is where I long to be.

Reality Speaks LOUDLY

Yesterday I wrote a semi-timeline, a quick (haha) synopsis of my experience since early 2010. There’s something to be said of visual cognition. For as I read and re-read, seeing those words, it’s hard – almost implausible to imagine why I did what I did. The way I am today, my core beliefs, once questioned, unsure, each day knowing believing in what’s right, what’s wrong for me, ever stronger.

With such a rough week behind me, I still feel numb. The sadness, still in the forefront, my love and care, never waning, flourishes and I am convinced my heart shall always be open to my kids. Nary a worry about that.

Question of estrangement came up on another post, a therapist from Portland, who asks, “Is this a relationship worth saving for you? Was there value before the estrangement?” Significant questions, easy answer, resounding yes! The pain felt this past week, answers remain elusive.

As of the moment, THIS moment, the loved supersedes any, all of the pain endured. And with that, again, disbelief I could of allowed my life to become so destructive and chaotic.

To much dwelling on the past? Not if under a mere few years, a blip in the big pic of fifty-something years. It is my belief that as I dig deep into the past few years, including what led up to certain behaviors, only then will I begin experiencing the freedom of self-forgiveness. There are no digital timers for this, no certainty of specified time. There is escalation, movement towards resolution, though I have not yet arrived.

My reality grows as do I.

Missing them

Trying to breathe. The tears, they are endless, the pain surges and I am alone. Good days and bad, moving forward. It’s been a very tough week.

More triggers, reminders of my girls. The slightest connection with one of them, now in question. Been reading more about estrangement between mothers and daughters. Write about that soon.

For this moment, I miss them, their smiles, laughs, voices. I miss their banter, singing, humor. I miss their heads on my shoulders, dancing in the car, watching back-to-back episodes of Full House. I miss their current lives, experiences, their friends and respective relationships. I miss the engagement, sharing, listening.

Reading emails from months ago, as painful as it still is, to think I may never establish a relationship again, it’s inconceivable. Then again, their hurt so deep, they have resorted to a mindset of no longer having a mom. My mindset is on my children.

I’ve lost energy this week, simply emotionally exhausted. It’s 2:00am as I write, so yeah, that’s not exactly helping my situation either. With that, time to sleep, awaken anew.

Still Mom

It came, it went, it is.

I am, shall always be a mom.

Mother’s Day, despite cheesy Hallmark passages, overpriced yet underwhelming brunches, always sincere in my eyes. My Mom and I used to joke about this holiday. Sarcastically I’d say,”Well Mom, here’s a card, corsage and brunch for you cause it’s Mother’s Day and it’s the day I gotta make a fuss…” Point being, there needn’t be a special occasion to honor Mom: she and I both knew how loving and special out relationship was – never an ounce of obligation to make a fuss over her.

And with my girls, the estrangement and all, I now, just now, feel my own maternal instincts kicking in. Only this time those instincts are solid, more grounded, sincere, undeniably loving and real. Loving my children, never in question. It’s now evident, the time spent dealing with ME, I’m strong enough to now put myself aside and be there, I mean TRULY PRESENT for my kids.

I see Mom’s who seem to have their shit together. Whether single, divorced, their relationship with their children remains in tact. Over comparisons, I made horrible mistakes yet not a horrible person. And I made those horrible choices due to my OWN unhappiness, not because of my kids.

In time, a better person, a better Mother, a better thinker. My own mother’s death, the demise of my marriage, forcing the issue at hand: time to REALLY grow up, kid. Face your own reality, deal, cope. Live with acceptance what you can not change, embrace what you can – yourself. For there is no other way, none with meaning, none with the authenticity of love. I shall never accept estrangement but I must cope. It is my choice to do so. No wallowing anymore, feeling sorry for myself, new realizations of my frailties, what I can not change, what I can – myself. In doing so, a complete, more whole human being.

Through my tears today, I smiled. I smiled thinking about my beautiful children, the young adults they’ve become, their own evolution. And in this way, it was a Happy Mother’s Day. I am, after all, still a Mom.

More Awakenings of Divorce

Divorce simply by virtue – a piece of paper, a judgement, a settlement, does not so much make one divorced. Legally, all complete. Mentally, emotionally – stop right there. 

Not so surprising when I consider how long I’ve known my ex: met at 18, dated at 19, married at 24, divorced at 52. That’s a helluva long time to know someone; their dreams, desires, fears and joys. Come to think of it, never gave much thought to my dreams, desires, fears and joys. Never occurred I could attain what I wanted. Did what needed to be done, ever the diligent and pleasant person, conflict was a stranger and I wanted no part of mingling with it. Thus, off I went, merrily along, many years of happiness, though lo and behold, not the most alert of the stay-at-home-Mom bunch. It is little surprise it’s taken me a while to let go of him, our roles, what I’ve known for so long.

To speak up, have a voice, I’m still learning to use both. This is especially challenging with my ex though not for reasons they once were. Fearful of his disappointment in me, the possible conflict of disagreement, I learned to shut down, was rather adept at looking the other way, my main concern keeping peace in my marriage, in the family. It’s what I knew.

Now I find myself not so much fearful,  just having difficulty letting go of old patterns. Amongst all the growth, pain and turbulence, there is still comfort in old behaviors. Or is it I don’t wanna let go of what he and I had, or what I thought we had? No. I think I’ve had this wish, this hope, he would be different with me, how he treats me, put himself aside long enough to see how passionate and determined I am to reconcile with our children.

There was a time not too long ago I approached him for help – to work with me in terms as parents, show our kids what unification is, stand together in our love for them. I sent him a link, how to help young adult children when upon learning of a parental affair. Our marriage, the lack of emotional connection took little from our desire to be awesome parents. He turned me down, said nothing he could do, that I was on my own.

Divorce, no matter how amicable, it just plain sucks. It’s painful, rocks one’s world like nothing else, an alteration of such magnitude, reconstruction must be done with tremendous care, at everyone’s own emotional pace. One can not force another when, how, what to feel. Truly eye-opening for everyone involved. 

I care. I must learn I can still care about my ex though remove myself from old roles. This has proven challenging more than willing to admit. I empathize with his own difficulties relating to his daughters.

Much of what I’ve learned about myself has been on my own. I’ve shared some my own progression with my ex, holding back yet allowing for expression of who I am now. The feelings of isolation from estrangement take me places I never thought existed. When there now, I don’t allow myself to stay too long, the recognition I’m a person who made bad decisions does not equate to a bad person. I can’t help my ex-husband anymore, not like I used to. This is a hard to face. It is not for me to judge how he is with his daughters or make things better for him. Allowing to keep an open mind, I desire nothing more than both he and I come to our own resolution within ourselves and who we are. Only then, I am willing to work together, the intention of being here for our girls, that our family, though dismantled as once was, never broken completely for there is something greater to behold – love, respect and forgiveness. 

 

Deactivating Facebook: Off The Grid

Wall goes up, wall goes down. 

For years I’ve updated status’, shared tweets, posted holiday photos and Facebook chatted with many friends. Soon after the divorce was announced last February, my older daughter immediately blocked me on Facebook. (Ironic, as she was the one who happily encouraged me to join, helping her non-hip Mom back in the day, 2007). As for my younger daughter, we remain friends. Well, this is Facebook. “Friends” is a relative term, family or not. She and I are able to see each other’s posts, photos and links shared on our respective walls. Through Facebook I found she started a blog. When I first started reading her posts, of course I read every word, proudly displaying my very own likes on her page. Soon thereafter I pulled back, hesitant that she would mistakenly think my likes were of a manipulative nature. Ugh. Why can’t I just be ME on Facebook?

Off the grid of social media

Off the grid of social media

As it so happens, last night I saw she posted a photo of her and her best friend’s mom – just the two to them. That photo did me in. Happy she has found refuge and comfort in her second family, seeing her sweet smile, joyfully standing next to another mother, another reality she has chosen to remove me from her life. To add to this pain are other so-called friends of mine, liking her photo as if to say, “good for you, that you are moving on, finding solace in people like Mrs. Friend – who can be like a second mother to you.” Angry and hurt, I deactivated my account. (Let me be clear: there is a great difference between deactivation and deletion. Deleting is just that – delete your account and all content shall disappear. Deactivating one’s account shall be done temporarily – one may reactivate their account at any time, pending the same email and password still in tact. Reactivation is my new best friend of late)

Try as I might, I tire thinking about myself, how all the pain felt is MINE. THEY, my beautiful daughters have been hurt beyond anything they would’ve ever imagined. What they thought was real, they question. Kinda like Facebook…what is real, what is a facade? I need to be myself, whether online or not. Right now, I’m more myself whilst away from the realm of social media. Whatever is going on in their lives, hearts, minds, I am not privileged to know. It is not my place. And perhaps the photos on Facebook are their way of telling the world “I am OK. Despite the pain and hurt endured by our fractured family, I am happy.” If they can be happy without me in their lives, how am I to do the same without them? I am moving on, finding my own peace and happiness in ways I didn’t realize existed. Yet, I am unable or unwilling to let them go….yet. Can’t go there. But I can deactivate, get off the grid awhile in order to regain strength in myself, sans all the “likes” and “friends.”  Let’s just see how long I can stay away from that smile of hers….