The Stranger: Part One

A tidal wave of huge proportions today. Back in therapy after a 3 month hiatus, new ground to cover. Sometimes the depth seems never ending. I find I’m at a good place, only to sink deeper than desired. Yet I feel closer. This is how growth and insight are gained, is it not? I keep wondering what that place of resolution feels like. I have further to go until I know for certain.

I am a complete stranger to my kids. More horrific than that, at one point some time ago, they saw me as a loving mother, wife to their dad. This stranger, me, they are fearful of. I must begin to understand their fear. It won’t take long. There are particular benchmarks that clearly define new insights. Today was one of those.

They have heard things about me, stories, I don’t know. They have images of me, bi-polar, pathological, very sick and distorted views. Perhaps they see me as person who is sexually addicted. They know of my affairs. They know of them, only because I was threatened. And I have accepted my part in all of the bad decisions I made. In order to reach my girls, I must accept the brutal reality that they no longer see me as their mother. I have not accepted that I am a stranger to my kids. Until today.

As I work through therapy this time, the yearning to understand myself heightens as does my resolute. I am not solely responsible for the demise of my marriage. This is not why my girls are angry with me. They understand all marriages have their challenges. I believe they accept that. They are (rightly so) angry that I chose to have affairs. In their minds, their mother, one whom they loved, looked up to, trusted and believed in, ripped apart their lives, irreperably damaged their being. They know very little about the intimate relationship between their parents (nor should they). The see their father as the victim, mom, sick and demented.

Where to go from here?

Therapy continues. I will work on pressing through the shame which I am healing from. There is a great void, a disconnect I feel about my past. Cognitively, I understand my behavior. Emotionally, I am detached. Is this because I can no longer look at the kind of person I was? Have I not endured enough of my own pain in order to feel what the kids feel? How much longer does the estrangement continue without my having a voice, the opportunity to share myself? I now fully recognize where all of their anger stems from – that I betrayed my husband and my family, without a care about the consequences. In essence, there is some truth to this. Making the decision to seek solace and acceptance from another outside of my marriage, I did not think about consequences, period. How could I have been so detached from the two people I love so in this world?

I know my past behavior is just that – past. No longer that same person, each and every decision I make, consequences are considered above anything else. Try as I might, this includes my decisions to reach my children. Now I stand back, further than before. With the help and support from my own therapist as well as my kids’ therapist, I remain steadfast, working through all the pain necessary towards reunification.

The Identity of Me

It has come to this: 

Unhappy in my marriage, longing for acceptance, hungry for a nurturing kind of love, I made choices that were not healthy for me. I rebelled. I chose to rebel in the form of affairs. Of course rebellion was latent – fits perfectly in my own personal timeline, always a bit off course. This, however, has proven to be more a blessing than a curse for I am living as the person I’m most at peace with. 

Don’t ignore awareness. Don’t ignore your little voice. Pay attention to unhappiness. Pay attention to your own personal development. Pay attention to self-respect. Pay attention to the people who bring you joy.

Not everything in life is neat and tidy, especially when one doesn’t have much of an identity at fifty-plus years. This came to pass during one of my therapy sessions this past April. Beyond my long-term marriage, beyond my chronological years, the discovery of my own identity, finally coming to fruition. I had no idea how lost I was. 

Eight months since, the divorce dust settles and clarity rises, more insight unleashed.

And in the end, I am me. So simple, pure, true. And so painful getting here. That said, much to look forward to. I have learned a new appreciation for human tolerance, the evolution of patience, empowerment of loving. I will come out of my closet here at some point. No longer anonymous, no longer shameful of my past, my hope is to touch others, to share my story, to help those who share similar threads of experience, who may be estranged from their own adult children, who made the decision to step out of their marriages and seek an affair; to understand it takes courage, real balls to leave a long-term marriage on their own terms, their own reasons, regardless of what other people may think. 

The accusers remain, some more prominent than others. I do not need their acceptance or approval nor will I succumb to a world shrouded in shame. Another shift in my personal development. 

I am not the center of the universe. I am a woman who discovered herself. I am a women in love. I am a woman who loves. I am a woman who gives. I am me.