....the pendulum swings back suddenly, unexpectedly smacking me right in the fucking head, leaving me dazed and feeling like utter shit, reminding me the nightmare's far from over and resuscitating the agony, just in case I forgot.
I've been pretty good for a while now, and when I say good I mean stable and pretty positive about being able to move on. No huge meltdowns, no flooding, no massive mood swings or episodes of rage. Until the other day. My intention is to be as real and honest as I can, so I have to tell you about it while it's fresh and raw in my head. I spent the day in bed, crying, doubled over as the reality of the details ached in my gut. That same recurring, ground hog day pain I have come to be so horribly familiar with over the last 15 months. I didn't want to get up, I didn't want to see anyone. I couldn't move. I couldn't eat. My sheets were soaked with snot and tears. My brain pounded against my skull, like it was trying to burst out of my head. My sides throbbed so much I couldn't breathe. I was reminded yet again of how much it fucking hurts. There is no pain like it. It was triggered by a combination of a conversation about our next possible posting and going for a curry with a group of people, knowing a curry had been mentioned in the text messages I read between them. Sounds teeny and ridiculous, but the reality of the deception and the actions of those weeks were revived and played vividly in my mind. My whole body became saturated in complete, all consuming heartbreak and the anxiety it creates.
The pendulum swung LEAVE and hung there steady as a rock.
"How could he? I just don't get it. Why did nothing kick in to stop him?
I can't do this. It's too much. He took it too far. I need to just stop putting it off and admit it then maybe I can move on. I can't handle what he did. I can't bear the thought of it.
I'm never going to get over it. It's never going to be ok. I can't do this anymore.
I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this.
I fucking hate this is now in my life. It fucking sucks. I fucking HATE IT!"
I've deliberately not gone into the details of the affair anywhere in this blog. I don't see the point. Any betrayal is painful. Doesn't matter how long it went on for, the extend of the lies, how many times they saw each other, what he said to her, the content of the text messages, how intimate they were etc. etc. When you love and trust someone it's all excruciating. It rips through you like a tornado made of barbed wire and two days ago I was bleeding from the inside out. That's when the bargaining started again. It's a very familiar occurrence. The wishing to go back and do things differently, the wishing it had never happened, that I could have somehow done something to stop it. I wish I'd told him I loved and missed him more, I wish I could have swallowed my pride and not been so stubborn, I wish I had just moved, I wish, I wish, I wish....
Swimming in the regret, the sadness, the pain, wishing as hard as I could. I was unconsolable, again. I know my husband gets tired of seeing me this way. Tired of still dealing with it after all this time. I understand how tedious it is, and yes, I agree that it's tough, you did this, so deal with it, however, he wants to see there's an end to it (and so do I). He tries, but gets frustrated, then his resentment rises, which fuels my anxiety as I sense it. I then get worried he's thinking he'd wished he'd ended it when he could, which I know sometimes he does. I get it, as at times, so do I because this is fucking torturous. As I said in To Leave or Not to Leave? leaving, very often, feels like the only way to find a sense of peace and when you're suffering as we are, it's a very attractive solution. Staying and facing this day in day out is hard, really fucking hard, especially when I nose dive in this way without warning and I have lost count of the number of times it's happened. I think the frequency at the moment is every couple of weeks instead of every couple of days, when it used to be every couple of hours. Every time I think I've turned a corner, resolved a distressing detail or achieve a little bit of relief and space to breathe, BANG! It comes again out of nowhere, catching me completely off guard, flipping me backwards. I fall back into the abyss and slip down a few feet, hanging dangerously by my fingernails, toes desperately trying to find a foot hold, panicking I'm going to fall back into its grasp and get lost forever. When I finally find my feet I'm back to wondering WTF just happened as I hug the rock face like I have just been saved from sudden death, panting, trying to catch my breath. I think that's how this process goes, one small step forwards and three panicky "Quick! Someone stop me!" somersaults back again. It's tedious, exhausting and feels like it's never going to end but I just have to keep climbing. Luckily I do have some tools to help which I have got much better at using. They don't always stop the slip, but they ensure my recovery is much quicker and more effective.
One of the biggest things I have learnt from working with Richi (my coach), is that I have to meet myself where I am and be totally honest in how I feel and what is happening. I spoke about this when I managed to get unstuck from the remaining post infidelity trauma. Because of this, I knew there was no point in me wishing things were different. Wishing he didn't do it. All that does is increase the pain, as I am creating an unrealistic comparison of how I would prefer things to be, and if they were that way, then everything would be ok. I would feel ok, but they're not so I'm not ok and not going to be ok. However, it can't ever be that way so all it does is create more pain. A yearning I can't do anything about. A wound that will never heal as it simply can't be anything other than what it is. I need to heal. We need to heal, so I have to meet it where it is. Where I am. Where we are. There's absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Nothing. This is my reality now.
He did do it.
It is fucking shit.
There is nothing I can do.
And it is painful.
Every. Single. Little detail of it. Every choice, every text, every stupid fucking bit of it.
I know it might sound crazy, but when I did this, a sense of peace came over me. Still crying, still desperately upset, but a willing surrender to it and the pendulum swung stay. It's difficult to explain, but when I'm honest about what is right in front of me and how I feel about it, the emotion can do its job properly. It can deliver its message. It was informing me of how I was experiencing that information. This is painful, no point in wishing that it wasn't or that it would go away. It's going to hurt at times and in that moment I was hurting, but I accepted it and when I did, the discomfort became soothing. This has happened and the details are cutting and unscrupulous, so no point in wishing that it was any other way. My husband's behaviour was absolutely despicable and he knows it. We are now facing the fallout of those behaviours. Part of that is feeling the agony when it comes. This is also what he needs to realise. Instead of getting resentful at yet another breakdown, rolling his eyes and getting frustrated at why I can't just move on, he needs to accept that this is how it is going to be sometimes, purely because what he did bloody hurts. He had an affair, in a non-accusatory more matter of fact statement. This has happened, he did do this, it's here, this is our reality now and it hurts. And when it does, it needs looking after. It needs care and attention, patience and compassion and it's an opportunity for him to show that to me and ease the suffering. Not just wishing it away by longing for me to shut up, because it will make him feel better about what he did. I need to be allowed to be upset if I need to be. It's not every day now, it's getting further and further apart. However, when I am upset the pain is still as raw as if it happened yesterday. Pain from trauma has this horrible age-defying characteristic. A time-bending superpower, where it doesn't age, it doesn't fade, it doesn't seem like any time has passed from when it happened to when you are feeling it. If you could extract it and turn it into face cream, you'd make a fortune.
It's been a very long, gruelling process and I tell you what, even though I'm learning so much, I am fucking spent and quite sick of this shit, but every time I get a bit of peace, it's another small step in the right direction that I am grateful for. I will get past this with my family intact. I am absolutely determined.