I am grateful I didn’t succumb to those awful feelings I was having the last time I posted. I don’t think I could have taken it. Truly.
I just kind of wanted to share where I am right now. The mixed blessing that separating from my husband is turning out to be.
Most times I’m handling this separation well. Most times I feel on top of the world, that I did the best thing for my self and the girls.
I’m with a new partner, who is much more sensitive, much more communicative and much more emotionally intelligent than my ex, and who doesn’t drink much, doesn’t curse, and isn’t “cranky old man” all the time.
It was hard going at first, adjusting to all the changes and having the housekeeping and yard duties fall on my shoulders while working 45-50 hours a week.
But every now and then, I still fall apart. I get into this terrible place of grieving. Not for him leaving me, but for the fact that I wasn’t going to get married at all. Something about my husband made me change my mind and the course of my entire life. With him, I began to believe I could beat the odds and make a marriage work. Whatever my mother did (who was a miserable narcissistic shrew of a woman) I would do the opposite. Where she was judgmental, I’d be open-minded. Where she was harsh, I would be soft. Where she was cold, I would be warm. Where she was hands-off, I’d be hands-on. Where she was unsupportive of others, I would be an encourager. Where she was controlling, I would “live and let live”. Where she was ambitious as all get-out and sought to work out of the home to make as much money as she could, I’d give up my career in medical genetics to be a stay at home mom for 10 years.
I think the hardest thing I cope with is the fact that I did all the “right things” and it didn’t seem to matter. At least at first. 20 years and many drinking binges (often ending up in puking session), and a few suicide gestures later on my ex’s part (that I had to talk himself down from), I changed from that warm, loving, soft, encouraging, loving person into someone I didn’t recognize anymore.
That’s what trauma does to a person.
I became bitter and hard, judgemental and vicious. No, not all the time. Most of the time I struggled to stay soft, open-hearted and loving. Many of you know I wrote about this all the time on this blog. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Sometimes through my tears I wrote. It helped to keep my priorities clear. Even though I struggled so much.
But trying to stay married came at a huge price. I was traumatized. Being in a dysfunctional relationship for so long changed a part of me, of my brain, temporarily.
I was bitter, angry, rageful at times.
No one should get PTSD from family. Or from a spouse, but it happens. A lot more than it should.
I became the very thing I feared the most – I became my mother. Maybe even worse than my mother. I don’t recall my mother destroying things. Or hitting walls. Or having over-the-top temper tantrums like I had. Not that she didn’t fight. She did, with my stepfather. But I don’t remember her going off the rails on her own.
The best thing that ever happened to me (and to him, too) was his moving out.
I’m calmer, much more at peace. I still get triggered from time to time, but by and large it’s not been as bad as before.
But then there are those moments of deep grieving. Grieving what happened to me in this marriage. What happened to my children. And grieving the parts of my husband that were good, and kind, and loving. But aren’t there any more.
And it usually happens when I’m at my lowest point. Like after working a 12 hour shift at the lab, or having a crappy interaction with my trainer that leaves me in fear of losing my job (but, in a crazy turn of events, got escorted out of the laboratory yesterday by the police – that’s a story for another day).
And I cry intensely. And I need it and hate it the same time, because I can’t stand the “grief hangover” that happens afterward. And I can’t stand the guilt and the self-doubt and the wonder if there was ANYTHING I could have done to prevent what happened.
And knowing that there wasn’t anything I could do to avert disaster sometimes doesn’t help. I mourn for that, too. How could two young people who once considered each other’s soul-mates get it so wrong?
But on the bright side, I am handling things. We aren’t starving. The bills are paid (mostly) on time. I am happy to see that the only money that leaves my bank account is because of ME and no one else. The house is a disaster because I’m working so much and cleaning a lot less, but also not caring so much about it either. It gets done when it gets done.
I’m regaining a sense of who I was before all the trauma took place. In less than three months time I can feel proud of how far I’ve come since January. Without my new job, none of this would be possible.
I can say I love what I do for work (lately having loads of fun with microscopic examinations and biochemical identifications of foodborne pathogens) though sometimes it’s hard and it’s boring. 12 hours on my feet is no fun.
My new partner is teaching me what Love really is. And helping to re-wire my brain so I’m much less reactive than I used to be. He is helping me to truly listen, especially when I’m feeling scared/triggered…and listening is hard for me, but he’s not running away when things get tense. I’m allowing him to comfort me and not push him away, like I used to do with my husband when I was triggered.
I truly do believe there are some really good folks out there that can help us heal and grow.
My lawn may be sorely in need of mowing, my laundry might be piling up, but I’m mostly happy. I have someone in my life who loves me, who cherishes me in ways that my husband did not, and could not, for a long, long time.
The girls are adjusting to life post-separation. It’s hard at times, but they are learning to cope. We just got their report cards a week ago, and while my youngest was having some problems for a while, we caught it in time and have been working together on it. She didn’t get lower than a B by the end of the quarter. We are both happy about that.
I’m in a support group for divorced people on facebook. There’s a bit of negativity there, but sometimes there are great posts that are very helpful. I’m glad for the chance to hear from others that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That while it takes time and it’s a lot of hard work to adjust to divorce, that it can be done. There’s lots of success stories to know that there is hope.
And most of all, I hope I will be one of them.