Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.Confucius.
In 1995, a woman in the city where I live – let’s call her Lucy – who’d been married for 38 years, was dumped by her husband for a younger woman. As with all women of that generation, Lucy had devoted her life to her marriage, family and his career.Distraught by his betrayal and her pain, she shot him six times.
Lucy’s husband recovered and went on to marry his mistress. Lucy was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of temporary insanity and served time in a mental institution.On her release, scorned by society and abandoned by many of her former friends, she struggled to rebuild her relationships with her adult children and find a purpose to her life. I’m not sure she ever did, and, sadly, she died within a few years, aged 66. Continue reading →
My back hadn’t felt good since a recent trip.I’d lugged heavy luggage up and down way too many flights of stairs, and although the shoes I’d worn – with my orthotics! – were good solid shoes, they perhaps hadn’t been right for so much walking.But I figured that things would sort themselves out after a few weeks back home in my normal routine again.
I was in my apartment one Saturday morning, bending down to pick something up, when my back ‘went’.I sank to the floor, the pain so intense that I struggled to catch my breath.My legs tingled and I felt panic rising.Was this a stroke?Was I going to be paralyzed?
I was at the farthest point in the house from a phone and I couldn’t move for the pain.I waited about 10 minutes, trying to calm myself with deep breaths, then managed to shuffle on my butt down the hallway towards the kitchen and found my cell phone.With that in my hand, I hauled myself on to a chair and sat trying to work out what to do. I didn’t need an ambulance, but I wanted someone to know what was going on, so I called my daughter. Continue reading →
On Friday January 19th, 2018, it will be 1,000 days since April 25th, 2015, when my husband ended our marriage.A marriage that lasted 13,688 days – or thirty-seven years, five months and twenty-three days. (Not including how long we knew each other before then.)
1,000 days seems a good time to stop and take stock.Where am I at this point in my life?What have I come through?Where am I going?
I’ll be honest, the first four hundred days were sheer hell.About 150 days in, I can remember sitting in my rental apartment, wondering how much longer I could survive the emotional pain. I wasn’t sleeping, had no appetite, and the weight was dropping off me. How long until I started feeling normal again?I asked friends who’d been through something similar.They couldn’t – or wouldn’t – give me a time frame, but assured me I would get through it.My grief was so overwhelming I wasn’t sure I could cope with such uncertainty. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and chose a place in the river if the pain became intolerable.
And yet… and yet… some amazing things happened to me in those 150 days. I discovered a strength I didn’t know I had.I found myself a lawyer and apartment, and my friends and family rallied around me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It was spring, so I was able to walk in the fresh air every day and watch nature turn into summer. (The dramatic weight loss might not have been healthy, but it looked good!)Continue reading →
Way back at the beginning, after my husband left me, one of the things that helped me get through that first awful year was keeping a gratitude journal. No matter how bad things got – his bullying, my grief, arguments with lawyers, concerns over money, sense of worthlessness, dealing with the bank; finding somewhere to live; going into social situations on my own for the first time – I decided that if I could find 3-5 positive things each day, then I had to class it as having been a good day.
They didn’t have to be big things:a nice cup of coffee; only crying 3 times in a day instead of 5; hanging out with a friend or friends; walking a dog; finding a nice e-mail in my inbox; my granddaughter hugging me; the sun shining; my favourite song playing on the radio; the first snowfall; leaves crunching beneath my feet: hitting 10,000 steps on my Fitbit; a hot shower, a good movie or programme on TV; chocolate.
I’ve always loved travelling; from my first sight of the sea when I was a wee girl, to that first train trip down to London, to my first sight of Venice when backpacking around Europe as a teenager, to that first transatlantic flight.
I know my way around airports and train stations, and am pretty comfortable hiring cars and booking hotels. But – apart from a few flights – I’ve never actually travelled on my own. It’s always been with people, or on my way to see friends and family.
Now that the divorce process is over, I have this fancy that one day I’ll spend time in countries I’ve always wanted to visit – which means I may have to do it on my own. So… I took some baby steps towards that recently. Forget about two weeks or one month travelling on my own. Could I do it for one day? Continue reading →
Two days ago, Isobel and I were discussing whether we should continue with this blog. We’re not getting a lot of traction on it, and after almost 3 and 5 years since our husbands walked out on us, we’ve been through hell, come out the other side, and are happier that we’ve probably been in years.
Is that what someone going through the early stages of one of the worst experiences of their life wants to hear?
Only days ago I played a ‘game’ with myself where I took my ex and a friend, or family member, and said to myself, “If I could only see one of these people once more in my life, who would it be?” I went through a whole list of almost 30 people lining up each one against my ex. Not one of my choices turned out to be him, and oh… did I feel smug.
When someone you love deeply treats you as if you were nothing, it’s nearly impossible not to feel like you are truly nothing.
The term Gaslighting comes from the 1944 movie Gaslight, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, in which a ‘loving husband’ tries to convince his wife, and others, that she is going mad. Of course she’s not – he’s manipulating her through lies and deceit to get something he wants.
Sadly – very sadly – it’s a technique many men use when ending (or sometimes within) a relationship.
Truth and lies become fluid. If you are the victim of this behaviour, you will probably find yourself questioning your own sanity. And even when your husband is caught out in a lie, he may continue to argue it’s not something he would ever say or do. And because you love him you’ll want to believe him.