There are times when all the inspirational quotes in the world, all the positive self-talk, all the telling yourself that you should be over this, that you’re moving on, that you’re stronger and better than you were, all the kind supportive comments of friends, family and counsellors just don’t cut it.Something triggers you and the tears and pain and grief cuts right into your soul leaving you as raw and in such emotional agony as those early days.
There’s nothing – nothing – anyone else can do to help or console you. You know you’re just going to have to go down that dark path by yourself and know you’ll come out the other end into the light.
And when you do emerge into the light, it’ll be bitter-sweet, because you know that somewhere down the line – maybe not for weeks, months or even years – that darkness is waiting for you up ahead, hiding out of sight, waiting to pounce again when you’re feeling vulnerable.
For me, it was a combination of things. I had packed away all the pictures that include my ex-husband – or at least I thought I had.But last night I came upon a family photo taken of us all a couple of years before he left me. We look happy.Solid.I’m looking at the camera with total innocence, his arm around me, no idea that mymarriage and family are about to implode.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 →
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.
Noel Coward wrote, “Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.” He was right. Music has the power to conjure up strong emotions.
During that first year on my own, I just had to hear a piece of music from 1977 onwards, and it could bring me to floods of tears as I associated it with some part of our marriage. (Think Bridget Jones in her flat singing along to All By Myself.)
So I decided – in the short term – not to listen to music on the radio because I never knew what they might play and didn’t want to be caught unawares. Instead, I listened only to music from before I met my ex-husband, and indulged myself in all the kinds of music I’d enjoyed when I was young; Broadway Musicals, The Beatles, Early Stones, Early Bowie, Early Elton John, The Monkees (I blush), and classical favourites amongst others. After attending a folk festival in Scotland, I also started listening to artists I’d heard performing there – Dougie Maclean, Duncan Chisholm, Ross Ainslie, Dallahan – brand new music that had no associations with my married life. Continue reading →