I'm struggling with the anger. Some days I can ignore it, trudge on, make the incredible disgrace of it all disappear as if it never happened. And then there's days like yesterday. Days that bring you to your knees with the cold, harsh reality of what really happens to your child's mind when there's an affair. I wanted to believe that my youngest were spared with their little minds intact, unharmed, still innocent. I had hoped beyond hope they would all be unscathed and that the knowledge of what he had done somehow never made it inside. I wanted them to be too young to understand. I wanted the knowlege that he was here with us, that he had stayed, to erase the facts from their fragile memories. I wanted the possibility to be nil that there would be any long-lasting effects of his affair. I believed the lies I told myself.
Then, out of the blue, on a random day, and for apparently no reason, one of my youngest, in sobs of anxiety, admitted that he was afraid for our family, afraid we wouldn't stay together. He was afraid someone might leave, that our family would be no more. I didn't want to cry in front of him. I tried to hold back those tears. But I couldn't.
He was eight when it started and is now twelve. At eight his life was about being a kid, playing soccer. He had little to worry about. His life, our lives, were seemingly a fairy tale back then. Affairs were unheard of, raised voices and tension and anger were unheard of as well. But, as my son lay in tears between my husband and me, letting go of his fears, teardrops soaking his face, all three of us embracing as if maybe we could all just hold on and then nobody could ever leave, I knew. I knew then that he, all of my children, was harboring deep emotions under the surface and they were simmering like hot lava in a volcano.
I cried and cried. And I felt helpless. I had failed at my own job of protecting my children. Worse, I knew it was not something I could fix. Forever, their lives will be affected in ways that I will have little control over. Every relationship, now and in the future, will be tainted and marred by a selfish act that I had nothing to do with. While I was busy being a mom and a wife, a whole other world was going on behind my back. And while my suffering is one thing, it somehow became so much more personal with this admission by my son.
My oldest son found out by accident, a Facebook message left open by mistake. I knew the damage that he had endured because he was old enough to share that, old enough to know what it all meant. The same with my daughter, old enough to know exactly what he'd done. And both have their own convictions, their own anger towards the situation. My son demanded her phone number from me to be able to tell her to stay away from his dad. His outlet of anger. And, believe it or not, she actually screenshot the text and sent it to my husband, to tattletale, if you will, on my son. Narcicism and evil wrapped into one. This is what I dealt with. And while I thought I was dealing in silence, I realize now that hiding your emotions from your children likely does not work. Children are much more aware than we think.
My little guys are hurting too. I know that now. We all hurt. And while my husband has come full-circle in this journey, I imagine maybe he hurts the most. What father wants to hear their child's cries that they know they caused? We vowed together to make sure that all of our children realize that nobody is going anywhere, that we are committed to each other. And while this house is still a vessel of tension at times, stemming from the whole damn thing, my husband and I can agree that we will save our tensions for when we are alone, and work to keep the stress-level to a minimum.
Healing after an affair is a long journey. And outwardly seeming fine is no indication that someone is fine, especially with children.