My title is probably self-explanatory to most of us. This is how we all feel on any given day, either singly, or all at once. Typically, I feel this combination every single day. It’s an upgrade from the days of just plain old broken when every breath I took in felt incomplete and heavy. And it’s an upgrade from the days of rubber legs and weaker knees when getting out of bed was a huge accomplishment. And it’s an upgrade from the days when most everybody thought I was very brave, with the exception of me, who knew that I was anything but brave. Somehow throughout all of that I continued to raise children, some of them in critical parts of their lives. And I have no idea how I did it. Maybe it’s the saddest thing, or maybe it’s natures way of protecting me, but I don’t remember how I managed to do any of it….at all.
When I think back, it’s mental chaos, likely surrounded by physical chaos. I remember doing the minimum to get by daily. So many things got out of control and disorganized. Only recently we realized we lost the titles to two of our cars. Those titles arrived in that time period. I only have a vague memory of receiving them and no memory of where they could be. I could go on and on about the physical messes that the affair caused. I remember after it was over and another year had passed I had it in me to go through my younger three children’s clothing. I believe I removed over 6 contractor bags full of clothes from their closet. When I did that same job last weekend, I removed one bag.
The fog that surrounded me seemed to be so thick I didn’t know if I would ever get out of it, and it didn’t help that I was unsuccessfully trying to keep a very large house and seven people organized and clean. Things were going downhill everywhere. He did not feel like doing any of the things that he needed to do either. Grass went uncut and the pool went unopened. We were floundering in a sea of deceit and lies. Everything revolved on an if I have to basis.
It took a very long time to recover from all of that. In fact, for some things we are just now recovering. Neglect is not a slight thing or an easy thing to come back from, physically or mentally. And while we are physically recovering nicely, and that automatically helps in the mental area, the emotional neglect that we both have experienced is far more damaging. Overcoming the things of the mind is a different animal. It is not possible to forget some things, no matter how much we want to do so. And I struggle with this every single day. And I struggle with how to get past it every day. And I’ve learned that I’m not going to forget it ever. So, the question becomes how to live with it. How to live my life with the man I love who is also the man who betrayed me and our children and move on.
The answer is simple, but hard. Just move forward every day, even if it the tiniest of steps take it. And do not see it as failure if you move backward on occasion, because you will move backward many times. We would not be human if we didn’t struggle with the whole thing. And the last thing I have learned is that my husband, regardless of the past, has chosen to stay with me and make a life with me and if I accept that, then I must forgive him. Maybe this is the hardest part. It probably is the hardest part. And while forgiveness does not mean you can never talk about it, it does mean that you cannot use it against them in a fight about the dishwasher. And while I can pat myself on the back on that one ( I haven’t used the affair against him in a fight about something else in years), I am not without fault in being confrontational at times about the affair for no reason other than I just have to get it out. And, he in turn has made a lot of progress in this area. While this used to upset him, he is much more understanding these days. We have both moved forward a lot, but let me tell you, at times I felt like we were standing still.
Today, I am brave, strong, and broken. I have learned a lot of things about myself and him throughout the whole thing. And one day I hope to write an entry with the title brave, strong and healed.