You know what’s interesting? I keep wanting very badly to write about the emotions of divorce, but I think it’s been tough for me because I’m no longer in that space. I’ve healed and moved on, and now, it’s just something that happened in my life. A chapter that is over and closed. I’m trying again here today – I figure if I just began writing, maybe it’ll flow out. Divorce is a big thing, and it’s tough, and it hurts, so I want to be able to share my experience to connect with and help those I’m meant to.
So, here goes.
I think when I really realized that things were going downhill, I finally e-mailed my friend this super long e-mail about how I was feeling and all my emotions. It was sometime after that traumatic event I’ve mentioned here before. But, in that e-mail, I deliberately didn’t mention my marriage or my husband. In fact, I told her it had nothing to do with either. Perhaps it was something I wasn’t ready to admit to myself. Anyway, I recall telling her that I was extremely unhappy and lost – not sure what I wanted, where I was going, or what this was all about. I just knew that something had to give, that I couldn’t keep on as I was. I was so full of emotions, I just had to get it out – and she was my go-to. It was a rambling e-mail that probably made little sense, but at least it was outside of me, and someone else was aware.
Also, I can’t quite recall when, but sometime after that e-mail, and somewhere in the midst of things beginning to fall apart, I remember telling another friend something like “If I could, I’d just get divorced and travel the world.” – I’m pretty sure I was reading Eat, Pray, Love again at that time, so it makes sense, right? Fabulous book and movie, by the way. But anyway, I believe that was the first time the word “divorce” ever rolled off my lips. It was like my subconscious thoughts were finally coming to the surface. And down things continued to go.
And then sometime after that conversation, I let it be known to my husband that I was unhappy and lost, and that I didn’t know who I was. I felt like I’d completely lost who I was throughout our relationship, and it was a heavy feeling – to admit that you don’t know who you are or what you’re meant for in this life. It was tough. I remember sharing with him the song She Used To Be Mine by Sara Bareilles.
Then, at some point, I texted my friend – the one I previously e-mailed – and I said to her what would you say to me if I told you I was thinking about walking away from my marriage? And you know what, she was understanding and supportive, and I was so relieved. She told me about “conscious uncoupling” and pointed me to a podcast as well. Needless to say, my husband didn’t appreciate this, but I did – it let me know that divorce didn’t have to be long, drawn out, and messy. That there was a way to do this together and come out the other side okay. And my friend knows me well obviously, because I wouldn’t have wanted my divorce to go any other way.
After that came a conversation with my mother. Naturally, it wasn’t what she wanted to hear, and she tried to provide solutions. She knew we’d just spent the last 4+ years getting out of debt, and so she suggested that we just needed to live a little more – get out, do things together, and have fun. I agree – she was right, but the problem was deeper than just needing to have fun. I never talked to her on the phone again about our situation though, as I eventually didn’t feel supported.
Following this timeline of conversations, I began seeing a therapist, as I’ve mentioned several times around here. And so, I had all my conversations with her – not with my friends or family. As I’ve said before, my therapist was a neutral party, and she had no opinion on what I “should” do – she simply supported me in my decisions.
I think, by now, it’s easy to pick out that all I wanted was to feel supported. And again, I can count on one had the number of people who outwardly showed me support.
When you’re experiencing the downfall of your marriage, the last thing you want tossed your way is the emotions of everyone around you. But, after our situation became known to friends and family, this is exactly what happened. And since I was the one asking for a divorce, I received the brunt of everyone’s negative comments.
I was told I was depressed and needed to seek help for it. I was told to get my hormones checked because clearly something was out of whack. I was told that I didn’t know what I was doing and that I was the most selfish person. That I wasn’t considering anyone else’s feelings, that I was ruining our family, and hurting my nieces and nephews. That I was just like my sister and brother, meaning I do whatever I want at the expense of everyone else. I was told that I had a good life, so why ruin it? The negativity and hurtful words thrown my way were unexpected and crushing. It felt as though my family was on my husband’s “side” and then there was me. And all I could think was…why is my family not supporting me right now? I assure you it hurt to the core.
I tried really hard to stay strong, and it came across as emotionless and cold. But I didn’t know how else to handle myself and keep my head up. My tough exterior was my only shield against everyone projecting their own feelings and opinions onto me. I had to keep myself together and as leveled-headed as possible in order to do what was best for me. Although it was throughout all this happening that my immense negative self-talk began.
I didn’t feel supported, and I was left to take on everyone else’s emotions, and it made me question myself and second-guess my decisions. But I remember telling my sister (who supported me) that I felt peace inside, and so I held on tight to that feeling. No matter what was going on around me, or what emotions were raging within me, I felt peace in my heart. And I knew that meant something – I knew it meant that I was making the right decision for MYSELF. In that moment, I couldn’t allow anyone else’s projected emotions and feelings to throw me off what I knew I needed to do in order to be happy with myself. Trust me when I say that I held on very tight to my inner peace and to my gut instinct that I was making the right decision – because, quite simply, they were the only two things I had.
And because I love music, here are a few relatable quotes from songs.
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. – All At Once, The Fray
What may be the best thing for you to do – sometimes that’s the hardest thing for you to do. – Good-bye, Jagged Edge
Let me circle back around to negative self-talk for a minute, since I left it hanging up there. I hated on myself for years throughout all this – from the time of that traumatic event until probably mid-to-late last year. That’s nearly 3 full years of breaking and healing. It was a process, and it came in waves, up and down like a rollercoaster. And the only person I blamed was myself. And it took me so long to realize how unfair I was being to myself. I’m not here to blame myself, to blame my ex-husband, or to blame my family for how much hate I felt for myself. It’s really not about blame, but it’s about knowing and understanding how the things we say and do impact other people, whether intentional or not. That goes for me, for my ex-husband, and for anyone else who said hurtful things to me or gave me unsolicited opinions and advice.
Our words, our actions are not without consequences. While I said things and acted in ways that hurt others, it didn’t and doesn’t make me wrong or a bad person. It makes me human. And I think that’s what everyone around me forgot about during a very sensitive and emotional time. I didn’t deserve the hurtful things that were said to me, no matter how much I convinced myself that I did. I didn’t have to bare the brunt of everyone else’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and opinions…ever, and especially not while I was dealing with my own emotions and fighting my own battles. Today, and every day, I stand by the fact that it was unfair to me. And honestly, if you don’t have anything kind or supportive to say, then PLEASE don’t say anything at all. You simply have NO IDEA the impact your words have another human being, as you are not them.
I am not sitting here guiltless either, as I know I’m not proud of some of the things I said, or did, or how I acted. What I do know is that we live and we learn, and that we deal with things the best way we know how to at any given moment. If I were to experience all the same things over again today, I assure you I’d handle it all differently, based on what I know now. But, you see, that’s not how life works. All we can do is our best and let that be good enough.
We are human, and it’s during tough times, that we need to remember that…about ourselves AND each other. No one is perfect – we all make mistakes and learn. Is that an excuse? Sure, if you choose for it to be, and if you don’t learn from your experiences. Otherwise, it’s just the truth.
Just so you know, this still isn’t the “emotions” post I’ve been envisioning, but you know what? These words and me sharing this experience are just as important. Honestly, I think the only way I’m going to accomplish the post I keep wanting to write is by sharing some quotes from my writings during that time. So, when I’m feeling courageous enough to do so, I will. My words from then are the only words that are going to accurately capture my emotional mindset during that time, as it’s clear that I’m too far removed now. And by that, I mean HEALED and in a better place. So, Amen for that!
If you’ve stuck with me this far today, thank you. I appreciate you. And if you’re going through a rough experience, hang in there, keep your head held high, and know you’ll make it through. Lean on your supports and always choose to do what’s best for YOU. You’re so much stronger than you know.
Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh