I'm realizing . . . I don't know how to "do" Anger. That's Anger with a capital 'A'. I'm beginning to realize that I have a lot of Anger right now, but I don't know what to DO with it, how to healthfully express it. 'Cause, I think I need to get it out. No, I know I do.
I was raised in a home with no anger. I was taught that there was no sense to it. Discussion and Conversation: that's how problems were resolved. And, don't get me wrong: I think that's a very healthy way to teach children. Express your feelings through words, not actions. And so, I've never been an angry person. I'm not familiar with the emotion. I don't know what to DO with it. But now, I know there's something in here, inside me, causing the anxiety, and I'm finally realizing (mostly thanks to friends - and I mean that honestly, not sarcastically) that I am ANGRY.
When I was in therapy for the year following the final infertility prognosis, my counselor taught me to get my emotions out by writing. Whenever I felt the "stuff" building up inside me, looking for a crack to ooze out, I was instructed to find a quiet spot where there would be no interruptions. Settle my body completely comfortably and then do the deep breathing exercises. Then, with pen or pencil and paper (no keyboarding / no typing), I was to write (or draw or make angry marks on the paper) for precisely 20 minutes. If the timer rang while I was mid-sentence, I was to stop there.
Then, in therapy, I could either chose to explore what I'd written . . . or leave it and move on.
That was a successful coping mechanism for me, and I think I need to do that again. Unburdening myself here, to you, helps, too.
In the past, there have been times when I've been writing around the proverbial pink elephant in the room. Eventually, though, his size grows enough that I have to address it. Such was the case when I finally wrote that the ex had moved out, and such is the case now. Again.
I am in the throes of dealing with the third blow in my marriage. First, he moved out. I dealt with that and moved on. Then, we got divorced. I dealt with that and moved on. I didn't think anything could be worse than those two blows. And, truth be told, there was such a release of stress and pressure from them both, that they turned out to be, oddly enough, "good things". This one, though? This one, I don't know how to deal with. Because I don't know how to deal with anger.
About three weeks ago, I learned that the ex had been having an affair with one of our friends since July of 2008.
There, I've said it.
I am SO hard-wired to "do him no harm" that it takes all I can to not delete that. He reads this blog, and he'll read that. And be incredibly hurt that I shared this with you. But, oh my god, has he hurt me.
I thought I'd built myself a safety net in our marriage. Time and time again, I told him, "If you EVER even THINK of having an affair, just tell me! If you're EVER attracted to someone else, TELL ME! We'll work through it, together!"
I know now that there IS no such thing as a safety net: not unless you both share the same morals and values. The same commitment. And, of course, you never know that you DON'T share these things until it's too late.
Why, oh, why couldn't he have been honest with me during the course of our divorce? Because he knew I wouldn't have been so fair and split everything down the middle, financially? Probably. Am I resentful of that? You bet.
Am I angry that, when there was nothing left to lose (the divorce was finalized), he STILL couldn't tell me about his infidelity (ies????). Um, yeah. Just a tad.
Am I angry that I was made a fool of? That I sent out Christmas letters telling everyone that our marriage hadn't worked because "he's a good man, just not a good husband"? Yeah.
Am I angry that I was there for him, every step of the way through Explorer Guy's Alaska adventure, assuming that he was doing it "alone" . . . with no support system? Yes. What a fool I was. I didn't learn until later than he'd already started seeing one woman (if not both that I came to know about) before he left. That THEY were supporting him the whole while? That in no way was he "doing it alone"?
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
And, I have been fooled HOW many times now?
Am I angry at the outright SKILL and trickery that he and this mutual fried exhibited by carrying on this affair RIGHT UNDERNEATH my nose and the noses of our friends? Dinner parties, events all together, etc., etc., etc.? Holy shit, yes!
All the times I would call him on his cell phone after a day of nannying so we could meet up in town for dinner and he said that he was at HER house, "just having a glass of wine"? And, how convenient: she was a mutual friend. No one would question seeing them together.
All the times I QUESTIONED him about his relationship with her and was constantly assured that my false safety net was still securely in place: he "would never do that" to me.
I thought I knew him better than he knew himself. Apparently not.
For the first five years that we lived up here, the ex still worked in the Twin Cities and spent about 5-7 days each 2 or 3 weeks down there. Were all his lonely nights in a motel room really all that lonely or did he have company?
When he was working in the far west end of the county here and staying down there during the week because the drive was so long, was he really at the motel or was he at HER house . . . or someone else's? Cellphones, after all, ring where YOU are, not in the PLACE you are, like the "good ol' days".
It's all just SO mind-boggling. I put e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g into him and my marriage.
It was so much easier when I was under the (false) impression that it simply "hadn't worked out".
And, up 'til now, I've been experiencing so much aggravation over wondering just WHAT the "whole truth" is! But, my oldest, dearest friend gave me some sage advice the other day:
The truth is, we often don't get to find a comfortable place with this stuff. Even if you get 100% of the story, you still won't be comfortable. I understand wanting to know, believe me, I do. However, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable might be part of what has to happen, as well. Not easy or fun, but you've gotten through worse, that is for sure.
My bold and underlining is where I think she's made her point. And that will be the hardest thing for me to do: although perhaps it's a step in the right direction now that I've IDENTIFIED that.
I've always been one to say, "I don't care WHAT the situation is, just give me the facts. Even if it's 'you have cancer' (or, I suppose, 'you can't have children'), just give me the whole truth and I'll deal with it." So, not (ever) knowing the whole truth will be my hurdle to leap. Or, as the case may be, slowly walk up to / trip over a few times / and then, one leg at a time, step over.
Yep, re-reading what I've written, I know that's it, 'cause I just felt like I was going to throw up.