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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

I’ve known friends who have had major events change the routine of their daily life and I’ve often wondered how they establish a new normal. Well, this is what I am now experiencing first hand.

Amazingly, it is not as difficult as I thought it would be. Granted, it is not easy. It is tragic in all sense of the word. But it is also a time of new beginnings.

I feel it and so do the kids.

I see beauty in the outcome and sadness in the death, but my Father has been teaching me that there’s beauty in the process. That while a healed and whole family is a marvelous thing to behold, the process that got us there is where He is most glorified and where He draws us to Himself. Dreams die and plans change and seasons end, but He is not done yet.

As for my husband, he has moved out of his friend’s house and is now living with another woman. I have no idea what his relationship is to her, and I don’t want to know. This decision he made regarding his living arrangements further convinces me that I made the right choice in ending the nightmare my marriage had become. I still have hope that one day, his eyes will be opened to all he has lost and all he has done to cause that loss. Then maybe, he will be able to receive the help he needs. But until then, with God’s grace, I am moving forward towards health for myself and my children.

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The last one was so vivid. They are always the same ~ my husband moves back into the house. This morning I woke up thinking, “Thank God it was only a dream!” I have been having these dreams almost every night since he moved out.

We went to see my therapist last week – all 7 of us. Compared to the day we told the kids that “dad” was moving out, they were very quiet. Only speaking when answering a question and volunteering no information on their own. Giving very little indication of “how they are doing”.

My husband also acted so strange during the therapy session, doing most of the talking and saying several times that despite his circumstances, he felt “so blessed”. (?!) He told us that he lived in his car for a week, (yes, you read that right, he lived in his car!) until one of his friends took pity on him and invited him to stay in a guest room. Being true to his character of always wanting “all” or “nothing” he said to me privately that we either need to divorce or he is going to come back home.

Whatever strength I lacked in enforcing boundaries in my marriage up to this point, I lack no longer. I have told my husband that our separation does not have to end in divorce, but he should use this time away from the family as an opportunity to work on his personal issues. I will not consider a reconciliation until:

1) He receives counseling – he can not change his behavior long term if he doesn’t understand what drives it.
2) He repairs his relationship with my two older children – the damage he has done to them as an emotionally abusive father can never be undone, but I pray it can be healed.
3) We attend marriage/family therapy – we are a broken family and it has been that way long before the separation

This is such a bittersweet time for me, I’m not sure how much of it I will be able to write about. I am glad my husband has moved out and I feel such a sense of peace and renewal in our home. But at the same time, the ugliness that caused the situation looms nearby and the strength required of me now is elusive. I know it can not be my own strength, it must be His. I also know myself, and know I am not always the most faithful of followers. I tend to lean on Him only when I have no other choice.

As I stand on the precipice of a new season, I acknowledge I don’t know what is next. Whether I feel ready or not, I remind myself, He is ready and I have to be clinging to Him.

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“We write to taste life twice . . .” ~ Anais Nin

I write so I will not forget. But some days, I just don’t want to remember. Sometimes I just don’t want to “taste life twice”. This is one of those times. So for anyone who follows my blog, I hope you forgive me, but today I am posting only a song. Like most of the songs I post, this one speaks for me.

Where I am today.

Right now.

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To say the last week has been difficult would be a great understatement.

He had been caught. He just didn’t know to what extent when I confronted him. And so he lied. Had he told the truth, would the outcome have been different? No point in wondering that now. Once I began reading out loud to him, the e-mails they had exchanged that were in my possession, my husband realized he could lie no longer and the ugly details were revealed.

He met her 18 months ago . . . It became “inappropriate” early on. I told him he needed to leave. Move out. And he needed to tell the kids why or else I would. I gave him 1 week. He refused. By mid-week he even began to deny everything he had admitted just a few days before. Why wouldn’t he? I’m sure he was thinking that we would fall back into our usual pattern by telling me,

~ “You are blowing things out of proportion”
~ “You are being over sensitive”
~ “It wasn’t what you think”

It didn’t matter. Nothing he could say at this point was going to weaken my resolve.

Despite my husband’s juvenile and desperate protests, (“I’m not going to tell the kids and you can’t make me!) we had a “family meeting” exactly 1 week after the thing that changed everything happened. My younger ones cried. My older ones were angry and demanded him to explain. He couldn’t. And then the dam burst. Every crazy, dysfunctional, hurtful, narcissistic behavior of my husband was confronted . . . By the kids. There was no blatant disrespect, but they held nothing back.

His response? He took off his wedding ring, set it on the table, packed a bag, and left the house. He was gone and I could finally breathe. We all could finally breathe. The toxic energy was gone and now our healing could begin.

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The minutes before someone is about to experience an unexpected life changing event . . . Is there any warning? A sense of foreboding? A flutter of the heart? Does the sun shine brighter or the night seem darker?

Even with 20/20 hindsight, I can not say there was a moment when I KNEW something was about to happen. That the thing which would change everything was about to assault me as I walked through the door that evening.

Maybe my mind was too preoccupied with all that still needed to be done at home after a long work week. Maybe it was the feeling of being thrown off balance when I came home to an empty house. Where was everyone? No note, no text, no voicemail.

As I stood in the middle of the empty stillness, so foreign to my usually bustling home, I immediately heard the insistent and unmistakeable beeping of an electronic device. I made my way through each room until I found it. My husband’s Blackberry. Usually locked and password protected . . . But not tonight.

My hands were trembling, and my conscience questioning as I fumbled with the phone, pressing multiple buttons trying to figure out how to open it. Not sure what I would find as I quickly scanned through the texts and e-mails, but in a matter of moments, my trembling hands turned into full body shakes.

Elaine.”

There were more messages than I could count that were either from her or to her.

Someone whose name he had never even mentioned to me, but apparently was communicating with daily.

My emotions were spinning and swirling with the power of a hurricane, but my mind was functioning in the eye of the storm as clarity of thought possessed me. Not knowing how much time I had before everyone came home, and knowing that I had to be sure before I confronted, I began forwarding the e-mails to myself.

I knew I wouldn’t have the opportunity to read the e-mails thoroughly until the following day when I was alone, but before I did, I wanted to give him one chance to explain.

***

It was a simple question. Asked that night before bed.

“Who is Elaine?”

My husband blinked several times in surprise, but recovered his composure quickly as he responded nonchalantly,

“Oh, just a friend that I met through work.”

“Is there anything I should know about her?” I asked, making direct eye contact as I spoke.

“What do you want to know about her? . . .”

I shrugged my shoulders.

“She’s someone who I met through work and we have been exchanging prayer requests.”

And with that, he rolled over, turned out the light and ended the conversation.

***

The following morning, during my first moment alone, I opened my inbox and began reading. The endearments, the familiarity, the inside jokes. It was obvious this was more than a casual friendship. And, of course, there was not a single “prayer request” to be found.

(to be continued)

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” ‘I will not let You go until You bless me,’ was the tenacious, passionate motto of my youth. It was the ultimate challenge to God of how much I really wanted the things I said I did.”

I read these words from the blog “Mindspace” and everything stopped as I thought of the implication these words had for me. Yes, I have spent years praying for my marriage, but God knows my heart, and He knows I have not prayed for my husband with conviction, passion or faith in a long, (long) time.

“God then challenged me to acknowledge that as long as I didn’t pray for my husband, I had no right to complain, or be dissatisfied, or demand change . . . “

“It was like God was saying, ‘What kind of marriage do you really want? What kind of man are you really seeking for in your husband? How serious are you? How much do you really want it? Enough to go to therapy, read books on marriage and self improvement . . . But how about pray? You complain, analyze, are disappointed, disillusioned, ready to give up . . . while it is much more work to trust God’s timing, to stand your ground, to stay alert to Satan’s lies . . . Pray. Pray for the fathers you never had, the intimacy you’ve never seen modeled, the honesty and wholeness that is foreign to both of your families of origin.’ “

“He challenged me  to never open my mouth and complain if I am not willing to spend even a fraction of that time on my knees praying.”

” . . . And so I will pray. Not just for the sake of myself and my husband, but for my children, the new generation, I am praying for a new family history, a break in the sin of the forefathers, and a new level of health and wholeness for my family.” ~ Mindspace

Wow, huh? I am humbled by her words. How can I not be when they cut to the core of everything?

” . . . And so I will pray.”

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Wishing this couch wasn’t so familiar to me as I settle in with a box of Kleenex, anticipating an emotional hour spent sharing the events of my week.

“I just want you to sit and listen while I read something to you“, my therapist announced unexpectedly. With no preface, she began reading:

Narcissistic wounding starts early in life to children whose parents are insecure, abusive, addictive, or have narcissistic patterns themselves . . . People with narcissistic traits process information, emotions and unresolved pain to make up for what they did not have in childhood.”

“Narcissistic injury happens to the child when his emotional needs are not  met . . . They learn how manipulation and using guilt gets what they want.”

They cannot tolerate negative emotional distress and turn it on others in blame, rather than looking within to see their own part of the problem . . . They deny and rationalize their own contribution to the problems to preserve their own internal fantasy of being good and right.”

“They are super sensitive to criticism and either attack the other person or leave the scene. This blaming the person who gives criticism helps the person with narcissistic defenses avoid feeling guilt, shame and depression, but it also keeps them from taking responsibility for learning from their mistakes and ultimately from growing up.”

“They seek refuge in being seen as the good guy and try to gain approval and recognition from others . . . Constantly seeking attention and approval puts them in the precarious position of always needing something from yet someone else.”

“As they believe they are right and others are wrong, they rarely admit faults in themselves . . . They believe they have the right to do whatever it takes to get short term gratification without suffering any consequences . . .They have little or no remorse for the pain they caused the other person, only anger that they did to get away with their behavior.”

“Family members learn to back off from confronting their bad behavior in attempt to not ‘hurt their feelings’ . . . Criticism of their behavior or trying to get them to see what they are doing only causes them to entrench further into defensiveness.”

“When found out in wrong doing, they get evasive, lie or get angry . . . They would rather threaten their relationship than face humiliation, embarrassment or injury to their self esteem.”

“The narcissism defenses of becoming angry, shutting down, minimizing and distancing keep them feeling safe in the moment . . . People with severe narcissistic traits do not change because they do not believe that they have a problem . . . They CAN NOT see the damage that they inflict on others.”

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NARCISSIST

* Uses emotional blackmail to get what he wants
* Has poor insight and can not see the impact his selfish behavior has on others
* Wants to control what you do and say – tries to micromanage
* Is unable to see things from any point of view other than his own
* Ignores your feelings and calls you overly sensitive if you express feelings
* Does not expect to be penalized for failure to follow directions or conform to guidelines
* Neglects the family to impress others
* Is overly involved with his own hobbies

She looked up from the screen of the tablet from which she was reading and asked, “Does this sound like anyone you know?” I nodded, speechless.

“I’ve always doubted the diagnosis of ADD for your husband, and even though it might be accurate, this sure seems to describe him as well, doesn’t it?” Again I could only nod, dumbfounded.

But what does this mean? Then I realized . . . my husband may have multiple issues which could explain his behavior, and that are blindingly evident to those closest to him, but it really is quite irrelevant until he sees that he has issues which need to be addressed and until he wants to resolve them.

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