Post by bullygirl979 on Jan 3, 2020 14:36:11 GMT -5
Hugs, downtoearth. It's hard. I know.
I have some thoughts but would be interested in other people's take on this as well.
First, have you been completely open and honest with your therapist about how you are feeling? If yes, what does he/she say? I think you are walking a fine line. While I understand you don't like being angry, it's also important to really work through these feelings. Being angry is okay. Being angry is normal. I worry if you try and force yourself to prematurely move on from this phase, you are really more stuffing the anger down and not dealing with it. My XH cheated on me and I felt the same way. When I finally told him I was moving out, he couldn't even give me the respect of waiting the two weeks to start dating; he jumped in while I was still packing up my stuff. I was enraged by his behavior...the lack of respect, of empathy, the cheating, etc. etc. I wished all the terrible things to rain down on him. Eventually, the anger subsided bit by bit and eventually disappeared altogether. While I understand you don't like these feelings, they WILL go away.
With that, there were a few things that I did that helped me deal with my anger. I took up boxing for a while. Every time I got mad at him, I took it out on the bag. I was so exhausted by the end I had no anger left to give for the day. I also did some reframing and other CBT therapy skills. Lastly, I took up yoga so I could try and be better with quieting my mind.
I think #1 you have to try to stop placing moral judgments on your anger. What I read is not just anger, but you beating yourself up and putting yourself down. All of that, plus not wanting to feel the anger because of what it means/says about you, will make it stick around longer.
With anger, like any other emotion, you have to let yourself feel it and express it. I used to type emails to my XH (without any email address in the "to" line, for safety) and just get out all of the absolutely terrible things I wanted to say to him. My favorite is still "fuck you sideways with a rusty pitchfork." They would all just get saved in my drafts folder in my Gmail. They've all been deleted now. Getting to indifference takes time and healing. You can't force yourself into it. All that happens when you do that is that you stuff and stuff and stuff and then eventually everything that's been festering inside explodes out. After the divorce was final, at some point I discovered XH changed the pharmacy points card phone number to his own. It felt like he "stole" all those points from me and I went off on him over text. Dumb things will trigger anger and that's okay. Honestly, it was one of the few times I expressed it directly to him. But cheaters really don't care about the damage they leave behind. Nothing we do can make them care or make them feel the pain we felt.
You put your kids first when it came to custody. You did the honorable thing. That doesn't mean it's emotionally easy. Custody is not set in stone forever and ever amen, but remember that it is about the relationships kids have with their parents and not a reflection on a martial relationship at all. You not letting the end of the marriage affect how you pursued custody is the best thing for your kids' emotional well-being in the long run.
I think the biggest things I would try: don't distract yourself from the anger unless it's a time it's not okay to express it. Find ways to try to get it out (like, literally writing/typing your angry thoughts, sharing them with a friend, etc). Find who among your friends can be a good anger support. One of my friends has turned to me because everyone else gets scared by the anger and thinks she needs a therapist, meds, etc. I'm just like "yes, let it come, he is a complete sack of shit who deserves to have his junk rot off" and then once the anger steam runs out, we go right back to talking about makeup or face masks or whatever. But you're allowed to hate him and think he sucks and hope he gets in a massive single-car fatal accident or falls off a cliff without being a bad person. All examples above are real from my and others' experiences. Anger doesn't always feel good, but it's necessary. It's letting us know there's more there we need to address. If you block the anger, it can be hard to get to the hurt, grief, and betrayal. I'm guessing all of those and more are under your anger. Sometimes you have to rage before you can cry.
Post by downtoearth on Jan 3, 2020 16:22:27 GMT -5
bullygirl979, my therapist says it's good to be angry and justified. I need to see her again, I haven't since this started up recently. I have been sad (was sad) for months and months and there just wasn't anger behind it... mostly disappointment in my XH and his inability to be a full emotional person for me (and the kids). Others would be pissed on my behalf and I took small remarks or anger, but I wasn't so all-consuming as it is now. And that is when I settled the divorce... while I was mostly disappointed, but mostly over the all-consuming sadness.
tiramisu, I do judge myself for not doing enough to keep my kids from terrible people. They aren't good people - but they aren't completely abusive, My biggest complaint is that my XH shames the kids and make them feel bad for having emotions - I then get to deal with all the emotions and plan everything for the kids all-the-time. It's like being married to him still and cleaning up after him week after week. I can't really document this as bad, but it isn't healthy and I have no say in it, so I am just angry. I think I need to write more unsent emails. Good idea.
I don't like feeling anger b/c it's harder to turn off and be present for others when it's simmering. I have been doing a lot and reminding myself that these are the things that will help (with time), but it still just simmers while I do yoga or run hard or ski. It's not dissipating and I think writing here and in my journal actually probably help more than talking about it or working out.
Thanks. I needed online support today from people who understand and don't judge the anger. It's so distracting right now.
downtoearth I get it. I sometimes had to literally seclude myself and write out my anger in that moment, or as soon as possible, so that it wouldn't sit in me and simmer. I'm also someone who used to have a really bad temper, so my anger management strategies are maybe a little different. It's why I'm not scared of anger, I embrace it. Yes, it feels ugly and it makes us judge ourselves. But really it's a cover emotion. It's a part of us screaming "THIS STILL ISN'T OKAY" and then we need to let ourselves acknowledge the depths of "not okay."
I'm always here if you need me. If you have a FB or want to exchange numbers, PM me.
downtoearth, I think tiramisu, gave you good advice. I think you are doing the best you can, and have every right to be angry. I think your kids will grow up and realize that you took the highroad and did what was best for them. Hugs to you and sorry I don't have good advice. I didn't want to just read and run.
You were married for a very long time right? It’s not going to be a hot minute to move on from that. Be kind to yourself. Healing takes time. I would also recommend some kind of activity to get your anger out - do you like to exercise? Running helped me. As bully suggested, boxing or something physical can really help too.
Post by morecowbell on Jan 3, 2020 19:41:17 GMT -5
I have no advice for you, I am so angry all the time too at my alcoholic STBXH. I just want to give you the biggest internet stranger hug. Keep on being the fabulous, loving mother and woman that you are, and trust that soon this pain will lessen. All the best to you.
Post by bullygirl979 on Jan 4, 2020 13:07:10 GMT -5
I get what you are saying about not being present for people but I think people would EXPECT you to be distracted, not present, not feeling your best, whatever. Getting divorced is one of the top 10 most stressful life events. People will understand that you aren’t going to just bounce back right away. Be kind to yourself.
Have you done any counseling with him? Even afterwards to deal with the aftermath and how to co-parent? For me, not having that closure or feeling like my anger has been heard is really, really hard.
I think you do need to be kind to yourself and give yourself time. If you ever want to talk or vent, reach out anytime. I mean it. i can understand, at least a little bit, what you are going through.
Hmmm, your comment has really made me think I have come farther than I thought. This post is selfishly for me, not really a response to you, but a way for me to write/process what your comment brought up.
This anger is my process and I'm okay with it more than I thought. Oh and oddly I was angry from about Dec 26 until Jan 6, but the anniversary of the day I found out about XH's affair came and it was a fantastic day and I lost that anger. It just dissipated as I moved into the day. It was usually only when kids weren't with me for that week around the holidays when I felt so angry and couldn't work it out (physically or emotionally ), not when I was with them.
I'm so glad you commented b/c it did help me realize that getting validation of my feelings from XH is not at all what I want with this anger. The anger is part of this process of transition, but I don't need validation from him. My validation need is more that others can say, "Yeah, it isn't fair," so that is probably why I posted. It even seems like it would be funny to me b/c XH doesn't have the place in my soul or respect from me that could give me validation or closure. I guess I am far more healed that I give myself credit, since I don't care what his response to my anger would be. I still have a slight care if he doesn't ever acknowledge his actions to the kids, but that will probably cease at some point too. They can understand and process his affair and the issues around the divorce that affected them as long as they have the emotional understanding that the affects to them are unique (especially different than to me, XH's partner), and with emotional support from me and other adults.
My therapist and our co-parent therapist has stressed this in the past and I like this new realization that I'm more healed than I thought. I guess I finally get that if you are looking for validation or closure from someone else, it's never going to satisfy you. Darn therapists do know what they're talking about, huh?
Oh and we did co-parenting counseling for 6 months - I wasn't so angry then, but neither was XH. He is also going through some anger stuff this Fall/Winter - well I think so since he has sent me some angry F-U style texts randomly. In co-parenting counseling we didn't air any of our grievances with how things ended or about our relationship since that is for each of us to deal with (and I didn't want him to validate my feelings even then because we all knew I was "right" and my feelings were valid, but that wasn't changing the situation that I was done and he wanted to be with his affair partner despite the therapist trying to get him to hold off on living with her for the kids' sake). Since it wasn't for couples counseling, the focus is very much the kids and how to communicate about them without our own emotional baggage. She did call him out on his inability to communicate effectively on behalf of the kids or to speak openly/honestly/connect with them emotionally, but I didn't comment on that when she did, and just listened when she gave him feedback. Just like when she gave me feedback on how to communicate kids' needs between us more effectively and without my own emotions clouding things. We came out of it fine and I still use communication techniques that she shared, and I would suggest it to anyone in my situation or planning divorce. It was great to be in a room with him figuring out the parenting plan and what is best for the kids with a third party who cares that the kids get emotional support. But the focus is on cordial communications on behalf of the kids without relationship baggage from the adults, and not resolution of issues between the adults.
We are cordial and I think we both don't (intentionally) bad-talk each other in front of the kids, but we are far from perfect and I'm trying to be okay that I don't care what happens on XH's time with the kids. And I'm okay with the fact that XH and I will never be friends again. I still mourn that friend I had in him for 20+ years and that the kids know we aren't friendly, but his friendship is nothing special to me and I don't want it with the current version of him at all. I remember that feeling callous when I first heard that from friends who had divorces (that weren't as volatile) that we wouldn't care about what kids do at the other house or about that other person, but it's actually pretty great. After 6 months, my kids know that anything can be shared, but that I won't comment or be upset if they don't share what they've been up to also.
I am still upset that my (and my kids') worldview is skewed by a selfish XH/father, and will still wish karma on him (or that he actually get therapy) forever. And I can still be cordial while acknowledging that I don't respect him and that parenting with him sucks a lot of the time. But I am truly happy that he's no longer my person, and am glad that he no longer deserves to even know I'm angry. That is better revenge than rage or karma, huh?
So I’m dealing with a similar situation, though not the same. Something my therapist said really struck me- your body and brain protect you from the anger until you can handle it. I had so much urgent stuff to handle right after my STBXH’s lies were revealed and had to get through that before I was able to feel all the big emotions that are completely normal and justified.
Your feelings are justified. Your world view has been completely shaken. Now that the big logistical stuff (custody, divorce etc) is settled, you have to tackle the emotional stuff. You’re allowed to mourn what your life might of been.
Post by downtoearth on Jan 9, 2020 15:08:03 GMT -5
Since I bumped this anyway.... I really do love all this support and here's a follow-up to the anniversary of when I discovered the affair. I think my body was remembering the trauma and anticipating it could happen again for some reason... that was probably why so much anger at that point.
So here is a follow-up to pre-discovery-day anniversary anger post:
It was uneventful in many ways. I loved that. I was so anxious, but ended up having a fantastic day.
I worked some, but was distracted. Then I came home early to be with the kids. I brought the kids special cookies for after school, but didn't tell them why. I had a great talk with my oldest kiddo (see next paragraph). I played a game with my kids and my parents (their grandparents). Went to workout class with friends. Had beers/wine with two of my closest friends, who were rocks from the past year. Talked to both my sisters briefly, and thanked them for their support. Burned the saved copy of our wedding ceremony, wedding vows, and couple wedding pictures in the fireplace - with only happiness to see it gone. Started an illustrated book about dragons with my two youngest, and had a stay-in date night with my new person. What a great day and so different than a year ago when I kicked XH out in the middle of the night and then purged my bedroom of all of him and his disgusting stuff and the start of not sleeping for days.
The best part of the day was as I was showing my oldest how to make this grilled chicken he likes for lunch, we ended up having some quiet time to talk and I was very proud of my openness and letting him know that it's okay to address the issues of the past year with actual words and so they don't define him and his future relationships. He's a pretty emotionally closed-off 8th grader, and nobody has directly said that his dad's infidelity (with his current girlfriend) were the main cause of the divorce and the crazy last winter for all of us. As we talked about potentially dating and his friends starting to have girlfriends, he sort of alluded to trusting people and not dating until later so he "could trust the person he dated."
I took that as an in to say very matter of factly and without anger or sadness something like this, "Hey DS1, I'm proud that you care about trust, but I also want you to know that the problems that your dad and I had don't have to be repeated in your relationships in the future. I know we haven't said it directly, but your dad and I had communication issues that were not insurmountable in and of themselves. I was sure we could work that out and figure out his concerns and I was ready to hear his concerns with me. I don't know if your dad thought the same because we did have issues with communication. But it was your dad's infidelity with his coworker, now his girlfriend [name], that was the straw that broke the camel's back. That was insurmountable for me. I would not allow your dad to have a girlfriend while we were married and made that decision. I want to say that out loud so you know you can say it too - not now if you don't want, but later as part of your story of growing up and when you start figuring out trust and relationships with dating. It's not a secret - we all know about the infidelity and so you can talk about it if you need to and everyone knows who matters - grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, obviously your dad and [girlfriend], and lots of friends. If it remains a secret and you don't feel like you can talk about it, then it has power and can make you question if you really know for sure. I don't want you to question what you already know or think you understand because I'm pretty sure you are smart and have already figured it out, but felt like you had to keep quiet about it, right?"
He wasn't upset or sad, but he did say, "Oh, I basically I knew that, but didn't know if I was supposed to know. I guess it's good that I can use that word now. "
I replied, "It's good to know. It's part of our family's story and something we all can work on. Obviously your younger brothers don't know or understand as much, but they will as they grow, and you can talk to them also. I would love for you to be able to confront your concerns and feelings when you are ready and if you need to - about our divorce or relationship or any relationships your parents have in the future. The best thing to come out of this would be if you are able to recognize when our divorce or your mom and dad's relationships affects you or your life, and give it words and emotions. Any words and emotions you feel in that moment."
He just said, "Thanks mom, I didn't know if anyone was going to tell me for sure."
Then we went on to talk about his friends' recent dates and how he doesn't see himself dating until next year in high school and why brine for chicken breasts makes chicken go from blah to amazing. It was very connecting and I felt very honest, but it was age appropriate. I felt such a relief that I could reach out to my kiddo in that moment from a point where I didn't feel at a loss for words or overwhelming sadness or anger. That was the best part about the day and probably a big reason why my anger is mostly gone again (for now).
See, I can do better with my kids emotions than I can do with my own.
Post by morecowbell on Jan 9, 2020 22:23:54 GMT -5
You are so strong and are setting an excellent example for your kids. I hope someday to be able to have such an honest yet appropriate conversation with my son. Thanks for sharing so that we can learn from your growth and healing!