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Hey Y'all, Hey!
Here is your trigger warning. This post is going to be a little heavy but it is something that I feel I should cover early in this journey.
Have you ever had a moment of impact in your life? You know the moments I am talking about. The moments that completely change your destiny. The ones that turn your life upside down. Some of those moments are what your dreams are made of and others seem to be hand-delivered straight from hell. Whether those moments are good or bad, they stand out to you because they are the moments that shape and define you.
At the beginning of one of my favorite movies (The Vow with Channing Tatum), a moment of impact is described as follows:
“A moment of impact. A moment of impact whose potential for change has ripple effects far beyond what we can predict. Sending some particles crashing together, making them closer than before. While sending others, spinning off into great ventures, landing where you never thought you’d find them. You see, that’s the thing about moments like these, you can’t, no matter how hard you try, control how they’re going to affect you. You’ve just got to let the colliding particles land where they may, and wait, until the next collision.”
***If you have never seen the movie, I highly recommend you watch it. One because it's a great movie and two because Channing Tatum is what every girl's dreams are made of (or so I've heard 😜).***
Some of the hardest moments in our lives provide us with the opportunity to learn, grow and become better people. Even though they can be painful, they usually carry irreplaceable lessons. I have a lot of those moments in my life.
2 years ago, I had a moment of impact that landed me somewhere that I could have never imagined. It changed how I live. It changed the way I deal with betrayal, hurt, and hate. It changed my perspective on forgiveness. It showed me love and compassion in a new light. It changed how I navigate life. It changed ALL off me. It was a complete shift in my universe. It was a moment that I originally thought was forged in Hell and hand-delivered to destroy me but it didn't.
My husband cheated on me :::GASP::: There it is in writing! A little over 2 years ago it happened. It was downright awful. 13 years together, 2 kids, a business, and a beautiful home and I watched everything that I thought I knew crash and burn in front of me. It was like I was standing on the outside of my body watching my life unfold in torturous slow motion. Everything that I considered real in my life was gone. I was angry, hurt, and lost.
I knew it was one of those life-altering moments, but never would I have predicted the rippling effects it would have. I didn't know that It would eventually bring me to my journey of self-love, fulfillment, and living a genuinely happy life. I didn't know that it would bring healing to unresolved traumas. I didn't know that It would yank me out of autopilot and show me how enjoyable life can be.
Let me clarify, Am I glad it happened? Hell no. Do I wish we could go back in time and change it? Of course. I was traumatized when I walked in on him cheating on me. In fact, for the 20 months following, I felt like it was the end of everything that mattered to me in life. The tears, the arguing, the feeling of loneliness, the self-doubt, the need to get revenge, the would have, could have, should have, and the subsequent long hours and days of sitting with a counselor in what I referred to as the "war room" were brutal. Though it has been 2 years, there are still moments that take me back to that day when my world stopped spinning. There are moments that I go back to that broken spot in my life. I know I still have more healing to do but I get a little better every day.
While my husband's affairs were temporarily devastating to me, it ended up becoming one of the most insightful journeys I've ever had for the following reasons:
It provided me an opportunity to deal with some unresolved childhood traumas...
Not long after my husband's affairs, he convinced me to go to marriage counseling. I found myself in the offices of some pretty great therapists. It was there that I learned that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Amnesia. What I didn't realize is that trauma hides things out of site. Your brain blocks out certain information associated with stressful or traumatic events and separates you from your memories. This is not like misplacing your keys or forgetting where you left your phone. This is like missing segments of your life. The problem with my case of Dissociative Amnesia is that I didn't remember the details of the events but I remembered how they made me feel, so it was hard to heal from them. Even though I had neatly tucked them away in the back of my brain, it turns out they had a tendency of seeping out every time I got emotional, in return affecting any relationship that I ever tried to have in life.
Everything that comes into your life needs to be given meaning so that you can transform it into something that brings value to your life. Until you have truly dealt with your unresolved emotions and trauma you can not move forward.
It forced me to examine myself, our relationship, and the role that I played...
Although I knew I was not responsible for my husband's actions or choices, I knew there were some things that I could have done differently in our relationship. Would it have changed how things happened? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it didn't change that I definitely had room for improvement.
I had to realize that my past was bleeding out into my present and it impacted the way that I interacted with my husband.
There was no way around it. I needed to get my shit together. I had a lot of mental and physical shit that had me living life like a human traffic accident. This required being honest with myself and let me tell you there is nothing easy about that type of realization.
It taught me the secret of self-respect and how I was teaching my husband how to treat me.
If you don't value yourself or your time, NO ONE ELSE WILL. I had such a bad habit of saying "yes" to things when internally I was screaming "No." This was with my husband, our friends, and family. I was making myself overly accessible and not putting boundaries in place. Instead of setting clear boundaries and following them through, I would hint to my expectations and then become a raging hot mess when I felt that my boundaries had been crossed.
While I knew it was unacceptable, I felt vindictive. Truly I was just angry with myself for not standing up for ME. I had a tendency to place the blame on the other party for treating me wrongly. Though they did treat me wrongly, the reality is, I didn't stand up for myself. An individual with strong self-worth would have recognized these behaviors as inappropriate and respectfully set boundaries.
You don't have to be vindictive in order to be assertive. When you value your self-worth and uphold your boundaries, it is a reminder to others.
I had to learn to recognize these behaviors and respond appropriately. I had to learn to draw lines in the sand and follow through when they were crossed. When I started doing this, I started developing healthy relationships with both myself and others.
In the past 2 years of my life, I have experienced more healing and growth than I have in my whole 32 years. The past 2 years have put me on a path that I would not have traveled without the affairs. The work that I have done has improved my marriage, my relationship with my children, and my relationship with my friends.
While I am glad that my husband and I were able to work through things, I did not do all of this work for us or him. I did this work for my own personal growth and journey. I had to learn to love and respect myself before I could expect it from anyone else.
If you find yourself on autopilot in life and you are just going through the motions angry and hurt, then this message is for you!
GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER! Regardless if it is mental or physical shit, it is going to require you being honest with yourself. At some point, you have to stop acting like a human traffic accident and realize you have the power to change the outcome. There is nothing easy about that type of realization.
If you have lived through childhood trauma or an affair, you know the destruction it can cause. YOU have to decide to stop letting it control your life. Take the power back and use it as an opportunity to create the person you were meant to become.
Until next time,