In this Journal there are two quotes that I wrote inside the front cover all those years ago:
Be honest with yourself and take responsibility for your actions…
Be tough on yourself and analyse your own involvement in something before you blame others…
Saturday 26th July 2008
After the last sixteen months of my life I no longer feel the need to keep my old journal. But so much has changed for me, and I have changed so much – mainly by going back to the personality that I had before my mum died. I feel the need to analyse myself and I hope that by writing this journal I will be able to understand who I am and why I have some of the thoughts that I have.
Also, I have a very dynamic personality and I have learnt that this can intimidate some people (their problem, not mine!) But I am also aware that I need to slow down for some of the people I love; for the people who try to undermine me, criticise me or humiliate me I don’t! But I am hoping that by writing this journal I will be able to deal with those negative people assertively, not aggressively, whilst not allowing myself to be brow beaten by them in a manipulative way.
Too many people have done that to me in my life and I have let them; not anymore!
What I have come to understand, more than ever before over the last year is that I can always stand on my own two feet. – I am very lucky that I have the ability to up my game (to go from a part time job paying me a low wage to a full time job paying me over double what I had been earning, with the possibility of further promotions.) I am proud of myself and I will not let anyone make me feel as if I shouldn’t be. I only want me to be in control of ‘me’ now.
With regard to Rich and I: I think that people have had enough of listening about it now; and as I am writing this I am asking myself if I need them to! Isn’t it something that I need to sort through in my own head? If I really needed to run something past someone then I can. But if I am being honest I don’t really know what it is I am trying to say. That is why I am writing this journal, to find myself again.
For the last ten years I was not myself until last year; I did not realise how much I had not got over my mum dying. That I had become only three quarters of myself. But because of everything: Being a single parent of a young child, mum and dad dying, becoming ill I think I was just worn out. I needed to re-charge my batteries and wanted someone who would take care of me. I met Rich who was gentle, kind and needed someone in his life, and I thought that he could provide all of that. I ignored all of the warning signs, put everything into Rich and never fully recovered that quarter that I was missing .
I look back now at how angry I used to become (because somewhere my mind was screaming at me and asking me what I was doing.) I wasn’t truly happy. I look at the times I spent with Rich’s family, and realise that although I was made ‘welcome’ I never really felt as if I was part of it; never really felt as if I belonged there; because really I didn’t. Perhaps they could see that more than I could!
But as I am writing this I know that my feelings for Rich are more complex and I have realised in just these few short pages that I am writing this to find out what they really are.
All of this is relevant; because the fallout from what happens during and after an affair impacts on everyone; and in our case this included Rich’s family (as it does with so many stories). I have to say that my mother in law has faced every one of her fears and worked so hard to become close to me again. I have the utmost respect for her for that. In fact it was only in the past two years that we had a conversation about what had happened and understood how the other had felt at that time. She had got caught up in something that was nothing to do with her, then others had put their wooden spoon in to stir the pot and hey presto! It just contributed to the hell that had broken out.
At the time that I wrote this entry some people still listened to me talk about us, mainly my sister and very close friends; but others felt that we should have just ‘moved on’ with our lives. It never ceases to surprise me that people fail to see the utmost significance of a broken heart, of broken lives. Perhaps they feel too uncomfortable to see the debris that is still lying about, over a year later, because it reminds them that it could happen to them one day.
It is interesting here that I have commented how I had never ‘got over my mum dying’. You never ‘get over’ someone dying you just have to come to terms with it and live your life in a different way than you did before; because your life is different, it will never be the same again. Sound familiar? It is exactly the same as what happens when infidelity hits the fan!
If you try to rebuild your relationship then I do believe that you have to come to terms with the fact that it has happened, that you will never ‘get over it’ because, like it or not, it will be a contributory factor that contributes to the definition of the person that you are now, and in the future.
If you asked Rich, he would say the same to you, but it took him a while longer to come to realise it; and despite knowing that what happened to us did make us stronger, what he still struggles with is the pain he put me through. The fact that he had run away again and not learnt from his mistakes – I find this really sad sometimes because I do not know anyone who has not learnt more from their mistakes than Rich.
I was right I didn’t know what I was trying to say, or even where I was going. When I started this journal I thought that all of the aftermath of ‘The War’ was behind us. Of course it wasn’t! We still had a long way to go: I was on a path of discovery: finding ‘me’ again. The first piece of advice I always give to people when they find themselves in the situation I was in all those years ago, is that you have to find yourself because if you don’t have yourself you have nothing.(This is in fact one of my mantras of life!)
More often than not when something like infidelity has occurred the people involved are lost: What they thought they had has been broken (whether by them of by the other person); what they had worked hard to build is no more; we all question whether it was ever what we thought we had in the first place. As part of building the relationship we give ourselves to it, and then when it is then destroyed where are we? Who are we? We have to find ourselves all over again and in doing that we will change; life will have changed us, what has happened will have changed us.
I knew when this happened to me that if I truly found myself and held on to myself (which I did) it carried a high risk that I would not stay; that I would become so strong that Rich would not mean anything in my life, and I would not want to stay and carry the burden of what had happened anymore; and that really terrified me. I know when I say it to others now it terrifies them, and some turn away from the idea and try to turn back to what they had, recover what they had; which, of course, they can never do.
Reflecting on our lives was essential to enable us to get to where we are today. I can only say that if you are not able to reflect, which means being honest with yourself at times, and telling yourself things that you do not want to hear, then I am not sure that the same old problems won’t resurface again. When something like this happens, you are on a new shore and you need to know what parts of your old life to leave behind and what parts to take with you.
In this entry I have said how I understood that I was the type of person that is capable of seeing things so quickly: understanding things and quickly taking them forward, sometimes at a hundred miles an hour. When Rich and I first got back together my sister said to me that I needed to understand this about myself; because most people were not able to pick things up as quickly as me. She used the analogy of a speedboat, I was the speedboat: I got it and I was off, leaving people bobbing behind me in my wake. I understood what she was saying, and Rich and I still use this analogy today; if I am going too fast Rich will say “Whoa I am on one ski!” Or “Help I am bobbing about in the water!”
We laugh at it now, but it does make me slow down.
So here we are going forward with the next chapter in our story, and I suppose the main thing I am saying here is that if you really want to survive and be stronger then you have to look at yourself; and look at yourself honestly. That upsets people I know but I am sharing what Iearnt honestly; I don’t do vitriol and I don’t do blame; not at this stage.