Resilience: To have the ability to bounce back from set back’s and failures.
When I started to serialise some of my book I hoped that it would help people; that was my aim. But I thought that I would just share my journal entries and some of my book and that would be enough. I never thought for one moment that I would in fact find a ‘career’ in talking to people and helping people where infidelity is concerned.
Weirdly I did write in my journal all those years ago that if it were ever to ‘go to print’ that I hoped it would help people; but I could not have done it then, I had to be where I am now to be able to do it, and now I know why: Because now I am able to help people using all the things that I have learnt over all of the years, including the ones where the infidelity has faded into the past. (Like the old washstand that you walk past every day but never notice).
So as is my way, in letting life show me the way, as I have been communicating with people who are truly struggling (and we all know that feeling after betrayal.) it got me thinking about resilience.
I have always known (and often been told) that I have a strong personaility, but I think that there is more to it than that. I am a resilient person. I have said all my life that I will not let anything beat me; that I will always get back up and I will always get back up stronger. Perhaps that is why on the day that Danny left I was able to go to the bank and take all of our money and put into a bank account in just my own name. Ethan and I had to survive, so I didn’t leave Danny with anything I took it all. You can read about that here
When I have looked into resilience it appears that natural resilience is rare, and perhaps my life experiences have made me the resilient person that I am. I was born in England in January 1963. it was one of the worst winters ever seen; add to that I was born with thrush in my mouth which meant that I could not suck and had to be spoon fed from birth and perhaps that innate resilience that I have was moulded into me then.
But if there is one thing I do know this episode where infidelity came calling was one of (if not ‘The’) hardest times of my life; and it took every ounce of resilience I had to get me through and out the other side. Bearing that in mind it has made me write this post, because I do believe that I am lucky; and so now I am going to try and help others build their resilience: Because by Christ you are going to need it.
When I looked up resilience I came across an article called 10 ways to build resilience You can read the article here Common studies now believe that everyone can cultivate resilience and they give ten things that you can start to do to help you:
The first one is to make connections. Now a lot of people who interact with me say that they are afraid to tell people what has happened, and some tell no-one. I understand that there are often good reasons for this but that then isolates you even further and will make dealing with infidelity even harder.
As you know I told everyone: the resilient part of me knew that there was a high possibility that people were going to find out anyway (someone was making sure it was all around the town where we lived.) So I told them, I told them so that they could not pity me; I told them so that if they whispered about me I could call them out; I told them because I had nothing to be ashamed of. If you cannot tell people then try and find a few close friends to whom you can turn; and if (as in some cases) they then want to tell you how to live your life then they are not the friends that you thought they were.
My sister Louise was invaluable to me; as were the women I worked with, and my friend Mandy. Try and find someone you can talk to, and if it is not someone close then I urge you to join a positive community on social media who will help. Although I have said to be careful of it, there is the other side where people are positive and happy to help others. Camaraderie in adversity.
This one is close to my heart: avoid seeing things as insurmountable. When my darling mum died I learnt this lesson: Nothing in life is insurmountable, only death. Even sickness allows you some times to be you, some times to laugh, some times to cry; and whilst the illness itself may be insurmountable how you deal with it will make all the difference.
Your partner has left you, slept with someone else, broken your heart, turned your world upside down, but you can still pick yourself back up. You can find yourself ( remember: If you don’t have yourself you have nothing) you can read how I found myself here you can become stronger; you CAN do it; you just have to believe you can. I wrote about this so often in my journal, in fact in the first month I wrote about hope you can read that here
The next step is acceptance. Boy if I had a pound for every time I have written about that. Change is life: The only thing in life that you are guaranteed is that things will change. I watch some people work so hard trying to keep everything the same, because they don’t want anything to change and it changes anyway. So accepting that your life has changed: your marriage/relationship has changed; is gone; is not what you thought it was; that your partner has had sex with someone else; and all the other crap that goes with it is essential for you to build your resilience and survive.
For those of you who are thinking I don’t want to build my resilience then I would ask what are you going to do then? You are where you are. I wrote about this so often in my journal: ‘What is normal’; that what we had was gone. The biggest thing that I had to accept was that the demon would be waiting with me in the car when I got in every evening after work. Once I accepted that I took that bastard’s power away. When I realised it was gone
The advice is also to move forward and make goals. Make small changes for yourself, make small goals for yourself. Find yourself. God knows I did and anyone reading this knows that it was key to our survival. I could no longer be dependent on Danny to define me. I love him so much today but he does not define me. Finding me
When I read this suggestion it made me smile. Take decisive actions. It made me smile because often we don’t take decisive actions because we are afraid. When this happened to me the worst had happened. I realised that I had nothing to lose because I had already lost it. I had to move forward and if that meant that I left Danny behind one day then so be it. I knew that I had no choice. And yet here we are in France together. I had to face that fear One of my journal entries about fear
Find yourself, look for new opportunities for self-discovery . I have learnt all my life that the cliche ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is true. It is a quote attributed to the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Whenever adversity happened to me it hurt me, and then I learned from it. When Danny left me I used the heartbreak I had felt from a previous relationship to get me through those twenty one days when he was gone. I thought back to what I had done, the music I had listened to and how I had survived. It gave me hope that I could do it again. Use your hearbreak, use the anger and the rage you feel to get you through. Think back to other times when you thought you would never recover and you did. You can do this. Don’t be afraid. If your’e on the floor listen to the words of this song. I did, often
All part of finding yourself is to nurture a positive view of yourself. When ‘she’ and Danny gas lighted me they did a good job. I felt unattractive and lost. So I got on the stepper, I went back to work full time, I got my career back on track and then over the years I started to read psychology and philosophy and I truly found myself. All because of the awful thing that happened to me all those years ago.
I can only speak for myself when I say if Danny had continued to make me feel like shit I would not be here. Perhaps my natural resilience enabled me to see that and not to be afraid. I didn’t think I could do this but my resilience told me I could One of the
Many years ago I would go and sit on the downs and look out at the infinity of sea and sky. It grounded me, it made me realise (as I have written) how I was just a dot on the landscape, and that what I felt was so important at that time wasn’t as important as I thought: Life was still going on. The world had not stopped; and like it or not I was going to have to move forward. So when I read that one of the things that people need to do to cultivate resillience is to keep things in persepective I immediately thought of when I used to do this. Of course writing a journal also enabled me to stay as grounded as possible in that madness that I found myself caught up in.
Maintaining a hopeful outlook. Although it doesn’t feel like it, there is always hope; even if it is just to hope that one day the pain will go away. It will, if you let it. Journal Entry July 2008. Do you want to step through that gate?
Now here is a big one, and I note that all through this it just keeps coming back to my age old saying: If you don’t have yourself you have nothing. The advice to build your resilience is to take care of yourself. Exercise, feel good about yourself (the stepper was my saviour). I liked the way I looked, I liked that I was not afraid to be alone; and Iiked that I set my boundaries and I never let them go again. Ever.
So from a naturally resilient person I can tell you that resilience will change your life. But we are back to change again, and it can only happen if you let it. I won’t lie, I had resilience but I was still in immense pain when infidelity hit the fan. I cannot describe that pain adequately enough to do it justice. But I can say: here I am and I hope that by sharing my story I can give you courage and hope to build your resilience and get you through.