I interact with lots of people now, where infidelity is concerned. I never thought that my life would take this turn: in that I can use what happened to me to hopefully help other people in whatever path they take. Neither did I think that I would meet so many people who are inspiring and kind, and so understanding of each other. A balance to the ‘haters’ out there.
As part of my interaction I read so many stories and my heart breaks for each and every person involved. Yes, I would be lying if I did not admit that there are some that I want to scream at and tell them to stand up, fight back, find yourself (although I do say that often) and leave. There are others where I want to shake them up because I can see that they are so caught up in the quagmire of despair and bitterness that they cannot see any good thing in front of them; and yet they also stay and remain stuck in their pain; it is sometimes as if they are afraid to let it go.
But I have learnt that it is not our place to tell people what to do with their lives All we can do is share our stories and hope that some of what we share will resonate with them and give them courage to do what needs to be done: whether that is to stay or go. I always think of something that Jack from the wonderful blog ‘I am Jack’s broken heart’ said: ‘that there are so many nuances to any relationship’ and that is true; none of us know the whole story, and none of us live those people’s lives; so we cannot ‘tell’ them what to do, we can only share our insights and knowing.
Before I embarked on this post I thought long and hard about using the word power, because it seems to me to be a word that implies that you have strength that you can use against someone, as if it is something that can be held over people. But when I researched the meaning of the word it means ‘to have the ability’ and to be ‘able to influence actions by your actions or words’. So where infidelity and betrayal are concerned I do believe it is the right word to use and here is why:
In my book Making This Better I say:
‘It seems to be one of the ironies in these types of situations: that often the person who has had their heart broken ends up being the person who pulls it all back together.’
I know that I felt that, often in my journal I would write that it was up to me to keep us together, that I ‘had the strength.’ My words in my journal kept me going so often; my actions when I comforted Danny enabled Danny to have the courage to tell me things that he was afraid to tell me; to have the courage to keep trying when he had really royally ‘messed up!’ You see I had the ‘ability’ and I knew the actions that I had to take. I had ‘the power.’
But I know that some will read this and wonder why they should use their power to ‘pull it all back together?’ I suppose the only simple answer I can give to that is ‘because you can.’ Because it’s your life; where do you want it to go? In fact I would ask anyone who has that thought a rhetorical question: Why are you there? And what do you want? Because I believe that only by answering those questions honestly to yourself can you use the power you have to make the decisions that you will have to make.
Throughout this blog and my book I always say that if you don’t have yourself you have nothing. But having yourself means using ‘the power’ that you have to move your life forwards: whether it is where the reconciliation is concerned or whether it is to walk away. I decided to stay, but at times I could have easily decided to leave.
Where our reconciliation was concerned I had the power in my hands as to whether we survived or not. Yes Danny could have walked away as well, but that would have only happened in our case if I had not been able to cope with the the turmoil that he had placed in my head. Although he had the responsibility for it being there, he could not control it once it was there; only I could do that. So I had ‘the power’; it lay with me: get my head together and stay, make my decisions with regard to what I wanted, and work with them. I set my boundaries I knew that the ulitmate decision lay with me because I had found myself I was not afraid anymore because the worst had already happened and I had survived; and I knew I could survive again because I was never going let myself go, and therefore it would not be as painful.
I read so often that people want the person who has placed the turmoil in their head to take it out. They wait for them to take it out, they feel that it is that person’s responsibility because they put it there; and in the process they drive themselves insane, because what they are waiting for is impossible. Even if the person who betrayed is contrite and doing all that they can to make amends, they do not have ‘the power’ to resolve the thoughts in their partners heads, ultimately only we can do that.
People ask me often how they can find themselves, in fact there are many articles on how to do that, but they will all involve facing our fears and spending time alone. I know from interactions that people are afraid of this, especially if they have come from a relationship where they spent all of their time with their partner before infidelity came into their lives. I understand that, but when ‘The War’ broke out in my life I found myself lost, because I had lost myself along the way; and I knew that only I had ‘the power’ to find myself again and not allow myself to just be swallowed up in the Rosie and Danny relationship again. I can tell you that I was afraid of finding myself (again I have written about it often in this blog and the book) because I knew that the more I found myself the less I was likely to stay with the Danny who had returned: as time wore on I knew that I would have ‘the power’ to walk away.
It was because Danny was contrite that I was able to stay, because he evolved over time into a person that the ‘new’ and stonger me wanted to stay with. But I was also afraid of getting caught back up in the Rosie and Danny relationship, because I knew that I would be vulnerable again if I did. Clearly I am back in the ‘Rosie and Danny’ relationship now, but this time I still have myself besides, I have the ability to do that.
There are people whose partners have betrayed them again and again. Whose hearts are broken over and over, but they do have the power to decide what they want and to set their boundaries and to not be afraid. We all have it. But ultimately it is believing that we do. Recently I explained to someone that because my boundaries had been set, if Danny had stepped over them then I would have opted out. That when infidelity happens we not only lose the life we had but we lose confidence in ourselves, we second judge our decisions and I asked some rhetorical questions:
Are you happy where you are?
If not why not?
Is believing in yourself important to you?
I explained that in the situation they had described I would have kept calm but I would have confronted Danny with the information I had; and I would have stood my ground if he tried to turn it around on to me. In fact there was one time when Danny told me that he thought I had only had him back because I wanted to keep the house. I was so angry when he said that, but I kept calm and turned it back around on him: that he had only come back because he was about to lose everything. I was not prepared to be emotionally blackmailed ever again; and I have never have been since. If my boundaries were overstepped I withdrew, I centred myself in finding myself. I used my ‘power’ to strengthen myself. Yes I was afraid we may not survive, but I used my power to face my fears and take that chance. I had NOTHING to lose.
I finished my advice with: ‘I do believe that often when people are confronted with losing everything then they start to behave appropriately. I know it is hard, trust me I know, but don’t let fear take over; and then I shared something from a post:
‘I faced the fear of Danny lying to me again by knowing that if he did I would walk away. For me I was worth more than than that, I had found myself and was never letting her go again. It was up to Danny to make the decision re any more lies, he was safe in the knowledge that I would leave. At that point it enabled me to put the fear of him lying behind me: it was his problem not mine’
You see: I had ‘The Power’. So do you.
Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect
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