Tag: Acceptance

Coping Mechanisms: Little boxes, Little boxes, Little boxes made of ticky tacky

The title to this post belongs to Malvina Reynolds who composed this song about social housing, but it is so apt for my post! 

broken open box

I thought that given that I have now shared with you how three months on from starting my Mad Journal journal I had decided view to it as tool I could use for ‘A New Beginning’, that I would tell you about the discussion I had with my then teenage son; and how from it I learnt about one of the main things  that I would need to use to get us to where we are today: Acceptance. 

One day when Rich was at work Tom found me crying; he was still so worried about me, and in exaspiration he asked me why I just couldn’t let it go and be happy that Rich was back.

I told him that I just could not just move on from what Rich had done; how all my life I had always had the coping mechanism of visualising a box and putting whatever was bothering me into that box, putting the lid on it and filing it away.  But this time it was not working; I had even tried to put the fucking thing in a lead lined box and weld the lid on and still it came back out and bit me on the arse every day! I just could not stand the thought of having this thing in my mind  for the rest of my life. The things in that box broke my heart every time I thought of them: Rich laughing at me with her; Rich kissing her at Tankerton; Rich setting up house with her; the dressing gowns hung his and her style on the back of the door; how long it had been going on and on and on and on… https://makingthisbetter.com/2018/10/20/may-the-detritus-of-betrayal-fighting-for-my-dignity-in-so-many-ways/

Tom looked at me incredulously and said ‘well that’s not going to work mum, you have to face it and deal with it! How stupid that you thought you could put it in a box; that is not dealing with it!’ He was right! But I was lost! I didn’t know what else I could do to help myself because this had always been my coping mechanism and I couldn’t think of another one. I could not bear the thoughts and images in my head; and more than that I could not bear the thought of what Rich had done to me. 

So I went to my ‘thinking’ place, the Downs, and sat looking out at the expanse of sea and sky and I just let all  of the contents of that box wash over me. Rich had laughed at me, Rich had set up with someone else, Rich had sex with someone else, Rich had lied to me, everything… I cried and cried, but eventually I said to myself ‘This is where you are Moisy, like it or not! You have to get up and get on with it. Stay or go, just make sure you are sure before you make that decision. Don’t be afraid of which one you make.”

I had to accept that it was what it was; that to stay was going to be really painful and that we may not survive in the end. Accept that I was on my own. Accept that although Rich was with me I could not look to him to give me emotional support, not after all he had done. What we had was gone, what I was left with now I didn’t know if I wanted it; and for my own sanity I had to look after me and make decisions based solely on how I felt. 

I had to accept the fact that these fucking things in my head were in my head, they controlled it right now; and by accepting that I actually took some of their power away; because part of their power was the element of surprise – just when you thought you were okay there they were again! 

So I learned over time to say out loud ‘Oh! There you are!’ or ‘ I wondered when you were going to rear your ugly head!’ Another saying was ‘I knew that was coming!’ Or ‘Tell me something I don’t know!’ It worked, accepting it worked; it took a long time but it got easier every day. 

In addition to this, were the small things that Rich did during this time, Lots of small things: showed me affection, cried, showed gratitude, reflected; and over time, as you will see, this started to make new pictures in my mind. More importantly when I thought about giving up, when the thoughts overwhelmed me the small things made me realise that the man I would be leaving would be the man stood in front of me;  not the man who left me he was just a memory. I still see that today: The man Rich is today, he is not the man who left me. 

It is small things, like pieces of a jigsaw they all fit together to make a bigger thing to make something new; but the timeframe is a long one, and you have to be in it for the long haul if you want to stay; and you you have to accept that ultimately you may walk away. 

So the things in your mind: accept them, embrace them, tell them that  your not afraid of them, take their power away. 

Moisy 

 

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Journal entry: A new beginning

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29th July 2007 

The Future

 

After what I have written on the previous page, I feel that I need to close that chapter. Start a new chapter, for a new beginning.

 

“The future – a New Beginning!

 

Reflections 2018

After my journal entry on the 29th of July 2007  I went back later in the day and decided to mark ‘the end’ of talking about what had happened. I hoped that i would be able to concentrate on the future. So on a new page I wrote the above. Marked it as a new section of my journal.

It was another coping mechanism! I thought that if I did it then it would happen! I was wrong! Three months is no time at all when you are dealing with grief, and you will see from future entries that I still struggled for a long time because I still had so much that I had to accept.

At the three month stage I had accepted that what we had was dead and gone and was not coming back. What I hadn’t realised was that although I knew and understood that I still needed to grieve for it; and I hadn’t realised that there was still going to be so much more to accept. But what I had realised was we were going to have to make something new and so I symbolically made a new section in my journal to show a commitment to it.

As William Blake said “Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better, especially when it comes to saving life, or some pain!”. So although i can look back and know that I still had a lot of pain to go through at the time my brain did what it had to because it gave me hope to save me some pain!

I lived in hope, and at this stage that is one of the main things that you need to hold onto if you want to survive. Hope.

Moisy

 

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I don’t think I can do this

Coping mechanism – make new memories

 

Image result for poignancy at Christmas

I know that a lot of people who read this blog are dreading The Holidays, or as we call them in England festivities. Most of them are looking back at the Thanksgivings, and Christmas’s before the shit hit the fan nostagically, remembering how wonderful they were, and thinking how they will never get them back; they may well be feeling as if they were a lie, all just a load of crap; they are probably feeling both! But more importantly some are actually afraid of them and the memories (triggers) that they will bring.

I think one of the things that compounds the feeling of dread is that expectations rise; we are constantly told  that everyone should be bappy during The Holidays. Media and adveritsing ram down our throats that everyone is happy and you should be too and if your not you’ve failed.

What a load of bollocks!! Sorry it is the only way to say it!

So we come to dread them; tell ourselves the stories of how the Thanksgiving’s before were always so happy. How the Christmas Holidays were full of fun and laughter; and the demon in our head tells us that we will never be that happy again.

He’s lying I know!  You can be if you want to, with our without your partner you can make something new, make new memories, something honest to look back on.

Christmas was always such a happy time in our house, we had the additional celebration of it being Tom’s birthday on Christmas Eve (I know! Don’t ever have unprotected sex in March, that’s what I learnt) and it was always a double celebration. The year that ‘The War’ broke out in our lives was the year that Tom was going to turn eighteen – which is a big deal in England.

In my normal indominatable way I was not going to let what had happened ruin what had always been a wonderful time of year for us; and I was especially not going to let it ruin Tom’s birthday.

So for our first Christmas I made new memories – we made new memories. We changed things we used to do – like going to the pub on Christmas Eve in the afternoon – and we went to the pub on Christmas day for a lunchtime drink before dinner.

We started a tradition of visiting a small quaint pub in the medieval city of Canterbury for lunch when we did our Christmas shopping – a pub that had not been tainted in any way by ‘The War’. In fact we continued that tradtion right up to the last Christmas before we left England for our adventure in France.

We started a tradition of playing Monopoly on Boxing day, we kept presents back to open after dinner, and I bought a Christmas tree to put up on the balcony of our home to show people that we were still together, and that I didn’t give a fuck what they thought! It  gave the illusion that we were deliriously happy; and whilst we were in a better place (God knows it couldn’t have been any worse!) I can assure you that there was still a lot of shit to go through!

All of these things seem like really small things (always remember small steps)  but they then enabled us to follow those traditions the year after, and the years after that, new traditions, new memories that helped us to not look back with poignancy at the one’s we used to have.

So if your fighting to survive this is my advice:

Stop looking back, I know it’s hard but at this time of year just keep saying to yourself ‘it’s all about the here and now. If I get through this one the next one will be easier.’ And it will!

Make new memories, small things, perhaps new baubles for the tree, a different tradition for the day, a photograph to look back on when times are hard, this is one of the main ways that you will be able to face the future events without fear.

But most importantly if you want to survive you have to try, you have to make an effort if not for your relationship for yourself.

Remember you are grieving, rightfully so, for what has been lost, and all that entails including any holidays,birthdays, Easter, anniversaries, none of them seem real now, none of them seem honest when your world has been blown apart by an affair. The first year is the hardest because you have to face every one of them – with another lovely little anniversary known as Dday thrown in!

I can remember every one of them frightening me; so I  held on to a peice of advice I was given when my darling mum died: ‘Get through the first year and the others will get easier because you have done it once already.’ But you have to let it get easier, you have to let go.  It was good advice and I used it when my world was blown apart by betrayal.

Oh and Tom’s birthday – we threw him a great big party in our house, and Rich cried, because he never thought he would be there!

I will be sharing my journal entry from the first Christmas we were back together – ironically I did not write in it over Christmas but the entry is just before so look out for it.

As always I hope this helps. Stay strong, and remember – always have yourself because without yourself you have nothing.

Moisy

 

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Two Journal entries because this is a big one – What is normal?

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Normal:

Something that conforms to a standard, type or regular pattern.

Something that we have come to expect.

Ordinary or usual

Journal entry – Wednesday 11th July 2007 

Why won’t this sadness go away? Or am I asking too much?

It is still a bereavement, at times I feel am still in shock at what has happened. – Because I was so sure of our love and commitment for each other, that nothing would ever tear something so good apart; that it was the most rock solid thing that I was ever going to have, and it wasn’t!

All Rich says is that he does love me as much as I thought he did, because he came back. I suppose from that he means that he couldn’t keep away. I understand that part; but why did he do it? I still, at times, (not all the time, not like before), feel an immense sadness about it all; and it does drive a wedge between us, but I am so hoping that will get less.

Rich did try so hard yesterday. Cleaned inside my car with lovely smelling cleaners, cuddled and kissed me; but as he said last night, when we talked, it just never seems to be enough.

I understand as I am writing this what he means, and I don’t know if it will ever be enough.

I want it to be.

As I have said before, I cannot throw away the love that I know we do have. But perhaps I continually ask him to be over the top with his affection because I know that will make me stay. And I am afraid of myself, afraid that eventually I won’t be able to. Perhaps I do still want that ‘special love’. Perhaps, if we can get through this, that is what Rich and I will achieve. But at the moment the wound is still so raw, I cannot see that happening. And perhaps it is ‘the test of time’ to see if we can / If I can stick it out.

I will try. Only time will tell.

I will give it time.

Mois

Thursday 12th July

I cried at work yesterday, but I do think some of it was my hormones. Rich cried at home.

I think he was walking around the house, doing the housework, bawling his eyes out! What a pair! What does that say? I had rung him and told him I was upset.

When I got home he had done so much, mopped the floor, hoovered through, and cleaned our bedroom. He so wanted to show me what he had done. I know that this is a reflection of his love for me, I don’t doubt Rich’s love for me, especially now, and that it what I must focus on.

I gave him a big kiss, we kissed many times; I know we both feel the same. I played him an R Kelly song which has the lines

 “and you had enough love for both of us,

but I did you wrong, I admit I did,

and now I’m facing the rest of my life alone.

if I could turn back the hands of time……..”

It made him cry, made me cry; and I kissed him and said “We will make it darling, it just takes time.”

He grabbed me and said “We will won’t we?”

“Promise?”

Mois
Reflections 2018

And we did make it!

But I feel so sad when I read some people’s struggle, as I can still relate today on how hard it is, you feel as if it will never go away; it will, but only if you let it.

I hope that I can show you when you read my madness and relate to it that you too  can survive it because we did. We are here today, living another adventure in which we have to trust each other  despite what happened to us.

So I put these two entries together to show you how my days were full of huge ups and even bigger downs. I think that one of the reasons that it was happening to me was because I wanted it to be over; wanted to ‘move on’, get back to ‘normality.’

The thing was, I was not accepting the fact that I did not actually know what normality was anymore. Everything that I thought was normal had in fact been blown apart by ‘The ‘War.’ The ‘Normal’ as I had once known it had gone and it wasn’t coming back.

It was only when I accepted this, we accepted this  (because, importantly,  Rich needed to accept the fact that what we had he had broken; and that no matter what he did he would never be able to fix what we had; he could only work hard and build something new) only then did things start to get easier. But it is a passage of time that you have to go through and come out the other side, you have no choice; it takes time because first you have to realise that you have lost your ‘normal’ and then you have to grieve for it. But don’t grieve forever, to such a degree that you cannot see the new things that you are making, be careful that demon doesn’t suck you in on that front!

People have asked me how long it took to get over it; I don’t think that you ‘get over it’! I think that you get stronger from it, but this will depend on whether you can accept where you are. To survive you have to accept that it happened and that your life changed because of it and then, and only then you can move forward.

I find that people think it just takes a couple of months, or up to a year, but you will see from our story it took over two years before it no longer consumed our lives; and I would honestly say, for me, about five years before I no longer thought about it every day.

I can remember the Counselor saying to me that they set a six month timeframe: that ‘normally’ at six months you should be able to go through a day without thinking about it; and there is that word again! Normally!  I can remember panicking as October came our way, because there was no way that I was going to stop thinking about it every day at that point, when in actual fact that was my normal. I have a strong personality, I had a lot of pride to deal with so there was never any possibility that I was not going to be thinking about what had happened at the six month stage!

So yes ask other people how long it took them, but remember – what is their normal may not be yours, and don’t beat yourself up about it.

I would suggest that you try and keep something that will show you that things are getting better, a journal, a notebook, the reason I suggest writing it  down is because you head cannot then go back and lie to you, as it is in black and white, there on paper – what you felt at that time; and take it from me don’t compare yourself to others and think that you are failing if you  haven’t met their timeframe.

After the five years it just got easier and easier for me and now I can talk about it, laugh about it (yes I laugh about some of it!) and cry about it sometimes, mainly with Rich because he still cries, and I cry for him!

So these two entries are to show you all that the same happened to me, this is how it works, you have a day when you are convinced that the future will be bright, followed by two days of despair. You just have to keep walking forward, small steps, as someone once saidto me all those years ago.

When I read this entry it did bring tears to my eyes for Rich.I found myself feeling so sorry for him, he went through as much hell as I did, if not more, but it took me years to realise that!

Moisy

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Journal Entry : It’s gone.

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Tuesday 7th June 2007

I Felt very positive today, after feeling very sad yesterday.

Rich and I had a big chat yesterday and I decided that Rich was as sad as I was for what we have lost. That he wants back what we have lost. That made me feel better, because I realised that Rich still treasures what we had.

He doesn’t’ believe that I will be able to do this (have him back). But I will try because I do believe that we have too much to throw away.

I told Rich that he had to have the courage of his convictions and fight for me if that is what he really wants. I have to say that saying all of it has helped, and Rich has made every effort.

When you know that someone loves you that much, is that sad for what they have done, what do you do? Throw it away? Look back in a years’ time and regret it?

But every now and again Rich having sex with ‘her’ creeps into my head, and it is like a wave coming over me. 

Things are better, but I wonder if that will ever stop; and will I ever be able to say I am one hundred per cent happy, which I was before?

I am sure that is a question that has been asked over and over again “Why”

Mois

Reflections 2018

This is an important entry for me, because I had started to realise that what we had before was gone; it was ‘lost’ and we were never going to get that back; that I was able to have this conversation with Rich and had  I realised that Rich still loved me and treasured what we had, was something that kept me there. But the enormity of what he could lose was starting to hit home to Rich.

I would continue to struggle with the fact that what we had was gone for a few months to come, and grieve for it for years to come. But Rich fought for what we had in the past  for  years to come; he would virtually drive himself insane trying to go backwards and find what was lost. Of course this was always going to be futile: not only because it was lost, but because I had moved on and therefore I was not in that place in the past anymore.

I have been asked by many people ‘When will we get back what we had before?’ You won’t! What you had has died, and that is why you are grieving. But if you can stop and listen amongst the madness, there may be some small things left from the fire that burned through your relationship, on which to build something new and only if you can understand that it will be new can you move forward into the future.

The other important part of this entry is that I told Rich (again) that he had to have the  ‘courage of his convictions.’ He had bought us to where we were now and he was the one who had to do the work to make it right again, and make me want to stay.

To do that he had to face all of his fears and show me how sorry he was every day; and only then would we have any chance of survival.

The night before I wrote this entry Rich and I had been in the garden, I was watering the few flower pots that I had bothered  to pot up in ‘The War’  and Rich was watching me with tears in his eyes. I remember wondering why? He was the person who had brought us to where we were, he had made all of the mistakes!  I asked him what he was thinking and  he just looked at me and said he was upset because he was so sorry; and that he could not understand why he had done this to me.

This was the start of me realising that Rich did not know his arse from his head any more than I did! I also started to understand and accept that we were both heart broken, albeit coming from different angles.

Rich had said that he doubted that I could ever be really happy with him again and I remember lying to him and saying that at that moment I only felt eighty per cent happy, in comparison to how I had felt before “The War”.  In truth I was only at fifteen per cent happy (mainly because Rich had come home and I had time to get over the shock of the last few months; and that I now had the time to make my decision of whether to stay or leave); but as I stood  looking at this man, who was just lost, I couldn’t hurt him and tell him that,  despite how much he had hurt me.

Over the weeks since Rich had come back he had become clear that he did still  love me; that all of his actions on his initial return had been nothing but bravado, a way of covering up his vulnerability.

But as I had grown stronger  Rich, in some ways, had become weaker: his bravado lost when he realised exactly what was at risk – and at risk it still was, very much so. So he became a person who fluctuated from being so sorry all the time, a man who tried  to show me how much he loved in whatever way he could; to a man who became agitated and defensive as I asked him the same questions over and over again. Only now, eleven years later, can I see that this was because he was afraid.

Sadly at that time no matter what Rich did it was never going to be enough; and I can say now that the fact that he never gave up, just taking every blow, is one of the main reasons that I am able to tell you our story today, sitting here in France, with him.

I knew that the love  we still had was something that I had to believe in,  as that was the one and only foundation brick on which to try and build a NEW relationship. As I said all those years ago:

‘When you know that someone loves you that much, is that sad for what they have done, what do you do? Throw it away?

Look back in a years’ time and regret it?’

Someone asked recently when will they ever be one hundred per cent happy again; and I responded that it is impossible to answer that question other than to say: when you finish grieving for what you have lost and start to build something new, whether it is with that person or without them.

I would urge everyone who is struggling to allow that time for grief, you cannot build on something new until you come to terms with the fact that what you had before has gone.

Just a tip:  remember you have the here and now and try and see the small things that happen in your relationship, you will see as our story progresses I did..

Moisy