Tag: Facing fears

Labels! Cheater: Tell me the point.

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CHEATER!! I detest the word!

There I have put it out there! I really try to use any other word than this one when writing about what happened to us. Our story is meant to be a story of  hope for those who both, and I emphasise BOTH want to stay together and work, and I emphasise WORK, together to get through the shit that infidelity has brought into their  lives and come through it all stronger.

But … our story is also a story for those who find themselves broken, whether it was because they betrayed, or whether they have been betrayed; those  who are not staying together; or who have already broken up; or those where one is working so damn hard and the other isn’t; I hope (see that word again) that our story will help those people understand why they are where they are; hope that they can relate to our story, mine, and Rich’s; and understand that we both have a story to tell; and that whilst it is the same story it is coming from a different perspective – or it was for a very long time!

I hope that these people can use what we went through to see that they are not alone, some may see that they are worth more than what they have, it may give some people direction for what they want and where they want to go; and it may help those desparately trying to make amends have the courage to face their fears.

So that is what has made me write this post? Only recently someone who had an affair,  lost their partner as a result of it and  is heartbroken as a result of the mistake they made, asked why people label people ‘cheaters.’ They asked why irrespective of the  work they have done to understand their actions, irrespective of how they have changed as a result of the terrible mistake they made, they were, in the eyes of some ‘A Cheater!’ And it made me want to write this post.

Here are some definitions of cheat and cheater:

To cheat: Act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage

A cheater: A person who behaves dishonestly in order to gain an advantage.

A person who behaves in a dishonest way

Someone who does not follow the rules

These are just some of the various definitions from traditional dictionaries. However the word has now become urbanised and the common definition from the urban dictionaries is: someone who cheats on the person that they are in a relationship with. In fact if you ask the internet it will also give you a whole load of negative responses to the definition.

I would ask: Is this where you want to be if you are more than six months in and still referring to your partner as a cheat? I know I would have thought hard by now about whether I was doing the right thing! Or in my case I never called Rich a cheater.

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Now I am looking at this from an ‘eleven years on’ perspective; I have had a lot of time to think, and a lot of time for the emotion to die down; so I understand why at the beginning you may label your partner, or ex partner; I understand how you want to hurt them badly, God knows I did for a long time – not least the black eyes I gave Rich. How can you say you don’t know?!!!!

As part of what we went through we have both had to look at ourselves as well as each other, and it took a long long time. But if I had labelled Rich a ‘Cheater’ throughout that time do you think we would be where we are today? Because I know I don’t!

As part of my journey I started to read a lot of Psychology books: ‘Counselling for Toads’ , ‘The Road Less Travelled,’ ‘(and Beyond)’ and I read the Tao Te Ching. One of the first lessons that is offered to you from that is to stop labelling things.

Once the whole is divided, the parts need names.
There are already enough names;
know when to stop
So what do we do? What do you want to do? I am writing this post for all those out there who are so angry, who may have got caught up in the negativity – shit there is enough of it out there you don’t have to look for it! Got caught up in a sisterhood of all blokes are bastards, or a brotherhood of all women are bitches,  and I am aiming this post specifically at those who are trying to make it work: Do you think labelling people cheaters is going to help you, or do you think that it is negative?
If you look at any psychology it will tell you that to label people is so negative. All you see is the label and not the person. Let’s look at Rich:
  • He was sorry – He couldn’t have been more sorry if he had beat himself with a birch stick!
  • He took responsibility for what he had done
  • He was, and still is full of remorse
  • He has reflected on his past and changed – not because I asked him to but because he wanted to; and he knew that he had to if he wanted to stay with me, because I would have left him behind.
  • He listened
  • He cried
  • He came to counselling

And so much more. So is he still a cheater, eleven years on? Let us not forget the crappy, bitter, stupid fucking saying ‘Once a cheater always a cheater!’

I will be honest if Rich had done it again I would be gone. There would be no discussion, there would be no chance of reconciliation and I would not care what the reasons were; if he did it again I would be out. This is because I have a really strong personaility and it nearly killed me to stay this time; also I have a life and I would not be prepared to continue to live it in fear with a lack of trust. I could not see how someone would go through all the pain that we have, and then do it again, and I would not want to be with that someone. But that’s me!

But Rich, as a lot of people are, was sorry. he was human, he made a mistake and nearly lost everything. So is he still a cheater? Should he still be called that?

There was a hypothesis  carried out by Benjamin Wharf into labelling and he came to this conclusion: ‘The words we use to describe what we see determine what we see.’

So this makes me ask:

When you call your partner a Cheater, does that mean that they still are in your eyes, and is that stopping you from seeing anything else that they do, or any changes that they have undergone? Or there fear?

Do you want to move on from them, or stay? If you want to move on call them what you like, fucking arsehole may also be appropriate! But I would advise letting it go as the years go by, you know my feelings on bitterness.Beware Bitterness – It will be your enemy

But if you want to stay will calling them a cheater help?

Just putting it out there; and if you find the word cheater in any of my posts let me know, I will change it! (Apart from this one of course!)

Moisy

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The new beginning – Finding me again

 

Tuesday 31st July 2007

It’s not easy but I think I can do it – in getting the unwanted pictures out of my head.

I am now lying on the downs at Tankerton. The sun is shining and the wind is blowing everything out of my mind.

I have had a difficult day today. Not in having those things on my mind, but the sadness.

There are two issues:

  1. Getting the thoughts in my head under control.
  2. The sadness for what I have lost. The grief for the bereavement, for the waste of that love that I had, that I had never had for anyone else.

Time will heal that, I know it. How and what form that healing will take I don’t know.

But as I am writing this, and although I have cried with sadness today (a short cry, letting it all out like Sherri said. It is true it doesn’t last long anymore; no more heaving sobs – not if I don’t give way to it. There’s just grief.) I also know that despite what I have lost I would not want to go back to it:

  • A big fat lump that had really let myself go.
  • Someone who I am starting to see now was very frustrated, angry almost inside. Because what did she have? Everything centred on Rich; and although I was jolted out of that (kicking and screaming at the time.) I never want to be that person again. I don’t like her.
  • A couple who became so insular, so immersed in just themselves. You see Rich would want to go back that (because of his own insecurities, because of his own fear.) I don’t.

Rich has changed since he has been with me – Beth was right, I dragged him up with me. Although he is quite capable himself he does not believe that without me by his side.

In fact, perhaps sub-consciously he always knew I would come to my senses and that is why he thought he could not keep me.

So why am I with him now? I do find that thought popping into my head. Because I know how much he loves me; and when someone loves you that much and you do love them, then why walk away? There is something to work on.

The life we have created together keeps me here as well. I enjoy his company, and he makes me laugh. Sometimes he also gets on my tits.

I had to get on my bike today and come here on my own. Regain my independence and do things on my own. I do notice that when I am with Rich we do both slot into that ‘doing everything together’ mode. I did, however, only realise today how many arrangements I make to do things with other people. This has been a totally sub-conscious thing.

At the moment part of me still wants Rich to ring me, text me, reassure me. But the more I do things on my own the less that will get; and I need to do that. Rich will totally freak, just look hurt and say “Whatever you want.” But not really mean it. That is no-longer my problem.

I am enjoying myself, being myself, confident, self-sufficient, and not constantly thinking of someone else.

I am going to go to the pub on my own and have a glass of wine before I go home; and I haven’t brought my mobile with me; this is me time.

This has really helped.

 

Mois

 

Reflections 2018

I remember this day clearly. It was a beautiful sunny day, not hot, the wind had a slight chill in it, but there were bright blue skies with small puffs of cloud moving along quickly in the wind; and the sun was warm.

Tankerton is a pretty place with rolling downs that lead down to the beach and sea, dotted with beach huts on stilts. On this day there were lots of people there and I can remember watching them all and thinking how happy they all were, and here was I with my world in pieces, never knowing if I would really be happy again.

But I have learnt over the years that you see what you want to see, and I believed at that time that everyone was happier than me. Obviously that was not true, but when you are in a place where nothing seems to make sense you believe that everyone else has their shit together. Trust me they don’t; it’s the good old demon in your head spinning you a line!

This was such an important entry for me, because as I said in my previous journal entry I believed that we needed to start again, a new beginning and to do that I had to find me; I was right, I had to find myself again.

I had become ‘lost’ in Rich before ‘the War’, everything revolved around him; I worked part time so that I could support him in his career, whilst I renovated and managed the house and finances. I had lived my life for Rich and I knew that I could no longer do that; Rich could be part of my life but he could no longer be the centre of it – I had to be that.

So the start of that was to go somewhere on my own, and the choice is pertinent because I chose to go to the one place where Rich used to meet up with ‘her’ on his way to work. I chose this place because I knew that I had to face my fears to be able to move forward into my new life and to not let my fears and memories beat me anymore!

For me there are three main things in this entry that resonate with me today:

  • That I recognised that I did not want to be the person that I was before, in fact did not even like the person that I was before. When I read this entry it did stop me in my tracks, because I had recognised that even then.

Today Rich and I have looked back at the people that we were before ‘The War’ and we do not like them. How much we drank, the places that we drank, even today we have been talking about how we accepted people’s bad behaviours without question. We both agree that we really were a pair of arseholes.

  • The fact that I have said that I was an angry and frustrated person; because I can see now that I was. The Moira who wrote this entry was absolutely right I had been angry and frustrated; I had not been using my skills to their full potential and because of that I had would get angry and lose my temper at things; or make small things more important than they really were.

After ‘The War’ when I had begun to find myself again someone had said to me that I had ‘dumbed down’ and I knew that they were right: I did not want promotion at work, did not want to work full time, did not want to use my brain because that was the easy way out, and ‘The War’ made me see sense, as I have said in this entry; albeit ‘kicking and screaming at the time.’

I believe today that everything does happen for a reason, and that at times messages are sent to us and when we don’t listen then a lesson is sent to us; and more often than not that lesson is a hard one.  Even today I believe that my sister was right, I was being sent a message, a kick up the arse if you like, to find myself again.

  • The third and most important thing from this entry is that I can see that I wanted to stay with Rich because he made me laugh, because I enjoyed his company, that we get on well together, and that these were the things that made me love him. Real things, not romantic things; sometimes we forget that relationships are many things not just love and sex.

But I also love that fact that I can also see that he “gets on my tits.” Looking back now I probably get on his “tits” as well! That’s life!

I did go to the pub; I sat in the garden on my own and showed myself that I did not need to fear being on my own. That I needed to embrace being my own person, an individual who did not start and end with Rich; and this was the start of doing this. So I had two glasses of wine whilst I read my book.

Moira had started to find herself again and it was crucial to our survival.

Moisy

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She’s Always a Woman     Billy Joel

She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child, but she’s always a woman to me

She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth, but she’ll never believe
And she’ll take what you give her, as long it’s free
Yeah, She steals like a thief, but she’s always a woman to me

Ohhh…she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants, she’s ahead of her time
Ohhh…and she never gives out
And she never gives in, she just changes her mind…..

Journal entry – I was dreading Christmas

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Friday 21st December 2007

I am writing to update my journal, but this time not because I feel the need, I just want to update it. I went to Beth’s on the Friday after my last entry and cried, I said that I thought I need to go back to the counsellor. Beth and her friend Louise gave this advice for both me and Rich:

  • Stop trying to get back what you had. You will never get that back, and if that is what you want you need to find someone else, because you will never get it back with Rich. Instead of trying to recover something make something new, and better.

 

  • Stop thinking that whenever you are fed up it is always because of what happened. It may just be because you’re tired, got the arsehole with work, whatever! But because what happened is always foremost in your mind you always take your feelings back to that. In the same way as Rich always assumes you’re going to leave him. STOP doing it!

 

  • Forget things that were said when you both got back together – as you were both mental!! You both said things you did not mean. Rich said things just because he did not know the answer himself. (Rich and I talked about this and why I started this journal. He is mortified by what he said about being flattered that two women were fighting over him, and does not find it an ego boost in any way now.) My Journal – First Entry

 

  • Rich has to understand that my barriers are up –and may well be up for a couple of years. But whilst I have my barriers up I should still be me – which I had not been when I was writing in my journal in the last three to four entries. I had created distance between us as well, was not being tactile, not being me. By doing this (to punish Rich in a way.) I was making myself miserable.

I took all of this advice on board and my head is sorted. I had a blip of four days, but no-where near as bad as before, and I could control it.

We have been to France again and had the most fantastic time.

Rich breaks up from work today for Christmas and we have eleven days off together. I am so looking forward to it.

We are having a shindig for Tom’s eighteenth birthday tomorrow and Rich is so excited to be part of it.

I think that says it all!

 

Mois

 

Reflections 2018

The first thing I thought when I read this entry was that I had completely forgotten this conversation which surprised me, because it was a very important one and helped me massively in dealing with things in the future; they were both so right!

Rich was the one that had to let go of what we had, as you know from what I have written in this book I had come to realise that a long time ago. But for me the most important piece of advice they gave me was to stop thinking that everything revolved around what had happened to us! Whenever I had a problem in life I would immediately link it to what had happened, what Rich had done to me, and therfore everything had to be his fault. Quite simply it wasn’t!

I could have felt pissed off because I had a bad day at work, or because someone had upset me, or something had gone wrong as things do in life.  But when anything happened I would get in the car and the ‘demon’ (oh yes! He was still there it would take a long while before he no longer existed. I sold him with my car!!)  would get into my head and turn  my upset around and tell me it was all because of what Rich had done to me. It was all about ‘The War’!

This was a massive thing for me because as soon as I understood what I was doing I was able to tell that fucking demon to shut up! But I also started to realise that ‘The War’ did not define me, it was not the total of my life, and I had to stop letting it be that. Although it influenced my life greatly and made me the person that I am today it is a contibuting factor in the person that I am today, but only one of many.

For Rich: He would think that anything that went wrong was his fault, because of what he did, he would take sole responsibility for every little thing, from the boiler going wrong to someone upsetting me at work. Sometimes he still does that even now, and I just stop and say to him “What are you saying sorry for?” He normally laughs then and says he doesnt’ know.

Oh, the damage that we do to each other and ourselves.

The advice about forgetting what was said when we first got back together was also good advice because  we were mental and not thinking in any way rationally. I know that most people struggle with this, because we crave to be ‘normal’ again, to think straight again, when in actual fact our lives have been turned upside down, and shook about so why do we expect that of ourselves?

I love the quote: ‘‘I thought I was going mad but the unicorn in the kitchen told me I was okay!’ (I think that came from Walking the Journey’s blog you should check it out; if not it would have been the lovely Dolly Allen @’The Queen is in’)

Rich did say things to me that weren’t true, things that contradicted themselves because he just wanted to say whatever I wanted to hear to make me feel better; to not hurt me anymore. After that  he moved on to saying things to try and explain it to himself,  because he was at a loss as to why he had done it; then he progressed to berating himself for what he had done, what he had said and totally lost himself; and as you will see from my book this eventually had  massive impact on his mental health.

A good example of our madness is that when I started this journal it was because Rich had said that he found it a compliment that two women were fighting over him. By the time I had come to write this entry in my journal  he was mortified that he not only said it but that he thought it at the time. He still feels that way today.

With regard to my barriers,  they did stay up for quite a few more years to come; but I can tell you honestly now, I have no barriers where Rich is concerned and have not had any for over eight years (yes I can remember when they came down – keep reading.) So they can come down eventually it just takes a ton of hard work, reflection and listening. At this stage in our story I love the way ‘this Moira’ holds onto the hope that her head is sorted because I know that she still has a long way to go before she gets to that point.

As I said before in my previous post Coping mechanism – make new memories Tom’s birthday was on Christmas Eve so we held a surprise eighteenth birthday party the weekend before and it was a great success. I look at the photos now and see how thrilled Rich was that he was there involved in the celebrations.

On Christmas Eve we all went out, including Darren and took Tom to the pub, an English tradition. I remember how Rich was so chuffed that he was there to be able to give Tom some money and send him to the bar so that he could order his first drink legally. We left the boys in town after that and made our way home to prepare the meal for Christmas day. It was something so normal, and I kept my head under control because I felt a responsibility to the other people around me to make sure that this festivity was not marked with tears.

I can remember that Christmas was wonderful; we had gone overboard to make it special, with a Christmas tree on the balcony as well as in the house. After dinner we all opened a present and my present from Rich was the most beautiful watch, but the most beautiful thing for me were the tears in Rich’s eyes when I opened it. I knew he was so sorry and that in itself meant more than the gift.

It was important to us that we could make it special for many reasons but not least because at one point in the year we had both thought that we would never celebrate Christmas together in our beautiful house again.

Like I said it is the small things that are important.

Things like this  are all steps that you take to make things something new, a ‘new normal’ It is important to note though that they are contributory steps, every step contributes to the future that you will have; but I do know that if Rich had not been working with me, and taking those steps with me, then I would have been taking them on my own.

Moisy

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Journal Entry: Just put your arms around me and make everything alright……

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Journal entry: Thursday 9th June 2007.

I cried at work again yesterday, because of the thoughts in my head, about things I cannot change.

When I came home Rich and I were fine, but eventually I decided that he should know I cried at work. That I cry at work. The counsellor had told him that there would be things I would say that he would not want to hear.

I explained about the things in my head. He said that he didn’t cry anymore, but had waves of depression come over him – because he eventually feels he will lose me.

I had realised that Rich is my defence against my demons. That only he can drive them away, by putting his arms around me and just saying sorry.

If he wants to keep me he must have the courage of his convictions and fight his fear to keep me.

I reminded him again of the wedding speech and that I don’t feel he is a “loser.”

I feel we have moved onto the next phase. I am happy for the first time.

Mois

Reflections

My first reaction to this entry was ‘Oh My God!’

We had so much further to go, we had not moved on to the next phase, we had not even begun this phase! I know that I just wanted it all to go away, I wanted to feel better, I didn’t want to feel this pain anymore, so I told myself we were getting better, I even wrote it in my journal!

I was lying!

The best advice I can give now, is that  you need to stop trying to make it go away, because in all honesty it will never ‘go away’. It happened it can’t un-happen! But over time the pain will go away, (if you let it) you won’t think about it every day (I know I thought that was never going to happen either!); and if you do all the things you need to like: accepting, listening, reflecting, understanding and so many more you will become stronger from something that won’t ‘go away’.

I know from reading other people’s stories, people who are going through what we went through, that they struggle so much with what they perceive to be their inability to ‘move on.’ With the hindsight of over eleven years since it happened to us I can only offer this advice: stop trying to make it move forward faster, you will just add to your madness!. Accept that you are on one hell of a ride, and it will go at its own pace, you have no control over that. As the great Lao Tzu says:

“let reality be reality let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like…”

Instead I held on to hope, we both did. There had to be hope or everything would be  lost. When I read my journal now I can see that throughout there was hope, I wrote it on nearly every page, in fact wasn’t my journal a book of hope in itself?

At the time I would re-read my entries and I couldn’t see any hope anywhere I could only see despair.  All I could see  was the pain Rich had caused me, and it was clouding my thinking to almost everything else.

I wanted Rich to know, over and over again, how destroyed I was, how he had destroyed me, made me into this person that cried at work every day; and I wanted him to feel as fucking bad as I did! (Yes I remember that emotion even now!)

I told Rich that I cried because I knew that it would upset him and add to his fear that I would leave.

More and more I was realising that we were never going to be what we were before. That what we had was dead, and I blamed Rich for destroying it;  and yet Rich just seemed to want to bury his head in the sand and pretend that everything was normal.

I can remember how furious I was with Rich when he told me that he did not cry anymore, how dare he! When I was crying all the time, in the car (the worst place ever for me and that did not fully go until I sold that car two years later!) in the shower, at work, on the toilet!

As the words go at that time  I expected him to “Cry me a river”.

I can honestly say now that the reason I was happy at that moment was because I had told Rich that I cried at work, that I had upset him, that I had made him feel as insecure as I felt and and that is what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to punish him, badly.

However even eleven years later, the damage I inflicted on Rich has still not fully gone away. Is that what I wanted to achieve? No, never.

I do believe that it is only natural to want revenge, to want to make the person who hurt you suffer for what they have done; but I wish I knew then what I know now, because that achieved nothing other than my loving husband never being able to forgive himself; and I don’t want that, I want him to feel better.

You will see in my story how I will often write in my journal how Rich needed to have the ‘courage of his confictions’ or needed to ‘step up to the plate’, or needed to ‘face his fears’. All are true.

I know that some people follow my blog in the hope that they can find ways to repair the damage they have done, I am sure that some of the things that Rich will do as this story moves forward will help them, but only if they have the courage to take it forward.

I am not talking about whether you tell the truth here – you will come to understand that I left that myth behind a long while ago; and you will understand why in future blogs.

I am talking about the actions you can take:

Console them. That was all I needed most of the time, Rich to comfort me, to tell me it would be okay, tell me he was sorry even if I told him to “fuck off” afterwards. I needed Rich to never give up; and if you look at Rich’s few bits of advice at the end of my book ‘never give up’ is one of them.

There were times when he looked terrified as he approached me, but he still approached me, and I can never remember a time when I pushed him away when he had his arms around me.

So this is a simple thing for those who want to make it better:

Put your arms around them and comfort them, even if your afraid.

Moisy

A little note: 

‘Just Say, Just Say by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye (Written by Ashford and Simpson) was our go to song, it still is and it still brings tears to my eyes.

When Rich first came back we sat at opposite each other one night at the breakfast bar as this song came on. It said it all, I wanted Rich to make it better and he wanted to, for me this song rings true listen to it, it might make you cry (it still makes me cry even today)  but it will help you know you’re not alone.

.

Just say just say that you forgive me
And make it better

Just say just say that you’ll stay near me
And make it alright make it alright

Just say just say that life without me
Would  be impossible

Just say just say you’ll never doubt me
And make it alright make it alright

make it alright

All I wanna hear
All I wanna feel
Is your voice
Your arms holding me

All I wanna know
Are you still there
Ooh nothing’s changed
and it’s the same
As it used to be

Just say just say you won’t be leaving
And not to cry

Just say you haven’t lost the feeling
And it will never die
Make it alright

All I wanna do
Oh is make it up to you
‘Cause I need you more than life itself
All I wanna know
Are you still there
Nothing’s changed
and It’s the same as it used to b

It’s all I wanna hear
All I wanna feel
Is your voice
Your arms holding me……….