Making friends with the monsters under my bed.

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You’re trying to save me, stop holding your breath
And you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy

Well, that’s nothing
Well, that’s nothing

-Rihanna-

After all these months, my pain isn’t simmering anymore. The scab has healed but it left a scar.  I feel like Harry Potter sometimes. My scar is almost invisible to everyone, even myself. Yet, in the most unexpected moments my scar burns.

In the end, after the culmination of the crying, screaming, sleepless nights and wrenching pain the truth is all that is left. The facts cannot be changed. My mind still replays those facts on a regular basis. Most of the time I stop the flow of thought before it evokes emotion but there are days I cannot help but retell the facts. It’s the truth that stings and sometimes burns. After all, that’s how we got these scars.

My therapist told me almost a year ago that I should acknowledge pain and then let it go. Rihanna is right; we need to be friends with the monsters under the bed and the voices in our heads. The monsters and the voices have so much power to work against me that becoming friends has become my only option. My goal is to heal and I no longer need to heal our marriage, I am doing this for me.

Much of my life has been focused on making sure everyone around me is okay. Maybe it’s easier for me to invest myself in the people I love than to admit I am not getting enough back from those that love me. Like most people, I fear rejection. I’ve spent so much time worrying about making sure the people I love are happy and feel loved that I forgot to take care of myself. I wonder if self-consciously I believed that if I gave all my love, support and positive energy to my most valuable relationships then those people would always do the same for me. The problem with being more concerned with everyone else’s happiness is that I began to ignore my own needs for fear I was asking for too much. I was afraid that if I asked for too much from my husband, family or friends that they would reject me. I didn’t realize that being a support for everyone else would make it easier for to be betrayed.

I believed that what I put out into the world is what would come back to me. My husband honestly felt during his affair that it had nothing to do with me. In his mind, he didn’t love me any less because he was cheating, lying and betraying our marriage and friendship. How could he feel that way? Despite my own feelings of unhappiness or that nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right, I was there loving and supporting him every day. I wasn’t telling him that I felt neglected for fear my needs would be admonished or disparaged. I didn’t tell him that our diminished sex life frustrated me for fear that if he couldn’t physically keep up with me that I was exposing a flaw in him. Not because I felt that way but because I didn’t want to point out to my husband, who is a decade older than I am, that he was aging. I was afraid that telling him I needed him to be more emotionally open was asking too much. I was so concerned about offending my husband I was the one dejected.

On an airplane the flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping children or others. Why is the theory that you are more effective alive than dead makes perfect sense on an airplane but I forgot to apply that to my life, my marriage and my most important relationships. I’ve always been willing to compromise my needs but I’ve learned that’s the worst thing I could ever do. I think I’ve been like this my entire life. Until now. I’m fighting against so many monsters under my bed. I fighting to befriend them acknowledge my fears and ask for what I need. The next stage of my life is not just about rebuilding my marriage but about recreating me.

The monster did not eat me alive

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16 thoughts on “Making friends with the monsters under my bed.

  1. I found your writing while trying to make sense of my own marital displacement. My husband and I just found out that we are having twins and, in 24 hours, I found out that my husband had given me chlamyidia. There was a point in time when I expected to have concrete evidence of an affair, but that was some time ago. We have moved on and I feel, at least, that our marriage is stronger. With that said I can accept the indiscretion if in fact it occurred when I suspected. My husband, though, will not admit to anything. He insists that tests are wrong. I’ve retested and that’s not the case. I’m leaving this comment, I suppose, as a form of therapy, but also out of wonder whether the truth will make the situation any different or less painful. As you said, you can’t un-know. Do you have any regret in knowing? Do you find relief in your husbands confession?

    • I think I needed to know the truth in order to move forward. There was something off and I was only looking at myself. I am glad I know the truth. I believe there is a little voice inside every wife in the world that wonders if their husband has ever cheated on them. I know the truth and I also know that was the only time he ever cheated/kissed/touched/anything with another woman during our marriage. Having 100% honesty is important to me now. I feel like a huge barrier that I never realized we had in our marriage was lifted. While I wish I never had this pain from the betrayal in my life–it was there because it happened, not because he confessed. Does that make sense?

  2. I feel as though I could have written this. Beautiful expression of exactly the position I was in, and what the next stage of my life needs to be about as well. Thank you.

  3. Wow. This is so how I’m feeling. I’m 9 months from D-day, and still working my way through all the very tangled emotions. Still hoping I’ve got one of the marriages that makes it, despite the near-fatal wounds inflicted on it. I too didn’t speak out when I sensed things were going wrong, afraid that I would push my husband (who struggles with depression) into a “bad place”. Little did I know he’d push me there instead! And as you said, there are so many monsters under the bed…

  4. My D-Day was July 12, 2012. My husband met me at the front door to say he would be fired the following morning for what he described as an “inappropriate relationship” with a co-worker. That night he went from sleeping in our marriage bed to hers. We reconciled almost two months later but continued to live apart until last fall. I came upon your blog today. I look forward to reading through posts for help in how to manage the ongoing battle I have with the past.

    • Hi,
      It truly is a battle, isn’t it? Do you think living separate for about a year allowed you to heal or process things differently? I always wonder how having my husband in my bed every night affected my healing for the better or worse. In some ways it allowed us to be completely raw with each other–there was nothing held back. On the flipside, I think it allowed me to empathize with my husband–which could be seen as a positive or negative.
      I hope you are doing well. There are so many women on here sharing their stories… For me, it helps to know I am not alone.

      • The consequences of my husband’s affair continue to reverberate daily. He lost his job and we lost everything including our home. During the weeks he lived with the other woman I sold everything we had to raise money for an apartment, received financial assistance from local church groups for a security deposit, applied for food stamps, applied for medicaid for my kids and received food from our local food pantry. The time apart opened my eyes to just how much of me I had neglected for so long. It was beneficial for both of us to reflect on things that had been overlooked and unappreciated for so long.

        For the longest time my husband simply described it all as co-workers overreacting to his relationship with this woman. Recently I found a post on her facebook which was a quote my husband had said to her during the affair. No sooner did I text it to him that he called me. It made reference to him marrying her. I was devastated. That night we had a long talk that surprisingly ended positively.

        A few weeks later I was turning off his cell phone alarm when I discovered an email between them. It was sent the day before. My children woke at 5:30 a.m. to me screaming at my husband as he was standing in the shower. I don’t recall very much of the specifics of what I said and that terrifies me. We talked for awhile before he left for work and some more that night. Only someone in my position can understand the setback it has created in the healing process.

        I continue to struggle with anger and resentment. I resent the fact that I am no longer a “virgin” to deception and lies. My husband has a security that I don’t know that I will every have again. I am angry that I was wrong in my judgement about his character. I am still trying to reconcile their lack of shame at the time. An affair is not a one sided relationship. I view the other woman as guilty of contributory negligence. My husband continues to defend her by accepting responsibility for all of it. That angers me to no end.

        My husband is my best friend and I’ve never wanted to live without him. I try to focus on the moving forward and learning from it all. Some days are just harder than others right now.

      • It sounds like you’ve been through everything in the past year +… In the first day of my discovery my husband defended his AP to me because he truly believed she was innocent and just being a friend. I slapped his face and told him that a “friend” does not ask you to cheat on your wife. He says now that he realized in that moment that I was right and that he started to look at her motives and actions differently. She was always looking to manipulate him and he was looking to be needed and wanted. They are both guilty but honestly, I think a man will only go as far as a woman allows him. I think that is the absolute truth. Most men don’t think things will escalate to a physical affair–and when it does they don’t really know what they are doing. But if a woman kisses them–they will probably kiss back; if she unzips his pants he won’t stop her…. Your husband needs to allow you to place the blame his AP deserves on the AP. I hope he can open his eyes and see the AP for what she’s done/said… I can relate to your anger.
        I know what you mean about your husband being your best friend. I can’t imagine my life without my husband. The love doesn’t just go away. I totally understand the highs and lows and never knowing how your day will go. I hope you are having a good day today.

  5. Oh, well what did i do? Yes i certainly understand your pain! I have known my husband for over 20 yrs and i never thought ever he could betray me in the worse way possible, emotional relationship for 20 yrs and a seperate sexual affair with a skank he hardly knew. I work as well but he was out of work at the time and yes the skank stroked his ego, made out her husband treated her bad etc and he fell for her being her hero! I have spoken to the skanky bitch that had my husband for a moment, and she has no remorse whatsoever which makes me more cranky than ever. No sorry, she is a mother and i can tell you no guilt!!! I guess thats how they are these women, no feelings, just needy. Where do these women get off? .Oh and yes, just like your husband, mine says but she was lonely and nice to talk to. I have never felt so embarrassed. insecure, worthless in all my life and wonder did i ever know him. I question if he really does love me, i know my love for him and i honestly cant understand how you can cause this much hurt if you truly love. I truly understand your pain, we too lost so much financially. Months went by of him wasting his time with her instead of working, lucky for my parents support we still have our house, only just!! He keeps saying they were mistakes, i say NO, they are choices, a mistake is mistake and a choice does not continue after you make the mistake and continue for 20 yrs, He does not seem to get it, Will I ever be able to trust? Can we really live with a liar and a cheater? Can they change? and do things really get better?I dont want to have to check his phone for the next 20 yrs or wonder where he is when im at work or who he has slept with that day when he comes home.
    I understand your resentment, i wish he didnt lie to me our whole married life, but its done, I guess its our choice to move on, but yes i understand your question….. How do you let go of the hurt?

    • Some does I feel as though I am running a marathon struggling to refocus my energies and strength to get to the finish line. Reminding myself of the positives that have come about in the last two years in an attempt to offset the lingering doubts and fears that remain. It is a continuous struggle. This year, although the second since D-day, has set me back as I learned on my own of the details I had asked for during the first year. I have come to the realization that my husband still loves her. The fact that he can’t give me a yes or no answer confirms my fear. The answer he does give is that he loves me, loves the new life we have built together, the ‘depth’ of our love he calls it. As though that will take away the pain of knowing my husband carries a torch for someone who took everything from me. This is my monster and I have no choice but to make peace with it. We moved back in together almost 9 months ago and are just now beginning to re-establish emotional and financial security as a family. I can’t bring myself to once again upset our children’s lives. So, I struggle to make peace with the monster.

      • Hi Jennifer,
        Is your husband willing to go to therapy on his own? My husband’s therapist is very focused on finding the reason my husband reacted the way he did to his AP. Our life experiences mold us into the adults we are and not everything we do is completely rational or logical. Not all the things we feel our justified. My husband wrote in almost every email to his AP “I love you” and those typed letters broke my heart. When I questioned him he told me he never felt love for her but he felt she needed to hear those words. He was willing to give her any consolation she needed because her attention and affection fed his addiction. I consider affairs to be akin to an addiction problem. The addict will do and say anything to get their fix/high. In their most honest moments with themselves they know they don’t need the drug/AP but it’s filling a void or a piece of them that they feel they cannot control. The love they feel is the same way an alcoholic feels about alcohol–they know it’s destroying them but they feel it’s placating their inner fears/insecurities. The first step forward is complete and brutal honesty. He needs to be honest with you and you need to be brutally honest about what you need from him. I hope that helps.

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