Monday, April 11, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Divorce and Inner Destruction (by Melissa)

By Melissa 

My divorce could have killed me.

I am not being dramatic, or facetious. It really could have.

Now, let me begin by saying I will not use this blog post to bash my ex husband. For the sake of his privacy and mine I will leave out the details of exactly what transpired to cause our divorce. We don't hate each other, we did divorce however.

There is something utterly devistating about being no longer good enough for the person you married. It doesn't matter how much you put into the marriage or how much you wanted it to work, it just wasn't enough. Me, being the person who feels like if you work hard enough then you can solve any problem, just doesn't accept defeat easily. It is not in my personality to give up, even when my world is falling apart around me.

Sometimes you don't get a choice though. I personally don't deal well with having my choices taken from me. I drove across country, back to my home state, thinking that it couldn't all be real. However, in the back of my mind I sort of knew. I listened to Beyonce and sang "To the left!"  on repeat as I made my way back to my home state, feeling empowered and expecting a call from the one I loved to come home.

The call didn't come and oh, I was crushed. Shellshocked more like. I think I went numb but alternated between feeling raw and numb. I went back to work for the company I had left while I was pregnant with our son and threw myself into my job. I slept, I worked, I cried, I went numb, I took care of my children. I thought about my ex often (what is he doing? who is he sleeping with? who is he laughing with?) and I tried to make sense of my new life.

Also, I did something I probably shouldn't have done. Started another relationship with a man named Sonny. Had this been with ANY other man it would have been a very bad decision. Luckily he was and is a wonderful person that I had known for many years. He knew I could give him very little, and asked for very little in return. I feel teary eyed as I write about this part because he has been something so special and wonderful to me. He will never truly know that he was a blessing in disguise for me.

 I moved back to Virginia and lived with my mom for a few months. During those first few months it sunk in that my ex and I would never be together again and I signed the divorce papers. I didn't even hesistate when it came time to sign them to be honest. I read through them, everything seemed in order. Sign here, initial here in yellow sticky notes all over the place in the paperwork. Take these papers to be notarized and return ASAP, all of which I did and felt very little emotion about. 

Done, now time to find a home for me and my children.

That is when it really hit me.

Full Force.

I found a very cute home in a rural area that matched everything on my list of things I desired in a home for us. Excellent school district, check. Not too far from work, again check. There was a long, winding driveway that went past a beautiful pond that was on the land. The landlord could not have been nicer, truly he was wonderful in every sense. He offered to keep the grass cut if I paid a little extra, which I was happy to do as I am not much into lawn care. The rent was so cheap, every single thing about the situation was perfect.

There were two bedrooms. The children were young enough to share a room and I would take the other room. I had it all worked out. We moved in and I found I couldn't sleep in my bedroom. Sleeping in bed by myself was just scary. I was the only adult in the house! What if an intruder broke in? What if a fire started, who would get the kids out? I was frought with anxiety about being alone. So, I slept on the couch the entire time we lived there. No one used the second bedroom because I reasoned that one day I would get used to being alone and would sleep in there. I never did.

I managed to slide into a horrible depression. This is hard to admit to publically, but there it is. I functioned. I held a job, I kept my house clean, my children were loved and taken care of. My bills were paid and I had friends and relationships. But inside I felt ugly and horrible. I felt rejected. I wanted Sonny (the man I mentioned earlier) to get sick of me and leave me. I hoped his ex wife would leave the man she was with and want him back. I fantasized about this, because I really felt like I had nothing at all to give him and I knew that was the love of his life and he could be happy with her.

I gained weight. A lot of it. And I did it on purpose. I wanted him (Sonny) to not be attracted to me. I thought if I became fat he would leave me. This is the first time I am admitting this to anyone. I hope if he reads this he won't think I am too crazy. But, this is how my feeling rejected after my divorce was making me feel inside. I don't blame my ex, let me make that very clear. This is simply how my mind was processing the pain of rejection. I couldn't deal with anyone loving me, or even being attracted to me because I wasn't handling the fact that my world had crumbled down around me once before.

I should also pause here and say I have a history of depression. I don't want to go into detail, but this is a fact to take into consideration as you read my story.

So, I ate and hoped that I would be unattractive. I felt awful and out of control, now not just because of the divorce but because of the fact that I couldn't be in a relationship and just be happy. He deserved more, didn't he? A sane girlfriend at least. Couldn't I do anything right?

I would love to say this all turned around quickly and I lived happily ever after. The fact is I lived in emotional hell for a while. I gained about 70 pounds total. Physically I was in just as bad shape as I was emotionally. I couldn't walk up stairs without getting out of breath anymore. I thought about ending my life. I knew I wouldn't, mainly because I wouldn't do that to my children. I existed only because I had no choice. For some damn reason I kept waking up.

 I stopped having sex with Sonny. I wouldn't even let him touch me in a sexual manner and I KNOW that hurt him. Sex with him was always VERY good, that was never the problem.  Hopefully he understands and knows I am sorry that he felt rejected. I was in pain because of my own rejection, I surely didn't want to cause someone pain by rejecting them too. He must love me, or at least like me a little bit (grin) because he kept coming over and never stopped being sweet and supportive.

At this point none of this was about my ex husband. It had not been about him in a very long time. Probably not since the first year or so after we split. It was about fear, self esteem, not being able to trust people and many other issues. My head was a mess, putting it lightly. My divorce, and everything after it, was killing me from the inside out.

What helped me?

When you feel so beaten down you sometimes cling to very small things to make you feel good. A cousin of mine (or second cousin? I don't know, everyone is a cousin in my family) Crissy Turner once said to me "Your kids are the way they are because they have the mother they do." indicating their good behavior. Now, normally I downplay these kind of comments because I am uncomfortable with compliments, but she said it in a way that said I was not allowed to argue, hahaha. And, it made me feel good. 

This is what helped me.

Letting the people in my life raise me up. I had to let them do this because I needed them. My default is to keep everything in and not talk about what is bothering me. I don't want to be needy I like being needed, which is so silly when you think about it.

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” - Morrie Schwartz

I have no shortage of people in my life who love me. My problem was that I couldn't really allow myself the liberty to talk to anyone about the heart ache. Maybe a lot of us do this; if you pretend that life is okay then you don't have to face the fact that it isn't. On the outside you can show a happy face and that makes things, so you think, a little more bearable. The reality is that you don't give the people that love you the opportunity to be the healing balm you might need in the time of emotional crisis. 

The bigger reality is that life is not always okay and you shouldn't feel the need to isolate yourself for the selfish need to spare the feelings of other people. Finding the balance between allowing yourself some personal space and allowing your loved ones to help you through the tough times can be difficult for many of us. It certainly was for me and without the love of those people in my life I hate to think how bitter and lonely I might be right now.

Divorce could have killed me. My own fear of and subsequent denial of rejection could have totally undone me. But I stand today a stronger woman with love in her life and lessons learned. From something tragic I have found something beautiful. I look at my love (Sonny), my children, my family and my many friends and think how incredibly blessed I am to have such a wonderful group of people in my life. Life is good.


Kathy said...

What a beautiful, honest story. Thank you for sharing it, I'm sure it will help many women who find themselves in similar situations. Although I have not gone through the pain of divorce I have felt rejected and hurt and did not know which way to go. I too have used food to numb my feelings. Thank you again.


Josie Mae said...

Thanks for your sharing! You said that you couldn't let others into your life, couldn't let yourself feel the rejection and accept it. I think this posts shows in many ways how far you've come. I am not a psychologists by any means, but I think you can read this and understand how you have started to process these feelings in a healthy manner. You refused to let it kill you. Let that empower you!

Janay Stiles said...

We all have our fair share of life’s ups and downs and we also have different ways of coping with it. It’s okay if it took you so long to pick up yourself and start a new life. What matters is that you learned your lessons, and now, you are on your way to creating and building a better person in you.

Marshall Witt said...

Embrace the unknown, and never be afraid to take risks. I know getting over a divorce is hard, but you have to face it and start living a new life. Take all the time you need to heal; find yourself again. Forgive yourself, and accept that there are some things that aren't meant to last forever. But happiness is just around the corner.

-Marshall Witt @ LawyerStGeorge


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