Through all the reading that I have done about getting over your husband walking out on you, the word 'forgiveness' comes up a lot. It is a common theme that you need to forgive in order to move on. The problem here is I can't forgive him. I don't hate him, he is who he is, but what he did is unforgivable.
I went to visit my mother on a Saturday afternoon, as I did most days. I let myself in and walked through the house, calling out, 'hello'. There was no answer, so I went out into the garden which is where I found her lifeless body. From that moment I went into autopilot, I rang 000, the ambulance people and the police came and I mechanically answered all their questions for what seemed like an eternity. I rang him straight after I rang 000 and asked him to come, I needed him to hold me, and be strong and supportive. Instead he was too drunk to drive at 2 'o' clock in the afternoon, so he got my daughter to drive. She was understandably upset and it would have been nice to have been able to break the news to her later, and not in her grandmother's house with the body still in the garden.
He didn't even hug me, he just sat in a chair and stared at the wall, probably annoyed that I had cut into drinking time or time when he could have been chatting to his affair partner. I sent them both home and after I had finished answering all the police questions, I went home too. I fell asleep on the couch, he sat at the dining table, on his laptop, drinking beer, oblivious to what I was going through. He gave me no support whatsoever, in fact he chose to turn the emotional affair that he was having through email and phone contact into a physical affair at about this time.
Through all of this, I soldiered on, getting myself to work, my youngest daughter to school, dance class and netball. I made sure the bills were paid and that there was food on the table. When I really needed a break he chose to take his affair partner away for a romantic weekend and tell me he was going fishing. I booked a weekend away for us, because I could feel I wasn't coping and needed to get away. I fell asleep all afternoon because I was exhausted. I later learnt from looking at his phone bills that he spent the afternoon texting his affair partner.
Of course discovering the affair was inevitable, but instead of sailing off into the sunset with her at that point, he continued to lie and assure me that the affair was over and that he was committed to the marriage. Of course it was also inevitable that I would discover the truth, but seeing her in his bed was a painful jolt that I didn't need while I was still barely holding it altogether after my mother's death. I can't understand how he could have been so cruel and totally uncaring about the trauma that he has caused to someone that he thought enough of to marry, only a few years before. No I can't forgive him.
So, if I can't forgive him, am I destined to become bitter and twisted and unable to move on forever? No way, I am determined to take control of my future and lead a happy and fulfilled life. So how do I go about it? I think the answer is by not including him in the forgiveness process. The forgiveness here is about me, forgiving myself for getting into a relationship with a man who was unable to treat me with the respect that I deserve. I turned a blind eye to his drinking and womanising because I wanted him to be someone that he couldn't be. I have accepted the cold hard reality that he is a actually a selfish person who used me terribly, I can't forgive a huge betrayal and an abuse of my trust at a time when I was incredibly vulnerable and needed support. But I can forgive myself for jumping head first into a relationship with a man who was clearly waving a number of red flags right from the beginning.
The forgiveness that I am talking about here is an internal process where I am working through how I got myself into this situation and how I rebuild my sense of safety. I am working on letting go of the pain and gradually coming to terms with what happened. I am allowing the marriage to become part of my past instead of continually intruding into the present. I am re-engaging with life and I am determined that this divorce will be an opportunity for self-growth and the start of a journey of empowerment. I am forgiving myself for not having boundaries in place and ignoring the fact that very few of my needs were met during my marriage.
I can forgive myself for what happened in the past and I can focus on what is going on in the present. I have started working again and I have got friends who really care about me and two daughters who are a joy. I am painting my house and enjoying picking out curtain material. I am excited about what lies ahead and I forgive myself so that I can release myself from the past. I am forgiving myself for allowing myself to become a victim and from now on, I am going to take responsibility for my life and I will become an active participant not a passive observer. By forgiving myself I regain control and I can let happiness back in my life.
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