For me, a way out of all the anger and pain, was educating myself. My Number One priority now is my mental health and getting to a good place emotionally again. When a spouse suddenly deserts a marriage, the person left behind has to deal with rebuilding their reality, their self-esteem, they have to work out how to find joy in life again, and how to feel safe. You thought that you were in a happy, stable, secure relationship and suddenly you discovered that you apparently you weren't.
People who have not been suddenly abandoned by a spouse find it hard to understand how you could not have known that your partner was planning on deserting the marriage. When you love and trust someone, you tend to believe everything that they say, what reason is there not to? Its only afterwards, that you realise how much pleasure that they were getting from deceiving you, and it tears you apart.
My ex-husband was feeding off the high he was getting from leading his double life. For example, when I worked night shifts he would pretend that he was asleep and I would creep around the bedroom quietly getting ready to go to work, so as not to wake him. After our separation a neighbour told me that he would see my ex-husband's car drive off about fifteen minutes after I left for work. I would come home in the morning, and he would be awake and dressed and on his laptop in the kitchen. I would say, "You're awake early," and kiss him on the cheek, and ask him if he wanted a coffee. He must have got home just before I did, buzzing from getting away with his affair once again.
There are so many instances that I remember where I realise now that he was with her, and I had no idea because I never realised that the man I loved was capable of looking me in the eyes and lying. That is what makes abandonment different from a normal break-up - its the level of deceit, its the betrayal and the discard that is so hard to come to terms with.
When you realise to the person that you loved and were committed to, that you were nothing but a meal ticket, a place to stay, while they looked for a 'better' option, and also that they twisted the knife that they plunged into your heart, by taking marriage vows which they never meant, it destroys you.
How do you recover from this level of deceit and betrayal? The only way that I can claw myself out of this dark pit that he pushed me in to, is by educating myself about what happened, how to recover and how to make sure that I protect myself, so that it never happens again. This is a collection of resources that I have found extremely useful in my recovery and hopefully the list will be of value to others.
Vicki Stark runs this excellent website. Vicki was abandoned suddenly and without warning after a twenty one year marriage, and like my ex-husband, Vicki's ex-husband had the new girlfriend ready and waiting in the wings.
Vicki conducted a study of 400 abandoned wives which led to the publication of the book 'Runaway Husbands'. This book can be purchased from the website and I recommend it to all new abandonees struggling to come to grips with what has happened. The website has a Community Bulletin Board where you can post your story and read others and take comfort in knowing you are not alone.
This is a great resource for understanding narcissistic behaviour and more importantly, learning how not to ever end up in a relationship with a narcissist ever again. Kim has written a book called, "How to do No Contact like a Boss" - it is available from the website and is extremely useful if you are finding it hard not to text or check up on him through social media.
If you are finding it difficult to stop obsessing about your ex and if your are finding No Contact impossible, then you may be an exaholic. This website uses the 12 step program, made famous with its success in Alcoholics Anonymous, to assist people to get over their ex. There is a Counting Days forum where you can gain strength from counting the days since you initiated contact or peeked at them on social media. There are some excellent videos also. Its just a great community of like-minded people that provide support to each other. Just don't swear or give advice because they are very quick to close your account if you break either of these two rules!
Meditation and Self-Hypnosis
I found in the early stages of abandonment, I could only sleep for a few hours at a time and my mind was racing with vivid dreams in which he was always centre stage. I was barely functioning even on anti-depressants. I had gone from being a strong woman who kept everything ticking along to a shadow that could hardly muster up the courage to get out of bed and into the shower. The meditation and self-hypnosis, freely available on YouTube were a god send during this period and I still use them now, a year later - I just have one playing as I drift off to sleep. They really do seem to help your mindset, used on a regular basis. Here are some of my favourites:
Michael Sealey has an excellent YouTube channel filled with wonderful self hypnosis and guided meditations. Here are three of my favourites.
As well as exploring YouTube for self hypnosis and guided meditation, use it also for listening to the amazing teachings of both Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. These two men will help you think yourself out of the pit and give you tools to start weeding your mental garden. You really can stop living through the pain and start living a fulfilling life. You just need guidance to see how to do it.
1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
2. A New Earth Awakening to your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
3. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
4. The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman's Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce by Rachel Sussman
5.Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan Elliott
6. When Everything Changes, Change Everything by Donald Walsch.
This is by no means the definitive list, but it is what I started with and I find that these resources have led me to discover and explore other resources. A year after Discard Day, I do still feel pain and anger, but nowhere near the level that I did initially. I can now see that my life is more authentic and a lot less stress and drama filled without him. I have accepted that the man that I thought that I married, never actually existed, and that I was used and discarded for someone that was a more lucrative target. I am starting to look forward to the possibilities that are mine to make happen, rather than back at what I thought was real but was always a cruel mirage. I have learned a lot by educating myself and I am on an exciting path to self-discovery that would never have been possible within the financial and emotional constraints of life with him. I hope that my journey can be of use to others struggling through the pain of surviving and healing after abandonment.