The past few months went from hope and faith that some “higher power” would heal my marriage to acceptance that it wasn’t supposed to be saved. It wasn’t real. The moment I recognized that my marriage was a sham I had two very clear paths in front of me: Path 1 was to be a victim, get angry, and blame my husband for horrendous atrocities and live bitterly in resentment about how he ruined my life. And then there was Path 2. Path 2 was to change my story from being a victim to being responsible.
Anyone who has been hurt, betrayed to, and abused may think, “why should I have to be responsible for any of this? I didn’t cause it!” While I can agree that we may not have caused it, and while it may be entirely true that none of it was even fair, the fact is we ARE completely responsible for what we choose to do with it. We can choose to take revenge, add fire to the flame, increase hostility and negativity… or we can move on.
I will be the first to admit that it is so much easier said than done. But the second you acknowledge that you actually HAVE that power AND responsibility to change your perspective of being a victim to something else (honestly, it probably doesn’t matter what you change it to, so long as it is empowering and positive. Be a unicorn, be a queen, be whatever…), that is when the sobering reality comes in and corners you, asking, “what are you going to do about that now?”
What I’ve learned through this was that my suffering was primarily about the story I was telling. The story I kept telling myself and others. This story was on repeat in my head ALL day, 24/7. What I hadn’t realized was that I CHOSE that story. The story didn’t choose me.
That’s a nasty pill to swallow, but it was true. If ever an “oh shit” moment, that was mine.If it is true that I was creating a story in which I was a victim, the story had been repeated so often that my entirety believed it true. I’m not saying that what my husband did wasn’t wrong. It was! It was horrendous! A real prick! My bitterness wants to say these kinds of people shouldn’t be allowed to breathe on this Earth… but that’s bitterness talking…
The fact of the matter was that I was NOT getting joy from choosing Path 1. Yet, I continued to choose Path 1 over and over, and when I realized that I could potentially choose another path and could potentially feel a WHOLE LOT better, the idea of choosing Path 2 became a little more attractive to me.
Path 2 wasn’t an easy path though, because Path 2 required me to feel my pain (and honestly, who wants to feel pain!?). It required me to sit with and grieve the loss, forcing me to deal EFFECTIVELY with the normal woundedness of being a human being. And with that grieving, came a promise of healing. To me, that sounded pretty attractive, even though the cost (feeling pain) didn’t seem alluring at all.
Path 1, my chosen path for several years was be a victim, complain about it, argue about it, fight it, lament it, and then hope and pray that through some godly miracle, the other person will finally see the light and change and make me happy (not happening). Path 2 was: deal with the shit effectively.
Path 2 allowed me to complain about it, argue about it, fight it, lament it, and kick the floor, but it required me to get it out of my system by EFFECTIVELY processing it, and then MOVE ON. People that choose Path 1 don’t like the “move one” part.
But when we do move on, one day we realize you simply don’t need it because we’ve grown through it. We’ve felt the pain, let it shake us to our core, and then we reach the first moment of real choice: Do I stay a victim? Do I stay powerless? Do I stay irresponsible? Or do I choose a different story now?
Everyone makes that choice to stay a victim or to move on. Most people like being the victim and subconsciously rationalize that it’s just too hard to grow up and take responsibility for themselves, so instead of doing anything effective, they continue to complain like a helpless victim and continue to make life “wrong”. I did that for the majority of my life. What I didn’t realize is that the prison I thought I was in was a prison of my own doing. No one forced me into it.
The past few months, I’ve had some time to do some inner reflection and really question what it is that I was trying to get out of all of this and the answer was simply, “JOY”. I want an inner peace and joy that cannot be shaken by external circumstances. And allowing external circumstances to shake my joy was me working against my goals. The hard part about all of this is, again, all about CHOICE. If my unshakeable inner peace and joy is my goal, what am I willing to do to achieve it? Do I continue down a path that clearly wasn’t working? Or do I choose another completely different path? A NEW way of thinking?
A new way of thinking is hard, because our brains are hardwired to take the blame path. It’s all based on fight/flight, and while it is natural, it’s also primitive, and we need to evolve or we will suffer. The solution is not to “delete” these patterns (we can’t) but to create new ones. This is the challenge, but this is where your control is.
Now, when I find myself ruminating on the past, the pain, or even the uncertain future, I bring myself back to the present. And since I’ve realized that hating my husband just brought me more pain, I choose an alternative path again, which was to say a silent prayer for him: “Dear God, I pray that he receives everything he wants in life, including the experience of unconditional love, peace, and happiness.”
I don’t know how it works…but somehow, when I offer unconditional love to even those that have hurt me, creates an inner peace and joy I’ve not felt in decades… and guess what!? THAT was my goal.
All I needed…was always within.