Most of my recovery work has been centered on me. At first it seemed foreign to me. Shouldn’t I be focused on him? His nasty deeds? His lies? His betrayal? If we aren’t focusing on him and how he fucked up doesn’t that mean he gets away with having an affair? Where is his accountability?
I still have moments of doubt about this process, but I try to trust it. I try to trust my therapist. She’s promised she has my best interest at heart. She wants to see me thrive again. She’s said she won’t ask me to do anything that isn’t going to help me heal. I know my husband wants to see me thrive again. He said he’s watched me live in pain for 20 years and wants to see me happy. Most importantly, I want to thrive again. I want to be at peace. Happy. It sucks that it took over 20 years to get here. It sucks that because my husband didn’t know the source of my pain he internalized it. It sucks that he gave up on us and had an affair. It all sucks. Its all unfair.
My self esteem has sucked since I was 15. Being in an abusive relationship will do that to a girl. The best parts of me died in that relationship. Before that experience I was very confident. I played sports. Was captain of my cheerleading squad. Was very social. My friends were jealous of me – and told me as much all the time. They said every guy liked me. Wanted to date me. I didn’t feel that I was the prettiest girl in my class but I was confident. Outgoing. Up for a good time. I was hit on alot. Asked out alot. I had alot of things going for me. I was also cheated on alot because I wouldn’t have sex. It never really bothered me though. I just moved on to the next guy without much thought. Their loss. It didn’t shake my confidence. I also wasn’t very invested in them. I was young. I wasn’t in love. So I rolled with the punches. I knew I’d be ok.
I want to be that girl again. Carefree. Confident. Fun. She’s starting to shine through. A little more of her steps out of the shadows each day. She grows as I do. As I gain confidence. She’s changed a little. Grown up. She’s more aware. Less naive. Not such bad things.
Its very difficult to break down a wall that was constructed over 20 years ago. Especially now, after my husband’s affair could easily add more bricks and mortar if I let it. I think that’s the biggest lesson here. It can only destroy me if I let it. I create my own life. I have the power to make it whatever I want. And I want spectacular. I want fun. Adventure. Romance. Passion. Respect. Love. Acceptance.
I’ve been working on changing my mindset. Thinking more positively. This is the key to my healing.
One small negative thought can turn into a huge speeding ball of ugliness. You get sucked down. The longer you stay there, the harder it is to get out. The longer you are in the dark, the more sensitive you are to light.
Some great tips I’ve learned about changing mindset:
*Meditate and/or practice Yoga – I’ve found Yoga to be relaxing and calming. Good things!
*Smile – it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. Plus you feel good smiling.
*Surround yourself with positive people – I started to weed negative people from my life. They really can bring you down with them. Both negativity and positivity are contagious. put the right people in your life.
*Don’t be a victim – Whew. I was a victim for 20 years. It sucks. You feel like you have no control over your life. Stop being a victim. Realize you own your life. You own your thoughts and your decisions. Take responsibility for yourself. Make it what you want!
*Remember that no one is perfect – Not you. Not your spouse. Not your parents. Not your kids. Forgive yourself for your own mistakes. Forgive others for theirs when you are ready. Then let yourself move forward.
*Practice Gratitude – I’ve said before that starting a gratitude journal was a life saver for me. In the early, very dark days after discovery finding one thing each day was hard. But I did it. I realized that I still had alot of good in my life. My husband’s affair didn’t take everything from me.
*Read positive quotes – I do this all the time. I have several hundred saved on my phone. I read them frequently for inspiration and reminders. I like http://www.livelifehappy.com.
*Sing/Dance – I love music. My daughter and I dance and sing alot. It really does take your mind off of things, even if for a few minutes. Choose songs that are uplifting.
*Embrace change – Change happens. At work. With your family. Everywhere. Usually without our consent. Things change. The people that fight the change are usually the ones left behind. Embrace it. Accept it for what it is. Move with change instead of against it.
*Believe in the possibility of a bright future – Life may suck today. But it won’t always be that way. If your car gets a flat tire – do you think your car will never move again? We need some work. Some repairs. But we will move again. Perhaps better than before.
*Re-Wire your brain – with practice and consistency you can actually rewire your brain to think more positively. When you find yourself in a cycle of worry and/or compulsive thinking (ruminating) find a way to stop yourself. I’ve done all the tips you can find online. I’ve imagined a stop sign. I’ve worn a rubber band and snapped it when I think negatively. I’ve talked to myself (out loud and in my head). The first step is to stop the negative thought. Then you need to focus on something more positive. Think of something good about you. Think of a more positive way to see your negative thought. Re-think it. Then take action. Do something uplifting. Get up and walk around. Look out the window and enjoy nature. Call a friend just to connect with someone.
Here is an example: Today, my husband hasn’t contacted me much. I know he’s got a lot on his plate and is busy. I did have the thought that I bet he made time for her when he was busy. I bet she didn’t have to wait for him to return a text or email. I bet he answered every time she called him. I bet he contacted her when he was busy even if she hadn’t reached out to him that day. Then I stopped myself. Rather than get sucked into the negativity of my pain – I spent some time learning tips to change my mindset. I took the focus off of him and her and put it on me. I researched tips on changing mindset. I looked up positive quotes. I took a lunch break and talked with my co-workers. Putting positive attention on me is much more constructive. It doesn’t make what he did acceptable. It just means that my mental health is more important than what he has done and may do. After all, I have no control over his actions. I do, however, have control over mine.