Three years has past and it still feels like yesterday. Between lawyers, school, getting my life together, and mental anxiety, it’s been a ride to say the least. However, I’m good now. I’m happier now. I’m more relaxed and anxiety has disappeared. I have my moments of thought and sadness, but life is getting better. My smile is original most of the time.
So much of this journey needs to be re-shared. When I look at previous posts, I will not regret one of them because that was authentically me going through the process. Was I irrational at times? Yes. Was I a little crazy? Yes. Have I thought of doing a podcast where I reread and explain from the depths of my soul what I was feeling about the loss of my family and the grief I felt? Yes. But what does rehashing the past do? It may help another person understand what they are going through because it’s very scary. However, it’s also a trigger to me, and me is who I need to consider and love the most.
Learning and Growing After Divorce
I was talking to a friend the other day. They are going through the process. My response is “Breakups suck.” I don’t know what more to say other than to sit there quietly, be the devil’s advocate at times, look at the situation from my ex’s point of view at times, and realize that the battle of divorce is never simple.
This friend and I have been through a lot together. They stood by me as I was vigorously texting for answers. They stood by me when I broke down or got angry. They took the brunt of my bullshit anger at times. They helped me stand up. Now, I will do the same because that’s what friends do.
Repeatedly the past few months, I noticed how I was being treated and would sometimes say, why couldn’t my ex try like you do? Why didn’t he want to talk it out like you do? Why? Why? Why? My friend’s response was that he didn’t want to. That’s such a fact and I expressed that to my therapist the other day and explained that to this day, there isn’t a day goes by where I don’t question something. She introduced me to a concept called Radical Acceptance.
“Getting angry in response to a situation that is (perhaps understandably) upsetting prevents you from seeing what is really happening. Intense emotions have a way of blinding us from the reality of the situation, which only allows the emotions to escalate. By responding in anger and telling yourself that this situation “should” not be happening, you are missing the point that it is happening: with you or without you.
Radical Acceptance suggests that we acknowledge the present moment (no matter what it is) without judging the events as good or bad. It encourages us to recognize that our current situation exists as the result of a very long chain of events that started way in the past. It does not suggest that we approve of or agree with the bad behaviour of others. It simply tells us to stop trying to resist what is happening by denying it through anger or sadness. As long as we resists our present situation, we are powerless to change it. For change to come, we must first accept: this is where I am right now. Now what?.”
This comes from the website http://www.mindfulnessmuse.com/.
My therapist then explained an exercise that I must do in order to look at the facts of the past rather than looking at the facts with judgement. This will assist in developing new viewpoints of looking at my future.
Instead of saying “The jerk cheated on me.” (judgement), say “I know for a fact that I was cheated on”
Instead of saying “I changed my whole life to support a career of someone who was duping me.” Judgement again, say “I changed my whole life to support his career.” Fact with judgement versus just the facts.
It’s a hard thing to do, but I’m past that awful angry stage of divorce where I think it’s actually doable with a lot of effort. In fact, we went as far as present day where I’m tending to my senior parents.
“I am looking after my two parents and I don’t see my own personal life moving forward because of it.” (Judgement)
“I am looking after my senior parents but I’m working hard to find solutions in order to live a personal life.”
It takes a lot of breathing and sometimes a good shake of the head too. The problem is we cannot even broach the area of radical acceptance until we rid ourselves of the terrible emotions that follow a marital breakup or loss. If not, we simple accept the fact externally and the judgement stays within us internally.
We need to nurture ourselves to feel safe in the relationships that have moved forward and for the new ones we create. Safety is a huge component and radical acceptance of everything we do and the people we meet is extremely helpful in developing healthy relationships in the future.
I am proud to say that at 48, I’m now a college graduate. It’s something I’ve always wanted in my life but never given myself. I was too busy building a family and a home. That’s a fact. I recognize that finding work will be a continuous struggle at my age with ageism and sexism very much alive. That won’t stop me, even if I get frustrated.
I have many friends whom I adore. Many whom have been there for me through the thick of it all. I’ve made many new friends and new friends are awesome. They are entirely yours, and you don’t have any opportunity to be triggered by the past. That said, I still treasure the old friends that I have.
I got through the past three years taking photos and thinking a lot about my future. I don’t know where the future will take me when it comes to relationships and romances. Quite frankly, I look at these experiences are one day at a time opportunities without investing my dreams into them. I look at my future as only me, because it’s only me that I can depend on. We’ll see where it goes.
Once thing for certain, with every mountain you climb, there will always be another in the distance if you keep on forging ahead.