Hi Dom and Woes! Good to see ya'll. I remember you Chili. Lots of shenanigans back in the day! I remember seeing your username, BraveSirRobin.
Sisoon, I'm doing ok. I found a great doctor and the right medication. Energy kind of comes and goes depending on life stressors and weather. The cold is brutal so I kind of hate this time of year, knowing winter is breathing down our necks. Living with this is just my "new normal". Good days, bad days. Kinda like the reconciliation roller coaster.
How did you do it? What gave you the courage to try?
Well. I didn't actually set out on a "mission" to forgive. It just kind of happened over time as I dug into my whys and flaws.
It started when someone asked me why I was holding myself responsible for things beyond my control.
If we would never dream of holding a victim of abuse responsible for their abusers actions, then why in the world would we hold ourselves responsible? It's beyond our control. It's not my fault he did those things. I had to give 17 year old me the same grace that she so readily gave to others. She did nothing to merit the isolation, being held against her will, being screamed at, and him threatening to unalive himself to keep her locked in.
There are things in life I've done that I'm responsible for. There are other things far beyond my control. Yet I assumed the responsibility for ALL those things, because carrying them and not looking at them gave me a false sense of control. If I didn't look at them, I didn't have to deal with the re-opening of wounds, processing the emotions, and repairing the hurts.
There comes a point in life when you have to lay down the burdens. Don't be carrying them around just for the sake of carrying them, you know? If the whole point is to reconcile and rebuild, then why in the world would we carry in a bunch of baggage with us? It's like building a brand new dream house, and bringing in 2 storage units of crap just because you can't let go of it. You know you're not going to use any of it in the new house, but you just don't want to look at it, go through it, and get rid of it.
Maybe start with the things you couldn't control. Things you were victim to. Then slowly move to the things that you could have, but didn't. Baby steps and all.
Isn't that conceited of me to bestow forgiveness on myself? And if I do, will I then somehow let my guard down in other areas like communication and transparency? Sort of not being as vigilant?
I don't view it that way at all. I had to make the choice on whether I was going to let these events define me forever, or move on. My husband was moving on, so do I stay in neutral beating myself up for forever, or do I allow myself to cruise with him into the new life we built?
Once you build real solid boundaries, they're there. Once you build real communication, it's there. You use them every day. It's not like you're going to wake up with amnesia and forget what they are. As you do the work and healing, they become hardwired and automatic to you. So for example, back in the early days a BS would never dream of letting their WS communicate with someone without their knowledge, maybe even tagging in the conversation, whatever.
We're at the point where I'm working one on one with a guy, we communicate via text/call/in-person and it's a non-issue. I get a text from the guy and I'll buzz my husband, "Hey I'm talking to dude about blah, blah." And his response 100% of the time is, "So? Do what you need to do Babe. There's no reason to tell me." I've asked my husband if he'd like to be looped in. Nope. He doesn't care, he's not interested, I'm to take care of business.
Now I understand that maybe not every BS will get to that point. Some do, some don't. It's where we're at. I have the courtesy to tell him, even if I'm no longer required. It just further cements his trust. It further builds our communication. Forgiving and giving oneself grace doesn't mean our guard slips or communication disappears. It frees us from the burdens of the past to move more freely into the future.
There's a ton that's missing in my story. It took that long because about 2/3 in recovery, my husband decided to do something dumb. A mutually agreed upon boundary was crossed. He considered us reconciled at that point. But emotionally he was parked. He was packing some real anger and resentment and he crossed the boundary simply because he could. He literally said he didn't really care if it hurt me. He felt completely justified. I told him that I completely understood his anger and resentment. I understood what I put him through. But at this point, if HE considered us reconciled, yet wanted to cross boundaries, this was no longer 100% my burden to carry. It's time to figure himself out, work thru it, or we get out of this. We dealt with the bulk of that off-site because I'd posted about it and some people were pissed that I had the audacity to be hurt. I didn't have the mental energy to fight through this with my husband and on site. It was also then my health crashed. We essentially crawled under a rock and worked through it all quietly on our own.
Yeah, some people are 2 year healers, but some are longer. Ours probably would have been much shorter, if not for that big boundary thing. But it's ok. It's our story, our own timeline, and we still made it out the other side.