This week marks 5 years from D-Day v1.0. I could not have imagined then what those 60 months would look like (or, quite frankly, how LONG they would really be).
For those who have followed, you've ridden the ups & downs, you've seen the hopes and the hopes dashed, you've listened to me gripe and complain, be at my lowest and my best. Thank you for taking that ride with me. To quote the late, great Jerry Garcia...what a long, strange trip it's been...
So, what have I learned thus far?
1. Whatever you think your time frame is for recovery, you're wrong. I thought "I'll beat that 2-5 years thing. Nope, didn't happen.
B. You can't reconcile by yourself. It takes two. Every. Single. Time.
III. You can't make your WS get it, no matter how hard you beat them over the head with it. Best to detach and work on yourself. That was a long, hard lesson I had to learn. Thanks for sticking with me on that one, Unhinged.
4. Give yourself grace & time to heal. Powering through a 22 hour road trip is one thing. Taking care of yourself while in the midst of this storm is another entirely. Healing is messy. It leaves a lot of scars. Those may or may not lead to a good story someday.
🖐. Not all IC/MCs are created the same. I've had experience with both all over the spectrum. Bad ICs make things worse (we are still unraveling things from my wife's first IC who convinced her that I was abusing her and she needed to leave immediately...because I yelled at her when she sent a text that said "Heartsick. Miss you." just 2 days after D-Day v1.0. Our original MC agreed that it was "abusive". The current MC laid out the difference between "abusive" and "traumatic". She's doing a great job working with Mrs. Cap to understand the difference. My current IC is also working with me on a variety of things, including being able to trust again. I'm quite grateful for our current counseling lineup. Experience truly does matter.
F. There are going to be some great internet strangers along the way that you will eventually call friends. Oldwounds, sisoon, ISSF, DaddyDom, W2BHA, and many others, you have walked alongside so wonderfully over these years. I cannot say thank you enough. And even an old RiverChicken fan like Unhinged can be a great guy to watch a ballgame with at 20th & Blake.
VII. Patience is a virtue...but it does ebb and flow. I've had patience. I've lost patience. I've had to get it back. Then I've had to change focus to regain a new patience. Dealing with your wife's A, especially with a story that changes/trickles out over 24 months isn't a straight line. Messy, messy, messy. It takes a lot of work, a lot of stamina, a lot of perseverance...and a lot of SI support to walk that path.
8. You will want to quit. More than once. And that's OK. We all get tired. This stuff wears you out, even if you have a perfectly remorseful WS from day 1. It's exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally & spiritually. Be kind to you. Eat. Sleep. Exercise. Cry. Vent
Rest when possible. Be good to you. You're the only you that you have.
I. When there's a REAL change in your WS, you will know it. It won't look or feel forced. It will be at a core level. They will be 100%, 180° different. You won't have to guess.
X. And sometimes...they are incapable of change. That is the one thing our first MC said that has actually resonated with me the entire time. What if Mrs. Cap CAN'T change? What if she is incapable? I didn't truly understand what was being asked, nor could I understand what the MC meant at the time. Now I understand. We are two broken people. One of us made the stupidest, most hurtful decision of their life. The real reconciliation is about what am I willing to accept and what glasses will I be wearing? They won't be those old rose-colored ones (moment of silence for Betty White...aka Rose Nyland), but they can be filled with either grace or bitterness. And I get to choose each day which ones I pick up.
There are many more things I have learned along the path. It's full of turns, potholes, detours & puddles. Sometimes you trudge forward slowly, sometimes it feels like a racecourse. Either way, it is an adventure, so enjoy the company of your fellow SI travelers along the way. Bear one another's burdens when possible. Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes!
[This message edited by CaptainRogers at 12:21 AM, Wednesday, January 5th]