I feel cheated. Not just cheated on but cheated out of the M that I thought I had. Cheated out of the good man I thought I picked.
It's A season/anti versary time for me so it's been a little more difficult lately. I know that I was real and authentic and I did my best with what information I had. That still doesn't change the fact that I'm now left in this place where I don't want to reminisce or remember. I would rather - save except for the birth of my kids - block it all out. I sometimes pray for that gift of compartmentalization that these fuckers have been blessed with.
It's almost 20 years worth of stuff. From grad school to first good jobs, first homes, to kids, all of it. It's all just a big blur of gray. It pisses me off that he gets to walk off into the sunset with whatever memories he chooses to take and, once again, I'm left here to pick up pieces, try to reconcile the past, and wonder if anyone will ever be worth this time and effort again.
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." ~ Bob Marley
"Diamonds aren't a girl's best friend, freedom is."
I feel cheated. Not just cheated on but cheated out of the M that I thought I had. Cheated out of the good man I thought I picked.
I can relate suckstobeme. I really had complete faith in him, our lives together and that we were both in this together. It turns out I spent the last 10 years married but alone. Everything that I thought was "we" was really all me. All the really good decisions I thought "we" made that got us from impulsive, broke and married teen parents to 20-somethings with a solid marriage, great kids, a beautiful home and everything we needed was really an illusion built on top of a ticking time bomb.
I know my experiences were real no matter what was going on with him but a big part of that experience was feeling like I was in this WITH him when in reality he was physically there but not mentally there. The emotions I felt he only mirrored. The memories I made, he doesn't share because everything is twisted into feeding his delusions about himself as center of the universe and the only one that matters.
It's so hard to reconcile the differences between what I thought was real and what actually happened over the course of 10 years knowing what I know now.
[This message edited by Housefulloflove at 3:50 PM, October 21st (Monday)]
I have also been feeling like you. I am quite bitter about it actually. I feel like the last 15 years of my life were a facade, a lie, and it is hard to feel good about anything about it now.
My stbx was/is also deceptive, conflict avoidant and passive aggressive. He would say I was passive aggressive, but I'd say now that was a whopper of a projection. I think he got a thrill out of getting away with something, fucking me over behind my back because he was too cowardly to communicate.
I feel cheated and a little dumb for falling for it. Who I thought was a strong, silent, patient, loving, loyal kind man was really a scared, cowardly, lying, cheating, dark and broken soul who doesn't even love him self enough to truly love others.
He really was giving very little...he was just along for the ride and I was driving. I filled in the blanks for him. Those who cheat and say their needs weren't being met are usually the ones who weren't giving enough not getting enough.
I agree that it so unfair that they seem to get off scot free while we pick up the pieces. But, you said it right when you said you were real and authentic and did your best. You can sleep at night, and if you did what he did you would not be able to live with yourself.
I not know what to do with all this anger and resentment. I don't want to be that person... BUT I want justice man...everyone says all you can hope for is apathy...and that sounds so lame about right now!
By ANNA FELS
AS a psychiatrist I find that friends frequently seek me out to discuss problematic events in their lives; it comes with the territory and I’m usually happy to do it. But I was surprised and shaken to hear from an old friend that her husband of nearly 25 years had long been accruing and hiding from her a huge credit card debt (in the six figures). Even after divulging his secret, the husband had lied about the amount, with the sum increasing every time it was discussed. And right from the start, he refused to document where the money was spent. He left it for his wife to ruminate on, trying to puzzle it out. The disclosure wreaked financial and emotional havoc on their family.
After my initial shock at this unsuspected betrayal, I began to recall patients I had seen whose situations were not that dissimilar. They were people who had suddenly discovered that their life, as they knew it, was based on a long-term falsehood. They were people who might have stumbled across family secrets on the Internet or found old bills from a spouse’s long-hidden liaisons.
This predicament, a sudden revelation of new, pivotal information about one’s life, is the subject of many memoirs: Bliss Broyard, in “One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life — A Story of Race and Family Secrets,” discovers shortly before her father’s death that his family of origin was black and that he had “passed” for white. Katha Pollitt, in “Learning to Drive,” writes about discovering the infidelity of her long-term partner. Geoffrey Wolff, in “The Duke of Deception,” unearths evidence that his father had lied about virtually every aspect of his past: his religion, education, career and military record.
But what if you’re not a writer and don’t have the option of metabolizing this kind of toxic experience through the process of writing? Most of us can’t seize control of the narrative by publishing our side of the story or get the sweet revenge of going public with the other’s misdeeds.
Discoveries of such secrets typically bring on tumultuous crises. Ironically, however, in my clinical experience, it is often the person who lied or cheated who has the easier time. People who transgressed might feel self-loathing, regret or shame. But they have the possibility of change going forward, and their sense of their own narrative, problematic though it may be, is intact. They knew all along what they were doing and made their own decisions. They may have made bad choices, but at least those were their own and under their control. Now they can make new, better choices.
And to an astonishing extent, the social blowback for such miscreants is often transient and relatively minor. They can change! Our culture, in fact, wholeheartedly supports such “new beginnings” — even celebrates them. It has a soft spot for the prodigal sons and daughters who set about repairing their ways, for tales of people starting over: reformed addicts, unfaithful spouses who rededicate themselves to family, convicted felons who find redemption in religion. Talk shows thrive on these tales. Perhaps it’s part of our powerful national belief in self-help and self-creation. It’s never too late to start anew.
But for the people who have been lied to, something more pervasive and disturbing occurs. They castigate themselves about why they didn’t suspect what was going on. The emotions they feel, while seemingly more benign than those of the perpetrator, may in the long run be more corrosive: humiliation, embarrassment, a sense of having been naïve or blind, alienation from those who knew the truth all along and, worst of all, bitterness.
Insidiously, the new information disrupts their sense of their own past, undermining the veracity of their personal history. Like a computer file corrupted by a virus, their life narrative has been invaded. Memories are now suspect: what was really going on that day? Why did the spouse suddenly buy a second phone “for work” several years ago? Did a friend know the truth even as they vacationed together? Compulsively going over past events in light of their recently acquired (and unwelcome) knowledge, such patients struggle to integrate the new version of reality. For many people, this discrediting of their experience is hard to accept. It’s as if they are constantly reviewing their past lives on a dual screen: the life they experienced on one side and the new “true” version on the other. But putting a story together about this kind of disjunctive past can be arduous.
Understandably, some feel cynical if not downright paranoid. How can they know what is real going forward? How can they integrate these new “facts” about family, origin, religion, race or fidelity? Do they have to be suspicious if they form a new relationship? As my friend said in despair, “I’m just not a snoop; it’s not in my genes.”
And the social response to people who have suffered such life-transforming disclosures, well meaning as it is intended to be, is often less than supportive. Our culture may embrace the redeemed sinner, but the person victimized — not so much. Lack of control over their destiny makes people queasy. Friends often unconsciously blame the victim, asking whether the betrayed person really “knew at some level” what was going on and had just been “in denial” about it. But the betrayed are usually as savvy as the rest of us. When one woman I know asked her husband, a closet alcoholic who drank secretly late at night, how he could have hidden his addiction for so long, he replied, “It took a lot of work.”
FREQUENTLY, a year or even less after the discovery of a longstanding lie, the victims are counseled to move on, to put it all behind them and stay focused on the future. But it’s not so easy to move on when there’s no solid narrative ground to stand on. Perhaps this is why many patients conclude in their therapy that it’s not the actions or betrayal that they most resent, it’s the lies.
In this situation, therapy can be one path to reclaiming your past. Creating a coherent narrative of one’s life has long been seen as a central goal of psychotherapy. It provides the internal structure that helps us predict and regulate future actions and feelings. It creates a stable sense of self. But if, to quote Louis Cozolino, a psychologist who writes on the neuroscience of therapy, “memory is a form of internal enactment of whatever is being recalled,” how do we retroactively create a life story out of events that were never experienced? There is a disturbing bifurcation: memory no longer corresponds to objective fact.
As a psychiatrist, I can tell you that it’s often a painstaking process to reconstruct a coherent personal history piece by piece — one that acknowledges the deception while reaffirming the actual life experience. Yet it’s work that needs to be done. Moving forward in life is hard or even, at times, impossible, without owning a narrative of one’s past. Isak Dinesen has been quoted as saying “all sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.” Perhaps robbing someone of his or her story is the greatest betrayal of all.
I know exactly what you mean. I feel like my X's infidelity cheated me of my entire 20's and 30's. (dday was 1 month before my 40th bday).
But I try to look at the positive. I have been able to discover and enjoy music being created now while my siblings are stuck on music from the 70's and 80's (I actually conspire with their kids to hide all the old stuff when I am over at their house )
I can get rid of photos of me with big (bad) hair 80's.
That is tongue in cheek, but I do get exactly where you are coming from. It is hard to "divide" the memories into ones that I want (that include DD) and ones that I do not want. I am also struck with a bit of karma for him because I know that these memories do not bring him pain and so he has not blocked them. So ever time HE thinks of his 20's and 30's then I am likely in the memory and it is just a reminder of how much he lost and how much he fucked up. Ok, I realize that is not much comfort but I will take any I can get.
I am working to remember my good memories with my kids and simply leaving him out of any storytelling. My own compartmentalization, though I am not nearly as good at it as XPOS. His face will appear in my mind's eye when I think of memories because he was there, but I put effort into dismissing it and focusing on the memory without his involvement. I can't simply forget he was part of my life, as sucky as it is, because that is part of the reality. But I can make him simply a supporting actor in my mind not worthy of mentioning rather than one of the star performers. He was simply "there," kinda like what the weather was that day, and nothing more.
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man ~ Shakespeare, Hamlet
To get to be the me who I am now, I had to go on some kind of journey...we all did.
I refuse, even if it's delusional, to believe that the 20 years I spent with this man were a sham. I will not. I don't believe that I could have chosen so blindly...rather, I choose to believe that he turned on me.
I believe there was someone in him who I believed was there but time and circumstance and other people influenced him and he became someone I simply cannot relate to any longer.
I am more at ease, for I cannot say "happier"...I am more at ease believing this than that the first part of my adulthood was a ruined sham.
And, I did get two awesome kids out of it and some money eventually from a house...I would rather, now almost two years out, count the good things because I've spent two years already crying and counting the bad.
And...the rest of my life will be spent whatever the hell way I want!!!!!!!!!!
No more XPerv telling me my dreams are not going to happen, my belongings aren't of value and so on...I'm simply going to live.
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.