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Letting go of anger and resentment

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cleo posted 7/8/2014 09:41 AM

I was married to a narcissistic serial cheater (he hid it well) for 27 years. I did not know or understand what was going on until the last 5 years of our marriage, which we spent in various forms of counseling. He put me and our 3 children through hell. I finally got the strength to leave after the last affair and realization that all the counseling in the world was not going to change him.

It has been a year since our divorce was final, WS is happily now introducing his OW to family, has a great job, vacations, lots of money.....and
I am struggling financially and emotionally. His mom - who I felt closer to than my own mother (who has passed away) has decided not to judge WS, believes his lies, and has pushed me away and embraced OW. I am so stuck in resentment and bitterness. I am in school full time to pursue a career that will allow me to support myself, which is good, but other than that I am so stuck. I have obsessive thoughts about everything that happened and can't seem to stop it.

I know this is eating me alive and I need to stop it and move on. Does anyone have suggestions on good books or other ways to deal with this. I am thinking about going back to counseling, but right now I have no insurance.

cayc posted 7/8/2014 10:25 AM

I'm reading "How to heal from your break up" right now. You might find it helpful because it has exercises it in, it's not just a read for advice kind of book. It is written from the perspectiven of "being left" which means it has a good understanding of the "but why me?" feeling that's part of your hurt.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Getting over this takes effort. And it's not linear. You're going to definitely experience the two steps forward, one step back phenonmena for quite some time. I'm 2 years from D and 3 years from realizing that I was conned for a decade and robbed of the chance to have children.

I feel like a trainwreck, but when I look back, it's obvious I've come a long way and am really doing so much better. It'll happen for you too. Just take it one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. Not giving up is actually the key.


WeepingBuddhist posted 7/8/2014 10:54 AM

It's so hard to do on your own. (((cleo))) if you're up for reading, I would strongly recommend "Radical Acceptance" by Tara Brach. I came across it when I was looking for divorce books at my library and it totally changed how I approached the objectively shitty next year of my life. I still struggle with resentment and all that comes with having been betrayed by someone I love, but when those feelings come up, I can acknowledge them and just keep moving.

SBB posted 7/8/2014 19:44 PM

I'm 2 years out and have hit a rough patch again. He gets to enjoy the spoils of a career I helped him build (and sacrificed my M for) while I sit here struggling to balance work, life and money. I'm in a career I love but that is incompatible with having children. I didn't invest in my career because we both needed to focus on his and we'd all enjoy the rewards, right?

I had children I can't afford on my own AND have any semblance of a financial future. It is a no-brainer but it's still a bitter pill to swallow.

He isn't happier - he has just found another hole to hide in. His demons still chase him and will do for the rest of his life.

What sucks is I'm still stuck in the wasteland of the lie of a life he defrauded me into.

The resentment is building. I'm healing and growing which is the hard path but damn if this part doesn't chap my arse. I'll be looking up these books as the resentment will only hurt me and my little girls.

I remind myself that as much as it sucks to be me sometimes my life is still a million times better than when I was in that fraud of an M. That doesn't really help with the regret though.

PhoenixRisen posted 7/8/2014 21:19 PM

Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On by Cynthia Zayn
Also it helps to get really involved in a hobby (if only for the distraction). A charity is best as working with others struggling (homeless, abuse, drugs, etc) can really help you realize how lucky you are to have the life you now have. And helping others can give you a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and connection that had most like taken a hit with an NPD.

cleo posted 7/8/2014 22:19 PM

I really appreciate the advice and book suggestions - and will be checking those out. Phoenixrisen - have done some volunteering through church, but would like to do more....your suggestions are good! I will look to see what is out there. Next month I will be in a fulltime school schedule/clinicals for an ultrasound program that will last 18 months, so hoping being very busy will be a good thing.

Hugs to all who are struggling with similar feelings of resentment and bitterness - Its my hope and prayer we can heal and come to a place where we are not suffering anymore from the events of the past, and we can move forward to a happier life.

fireproof posted 7/8/2014 22:28 PM

I think what was most helpful looking back is the notion he changed - that simple.

There is no right - I think a lot has to do with out view of injustice.

The reality is we are taking our own poison- granted it is there in huge amounts but we choose to take it or to spend the energy on our goals.

Good luck! I think it is great you are going back to school and until that time branch out and keep active. You will hit upon something or a lot of somethings

wontdefineme posted 7/8/2014 23:21 PM

Melanie Tonia Evans. Her information just about helped me out I'd the funk. But the damage is deep and takes time to understand how we allowed them to treat us how they did.

I'm in the same boat,about the same age, school to be able to support myself while he lives the life he got because I supported him emotionally, raised the kids, did all the house, finances and anything that was required to have a family.

While they have the money, availability to have fun, lots of partners, it is empty experiences because they area empty. Sex and women are a means to an end, their insecurities and the need for them to feel worthwhile. Every women will be a victim, every experience won't fill their blackened empty soul.

We on the other hand have achieved more emotionally than they ever will. Still doesn't help when we struggle and we can't move on as quickly as they did. But I am blessed because I no longer have to put up or wake up to him anymore.

norabird posted 7/9/2014 10:23 AM

I love what wontdefineme says.

I read "Living and Loving After Betrayal" by Steven Stosny, and "The Grief Club" by Melody Beattie. Also some breakup books--you could try The Breakup Bible by Rachel Sussman or Getting Over Your Breakup by Susan Elliott, both have useful exercises.

I struggle with knowing that he is continuing his same awful patterns without punishment, and have to try and remember that to be wired the way he is, to be inauthentic, to need external validation, to be deeply lacking in self confidence and very insecure, to see the world as only being about power and success...that's awful, and I prefer to be who I am even if it meant being lied to.

I can't imagine having lost so many years to this type of person however, so I think the work to overcome the resentment will be long and hard. You are worth doing that work though. It is normal to struggle with these feelings, but you can come out from under them, eventually.

I'm so sorry that your MIL is adding to the hurt. I wish the healing process weren't so long and I hope you can find peace.

cleo posted 7/9/2014 20:08 PM

Wontdefineme: I came across 3 videos from Melanie Tonia Edwards late last night after googling the book Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On. I really could relate to the first I am going to watch the other two. What she was saying sure made sense. Hope to find some help there with the obsessive thoughts and negativity - talk therapy has not helped me much.

Norabird, I will definitely check out those books you recommended. I am also thinking about doing Celebrate Recovery. I did a 12 step program when I was with my Ex through Sex Addiction/Codep counseling - but that was a few years ago.

I do think my FOO issues makes it harder for me to heal. My Dad abandoned our family when I was 6 to go off with an OW and start a new family , then my Mom dated a series of abusive, alcoholic men. I never wanted my kids to grow up in a single parent home, I think that is why I did not want to recognize some of my Ex's behaviors for so long, and why I tried so much counseling with him to work things out. 6 months after I left my Ex at the end of 2012, I almost felt like I was beginning to heal, but then the last 6 months after my MIL hurt me by defending Ex, I feel like I am just falling apart again - so maybe I was not healing after all.

So tired of obsessive thoughts - basically reliving all the bad stuff all the time, and rehearsing what to say to my MIL to make her understand she is being lied to by Ex. I was very close to her for 27 years, I guess that is why it hurts so much.

cleo posted 7/9/2014 21:06 PM

ok, listened to all three of the youtube videos for Melanie Tonia Edwards. It was all good until the middle of the third one, she lost me there. I guess a bit too "new age" for me, something felt weird with the healing part of the video. Tried to keep an open mind, but she just lost me. Some interesting ideas though.

Salt posted 7/10/2014 17:34 PM

Hi Cleo,
I am new to this site, but I am a few years out as well. I read the Grief Club and it helped me considerably. It really is a two steps forward one step back non-linear experience.

Early on I got ptsd from the experience of the betrayal. What helped me was to write emails to ex and express everything I felt. I never sent these to him, I sent them all to myself only, but used the method as a means to release all of the pent up feelings inside. Sending emails that I addressed to him and writing to him (but sending to myself) really helped me to release the intrusive painful thoughts/remembrances I was having.

I am 54 years old, and starting over in a lot of ways. I certainly wasn't expecting to be in this place but that's just how it is. So I must find a way through it. I do understand how it feels.

cleo posted 7/10/2014 22:50 PM

Hi Salt, thanks for your input, I am so sorry you find yourself here as well, hopefully we can heal and work toward a positive happy future. I do believe it is hard after 50 to start over. Just trying to think of it as an adventure!

I just got the book "Living and Loving After Betrayal" that was suggested, and so far it is good. I did look at the Grief Club, but it looked like a book for those whose loved ones had died. So if you are recommending it I guess it is good for other losses as well?

Salt posted 7/10/2014 22:58 PM

Yes. It's a book about all sorts of loss. Dealing with change.

wontdefineme posted 7/11/2014 00:54 AM

Go to Melanie's website and when you sign up to receive emails you will get two downloads. Best information I read. There are also a lot of her radio shows to listen to. Yes she is a little out there sometimes, but take the info that you need about healing after narcissistic abuse.

burnt_toast posted 7/11/2014 23:44 PM

Hi Cleo, just passing by and saw your post. It made me want to hug you. So there ((((Cleo)))

It took me seven years to let go of the anger. I'd wanted it so much to be gone. The more I'd work on it, the more it'd seem to cling...

The unfortunate part is I have no recipe for you. For me it happened all within a few months. I was in the process of leaving my then-partner and something clicked. And I surprised myself : I could have genuine compassion for some aspects of the end of our M. I could see it all : both the hard choices he faced and his terrible choices. Feel the compassion without letting him off the hook. This is how it felt for me.

On a cognitive level, I realized blaming him for disrupting the course of my life was hampering my ability to rebuild a happy life of my own with the cards I have, not the ones I wished I'd still have. I guess I was ready to move on and take ownership, thus breaking up with my post-D 5-year partner. It was part of very long process. There was some IC involved, but strangely, we barely mentioned the XH. It was about choosing myself through other non-related (were they?) difficulties I had at the time.

I think you should know is that there is another task that comes after letting go. As much as we move forward after the D (going to school is awesome, you won't regret it!) as long as we carry that blaming voice inside that keeps turning back to our X, we also cling to the things that were stolen from us and refusing to let go of them. Once I forgave, I found myself terribly alone, with the daunting task to come to terms with the fact that seven years later, my life is not at all what and where I want it to be, that some of the great things I enjoyed in my married time are gone forever, and taking full responsibility for what I'll do next about that. I've been greiving my eyes out lately for things I thought I was done with, at first surprizing myself, but it seems like the natural evolution of things. I don't know if that makes sense to you.

But perhaps, that's another story (and perhaps, another post?).

Ahhh, greif. Such a journey, barely a destination, it seems, at least some days.

I can't explain how exactly that happened, but I figured it would be worth someting to describe how it felt. And to tell you it can take some time, but it can happen.

[This message edited by burnt_toast at 11:53 PM, July 11th (Friday)]

Salt posted 7/12/2014 00:48 AM

Once I forgave, I found myself terribly alone, with the daunting task to come to terms with the fact that seven years later, my life is not at all what and where I want it to be, that some of the great things I enjoyed in my married time are gone forever, and taking full responsibility for what I'll do next about that.

This is so true. Life isn't fair. There's a lot that's changed in my life as well. I work at making the best of what I have now. I believe there's a purpose in everything.

There is so much that is unfair that happens in the world. So much suffering. What helps me is to remember what I do have, what I can be grateful for. I try to put my problems in perspective. And I seek greater purpose in my life now.

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