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Author Topic: My Story Brigher than the fire around me

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My Story Brigher than the fire around me
OP: November 23, 2021, 06:07:14 PM
Hello friends,
It's been 11 years since my BD and as I reflect on the journey, in all of it's pain, anguish, shock, loss, fear, anger, and very dark nights of the soul, I feel it's important for those much earlier in this process to know you will make it and you will meet aspects of yourself you will love and be in awe of. I'm not the same person I was 11 years ago--though the inner essence of me is there, forged in fire with a warrior spirit and a knowing that I am indeed enough. I am enough to make it on my own financially, to raise a beautiful daughter completely alone, to sell a house and down size all of our memories and possessions, to purchase another home on my own, to have a rental property as another form of income, to start a new career as a coach for women in transition, and also with breast cancer patients. At a time when others are contemplating retirement, I was just tapped for a government position in a field where I can continue to make a difference. And my daughter, who was barely a teen at BD, has gone through much trauma due to her father completely abandoning her without a glance back, but has fought back, done the work in therapy, completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees with top honors and is now advocating for some of the most vulnerable children in her own profession.

I was in a long-term marriage that I thought was very happy and stable when I learned that my husband and very close friend--who I loved like a sister---were betraying me and her husband. I'm not a stupid or naive woman and I don't live with my head in the sand or in denial, but I didn't see this coming at all. When the news came out, I immediately went into shock and vomitted. I don't know how I survived the pain of what they did and the searing ongoing pain as they unapologetically and proudly carried on in front of me, our daughter and all of our mutual friends. And most people let them. They were too weak to stand on principle, integrity or to hold them accountable. Too worried about rocking the boat and impacting their comfortable lives in the messiness of mine.  My husband's family--who I had been very close to for 25 years--found both me and our daughter expendable in the end. We were merely collateral damage.

I didn't want to die in the sense of killing myself, but I didn't want to live either. I couldn't bear the pain, couldn't keep down food, couldn't imagine how to go on. Even breathing took effort. One night as I lay in a fetal position on my living room floor. I had a knowing that I did not have the right to leave my daughter without a parent.  I did not have the right to waste my precious life, all that I have to offer, all that I can contribute and the joy yet to be experienced, the milestones my daughter had yet to come and to celebrate. I knew I could not let the disregard and weakness of others dim my own light, take my hope, even my life and so I reached deep inside and started to think about what I was grateful for. Of course, my daughter, but nothing else came to me. In that moment I was completely bereft, without hope or perspective, and then I saw a dust bunny under the couch and I thought, "I'm grateful for dust bunnies." And then I started to laugh. It was a half sobbing, half laughing mess of emotions, but it was laughter nonetheless and it was a start--a pin prick of light in the utter blackness. And I got up and I went on and I am still going on.

I won't sugar-coat it. It's HARD. Betrayal, abandonment (I had a total vanisher), my daughter's broken heart and spirit, financial challenges, having to sell our house, start over, make almost all new friends, reinvent my professional self, learn to be completely self-sufficient, go through a breast lumpectomy and surgery for another two tumors a year later, experience stretches of real challenge and unanticipated distance from my daugher as she fought her own inner battles and worked to heal were all very challenging.  And all the while my husband was completely gone. He never tried, never hesitated, never looked back. He didn't even take any belongings. He just walked away from his life and his family. He has never even emailed to ask about our daughter nor reached out to her though she has the same cell phone number and email address.  And, yes, he was a truly good father once upon a time. It is exactly as if a body snatcher removed his soul and left an empty shell--tragic, heartbreaking and horrifying all at once.

I knew it would be unhealthy for me and for our daughter to stay attached to him so I was never tempted to check in on him or the OW via mutual acquaintances or social media. I have my pride and my sense of self and I won't compromise either one for him. I love the quotes: "Let go or be dragged. " and "Never make someone else a priority, who makes you an option." I deserved better and I wanted to role model more for my daughter. I had to know my worth if she was to know her own as a woman. So, I don't know what became of my exhusband or the OW. I believe they are still together, but it's neither here nor there to me. They don't get my energy, my thoughts my time or attention. You don't live a genuinely happy life by imploding the lives of others, so whatever thier lives are--separately or togehter-- is their own karma.

I have not dated. Not because I'm not open to it if someone came along who is truly deserving of me and who could enrich my life and vice versa, but I don't need someone else to be whole, to own a home, to be successful, to travel, to laugh, to entertain, to have friends, to volunteer, to make a differnce , to love myself and to love our daughter. And I have no plans just to "settle." I don't hate my ex and the other woman. As the saying goes, the opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference. I pity people who are so damaged and needy that nothing matters but themselves. People who can miss thier children's growing up, all of the milestones, all of the experiences and memories. I would not trade a minute of their lives for a minute of mine even in the darkest of times, because I kept my inner compass, my integrity, my strength, my dignity, and raised and extraordinary young woman. The rest is icing on the cake. And so on Christmas Eve, when my daughter is celebrating with her partner and family, I will not sit in aloneness, bitterness, anger or depression. I will once again, organize a walk through the holiday lights in my neighborhood, with hot chocolate under the stars, in my winter garden, and then these other women who would have been on their own will come in and warm themselves by the fire, while we laugh and eat, and share and celebrate and I will look foward to seeing my daughter on Christmas day.

I am not special. I am not stronger than you or more wise. I am just a human who experienced deep trauma, pain and loss and chose to rise anyway. And through this experience I've learned to be careful not to hold so tightly to any thing or any one that I lose or compromise myself. I've learned to make new traditions where former ones used to be and to make new friends in place of those who did not value me the way I valued them. Life is short. It's precious. Don't waste it waiting for someone else to become what you deserve and to come back and claim you before you go on with your life. Working with cancer patients, is a constant reminder that tomorrow is promised to no one and what occupies our mind, and how we spend our days, is how we spend our lives. There is not the proverbial "some day." LIfe comes to an end at some point, and no one should waste even a moment of it on someone who does not love and value you as much as you love and value them. Suffering and sacrificing don't make us better people or better and more worthy spouses, so choose wisely. I'm not saying not to stand if that is genuinely and completely for you and is enhancing your life, but know the difference and, as with the airline's advice to put your own oxygen mask on first, feed your own fire. Be your own hero and treat yourself with the loving kindness you would treat your most cherished friend or family member. You deserve nothing less. 

Sending strength and healing for your own journey,
Phoenix
"I survived because the fire that burned inside of me, burned brighter than the fire around me."
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Married 24 years
Together 30
D (young adult now)
BD 2010
He is a vanisher
Divorced 2016

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Brigher than the fire around me
#1: November 23, 2021, 06:18:35 PM
Beautiful post Phoenix and many wise words to those starting this journey.

I have nothing to add except to thank you for sharing in the wonderful way that you always do.
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"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

"You enrich my life and are a source of joy and consolation to me. But if I lose you, I will not, I must not spend the rest of my life in unhappiness."

" The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it". Flannery O'Connor

https://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/chapter-contents.html

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Brigher than the fire around me
#2: November 23, 2021, 06:20:00 PM
I drop in here several evenings a week because this place still has an important place in my heart. 

Thank you for your update, Phoenix.  You expressed many of my feelings regarding a vanisher. 

I also have thrived and moved forward, made new friends, made new hobbies, accomplished things I never thought possible. 

I hope you'll continue to drop in and share your life with us. 
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BD: 1/1/16
Together 15 years - married 7 years
His divorce final 7/26/16
Married the OW

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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Re: Brigher than the fire around me
#3: November 23, 2021, 06:51:57 PM
Congrats on getting tapped for the govt. position. Wise choice on their part.
Yes, you have been through the wringer and have risen from the ashes. "Let go or be dragged" helped me as well as "Barn´s burnt down, now I can see the moon" (by Masahide). You are special as you are the real Wonder Woman - no costume, but living the spirit of WW day to day. Sending a cyber hug,
FTT
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me 51
H 51
M 27
BD 1/15/ 10 then BD 8/21/10
D final 8/13

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Nas

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Brigher than the fire around me
#4: November 23, 2021, 06:54:50 PM
Good to read your update, Phoenix. I remember reading your helpful words when I first arrived here.
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#5: November 23, 2021, 09:55:31 PM
Thank you for writing, Phoenix.  I followed your story from the beginning, I am so glad to hear how you and your lovely daughter are.  I remember a poem that she wrote that you posted, I was already impressed with her then, I'm sure she is even more impressive now. 

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Brigher than the fire around me
#6: November 24, 2021, 01:45:28 AM
Dear Phoenix,

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experiences.  I remember your story when I first joined as well... In fact, I think you were one of the first people to engage with me when I joined....

UM
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Me - 58, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 14, D - 10
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

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Brigher than the fire around me
#7: November 24, 2021, 03:51:02 AM
Phoenix-

Thank you for the update. You give so much hope for better tomorrow’s . I am at the more beginning stages and although a very enlightened son, not so much my daughter.  Stories like yours when hope is dwindling is just what is needed sometimes as a wake up call that the downs in life are a season and the seasons will change. You have no idea how much these types of updates allow us to see the sun will shine again.
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H-54 W-58  M 7/6/91 Kids d-30 s-28 d-14 (dies 2009)
2013- moments of disconnect start
Aug 2016 promotion requires travel   
Oct 2017-total disconnect
Jan 2018- moved out H
Mar 2018- BD1 found old phone 3 EA ‘17-H in therapy
EA ow1-49,  EA-ow2 57, (EA- ow3-58 not reciprocated)
Sept ‘18 -2nd Home in new state H new job
Oct 2018-H moves home
Oct 2020 BD2 does not return home from B trip
Nov 2020 H move to 2nd home in other state OW4
Div filed-Dec ‘20   Div final-Feb ‘21
Oct 2021- XH moves in OW4
https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11796.

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Brigher than the fire around me
#8: November 24, 2021, 12:14:21 PM
Well done, Phoenix!  Life does get better when you focus on living your own life with the courage, dignity, strength and honesty that a Mlc'er can never hope to possess.
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Brigher than the fire around me
#9: November 24, 2021, 12:36:36 PM
Thank you, Phoenix. Among the things we learn in this community, probably the most important is what you exemplify - regardless of what happens with the MLCer, we are enough - actually, we aren’t just enough, we are strong and courageous and powerful. You built an entire life - one that is filled with purpose and joy. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
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Brigher than the fire around me
#10: November 24, 2021, 06:01:37 PM
I knew it would be unhealthy for me and for our daughter to stay attached to him so I was never tempted to check in on him or the OW via mutual acquaintances or social media. I have my pride and my sense of self and I won't compromise either one for him. I love the quotes: "Let go or be dragged. " and "Never make someone else a priority, who makes you an option."

Thank you Phoenix for your message and strength giving myself and others on this forum hope as we work to rebuild our lives.  I just blocked my W on social media and am working to detach as our divorce reaches its final stages.  I like the quotes "Let go or be dragged".   I am definitely letting go and looking forward to the future in my life.

HF 
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W - 42
M - 46
Together 19 years, M 17
2 kids
BD - July 2020
W Left Home - January 2021
W Filed for D - May 2021

 

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