I almost don't recognize the person I was last year. I am 397 days from discovering my husband's affair - and 302 days from his disclosure of CSA.
This will ramble...
"THE TRICK FOR YOUR SELF ESTEEM IS TO SAY NO WHEN YOU MEAN NO, AND YES WHEN YOU MEAN YES." - said my therapist. I didn't understand then. I do now. I did not abuse my husband. I did not raise him. I am not responsible for his choices. But I am responsible for mine. I SHOULD HAVE SAID NO TO PORN when it made me uncomfortable. I SHOULD HAVE SAID NO to the drinking I started to feel bad about it. I SHOULD HAVE SAID NO to the flirtation with a friend. I SHOULD HAVE SAID NO to the lies and the hiding. I SHOULD HAVE SAID LEAVE when I first saw the signs of the affair. But I didn't. I thought it was my job to tolerate all of it because I was married, because I made a commitment, because I had kids, because he was abused. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Coulda, shoulda, woulda mean nothing and I am not accepting blame - but THINGS WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT had I stood up for my beliefs, my needs, my boundaries, my limits. For those of you questioning this, the answer is SAY NO WHEN YOU MEAN NO. Decisively, clearly and whole heartedly. Worst thing that will happen? You will love and care for yourself. Best thing? You might be the impetus your survivor needs to get his life together.
"THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS LOVE, ONLY ATTACHMENT." said my therapist. WHAT??? No, this is love. Love heals all. Love will save the day. LOVE LOVE LOVE. You know what, she was right. Love is amorphic, love is changing, love does not mean sacrificing yourself. I must LOVE ME. And LOVING someone who does not love themselves, or ATTACHING to someone not attached to themselves is a dangerous business. But alas, I am attached. But this attachment no longer means that I will take abuse. This attachment is here to support you - not to be something taken for granted or mistreated.
"SEPARATION IS ESSENTIAL IN A HEALTHY MARRIAGE" - Did she say separate??? I simply could not get my codependent head around this a year ago. He needed me. I had to be there for him. Right? Nope. I am a SEPARATE PERSON. I AM AN INDIVIDUAL. HE DOES NOT GET TO ABSORB ME nor do I get to absorb him. We are separate. The ecstacy of TOGETHERNESS can only come from two separate entities that join at will. Al-anon honestly helped this along for me. I lost me in his nose dive. Each day that he fell apart, more of me disappeared. This didn't help me - and it certainly didn't help him.
What is the essence of support? It is not holding the money bag for the bank robber, or driving the get away car. It is HOLDING FIRM to who you are, what you need, what you want, what you believe in - and turning toward your survivor and saying I CARE ABOUT YOU, I AM HERE FOR YOU. I followed my lost man down his crazy path, miserable yet proclaiming self sacrifice like a good martyr will. I did myself a MAJOR disservice - and I did nothing good for him. I remember once telling myself, in the throes of annihilation, that at least he would be able to trust me. I stood by right? I drove the get away car so he will be able to trust me going forward. THAT'S A LIE THAT WE CODEPENDENTS TELL OURSELVES EVERY DAY. When and if he gets healthy, he isn't going to trust the person who committed the crime with him. He's going to trust the person that loved themselves enough to say NO MORE.
This is my rant
And a pulse check on my progress.