As I continued to live in the moment of each day at the height of a glorious down-under summer and enjoying my walks in the early mornings, and the views to the valley; my soul continued to wrestle with itself in a search for an answer to my identity. It is difficult to explain how entangled a person becomes in a partnership spanning some 40 years. You become half of a whole, acting in unison.You feel responsible for the happiness of your other half which you believe will therefore also bring about the happiness of the whole.
When this does not happen, when the happiness does not come to the other half, when that half falls over, then the whole deck of cards falls down with it. Their happiness, your happiness. As you are actually half of that whole, you too fall over. All the time you grapple with the conflict of being pulled down by your other half, of not surviving as half of a whole, yet at the same time still feeling responsible for the survival of the whole.
When such an entangled partnership ends suddenly through no choice of your own, there is still care there even for the person who inflicted so much pain by the action of leaving. To develop an emotional detachment from that person or an indifference is the exact opposite to the way you have behaved for forty years. Yet such a detachment is vital for one’s own happiness and sense of self.
I previously posted when I reached that point and made the decision to emotionally detach. However, before I was able to do that, it was necessary for me to go through a process of accepting certain things and disentangling myself from each of those things. This did not happen all at once but over a period of time. Firstly, I had to accept that I was not responsible for my husband’s happiness, not now or ever, even when we were together. Secondly, I accepted that I was not responsible for his actions or behaviour. Thus, as long as I remained considerate and behaved calmly and with care and compassion, it was not my responsibility for his reaction to anything I may say or do. Thirdly, I accepted that the person I wanted my partner to be was in conflict with the way he actually behaved by the actions that he took …. and that hurt. Fourthly, I accepted I had a right to my own needs, to my own opinion and to be treated fairly. I had a right to voice that. Fifthly, I accepted that I can survive and thrive without this relationship. I do not need it. I will make it on my own.
There was one last step. I had to let go of the hook; that emotional, psychological stake of the guilt – “Can’t we be friends for the sake of the children“ – tearing at my heartstrings, knowing that I love my children more than life itself and not wanting to cause them any more grief.
Yet for my own self-preservation, I had to do let go of that too. I had to disentangle myself from the union as a whole and see myself as me, myself, and I.
“There was one last step. I had to let go of the hook; that emotional, psychological stake of the guilt – “Can’t we be friends for the sake of the children“ – tearing at my heartstrings, knowing that I love my children more than life itself and not wanting to cause them any more grief.
Yet for my own self-preservation, I had to do let go of that too. I had to disentangle myself from the union as a whole and see myself as me, myself, and I.”
I think this is/was the toughest part …
Yes very difficult to stand aside from your role as a mother to see yourself truly as ‘you’ underneath it all.
You’re really covering all the bases well. I was just thinking of how I’m so used to making decisions based on being “half of a whole” as you put it. It’s the accommodating approach, the hedged approach, the up-front compromising approach based on what is calculated to be a mutually acceptable choice. Being single is certainly a paradigm shift.
Thank you for sharing your journey on here. It can’t be easy. I continue to wish you well, your children too and yeah even your ex 😉 Be blessed.
Your strength is inspirational and awesome…and not in the teenaged “totally cool” way, but the awesome as in “I just observed the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon”…praying for all the others out there like us.
Your strength is inspiring and awesome…not in the teenaged “awesome” sense, but more the “I just observed the Grand Canyon” awesomeness. Praying for all those out there like us and the turmoil we pass through to make it to the other side of grief.
Woe! That is such a compliment to me. I feel so encouraged. best wishes to you too.
Sorry that was meant to be ‘Wow! I think I need an editor. 🙂
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Beautiful. Your writing is poignant and captures exactly my train of thought. But while I think these things logically, my emotions are much, much slower to respond. All in time. You give me hope that thoughts do become reality. xoxo
Yes, it all takes time. We have to learn to be kind to ourselves and take it slowly. We need to understand that the healing process cannot be rushed.
You are doing great. Keep on keeping on. 🙂