Holding on …….

ID-10073599. vlado

Feelings surrounding the ending of a marriage are similar to a grief process that one goes through when someone or something dies. However, any comparison with a death always breaks down for me whenever I got to the part where I am supposed to ‘integrate’ my loss by ‘holding on’ to happy memories and pride in the former relationship. That is because my memories have become confusing for me as to whether they happy, sad, or painful. Was everything that I previously held dear, a facade?

Recently I read a book on bereavement that described the situation where the one left behind had loved the dead person and yet had been treated poorly by them. In situations such as this, often the surviving ‘victim’ continually sees history through the other person’s eyes. In the book, the author suggests to ‘rewrite history’; and for the victim to go back over their life and to see everything through their own eyes.

The action of my husband suddenly leaving me, combined with the fact he then went on a tirade of running me down, markedly weakened my self-esteem. Whilst I have never believed I am worthless, it has been inevitable that some of the mud has stuck. In particular there are voices inside me that keep saying ‘you are not good enough’, ‘you could have done better’, ‘who you are and what you do is of no value’, ‘you do not deserve respect’ and all that is because ‘you do not matter’.

After reading the book, I realised some of that ‘mud’ was seeing things through his eyes, hearing his voice and not believing I mattered enough to put my own viewpoint across. I decided to go through the exercise suggested in the book of looking back over my life, of writing down my life through my eyes, and to leave behind his thoughts and opinions.

I relied on my memory for my early life and went through actual journals for events over the past 10 years. It was a time-consuming task. I spent the best part of a day reading and writing down events and aspects of my life. As I did, I made three remarkable discoveries.

1. I discovered that I am good enough. I always did the best I could do which was in fact in some situations a dozen times better than others could do in similar situations. What I did do and what I still do is of great value. I have made worthwhile contributions to my family, to my own self-achievements and to society. What I do, matters. As a person, I matter.

2. I realised not only was I not worthless but indeed the attitudes I had shown throughout my entire life could, given the right application, lead to great achievement. These attributes include a passion to learn; having a clear focus; hard work; a desire to be of service to others; the ability to push through self-doubt, set-backs and fatigue; and persistence.

3. My life, my marriage and my contributions to society have been successful. I am proud of what I have already achieved. I have not failed. I am proud of myself, my marriage and my family. I have happy and proud memories of what we did together as a family. Those memories are real. I will hold on to that and take that with me forever.

I will hold onto these discoveries as part of my inner core to provide me with strength.

You may ask what is so remarkable about these discoveries? What is the difference now compared to my previously written posts that spoke of my own inner strength to carve my own positive future? The difference now is I believe it. I believe it because when I looked back through my life (prior to my marriage ending), those negative voices of self-doubt did not exist. They are not my voice.

My own inner voice is one of optimism, resilience and of marching confidently forward to my own destiny.

That is the real me.


Image courtesy:[vlado]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

29 thoughts on “Holding on …….

  1. Very interesting. And I’m so happy for you. It’s an incredible accomplishment to journey out of despair and defeat into the place you are now. It doesn’t “just happen.” It involves a lot of diligent effort.

    I’m curious about the “I believe it.” I mean, I get it–that when you started down this path toward the vision of a “you” who is confident, resilient, hopeful (and I would add dependable, reliable)–you couldn’t be sure that you would find that person in yourself. But you had to have believed something, or you wouldn’t have had the motivation to begin the journey and keep working at getting there. What did you believe? What motivated you to work so hard?

    • Ah! This is the trouble when I split a very long post in two. The first half on its own does not make complete sense. πŸ™‚ I have now changed the last paragraph to “I believe it because when I looked back through my life (prior to my marriage ending), those negative voices did not exist. They are not my voice.”… The next post will reveal a bit more. I am off to work now but I will come back to you later for a more complete answer to your question.

    • I tried to find your email address so that I could reply privately and not finding one cannot go into specific details. Put simply – a few weeks ago, something happened that (although distressing at the time) has made me ‘see the light’. Whilst I DID previously have a vision of where I wanted to go and a belief in myself that I would indeed get there, this incident, whilst temporarily setting me tumbling backwards, has driven that conviction – of belief in myself – even deeper.

      I think maybe I need to send you my posts to edit before I publish them. I have changed my post twice since you messaged me this morning and what I was trying to say is now a lot clearer. By that I mean that it is also clearer to me, of the little step (or the big leap) that has actually occurred.

      • tracyleekarner (at) gmail (dot) com

        Interesting that you brought up editing. I’m sure you’re probably you’re own best editor, but to do so, takes time. To edit myself, I have to put enough distance between the inspiration and the editing phase. I usually need at least a week, enough time to become preoccupied by something else, to forget what compelled me to write, to look at it from the point of view of a reader (trying to understand) rather than as a writer (trying to communicate). That’s not very easy with blogging.

        Luckily, we have the opportunity to go back to our posts and rewrite whatever we want to write.

        Still, anytime you want to send anything to me, I’d be happy to read it.

        Also, my publisher has just started a new blog on their website with free writing help, about inspiration, motivation, tools for writers, editing, publishing. The tips are under the tab “writers’ help.” I think it’s going to be quite good, and their motive is to provide easy access to concise, really useful help for self-motivated writers.


      • Thanks. I will check out the website. Thanks also for your email address.
        You are correct that it is best to put some distance between writing and publishing. I usually do, but sometimes send it out straight away.
        I really do not know how these writers churn out a blog a day.

  2. “The difference now is I believe it. I believe it because when I looked back through my life (prior to my marriage ending), those negative voices of self-doubt did not exist. They are not my voice.”

    Wow! Elizabeth! I LOVE this post! The hairs on my arms stood up – it gave me shivers and brought a tear to my eye.

  3. Sometimes the best legacy of a failed marriage is who you’ve become. I wish we could learn only through joy but it seems pain carves the deepest, in ways necessary for growth. Sounds like you’ve learned through that–now open your arms for that joy when you’re ready:).

  4. Yes! Your blog is a testament to me to the fact that these discoveries about yourself are real. I’ve admired how you tackled this whole process head-on and have been unafraid to explore and delve into everything even though it’s by no means an easy process. Keep going! Keep building! Your achievements and success are not just in the past, they are clearly ongoing. Thanks for sharing with us. Happy belated new year xx

  5. Fantastic!!! What a powerful notion . . . that the voices in our heads may not be our own. So, so very true for me. The most destructive voice is not mine. I’ve just been conditioning myself to ignore that voice as much as possible, but the exercise you’ve gone through may do a better job of discrediting it altogether. I might tackle the same exercise to the best of my ability and see where it gets me. Happy for you!

    • It was an unexpected and empowering exercise. I have now done the same thing with our photos. Although they do not capture feelings or thoughts, they do capture one’s focus. It is amazing the difference in my photographs than his, even the same events. It astounds me.

  6. Hello Elizabeth,
    It occurred to me when reading this post that even your ex-husband may not believe his version of the marriage and of you. I think it’s likely he doesn’t and I’m glad you have stopped accepting his words as truth, and that you’ve replaced them with your own truth.

    • Your comment mystified me to begin with. However, when I think about it, you are correct. Deep down, I think he has more respect for me than he cares to admit.
      Thanks for this insight.

  7. In The four Agreements — one of the agreements is to ‘not take it personally’, whatever someone says about you — it is not about you but simply their version of you.

    I love how you have come to this so elegantly — you are good enough. And yes, it can hurt what others say — and still, we have a choice to pick up their words and carry them with us, or let them go.

    Love how you do this! Keep dancing!

  8. With two failed relationships behind me, I empathize with you on your points. How easily we allow someone else’s opinion of us colour our thoughts and bring us down. I’m happy you have overcome that. Good on ya, Elizabeth!

    • I have battled with that terminology in my own marriage. Did we ‘fail’? Did I ‘fail’? I try and look at the positives and now see that I put in as much effort as I could. I did the best that I could have done. The marriage ended, but I now see that does not mean that it was a failure. I have four wonderful children and pride in many successful joint projects as proof that it was not. It is simply that it (the marriage) did not serve us going forward.
      (Well actually it is not that simple, but I am trying to look at it like that πŸ™‚ )
      Thanks for your support, as always.

      • Ha ha, you are right, I used that word without thinking, and of course quite a lot of good came out of those relationships, so I shouldn’t view them as failures just because they couldn’t continue. Thanks for taking me to task. πŸ˜‰

  9. Heartbreaking experiences are normally the ones that catch our attention and help us on our way to integrating with the whole of ourself… Today is your day Elisabeth to post your awakening experience… is this ok… take care, Barbara x

  10. I have recently done a 180 in my own marriage and looking at life. We really never know what goes on in people’s lives… behind closed doors… unless of course we get a peek behind their glass walls and they invite us into their blogs! I love that we are the privileged that get to learn and grow and evolve on each other’s journys! We are the enlightened ones and you my dear are taking that walk with such class! I am inspired!

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