Since returning home, I have begun sorting through my boxes, some of which I have not been able to previously tackle as they hold records of family ventures, travel, community involvement and business projects that I shared with my ex-husband. Now with the marital settlement finally finished, the business sold, the company financials complete and nothing pressing hanging over my head that I must get done; I have started sorting. What I have noticed going through these boxes is that things have changed in my head in two very significant ways. I could never have envisioned or predicted either of them.
The first thing is there has been an emotional detachment of sorts, from the bond I had in my marriage. As I am sorting through, if I come across an item such as a letter that would have previously made me sad (grief phase), angry (resentment phase), or sick (disgusted phase), now it conjures up no feelings whatsoever. Things I am coming across to do with my ex-husband, I am throwing non-nonchalantly in the rubbish bin without a backwards glance. I am not thinking of the relationship in either a positive or negative way. As far as the relationship is concerned, I do feel I am “over it”.
When I come across something to do with a shared project, because there is now this detachment from the marital bond, I see myself having participated in these projects and being proud of what I did as an individual detached from any association with him. This is weird in a way, as it not the way they happened but it now how I see them. I do not feel any pain, or anger, or sadness, or shame.
The second thing I have noticed as I have begun sorting is some items will trigger thoughts of past events and I am now seeing those past events as an independent witness, rather than as I was back then as the supportive wife. As an independent witness, I can more clearly look at the fairness or otherwise of past events. I can see sometimes I went along with activities or ventures that were not my choosing, or were done in different ways than I would have done. That was fine when I was the supportive wife as I was happy to compromise, as one does in marriage. I was very happy with that compromised situation throughout my entire marriage. Now, with the emotional detachment that has occurred and looking through the eyes of an independent witness, I am not seeing myself as that supportive wife but rather I am seeing myself as me, as my own person. As I begin to see myself as me with my own needs and beliefs and values, I am now also getting flashes of my own feelings, feelings that I experienced at the time of those past events, feelings that I buried. I am feeling feelings of long ago and those feelings are my feelings.
The feelings are coming to me in little breaths, in little heart beats. Generally they are not overwhelming and are gone almost as quickly as they came. However, sometimes I have had to take some time out to catch my breath, and to allow myself the time and space to feel my own feelings and to tell myself that it is OK to feel my own feelings, even those feelings from many years ago. One day, I felt more deeply than a heart-beat and I had to get away and I went into town and spent the afternoon at the library. The feelings that I was suddenly feeling were very strong and I needed some space to get my thoughts straight.
So this is a bit topsy-turvy. On one hand, I have this strange detachment, this emptiness of any feeling. On the other hand, I am getting these flashes of deep feelings from yesteryear.
This is the second post in a series on feeling my feelings.
I’m not a psychologist, but I think that is a positive reaction and shows that where you have no feelings it isn’t because of disassociation or numbness – it really means that you have worked through those things and are “over them”. The feelings you suppressed or repressed at the time now have an open line to the surface and you can finally express them. Surely that has to be a good thing? You are doing fine, Elizabeth! Hugs xx
I think so. I think I had to fully detach from the relationship before I could really see and feel things from my perspective. That is a good thing. Thanks.
Great post Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing! This is where you are … Embrace the paradox of being human. Detachment and being n observer is so helpful in getting perspective and clarity as you move forward.
The emotions are real and in the present – even although they connect to past events. Really let yourself feel them fully so you can heal those wounds that you didn’t know you had. When my 26 year marriage ended I found out that I had never really let myself feel fully since I was a child. There is great growth here Elizabeth. Step into your new shoes and life!
I am discovering that too Val, that I have not fully let myself feel since I was a child. I am finding it a luxury to now do that. Even though sometimes it is a bit painful, it is truly me, and that is a good thing. Thanks for sharing your experience with me.
There is an unravelling and letting go taking place as well as a rearrangement to create a foundation for the next chapter of your life. Be with it all as an explorer and experimenter Elizabeth!
You describe this so well and it explains what IS going on. Thanks for this Val. i really appreciate it.
Yes, I think the detachment has been a real plus as far as owning my own true self now and forever. Thanks for your support.
You describe this change in feelings very well. I can identify with it as I too have an ex. When I think how we raised two children together and created a life and a home together, I see it as a partnership that for the most part was successful, but at the same time, looking back, there is a lack of feeling about the one-on-one relationship.
It feels weird as up until the break-up (or even for sometime afterwards) the bond was still there, and to look back now and not feel that bond is very strange. Yet, the positive of detachment from that bond is finally owning my own soul – completely. Thanks for sharing your experience with me.
Wow. I still sometimes tear up at finding something unexpected. But it is more the loss of the dream we had than the loss of the actual person. I hope eventually this changes. You have made great strides in a relatively short time. Keep on truckin’, Elizabeth. Rooting from afar.
Oh, yes .. I still do tear up at the loss of the dream and I do not think that factor will ever change. However, I am starting to accept that perhaps some bits of the dream had a cloud and that cloud was a loss of the real me in the relationship.
The feelings from yesteryear are feelings you did not allow yourself to feel at the time in favour of being the supportive wife? If so, what you’ve written makes total sense to me Elizabeth! ❤
We are allowed to wish things had gone differently, Elizabeth. It may have been easier together but maybe someday you will feel like you “own” yourself and exist in a more complete way. I feel relief and more uninhibited, I hope you will, too. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. It is always great to hear from you and know that someone ahead of me is doing so marvellously as well as you.
This sounds like a marvelous outlook and I hope to be a fairly good example, Elizabeth!
You are really going deep within Elizabeth and finding the source of your pain. This always brings us freedom and the chance to experience life more fully. Well done, you are inspiring.
Tanks for your understanding.
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I think this post perfectly illustrates how you are finding your true self, your voice as you put it, seeing the old you from an outsider’s perspective. xx
It is quite a journey, finding the true me. I never realized that it would take so long.
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