marriage crisis

 

In this blog post, I will discuss the concept of power and control and how it relates to affair recovery. The goal of this article is to empower betrayed spouses at a time of marriage crisis, as well as help them find their inner power and understand what they can control and what they cannot.

By Sarah P.

This post was inspired by what I saw during a late night trip to the drugstore to pick up medication. Inspiration can come from the strangest sources.  As I navigated to the pharmacy at the back, I had to walk through isles full of garden décor at 50% off. What an odd offering for March.

I looked at all the garden décor to see what they could come up with next. They had so many different pieces of unrelated décor on the shelves together.

That is when it hit me, garden décor often can reflect life and life’s choices.

Marriage Crisis – The Marriage Saboteurs

Let’s begin with a laugh before we discuss the serious things.

As you browse it, I want you to ask yourself, who do I want to be after I find my frog is kissing another frog in the 50% off isle?

Who do these frogs think they are? These frogs are married to other people and they are stealing a kiss right in front of a gargoyle that looks a lot like Moe from The Simpsons. Then, there are even scarier gargoyles behind Moe and some garden gnomes who are not even paying attention. There is always fallout from people or frog’s poor choices.

The good news is…

We have a lot of choices about who we want to be when we find out our spouse has betrayed us.

So, who do you want to be? 

Choice A) A drunk gnome drinking moonshine with friends.

Oh, these guys have just emptied the last of that moonshine. There is going to be a gnome fight tonight. Are you going to go to the bar and drink with the gnomes? For many, that may seem like an appealing choice because you get to numb out. (Yay!) Except, it’s not yay at all.

Numbing out solves nothing. It actually delays looking at a problem. If you numb out, you delay finding a solution that serves your highest interests and the highest good of children, grandchildren, and/or fur babies.

If you do not look at the choices in front of you, the other person could very well be extorting your retirement money to an off-shore account. There is nothing like that experience to sober a person up.

Now, if you need to numb out for a while, I guess that is what you need to do. I am just reminding you that you alone are in control of your choices and destiny. You get to say where your ship sails.

It is normal to be so traumatized that you totally lose your sanity for a while. Being betrayed is insane and everyone reacts in their own way.

Numbing out or not, you must not forget that you are in the driver’s seat. Your wayward spouse will often do things to give you the illusion that your life is totally out of control. But, no matter how out of control your life seems, you still own your reactions. No one can take that from you, unless you give it away.

Choice B) Finding Your Religion

During a marriage crisis and/or traumatic times, many people find a relationship with a higher power, renew a relationship with a higher power, or deepen a relationship with a higher power. I will tell you that when life is falling apart, I am falling to my knees and praying to God and I know God.

Perhaps some of you have felt times in your lives where your guardian angel is around. It does not hurt calling on your guardian angel during these times. I will tell you I have both seen them with my eyes and felt them at various times in my life.

We all have them, no matter who we are. It does not matter if you even believe in God. You still have a force that guards you and looks out for your well-being. Guardian angels are not attached to any religion or dogma and can often be entirely separate from dogma. Sometimes, they are just the calm voice of reason in your mind that keeps you going.

Some people access them in different ways, but the best way is just to ask your guardian angel(s) to come to your side and to help carry you through this terrible time. Ask your angel to provide light and hope in your life and to provide little reminders that they are around and you are never alone.

Other people will feel the presence of relatives when they ask for guardian angels and that is also quite common. Quite often people will feel the presence of someone who has departed, but with whom they still share a deep connection. Loved ones are loved ones, whether they are here or beyond the so-called veil.

Love is the tie that crosses through time, space, and other dimensions to connect people. A body may die, but love does not die and the essence of who we are does not die.

Choice C) Diving Head First into Eastern Philosophies

Many people like this choice because it is spiritually uplifting and can be studied alongside other religious beliefs or it can serve as a spiritual anchor for people who don’t have any routine, spiritual practices.

Eastern philosophies help us learn how to meditate, how to think in ways that are different, and can provide natural solutions to the anxiety and fear caused by betrayal.

Although there are different Eastern philosophies, the National Alliance on Mental Health has found concrete benefits to studying Buddhism.

“Oṃ śhānti śhānti śhānti.” This mantra—meant to bring inner peace to those who chant it—is an example of the many connections between Buddhist teachings and mental health. Although Buddhism is primarily known as a spiritual tradition, it is also a lifestyle that encompasses the mind in almost all forms of practice. “Buddhism is known as the science of the mind,” clarified Jude Demers, a practicing Buddhist who lives with mental illness.

The practice of Buddhism puts the individual in the role of “scientist,” running experiments on their own mind to see what works for them. The idea is that through this process (known as mental training), a person can achieve inner peace. And according to Buddhist doctrine, happiness comes from inner peace.

The main form of mental training is meditation. Studies show that meditating has many mental health benefits such as reducing stress, anxiety and depression. It accomplishes this over time through teaching people to experience unproductive thoughts from a different perspective. Rather than letting a thought nag at someone’s state of mind, meditation teaches them to recognize that it is a thought with no benefit and then release it.

Meditation is accomplished in many ways—deep breathing, yoga, chanting—and its goal is to understand and control the mind in order to achieve enlightenment or nirvana. Nirvana is a mental state of peace and happiness; it is the highest state someone can achieve in Buddhism… Karma is an often-misunderstood Buddhist ideal. While most people see it as “what goes around comes around,” karma in Buddhism actually encompasses the idea that a person has the ability to change any circumstances they face in life. It is meant to be a doctrine of responsibility and empowerment. For a Buddhist, hope is a decision.” (1)

Changing Our Circumstances

I do believe that we have the ability to change any circumstance in our lives. If we are not ready to make outward changes in circumstances, we can make inward changes.

For example, if our spouse cheats and we are not ready to leave, we can consult a therapist who is skilled at teaching a betrayed spouse how to regain their power. In regaining one’s power, it will change how a person interacts with those around them.

All societies, even the microcosm of the extended family, can affect change on a small scale. If a betrayed wife was compliant in the past, she can become assertive after D-Day. She can change the way she talks to her husband by using an assertive tone. She can inform him that she makes decisions that are in the best interests of her children and then she must follow through on those decisions. This will give her strength and with strength comes a renewed hope.

In family systems psychology, the family is seen as a type of ecosystem that must maintain homeostasis in order to function. In plain language, all families have a status quo, even the most toxic families, and everyone has their role.

For example, if dad is an alcoholic and mom pours the booze down the drain and then cries to her teen daughter, we have several roles. Dad is the addict, mom is the codependent/enabler since she dumps rather than confronts, and the daughter (by no fault of her own) is forced into the rescuer role and emotional confidant for her mother.

If you think I am talking about your family, I am not.

Why?

Because I have simply described a family dynamic that is common in millions of homes across North America. If I included Europe and the rest of the world, it is possible more than a billion families act out this very same dynamic each day. This dynamic can be found in all textbooks that address addiction, trauma, social work, and family systems. The names may change, but people are all doing the exact same thing.

Also, this is gender neutral.

Mom could be the alcoholic/drug user, dad could be the booze and pill dumper, and dad could confide is his oldest son. Mom is the addict, dad is the codependent/enabler, and the teen son (by no fault of his own) is forced to emotionally rescue and be his father’s confidant.

To make it more complex, if it is a child of the opposite gender who rescues the codependent parent, an emotionally incestuous dynamic can develop as the child grows older. In fact, in some of the latest books I have read, emotional incest can occur in a parent and child of the same gender.

 

 

One Person Can Make a Difference

But, I don’t want to go down that path right now. I want to go down the path that lets you know that if one family member changes, the whole family changes. This is a factual statement backed by years of research studies. If one person changes, the whole family is forced to change.

The same principle holds true in affair recovery. If a betrayed spouse changes and steps out of whatever role they used to play, it will send a ripple affect through the family.

Now, I want to make it clear that the betrayed spouse has done nothing wrong. I wanted to highlight the idea that any time someone behaves radically different within a family system, the family will change.

That means if a betrayed spouse happened to be the stay-at-home mom who helped with the PTA, did all the bake sales, and shuffled children to sports, she can change. One of the ways she could change is by accepting part-time work and paying a nanny. She could also drop her PTA membership, hire someone to drive her children to sport’s games, and she could go spend afternoons doing yoga and investing in her own health and wellbeing.

These behavioral changes on the part of the mom/wife will send shock waves through the family. If a woman does this in reaction to her husband’s cheating, life will be very different. He will be interacting with a wife who has taken her power back and has decided to invest time in self-care.

This will be good for the family, even if people balk. A cheating husband will be forced to act differently if he has a wife who is doing daily activities that empower her and focus on her own wellbeing. The way he relates to her and perceives her will change.

I encourage all betrayed spouses, male or female, to start practicing self-care activities immediately. The stress of an affair is too much; self-care is essential.

So, when someone says: be the change you wish to see in the world, take them seriously. If one person shakes it up, then the whole family will feel it, both for the good and the bad.

Choice D) Denial

Look at these cute little woodland critters. If they pretend IF the problem is NOT there, it won’t be there. One is holding her ears closed and thinking “la la la la la!” and the other one has covered his eyes intentionally, so that he does not have to see what is happening right in front of him.

Willful and utter denial. Right?

Yet, denial is a key piece during the five-stages of grief that will occur after someone has a traumatic experience: a death in a family or the death of the relationship they thought they had. Even if a wayward spouse stays, an affair will cause a betrayed spouse to feel as if they are experiencing the death of a relationship. They are certainly experiencing the death of the relationship they thought they had. Terrible suffering comes when a betrayed spouse understands that the marriage they thought they had was an illusion.

Denial in itself is not wrong when it occurs during the grieving process: it is a key element to moving on and moving through grief.

However, the operative phrase here is moving on. You must not allow yourself to stay stuck in denial for years because it will drive you crazy. Even though being in denial is a self-protective mechanism, staying in it too long will inadvertently aid your wayward spouse in defining a false reality.

The takeaway?

Denial is essential to the grieving process – do not avoid denial, but do not stay there for too long. Denial is your friend for a reason and for a season, so that you can protect yourself.

In fact, if the trauma is too much, your brain automatically puts you into a state of denial so that you can assimilate what happened over a period of time. The brain causes denial as a protective mechanism if you have experienced a trauma so severe that it exceeds your ability to cope. Denial can help you function rather than be laid completely flat.

But, don’t forget, denial is for a reason and for a season. Slowly work your way through your pain. No one gets a gold-star for recovering from trauma on someone else’s timeline. You dictate the time it takes you to heal, because you are you, and none of us heal in the same timeframes.

Each of us is different. Just because Jane or John down the street allegedly got over their spouse’s affair in six weeks does not mean you must do the same.

Choice E) Reframing

Well, this dog is seeing life in a whole, new way, now that he is wearing his reframing glasses.  

The act of reframing is often misunderstood. So, here is a good definition of reframing from a psychologist:

“Reframing is a technique used in therapy to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning. Also referred to as cognitive reframing, it’s a strategy therapists often used to help clients look at situations from a slightly different perspective.

The essential idea behind reframing is that a person’s point-of-view depends on the frame it is viewed in. When the frame is shifted, the meaning changes and thinking and behavior often change along with it.

Another way to understand the concept of reframing is to imagine looking through the frame of a camera lens. The picture seen through the lens can be changed to a view that is closer or further away. By slightly changing what is seen in the camera, the picture is both viewed and experienced differently.” (2)

When it comes to infidelity, you can frame yourself as the victim of an unspeakable tragedy or you can reframe being betrayed as an opportunity to find your own inner-strength and put yourself and your dreams first.

Reframing is NEVER meant to take the burden off of the cheater. Reframing is meant to empower the person who has been victimized, to use tragedy as an opportunity for growth and perhaps even a springboard to following dreams that were put on hold. If you reframe correctly, you can achieve a state of mind where you are empowered WITHOUT letting a cheater off the hook.

Choice F) Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is in essence a state of mind that you choose to cultivate. Mindfulness is a technique and a certain state of mind. When you are choosing mindfulness, you are doing it to remain present in the now.  One part of mindfulness is being aware of toxic thinking that is untrue and unhelpful to you. You can monitor these thoughts, observe them, and then intentionally let them go. You can choose to look around, observe what is happening in the now, and replace anxiety-inducing beliefs with thoughts that bring peace.

Here is an excellent definition of mindfulness:

“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seatedwalking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports.

When we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather to just do the practice, and yet there are benefits or no one would do it. When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.

Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness—to ourselves and others.

  1. Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we already do, how we already are. It takes many shapes and goes by many names.
  2. Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with, and the institutions and organizations we take part in
  3. You don’t need to change. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.
  4. Mindfulness has the potential to become a transformative social phenomenon. Here’s why:
  5. Anyone can do it. Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities and does not require anyone to change their beliefs. Everyone can benefit and it’s easy to learn.
  6. It’s a way of living.  Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better.
  7. It’s evidence-based. We don’t have to take mindfulness on faith. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.
  8. It sparks innovation. As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, mindfulness can lead us to effective, resilient, low-cost responses to seemingly intransigent problems.” (3)

Since our minds can wander – especially when we are going through a traumatic situation – mindfulness may seem difficult to achieve. However, no matter how difficult it may seem to achieve, please try intentionally cultivating it on a daily basis. Mindfulness is about making YOU feel better and more grounded.

Practicing mindfulness can be the metaphorical anchor that allows you to hang onto something in a stormy sea, rather than feeling adrift and at the mercy of negative forces much larger than yourself.

Who Do You Want to Be?

Let’s be real: no one is perfect and people who appear to be perfect often come unhinged when they find out they have been betrayed.

Someone who doesn’t drink or smoke may start drinking and smoking to help numb the pain. They may have fits of rage that surprise them. There will be times when betrayed spouses may not even recognize themselves.

The trauma of being betrayed makes the most calm, quiet, and peaceful person become unhinged for a while. If it does not cause a person to become unhinged, that is crazy.

In other words, right after you have found out about your spouse’s affair, crazy is the new normal… crazy is normal.

Normal people who have been betrayed will likely cycle through all of the different choices that I have listed. A betrayed spouse will often engage in behaviors they thought they would never do.

Betrayed spouses may surprise themselves when they feel rage emerge from nowhere or when they spend the day vomiting and cannot stop.  But, they may also surprise themselves when they realize they have an inner-strength that they never knew was there. When a betrayed spouse experiences their innate strength for the first time in their life, they will be in awe.

 

 

The Nature of Control

How we perceive personal power and what we can control influences our lives in profound ways.

Why?

Because our internal thoughts and internal perceptions influence how we react to the world around us. Our thoughts can eventually lead us to success or to self-sabotage, depending upon how we understand what we can and cannot control.

The world-famous serenity prayer encourages people to understand what they can and cannot control because this understanding and acting on it can make the difference between sobriety and addiction.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make things right

If I surrender to His Will;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.

Now, that is all well and good, but real life looks more like this meme.

 

 

What Can You Control?

You can control the entire world and be the dictator of the entire universe. I will show you how to control the whole world if you just send me one million dollars! That was a joke, just checking to see if you were paying attention.

In all seriousness, I think we all know people who deep down believe they can control the entire world – and want to control the entire world and be dictator of the universe. Why would they wish for this?

Such thinking often comes from people who live life in fear and struggle with chronic anxiety. These people are not bad people, even though it can often feel bad to be around them. They can become so controlling that they cause others suffering.

But, inside these people are actually the cause of their tremendous suffering due to their belief system. They don’t think clearly and act on these false beliefs that often drive others away. When they drive others away, they believe that they need to learn how to manipulate people better OR control people better. Such thinking will lead an individual to have a very unhappy life.

The serenity prayer is important and this thought can change your life:

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Note how the serenity prayer says there will be things you cannot change and there will be things you can change. Having the wisdom to know the difference between what you can change and what you cannot change and acting on that wisdom will change your life.

So who and what can you change?

YOU.

Do you know how many people I speak with who believe if they only did (fill in the blank) they could control others. Well, I suppose that you could control others if you joined a group of terrorists that liked to take hostages and lock them in bank vaults. If you could hold off the police for three days, you could have power over your hostages.

But, you still couldn’t really control them. They would still have free will and some might jump you and attempt to take your gun, no matter how scary you appeared to be. They would rather risk death than be in your control.

Think about that: many people would rather risk death than to be under the control of another.

So who can you control?

The answer is still YOU.

A Word About Blame

I wanted to take a segue for a second. Many people who have NOT yet been betrayed do not like to assign any blame to the other person in the affair. They like to blame the betrayed, or they like to blame the cheater, or they blame both the cheater and the betrayed.

But, most often, in real life, I hear people blame the betrayed spouse. This is especially true when I speak with women. In real life, women have told me the following about betrayed wives:

  • If she was “woman enough” to keep him, then he would not have cheated. She was not woman enough.
  • She did (fill in a million blanks) to cause him to cheat.
  • She should just accept that she did things that made him fall out of love with her.

You all have heard those things as well at some point in my life. I have often wondered why many are quick to blame the victim.

Here is my theory: if they blame the victim, that would imply the victim had full control over their situation. Blaming the victim for what happened to her or him, implies the victim had control to prevent or stop whatever happened to them.

If you follow that line of thinking to its conclusion, someone who is married and doesn’t want to be betrayed would provide themselves with emotional security by believing that they can control whether or not the spouse cheats.

They can do all kinds of things to make themselves woman enough or man enough to ensure their spouse does not cheat and they can reassure themselves that they will never be betrayed because they are savvy enough to know how to control others.

Affair-Proof a Marriage: Some Habits of Infidelity-Free Couples

If they can control the outcome, that provides them with a sense of security. If they blame the victim, it implies the victim could have controlled the outcome, but did x,y, and z wrong and caused their spouse to cheat. This person can reassure themselves that they can affair proof their marriage by being woman enough or man enough. So, blaming the victim gives them a false sense of security.

Now, I will tell you that there are concrete things people can do to enhance their marriage, however, if someone is married to a cheater, no amount of marriage enhancing will prevent a cheater from cheating.

Cheaters cheat not because their spouse is not enough—cheaters cheat because they want all the goodies. Their spouse can be Adriana Lima or Jennifer Garner and a cheater will still cheat. Adriana and Jennifer are perhaps two of the most beautiful women in the world…and their husbands still cheated.

Their husbands cheated because they wanted ALL the models and/or actresses, not just one. Their husbands would have cheated on any woman they married because their husbands are the problem. They can enhance their marriage all they want, but their husbands still want all the goodies that other women provide.

When a person realizes that they can tire themselves out being super-spouse and they could still be betrayed—that betrayal is out of their personal control – it is a sobering experience.

In my earlier blog posts I wrote a lot about marriage enhancement and how I attempt to be the best version of myself for my husband.

Well, one day I realized I had better be the best version of myself for ME because I cannot control what my husband does. Now, I attempt to be the best version of myself for me alone because I am the only person I can control.

My husband will do what he wants, regardless of who I am. Any husband or wife will do what he or she wants, no matter whom they are married to.

Cheaters can become addicted to other people for a while and during that addiction phase, they can be loyal. This leads many to think that the other person was the true love or soulmate. But, given time, the addiction a cheater feels to a person will wear off and they will immediately look for a new addiction. A cheater can continue this pattern for the rest of his or her life and trade women or men in every three to five years for the rest of their life.

Why?

Because he or she is a cheater and cheaters cheat. We cannot control others and we cannot make a cheater faithful. Only the cheater can decide of his or her own volition and his or her own free will to get help and to become faithful. A cheater must make the decision NOT to cheat.

 

 

Where Is Our Power?

As betrayed spouses, our power is in our choices and in our responses. As individuals, our power is in how we choose to look at the world, how we choose to conduct ourselves, whether or not we choose to say no, and whether or not we teach people how to treat us.

We have all of the power we need to transform our lives, but we can only access that power when we realize we CANNOT control anyone but ourselves. Once we realize that, we realize we have all the power in the world.

We have the power to say yes or no.

We have the power to call an attorney.

We have the power to kick a cheater out of our home.

We have the power to get a new job, to acquire a new set of friends, to travel the world, and we have the power to choose the thoughts and the responses that serve our HIGHEST good.

A cheater can only trap us and make us feel stuck if we allow the cheater to build an emotional cage around us, give the cheater the power to lock us inside this emotional cage, and allow the cheater to walk away with the key.

At any point in time, we can start saying NO to a cheater’s demand. No is the most powerful word in the universe. If you are not comfortable saying no, there are other ways to assert yourself.

Here are some examples of how to say NO to common requests from cheaters:

  • This (fill in the blank behavior) no longer works for me. I have decided to take (insert action) since you continue to do (behavior).
  • I have decided to (insert action) because you continue to stay in contact with the other person.
  • I will stay in this house because it is my home. Your decisions alone have led us down this path and you are responsible for finding a new place to live.
  • I fully expect my standard of living to stay the same because I am a loyal spouse and have done no wrong.
  • It is not in the best interests of my children for them to be around the other person. I will see you in court since you are not interested in their emotional wellbeing and you are not interested in creating a stable home.
  • I will continue to do what is in my best interests because you only care for interests that have laid waste to my family and life.
  • You are 100% responsible for your actions and I will continue to follow a path that serves my highest good and/or the highest good of my children.
  • It is not appropriate to traumatize my children by bringing the other person around them. They are seeing a therapist and the therapist and I are documenting your poor choices.
  • You will take full responsibility for the problems that you created.

Get the picture?

When someone cheats, they may not want a divorce. This gives you even more power. If they do want a divorce, please contact an attorney for a free consultation. Please do not sell yourself short by accepting a lower child support or alimony amount. A cheater caused the mess and it is not your problem if they cannot financially afford their new life.

While you cannot control a cheater, you can control the action you take. You can refuse to accept blame. You must reassign blame back to the cheater and not be drawn into thinking you did something wrong.

When someone is cheating they are not in their right mind. And they are very difficult to communicate with. In fact, there are some cheaters with whom you will never be able to communicate. They just don’t speak your language or have the same concepts. Kind of like this meme…

 

 

Yup, the dog in this meme and the humans will NEVER have the same definition of what it means to come clean. So, don’t bother.

Some comic relief about being lost in translation…

I have a rescue dog who is very quiet and he normally doesn’t bark. If he hears dogs barking outside, it is totally lost on him, he does not bark. If he hears the packs of coyotes howling at sunset, he just stares and does not bark or howl. In fact, he has never howled. I started to wonder if he is able to speak to anyone at all of his own species.

The answer is no – he cannot communicate with dogs – so who does he talk to? He talks to sea-lions.

At night, I sleep with the windows open and we live near a large, body of water and sound can carry for miles at night. Sometimes, there is a very loud sea lion that barks throughout the night. That sea-lion is the only thing that speaks my dog’s language and they WILL have a 2am barking contest that lasts for hours, unless I close the window.

My dog understands sea-lion, not dog, even though he had been locked in a backyard cage (with a broken jaw) until I came and rescued him. One of the reasons I love him is because he has adorable quirks and is his own dog. He is the first dog I have met who only speaks sea-lion.

In Summary

Right after D-Day, you are in marriage crisis and you are going to cycle through many emotions – and that is perfectly normal. You might be a drunk gnome for a while and that is okay. You might close your eyes and shut your ears for a little while – also okay and normal.

You will cycle through many emotions on your timeline. All normal.

The most important takeaway…you control you. There is no magic language or magic wand where you can control others. And why would you want to?

No ands, ifs, or buts. You control you, not others. If you have to write on the blackboard 1,000 times, “I can only control myself, I can only control my choices, I can only control my actions, and my reactions and responses,” please do so.

The sooner you learn you cannot control others, the better. And isn’t it great you control you? Now you control your destiny and are the commander of your own ship.

How do you feel about this article? What are you struggling with this week? Does anything in this article resonate?

 

 

Sourcess: 

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2016/How-Buddhism-Benefits-Mental-Health

https://www.verywellmind.com/reframing-defined-2610419

https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/

Photo credits:

Bronson Abbott
Brett Curtiss

 

    21 replies to "Marriage Crisis After D-Day: You Have the Power of Choice and That Is Everything"

    • Hopeful

      Sarah,

      This is a great post. I love the connection to the crazy/odd/cute garden items. I can relate to all of these thoughts. I never thought I would make it through this on dday. Not sure at times how I have but I will say reverting back to my positive/optimistic mindset even through the pain was necessary. It was really hard though. My therapist and this blog have helped so much. I totally agree if one person in the family changes it changes the dynamic. For us I am so thankful since the changes we have both made have been so good for our kids not just our marriage and us individually.

      It is hard for me to even think back to how our lives were over four years ago. He had not been in an affair for 15 months even but it still affected him, the betrayal, shame and secrets. I am so thankful he was honest with me on dday. For him he was eternally grateful that I would even consider giving him a second chance. He never thought that was possible and that is partially why he stayed in the affairs and kept it a secret. He hated himself and was ashamed. By giving him that second chance and working on myself he gave his all too and has told me he loved me more than ever. I hate this happened to us but it has been a powerful experience and brought us closer together than I could have ever imagined. Really great points on this post and as I said I can relate to most of them. I was going to go through and detail my thoughts on each one but that might turn into a dozen posts! Excellent job!

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Hopeful,
        I am so glad that you liked this post. But, what makes me extremely happy is that you and your husband are closer together and your family is so connected in good ways. It takes so MUCH work to get to that place. You and your husband serve as a blueprint on how to get there.

        Also, it would be GREAT if you detailed your thoughts out and listed your thoughts on each one…and if they turn into a dozen posts, all the better! Would love to hear your thoughts, Hopeful.

        Sarah

    • Sarah P.

      Hey All,
      Just checking in…. did this article rub anyone wrong?

      How is everyone doing this week?

      If you have not seen me online much it’s because I have been struggling with a genetic illness that I have called porphyria. Since I never know WHEN I will get ill and have to be hospitalized, it makes for an inconsistent work schedule. The disease fully activated AFTER my second child was born and my functioning as a person went rapidly downhill. I had to get very ill and not functioning at all before someone figured out what it was. Warning: gross-out alert. I have liver-based porphyria. If someone with liver-based porphyria pees in a cup and puts that cup out in the sun, the urine will magically turn purple. That’s actually true, not a joke. Makes for a good party trick, but one I will NEVER try. Here is a clip from Scrubs about porphyria:

      https://youtu.be/8_2fk3bqMYw

      Let me know how all of you are doing!

      Sarah

      • weddingbelle

        Sarah, I’m sooooo sorry for the challenges you’re facing. You’re a blessing on this earth and I’m sending blessings and prayers your way! Godspeed…🙇‍♀️

    • Sarah P.

      PS-

      What do you think about the thoughts presented in this short video?

      https://youtu.be/vKY7S4A5Dxc

    • Laura

      Sarah,
      This is a great post. Right on time for me!! I have been feeling really stuck and confused lately and your post helped me to realize a couple things. You always have such great advice. It’s been a year and a half since D-day for me and I was doing really well, but lately I have been having obsessive thoughts again and have been feeling stuck. I was doing yoga regularly and actually went to Deepak Chopra center to learn meditation. I did it following my treatment for breast cancer. It really helped me then, but I stopped after I discovered my husband’s affair. I stopped because that’s the time he was having the affair. Probably the main reason why I struggle the most. I was fighting for my life and he was with her. When I needed him the most, he turned his back on me and relentlessly tried to sleep with her. When I went to yoga, he was with her. So I stopped going and doing what was helping me the most. I have been wanting to get back to it. I am going to. It was a trigger for me and still is a little bit, but remembering the benefits and reading this post encourages me to go back and find my strength again. I really needed to be reminded that all I can control is me. I already knew that, but I wasn’t believing it. Thank you for your help. I am really feeling better now.

      • Sarah P

        Hello Laura and welcome,

        Laura, thank you for commenting because I live to make a difference in the lives of others. I live to make a difference in your life and anyone else who is struggling. So, you have given me a gift by telling me that I have helped you with this article.

        I wanted to say I am so sorry to hear that your husband had an affair while you were fighting for your life. You know the loneliness, the sheer terror, and often the identity crisis that can accompany breast cancer. Then you find out that the person who was supposed to be fighting for your life beside you was off on other adventures. It’s absolutely unconscionable that your husband abandoned you in your time of need.
        As someone who lives with a chronic, genetic illness, I know how frustrating and scary it can be to fight for one’s life. I am not fighting cancer, but the genetic disease I have is one that I constantly battle. I did not know that physical health is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in life until I became chronically ill with an illness that has no cure. It can only be managed.

        Right now, I hope that you return to the Chopra Center for more classes and I also hope that you go back to yoga. I beg you to take care of your health and continue a self-care routine, even if you fear your husband will be off elsewhere. If he is off elsewhere, I would encourage even MORE self-care and hire an attorney to see what kind of leverage you have. This is something I tell everyone… even if you don’t want a divorce, please see an attorney. A good attorney is often able to brainstorm different scenarios with you in great detail. Knowing your rights under the law and having someone to brain storm different scenarios with you is EMPOWERING because you will be armed with information and with several different plans.

        Wherever there is infidelity, a cheater will often encourage a sense of powerlessness in his or her victim/spouse. Being armed with facts and having different scenarios planned out will benefit you. You may never need them. But it’s like this… nearly everyone in the United States has smoke alarms in their house and a fire extinguisher. Most people (thankfully) never need the smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. However, there is always someone somewhere who will need a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher in their home or apartment. If they have decided NOT to purchase these items and there is a fire in their house, they will likely be in trouble. They might die of smoke inhalation.

        When you know your husband or wife has cheated, talking to an attorney, knowing your rights, looking at all kinds of different scenarios, and making a plan is like having smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home. It can save your life. You may never need it, but if a fire starts and you are not prepared, the losses are enormous.

        Now… let’s address the obsessive thoughts. Totally normal and EVERY betrayed spouse experiences them at some point. But, if these thoughts won’t go away and if they interrupt your quality of life and functioning, there is cognitive behavioral therapy and of course meditation.

        What is your husband doing to help with your recovery? Is he sensitive to how he harmed you? Please know that we are here for you.

        This blog is run by three people: Doug, Linda, and me. Well, technically the blog is run by Doug and Linda, but I happen write for it. All of us are real people, with real families, and going through the same things you are. So, if I am answering a question or in the comments, you are hearing from me (and not from a marketing representative or ghostwriter,) Everyone is talking to The Sarah P. (lol) or The Doug or The Linda and not someone hired to answer comments. This is one of the things I love about this blog. I don’t write pieces and care less who reads them. I care about everyone who finds their way to this blog. I love to interact with anyone who finds themselves here. I put a lot of thought into articles with the hope that they can change lives.

        Let us know how we can help you through your journey.

        Big hugs,
        Sarah

    • Sarah P

      Hello All,

      I wanted to share something with you. It involves the nature of triggers and how people can be triggered even years after an event. Some people wonder why they can be triggered years later, but I can assure you it’s perfectly normal. If you experience something horrendous and life-changing, you will NEVER forget it. You may not spend all day thinking about it– you may not even think about it for weeks on end — then boom!! … something happens to trigger you. I wanted to share a very personal story. I have been going back and forth in my mind about whether or not to share this story because it is so personal. But, in the end, I have decided to share it because my sheer rage has over-ridden any sense of wanting to hold back. I keep reminding myself that if people like me (who have regular readers) do NOT speak up against injustice, injustice can flourish. If we don’t speak up, it can quasi-normalize the true injustices in this world. I have gotten to the point where injustice of all kinds must go. I did not join the “me too” movement, even though I have many stories. This is a story that needs to be told. Regular readers will be familiar with the story about me and my ex, but a new part of the story has been unfolding and it has filled me with utter rage. I can no longer stay silent.

      This also has to do with the nature of triggers and how they can pop up years later.

      To all…SPECIFIC TRIGGER WARNINGS AHEAD: violence, sexual violence, cervical cancer, and sexual harassment ahead. Don’t read if you are triggered easily.

      I have vowed to “be the change I want to see in the world” because of what happened to me and how it almost destroyed me. When I had found out about my ex’s affair and was trying to deal with the break-up, I had no where to turn. There were simply no blogs about the topic and no books that helped me come to terms with what happened in my experience since it was different than the typical affair scenario. In addition to his affair and the knowledge that the other woman said she took pleasure in destroying women, I simply had no context for this type of evil. And what those two did was EVIL. SHEER EVIL. These were not immature 16-year-olds going through a “douchebag phase”… the other woman was 40-years-old. The other woman had never met me or even seen a picture of me!! But, she was predatory and told others she delighted in stalking men who were already taken, winning them, and destroying the wife/girlfriend. The other woman literally got high from destroying women.

      Long ago, I was trying to make sense out of the idea of how my ex (who had previously been non-violent) had been able to physically assault me, beat me, and rape me because I would not leave my own home. The other woman wanted to move into my beautiful, new home and take my life. He had no legal grounds to kick me out of my home, so he and the other woman decided that he would use intimidation. First, it was verbal on his part. I didn’t budge. I asked him politely to leave since he was breaking up. I offered him money to leave. He didn’t want the money because she wanted the house. WHY? Aside from it being a beautiful, new house, it was in an area where the commute to corporate jobs was about 15 minutes max. Most people spent 1-2 hours commuting each day. This house was 15 minutes from the most high-paying jobs in our sector. And so one rainy night he assaulted me, beat me, raped me, and sped off in his car before his pants were even on, so that if I called the police, he wouldn’t be there to be arrested.
      The evil that he did is absolutely indescribable.

      That experience broke me and that made me leave. I would also like to note that from the moment he told me he was breaking it off and DENYING another person was involved, I asked him to leave and kicked him out of the bedroom and made him move into the guest room.

      There was NO hysterical bonding. Not even once.

      He broke up, my body was off-limits. And I held to that and would not budge.

      That also made him angry since he was used to accessing me at his will and sleeping in my bed. I refused to pick-me-dance and I also ignored him. The only time I spoke to him was when I was asking him to leave.

      We were in a stand-off for two to three weeks. I wouldn’t budge, I wouldn’t hysterical bond, and I kept telling him to move out.

      I had taken my power back and I refused to budge. He punished, stole from me, and disempowered me by beating me and raping me and speeding away so that he could evade the police.

      But, he also knew that what he did would cause me to leave. He was such an evil person that he was willing to beat and rape a completely innocent person and steal her house so the OW could move in with him. That’s EVIL. These two were very EVIL.

      This was years ago, but I still remember it like yesterday.

      Right after he raped me and I moved out because I feared for my safety, I was thrown into a metaphorical pit of darkness and that pit was filled with shock, grief, confusion, loss, emptiness, panic, insomnia, fits of crying and shaking, disbelief, anger, thinking of myself as failure, and fear of abandonment.

      The fear of abandonment part will never leave me. Insomnia still plagues me.

      Right after the break-up and after female friends begged me, somehow I got the energy to drag myself to the doctor and get a full STD panel. I had been loyal to him and he had been my only sexual partner for years. I always had clean paps. I was waiting on the edge of my seat to get the results of the AIDS test. That was clean. Then the doctor told me I had cervical cancer. I had seen this MD for regular paps, had several years of clean ones…and now I had cervical cancer. The doctor told me that he was nearly 100% certain my ex transmitted it to me because he cheated. I also had very few sexual partners. (You can count them on less than one hand…) The surgery I had to get to remove the cancer was traumatic and the doctor told me at the time there was no guarantee I could have children because of the surgery. (Most of my cervix was removed). At the time, everything was stripped from me: my partner, my house, my safety, my wellbeing, my health, and even my reproductive potential….

      Regular readers who have heard this story might be wondering why I am bringing up all these gruesome details again right now.

      Well, I was triggered last week- that’s why.

      I am retired from high tech. So few know how to navigate this complex world and I was at the top of my game when I had to retire. I had to retire because my genetic illness became active. Anyhow, there are only so many of us in my area who worked in the most complicated areas of high tech. Long ago, I was on a small team that had to figure out how to create 3G phones that supported streaming video and apps like Skype. I was there when these things were just concepts and “pie in the sky ideas” and I was on a small team that brought the first 3G phone from a concept, figured out the technology, and brought it to market. My ex also worked in this industry, but never had the success that I had.

      I have a LinkedIn profile from my days in high tech. I was updating it the other day (last week) and saw that my ex had found and viewed my LinkedIn profile last week. I also noticed that another man had viewed my LinkedIn profile on the same day. The second man was someone I worked with right before I retired. I was pregnant during my last job and that second man was very sexist. He went to one of the male managers (who had my back) and told him that pregnant women can’t possibly be good at their jobs and maybe they could demote me or phase me out because pregnant women are incapable of getting work done. Little did this guy know that the male manager he said this to had my back. This male manager reported him to HR, reported him to our director, and then told me. Thankfully, this man who thought pregnant women couldn’t do their job was only a peer trying to cause trouble. He did not succeed. My department director was a female and she was outraged when she got wind of it. She was not afraid of a lawsuit because she knew I was not the type to file lawsuits. She told me I was the most valuable employee on the team and the only person the board of directors wanted to work with. She knew if I got frustrated, I would accept a job at several other companies that were trying to recruit me at the time. Anyhow… after I had my second child I got very ill and retired… I retired ten years ago. But, I never forgot how that male peer tried to take me down when my belly started to show. I have no words to describe how sad and frustrating it was to be a target because I was pregnant. Anyhow, I had to retire after my child was born.

      The I went back for a second master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Why? Because I saw myself moving into a role that was oriented toward people and I needed to work from home due to my genetic illness.

      So, here I am ten years later doing work I love to do. But, my desire to write for EAJ was born out of the desire to ensure people out there didn’t have to feel alone the way I did. I write the articles I wish someone had written for me when I was despondent and in that black hole of despondence. The pain I experienced when my ex unleashed his evil was so great I almost died of a broken heart. Yes, that exists. It’s called broken heart syndrome. Here is a link:

      https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/broken-heart-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20354617

      I took a slight segue. Back to the trigger…

      So, last week my abusive ex was viewing my LinkedIn profile and the man (from 10 years ago) who “wanted the pregnant lady demoted” was also viewing my LinkedIn profile… all on the same day. I thought that was odd. So, I looked up their profiles (anonymously) and I saw that both my ex and this man were working for the same company, had the same job title, and were on the SAME TEAM. I will admit I got pretty angry. The ex who beat and raped me and the guy who attempted to plot my demise just because is was pregnant are now on the same team and looking at my LinkedIn profile. That REALLY triggered me.

      I am NOT going to engage with EITHER of them. I am just pissed. I am shaking my head asking myself why don’t these two jerks have something better to do. Of course, I am sure that both of these jerks have rewritten everything in their minds. But, to me it feels like an assault all over again. Both of these men hurt me. My ex hurt me in a way that was EVIL. And the other guy was sexist and did not like it that I was well-regarded in the company while he was on probation for not getting his projects done. That threatened him because I was getting work done DESPITE my pregnancy. But, he decided to pull out the old, sexist trick and say that pregnant women can’t function or think for that matter. Not all people had these notions about women, but some did. I refuse to contact these two. But, if I did, I really want to ask them to take a good look in the mirror and ask what kind of sick individuals they are to peek into my LinkedIn profile and compare notes. Both of these men are malevolent and are probably busy comparing notes.

      Who does that to someone they victimized? Were these two raised in caves somewhere ands taught no manners at all – let alone told it’s not okay to beat and rape a woman – ever. Especially not someone you purported to love for the rest of your life. Both of them are married and have children. For guy number two, I wonder if he is going to tell his daughter that if she gets pregnant, her IQ will drop by 50 points and she shouldn’t be in the workforce. I wonder if he will tell his daughter that. Or maybe his daughter will be told that when she grows up and gets pregnant.

      But, for my ex… my ex has a daughter and a son. I wonder what will happen if his son grows up to be a rapist like dad? And what will my ex say if he one day gets a call from his adult daughter and she tells him she was just beaten and raped and a guy sped off in his self-driving hover car? Then what? (And what if it is a self-driving car that is programmed to evade police? All the rapist will have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride…) Will the light bulb go on in my ex’s head? Will he flash back to the moment he did that to me? Will his daughter’s tears and witnessing her total destruction mean anything to him? Will he feel pain? Guilt? Does my ex even have a soul? Honestly, no, I do NOT believe my ex has a soul. I think he and his wife (the OW) are two soulless creatures spreading evil wherever they go and killing whatever they touch.

      Now, some of you might say, “Sarah, people can change, you know.” And I agree wholeheartedly. If my ex truly changes, he will NOT be able to live with himself until he sends an apology. Until that day comes, he has not changed. But, I know many people who still know him and they say he is an even bigger jerk than when I was with him,… he is more evil than before. . I doubt my ex is on the fast-track to changing.

      On the other hand, I do know people who have changed. And when they have, I have witnessed them consult a therapist to help them put together a heart-felt apology that makes it clear they don’t want any contact with their victim. They are just profoundly sorry and state all of the ways they have wronged their victim, expanded upon the nature of their evil, and show insight, while making it clear they will not darken the doorstep of the victim. Because they have NO right to do so.

      I don’t think my ex or his OWhore wife will ever have any kind of insight because they are both evil human beings.

      As some of you know, I do have great faith in God. My definition of God varies greatly than the standard definition of God. The Bible says, “God is Love.” I believe God can appear as a human if he needs to after people pass away and expect to see an human-like God sitting on a throne in heaven, but I believe God is the unconditionally loving force of creation that is the foundation of reality or existence. I believe God has armies of angels who can sometimes appear in human form to miraculously save someone in a deadly car crash and disappear just as quickly. There are many stories like this on the internet, Other times, angels comes in their full form and they are beings of light. I also think dogs are four-legged angels. Not literally. They are just so unconditionally loving to those who treat them well. The sheer enormity of love my dog gives me has exceeded anything I have ever felt coming from a human. But, he is a special dog because I saved his life and restored his soul. He knows he was close to dying until I came along, scooped him up, and gave him the love he deserved. I was his angel, but when I get sick, he is my angel.

      But, here is where my faith in God is challenged. I am pulling out my hair and I want to scream at the top of my lungs why such EVIL humans beings appear to skate through life. They never have money problems, they have good health, they have love, they have pretty good lives.

      Then on the flip-side… I know people who are like angels walking among us. Their compassion, generosity, unselfishness, and unconditional love for others is boundless. I can name several people in my personal life, who I have known for years, who are bright lights in this world. And yet, they have suffered the most profound tragedy. They don’t suffer one tragedy… it’s tragedy after tragedy after tragedy.

      I want to scream at God “I do NOT understand!!!!! You are the God who had a war in heaven and banished evil to lower realms. Why aren’t you doing it now? Where’s Buff Jesus because he needs to come down her and start a bar brawl.”

      Or if we look at Buddhism and karma, I want to scream, “Where or where has the instant karma gone, oh where or where can it be, with karma cut short, and evil cut long, oh where or where can it be?” (I think instant karma died with John Lennon. Sigh. I love John Lennon).

      I am not perfect. But, for those who really know me and have known me for a very long time, they will tell you that I have very few character flaws. I am very aware of how I treat others and go out of my way to be sincerely kind. I have taken a brand new coat off my back in the dead of winter and given it to a homeless woman who was nearly freezing to death. These are not isolated experiences. This is how I live my life.

      And my heart is so sad and frustrated… how do these truly evil people just skate through life? I don’t understand.

      If we have any theologians reading or anyone who has a theory about this, please tell me. This week I am really struggling because I am well- aware that my ex has experienced no repercussions of his actions and he just keeps skating through life. Technically, my ex meets all the DSM criteria for anti-social personality disorder and his wife also meets the same criteria. In plain English, they are both psychopaths.

      My heart has been so heavy this week because I was triggered by seeing these two (male) jerks viewing my LinkedIn profile. How shameless is that? Can’t these two men, who both victimized me in their own way, leave me alone? What the #@!$#@!!!* Are they sitting there comparing notes and giving each other “high fives” when they figure out who hurt me more? Are they sitting at their desks and saying things like: “Well, I tried to get Sarah demoted because pregnant women ain’t worth nothing…” And then my ex probably responded, “Oh, I can top that… I totally beat and raped Sarah… you should have seen her screaming, crying, and trying to kick me off of her. But, I won, Bro, because I was twice as large and twice as strong! I sped off in my car and no policeman was going to catch me!” And then do they high five each other and go out for a beer? Is that what these folks do?

      Does anyone want to chime in? This blogger is in need of advice… how do you all come to terms with situations where the OW or your ex seem to get off with no penalty? How do you deal with knowing you have been so hurt and yet the person who hurt you is just skating through life? Please tell me… or tell me about your experiences. Vent if you like. Does anyone else deal with these feelings?

      I know this is a very visceral post. But, what I went through was as visceral and nearly life-shattering as it gets. I was able to suppress my feelings of rage for a long time, but I was triggered and now my feelings of rage are all spilling out.

      Sarah

      • Scott

        Sarah, my heart goes out to you. I won’t say much here, but please slowly and meditatively read Psalm 73. The author of that psalm could have been you ! If you find that one helpful, read Psalm 37 afterwards. They both deal with the themes of the struggle of trusting God in light of the reality of evil people in the world. I sincerely believe these psalms will greatly minister to your heart. May God richly bless you and give you peace.

        • Sarah P

          Dear Scott,

          Thank you for those kind words and directing back to the Bible where all answers can be found. When you said: “The author of that psalm could have been you!” chills went down my spine. Now why would that be? I am one of King David’s descendants. That’s actually NOT a joke and no I did not use the Mormon genealogy databases. It started with a DNA test from Family Tree DNA and in that DNA test I signed a waiver where genetic relatives could contact me and I could contact them. My grandmother, this is my mom’s mom (who is now dying) is fully aware the line is an unbroken line of Sephardic Jews, who are descended from the 12 tribes of Israel. But, I had to find out through a DNA test. Then I went and traced the line using the genealogy databases for made for Jews to find each other. (Many families were forcefully split up during the Holocaust). I traced the line all the way back to pre-inquisition Spain. Then I also contacted genetic relatives. One of them (shockingly) lived in my area. He had all the genealogy and let me know that our line descended from King David and then sent what he had to me. There were many prominent Rabbis (in Judaism) throughout the centuries also on this line. This happened about 8 years ago. I told my mom and asked her why it might have been hidden. She gave me her (very sad) theory. My mom and I have kept this to ourselves, but we did privately ask my grandma if it was true. All she would do was say it was true, but refused to discuss it further. I have been studying Judaism online for seven years with a woman who lives in Jerusalem. (I was raised a Christian, but had been mistaken for a Jew by other Jews my whole life.) I am still trying to assimilate thinking I was just a Southern Italian looking Scottish girl to knowing I was always a Jewish girl with the line that originated in the Southern Levant. I am still a Scottish girl, but that is my dad’s side.

          It makes me wonder how deep genetic influence runs.

          And yes, I have just studied the 73rd Psalm and you are absolutely right, Scott. You are so very perceptive. I think I need to be reading more of my great grandfather’s writings… that great grandfather from a hundred or so generations back. I had never read the 73rd Psalm before (shame on me).

          For all readers… I am seriously thinking of a trip to Israel and at a crossroads trying to decide if I remain in the category of “Christian-ish.”
          to becoming an observant Jew. I have thought about writing a book about this experience of finding out I was Jewish in my late 30’s. It’s not just a story of finding out- it’s about WHY it was hidden – it’s about a great-grandmother who fled her (European Sephardic community) in the night after a series of pograms and witnessing family members burned to death. (Pograms are mini-holocausts). My relative in this area is the descendant of my great grandma’s brother. Once they came to America, (according to this genetic relative) my great grandma ran away from the Jewish community in NYC, never to be seen again by the family there. She was only 20 years old and spoke no English. So this genetic relative has a large part of the backstory and it’s tragic, brave, and mind-boggling. I understand WHY she hid it. My living grandma knows, but doesn’t know the back story. She was sworn to secrecy by her own mom. Part of the European branch of that family was nearly all killed during the Holocaust. They were targets because they were the holy people… if the Rabbi is dead, the community had no leader. My family was full of Rabbis. They were targets. And everyone with my family name in Poland was killed during the Holocaust. My branch was not in Poland. But, it’s still sobering to know all those genetic cousins- every one of them – was killed in an ENTIRE country. Not one city… an ENTIRE COUNTRY. It’s just so weird even think about.

          I have been praying and asking God if this line was hidden until it was safe and if I am supposed to bring the family back into the Jewish community.

          Maybe the Psalms have an answer to this too. And maybe even an answer for how to live with a genetic disorder that has activated and has to be managed on a daily basis.

          Thank you again, Scott, for directing me back to the specific place in the book that has all the answers. I had a breakthrough reading the 73rd Psalm. Now it’s on to the 37th.

          Sarah

    • Sarah P

      PS- I think Regina Spektor probably feels the same way, but expresses it differently and very cynically.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pxRXP3w-sQ

    • Laura

      Sarah,
      First of all, thank you for getting back to me and for your compassion and understanding. To answer your question, my husband is trying very hard and he seems to be finally understanding the pain he has caused. I had looked into an attorney at the beginning, but don’t see an immediate need for that now. I just get triggered easily and frequently.
      I’m glad to be able to get the help and advice here.
      To address your current post, my first husband was a cereal cheater!! I can’t even count the times. So we have something else in common, I was with my husband from the age of 15 until 26. I was diagnosed with HPV, which ended up turning into cervical cancer. The gift that keeps on giving.
      I too have a very strong faith in God. I couldn’t have made it this far without it. My current husband knew the situation with my ex and I truly trusted and believed that he could never hurt me like this.
      I too have run across truly evil people in this life.
      My best answer to your question is that we all have free will. God allows us to follow our foolish desires, but if you are really sorry in your heart ( which He knows everyone’s hearts) then we are forgiven. For the evil out there who seem to have everything going for them and have a great life, that won’t be the case for them later on. We will all be judged for how we live our lives and treat others. For the evil ones, they will suffer miserably at the hand of God. What comforts me is that God will deal with that them accordingly. And what He will do, is much worse than anything we can do or even imagine. So that helps me when I have to endure these people while I suffer with most everything. I know that I am a good person and the truly evil will be the ones suffering in the end. Because the truly evil won’t ask for forgiveness or change their ways and they will pay for it. I hope that helps you a little bit. I’m not a theologian, just a believer. Gentle hugs to you Sarah.

      • Sarah P

        Hi Laura,

        Wow, your first husband gave you the “gift that keeps on giving”? Was the doctor able to help? I have had clean paps since I had surgery. I have had them for years now. However, the horror of going through such a thing never leaves. I did not even know that cervical cancer was a sexually transmitted disease until my doctor told me. Before then, I had always assumed cervical cancer was just another random cancer due to rogue cells reproducing. Nope… cervical cancer is caused by rogue and unfaithful humans trying to reproduce with others behind their partner’s back. How did it turn out for you? Was your doctor able to achieve remission for you? And how about your breast cancer?

        That is a double whammy when your current husband KNOWS what you went through and still broke your trust. I sure hope that she understands the harm he has caused you. This is kind off off-topic, but I often wonder if people lack a gene for empathy. I have read some recent scientific articles that show some people do lack empathy. They appear to be born without it. Here is a snippet of an article by Olivia Goldhill that I found online about empathy:

        “Parents are used to getting the blame for their children’s emotional defects. When it comes to empathy, it turns out they are partly responsible. Scientists studied the empathy of 46,861 people who analyzed their DNA through the personalized genetics company 23andMe and found that genetics explains a significant chunk of differences in abilities to understand others’ emotions.

        While previous studies have discovered that women tend to be more empathetic than men, the researchers found no genetic factors to explain this, suggesting that gender differences are due to social conditioning or possibly the hormonal environment in the womb.

        Researchers from the University of Cambridge, the Institut Pasteur, Paris Diderot University in Paris, and genetics company 23andMe evaluated empathy based on participants’ Empathy Quotient (EQ) scores. EQ uses self-reporting to evaluate both cognitive empathy (the ability to understand others’ thoughts and feelings) and affective empathy (responding to others’ emotions with an appropriate emotion.)

        In the study, published in Translational Psychiatry on March 12, the researchers ran a statistical analysis known as genome-wide association studies to show that variations in genetics are linked with changes in empathy.

        They looked at 10 million genetic variants, explains Varun Warrier, co-author of the paper and postdoctoral researcher at University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre, and found that these tiny variants collectively contribute to around 10% of differences in empathy. The total effect of genetics on behavior is likely larger—around 30%, according to twin studies—but the researchers were able to establish that 10% of variation comes from the specific 10 million genetic variants they studies.

        “Any human attribute is partly genetic,” says Varun Warrier. “Even something like empathy that most people might think is not genetic does have genetic correlates.”

        The influence of genes doesn’t mean that empathy is beyond our control. It might simply mean that those with a certain genetic predisposition find it harder to adjust their levels of empathy. “My hypothesis would be that people who are genetically predisposed to higher levels of empathy might find it easier to view social cues and increase their levels for being empathetic,” says Warrier.”

        *****
        It always bothers me that some people genuinely seem to lack empathy for others. I have met such people. They are the type where they almost have to experience something they did to another person and they need to experience it several times before they “get it.” They have to feel pain before they understand it. Even then, they make take a stance as being a victim. Sigh.

        Laura, I sure hope that your husband understands the pain she has caused you and that he has enough self-control to read his favorite news paper or watch his favorite TV show alone while you are at yoga. I don’t have to drum it into your head, but your doctors have probably told you how important it is to keep a healthy immune system. Yoga and meditation are part of that because they present cortisol overload. Too much cortisol can have a domino affect that wreaks havoc on longterm health. I sincerely hope you practice self-care without fear of what your husband will do.

        If you are fearful, you CAN ask for boundaries. You see, your husband has shown you he is untrustworthy. Make sure both of you have video phones. I know this is drastic, but have him on video while you are at yoga. It might feel stupid to him, but you can tell him that it’s time for him to regain your trust. That is his job. I would also ask your husband if he can himself with himself. Can he be his own keeper and do what is right when no one is looking? Of course I am going against my message of controlling oneself when I ask you to ask your husband to prove himself trustworthy. However, if you want to stay, it is in your best interests to know WHO you are married to so that you can make an informed decision.

        Finally, thank you for reminding me that a lot of bad things happen due to free will used foolishly and that the evil must answer to God at some point. I just hope that there is some kind of reprieve. To this day, I don’t understand WHY a woman who had never seen me, never met me, and never even seen a photo of me, was able to willfully destroy me. What on earth is wrong with people?

        I am the lady who puts any kind if bug outside- even spiders. It’s not my role to harm them. My role is just to move them back to their natural habitat outside. Some people are going to be grossed out, but I trap rats in humane traps and relocate them to forests with plenty of food. We don’t have a wild rat problem here. But, what I have noticed is someone in the area either let loose some pet “dumbo rats” or some dumbo rats escaped. I saw one come onto my deck the other day. It was clearly a dumbo rat of some kind. I watched it to see what it would do. It found an wrapped Starburst that my son must have dropped. I watched it pick up the Starburst and unwrap it with it’s tiny hands. Then it put the giant Starburst in its mouth and walked away. I need to put a a humane trap out so that he (or she) doesn’t get a chance to breed. But it was so cute. If it’s someone’s escaped pet, then I will keep it.

        And for anyone who is grossed out, read up on rat colonies. Not only are all mammals descended from ancient rat-like creatures (even us), study the nature of rats. They are highly misunderstood. Rats are creatures who appear to have empathy on over-drive. Scientists will train a rat to press levers. They will put a hungry rat in an area where he can choose two levers. One lever will deliver the rat’s favorite food, and the second lever will free another rat from a cage. Rats always choose to free a rat they don’t even know from a cage. Every, single time. A being must possess self-awareness, insight, understanding, and empathy to do such a task. Rats possess these qualities.

        If anyone wants to know what a dumbo or “fancy rat” is, these rats were selectively bred in England as pets. Even Queen Victoria kept a fancy rat as a pet. From Wikipedia:

        “When he [the rat catcher] caught any unusually coloured rats, he bred them, to establish new colour varieties. He would sell his home-bred domesticated coloured rats as pets, mainly, as Black observed, “to well-bred young ladies to keep in squirrel cages”. Beatrix Potter is believed to have been one of his customers, and she dedicated the book Samuel Whiskers to her rat of the same name.[2] The more sophisticated ladies of court kept their rats in dainty gilded cages, and even Queen Victoria herself kept a rat or two. It was in this way that domesticated—or fancy—rats were established.”

        Paris Hilton has a tea cup dog, but the English aristocracy had “fancy rats.” In America, these rats have been bred selectively for OVER a 100 generations to be tame and docile pets. A good friend has a pair of them and when they are out of their cage, they climb all over her and hide in her hoodie pockets or sit on her shoulder as she works. Her rats will ride on top of her dog. It’s so funny and yes the rats and her dog all get along. I know some have an aversion to rats, but the “dumbo rats” are adorable. Just like dogs have evolved into different creatures than wolves, “fancy rats” have nothing in common with “roof rats” or “Norway rats,” which are wild species. Finally, I know people get mad because rats chew things. I wanted to know if rats were being inconsiderate pests or if there was a reason to chew. Turns out there is a reason to chew. Their teeth NEVER stop growing. They have to wear their teeth down through chewing or their teeth will grow up and kill them. A source:

        “Why do rats need such powerful jaw muscles? … Rats must gnaw (chew) on things constantly to wear their teeth down. If their teeth were allowed to grow unchecked, they would grow continuously in a spiral at an 86 degree angle, making it impossible for the rat to close its mouth or eat, resulting in death.”

        Yeah… rats are not very lucky creatures…. they are wonderful and yet have been blamed for so many things.

        Most people are not even aware that rats did NOT cause the black plague. It was caused by fleas and recently British scientists showed that squirrels were major carriers for the fleas. They found squirrels living in modern-day Britain, who were carriers of ancient plague bacteria, still roam parks in London. Luckily, modern day antibiotics will ensure a black plague never returns.

        Why are many animals more decent than humans? I can’t wrap my head around it and it’s why I love animals so much. I have never been hurt by any animal, except for a cat one time. I have (willingly) swam with sharks without a shark cage and interacted with all kinds of wild creatures without an issue. Plus, we don’t taste good to sharks. Our blood doesn’t even register to them; scientists have found it’s outside of their context. My favorite animals to swim with are sea turtles, tropical fish, sea cows, and dolphins.

        Any other animal fans out there?

        Sarah

    • Sarah P

      Ps- Laura, I hope your husband understands the harm HE caused, (not she). But, that brings up another question, did the OW know he was married and did she care?

    • Laura

      Hey Sarah
      With the cervical cancer, I had it cut out and was blessed to have it never return and surprisingly, breast cancer is not related to cervical cancer in any way. It’s the HPV that never really goes away. So that it what stinks. I get painful bumps sometimes. With the breast cancer, I got a very aggressive form of it. One in 25. I had 4 surgeries, 2 for the cancer, 2 for the port. I had 18 rounds of chemo and 36 radiation treatments and a year of a drug called Herceptin, by infusion. I lost 40lbs and all my hair
      I am coming up on my 5 years since my diagnosis. Right now I’m considered NED, no evidence of disease, at my 5 year mark, I will be waiting for my oncologist to say that I am in remission! All my scans have been clear. It was alot to go through to say the least. I am stronger than I ever imagined
      Except when it comes to my husband EA. Honestly, going through the cancer was easier, would’ve been even easier if I had his support during that time..
      My ex husband had no empathy, but my current husband does. We had a great relationship and friendship before the problems started in our marriage. I was trying to work on that but got so sick, he obviously chose a different way to handle it. I had hoped that my illness would have brought us closer together, not the case. He really is trying. He is getting better with understanding how much this has destroyed the person I used to be. He does things ( on his own) like takes pictures when he clocks out at work, of the traffic conditions, etc. At this point in time I do believe that I can go to yoga and he will be fine. He has quit drinking, and many other behaviors associated with the things that he did during the affair. He has shown remorse and has cried ( he’s not a crier, in 28 years he’s only cried a couple of times) so I am going to have to see, with time if I can ever get past this. As long as he keeps trying and doesn’t mess up, I have hope. I need to get out of the past and stop obsessing over what we used to have and accept the new normal. I do ok mostly, but like I said I get triggered easily and frequently and get stuck, even when he’s doing everything he needs to.
      The OW if you can call her that, she is younger than my daughter,( his step daughter) so that still sickens me a bit, had no idea that he had a family. He removed his ring and never spoke of me. He pretended that he was single! It almost hurts worse for me that he acted like I didn’t exist at all!! His EA lasted a little over 2 years. I had that gut feeling that something was terribly wrong, but I was so very sick and tired from the chemo that I wasn’t able to see things clearly enough to be able to put it together. My husband is also a musician so playing music has always been a big part of his life, our lives, until I was sick, I went to every gig, practice, everything. So it wasn’t uncommon for him to be in contact with different musicians and such. Anyway I started figuring things out, he was leaving work early, going to the bar and had her number listed as a bandmate contact. Until I went through the phone records and noticed too many texts from a particular number. When I had my evidence together and confronted him, he continued to lie. I dialed the number. Even as I was calling HER, he was denying everything. Then I got her on the phone and screamed and yelled at her. She said that they were good friends. My daughter also called her and ripped her a new one. She called me back the following day and told me everything. She said that she had no idea that he had a family and would not have been involved at all if she knew. My first real truth came from the OW. She had no reason to lie to me and nothing to gain. He didn’t mean as much to her as she did to him. She was a bartender. He relentlessly tried to pursue a physical relationship with her. He had tutorials on his phone to try to get her to fall in love with him. Ugh. She informed me that he never had a chance. Being in the restaurant business most of my life, you do flirt a little for the tips. She said that she liked being friends with him but after finding out that he was married, she didn’t want anything to do with him. Even had him banned from the bar during her shift. My husband can be an amazing friend, and that’s what was missing in our marriage when things started going bad. He and I were friends for over a year before we started dating. So that hurts me more than if it was a PA. I missed that friendship and he was giving it to someone else. I was begging for that connection at the time.
      I hope I didn’t ramble too much.
      I am also an animal lover. Not the bugs tho, I know they’re important, but I’ll let you save them LOL 😁
      My dog, Hope was there for me. She is who comforted me while he was off doing everything. She was by my side and I don’t think I would have gotten through it without her.
      Then last year, she got malignant mast cell tumor. Needless to say I went into debt and she had surgery and is also cancer free!! She is my everything.
      My little broken heart 💔 sends yours some love. I do not understand how people can be so evil and mean. Especially in your case. Thank you for being strong enough to share your story to help others. Thank you for being here and listening to me and helping me more than you know. I have been reading here for a while now. I reached out to Doug and Linda once or twice, but never posted. Thank you for making me feel welcome.
      Hugs❤ Laura

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Laura,
        Congratulations on coming up on five years of remission. 🎉🎉🎉🎉 (And of course I want you to feel welcome… you are welcome here.)

        Overcoming breast cancer is quite an accomplishment! It makes me so happy that you survived, but sad because of the circumstances that caused you to find your way here. Finally, I am relieved we can be here for you. Cancer and being the victim of an EA. That’s a testament to your strength.

        I am glad you spoke with the OW. Yes, it’s true that bartenders are often friendly to all customers, but their friendliness is actually misinterpreted.

        Regarding feeling so hurt that you and your husband were friends… that’s how it was with me and my ex. We had started solely as friends. That is we knew a group of people in common and he just happened to be in that group and I was too. We were both young and looking for corporate jobs. If he got a job interview, he brought my resume. If I got a job interview, I brought his. We were SOLELY friends at the time. No romantic interest. All of that kindness towards each other bloomed into genuine and deep affection. Then one night a bunch of us went out dancing as a large group. At some point during the night he and I were dancing like a couple of goofs and making people laugh. Sometime during the night, he got a look in his eye I had never seen before and started dancing closer. I was intrigued by that look because I realized his goofy persona was just a social face. And I will spare all the details, but we became a couple that night. And I was blindsided because I had never thought of him that way and suddenly I was insanely crazy about him. And that craziness about him never stopped or slowed down. Until he nonchalantly and coldly broke up and told me to leave my own house. I was with him for almost my entire 20’s and he was dumping me at 29.5 years old. I am now in my late 40’s. Anyhow, I lost my best friend (him), my fiancé (him), my house…. it really stings when you start out as good friends and love blooms. It really stings.

        As for your dog, Hope, I have a dog named Hero. I can picture exactly what hope does for you, because Hero does the same for me. What kind of dog is Hope?

        How are you feeling today?

        Sending you big hugs, Laura,

        Sarah

    • Sarah P.

      PS-

      Laura, I wanted to mention two things I forgot. If your husband stopped drinking, that is a huge step in the right direction. I have not read any research on this because I haven’t found any yet… however I believe that alcohol greatly contributes to someone being able to have an affair. Alcohol doesn’t cause affairs. What I am saying is that if someone is drinking heavily while having an affair, I believe they can dull their conscience with alcohol and they can often go further with an affair than they would have gone if sober. If your husband has stopped drinking, he will be clear-headed. Alcohol clouds judgement. While it doesn’t cause people to do things they wouldn’t normally do, it lowers their threshold for self-control and dull their conscience enough to carry out things they may not have carried out sober.

      I also wanted to address Hope’s cancer. Going into debt was worth it. I would go into debt for my animals and have done so in the past. I would do so again if necessary. But a word to all pet owners out there. I have an insurance policy for my dogs through a company called Embrace. No, this is not a promo. I don’t do promos or ads and neither does this site. I am simply saying that I have found this company actually has affordable policies and it has saved me from going deep into debt again over a pet becoming seriously ill. Just an FYI. I hear so many stories about people not being able to afford vet bills and that breaks my heart. Me, my children, and my husband all consider our dogs as family members. When they pass on, we are thrown into grieving for months. But, then we go and get another rescue dog and give the dog a second lease on life. 🐶

      Big hugs,
      Sarah

    • Laura

      Hi Sarah
      Yeah, at first he tried to blame the alcohol, but after several conversations, and looking within himself, he realizes now that it wasn’t the alcohol, like you said it did very much cloud his judgment and turned him into someone I barely recognized. I wish I had gotten pet insurance!! I had heard about it and even looked into it, but Hope was in good health the first few years, I didn’t consider the fact that could change. I think I may look into it again. My girl Hope is the sweetest dog I have ever had. So in tune with me and my family, but mostly me. She’s a Pit bull mix. Not an aggressive bone in her body. She is my second Pit bull. My Sandy was my first and my best friend for 15 years. She also was just the most loving loyal dog ever. She passed and saved Hopes life. Hope was a 4 month old puppy on death row at a high kill shelter. Not because of anything she did, she was a baby, but because she was pit bull. They are usually the first to be euthanized. Now that I think about it, the problems in my marriage started after Sandy died. Hmmm. Anyway you can’t punish an entire breed due to the deeds of some and the humans that made them that way. I’ve been feeling better since we started talking, so thank you. In fact I’m about to snuggle up with my dog and take a nap. I have many other health issues and pain is something I deal with always. I have 5 herniated cervical discs, spinal stenosis, cervical disc disease and arthritis throughout my body. By the grace of God I get through. If you ever want to just chat off topic, feel free to email me anytime. Hugs❤ Laura

      • Sarah P

        Hi Laura,

        Those are touching stories about your dogs and thank you for sharing your thoughts on pitbulls. It’s great there is one more person telling the truth about this breed of dog. I am aware that pitbulls are killed simply because of their breed. It breaks my heart. I am also aware of how large shelters kill dogs and it is very inhumane. It’s a tragedy.

        Any of the regular readers here know that I am crazy about animals. When I was a child, I had no fear of animals. That is, there was no such thing as a “bad animal.” One time we walked to school and passed this house with four pitbulls in the backyard. They were very loud and would run to the fence and the kids would run. I would ask the kids why they ran from these four pitbulls. One kid said that they heard pitbulls ate kittens for breakfast. The other child said that pitbulls ate the heads of babies for dinner. We were all in 4th grade. I calmly approached the chainlink fence and stood there. All dogs are excitable around strangers and some are territorial. I looked at the dogs and realized that they were probably locked out in the yard all day and had no human contact and were lonely. So, I sat in front of the fence and held my hand up to the chainlink fence so that they could smell, but not be able to bite. Once they smelled me, they snuffled and wagged, and whined for attention. So, I put my hand and arm OVER the fence to pet the dogs. The other kids screeched. My hand and arm got licked and kissed by these for beautiful dogs. Every day after that, they didn’t bark or get excitable when they saw us walking by. Instead they begged for attention. So each day I stopped to pet these four dogs. I have never had a bad experience with any dog. I have been out on walks and occasionally dogs will run toward me as if they are agitated, and I yell, “Whose a good dog!” in a very sweet voice. It always melts the heart of any dog. One time we were at this zoo and there was also a petting zoo portion. Some of the animals could be viewed up close, but were in cages. There was the most beautiful mountain lion in a cage. It was rubbing its face against the chain links of its cage. I wandered off and stuck my fingers through the chain links. By the time my mom found me, she was stunned. I was sitting on the ground petting this cat’s face through the fence and the cat was making a purring noise. (Yes, mountain lions/cougars can purr). She was stunned to see me scratching this animal’s ears and touching his face and hearing him purr loudly. She watched instead of reacting. Finally she came and put her fingers through the cage and scratched his ears. So many animals are misunderstood. When my husband and I got married, I wanted a spaniel of our very own. I had grown up with spaniels. I had suggested a pitbull, but he knew nothing about them and said it was better if we got a dog that I had grown up with. We took our dog to training at Pet Smart. There was a pitbull puppy in the class. I am so glad that the dog trainer gave the actual history of the pitbull breed and debunked the myths for the other pet owners there. I won’t repeat the origins of pitbulls. I will copy and paste sources:

        From adoptapet blog:

        “Astoundingly, for most of our history America’s nickname for Pit Bulls was “The Nanny Dog”. For generations if you had children and wanted to keep them safe you wanted a pit bull, the dog that was the most reliable of any breed with children or adults. The Nanny Dog is now vilified by a media that always wants a demon dog breed to frighten people and LHASA-APSO BITES MAN just doesn’t sell papers. Before pit bulls it was Rottweilers, before Rottweilers it was Dobermans, and before them German Shepherds. Each breed in it’s order were deemed too vicious and unpredictable to be around people. Each time people wanted laws to ban them. It is breathtakingly ironic that the spotlight has turned on the breed once the symbol of our country and our national babysitter. In temperance tests (the equivalent of how many times your kid can poke your dog in the eye before he bites him) of all breeds the most tolerant was the Golden Retriever. The second most tolerant was the pit bull. Pit Bull’s jaws do not lock, they do not have the most powerful bite among dogs (German Shepherds have that honor) they are naturally neither human or animal aggressive (in fact pit bull puppies prefer human company to their mother’s two weeks before all other dogs), and they feel as much pain as any other breed (accidentally step on one’s toe and you’ll see). The most tolerant, patient, gentle breed of dogs is now embarrassingly portrayed as the most dangerous. It would be funny if the new reputation did not mean 6,000 are put to death every day, by far the highest number of any other breed euthanized. That’s a lot of babysitters.”

        Sad, right?

        And an article from the American Veterinarian Association about a WW1 pitbull named Stubby:

        “Stubby was a mascot of the U.S. Army’s 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division, during World War I. He deployed with the troops Feb. 5, 1918, to the front lines in France. Stubby was injured during his first battle from gas exposure, sensitizing him to the noxious odor. Stubby later alerted troops to a gas attack while they slept. The dog also had a talent for locating wounded men, barking until paramedics arrived or leading the lost soldiers back to the safety of the trenches. He even caught a German soldier. Stubby was promoted to the rank of sergeant for his heroism, the first dog to be given rank in the U.S. Armed Forces. By war’s end, Sgt. Stubby had served in 17 battles. He visited the White House twice and met presidents Harding and Coolidge. Sgt. Stubby was awarded several medals for his heroism, including a medal from the Humane Society of the United States presented by Gen. John Pershing, commanding general of the United States Armies. Stubby died in 1926. His skin was mounted on a plaster cast and is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. (Courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History).”

        I go to Trader Joe’s often and speak with the grocery clerks. One of the women I speak with frequently told me the story of how a pitbull came into her life. She was a single mom with a toddler at the time. Her own mother also lived with her. One early morning she heard a terrible scratching at her front door. When she opened the door she saw someone had beaten and poured acid onto a pitbull (barely alive) and the pitbull found its way to her door. She took the dog inside and her mother had a fit. Nonetheless, she took the pitbull to the vet to be treated promptly for broken bones and acid burns that covered half of the dog’s body. Then, she took the pitbull home. Her own mother was terrified a dog that was this mistreated would go after the toddler. Fortunately, this woman stood her ground and told her mom (grandma) that her toddler daughter would be fine… it was the dog who needed help. She was right. By that time, she had the dog 10 years and her pitbull was loyal and gentle beyond measure. She said that since her boyfriend was a “dead beat dad,” it was as if the dog picked up the role of co-parent to her child. It was such an amazing story. Once our (current) spaniel passes on, I have told my husband that I would like to have a pitbull. He still was not warming up to the idea, but he is now fine with it. Recently we passed a pitbull owner walker his dog. I asked if we could pet his pitbull. The owner didn’t hesotate at all and I said hello to this giant, male pitbull with a square head and huge jaw. I petted the dog and told my husband to try. My husband approached the pitbull with great caution and wouldn’t extend his hand so that the dog could sniff. So the dog came and gently head-butted my husband on the leg. My husband shrieked, “What’s it doing!” The owner laughed and said that this dog liked to copy the family cat. The family cat would rub its head against people’s leg’s as an affectionate gesture and so the pitbull would do the same thing. After my husband got over the shock of it, he petted the pitbull and really liked the dog. To this day he talks about how cool it was to have a giant dog affectionately rub the top and side of it’s head against his knee as a sign of affection. For whatever reason, my husband really dug that. LOL. And now he agrees that a pitbull will be the next breed.
        When the time comes, we will go and rescue at least one of them. It all depends on where we are at during that time in our lives. It makes me so sad that the most gentle of all dogs is killed each year just because of an untrue stigma attached to the dog.

        Now, I don’t ignore that some dogs attack. But, all dogs are capable of attack, no matter what breed. Any large breed can do a lot of damage, but all dog breeds are capable of attacking under certain circumstances. All cats are also capable of attack. One time I had very bad luck with a cat we were fostering when I was a child. The cat was sitting on my lap and I was watching TV with my mom.. I was watching a movie about an amusement park and they were showing a roller coaster. Something set the cat off and it took its claws out, latched onto my face, and started clawing as hard as it could. My mom was next to me and physically had to pull the cat from my face. She saw I had done nothing to the cat. The cat was on my lap and I was not even touching it. My dad had my mom find a new home for the cat the next day. My face looked like it had been through a war zone.

        Do we have any other pitbull and dog lovers out there?

        Laura, I would love to say “hello” over the email, but I don’t see anyone’s emails or identities on this site. That’s part of the confidentiality of this site. Everyone can feel safe commenting and sharing their story without me knowing who they are. Doug collects that data, but I have no access to it and don’t want access to it. I want to ensure readers feel safe to comment, knowing that they will be anonymous even to me. I want to ensure emotional safety for readers comes first and this is why I only see screen names and only want to see screen names.

        However, you are always welcome to email me:

        sarah.emotionalaffair.org@gmail.com

        Big hugs,

        Sarah

    • Laura

      Sarah,
      That was very well written and nice to see that you know how wonderful these dogs are!! My girl Hope is a rescue as well as my other Pit bull Sandy. Sandy was my best friend for 15 years. Hope was a four month old puppy at a high kill shelter. When I was playing with her outside and we decided to adopt her, the young man who was caring for her started to cry. I naturally assumed that he was going to miss her. He said yes he would, but he was crying because had we not adopted her, she would have been euthanized the next day. He was crying happy tears because she got a good home. I can not imagine my life without her. Just a tip from me, when choosing to adopt a Pit bull, you have a great responsibility. Every dog requires that, but because of the stigma surrounding this breed, we have to be more careful. Training is important, socialization. Also to realize that despite their sweet disposition, they are powerful . It seems that you already being an animal person and dog lover, already have educated yourself about them. That is key. I do my best to make sure that my dog is a good ambassador for the breed. I love that at the vet they just adore her and always let me know that.
      I totally get the anonymity .
      Hugs
      Laura

    • Puzzled

      I’ve not been on the site in a bit but pulled it up. This is a really good piece the farther its read. At first glance, I thought the title was a little, I’m not sure, maybe presumptuous? I thought to myself, yes, choosing power would be great if someone could actually mire through the other stages of grief/anger/surprise/etc. However, I didn’t stop reading as I knew you would have a strong message in the end.
      We all go through these phases of power or control or choice. I think it’s a natural process that we sift through our hearts and minds to find our way back to a new normal. I resonated with several of these techniques to battle back to me (some positive steps and, yes, definitely some negative). Faith, fitness and family are what helped me. I reached a point in my grieving and anger when I simply prayed for peace; no matter what happened to my marriage, I put my trust in God. I have always been active and fit but my time in the gym or running gave me time to sift through my thoughts and also take out some aggression. My family (my three children) needed to see “me”. I couldn’t let the actions of their mom turn me into someone they didn’t recognize. I’ve said this before in posts: I wasn’t just fighting for my marriage. I was fighting for their future marriages too. They had to see a man willing to love his wife when there was nothing in return.
      I really feel that the three positive steps moved me into the “reframing” step in my marriage. I had resigned myself to knowing that I would survive her affair and my kids would be with me. I focused on their well-being and mine. We took weekend trips and enjoyed life. I never excluded my wife. I would invite her and let her decide. And, I guess that was the critical turning point for me: I was never able to move forward until I understood that it would be up to my wife to come “home”. There wasn’t anything that I could do or say; it was her decision to have an affair & it had to be her decision to come back.
      Our marriage is being rebuilt every day. We are in a better place than I could have ever imagined. Do I still struggle at times? Yes. Do I fully trust her? Sadly, no and I’m not sure if/when that will occur. Do I wish that she would one night open up and really tell me what happened? Every day. And these things may be what hurt the most: She has refused to tell me the name of her AP and, after she supposedly ended the affair, it was over a year until she actually said that she wanted “us”. Looking back, I was totally naive and gullible when she said that she texted her AP and ended it. I can’t believe that it would take her over a year to finally decide that our marriage was worth saving. Maybe I’m wrong but I’ve learned over the last several years to trust quiet little voice inside.

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