The dilemma of this double-edged sword

There’s definitely a double-edged sword in deciding to learn more about Life Coaching.

On the one hand I’m finding the subject fascinating.  The more I read the more I want to know.

But, and this is rather a big but, it’s also painful.  Painful realising that if I’d known a lot of this before and Alex had too then maybe things would have been different.

But it was because we didn’t that I’ve ended up in my ‘now’ and that includes finding out I’m interested in something that would never have occured to me before!

I still read Stephen’s blog posts avidly as I find them fascinating. Even if each one is a stab through my heart as I read how he helps couples get their marriages back on track and it was too late for us.

But I want to learn and not only learn from my mistakes, but also learn from the experts how they apply all the techniques they have at their ‘finger tips’ – so I’ll carry on reading and ride out the pain.

It’s tough though!

By the way it was brought home to me yesterday how much integrity there is in Stephen’s approach and coaching.  No ‘signing up’ for months and months, or years and years to be coached for ever!   Not like the treatment this person received from a psychoanalyst!  (click to read!).  Which in my view is just totally unethical.  People in trouble are very vulnerable and will grab at anything to remove the pain.  It is, in my view, a fundamental duty of the therapist to ensure the client is treated with respect.  And that includes not spinning out the therapy to suit the therapist.

Anyway I need to keep focused and not look back!  Perhaps I need to buy some blinkers!  Though probably that’s not a ‘good look’!

My ex sister-in-law (whom I’m very fond of) emailed me today giving me news of Alex and the OW (whom she dislikes!), and my  niece and nephew who I’m very fond of (I suppose that should be ex-niece and nephew!!).  So it’s been a bit tough thinking about them……   and all the other stuff.   Hearing what they’ll be doing at Christmas…..  I feel a bit left out!!

So now for some planning so I don’t!

The life-line of survival

How come so many of us have ended up in the marriage cul-de-sac of disaster?  The place where  clear communication has been cancelled.

And what made our runners run?

I’ve stopped asking Why?  I now want to know the answers to:  What made you feel that running was the only option?  Was I such a nightmare to live with?  Such a bad listener that I had killed off all other options?

You see I don’t think so!

I read others’ blogs and so many ask the same questions, including The Why didn’t we at least have the “Big Talk” questions!

I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve come to the conclusion that unless the “Big Talk” is held from a position of total security with both partners secure in knowing who they really are and feeling totally safe,  then I can’t see the answers will be that ‘truthful’.

Because the answers can be totally different if answered from a position of fear, guilt, anger, trauma….. the list is endless.

Alex accused me of being controlling.  Fine, I probably was – from his perspective.  The trouble is rather than say sorry I justified it – then.

Now all I want to say is.  Yes I was – and I’m sorry – I was scared silly. All I wanted was for you to throw your arms around me and protect me and ‘take over’.  But his interpretation of the ‘Controlling Caroline’ was I wanted to be in control.

WRONG!  I wanted the total opposite!

When I told him in May that I never wanted to see or hear from him again.  What I was actually crying out for was for him to be bashing my door down and fighting for us and our future!

When he said he hoped we could be friends and amicable, I wonder now what he actually meant.  Who knows!

I feel so stongly now that what we say and what we mean can be two totally different things.

So how come we fail to communicate in a way that our partner will understand?

What I don’t know is what he wanted me to understand about him when he was trying to communicate his needs. What I wonder is what interpretations was I putting on what he was telling me which meant I completely failed to understand him.

I think that’s where Life Coaches such as Stephen can help so much. Help bring communication back to its truest form.  Help with the understanding and interpretation of what we each needed to say and understand.  How they do this I have no idea because we never got to that stage. We never found out.  We never met half way.

And for me that is what is so sad and so incredibly hard to live with.  And part of the reason, I believe, that I (and probably many others ) still get ‘stuck’ days.   We never found out.  We turned our backs on the enlightenment of truly understanding each other – of really learning how to communicate – which in moments of crisis are invaluable and essential. 

Because communication is the glue which holds you together when things are tough.

The life-line of marriage survival.

The thing which is the main route back to a marriage full of passion and happiness.

Thank you for your support!

Writing the letter was very important for me.  Publishing it here also mattered.  It told ‘the world’ how I feel.

Thank you, dear readers, for your comments and lovely words of encouragement and support which have been wonderful and comforting – thank you so much.  And thank you for taking time to give your views and suggestions.

Actually I don’t want Alex to be hurt. That doesn’t solve the issue at all.    What I meant (and here it is so interesting how different interpretations on my letter have been seen!) was I want Alex to discover that despite changing the geography of his surroundings and the partner he now lives with that he is still not at ease and comfortable within himself.  That the pain is still there. That the solution lies within himself rather than a different human being.

And I don’t want him to discover this through being hurt.  If that happened he would still be able to abdicate and blame someone else.  And anyway I remain steadfast in my view that I wouldn’t and don’t wish on anyone what I’ve been through.

So no being hurt (by someone else) doesn’t solve anything.  The pain has to come from within. A pain that comes from a dissatisfaction that life is not the way it should be despite having done and changed all the things he has – then and only then will he actually dig deep enough to find out why and then hopefully take the steps – those very hard steps – to look at how he can break the pattern and give himself and become the stunning human being that he wants and can be.  I married a warm-hearted, gentle, kind, lovely man.   This man also has a deep unease within himself.  Someone who finds it easier to run, block out and hide from the issues he has rather than go through the very painful task of ‘sorting them out’.  He knows.  He has said so.  He has made several attempts at facing his ‘demons’ but, I think, (and of course I can only guess as I’m not him!) that he hasn’t conquered his own unique Terror Barrier yet.

I divorced someone who is lost.

Letter to Alex – farewell

Dear Alex

Decree Absolute: 18 October 2011

So as I stare at the piece of paper which gives us our freedom from each other – I still wonder where and why it all went wrong.

But you chose your exit and I have accepted that.

We had a good time didn’t we!  Some brilliant adventures and so much fun.  I know you’ll have your own take on it all and will no doubt decide what you want to cherish  – if anything.  I know I will cherish in my heart the years we had together in so many ways.  So thank you for being part of my life for that time – I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I’m sorry for my part in us hitting the brick wall that ended our life together.

One of the saddest things for me  – as somebody once said – “Isn’t knowing I was lied to but knowing I wasn’t worth the truth”.  That you weren’t prepared to tell me what was wrong.  I always thought of you as my best friend as well as my lover and my marital partner. The one who I could turn to. The one who would be there for me.   I thought you felt that way about me too. You behaved as though you did.

So, dearest Alex, as you disappear into your new future I hope you can at least acknowledge,  I did my best to make it easy for you.  I didn’t rant and rage.   I didn’t slag you off to any of your friends.  I didn’t insist everyone took my side. I never punished you. Throughout these last 32 months I believe I have been understanding, compassionate, helpful, and caring.

I have, I feel, behaved with immense dignity as you stamped over my feelings, smashed and drove a knife through my heart, killed our marriage, cruelly dithered about coming back and then ran from the vows we made, hurt me more than I thought it was possible to be hurt and showed me no respect .  As you hid and lied your way away from me.  I just often wonder what I did to deserve such treatment.

I cared  Alex, I cared for you more deeply than I’ve ever cared about anything in my life. I loved more deeply than I can explain. The feelings of love I had for you were incredible.

My love for you was unconditional . And so, unconditionally, I actually wish the best for you.

Maybe one day you’ll look back and wish you hadn’t done it.  Maybe you’ll realise what you’ve lost.  That you could have been the man you kept telling me you wanted to be and worked to re-kindle that time of true passion – as I wanted and hoped we could do.

Perhaps the pain of not being who you say you want to be isn’t painful enough – maybe it needs to be greater – because until the pain is so great that the true desire within you to deal with it overrides everything else,  it is so much easier to live with the ache.

So I don’t wish you well.  I wish you so much more than that:

I forgive you for what you did  –  and – tough and harsh though this sounds –  I wish you pain.

I wish the pain gets so bad that you do finally take action  – real determined, consistent, unrelenting action – and so give yourself a real chance of becoming the person deep inside who is the one you say you really want to be.  The one not living in a state of fear, trauma, isolation or weakness.  The one I thought and believed, for so long, that I’d married –  but clearly hadn’t.  The one who will then have the identity you say you’re searching for.  The one who IS able to care for someone and protect them – as I  wanted and needed to be cared for and protected. (And as you said you wanted to do for me all those months ago when I fell off my bicycle and you rescued me! ) 

The one who IS heard.  The one who is no longer afraid to speak. The one who no longer runs.  The one who no longer hides. The one who is no longer lost.  The one who knows how to give.

I have learned an amazing amount about me over the last 12 months through Stephen’s coaching.  A process that at times I’ve found very tough, incredibly confusing and desperately emotional, but also fascinating, challenging and amazingly enlightening.  I’ve kept on going as I found I just wanted to learn and know more and to dig deep enough to  find the Real, True Me.   And I now know the ‘new me’ wouldn’t and doesn’t want the ‘current you’ – the one  I’ve seen during this traumatic time –   but she does want the type of man you said you wanted to be – the one I thought you were.

You  have removed yourself from our life together, so you’ve missed out on seeing the ‘new’ feminine, ‘girlie’ me!  The me with whom you could have had the future we should and could have had and I am now sure I’ll have with someone else. A Someone who will care for me and protect me and laugh and have fun with me. A Someone who will truly love me. Someone who will always be there for me, who will argue with me and then enjoy the passion of making up!   Because by caring, protecting and loving me I’ll then feel safe to continue to be the real me.  The passionate, fun-loving, giggly, wise, caring and feminine me I’ve found.  The one you said you wanted me to be but often didn’t make me feel safe enough, or give me enough love, to be.

If you haven’t found it already then may you find your brilliant future too – the one where you love you with a passion, you are the man you say you want to be  – the protector and the carer, the giver and the lover – in fact –  where you are free from whatever it is that’s holding you back so you can be the truly amazing you.    The man who knows how to stand tall. The truly amazing man.

And lastly, I look back on all the fantastic presents you gave me over the years.  Sadly there was one thing I now realise I desperately wanted, the one thing you weren’t either free enough,  or didn’t know how, to give me……………….. yourself.

Goodbye, Good luck.

(Shame he’ll never get to read it)

The spotlight

Finally this morning I experienced a feeling of incredible relief.

Relief that the spotlight of “marriage failure” has been removed from on me and transferred to the latest casualty – my brother and his wife.  (Not that I wish it on them).

But that’s how it’s felt these last 32 months.  As far as the people living close to me – my neighbours, family and friends,  I’ve been the one who has been the local casualty.  The one who needs nurturing and caring for.

The one in the spotlight.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve been stunned and humbled by their kindnesses and concern. The way they’ve been there for me to help me through. The hours they’ve spent listening to me go over and over the same ground – especially that first year of indecision and trauma – as I  floundered around lost in my own despair.  Then the encouragement and nurture as I fought my way through to where I am today.

The fact they thought I was worth it.

But today the sense of relief is incredible. A big weight has suddenly gone – one which I hadn’t realised was there – I am no longer weighed down by being the latest statistic.  Someone else has taken my place.

I have now moved up a rung on the statistical ladder.  I am a survivor.

In this new place I feel released from the limelight.  I have learnt so much.  And actually hope I still have more to learn.  I’m finding it all too fascinating to stop now!

I can turn to my sister-in-law and listen and listen.  I can empathise like no-one else near her can.  I know what it’s like.  The fact that my experience is still so new.  OK I’m not in her shoes. She will react differently to the way I did.  We are, after all, all unique. We will react in our own unique way. But hopefully  I can help.

I also know what NOT to say or do!

I hope she allows me to be there for her.  I don’t envy her.  I wouldn’t wish the spotlight on her at all.   But I hope her ‘journey’ is enlightening as mine has been and still is.

I still have my goals to resolve – which with Stephen’s help and guidance I hope will truly make me buzz.

Today for the first time I felt that my own personal mountain top is finally in sight.  And when I get to the top I’d like a new spotlight turned on and a banner across the sky saying “Sensational Survivor” – because for my sister-in-law (and hopefully my brother) that might be the incentive to get the help I feel will help them both!