a space to heal

“How can what I’m going through be helpful to others?” This is a question that I ask myself everyday, and it is the focus of my blog. One challenge that I’ve faced while going through this divorce is not being able to write about all aspects of it, since it also involves my estranged husband, Jack. But really, no matter what is happening in my life, I do not talk about other people here. That cannot be helpful to anyone including me….but talk I must, at least with my spiritual counselor, friends, and family who can be with me without judgement and who can allow me to hear the wisdom that will lead me to an expanded life.

I’ve been surprised at the amount of anger and bitterness that has come out of me, especially in the first few months, and more surprised (really horrified) that it wasn’t just with these “safe” people that I shared what was happening. As a matter of fact, I felt as though I could not meet anyone without telling them what had happened in my marriage. There were a number of instances when a voice in my head said, “This is inappropriate” and yet, I could not stop myself. I felt like a possessed, revenge-filled, angry, hurt, woman, who could not shut up. I started to become afraid that this “bitter root” was going to take hold and I’d end up old, alone, and endlessly repeating my sad story. 

I had lunch with a friend a while ago and I was still on this roll. She was a gracious listener and said what felt like the most soothing words I could hear. After I finished my lament she said, “What the f….! And I said, “Thank you”.

Her words, with all of their force, perfectly met the emotions that I was feeling. After that lunch was over, another voice came into my head and it simply said, “enough”. From that moment on, I’ve been able to walk in a new direction, toward a life that I want to live and as the person whom I want to be…but it took going through that ugly, strange, angry, messy, time as honestly as I could, to come out the other side. I may well have alienated people along the way but I also believe that true friendship and love can withstand our less-than-perfect, troubled, temporarily insane selves. 

I never go through anything without reflecting on my own behavior, and this divorce has been no different. Lately I’ve thought about two people who came to me years ago, when they had just broken with their spouses. I’d like to say that I met them with the same open, present, energy as the people in my life, but it isn’t true. In both cases I tried to be “spiritual”, reminding them that nothing happens randomly, that this really was happening “for them”…blah, blah…it makes me cringe to think about this now. Not that I don’t believe these things, because I absolutely do, but my timing was all wrong. They weren’t even close to the healing stage yet. They were both freshly out, wounded, and in so much pain. What I wish I’d said, when they told me what had happened, is, “What the f….! How are you? What do you need from me? I’m here for you”, but I didn’t…and I lost both of those relationships…but I also learned a lot. I’ve learned how to be with someone who is going through an emotionally messy time. I’ve learned how to listen without judgement. I’ve learned that none of us are perfect and that we all need people to be real with.

So I’m not being hard on myself for sharing too much or for looking like a mess to others…as a matter of fact, I’m glad that I did. Many years ago, I was talking to someone about some struggle that I was going through and she said, “You really don’t mean that!”…I cannot even remember what I was talking about but I remember thinking, “You don’t want to be friends with the real me. You want the cleaned-up version of me.” Well, I don’t want that. I don’t want the cleaned-up version of people. I want real, honest, at times gut-wrenching, at times magnificent, people in my life. 

I also don’t want to live out a tragic tale of woe. I don’t want to be talking about this divorce, or my previous marriages/divorces, in a year or 5 years, and have all of the unspoken, unacknowledged, emotions come out. Now is the time to heal so I can truly say that even the unplanned, painful, and seemingly unacceptable things I’ve experienced have all been right and I have let go of blame and resentment. This is the light that I’m moving toward and that I see and feel with my heart…and if I need to go through the swamp to get there, OK.

There is so much written these days about “positive thinking” that people have become afraid to admit what’s really going on inside. I’ve heard countless people say some version of, “If you really knew what I was thinking, you’d think I was a horrible person”. But we often need to do just that: admit where we are right now, so we can move up/out/through the situation. 

 

“We cannot change the world by a new plan, project, or idea. We cannot even change other people by our convictions, stories, advice and proposals, but we can offer a space where people are encouraged to disarm themselves, lay aside their occupations and preoccupations and listen with attention and care to the voices speaking in their own center.” Henri Nouwen

17 thoughts on “a space to heal”

  1. I think you outdid yourself on this one! Such powerful, meaningful words. One of those where the post — takes my breath away. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  2. Mary, I am part of a cyber forum for estranged parents. My estrangement with my adopted daughter is nine years old but the estrangement began twenty-five years earlier. I had been walking on eggshells over those years until my daughter terminated her relationship with me. Now, having walked on eggshells for 25 years, or more, this final break came as no surprise. I searched the internet for information on parental estrangement and finding the site I did surprised me. I felt I didn’t need to heal. From what, I wondered, I’d accepted it, it was part of my life, I felt I’d coped. But I hadn’t. Like you, once I began reading of other people’s experience, my anger became very present in my mind and being. It has only been through releasing this anger in a safe place that I’ve been able to heal and I hate the term, move forward, but rather, come to some acceptance of my daughter’s behaviour. I honour her right to make her own decisions, I don’t respect them. And that about sums up dealing with anger, dealing with emotional trauma in our lives. As an aside, I’ve never liked the term -ex…anything, I prefer the term, former (husband). In healing, you will help others, Mary. I’m just sorry you both had to go through this but I applaud your courage in facing the reality of your own self and feelings,
    Sandy Proudfoot, in snowy southern Ontario, Canada where it’s an affront to my soul to have Mother Nature spring this winter’s snowstorm on us when it’s not officially winter!

  3. Well Mary, “What the …k?” You have covered so much ground in this post I’m not sure how to respond. I’m glad you are processing what you have been going through, probably for much longer than you knew! Getting married is nice, being married is hard and deciding to end a marriage is painful and heartbreaking, even if it is for the best. Go ahead and vent, rage, weep, and know there is a season for that and then feel better, heal and move on with your life as there is a season for that as well. Sending you love and a big hug and remember, as for the bad stuff, the crap…this too shall pass. ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Well Mary, “What the …k?” You have covered so much ground in this post I’m not sure how to respond. I’m glad you are processing what you have been going through, probably for much longer than you knew! Getting married is nice, being married is hard and deciding to end a marriage is painful and heartbreaking, even if it is for the best. Go ahead and vent, rage, weep, and know there is a season for that and then feel better, heal and move on with your life as there is a season for that as well. Sending you love and a big hug and remember, as for the bad stuff, the crap…this too shall pass. ❤️❤️❤️

  5. Oh, Mary, bless your heart and consider yourself hugged (if that’s okay). I have a friend (we’ve been friends since first grade) whose husband is dealing with cancer and getting no good news. When I call or meet my friend, she asks “Do you want to talk to the real me or the public me?” I’m so grateful that I’m one of the people who gets the ‘real’ her. She needs that, and I’m glad that 55 years of friendship allows me access to the real person. So many people are cheering them on — me included — but I also see her exhaustion, frustration, — and love. That she can slow down and breathe deeply with me – and cry — is a gift for both of us. Your acknowledgement of the real you — not the person putting on the “I can handle anything” face is, in my opinion, also a gift and step toward your future happiness. Thank you so much for sharing your life and your story.

  6. amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is so right. Let’s let it rip!!! What’s funny for me is that when I’m in meetings the spiritual stuff really comes to the fore, but most of the time I’m just a flawed, humble mess (sometimes), irritable at times, and walking along the best I can. But really accepting that’s who I am has made life SO MUCH EASIER . . . you & I get to say what we feel and what’s really happening. That’s why I loved your share yesterday . . . it allowed us all to see YOU, in all your vulnerable beauty.

    ok, i’m going down for my nap. I’m POOPED. i really like Mary’s entry. I had forgotten ~ did hubby cheat on her after they had had that reconciliation? It sure sounds like it.

    love you, baba 🛌💤🏈

    I LOVE THE BABY ANIMALS SO MUCH

    On Sun, Nov 18, 2018 at 1:18 PM Mary Muncil ♡ White Feather Farm wrote:

    > Mary Muncil posted: ““How can what I’m going through be helpful to > others?” This is a question that I ask myself everyday, and it is the focus > of my blog. One challenge that I’ve faced while going through this divorce > is not being able to write about all aspects of it, since ” >

  7. Your post dovetailed with something I immersed myself in this week-end. It painfully showed acceptance by a young man with a very traumatic story. Here is a link to the Dr. Phil episode about this man. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6x6koi I watched this after I watched the full documentary. It was on Investigation Discovery. Here is the link to it. https://www.investigationdiscovery.com

    Like Sandy P. I have been experiencing some estrangement with children that I am reluctant to accept. i also feel the loss of a relationship with a sibling that cannot be. I also have a “former” husband that one could say “what the f___?” about his exploits (exploitations).

    How many many times I have vented and told my stories about these situations — can’t begin to count them — but reading Mary’s post right after and during my watching of these videos.

    Time to lay these to rest and live today. Thank you Mary Muncil for your openness today. I’m so grateful for this group and for your ongoing guidance.

  8. This has definitely been a week-end of quiet inner work and being open to messages. Another thing I watched was an interview with another person that I follow online. Here is a link to that interview. https://carleena.fireside.fm/14 I then decided to start to re-read her book slowly and stopping when something resonated with me. Here is a link to her website. https://www.lynneforrest.com Her book is https://www.amazon.com/Guiding-Principles-Beyond-Victim-Consciousness/dp/0615401449/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542585632&sr=8-1&keywords=beyond+victim+consciousness

  9. Mary,
    I want to thank you for all this…the back & forth… thinking about yourself, your friends & family who go thru this with you, what you can & can’t write about here, and most importantly, how you are helping others as you go thru this. I’m twice divorced, and without getting remarried, have stayed in a relationship for the past 6 1/2 years, making the SAME mistakes. You’re reminding me to stop beating myself up, and that yes, this is happening for me (the timing is right to hear that!)…so maybe this time I will see the mistakes I’m making, take the learning in stride & move on. I’m sick of talking, regretting, or just thinking about the mistakes I made in this most recent relationship “failure”- the “failure” that is for me…a gift. I hope I can cherish this gift, begin to protect myself from who I was, & improve who I am in relationships. Thank you for that, and best wishes to you as you move through this chang in your life.

    1. it has been so big for me to talk about this divorce, Susan…I think, at some level, that the embarrassment and shame of having “yet another” relationship end might have kept me in it if it wern’t for my inner guidance getting stronger and stronger (and Jack’s behavior getting more and more obviously unacceptable!) saying, “It is time to move on”…and I am so glad that I shared it here and with my family too. I am sending you love and a hug across the miles today

  10. Mary – LOVED this post. I have learned that I can share my real self only with those with whom I have spiritual consent – a fancy way of saying another REAL person who is interested in my gut feelings and not my “cleaned up” feelings. I don’t do “there-there” anymore, and surely don’t want it done to me. The good bad and ugly are all a part of me, and through recovery I have learned that NONE of it is wrong, it just IS.

    My sister and I were talking about blogs, and she asked why anyone would “air their dirty laundry” online for anyone to read. I told her people do because their experiences can truly help other people. So, Mary, you ARE so helpful to others!!! Thank you!!!!

  11. Happy Thanksgiving to All — Grateful for all of you.

    As I read and re-read this post and all our comments — I want to add some additional thoughts. This post was meaningful in so many ways for me.

    There are some other things I want to share:

    These are from my Recovery training. (Recovery International Self Help Groups)
    “To talk it up is to work it up.”
    “Feelings are to be expressed, temper suppressed to someone who can be trusted to understand.”

    The other is one I recently learned — child psychologist from a talk and her book about dealing with adolescent girls (or anyone for that matter) (Lisa Damour – “Untangled)
    When someone is “sharing” “going on” about something —— ask — “Are you venting or do you want me to comment or give advice?” (or something along those lines)

    We don’t need to be in charge of fixing others. I do want to be that trusted friend with whom people can share and know that it won’t go any further, that I have heard them and that I care about them. I KNOW THAT I DON’T KNOW someone else’s answers. We all need to find our way at whatever pace we go.

    And lastly what I am continually working on — is ACCEPTING that I might never hear what I want to hear from the “other” person and the situation is WHAT IT IS and I AM who I AM and that is all right.

Comments are closed.