Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Big D

When the whole thing started with my ex and his friend, I will admit - I freaked. I was irritable, jumpy, constantly worried. I was overreacting to the smallest things, I didn't trust him anymore. I was mean at times, and very, very hard to get along with.

My friends who knew the details were telling me that X was wrong and I didn't deserve to be treated this way. They were right - but that didn't mean that I wasn't also wrong, and that there weren't some things I could work on.

I looked for a counselor to see if maybe there was an emotional reason for my reaction. The first counselor I saw was a woman. She told me that, while I may have a problem, she couldn't begin to help me until I understood that what X was doing was wrong. In her words, I needed to "clean house" and either get him to end his friendship, or I needed to end the marriage.

In retrospect, I think she was alluding to the fact that the behavior was leading to other problems. But at the time, all I could think about was the fact that my selfishness and insecurity was about to cost me everything.

At the same time, I also saw my own doctor and described my symptoms, which were now physical in addition to emotional. I lost 10 lbs in a week, I was constantly sore, I was suffering from horrible headaches. I had zero energy; my work was suffering because I was always sick.

Turns out - I was depressed. Literally. My doctor prescribed anti-depressants for me, and encouraged me to continue looking for a counselor that could help.

The new medicine regimen was not well-received at home. At this point, X and I had already started talking about separation, and I was desperate. I begged him to go to couples counseling, but he wasn't into that idea. He did not like the idea that I was on medication (thought it implied weakness on my part; and a cop-out, that I thought I could "pop a pill and make everything better") and he thought my going to individual counseling was selfish; that I was trying to help myself, but not our marriage.

I wasn't going to let that phase me, though. I stayed on the medication and I kept searching for a counselor that would help. I finally found one, right around the time that X and I signed our separation agreement.

Dr. P helped me a lot. He listened to what was going on, and he offered some insight as to what may have been making X act the way that he was. He did this without ever saying that X was wrong. He also never said I was wrong, but he did help me to figure out what may have been some reasons for the way I was behaving. He helped me understand that I can't control everything. For the first time in my life, I truly understood that l had no control over the way others treated me - but that I could control how I let it affect me, and how I reacted. So that's where I shifted my focus.

In the end, it didn't help my marriage - but it did help me.

No one is perfect. We all have stuff we need to work on, ways we can improve. Sometimes the toughest challenges force us to face the "stuff" we wouldn't otherwise own up to. Sometimes, the toughest things in life turn into the most valuable lessons. The trick is, to pay attention - you never know what you might learn.

I'm (slowly but surely) sharing the story of my divorce. Too much to share in one post, but if you want to follow my story, just click on the tag for 'divorce' from the home page of my blog. Thanks for reading.

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