A few things you need to know before we get into today’s post:
- I haven’t forgotten about the Tapping Solution. In fact, I will be writing about it soon. I will also be including a second book on the subject, by the author’s sister. I will not go deeply into it today except to say this: I have broken through the barrier and am not only Tapping but having breakthroughs, including what I’ll be sharing about today.
- I have discovered the reason for my downward dip over the last several days. I’m sharing this with you as yet another reminder that we all struggle.
- My youngest daughter broke her ankle over the weekend. It was a nasty break. She will be okay but as always, it’s very difficult for me being so far away. I have always taken responsibility for that fact since I was the one who initially moved away (19 years ago, but still…).
- The things you believe and tell yourself may not be true. Your body “protects you” from some truths until you’re ready to face them.
- Trigger Warning for domestic violence, child abuse/ neglect, infidelity and PTSD.
It was 1987. I had been married for seven years and had three young children; the oldest had just started school. My (then) husband and I worked opposite shifts to save money on daycare. I worked days, he worked swing shift. Our oldest went to school, our middle girl went to pre-school, and our son stayed home with him or went to daycare early. He picked up our younger daughter from pre-school before he went to work and took all three children to daycare, where I would pick them up on my way home from my full-time job.
He had several affairs that year. Yep, the typical 7-year itch. One of them was with our youngest daughter’s pre-school teacher. The school met in a park building.
He left our older daughter on the playground while he went inside to pick up our younger daughter. While he was inside playing Mr. Dreamy with the teacher, our older daughter jumped off a swing and landed wrong, breaking her leg.
All these years later, she’ll tell you God sent an angel to help her. A woman she didn’t know told her not to move and sat with her until her father finally came out, about ten minutes later.
It was nearly a compound fracture, stopped only by her not moving. You could see the bone – and it was her femur. As I drove home, I saw his car coming the other way. There were no cell phones then, of course, and he just put her in the car and started driving to the hospital. He stopped beside me and I found out what was going on – and saw her leg. She was in shock, barely able to talk.
Her entire leg was casted. She had to be carried everywhere and use a wheelchair. She couldn’t go to school. Her gracious teacher suggested that she could come to our house for an hour twice a week and keep our daughter from falling behind. We agreed.
And so it was that after work, I would stop at the daycare, pick up the kids and meet with the teacher later at home.
On the day in question, I was running late. The teacher was already there when I drove up. I gathered everything best I could and with her help, was able to unlock the door and step inside.
The house, which was normally fairly messy – I mean, c’mon, three young children, one an infant and one in a huge cast and me, alone with them all night – was much worse than usual. My face is hot just remembering the sight of my dirty underwear – and in fact, all my dirty laundry – flung over lamps and furniture. And there was a message scrawled on the wall with my red lipstick:
YOU ARE A PIG
The teacher and I stood there in silence. She helped me get settled and said she would come back tomorrow. She didn’t say anything about anything… just stepped away with as much professionalism as she could muster.
He said he was teaching me a lesson. He said I didn’t keep the house clean enough. He said he wanted to embarrass me so I’d never leave the house messy again. It wasn’t his job. I was the wife.
And let me tell you what *** I *** did. I tucked his words about me in my heart. I tried harder. I took responsibility for his affairs. I was a fat, ugly pig. I deserved everything I got.
Okay, back to this last weekend, when my younger daughter broke her ankle. It had already been gloomy for days. I’d already been depressed a bit. But something about her breaking her ankle triggered me…
And so, I “tapped on it” (and I promise to talk about tapping very soon!).
This is what came up.
My (late) ex-husband and I made amends for many things before he died and for that, I am grateful. But there are some things that you can’t apologize-away. This is one of them.
His words carried an immense amount of weight, especially since he was being unfaithful at the time and I already felt “less than” and vulnerable.
The accident with our daughter might have been avoided entirely had he stayed with her – and beneath that, had he not been trying to get into the teacher’s pants.
I have candy-coated my relationship with him – romanticized it, even – especially now that he’s dead. Why?
- I thought I was doing it to save our children from hearing crap about their father but it’s way too late for that. They know it all already. They lived it. They’ve even told me things I’d forgotten, like the time he pulled me out of the car by my hair at the sub shop. Totally forgot it. 100%.
- I thought that since it wasn’t any of us being punched in the face, it wasn’t actually abuse, so it *shouldn’t* matter. Just forget it! And so I did.
- I thought I was doing it to be kind. He changed. I changed. Forgiveness is the way to go. Right?
- Why bad-mouth the dead? What kind of horrible person does that?
There will be times to remember the sweet things about him, especially in his later years… and there were more than a few, after 35 years of knowing each other… but not today.
What I know today:
- He was a bully and abusive.
- He was a serial cheater.
- He did not tell me the truth about a lot of things.
- I am not a pig.
- I can let go of the weight I’ve used to protect myself. He can’t hurt me anymore. I am only hurting myself.
And the featured photo? It’s me in 1987 and I’ve always hated it. I’ve laughed at it and cried, too. I’m fat and ugly. I look old. My hair!!! OMG, perm much? Pearls at a garden party? I’m trying too hard.
Maybe now I can just accept her. She was doing the best she could.
I always do.