Co-NNections Recovery Stories

What Took Me So Long – May 14, 2024

Although I always had everything a child could want and need, I never felt loved by my parents. I always felt as though I was in the way. Wanting love so desperately, I married at 18 and remained committed to the marriage well past its expiration date. Decades of incompatibility had made us a toxic couple. Of course, I didn’t understand these feelings at the time. It’s only recently become clear to me.

Around October 2019, I had an awakening. I was sitting quietly alone late one night when a subtle wave of memories overwhelmed me. Not just memories, I was re-experiencing pivotal moments of my life. I understood my past experiences and the actions I took with clarity and awe. It was like watching a movie of my life. I had no feelings of fear, nor did I feel uncomfortable. I felt safe, calm, and content. But what did it mean?

As I tried to share my experience with my husband, he quickly interrupted me and refused to listen. He implied it was the devil trying to take me. Seriously, the devil?! Feelings of inadequacy once again consumed me. Seeking validation, I shared my experience with a few friends. Their response was either negative or disinterested. What had happened to me meant nothing to anyone else.

I began to realize how I lived my life for others. Always putting importance on my husband, children, or guests in my home. Unable to just be myself, I cowered in the presence of others. The more I tried to understand my marriage, the more pressure I felt. The more pressure I felt, the more anxious I became.

I didn’t want a divorce even though we were toxic together. Not wanting to face defeat, I changed myself to be who I thought he wanted me to be. I tried to keep it together, but I couldn’t live the lie any longer. I could no longer live as the person I pretended to be. It was making me mentally sick.

Sometime in the year 2021, my husband stopped talking to me altogether. All I got was yes/no and utilitarian talk. Every day was worse than the day before. Unless we were in public, I existed for three years without conversation, touch, or affection. I begged for an explanation. I suggested we seek counseling. Everything I tried was met with more silence. It wasn’t much of a life. My anxiety made me insane. I started doing outrageous things just to get him to notice. What I got was betrayal as he turned to his friends for comfort and consolation. He got rid of me long before the courts could. We divorced in April 2024 after 47 years of partnership.

I’m 66 years old and alone. I have never been alone. It’s an empty life. I hate being so alone. It’s really hard for me to think about tomorrow.

Thank God I found CoDA. Some days, it’s all I have to hold onto. If I can make it through today, that’s enough for me.

Cathy, T. 03/26/2024

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